How to Extract Prejudicial Data from a Political Survey by Yael Ben-Shachar?

How can you extract prejudicial data from a political survey? That was the challenge I faced when I began my summer internship with Tobias Konitzer of the Stanford Communications Department. At first, I was unsure about how a mathematician like myself could contribute to a study about politics. But I was both surprised and delighted to find out that math was the secret ingredient in solving the problem.

Before digging into the work itself, I first had to master a challenging statistical program called “R”, which would play a major role in helping us squeeze bias out of existing poll results.  I also had to learn the ins-and-outs of a proprietary algorithm that Tobi had developed for collecting and organizing large-scale data quickly and accurately.

Still, I had my questions about what we were attempting to do. I asked the project head: “How can polls be biased when the data is a reflection of the people being polled? And, if there is bias, how are we supposed to ferret it out?”

“Most people view polls or surveys as sources of scientifically-developed data,” Tobi explained. However, the history of political polling tells us otherwise because results frequently underperform our expectations. For example, pollsters were far off-base in the recent Brexit vote by British citizens. Furthermore, while the average national results of the Obama vs. Romney presidential election were largely accurate, many individual polls were consistently wrong.”

“If polling is a science, how could so many polls provide contradictory results, and how could polls such as those in the United Kingdom be so far off the mark?” I asked.

Tobi had the answer: “Bias of one form or another is often built into the polling instruments themselves,” he told me. “Such bias can result from the choice of questions posed by pollsters, how those questions are phrased, the groups that are selected for the sample, the size of the sample, and whether polls are self-selected or randomly selected in a scientific manner by a third party.”

Now, this project was getting interesting, and Tobi had my full attention.

The goal of my summer internship at Stanford was to use “R” to mathematically strip all possible bias out of a poll for the upcoming presidential election, and thus produce a more accurate result. The data we used was biased towards one side of the political spectrum because the poll was published on a website viewed almost exclusively by voters who shared that point of view. I used the algorithm to manipulate big data sets containing demographic data for both Republicans and Democrats. Then, I put my math skills to work, using the “R” program to squeeze out biases. After a substantial amount of work, we began to see different results, and my concerns about our ability to actually find and remove bias faded.

Several weeks into the project, I was thrilled to find that the polling data began to shed its built-in favoritism and actually lean towards the opposite side of the political spectrum, as was reflected in more well-regarded polls. With additional work, the data would eventually contain almost no bias, making the polling much more objective and reliable.

Although the results we were seeking seemed anti-intuitive at first, it turned out that the meticulous process we used, helped along by my love of and expertise in math, could achieve what had seemed impossible when we began. Additionally, I realized that I had developed a new skill set using the “R” program and Tobi’s algorithm for data collection and analysis. These skills could have applications in many other areas, including data gathering for school assignments, or analyzing future polling results.

I now realize that our work could have a genuine impact on the accuracy of critical information and that math could be even more powerful than I thought. Meanwhile, I’ve personally learned to take most polling data with a grain of salt.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Yael Ben-Shachar is a senior at a Silicon Valley High School. Volunteers for Boys and Girls Club teaching students math and reading skills and training other volunteers. Works with special needs children, specifically a boy with autism all year.
Learned how to squeeze prejudicial data out of large polls using sophisticated statistical programs at Stanford.
She is a Journalist for her school newspaper.

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Smart People + Smart Leadership = Happy Customers? by Lucy Freedman

Interpersonal Intelligence for Technical Organizations

By Lucy Freedman, developer of the SYNTAX of Influence, co-author of Smart Work (the second edition of Smart Work: The Syntax Guide to Influence, is available at HappyAbout.com or Amazon. ).

Originally published at http://svforumelsig.blogspot.jp/

When I first started my business, a mentor quizzed me about what it meant to have a business. Does coming up with a great idea make it a business? Clearly no. Does having a product make it a business? What about an office, employees, marketing? No, no, and no, he said. You have a business when you have a customer.  Aha.

lucyfreedman

In the world of technology, we can get so focused on the product or process that the relationship part of the business receives a minimal amount of mindshare. Sure, when we need to make a funding pitch, attract a key executive, or give a customer presentation, we put attention into those relationships. Even then, it’s typical of technologists to be mostly content-oriented and not so focused on tuning into the interests of their audience.  There’s room for growth.

While the ability to relate well with funders, talent, and customers is important for business success, the internal communication in a company is equally important. What customers and VC’s really want is for the product to work and meet their needs in a timely and cost-effective way.  For that to happen, managers and teams need to be able to get on the same page and come up with solutions and answers. Knowledge needs to be mobilized. Deadlines need to be met. Problems need to be solved. All this takes communication that is both focused and flexible.

The Challenge

The kinds of interpersonal intelligence that allow people and teams to collaborate well tend to be underdeveloped in engineering organizations for three main reasons.

  • Engineers are generally not drawn to learning “soft skills”
  • Engineering leadership is mostly made up of engineers
  • Most interpersonal skills training is oriented more toward personal growth than practical business interactions.

As a result, efficiency, accurate and relevant sharing of knowledge, and delivery to the customer are often hampered by turf battles, planning disconnects, and just plain miscommunication.

Is this just a depressing downer, condemning engineering organizations and their customers to clunky communication, relieved only by those special high-tech + high-touch individuals who can navigate well both technically and interpersonally? Although many are resigned to this state of affairs, there are lights flickering here and there.

Bright Lights and Good Books

In fact, at a past Silicon Valley Engineering Leadership Community meeting, Ron Lichty presented a “Crash Course” based on his new book with co-author Mickey W. Mantle, Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams  (Addison-Wesley, www.ManagingTheUnmanageable.net ). They address important considerations for people who move up the technical ladder from writing code to managing people.

Another new and highly recommended book on this subject is Team Geek: A Software Developer’s Guide to Working Well with Others by Brian W. Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussman (O’Reilly Media, 2012). It’s very entertaining reading and addresses expanding circles of influence, from your own team to the organization to the user community.

A few years back,  Michael Lopp wrote the insightful and humorous book, Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager (Apress, 2007). Michael gives practical advice for many of the situations that recur in software development. He names some of the types of people you’ll run across – such as Mr. Irrelevant, Laptop Larry, Curveball Kurt, the Snake, and Free Electrons. Cleverly written, full of useful homilies.

What all of these books have in common is the practical experience of the authors, who have lived what they are writing about.  They share illustrative stories that those who follow in their footsteps will easily relate to.

De-coding How People Work

As an outsider who can’t code my way out of a paper bag, I have been taking a different approach for the past few decades of working as a consultant, coach, and facilitator for high tech companies.  Programmers understand the structure, or syntax, that is required for code to work. I have studied the structure, or syntax, that is required for human communication to work.

What I have discovered is that the smart people who know how to code have an easier time learning interpersonal skills when they have access to the proper syntax for communicating. Hundreds of engineers have experienced and applied the SYNTAX model to their workplaces. People who considered themselves non-people-oriented have shown that with several relatively small changes in their communication, they can achieve great improvements in their working relationships.

This is not about sentence structure or grammar. If you consider that people are pretty systematic in how we organize our perceptions and our behavior, it makes sense that you can detect each person’s syntax, and hence, get more predictable results with them. There’s also a structure, a syntax derived from studying outstanding performers, that makes communication work better. Our model, SYNTAX, represents that architecture so that people can easily learn it.

It’s explained in detail in the book Smart Work, which I co-authored with Lisa Marshall. If you are interested in getting a look at it, or even writing a review, please contact me at syntaxoffice@syntx.com and I will gladly share it with you.

Smart Leadership

When leaders in an organization start practicing SYNTAX principles, or some of the other excellent suggestions in the books listed above, they create a climate where it is much more natural for others to collaborate productively as well. It’s a matter of good design of human systems – whether writing effective, clean code for applications that will benefit people, or holding effective, clean meetings where work gets done and agreements are solid, it’s about designing intelligent human systems.

Whether through the stories and rules of the road derived from experience, or through applying a systematic, structured approach to interpersonal behavior, everyone benefits when a technical organization develops its conscious competence at communicating.

Engineering is about solving real-world problems and creating innovations that make a difference.  It takes smart people working well together to do this successfully. With smart people, smart leadership, and outstanding communication, you get happy customers. That, plus your satisfaction at meeting your own high standards, makes it worthwhile to master the softer skills.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lucy Freedman is Founder and CEO of Syntax for Change, working with change leaders in technology companies to spread collaborative leadership throughout their organizations and to their strategic partners. Lucy has trained and certified both internal and external facilitators who have implemented Syntax programs in companies such as Agilent, HP, Sun, Oracle, EDS, Tokyo Electron, Intel, National Semiconductor, and Cisco Systems. Visit SyntaxforChange.com for an explanatory video and to request a complimentary sample chapter of Smart Work: The Syntax Guide to Influence. Direct email is lucy@syntaxforchange.com.

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Good Job: How to Accept a Compliment by Mildred Lynn McDonald

AAEAAQAAScappy Women Mildred Lynn McDonald blog 2016-06-07

*This post was originally published in UCSC (University of California, Santa Cruz) Extension in Silicon Valley Project Management blog.

I’ve never had a problem accepting a compliment, so it came as a surprise to discover that many people find this basic interpersonal skill challenging and uncomfortable.

After a bit of reflection, I decided that cultural orientation aside, accepting compliments is second nature to me. Why? Because I don’t try to figure out the reason behind the compliment, other than the goodwill that is presented to me “in the moment”.

At first glance, this might seem naive, but I assure you that accepting these little bouquets of acknowledgment with a smile and a sincere “thank you” has served me well over the years with both friends and co-workers.

As author Maya Angelou once said: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

I believe that this sage observation captures the essence of accepting a compliment exponentially because when a compliment is received with grace and generosity, both the giver and the receiver feel good. Really good. Hmm, perhaps this is because as human beings, we are simply “wired” that way. I’d like to think so.

Trouble Accepting a Compliment? Here’s a Tip

If you find yourself stammering, filling the air with pregnant pauses, or discarding many of the compliments that come your way, here is a tip: When receiving a compliment, try to clear your mind and focus on the other person rather than yourself. Think about it. If you focus on the other person, you are not making a judgement about your worthiness to receive a compliment, the accuracy of the compliment or anything else that might make this potentially enriching interpersonal exchange “less than” it is. Plus, and this is a big plus, you are now in a position to make another human being feel good.

We all know what it feels like to deliver a genuine compliment to a friend or co-worker only to have our words diminished by “Oh, it was nothing.” or “Anyone could do this.” or “It is OK, but I really wanted to do xyz.” It can make you feel so let down … just like a deflated helium balloon!

If you have trouble accepting a compliment and are asking yourself “how to” accept a compliment in a positive way, check out these scenarios by K.T. Bernhagen:

  • For a job well done: “Thank you. I was hoping this was what you were looking for, and I really like it too.”
  • For a speech, performance, article, or work of art: “Thank you. I really enjoy (writing, performing, speaking, whatever), and I’m glad you liked it!”
  • For your help: “Thank you. I’m so glad that I could help.”
  • If you caught a mistake that was missed by others: “Thanks for noticing. I’m glad I caught it, too.”
  • In any other situation: “Thank you. I appreciate it!” Enough said.

Here are a couple of other scenarios for your toolbox by author Jack Griffen:

  • If someone says “You deserve it”, consider replying with: “I’ve had a good example set for me. You have given me a lot of support. It’s meant a lot.”
  • If someone says “I don’t give praise lightly”, consider replying with: “I know you don’t. That’s why I am thrilled with your remarks. They mean a great deal to me.”

Like most things in life, all you will need to master the art of accepting a compliment with grace, generosity and goodwill is a little time, attention and practice.

I’d like to end on a comical note, so here’s a quote about compliments by the incorrigible Mark Twain: “I have been complimented many times and they always embarrass me; I always feel they have not said enough.” Ha!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mildred Lynn McDonald – Catalyst & Life Coach | Internet Radio/Podcast Host & Producer

Mildred Lynn’s life adventure whisked her across North America, through the industries of Health & Fitness, the executive halls of Fortune 50 high tech companies, and into the intriguing arena of Life Purpose, Energy Medicine and Environmental studies. She has an advanced degree in Science & Nutrition, training in Adult Education, graduated as a Certified Integrative Coach, and currently combines all three as a Healing Conversationalist.

The common thread has been a love of people and the sincere desire to help everyone live their passion, find balance, and experience life fully and completely. With a little time and patience, she transformed her passion, intuitive gifts, and coaching skills into a vibrant mentoring and life coaching practice. Today, it is her great pleasure to produce/host four popular Internet Radio shows/podcasts devoted to all things mind-body-spirit on BlogTalkRadio, iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher and Podbean. Website: http://healingconversationswithmildredlynn.com

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Silicon Wellness was created to reduce the high stress and re-balance the energy by Linda Benn

Linda BennWhat is the scrappiest most outrageous courageous thing you have done?

Have you ever had a spontaneous thought to move to the other side of the world? Give away your business or job and every possession to start your business all over again in another country?

This is what I did 5 years ago in 2010. I felt guided to move to the Bay area where I left my heart many years ago when I was traveling the world. I always loved San Francisco and it felt like home. I love the energy of the city as it is so alive and dynamic.

I grew up in a small town on the east coast of Australia where you access the Great Barrier Reef. My family owns charter boats. As a child growing up we would go out to the different islands, reefs and beaches and explore the marine life. I remember as a little girl when we anchored at Lady Musgrave Island. I asked one of Dad’s friends “is there any sharks here” & he replied “no the crocodile ate them all”! Then all us kids would jump over board and go swimming.

Even though I grew up in one of the most beautiful areas in the world, I was always excited to travel and explore the rest of the world. I was born with a different spirit to my family, their belief system is different to mine and I never felt accepted. I was always searching where do I belong in the world?

My family has taught me emotional resilience and how to survive alone.

I made my decision to move here when I was living at the beach another beautiful area in Australia on the east coast where the whales raise their young. I heard the song when you go to San Francisco where a flower in your hair and I started crying, actually sobbing! San Francisco was calling me to come home. I then proceeded to pack up and let go of everything in order to leave the country. I organized a temporary home for my little dog- “Penny” who was a short haired dachshund.

When I arrived on a 90 day tourist visa, I was on a mission to find out how can I stay permanently and get a work visa. Tenaciously I overcame every obstacle and challenge to get my visa. I did all the research and paperwork myself without an attorney. I went back to Australia to have the interview with the US consulate and was approved straight away and left Australia 2 weeks later with my little dog Penny.

In the last 4 ½ years, it has been a whirlwind of events including moving 12 times looking for where am I meant to be to shine my light? Yes you read correctly twelve times I moved and dragged Penny everywhere with me!!

I now live in Redwood City to focus on corporate companies in Silicon Valley and worked at Rocket Fuel for 4 ½ years as their wellness consultant. I saw a need that this area needs healing with so much stress, worry, overwhelm and fear. I knew this is where I am meant to be, to share my gifts to re-balance and calm people down! Penny my little dog would come to the office with me. She worked with all my clients in Australia and did her healing work. In the office she would just look at people and you can see the stress melt away from their face. She helped people to connect with their hearts and come back to their true self and be their authentic selves. Unfortunately she passed in November 2014 at the age of 15 ½ years old.

Silicon Wellness website was created in 2015 to provide holistic wellness services to corporations introducing the model, the ‘rapid growth management model’ with 3 levels of Physical, Energetic and Organizational wellness. My model is designed to provide opportunities for other holistic gifted practitioners who are looking for more work and wanting to learn new skills through my training program called the BENN technique incorporating my 5 R’s. More about my work in the next blog story.

I feel blessed to have followed my guidance, follow my heart, have faith and trust, this is what has kept me going. My intention is to now inspire and teach others how to move, change and follow their hearts to create their dreams and embrace the Aussie philosophy of No Worries Mate!

I didn’t give up on my dream and feel so grateful for being here. I love the work I do and the positive impact it has on others.

What have you always dreamed of doing? Make it happen now.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Linda Benn and her team provide sessions in the Silicon Valley bay area from San Francisco to San Jose. They can come to you and meet you when you arrive in the country.
For an appointment email linda@siliconwellness.com or call 415-290 3793. www.siliconwellness.com

 

 

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You Can’t Do Everything for Everyone by Melissa Heisler

heisler9404Recently I watched a TED Talk by Marla Spivak about why bees are disappearing. I learned a lot about how intertwined we are with nature and how some of our current behaviors are not only hurting animals and plants, but our future as well. However I am not writing to preach about environmental issues. What I would like to share is my realization about how we all go throughout our days without truly realizing how our actions and words have a ripple effect around us.

It is common knowledge that bees pollinate flowers. But Ms. Spivak explained, “Bees are not out there pollinating our food intentionally. They’re out there because they need to eat. Bees get all the protein they need from pollen and all the carbohydrates they need from nectar.” Because these little guys are hungry, they are actually providing the means of food production for humans and animals. Bees are not grand humanitarians; they are simply going about their day.

Many of the individuals I coach are humanitarians. They live to give. They give to their family, their children, their jobs, and usually they also have a deep desire to give to humanity and the world overall. Sometimes they give too much; putting a social agenda above their own needs resulting in burnout. Sometimes they feel unfulfilled or a failure if they are not doing “big enough” work, if they are not helping to make large societal changes, if they are not changing the lives of millions. When I saw this TED Talk, I found hope for all of my givers. We all do not have the means of Bill and Melinda Gates to do large scale programs. We all do not have the celebrity of Geena Davis to use for gender equality awareness. We all do not have the world platform of Pope Francis to call for the end of poverty. But each of us, each and every day, are able to effect the world around us.

Years after college a friend of mine who had just appeared in a movie with Denzel Washington told me he would not be an actor if it was not for me. I was confused. In college I never singled this person out to support and encourage. He told me of a single incident that changed his life. He didn’t want to audition for a play for fear of rejection. I told him if he didn’t audition, he was already rejected. If he did audition, he at least had a chance at a part. He did audition and he did get a part. To this day, I don’t have a recollection of this conversation. I was just going about my business like a busy bee. I just happened to provide the right words and encouragement at the right time to make a change in someone else’s life.

Giving money and time to volunteer organizations is noble, needed, and fulfilling. But we don’t have to give up our lives to give to others. Every day is a chance to give to others by just being ourselves. We can smile in a grocery line. We can help our elderly neighbor bring in the groceries. We can take a friend to the doctor. We can talk to a graduate about landing their first job. None of these activities would take a lot of time or necessarily take us out of our routine. We don’t need to start a non-profit in order to contribute. Just being aware during the day will show opportunities for helping those around us. And our little effort can have a big impact in the long run.

“If you wait until you can do everything for everybody, instead of something for somebody, you’ll end up not doing nothing for nobody.” ~ Malcom Bane

What can you do today in your daily routine to give a little to those around you?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Melissa Heisler is a stress reduction expert, Type Me coach, speaker, and the author of From Type A to Type Me: How to Stop “Doing” Life and Start Living It. She is committed to guiding entrepreneurs and professionals to improve their health, increase their mental clarity, easily deal with difficult people, find peace in their current jobs, and improve their business effectiveness all through reducing their stress levels.
www.ItsMyLifeInc.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/melissaheisler
https://www.facebook.com/itsmylifeinc

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The Cost of Business as Usual by Melissa Heisler

heisler9404Most individuals in current business environments have the feeling of being chained to one’s desk for an inhuman amount of hours, running to endless meetings, and being bombarded by constant emails and calls. Many employees are doing the work of two or more people these days. Associates are being held accountable for unrealistic sales goals. Everything is a crisis. The result is stress. And a lot of it.

The irony is that the more hectic our day, the more stress we experience and the less productive we become. When we are stressed, our fight-or-flight system kicks in, the same unconscious system which takes over if we are in physical danger. All of our energy goes into our muscles to help us run or fight. Our digestive, reproductive, and immune systems are turned off. The longer we are stressed, the longer our basic systems are turned off causing ulcers and other digestive issues, along with a host of other physiological problems. The fight-or-flight system runs on autopilot so our cognitive mind is cloudy. Since our minds are constantly cloudy our work is slower, inefficient, and ineffective.

One great way to combat our daily stress is to disconnect from our fight-or-flight limbic brains and allow our normal bodily functions to return to normal. We can do this by simply taking a walk once or twice a day, or getting up from our desk every hour to do a few minutes of physical movement. Many employees can also find relief using meditation during the work day to help them disconnect from their reactionary stressed-based minds and reconnect with their effective, intuitive, calm cognitive minds.

Changing expectations about communication reaction time can also make a big difference. Many employees feel a prisoner of their electronics. When the communication pops up, they stop what they are doing, read the email, determine it is not urgent, and go back to the original project. When the next email pops up, the cycle repeats. The result is being constantly busy but getting nothing done. Working this way is an amazing waste of time and focus. Instead of constantly checking in with communications, turn off notifications for email, texts and social media, and instead carve out time slots during the day to check communications. This allows for better focus, more efficiency, and less stress.

When you do take a moment to look at the communications, open each only once and act upon it in that moment. Choose to either Do, Delegate, Delay, or Delete.

  • Do: Respond and complete the request in that moment.
  • Delegate: Is this the highest and best use of your time? Is there someone else you can delegate this to?  Is there an automated system you can put in place to handle a specific type of email?
  • Delay: If the email does not need to be handled right now, but it does need to be done by you, add a reminder to come back to it. Don’t just leave it in your inbox as you may then open it again in the future only to delay it again. Color code the email as a “future” and set up a follow-up reminder.
  • Delete: Does this need to be done at all? Is there really anything you need to address with it? If you find you are constantly deleting emails from certain sources, you may want to unsubscribe from the list or remove yourself from the project.

Adding in movement, disconnecting from the day, and shifting your relationship with communication, can help reduce some of your workplace stress leading to more productivity and increased wellness.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Melissa Heisler is a stress reduction expert, Type Me coach, speaker, and the author of From Type A to Type Me: How to Stop “Doing” Life and Start Living It. She is committed to guiding entrepreneurs and professionals to improve their health, increase their mental clarity, easily deal with difficult people, find peace in their current jobs, and improve their business effectiveness all through reducing their stress levels.
www.ItsMyLifeInc.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/melissaheisler
https://www.facebook.com/itsmylifeinc

 

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Get From A To Z Faster! by Neil Love

Neil Love from A to ZGetting from “A to Z” 
You want to get from where you are to where you want to be faster – more clients, better clients, more satisfaction, less wear and tear.

My manager clients want to get from A to Z faster too.
Their journey from “A to Z” often involves one of these challenging transitions:

Manager Transitions

  • Moving from individual contributor to manager
  • Moving from managing locally to managing globally
  • Moving into cross-functional initiative management
  • Moving from a career flat spot to a career high

Organization Transitions

  • From struggling team to high performing team
  • From questionable initiative to strong initiative
  • From misfiring organization to thriving organization
  • From small company to big company

Let me write to you as if you were one of these managers.

What You Need
You need the right strategy for moving ahead. That requires knowing alternative ways for getting to where you want to be and which way fits best for you and your situation.

You will want to know what issues you will likely run into and how to deal with them. And, you will want to find ways to help you stay positive when things do not quite go the way you want them.

What Might Be Helpful
What could be attractive is behind the scenes support that is convenient, efficient, delivered in bite sized useable chunks, affordable and non-intrusive.  Support that includes someone who serves as your strategy partner and progress accelerator.  Someone who could give feedback on your thinking and your strategies, plans and issues.  And support that provides access to deep insight surveys, proven best practices tools and referrals to other resources that accelerate progress.

Your Thought Partner
The beliefs of who you partner with are key to your comfort level and your success.  Here are mine.

Have Fun
I believe people are more creative, clever and thoughtful and less stressed when they work and think in the pleasant, safe, fun environment.  I will create that with you.  Be forewarned, I like to laugh and make people laugh. I am hoping you do to or can expand that particular little skill.  The goal is to make our work together something you look forward to not just for help but for enjoyment. 

Make It Convenient
To make your support fit with your dynamic schedule, you can schedule 30 minute guidance sessions with me using the Online Appointment Calendar to pick the time slots that work for you.  No emailing back and forth to schedule or reschedule. And if your availability changes, no problem just reschedule yourself. 

Start Outside In
 The long term key to success is to sense and react to the priorities and trends of your clients and potential clients. What specifically is the tough situation they are in?  What are the specific attributes of the solutions do they want?  What makes them buy and not buy? How will they see you as different, unique, and best suited to work with them? 

Provide A Thought Space
You will want a forum where you can be more insightful and find your own answers not someone else’s recipe. There are business and marketing experts for hire who can offer you answers, but those answers may not be quite right for you and your situation. You won’t own them, feel comfortable with them, do them.   I focus on asking you the right questions so that you come up with your own best answers.  And yes, I do provide lots of suggestions, feedback and tools when I sense the right moment.

Learn While Doing
Moving from strategy to execution can be riddled with challenges, surprises and missteps.  You need someone who is your steady partner and provider of tips and best practices as you move through your journey.  A coach that can pull from over 400 assessments, guides, checklists, models, templates, processes and sample documents would enable you to make faster progress easier. You do not have to reinvent the wheel and can leverage proven best practice strategies and tools.

Beyond Tools
The support you need is more than a set of tools and processes. You want the opportunity to have important conversations where you are heard and get helpful insights.  You want someone to challenge your assumptions and ensure you are true to your commitments. And someone you can role play situations with to build the confidence and proficiency you need to get where you want to go.

Can I Help?
If any of this rings true for you, my online guidance sessions and deep insight tools can enable you to get where you want faster with less wear and tear.

I have been doing management consulting for over 20 years.   I have been fortunate to consult to a wide variety of clients in many industries and all levels.  I have served as an executive, program manager and internal consultant at VMware, Cisco Systems, Amazon Lab126, Sun Microsystems, Adaptec, HP, TI, and GE.  Client companies have included startups, small firms, mid-sized companies and the big brand companies.

I now serve as an effective and efficient teacher and guide for those who want to leverage this experience.  I would be happy to share with you the lessons learned and the skills I developed through twenty years of experience in making organizations, projects, managers and consultants more successful.

If you would like more information, you will find it below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Neil Love – For over 25 years Neil has been working with executives to improve performance and innovation in organizations, processes and initiatives. His most recent major clients have included Amazon, Cisco Systems, VMware, FLIR and Sun Microsystems. He has either led or been a core team member of $1M and $2M best practice programs that found the very best ways to make companies and departments more productive, more agile and more effective. One of these programs resulted in a savings of $75M and had over 50,000 participants.
Free Assessment Surveys

Neil’s Professional Profile

Progress Accelerator Program

 

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Are You Ready? by Amy Walker

(First Published at http://amywalkerconsulting.com/blog/ on April 27, 2015)
Amy Walker Pic

Want to know what almost stopped me from starting my company?

I am not a fan of the solo-preneur business model.  Gasp!!! Did I just say that?  To thousands of small business owners?  Many of whom are solo-preneurs?

Absolutely!  There is one major flaw in the solo-preneur model and it’s YOU!  Your time and availability limits your income potential.  Your knowledge and skill set limits your income potential.  Your mental and emotional capacity limits your income potential.  Your scarcity thinking limits your income potential.  YOU limit your income potential.  Not because you are a flawed human being, but because you are a human being.  You are not perfect.  You get overwhelmed. You run out of time.  And you have strengths in certain areas of your business while you are deficient in others.

I’m not being mean, I’m being honest. I know it because the same is true in my business, and in the hundreds of other business owners I coach.

To get past the solo-preneur hump, you have to hire!  Hiring scares a lot of people.  And I understand why.  It is time consuming and expensive.  No one you hire will do it just like you do it.  No one will care as much about your business as you do.  And when they mess up, it effects your business.  It can be scary.  In fact so scary, that I almost sabotaged my company before it even started.

2.5 years ago, I was an independent contractor working for an amazing training and personal development company.  I had a great job.  I had great paychecks and I loved the people I worked with.  BUT, I was getting ready to have my 5th son and I knew it was time for me to have more time freedom and to stop hiding behind someone else’s brand.  But I did not, under any circumstances want to run a team of people.  I wanted to do it all myself.  In fact, I remember consulting with a friend, who is also a genius in business, and asking, “Can I do this and really be successful if I never hire more than 3 people?”  His answer was “Sure, why not!”

He lied.  We’ve talked about it since and he lied on purpose.  Thank Heavens he did or I might never have started my company. He knew I was limiting myself and my companies potential.

I really believe that to get beyond 6 figures you have to hire help. In fact for some businesses, you will have to hire help to even get to 6 figures.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you see if you need help now, and where you need it!

  1. Is my time maxed out? If your time is maxed out, you don’t have room to increase your income.
  2. Could I handle the workload if I doubled my income this month? If the answer is no, you will not be able to hit those types of numbers. Even if you got there, you would not be able to maintain those clients.
  3. What areas of my business are not getting done because I either don’t know how to do it, or don’t have time to do it? Notice I did not ask what is not getting done because you are scared of it or avoiding it.  If that is your reason, I say get over it and just do it!  But if you really don’t know how or don’t have time, you need help in those areas.
  4. If you could free up 10 hours a week for more income producing activities, how much more income could you bring in? If that number is more than you would pay someone to take 10 hours off of your plate, it makes sense to hire.

I’ve definitely had challenges in working with my team.  But the challenges are small compared to the rewards.  If I was trying to do everything myself, I think I would have maxed out at $50,000-75,000 a year.  I have 5 kids.  My time is limited, and if I had stayed a solo-preneur, I guarantee my vision for the company would have remained limited.  My team is what inspired me to see my company on a bigger scale.  My team is what helped me to hit 6 figures my first year.  My team is what drove my sales to an over 400% increase our second year in business.  My team is what makes it so I never give up, even on the hard days.  And my team is who supports me and makes me feel like I am never alone in this journey.

Are you ready to retire the many hats you wear in business and start hiring?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amy Walker is an International Executive Business Coach and CEO/Founder of Amy Walker Consulting.  As a Featured Professional Speaker she has shared the stage with some of the top names in the industry including Willie Jolley and Delatorro L. McNeal II.  Amy is a Master of Sales and has written sales scripts for billion dollar companies and organizations.  She has been regularly featured on television, radio, and print.  Amy is passionate about Women in Business, Making Businesses Thrive, and Balancing Business and Family.  She is the happily married mother of 5 boys.
Website: www.amywalkerconsulting.com
Facebook:  Amy Walker Consulting  – https://www.facebook.com/AmyWalkerConsulting
Twitter: @amywalkercoach – https://twitter.com/AmyWalkerCoach
Instagram: amywalkercoach – https://instagram.com/amywalkercoach/
Youtube:  Amy Walker Consulting – https://www.youtube.com/user/awalker2911
Linkedin: Amy Walker – www.linkedin.com/in/amywalkerconsulting

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US Experts See Growing Desire to Curb Outsourcing to China by Bernard Shusman

SS 2014-11-27 Rosemary Coates interview_002(Originally posted on Voice of America)

For years, Chinese companies have sold far more goods in the United States than American firms sell in China. This trade deficit hit $318 billion in 2013.

A key reason is that many U.S. companies have transferred their manufacturing to China, a process called offshore outsourcing, resulting in the loss of American jobs. But the tide could be turning.

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Simply Dream Your Own Dream by Madalina Bucheru

madalina_bucheru_blog  KWBeing from Eastern Europe (Romania) always gave me a special view of the world, and pushed me to move forward. Eastern Europe is a wonderful place for vacation trips, river cruises and short 15 seconds bits in the news… For me, as a journalist fresh out of college, it was way more: it was my battle ground, the place where I would become someone, make a difference, have my voice heard. Well, it turned out that was not the case, as getting a decent job in any kind of media would actually be reduced to just two simple basic skills: copy and paste! So there I was, after 4 years in college and working at small newspapers, completely lost and confused on whether journalism has actually a voice in Romania. I was lucky enough to stumble upon a job posting within a nonprofit. And that was the beginning of my own dream.

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