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

 

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

 

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

Dr. Diane Pennica – 2014 DAA President’s Award Recipient

“Few people have such impressive careers as Dr. Diane Pennica! But what really impresses me about Diane is her humanity and her compassion for others. She is an inspiring world-changer whom I am proud to call a close personal friend.” – Kimberly Wiefling

Dr. Diane Pennica received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from the State University of New York at Fredonia, her Ph.D. from the University of Rhode Island, and did a post-doctoral fellowship at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology.

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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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Interview with Barbara Nunes by Mahima Dutt

Barbara Nunes NEWTalking on the phone with Barbara Nunes, a member of Board of Trustees of the Fremont Union High School District was an honor. Nunes has served as a professor in the SJSU Urban High School Leadership Program for administrative credential candidates; as co-director of Tomorrow’s Leaders Today (a community program for teens); and as a representative on the National Merit Scholarship Advisory Board. She was employed by FUSHD for over 35 years and is caring, hardworking and passionate about her career in education. Nunes discusses her personal reasons for entering the welcoming field of education and what her job has been like a trustee on the board. She also shares memorable aspects of her work as well as learning experiences that helped her grow and succeed.

Q: What prompted you to pursue a career in the field of education?

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Excellence by Monica Guzman

Monica Guzman pic“Excellence starts with a positive attitude and a great presentation!”

I first learned about excellence from my mother. A strong woman with unrelenting values, she raised me to show pride in my work by never accepting mediocrity. Initially focusing on perfection, I focused on creating work which was flawless and free from error. I soon learned that this approach was both unrealistic and unhealthy. Most importantly, it did not yield results. By focusing on excellence instead of perfection, I remained committed to my work and transformed my challenges into opportunities for learning.   I used this model to reach all of my academic and professional goals including my current position as a Director for a large social service agency in New Jersey.

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Blessings from the School of Hard Knocks by Dr. Kevin B Kreitman

kreitman_kevin_1-9-21-11-6490-2Maybe it was my name.

My parents named me Kevin, although no one had the courage to tell me how, uh, unusual a name like mine was for a girl.  That is, until 3rd grade when a little boy named Kevin joined the class and I asked the teacher why his parents had given him a girl’s name.

I was also blessed with parents who told me that I could do anything I wanted to do that I put my mind to.  I’m sure they didn’t intend for that to include my early career as a motorcycle mechanic and several years as an owner-operator in the long-haul trucking business.
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Closing the Confidence Gap: Stop Waiting for Permission! by Kathy Klotz-Guest

(Originally posted at Kathy Klotz-Guest’s Linkedin Blog on May 06, 2014 – www.linkedin.com/in/kathyklotzguest)

Last week, I wrote about the Confidence Gap for women and how important it is to step up to uncertainty and re-frame the way we look at risk. In that post, I talked about a key concept from improvisation – the cornerstone principle of “yes, and” – that we can use to exercise our risk-taking muscles and build confidence.

Closely related to confidence and risk is the issue of permission. Too many people are waiting for validation and permission to do the most important thing in the world: be themselves and do the things they are passionate about. Stop waiting for the external OK to be you and build what you need to build in the world.

If you want to be great, stop asking for permission.

Kathy Pic1-2 real

Truth In Comedy and Life

There’s truth in comedy. In improvisation, we endow our on-stage partners with character traits: gender, relationships, names, idiosynchrasies, etc., in order to build great scenes.

It’s also important to endow yourself on stage and off. In improvisation, I often hear from women, “Why am I always endowed as a mom, or a teacher, or a girl, or a whatever?” That usually means an uninteresting and weaker character. There is some truth here – men tend to endow women with certain qualities. Hell, I’ve said this very thing in frustration a number of times. Years ago, a great male friend and fellow improviser finally said this to me: “What the hell are you waiting for? Why don’t you jump in there and force the guys to keep up? Don’t put up with that!” He was right. I’ve started a business and an improv group for Pete’s sake. Yet, here I was expecting someone else to endow me, to recognize me…to give me permission to shape my on-stage character. Why? What the hell! It made no sense. I should know better, right?!

Listen, we can’t control what others do. We can control our choices. Where is it written that we can’t self-endow? We don’t have to wait for permission. Permission comes from within.

The next time I was endowed as a mom, I endowed myself as a werewolf. And a mom. See, they are not incompatible. You want to endow me as a mom? Fine. I will be the biggest, most badass mom – on my terms so I am “yes, and-ing” others ANDmyself.

That’s the key. You must “yes, and” yourself, too. Give yourself permission to be, do, explore, discover, and create.

Kathy Pic2-2

Successful People Don’t Wait for Permission; They Choose Themselves

Dharmesh Shah of Hubspot calls it “selecting yourself.” You get to discover yourself and act on your talents. You don’t need to wait for someone to fund you or give you that column in a magazine, or promote you, or tell you how how great your ideas are. Get your ideas out into the world. When you see a need, step up and use your talents.

Here are some ways to give yourself permission:

1. See it and do it. If it’s something that compels you, find a way to do it. Partner with others if you need to. Start first. You don’t have to know all the answers ahead of time. Life isn’t a straight line; it’s a series of comically (at times) twisted turns.Visualize the start and end. You don’t have to know all the pieces in between just yet. Just start. Somewhere.

2. Speak up. If you feel you have something to say and contribute to a conversation, don’t talk yourself out of it. Your point of view is as valid as someone else’s. How many times have you wanted to say something and didn’t? You censored yourself. Unless it’s a tacky comment or an expletive in an inappropriate setting, what’s the worst that could happen if you speak your mind? You would be surprised at the support you might get.

3. Dare to ask the basic questions. You won’t look silly; you’ll learn.

4. “Yes, and” and ask, “What if?” Engage in possibility thinking. Asking “what if” can be a very powerful tool to jump start possibilities and new ideas. “Yes, and-ing” others and yourself can create a positive dynamic. Remember, “yes, and” doesn’t mean wewill do it; it’s simply opening up a space that says to people, “I hear you.” And when you do this, most people will reciprocate that positive energy.

5. Stop apologizing when you don’t need to. “I’m sorry, but….this may be wrong but….” Nope. Stop. You have a right to your opinion. Own it. We use an apology to soften our stance or lower our status to be equal to others. While men do this, too, women do this far more often in my personal experience. It signals a lack of confidence and that we are waiting for approval. You don’t need no stinkin’ badges and you don’t need no stinkin’ approval. Unless you are a jerk or hurt someone’s feelings, you don’t have to apologize for an idea, a presentation, a failure, etc.

6. Take your seat at the table. Stop waiting for the invite and invite yourself. Donna Brazile, well known democratic strategist and CNN contributor, tells a great story of how she wasn’t invited to a meeting early in her career. So she found out what time the meeting was happening and showed up. All the seats had been “taken” by briefcases – where men had claimed their spots. While they standing and discussing, she marched in, physically moved aside a briefcase and took her spot! She spoke up at the meeting and acted as if she belonged there. The results? She was invited to future meetings. She stopped asking to be invited.

You have something to say and something to offer the world. When you own who you are unabashedly and act according to your values, you step into something pretty great – your own power.

Got that blog or book you want to write? That company you want to start? That non-profit that means so much to you? Or maybe it’s just being a badass mom in an improv scene.

Whatever it is, do it. Stop waiting for permission. Choose yourself.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kathy Klotz-Guest, A marketer and storyteller, helps clients tell compelling stories that get results. The founder of marketing strategy and communications firm, Keeping it Human, she also performs improvisational comedy and kicks jargon’s butt.
Email: kathy@keepingithuman.com.

Men “Versus” Women…NOT! By Pat Obuchowski

PatObuchowski“Women upset everything. When you let them into your life, you find that the woman is driving at one thing and you’re driving at another.”
– George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950) “Pygmalion” (1913)

I spent many years of my career climbing the proverbial ladder in Corporate America. I did what I think is typical of so many women who want to succeed in their careers and be promoted into leadership positions. I looked at who was above me, modeled them, was mentored by them, and got promoted by them. The only problem was that these were always men. I was constantly trying to act less than myself and more like men, even if I would never admit this. Men were my only role models.

As a woman in business, I am always fascinated with the behavior between men and women in the work place. I picked up the latest book by Annis and Gray “Work with Me” in which they define 8 blind spots between men and women in business.

As they state, “There is a conventional wisdom that women and men are no different from each other, have the same aspirations, and are expected to achieve their goals in the same fashion.This is precisely why we are experiencing cultural breakdown today instead of the equality breakthroughs we expected by now.”

“Men and women belong to different species, and communication between them is a science still in its infancy.”
– Bill Cosby

As I do my work in many different organizations, I see that in chastising men for behaving as men, and trying to fix women to act less than themselves and more like men, we are perpetuating a cycle of miscommunication and misunderstanding.

We are not being authentic or honest to each other and more so, to ourselves. Annis and Grey bring an objective (as much as one can be objective) viewpoint into gender intelligence. They find women are not as content in today’s workplace as men are and that women feel valued differently then men. Women feel dismissed for their ideas and excluded from events and opportunities for advancement.

On the other hand, men are generally comfortable in corporate cultures. Their blind spot is not being aware of how their behavior in this primarily male-designed environment affects women. Women’s blind spot is in assuming men’s behaviors are intentional.

In a 2005-2011 Gender Survey by Barbara Annis & Associates they found some very interesting statistics:

  • 82 percent of women say they feel some form of exclusion – whether in business social events and casual meetings, in conversations, or in receiving direct feedback.
  • 92 percent of men don’t believe they’re excluding women.
  • 79 percent of men feel they have to be careful and indirect when providing women critical and timely feedback.
  • 82 percent of women say they want to receive direct feedback from men.
  • 79 percent of men feel appreciated at work while only 48 percent of women feel the same.
  • 82 percent of women want to be recognized for their effort in achieving the results.
  • 89 percent of men want to be recognized for their results.
  • 72 percent of men state that women ask too many questions.
  • 80 percent of women say they prefer to ask questions even when they know the answer.
  • 95 percent of men and women consider trust to be the foundation of a working relationship.
  • 92 percent of women say men earn their trust through caring and concern.
  • 89 percent of men say women earn their trust by showing credibility and competence.

WOW! These are not small percentage differences in culture.

I don’t offer any magical formula to fix this. I just know this needs to change as it is causing a lot of stress and unmanageability in the workplace which overflows into personal lives.

What I do offer is that it doesn’t have to be one side ‘versus’ the other. There are many ways to find the common ground and bridge these gender differences. We simply need to understand where the other gender places his or her greatest value and importance, and why.

“Our duty, as men and women, is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist. We are collaborators in creation.”
– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Pat Obuchowski is the CEO (Chief Empowerment Officer) of inVisionaria. inVisionaria is a company devoted to  helping people and organizations find and achieve their vision and their voice. She works with individuals and organizations that are looking for structure, focus and accountability to set and achieve their goals. She also works with people who are ready to make big changes in the their businesses and their lives and step into the leaders they’ve been yearning to be. People who are ready, willing and able to begin playing their “bigger Game” No kidding. Right now.

The approach to achieve this and create this alliance is individually based and is designed between Pat and each of her clients. She is also a contributing author to “Scrappy Women in Business: Living Proof the bending the Rules Isn’t Breaking the Law.”