Posts Tagged ‘business’

In Business, It’s Never About You

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Recently, I had an interaction with another business person that left me deflated. I felt deflated, because the other person was acting irrationally based on fear, rather than seeing the opportunity for what it was—mutually beneficial. We could have helped one another out in promoting our businesses. When I network it is to get to know someone so I can link them with others. As I build the relationship based on genuine interactions of getting to know them, the majority of the time I find us wanting to help and recommend each other’s services, because we value and can speak for the other’s services. When you have a working knowledge of gender and emotional intelligence you quickly realize it’s not the exchange of products or services that really matters; it’s the experience and connection that makes buying and selling memorable. This is more of an organic way of doing business, but I have found it to create sustainability, and long-term results.
A lot of times what we do not realize is that even in buying and selling, our emotions are often the deciding factor in whether the experience is a positive or negative one. So here’s the secret—always choose for your interactions to be about the other person, never about you. So in this example, while his behavior was not desirable, I let him close the door on the business relationship. It initially made me feel deflated, because there were great opportunities and possibilities, but I respected his decision. When you are able to label and identify your emotions as they are happening, instead of reacting based on emotions, you can choose logic and the best course of action.
Putting the concept, it’s never about you; it’s always about the other person benefits your business in three ways. It works in networking, with colleagues, and with customers. When you remember that it’s about the other person, and not you, then you can quickly wade through whom to pursue relationships with as you network. When you use this concept with co-workers and employees you keep the lines of communication open and honest. And, when you use this concept with customers, you create an environment where they feel good about themselves, and will want to return or recommend your product or service to others. In each of Dr. John Gray’s, Mars Venus books, the Mars Venus Coaching eWorkshops, and working with Mars Venus Coaches these principles are espoused. It is always about learning how to communicate with others in their language so they can hear and understand you. When you shut the door, you limit yourself on future opportunities. So remember when you are interacting with others, ask yourself how you can help them get what they need, not what’s in it for you. And, in doing so, people will seek out your business. And, when the other person is not of like mind, be genuine when you wish them well. You never know, they may come back!
Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd
Mars Venus Coaching
Corporate Media Relations

“How to Get What You Want at Work – 4 Tips for Dealing with the Opposite Sex at Work”

Monday, March 12th, 2012


1st Tip for the workplace


These tips are based on the fascinating online video eWorkshop: Mars and Venus in the Workplace. There are 4 unique tips for women and 4 for men that when practiced reduces gender conflict and will have the following benefits:

  • Higher productivity and creativity
  • Greater cooperation and collaboration
  • Decreased loss of personnel, which leads to decreased cost & time spent on recruitment and training
  • Better understanding of the needs and concerns of your customers (regardless of whether they are internal or external customers), and
  • Better decision-making… a competitive advantage for the company as a whole when it maximizes masculine & feminine skills

Here is the first tip for both a woman and a man…

Tip For Women
Women need to practice letting others know of their achievements, their results and their ideas. Do not wait for someone to ask you for your ideas or what you’ve been up to – let them know. Men do not see this as bragging. What they see is a competent and capable person. Women need to remember that men are socialized from an early age to suppress doubts and maintain, either a façade or, a reality of self confidence. This is a great skill and essential in a situation where it is necessary to maintain status within a group. Being confident in promoting yourself will only improve levels of communication with men in the workplace.

Tip For Men
For men dealing with women, building rapport is a very easy and important way to improve your work dealings with women. Because relationships are important to women, if you make the effort to get to know them, or if they feel they have something in common with you, they are more likely to positively respond to your requests and ideas.

A female manager will typically tend to discuss a challenge or situation with others, seek their input and feedback from the team before making a recommendation to senior management. She thinks it’s important that everyone feels they have contributed to the decision and therefore are more likely to support it. This is her style of management. It is based on cooperation and collaboration (and a whole stack of other C words – conversation, connection, commiseration and compassion). When a man values and frequently practices building rapport another C word will be realized and that is COOPERATION.

The whole premise of our “Mars and Venus in the Workplace” online video eWorkshop is that we are different and equal – not that one is better than the other – different and equal. Through awareness and understanding of some basic gender differences we both can learn some simple, yet practical solutions… making it much easier to interpret each other’s behavior correctly, act accordingly and ultimately get the outcome we desire.

If you found this information helpful, click the link below to learn more about the complete online video eWorkshop, “Mars and Venus in the Workplace”. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE COMPLETE ONLINE VIDEO eWORKSHOP NOW

“Mars and Venus in the Workplace” is the same life-changing, career-changing workshop that John Gray and his team of Mars Venus Success coaches have given in-person throughout the world. And now you can benefit from this workshop in the comfort of your own home.


The Relationships You Want. Start Here.


Mars Venus Coaching Team

How to Have an Awesome Work Career

Monday, February 13th, 2012

I was reflecting on my work career (past, present, and future) this morning and came to the realization that my job is “awesome.”  OK, that word is overused, but I have young adult and pre-teen daughters, so I think I understand the different meanings it has, but I’m talking about the old definition of “awesome.” In others words, I enjoy almost every part of what I do for a living, and there is research in work psychology that explains why that is the case. So, here are the elements that make up an “awesome work career,” and some tips on how to get more of those elements in your own work life.

Meaning. An awesome job is one that has meaning. There is a purpose to your work, and you have to find that higher purpose. There is a scene in the movie Cedar Rapids, where Ed Helms’ nerdy character makes insurance sales sound like an uplifting career (“we are the heroes on the disaster scene, working to rebuild lives…”). Even mundane jobs, like customer service can be viewed as having meaning (e.g., helping clients, giving customers a great experience). If you can’t find the meaning in your current job after looking hard, it may be time to look hard for a new career.

Accomplishment. Choose a career where you can accomplish things, take pride in those accomplishments, and celebrate them. I take pride when I publish a paper, give a great lecture, or finish a blog post. The pride comes from readers and students who comment favorably on my accomplishments, and I’ve been known to celebrate with a glass of wine.

My friend Carlos makes car-racing accessories. He takes pride in the fact that he can build better quality accessories, and do them quicker, than anyone else at his company. I tell our college students to accomplish something at their summer internships – a project, a report, or helping run a successful event. If their internship doesn’t require it, I suggest they talk to their supervisor about taking on some extra, challenging project, perhaps one that the supervisor hasn’t had time to complete. It makes for a better internship experience to accomplish something that makes a distinct contribution, and the same goes for every job.

Positive Relationships. Nothing can make a career more awesome than working with terrific people, and building strong and rewarding relationships with them. I’m fortunate to have amazing, talented, and (yes) awesome students. I get to meet and network with wonderful clients in my consulting work, and I have some of the best research collaborators anyone could hope for. And, I try to steer clear of the bad relationships – those that can make your job an ordeal, and make you question yourself and your career choice.

Research clearly shows that relationships at work can be the greatest source of pleasure or the most tormenting source of pain and stress. Cultivate positive relationships and work hard to avoid the bad relationships (previous posts offer help in dealing with bullies and bad colleagues and bosses).

Balance. Very few people can have awesome careers if their lives revolve entirely around their jobs. An awesome career is one that allows time for family, friends, and the ability to pursue non-work-related interests. I often talk to people who are unhappy because their jobs consume all of their time and energy. Some of them change to careers that allow greater balance and flexibility, and although there are tradeoffs (e.g., less money, prestige, or a slower ride up the ladder). I rarely hear any regrets from them.

Does good fortune play a part in someone having an awesome career? To some extent. But it is more likely that people have to plan, make tough strategic career decisions, and work hard to make their career awesome.


Published by Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D.

From Tunnel Vision To Your Ultimate Vision [BLOG]

Friday, February 10th, 2012

“We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.”
—Anaïs Nin

I’m a huge advocate for living a life beyond your wildest dreams, but I also know there are some potential pitfalls on the journey.

Having a vision is a powerful tool. It means that you are honoring your goals, aspiring toward them, and taking risks to expand your horizons. Sometimes our visions for ourselves subtly turn into tunnel vision. We can’t see anything that contradicts our intentions and desires. We get selective perception, which limits our ability to remain open and to see things clearly. Instead of being present to our reality while we pursue our heart’s desire, we put the blinders on and barrel ahead toward our hopes and dreams.

There is a shadow side to almost every positive thing we can do for ourselves, including having a vision. It’s important to be aware of this distinction. All spiritual and psychological tools can be used in a “willful” way. For example, sometimes self-care is actually about taking care of ourselves: unplugging from too much work and plugging into more balance and harmony. But sometimes, under the guise of self-care, we are really just checking out: denying what’s happening and how scary it feels to show up for it. So, how do we know the difference? How do we know when we are pursuing our vision in a manner that is actually in alignment with our intentions?

Tension in the Tunnel

Tension usually crops up when we are stuck in the tunnel—it takes a lot of effort to keep the blinders on. For me, the tension often shows up in the form of a headache. For others, there might be similar physical cues, such as stomach- or back-aches, getting sick, or feeling lethargic. Some people find themselves to be more irritable or short-tempered. When we aren’t looking at the big picture of our reality, our emotional bandwidth tends to shrink. This happens because everything becomes limited in the tunnel—not just our vision. I don’t know about you, but when I’m stuck in a tunnel, I can get a little cranky. What are your personal cues that suggest you might be denying aspects of your own reality?

Fear in the Tunnel

There are reasons that we aren’t looking at the big picture, many of which boil down to fear. “What if I leave this relationship and I’m alone forever?” “What if I open this piece of mail and find out that I owe more money than I have in the bank?” “What if I take this day-job and I never get the job of my dreams?” Our response to these fears can be “No thanks, I’ll stay here in the tunnel, where it feels safe.” The blinders go up and we clamp down, even harder.

Denial is not a Tunnel in Egypt

The problem is that denial may feel safe, but it’s an illusion. Whether or not you open that mail or take that job, you still have bills to pay—and we have to take responsibility for ourselves in the present, even as we are building the life we ultimately envision.

The Light at the End of Tunnel

If you are still with me on this tunnel metaphor, here is where it gets good. I grew up in Colorado where there are some amazing tunnels going straight through the mountains. Perhaps you have driven through one yourself, or you can imagine it right now. As you are driving, you move into a cold and dark, fear-filled tin can. The echo is staggering and yet everything seems so quiet. You can’t see two feet in front of yourself without your headlights. Then, suddenly, you find yourself entering into a picture postcard. The sunlight pierces through the windshield and warms your heart as you are greeted with breathtaking, majestic vistas. Let that experience be your teacher and your inspiration. When we move through small, contained ideas of what we think we want—what we think will make us happy and safe—we are brought to extraordinary and expansive beauty. Removing the blinders is like seeing in color for the first time. Tunnel vision is rigid and constraining, while remaining open is fluid and liberating.

Ultimately, moving out of the tunnel is about finding clarity, even if it feels terrifying—at least it is true. And reality begets more reality, and the opportunity to make it the best reality you can. I’ll never tell you to give up on the dream. I believe there is a reason that you have the dream to begin with. I will tell you that the best way to get there is to start from where you are, from the fullness of your situation. To look around and truly see, feel, and experience what is happening in your life. Accept your current circumstances and then take mindful action. If we are in the middle of the tunnel, we don’t get to the beauty on the other side by wishful thinking or burying our head in the sand—we get there by taking one deliberate step at a time.

I’d love to hear how have you have moved through your own tunnels. How did you get stuck, and what enabled you to move through? What did you discover when you surrendered your limited vision? I know that oftentimes people find a “picture postcard” that they never would have if they had held on to that tin can they used to believe was the shiniest and most precious thing they ever could have wished for.

Ingrid Mathieu, Ph.D. (Ingrid Mathieu, PhD is a psychotherapist and author of Recovering Spirituality).

How To Make Lasting Changes For New Year’s or Any Time Of Year

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Any Time Is A Good Time For Healthy Changes

Setting goals (rather than taking the traditional ‘resolution’ approach) can transform your year!

Each year, many people make resolutions for change, and each year, most of those resolutions go…unresolved. This isn’t due to people’s lack of desire for a better life; it’s just a byproduct of the reality that change is difficult. Our habits become ingrained and automatic; changing them requires constant effort until a new habit is formed. This resource can help you to make necessary alterations in your expectations, attitudes, and methods of change so that you can experience real results that last. The following ideas can help:

Think in Terms of “Goals”, Rather Than “Resolutions”: While most people make resolutions that they’re determined to keep, a better tactic would be to create goals. “What’s the difference?” you may ask. With traditional resolutions, people generally approach change with the attitude, “From now on, I will no longer [name a given behavior you’d like to change]>” The problem with this is, after one or two slip-ups, people feel like failures and tend to drop the whole effort, falling easily back into familiar patterns. By setting goals, one instead aims to work toward a desired behavior. The key difference is that people working toward goals expect that they won’t be perfect at first, and are pleased with any progress they make. Rather than letting perfectionism work against them, they allow motivation and pride to do their magic. The following ideas can help you with meeting your ‘New Years Goals’:

Remember That It’s A Process: Expect to work your way up, rather than maintaining perfection and feeling let-down if you don’t achieve it immediately.
Work Your Way Up: In setting goals for new behavior, aim for once or twice a week, rather than every day. For example, instead of saying, “I’ll go to the gym every day,” plan for “every Wednesday” or, better yet, sign up for a fun exercise class, and you can work your way up to more often.
Set Yourself Up To Succeed: Set small, attainable goals, and add more steps as you complete each one. This way, you gradually work your way toward the life you want and the necessary changes, but you experience much more ‘success’ along the way, rather than feeling like a failure if you don’t experience ultimate change overnight.

Have A Goal Each Month: If you’re like most people, you may have several changes you’d like to make in your life; if so, it may be a good idea to tackle one each month. This way, 1) you can focus more, as you won’t be trying to make several sweeping changes at once; 2) you can re-commit yourself each month to a new idea, so you keep growing all year, and self-improvement becomes a way of life; and 3) you can build on each success, so you can first free up time before you take on a new hobby or get involved in an important cause, for example. Also, habits generally take 21 days to form. This setup enables you to devote energy to forming new habits more easily before moving on to the next, so you’re not relying solely on will-power.

Reward Your Progress: While many of your resolutions carry their own reward, changing your habits can be challenging, and it’s sometimes easier to do so if you have a little extra help. (Remember how positive reinforcement from a supportive teacher helped you learn, even though the knowledge itself was its own reward?) Providing extra rewards for yourself can help you to stay on track and maintain your motivation, even if you sometimes don’t feel like making the effort solely for the sake of the benefit the change itself will create. The following are ways you can create rewards for yourself:

Team Up: Have a buddy who knows your goals, and encourage each other, even if you’re working on separate goals. This will provide you with someone who can give you a high-five when you deserve one, and a little encouragement when you need it.
Reward Small Successes: Divide your goal into bite-sized steps and have a reward waiting at the completion of each.
Align Rewards With Goals: Have rewards that are in line with your achievements (like new workout clothes for every 5 gym visits, or a beautiful new pen if you stick with your journaling habit for two weeks).

As for the goals you set, it’s important that you choose your goals wisely, or it will be hard to make them stick. You also want to pick goals that will really help improve your life, so the effort will have a nice payoff. I suggest these Top 10 Resolutions for Stress Relief or these Top 5 Changes for a Healthy Lifestyle. Good luck!

By Elizabeth Scott, M.S., Guide

The Entrepreneurship Gender Gap Isn’t Shrinking

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Women still start fewer businesses than men and are less likely to achieve business success, according to a comprehensive new international survey

By Karen E. Klein

Drawing on interviews with more than 175,000 adults and multiple sources of data, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2010 Women’s Report, released earlier this week, is the most comprehensive study to date of women’s business activity, says Donna J. Kelley, associate professor of entrepreneurship at Babson College and lead author of the report. Evaluating 59 economies, it found that more than 104 million women ages 18 to 64 were actively engaged in starting and running new business ventures, and 83 million women were running businesses that were more than three years old.

Despite the impressive numbers, the report reveals a persistent gender gap. Kelley spoke this week to Smart Answers columnist Karen E. Klein about the findings and the policy implications of the report. Edited excerpts of their conversation follow.

Karen E. Klein: This GEM survey is the first to look specifically at women entrepreneurs since 2002. What’s changed?

Donna J. Kelley: We continue to see consistently that fewer women become entrepreneurs than men. In some economies you have ups and downs in entrepreneurship and women follow those trends. But in general, fewer women participate in most of the world’s economies.

In our 2010 data, only one country had more women than men involved in entrepreneurship and that was Ghana. What we see there and in many developing countries is that women participate out of necessity because they need to create income for their families and they have few other job possibilities.

Which countries had the highest participation rates for women entrepreneurs?

The Latin American economies and the sub-Saharan African region had more relative participation from women compared to men and there are higher entrepreneurship rates overall in those countries as well. In the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Northern Africa, we see both lower entrepreneurship rates overall and less participation by women.

What about Asia?

That’s interesting. Korea has the lowest participation rate for women relative to men even though the country as a whole has pretty good entrepreneurship rates. Japan also has low participation rates for women, and low entrepreneurship rates overall. China has both high rates of entrepreneurship overall and pretty good participation rates for women, with 16 percent of the male population engaged in entrepreneurship and 12 percent of women.

What kinds of factors determine how many women participate in business ownership?

There are a lot of factors, including the availability of employment options for women and the availability of child care. It’s hard to identify specific reasons in specific countries, but culture is really important. Talking with some of my Korean colleagues, they say there are definite role expectations for women and fewer day-care options. In China, women typically have their parents take care of the children so they are empowered to go out and work.

Which countries had the greatest level of equality between men and women?

Australia has equal numbers of women and men participating in entrepreneurship, but more than twice as many men running established businesses as women. In the U.S., 8 percent of the male population and 7 percent of the female population is engaged in entrepreneurship. But again, there are more male established business owners than female business owners.

Interestingly, in Norway we saw a reverse trend. There are three times as many males as female entrepreneurs, but only 1.5 times as many males as female established business owners.

What attitudes hold women back from starting businesses?

For one, we found that women are just as likely as men to see entrepreneurship as attractive, but they are less likely to see opportunities for starting businesses. In fact, since 2002, the perceptions about entrepreneurial opportunities declined among women in developed economies.

One thing that is critical is women’s belief in their own capabilities is far lower than men’s. Less than half–47.7 percent–of women believe they are capable of starting a business, while well over half–62.1 percent–of men believe they are capable. That lack of confidence persists through all economies and cultures we studied.

Fear of failure is another stumbling block that’s more common among women than men.

Yes. Women are more likely dissuaded from entrepreneurship due to fear of failure and they tend to have smaller and less diverse support networks. They are more likely to rely on family members for support and they are less likely to know an entrepreneur. Men have larger business networks, know more entrepreneurs, and they are more likely to rely on business colleagues for help and support than on family members.

What conclusions do those results lead you to?

We think that mentoring and entrepreneurial role models can boost women’s confidence. Also, women are just as well-educated and as likely to create innovative products as men, but they have half the growth expectations for their businesses as men. So, for those female-owned businesses that do have high-growth potential, we need to get them the resources, support, training, and mentoring they need to move to that next level.

Your report reviews some government, nonprofit, and private-sector programs aimed at trying to enhance women’s entrepreneurship. What did you find?

In Ireland, we covered one initiative that is focused on growth entrepreneurs. They get a female mentor to run roundtable forums focusing on growth, where women business owners can share what they’ve learned and do group problem solving. The lead entrepreneur acts as a role model and a mentor, and it has been really successful at helping women with limited resources tap into their own creativity. More than 150 women entrepreneurs have benefited.

[Karen E. Klein is a Los Angeles-based writer who covers entrepreneurship and small-business issues.]

Mars Venus Coaching

Corporate Media Relations

Effective Planning Is About What to Leave Out

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

posted by: John Jantsch

Mon Dec 19, 2011

Today my staff and I are taking the entire day to create a strategic plan for the coming year. The process, and its ongoing nature, is something I call Commitment Planning. This is a practice that I highly recommend, but perhaps not for the reason you may assume.

But first, the rules

  • No one has a specific role today
  • Let brainstorming be brainstorming – possibilities and ideas
  • Be present
  • Be judgmental tomorrow
  • Remember, you are planning for the entire year

And, then my requirements

  • Food and drink should be awesome
  • Leave lots of time and space for physical movement
  • Make it easy to capture everything

Lots of companies completely neglect the need for planning and some that do it consistently view it as a way to determine new things they want to address in the year ahead.

To me, the greatest benefit of any planning session is to decide what not to do.

There’s always more to do than you can possibly get done and what happens all too often is that we give a little attention to a lot of things and effectively water down what should be our priorities.

When we plan the right way, we look long and hard at what makes us money and (hopefully) find ways to focus on doing more of that better, rather than thinking up more of something to divert our attention.

I recently hired my own business coach and one of the first things we’re focused on is getting me to stop doing things that don’t make sense and start spending more concentrated time on my highest payoff activities.

This idea holds true for entire organizations as well and one of the best ways to get to the heart of what’s holding you back is planning.

The first planning principle you must embrace however, is that the goal of the process is to help you limit what you are going to do and do well. Instead of creating a laundry list of wants and dreams, your charge in the planning process is to create a very small list of objectives and goals grounded in the overriding purpose of the business. Everyone in the organization then must commit to this list. From your small list you can carve out a requisite number of strategies and tactics that support these business objectives.

In fact, your aim is to create a total plan outline that fills no more than one sheet of paper. (No 6pt type allowed.)

Note also that we’re not spending the day to make a business plan or create a marketing plan – plans aren’t the secret, planning is. It’s the continuous process of planning, acting, measuring and planning that moves the organization in the direction of its goals.

Using and teaching a continuous planning process like this is one of the ways you empower your staff to know they are taking right action on the most important things at all times and knowing this brings a confidence that in itself is a commitment generator.

Commitment planning is a management style that frees your people to be creative instead of forcing them to be bound by a process only system driven activity.

Planning is not a one-day event or even year-end activity. Sure, there may be certain time bound planning periods that occur naturally, say at the end of a quarter, but the real way to keep commitment alive is to live it through a creative process that allows everyone to focus on the things that matter most.

Ben McConnell, coauthor of the Church of the Customer Blog and principal of management consulting firm Ant’s Eye View, has written about a planning process he calls OGST (Objectives, Goals, Strategies and Tactics.)

What I love about McConnell’s framework is that he uses each of these planning words in ways so simple as to actually create a useful set of definitions for these ridiculously misused terms.

Go get this visual representation of OGST and I think you’ll see what I mean.

As you can see, a planning process like this can help the kind of simple clarity that is so often missing in the “what should we do next” business management style. We borrow heavily from McConnell’s framework add some of our own magic to help put the focus on results and bust through constraints.

No matter what exact process you use for planning, with a one page plan full of your committed priorities in hand you can analyze any idea in about two seconds and determine if you should pursue it or dismiss it. Focusing on your strengths and finding ways to turn them into even greater assets is how individuals and organizations realize their potential.

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Do Women and Men Have Different Remote Work Styles?

Friday, December 9th, 2011

By Wayne Turmel

July 5th, 2010 @ 3:45 am

Everybody knows that men and women think differently in a lot of ways. But do those differences matter when it comes to working remotely and managing remote teams? According to Sally Helgesen, it matters a lot. Managers who don’t appreciate those distances can do themselves, their companies and those employees a great disservice.

Sally is the author of “The Female-Vision: Women’s Real Power at Work”. She cites scientific studies that show how a woman’s brain functions in different ways than a man’s.  How they differ is important, particularly for managers who might not be aware of these conflicting world views or assign value to behaviors that don’t get the desired results.

According to Helgesen, one major difference is that women tend to be highly skilled multitaskers, while men are able to concentrate on one thing for more concentrated periods. Neuroscientific research confirms this, and women often take pride in their ability to handle a ton of things at once. This is a plus and a minus, for women and for those who manage them.

“I believe it’s a core reason that women can tend to over-commit. Those who manage women remotely can benefit from understanding this, especially since excessive multi-tasking can lead to burnout and inhibit creative thought,” she says. Managers need to watch out for signs that someone is stressed out.

On the flip side, a man’s ability to focus on one thing for a long time can be seen as beneficial, but it can also lead to tunnel vision and an insensitivity to people and behavior not seen as “mission critical”. There’s also a tendency to believe that the amount of time spent on something equals better results, something that is often not true as short bursts of concentration tend to bear better fruit than agonizing over something for extended periods.

One major difference between the sexes that really impacts managers is that women are (in general) more likely to speak up if they’re unhappy about their immediate circumstances and environment, while men tend to suffer in silence. (Helgesen’s term for it is ” men will suck it up and tolerate a lot more for a lot longer”). This doesn’t mean that the woman’s complaints are without merit, or that men don’t experience the same misery and are equally unhappy. But if a woman mentions that something is wrong, she might be seen as a complainer by her male manager. Conversely, a female manager might take a man’s stoicism as being uncommunicative or not proactively trying to improve a situation. Such value judgments can seriously harm a working relationship.

Without the daily contact and familiarity of working in the same location, it can often be difficult for managers to really understand what’s going on with their team. One person’s laserlike focus is another person’s antisocial moping. A willingness to abide short term discomfort for long-term goal needs to be balanced with a willingness to change and improve the current situation.

Understanding how gender impacts behavior is only one more reason good leaders take the time to get to know their people and look at results, not at specific behavior that can be misinterpreted.

Social Networking Genius?

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Sometimes we fall into the habit of thinking life revolves around us—our individual thoughts, our feelings, our behaviors. Not so.  The recent use of texting is sending us in a downward spiral as far as relationships goes, because we’re not becoming more socially adept, we’re becoming more narcissistic. Yes, we’re now connected to more people than ever before, but the “connection” is not there. We get into trouble when a majority of our time “connecting” to other people is not spent face-to-face.  Our relationships go down the drain when we depend on social media as the platform for our dating and marriage relationships.

We’re in unchartered territory. The social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and YouTube aren’t helping us either. They are great ways to stay informed about what people are doing, but they don’t necessarily convey how they are doing. When we communicate verbal communication only makes up 3% of how we interpret what we are seeing/hearing. We begin navigating our life story from an increasingly lonely place—interpreting the output of messages someone input into a machine, and then using a machine to read the words. We lose the feelings and meanings behind the words. Let’s focus on some helpful guidelines for texting, so we can use this capability as a tool to enhance our relationships. While these tips are for dating and married relationships, they are also germane for the texts you send to other loved ones (people with whom you have an emotional attachment to such as best friends and family).

  1. Recognize text and instant messaging is NOT a substitute for face-to-face interaction.

While it saves time and lets us send information about ourselves to more people, it is not a replacement for spending time with someone in person.

  1. Use text and instant messaging as a last resort if there is anything emotional involved.

To put it bluntly, do not fight while texting. When we are upset and arguing we already tend to not “hear” the other person’s point of view. Texting amplifies this, and makes it worse, because our brains are stuck in fight or flight mode—so everything we text is subject to misinterpretation.

Men and women use communication for different reasons. Men typically communicate to solve problems. Often they do not respond to a situation, until they’ve figured out a solution. If you’re having a discussion with the opposite sex, and you are texting, it can create a lot of tension, because women naturally use more words (I think it around 600 words extra) a day then men. Translate this to texting, and women are going to text more content then men. Generally, women communicate to connect with others. Using texting to connect is NOT having a relationship. A lot of what women write may be read, and then disregarded, because if you’re a man you may not respond unless you can solve the issue.

  1. Use text and instant messaging to make date/time/location plans.

The only thing that cannot be misunderstood is when you set a time to meet up. This is because emotions are not involved, you’re relaying information. And you are using text messaging to convey information, not to have an entire conversation.

This is perhaps the only valid reason to use texting in a relationship. If you choose to use texting predominantly for this reason only, then you will save yourself much grief with whomever you’re dating or married.

  1. When in doubt about how your message will be understood, do NOT text!

If you doubt how someone will interpret what your write, and it involves personal things, then do not use texting to send the message. We often think up things to say on social media platforms to draw attention to ourselves. This does not translate to texting with people you care about, because they are already invested in you, and you do not need to bait or entice them to respond. If you do, then the relationship may have dysfunctional or co-dependent aspects that are not based on honest feedback and open communication. On social media sites to get people to click through, and find out more about what we’re doing or thinking, we often post things that are ambiguous and create curiosity by the reader/viewer. However, if you’re dealing with a situation or conversation with your partner that has emotions involved such as jealousy, anger, or betrayal involved…chances are you do NOT want to leave even more room open for interpretation.

The bottom line for using texting ethically, and so our relationships have a chance at survival is to use it to pass information that does not need context or have feelings involved that bring up trust issues. Use text messaging and social media to pass information, not to have entire conversations. Use it as a tool, not a crutch. And, if you question how someone may interpret what you wrote, then wait until you are in person. As a last resort you could use video chat, Skype, or a phone call—because face-to-face is always the best way to form and keep lasting, long-term relationships.

Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd

Mars Venus Coaching

Corporate Media Relations

Busy Moms Embrace Common Cents

Monday, September 26th, 2011

It is that time of year again when moms begin prepping their children to go to school. In my case, it’s for preschool. As we go from virtually non-existent laissez faire schedules to the regimen of “You’ll miss the bus if you…!” We also have to ask ourselves what we’re doing to conserve our sanity.

It’s a known fact that in a 1 dollar U.S. bill, 100 pennies make up a dollar. So the question begs to be asked, if we have 24 hours in a day, and at least 8 of those hours should have the entire household snoozing, up to 11 if you’re under 4 feet tall…WHY are we cramming in more activities than is possible to get done in a 24 hour day? The math does not add up! Neither do the health bills further down the road.

Clients, and most have the title “Mom” or “Dad” on their resume, often come to me for help in time-management. Of all the seminars and workshops I do—when I have people shout out their greatest challenge—prioritizing their time tops the list.

Our bodies run on a circadian clock that resets itself around every 24 hours. We are not wired to be on the go all-the-time, and our bodies are wearing out with excess cortisol, a stress-producing hormone, chronically in our system.  Any mom knows that if you do not give your children enough down time, then they become over-tired, their “poop” schedule gets thrown off, and you have a child prone to melt-downs or temper-tantrums on your hands.

Guess what? Same goes for you Momma! Do you wonder why you’re short with everyone, or why it’s hard to convince yourself to be sexy or romantic? The only answer is: you’re not giving enough time to one very important area in your life. You.

And, you can bring your household back into a pleasant place to relax, unwind, and connect with those you love most. The way you achieve any goal is first to define the goal, create a strategy, and identify the actions you need to take on a daily basis to achieve the goal.

Goal: Everyone’s sanity, health, and a functional well-adjusted family.

Strategy: Build in at least 4-6 hours per day where the pace is easy-going. Make sure at least 1 of these hours is 1-on-1 time with just your “self.”

NOTE: No other distractions allowed. TV, texting, phone calls, internet—Banned.

Actions: Every day during the school week my family will:

  • Use this time to cook meals and chat with family about the day.
  • Pack lunches together.
  • Do the dishes, unload dishes, or fold laundry while catching up.
  • Spend time in the same bed or on the same couch cuddling and hugging.
  • Sit down to breakfast and dinner all together.
  • Demand quiet play time for everyone in the household.

During quiet time…Light some candles, diffuse essential oils, run the bath. This may be a good time for you to check email or make a quick phone call as the bath fills. But, guess what? Once the tub is full—it’s time for alone time for you.  Read a chapter of a good novel & then wash your hair. The point for you during quiet time is to relax. (You’ve been connecting and nurturing during some of the chores & meals.)

As a woman you’ll replenish your stress-reducing hormone, oxytocin.  You do this by nurturing and caring for others or yourself. The key is no expectations can be attached. If someone is expecting you to do something, oxytocin isn’t produced as readily.

The point for a guy during quiet time is to do an activity that is less mentally challenging or doing nothing…, however, his stress-reducing hormone is testosterone. There really is a biologically proven reason why guys drop to the couch at the end of the day.

Same goes for your kids. They need to produce stress-reducing hormones too. It keeps everyone’s digestion moving, makes for more restful nights, strengthens your immune system, and improves your relationships.

The more we’re able to disengage ourselves from distractions, the more time we will have both for ourselves, and for our families. In a society where the divorce rate has tipped to over 50%, don’t you owe yourself this break, this chance, to keep your body healthy, your sanity in-tact, and to continue to model balance to your children?

We all need down-time in our schedules. If 4-6 hours seems too much at first, set another target number, and work backwards from there. Just remember it’s non-negotiable. We can’t change our circadian rhythm, and we cannot change how many hours are in a day. We start early teaching kids’ routines and schedules (including nap time) for a reason. Be a do as I say, just like I do mom. You and your kids will thank you for it.

Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd

Mars Venus Coaching

Corporate Media Relations