Category Archives: CONTRIBUTORS


The Hazards of Business Execution, Part 4 of 4

This is the final segment of a four-part series!

I want to share with you in a series of 4 brief articles, how to overcome the obstacles to effective and predictable business execution of strategic initiatives.

There are chronic issues that exist in all organizations and far too many leaders accept them as a non-negotiable part of the business environment — things like resource disconnects, decision stalls, organizational politics, weak or passive-aggressive support, or everyone simply being too busy.

Previously I talked about the first 3 steps in the MOVE model
M = The Middle
O = Organization
V = Valor

Today I want to talk about the fourth and final step in the MOVE model: E= Everyone

Although you can lead a transformation from the top, you can’t DO a transformation from the top. Successful transformation requires that everyone participates. If they don’t move forward, you don’t move forward.

Telling does not equal communicating

You need to be ready to consider this first telling of your strategy to your organization as pretty much a throwaway effort. Yes, it’s a step in the process. Yes, you need to communicate top down. But to genuinely communicate, and to get your message internalized, and for your transformation to take hold, you need to create a fundamental shift in the way that you think about communication. You need to change your existing idea of communication to instead become conversation — that involves everyone.

Your broadcast has almost nothing to do with whether or not something has been communicated. Simply telling people your strategy does not mean they heard it.

You should not assume that just because you have told everyone your strategy (for the first time!), that they were listening carefully, internalized it, know what they need to do personally to act on it, know how to optimize it with regard to their current work, and will actively do the right things to implement their piece of it.

And in fact, it’s kind of funny, when an executive realizes that people “aren’t getting it”, typically I find there is an inverse relationship between the level of emphasis an executive will use to say, “but I was very clear” and how much has actually been internalized by their audience!

Conversation vs. communication

The right measure is never about how clearly you think you have communicated. The only right measure is about how much your audience has internalized.

You have communicated successfully when the people in your organization are talking about it amongst themselves.

For your transformation to work, the change must be part of the social fabric of the whole organization in a very real way — and that happens through conversation.

For example, when you can approach an employee at any level at random and ask, what is the most important thing for us to be doing right now, and why? — and get the same answer most of the time — then you can say that your communication has been successful.

Conversation creates forward momentum, and safety

People will only feel safe to keep doing the new thing if they hear their peers are still talking about it. If the conversation stops people will start asking, “Are we still doing this?’ and your strategy will stall.

Decorate the change
To give people confidence to keep going they need to see signs of the new strategy every single day. Through your conversations and physical modifications to the workplace you can “decorate the change” to make the new way a tangible part of the social fabric of the organization.

Listen and Share
Too many organizations treat communicating as an afterthought, and this is deadly to a successful transformation. It’s important to do not only top down conversations, but foster and environment of sharing information across groups (by making information sharing part of performance objectives!)

Power and Trust
As leaders we have a choice to share power or hoard power. If you share power you build trust, and trust is rocket fuel for keeping motivation and momentum in a transformation. And with trust there is no neutral. You are either building trust, or destroying it. You must invest in building trust through building conversation.

My new book MOVE is about decisively executing strategy

Get your copy of MOVE to help you truly engage people on a personal level, build trust, and increase confidence to move your strategy forward. Learn how to change communication into the kind of conversation that fuels forward momentum, and how to decorate the change so the path forward is an obvious part of the environment every single day.


You can find Patty Azzarello’s upcoming book here:

Download a FREE Preview of MOVE

In my years of leading business transformations and turnarounds, building highly successful management teams, and working with countless clients to implement their strategies, I have determined what factors enable faster, more decisive execution, and reduce risk.
It’s all in the book! I can’t wait to share it! Available in February.

Get a copy for your whole team!
Or if you’d like to pre-order a copy for everyone on your team, contact us for bulk-order discounts.


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The Hazards of Business Execution, Part 3 of 4

This is part three of a four-part series!

I want to share with you in a series of 4 brief articles, how to overcome the obstacles to effective and predictable business execution of strategic initiatives.

There are chronic issues that exist in all organizations and far too many leaders accept them as a non-negotiable part of the business environment — things like resource disconnects, decision stalls, organizational politics, weak or passive-aggressive support, or everyone simply being too busy.

Previously I talked about the first 2 steps in the MOVE model:
M = The Middle
O = Organization

Today I want to talk about the third step in the MOVE model, V= Valor:

Everyone is scared

If you are human, you will be scared sometimes. If you are leader you will be attacked and challenged sometimes. At times your job will feel so ugly and impossible that you think you will surely fail. In my experience, the bigger the job, the harder it gets. Because as you move higher, there is less clarity of expectations, less support from your direct manager, less feedback, and higher stakes. There is also much more competition for budget, people, and charter.

That brings us to the section on V=Valor. Because leadership is hard. That’s why you need Valor to progress through the long Middle.

Welcome to being a leader

I can remember feeling at various points in my career, that the mission just didn’t make sense, or that it was unsupported. I felt like I was out on a limb owning all of the risk, and with not enough resources to succeed. Or I felt like the corporate bureaucracy, the board, or another group or particular adversary, was blocking me (or sabotaging me) from doing the right things that I knew needed to be done. Or I would get a directive that didn’t make any sense like, “you must cut costs by 50% but you can not make any cuts to the biggest program.”

As a leader, this unreasonable, soul-crushing stuff is just part of the job description. There are always big, ugly, seemingly impossible problems, annoying people, and exhausting obstacles in the way of getting your job done. And when you are leading, by definition you are going to a place where others aren’t. You are embarking on new territory, which can be scary and lonely.

Think of Valor in this way:

Once you embrace the fact that: YOUR JOB = Your job description PLUS all the crap that gets in the way of delivering on your job description…You will feel (and BE) in a lot more in control.

I coach a lot of senior executives and with pretty much everyone we reach a point where I tell them, “You’ll be better off if you start your thinking with this:

Everything is impossible and everyone is a shark.

That’s just the way it is. And it’s your job to deal with that.” Usually that makes people feel better because they can let go of the idea that it is about them personally, and they can step back, see the problem more clearly, and treat it like any other challenge or project.

A leader needs a lot of Valor to navigate a transformation through the long Middle because people will lose faith, rebel, and there will be political attacks along the way.

Burn the ships at the beach

You need to be so unfailingly consistent in your communications and decisions that people realize the only way through is forward. As Winston Churchill said, “If you are going through hell… keep going”.

Too busy to scale

Most new strategic initiatives fail because the pressures of the current workload are so overwhelming that there is no time to do new things. You must find a way to rise above the current workload and priorities the strategic over the urgent. This is one of the hardest parts of leadership but has the biggest payoff if you are willing to do it.

Clarity and Conflict

The more clear you become about what it will take to stick to your strategic initiative, the more fire you will draw. It’s more comfortable to keep your goals at a generic level that everyone can agree to.

Once you start getting specific, “in order to do this new thing, will take these resources from the old thing, and delay the current plan on this other thing” people will disagree! But this is the only way to actually make progress.

If you never talk about what you will actually do in this concrete way, you will never actually do it!

Don’t trade a comfortable shallow agreement in the short time for a slow moving train wreck in the long term as you fail to implement your strategy.

Get your copy of MOVE to help you increase your confidence as leader to guide your team through the long Middle to implement your strategy decisively without hesitation, doubt and fear. You need Valor to stick to it and to help your team feel confident to keep doing the new stuff despite the many pressures to go back to the old way.

Check back next time for the final part of the MOVE model, E = Everyone.


You can find Patty Azzarello’s upcoming book here:

Download a FREE Preview of MOVE

In my years of leading business transformations and turnarounds, building highly successful management teams, and working with countless clients to implement their strategies, I have determined what factors enable faster, more decisive execution, and reduce risk.
It’s all in the book! I can’t wait to share it! Available in February.

Get a copy for your whole team!
Or if you’d like to pre-order a copy for everyone on your team, contact us for bulk-order discounts.


The Hazards of Business Execution, Part 2 of 4

This is part two of a four-part series!

I want to share with you in a series of 4 brief articles, how to overcome the obstacles to effective and predictable business execution of strategic initiatives.

There are chronic issues that exist in all organizations and far too many leaders accept them as a non-negotiable part of the business environment — things like resource disconnects, decision stalls, organizational politics, weak or passive-aggressive support, or everyone simply being too busy.

Last time we talked about the first step in the model “The Middle.”

O = Organization

Today I want to talk about the second step in the MOVE model O=Organization

When you are facing the very beginning of a necessary transformation, you are thinking through all the new things that need to be done. There will be things that need to be started, stopped, fixed, invented, re-designed, and re-negotiated… And as you are cataloging all the new stuff in your mind you think about your team — your current team.

Do I have the team I need?

In these first moments of a transformation you are tying to do big new stuff, but still have the same, existing organization. You ask yourself, “Is this the right team?”

In your heart you secretly know that not everyone on your current team is the best choice to succeed in the new mission. But it’s really hard to make a change, and you probably still need them to keep working on the current plans. And you might also be feeling bad and insecure thinking, “I like these people. I brought these people in initially! Who am I to now tell them that they are not going to be part of the new business strategy? Maybe I’ll just move forward with my existing team and they will be able to evolve to be capable enough in the new job. Or maybe I really do need to change the team. I don’t know. This is hard!”

There is no effective antidote for the wrong team

There is no more important thing you can do as a business leader than to build the right team. Every time I hated my job, or felt like I was drowning or failing, a mentor would tell me, “Patty you need to build the right team.”

Every time I was in a new management position, I built a new management team. And every time, before I had the new team in place, I suffered. It was not that the individuals were particularly bad in some way. It was that the team as a whole was the wrong team to accomplish what the business needed to get done. As long as I had the old team, doing the new stuff proved virtually impossible. And I had to shoulder all the weight of thinking about the new stuff by myself.

If you find yourself working overly hard because there are too many things that you can’t delegate to anyone — you have the wrong team.

Your ideal, blank-sheet org chart

As a leader it is your job to build the team you need, not to make do with the team you have.

To build the right organization you need to think about what the ideal team would be to accomplish the transformation you need to execute. Then instead of trying to move around the people you already have, give yourself the opportunity to start with a blank sheet, and build the right organization chart from scratch.

Mobilizing the right team to execute

As a leader you need to always be asking yourself the following:

The right people

How can I attract and hire the right people and move the wrong people out in a respectful way?

The right conversations

How can I lead my team in a way that fosters the most productivity, motivation, and confidence?

Genuine engagement

How can make sure that enough people are truly engaged on a personal level, especially when they are spread throughout the world! How can I get people to truly care?

Get your copy of MOVE to help you build the right team and motivate them to personally care about implementing the new strategy throughout the long Middle.

And check back next time for the next part of the MOVE model, V = Valor.


You can find Patty Azzarello’s upcoming book here:

Download a FREE Preview of MOVE

In my years of leading business transformations and turnarounds, building highly successful management teams, and working with countless clients to implement their strategies, I have determined what factors enable faster, more decisive execution, and reduce risk.
It’s all in the book! I can’t wait to share it! Available in February.

Get a copy for your whole team!
Or if you’d like to pre-order a copy for everyone on your team, contact us for bulk-order discounts.


The Hazards of Business Execution, Part 1 of 4

This is part one of a four-part series!

I want to share with you in a series of 4 brief articles, how to overcome the obstacles to effective and predictable business execution of strategic initiatives

There are chronic issues that exist in all organizations and far too many leaders accept them as a non-negotiable part of the business environment — things like resource disconnects, decision stalls, organizational politics, weak or passive-aggressive support, or everyone simply being too busy.

Stalls and retreats

We tend to accept stalls and loss of momentum as an inevitable result of short-term pressures that tempt the organization to go back to the old, comfortable way of working, instead of sticking with the new work necessary to make the longer-term transformation succeed.

Many organizations have a tendency to falter shortly after the exciting kick-off of a new strategic initiative. Think about how many times in your own career you have been told about a new strategy, and how many times the organization has actually followed through. (Not so much, right?)

Pre-programmed Skepticism

So each time we hear about a new thing, our reaction is skepticism, and the opposite of personal engagement. “I don’t need to worry about this because we never follow through on these things anyway.”

We are all so jaded when hearing about big new strategies that our natural tendency is to dismiss them. As a leader, it’s important to remember that that is the natural tendency of your whole organization!

I’ve written a book (called MOVE) about changing the game to that organizations can actually implement the big, new strategies that they are so excited about in the beginning– and so that the all people in the organization can move the new strategy forward with more confidence and less suspicion — because the actually believe in it.

Over the past 25 years helping organizations execute transformations I’ve created my MOVE model for the successful implementation of any kind of strategic initiative.

Today I want to talk about the M part of my model which stands for “The Middle”.

Have you been in this meeting?

You’re at a strategic off-site meeting to clarify your new strategy. You talk about the key, long-term things your business must invent, optimize, fix, change, or create. You use the words “game changing” and “innovative” when you talk about these ideas. You may have hired expensive consultants to create your new innovative and game changing strategy. There is tremendous investment, effort, and energy that goes into the beginning of a new strategy. Reaching the point of having defined and aligned on a new strategy seems like a huge achievement in itself – and it is.
But then . . .

Everyone goes back to work.
Everyone stays busy on what they were already working on.
The new thing falls victim to the Middle.

The dangers of the Middle

The beginning is really clear and strong, with lots of investment, excitement and great intentions. And the end is really well defined. But the problem most strategies face is that there is no real plan for the Middle – which is where everything needs to happen!

It’s not the goal setting and strategy that is the problem. It’s the doing. And the doing is hard because it takes doing for a long time. Without the element of time, there is no real transformation.

It’s easy to get an organization focused on a sprint. But in a transformation, you need to keep a whole organization moving in an often unnatural direction for a long period of time. And since human nature is not really built to naturally keep people engaged and focused over a long period of time, to succeed you need to really focus on this ambiguous expanse in the Middle and do many things on purpose to keep people on point.

Some of the biggest problems in the middle:

Too busy:
Everyone is so busy on existing work to even think about doing or even planning new stuff. I often refer to this is “being too busy being a $200M company to be a $1B company”.

What exactly should I be doing?
Companies are good at articulating end goals, but less practiced at plotting a clear and concrete course through the Middle. So people are not sure exactly what is the different stuff that needs to be done – so it’s easier to just keep working on the important, current, urgent stuff.

“Are we still doing this?”
As time goes by, attention, commitment and confidence wane. People naturally revert to the old way, because the Middle is a long time. No one is sure if this new thing is still important. Original skepticism slips back in and forward momentum stalls.

Not enough resources
If you want to do new stuff, you need to resource it. Too often companies think resource shifts will happen automatically as a result of simply talking about how important the new stuff is. (This never happens.) So, people are left thinking, well, they haven’t actually assigned resources to the new stuff, so I’ll wait until that happens.

The MOVE model let’s you take control and plot a clear course through the Middle so that everyone can see the way forward (for the whole time). You eliminate resource disconnects, increase confidence, neutralize passive aggressive attacks, and overcome political conflicts by defining the Middle in such a clear and concrete way that you ensure forward momentum.

Get your copy of MOVE to help you define the Middle in a way that ensures everyone knows what to do, and they feel confident to do so.

And check back next time for the next part of the MOVE model, 0 = Organization.


You can find Patty Azzarello’s upcoming book here:

Download a FREE Preview of MOVE

In my years of leading business transformations and turnarounds, building highly successful management teams, and working with countless clients to implement their strategies, I have determined what factors enable faster, more decisive execution, and reduce risk.
It’s all in the book! I can’t wait to share it! Available in February.

Get a copy for your whole team!
Or if you’d like to pre-order a copy for everyone on your team, contact us for bulk-order discounts.


Why You Should Run in the Rain

Literally. I don’t mean this as a metaphor (“Run in the rain so the shiny rainbows of life sustain you in the darkness where you light your candles as a beacon … ”) or in the completely non-literal sense of how we apparently are using the word “literally” these days.

I mean that if you’re a runner, or a cyclist, or a walker, or a hiker, you need to still do your thing when it’s raining. Or when it’s snowing. Or cold. Or dark. Or you’re tired.

If you’re building a habit in pursuit of a goal, it’s a habit in pursuit of a goal. Not a fair-weather habit that will get you started maybe on a half-assed goal. Your habit needs to literally (and I mean literally) be an all-weather, all-circumstance goal.

Just Make a Decision?

It sounds like I’m saying is that all you do is make a decision and then you do the thing. Of course it’s harder than that or we’d all have done everything we ever decided to do. There’s a strategy in changing behaviors (which is what habits are). The Fogg Behavior Model created by Dr. BJ Fogg, founder of the Persuasive Tech Lab at Stanford University, identifies three elements to creating a new behavior: motivation, ability, and trigger.

Ability is a function of whether something is easy to do or hard to do. I’m able to get up and run in the rain on a Saturday morning because it’s easy for me to do. Well, the actual running is always very hard, but one you’re out there, what are you going to do? Quit? In front of my team? Which is another way I’ve painted myself into the commitment corner, but that’s another topic for another day.

The Hardest Part

The key is to find out exactly the smallest bit that is the hard part. For most of us, getting up, getting dressed or changed when you get home, and getting started is the hard part. How many times have you struggled to get yourself up and to the gym, but then felt great once you got there and got started?

If the hardest part is starting, then find a way to make that easier. I’ve made it easier by not even having it be a decision I have to make when it is the actual time to make it. I decided long ago that I was running on Saturday mornings. And then I run in the rain because I’ve made the decision in advance. The rain becomes irrelevant.

It’s Saturday morning. I run. That’s what I’m going to do. I don’t have to spend any brain power that morning talking myself into getting up and getting out the door. I decided that yesterday. I actually decided it about two years ago – so I’ve also had some practice.

Make Fewer Decisions

If you’re trying to get an exercise or better eating or more writing habit going, the fewer decisions you make at that point of doing or not doing, the better. Deciding whether you’re going to do it is a big decision. Given the choice of running in the rain or not, my in-the-moment brain says “I’m warm and dry. Why would I even want to go out in this?”

Instead let your decision-making brain decide impartially in advance and set your schedule so it doesn’t matter what your right-now brain thinks. You’ve got a plan and now you don’t even need to think. Isn’t that what a job does for you? No, not make us stop thinking, but makes the decision for us that we’re getting up and getting started on our work. There’s no decision to make. It’s why I highly respect those who work for themselves and don’t procrastinate. Maybe they have applied this same strategy to their business and there’s no longer any question about whether or not they want to get the work done! They work “in the rain.”

Puddle-Stomping Fun

We haven’t had a lot of rain here in the last several years. Now that the Pineapple Express (the weather phenomenon not the movie or the “sativa-leaning hybrid”) is rolling through, I’m tempted to get some galoshes and just stomp through puddles. But, I do still like to pretend I’m an adult, so running in the rain is the next best thing.

There’s a slightly naughty sense of freedom. Defying fate to give us our death of cold. When you see other people out walking or running or riding in the rain, too, you want to give them a knowing wink. As if to acknowledge that feeling of getting away with something.

Since I’m not a witch or a little girl made of sugar or spice, I’m certainly not going to melt. On the contrary, I’ll come away from the run in the rain with a pile of wet laundry, stronger legs, and a greater belief in my own mental toughness.

Here’s to another rainy run!


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Your Declaration of SELFHOOD!

I have a fascination with the challenges and opportunities of life cycles. As a business women and leadership performance coach I have observed, engaged and challenged myself as well as other leaders around the dynamics and consequences that life cycles present to us. This can range from considering where we are with the launch of a business venture, a brand’s development profile or the germination of a new breakthrough idea and what needs to happen to fuel it forward, navigate its progress or manage the downside risks.

Life cycles are generally predictable when you are consciously mindful of them (start-up, growth, maturity and decline) and they are even more dangerously predictable when you are seemingly oblivious to them until they strike you between the eyes by surprise (yikes…should have seen that one coming, what a lost opportunity….maybe next time we will be more prepared).

The same, of course, is true of life stages though their impact on us is profoundly more personal and impactful. Life Stages as we know them are typically broken into 2 major categories: childhood and adulthood. Of course there are mini-stages embedded in these such as your teenage years or distinguishing between early and late adulthood that mirror what we would recognize as a more generalized life cycle as mentioned above.

What is unique in the life stage process, however, is the exciting potential for experiencing a stage few people reach. This stage simply requires a choice and a declaration for entry. It is a magical stage of life called SELFHOOD. The choice is to be undeniably conscious and certain of who you are (not what others want, hope or wish for you) and the declaration you need to make is your own personalized answer to the following “I am here to………in this life time”

Mark Twain said “the two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.”

Let’s explore this a bit further…….

Childhood, whether a smooth ride or a confusing time for you, is heavily influenced by your surrounding adult role models (parents, teachers, friends and family) who share their views on life and while doing so are actively or passively setting up expectations for you that may or may not feel aligned with your own internal desires or natural hardwiring. Ultimately you will face how to handle these potential challenges as you mature and make your own decisions, though childhood is often the place your initial agreement or dissonance begins to surface.

The fact is that you can be and become anything you want in this lifetime. Our predetermined hardwiring for our true purpose, however, is often found in a soft voice inside of us if we can only quiet ourselves enough to listen to its clues and follow its lead. For some of us there are early and undeniable signs regarding our gifts and contributions. For others, it is the journey of self-discovery and piecing it all together that waits for us. Both paths lead can lead us to our own life stage of SELFHOOD. Unfortunately few of us arrive.

Our childhood is a toggle between safety and security on the one hand balanced against risk and adventure on the other. Parents have the challenging role of keeping us safe while also giving us space and time so we can explore what our true purpose is. How our parents and role models initially set this stage for us in childhood can dramatically affect the timing or potential opportunity for us ultimately reaching SELFHOOD. We must all come to learn however, that regardless of our obstacles, we alone always hold the power for our choices.

Enter now the challenges of adulthood. If you are mindful, reflective and brave you might discover on the brink of early adulthood who you are and where you want your passions in life to take you. If you are like most people, however, you might be overly influenced to emphasize the safety and security aspects of your journey as you now add the typical adulthood expectations and pressures of defining success in your life. Success is an illusive, variable concept that is difficult to define, but something you will nonetheless feel compelled to pursue. So whether it is a degree from an esteemed institution, a title next to your name, a role you play or a targeted monetary figure you hope to earn or save, you will seek to cross some finish line to declare your success especially if you are unsure about your purpose.

Your prize will be an affirming declaration that….I am a doctor, a lawyer, a CEO, a father or a member of the 1%. Impressive and yet, unfortunately, not the declaration required for arriving at your life stage of Selfhood.

Now don’t misunderstand me, being any one of the above is not a bad thing! In fact, many would color their lives amazing having achieved any one of them. The issue is that we are not products with titles, labels and values. We are people. Here to engage, build relationships, impact lives and make a difference for having been here.

The beauty and magic of SELFHOOD is that it can be found at any time you choose. Yes, just like Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ we too can declare our SELFHOOD when we realize it is all within our control. Part of this realization is that safety, security and success (our metaphysical lion, scarecrow and tin man) are already within us.

Our journey to SELFHOOD is to find our significance by being clear about our unique contributions and most importantly where we can be in and of service to others during our lifetime.

The term SELFHOOD is not about being selfish, self-absorbed and self-centered. It is about being centered-in-self so that you can be a well-tuned instrument willing, able and ready to serve your highest purpose by sharing your gifts. It is primarily about giving and not receiving, although it is impossible to not experience pure joy and fulfillment when you are living your life on purpose!

So as you ponder the start of this New Year and where you are with your own stages of life, ask yourself if you are ready to now enter SELFHOOD? It is your choice to make after all at any time you choose to declare it.


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Are you Change-Ready for 2017?

So here it is and here we are….AGAIN! A new shiny year with great expectations for how we are going to change ourselves and the world around us. Some of us have already made the usual to-do lists and promises of lofty and inspiring goals. Finally the year we will lose weight, get a new job or overcome that behavior we don’t like in ourselves. If I can just nail this goal I will be happy and the world will be “great again.”

change-readyThere are just 2 problems with this perennial approach we all seem to take each year. The first is that we always consider the output we want more than the input or throughput it will take to get there. So we usually fail quickly or get bored when our patience for immediate gratification runs out (anywhere from 3 days to 30 days for most of us☺). The second is that we tend to think of our goals in insolation instead of in the context of a system with environmental dynamics in which they actually exist.

So how can we make this year different?

1. Getting the Sequencing Right!

Part of the challenge with realizing our goals is that we just jump into them without planning. You know the common phrase “ready, willing & able?” Well it is out of sequence! If we don’t rearrange this concept before we get started we are going to run into problems. The correct sequence is “willing, able and ready” and here is why:

Willing – means you have the mindset of discipline to do the work! Without this contextual framework and emphasis on cognitively acknowledging that you need to actually “do the work” it’s game over pretty quickly. Just writing things down does not count!

Able – means that you are aware of and have set up the environmental conditions to assist you in approaching your challenges on the way to achieving your goals. Everything works in a system so you must enable or disable the system around you to ensure success. This can range from scheduling that gym time in the calendar along with your exercise goals for the day, to getting some targeted coaching on that specific behavior you want to work on or even scoping out the homework or networking plan to explore that next career opportunity before you go to an event and start randomly meeting people.

Ready – Okay now armed with the mindset and environmental framework of what will be required, its time to get out there and start working! On what exactly you might be asking…..on being Change-Ready!

2. Being Change Ready!

Every goal we have ever reached has been over time as we have taken one step and then another. For many of us, we have most often done this unconsciously and out of need rather than want. When there is an urgent or pressing need our ability to persevere and be resilient is usually not a problem. It’s when it is more of a want without immediate consequences where we have our bigger challenges of maintaining conscious discipline.

Being Change-Ready requires that we apply conscious discipline to do 2 things over and over again to ensure traction & momentum forward:

a. Facilitate Progress
b. Facilitate Aligned Action

When we facilitate progress we are not just acknowledging that an action is required, we are in fact acting on a step forward. It can be one step or several that creates some traction toward our goal. So schedule gym time in your calendar with a note on whether today is a cardio or weight day and ensure you have enough time to get there and enjoy the experience. Or perhaps, print out your resume and start reading it over with a pen, circling those areas you know need updating and adjustment before you can start some serious networking conversations. These small steps create the energy of forward momentum. It is YOU, however, that must initiate the facilitation of progress with the first step and commit to practice taking these first steps everyday continuously!

When we facilitate aligned action we are setting up our new system to enable success or disable obstacles that can derail us. So clean out the refrigerator and pantry before your new dieting approach is scheduled to start, don’t schedule networking events when you would normally go to the gym and let others know what your goals are so they can be supportive of you vs. sabotaging you unconsciously!

Make 2017 a year of being Change-Ready! All goals can be achieved when we are willing, able and ready to “do the work” by facilitating progress and aligned action on a daily basis! Good luck this year!


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10 Steps To Make Your Marketing Dollars Work Smarter

As marketers in the B2B space, the challenge is in allocating marketing budgets strategically to ensure the highest potential return. Moreover, marketing should be considered the effort of creating awareness for your business. It’s how prospective clients are exposed to your business and ultimately evolve into buying clients.

According to Forrester’s “Focus B2B Marketing Budget Gains on Business Outcomes to Succeed in 2014” report, B2B product and service marketing budgets range between 13% and 6% respectively. Interestingly, B2B companies with less than $25 million in revenues represented the higher end of the scale with 13.9% marketing spend.

Regardless of where you lie within this scale, the important thing to note is allocating a marketing investment budget is absolutely essential to create awareness and relevancy. Current marketing investment trends continue to evolve but within those executional tactics the tried and true remain which include the following: content marketing, mobile marketing, social media marketing and allocations to upgrading websites.

Here are 10 Ways to Make Your Marketing Dollars Work Smarter:

1. Upgrade your website:
Your website should be considered your marketing homebase. It is essential that it is “viewable” on all digital platforms like mobile, desktop, laptop, etc. What used to be recommended is now required. In fact, companies are not guaranteed to have a presence in search results, done via mobile, if their website is not mobile friendly. An investment in an adapative and responsive design for your website will ensure that your website will show up in the search results when someone is looking for your solution.

2. Invest in cohesive branding
Think of how we easily we recongize major brands by their logo: The swoosh? Nike. Golden arches? McDonald’s. We even connect colors with particular brands, such as green and gold with John Deere tractors. Regardless of your love or hate relationship with these brands, they show up cohesively across all customer touch points in a professional manner. Remember that a professional appearance not only builds recognition online and offline, but also builds trust. An additional benefit to having cohesive branding is the ability to build brand equity overtime, one that could be monetized in multiples of your revenue.

3. Content marketing strategy
According to Smart Insights, who polled more than 600 marketers, the lionshare of focus for marketers in 2016 is on content marketing (53%). Providing quality content online to build apparent authority and expert insights is the objective of content marketing. The name of the game is adding value, which builds subject matter expertise; something your customers and prospects love.

4. Community Management / Social listening
An often overlooked component of marketing is community management and social listening. Monitoring what is being said online is critical to not only protect your brand but also to create engagement with your customers. Additionally, by closely monitoring you can mitigate the compound effect of bad press. Instead you can turn that into an opportunity for client recovery, a very powerful strategy to help gain visibility that you are a brand that cares. But the most important reason for managing your reputation online is because many people take their customer service issues directly to social media.

5. Video Marketing
2015 was the tipping point for video marketing as the go-to medium for engagement. Daily video playbacks on Facebook totaled 4 billions videos per day in early 2015. By the end of that same year, views had doubled. There is no doubt that incorporating video into your marketing outreach is an effective way to create engagement.

6. Strategic Partner Marketing
A strategic partner plan offers the ability to cross promote and potentially accelerate market penetration. Partnerships come in a variety of ways whether it’s financial, marketing focused, supplier relationships, etc., The optimal scenario is where you complement your strategic partner to the extent that you gain a competitive advantage with your aggregated offering.

7. Guest Blog Posting
Blogging is still a relevant way to find your audience. Guest blogging is a great way to drive traffic back to your website, increase sales, and grow your brand. The important thing to remember is that your guest blogging outreach should be carefully targeted towards blogs that your perfect customer is likely to read, and that are credible.

8. Podcasting
One of the newer outreach methods is podcasting. There is a very low barrier to entry if you are interested in starting a podcast about your niche. You can create a platform where you offer expert advice. By including a social syndication backend to your podcasting you can ensure that your content will circulate through the web on a consistent basis. Don’t want to take on another marketing task like podcasting? Go on a podcasting tour, researching the top 10 podcasts in your field. It’s a great way to connect to influencers in your space.

9. Google AdWords
Google AdWords can be a great complement to your social media strategy. By leveraging keywords, specific to your industry, you can be the solution to your perfect customer’s problems. One of the big benefits, is that unlike direct mail or print, Google Adwords results can be closely monitored and measured.

10. App Marketing such as Quora
Resource apps like Quora are a great way to establish credibility. There you can do searches for keywords in your industry and provide answers to your prospect’s most challenging situations. It is also a good source for market research as a way to test a potential idea or marketing campaign.

Tapping into the power of Digital Marketing, a B2B company can gain relevancy that is not only cost effective but can also leave a blueprint online to further build brand equity.


Best selling author Pamela Herrmann & Patty Dominguez are the Co-Founders of CREATE Buzz, committed to helping small businesses get customers and keep customers by taking the overwhelm out of technology and online marketing. Pamela is the author of, “The Customer Manifesto – How Business Has Failed Customers & What It Takes To Earn Lasting Loyalty”. They co-host The Morning Would Show bringing the latest in marketing tips and strategies.


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The Intrepid Guide to Flying On Commercial Airlines

While I am not a billion mile flyer, I do travel more than the average person, and over the years, I’ve accumulated a few basic rules of common sense and basic courtesy that all should follow.

Frankly, I shake my head at what some people do on airplanes. And don’t excuse it because they do not fly very often – a lot of these guidelines are just common sense.

And if you follow these, you’ll enjoy your flight more, the passengers around you will too, and won’t want to smack you with a brick!

Flying On Commercial Airlines: The Guidelines:

Flying Commercial AIrlines1. Don’t recline your seat. The person behind you is in a sardine can already. Why be thoughtless and selfish?

2. You are sitting behind me, yes. But that doesn’t mean you are allowed to use my seat back as a means of pulling your fat ass up from the seated position. You do realize you are sling-shotting me into my coffee, right. And every now and then, pulling my hair.

3. Why do you have to eat food in the plane before we take off? Can’t you eat in the terminal before boarding? Especially stinky food. Really?

4. Middle seat patrons gets both armrests. Period. End of sentence.

5. Go ahead and sleep. But if you know that you snore, be mindful. If you do, I will Instagram your face when you drool all over yourself.

6. Who in the hell farted? Jesus-age-of-Christ-on-a-popsicle-stick. Really?

7. It’s bad enough that TSA makes us take our shoes off at inspection. But don’t do it on the plane. Your feet smell.

8. Enjoy your music. Just don’t make ME “enjoy” your music. #VolumeControl

9. When the flight attendant walks up and down the aisle to gather refuse, this is not license to empty all the crap out of your backpack.

10. If I’m wearing headsets or reading, it means that I don’t want to talk to you.

11. Kids are going to cry and fuss on a plane. That can’t be helped. But the parents better make an effort to try.

12. Don’t kick the seat in front of you. You’d bitch if someone did it to you.

13. Don’t invade my personal space. Your elbow, shoulder, or belly is NOT allowed in my space.

14. If you’re boarding and wearing a backpack and you turn and smack my head with it, I may stand up and smack you right back.

15. When you are the last zone to board, don’t be surprised and don’t complain if you have to check your bag. #Reality

16. When the TSA agent says “Keep nothing in your pockets,” it means the following: KEEP NOTHING IN YOUR DAMN POCKETS.” No keys, no ID, no wallet, no coins and change, no pens, no candy bars…NOTHING. It’s actually quite simple…

17. Why do you wait until the last possible minute to get yourself ready for the TSA X-ray and bag scan process? As in, don’t wait until you get scolded by the agents to remove the STUFF FROM YOUR DAMN POCKETS.

18. When you put your carryon in the overhead rack, can’t you take an extra second to position it so that others can utilize the space too? That overhead bin isn’t your personal, private storage rack.

19. When deplaning, don’t stop immediately after exiting the jetway – and in the middle of the exit area – to check your connecting flight info. There are 200 people stacked up behind you. Get your head out of your fanny, and get off to the side.

20. If it is an evening (or early morning) flight, and you AREN’T reading or doing anything that requires it, please turn off your overhead light. That damn thing is bright.

21. A little hack I’ve devised over the years: If I am assigned to Row 20, I don’t wait until I get to Row 20 to see if there is space in the overhead bin. If I notice available space on my way back, say at Row 10, I’ll go ahead and put my carryon right there, and just pick it up as I deplane. Simple.

22. If you have an assigned seat, sit in the damn thing. Almost every flight I take, someone sits in a different seat. And every time, this causes stress and a commotion.

23. And if you are assigned a window or middle seat and take my aisle seat, don’t ask me if I want to switch. I specifically requested that aisle seat.

24. When getting your luggage from baggage claim, don’t jump all over me and step on my foot to grab your bag. I promise, it will come around again.

25. For gate attendants: We know that you cannot control weather delays, crew issues, or mechanical problems with the plane. But, for God-sakes, I beg you, please get on the PA system and keep us informed. That’s all we want. Well, and a cocktail.

26. When you arrive at your seat during boarding, don’t stand in the aisle for ten minutes extracting all the crap you’ll need for the flight. Get out of the way, there is a long line of people trying to get to THEIR seat too.

27. You don’t get to cut in line just because you are running late. We’re all dealing with tight flight schedules. Manage your time better.

28. Build in some time at the airport pre-flight. Why wait until that last minute? If you have time to kill, so what? No stress, and you’ve got time to grab some coffee or cocktails, and read a book.

29. When we are waiting to deplane and we are ALL standing in the aisle waiting to get off the plane, be sure to scan the area before you blindly open the overhead bin door and smack some poor bastard in the head as it pops open.


This is BY NO MEANS a complete list. And I will continue to add and revise as time passes, and as new experiences inform new rules and guidelines!


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Activity rules success

When I began in sales, I sought my own form of certainty as I entered the very uncertain prospects of the world of business – a world that was foreign to me. Sales was an uncharted, vast, and unknown territory. I didn’t have a compass, but I did have a direction. The “North Star” of my future map appeared from the belief that “Activity Rules Success”. No matter the talent level of the artist, actor, or sales agent, the more purposeful, directed activity generated, the more opportunity we can bring to successful fruition.

All life is forward process or it is in decline. Life demands we risk – initiate change or adapt to it when necessary. Change is scary for some, but it is the way forward, through the fields of fear and uncertainty, into the new light of expression.

Business is a living organism comprised, directed and engaged from the minds and hearts of people. The following, from Always Forward! Discover the 7 Secrets of Sales Success, will shorten the distance and lessen the pain from where you are now and where you are determined to go in the future. It is the way through fear, and a “North Star” for increase in life:

1. Think and Do – the shorter the distance between a deliberate thought and a decisive action, the greater the chance of success in the endeavor – the opposite is also true. Some think too long and don’t do, opportunity vanishes, someone else does the taking. Some do without thinking, rush in, and fail. The victory goes to those who think and then do with decisiveness, conviction, and alacrity.

2. Time waits for no one – it is inelastic – we can’t retrieve the minutes, the hours, the days, or years we squander. Stay engaged in the present, don’t live in the past, learn from it and influence your future by applying the lessons from the experience.

3. Find a way or make a way! Resilience is the stuff that overcomes the impediments and obstacles that will appear as a challenge to our forward motion. Think creatively, act decisively, don’t quit, think and apply a new strategy, approach from another plane of the thought, and always move forward!

4. 33-1/3% of people won’t buy us, our persuasive portfolio, our sterling personality, or our product. It’s a rough-hewn law of mine that hedges against the inevitable occurrence of rejection. Rejection is a part of the game – it’s part of the bargain to move forward, but if 33-1/3% of people will never buy from us, for their reasons, that leaves 66-2/3% ripe for the approach, and perhaps open to the message. If 66-2/3% will entertain the messenger, they will listen to the message – the more activity we generate, the bigger our base of 66-2/3%…

5. Walk Away Power – don’t push a bad position, learn to walk away from a negotiation. A bad position is anything that would make you lose your self-respect. Money is often recoupable, it can be bargained away from a bad position, or risked from a bold undertaking. But, giving up your self-respect is a choice only you can make.

6. YCDGBSOYA – You Can’t Do Good Business Sitting On Your A** – you have to get out and engage with people, push away from the plastic keyboard; don’t send an email when an in person visit will tip the balance in your favor. Go with your gut feel! If it feels like you should meet with someone, then “Find a way or make a way” to get in front of them.

Remember, try not to take rejection personally. It’s a numbers game! It’s like politics: Some people will always vote with the Blue States, some with the Red – you need to win the middle and your preferred Blue or Red states. If you generate planned, directed activity consistently, turn thought to action, and find a way or make a way to move your value proposition forward, you can begin to build a forum for success. Learn when to walk away from a bad position and know when to meet with people and create the interpersonal dynamic that makes all the difference from those who win the deal and those who take home the silver or bronze medal.


Game ChangerBill Wooditch is a keynote speaker and peak-performance business training coach. He is a mentor and advocate for those who actively seek and are determined to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.

He began his career with $200 to his name, a suitcase, one corduroy suit and two ties. Retreat wasn’t an option; there was only one way – Always Forward! His purpose, energy and conviction fueled his meteoric sales success. In two years, he “found a way and made a way” to become the top salesperson at Liberty Mutual – a company employing over 19,000 people at the time. Ready for the “next challenge”, he was recruited by and joined the 6th largest broker in the world, Corroon & Black (currently the Willis Group), where, for two consecutive years, he earned the distinction as the top producer in the company.

Today, he is the founder, CEO, and president of The Wooditch Group, a privately held risk management and insurance services firm. The Wooditch Group provides client-centric solutions and comprehensive risk management programs for domestic and international clients whose revenues range from $10 million to over $3 billion. He is also the founder of Think Next, Act Now!, a company that trains and mentors tomorrow’s entrepreneur today.

He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at Purdue University and his Master’s degree in Public Administration at Penn State.

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