`: Accent-uate the Positive

May 19, 2017 | Posted in Leading Hartfully, Living Hartfully | By

Can this thought be stated enough? I cannot over-emphasize the importance of a positive mental attitude. It runs over everything in its path. A simple method called applied kinesiology or muscle checking actually demonstrates the weakening effect negative thoughts have on the body. By testing the resistance to pressure that is put on the arm of the participant, the tester can tell if the person is thinking negative or positive thoughts by the amount of resistance felt when they try and push down the arm of the participant. This type of checking is an immediate and dramatic proof of the link between mind and body.

Conversely, when the mind gives a positive spin to a negative situation and thinks of the lessons learned or how they would grow from the situation, it actually strengthens the body instead of weakening it and the arm resistance would test more positive. To learn more about this muscle testing method and how to use it to your advantage, check with holistic health professionals.

Accentuating the positive in your life helps give you the strength to deal with daily stressors and sets your thinking to the right frame of mind where you will gain clarity and power to make the right decisions. When we are thinking from a power position and in a resourceful state of mind, our brain can come up with better solutions to life’s problems than when we are in a negative and unresourceful state of mind.

Moving from the cognitive to the physical aspect of accentuating the positive, take a look at how you are accentuating the positive aspects of your physical presence. Audrey is a friend of mine who is an image and style consultant at www.audreybeaulacstyle.com. She is in the business of helping people accentuate their positive attributes and downplay their not so positive features. The positive energy that stems from looking and feeling your best cannot be denied.

From haircut to clothing styles, fabrics, and colors, to jewelry, handbags, shoes, and accessories, Audrey helps her clients figure out their true essence of style, and what’s natural for them. She helps them put it all together so her clients are feeling their very best when they step out into the world. Nothing helps your self confidence and personal energy more than knowing you are putting your very best size seven foot forward in the shoe that fits your style best.

When we are uncomfortable in our clothes or in our own skin, we cannot exude positive energy. When we have confidence in our looks, our energy spills over into other areas of our life. Always play to your strengths and build upon them to boost confidence, self esteem, your sense of style, and personal energy.


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How Does Your Organization Measure Up in Employee Satisfaction?

May 4, 2017 | Posted in Leading Hartfully, Living Hartfully | By

Time to take a hard look at the hard questions and maybe experience some of the hard facts that workers are not all that happy. Better to know now and do something about it than to wait until they jump ship to find out in their exit interview how you screwed up. You are doing exit interviews, aren’t you?

Answer these questions provided by the Forum for People Performance Management and Measurement to see how your organization measures up.

  1. Are employees empowered to service customers at the highest possible level?
  2. Does the company recognize the role of employees in retaining customers?
  3. Is the performance of employees regularly measured?
  4. Are internal communications truly aligned with external marketing initiatives?
  5. Does the company’s overall corporate objective include human resource and motivation issues?
  6. Is the company committed to employee development and training?
  7. Are employees encouraged to provide feedback and given the tools to do so?
  8. Is employee feedback incorporated into planning and operations?
  9. Can the company demonstrate a link between people performance management and sales and profit?

In an annual survey conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management, here are the results concerning work-life programs in corporate America today:

  • 57% of companies now offer flextime to their employees
  • 56% have wellness programs
  • 36% allow telecommuting
  • 20% have on-site fitness centers
  • 19% offer stress-reduction tips to workers
  • 13% offer massage therapy

When employees feel included when they feel a sense of belonging to an organization, when their personal values and goals are in alignment with the organizational values. In order to gain a maximum sense of involvement and engagement in an organization, here are some elements that need to be present to foster dedication, retention, and productivity:

  • Intrinsic personal interest and worthwhile work
  • Challenge and stimulation
  • Significance
  • Influence
  • Creativity
  • Independence
  • Control
  • Income
  • Security
  • Personal involvement
  • Recognition
  • Positive environment

24% of 1000 workers surveyed said they were chronically angry at work.  The most common reason cited was a sense that their employers “violated basic promises” and didn’t fulfill “the expected psychological contract with their workers”. The anger problem remains mostly underground and workers simply lose interest in work and become lethargic and uncooperative. What is going on in your office to undermine expectations?

Ask burned-out employees (or less than enthusiastic family members) “What do you really want from your job/school/your life/this family?”. Write down 25 quick answers to help jostle them into thinking about their interests and desires so they can look for a way to pursue them through work/school/family life.

So how does your organization measure up? Are you incorporating these types of things into your environment? If you have other ideas that are working for you, let me know at Gaia@GaiaHart.com.

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Love ‘Em, Don’t Lose ‘Em

April 4, 2017 | Posted in Leading Hartfully, Living Hartfully | By

I’m intrigued about the topic of corporate kindness and how being nice can actually be a competitive advantage. In The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World with Kindness by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval, they explain how friendliness and common courtesy along with how you look affects people’s moods and attitudes towards you. Cheerfulness and being polite and respectful spreads more easily than irritability and facial expressions and body language convey more relevant information than a sales pitch.


It’s all about the notion of consequences and karma – people may forget what you say, but they never forget how you made them feel. They remember acts of kindness as well as rudeness. After all, isn’t business and all of the world about relationships and how we connect with others be it inside or outside our organization?


Another book, The Kindness Revolution: The Company-Wide Culture Shift That Inspires Phenomenal Customer Service by Ed Horrell identifies how companies with stellar street reps for service excellence practice extreme kindness, respect, fairness and genuine niceties. He notes that the opposite of kindness isn’t being mean, it’s indifference. When indifference sets in, then it gives people a bad experience and in a world of choices, the customer (internal or external) chooses to walk. In fact, you can say that about any relationship – when indifference and disrespect and unkindness sets in, most people walk.


With a little more corporate kindness and consideration, I would argue that we would have many more gruntled workers than disgruntled workers. And we could actually save lives…one statistic form the Department of Labor cites that the #2 killer of workers on the job is homicide by a disgruntled colleague or customer. What are you doing to impart kindness in your daily activities? What are you doing to add light to the world? What are you doing to save a life today?


  • Some tips from Love ‘Em, Don’t Lose ‘Em on keeping good people:
    • Support personal and professional growth – are you building their future or are you a barrier
    • Enrich the job function – do they have to leave to find growth, excitement, and challenge
    • Is your worksite family friendly – do they have to choose between family life and work life or can they balance both
    • Expand options for advancement  – there are five career paths other than up
    • Create opportunities for challenge, learning, growth, fun, enthusiasm, ownership, and a chance to feel valued – if they don’t find it inside, they will seek it outside
    • Become a better listener – they want to tell their story and they want to know they matter and that somebody cares – when you tune out, you lose out and they move out
    • Share the power, share the wealth, share the knowledge, share the praise, share the celebrations, and tell the truth


  • Keep in mind the worth ethic when creating a work ethic in your organization. From the book Work to Live: The Guide to Getting a Life, Joe Robinson discusses how the operative ethic in our lives should be our worth ethic. “Measure the madness around you by whether it has worth for you, instead of whether you are worthy enough to take the ceaseless beating. Does it bring you significance, satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment, contribution, challenge? Or does it cut you off from sources of internal worth, isolate you, and sabotage your health? That’s not worth it, no matter the dough.”


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Page Down: Page Down in Your Life – How do You Want it to Read?

March 19, 2017 | Posted in Leading Hartfully, Living Hartfully | By

Look further down in your story than today’s page and see how you want it to turn out.  What is the plot in your ideal story, who are the characters, and how does it end? Plan for the ending chapter and the twists you want to add along the way. Adding new sub-plots will keep your attention piqued. To help get you through a tough spot or difficult time in your life, page down a day, a week, a year or two from now to get perspective on how important this particular difficulty might be.

What does your ideal outcome look like and what do you have to do now to get to that point? Something that may seem unsettling or stressful at this moment may not be such a big deal after you page down a few pages to see what affect it might have on the storyline. Expand the story a bit more and make a lifeline listing the things you want to accomplish in each decade of your life.

Fast-forward to your 105th birthday and look at your life. What will they be saying at your funeral? What is the legacy you want to leave? Be aware of how you would feel about the decisions you made. Are there any regrets? It has been said that most people end up regretting the things they didn’t do more than the things they did do. What would you regret not having done in your lifetime?

If you’re going through turbulent times, remember that the hero of most stories always have to overcome obstacles in order to become victorious in the end. If you didn’t have some conflict, it wouldn’t be a very interesting story. Are you living a pager-turner life, with lots of pages dog-eared to mark the good spots, or are you living a text-book style existence with lots of dry material between the covers?

Are you as interesting on the inside as your cover might represent, or is your life more flash on the outside with some emptiness on the inside? What are you doing to make your life something others would want to read about? (As in a great novel, not the National Enquirer.) Page down from today and see if you are living a best-seller and start creating your storyline right now.


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What’s Going Down at Work: Pollsters Tell the Story

March 4, 2017 | Posted in Leading Hartfully, Living Hartfully | By

Organizational and individual energy have hit some low points. Workers are stressed out, rusted out, burned out and ready to walk out according to some pollsters with their finger on the pulse of productivity. Read below on some of their findings on what’s going down and what you can do to help energize yourself in the midst of it all.

  • Boring jobs kill. The researchers at the University Of Texas School Of Public Health found that workers who spend their lives in undemanding jobs with little control over their work are 35% more likely to die during a 10-year period than workers in challenging jobs with lots of options and decision-making. Learning how to deal with the stress and cope with the job demands help you to become stronger and more resilient to stress as published in Psychosomatic Medicine.


  • Attitudes roll downhill from supervisors to front-line staff to customers, and keep them coming back.  Try delighting your employees.  When employees are treated well, they will treat your customers well, and people like doing business with people who like doing business.


  • Enhance your energy and image over the phone by answering with your vocal tone ending on a higher note than at the beginning of the greeting. When your tone goes up, it conveys enthusiasm about the call.  When your tone goes down, it conveys a more abrupt and annoyed feeling. Standing or at least sitting up straight improves breathing and vocal tone.


  • Make a point to take a mid-day break and get away from your desk or other workplace to take a mental health break in order to come back refreshed and more productive. Average American workers only spend 15 minutes per day for lunch and most eat on the run, at their desk, or in their car.


  • Absenteeism hit a 7-year record high according to a survey of 401 companies.  25% of absences were taken by people who weren’t really sick.  Citing the main reasons for playing hooky- stress, and belief that workers had earned the time off.  One of the winning excuses was, “If it is all the same to you, I won’t be coming to work.  The voices told me to clean all the guns today.”


  • A USA Today survey showed 75% of CEO’s and 88% of middle managers listed balancing work and family as a major concern. What are you doing in your life to actively balance personal and professional stuff?


  • A Gallup Poll found 4 out of 10 workers report that they are frequently angry while at work. Maybe they should call in sick and stay home to work on balancing their life? If you notice your fuse getting shorter; take a look at your balance between personal and professional lives and actively work on simplifying and putting more fun into your day.


  • A poll by Maritz Research found dissatisfaction with the way employers offer recognition. The survey of 1001 adults nationwide found 34% of them do not feel they are recognized for their work performance in ways that are important to them. Only 40% felt they were adequately recognized.


  • Other findings indicated 26% of employees are unhappy with the way they are managed and 32% intend to change jobs. These restless employees say they’re looking for better compensation and career opportunities. Now comes word that, at least in the advertising, marketing and creative industries, only half of recently polled firms are concerned with employee retention. The Creative Group, a staffing services company in Menlo Park, Calif., reports ad agency executives and senior marketing executives with the nation’s 1,000 largest companies may be in for an unpleasant surprise. Many companies don’t focus on retention until it’s too late to staunch the flow of experienced, productive people, says Tracey Fuller, executive director of The Creative Group. Now is the time to ensure top performers feel valued and respected, and have positive interactions with their managers.

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Page Up: Sometimes We Must Go Back to the Beginning

February 19, 2017 | Posted in Leading Hartfully, Living Hartfully | By

Sometimes things get so screwed up, we need to go back to the start and re-paginate to get things back in order. It takes some effort and persistence, but it pays off in the end with everything lined up just as it should be. Perhaps we have a few dog-eared corners, but that’s what a life lived with full experiences comes with. So take a deep breath and mend fences, build bridges, forgive, or get closure on things in your past which are haunting you or holding you back so you can release the draining energy.

Go back to the beginning and set things straight so the rest of your pages will fall into place more easily. When we are held back by our past mistakes or mishaps or misdirected choices, we have a hard time moving forward. Once we realize that we need to page up to patch it up and then let go to move on down the page of life, we release the power that it once had on us and we free up our energy for more positive things.

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Showing You Care for Your Colleagues

February 4, 2017 | Posted in Leading Hartfully, Living Hartfully | By

Over the years I’ve interviewed many hundreds of clients in what they do to keep their customers, care for their clients, and show their colleagues they really matter in more ways than the obvious. I’ve compiled some of my favorites for you to glean from them on what they’re doing right to reach out and show their workplace love.

  • Surprise your team and take them to lunch, to a mall with $50 each and tell them they must spend it all on themselves and whoever has money left over will give it back to you.
  • If you are game – or in good financial standing – take them on a trip or a cruise such as Phillips International’s Chairman, Tom Phillips who took 1350 employees and their families on a Disney Cruise to celebrate the company’s 30th anniversary. Meeting planners who are interested in cruises as incentive programs can visit www.corporatecruises.com  for deck plans and virtual tours of 360 ships and an online RFP service as well as destination info and tax-deductibility guidelines. Another site for unbiased info on cruises and destinations is www.cruisecritic.com. Bon Voyage!
  • Forget the Euro – time is the currency of the new millennium and giving the gift of time is a powerful incentive. Almost 40% of Americans now work more than 50 hours per week (National Sleep Foundation) and Americans work up to 12 weeks more in total hours per year than Europeans with 26% of all US employees not taking a vacation according to a study by Boston College. Many companies are now offering perks and incentives to help employees gain back some time such as giving them the services of a lawn care company, pest control, monthly house cleaning, or having a car detailer visit the workplace.  ServiceMaster offers these types of home services on a large scale across the country.
  • One of my early clients, Northwestern Mutual has a dry cleaner pick up and deliver clothes to the workplace. Their dry cleaner also offered to accept Fed Ex packages for workers during the holidays and then deliver them to the workplace to avoid having holiday packages sit on doorsteps or having to drive to the Fed Ex shop to pick them up. They also offer several clubs and affinity groups in their organization such as a choral group, a band, and professional associations for staff to meet others with similar interests and promote loyalty and a sense of community. People are less likely to leave a community of friends than a company of cubicles.
  • Below are ideas from various clients on what they’re doing to show they care about their teammates:
  • Help keep employees healthy and informed about their health and well-being to reduce your costs for sick-leave, mental-health day absences, retention, and insurance claims. Here are some tips for planning a wellness program excerpted from Human Capital Magazine:
  • Provide people with the facts, and raise awareness regarding the risks of being overweight.
  • Help them identify risk factors including Body Mass Index and blood pressure.
  • Empower employees to change and provide them with the knowledge and tools to improve their situation – books, trainers, coaches, nurses, health club memberships, time off each week to work out, seminars, seated massages, healthy choices in the cafeteria, and smoking cessation or Weight Watchers classes.
  • Implement a total wellness program into your menu of options for employees – more than an exercise program, it includes a combination of activities that focus on health promotion and disease prevention and healthy, active lifestyles.
  • The Society for Human Resource Management’s annual survey of several hundred employee benefit managers found that 31% subsidize or reimburse gym membership fees, 22% provide on-site fitness centers, 24% offer weight-loss programs, and 11% offer nutrition counseling.
  • One high-tech company in Washington DC gave employees a stipend for monthly house cleaning and yard work to allow them extra time to work out – no excuses for not having enough time.
  • A survey by Career Builder.com found that the majority of workers are dissatisfied with their career progress with 63% reporting that finding a better job would improve their quality of life.


What are you doing for your team to energize them and help increase their quality of life at work? How are you showing your team that you care about them in more ways than giving them a paycheck?

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Improving Meetings, Morale, and More

January 4, 2017 | Posted in Leading Hartfully, Living Hartfully | By

Seems we can’t get away without having meetings. Communication is a key element to empowered workplaces and effective employee morale. But it seems that so many get it wrong when it comes to hosting meetings. What is up with that? To help pump up the effectiveness of meetings; I share the following tips.


If your meetings are becoming stale, try www.effectivemeetings.com with lots of tidbits for running terrific meetings.


Improve your all-employee meetings

  • Draw on the experience of top performers and celebrate the successes of others – have them share their stories.
  • Work actively with professional speakers to familiarize them with your organization.
  • Encourage informal interaction with round tables and allow for socializing activities.
  • If you are presenting awards: staff should participate in the selection of rewards.
    • Employers should reward measurable activities or a point system.
    • Offer reward that have some brag value – offering cash may be fleeting.
    • Recognize employees who talk up the company and spread good words.


Improve morale with the five R’s

  1. Rewards: check competitor’s salaries, perks, and benefits packages and exceed it or get more creative to retain top talent.
  2. Room to grow: offer a chance to grow professionally and personally and advance skills through a mentoring program, promotions, and training.
  3. Recognition: Practice regular formal and informal praise and appreciation. Generation X and the incoming Millennials are used to getting feedback every 60 seconds with computer games and expect to know where they stand and get noticed for it.  We tend to get antsy just waiting for our computers to download and that’s only 22 seconds.  An annual appraisal won’t cut it.
  4. Respect: Make a determined effort to listen with an open mind and show genuine respect to avoid the “Because I’m the boss” attitude.
  5. Reasonable Workloads: Productivity will decline if workers are expected to produce 110% all the time. People need time to renew and refresh to avoid burnout and especially since September 11th, we need to understand that there will be a general defocus in work and productivity. Offer flexible work schedules, job sharing, telecommuting, and compressed workweeks.

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