Decisions, Decisions: What Type of Decision Maker are you?


Based on William Coscarelli’s “The Decision-Making Style Inventory.” Do you ever lay awake at night tossing and turning – lamenting about a decision you have to make? We all have preferred decision making (or problem solving) styles that impact how we approach problems. Appreciating our preferred styles (that self-awareness piece) enables us to rely on our personal characteristics to give us confidence in making a decision. So here’s the deal, there are 2 angles we all approach decision making from: The first is how we gather information and second is how we analyze information. Which statements describe you? Gathering Information Once I have enough information, I’ll decide.(Systematic Decision-Maker) I’ll decide soon enough –the answer will just come to me.(Spontaneous Decision-Maker) Analyzing Information Leave me alone, while I think this through.(Internal Thinker/Processor) Let’s talk about this; Help me think it through.(Auditory … [Read more...]

What’s in a Boss?


Happy New Year! It’s that time of year when we bundle up, try to keep our resolutions – and when many people look for a new job. When job searching, we usually consider the location and commute time, the salary, and the responsibilities of the job. But while we’re considering whether the job is a good fit, we may not be considering whether the boss for that job will also be a good fit. Can we work well together? Ask any of your family members, friends or coworkers – have you had a terrible boss? Everyone will have an answer, plus a fair number of cringe-worthy (if not outright disturbing) stories! I’ve certainly had my fair share of both good and bad bosses. And I’ve learned a lot from both the good and the bad ones – I’ve learned seemingly effortless leadership requires a lot of effort, I’ve learned what I don’t want in a boss, and I’ve learned how to be a better boss myself. The top traits that my good bosses have been very good at (and the bad ones exceedingly bad at!) … [Read more...]

These Girls Are On Fire: Five Keys to Being Part of the Sisterhood of Success


The Sisterhood of Success was alive and well at the University of Mary Washington’s Women’s Leadership Colloquium this past fall. Business and community leaders filled the ballroom to learn how to become even better, even stronger and – best yet – how to support each other as individuals and as a community. Step one in the concept of the Sisterhood of Success implies concepts of togetherness. We discussed role models, and mentoring, and how to channel that to achieve our potential. Also discussed was the right and wrong way to mentor. Here are five summary tips and to-dos to kick off your goal-setting and mentoring. Mentoring with teeth. One of the first concepts discussed was mentoring with teeth. Is mentoring, for you, a variation of coffee talk? Or, do you have objectives in the back of your mind to help move your mentee – or yourself – up to the next level? This is one way to make sure you are mentoring the right way. To do: Be a go getter. Remember that self-seeking … [Read more...]

Resolve to Find Your Joy


Many of us spend countless hours working at the job we were hired to do, only to continue the work once we get home. We are often giving of our time to others: bosses, co-workers, children, spouses, and parents, but find little time for ourselves. With a new year shining brightly before us, the promise of finding more time to exercise, relax with friends, shop, read, or just sleep a little longer, may seem like a pipe dream. With a little effort though, 2015 could be the year you realize and live your personal work/life balance. When I took on the task of marketing a brand new hospital in 2010, I found myself working over 80 hours per week. I was there nearly every day because there was so much to do. The stress was masked by the exhilaration and excitement that my colleagues generated during the months before and after the opening. Everything we did was a first: first baby, first surgery, first 100 ER patients: the list goes on and on. My job was to report all these “firsts” as … [Read more...]

Coworkers Will Be Watching you at Office Parties


IF IT’s December, it must be time for holiday parties. If you are quite the social animal, you probably have been or will be invited to numerous gatherings in upcoming weeks. Parties are fun, but there’s one key thing we need to remember: A party with the people you work with is still work. Say what? Yes. A work party means your company or nonprofit is footing the bill to spread goodwill and holiday cheer. So you get a date, and a holiday party is probably not the best venue for a first date! Your date needs to understand all of the “rules” below as well. Your co-workers consider your date as an extension of you. You get a baby sitter, if needed, and buy a sparkly outfit (if you’re a woman) or clean your suit or decide what fun sweater you will wear. Then off you go to the party place, and it’s generally not where you toil daily. You may see this as a night of revelry and fun, but remember that people are watching. And by watching, I mean judging. Their first … [Read more...]

Holiday Button Reduction Program


Growing up, I absolutely loved to put three little "red hots" on my gingerbread men before I baked them. They were buttons, of course.  One sat centered just between the others, simulating a perfect gingerbread man's jacket or gingerbread lady's dress. Now, "red hot buttons" have a whole new meaning. In the iPEC coaching world, we teach our clients about buttons and how "People can't push your buttons if there's no button for them to push." Eyes light up when we share these words. YES! It makes so much sense. Now, what can we do about it? First, it helps to get real. Everybody has buttons. For some, the buttons are big and for others they are small. For some it's the "I'm not smart enough" button. For others, it's "I'm a fraud". At holiday time, the rush and stress, not to the mention the reunion with certain family members, can result in an excess of button pushing. And, the bigger the buttons, the easier they are easier for others to push. Our past experiences, … [Read more...]

Susan’s Top 5 Etiquette Tips

1950s etiquette_crop

Susan’s 5 Top Etiquette Thoughts on Common Courtesies That Seem to Have Gone by the Way Side In today’s world of texting and self-absorption, we have, as a community, lost much of our civility. I don’t live in a Pollyanna world of wishing it were the 50’s again…but I do wonder why some very common courtesies have gone by the wayside. I am not a credentialed authority on etiquette but I have spent much of my life responsible for ensuring etiquette of events while following the proper protocol. The manners appropriate for the European Courts came to be called “courtly” manners or “courtesy.” We have been working on these for a long time! My top 5 Etiquette Thoughts are really just common courtesies that should be, in my humble opinion, followed to the letter. It is very difficult to pare down to five thoughts but I believe these are the items that everyone deals with often and that will annoy others if not followed. Take a moment to stop and think about these in context to your … [Read more...]

Building a Personal Brand

Just a face in the crowd

In today’s culture, a résumé is practically a formality. It can be a great reference for a potential employer, but to be considered an expert in many fields, a digital identity is crucial. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn offer insights into the life of any professional—whether or not they’re on the clock. Just like the brand development of an organization, development of your personal brand must be strategic, purposeful, and genuine. Value Proposition When you look at the brand platform of a company, there is a clear value proposition. A value proposition will tell someone what a company has to offer… not just in tangible product, but in quality of life. How will this product or service improve an area of your life to the point that it’s worth paying for? A value proposition also delivers something unique about that company—arguing that it’s better than the competition. Consider Evernote: "Your life’s work. For everything you’ll do, Evernote is the workspace to … [Read more...]

Team Building Exercises Take the “ME” out of Team


Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." Pondering Henry Ford’s quote above, I asked myself which task is most challenging for a leader: building a team, keeping the team together or getting the team to work together. I believe all three have levels of difficulty; however, I find that getting a team to work together is the most difficult and at the same time the MOST rewarding. Individuals all join a team for their own reasons and with their own agendas. Leaders have the responsibility to share the vision and goals with their team and then get each individual with their expertise, skills, and agendas to all work together to fulfill that vision and meet the goal. Just thinking about this can feel daunting. Never fear. Team building activities can be extremely helpful in moving people from thinking about “what I can do” to performing together as a team. Team building exercises are fun, quick and engaging … [Read more...]

Overcoming Tune Out: Engaging with Dynamic Communication


When it comes to marketing, there is both external and internal communication. Internally, employees have an uncanny knack for tuning out the most well crafted corporate communication, thwarting the best efforts of internal brand managers, HR and management. Winning the battle against the workplace daily information avalanche requires a fresh approach to reignite the spark of engagement. The goal of internal communication and branding is to present a message that is ultimately received and acted upon. HR professionals succeed by successfully cutting through the communication clutter with radically new strategies as well as successful tried-and-true traditional approaches. To be effective, it’s vitally important to “walk a mile in employees’ shoes” and discover what they respond to and what they deal with each day. Are they swimming in paperwork? Then adding one more memo or employee newsletter wouldn’t be a good option to grab their attention. HR professionals often face the … [Read more...]