Tips of the week

Tips of The Week – April 29th

Posted on by skestenberg in Tips of the week Comments Off on Tips of The Week – April 29th

Overcoming Negativity

You are what you think.  While everyone has negative thoughts, it’s part of being human, you can be a captive or a captain of your thoughts

The thinking that guides your intelligence is much more important than how much intelligence you have.  A positive approach results in fewer problems, less stress, improved health and greater success.

We own our thinking and we can make it work for us.  The key is to focus on positive factors that exist.

Four ideas to increase success with overcoming negativity include:

1.   Change: “I want to… but… “     To:  I want to… and…

2.   Change: “I can’t… because…”      To: “I won’t… because…”

3.   Change: “If it weren’t for… I would…”    To: “I won’t… because…”

4.   Change: “I have to… because…”       To: “I choose to… because…”

Tips of the Week – April 22nd

Posted on by skestenberg in Tips of the week Comments Off on Tips of the Week – April 22nd

Providing Feedback Artfully

Feedback can accomplish three important objectives:

  1. Provide recognition
  2. Boost morale and motivation
  3. Correct performance problems

Feedback answers the question, “How am I doing?”

Feedback requires no complicated forms and shows you’re there to help.

Five ideas to increase success with providing effective feedback include:

  1. Make your feedback neutral, free of value judgments.  Stick to facts.
  1. Provide feedback as soon as possible.
  1. Provide feedback frequently.  Like a vitamin pill, use the following guide: one positive feedback per person per day.
  1. Focus on significant issues.
  1. Be certain feedback is accurate, concise and readily usable.

Tips of the Week – April 16th

Posted on by skestenberg in Tips of the week Comments Off on Tips of the Week – April 16th

Coaching Skills

Coaching a perfect team is a dream, not always a reality.  In many situations there is a need to work with team members who lack either commitment or interest in their job.  These people will demonstrate their feelings through ineffective performance, a lack of performance or totally unacceptable performance.  An effective coach is able to shape the performance of many “diamonds in the rough”.  Turning less than desirable performance to acceptable and acceptable performance to superior performance is a most satisfying experience for any one who acts in a leadership capacity.

Five ideas to increase success with coaching include:

1.  Create a motivational climate by:

    1. Allowing team members to challenge the way things are done.
    2. Share a team vision… make certain that everyone answers the question “Why are we here?” in the same way.
    3. Enable team members to act by building their self esteem; make them feel good about themselves.
    4. Encourage them; recognize accomplishments; forgive mistakes
    5. Model the way
    6. Value a unique relationship with each team member; no favourites.
    7. Develop yourself; be a work in progress, growing changing, improving.

2.  Demonstrate the most respected leadership qualities: honesty; decisiveness; leading by example; delegating; recognizing others; being objective; tolerating disagreement.

3.  When providing feedback, capture “real” behaviour.   Focus on facts; not judgments.

4.  Ask… don’t tell.  Hold them responsible for solutions to performance problems. Ask:

    1. Is there a reason?
    2. Is there an explanation?

5.  Focus on the future, not the past. Ask, “What can be done to fix it for the future?”

Tips of the Week – April 8th

Posted on by skestenberg in Tips of the week Comments Off on Tips of the Week – April 8th

Listening Skills

Listening is the most underutilized skill we possess.  We have increased our activity levels, frequently multi-tasking and need to re-learn the singular act of effective listening.

Eight ideas to increase success with listening include:

  1. Value the interaction; you can’t learn less. Listen for ideas.
  1. Assume responsibility.  Even if the speaker is boring or redundant, work actively at listening. Confirm and clarify when appropriate
  1. Make it ­­­easy for someone to speak to you.  Maintain eye contact. Maintain a positive facial expression & posture. Provide non-verbal signals like nodding to show acceptance and interest.

4.  Clear your thoughts.  While you can listen six times faster than anyone can speak resist distractions; stop clicking your inner channel changer and stay with the speaker.

  1. Tune in with more that your ears.  Listen with your eyes and your heart as well.
  1. Take notes.  A short pencil is better than a long memory.
  1. Keep an open mind.  Keep listening even if you don’t agree… there may be more commonality than you initially realize.  Be aware of your biases and prejudices.
  1. Be prepared to paraphrase to demonstrate your understanding; this practice will actually increase your listening ability.

Tips of the Week – April 1st

Posted on by skestenberg in Tips of the week Comments Off on Tips of the Week – April 1st

Increasing Team Cooperation

Effective teams build your organization.  Instilling team spirit, creating a cooperative climate and channeling group effort are keys to productivity and success.

Six ideas to increase success with team cooperation include:

  1. Ensure that team members understand the total problem.
  1. Ensure that team members understand how they can contribute toward solving the problem.
  1. Make team members aware of the potential contributions of the other project team members.
  1. Discuss openly and recognize the problems facing team members in order to aid them in making their maximum contribution.
  1. Pay attention to how team members treat each other.  Accept nothing short of respect.

6.  Use specific problem solving models to aid the team to solve problems.

Tips of the Week – March 25th

Posted on by skestenberg in Tips of the week, Uncategorized Comments Off on Tips of the Week – March 25th

Project Management Skills

Project management is a systematic approach essential to achieving goals with respect to schedules and budgets.

Four ideas to increase success with projects include:

1.   Every project needs a sponsor. Do not begin until there is someone who is responsible for:

  • Approving the team and defining the responsibilities
  • Providing information and resources
  • Clarifying critical issues
  • Acting as key communication link between departments


2.   Every project needs a clear statement of the expected outcomes, the approach, the timelines and the budget.  Do not commence any activities related to completing a project until the initial planning process has provided a statement that has the sponsor’s approval.


3.   Every project needs a plan. The purpose of the plan is to:

  • Outline responsibilities, and duties of the team members
  • State how the project will be managed in terms of the time cost and performance
  • Summarizes the resources required (human, electronic, external, physical)


4..  Projects can benefit from the application of the following tools:

  • Project team cooperation checklist
  • Planning and organizing checklist
  • Responsibility assignment matrix
  • Gnatt charts
  • Critical Path Mapping
  • Contingency planning charts
  • Follow up evaluation questions

Tips of the Week – March 18th

Posted on by skestenberg in Tips of the week Comments Off on Tips of the Week – March 18th

Making A Positive First Impression

You have 90 seconds to make a positive first impression

Seven ideas to increase your success with a first impression include:

  1. Dress respectfully.  This means be as formally dressed as they might be.  It’s always easier to dress down than to dress up; to remove a jacket or roll up your sleeves.
  1. Get feedback from people you trust on your handshake.  Too firm or to lax can easily be corrected.
  1. Be on time.  Allow extra time and anticipate potential delays.
  1. Start with a smile.  Let your warm personality melt any initial resistance.
  1. Make eye contact and remain focused on their face until you know the colour of their eyes.
  1. Build rapport by using their name.  Be careful not to overuse this practice.
  1. Use the headline technique; keep your sentences short.  You will be asked to elaborate if they are interested in more detail.


Tips of the Week – March 11th

Posted on by skestenberg in Tips of the week Comments Off on Tips of the Week – March 11th

Negotiating Skills

Everything is negotiable.

Seven ideas to increase success include:

  1. Determine your primary objective?  Clarify what is important to you.  Be specific.  Also consider your secondary goals.
  1. Try to anticipate the other person’s objective.  Prepare questions to help discover their objectives.  Never assume….always seek to clarify and confirm.
  1. Establish mutual benefits and be prepared to communicate these to motivate the other person to see the value of your position.
  1. Know “when to fold ‘em” i.e. when to walk away… set specific limits. It’s OK to say, “That’s more than I ‘m prepared to do.” or “That’s more than I‘m prepared to spend.”
  1. Use silence as a technique to gain more information and more power.  The other person will fill the silence with information that will be potentially useful to you.
  1. Think of compromise …the 50/50 split, as your secondary strategy.  A collaborative effort where you both uncover common ground and mutual benefits is the best approach and will produce a better outcome for both of you.
  1. Ask questions like:
  • What will it take to resolve this conflict?
  • What will it take to earn your trust?
  • What will it take to satisfy you?
  • What will it take to fix this?
  • What will it take to close this deal?

Tips of the Week – February 4th

Posted on by skestenberg in Tips of the week Comments Off on Tips of the Week – February 4th

Handling Complaints

As long as there are customers or clients there will always be complaints.  Complaints can sometimes provide valuable feedback and an opportunity to improve.  We need to be appreciative of those who take their time to bring problems to our attention.

Seven ideas to increase success include:

  1. Listen.  Sometimes just having an opportunity to be heard is enough.
  1. Empathize… put yourself in their shoes.
  1. Apologize only once.  This does not necessarily mean you are accepting responsibility for the problem; merely regretting their inconvenience.
  1. There is no need to apologize for your rules or policies.
  1. Don’t attempt to justify actions or blame anyone, within or outside of your organization.
  1. Ask questions to get all the facts; make no assumptions.
  1. Mutually agree on a course of action.  Sometimes the course you identify is not satisfactory to the person complaining.

Tips of the Week – Feb. 2nd – Business Writing Skills

Posted on by skestenberg in Tips of the week Comments Off on Tips of the Week – Feb. 2nd – Business Writing Skills

Business Writing Skills

Get your message across with less effort and greater impact.

Six ideas to increase success include:

1. Before you write, consider your purpose.
• What do you want to accomplish?
• What do you want them to do?

2. State your purpose in the first sentence.

3. Replace business clichés with conversational words.
Replace: With:
• along the lines of like
• at which time when
• for the purpose of for
• for the reason that since, because
• in order to, in order that to, so
• in regard to about
• in the event of if
• in the near future soon, shortly

4. Establish an appropriate tone by focusing on the reader. Replace some of your “I’s and we’s“ with “you”.

5. Accentuate the positive by telling what you can do. Always state your ideas in positive terms.

6. Use bullets and numbers to make your writing easier to understand and easier to read.