What Moves Us

Spark Your Team Into Action Today

What Would Dolly Do?

What Would Dolly Do?

Business Lessons from a Music Legend

If you’ve known me for long, you know I LOVE Dolly Parton. Her music. Her rags-to-riches success. Her grit and determination. Her humor. Her business sense. Her ability to stay relevant without losing her soul. Her philanthropy. And besides all that, there’s…Dollywood!

Needless to say, I truly enjoyed reading “What Would Dolly Do? How to Be a Diamond in the Rhinestone World” by Lauren Marino. It contains insightful life lessons for us all and some particularly important thoughts on how to navigate the business world. Unfortunately, it does not include a recipe for the ooey, gooey cinnamon bread that’s such a must-have at Dollywood.

All kidding aside, Dolly is known far and wide for her incredible work ethic and her insatiable desire to learn and grow. Her professional portfolio (singer, songwriter, actress, producer, promoter, entrepreneur, businesswoman, philanthropist)  is so unusually wide because she has never stopped learning and doing new things. She knows that work is really all about carrying through on small commitments day after day, after day. Showing up. Being prepared. Being open-minded and willing to learn.

No matter what our field of expertise is, I think we should all take to heart what Dolly has to say about learning. She knows it’s important to know what you don’t know and to either educate yourself or partner with people who fill in your knowledge gaps. “Learning is all about doing your homework and then taking a chance. The homework part is critical. That means reading (and understanding) feasibility studies, research, and hard planning to make sure your ideas make sense. Sometimes it means listening to other experts. It is this studying and thinking through ideas that make projects a true success.” And you thought she just knew how to write country songs.

Dolly has never stopped. She’s never stopped caring, learning, evolving, being creative, or doing the hard work. Have you stopped? Are you doing your homework? Are you carrying through on your commitments, no matter how small they appear? Are you reading, studying, and learning something new every day or week? Take a tune from Dolly and keep on keeping on. It’s a recipe for success.

Want to read more? Pick up a copy of
“How to Be a Diamond in the Rhinestone World” By Lauren Marino

Stay Sharp,

ISI Consulting

Holly Hayes, President & Founder
ISI Consulting

PS – Sign up now for our May 6th – 10th on-line facilitation training via Zoom.  

Blot, Blot, BLOT.

Jeff Bezos always uses a technique called BLOT (Bottom Line on Top) in his emails and presentations and teaches it to everyone at Amazon. Why? Because it works.

So, what is BLOT? Two simple steps. 

  • 1. Identify the single most critical thing your reader or viewer needs to know. 
  • 2. Put that into one or two short sentences at the very beginning and make it BOLD.

Most people bury the most important information at the end of an email or presentation behind a ton of less useful background stuff…where it promptly gets lost. Come on, be honest! Admit that you seldom read an email carefully all the way to the end. You take in the first couple of sentences and then skim. Presentations are usually even worse. First five slides are engaging. But by the end of a long one, you’re thinking about dinner and trying to remember what’s on your Netflix watch list.

So put the best stuff front and center. Right there where your audience can’t miss it. You can fill in all the details later. This is similar to the old journalism technique of putting the “5 W’s” (Who, What, When, Where, and Why) right there in the first paragraph. That technique, for example, ensured you knew that “Three armed men escaped with $75,000 from the Main Street branch of First National Bank on Tuesday.” Details to follow. You had what you needed for now.

Or think about your last airline ticket. It told you critical information…airline, flight number, departure time, destination and arrival time, terminal and gate number. Maybe your seat number. Enough info to get you to the airline check-in desk with a minimum of confusion. From then on, those big electronic boards post all the information that’s subject to change. You have what you need.

I challenge you to give BLOT a try for the next two weeks. See if you don’t get better responses to your emails and better engagement when you give a presentation. After all, it works for Amazon.

ISI Consulting

Holly Hayes, President & Founder
ISI Consulting

PS – Sign up now for our May 6th – 10th on-line facilitation training via Zoom.