Monday, October 16, 2017

Focus on Accomplishing Your Annual Goals this Fourth Quarter

fourth quarterBefore we knew it, we blinked and fourth quarter is upon us. Summer’s in the wind, and autumn is in already heading into full swing.  Calendars are changing. Next year’s plans are being made. And people are paying attention to what it’s going to take to achieve the end of year goals. Did you do what you wanted to do?  Did you achieve your milestones? Or do you still have miles to go?

It’s about that time.  Leaders are in full scale acceleration mode to pull out the stops and screech into the new year with kudos all around.  I’ve got you covered to help make it AH-Mazing – with a side order of fun.


First, do yourself and your team a favor:  Watch this (old) interview with the fabulous News at Sunrise Anchor Eve Tannery where we shared fourth quarter strategies on her show. It’s on the money.


Second, take a few minutes to watch my video on the 10 ways you can make the most of the remainder of the year.


This video will help answer:

  • How do I make my fourth quarter the most productive of the year?
  • How can I reach my annual goals with only a few months left?
  • How do I keep my team focused during fourth quarter?


Lastly, implement these steps to ensure absolute focus and attention is paid to those goals and priorities you wish to accomplish throughout the remainder of the year.


1. Monday Makeover: Give yourself a 15-minute head start on this week’s activities, so your I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed and you’re absolutely ready for anything. Meetings?  Totally cool.  Performance reviews? You’ve got this. Appointments?  Locked and focused.  Deadlines and deliverables?  You’re a master.  Next take a glance at the month ahead and prioritize your pipeline.  Might it take more than 15 minutes? Maybe. Once this is a habit?  You’ll breeze through with ease.


2. Money talks: Here’s to conquering the Achilles’s heel of many business professionals. Watch those financial targets and keep them in your sites to remind yourself weekly of the last quarter results that are your responsibility. Mine are printed above my desk and on my phone for daily accountability!


3. Gaps & Goals: Now’s the perfect time to rock a gap analysis of where you are vs. where your GOALS said you’d be at this time. Deep dive to see and understand what’s necessary to bridge that gap if your revenue, productivity, prospecting or sales aren’t where you want or need them to be.  THAT will become the foundation of your plan of action for the next three months.


4. Hustle & Grit. Ever hear that saying, “No grit—no pearl?” Now’s the time to hunker in and fire up your internal urgency to close deals, follow up on proposals, add value to clients and make hit the phones and connect with that client base.  Watch goals daily, weekly and monthly and monitor them like your business depends on it.  Because it does.


5. Less is MORE.  Meetings are necessary, check! But time? Is of the absolute essence. So pare down. Make sure they are time-efficient team meetings that are NO longer than 20-40 minutes, tops, with agendas and clear objectives.


It’s never too late to focus on this year’s objectives and pay attention to what matters most. Grab the most from this quarter and tap into these power strategies and focus your attention on what really matters to you and your success.


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Monday, October 09, 2017

Maximize Productivity with Join Up Dots Podcast Interview

If you seek ways to educate yourself, improve your business, maximize productivity and learn from leading industry experts on ways to enhance your confidence in business, tune into Join Up Dots. In this episode, I help share my secrets for focusing attention on tasks to achieve maximum productivity. Listen in for my secrets, then check out Join Up Dots for more tips from the pros.

Today’s guest, joining us on the Join Up Dots podcast interview, is a lady who can get more done in a day than most people get done in a week.

Actually Neen James can get more done in a hour than others do in a week.

She is a master at productivity and blitzing though piles of work at a rate of knots, and ensuring she gains maximum results from her work too.

But don’t think that this a lady who burns the candle at both ends, and just works harder than most.

Neen James looks amazing, seems to have more energy than most, and can often be seen whizzing around on her Harley Davison, or searching for another pair of shoes for her expanding collection.

She loves her life, she loves her job, and she loves getting out in front of people and presenting her time saving strategies to the world

With a strong background in learning and development and managing large teams at various corporations, Neen is the perfect fit for organizations wanting a presenter and keynote speaker to provide implementable strategies to maximize productivity, save time, increase focus and help their people get more done.

Not the kind of stuff that you might have seen time and time again, when the work management takes as long as doing the job in the first place.

But practical stuff that can make a huge difference.

Neen James is the author of eight business books including “Folding Time, Secrets of Super-Productivity, Strategic Networking and Network or Perish” to name just a few.

So what is about this Australian lady, that has made her see that there is so much wasted time in life, and for the most we are simply doing the wrong things at the wrong time?

And why has she left her home in Australia, which is one these places that so many would die to live in, and now has two homes, the other being in America.

Well let’s bring onto the show to start joining up dots, as we discuss the words of Steve Jobs with the one and only Neen James.


Show Highlights

During the episode we discussed such weighty topics such as:

How many people told her that she had to get voice training when she first started out, and she ignored them all to remain authentic to herself.

How she watched Forrest Gump on a plane, and still thought “Can I invest enough time in this…or should I be doing something more productive?”

Why it is so important to have a plan going into each job, and why she shares how important the 3,6,9,12 system has been to her success.

How she would interview people in her office over a cup of coffee to ask them what she needs to do to get a certain role, or many times their role!

And lastly…..

Why she feels a huge belief when she goes into anything that she is going to be successful in life, and loves the belief that she has in herself.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Your Attention Please… Who Should You Listen To?

Sometimes it can feel like you are surrounded by people eager to give advice, feedback and input. I think it’s that way for a lot of people, and it can be hard to sort out WHICH source is best to listen to.


Today I received a sweet email that surprised me. I attended a program to develop my speaking skills, and this person commented about my investment in myself, given my current speaking business. That really got me thinking.


I invest in my speaking skills every year. Whether by attending a program like Red Thread Retreat, by TEDx Cambridge producer and really cool chick Tamsen Webster, or attending conferences and events hosted by the National Speakers Association, or learning from other professionals in the industry. Continuous learning is something I crave.


However, I’m VERY selective of who I let speak into my life. And you may want to be as well. Here’s why… Feedback in our world today is constant, but for those thinking that ANYONE can, or should give you feedback? I disagree.


When asked, “Can I give you some feedback?”, my response is often, “Not today”. Not because I don’t care, not because I don’t want to improve, but because that person hasn’t earned the right to give me feedback. I know who is and isn’t qualified to speak into my life. I regularly seek them out. They are experts in their field. People who know me. People I trust to have my best interests at heart. Some I hire when requiring specific expertise. Others I listen to on podcasts, read their books and even a few I have on speed dial. I’ll let you wonder as to who is who!


Here are some of my favorite people to pay attention to when tuning my skills:


For my speaking practice:

  • Michael and Amy Port – founders of Heroic Public Speaking and great performance coaches.
  • Lou Heckler – a great speech coach and friend. An annual visit to Lou is a treat to immerse myself in getting better at my craft and creating new stories for my audiences.
  • Nick Morgan – another great speaking coach and I read his blog Public Words
  • Scott Stratten – great friend whose speaking model I greatly admire. I especially love the passion he has for his wife and family in our sometimes-challenging business.


For my fitness:

  • On Air with Ella – her podcast is my most favorite for health and wellness and mental wellbeing. Oh, and she makes me laugh. (What a bonus that is!)
  • Jennifer Jacobs – owner of JMethod Fitness and instructor with Peloton. She’s also my personal trainer. Her kind spirit and her fierce body are an inspiration to me. She’s part drill sergeant and part the glamorous BFF you just want to sip champagne with!
  • Coach Dave – owner of Road2Running who taught me how to run and sends me weekly mileage challenges to keep training. I am currently training for a hilly Half marathon in Napa (#traininghalfcrazy).


For style and all things well dressed:


I trust these people to give me input. To share their insights. To tell me what I need to hear… not just what I want to hear. I’m hoping you have some crazily amazing people like them in your life too. The kind that can be straight with you and who lift you higher while they’re at it.  Ask yourself, “Who do I listen to? Who are my favorite sources of advice and inspiration?” Make sure whoever has your ear also has your back. When you find those kind of people, keep them close and nurture that relationship with all you have. They are keepers.


I’d love to hear your thoughts. Oh, and if your team needs a champion to help give the kind of feedback and tools they need to sharpen their own skills and move to the next level? Give me a call. Let’s see where I can help.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

What a 5-Year Old Can Teach You About Listening and Why You Must Pay Attention

We’re told from a very young age to pay attention. From our parents. Teachers. Then bosses and gurus.  But I don’t think it means what we think it means. At least I don’t after a very smart lesson from my young friend Donovan.


I was sitting in the kitchen having coffee with my next-door neighbor Eileen, while her 5-year-old son Donovan, dressed courageously in his Superman costume was engaged in quite a heated debate about why he couldn’t wear his costume to school.


He kept inserting himself into our conversation. He was continually asking me questions:


“Neen do you like to play outside or in?”  OUTSIDE. “Neen, cats or dogs?” CATS! “Neen, Obi Wan or Yoda?” YODA of course!


Then he said, “Neen you’re not listening to me!” I replied, “YES, I AM, HONEY.” He assured me I was not, then jumped in my lap, grabbed my face in his tiny little hands, turned it towards him, and with great Superhero passion and intensity, he said the words I will never forget.




He was FIVE. It took a 5-year-old to remind me, that we don’t listen with our ears, we listen with our eyes, our hearts, and our souls — and I think that’s what it truly means to pay attention.


It’s a combination of all these things.


Too often, we pay attention to the to-do lists in our head.  Or we’re waiting to respond.
Or trying to work out what to say in response to someone, instead of listening intently.


To truly pay attention — or as Donovan says, listening with our eyes, — is being intentional. It’s holding our own agenda at bay. It’s looking someone in the eye. It’s being fully and absolutely present.


In that precious moment, Donovan helped me realize why it’s so important that we pay attention, and why our parents and our teachers and everyone, kept reminding us of this valuable life lesson. Intentional attention is a gift. One you give the people in your world, and one you give yourself.


It’s a game-changer in your relationships. From your friends and family to the people you work with, to the teams you lead, to the customers you support. Make the shift to be more INTENTIONALLY attentive. And watch as your business and life become much more AH-MAZING. Thanks Donovan!


Want to learn more about how ATTENTION PAYS? Give us a call today to learn how we can help your team pay attention to what REALLY matters – and how that will help your business skyrocket.


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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Achieve Maximum Output – Learn the Best Times of Day to Pay Attention

Maximize OutputNeed to maximize output each day? Start by identifying the times of day it might be easier for your brain to make decisions, maximize output and be more productive by leveraging your undivided attention.




In our book Folding Time™, we share people have premium productivity work times. For morning birds you are most productive between 7 am – 1 pm, for hummingbirds you are 10.30 am – 3 pm and for night owls 2 pm – 8 pm. See there’s a really a time for everyone to focus their attention and maximize output!


Strategize in your most productive time – if you have decisions to make choose your most productive time. If you have a big project to do or a presentation to prepare for, choose the time your brain is most engaged.


Do routine activities in your least productive time – do you have maintenance type activities i.e. returning email, updating status reports that don’t require as much strategic thought? Leave those for another time of day.


Make your big decisions earlier in the day – Michael Breus, author of The Power of When, suggests saving big choices for one to three hours after you wake up. By then, you have shaken off any sleep inertia you might have. A study by Shai Danziger summarizes the results of 1,112 parole decisions heard over a 10 month period resulted in 65% more successfully paroled in the morning hours. Choose your best time to make important decisions.


Convert sales calls before the weekend and holidays – if you are working with a buyer to get decisions made on important deals consider Friday afternoons and also before major holidays. I have found the week before Thanksgiving is a great time to finalize outstanding speaking engagements for the following year and people pick up the phone on Friday afternoons. Hustle when others are relaxing.


We all get 1,440 minutes in a day. There is no such thing as time-management. It’s not about time management; it’s about attention management and strategizing ways to maximize output.


If you are a leader in your organization, provide employees an agile work environment that allows them to maximize output by working during the times of day they are able to focus most. Need ideas on how to create an effective, focused workforce? Watch this video and learn:

  • How to give employees freedom to create their workday structure
  • Allow employees to work in their most productive spaces and places
  • Provide flexibility to employees to work during their most productive hours


Know your best time of day to pay attention to what really matters.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Maximize Joy in Others Giving Attention When it Counts

maximize joy


On Air with Ella is an ah-mazing podcast full of ideas to maximize joy in life by paying attention to what matters most. An inspiration for fitness, happiness and well-being, Ella interviews many professionals and uncovers the secret to success in business and life. Listen in to our interview and subscribe to her podcast. You won’t be disappointed.

Champagne Wishes,


What’s 4’10”, Australian, fiery in pink heels? My friend Neen James, most days.

We first heard from Neen in episode 008 where she shared work/life productivity strategies from her Folding Time series with us. She’s back in this bonus episode to share more quick, actionable tips to create connections that matter, deepen our relationships, maximize joy and make the most out of the limited time that we have.

In This Episode:

  • Click Here to Download the Life Balance Wheel Worksheet
  • Neen’s tips for “systemized thoughtfulness” and how we can associate activities with time blocks
  • Simple but powerful tips for letting people know you care – and that you’re PAYING ATTENTION! including…
    • hand written thank you notes
    • making eye contact
    • using people’s names
    • leaving notes for your loved ones
    • hanging up the phone before you walk into your home
    • “listening with your eyes”
    • weekly round-ups for your boss that promote you and your team
    • finding an accountability partner for any habit you’re trying to develop / improve
  • Neen’s been happily married for 27 years. She shares some of her secrets for making it work amidst a busy lifestyle
  • FREE DOWNLOAD! Get a sneak peek at Neen’s upcoming book content: Attention Pays! by Neen James

Additional Resources

  • I mention (again) Gretchen Rubin‘s fabulous book “Better Than Before” for finding out what style works best for you when you’re trying to form new habits
  • Want to work with Neen? She’s a powerful keynote speaker – you can learn more here
  • Neen has a book coming out in 2018! For now, you can get her best strategies on NeenTV

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