January 2015

Few things in life carry as much hope as a brand new year.  Once every 365 days we have the opportunity for a fresh start, the proverbial blank slate.  We swear to exercise more and complain less.  Our intentions to stop smoking, stop drinking and stop swearing are heartfelt.  We make lists, create meal plans, and vow to stop hitting the snooze button.  This gung-ho determination and steely willpower lasts for approximately one week, leaving us with 51 more to self-loathe about the fact that we failed...again.  We shouldn't be too hard on ourselves however; a study conducted by the University of Scranton revealed the fact that only 8% of the population actually achieves their New Year's resolutions.  Where are we going wrong?  If we focus on small changes that equal big success we can all be part of the 8% club!


All the best,



Tools for Starting Your Year off on the Right Foot


It took us a long time to become what we are, and while we tend to emphasize our negative attributes, more often than not only minor tweaking is needed.  Having studied human behavior for decades, our team has learned that success rate skyrockets when you focus on one small change, vs. multiple things at once.  (For an interesting Harvard Business Review article on this click here).  If you are wondering what to focus on, I suggest you make one that increases your EQ (emotional intelligence) that could have a dramatic impact on your influence, opportunities, and ultimate success at work. Here are some ideas to get you started:


  • Stop interrupting.  Listening is not something that happens automatically.  It is a skill that requires practice.  If you are thinking about what you are going to say before someone else finishes speaking, then you are not giving them the attention that they deserve, and that you require to fully understand what they are trying to communicate.  Just being a better meeting member can be a critical component in cultivating more EQ.  Use self awareness to watch your instincts to finish others' sentences or shout out a thought as it pops into your head. If it is so important that it just can't wait, jot it down on a piece of paper to revisit when the time is appropriate.

  • Be aware of your telling/asking ratio.  How often do you ask a question to clarify your understanding before stating an opinion, telling your reaction, or giving advice?


  • Focus this year on stress management. There is a direct correlation between high stress levels and low self-control. To help keep our impulsive behaviors in check we can take a short walk, move to a window, or take five minutes to just breathe and be present:  remaining calm and even-keeled results in clarity and thoughtful action when responding to an unexpected event.


  • Be positive; administer compliments as often as criticisms.  As managers we are often actively trying to fix something.  It could be an operating procedure, employee conflict, or a budgeting issue.  It becomes all too easy to focus on which things could be better instead of which things are actually working well.  When is the last time you gave an employee positive feedback all by itself? Avoid wrapping positive feedback with negative and say "thank you" and show appreciation often. 


  • Make 2015 the year of the "Self-Audit".  At the end of a day or week review your interactions with others. Judge yourself not on your intent but your impact.  How effectively did you communicate from the perspective of someone else? What could you change?


Don't try and implement all of these changes at once. Pick one. We will never be successful if our goal is to try to become someone we are not. Make small changes in areas where you can make the biggest difference.  Successful and happy people are guided by balance, awareness, and the willingness to stay out of comfort zone.  








"We will never be successful if our goal is to try to become someone we are not. Make small changes in areas where you can make the biggest difference."

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