Your Why: Survey Your World

This week we suggest you play with naming your why. Write it down and live with it a while to see if it helps you make decisions that are more in alignment with what matters to you.

At the end of that post we asked that you consider your why. We received a number of questions about how to figure out your why, so this week and next week we’re sharing some things to consider to help you articulate it.

Many people struggle with articulating their why because they believe it has to be big and grand. Remember, it’s your why—why you do what you do in your life, why you get up in the morning, why you make the choices you do.

We’d like to help you name your why and own it!

This week, we encourage you to explore your why by using a series of questions as you survey your world. We created a PDF for you to easily fill in your answers. Click here to download.

Survey Your World

As you think about your why, start with the following questions. Do a quick survey of your world and what it has to teach you. Ask yourself:

  • When I’m the happiest at work:
    • What have I done?
    • What impact have I had?
    • What does my work contribute to?
    • Then consider, why do I do this work?
  • When I’m most content with my home life:
    • What have I been doing?
    • Who have I been with?
    • What impact have I had on my surroundings and the people in my world?
    • Then consider, why do I feel best under these circumstances?
  • When I am out in the world:
    • When do I feel engaged and involved?
    • Who do I most enjoy being around?
    • What am I doing when I’m most satisfied?
    • Then consider, why do I gravitate to these experiences?

Once you’ve answered questions about work, home, and world, see if you feel more confident in describing your why.

This week we suggest you play with naming your why. Write it down and live with it a while to see if it helps you make decisions that are more in alignment with what matters to you.

If you’d like support in exploring your why,
contact us today about our Executive Coaching.

Why?

Knowing your why will guide your decisions and actions and can help you create the life, the family, the community, and the organizations that truly matter to you.

At a recent presentation entitled, Why Mattering Matters, a woman asked us, “Why are you doing this work—people can be so challenging, don’t you get sick of it?”

After answering her, we realized that it might be helpful to share our answer with you so that you can get to know us a bit better.

Over the past 25 years, we’ve been supporting individuals in growing in their leadership, impact, and influence. We’ve been working with teams and organizations in creating cultures of leadership and engagement, and we’ve developed simple actionable tools and strategies for success.

Most recently, we’ve been helping people understand that mattering matters. And, as importantly, we’ve been sharing our best thinking here in the Monday Morning Business Coach for over 7 years reaching thousands of people around the globe.

So Why?
We want to change the world!

When we say we’re here to change the world, people often laugh at first; then they see that we’re not kidding. We’re committed.

Everything we do is done with the belief that we can change the world by supporting individuals, teams, and organizations in understanding that people matter.

We’ve discovered that mattering lies at the intersection of being cared about as a person and being valued for your unique gifts and talents. And, when you live at that intersection in your work and in your personal life, you’re healthier, happier, and have greater pride in yourself and your contributions.

We hope our WHY inspires you to consider your why.

Knowing your why will guide your decisions and actions and can help you create the life, the family, the community, and the organizations that truly matter to you.

If you’d like support in exploring your why,
contact us today about our Executive Coaching.

Using Conflict to Increase Innovation

The more you motivate your team to challenge ideas the greater the likelihood that you will acquire innovative and creative ideas from your team.

Conflict is an important part of fostering innovation, yet many teams are unable to take advantage of this creative endeavor because they lack the skills to disagree respectfully while engaging in a spirited discussion.

Using conflict and difference to foster innovation
is an important skill that every leader, manager,
and director should know how to facilitate
.

As we’ve discussed in the last two posts, when left unmanaged, conflict is a deterrent to creativity. People shouldn’t be allowed to be disrespectful or mean to one another. Yet, often due to their own anxiety, leaders don’t interrupt negative conflict. When that happens it’s not safe to have constructive conflict.

With constructive conflict you can:
  • Explore interests and perspectives
  • Consider outcomes that are great for the organization
  • Develop options to consider, create criteria for deciding, or decide to decide later
  • Use objective criteria and a strategic vision to go beyond limitations set by “group think”

We worked with a director once who had heard that conflict was good for innovation. So, not being fully aware of the concept, he decided to incite arguments between his marketing team and sales team.

He thought if they really hated one another they would be creative. Unfortunately, this was disastrous for him and for the teams he was supposed to be leading. He needed to create opportunities for constructive conflict, not just create negative conflict.

So, let’s talk about how to create opportunities for constructive conflict:
  • Ask that people take the opposite view of what’s been shared. Say something like, “Now let’s play the devil’s advocate” or “Let’s find the weak seams in what’s just been said.”
  • Encourage questions that “poke holes” in ideas.
  • Insist that every good idea also has a reason why it’s a bad idea. An easy way to do this is to explore the benefits of an idea and then explore the concerns that people have about the idea. You can see the full framework here: Benefits, Concerns, Suggestions.
Remember, when someone says something that others react to negatively, don’t shut the conversation down. Instead, coach them through the moment by saying something like, “Interesting idea, it’s unconventional and that’s what I’m looking for. What other ideas do you have?”
  • Always interrupt negative conflict. Don’t tolerate snide comments or outbursts.
  • Always remind people to attack the problem, not the person speaking.

This takes practice, but the more you motivate your team to challenge ideas the greater the likelihood that you will acquire innovative and creative ideas from your team.

This week, look for opportunities to increase creativity and innovation through constructive conflict.

If you’d like to create more opportunities
for creative conflict and would like some
support in getting started, contact us today
about our Executive Coaching.

Managing Workplace Conflicts: Shifts in Behavior

You, your team, and your organization are not dysfunctional because you have conflict. Conflict is a part of being human!

Last week, in our post, Managing Workplace Conflicts: Shifts in Focus, we started with “Let’s be honest, if an organization has more than one person, it’s likely there will be conflict and tension.”

A number of you reached out to us to say that just that one sentence had been powerful as it reminded you that you, your team, and your organization are not dysfunctional because you have conflict. Conflict is a part of being human!

It’s so helpful to normalize just how messy all of us are. As we said, “As humans, we’re navigating the organizational agenda, our professional agenda, others’ professional agendas, our personal agenda, others’ personal agendas, etc.”

The shifts in focus we discussed last week can help people make the shift from conflict to problem solving.

This week, we’re sharing some shifts in behaviors that will help you individually, or you as a manager help others become more effective when tensions rise

Don’t take it personally. Yes, this is easier said than done!

  • It’s important to remember that most of the time you’re experiencing tension with someone else, it’s because they’re wrapped up in their own head about what’s going on. They’re afraid or worried about looking bad, and so you get caught up in that fear.
  • It’s important to take a moment and Pause.

Pause, and ask yourself, “Is what I am about to say or do in alignment with my goals?” Reacting is not helpful.

  • Pausing lets you respond with thoughtfulness and professionalism.
  • Pausing to get clear is critical in today’s fast-moving business world. We need time to collect our thoughts and ensure that we’re moving forward responsibly and not with reactivity.
  • To do that you need to Listen.

Listen deeply, stay curious, and ask for clarification. Your job is to try and understand what others are experiencing so that you can respond appropriately to them.

  • After you’ve listened fully and understand the perspective of the other person you can then share your experience.

Name and deal with feelings. It’s fine to describe your experience of anger and frustration, but acting that anger out by being mean, insulting or disrespectful is not.

  • Use I statements.
  • People feel what they feel, but in the workplace the expectation is that they learn from their feelings (and the data those feeling provide) and then move professionally forward together.

Be attentive and respectful in your non-verbal communication

  • People believe non-verbal cues more than verbal ones.
  • If your words are collaborative, but your arms are crossed and you’re scowling, you’re going to undo all you have done to defuse the conversation.

Focus on the future. Most people are conflict avoidant; so, like you, they want to move to a more comfortable and collaborative place.

  • Focusing on the future allows you to shift from current tension and think about what you can do together going forward.

We recently worked with a mid-level manager who was stressed out due to the amount of conflict in her team. Her stance (until now) had been to ignore it, which was only making it worse.

By tolerating the behaviors, she was inadvertently supporting them. So, we coached her to be more comfortable with intervening in the conflict.

She needed to distance herself from it so that she wasn’t taking it so personally, and then she needed to listen deeply to what was going on within her team.

By teaching her behaviors that she could utilize when she felt stuck in her own fear and anger, she was able to interrupt the cycle of unproductive conflict that was distracting her team from the real work at hand.

This week, take some time to familiarize yourself with the behaviors listed above and see if you can find opportunities to practice some of them so that they’re not foreign to you when you need them in a real conflict situation.

Stay tuned for next week’s post where we’ll talk about how you can use conflict to increase innovation.

If you’d like support in putting these principles
into action to manage conflict at work,
contact us today about our Executive Coaching.

Thriving After A Layoff

You lost this job and that sucks. Now you have the opportunity to get more of what you want out of your next job!

We heard from many of you after our Surviving A Layoff post last week. Some of you mentioned that you were feeling stuck and unable to come up with a list of your top skills and strengths because you’re so drained from the experience of the layoff.

We get it. We’ve been there and we know it’s hard to think about the positive stuff when you’re in the midst of questioning whether you ever added value. And forget about possibility thinking, right?

So, we’d like to offer you a couple of small steps you can take this week to help you think about the skills you want to offer and the environment in which you’ll thrive.

We’ve seen that it can be easier to voice what you want by thinking about what you don’t want.

  • First, start with what you didn’t like about your job. Think about things like:
    • Skills used
    • Level of responsibility
    • Level of visibility
    • Level of stress
    • Pace of the work
    • Team dynamics
    • Projects
    • Processes
    • Commute
  • Now, if you’re able, think about what you did  like, using the above list as a prompt.

  • Finally, it can be powerfully helpful to reach out to colleagues, family (even young kids), and friends, and ask them, “What do I do well?”
    • This can feel awkward to do, so blame your coaches here at CSC . . . that can make it easier to ask.
    • You’ll likely start to see themes in the answers that people are giving you.

If you’ve sped through those steps and are wanting more, don’t forget about our recent Dream Job posts where we walk you through some additional ways to get clear about setting yourself up for success.

Remember, it’s important to be gentle with yourself if you’re struggling to move on. If you were talking to a dear friend, you wouldn’t say, “Just get over it!” You’d likely say, “I believe in you.” or “You can do this!”

Perhaps this experience will help to point you in the direction of where you’re supposed to go next. You lost this job and that sucks. Now you have the opportunity to get more of what you want out of your next job.

We believe in you!

Just a few sessions of Career Strategy Coaching
can help you get traction on identifying what’s next
and moving forward to make it happen.
Let us know if we can be helpful.

Surviving A Layoff

Keep moving forward – even if it’s just one small step.

Last week, we spent some time talking about how to prepare if you believe you may be laid off. This week, we want to speak to you about the normal response to a layoff and ways you can take care of yourself or support a friend or loved one who has been laid off.

If you’ve been laid off, you may find yourself wanting the feeling of trauma and disorientation to go away. It’s painful, uncomfortable, and demoralizing. And, it takes time and intentional focus to heal and move on.

After being laid off, you’ll likely experience many of the feelings and thoughts you’d associate with a death: feelings of grief, loss, helplessness, anger, rage, disorientation, depression, and anxiety. While unpleasant, these are all sane emotional responses to a layoff.

Because many of us get a sense of our identify and value from our jobs, we may feel that the world isn’t safe and then our confidence in ourselves becomes diminished.

Research about people who have been laid off show us that the pain in a layoff is also manifested physically. Research shows increased health issues after a layoff, from high blood pressure, insomnia, and cardiovascular problems, to nausea, stomach problems, and headaches.

If you or someone you care about has been laid off, this is the time to focus on self-care – all those things we know we need to do but don’t. Eating healthfully as often as you can, moving regularly, sleeping, and reaching out for support are all good self-care steps.

And, remember, you’re not alone!

We’d encourage you to reach out to some trusted friends and colleagues and talk about your experience. You may be surprised to find that there are people in your world who have also gone through (or are going through) a layoff.

It can help to lean on each other and keep each other motivated as you think about what’s next for you in your career.

If you’ve been laid off, here are some things
that can help you move forward.

  1. PAUSE. Take a moment to breathe and honor that this has been rocking.
  2. Allow yourself to have your emotions AND don’t let them overwhelm you. Consider talking with a trusted friend or family member, clergy member, therapist, or coach as you grieve and find your way to what is next.
  3. Find a person who can be a mirror to you to remind you that you’re a capable and successful person. Understanding your worth through other people’s eyes is truly inspiring.
  4. Keep moving forward – even if it’s just one small step.
  5. Use this time to reconnect with your life priorities and what brings you meaning and purpose.
    • Name the skills you love to offer to the world and the environment in which you thrive.
    • Then tell everyone you know, “I’m looking for an opportunity to bring these skills to an organization.” vs. “I’m looking for this job.”
      • If you name the job, that can stop the conversation with “I don’t know of any openings in that job.”
      • If, instead, you ask for help finding opportunities to bring your gifts and talents to an organization, they’ll often join you in considering who you might talk with about your interests.

You can’t always control what happens to you, but you can work on how you respond.

Treat yourself like you matter… because you do!

Been laid off? If you’d like to work together
on your career strategy, contact us today.
We’re here to support you in finding work you love
in an environment where you’ll thrive.

Preparing for a Layoff

We have incredible respect for people who are dealing with the possibility of a layoff. Facing the loss of a role that provides a great deal of your identity as well as the means for living, can be very challenging.

THERE ARE SEVERAL THINGS YOU CAN DO
IN THE FACE OF A POSSIBLE LAYOFF

Get support for the fear so you can pivot to taking action.

  • It’s important that you’re able to acknowledge how stressful a potential layoff is and how anxious it can make you.
  • Be sure to reach out to people who will honor your feelings while also supporting you in the pivot to action.

Do a quick inventory about what you love about your job and what you would change if you had the opportunity. 

    • Create a resume that represents you well and then tailor it for the specific opportunities you discover.
    • Being clear about what you love and want to continue to do and what you aren’t as satisfied with can help you as you look around for other opportunities within and outside the company.

Within the company:

      • Explore what opportunities are available should you need to look.
      • Sometimes the opportunities aren’t very appealing, but if they let you stay in a company that you want to work for, they can be a stepping stone until you find a better fit.
      • Knowing the skills you love to offer and the environment in which you thrive can help you find a role that’s more in keeping with your current interests and skills and the threat of layoff may be a gift.

Outside the Company: 

    • Generally, it’s still easier to get a job when you have a job, so consider the threat of a layoff as an opportunity to take action before you’re unemployed.
    • In addition to looking at job boards, start to meet with people you know throughout your community and industry.
    • Let them know that you’re considering what’s next and that you’d love their thoughts about who you should talk with.
    • You’ll need to share, in about 3 minutes, what you’ve been doing, the skills you want to offer, the kind of environment that’s great for you, and a few different ideas you have had for ways you could use those skills so that you prime your contact on ways to look on your behalf.

Consider a frank conversation with your boss.

  • You know your organization and whether or not this is ok to do.
  • If you have a good relationship with your boss or with someone in HR, consider having a conversation about your sense that there are layoffs in the works and that you’re starting to look around to protect yourself should that happen.
  • In some cases, you may be able to negotiate a separation package that lets you leave with benefits that you might not have received if you were laid off.
  • In others, the organization may be clear and direct about your value and fight for you to stay.

Reflect on whether there are things you can do on the side that bring in income and could create a bridge if you’re laid off.

  • Anything that gives you confidence that you will be ok supports you having greater confidence through this difficult time.

The threat of being laid off can be extremely challenging and you may find yourself frozen for a bit. But if you can start to take action on your own behalf, you’ll be much more prepared no matter what happens.

Waiting and hoping, while tempting, is not in your best interest!

If you’re fearing a layoff at your company
and would like to work together
on your career strategy, contact us today.

More Powerful Questions for Powerful Leadership

We’ve witnessed the power that great questions have to create opportunities for innovation, problem solving, and higher levels of thinking.

Last week in Powerful Questions for Powerful Leadership, we offered you a series of questions that can help you invite higher levels of input and expand critical thinking.

We reminded you that, at Carpenter Smith Consulting, we define leadership as the willingness to influence your world and the willingness to be influenced by your world, which often means that you’ll need to invite influence.

One powerful way to create the dynamic where you’re influencing people and they’re influencing you, is to ask powerful questions. The tricky part is that questioning people without attention to the nuance of the situation can feel more like an interrogation than an invitation.

Asking questions to invite higher level thinking requires that you consider what’s right for the person(s), situation, and goals in that moment, and that you communicate verbally and non-verbally that you’re genuinely curious and want their thinking to influence your thinking.

The following questions can invite your teams and colleagues to explore what they can do to get the best out of their people and their teams.

QUESTIONS TO FOSTER ENGAGEMENT

Communication:
  • Do your people / teams know that they matter to you–that you care about them personally and that you value their contributions to the organization?
  • How will you know your team is aligned behind this vision? What would team success look like?
  • How can this team work together more effectively? How will we handle difference, conflict, and crises together?
  • What can I do to support you? What can I do that will support you without diminishing your credibility to our stakeholders?
  • What are you doing to increase your ability to have the impact that matters to you?
  • What needs to be said that you find yourself not saying?
Infrastructure:
  • Do we have the right people, with the right skills, and the right commitment at the right tables?
  • Why would great talent join or remain on your team?
  • Who are your high potential employees and what are you doing to grow them?
  • Who needs to take the lead on this and why?
  • Is the infrastructure in place to support the team? What needs our attention and resources?

We’ve witnessed the power that great questions have to create opportunities for innovation, problem solving, and higher levels of thinking.

We created a printable pdf so that you can access all of the powerful questions. Click here to download.

This week consider ways you can move from talking at people to engaging them in deeper conversations. Talking at people can seem efficient, and at times it may be, but asking questions brings people to greater ownership of success and engagement in the solutions.

If you’d like support in having
deeper engagement with your team,
contact us today about Executive Coaching.

Powerful Questions for Powerful Leadership

Today, we’re sharing some of the questions that we’ve found invite higher levels of input and expand critical thinking.

At Carpenter Smith Consulting, we define leadership as the willingness to influence your world and the willingness to be influenced by your world.

In practice, that often means that you’ll need to invite influence, and there’s no better way to do so than with a great question.

By great question, we’re talking about a question that’s right for the person(s), situation, and goals in that moment.

When possible, consider beforehand the questions you want to bring to a conversation, meeting, or presentation.

Today, we’re sharing some of the questions that we’ve found invite higher levels of input and expand critical thinking. Next week, we’ll share questions that invite an exploration of how to get the best out of individuals and teams.

Remember to pause after you ask a question and give people time to consider what you’ve asked. If you jump into the silence, you will teach them that they don’t have to answer if they can wait you out.

QUESTIONS TO FOSTER INPUT AND CRITICAL THINKING

Benefits/Concerns/Suggestions (one we use often!):
In response to a proposal, plan, or initiative, ask individuals or teams to consider these questions in this order:

  • What are the benefits of this idea? (It’s the norm to see the reasons not do something new and innovative. Getting them to think first about the idea’s benefits opens them to a more effective assessment.)
  • What concerns do you have?
  • What suggestions would you make?

Vision/Obstacles/Areas of Focus:

  • What are your hopes for the project, department, organization? What does success look like, feel like, live like?
  • What obstacles get in the way of success?
  • What can you do to get around the obstacles, and where do you need to focus your efforts to mitigate the obstacles?

Getting People to Move Beyond Initial (Often Flat) Response:

  • Tell me what went into your thinking? What’s your rationale for moving forward in this way?
  • Say more about that? or just Say more?

Predicting Impact:

  • Imagine describing your plan to the team/department/organization – what do you expect their response will be?
  • What do you anticipate will be the ripples of this decision across the organization?
  • How does this support our vision? Strategy? Success?

To Determine Risk:

  • What are the benefits of action? What are the costs of action?
  • Is this problem an event or a pattern?
  • If there were no risks, what would you do?

Resources/Rules:

  • If you had limitless resources, what would you do?
  • What rules do we need to follow? What rules should we be breaking?

This week, spend some time exploring whether you can attain higher levels of thinking, engagement, and ownership by asking questions that invite the wisdom and expertise of your colleagues and team.

If you’d like support in inviting higher levels
of input and critical thinking with your team,
contact us today about Executive Coaching.

Leading When Bad Things Happen

Last week, we talked about When Bad Things Happen to Good Companies. Sadly, it happens more often than you’d think; so it makes sense to be as prepared as possible to lead through it.

Leading through it requires communication, a commitment to transparency, and a plan of action that moves you forward. It requires that you step into The Leader in You.

The Leader in You is a transformative and practical framework for stepping into your leadership regardless of your role or title or industry.

Leadership, as we define it, is the willingness to influence your world and the willingness to be influenced by your world. It’s a way of being in the world that lets you effectively lead your life and lead in your life.

Our Leader in You framework has 3 steps to help you take back a sense of authority and control in the face of painful and difficult events.

These are extremely important in preventing and recovering from bad things!

1. Pause

Pause and ask yourself, “Is what I’m about to do or say in alignment with my goals and the organization’s goals?”

  • Take a moment before you react to consider the goals that need to guide your behavior.
  • Reacting is not leadership, but responding to the crisis at hand is.

2. Reflect

Ask yourself: “What am I afraid of in this situation? What do I do when I feel that? What would I do if I felt safe?”

  • It’s important that you know what you’re afraid of and what reaction that elicits. It’s also critical that you take action from the best of you.
  • What you would do if you felt safe?

Then ask yourself: “What are they (my team, all staff, my family, etc.) afraid of in this situation? What do they do when they feel that? What would they do if they felt safe? How do I help them feel safe?”

  • As a leader, you’ll want to try to understand and have empathy for all that your people are experiencing, and to help them feel safe enough to be at their best!

3. Act with POWER

  • Consider what’s Possible in the situation.
    • Great leadership includes trusting that there are always opportunities inherent in the obstacles and challenges you face.
  • Own that you’ll lead toward success and share why it matters to you.
    • People want to follow a human, not an idea.
    • For you to be clear that you’re committed to moving forward and through the crisis and sharing your passion for the company, builds alignment behind you.
  • Create some We-focused goals (goals that you can share with others).
    • Most of your team wants to be a part of the solution but don’t know how.
    • Last week we talked about communicate, communicate, communicate – not just to them but with them, so that they feel a part of the “we” that’s going to come out the other side.
  • Enable action forward.
    • Movement on the plan will help rebuild confidence, identify where you need to communicate more or differently, and will help you assess what you need to do to support resilience in your team and organization.
  • Review and Refine . . . and learn.
    • This isn’t a one and done process. Be sure to check in with the team regularly to make sure that they have what they need to move forward successfully.
    • Learning from and through challenge is powerful and empowering. Don’t miss the opportunity.

Then do it again!

To help you remember these steps, we’ve provided a link so that you can download our helpful action guide and pocket card. We hope that you’ll use them to embrace and develop the Leader in You.

Click to download the Leader in You Action Guide.

Click to download the Leader in You pocket card to support you day-to-day.

NOTE: This card will print at 3″ x 5” if you select “actual size” when printing. 

If the sh!t has hit the fan at your company and you’d like support in engaging with your team and creating a plan to move forward, contact us today about Executive Coaching.

When Bad Things Happen to Good Companies

We have recently been working with the leadership teams of two very different companies where the proverbial sh!t has hit the fan . . .  through no fault of their own.

A sad fact: Bad things can happen to good companies, which means that bad things can also happen to good people in those companies.

Figuring out how to move forward through a crisis is an important act of leadership, one that can help the company come out on the other side of the crisis with staff commitment and stakeholder confidence.

From our perspective there is one key behavior that can make or break success and that’s communication.

Communicate, communicate, and then communicate again.

It’s important to get control of the narrative within your organization as soon as possible. You may not be able to control what’s being said outside the company, but it’s your job to make sure that what’s being said inside the organization is accurate.

You’ll want to be as transparent as you can be within the legal bounds of the situation and then communicate in ways that help to mitigate the fear. When needed, seek legal guidance to ensure that your communications are within the bounds of the law and as open and transparent as possible.

Regularly bring the leadership team together to create a shared understanding of what has happened and to discuss corrective actions that the organization needs to implement to keep the crisis from escalating.

The team should develop a communication plan so that all staff members understand the details of the incident and how to deal with any misinformation. You’ll also want the organization to respond internally and externally with integrity and effectiveness so make sure everyone is on the same page before leaving the meeting.

If you, the team, or the organization contributed to the difficulties, own it, apologize, and be clear about what you’ve learned, how you’ll behave going forward, and how you’ll demonstrate this was the exception, not the norm. Occasionally, intentionally ignoring something makes sense but more often owning it, apologizing, and explaining next steps is the best course of action.

In business today, good companies can have bad things happen. The difference in the outcome is what the leaders do in the wake of the bad to create a more resilient and agile team, as well as to rebuild credibility and trust with external stakeholders.

This week consider whether you and the people you lead with are solid enough as a group to thrive in the wake of something bad happening in your company.

There’s no better time to build deep trust and credibility in your willingness to engage in the tough conversations, commitment to challenging self-reflection, and ability to support one another through derailing surprises than now.

If the sh!t has hit the fan at your company and you’d like support in engaging in the tough conversations, contact us today about Executive Coaching.

Power and Humility

This year, our focus is to support you in mattering to yourself and in creating environments where people matter. Mattering to yourself is not about becoming narcissistic or thinking you matter above all others. It’s about honoring yourself so you know what matters to you and can then take action on behalf of the people and causes that you care about. So, today, we’re sharing some excerpts from an article about Humility that spoke to us. There’s a link to the full article at the end.

The Paradoxical Power of Humility: Why humility is under-rated and misunderstood Karl Albrecht Ph.D. – BrainSnacks

“Humility is widely under-rated in most Western cultures, it seems to me. It’s also widely misunderstood – maybe that’s why it’s under-rated. 

Our popular-media culture is saturated with themes of conflict, combat, and conquest. Popular films feature cops chasing crooks; the military fighting terrorists; the lone avenger pursuing the evil-doers. We say we love peace makers, but our heroes are warriors. As a society, we like our celebrities to be cheeky, self-important, and even a bit narcissistic. 

Little wonder that humble people seem a bit strange to us, as if they’re following some syncopated life rhythm that few people around them quite “get.” 

Having claimed that humility is misunderstood, I suppose it’s incumbent on me to offer a definition. 

What is humility? It’s a subtle concept, and I find myself having to frame it mostly in terms of what it is not. My conception of humility is what you have when you give up certain self-aggrandizing thought patterns, reflexes, and behaviors. I offer the proposition – and the value judgment – that humility is a kind of liberation, a paradoxical state of freedom from the culturally imposed norms of narcissistic “me-first” thinking. 

Practitioners of many spiritual traditions, such as Buddhism, would say that attaining such a state is a necessary part of the journey toward enlightenment. 

Humility is about emotional neutrality. It involves an experience of growth in which you no longer need to put yourself above others, but you don’t put yourself below them, either. Everyone is your peer – from the most “important” person to the least. You’re just as valuable as every other human being on the planet, no more and no less. It’s about behaving and reacting from purpose, not emotions. You learn to simply disconnect or de-program the competitive reflex in situations where it’s not productive. 

Humility is less a matter of self-restraint and more a matter of self-esteem. The greater your sense of self-worth, the easier it is to appreciate others, to praise them, and to encourage them. 

Does this mean that it’s wrong to try to win at bridge, or improve your tennis game, or compete to get ahead in your work place? Of course not – those are parts of a separate dimension of life. Your talents and abilities will speak for themselves. What we’re dealing with here is a matter of social intelligence, which involves inviting people to move with and toward you, instead of away and against you. 

A well-developed sense of humility shines through in your behavior toward others. They feel affirmed, appreciated, encouraged, validated, and psychically nourished. Most of us are powerfully drawn to people who treat us that way, like bees to flowers.”

This full article, posted in Psychology Today on January 8, can be found here.

In Carpenter Smith Consulting language, the deepest longing of all human beings is to matter.

When we matter to ourselves, and we treat others like they matter, amazing things happen.

If you’d like support in showing your team that they matter, our Executive Coaching could be for you. Contact us today to learn more.

– Heather @ Carpenter Smith Consulting

You Have The Right To Choose

How many times have you heard someone say, “I wanted to do something but something else got in my way?” A lot, I would imagine. I know I have.

You see the most pernicious lie that people tell themselves is that they have no control over their lives. They are passive bystanders to whom life happens.

This is a limiting belief and the enormity of it is frightening. If you truly believe you have no control over life, that it is nothing but a fairground ride for which you have a ticket, then you will have no control (or very little control) over what happens to you.

Breaking This Mindset

This mindset needs breaking. Outside of the unfortunates trapped in modern slavery or incredible poverty, we are in the most fortunate period in history.

You have endless choices. You have the ability to be anything or do anything. This is because of the incredible abundance of the technological era. While there is still disease, it is by and large controlled and remote for most of our lives.

There is unlimited education available and much of it for free (or at a very low cost) and the Internet has meant that even the most financially challenged of souls can start their own business and become their own boss and, as importantly, develop their financial freedom.

So, the only thing standing in your way is you.

It’s Not As Hard As You Might Think

The easiest way to stop believing a lie is to confront that lie. To keep repeating the truth until it takes the place of the lie that has developed its own pathways in the brain.

We know, in our hearts, that we make our own choices. You don’t have to sit in watching TV tonight, you could be starting a business.

You don’t have to go to college to study medicine to please your parents, if you want to – you can study fashion just like you always wanted.

So, we need a mantra.

You can choose your own but the essence is this: “I am in control of my life. I will make decisions that benefit me. I will not apologize for this but will continue to act with caring, compassion and kindness to others even if they do not support my decisions.”

By repeating your mantra (rephrase the one above or create your own) on a regular basis, it will become a “script” in your brain. The next time you find yourself making a decision to please someone else, rather than to please yourself – review your mantra, then and there on the spot.

Then, accept the blessing you have been given in life. Make your choice. Accept that choice in your soul as the one that you want. Then own the responsibility for your choice. The good and the bad. There is no perfect decision in life, but you can live life on your terms. In my experience that makes people happier and more successful in all walks of life.

Your Dream Job

During some personally difficult times, clients and colleagues will often ask, “Why do you do this work?” They are puzzled that we would choose to put ourselves in the middle of the messiness and pain that people experience in their lives and work.

We do this work because we know that when people matter to themselves and believe that others matter, too, success is ensured.

This is true in organizations, on teams, and with individual contributors. Success increases when people matter. Often in life, and especially at work, we can start to believe that things matter; results matter, money matters, but people…they are in the way. 

Yet, the most powerful leaders we know understand that it’s the people that create the success and that when those people are treated with respect for their contributions, with interest in their wisdom and perspective, and honored for the challenges they must deal with every day, everyone thrives. 

A few days ago, we found an article by Peter Wehner in the New York Times called, The Uncommon Power of Grace: A revolutionary idea lies at its core: radical equality. In it, there was a paragraph that described how we treat ourselves and one another when we believe people matter – the author used the term grace. 

When I recently asked . . .  how, as a nonbeliever, he understood grace and why it inspires us when we see it in others, he told me that grace is “some combination of generosity and magnanimity, kindness and forgiveness, and empathy — all above the ordinary call of duty, and bestowed even (or especially?) when not particularly earned.” We see it demonstrated in heroic ways and in small, everyday contexts, he said. “But I guess, regardless of the context, it’s always at least a little unexpected and out of the ordinary.”     

When we matter to ourselves and when we believe others matter, we bring a combination of generositymagnanimity, kindness, forgiveness, and empathy to ourselves and to others in the face of our humanity and the messiness it brings. 

This year, our commitment to you is to support you in mattering to yourself and to creating environments where others matter, because this is the combination that creates unexpected and out of the ordinary success

We’re in this together!

If you’d like support in showing your team that they matter, our Executive Coaching could be for you. Contact us today to learn more.

– Heather @ Carpenter Smith Consulting

7 Behaviours That Put Your Leadership At Risk

Leadership often disintegrates through bad habits. Avoid these 7 deadly sins of leadership to get the next promotion.

Everyone wants to climb up the corporate ladder.

It seems the motivations of many lie in earning that next promotion. And after that? The next one.

As a Senior Executive at Dot Coach LLC I have seen many employees attempt to rise in the organization, and fail.

The reason?

I still don’t know.

But if someone knows it’s Monique Daigneault. Her flagship program Executive Influence gets executives promoted in record times by focusing on increasing their impact at work.

I got in contact with Monique and asked her to write a guest post to shed a light on why so many people fail to reach their full leadership potential.

I will leave it to Monique to explain…

Today’s workplace can be challenging, even dysfunctional, and many things may seem outside of your control – like climbing the corporate ladder.  Are you trying to be an effective leader, improve your skills, and get promoted amidst these roadblocks?  Did you know that you might be sabotaging your efforts with seven flawed behaviors?  Not only that, you may be contributing to the challenges and dysfunctions of your organization.  The good news is that not all is lost – you have more control over your career path than you think!

The Seven Deadly Habits

While I shed some light on these dysfunctional behaviors try to see if any of them resonate with you. 

Black or White Thinking: This is an ‘and/or’ mentality that represents inflexible thinking.  Something must be either one way or another and there is no in between.  Thinking in this way makes it difficult to collaborate, brainstorm, give and receive feedback, and think outside of the box.

Thinking the Worst:  If you frequently think the worst you are automatically setting yourself and your team up for failure.  This type of thinking is demotivating and will instantly impact your business goals in a negative way.

Mind Reading:  If you think you know what someone else is thinking, what they will say, or what they will do next you are mind reading.  This causes faulty communication and stifles otherwise productive conversations.

Should / Must Statements:  Here are some examples of this type of dysfunctional behavior: “We have to do it this way, this is how we’ve always done it.”  Or “You should go to the business event otherwise people will think you’re being rude”.  Use caution before using the words “should, must, have to” and the like. 

Emotional Reasoning:  This is the act of justifying – your behavior or the behavior of another.  There is a difference between explaining and justifying.  Explaining is about relaying the facts and taking accountability during the explanation.  Emotional reasoning, or justifying, is about trying to get yourself or someone else off the hook.

Filtering:  The behavior of sifting through all the information and focusing only on the negative is called filtering.  There may be plenty of positive information or feedback but if you are in the habit of landing on the negative then you’re filtering.  This will devastate self-esteem and motivation.

Jumping to Conclusions:  Similar to mind reading, jumping to conclusions is about thinking that you know the future outcome.  However, when you’re mind reading you are focused on someone else and what they might say or do next.  Jumping to conclusions usually happens when you are trying to predict the outcome of a situation. 

The Risk You’re Taking

Many of these dysfunctional behaviors are related and you might be using several within the same situation.  If they aren’t addressed your leadership is at risk and so is your career trajectory – here’s why.  Your behavior is modeled in front of your team, the team inadvertently picks up your subtle cues and starts modeling the same behavior throughout the rest of the organization.  To add to the dysfunction – other teams and leaders start acting the same way and there you have it…. you’ve successfully contributed to the challenges and dysfunction of your own organization.  Here are the final outcomes of that organization-wide behavior:  low self-confidence, defensiveness, poor negotiation skills, high stress, lack of executive presence, low productivity, conflict, bias, customer complaints, poor relationships, lost sales.  And there goes that next promotion.   

Strategies to Get on Track

You can, however, mitigate the risk of this toxicity by improving your cognitive agility.  Cognitive agility is the ability to pay attention to your thoughts and be aware of any sabotaging patterns.  You can successfully derail wasted thoughts, choose your thoughts with a process called selective thinking, and increase emotional discipline. 

As a leader, you can benefit from increased cognitive agility by overcoming automatic responses, being proactive rather than reactive, and having better focus during conversations.  Other benefits include enhanced problem-solving skills, greater executive presence when under pressure, and overall better management of emotions.  Your credibility as a leader will soar and so will your chances to fast track your career.

You can’t go wrong when improving cognitive agility and here are some strategies that will help.

Mindsight: This is an exercise in building awareness of your patterns.  Once you’re aware of your dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors you can then start recognizing them and take further action.

Cognitive Reframing: This is a process to help you shift perspectives and think outside of the box.  You will learn to imagine new outcomes, make subtle shifts in language, and manage your emotions in a healthier way. 

Putting Thoughts on Trial:  You will learn to question your own thoughts before you deem them accurate.  For example, before you say, “We have to do it this way”, you will think “Do we really have to do it this way, why?”  You will catch and question yourself before you act.

There are many challenges and roadblocks that you can’t control in the workplace, but you certainly can control your own thoughts and behaviors.  Improving cognitive agility will help eliminate dysfunctional behaviors that may be sabotaging your leadership and that next promotion. 


Monique Daigneault

Monique has achieved seven industry specific certifications, two business degrees, and a Master of Science in Industrial / Organizational Psychology.  She is a contributing author to the Random House best seller, Ophelia’s Mom.  The depth and breadth of Monique’s knowledge gives her a unique perspective into the development needs of senior leaders. 

Monique Daigneault, founder of MD Consulting, is a seasoned Executive Coach with over three decades of corporate and entrepreneurial experience.  Her flagship coaching and training program, Executive Influence, empowers senior leaders to become highly influential so they can increase team productivity, achieve goals, and fast track their career.

Originally from Michigan, Monique now resides in Arizona.  She has two adult daughters and four grandchildren.  As a former competitive bodybuilder Monique enjoys weightlifting, hiking, yoga, and Pilates.  She has accomplished nine tandem skydiving jumps across the United States.  Monique spends 25% of her time volunteering in Europe and China where she teaches Business English and business protocol to foreign business executives.  To connect with Monique on social media or to join her live webinar exclusively for senior leaders visit her at www.executiveinfluence.coach.

Pop Quiz, Monday with Bec Derrington at SourceBottle

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Bec Derrington

Bec Derrington
Photo credit: Bec Derrington

What is your job role?
I’m the founder of two online businesses – SourceBottle.com and InfluencerHUB.com The best way I can describe what I do, via both platforms, is help people (and their brands) amplify their stories via influencers. Technology is an enabler, so it’s just the vehicle that makes what I do easier.

Tell us about your company?
Put simply, SourceBottle connects journalists and bloggers with expert sources; and Influencer HUB is a SaaS platform that makes it easy (and fun) for brand fans to co-create and share your content. I founded both companies, and just have a virtual team to do all the leg work, as well as a very talented independent developer whose team builds and manages both platforms for me.

What do you love most about your job?
I love the outcomes both platforms produce. I still get an incredible kick out of learning that a SourceBottle subscriber has landed some fantastic media coverage – even nearly ten years on. And I also love that Influencer HUB demystifies the whole influencer marketing space and takes users back to authentic grass-roots marketing tactics.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
I really love what I do but am keenly aware that I need to continue innovating to keep up with the expectations of both clients and subscribers. Likewise, I still feel I have plenty of milestones I need to reach before I can take my foot off the pedal.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
I don’t really have co-workers, but I’m regularly inspired by my husband (for his determination and tirelessness), and my female peers and friends, who regularly tackle mountainous hurdles and overcome them with grace.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
I dance (on the inside) when I get a great win for a client. And I’m learning to get joy from a lot of little things each day – mini-victories that I might once have overlooked.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
I think the biggest challenge to my job is getting creative inspiration when I’m working in isolation. I also need to remind myself not to take those less savoury (read: raging) emails we get from time to time personally. I’m not completely out of the woods yet, but I’m getting there.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned with both my startups is to be nimble in the business’ execution while staying focused on the platform’s objective. For example, I originally envisioned the Influencer HUB platform to perform in a particular way and be suitable to certain types of businesses, but soon found out it proved just as effective (if not more so) for smaller businesses with a smaller team. It was actually an easier path to tread, so hallelujah!

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?

  1. Prepare for setbacks. If you go in prepared, you’ll find it easier to manage those inevitable challenges.
  2. Overestimate how long things will take and how much things will cost … and you’ll be about right. 😉
  3. Don’t take on a partner, a co-founder or staff unless or until you have to. In the current gig economy, there’s a sea of business that proves you can run a very profitable enterprise without having large team and overheads. Just read Elaine Pofeldt’s: “The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business” for inspiration.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:

https://www.sourcebottle.com/
https://influencerhub.com/
https://twitter.com/SourceBottle
https://www.linkedin.com/in/becderrington/

Pop Quiz, Monday with Hari Srinivasan

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Hari Srinivasan

Hari Srinivasan
Photo credit: Hari Srinivasan

What is your job role?
CEO

Tell us about your company?
NiMONiKS was established in 2017 with a mission to be a leading provider of technology products and services. Specializing in blockchain and artificial intelligence, NiMONiKS offers two flagship products; iCover – a micro-insurance platform, and Educrypt – a credentialing and student 360 service. NiMONiKS also provides consulting services to companies looking to transform their technology ecosystems.

What do you love most about your job?
It’s not a job. It’s a dream, my team and I are building that out piece by piece

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
I’ve trained myself long time back to focus on the journey and not on the reward, so the journey, challenges, and environment keeps me going.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
My co-workers are exceptional, their energy levels fuel my passion.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
We all like to get silly, its good to bring out the kid within you from time to time.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
Every day is a challenge that’s what makes the job interesting for me — driving the company’s vision, securing funds to execute and cementing a road map.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
There is always something to learn in this journey but make sure you learn from your previous challenges and use that as a positive influence in life is the biggest lesson I learnt. These lessons and experiences are critical for an entrepreneur to succeed, and they will shape your personality.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
It’s a fascinating arena, filled with opportunities and diversity regarding options that are available. Please choose your path based on your long-term goals and plan your moves based on that. I would suggest exploring internship opportunities with different companies before taking the plunge.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:
http://nimoniks.com/

Pop Quiz, Monday with Leisa Goddard

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Leisa Goddard

Leisa Goddard
Photo credit: Leisa Goddard

What is your job role?
Founder and Managing Director

Tell us about your company?
Adoni Media is a Public Relations and Digital Agency I set up after more than 25 years of working as a journalist and dealing with “PR people” who didn’t always understand how the media works.

To me, it makes sense that if you want to get media coverage for your brand, business or service, you need to be able to offer your story with an angle the media will want to cover. There also needs to be photo and video opportunities that are more than a white wall and a pull-up banner!

Since starting Adoni Media, I have been very strategic about balancing our team so that we have experienced journalists working alongside corporate PR professionals and digital experts.

As a result, we have delivered, and been recognised for delivering, top Government Relations campaigns, product launches, and ongoing media management for local, national and international clients.

What do you love most about your job?
Seeing our clients on TV news, featured in magazines or quoted in online articles is always exciting but as well as PR, the journalists on the team do a lot of media/interview training so a big highlight for us is when a spokesperson or business owner we have coached appears on TV and they look good and sound good – that is a big win.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
My children. It’s essential for them to see that success comes from hard work and a very healthy dose of perseverance and resilience. Likewise, in the office, I’ve always had good role models and mentors throughout my career so now I try to be that for my staff, especially the younger members of the team.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
We work in a very creative space, and the brainstorming sessions we have and the energy and passion when ideas and designs are being created is so inspiring. There is a real sense of ownership of our clients, and a sense of we’re a team.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
There is good champagne in the fridge so when we have big wins, there may, or may not be the sound of a popping cork or two.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
PR and media can be reactive, and that is one of the most significant challenges especially when it comes to crisis management. Fortunately for us as journalists, we are used to working to tight deadlines and responding to ever-changing demands and information that is changing and being updated. There is no question that the adrenalin is definitely flowing, but we know what we need to do, and more importantly, because of our media background, we can generally pre-empt what the media’s next step is going to be and that it is critical when a company or person’s reputation is on the line.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
Just because a news event is over doesn’t mean the opportunity for media coverage ends. When Harry and Meghan visited Fraser Island last year, we knew that the day the Royals left the Island media would be scrambling for new angles. We worked with Kingfisher Bay Resort to film a behind the scenes Video News Release so reveal details about their stay, and that made the major news bulletins that night.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
Apply for internships and get as much experience as you can. I started as a “work experience girl” at the local newspaper when I was 16 and went back to doing unpaid work in a TV newsroom to gain experience before I landed my first on-air reporting role, so I know firsthand how valuable it is to get your foot in the door.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:

https://www.adonimedia.com.au/
https://www.facebook.com/AdoniMedia/
https://www.instagram.com/adonimedia/
https://twitter.com/mediaadoni

Pop Quiz, Monday with Gary C Woodhead

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Gary C Woodhead

Gary C Woodhead
Photo credit: Gary C Woodhead

What is your job role?
Wearer of many hats!

AKA founder/CEO

Tell us about your company?
CurveBlock is a Real Estate Development Company, which generates lifetime passive income for its community of token holders, developments are registered against smart contract staking wallets listed on the CurveBlock exchange, the community simply stake their tokens against the projects they want a share of the profits from and Blockchain simply tracks the dividends.

The traditional version of CurveBlock would be deemed as a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) which is typically the playground of the rich, CurveBlock, however, allows the masses to collectively partake in such an industry where usually most individuals wouldn’t be able to afford to be involved at a singular level.

CurveBlock is also 100% liquid and no longer requires traditional means of funding such as Banks etc., such a model allows CurveBlock the ability to develop real estate in both boom and bust markets with a sustainably viable business model.

CurveBlock also donates 5% of every real estate development profits to charity, and the community chooses the charity via their native token voting rights, all underpinned and fully transparent using Blockchain technology.

What do you love most about your job?
I am watching the project go from concept to its endless possibilities.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
My “Why” is primarily my family, followed by my passion for Real Estate & Blockchain along with being involved in its Philanthropy aspect.

Thinking about CurveBlock helping the masses to earn passive income and potentially break free from the 9 to 5 rat race, along with CurveBlock possibly becoming the biggest real estate development donator to charities around the world places such a spring in my motivational step every single day.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
They’re all such amazing people, all with their own stories to tell but what I admire the most is they’re all very grounded people.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
A sense of humour is probably our largest avenue of fun behind the CurveBlock curtain.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
Kissing Fogs & Funding

Kissing Frogs: Sadly over recent years many scammers have stepped into such networking spaces such as Linkedin, making various avenues to reach out potentially a difficult area to navigate, I’d personally like to see Linkedin a KYC based platform, so there are fewer frogs to kiss when looking for the Prince of marketing/advising/partnerships etc. (so to speak)

Funding: It’s such a smoke & mirrors avenue for startups, more frogs to kiss such as, “we can connect you to X who funds millions of dollars into startups but give us $5000 to do so” !!!!, I’ve lost count of how many of these I’ve personally seen, I feel you shouldn’t think too hard about funding/money, just keep building out and strengthening your projects team and the money should find you eventually.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
Never think what you have can’t be improved, I’ve personally found that this mindset ensures constant improvements more often than not executed via business pivots, here’s an example, BlockBuster thought what they had was perfect and couldn’t be improved, they failed to pivot into the digital market, bye bye BlockBuster, hello NetFlix 😉

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
Never give up, Fail Forward and keep going.

Read or even listen on Audible to one book per week.

Then we have the “Sixth Rule,” hang around five negative people you’ll become the 6th, hang around five drunks you’ll become the 6th, i chose to associate with successful business people, it is incredible how much you can learn and benefit from such a basic action

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:

https://curveblock.io/index.html
https://www.facebook.com/curveblockio/
https://twitter.com/CurveBlockIO

Pop Quiz, Monday with Vladislav Podolyako

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Vladislav Podolyako

Vladislav Podolyako
Photo credit: Vladislav Podolyako

What is your job role?
CEO

Tell us about your company?
Belkins is the most in-depth way to accelerate Outbound Sales. We provide a dedicated sales team, whose primal goal is to target your prospects, design account-based sales campaigns and convert pre-qualified prospects into qualified Sales Appointments. We deliver a Predictable Sales Funnel Solution and support it with a detailed campaign statistic.

Our outsourced KPI-driven Sales Ninjas are supervised by experienced sales experts, quickly adopt any company culture, efficiently utilize the latest sales tools and maximize the effectiveness of any sales strategy. Belkins Sale Team allows companies to reach sales goals quicker and reduce Customer Acquisition Costs at the same time.

At the heart of our work, we are a sales partner who is deeply embedded in the sales culture, connecting businesses with excellent products, with those companies who need them.

What do you love most about your job?
Challenges and experience

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
Drive the process and results for our customers.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
Every team member in my team inspires me because those people are changing the world 🙂

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
Weekly meetings with the team for inspiration.
We play board games like Scythe, Mafia, etc.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
Responsibilities

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
Do or die 🙂

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
I wish a bit luck for everyone who will start to work in the marketing and sales industry. Most competitive niche ever 🙂

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:

https://www.belkins.io/
https://www.linkedin.com/company/belkins/
https://twitter.com/Belkinsio
https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/belkins-io
https://www.facebook.com/belkins.io/

Pop Quiz, Monday with Brian Matthews

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Brian Matthews

Brian Matthews
Photo credit: Brian Matthews

What is your job role?
I’m the Founder and CEO of BizText

Tell us about your company?
We help businesses increase their customer relationships and boost their bottom line with a unique SMS-based service. Consumers would prefer to send a text when they need to talk to someone in business — for example, if they need customer service or want to schedule an appointment. However, most companies (particularly SMBs) lack the ability to accept texts.

As a result, consumers are forced to leave messages and play phone tag, which is inconvenient for both the consumer and the company.

BizText provides a business number which companies can use to send and receive texts from their phone, or from any device via an online portal. Customers can also receive voicemails and calls, and set automated text replies, such as “Out of Office” notifications. This helps businesses be more responsive, which leads to better customer relationships and more revenue.

What do you love most about your job?
I love being my own boss and setting my own hours. We are a remote team, so it’s great to work from home and wear what I want while I’m on my PC. I’ll admit, I’m in my pajamas a lot!

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
We are building something of great value, leaving something important behind and doing things in new and ingenious ways.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
With their creativity in solving problems and the ability to see things in unique and different ways. No matter how smart you are, cumulatively, the people around you will be more intelligent and know more. You need them to be genuinely successful.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
Fun? What’s that? We try and go out for dinner and drinks now and then, where we mostly talk about work.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
Every great effort requires a lot of work and commitment. Startup life is like moving a mountain. You better be motivated for a long fight, because you’re not going to get this done in a day or even a few months of hard work. It’s one shovel at a time, and you need to be ready for doing that over and over again for a long time.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
Release things in stages, don’t wait for big releases and shoot for perfection. Getting your product out there is what gives you an opportunity to learn what’s important.

Most of the time, you’re not going to nail it regarding market fit the first time. It’s important to treat your releases a chance to learn and get feedback from customers or users, even if you don’t get it exactly right.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
No matter how good your idea, selling it is going to be the hardest part. Startups often fall in love with their features and how their product or service is going to improve the world and focus exclusively on building something great. When their friends, family and initial users praise their product, they feel their priorities are validated.

But even if your idea is every bit as good as you think it is, you still need to put your greatest effort into getting people to sign up or buy it. The central question for any startup should be: how are we going to get users? Don’t let yourself fall so deeply in love with your idea that you assume it will sell itself!

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:
Biztextsolutions.com

Pop Quiz, Monday with Kobhi Nanthakumaran

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Kobhi Nanthakumaran

Kobhi Nanthakumaran
Photo credit: Kobhi Nanthakumaran

What is your job role?
Founder/CTO

Tell us about your company?
Founder and CTO of both Blockchain Fortress and R3TRUST

Blockchain Fortress (BCF) is a professional services company focusing on Security Tokens Offerings (STOs), DApps and Smart Contracts. We have a team of experienced individuals who specialize in the application of blockchain technology. Blockchain Fortress is the successor behind $100million + projects such as BRED (blockchain real estate development), and Peblik.

R3trust is a product-focused company that has several products on its roadmap. Currently, R3trust has a crypto purchase platform (buyplatform.com), a software wallet (Sphinx) for iOS and Android, as well as a prototype hardware wallet concept that behaves as your go-to crypto safe cold storage.

What do you love most about your job?
I am a firm believer in doing what is right for the world and our future generations. There are several socioeconomic issues in the world that Blockchain technology and bring drastic improvements to. First on that list is banking for everyone everywhere.

As an early adopter of cryptocurrencies; I have been able to watch the developments and progression in the blockchain space. Using my core background in cybersecurity, I can provide companies and startups with a unique perspective on their application of blockchain technology.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
I work with industry leaders in several verticals to take advantage of blockchain technology. From Stock exchanges, money remittance, banking, real estate, and compliance; there is never a dull moment!

How do your co-workers inspire you?
I chose very carefully who I spend my time with outside of work – same rule applies for who I work with!

My co-workers are key individuals I can rely on to fill roles I cannot take on. We all share the same visions and ideologies making for a well informed and uniform decision for all projects I work on.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
Pranks! Game & Beer nights (lan games), Off-site team building workshops. I work with a fun bunch!

Most of us are also 420 friendly 😉

What are some of the challenges of your job?
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are still at an infant stage in its life. Therefore, regulations and compliance rules are not clearly defined. There are several definitions in the space that are up for dispute.

All of this ends up becoming a challenge when it comes time to execute specific tasks. It is definitely not for the faint hearted – we face several roadblocks and work closely with rules makers and lawyers to always find a way to make things work.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
Always play in a new space with due diligence and be ready to take corrective actions. When spearheading a new space with multiple parties involved; there are going to be boundaries you will hit and need to adjust your course. Be ready and willing to adjust your sails! You’ll need a good crew with you.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
There is a lot to learn, paths to pave and a ton of amazing people to meet. Be ready to hit the ground running.

On a more specific note:
-Learn all the basics of how blockchain works
-Look at your current industry or industry of interest and see if there is an application
-Bounce your ideas off people in the industry
-Take part in community events
-Be ready to learn on the go.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:
https://www.vnkconsultinggroup.com/about-us/
www.blockchainfortress.com
www.r3trust.com
https://www.instagram.com/kobhi09

Pop Quiz, Monday with Craig Wolfe

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Craig Wolfe

Craig Wolfe
Photo credit: Craig Wolfe

What is your job role?
100% owner of the company

Tell us about your company?
We had this unusual idea to a whole line of celebrity rubber ducks……I know, sounds crazy….but wait….it worked. They were voted one of the top 100 Gifts by Entertainment Weekly, featured on The Tonight Show, Conan, and hundreds and hundreds of media outlet. With their detail and intricacy, they are now considered the finest rubber ducks on the market. Oh and now we are also the top custom duck manufacturer in the world creating ducks for everyone from The New York Yankees to SeaWorld, and Harley-Davidson.

What do you love most about your job?
Spending all day coming up with fun parodies of celebrities and creating some of the coolest rubber ducks on the market is a complete hoot! We really enjoy our time here. Plus owning the company means I can pretty much do whatever inspires me.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
I think it’s the endless creativity that we enjoy every day with each other. People love rubber ducks. And with our innovative and whimsical content of doing celebrity rubber ducks, playtime never ends here.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
My co-workers are the heart and soul of the company. I feel so fortunate to work with some of the funniest and most creative people imaginable. The company would never be where it is today without them…..so smart, so funny and just as important, so enjoyable to be around.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
Well, you know either we are sitting around in the same room or on speaker phone with our remote folks and just throwing one crazy idea out after another. Some “float” so to speak and some don’t, but at the heart of it all is knowing that everything is allowable and there are no wrong answers so spontaneity and having fun is at the heart of all our communications with one another. We are not just co-workers….it feels like one big family where anything goes.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
You would never believe how hard it is to make one duck. I had no idea…much more intricate that one could ever imagine with the sculpting, molds, floating concerns, painting, spray masking, and hand-painting…I could go on and on. We never tried to compete with overseas by making a cheaper product. That was one of our biggest initial concerns. However, we knew the way to succeed would be to make our products intricate and spend so much money on each character that no-one would even attempt to duplicate what we were doing….and it worked! It’s not easy working with your partner’s thousands of miles away, but after over twenty years, it is like one big family.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
Let me give you a project that was the most challenging thing we ever attempted. First, know that the rubber duck was an American icon that was invented here. Then the whole industry went overseas until not one duck is produced here anymore. I had this idea to return the industry back to the USA and be the only one making at least part of our line here once again. It was the most stressful thing I ever went through in my life. I had no idea of the skill sets that were lost here, and no-one had any idea how to make them here anymore.

The level of detail in our ducks was especially demanding. But we did make it work and now are the only ones making any ducks in the USA. But then we went one step further and thought it would be great to make the world’s safest rubber ducks for babies to teethe on out of food and medical grade materials which had never really been done before. Wow, was that hard? The molds alone cost a fortune, and the materials were so hard to work with. But in the end, we are now making them 100% in the USA, and they are PVC Free, Phthalate free, BPA free.

It has been amazing, and babies love them. But it was so much work trying to figure out how to make them correctly and then finding people who could work with us on this project. I am happy that in the end, it was successful, but like with anything, there is always a learning curve…just never realized how hard it would be!

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
I would give this advice to anyone in any business as so often people have a great idea, but in the end, that is never enough. It’s all about execution and surrounding yourself with the right people. Also, it’s so easy to lose your shirt before your idea takes off….which is why I say that it’s not how much money you make, it’s how much you keep. Excessive overhead can bring down any business no matter how much you make. Lean and mean is the key to survival especially in the beginning before business gains traction.

Also, it’s really important to refine your concept and not to try and be all things to all people, or you become nothing to anyone……focus like a laser on your niche and be really clear on what you stand for. There are always endless variations you can come up with that are extensions to your core products. But just really focus on your core product first….and spend years doing it if need be….for us it was always about the ducks!

You also have to be sure to reflect your core brand ethics and quality in every marketing communication to the public. Don’t ever forget your uniqueness and what makes you different or you’ll get lost in the crowd. So it’s very important to define what actually makes you unique and make sure that stands out in everything you put out to the public.

Finally, I can tell you this: compete on the cheap end, and someone can always make it for less…..Quality like the tortoise will ultimately win out or as I like to say, “live by the penny, die by the penny. Don’t compete on price alone! Quality is the hardest thing to knock off….and that has led to all our success.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:

www.CelebriDucks.com
www.facebook.com/celebriducks

Pop Quiz, Monday with Celia Faye Meisel

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Celia Faye Meisel

Celia Faye Meisel
Photo credit: Celia Faye Meisel

What is your job role?
Sales and Monetization Coach and Trainer

Tell us about your company?
We work with online coaches, practitioners, and local businesses to optimize their offers, refine their sales processes, and increase conversions with new and existing leads. 90% of our clients report having their highest grossing income months during our work together. We take a unique approach, not just focusing on business strategies alone. We work with energy through the use of meditation and energy shifting tools, as well as mindset techniques that change unconscious thought patterns to create new and different actions, and these approaches lead our clients to those highest income months mentioned before.

What do you love most about your job?
Connecting with business owners from across the world who run unique niche-based businesses. My clients are always passion-driven, they possess the training, skills, and experience to get results for themselves and their clients while being extremely passionate about their businesses. I enjoy learning more about them through the journey and witnessing how many lives are positively impacted through their sales and delivery.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
Online business keeps me on my toes! There is so much to learn and to implement. I love that my business is revolved around expressing myself, creating for & delivering to my clients and audience, and continued learning. All of these pieces make for a dynamic work experience that continuously inspires me.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
They are dedicated to giving a high level of service and always care about satisfaction. When everyone on a team is moving in the direction of a common vision momentum is gained. I recognize how much they care about the results and client experience which excites me to think about growing our team with more members who carry the same level of dedication.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
My team, my clients, and all I work remotely. To have fun from my home office, I’ll take dance party breaks, put on fun bright lip glosses to spruce up my look, and go on live streams with a playful attitude. To connect with my team, I consistently send them messages of encouragement and appreciation while also taking the time to send my clients and team members gifts in the mail.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
My business is highly dependent on my creativity. If I am not feeling creatively inspired, I can get concerned about it going on too long or whether or not my visibility will be impacted. I’ve found that those are just thoughts and that in the age of social media it is easy to be fooled into thinking that you can only be successful if your life is happy all of the time. I have found that those challenging times are the ones of the most significant growth, especially when I am visible and share my personal story with my clients and audience. Being in sales and online coaching also has its own set of challenges because you are responsible for attracting clients and closing deals. Sometimes deals fall through, and you’ve always got to be ready to assess your process and grow from the experience, showing up better the next time. I have learned to be fully responsible for myself and my business which helps me handle challenges wisely.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
When I came into this business, I knew to have my client agreement and contract sent and signed immediately. The few times I was relaxed on sending my contract over, it came back to get me, resulting in a lost deal or cancellation. On the other hand, my contract has saved the day as well, with clearly defined terms that backed the offering.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
My first piece of advice is not to give up when challenges arise. Focus on your niche and a marketing strategy for 90 days than six months without making significant changes because you think things are moving too slowly. Often you are too close to your business to recognize the progress. Start early off with a robust sales system that you can track and convert leads with, often so many new online business owners are focused only on marketing and visibility with sales getting lost in the mix. Learn sales, and you can guarantee an income that way!

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:

https://celiafayemeisel.com
https://www.facebook.com/CeliaFayeMeisell
https://www.instagram.com/celiafayemeisel1234/