Cindy Novotny

Be the BEST!

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For 13 years we were proud to be the outsourced training company that ran the Ritz-Carlton Learning Institute under Horst Schulze.  It was a fantastic time of being part of the exceptional team that won 2 Malcolm Baldrige Awards. 

We traveled the globe sharing our best practices with corporations from every market segment.  The valuable lessons we had learned and we are now teaching, still resonate today.  We are proud to still benchmark the original architects of service excellence. 

One of the best lessons in learning to become the best is to be proud to start off on the bottom rung.  Today, too many young, aggressive people get out of university and within 1 year feel they should be running the show.  I simply don’t get it.  What happened to the mentality of apprenticeship? 

What happened to learning from a mentor?  How do you become a strategic thinker or a creative director without paying the dues to learn the job through your successes and failures?

As a young manager myself, I would watch my more senior leaders very carefully.  I would emulate them in every way I could.  Because of trying to be the best, I received accolades and promotions faster than my peers.  I would sometimes be accused of ‘brown nosing’ the boss so I could get ahead.  I could have cared less what they all said, because today the proof is in my success.

I worked hard and paid attention.  I never compromised.  I made my sales calls, input my data, closed the business and worked the room every chance I got.  I wanted to be the best and I knew there were no shortcuts.

My drive to be the best began when I was young.  My dad never let me say ‘average.’  I could not be satisfied with average grades or doing an average job whether I liked the job or not.  My parents both pushed us as kids to do it right the first time.  My parents’ standards were high and I thank them every morning I get up to go to work, and do it right – so I can be the best!

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Deception in the Workplace

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I am just amazed how in one week I learned about 2 different incidences where senior leaders took advantage of their investors, employees and clients.  Unbelievable!

If you haven’t read the book ‘Bad Blood’…The Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup – get it today.  In addition, watch the HBO documentary on how in 2015 Theranos founder and CEO Elizbeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs.  A brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood testing significantly faster and easier.

Today, she waits for her 2020 trial along with her COO Sunny Balwani to seal her fate on fraud.  

I am sure you also watched the Netflix special on the FyreFestival.  How an entrepreneur could convince so many people to invest in his festival to the tune of millions of dollars and never produce the music festival he charged so much for and let so many people down.  Well, I guess the 6 years he is spending in prison will give him time to re-think his actions.

There are many more examples I could give but this is a good start.  Anytime something seems to good to be true – it is.  Nothing comes that easy and the good old fashion theory of ‘hard work’ and honesty will always pay off.  The hustlers, slick salespeople, charlatans and entrepreneurs who ‘fake it till they make it’ are getting caught.  

If everyone would get up each day knowing what they need to do to be successful, there would be less examples of fraud and the lawsuits that follow.  The world is too small to hide anymore.  You must walk your talk, pay your dues and produce viable results.  Anything other than that will get you no where fast.  There is no golden path these days – it is simply hard work.  Are you ready for it?

 

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Invest in Our Future

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I truly believe in the fact that children are our future – teach them right and let them lead the way.  It is still the middle of summer and most kids are still on summer break.  Make sure that you are helping your kids, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and even your friends children, stay motivated over the summer with more than just the beach.

I find that kids are losing their creativity today, because everything is so automated.  They play games online; watch shows online, and rarely go outside and play, or simply sit quietly reading or playing with a coloring book. 

Carve out some space and time to help kids use their ‘creative muscles’ that will help them in their future for problem solving, collaborating, teamwork and emotional intelligence.  Here are some ideas to boost the creativity with kids.

1.        Create an artist corner.  Get an artist easel at any craft store and sit it up in the corner of your family room with crayons and let them draw away.  Pin up their art around the house and change it out by the season.

2.       Get outside and explore the beautiful world around you.  Nature is the best place to calm down, talk to each other, and use your imagination.  When I was young, I would lay under my grandparents weeping willow tree and look at the clouds creating pictures in my mind. 

3.       Develop a ‘summer’ chore list and reward them for great behavior.  Don’t make the chores all about housework, but give them goals of reading books, writing a letter to family members, sending cards and just engaging with the family.

4.       Have quiet hour everyday where they take naps, lay in the grass, rest on a hammock and just enjoy being still.

5.       Have the kids create a plan for the upcoming holidays.  Ideas for food, crafts, parties and gifts.  Let them create a calendar of events to get excited about the coming months. 

 

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HOPE IS NOT ALWAYS A STRATEGY – BUT IT IS AN OPTION!

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Let’s start the next week by getting your brain switched on to hope.  Based on the book, Switch on Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf, she explains that thoughts are real.  Think of thoughts as real estate – they occupy your brain minute by minute and day by day.

When we hope, it is an activity of the mind that changes the structure of the brain.  So, what does this have to do with life, work and productivity?  Most people struggle with issues in their life and when they are constantly negative or look at the glass half empty, they are wasting not only precious time, but value space in our brain. 

It is time to work your brain the way it was built to run – better and stronger than the most complex computer out there.  Fill your brain this week with hope.  Be positive, be strong and be hopeful that the future is bright, and you are making the right choices.

Hope allows you to eliminate the negativity that takes up our thinking.

·         You don’t have to be a victim – you control your reactions

·         You are responsible for your actions

·         No excuses

·         Our daily action is based on what we build into our minds

·         Choice and action change your thinking

Productivity and happiness are a state of mind.  Everyone can be successful and happy.  What is standing in your way?  If you do not have control over it – move around it and move on!

 

 

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The Eagle Has Landed!

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The Eagle Has Landed!

WOW!  How time flies.   50 years ago, Armstrong's first step onto the lunar surface was broadcast on live TV to a worldwide audience.

His famous line became history and is recognized around the globe.  “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

He landed on the moon and NASA returned them safely to earth.  This is something to be celebrated and discussed, as we live through turbulent times and get so spun up about things that are really not as important as standing together strong.

A little trip down memory lane….

On May 25, 1961,Kennedy addressed the United States Congress on ‘urgent national needs’, and declared:

I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.

We propose to accelerate the development of the appropriate lunar space craft. We propose to develop alternate liquid and solid fuel boosters, much larger than any now being developed, until certain which is superior. We propose additional funds for other engine development and for unmanned explorations – explorations which are particularly important for one purpose which this nation will never overlook: the survival of the man who first makes this daring flight. But in a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the Moon – if we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.

AN ENTIRE NATION he said.  It takes incredible energy and teamwork to do great things, and what worries me is how polarized so many people are not only at work but in families and in our own countries.

It is time to remember that you are very small in this huge world and although you can make a difference, it takes a lot of people to help you make a significance difference. 

As my dad always said – yesterday is gone, you don’t know what tomorrow holds – the only thing you can count on is to live today as if it were your last.  Don’t waste time in areas that will not create happiness, success and a brilliant future. 

It is not that hard, but unfortunately many people don’t get it!

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Pay Attention to Your ‘Look’

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I dedicate this blog to Micaela Erlanger and Bree Jacoby, who I have had the great fortune of spending some quality time with.  Micaela gave me her book ‘How to Accessorize’, and I am now obsessed.  I have thought for awhile that we are losing our edge in business etiquette and dressing for success.

Until I read her book, I just continued to think that maybe I was too strict in my desire to make sure everyone looks good, dresses with class and knows how to go from day to night with ease.

I was raised with the notion that you dress for the job you want, and if you dress for it – you can have it.  Again, over time and with the push for ‘casual Fridays,’ more comfortable clothes at work and a work environment that screams – sloppy is just fine as long as you get your work done has created a workforce of people that need to back up, look in the mirror and recognize that how you dress says a lot about who you are and how you are perceived.

Micaela explains it so well in her book.  Do you really know how to dress, accessorize and make a statement?  If you don’t, buy the book immediately!

Everything we talk about in business today and especially in sales, leadership, and customer service, is about painting the picture – storytelling.  Think about the story you are telling every time you step out the door to go to work, attend an event or even jump on a plane.  Just the other day I was sitting on a plane as people were boarding.  I dress for every flight, comfortable but professional enough to talk to the CEO next to me.

After the plane landed and I stood up, this woman a few rows back said, “Cindy, I knew it was you when I passed you before we took off.”  She then said, “who else would look this good on a plane.”  That confirmed what I have always said – you never know you will run into, who you will sit by, or what opportunities are available if you are not dressing the part.

Another very clever and bright young lady that I have also spent some time with knows this as well, is Bree Jacoby – www.breejacoby.com  She gets it.  Her company does personal styling for you right from your own closet and brings the brands to you. 

Her home of style shows exactly how executives (both men and women) need to dress to improve their presence and their careers.  Whether she is editing your closet, creating custom clothing or personal shopping, she is making a difference once client at a time.  Her relationship with you is ongoing. Bree knows that you need to feel confident, every step of the way. 

I love how she makes her point - “Dress for Success” is a famous line for a reason. Clothing is that non-verbal, say-everything kind of impression that determines how others perceive you. Dressing right for that business meeting, new date, work trip, or a wedding is important for your personal brand. Let’s face it: confidence is key, and it’s impossible, without a fantastic wardrobe to pair with it.

So, the next time you feel like just rolling out of bed and heading to the office, think again.  These young, talented entrepreneurs are changing the face of ‘casual Fridays!’

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Dream It... Live It! DON’T FEAR IT!

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Stepping out of one’s comfort zone can be difficult.  Believe me, I do it every day.  The one major hurdle of chasing your dreams is the fear of not making it, disappointment and failure.

This week I spent vacationing at our cottage with family and my darling 8-year-old nephew was afraid to ride the Alpine Slide at Crystal Mountain, MI.  He and I rode the chair lift to the top and as we got on our slides and made it to the edge, he adamantly said, “I don’t want to do this.”  After much coaxing and trying to convince him he again said very clearly, “I just don’t want to do this.”  Of course, I said, ‘no problem – I am afraid of certain rides, will never jump out of an airplane and I will never go in a cave.’  We then began our long walk down the mountain to meet our family who was waiting with their cameras to see us come down the slide. 

The entire walk down the mountain he kept saying, “I am sorry I didn’t want to ride down on the sled.”  I continued to talk to him about how it doesn’t matter if you are afraid of doing something risky because it is all about you – what YOU want to do and not what others think you should do.  And by the way, I know a lot of adults who don’t want to ride down that slide!

We then discussed what he wanted to try and do.  He told me that he is going to work very hard in his scout program to become an Eagle Scout just like his dad.  He said, “it is so hard to become the best in scouts and I am going to do this.”  Bravo I said and off we trekked.

The lesson:

Fear is real and fear is ok when it tells you CAUTION!  Don’t confuse that fear with limiting your dreams.  My nephew didn’t.  I am no different than my nephew.  I fear certain things that scare me because they are screaming – CAUTION!!  What I don’t fear is risk in business, family, friends and co-workers.  I believe in the crucial conversations and don’t fear risk in opening dialogue.

I believe in pushing myself out of my comfort zone with clients, always searching for new and innovative ideas.  Without the risk, there is no gain. 

To me, risk is not about fear.  Risk and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone should be fun – always.  Whether it is trying something out for the first time or re-creating a new approach.  Succeed or fail – it should be fun to try.

Be proud of taking the risk and don’t be afraid of anything unless is screams – CAUTION! 

 

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Get Real in Connecting!

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I sit in airports, lobbies of hotels, restaurants and on planes watching people stare at their phones.  Watching YouTube, reading texts and emails, browsing Facebook and Instagram, but ignoring the person they are traveling with.

I love to talk to my family, friends and even the strangers I meet along the way.  Sure, I love to browse on social media, but I truly crave the passion and excitement of talking to people.  I miss not living by my daughter so that I can just drop in and ‘chat.’  I speak to my parents on the phone almost daily, my MCA team constantly and Facetime my husband several times a day when we aren’t together. 

I love hugging my own dogs and the cute videos of fuzzy funny tricks does not replace the actual cuddling with your own. 

I think we need to try harder to squeeze in more time to talk to one another in real time and learn how to connect every single day.  This applies to the good times and the bad moments.  The tough conversations must be handled one on one, face to face, or at least on the phone.  Not through an email or a text. 

Life is so special, and it is so short.  I have always used the quote from George Strait – “I am not here for a long time, but I am here for a good time.”  Every day I wake up knowing that this could be my last, so bring on the sunshine and live your life connecting with the people that matter.  XOXO Cindy

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On the Move!

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Sometimes it can be difficult to reflect on life’s occurrences when you are always on the move, like myself.  There are days when the constant travel and change of scenery is seamless and everything goes off without a hitch!  With that being said, there are absolutely times when I’m going so fast, a new day, new city, new state of mind, and I have to stop internally, and force myself to process the moments I experience while on the road.  Being an Entrepreneur, a Wife, a Mom, an Employer, a Daughter, Sister, and friend, keeps me busy, and I love every moment.  However, part of keeping myself grounded and on the right path for myself and my family, means I do have to reflect, process and spend some time reviewing my thoughts and emotions.  Being on the go, does not mean, you can shut out the rough days, and blaze past.  It means, I have to focus even more and make the time to deal, even when the clock and the changing of time zones may make that difficult.  You see, before I can look out for all those people in my personal as well as my business life, I have to look out for number one.  That person has to be me, because without myself being whole, I wouldn’t be able to put my heart into my family, friends, business, clients, employees, or anyone else I come in contact with.  I have never and will never do anything half-heartedly.  I’m an all or nothing gal, and I like it that way.  Remember, you do not have to be perfect, in fact there is no such thing, and to be honest, everyone loves flavor and variety.  The idea of perfection breeds boredom!  When you do something in life, give it your all, and make sure you nurture your thoughts, process your experiences and don’t deny yourself the right to get upset, feel raw emotion, yell, cry, do whatever you need to do!  But afterward, pick yourself up, keep moving, and know that the best is yet to come because you are worth all the hard work that it takes to get through all the fabulous days, and every one of the challenging ones!

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I Was Told I Could Fly!

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Growing up I was so fortunate to have parents that told me I could do anything I wanted to do, be anything I wanted to be, and go anywhere I wanted to go.  So today…I am living that life.  No wonder I have 10 Million miles under my belt and only spend a few weeks in my own bed.  I have chosen this life, and I LOVE it. 

So why do so many people wish for a life they want, but don’t do anything to live that life?  I believe it is the fear of letting go of the security, and safety, of their own comfort zone.

Then, we have those who try anything, at any time, with no purpose or goal.  So, what is right for you?  My thought is, you must believe your heart, and follow your gut.

So, as we enter the last 6 months of 2019, let’s not let 2020 take us by surprise.  Take a lesson from one of Diana Ross’s songs

Do You Know Where you're going to?
Do you like the things That life is showing you?
Where are you going to?
Do you know?

Do you get What you're hoping for?
When you look behind you There's no open doors
What are you hoping for?
Do you know?

Take a lesson from my book – you have the wings….now take flight!

Photo Credit- John Cain Photography

Photo Credit - John Cain Photography

Photo Credit - John Cain Photography

Rise and Shine!

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Welcome to the beginning of my summer (not officially) but for me, June marks summer vacation.  Ever since I was a child, I dreamed of the day school was out and we prepared for 3 months of bliss.

In my world that meant some very specific traditions.  We always got new summer PJ’s, rosebud sheets and one month at the beach in Grand Haven, Michigan.  It didn’t get much better than that.

Even when my daughter Jessica was young, I tried hard to have more free time during the summer break and we always took at least 3 weeks off to go to our farm and summer place in northern Michigan.

Fast forward today.  Older, busier but not that much wiser.  Today, June marks summer for me, but I don’t get to take off as much time anymore.  What I am trying to do is create more ‘me time,’ and that means getting up earlier, watching the sunrise, sipping my coffee on a balcony of some of my favorite hotels.

I have learned to love the first rays of sun streaking through the window as I focus on my day.  I am learning to indulge in this quiet time and spend this time counting my blessings.

I am fortunate to live this wonderful life.  I am surrounded by family and friends who love me, and I love being with.  I believe a good day begins with opportunities to build our business and find new ways to experience this wonderful world, I get to travel. 

Give it a try!

1.     Wake up earlier throughout the summer

2.     Sit outside and watch the sunrise while you focus on breathing

3.     Drink your water before coffee

4.     Think about what you need to accomplish for the day

5.     Remind yourself what you are grateful for, and now you are ready to take on the day!

 

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Developing a World Class Sales Organization

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Nothing makes me prouder than being a part of a great learning and development company.  Master Connection Associates has spent years developing, curating and creating sales leaders around the world.  We have created hundreds of customized sales academies for our clients.  We have an exclusive Evergreen Process® updating everything we do that keeps our content current with the changing times.  This provides our clients a solid foundation to support their sales culture and the sales team development process. 

Our training technology has been benchmarked by many of our competitors.  Some may consider this ‘stealing our intellectual property’, but I see it as trying to copy the original without the foundation of our incredible team or the ‘secret sauce’ that produces our measurable results.

There are so many charlatans in the world of training.  Some have a website that says ‘we’ when it’s really only ‘me’ and others that have tried to do it themselves, with no educational technology qualifications and never succeed. There are also the ones who try and re-invent the sales process to a point that it is unrecognizable. Make no mistake – there is no short cut to sales excellence. 

Our team consists of true professionals from educational technologists with global backgrounds, trainers and consultants that excelled in the field before becoming a coach and the blended learning approach of e-learning, virtual learning, classroom, and on the job training. 

Our learning experience changes behaviors and we consistently receive feedback that we have actually changed lives!

A stand-alone approach simply doesn’t work.  Having one single voice in training also doesn’t work.  You need diversity, cultural backgrounds, global knowledge and a successful track record of examples to learn from.  So, let’s look at how sales leaders and business leaders should consider improving their sales performance.

1.   Know your goals of what you want to achieve when developing your sales team. 

2.   Make sure the sales leader is engaged from the very beginning and knows what needs to happen after the sales coach leaves

3.   Don’t use training as the ‘flavor of the month’ – stay consistent with the process for repeatable and sustainable growth

4.   Don’t allow the sales organization to decide what type of training they need – sales leadership should know this and be bold in holding their team accountable to reach tough goals supported through proper training they select

5.   Don’t discount instructor-led classroom training as it is the most effective way to learn and practice sales skills in front of peers, leaders and the sales coach.  Skills improve when practiced, such as:

a.   New business development

b.   Discovery

c.    Presenting

d.   Negotiating

e.   Selling against the competition

f.     Handling problems/objections

g.   Closing

6.   Digital learning tools are fabulous for the sales colleagues ‘on the run.’  Online courses are adaptable for many styles and cultures, so use the combination of all to provide results. 

Never discount the energy and enthusiasm of the facilitators.  Young sales professionals today have shared that their boredom in a classroom is never about the content and always the professor.  Creating a robust sales team today calls for a robust and true leader and sales coach. 

Have you found yours?

At a recent training, this was the feedback received from a participant, on their anonymous evaluation.

“Thank you so much Cindy and Jos, you are both really engaging and awesome. you have made an impact on my life!”

Another participant wrote, “This kind of experience should happen more often..at least every 3 months on a new topic..very important to be a stronger sales person.”

 

Are you setting the right priorities?  

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Everyone is busy.  Everyone is spread too thin.  Everyone spends more time talking about how much they must do versus just doing it!

 

I say, ‘SNAP OUT OF IT!’  So, you are busy – get over it.  Think about the opposite.  You are not busy because you don’t have enough work, you are alone with no friends or family to juggle or you simply are running around like a crazy person never completing anything. 

 

This all comes down to setting the right type of priorities so you can accomplish everything you have ever wanted out of life.  Yes, you can have it all and don’t let anyone tell you anything different.  I get that life is messy – believe me, I know messy, but I also know that I can’t dwell on messy.  I must get up, get on with it and make sure I reach every goal I set for myself and my team. 

 

Every successful person I know has learned how to live without the ‘perfect’ balance but has learned how to ‘balance’ their personal and professional life.  Just as I talk about balance in my book, ‘Living with No Balance and Loving It,’ you need to learn how to prioritize to make things happen. 

 

Money can’t buy happiness, but happiness can’t buy a house!  Money lost or spent can be regained, but you will never be able to get back time – more valuable than money if it is lost.

 

Recently, I have talked to many women who took off 10-15 years to raise their children and now in their late 30’s and 40’s they are wanting to re-enter the workforce.  The struggle these women are having is that they did not keep up their skills.  Even with their college degrees, they lost sight of the business climate, technology and the price of re-entry.  Priorities must be carefully analyzed so that your plan includes the next 5 – 10 – 15 years. 

 

Staying home to raise children is a privilege and I admire anyone who could do that.  I was not able to stay home, therefore I made priorities to go back to work and still spend every free minute with my daughter.  I skipped going to movies and dinners with my husband, spending money on me so I could spend it on her, and I have never looked back.  I prioritized what was important for our family. 

So, don’t waste time.  PRIORITIZE YOUR LIFE NOW!  You can kill time, and kill your career with non-productive meetings, phone calls, drama, lunches with no objectives, late starts on projects and procrastination.  All these to-do’s in our calendar can push the important priorities right to the bottom. 

 

Make every minute, every hour and everyday count.  You are no busier than anyone else, you just don’t spend your time wisely.  Stop right now and think about tomorrow.  Plan your day so that at the end of the day there is a smile on your face, and you are ready for the next day. 

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Watch Your Mouth!

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Watch Your Mouth!

I learned many years ago from my parents (and my teachers) that I have 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason.  Pay attention and listen.  Over the years I have worked on this, but I am still a work in progress.  In fact, the one thing I really remember from my French classes is this line – ‘ferme la bouche Solonge’!  (My French name) ... In English this means – Close your Mouth!

What is so ironic is that now I speak for a living and closing my mouth doesn’t work.  But I am learning when to hold back and not speak.  Hard, yes! 

So today we will take a minute to talk about adopting a new approach to running your mouth!  I have heard over the years that the average woman speaks over 20,000 words a day – not to mention her chatter on texts and on social.  Men – not sure about??

Let’s take some time and focus on how to slow down on the quick wit and think before we speak.

·         Leave all negative chatter off social media

·         Don’t gossip with anyone – it will come back to haunt you

·         As our mothers taught us – if you don’t have something nice to say – don’t say anything

·         In meetings take notes and circle what you want to come back to so that you speak with confidence

·         Breathe and pause before belting it out

·         Choose your words carefully

·         Never put in writing what you would not say to a person’s face

·         When listening to a spouse, partner, colleague, client or family member – do not judge and remember the proverb – believe the best before you assume the worst.

Have a wonderful weekend of good conversations XO

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Be Grateful for What Life Brings Your Way!

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I am working in Napa this week and although this is wine country, I had the privilege of being invited to an exclusive whiskey dinner!  Jenny Wren, from our team, came from the infamous whiskey business as an ambassador in this fantastic world.  Her contacts in this industry, are beyond compare.

At the last minute we were invited to join a private and intimate whiskey pairing dinner. It was at Brix in Napa for Dalmore, Highland Single Malt Scotch Whiskey!

In addition to an exquisite dining experience, we were so lucky to have the passionate Scotch Whisky Master Blender from Glasgow to educate and entertain.

So, in addition to learning about the proper way to drink scotch whiskey, I learned a lot of history about scotch whiskey.

·         1263 – Bravery is born – Saving King Alexander III’s life would prove to be a defining moment for Colin of Kintail, the Clan Mackenzie and in the history of The Dalmore

·         Kings Reward – the saying ‘fortune favors the brave’ has never been truer than for Colin of Kintail

·         As a sign of gratitude for saving his life, King Alexander III awarded him the land of Eilean Donan and the motto ‘ Luceo Non Uro’, which translates to ‘I Shine, Not Burn’!

·         More importantly Colin of Kintail and his Mackenzie clan were given the right to bear a 12-pointed Royal Stag at their crest

·         1867 – The Mackenzie Brothers take over The Dalmore

Forever standing apart at The Dalmore, they are proud to push boundaries while staying true to their courageous heritage by continuing to stand apart and defy convention. 

How do you do that? 

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Be Aware!

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AWARENESS; Awareness is the ability to directly know and perceive, to feel, or to be cognizant of events. More broadly, it is the state of being conscious of something.

It doesn’t matter if I am working with owners, executives, entrepreneurs or front-line employees, it is amazing how few people are able to self-reflect.  You must be completely comfortable in your own skin but understand how you come across to others.  Being arrogant, condescending, and egotistical demonstrates your lack of confidence.

Being aware of how you affect others will dramatically help you grow in your organization.  Lately I have been very aware of my team members and how they engage with others.  I challenge everyone on my team to look at how they contribute to the team, affect the team and what the overall goals should be. 

This awareness can be very humbling to some who don’t realize that a lack of positivity that comes across when you don’t smile or engage in conversation.  Taking responsibility for your job means that you are aware of where you need help, feedback and coaching so that you are not always stressed out.  Acting as a prima donna who is untouchable also shows a lack of awareness. 

Being aware is systemic.  Your belief systems, your values, and even the way you were raised can cause you to ignore patterns of behavior that may not be that positive.  If you are aware and listen to feedback you will less likely be insecure and become more confident. 

Everyone can improve their self-awareness throughout their life if they want to.  If you seek out feedback and coaching from those closest to you, you will dramatically improve your behavior.  It is liberating to know that you are growing and learning how to get better and what drives people crazy about you.

As a trainer and speaker, I always must be self-aware because I get candid feedback daily from our sessions and keynote speeches.  Did they like what I said?  Did I come across genuine?  Did they learn something new?  If we receive any negative feedback, we cannot discount that.  We must speak to our clients and ask exactly what the feedback meant and how we can improve in the future.  Most people don’t have the guts to take this head on, and yet we do it, daily. 

Focusing on self-awareness is empowering and you should never fear what the reflection tells you or how deep you need to go.  Without actions to support your self-reflection results, you might as well have not asked for the feedback in the first place.

Start working on self-improvement by first digging deep into your motivation.   Why should you even care?  What will the awareness help me improve at?  How can I empower those around me to be more aware as well?

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Changing Lives, One Lunch at a Time!

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Today, I had the distinguished honor of being a speaker at the Inaugural luncheon, for the WIPA Dallas Chapter.  It dawned on me that the enthusiasm and commitment shown by these wedding professions, absolutely challenges the average status quo for today’s entrepreneur!  I have simply not seen the equal of these people in terms of dedication and work ethic.  I was completely amazed and delighted! 

My speech was about how to compete in the business world, with dignity.  It’s shocking how unfamiliar so many professionals are with this topic.  So many individuals cut down their competition, versus highlighting and presenting their own positive attributes.  You shouldn’t need to undercut your competition to look better.  You should stand out because your company and your work speak for itself!  In my speech, I referenced one of my favorite books, “The Art of War” written by Sun Tzu.  These are some of my favorite points.

•      “Hug the ‘haters.’”

•      “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.” 

•      “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” 

•      “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” 

•      “The wise warrior avoids the battle.” 

 

My personal favorite is the last piece of advice.  “The wise warrior avoids the battle.”  This phrase crosses my mind often.  It’s important to how I carry myself in the business world, and how I want my team to carry themselves.  It doesn’t mean we don’t fight for business.  It means, you never see us coming! 

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I AM FEARLESS!

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Yes, I am!  Being confident helps you be fearless, and when you are fearless, you have more confidence.  I think we need to learn from our best friends, and trusted mentors, on where we exclel, and what we need to work on.  A lack of confidence gives in to fear, and that is what starts the vicious cycle. 

When you possess courage, learn to deal with conflict, the one attribute that gets stronger than any other is becoming fearless.

I am sure there is not anyone out there that does not have some fears (including myself) but dealing with that fear is the key to success.  Being fearless enables people to do miraculous things.  It is important to think about all the fears that exist in our lives: 

·         Climbing mountains

·         Throwing your body across the finish line in sports

·         Skydiving

·         Heights

·         Health issues

·         Flying

·         Fear of rejection

·         Public speaking

And we could go on and on!  The key is to overcome your fear with confidence.  You must practice being strong and imagine yourself doing whatever it is you want to do.

The first step is to identify what you are afraid of, and where your weaknesses are.  After you are comfortable with reality, find a mentor, coach or trusted friend and ask for help.  There are so many reasons to learn how to overcome fear and the results are amazing – less stress, less anxiety, better performance at work, improved personal communication and overall better living. 

Today is the best day to take control of your destiny, and conquer your fears! You can do it!

What’s Culture Got To Do With It?

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Considering changing jobs?  Make sure you are clear about the type of culture you are looking for, in a new position.  So many HR professionals have created the new ‘human workplace’ as a tagline for their companies,making every opportunity look like you are joining a fraternity or family.  Think again.  Depending on ownership, ROI, and performance analytics, it seems that the human side of business can be pushed aside at anytime to improve the bottom line.  

 

The hottest buzzwords today are culture, spirit, employee engagement, mindfulness, and overall well-being.  Who doesn’t love those thoughts?  

 

Culture has everything to do with leadership.  The overall well-being of any organization has to do with environmentwhich is created by the leaders. It’s how they engage with other employees based on their beliefs, values and background.  Culture is implied as well as emotional and that is why some weak leaders can toss it aside, when the bottom-line needs attention.

 

I personally believe that you must stay true to your culture and that will inevitably improve productivity, and result in increased revenue.  The traits are clear in making an emotional connection within an organization.

 

• A true focus on the workplace environment

• Trust

• Emotional connection to a ‘family friendly’ business

• Non-negotiable behavioral standards that lead to success

 

Make sure you double check the culture of the companies you are looking at, whether for a career change, or a new supplier to do business with.  Do you feel an emotional connection to this organization?  Companies that have a strong culture will elicit enthusiasm, creativity energy.  Be that company and as an individual look for that company to work for.  

Welcome to the Second Quarter!

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Wow – can you believe we are in the 2nd quarter of 2019?  I can’t.  It seems that I was just starting out the year and April seemed so far away.  So, what strategies do you have in place for this quarter?  How will did you end the first quarter?

 

Now is a good time to get the team together and brainstorm was to improve performance, brainstorm innovative ideas and make sure you are ahead of pace.

 

Driving strategy takes more than just talking – you need actions that have meaning and the whole team must know what direction you are going and have bought in to the plan.

 

As I sit in Europe writing this, I am very aware of what is going on in the world of business.  It is positive, it is strong and those who disagree are living with their head in the sand.  You have a small window of opportunity right now to get into gear and ensure the rest of 2019 will be spectacular.  Before you know it, you will be giving the same excuses you gave last year on why you didn’t make your quota. 

 

Don’t make this mistake.  Make April the month to make a difference that you will feel in December.  Happy Spring!

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