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Your past is not a good predictor of your future at all – Find out 2 things that are though

Your past is not a good predictor of your future at all – Find out 2 things that are though 

Where you were born, who your parents are, where you live and work may have significantly impacted your past. Look ahead now: What legacy do you want to leave behind? If you are stuck in the past, and you have not chosen what you want to happen in the future, you mess up your present.

One of the most important things to do in your life is to make an active choice of what and where you see yourself in the future. Sure, where you have come from does make a huge difference, but it is not the be all, end all.

A while, I heard Christine Hassler speak at a really neat event. She is a speaker, author, and subject matter specialist on Millennials– aka twenty-something people. She started out as someone totally driven by success and achievement. She used to date celebrities and for a time was the youngest successful agent in Hollywood.

She was just not happy at all. Her success did not feel right and at one point of time had a full blown crisis: With so much success, a great life style, income and great looks, how come she did not feel fulfilled?

Once she crashed and burned she had to start from scratch. She told us that the day this happened was pivotal in her life. All alone in her apartment with a wedding that had been called off by her finance, Christine made an active choice to reach out to other gals that she thought might feel just as broken inside. It worked much to her own surprise.

Once she got herself focused on what her issues and challenges were she wanted to make a difference in other people’s lives who may be stuck in the same rut as she used to be. She wrote a book about her expirience and managed to become a sought after expert. Wow!

What can you learn from her journey are two basic life principles:

  1. Your background and upbringing does impact you – but it never means that you will be stuck or limited.
  2. At the end of the day it still comes down to your choices – take an active role in your life and make better choices.

Will this be tough? Absolutely. That is why they are called tough choices. They never come easy in life. They are not supposed to be easy, and beware of the ones that are easy to come by. They may lead to more heart ache and time and resource consuming bunny trails.

Remember that it all starts with pain. Nothing changes until the pain of remaining the same is greater than the pain of changing. What are you waiting for? Make a change and get over your past.


How to get one hour back out of your busy working schedule

How to get one hour back out of your busy working schedule Ralf a

The biggest helper in boosting working efficiency has also been the biggest time waster for some of us: E-Mail. It has been great to be connected to virtually the world – almost real time too. Information and pictures/ videos are shared with lightning speed and you can reach so many of your key people such that they can at least stay informed of what is happening. That is where the buck stops. For one, you are now almost expected to stay on top of your incoming mails and needs to answer in a timely fashion. Also, there are many people who will include you on the “To” or “CC” lines for more than was necessary. Finally, there is the time that you pick to check your mail.

I have to admit the following step took me a little to implement myself. I have forewarned our people at work that whenever I am only showing up in the CC line I may or may not answer and potentially not even look at the mail at all. If it was a low priority enough for me to be included in the CC line only, that equates to saying for your information only. Think about how much time this can save you already. It takes a while for you to implement depending on your company’s culture and what is expected of you.

The next time waster is when you check your mail. Most of us check first thing in the morning. Unless you have people to connect with in different time zones (different continents) then please do yourself a favor and reserve the early morning for doing the one or two tasks you wanted to get done for that day. Everyday interruptions will almost guaranteed derail your day enough that you will find yourself staring at your list of things to get done with no progress made. Push this out to 10 to 11 in the morning and then limit yourself to getting the most urgent items done. Hint: Do not open them just to close them marked as unread. Get them done right there. Any over processing costs your time and it takes so much effort to get back into the swing of things.

You will find that some tasks are not as urgent as proclaimed to be by some senders. Sort them out and ask for the real drop dead date or time for answering the mail. Be ready to be surprised how many tasks are negotiable or simply have gone away because the issue was not an issue at all or just not as urgent and was given to someone else.

Turn off your screen e-mail pop ups. Actually, turn off all dings, pop ups, and notifications. Each time that they go off you are being distracted and you are going to get all stressed out about it. Abandon this practice as best as you can.

Reclaim the power of e-mail with a little more structure. It will be uncomfortable at first, but you will all of a sudden have more time at your hands that you can use for more productive tasks. Have a great day!


4 leading indicator tips for business leaders that help improving your strategic planning

4 leading indicator tips for business leaders that help improving your strategic planning Smaller FB

Are you driving your car by only looking through your rear view mirror? I would hope not; otherwise there would be a lot more accidents. Funny thing is especially at work we tend to do exactly just that: Steering your life and success based on the past. We attempt projecting our future by just looking at the past.

The end of the year is coming up and fall season means strategic planning for the upcoming year must commence. In this process we often rely on past performance providing a view into how we will do in the future. Not only is it unsatisfying being part of such a process, it is extremely questionable going into the new year almost blindfolded.

What’s the alternative? Here are a few pointers that should be able to get you better results:

  • Speak with all your front line people. This ranges from outside and inside sales, project managers, and customer support. A fresh outlook into how your customers look at the current line of business and perhaps 6 months out will do wonders for your financial decision making.
  • Consider calling your key customers by yourself to offer insight into how you currently view the market place and then also asking these business leaders for their input.
  • Make a habit of tracking the housing and car markets. What is the trend here? Usually, your business will do pretty well if one or both markets are overall making great deals.
  • Make a habit of following the Wall Street Journal and / or similar publications. Scan for the overall mood and also mainly the consumer confidence.

Happy strategic planning!


Great leaders make it all about their team members – just watch 4 conductors

Great leaders make it all about their team members – just watch 4 conductors pablo-4

Photo credit: Pablo by Buffer

When I was young(er) I really did not get the point what an orchestra conductor’s job really was supposed to be. Sure the hairdos and wild gestures were very impressive, but how did all of that transpose into leadership and much less into the beautiful music? After all, the musicians were all professionals who obviously knew their instruments and music? How does a conductor merely lead by gesturing?

Point is that much can be learned about the conductor and leadership by just watching them during performances (please watch this TED Talk about this topic here). By far the worst by today’s standards are the tyrants who honestly think only their interpretation of the music should be played. This turns the musicians into mere instruments. That is so yesteryear. The first conductor shown in the linked video was told that he was indeed a great conductor, but he was also invited to quit at the same time. The musicians appear to not being able to stand the egocentric life and leadership style.

Then there are the minimalists who keep their musicians guessing what and when and how they are supposed to play. Sound familiar? With leaders like that there are fields of raw eggs to stomp on – no matter where you step there may be a mess soon.

The semi good conductors provide visible and audible low key directions. They enjoy the performance and really attempt inviting the musicians to interpret the pieces making the performance memorable.

The crème dela crème are conductors who lead by increasing their musician’s potential. At the performance they are merely there providing a presence of comfort and collaboration. The rest is up to the team of musicians and the notes in front of them. Responsibility and autonomy are at a natural balance. Every stake holder is better off and the audience gets to experience a really unique concert. It’s one of a kind; one that is meant only for this audience.

Substitute conductor for the name of your boss and see where he/ she may fall. Do they know where you stand and are they working on getting better at leadership? If so, be candid and share this post and / or the video with them. Having the courage to look at themselves and then having the persistence of making changes are great ideas. If the leader-manager is you, well, what is your management style? For the giggles of it all think about the presidential candidates 2016. How do they stack up?


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