Posts Tagged ‘Mars Venus’

Mars Venus Gender Increases Women’s Status Using Gender Intelligence Communication, Part 2

Friday, August 24th, 2012

After reading part 1 of this article, let’s delve right into why Mars Venus teaches gender intelligent communication as a solution to raising women’s status in top positions to equal numbers with men. Another way to phrase this is by teaching gender intelligent communication as the solution we will be implementing a culture shift in the corporate world so at last both men and women will be respected equally for their unique gender contributions. Assimilating women into a male created work climate is unwise on many levels, and now that we are armed with information regarding why it is doing damage to both our bodies (health and wellness wise) and our relationships (at work and at home), it makes sense to open this discussion as food for thought, and hopefully, as a solution to the problems put forth so eloquently across the news.

Mars Venus explains why as being, the reason and research behind why men and women in fact do communicate differently is mainly based on our physiology and the ways our bodies respond differently to stress, and the ways in which we keep our stress levels low. Did you know that when women are at work they produce testosterone just like men? However, to reduce stress men must produce more testosterone in greater quantities than the hormone women need to reduce stress. The easiest way for men to increase their testosterone is by relaxing their muscles and doing nothing. So while women are constantly producing testosterone while at work, and they get ready to come home after a hard day they are unable to produce their stress reducing hormone: oxytocin. When women are rushed, or when they nurture or give and there are expectations in return, oxytocin is unable to be produced. When women get home, their stress levels continue to rise limiting their ability to produce oxytocin. So while men are able to begin rejuvenating their stress reducing hormone (testosterone) when they stop work for the day, women are unable based on their physiology to increase their stress-reducing hormone (oxytocin).

Previously in history, women lived in a community, which was organic and connected to childrearing, for both their own and their neighbor’s children. Mars Venus believes the constant state of nurturing, and connecting through talking, incorporating one another in decision making, and helping one another out with similar tasks gave a constant flood of oxytocin. Not so today. Our world is now at such a tilt that we have cortisol (fight or flight hormone) constantly in our bodies—both for men and women. When there is a constant flood of cortisol, there is no room for the body to manufacture the stress reducing hormones. Both disease and infertility are on the rise due to both genders at the end of the day being unable to re-generate the stress reducing hormones they need to live a long, well-balanced life. All of these issues go back to one thing only, and that is how we communicate with others, which impacts our quality of relationships both at work and at home. Just based on these physiological reasons, besides how we actually talk to one another differently when assimilating information and making decisions…it should not be a question of women assimilating into a “man’s” world. It should be a question of how we can alter the culture in corporate to best embrace the unique styles of gender communications to have the most productive and efficient company.

The content is phenomenal in regards to the latest research in how men and women’s bodies react differently under stress and in producing the stress reducing hormones unique to their gender. While the research is good to understand the why’s behind the way we behave, and more importantly why we communicate differently the way we do with one another; what is more germane to this discussion is what the quickest way is to balance both men and women in the workplace. The easy answer is you do this through gender intelligent communication workshops as found in the Mars Venus website.

The culture needs to change, and the quickest way to do that is to train people in the ways men and women communicate differently. The first level of learning is awareness; second level is putting it into practice. And all the other solutions that have been offered for the purpose of saving face, has done just that “lip service,” and not evoked the change. The companies which are able to embrace these subtleties in dialect such as women’s attention to detail and incorporating many into the decision-making process—these are the ones who are able to make their visions grow into viable action plans with results where everyone is taken along for the ride. This solution is not lip service, because it requires an immediate call to action to train people how to communicate with one another more effectively.

When the two different gender styles of communication are both given credit for their strengths and weaknesses, then the playing field is leveled, because our unique ways of relating to one another are understood, respected, and embraced. Changing the way we talk to one another, in essence, is the fundamental first step that has heretofore been missing. Mars Venus teaches us how to open our hearts and minds to hearing the other person’s way of communicating as being a slight variation in dialect, and that in order to relate effectively we have to learn the other’s dialect…this is what causes a shift in culture from a male-dominated, created, and run work world to one that is a balanced work world embracing men and women’s unique contributions. When this happens, then there will be equal numbers of men and women in and at the top in the corporate world.

 

Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd

Corporate Media Relations

Mars Venus Coaching

 

 

Why Incentives Help You Achieve Your Goals

Friday, July 6th, 2012

When it comes to making goals, we often forget an important aspect: the reward. You can argue that achieving the goal in and of itself is the reward, and in most cases, I’d agree. However, there are some goals where having an additional incentive may encourage you to stick it out longer, than if you were doing it just for the goal achievement itself.

If the goal is going to take time and focused effort to achieve, then setting incremental benchmarks can be useful. The concept is similar to how you create your 90 Day Plan, and in fact compliments your endeavors. Identify your long-term goal, and then figure out what you can do in smaller, bite-sized chunks. Then choose things from your bucket list (i.e. fun things you desire to do/see, but you never seem to have the time to do) that would match the effort it is going to take for you to reach each of the milestones.

For example, getting a promotion at work that you know you should go for soon, but that you are not that motivated to try right now. True the benefit is a pay raise, but if you are holding yourself back, because you are listening to negative tapes in your head telling you that you are not good at test taking, studying, or paperwork, then an outside incentive linked to something you very much want to do or have may help you achieve this goal. And, achieve it sooner, rather than later.

So, in this promotion example, as you identify if you have the pre-requisites and find out what training you will need to take, link a reward to passing the tests or the actual promotion itself. If you’ve always wanted to go scuba diving, spend a day at a spa, or ride a dirt bike, then promise yourself that you will do it once you’ve achieved your goal.

The key is to plan out how long it will take you to achieve your goal. If it is going to take longer than a week or even 3 months, then it is a good idea to celebrate your small victories along the way as well. So, for example, if it is a big step for you to approach your boss and let her or him know you’re interested in more responsibility, then celebrate on a smaller scale after you’ve sat down with your boss—buy a snorkel, get the helmet, or pick out what treatments you want to get done at the spa. Just remember, if the step that you need to take needs external motivation to get you started, then attach a reward to that step.

Pasting visual pictures of what your goal will look, feel, smell, taste, and sound like once you’ve achieved it—right next to the picture of you on the dirt bike or at the spa can help you on the rough days when you don’t feel like going after your goal. When you’re tired of being just outside of your comfort zone, and are happy to slide back into what you had been doing—look and visualize what you have to gain.

And, by all means, when you’ve hit the milestones, don’t forget to cash in on your reward. Celebrate. If you keep plodding on to the finish line without picking up energy boosts, then it may seem a lot further to go than the actual distance you have left to achieve success.

Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd
Mars Venus Coaching
Corporate Media Relations

Women ‘drive success’

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

 

Women ‘drive success’

 

COMPANIES perform better when they’ve got women in senior management positions, a business forum has been told.

Carolyn Kay, a non-executive director at Commonwealth Bank, said gender diversity should be viewed as a management essential.

”It’s important for women to be in decision-making levels to help reshape the culture of organisations,” Ms Kay said at the Women in Leadership forum in Sydney yesterday.

 

Ms Kay said several studies have shown that companies with three or more women in senior management roles outperformed those without any women at the top.

”There are many studies – by Harvard, Catalyst [and] McKinsey to name a few – that show strong correlation between organisations with women at the top and the relative success of those organisations,” she said.

Ms Kay said it was important for Australia’s economic health that women were employed in executive positions ”for increasing the tax base, supporting the ageing population and lifting the household savings rate”.

Statistics from the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency show that females were 29 per cent of all new appointments to ASX 200 companies in 2011, compared to 25 per cent in 2010.

Tina Brothers, executive director of the Reibey Institute, said that corporate culture change could be achieved if it came from the top.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/business/women-drive-success-20120220-1tjl5.html#ixzz1n9EKaGvm

 

Shiny Happy People At Work [BLOG]

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

It’s been quite some time since I actually worked in an office, but I still remember it like it was yesterday. The room layout, the florescent lights, my cubicle partners, the weekly birthday celebrations complete with sheet cakes and balloons. Although I have been an entrepreneur for over 10 years, I have fond memories of my work experience and I wouldn’t change a moment of it. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t always rosy; in fact, I was fired from my first real job.

Boy was that a painful experience! Fresh out of college and working for Capitol Records as an assistant in the International Marketing Department, I was going to weekly concerts, meeting recording artists and having the time of my life. That was the fun part. The work part was a little more difficult. My assistant skills were slim at best and I had a female boss who was less than friendly. Everything I did was wrong and she was always correcting me. The straw that finally broke the camel’s back was when I went over my boss’ head to her superior to ask special permission for something that she said no to. Needless to say, it did not end well. I did, however, learn a valuable lesson that has stuck with me to this day and that is to be deferential to your superiors, especially your immediate boss!

Why am I telling you this story? Because even though I got fired in the end, I realized that I truly enjoyed working! I liked dressing for work, I appreciated interacting with my co-workers, I relished in meeting the clients and I appreciated the sense of accomplishment I felt at the end of the day. Sound familiar? For many people, this is not the tune they sing. Theirs is more of a solemn tune of drudgery filled with sayings that start with “Ugh, do I have to go to work today?” or “Is tomorrow really Monday? I think I’ll call in sick.”

Since we spend so many of our waking hours at the office, it behooves us to invest a little more effort into putting on a shiny, happy face for work. It can be your greatest asset! A good attitude is integral to any office environment whether it consists of 2 workers or 200. Turning a negative attitude into a positive one can help you make the most of your workday. Here are a few workplace etiquette tips we hope will help keep things peaceful and positive in your work environment.

Wrap Up Your Troubles

Pack up your troubles in a nice box, wrap them with a bow and set the imaginary package on a shelf in your home. Everyone has a certain amount of stress that they can’t seem to shake. The daily pressures of living in today’s world can bring about a whole host of physical and mental problems that can cause loss of concentration, scattered thoughts and general lack of focus at work. The act of putting our troubles away before we leave the house frees us of that heavy weight and allows for a much more positive atmosphere at work.

Make A Conscious Effort

The word “work” may conjure up images that are less than desirable, but they don’t have to be debilitating. If we take on the mindset of putting 100% effort into our performance at work, the day will automatically go more smoothly. Get in the habit of displaying impeccable work habits, arriving on time, working to your full potential and staying focused and you will be surprised at the great things you can achieve.

Give Co-workers Their Space

There’s been a great deal of talk about cubicle etiquette and allowing our colleagues their space even if they are not surrounded by four walls. This is an important point that many do not take into consideration and can raise the tension level at work. So be considerate of your co-worker and (a) don’t enter another person’s cubicle unless you are invited, (b) refrain from interrupting a person who is on the phone, (c) be mindful of conducting loud conversations, and (d) avoid applying strong perfumes and eating pungent foods. Bear in mind that your cubicle is a direct reflection of you. Keep it neat and orderly and be respectful of others.

Be A Team Player

As the saying goes, there is no “I” in team. When you arrive at work, it is much easier to be cooperative, kind and patient towards others than it is to remain solitary. Support your colleagues by asking their input and valuing their remarks. Be a problem solver by offering to assist wherever help is needed. Refrain from gossip or slander and keep private matters confidential. Act as a source of encouragement to everyone and pay deference to your superiors. These characteristics will not only classify you as a dependable worker, but they may also result in greater opportunities for advancement.

Guarantee Job Security

A bad attitude can lead to permanent repercussions. In today’s highly competitive marketplace, one cannot afford to be branded as difficult or sensitive. If there is a particular struggle at work, nip it in the bud by giving others the benefit of the doubt or letting things roll off your shoulders once in a while. Taking steps to improve your disposition will lead to a much more positive outcome and make you a valuable asset rather than a disposable liability.

Now, we know it is virtually impossible to be the happy, peppy face of positivity all the time. At one point or other, you are bound to hit a wall at work. When this happens, acknowledge it, take a few deep breaths and remember you have the power within you to turn it around. If all else fails, put on a smile and fake it till you make it. Eventually, you will lighten up and all will be well again.

Lisa Gache / Beverly Hills Manners CEO, Lisa Gaché, is one of the foremost etiquette, manners and life skills experts. Her educational and entertainment company, founded in 2006, is recognized for its new school approach. Lisa has appeared in the media and contributed to various outlets, including CNN, NPR, “The Today Show,” KTLA-TV, Radio Disney, Woman’s Day, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post and The New York Daily News. Her contributions to blogs and websites range from the Los Angeles Times, AOL, The Huffington Post and Weddzilla. Gaché has also been a guest expert on number of reality shows including VH1’s “Charm School” and Discovery Channel’s “Living with Ed.”

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., About.com Guide

Does Gender Bias Against Female Leaders Persist?

Friday, January 27th, 2012

[Quantitative and qualitative data from a large-scale survey]

The present study of 60,470 women and men examined evaluations of participants’ current managers as well as their preferences for male and female managers, in general. A cross-sex bias emerged in the ratings of one’s current boss, where men judged their female bosses more favorably and women judged male bosses more favorably. The quality of relationships between subordinates and managers were the same for competent male and female managers. A small majority (54%) of participants claimed to have no preference for the gender of their boss, but the remaining participants reported preferring male over female bosses by more than a 2:1 ratio. Qualitative analysis of the participants’ justifications for this preference are presented, and results are discussed within the framework of role congruity theory.

To read the survey in its entirety: http://m.hum.sagepub.com/content/64/12/1555.abstract?sid=ab886a07-1048-41d5-a51f-4564a3a0db0b

Then click PDF (2nd button in upper left corner).

Article Notes

  • Kim M Elsesser is a research scholar at the Center for the Study of Women at the University of California, Los Angeles. In addition to her PhD in Psychology from UCLA, Elsesser holds graduate degrees in management and operations research from MIT. In her business career, she was a principal at Morgan Stanley where she co-managed a quantitative hedge fund. More recently she has consulted on large-scale national studies relating to gender and work, and her research interests include gender and leadership, gender discrimination, sexual harassment, cross-sex friendships and social support in the workplace. Her most recent work appears in Human Relations.

  • Janet Lever is Professor of Sociology at California State University, Los Angeles. For the past 40 years her research has focused on wide-ranging issues related to gender studies and human sexuality. Since the early 1980s Lever has collaborated with mass media both to popularize academic scholarship and to harness its power to create data for later scientific analysis. After leading teams of researchers that designed the three largest magazine sex surveys ever tabulated, she came to ELLE to lead a series of surveys hosted on both the health and the business sections of msnbc.com. Her Office Sex and Romance Survey (2002) and the Work and Power Survey reported on here are among the largest surveys on these workplace topics. As with the magazine surveys, each of these internet surveys has been reanalyzed for social science, management, health, and medical audiences.

To Launch Your Business, Embrace Risk-Taking

Friday, January 13th, 2012

By learning what makes veteran entrepreneurs adept risk-takers, aspiring starters-up can get closer to taking the leap

By Monica Mehta

To evaluate the merits of their startup dream and strategize about its future, aspiring entrepreneurs can sweat out business plans and huddle with experts. To prepare for the emotional roller coaster of venturing out on their own, though, there’s little to do in advance. They must launch and learn on the fly. For those struggling to decide when to launch, insight from seasoned risk-takers and researchers who study them could speed the decision-making process.

For Andrew Ullman and Hayward Majors, co-founders of New York’s CollegeSolved.com, an online expert network for college admissions, taking the leap did not come easily. After hatching their idea in 2008, they kept their day jobs in corporate law and finance, conducting research and seeking industry input in their spare time. By February 2009, they had a well-researched business plan but lacked the confidence to pursue the venture full-time. “Despite having an opportunity in hand and some financial stability, it took the validation of creating a beta version of the website and raising capital from outsiders to get us comfortable with the [lifestyle] change,” says Ullman.

Like countless others before them, Ullman and Majors were adept at identifying risks but hadn’t learned to take them. “When it comes to taking risks, knowledge is a highly overrated motivator. Otherwise, we’d all buy low and sell high, and our kids would eat their vegetables,” says Dr. Frank Murtha, a behavioral psychologist in New York City who works with traders and specializes in financial risk-taking. He suggests that seizing opportunities when they arise and rolling with the punches requires a skill set few have mastered.

Chemicals in the Brain

In 2008 researchers at the University of Cambridge studied the risky decision-making abilities of entrepreneurs and corporate managers with similar IQs and experience levels using a battery of neurocognitive tests. They found (paywall alert) that the entrepreneurs consistently took riskier bets. The results show that risk-taking is both behavioral and physiological. The entrepreneurs not only scored higher on personality tests that measure impulsivity and flexibility; they also experienced a chemical response in the reward center of the brain that the managers did not.

While we have little control over our natural programming, it is possible to change behavior over time, as most therapists advocate. To offer aspiring entrepreneurs steps to take immediately, I compiled these tips:

Socialize with other entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship rubs off. A study from Babson suggests that children of entrepreneurs are more likely to start businesses, as are those who know other small business owners. The inverse also holds. Risk aversion can be contagious, as Ullman and Majors experienced. “We always wanted to be entrepreneurs, but we were locked into lucrative jobs that were deemed acceptable by family and friends,” says Majors. Most large cities offer business meet-ups and other networking events where like minds gather.

Set yourself up for small successes. “Our brains are motivated by success to greater success,” says Dr. Richard Peterson, a psychiatrist and PhD of neuroeconomics who has written two books on financial risk-taking. Immediately after experiencing a victory, our neurons process information more effectively, we become sharper and learn faster. Set small goals, no more than three months in length. Even incorporating a hobby that sets you up for small successes can make a difference in your professional life. A personal aside: I’ve just given hubby the license to play World of Warcraft to sharpen his risk-taking prowess.

Have a whiskey sour. Who hasn’t attended a cocktail hour feeling intimidated by a room of unfamiliar faces? A drink can stimulate the impulsive side of your brain’s reward center and give you the courage to strike up a conversation. More isn’t always better when it comes to playing with brain chemistry, of course. For purposes of productive impulsivity, stick to just one.

Or skip the drink and try channeling your inner Richard Branson on your own. We are groomed to seek information when making decisions. Break the habit by practicing by yourself in an environment where your decisions will have few meaningful consequences. Order what instantly comes to mind in a restaurant, for example, then graduate to other arenas.

Have faith. “As much as knowledge is overrated, religion is underrated,” says Murtha. Taking a leap of faith is something every entrepreneur must do at some point or another. Having faith that everything will be O.K., whether it is derived from a spiritual belief or elsewhere, contributes to the willingness to be adaptable.

Choose a partner who possesses skills you don’t. If impulsivity and adaptability aren’t your strong suits, find a partner who already has what you don’t. Of course, don’t bring on a partner unless he or she adds value to the project beyond being able to roll with the punches.

Ullman and Majors quit their day jobs in September 2010 when it became clear investors were willing to commit. They closed the round in December, raising enough from friends and family to sustain the business for about two years, and finally launched CollegeSolved.com in early April. “After more than two years of planning, we thought we’d experience a huge relief post-launch,” says Majors. “But the party is only getting started.”

[Monica Mehta is managing principal of investment firm Seventh Capital in New York City. She has advised hundreds of small businesses over the past 15 years. .]

Mars Venus Coaching

Corporate Media Relations

16 Steps to Write New Year’s Resolutions that Work

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Are you wondering how some people can make New Year’s Resolutions and stick with them, while other people can’t or don’t or won’t even thing about writing them out, let alone completing them. Here’s how to be successful at following-through on the new you in the new year.

  1. Start thinking about what your short term goal is for the next year.
  2. Remember or come up with your 5 and 10 year goals.
  3. When you make your New Year’s Resolutions, make sure that they relate in some way to either your short term or long term goals. The reason behind this is to link your resolution into what naturally motivates you to pursue change. This also helps you keep your resolutions high on your priority list as well.
  4. Plan out 2012. On a calendar pencil in the BIG events for the year.
  5. Pick a day where you have space and time to think, plan, and write out your resolutions. Anticipate writing out your resolutions. Make it fun and memorable. Our bodies are wired to seek pleasure.
  6. Brainstorm and jot down the things you’d like to change or do more of in the next year.
  7. Next, look at your calendar to see how much time you have each month to devote to each of your resolutions. Estimate how many hours or days per week you can work on each resolution.
  8. Plan for wiggle room. We usually have a head’s up for when there are good stressors or life events such as births, weddings, birthdays, celebrations, etc. However, illnesses, deaths, accidents, layoffs, car troubles, are usually unexpected. Give yourself time and compassion to deal with these unforeseen events.
  9. Set start and end dates for each of your resolutions. Before you commit to due dates, read through and do steps 10-13 first.
  10. Next look at how far you think you’ll get with each resolution in the next 90 days. Define what you will have to do to accomplish that resolution in the next 3 months. Write each step out. It’s okay to have 10 to 20 steps.
  11. Then looking at your calendar, define how many of those steps you can do in the next 30 days.
  12. Before you commit to what steps you’ll do in the first 30 days, check-in with your calendar to see how much time you can devote for the next 4 weeks.
  13. Set weekly due dates with 1 or 2 days to allow for the unexpected.
  14. Remind yourself of when things are due. Set up reminders in your phone, with software, or online calendars.
  15. Tell someone what you’re planning to do.
  16. Ask someone to hold you accountable to follow-through on your resolution. Someone who does not want your time themselves, who can be objective, can offer feedback, ask the hard questions, and help you brainstorm how to trouble-shoot setbacks, loss of motivation, etc. will guarantee a higher level of commitment out of you to perform and accomplish what you’d like to change.

Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd

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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Black Friday Traditions

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Have you ever been to a Black Friday sale? Do you ever wonder what all the excitement is about? Given today’s economy, more and more people are looking to get more out of and for their money. Gifts are traditionally given as a sign of gratitude, thoughtfulness, or celebration of special events. If you have a long list of gifts to buy for the upcoming holiday season, what is the best choice the day after Thanksgiving: shopping or spending quality time relaxing with those closest to you?

Shopping

Some people like buying just to acquire things. Getting up early or sleeping in lines to get the best deals can reinforce spending time with loved ones if you are doing the shopping with them, or it could take a more materialistic bent. Snatching up objects with little thought to whom or what it is intended for, can add both mental and emotional clutter to your life.

Here are some tips to stay focused on connecting with others throughout the gift searching and giving season. As you score on great deals keep in mind that gifts are given to connect with others and show them you care or are thinking about them.

  1. Identify your budget for the holiday season.
  2. Create a List of people important to you whom you’d like to find gifts.
  3. Write down gifts that each person on your list may like to receive.

Taking a few minutes to identify what the perfect gifts would be for who you would like to buy gifts for can prevent you from grabbing, snatching, and over-spending. If you enjoy making things, then you can also think about things you can hand make too.

It should never be about how much a gift costs, but the thought and effort put into picking out just the right gift that reflects celebrating your relationship to one another.

What’s the Real Purpose?

I believe the real reason why we want to get good deals is so we can let those in our life know how much we care about them.  When you find good deals do you:

  • Buy more presents so you can give gifts to more people or
  • Save and have peace of mind that you didn’t break the bank?

If you have family or friends in town, or if you’ve traveled to be with loved ones over Thanksgiving, you have to choices—take them with you as you go shopping or stay at home! Both ways you can connect and share laughs and memories together.

Whenever we have family and friends in town to give thanks together we tend to choose relaxing, chatting, and connecting with one another. And to us Black Friday is the perfect excuse to stay in and focus on family, because we hear it’s a crazy jungle out there!

Regardless of whether you stay in or go shopping on Black Friday, do you find yourself year in and year out using this day to think about and or connect with your loved ones? What’s your Black Friday tradition?

Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd

Mars Venus Coaching

Corporate Media Relations