Archive for the ‘Tips and Tools’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Some Thoughts for Thanksgiving…Or Any Day for That Matter

The following list was written by Regina Brett, of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland, OH.  If you meditate, or just find a quiet space every now or then, they are a good, healthy reminder about what’s important.

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short – enjoy it.

4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16… Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful.  Clutter weighs you down in many ways.

18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It’s never too late to be happy.  But it’s all up to you and no one else..

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now.. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have not what you need.

42. The best is yet to come…

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

PostHeaderIcon Have You Been Using Evernote…But Not to Its Full Potential?

Have you been using Evernote…but not at all to its full capability? Evernote is capable of so much more than simply holding notes you type. This article from LifeHacker is full of great tips for getting so much more out of Evernote. Read it here.

PostHeaderIcon Two World Class Speakers to Address Vistage Members and Guests

June 5, 2013

Vistage Arizona All Member Meeting in Phoenix

brianOn June 5 close to 250 Vistage members and guests will gather in Phoenix for our annual All State Meeting. If you are lucky enough to be a Vistage member or a prospective member guest you will be treated to two of the all time great Vistage speakers. Brian Beaulieu of ITR Economics will talk about strategies for prospering in the coming economy. His last Phoenix talk was worth more than $1 million to one member company. Herb Meyer, former special assistant to the Director of the CIA under Reagan will help us make sense of the international scene. Contact me for more information.

Brian Beaulieu has been an economist with ITR Economics since 1982 and its CEO since 1987. He is also Chief Economist for Vistage International and TEC, global organizations comprised of over 13,000 CEO’s. At ITR, Brian has been engaged in applied research regarding business cycle trend analysis and the utilization of that research at a practical business level. For the past 25 years, he has been giving workshops and seminars across the US and Canada to thousands of business owners and executives. Prior to joining the ITR Economics, Brian was an economist for the US Department of Labor where he worked on the health care component of the Consumer Price Index. Brian is co-author of the book, Make Your Move.

HerbMeyer154pxHerbert E. Meyer served  during the Reagan Administration as Special Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence and Vice Chairman of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council.  In these positions, he managed production of the U.S. National Intelligence Estimates and other top-secret projections for the President and his national security advisers.  Mr. Meyer is widely credited with being the first U.S. Government official to forecast the Soviet Union’s collapse — a forecast for which he later was awarded the U.S. National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, which is the Intelligence Community’s highest honor.

Mr. Meyer is author of How to Analyze Information and The Cure for Poverty.

Formerly an associate editor of FORTUNE, he has authored several books including The War Against Progress, Real-World Intelligence, and Hard Thinking.  Mr. Meyer and his wife, Jill, are co-authors of How to Write, which is among the world’s most widely used writing handbooks. Mr. Meyer’s essays on Intelligence and Politics have been published in The Wall Street JournalNational Review


PostHeaderIcon Build Your Bench Strength Without Breaking the Bank

Kirk Kramer writes in the HBR Blog: Many social enterprises start small and grow fast. This puts a premium on the need to develop, or recruit, talented people who can take on evolving roles and responsibilities. Yet planning for future leadership needs falls between the cracks at most social enterprises. Leaders plead lack of time and money to make development a priority. If you are among them, be aware that neither excuse holds up under close scrutiny. What you really need is a change in mindset.. Read the full entry at

PostHeaderIcon Are Your Employee Evaluations Worth the Time and Paper It Takes to Do Them?

According to Denis Wilson, writing in Fast Company, annual evaluations “build up pressure and make feedback sessions feel like indictments. And most importantly, they do little to alter behavior and improve performance and productivity, which should be your goal.” If you’ve read Three Signs of a Miserable Job (if you supervise, manage, or lead—you must) by Patrick Lencioni, one of my favorite business authors, Lencioni asserts that there are three things often missing for most employees that create a great deal of dissatisfaction.

Immeasurement refers to an employee’s desire to know how their performance will be measured. It also hinders clarity regarding where to focus one’s time and attention. Irrelevance refers to an employee’s lack of understanding how their work and performance contributes to the company’s overall success. And anonymity refers to an employee’s feeling of generally not being known.

The boom-surprise-explode cycle of typical annual performance evaluations does little to alleviate these three conditions, although when done well and thoughtfully they can help. Instead, consider how you can transform an annual evaluation into an ongoing conversation that provides regular feedback on performance requirements derived directly from corporate strategy;  promotes alignment with corporate culture; and for those who manage or lead provides important feedback on their number one job—the performance of the teams they lead.

With the turning of the calendar, this is a great time to consider a change in this area. There are many tools available. Our favorite is Evaluate to Win, based on the work of Vistage Member Lee Benson in Phoenix and on the management operating systems designed by former GE CEO Jack Welch.  To read the complete Fast Company article, simply follow this link

PostHeaderIcon Is Your Company Growing Too Fast?

When business picks up particularly after challenging periods like our recent recession, it’s easy to overlook basic financials. It’s even easier to overlook less obvious financials like the Sustainable Growth Rate. The SGR calculates the rate of growth your business is able to sustain without additional borrowing. It essentially answers the question, “How fast can I afford to grow in my current state?” A simple look in the App Store will reveal an SGR calculator for less than a dollar. Check out the interesting discussion at the Harvard Business Review Blog here.

Find the Sustainable Growth Rate Calculator here for 99 cents.

PostHeaderIcon What Can We Learn from the Founding Fathers About Holding Great Meetings

In a great Fast Company article, Mark McNeilly talks about what we can learn from the founding fathers about holding productive meetings when the participants are diverse with equally diverse interests. In his introduction he states:

“Consider this: meeting for the Constitutional convention in Philadelphia back in 1787, a group of strong-willed men representing states with very different interests sat down and created a document that has been foundation of America’s achievements for over two hundred years. That same document was both strong enough to provide a set of rules on how a growing nation would govern itself yet was flexible enough to be changed with the times.”

His first two principles set the tone. Have a good reason for the meeting and invite the right people. Read the entire article at .

PostHeaderIcon What Lessons Can You Learn from Sam the Banana Man?

Samuel Zemurray, known to friend and foe alike as Sam the Banana Man, made his first fortune in “ripes,” bananas that the big fruit traders considered too mature to reach market in time for sale. Their rule of thumb was “One freckle turning, two freckles ripe”—thus consigning tons of fruit to a great reeking pile at the edge of the wharf, where it was pushed into the sea or simply left to rot.

When Zemurray, a young Russian immigrant, saw that first sad pile of ripes—circa 1895, in the port of Mobile, Ala.—he recognized his opportunity. For a man who spent his early years on a desolate wheat farm in Bessarabia, there was obvious value in even a freckled piece of fruit. By 1903, he was a mini mogul, with $100,000 in the bank. Here’s a list of Sam’s five lessons.

1. See for yourself.

2. Don’t try to be smarter than the problem.

3. Don’t trust the experts.

4. Money can be made again, but a lost reputation is gone forever.

5. When in doubt, do something!

Read the entire  Wall Street Journal Article here.

PostHeaderIcon Want to Delight Your Customers? Map How They Feel

Every interaction a customer has with your company says something about your brand. Do you know how you’re making them feel with every touch point? Most companies have detailed processes for delivering products but very little definition of the emotional experience they want customers to have. To delight customers, decide how you want them to feel, and tailor your communications and actions to produce the right emotional experience.

When do your customers interact with your company?

Start by outlining every typical touch point the customer has with your company while completing a process. This could be as detailed as the step-by-step process for registering online with your website, or as broad as your management of new clients if you’re a services firm. The key is to list all the touch points where you can influence the customers’ experience.  An Excel spreadsheet is a useful tool for this exercise.


PostHeaderIcon Could You Use an Efficient Way to Manage Email?

“Here’s my problem with email,” Jane*, a lawyer friend of mine told me recently, “I open Outlook expecting to quickly check my email, but then I read an email with a link in it, I follow the link, and then I’m lost on the internet for hours.”

At first, Jane — like most lawyers and many other people I know — felt like she had to be on email all the time. But after thinking about it, she admitted that no one would notice if she wasn’t. Taking hour-long email breaks throughout the day would be a good way to free herself up to do other, more thoughtful work.

Read more of this post by Peter Bregman at the Harvard Business Review Blog here.