eWomenNetwork member, Sylvia Henderson, shares her tips on how to get your ideas out of your head, communicated to the world and into action. Sylvia's experience in the no-nonsense corporate world is the foundation she uses to help you get unstuck and pursue your ideas with a strategy to make it happen.
Watch the interview with Sylvia from my podcast, "eWomenNetwork Member Spotlight," or tune-in/download the audio podcast at the eWN Podcast Network.
Evolution from Corporate America to Idea Implementation Specialist
PHYLLIS SMITH: Hi and welcome to Spotlight on eWomenNetwork, I’m Phyllis Smith. So, have you ever had an idea swirling around in your brain, or maybe many ideas for that matter, and they just kind of get stuck there. They don’t move beyond your head. Well today’s guest is the implementation expert. She helps you get your ideas out of your head and out into the world. Her name is Sylvia Henderson, and she joined us to help you move those ideas to profit and purpose. So, please welcome my wonderful friend as well, Sylvia Henderson.
SYLVIA HENDERSON: Hello Phyllis and everybody who’s watching and listening!
PHYLLIS SMITH: We’re so glad to have you because that could be a nightmare. You know, you dream about it. You dream about the ideas and then you’re like, “Oh my God I’ve got this great idea!” and then a month goes by and 2 months and next thing you know it’s next year and the idea is still in your head and it hasn’t gotten anywhere. And that is very frustrating for some people for sure.
SYLVIA HENDERSON: Not only frustrating, but you don’t get fulfilled. You don’t feel like you’ve met your purpose in life.
PHYLLIS SMITH: It’s true and you help people do that, and we’re gonna get to that in a little bit, but first I wanna talk more about you. Get to know you a little bit more and understand sort of where you came from and how you got into the business of helping people implement their ideas and becoming the idea implementation specialist that you are. So, first of all give us a background on your evolution from corporate career to the sustaining business that you have today.
SYLVIA HENDERSON: So, this feels like that story of “begat”, one begat the next that begat the next. So, 22 … 23 years in corporate America, for now, the oldest technology company in existence. I won’t say the name, but people will probably figure out which one - with 3 little letters … and I was quite happy in a corporate career. And as things changed I became independent, as I say not of my own choice and, so I was faced with what do I do next? Do I find another job? And that was because technology and the environment, the world was changing. - not for anything I did. And so after being a student of professional development and personal development I thought if I don’t do this now, I never will. And a couple people challenged me and said you’ve been talking about going on your own for a long time - no salary, no job, no benefits … what’s up? And so, Springboard Training became what I became, and I started out training.
Just the evolution of the business really quick - it started out as a training company because that’s my heart, that’s what I love, that’s what I did in corporate America. I went from training to keynote speaking, because my ego said I wanna be on that stage. I wanna be that one person, that one speaker. I went from keynote speaking, which I found out I didn’t like because I wasn’t getting that two-way interaction. And so then I wrote a book, like everybody’s supposed to do, and then from that book came more speaking, but a different kind of speaking. Workshops and retreats, and tha’st how I became the idea person. Because I really focused on getting your idea out, communicated and then taking action. It’s kind of what I did as a manager and it’s what I do now.
So, I’ve spent thousands of dollars on quick decisions that cost thousands of dollars, but you know in the end even though they feel like mistakes every one of them has led me to learn something that I’ve applied to the next thing. So, while they’ve been mistakes, and like I said jumping into something that I should have thought through, otherwise it still led me to where I am.
PHYLLIS SMITH: Well, and the truth is yeah, you’ve spent thousands of dollars and it’s also learning, because you’re action oriented there’s an extreme. You have the action oriented that just dives, that doesn’t know how deep the water is, if it’s deep at all and then there’s those who never act.
SYLVIA HENDERSON: Yeah.
PHYLLIS SMITH: And somewhere in between I’m guessing you’ve learned your lesson and, so you think through things more thoroughly, And you’re just a little more careful now. I mean you’re one of our Celebrity Science clients. That’s a big investment in yourself, and so what made you decide to do that and take that leap? I imagine you had to do some research on that.
SYLVIA HENDERSON: Oh yeah, and some vetting some other former Celebrity … you know, I guess you’re always Celebrity Science, but vetting from some people who preceded me. So, what led to this point, and really this borders on what other people should think about when their analyzing something - First of all, I reached the point of it’s got to be something … it’s got to be quote “one thing or I’m done." I’ve been in business since 2000 and while I’ve achieved success as other people would see, it I was looking for something more. I needed my business to go from just me, which it’s been for along, and a couple of temporary people, to a sustaining business that carries me into retirement and helps carry my nursing bills when I get that age. So, without me having to be it. Once I heard about Celebrity Science upgrading the image that then allows me to upgrade the business that’s what did it. And plus, I’ve been a women’s coach and consultant a long time, and I saw Kym and said you know what I’m corporate overall, I want that male energy again. So, that was the other thing that led me to Celebrity Science.
Corporate Mindset for Entrepreneurs
PHYLLIS SMITH: What is it about that corporate organizational culture that works? That you feel is so effective for a small business owner?
SYLVIA HENDERSON: My corporate background trained me on writing proposals, on what I need to do prepare to sit in front of someone and give them the features, the functions, the benefits. It’s almost a way of communicating. How I talk, how my presence is and all of that I learned in my corporate background. There’s a directness, there’s an action orientation to somebody who comes from a corporate environment. There’s not a whole lot of get to know. It’s like, “Okay, come in, sit down, whatcha got? Let me sign on the dotted line?” And that’s what I do best.
PHYLLIS SMITH: Now, truthfully, I think everybody needs a bit of that even if you are in kind of a softer, more mushy kind of touchy-feely kind of person. That’s wonderful and that’s what you’re clients might need when you’re working with them, but in terms of business is business and there are some basic rules and structure for any business and that it seems to me that’s what you help inpart on your clients is that, you know, let’s create some structure and then once we create some structure then you can get busy being in business.
SYLVIA HENDERSON: That’s what I do, yes, and that’s what I do with individuals. I still haven’t left the solo-entrepreneur. I probably just, being a part of Celebrity Science, my fee has increased so there’s a certain entrepreneur who best gets what I do, but I still haven’t abandoned the solo-entrepreneur. You’re exactly right. My most common individual is the creative who needs that ideation, they need that now let’s lay this out, and let’s figure out how to take action on it instead of just having the idea and not quite knowing where to go next. That’s been my biggest successes, but now I’m just readier to work with groups as opposed to a solo-entrepreneurs.
PHYLLIS SMITH: It’s also, I mean think of it this way, a coach, you might be working with a coach and you set your goals, right, and so you have your goals and your coach is your accountability partner as well and then they go to you, and you can actually help, “Okay, you know what your goals are, you already worked that out. Now let’s work together to structure that and help you reach your goals.”
SYLVIA HENDERSON: Yes, and I welcome coaches who need somebody at that either early end or they’re not getting to where they need to get in their program. I welcome coaches to say, “Hey, can we partner?” because to me it’s collaboration is really where progress is made even more and I’m not taking away from them and they’re not taking away from me. We figure out the revenue.
Sylvia's 3 Simple Tips for Moving Your Ideas into Action
1. Improve on Another Idea
I love to say, “Look around you and look at something, anything, whether it’s in your office, whether it’s outside, in fact take yourself away from where you’re sitting and struggling with your idea and go somewhere else preferably outside and focus on something, look at the car that just went by and say, ‘What could I do to improve that?’ Look at the lamp, or look at the tape dispenser and say, ‘What could I do to improve that?’ It’s amazing at how suddenly you go, ‘Yeah, maybe I should …’ or ‘Oh, here’s an idea’.” So, that’s one way to unlock ideas.
2. Sticky Notes
So, you’ve lots of ideas on paper, and on paper is key. You’ve captured them all. Then, my favorite tool, my favorite tool is sticky notes. I like to say take nuggets of your idea, put them on sticky notes, and put your sticky notes on a wall or on flip chart paper or whiteboard. You step back, and you look at those sticky notes, and you start to organize them and you’re pulling sticky notes and you’re mixing and you’re matching. And you start to see things differently, and eventually you filter down to what is the idea, what is the thing that seems most likely will bring me income now.
3. Put it Out There
Put it out there. Don’t worry about somebody stealing your idea, maybe in the form of a question, “Would you … (fill in the blank)?” What do you think about … (fill in the blank)?” Throw it out there to your Facebook friends, have a focus group on Zoom or Skype, and just test out an idea to see whether it is something that somebody else would be interested in, found out what they would pay for it.
SYLVIA HENDERSON: Anything you’re thinking about that you know you want to get done. The way to stay focused, is having something visual, having something in front of you, and I mean, many a coach says to write down your goals. So, I get people to create, identify what’s it will take, step by step by step to get that goal, how much time, let’s look at your life in reality because you’ve got all the other demands of life and factor that in. Figure that into your plan and then celebrate along the way. I believe working with other people, working in a group all along the way that keeps you focused, that’s keeps you accountable, that helps you when you’re going here … a group of peers that bring you back and keep you focused over time. Those are the two ways that I get people to actually achieve a year or 2-years from now what they really wanted to set out to achieve.
PHYLLIS SMITH: It really is a great support system, but again action-oriented, and I think entrepreneurs need someone like you. Who you are, it’s matter of fact - are you gonna do it? Are you not gonna do it, and how you gonna get there?
SYLVIA HENDERSON: Yeah, that’ the corporate thinking. There are no excuses, there’s not how do you feel today or what happened at home kind of thing involved in a company business.
Sylvia Henderson is the CEO of Springboard Training LLC & founder of the Idea Success Network. Her passion is getting people to take action on their ideas. Sylvia's background as a corporate trainer and manager at IBM and America Online, her education degree from Cheyney State University and MBA from the University of Pittsburgh, leader of two non-profit associations and her entrepreneurship and business ownership experiences all come together in the strategies, tools, & guidance as she partners with her clients.
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