Is Emotional Intelligence Always Positive?

We have read about, learned about, and applied emotional intelligence in a variety of ways since Daniel Goleman first popularized it in 1995.

Wikipedia defines emotional intelligence as: “the capability of individuals to recognize their own and other people’s emotions, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one’s goals.”

Regardless of the model (and there are several), when we think about emotional intelligence we see it as a positive combination of skills and characteristics.

But what if “the capability of individuals to recognize… other people’s emotions” can also have negative consequences?

Theresa Edwards, in an article titled: Empathy vs. Sympathy: What’s the Difference explains that “to empathize with someone is to assume their feelings upon yourself and allow yourself to feel what they feel.”

In the informal experiment I’m going to describe, you will see that empathy got in the way of the participants’ success.

In part one of the experiment, Luma Al Halah showed a brief video of a man who ends up sobbing. She then gave the participants a worksheet that had the numbers 1 through 20 placed randomly on the page. They were given one minute to find the numbers in order and complete the worksheet.

In part two of the experiment, Luma showed a brief video with a man who was hysterically funny. She gave the same assignment that she had given in part one. The participants had to complete a different worksheet with the numbers 1 through 20 placed randomly on the page. Again, they were given one minute to find the numbers in order.

Without a sense of empathy with the sobbing man, there would have been no difference in the success rates of the participants in both parts of the experiment.

However, there was a marked difference in the participants’ ability to complete the worksheets. After watching the sad video, the participants had a much harder time placing the numbers in order- so much so that many of them were unable to complete their worksheets in the time allowed.

After watching the funny video, the participants had a much easier time placing the numbers in order- and most of them were able to complete their worksheets in the time allowed.

The participants’ empathy for the sobbing man left them with sad feelings. The results of the experiment showed that we find tasks much harder to do when we are sad.

This does not mean that empathy is bad and should be avoided. This experiment simply illustrates that emotions, whether happy or sad, can definitely affect our performance (or situational intelligence).

Why Laughter Is Good for Business

Does anyone over 45 remember “Benny Hill”? The other night, I was watching a re-run of the “Benny Hill” comedy show and found myself laughing and enjoying the antics and jokes. Afterwards, I felt completely rejuvenated and in good spirits. I felt compelled to take on any project with enthusiasm even though it was a Sunday.

There is no doubt that laughter is very good for us. When we laugh, our body releases endorphins that can reduce stress and enhance moods, but that’s only the beginning. Studies show that people who laugh a lot heal faster, feel better, and have fewer health issues such as lower inflammation in the body and blood pressure.

So, how does this all relate to being good for business? Think about it! When you feel good and have optimal wellness, your energy can sustain itself to be more productive and efficient. It also helps to align yourself to your passion and take massive action toward the results you desire. Finally, a good joke to a customer or prospect that makes them laugh lowers their guard, establishes a connection they like you, and can lead to more business with them. It gains one’s trust and helps build credibility over time for sustainable success.

Laughing at ourselves has a positive effect on us as well as those around us. When we laugh at our own mistakes, we lighten the load for everyone and give others the freedom to be themselves and make mistakes too. Sharing laughter nourishes our relationships, making us feel closer to and more comfortable with those we laugh with.

Laughter has the power to lift others up in times of difficulty which also includes business. It brings people together, reaffirms hope, and instills a feeling of community. This is extremely important because many people go through trials and tribulations in their personal lives and business. This can have a negative impact on production and efficiency in the workplace. Laughter helps to offset this and regain that same level if not more when it comes to production and being more efficient.

Laughter is even good for our appearance, as it helps relax our facial muscles. And any “laugh lines” that may come over the years give your face a friendlier and kinder appearance than scowling or frowning does. A warm welcome smile on glowing appearance on your face establishes an instant connection in business and lays the groundwork for credibility and being trustworthy.

I hope you’ll take advantage of laughter’s many benefits by sharing a joke and having a good laugh with business associates. But beware. Laughter is contagious. You could start an epidemic which is a good thing here. Simply put, laughter is good for business.

Christopher Salem is an life & business strategist, international keynote speaker, certified peak performance mindset trainer, radio show host, international best selling author. and wellness advocate partnering with business leaders, entrepreneurs, and sales professionals to have sustainable success at the next level by resolving the root cause to mindset barriers. Do you desire to double or triple your business while having fun serving your true purpose adding value to others?

Emulsion Cosmetics Production Emulsifying Process

Emulsion Cosmetics is mixed by oil, fat, wax and many other raw materials. There are many experiences and methods of preparing emulsions. Various methods have their own characteristics. Which method is chosen depends on the personal experience of the operator and the conditions of the enterprise, but must meet the basic requirements of the production of cosmetics. The following three kinds of emulsification methods are commonly used.

1. Intermittent emulsification

This is the most simple way of emulsification, the oil phase and the water phase raw materials were heated to a certain temperature, according to a certain order into a stirring kettle. Start mixing and cooling water to the interlay, and then Add the essence when it cools to 60 degrees Celsius below. Stop stirring when the cooling temperature reaches 45 degrees Celsius. Finally discharge the material and pack. Most manufacturers in China are using this method because it has a strong adaptability. However, the disadvantages are long mixing time, complicated operation and low efficiency.

2. Semi-continuous emulsification

The oil phase and water phase raw materials are respectively calculated and heated to the desired temperature in the oil and water pot. The mixture is preliminarily stirred in a pre-emulsification pot and cooled by a stirring cooling cylinder, also called the torrent heat exchanger. According to the different viscosity of the product, the shaft and scraper have a variety of forms. After the rapid cooling and conveyor propelled, the product will be discharged from the outlet and packed.

The effective volume of pre-emulsification pot is 1000 ~ 5000L. The interlayer is equipped with hot water insulation. Stirrers can be installed with homogenizer or paddle mixer with rotating speed 500 ~ 2880rpm. The dosing pump transport the cream to the stirring and cooling cylinder. The perfume is fed into the cooling cylinder and the pipeline in series, stirred by the mixing cylinder, and the interlayer with cooling water to cooling the mixing cylinder. The speed of stirring cooling cylinder is 60 ~ 100rpm. Cream contact materials made of stainless steel depending on the products.

3. Continuous emulsification

Continuous emulsification is the process of a variety of raw materials Preheated were transported into the emulsification pot by metering pump, The temperature will reach to 60 degrees Celsius below when the material overflew to the scraper cooler after a period of emulsification and then into the fragrance mixing pot. At the same time, the fragrance is added by the metering pump, and the final product is overflowed by the upper part of the mixing pot.

This continuous emulsification is suitable for large-scale continuous production. Even though saving energy, keeping stable quality and improving the utilization of equipment, it has not been adopted in China.

In the production of cosmetics products, like creams, lotions, lipsticks, emulsions, etc., the mixing and stirring process is essential, and mostly manufacturers use the high shear homogenizer or vacuum emulsifying equipment to process the materials.

Time Estimating Your To-Do List

Many of us make to-do lists. Usually, they are long and filled with a variety of tasks. Not only is it essential to prioritize the list of items, but to also estimate how much time each task will take. Often when you do this, you find that you have two days worth of to-dos on your list. One thing that zaps our energy is feeling overwhelmed and getting distracted. When you have long to-do lists that are not even reasonable to accomplish, often much less gets done.

If you take your list, budget how much time important tasks will take, you can then plan them into your day better. If you have a 10-minute task, you can plan that for a 15 minute downtime period. If you don’t do this, people usually take 10 minutes just to figure out what they are going to do and then they only have 5 minutes left to do something, which is not enough time, so then nothing gets done (or they start a project and are stressed and then late for the next appointment).

It also helps you to plan your day to see that you need 2 hours of blocked time to “eat your frog” (the #1 most important item on your to-do list). This way you can plan your day to get that big thing off your plate. I guarantee when you get the weight of a large project off your back first thing in the morning, you will be supercharged and excited for the rest of your day. Then knowing what you will do, how long it will take you and “budgeting” when you will do it, creates a clear focus and drive for you to accomplish many more things in your day.

In order to put this into practice:

1. Take your prioritized list of to-dos and write behind each how much time each will take (always pad with extra time not less).

2. Look at your schedule for the day and plan when you will do which tasks. If you have a large task, see how you can break it down into parts that fit into your day.
3. Write specifically what you will do on the calendar (i.e. budget 1 hour to write a newsletter. Have a 15 minute opening in the AM; plan to write the intro to the newsletter, then schedule 30 minutes later in the day to write the main article. Finally, schedule 15 minutes in the afternoon to edit the newsletter).


Why Was Classroom Training Rated So Poorly?

In “The Changing Nature of Organizations, Work, and Workplace,” Judith Heerwagen of J.H. Heerwagen & Associates and Kevin Kelly and Kevin Kampschroer of the U.S. General Service Administration note that work is now more: cognitively complex; team-based and collaborative; dependent on social skills; dependent on technological competence; time pressured; mobile and less dependent on geography.

Managers and employees need new skills to effectively manage these challenges- and they require learning and professional development options that go beyond traditional classroom training.

This is validated by the results of a 2017 survey of Learning in the Workplace conducted by Jane Hart, the Founder of the Center for Learning & Performance Technologies. Over 5,000 managers and employees were asked to rate the importance (value/usefulness) of 12 work-related learning methods as either: NI = Not Important; QI = Quite Important; VI = Very Important; or Ess = Essential.

The results of the Survey are identified in rank order below, with 1 being the highest ranking learning method. The methods were ranked by their combined VI+Ess (Very Important and Essential) scores. (The VI+Ess total is in parentheses after the method):

1. Daily work experiences (i.e., doing the day job) (93)

2. Knowledge sharing with your team (90)

3. Web search (e.g. Google) (79)

4. Web resources (e.g. videos, podcasts, articles) (76)

5. Manager feedback and guidance (74)

6. Professional networks and communities (72)

7. Coach or mentor feedback and guidance (65)

8. Internal resources (e.g. documents, guides) (60)

9. Blogs and news feeds (56)

10. E-learning (e.g. online courses for self-study) (41)

11. Conferences and other professional events (35)

12. Classroom training (31)

As you can see, the survey results reveal that the least valued way of learning in the workforce is classroom training!

We don’t know why the respondents give classroom training such a low rating. There can be many reasons, such as:

  • Content focused on theory rather than on practical application.
  • Too general one-size-fits-all examples difficult for the participants to translate and apply to their own work situations.
  • Ineffective training methods, such as a predominance of lecture with PowerPoint.
  • Lack of useful job aids.
  • The wrong people received the training, due in part to a need to ensure a sufficient number of butts in seats.
  • Inconvenient scheduling.
  • The time commitment and high cost of registration and travel for off-site classes.
  • Poor content, either outdated or irrelevant to real work needs.
  • Poor instructors, lacking effective presentation skills and/or classroom management skills.
  • No follow up by supervisors to reinforce the learning.
  • A lack of support for implementing any new learning.

Since I design and deliver classroom training, I would like to believe that it is not classroom training per se that the respondents rate so negatively- just poor curriculum design, delivery and facilitation.What do you think?

6 Reasons Why Updated Business ERP and CRM Packages Are Most Important During a Recession

1. Get more out of your established customers: Even when money is tight there are opportunities to sell more to some of your existing customers. The trick is to use effective techniques and offer the right merchandise at the right time. One of a modern ERP & CRM’s greatest strengths is that they collect and organize information about your customers, helping you analyze the data for future opportunities. For example, you can use updated business ERP & CRM data to do a needs-based segment analysis of your various classes of customers. Needs-based analysis involves taking the customer’s perspective and identifying what they need but are not buying. Using this information, you can develop a sales strategy that will let you offer products in an appealing way even in economically difficult times. Often this involves packaging new goods and services with products your customers are already buying and offering them at an attractive price or with other incentives. In the same way, ERP & CRM can help you identify the most productive items to sell to your customers. These are not necessarily the highest-margin items, not if those high-margin items have long sell cycles and require a lot of sales effort. One additional useful metric that is easily derived from ERP & CRM data is the profit produced per hour of sales effort for each class of items. Armed with this information, you can craft sales programs which emphasize the products which have the most effect on your bottom line.

2. Identify and concentrate on your best customers and suppliers: While every customer and supplier is important when business is slow, some are worth more than others. By allocating your sales efforts accordingly, you can produce more revenue per sales hour and higher average sales. ERP & CRM systems contain tools for analyzing your customer base so you can categorize your customers. Sometimes the analysis will turn up surprising, even counterintuitive, results. The customer who gives you an order on every sales call may not be worth as much as the customer who orders infrequently but buys larger quantities of high-value merchandise. You can also use ERP & CRM analytical tools to slice and dice your customer and suppliers base beyond simply ranking by revenue. For example, you can look at the return per sales hour for each customer. Or you can see which lines are most profitable and which customers are more likely to purchase them. In fact, with a good ERP & CRM system and a properly populated sales and customer database, you can find all sorts of not-so-obvious but important relationships.

3. Target your customer and suppliers development efforts: Just because the economy is in a slump doesn’t mean that you should stop trying to attract new customers. However, like everything else in a recession, you want to do it more efficiently. This implies paying closer attention to lead analysis. Which leads are most likely to become customers? What are they likely to purchase? Since in a recession you want to go hunting where the ducks are, you can use ERP & CRM information to determine where a lead is in the buy cycle. You may want to concentrate your efforts on the potential customers who are closest to making the buying decision to reap more immediate rewards of your sales efforts.

4. Keep your existing customers loyal: In a recession, existing customers are gold. You want to keep them happy. Customer satisfaction covers a lot of ground, but basically it involves two ideas: keep your promises to customers and also meet their demonstrated needs. ERP & CRM can help you with both of these. The most common reason for not keeping promises is forgetting they were made. If you stress to your sales force the importance of entering all agreements made with customers into your ERP & CRM system, it will be easier for your organization to execute on its promises. Even minor mistakes can make a difference in an economic downturn. If you promise to contact a customer on Tuesday and don’t get back to him or her until Thursday, you not only haven’t met the customer’s expectations, but you have subtly implied how much you value that customer. Enough incidents like that, trivial though they may seem, and the customer is likely to be receptive to a competitor even if he or she can’t beat you on price. Likewise, ERP & CRM can be used to ensure you’re meeting customers’ needs as fully as possible. This includes efficient handling of after-sales contacts, such as service calls, resolving customer concerns or offering the customer the right mix of products at the right prices.

5. Work smarter, not just harder: ERP & CRM lets your sales and customer support reps work smarter. With better information at their finger tips and best practices codified into your business policies, you can optimize service for your customers and maximize revenue.

6. Use of cost effective ERP & CRM solutions instead of just any solution: Finally, ERP solutions can cost you money, but not having any ERP solutions will cost you more. Many companies are running with an accounting solutions and spreadsheets or databases. Since everything is not tightly integrated you spend more time with incorrect data and double or triple entry.

What is the Perfect Choice of ERP and CRM for your Business

Different businesses will have different needs and infrastructure and thus, not a one-size-fits-all system can cater different purposes. Being an aspiring entrepreneur, you must focus on developing a cost-effective solution that meets your needs and is easily manageable as well. Ideally, some of the essential features of an efficient business solution are easy-to-use, highly scalable, secure, mobile and cloud compatible adaptive.

Jim Clark is a tech geek and software engineer working with OpenPro ERP who has built several software Solutions for small to medium size companies and helped clients to improve business efficiency.

Healthy Employee, Productive Employee

The growth of an organisation is determined by the productivity of their employees. The productivity is achieved when the employee is focussed, healthy and has a positive competitive work environment. A healthy human state leads to low absenteeism and better work quality and output. Employee productivity has a direct tie to company wellbeing and the bottom line. Ensuring employee wellness can be a big return on investment for any business. Thus, companies conduct corporate wellness programs creating a culture of health and wellness in the workplace.

Fatigue, flu, and virals are a very common phenomena reported at work places. Issues like diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol are observed in the vast majority of Indians. Erratic work schedules, long commuting hours, work related stress, financial stress, family responsibilities, unhealthy eating etc. can be responsible for the above health conditions.

A company can truly effect a positive change by encouraging healthy eating and more exercise. Companies that show that they care about their employees end up with more engaged and happily employed workers. Providing employees with healthier lunch and snack options, morale boosting activities, fitness classes, relaxation techniques are ways by which a company can work to enhance the eating and lifestyle habits of their employees. Pre-planning and choosing healthy foods and eating them in a timely fashion ensure a constant form of energy to the body to maintain consistency at work. Nutritious food is the main entity which builds the human immune system. It also prevents one from contracting any form of metabolic diseases. Not to forget some form of physical activity and relaxing techniques that can work holistically to work towards a healthier being.

A holistic corporate wellness program not only helps an employee achieve a healthier and fitter life, it proves that the company is willing to take steps to improve employee’s quality of life and happiness. The employee in return is even more motivated than before to work for the company’s welfare. He is in a better mind frame to work, analyse, intervene and take action on time.

A nutrition desk at the workplace is another excellent way to promote individual employee health. An experienced nutritionist can work on the specific health goals of the employees. I.e a sports nutritionist for fitness, a therapeutic dietitian to handle an ailment, a dietitian for weight loss etc. Giving employees access to qualified counsellors can help alleviate an employee’s stress so that they are in a better position to handle personal and work pressures.

Bottom line: A happy, healthy employee is a productive employee.

Arati Shah is an astute nutritionist having expertise in offering all types nutrition to different individuals and corporate.She is one of the top 10 dietitians who can also guide one through weight loss in Mumbai and corporate wellness programs with same efficacy. She heads the Nutrition team in Mumbai and takes personal interest in every client.

Teaching Data Entry to New Hires

So everyone needs training, are we agreed? Agreed! Let’s move on!

Your new hire said they knew it all, typed a million words a minute and were quick as a pistol. After dishing out the assignments and handing over the materials you found yourself analyzing their performance only to discover that you think they might be missing fundamental skills required to get the job done. You may consider to yourself your options at this point. Debating how much time should be shall we say, donated, from your existing workload for teaching the new employee how to do their job correctly. Despite many large companies demonstrating how each new group of employees goes through some training process whether it be a few days or a few weeks, many small business owners tend to ignore this. We can all understand that we hire someone to do the work we don’t have time to complete. There should always be some consideration to how much time you will need to subtract from your own day (assuming you have to do the training yourself) to teach a new hire how to do the job the way you want the job done!

Data entry does not differ from any other job, in that it takes time for beginners to get a rhythm down before they start cranking out the work. The more help you can provide them, the quicker they will catch on and start performing to the level you had hoped. So let’s examine some simple prerequisite skills when getting starting teaching data entry.

  • Typing – Though perhaps not as fundamental as some jobs, basic typing skills and speed will certainly play a role in over all performance.
  • Computer Savvy Understanding basic computer use will probably go a long way with speeding up your data entry.
  • Web Surfing Skills – Again, as simple as this may sound, having the ability to understand and use the world-wide web is probably fundamental.
  • Photo / Image Knowledge – Does your data entry also require photos to be uploaded, or perhaps photos that need editing?
  • Reading & Writing Skills – Let’s face it, despite the simplicity of this skill some, some people have it and some don’t.
  • Tools – Nothing could be as important as the ability to provide the employee the right tools for the job!
  • A Good Attitude & Aptitude – Sadly this process may be tedious for all parties involved.

We should ask ourselves what we can provide our employee to help them enter that data efficiently, quickly, and most of all enjoyably. Finding the right tools for the job will not only make you as the employer happy because work flow is consistent and faster paced, but also serves to create happy workers. When you don’t have to feel frustrated hitting block after block performing simple jobs, your work day seems to pass more pleasurably.

    • Teaching Typing – I’m going to spend very little time covering this aspect. This is an issue faced by employers dating back to the typewriter. It is important to have someone with some typing skills where data entry is concerned. When faced with someone is pulling the old one finger routine, you most likely have two options. Either send that employee off to the next job in their life, or if you are determined to make it work you can suggest practicing with programs like the ever popular Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. There are also a ton of websites out there that will provide this practice, however I believe that nothing but practice is going to increase speed in this area.
    • Computer Skills – Computer savvy is another topic right away that often times is directly proportional to the time spent in practice. This may be another make or break item on the list depending on your particular needs. If it is a requirement to work with files and folder, pictures and other computer files then sorting those files and basic operations and file structures may be something mandatory for your job. Teaching file structure, naming conventions, and simple utilities such as copy and paste are just some examples of basic computer skills that may be necessary.
    • Web Savvy – In today’s world the internet plays such a huge role in business that it may be just as important as both typing skills and computer skills. Again this may depend on what the exact needs of your job will be, but the ability to surf the web, understand the web pages you are working with, and how to navigate to various website and files may be something required to even obtain the information which is required for data entry! It would certainly put a pin in anyone’s balloon if their new hire was so unfamiliar with the web that they were unable to download required documents and images to enter!
    • Photos & Image Editing – Everything comes down to your needs, and if photo editing is part of the job you may find it challenging to find a data entry expert who is also a graphic artist. I know, you’re saying this can’t be rocket science and I can’t possibly need a graphic artist to do simple little photo edits before uploading my fantastic products! As simple as those edits may seem to you, it certainly requires some skill to edit photos on demand. In addition to finding someone who can do this, you must also keep in mind that you may need to buy software for just this purpose if you do not already have it. If simple edits are all you need, and you just want something that’s full featured and free I highly recommend giving GIMP Image Manipulation Program a chance.
    • Reading & Writing – You might be in luck with this particular aspect as many popular programs like Microsoft Word have not only a spell check features but some rather advanced sentence fragment detection features as well. can be your friend here as well. Anyone can quickly Google search a word to discover spelling and other useful grammar related information. This even works with other languages in Google too! Other free document writers that are free include Google Docs and LibreOffice Writer. There are dozens if not hundred or thousands of full featured document writers (editors), one of which is bound to do the job.
  • Data Entry Tools
  • – First, you are going to need a comfortable chair. Okay, so I am only sort of joking when I say that (less than half, going down as we speak). Here are some tools I use to make data entry easy for everyone in my office and telecommuting!

Tips & Tools For New Data Entry Employees:

  • ClipIt – I like ClipIt however I recommend the use of any Clipboard Management Software when it comes to doing data entry.
  • The Snippet Tool – The Snippet tools or any quick screen grab software can come in super handy if you have to deal with cropping images and you don’t need a full graphic manipulation program.
  • Adobe Photoshop – This is if you do need a full featured graphical editor. I mentioned GIMP earlier which is a less popular free alternative. Again, when it comes to software applications the possibilities can be endless.
  • Have 2 Monitors – It may sound crazy, it may sound simple, but the power behind using multiple monitors in a data entry environment is priceless.
  • Email Clients & Synchronized Software – Consider using internal company email addresses for the purposes of assigning and tracking projects. Use software synchronization to allow employees to work from home, a different computer, or a different continent!
  • Is Your Data Entry Software Streamlined? – Having a simple streamlined application for your employees to use is key! The easier it is for them to understand and perform, the more they will.
  • Could You Automate Part of the Job? – Sometimes basic data entry can be completely automated, and other times you can automate parts of the job to further simplify the steps required to get the job done.

Remember, it is your job as the employer to do the research, provide the tools, and give the help required to ensure you have the skilled employees you need.

Why Not Use the Tools We Have?

This past week, I was faced with a dilemma. The shrimp I wanted to have for dinner was enclosed in a self-sealing bag. You’d think it would have been a simple thing to open it, right? But no, I absolutely could not get purchase on the two sides of the closure.

Hungry and not completely rational, I struggled for quite a while, getting more and more distressed. I tried using a rubber grip that I use to open recalcitrant bottle tops, to no available. Finally, I opened the kitchen drawer where I keep useful tools at the ready and pulled out a pliers. Yes, a pliers. And that did the trick! It enabled me to grab hold of one end while the pliers pulled the other end open.

I was very proud of myself. My solution might not have been elegant but it was functional. And I’ve needed to use the pliers every time since when I was lusting after the shrimp.

This experience made me start to think about the “tools” I have that can make my life easier, yet I forget they exist, and therefore, neglect to use them.

For example, I finally broke down and purchased a garden kneeler and seat to save wear and tear on my knees when I plant or weed my gardens. I immediately put it to use in the spring when I first received it, because I was doing a lot of planting. However, although it is sitting right next to my back door, I forgot that I had it and resumed kneeling on the ground for subsequent planting and weeding. In other words, we have tools available that we overlook, so we make our tasks unnecessarily more difficult.

On a more professional note, I spent a few days this past week developing a response to a request for proposal to conduct a three-day management and leadership training program. I took my typical first step, which is to search my files to see if I have any relevant lesson plans, training materials and/or past training proposals that I can incorporate or adapt.

Since the client wanted specific content that I had not previously addressed, my file search provided insufficient results. My next step, therefore, was to start to Google articles and learning activities on the desired content. I spent hours searching the web, selecting and reading articles to see if they would be useful.

Finally, a simple reference in one of those articles took me where I should have looked in the first place. The reference was for a book of learning activities for teaching management and leadership. I had actually had one of my learning activities published in that book, which was sitting on my bookshelf. An excellent resource had been at my fingertips, but I had forgotten that it even existed.

We are always hustling on to the next thing, assuming that someone else will have the answers if we can only find them, without recognizing that we might already have the tools we need.

What tools do you already have that can make your work and your life more comfortable?

Deborah Spring Laurel is the President of Laurel and Associates, Ltd., a certified woman-owned small business that builds and strengthens managerial, employee development and technical skills through the design and delivery of participatory classroom training on a national and international basis.

Is Lack Of Preparation Adding To Your Pressure?

Twenty-seven minutes and fifty-five seconds.

That’s the time I had to hit-exactly-every week for fifteen years.

27:55. Not a second more. Not a second less. 27:55.

Welcome to the world of television production, where the clock is your master. You’re always aware of it. You go on the air at 11:30pm, every Saturday, whether you’re ready or not. Whether you feel like it or not. And, exactly twenty-seven minutes and fifty-five seconds later, you fade to black. Every week.

You’ve felt the pressure of the clock too, haven’t you? The pitch meeting to the prospective client begins at 8:30am, and you have five minutes to make your case. Your negotiation in Hong Kong has to be completed-successfully-by 3pm on Thursday so you can make your flight to London. You have to be finished cleaning your house by 9:59am because the house cleaner gets there at 10. (Yeah, I know. I never quite got that one either.)

Whatever your particular scenario, you have to produce under pressure, and the clock is ticking.

So how do you do it?
One of the tricks I learned during those fifteen years of television production was to have a Plan B.

My Plan B was a pre-taped comedy piece, about a minute to ninety seconds long. I tried to have one of these scheduled during the last segment of the show each week. This was my safety net. See, we taped our show in front of a live studio audience, and we never knew exactly how much they would laugh. Generally, they laughed a lot, so we would run long. But I was okay with that because I knew that I could always drop my Plan B piece. I had a few other “producer tricks” up my sleeve, but this was the big one.

And because I knew I had the Plan B option, the pressure diminished. Yes, there was still pressure. But because I had thought through the “what if” scenarios and come up with options, I was prepared.

And preparation mitigates pressure.

So what are your “what if” scenarios? If you don’t know them off the top of your head, you need to take an hour and start thinking.

  • What if our primary supplier goes out of business?
  • What if a storm grounds the airplane?
  • What if the house cleaner shows up early?

Then, for each of your “what ifs,” come up with one or two Plan Bs. One or two safety nets. One or two tricks you can have up your sleeve, just in case.Because with preparation comes peace of mind. And when you have to produce under pressure-when the clock is ticking-peace of mind can be a very good friend.