Thursday, January 28, 2010

Productivity Is Not About Managing Time but Managing Tasks

For so long we've heard about the importance of 'time management' but if you think about it, it's not really about time as much as it is about 'task management'.

Throughout the day we have numerous tasks to complete whether it's doing an analysis for a project at work, finishing up a PowerPoint for a meeting, writing a blog, going to the grocery store, picking up the kids from daycare or going to a networking event. All of these are a 'task' of some sort.

Focusing on the tasks that need to be completed and prioritizing them will increase your productivity at work and that is sure to please your boss and help you climb your pink ladder to success.

And of course I must give a plug for the Pink Ladders Task Manager which is a great tool to help you do that.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tuscany Here I Come!

Beautiful Tuscany in Italy! I can't wait to visit in March. I have been planning this trip for several months now and it's finally all coming together. We'll be starting our vacation in Rome for a few days visiting Vatican City and other points of interest. Then off to the Tuscany area in the heart of the Chianti region where much of the Chianti Classico wine is produced.

I can't wait to see this beautiful country, drink the wine and enjoy the local cuisine of the Italian people in quaint restaurants across the valley. Then before heading home, we'll stop in Delphi and Athens, Greece for a few days and explore the sights and cuisine of this region.

I'm telling you about my upcoming trip because no matter how much you have going on in your life with work, charity events, kids, families and other projects, you also need to take time to relax and reenergize. My weeks are very full with work, Pink Ladders, Nashville RBI, kids, working out and family events just like many of yours. I love to wake up early and start my day before anyone else gets up so I can review my goals, affirmations, write my blog and read and respond to email.

After that my day is non-stop with projects and meetings so life in general is busy but good. Sometimes people equate 'busy' with stress or a bad day, but it's not. It's what you make of it and even though you are busy, if you love what you're doing at work or home, then life is good. Just remember to take sometime out once in awhile to go on vacation even if you just stay home and visit sites and parks in your area as we all need a little downtime to refresh our minds and bodies.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What's an SLA?

If you deal with suppliers or vendors in your business, you most definitely want to have a good working relationship with them. Inevitably, something will go wrong over the course of the contract. It may be a product defect, a delivery that didn't show up when it needed to be or an unexpected backorder. Any of these scenarios when a customer is depending on the supplier to come through and doesn't, can angry or disappoint the customer; and if it happens too often the customer may terminate the agreement.

To prevent this from happening it's a good idea to discuss expectations up front before the agreement is signed, sealed and delivered. Ask the vendor what they need from you as a company to make the partnership a success and tell the vendor what you need from them to ensure the agreement and service levels meet your needs. 

Once the expectations for both parties are noted and approved, then write up a Service Level Agreement (SLA) - a one page document noting what you have agreed upon. List the vendor's requirements for a successful partnership and yours as the customer. Then sign it but don't stop there, be sure to share the document with your team so everyone is on the same page. I recommend keeping track of issues that come up and then at quarterly meetings with the vendor, review the issues, ask what they have done as a company to prevent this from happening in the future and track to determine if the plan has worked or not.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Team Work: On the Field and At the Office

What a great day of football it was yesterday. We watched the two playoff games to see which teams would meet up in the Super Bowl on February 7th. I think both games were very good and intense. You could see that all four teams were motivated to succeed. I was hoping for the Vikings and the Colts to win as I admire both Manning and Favre as quarterbacks and team players.

Even though Manning from the Colts was the only one to secure a spot in the Super Bowl, Brett Favre played hard even though injured the last half of the game and gave it his all. I love watching team sports because so much is relevant to team work in the office. In sports, the objective is to win the game; simple and yet as complicated as that. You can see when the members are pushing hard for that win, when the pressure gets to them and mistakes are made that are not typically seen otherwise, players frustrated with other players/coaches or the slap on the helmet or a hug of acknowledgment for a job well done and appreciated.

At the office, we are a member of a team with each of us playing a different position on the field and relying on the player next to us to do their part. Each member's position is there for a purpose and is necessary for the company's success and win. The company relies on all the team players to do their part each and every day just as a coach on a football team relies on its players to work together and strive for a win at every game. 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"My Hair.... Please Fix It"

I was recently told a story about a woman who walked into a chic downtown salon to have her hair done and asked the stylist who she had never seen or been to before to "fix her hair". When the stylist asked her what she had in mind, the woman explained to her that just yesterday she was at another salon and had her hair cut and colored but was not satisfied with the results and needed it to be fixed.

The stylist noticed the woman's concerns with the cut and color and told her she could certainly improve it for her but if she wanted to save a little in her pocketbook, she may want to consider letting it take its course for a few weeks; after all it wasn't a hack job by any means. She told the stylist "Thanks for being concerned about the money I would spend, but I'd rather have it fixed."  

Once her new cut and color was finished - the salon and stylist had a satisfied customer that was ready to book her next appointment. When she asked what the recommended time should be, the stylist told her to book in about 6-8 weeks for a new haircut and color. The woman stared at her in amazement which surprised the stylist so she asked if everything was okay. The already satisfied customer was once again delighted to learn that she did not need to return in 4 weeks but could realistically wait longer and save a little money.

Not only did the stylist satisfy the customer's immediate need by fixing her hair, she also delighted the customer by giving her information that left an impression of honesty and caring. The woman booked her next appointment and the stylist now has a new reoccurring client because of the service level she provided.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Being Picky Is A Good Thing

Call it picky, call it detailed but I prefer to call it 'taking pride in the work you do'. I am always pleased to see people take pride in the work they perform and the documents they write. You might think it's a given, assuming the majority of people do care about the output of their work and want to do their very best but unfortunately it is not true. I wish it was because it would make every manager's job so much easier and company's more successful overall.

Looking over a document a few times and making edits if need be before turning it in to your boss or using the material as handouts in a meeting will serve you well. There is nothing more frustrating than to have work turned in that clearly indicates the person has not taken the time to edit it themselves and check for mistakes or simply has not followed instructions and turned something in that's very different than what was asked of them; now it must be re-done. That's not to say it will always be perfect even after editing and reviewing because things can get missed, but taking pride in the work you do will certainly improve the outcome of the tasks asked of you.

Rework is a waste of time so focus on doing it right the first time. And by all means, pay attention to what is asked of you before working on the project and ask questions for clarification; otherwise you may find yourself doing rework and leaving your boss unimpressed. "Take pride in the work you do".

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Second Chance for a First Impression - Is That Even Possible?

Anytime we meet someone for the first time, we have a chance to make a good first impression. This impression can be given in several ways; by the way we dress, our friendly or not so friendly attitude, our smile and body language or how we give a presentation to a customer. These impressions we leave on someone can many times make or break a relationship or at the very least determine how it will start out whether smooth or rocky. 

This is true whether you are meeting someone for the first time in a social or professional setting. It also holds true for a company collectively when they are presenting product or service information to a management team in hopes for a sale. This is their opportunity to leave a good first impression about themselves, their company and their product so every 't' should be crossed and every 'i' dotted and every detail thought through in print material and presentation.

So what if the company blotches the presentation and left their potential clients unimpressed or you had a bad day when you met someone at a party and your not so friendly attitude was their first impression of you? Do we get a second chance to make a first impression if we blow it initially?

Call it 'redeem ourselves' or a 'second chance to make a first impression' but I do think there are times we are given another opportunity to change the opinion of a not so good first impression. But before you can do that, you need to be aware that the first time around wasn't so hot and therefore be cognizant of what you are doing the second time around.

If you are oblivious to what happened with the first bad impression then you probably won't know you have a second chance to make it better so it won't matter. But if you are given an second chance to really shine in a situation knowing that the first time around wasn't so great, then it's even more important to do everything you can to impress your audience. If you blow it again by being unprepared and unfriendly, the chances of doing business with your client, getting hired for a position or starting a friendship with someone is slim to none.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Coincidence - The Universe - Or Just Plain Strange?

Have you ever had a goal that you set out to accomplish and even though you weren't sure how it would all come to fruition - you just knew that some day it would because you believed it would and were taking steps to get there?

It's those times when you think about a goal you're working on but your not sure of the next steps or who to contact or how to go about something and then suddenly someone you talked to sparked an idea, gave you advice, or suggested next steps. It might have been a stranger, a co-worker, an old friend that called you out of the blue and you realize later, there was a reason for it.

Some people call this a coincidence or just a strange occurrence while others see it as the universe being in tune with your thoughts and your subconscious that brings people and situations together at the right time. It's so amazing to see in my life and others the people and opportunities that arise when least expected that help you reach the next level of your goal. You could not even have predicted if you tried that it would have happened that way.

Saying your affirmations, reading and visualizing your goals, and believing you will achieve them opens doors that you could never have imagined. I love to watch how the universe brings people and situations together. I recently had one of these "universe' moments when I received an email from someone that may be able to help me with one of my goals that I would never had dreamed or thought of to ask.

Friday, January 15, 2010

"WOMAN" - Never Give Up

The fifth and final essential step to success in climbing your pink ladder is Never Give Up! Even though it is the last step it is not any less important than the others. In fact, having a never give up attitude is critical in achieving success.

Just think about it; there are so many things that can get us down in our lives or obstacles we may encounter on each rung of the ladder we climb and if we gave up, we'd never reach our goal to the top. And that is not for you and not for me! 

So, regardless of what you may face be it unemployment, health issues, or family responsibilities that may seem like they get in the way of career success - these are part of our everyday lives that need to be dealt with. There will be days when you feel like you are really making progress with your goals and others when you wonder if you'll ever make it.

This is normal but remember -never give up no matter what. Climb your pink ladder as high as you want to go; it's entirely up to you. And don't forget the five essential steps to help you get there.

work ethic
O   optimistic attitude
managing tasks and setting goals
A   affirmations
N   never give up

Thursday, January 14, 2010

"WOMAN" - Affirmations

The fourth essential step to success in climbing your pink ladder is writing down and saying daily Affirmations. Affirmations are statements said that are positive and based on the present tense as though it has already occurred even though it has not.

By doing so, it reinforces to your subconscious that it is so. Remember the saying, ''If you believe it, you can achieve it"? Saying affirmations out loud and frequently reminds you and tells your subconscious that you can achieve it and before long you will start believing it even if you didn't to begin with. 

Saving affirmations out loud is a great technique because you will hear yourself repeat and reinforce your beliefs and goals. But if you have a chance at work to pull out your list of affirmations and read them, even if quietly to yourself, then do so. It will keep you believing in yourself and reminding you that you have the ability to succeed. 

Examples of affirmations (personal and professional) are:

"I am the top sales rep in the company"
"I weigh 120 pounds"
"I finish all my projects on time"
"I am a valued employee"

You get the point so start writing down your affirmations, review them daily and say them as many times throughout the day as you possibly can. You'll be amazed on how much it helps in achieving your goals and becoming the person you want to be. And of course the Task Manager has a place for you to write them down and be able to review wherever you are.

work ethic
O   optimistic attitude
managing tasks and setting goals
A   affirmations
N   never give up

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"WOMAN" - Managing Tasks and Setting Goals

The third essential step to success in climbing your pink ladder is Managing Tasks and Setting Goals. Everyday whether its work related or personal, we have many tasks to accomplish and each goal we set has several tasks within it before the goal is complete.

I use the Pink Ladders Task Manager to write down my personal and work related tasks. It is nearly impossible to remember all the things that must get done so having a system to keep you focused on track is essential. There is nothing worse than forgetting about a critical deadline for a project.

In addition to managing your daily tasks, writing down your goals whether work related or personal will keep them in front of you and not be forgotten. The majority of people do not write down their goals but instead make New Years resolutions that stick for a few weeks and then are revisited the following New Year with more determination to see it through (well at least that's the intent).

If you really want to reach success in your career, write down your goals and all the tasks required to get there and start working on them. Review them daily as a reminder that " Hey, that's what I wanted to do this year" and then do something to work towards it. Some days you may only have time to read the goal or do research on the internet but the important thing is to set them and manage them. Before you know it, you will be checking the goal off the list of something to be proud of.

W   work ethic
O    optimistic attitude
M   managing tasks and setting goals
A    affirmations
N   never give up

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

'WOMAN' - Optimistic Attitude

The second of the five essential steps in climbing your career ladder to success is an Optimistic Attitude. Looking at the bright side of things and having a 'can do' attitude is so important as you interact with your peers, your boss and employees.

Attitudes are contagious and we have a choice everyday to have an optimistic or pessimistic one. I'm sure you have experienced both many times in the workplace. The optimistic person is the one that says, "I'm not sure how we will accomplish that, but I'll find a way. I know it's never been done before but I'll take on the challenge to make it work and be successful."

The pessimistic person says, "That will never work. They're crazy if they think we can do that. No one else has ever done that before. My boss doesn't know what he's doing or anyone else in this company for that matter."

When I arrive at work and throughout the day, I will greet people and ask how they are doing and listen for their response. I'm sure you've heard them yourself many times. The optimist will say, "I'm doing great. It's busy but things are going well." The pessimist will say, "Well, it's a Monday, just looking forward to Friday. There's so much to do around here; they just expect too much out of us but thank goodness for weekends."

What is your general attitude? Make sure it's a positive, optimistic one as attitude will play a big part in your climb up the pink ladder. Managers will be less than enthusiastic to promote someone that complains, always sees the glass half empty and focuses on the problems not the solutions.

work ethic
O   optimistic attitude
M  manage tasks and set goals
A   affirmations
N   never give up

Monday, January 11, 2010

"WOMAN" - Work Ethic

In Friday's blog, I talked about the five essential steps for success while climbing your career ladder. Each step is spelled out in the word 'Woman'. Today I will discuss the first step and a very important one, 'work ethic'.

Work ethic is so important to the success of your career but unfortunately not at the top of everyone's list. Having high work ethic is simply how you do your job. It's about being self directed, taking pride in the output of the work you submit, doing what needs to be done without complaining and looking out for the company's best interest in all the decisions you make on its behalf.

Everyday I see both high and low work ethic in the workplace. Those with high standards want to do their job to the best of their ability and it shows through their work habits. They pay attention to what is required of them and make sure they take the necessary steps to understand the project or task at hand and then follow through to ensure it is done satisfactorily.

They do more than what is expected of them to meet or exceed their manager's request, they finish projects they start and the output is that of pride and accomplishment - leaving very little redos' or none at all and try to anticipate what the company or the manager may need or want.

W  work ethic
O   optimistic attitude
manage tasks and set goals
A   affirmations
N   never give up

Friday, January 8, 2010

"WOMAN' - Steps to Success

When you hear the word 'success', what do you think of? Some people define it in terms of financial success; making a certain amount of money or what their net worth is. For others success is being happy in their career and personal life; enjoying what they do for a living, having family and friends that contribute to their life's happiness, making a difference in the lives they touch or all of the above.

But regardless of your definition, when you climb your 'pink ladder' there are five essential steps I recommend you take that will help you achieve success in your career. These steps can also be applied to your personal life. I have spelled them out in an easy format for all women to remember.

W   Work Ethic
O    Optimistic Attitude 
M   Manage Tasks and Set Goals
A    Affirmations
N    Never Give Up

Over the next five blogs I will touch on each step individually and the importance of each one and how it will help you achieve success in your life.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Trying to Wear You Down But It Doesn't Make For a Good Relationship

In speaking with a friend of mine who has a Supply Chain background as I do, we were discussing the various approaches a vendor (sales rep) might take in trying to get your business. In a Supply Chain management role, many times it requires negotiating contracts with suppliers to ensure the company gets  the quality of product one is looking for at the best possible price; but in healthcare you also have to make sure the product works both clinically and operationally. It's very different than purchasing a widget at a discount.

Having a good partnership and relationship with vendors is important to the success of the product or service in the organization, but some sales reps try the approach of wearing you down in hopes for a sale. Unfortunately, that approach is not the best because most likely you are - well, let's say 'getting on our nerves' and that is not the makings of a good relationship.

They think if they call on you numerous times and strongly push their products (directly with you or through others in the organization) that you will wear down and give in and buy the product. For them its success because they have made the sale and if that's all they are looking for I guess they have succeeded. But there's a lot to be said about a good working relationship between vendor and customer and this approach is not the way to do it. Try being informative about your product and check in once a month to see if there is any interest or if you can answer any additional questions or present a better offer than previously and then let the customer think on it - that will go a long way over the 'wearing down' approach.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Great Ones Chose Discipline Over Pleasure

Steve Siebold is an expert in the field of peak performance and mental toughness. For twenty years he has studied what it takes to be a champion in business and athletics and one of the key characteristics he has found is that the great ones chose discipline over pleasure.

It doesn't surprise me to hear this because as I look at the successful people I know and have known in my life, they are disciplined individuals. Whether or not they 'feel' like doing something or not doesn't matter; what matters is if it needs to be or should be done, they do it anyway.

I have learned a lot over the years from watching and reading about successful people and have applied many of the same principals in my own life. Had I not, I would not have climbed my career ladder to where I am today or started my own business, Pink Ladders, or be writing a book. So in order to accomplish success and complete your goals, more often than not it will require discipline over pleasure. I have learned that first hand and know it to be true. So which will you choose? Discipline or Pleasure?

Discipline: getting up at 4:30am to write a blog, answer email, work on new ideas for Pink Ladders website, book, speaking engagements, etc

Pleasure: sleeping in a warm cozy bed when it's 10 degrees outside and getting up when I'm ready to start my day

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Check Out The New Look for Pink Ladders

We get so many compliments on the Pink Ladders website that it has a clean, un-cluttered look and feel. The beautiful flowers with butterflies gliding over the page is so soothing and makes the site a pleasure to  peruse. I would have to agree with all of you. I love the simplicity and beauty of the site. But of course I would right? After all it is my site and I worked with the web designer on the pages.

However, as we have grown over the last year, we've added additional information like the Pink Ladders Task Manager, the Blog and the monthly newsletter with literally no easy access to these additions.

But thanks to Eyecandy Creation - the site is still beautiful as ever, but  far more functional than before. You'll find it easier to navigate through the site with all the pages at your fingertips.

You'll be able to sign up to receive our newsletter and blog and no longer have to click on several pages to try and find something. For example, if you want to read stories about successful women, its easy to do now - just click on Women's Stories from any page.

Check it out for yourself and let us know what you think.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Winner vs. Loser Attitude

A friend of mine shared with me several years ago a poem of sorts 'Winners vs. Losers'. It has left an impression on me over the years because it points out a winner vs. loser attitude and what it takes to win in life. If we have goals to accomplish and want to live a happy, fulfilled life then having a negative outlook on things will not help us get there.

It takes a winning attitude just like it does in the game of sports. As I was watching football this weekend, you can clearly see the effort and work each of the players put into winning the game. Now granted, one team will win the game and one must lose the game, but having a winning attitude and working hard until the last play and never giving up regardless of the obstacles in front of them is so important. If they give up and have a defeated attitude from the get go, they have already lost the game before it even started.

The winner says, "It may be difficult but it's possible"
The loser says, "It may be possible but it's too difficult"

Friday, January 1, 2010

Looking Forward To A Prosperous and Healthy 2010!

New Years Eve was celebrated all around the country in so many ways. Some celebrated quietly with close friends and family while others went out on the town all dressed up and ready to party, ringing in 2010 with music and drinks.

Regardless of how we celebrated the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010 - January 1, 2010 is here. Looking back on 2009 - it was a great year for me personally and for Pink Ladders. We spent much of the first half of the year designing the look and feel of the Pink Ladders Task Manager, a planner designed specifically for women. Then came the day in August 2009, when we launched our product and start marketing it. What an exciting day that was.

I am looking forward to even a better year with Pink Ladders as we continue to grow our readership and bring value and inspiration to so many women around the world through our newsletter, blog, website and Task Manager.

I hope you enjoy your first day of the New Year and have a prosperous and healthy 2010!