Love of Learning

Read Bob and Anne’s column in the NW Herald Business Journal

From 2006 NW Herald Business Journal –

Sandidge, Ward incorporate love of learning
into multi-faceted business

– By Stacey Lohman

ALGONQUIN — A love of learning brought Bob Sandidge and Anne Ward together in 1991. The self-proclaimed brainiacs met during a training session on neuro-linguistic programming, or the structure of how people think and experience the world. It can empower people to break through limits and change their thoughts, behaviors and beliefs.

“It has everything to do with how we relate and how we communicate and understand the world,” Sandidge said. “We teach, develop and operate from what is defined by our language. It helps people understand that by using different language, they can create different possibilities in their lives and businesses.”

He explained that when people say “can’t,” what they’re really saying is that they “choose not to do that” and are imposing a limit on themselves. Neuro linguistic programming “opens the door to examining really what would make it possible to have what you want to have,” Sandidge said.

The experience they shared eventually brought them together not only in business, but in life, as well. The partners now operate creative core, a marketing and communications company based in their Algonquin home. Sandidge is the president and owner, while Ward is the director of marketing. They take on projects as consultants, writers and producers.

One of their most recent tasks was to aid an Ireland-based company in introducing its hair-coloring product to the United States. They developed print materials, a DVD and a Web site, in addition to helping them run a trade show in New York to kick off sales in the beauty trade.

“We do work with some freelance people, but many of these things are skills we just do,” he said. “We have a lot of capability.”

The pair have launched a new service, “Bob and Anne on Hold,” which aims to help companies connect with their customers while waiting on the phone. Instead of music or static recordings, callers listen to a conversation scripted by Sandidge and Ward in “George and Gracie” style. Sandidge said they present information about a business in a light, fun and informative way.

“We’re putting a lot of energy in it right now,” Sandidge said.

“One goal is to get the caller in good emotional place, so they feel good about the company,” Ward said.

Sandidge and Ward also offer training to individuals and companies on multiple intelligences, brain mapping, neuro linguistic programming, solutions-focused process, outcome thinking, team building, productivity and communications.

“We love to learn about learning and how that applies to business and daily living in very practical sort of way,” he said.

“We keep studying,” Ward said.

They recently gave a presentation to the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce about intelligent memory, instructing participants on how to remember names, for example.

“We’re not aware of any other couples who do what we do,” Sandidge said. “We interact and have multiple perspectives. When she presents, I notice what people in the group have questions about and pick up where she leaves off and complete picture.”

“Sometimes we might almost finish each others’ sentences in training,” Ward said. “We work tightly together.”

Prior to creative core, each operated their own ventures. Sandidge headed New Orient Media in Dundee for 28 years. He sold the marketing and production company in 1998 and started a studio in his home. He held on to the name “creative core,” originally a publishing division of New Orient that started in 1982. It now is the parent company for all of his new endeavors.

Ward formerly owned GifTrappings in Arlington Heights. She sold imported printing and decorative papers from Japan. Throughout the 1990s, she became involved in communications training and eventually management consulting. She joined creative core full time in 2003.

“There’s great growth in this area and in helping smaller companies thrive,” Ward said.

“We’re taking what we learned from large companies and bringing it home to friends and neighbors around here,” Sandidge said.

Bob Sandidge and Anne Ward of creative core suggest focusing on what you want and where you want to go, rather than on what you don’t want or where you’ve been.

Here’s how:
Think positive. Our brains are designed to search the environment for what matches what we’re thinking about. There is no way to represent a negative image in the brain, so if we’re thinking about what we don’t want, guess what we’re likely to keep finding?

Be creative. Focus intensely on what you want; imagine you already have it. In your mind, what do you see, hear and feel? When we wake up our senses, we wake up the right side of our brains, the creative side. The more you do this, the more you will get those great “Aha!” moments of insight.

Gain energy.
We live in a culture that encourages us to focus on problems and solve them. That works well for problems that involve machinery, but it can hurt us when the problem involves people or moving toward our own goals. For example, imagine your partner asking you, “Why are sales down 20 percent?” Pay attention to where your thoughts and energy go with that question. Now imagine your partner instead asks, “What do you think it would take to increase our sales by 20 percent?” Which conversation would be more creative, more productive, for you? Which one engages your energy in a positive way?

Make a habit of paying attention to what’s right, rather than what’s wrong. Ask, “What’s already working?” Take it a step further by asking, “What is it that makes that work?” This question uncovers the strengths, skills and resources already in place to get us where we want to go. Try these questions with yourself and your team and notice the leap in energy and motivation.

Nourish yourself with high-test mental fuel. Appreciation and gratitude help us see the riches in our lives. When we appreciate ourselves for how far we’ve come and all we’ve done, it’s easier to do whatever it takes to get where we want to go next. When we express our gratitude to others, it helps us remember that we don’t ever have to do it alone.

Bob Sandidge and Anne Ward. 847.854-1111 –