sustainability

To Succeed in Business – Raise Your Awareness

Laura Novakowski  -  Mar 07, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

One of the biggest attractors or detractors for success in business and  is our level of awareness.  To offer some insight into how to create a backdrop for increasing our awareness, I would like to share some insights from one of the most renowned humanistic psychologists of all times, Dr. Abraham Maslow.  As a humanist psychologist , he believed that a person who heightens their awareness  become “fully functioning,” “healthy,” and  “self-actualizing.” These three attributes are essential to success in life and business.

Here are  10 points that Dr. Maslow believed optimized these attributes:

  1. Be authentic. Be genuine and transparent  in communication and behaviors in a way that people fully understand.  Saying one thing and doing another, leads to confusion and chaos.
  2. Transcend cultural conditioning. Become world citizens.  Move outside of your comfort zone. Appreciate and learn from all cultures, rather than being trapped by one.
  3. Discover your calling, fate or destiny. Assess your talents, your passions and your interests. Take assessments that increase your understanding of your behaviors (DISC), , motivators (Values Index) and patterns of thinking (Attribute Index). Diagnostics can and will help to discover what is important and appropriate to pursue in life and business.
  4. Know that life is precious, that there is joy to be experienced in life.   People want and need to be happy and full of hope.  Even in tough situations, finding the pleasure and promise of growth and contribution often makes the job much more pleasurable and rewarding.
  5. Accept others as they are and help them to learn their inner nature. From real knowledge of aptitudes and limitations you can know what to build upon; what potentials are really available for you. The same with people. Not all partners,  employees, clients work out.  Accept them where they are. Offer guidance if asked or required. Provide assistance to exit a situation that doesn’t fit style, capabilities or interests.
  6. See that basic needs are satisfied. This includes safety, sense of belonging and esteem needs. When we are aware that we have basic needs, we can appreciate that one hundred percent of the population has the same basic needs. When these needs are met obstacles become opportunities and conflict becomes collaboration.
  7. Refresh consciousness.   Appreciate that every situation has some good, some bad and even some ugly going on.  Reviewing conversations and critiquing business processes helps raise awareness of important issues, challenges and opportunities.
  8. Controls are good. It takes control to improve the quality and balance of and in business and life. Setting benchmarks and matrix help to give focus and direction.
  9. Transcend the trifling problems and grapple with the serious problems in life. These include the problems of injustice, pain, suffering, and death. I once knew a nurse turned interior designer who often said to her clients,Let’s keep this decision in perspective.  Hanging curtains in not life or death. Deciding when to pull the plug,  now, that’s life or death.
  10. Be good choosers. You must practice to learn to make more powerful and positive choices. The key word here is practice. Test your choices. Run your decisions by valued and trusted mentors, colleagues or friends .  Generate congratulations and rewards for success. Evaluate the losses, make changes and move on.

Ten great ways to raise your awareness  from Dr. Maslow to help lead your business and life to success.

Source:  Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs from Psychology – The Search for Understanding by Janet A. Simons, Donald B. Irwin and Beverly A. Drinnien

Build a Culture for Success

Laura Novakowski  -  Feb 29, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

One of the most common complaints that I hear from business leaders is about the attitudes of their employees. Backstabbing, backbiting and backbreaking behaviors are tearing companies apart. As a result, business and service suffer.

Interestingly enough, when asked how these same leaders deal with such attitudes, the answers become punish them, avoid them or seek to understand and work with them. I would love to say that understanding and working with them is the most common choice, however experience tells me otherwise.

 

Although in the minority, successful leaders  do find ways to  build a culture for success.

Here are five tips  that successful leaders use to build a culture for success:

  1. Lead rather than manage people. To paraphrase Peter Drucker, “we manage things and lead people.” People are not objects. Trying to move people around like pieces on a chess board will only lead to frustration and disappointment.  Leadership is about expanding positive actions and change. Not controlling or limiting.
  2. Capitalize on talents. People are hired for their ability to do the job.  At least, one who hope that we are not hiring a warm body out of desperation.  Given guidance and direction, complainers become communicators, hiders become researchers and reviewers, saboteurs become innovators.
  3. Provide a focus.  Share and discuss the basic fundamentals of the business: the vision, mission and values. This does not mean emails or memo’s as a reminder. This means investing time to meet face-to-face, to ensure that people can internalize, interpret and digest the fundamentals of the business.
  4. Demand accountability.  Serving as framework,  job descriptions are used to build individual accountability.  First, successful leaders share the business objectives to assist employees to establish goals and action plans. Secondly, timely feedback helps to determine if the employee is on track.  This is not an annual event, but rather, an ongoing commitment to rewarding success and catching problems or failures.
  5. Listen and take action.  Many companies fail because employees don’t feel involved. The industrial age is long gone. The knowledge age is passing. This is the age of applying knowledge and employee engagement.  Learn to listen for what is not said as well as what is said. Ask for what might be left on said. Follow up on complaints. And, take action on suggestions.

A true  story about listening and taking action:

A consultant once solved a problem by leaving a board room and venturing into the basement. Absenteeism was up, productivity down, customer complaints were up and profitability was off by millions of dollars.

He sought out and interviewed some  maintenance staff and learned that air quality in the building was being affected by a faulty piece of equipment.    

“How long has this been going on?” the consultant asked.

The response, “More then a year.”

Whom did you talk with?”  he asked.

Everyone.

Lastly, he asked, “How much to fix?”

The reply, “Forty thousand dollars.” 

The consultant returned to the board room and shared the information.  The president was astonishedHe immediately completed a repair request.

The consultant followed up a few months later to follow up.   Absenteeism was down, productivity was up and profitability was ahead of schedule. The president rather sheepishly thanked the consultant for his assistance.  He also admitted that he now knew that value of listening to little complaints. He realized that often they were symptoms of an easy fix, rather than letting it lead to a costly impacts on the business.

In summary, lead people, rather than manage, capitalize on talent, provide a focus, demand accountability, listen and take action can and often will lead you to building a culture for success.

 

 

 

Trust Your Intuition

Laura Novakowski  -  Feb 22, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , ,  -  Comments Off on Trust Your Intuition

Intuition is powerful. We all have it. The problem is we often overlook it, second guess it, or just plain  ignore it.  Only to discover, that if we would have listened to that voice in the head, heart and gut that nudged, then shoved  and even shouted, that the voice was oh so right.

The word intuition comes from the Latin intueri, meaning to consider, “to look on. Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary sums up intuition asthe immediate knowing or learning of something without the conscious use of reasoning; instantaneous apperception.”  This intuitive “look on” implies something deeper than simple perception. It is the ability of “apperception“ ; “to take hold of” knowledge in one glance.

Simply, intuition is direct knowledge.

I am not saying that facts are not important. Facts are, often times, essential in moving forward in making critical decisions.  However, intuition helps set the vision, expand the strategy and lead to extraordinary success.

I recently watch the movie, Captain America, the First Avenger, on DVD.  Dr. Abraham Erskine, a scientist who comes to America during the World War II era to help overcome the Germans. He needs to find the ideal candidate for a very special scientific experiment. In this experiment, he will create a super hero that will help win the war.  He finds in Steve Rodgers, a 90 pound weakling.

All the facts showed, that Steve was the smallest, lacked endurance, and stamina. Intuition showed, Rodgers possessed traits of honor, heart, willingness to take a beating and never, ever quit.  The obvious facts showed stronger, brawnier men. The knowing showed heart, integrity and courage.

Dr. Erskine just KNEW that Rodgers had what it would take to become the perfect candidate.  If you can’t watch the movie, watch the clip:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0458339/. Facts don’t show what intuition leads you to know.

In my experience, often times the facts would have closed many a business. The intuition kept it and keeps it going. It’s great to have facts, as I mentioned earlier, facts are always important. However, intuition, your knowing, will help you to overcome tremendous obstacles, find amazing new opportunities and will lead you to fabulous results. Learn to trust your intuition!

 

Making Strategy an Accelerator, Not an Anchor

Laura Novakowski  -  Feb 08, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , , , ,  -  Comments Off on Making Strategy an Accelerator, Not an Anchor

How does the success business use strategy as an accelerator, not an anchor?

Businesses today have an opportunity to use strategy to their advantage. Whether we take an advantage of using our strategy to move our businesses towards growth and success. Or, use that strategy to hold us back – now those becomes interesting options.

Let’s investigate some accelerators and anchors…

Accelerators:

  • Change the business perspective – Just because last year had marginal results doesn’t mean the strategy for the next year is “fixing” all the old problems.  Get out of the office, the building. Got on a retreat, go to a play ground, or go kayaking.  Make it fun. Make it positive. Dream big!
  • Create a mastermind group – Reach into your vast network, or expand it, and find 4 to 7 successful, positive and energized individuals that would like to share ideas, help solve problems and serve as sounding boards for crazy and sometimes desperate ideas.  Masterminding can be done face to face or via telephone of Skype. Whatever the venue chosen be faithful, be committed and be collaborative.
  • Share your strategy. Communicate your strategy with each and every partner, investor, employee or interested party. Write it speak it. Sing it if you can. The more your strategy is shared the more likely you will succeed.
  • Strategy is a foundation not a prison. Last, but not least, be focused and yet flexible. The strategy may be a good one and yet something may come along that can galvanize you and your business to another level. Be open to suggestions and ideas.

Anchors:

  • Myopia – trying to solve the problem with the same mind that created it, to paraphrase Albert Einstein.
  • Isolationism – failing to reach out for help, feedback and/or objective assistance
  • Insulate – detaching and hiding in a cocoon. Holding the strategy so close that no one has any idea what you and your business are trying to achieve.
  • Rigid – the strategy cannot and will not be deviated from. Clients are leaving. It’s their problem – the strategy is just fine. Employees offering new ideas. Shut the door and shut out success.

Interesting dilemma, wouldn’t you agree. Comments on how to make strategy an accelerator, not an anchor, would be greatly appreciated.

Business Success -Winners Never Cheat

Laura Novakowski  -  Jan 18, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  -  Comments Off on Business Success -Winners Never Cheat

Jon Huntsman, chairman and founder of Huntsman Corporation, built a $12 billion dollar chemical corporation on the premise that “Winners  Never Cheat – Even in Difficult Times.”    

Here’s some of Mr. Huntsman’s business and life philosophies that are practical and powerful:

“Circumstances may change but your values shouldn’t.” 

“There are many temptations but reminders help.”

“Treat competitors, colleagues, employees and customers with respect.”

If the common practices become about posturing and positioning, then  business are using smoke and mirrors and their guiding principles. Diversions away from the quality, service, abilities, and integrity become the rule of thumb.

Let’s get back to authentic business success.  Build business success on character, honesty, integrity and respect.  As a result, customer, employee and stakeholder confidence and satisfaction will escalate dramatically. Because – “Winners NEVER Cheat!”

 

 

Thoughts and Choices – According to 12 Sage Minds

Laura Novakowski  -  Jan 11, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , , , ,  -  Comments Off on Thoughts and Choices – According to 12 Sage Minds

Think of choices as a basic rule of physic – the rule of cause and effect. A choice causes us to take or not take action which effects a change.  This change can be positive or negative. Only through careful thought and consideration can we truly determine what and how those choices affected our successes and failures in business and in life.

Here is some sage advice…

 Buddha“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.” 

William Shakespeare: “The choices we make dictate the life that we lead.”

William Jennings Bryant:  “Destiny is not a matter of chance. It is a matter of choice: it is not to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

James Allen“Man is made or unmade by himself. By the right choice he ascends. As a being of power, intelligence, and love, and the lord of his own thoughts, he holds the key to every situation.”

Eleanor Roosevelt: “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes…and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.

Albert Einstein:  “Out of Clutter, find Simplicity.  From discord, find Harmony. In the midst of difficulty, lies opportunity.”

Carlos Castaneda:  “We choose only once. We choose either to be warriors or to be ordinary… A second choice does not exist. Not on this earth.”

Denis Waitley:  “There are two primary choices in life;
to accept conditions as they exist,
or accept the responsibility for changing them.”

Dalai Lama:  “We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us, and make us kinder. We always have the choice.”

Zig Ziglar:  “Every choice you make has an end  result.”   

Professor Dumbledore, from ‘Harry Potter’It is our choices that show what we truly are far more than our abilities.”

From the song “I Hope You Dance”: “I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean, whenever one door closes I hope one more opens, promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance…

I hope you dance…”

 

 

  

TURNING CIRCUMSTANCES INTO OPPORTUNITY

Laura Novakowski  -  Dec 21, 2011  -  , , , , , , , , ,  -  Comments Off on TURNING CIRCUMSTANCES INTO OPPORTUNITY

“…the people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.” George Bernard Shaw

Have you ever been frustrated because the course of you life seems off track.?  Do you feel as if you are “locked” into a bad situation or you are on a endless treadmill that is taking you nowhere? Well, then it’s time to take those circumstances and turn them into opportunities.

If you think that you don’t have enough education or knowledge surrounding a topic – take time to learn it!  Whether it be acquiring a degree or certification or taking your current skills and education and applying that to your area of interest – find the opportunity to apply your talents and skills.

If you wonder why something that is obvious to you is not being done –  find out why!  Ask questions,  network with people who are already in the industry and benefit from their expertise.

If you  find that your suggestions or ideas are falling on deaf ears, that you know there is a market for a new idea, concept or service  – pitch it!  Do it first in brief written form, this will help you organize your ideas,  connect with a person, face-to-face and ask them if they would take some time with you to review the idea or concept.  Ask them what they think about the idea and then ask for  recommendations.

We all too often become “victims” of circumstances, allowing ourselves not to be listened to or believed in.  Don’t treat life like toss of the dice. Take take your talents and  techniques, your skills and strategies, your courage and commitment and get out there to make  circumstances stepping stones and opportunities a reality!

 

 

Believe in the Underdog

Laura Novakowski  -  Nov 09, 2011  -  , , , , , , , ,  -  Comments Off on Believe in the Underdog

A young girl believed in a horse she found him wandering in a field.  He was nothing but skin and bones.  She named him Pippin.

Watch this video, it’s amazing.  The song is Underdog by Lost Trailer. www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbndZajV8Xc

 

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