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January 2012
Ann Latham
Uncommonly Clear Products by Ann Latham
Uncommon Meetings - 7 Quick Tips for Better Results in Half the Time
Uncommon Meetings - 7 Quick Tips for Better Results in Half the Time
Clear Thoughts by Ann Latham
Clear Thoughts - Pragmatic Gems of Better Business Thinking
Meeting Mastery by Ann Latham
Meeting Mastery - How to Slash Meeting Times in Half and Get Better Results
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Happy New Year!

This month's newsletter is loaded with tips for making 2012 a fabulous year. You will find even more articles by visiting my website. You will also find audio seminars, books, free tools, videos, and more.
Clear Thoughts for the New Year
The Top Few Priorities
To Be, Not Just To Do
Making Your Resolutions Stick
For a Daily Dose of Clarity
Ann's Parting Thoughts - Find the Reason to Smile
The Top Few Priorities


What couple of changes will make the biggest difference for you in the new year? 


Answer this question at the executive level, the individual level, and every level in between. Focus and alignment are critical. 


Do you need to:

  • Offer different products or services to provide compelling, differentiated, and profitable value
  • Change your sales and distribution channels to increase sales and profits
  • Communicate more carefully so your target markets know you exist, customers know what to expect, suppliers know what is important, and employees can contribute successfully
  • Improve your execution so you are better, faster, and cheaper
  • Develop new capabilities so you have more opportunities for success

You can't do it all and you can't succeed if your organization is running around like a "chicken with its head cut off," as my mother used to say. Dig into the broad categories above and choose just a few priorities. Be specific. What needs to be different? What will success look like? How can each individual help make those top priorities successful? 


Need help establishing your top priorities, communicating what they are and why they are important, and creating the alignment and commitment throughout your organization? Give us a call at 800-527-0087.
To Be, Not Just To Do

Examine your list of top priorities and subsequent action items. These are likely things you and your colleagues can do, check off, and be done. If the lists are short, focused, powerful, and aligned, that is excellent.


But it is not enough. There is one more question that deserves consideration as the new year kicks off. What do you want to be?


Do you want to be:

  • More decisive
  • A better listener
  • Bolder
  • Less defensive
  • More of a team player
  • A better leader
  • More open-minded
  • Fit and thin
  • An expert

The list of possibilities is endless and the choice applies to you personally as well as to your company. What kind of company, division, or department do you want to be?


Focus is just as important when striving to be something as when striving to do something because you don't become something without doing something.


So what do you want to become during 2012? Resolve to make it so today!


Need help identifying the steps to becoming something new, whether individually or as a company? Call or email and let's discuss next steps. 800-527-0087 and

Making Your Resolutions Stick

Your priorities and desires for the new year likely require a combination of completing tasks and changing behaviors. The former is easy compared to the latter. Our behaviors and habits are so ingrained that they often defy our best and strongest intentions.


Our environment and routines are largely to blame. When I was a child, my lunch bag typically contained a sandwich, a piece of fruit, and a cookie. I was into my thirties before I realized that fruit at lunch made me crave cookies. I broke the cookies-at-lunch habit simply by changing the pattern, eating the fruit first, and finishing with the sandwich, salad, or yogurt.


Changing our own routines isn't always easy, but at least they are within our control. If you can recognize the patterns that lead you to undesirable behaviors, like eating cookies, or prevent you from creating new habits, like exercising, you can develop new routines. 


The environment is less easily controlled and provides many triggers that affect our behavior. Nonetheless, recognizing the triggers is the first step to changing how you react. 

  • What sounds make you think about food? 
  • What people or words make you defensive? 
  • What thoughts prevent you from taking action? 
  • What circumstances drive you to undesirable behaviors, whether interrupting, leaping to solutions, or smoking? 

Examine the triggers and then figure out how to avoid them or develop new responses. 


For example, when you hear a can of soda opened, you could reach for your water bottle and tell yourself that 15 minutes after drinking a soda you won't know whether you drank it or not but you will sure feel better knowing you didn't. 


With any kind of behavior change, you will be smart to enlist the help of those around you. Tell them about the triggers and the desired change in your reactions. Give them permission to remind you or interrupt you if you fall back into old habits. 


For example, if you have a habit of supplying solutions without first understanding the problem, you need to get in the habit of asking at least three questions before providing advice and ideas. Those around you can help you comply with your new rule. 


Wishful thinking does not change our behaviors. We need to replace old routines with new routines and create new responses to the triggers around us. Start by identifying the routines and triggers that most need attention, develop new routines and reactions, and enlist help from those around you. 


Would you like to discuss this topic further? Give us a call at 800-527-0087.
Published Clarity

Monster quotes Ann in "Ten Tips for Small Business Success in 2012," January 2012

Business Intelligence Report publishes Ann's "Worst Mistake to Make When Overloaded," December 2011

Medical Office Today quotes Ann in "A Fresh Start to the New Year," December 2011

The British magazine, The Executive Secretary, publishes Ann's article, "Why Training Fails," November 2011

Forbes in Photos features Ann in "10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Taking that Promotion," October 2011

Ann's book, Uncommon Meetings, tops recommended reading list of The CEO Refresher

Ann's advice featured in The Woman's Advantage 2012 Calendar


"Uncommon Meetings" Attracts Attention

"Ann Latham's Uncommon Meetings is a road map to well run meetings. It is a good read for busy people. While serving as a refresher for all of us who labor through less effective meetings, the highlights in boxes and bullet points emphasize insightful aids to more meaningful meetings and desired outcomes."


Dianne Fuller Doherty, Regional Director, Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network


"Uncommon Meetings is a quick read with simple, easy to implement, ways to make meetings shorter and more effective. You will get more time back and you and your co-workers will be more productive."


W. Lowell Putnam, Trust Administrator, Lowell Observatory


"I wish everyone read this book. Ann Latham's "Uncommon Meetings" is a quick read, packed with substantive ideas on how to get more out of meetings in less time. Everyone who runs meetings should read it!"


Janet Warren, President, MarCom Capital


"Uncommon Meetings is a must read for everyone in any organization, not just top management."


Al Kasper, President & COO, Savage Sports Corporation


"To achieve your desired outcomes in less time and with fewer people, read this book! It has great tips and memorable examples for improving meetings and is concise and clear as well. All and all, a huge value for anyone who spends a lot of time in meetings as I do."


Simon Lingard, Director of R&D, Aspen Technology, Inc.


In addition, the CEO Refresher has placed Uncommon Meetings at the top of its recommended reading list. 

Order your copy of Uncommon Meetings - 7 Quick Tips for Better Results in Half the Time today!


Clearly Speaking

Isenberg School of Management MBA students enjoyed a dose of clarity when Ann presented "Uncommon Productivity":

"Ann Latham is one of the best business speakers I have heard. She is very experienced, the quality of her thinking is extremely high, and she knows how to deliver her message in an entertaining, concise, and convincing way."


Dr. Alan G. Robinson, Isenberg School of Management, Author - "Ideas Are Free"


Ann spoke to the Purchasing Management Association of Western New England recently on the topic of Uncommon Decisions.

Might Your Organization Benefit from an Uncommonly Clear Keynote or Workshop? Now booking for 2012.


For a Daily Dose of Clarity

For a daily dose of clarity:

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Parting Thoughts - Find the Reason to Smile

Find the reason to smile in every lesson and opportunity that you encounter in 2012.


Wishing you a health, happiness, and success in the new year!

Best regards,

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Ann Latham

* Creating the Clarity that produces Better Results Faster *

2012 Ann Latham. All rights reserved.