Mindset and Strategy

Are You an Effective Leader?

 

In today’s flat world so closely interconnected by social media and 24 hour news cycles, leaders are always visible and they come in many shapes and sizes.  Further, because there are so many areas of expertise, even more splintered by demographics and communities it is good to reflect on the values and traits of good leaders as we historically understand or understood them.

Bear in mind that some people lead from behind, while others lead from in front.  Additionally, many people lead very effectively from the middle because they can understand the plight of others and empathize with the experience of  their tribe.  The fact is leaders find solutions, and can be found everywhere!  How do you lead?

Lets evaluate if  or how leadership has changed or been affected by speed to market and a need to quickly close transactions while sustaining a viable business:

  1. Do you make others feel important?
  2. Do you promote and enthusiastically share a vision of business goals and objectives so that others understand and can contribute to them?
  3. Do you set reasonable or unreasonable expectations for team members? Do you make adequate provisions for alternative scenarios?
  4. Do you follow the golden rule, treating others the way you want to be treated?
  5. Do you admit and correct mistakes, even when it is not comfortable to do so?  Can you work with dissension while fostering an environment that allows the truth, or the best resolution to surface organically?
  6. Do you praise others publicly, but are you also willing to communicate criticism or a different perspective when needed?
  7. Do you criticize privately so that you do not embarrass, or lose the opportunity to foster a team member’s chance for personal growth?
  8. Can you resist the temptation to gossip or diminish those who may be wired differently than you?
  9. Are you open and visible to other people and their talents so that they  learn from you and you from them?
  10. Are you curious about nuanced distinctions and opportunities that not only make things work, but could make them perform more effectively and even to competitive business advantage?
  11. Can you collaborate with others while making a game of competition?
  12. Can you set clear team goals, yet be flexible enough to make adjustments, recognizing and rewarding  excellence  when peers exceed preset standards, that is without undermining them?
  13. Do you avoid the temptation to diminish others or put them down because they may excel, or be better at a particular task than you are?
  14. Can you genuinely give and receive a compliment without resentment or sarcasm?

In your view have these values changed or do they still matter?  Let us know what you think.

*** Updated, previously published 2/11/19

Sculpted Turtles Marching In Unison In a Wonderful Way

Sculpted Bronze Turtles Marching in Unison

#Turtle way. Beautifully designed entrance ways and harmonious  environments will inspire and engage co-workers and premium producers into stable, high performance by sending subtle messages about collaboration, steady progress, and collective goals, even when roles and positions contribute differently. This beautifully sculpted entryway of bronze turtles marching in unison does the job in a really Wonderful way.

Is Collaboration A Shield or Sword?

We have heard it said that collaboration is the new competition, but what does that really mean?  Is it no longer survival of the fittest?  Are single silo’d organizations and people outdated?

Maybe the reason is that with data and information exponentially growing, seemingly faster than any one person can process or implement it, there is a compelling need to expand bandwidth (both technology and people), to efficiently and effectively get things done.

So the next question is how do we do this?

There are several technology tools that help us to communicate and collaborate across geographical boundaries and platforms effectively.  But how do we master the people skills to plug and play well within a collaborative system, if for  decades there has been insufficient information to build commonality or create trust?  When at times it may have seemed that distrust is a strategic advantage.

The real question is how do you build warm productive teams in environments competing for excellence?

How do we build team when people are more connected to devices than to each other?

How do you build team when racing against the clock?

How can we prioritize people in all our complexity, so that effective nuanced communications perform and produce a sustainable environment and product that people want and desire.  Products that people want more than cold efficient delivery systems.  Each and every day technology is better at producing cold efficient systems faster than any human can.

The real question is do humans want, or are we willing to pay for a better or different product than cold efficiency?  Is collaboration a better mousetrap?

Reacting to Overwhelm & How To Quickly Regain Control

We all get that anxious rush when things are going downhill or differently than expected.
When deadlines are blown, finances behind and there are too many demands to sit tidily our Inbox. its a horrible feeling!  Overwhelm undermines your true identity and steals your energy.  You are more likely to underperform when overwhelmed, so try to neutralize it and you will recover more quickly.

Here are a additional suggestions that just might help get you back on your dime and breathing normally 😐

* Make Quiet Time. Take a couple minutes, or hours even, to physically walk away. Breathe in some clean air.

* Get a good nights sleep.

* Rethink your strategy. You may have set unreasonable expectations, or taken on too many tasks in relation to your present
resources.

* Learn to say No, nicely. Its one of the hardest things to do.

* Communicate with your peers, supervisors, direct reports, and explain where you are and why you are behind.

* Reformulate priorities and try to reset deadlines with doable objectives and expectations.

* Try to get consensus from your team on what is doable and the order in which things are effectively completed.

* Bring in additional resources to get the job done on time if necessary.

* Re-calendar and Block time to complete priority tasks.

* Set boundaries and limits on additional, or new responsibilities. Limit taking on new tasks until priorities are completed.

* Limit all outside distractions, including News feeds.

* Limit multitasking since statistics prove that multitasking dilutes your focus and is inefficient.

* Listen to your thoughts and your random musings.

* Commit to documenting your thoughts and feelings so you know which ones you really believe and you can identify when overwhelm lifts.

* Get your physical space as organized as you can so that you can easily locate tools and recognize a system of order, or disorder.

* Learn how to know and recognize a true emergency.

* Set milestones so you know when goals have been accomplished and what tasks remain outstanding.

* Remember to celebrate when you have made it through to the other side. You will!

How Your Productivity is Affected By Sleep Apnea (“OSA”)

Suzette Panton MD.

Suzette Panton MD

In recent years, we have become increasingly aware of the vital role sleep plays in daily life and our general feeling of well-being. There are so many factors that influence whether or not we get a good night’s sleep.

Insufficient Sleep?

Hw much sleep is enough for you? Insufficient sleep is common in today’s modern society. Busy lifestyles and technology exposure can negatively impact our sleep patterns and habits resulting in inadequate nightly sleep hours.

Our sleep can also become fragmented for a number of other reasons.

Sleep fragmentation results in overall decreased quantity and quality of sleep. This in turn will impact how we perform on the job, at home and during our waking hours.

One condition that can cause fragmented sleep is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (“OSA”).

OSA is a chronic medical condition characterized by recurrent episodes of shallow or sometimes complete cessation of breathing during sleep. This is caused by the upper airway in the body becoming obstructed.

Obstruction of the upper airway results in the blockage of airflow and oxygen, these are vital to life. This in turn causes recurrent periods of awakening (body arousal) throughout the night, resulting in sleep fragmentation and tiredness upon awakening. We may not even be aware of these periods of awakening during our sleeping hours!

OSA Symptoms

– Low blood oxygen saturation levels, that is low oxygen levels during sleep time.
– Loud snoring;
– Irregular breathing patterns during sleep;
– Daytime fatigue and tiredness upon awakening;
– A morning headache;
– Daytime sleepiness and unintended periods of drowsiness;
– Difficulty completing tasks;
– Poor concentration;
– Decreased memory and retention;
– Irritability, and
– Depression.

These symptoms can negatively impact performance and individual function capacity.

Additionally, some individuals with untreated OSA become at risk for accidents both on the job and on the road.

Unfortunately untreated OSA also puts us at risk for medical conditions such as:
stroke, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, irregular heart rhythms and congestive heart failure.

Inadequate control of these underlying medical conditions will affect your health, quality of life and professional performance.

Risk Factors For OSA

Risk factors for OSA include post-menopausal women and women older than forty (40) years;
Overweight adults with an OSA family history;
People with certain physiological features such as facial/upper airway indicators for example large tonsils, a large neck, or large tongue, a deviated nasal septum or a small jaw.

Further, women are at increased risk of developing OSA during specific periods of life. Post menopausal women have an increased prevalence of OSA. This may be a secondary factor to decreasing progesterone levels.

There is also an increased risk of OSA during pregnancy. Factors contributing to OSA during pregnancy include hormonal changes, increased neck circumference due to weight gain, swelling within the pharyngeal region, and elevation of the diaphragm due to an enlarged uterus.

It is therefore really important to seek help from your medical provider if you, or your partner become concerned by any of the described symptoms. If you are overweight, significant weight reduction can sometimes helps to minimize the condition.

Finally, OSA when diagnosed is treatable. Treatment from your medical provider is important for long term success and an improved quality of life.

This article was contributed to GirlsLovePowerTools by Suzette Panton MD. Dr. Panton is Board Certified in Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine. She is mom to 3 outstanding sons, ages 21, 19, and 12.  Dr. P is a high performance professional. Click here to get your free Blueprint that will help you Build Your Business for Enterprise.

Anchoring Agility While Staying Committed to Outcomes

How to Stay On Track … Even When Stuff You Could Not Imagine Upends You

It feels that in business as life, the only predictable is the unpredictable!

Dynamic markets, the internet, information products, bill boards, news cycles, natural disasters, the media influences your every waking moment: it has become near impossible to focus on goals.

There are just too many distractions competing for your time and money. A lot of sameness!

So how can you get stuff done?

How can you respond, instead of react, adapt and adjust without giving in? How can you avoid being derailed?

The answer seems to lie somewhere in between the following:

1. Training for short sprints while having the marathon in sight.
2. Setting and rewarding the achievement of short term implemented goals, without beating yourself up over a delayed long term vision.
3. A willingness to become agile or flexible as the marketplace stutters, starts, shoots then withdraws.
4. Having patience with yourself, your vision and most of all with others. I know its easier said than done!

A search for market congruency with your goals may reveal that timing to move forward on a project is not yet right, but that does not mean you should abandon it. A lack of congruency may be a hint that even a delay will become beneficial. It may suggest that more input from market influencers is needed to get your outcome just right!

Insight and commitment from team members, stakeholders and other outside groups may shape the ideal or unique path you should trek for goal fulfillment. Their influence will also provide insight on the feasibility and the timing of your results.

Your access to financial and other resources will determine how quickly you can implement and leverage any short windows of opportunity that exist. Some opportunities may be fleeting at best, but without an agile strategy you will not be able to leverage them to advantage.

So your basic strategy should be: to be always “in training” becoming action ready for passing opportunities that can leap your outcomes forward while anchoring your intent. Tell us what you think. Click Here to get your Blueprint on Enterprise

Tracking Your Progress

 

Track progress

Tracking and Measuring Progress

It is easy to become disoriented in a dynamic, fast paced world where humans are distracted, yet expected to move at the speed of light, digesting and reacting to moving news cycles and events beyond our immediate control.

Nonetheless, it’s the beginning of a new year so let’s orient as we find our own place and prepare for what’s ahead. For sure there are more unknowns than knowns so its hard to discern if what we see is as it appears, or is even factual.

Even if cursorily accurate context and time may change meaning. The dynamic nature of current events affect the way we ingest and react to information including the decisions we make in our business. It also impacts our environment and therefore our results. Nevertheless, lets do our best to ensure that next year we can look back knowing we gave 2019 our best.

As we impatiently try to determine what is ahead, plan to confidently leverage each opportunity as you move ahead.

We often forget that Rome was not built in a day. Neither was it destroyed in a day. Ideas germinate, develop slowly, then branch and expand before they bloom. Change happens in phases.

On the other hand, when things begin to unravel it is initially barely noticeable. Much later something dramatic happens and we take notice. That’s when we recognize that had we been tracking it would have been visible earlier.

It’s the same in your business, you have to notice, pay attention observe and document changes. Learn to manage transitions then observe your progress as you take corrective action. Success will depend on teamwork and having reliable support systems who share your vision and help you to strategically execute it.

Develop habits that help you to create your structured systems. Ones that document and help you to track. There are automated solutions that measure and evaluate your progress over periods of time helping you to tack and take corrective action. Reach out, identify and get direction and advice from your mentors. Let us know if we can help. Tell us what you think. Click here to get our Blueprint on Enterprise.

5 Strategies for Starting a Small Business Even if You Are a … Yes name it …

Business Strategies For the Overwhelmed!

You might be reveling in the joy of your first child, but still feel overwhelmed when you think of balancing family and career.  You may experience intense emotions if you get promoted, but still struggle daily when leaving your  children at home to pursue a long term business vision.

In either case you do not have to sacrifice family life for business life or career goals for parenthood. In this post, compliments of Infusionsoft, entrepreneurial mom, Purusha Rivera, and our founder Heather Atkinson outline what it takes to get a new business off the ground while balancing life on multiple fronts. 

Babies in diapers, toddlers in car seats, noisy kids in the backyard?  Does your schedule include wiping puree off high chairs and your favorite shirt?  Doing nonstop laundry, navigating  around toys on the floor, or just hanging onto sanity while you review email from work?

Life is  moving at breakneck speed, it feels as if  you’re losing yourself to uncontrollable forces and other people’s expectations.  How do you cope?

You shrug and remember that  somewhere deep inside you have a pulsing desire to stand firm, to  maintain your long term vision. You remember  an inner voice that tells you life includes motherhood and good parenting, but also promises more!

Yes you adore the little ones who call you Mom , but you are also drawn to  business and career-oriented goals.   You know you can leave a big mark helping others beyond your immediate family.

You wonder can these different worlds coexist?  What happens if they collide.  How do you harmonize or create order among those who matter most to you when schedules clash?

Still, you tell yourself I must do both.  You cannot shake this feeling and know that if you are driven to expand your world vision, it’s at least worth trying.

If  you are a parent with an entrepreneurial drive, or a professional  searching for work life balance, the below five (5) strategies will help turn your passion into a viable business, even as you honor your primary role to nurture and provide for your children.

Yes, it might be a challenge but you can achieve both even while executing on a vision to grow your startup … all within multiple 24-hour cycles!   Take your first steps, here is how.

1. Become Comfortable Learning to Courageously Ask For Help

The key is to become comfortable saying the unspeakable, that is, asking for help!   Yes, help is available and comes in several forms:  from a reliable trustworthy nanny …  to securing a professional or business confidante, one who listens and understands you, your vision, who has both ability and bandwidth to support vision through execution, as you live your busy life.

The irony is that as fearful or hesitant as you are to ask, some people do want to help you.  In the west, we are influenced by social norms that  often devalue meaningful collaboration. Many modern cultures put a premium on and primarily reward individualism, so many of us have lost the art of reaching out, or we are unwilling to use candid speech, due to fear of being misconstrued or manipulated.

Subconsciously we no longer believe we will be supported by others if we persist in seeking to have our personal needs met.  Worse,  we may be humiliated if we courageously express our needs by asking for help and are rejected.

We do not want to be perceived as weak, or infringing on somebody else’s lane.  We fear rejection so we act like super mom or super dad with 100% control, when in fact the opposite is true.   “No man is an island” and if we look at nature we will observe that it not only survives, but thrives on organic connections.

Might it not be a good idea to model nature in this regard? That is  if we too want to thrive.

To grasp this mindset we need blunt honesty to recognize that although there is potential danger lurking, there are still legitimate trustworthy people available to us.

As you reflect on safety and evaluate risk, it is important to consider that you also need to  learn how to exercise and make good choices.  How to select the right person for the right task, at the right time.

Good choices will propel you forward , and habitually become the exercise of an art.  Consistently making good choices  is a winning strategy that  will accelerate and leverages your business to  the pinnacle of success.  There is more information available to you.  You can  Click here for your expanded BluePrint.

2. Build Your Network of Support
You might be an expert at multitasking but even the most functional, efficient and well-caffeinated parent needs to surround themself with people who assist, encourage and support.  So don’t hesitate to seek out your tribe and enlist their strengths to help get your business leveraged.

Find people who reinforce your vision, who share your entrepreneurial interests and possess beneficial skills.  Your team can be made up of family, friends, referrals, both paid and unpaid . 

Can your children help out?  Its good to involve them early.   Outsourcing, delegating, and partnering with others make the enormity of launching a business manageable, instead of overwhelming.

The words “networking” and “tribe” are popular because business is sustained by relationships among people we know like and trust. We need to find our peeps.  

Good connections impact brand recognition, our customer base and growth, so don’t forge ahead alone. Invite others to take an active interest in your enterprise.  

3. Learn to Manage Time & Organize Your Space

Creating work-life balance is important, but it is more critical when your focus becomes divided between raising a family, and operating a business, or managing your career.

As a working parent your responsibilities cannot always be separated—often they mesh together and compete for attention.  So prepare for this inevitability by  parsing duties, breaking down tasks, and learning to delegate responsibilities ahead of time.  It is important that at the end and beginning of each day you reflect on what worked and what did not.

One option is to make time to reflect using a preferred meditation or prayer.  Document  progress or lack of it so you can measure performance over time, re-evaluate goals and challenges. Create flexibility as you plan ahead.

If your business is in your home, designate an office area, then organize it.  Create a “right” place for important tools so that locating them is easy, familiar and supports productivity.

Rearrange your schedule to minimize professional and personal conflicts, but invariably you know you will have them.  When conflicts happen leverage your team, use the strategic tools we described in earlier paragraphs and ask for help.  Reach out to your network of professionals, colleagues and tribe. Learn to delegate tasks well.

Schedule, and create time blocks where you prioritize goals.  Identify your weekly or daily “Must Dos”  and compartmentalize them into time blocks.  This will give you transparency allowing you to see what and when to delegate tasks.  It will also show you where you are over-extended and what projects consume resources keeping you overwhelmed.  Click here for your Blueprint.

4. Transform Your Feelings of Not Being Good Enough: Re-Educate & Become Prepared

Even if you did not earn a business degree, or have zero experience in logistics, persistence can take you further than credentialing, if you are surrounded by the right team and have access to effective tools.

Do not disqualify yourself, or undervalue potential because there aren’t specific credentials next to your name. The world of startups might be unfamiliar, but with time,  talent, and persistence you will grow into the opportunity.

Additionally, it has never been easier to access specialized training via the Internet.  There are so many software tools like Infusionsoft with automated solutions that can help.  Find a trainer or join a group even if it means that initially you have to invest time to learn the software.  It is well known that the qualified professional when practicing in his zone of genius works for the non-specialist business owner.  It is not difficult to get a professional on your team.

When your inner critic draws attention to perceived inadequacies, quieten it.  Instead, give yourself permission to follow that intuitive spark and create a vision of your desired outcome.  Next, work backwards to determine priority tasks that  need to get done and determinewho will help you execute on it.

Research your market, determine your niche, find a mentor, model a business, identify target customers, and refine branding elements.

Learn the factors of business ownership, from the many skilled professionals around.  Harness your passion,  focus your vision, balance your check book and commit to the long term. Trust that with foresight and preparation the road will rise to meet you.

If you are a new mom with an entrepreneurial streak, you don’t have to choose between your babies and  a business.  With a warm heart, tenacity, and support  from others you can balance motherhood without deferring career.  Gone are the days when you had to choose.  Click here for your BluePrint

5. Make Family Time: Find Creative Ways to Get your Kids and Spouse Involved 

There will be times when your kids need every single ounce of care, all your focus, and energy, and you’ll need to put the business on the backburner. When this happens you will be glad to have a trusted team in place.

Other times, you can turn growing your business into a family affair and incentivize your children and spouse to share your vision.  If you do tasks together, or discuss goals and business values over meals you are not only bonding, creating important family time but your family will feel like integral parts of your team, especially if you assign them age-appropriate roles..

Take children to the office, so they see how negotiations, partnerships, and customer relationships are developed.

Let them help out with basic administrative tasks like stuffing envelopes or filing documents. Reward and compensate them when they provide value.

Encourage presence and participation in non-distracting activities close  to your workspace. Having them close by will keep them connected while making it possible for you to juggle work and family demands simultaneously.

You can be both present for your family and advance your career.  You don’t need to be superwoman to achieve this. 

Leave us a comment on what you thought of this post and share your most important take away.  We are here to help.  Click here for your Blueprint on Enterprise