Newsletter & Blog

Bearings, Key and Alternator

Laura Novakowski  -  Mar 23, 2011  -  Comments Off on Bearings, Key and Alternator

Paying attention to the signs and messages that show up in life and business can save tons of time, money, and energy. In the past several weeks, a team of 4 experienced car issues, which helped them avoid work and life issues that would have been so much worse.

It started with the newest and youngest member of the team having a “bearings” problem. Now, the definition of bearings is “the direction or path along which something moves or along which it lies .” Guess what? The bearings had to be changed. Often times, people choose a path that quite honestly is not the best. However, because they are on it and in it, they keep forging forward regardless of the consequences. Feelings of frustration, lack of motivation, overwhelmed and certainly tremendous dissatisfaction with self and others happen. When reviewing their current situation, the newest member of the team spent time evaluating their current direction and eliminated one time consuming job that was taking them completely off course. This change affected their thoughts and actions immediately enhancing the quality of their work and life.
The most senior member , the history and teacher”of the team had a key problem. It just would turn in the ignition. Now, the definition of key, “something crucial or central to the issue or problem.” The key had to be repaired. This person at the same time started to experience some heart problems. The key, like the heart, is core to our performance and success. This team player had lost some of their purpose due to a major personal life change and was starting to act as if they were no longer needed. This couldn’t have been further than the truth. Fortunately, the team pulled together to help this senior member see that they were absolutely essential to their success. As a team, they focused on validating purpose and contributions of each team player. Immediately, the sage of the group started to make some respectful health changes in diet and exercise that actually helped them to be relieved of some very distressing symptoms.

The last two team members experienced an alternator problem. Now, one definition of the alternator is to “charge the battery and to power an electric system when its engine is running. …” A battery is a source of power for any engine and needs constant charging. How interesting that their alternators needed to be replaced. With the charge there was no power. The charger and the source, also two critical team players had been trying to pick up and take over rather than serve as support. They too had to pull back and go on a retreat, a vacation, so that they could recharge and re-gain power.
Fortunately, the team payed attention to the “car problems” before their life problems became too serious. They regained their bearings, found the key to their purpose and recharged their power in work and life.

Are You Effective in Leadership Style?

Laura Novakowski  -  Mar 15, 2011  -  Comments Off on Are You Effective in Leadership Style?

Numerous styles of have been shared over the course of time. In my research, I have decided to share two very specific theories which describe behaviors that demonstrate how effective or ineffective a leader can be.

In the 1930’s, Dr. Levin, a psychologist, led a group of researchers in a study which established 3 types of leadership – Authoritarian, Delegative, and Participative.

  • Authoritarian, also known as autocratic, was a style where the leader tells you how to think and act. It’s the leader’s way or the highway. A tremendous amount of distinction between the boss and the underlings and never the twain shall meet.
  • Delegative, also known as laissez-faire, was a style where the leader offers little or no guidance and leaves the decisions up to the group.
  • Participative, also know as democratic, was a style where the leader offers support and guidance. This leader actively seeks input and actually listens and responds to suggestions. In this type of leadership, the leader actually actively engages and participates within their team.

In the 1990’s to the present, Dr. Paul Taffinder, an world renowned expert in leadership has been researching and publishing about seven styles of leadership. In 2006, Dr. Taffinder published these interesting styles of leadership in the book entitled, The Leadership Crash Course.

  • The Transformational Leader is a style that transforms commitment and levels of performance, highly goal directed and willing to go against traditional approaches.
  • The Enforcer is a style that are cautiously optimistic while driving towards very specific, defined objectives.
  • The Deal Maker is a style that attracts followers because of the energy, enthusiasm and interest in the new and exciting.
  • The Administrator is a style clear in what needs to be achieved and ruthlessly follow through.
  • The Visionary is a style that inspires people to dream of greatness but fail to follow through.
  • The Serial Entrepreneur is a style that is imaginative, but calculating, gamblers, displaying huge energy and commitment and sweeping people along with them because they make seemingly impossible challenges achievable
  • The Spin Doctor is a style that seems to be everything a leader should be, but their behavior is inconsistent and self-serving.

These are two different approaches to defining styles of leadership. Both experts researched and identified traits and abilities that demonstrate varying degrees of effectiveness as a leader. At any given time, people will demonstrate any and all of these leadership styles. The question now becomes, how can we aspire to become like the traditional style from Dr. Levin’s research, participative leader? And the next question, which in my mind now becomes imperative in this time of indecision, ineffective decisions, entrenched styles of leadership become truly transformational as Dr. Taffinder recommends?

I’m interested in your thoughts.

March 2011 Power Choices Newsletter

Laura Novakowski  -  Mar 11, 2011  -   -  Comments Off on March 2011 Power Choices Newsletter

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Capture the Loveliness

Laura Novakowski  -  Mar 08, 2011  -  Comments Off on Capture the Loveliness
A few days ago, the east coast of the United States was beyond dreary and gray. For what seemed like endless hours, the landscape was battered by rain, sleet and snow. Life couldn’t have looked or felt more ugly. The next morning traveling was difficult, if not impossible. Meetings canceled, I was faced with the drudgery of playing cleanup in the office.

Fortunately, I received a call and an excited voice on the other end asked, “Are you looking outside? It’s glorious. The sun and ice on the trees looks like thousands of diamonds.” I could almost see her smile and I definitely felt the joy in her voice. My eyes moved to the window. She was so right – there were diamonds everywhere.

A simple call, a wonderful gesture caused me to stop being upset and negative about having to change my plans for the day. My energy lifted and I found myself cleaning up, clearing up and revamping some of my business plans. The call also brought to mind the poem by Sara Teasdale called Barter.

Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things;

Blue waves whitened on a cliff,

Soaring fire that sways and sings,

And children’s faces looking up,

Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell;
Music like a curve of gold,

Scent of pine trees in the rain,

Eyes that love you, arms that hold,

And, for the Spirit’s still delight,

Holy thoughts that star the night.

Give all you have for loveliness;

Buy it, and never count the cost!

For one white, singing hour of peace

Count many a year of strife well lost;

And for a breath of ecstasy,

Give all you have been, or could be.

The call, the poem and taking time to reflect has caused me to re-focus and re-charge my thinking, my attitude and my actions. Wonderful, positive gifts from others and myself to see thousands of diamonds and capture the loveliness of work and life.

One Brick at a Time

Laura Novakowski  -  Mar 02, 2011  -  Comments Off on One Brick at a Time
“I don‘t know what my calling is,
but I want to be here for a bigger reason.
I strive to be like the greatest people who have ever lived.”
Will Smith.

We are surrounded by limiting factors. Not enough money, costs are on the rise – health costs, fuel costs, life and work costs. It may almost seem better to cut back and limit. I would like to suggest that we change that mental paradigm and see each challenge, whether real or imagined, as an opportunity to find our own greatness

One of my favorite videos on You Tube is Will Smith’s Wisdom – this is a much watch video - . One story that Will shares is a story about his father and building a wall. Smith’s father instructs Will and his younger brother to build a wall. At first this seems like a daunting task, and then these two children – Will was 12 and his brother younger laid one brick at a time and in 18 months built a wall.

What a gift, Mr. Smith gave to his young sons. This wall stands today because two mere children were given a job and decided to lay one brick at a time. It didn’t occur to them that the wall couldn’t be built and so they built it.

Now, it only takes one kind word or expression of gratitude to change a relationship for the better. It only takes one dollar at a time to create an investment program. It only one word at a time to write a book. It one brush stroke at a time to paint a masterpiece.

If two small children can build a brick wall in eighteen months,than I certainly can improve my work, my life, my community “one brick at a time.” How about you?

Journaling Tips from Leonardo Da Vinci

Laura Novakowski  -  Feb 22, 2011  -  Comments Off on Journaling Tips from Leonardo Da Vinci

From a very young age, I have been an avid proponent of writing in a journal. People often ask me the best approach to successful journaling. Upon scavenging my bookshelves, I found The How to Think like Leonardo Da Vinci Workbook by Michael Gelb. Through seven Da Vinci principles, Gelb creates the perfect exercises to self-assessment, reflect and journal.

Da Vinci’s Seven Principles

– an “insatiably curious approach to life and unrelenting quest for continuous learning”.

Dimostrazione is “a commitment to test knowledge through experience, persistence, and a willingness to learn from mistake”.

Sensazione is “the continual refinement of the senses, especially sight, as the means to enliven experience”.

Cryptic is “a willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty”.

Arte/scienza is “the development of the balance between science and art, logic and imagination”.

Corporalità is “the cultivation of grace, ambidexterity, fitness, and poise”.

Connessione is “a recognition of and appreciation for the interconnectedness of all things and phenomena”.

Gelb does a masterful job to help expand the creative juices and think like Leonardo Da Vinci.

Pay Attention to Signs

Laura Novakowski  -  Feb 14, 2011  -  Comments Off on Pay Attention to Signs

There are signs every where. Below you will find three signs that I am noticing in my travels that are serving and saving me in countless ways. I’d like to suggest that we pay attention to these road signs in our lives as well as on the road.

What happens when we come across a speed bump? We slow down. If we don’t, we hit the bump and it will slow us down. Why not notice when a “speed bump” sign shows up in life? Every move too fast in a sale or relationship and someone says, “Slow Down“? When we pay attention and take time to listen and learn more, the outcome is so much more successful. Plus there’s a lot less damage.

What happens when you see a road closed ahead sign. I recently watched someone stop briefly at a road closed sign and then plow down the road anyway. Minutes later they we backing out of the area. No surprise there. When a road is closed it’s closed. Not taking the road is the best solution – no matter how much we want to go down that road.

This is my favorite sign. All too often we want to take a direct route to get results and this sign shows up. Believe me, we need to pay attention when a detour sign shows up. This saves us time, money and relationships in the long run. As much as we don’t like change, it’s amazing what happens when you have to take a detour.

Three Signs to help us on our journey to success- Speed Bump, Road Closed and Detour – Never deviate from your desired results, just slow down, stop or take another route and life will be much more enjoyable.

February 2011 Power Choices Newsletter

Laura Novakowski  -  Feb 11, 2011  -   -  Comments Off on February 2011 Power Choices Newsletter

Download the February 2011 Power Choices Newsletter

Understanding Motivation

Laura Novakowski  -  Feb 07, 2011  -  Comments Off on Understanding Motivation

Understanding that our motivations cause us to act or not act is a major key to personal and professional success. To further drive home this point, let’s start with some basic definitions for motivation.

  1. -“the psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal; the reason for the action; that which gives purpose and direction to behavior.”
  2. – “the activation or energization of goal-oriented behavior. Motivation is said to be intrinsic or extrinsic.”

If our motivators help or hinder us in achieving our goals, I’d like to offer some tips that can be considered to ensure that we achieve the positive results and goals that we desire.

Tip #1 – Set aside time for reflection and review of your motivators. Identify interests, fulfilled and unfulfilled dreams and goals and create a motivation journal.

Tip #2 -Focus on the positive goals or change that you want. The more positive and attractive the thoughts and images, the more likely you will be motivated to achieve the goal.

Tip #3 – Research individuals who have been successful. Read biographies, view movies and videos, interview successful people in your community.

Tip #4 – Find an accountability buddy or buddies. An accountability buddy is a person who will support, listen and provide honest feedback to help you discover what is hindering or supporting your growth.

Tip #5 – Measure your progress. Create a system that tracks your success, your challenges, your opportunities to change and grow.

Tip #6 – Be adventurous. Get out of your comfort zone, attend diverse social, community and employment opportunities.

Tip #7 – Have fun. Understanding one’s motivation is a large part of our life and work journey and so we might as well enjoy the ride.

“The only lifelong, reliable motivations are those that come from within, and one of the strongest of those is the joy and pride that grow from knowing that you’ve just done something as well as you can do it.”
Lloyd Dobens

Feasibility – Look Before Leaping

Laura Novakowski  -  Feb 01, 2011  -  Comments Off on Feasibility – Look Before Leaping

A feasibility study can mitigate risks if conducted as one of the first steps before leaping into a venture, a relationship, a project, a job or a change.

Why would an individual or company research feasibility?

The following simple definitions are a great start for building the case for investing time, money, resources and talent…

What are the elements for a successful feasibility study?

There are six basic elements for determine feasibility…

  1. Identify Market/Customer Needs.
  • What are the past, present and future needs of the market or client base?
  • What are the services or products they have used, are currently using or would like to use?

2. Identify the Present Benefits and Results.

  • What are the benefits that the products or services will bring?
  • What results will the market or client base receive from this product or service?

3. Identify the Future Benefits and Results.

  • What are the future needs of this endeavor to ensure sustained success?
  • What will it take to ensure that these needs are met?

4. Identify the Resources, Costs, Investments.

  • What will it cost to deliver the product or service?
  • What resources are available to support this endeavor?
  • What are the other investments that are required to make this effort possible?

5. Identify the Alternative Source of Supply or Service, A.K.A. competitive analysis.

  • What sources are currently providing this product or service?
  • How customer friendly are these current competitors?
  • What are the current challenges that the alternative sources of supply are encountering?

6. Identify the Strategy and Financial Plan.

  • What is the purpose of this endeavor?
  • What is the vision and mission of this venture?
  • What are the values required to support this product or service?
  • What are the financial projections for a successful venture?

A feasibility study is not an exercise to delay to the start of a project or change. It is an investment in time, money, and resources to ensure that thoughtful business and life decisions are made. The ultimate benefits and results – leaping into deep water and finding that when you leap you can and will swim and sustain success.

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