Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Aussie Hugs and Champagne Kisses

champagne kissesRegardless of the holiday you celebrate, it can be a busy (and stressful). This holiday let’s choose the following:

Give the gift of your undivided attention – turn off technology, look people in the eyes and have a great conversation with someone you value this holiday season.

Donate your time – we don’t have time to do everything, only time to do what matters. Do you have an elderly person in your neighborhood that could use your help, a mum who would value babysitting for an hour, or a team member who would benefit from your mentoring – your time is precious to them too.

Donate to charity – choose to replace one gift for a donation to a charity you believe in. We love Operation Smile – every child deserves a smile – you can click here if you want to donate.

Need more ideas on how to save time this holiday season, check out these personal and professional tips to help you prepare.


When you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, here are strategies to stay focused on the joy the season brings, and rid yourself of unnecessary stress and distractions.

This video will show you how to:

– Save time this holiday season
– Focus on friends and family this holiday
– Avoid holiday season stress


May you enjoy your holiday season celebrating with friends, family and loved ones. Pay attention to what matters most and I’ll see you after the New Year.


Aussie Hugs and Champagne Kisses,

Neen James


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Monday, December 19, 2016

Get Up and Get Going: Wake Up at 4am

wake upAre you a morning bird or a night owl? Do you know when you work best? Many studies show when we schedule our toughest, most thought provoking tasks, we should do it during the time we are most alert and focused.

For this reason, I’m sharing this fabulous piece I read in inc.com written by the brilliant @MarcelSchwantes and @petershankman about a 4 a.m wak up call. If 4 a.m. sounds crazy to you, begin simply by waking up an extra 15 minutes earlier than normal. If you typically awake by 6am, set your clock for 5:45. You’ll be ah-mazed with what you can accomplish.

I hope you enjoy this article as much as I did!


A few days ago, I shared my thoughts on what billionaire entrepreneurs do to stay productive in their spare time.

What I didn’t know is that there’s a recent productivity trend on the rise. A number of successful leaders and entrepreneurs, I have found, are declaring that they are most productive while the majority of us are still under the covers in a deep sleep.

The 4 a.m. productivity shift.

A new report published in the Wall Street Journal says that 4 a.m. may be the most productive time of the day. The reasons behind the increased productivity at such an ungodly hour include:

  • Minimal distractions (like kids or work) before the sun rises.
  • No one is emailing or texting you.
  • There’s less to see on social media.

Productivity in this context may not necessarily be work-related. The trend seems to be pointing toward reserving this “sacred time” for things that will energize you and set you up for success the rest of the day — self-care, exercise, family time, personal growth, and spiritual connection.

Among the most famous executives who are coming out to say 4 a.m. is the way to go:

  • Tim Cook: The Apple CEO actually starts his morning routine at 3:45 a.m.
  • Sallie Krawcheck: The chief executive of Ellevest has written, “I’m never more productive than at 4 a.m.”
  • Richard Branson: The billionaire entrepreneur actually wakes up a tad later, at 5 a.m., to exercise and spend time with family. He says it “puts me in a great mind frame before getting down to business.”
  • Michelle Gass: The former president of Starbucks EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Russia, Africa) and now chief merchandising and customer officer at Kohl’s department stores, sets her alarm for 4:30 a.m. to go running.
  • David Cush: The Virgin America CEO wakes up at 4:15 a.m to call business associates on the East Coast, then he’ll listen to sports radio, read the paper and hit the gym.

There is a tradeoff. Getting up before the crack of dawn means falling asleep earlier–much earlier. That could mean less social time with friends or downtime to catch that important playoff night game.

Peter Shankman, a 44-year-old entrepreneur and speaker based in New York City says in the Wall Street Journal article, “I’m exhausted, but in a good way, which means I won’t have the energy to do something stupid like eat two gallons of Ben & Jerry’s at 10:30 p.m.”

10 smart hacks that will encourage your new morning shift.

If you’re wondering what to do with your early-morning time that will get your day off to a productive start, I suggest these 10 things.

1. Meditate.

Oprah Winfrey and Arianna Huffington both start their morning with 20 to 30 minutes of meditation. Oprah says, “only from that space can you create your best work and your best life.” Setting aside this little morning ritual can make the rest of your day seem manageable. You’ll notice a weight come off your shoulders.

2. Start with an early workout.

Exercise is an obvious running theme (no pun intended) here. Entrepreneur Russ Perry jumps on the first gym class of the day, at 5 a.m. “I’ve actually made some friends with similar schedules and lifestyles,” Perry told Journal.

3. Do this breathing exercise.

Shawn Achor, Harvard-trained happiness researcher and best-selling author of The Happiness Advantage, tells us to breathe and watch our breath go in and out for two minutes. He says do this every day. This allows your brain to focus on one thing at a time and, Achor says, it will improve levels of happiness and drop stress levels.

4. Sleep in your workout gear.

Shankman also told Journal he sleeps in his gym clothes and puts his sneakers on within 10 seconds of waking up. “It’s very hard to go back to sleep once your shoes are on.”

5. Find a reason to get up.

It sounds like a cliché but: What gets you up in the morning? Really, I’m asking. Don’t wake up at 4 a.m. for the heck of it. Have a plan–something you want to do for yourself, preferably something fun or stimulating that will bring excitement to your day.

6. Change the location of your alarm clock.

Having your alarm clock (or smartphone) next to your bed and within arm’s length is the number one reason most people can’t get up in the morning. How many times have you turned off your alarm without being alert enough to know that you turned it off? Exactly. Best place for it is in the bathroom since you’re headed there anyway to shower and do your morning “business.”

7. Imagine what you could do with an extra hour.

This is a creativity exercise, so picture in your mind: what would you do if you had an extra hour in the day? Would you use it to exercise? Read more? Cook breakfast for the kids? Water your garden? Take the dog for that long walk you know it will love?

8. Whatever you do, don’t skip a healthy breakfast.

Trade your bowl of sugary cereal for something healthy like oatmeal or a protein berry smoothie (have all the parts cut up the night before and ready to be blended). You’ll avoid being tired and hungry later when the sugar jolt wears off. Try fiber-rich fruits and vegetables and lean protein options that will keep you going until lunch time. The Beachbody Blog offers these excellent meal choices to fuel your morning.

9. Set three goals for the day.

Again, don’t think daily tasks on your work to-do list. The most successful people start the day by putting their mental focus on something that will make them better. What will grow you, give you more energy, make you happier, and set the stage for an epic productive day?

10. Clear your inbox.

If you choose to use this time slot for work-related tasks, you could plan to answer all your emails and messages from the previous day or week. If you’re that hardcore, more power to you: Challenge yourself to having a “zero inbox policy” by 6 a.m.

Closing thoughts.

Need a boost to make it happen? Try following #21earlydays, where early-risers challenge themselves to wake up 21 consecutive workdays at 4:30 a.m.–something started by entrepreneur and Prodsmart marketing manager Filipe Castro Matos. He even documents what he learned along his 21-day journey and passes on 12 tips on this Medium blog.




The post Get Up and Get Going: Wake Up at 4am appeared first on Neen James.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Decking the Halls and Dealing with Deadlines

How to Keep Your Productivity High and STILL Enjoy the Season

holiday deadlines

Holidays have you decking the halls while simultaneously trying to slide in under deadlines? Feeling less ho-ho-ho and more ho-hum because time seems to be ticking faster than a New Year’s Eve ball-dropping countdown? I know. It may be the most magical time of year for some but for many in today’s 24/7 world there’s a whole lot of stress served up along with those holiday trimmings.

If that sounds like you and you’re raising your hand like little Cindy Lou Who, let’s take a look at a list of 10 deadline strategies that are less about naughty and nice and all about crushing your productivity while still having time for those reindeer games.

  1. 15 Minute Mental List Release: Give your memory a break during the hustle and bustle. Take 15 minutes each morning to just do download your “mental list” of everything on your work/home to-do list and create a plan. Take tip from sales training pro and author Brian Tracy who shared, “It takes only about 10 to 12 minutes for you to plan out your day, but this small investment of time will save you up to two hours (100 to 120 minutes) in wasted time and diffused effort through the day.” We could all use time savings like that! I also loved Megan Kristel’s tips for how to be happy in 15 minutes each day – click here for more.
  2. One stop shopping: No time for mall madness or dashing through the snow?  Let your fingers do the walking.  Shopping online is perfect for knocking out your gift list on a deadline, having everything delivered timely, and many stores offer gift wrapping options. You can even “gift” Amazon Prime memberships now – how about that?
  3. Give experiences. Instead of a candle, wine or standard gift – you may consider giving an “experience” instead.  “The reason experiential gifts are more socially connecting is that they tend to be more emotionally evocative,” says Cindy Chan, an expert on consumer relationships. Have fun with it. Gift cards are also now available in wide varieties. One fun idea for couples or families are gift cards for the movies. It’s a luxury for a lot of people now and they’ll think of you fondly when they get to go on date night or have a nigh t out for fun with the kids! Put a bag of popcorn in a padded envelope with the movie gift cards and you’ve got an awesome gift. Restaurants, spas, or gift certificates to an interactive experience like the Escape Rooms or Rock Climbing places that are cropping up everywhere are terrific ideas as well.
  4. Help with the clean sweep: Book a cleaning service to do some of your heavy lifting this season. Think of it as a gift you give yourself, your business, and your family. According to Meagan Francis, author of thehappiesthome.com, hiring someone to clean your home, especially during stressful times, is a smart management decision – it allows you to focus on bottom line production. It’s also good for the health of your family (be gone dust mites), and wonderful for your mental well-being.
  5. Put your VIPs on the top of your list: While you’re filling your calendar, be sure that high achieving team members are made to feel special with some one-on-one time and reward high performers with an early afternoon.  Time off is a hot commodity this time of year!
  6. Ring-a-ling: Be sure you are setting aside a solid 15 minutes every day to call clients with a warm holiday wish.  I love the advice Fordyce Letter of Recruiting Straight Talk shares, “For certain clients and prospects, a quick telephone call to wish them a happy holiday goes a long way to separating yourself from the competition. If you get their voicemail simply offer your best wishes and let them know you will follow-up in the New Year. Too many rule out the telephone at this time of year when it should be your first choice.”
  7. Gifting inspired action: Want a great gift idea? Think powerful productivity, communication or success books for your team that will fire them up for the new year. I recommend Folding Time  (of course because this is my book!), Steal the Show (Michael Port’s great book makes a great gift for anyone in your life), and Fascinate (Sally Hogshead is a great speaker and friend and this book is awesome) … if you need more recommendations check out our blog.
  8. Delegate: More than almost any other time, delegate all the little things you can so you can stay focused on achieving your highest priority items. From family members to assistants, to virtual assistants to the neighbor’s college kid that is home on break and needs some holiday cash.  Take those pesky items on your to do list that you don’t want or need to do and delegate! When it comes to deadlines, many hands make light work.
  9. Exercise: I said it. I know no one wants to think about it when there’s Christmas cookies to nibble and nog to sip.  Without keeping our health and body on the list, we won’t have the energy we need to be our most productive selves.  Might it require a little earlier rise in the morning or a shift in schedule? Probably. But you’ll feel better and you can try that slice of pie guilt-free!
  10. Make family and friends a priority: If you’re like most top producers, there are times of year your family thinks you might be in stealth mode. Be sure this isn’t that time.  Schedule in fun. Decorating. Laughing. Holiday movie watching. Down time.  All work and no play never made anyone happier.  Find the balance. Calm the chaos, stop and enjoy being in the present with everyone you meet today. And give generously of your time, smiles, hugs and encouragement.
  11. Hire a coach or mentor: No idea how to achieve that balance thing we just mentioned? Feel like you’re just not quite where you want to be? Then this is the perfect time of year, while you’re goal-setting and reviewing your accomplishments from the past twelve months to consider taking your career and life to the next level by bringing on a coach that can help you streamline your strategies, manager your time, and establish a healthy life and business balance. I love this quote by Miles Jennings, Recruiter.com, “Business coaches have one goal: to make your ideas into a reality. Although you may have many brilliant ideas for your company, sometimes it’s hard to know where to start and what to tackle first. Business coaches will evaluate your plans, assess if they are realistic or will be successful and set out a way that you can implement them correctly.”  Read this great article in Inc.com with the top ten reasons to hire a coach and if I can help you as a business mentor, I am only an email away, let’s connect! .

Now, go out there and love every minute of the rest of this sensational season.  Breathe deep. Smile big. Get the most out of each day.  And know I’m here to help every step of the way!

The happiest of holidays to you!

The post Decking the Halls and Dealing with Deadlines appeared first on Neen James.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Reflect On Your Success-Prepare for Next Year

reflect think consider thankThe end of the year often makes us reflect and consider the successes we’ve had and who we have to thank for them.

It’s too easy, throughout the year, to lose focus of our priorities and instead, focus on our daily to-do lists.

I once read a blog by the ah-mazing thought leader, Brian Tracy, who shared that we need to decide what success looks like to each of us.

He went on to outline that he measures success in the following areas:

  1. Peace of mind
  2. Health and increased energy
  3. Happy relationships
  4. Financial freedom
  5. Goals and ideals
  6. Self awareness
  7. Personal fulfillment

He has it pretty much covered with this list.


Define Success Measures:

We each measure our success differently and it is sometimes not until an area of our life isn’t going so well that things start to change and we are reminded of our success filters. If someone close to you gets cancer you realize how fortunate you are to have your health, if someone you know gets a divorce you quietly give thanks for the relationship that you are in, if someone is going through financial hardship you say a silent prayer of thanks for your job or your business.

We all measure success in different ways. How do you measure your success?


Identify Success Contributors:

When you reflect on the success you’ve had this year, do you also pay attention to those people who have helped you achieve success? Perhaps, now is the time. No matter how you show gratitude, ensure that you do. Consider all those behind the scenes and ensure they get credit where it’s due.Take a moment to express gratitude for your success.  Invest time to thank someone for their role in your success, remind someone you share your life with how important they are.


Define Success for the New Year:

Now is the time to consider what success will look like in the new year. Perhaps you’ll focus more intently on your health. How can you improve upon it over the next 12 months? What goals do you want to personally and professionally achieve, and who has the power to help you reach them? How are you going to show those in your life continued gratitude and attention throughout the year? How will you refocus your time so that you may pay more attention to what matters most throughout the year?


I’d love hear who you contribute your success to and how you will focus your time, energy and attention next year.

The post Reflect On Your Success-Prepare for Next Year appeared first on Neen James.

Monday, December 05, 2016

This Holiday Season, Pay Attention to What Matters Most

holiday seasonThe excitement of the holidays is here which often leaves us feeling as if we have more on our ‘to do’ list than there are hours in the day!

A common area of stress for many is finding the time to get ready for holidays while actually enjoying the celebration the holiday season brings. In order to spend your time, energy and attention enjoying your holiday season, get pay attention now and worry less later.

Get Time Wise:

Cancel unnecessary meetings or appointments that can wait until after the New Year.

Set out of office messages on your email and change your voicemail to properly set expectations for when calls will be returned.

Schedule virtual champagne or wine date on Skype instead of face-to-face meetings– no travel time!

Say NO to events you don’t desperately want to attend.

Schedule team functions and thank you events during regular business hours.

Combine holiday events and host one party or cocktail event with a diverse range of people …voila – more fun, more people, less time!


Proactively Prepare:

Make a holiday ‘to do’ list – include activities you want to complete at home, those you want to outsource and your shopping ‘to do’ list. Sit down for 15 minutes, do a brain dump – I promise you will feel lighter!

Clean  – yep that’s right! If you have to do it yourself, and you want just do a quick tidy up around the house set your alarm and do as much as you can in 15 minutes! That is it! No more, no less – just 15 minutes. You will be astounded what you can achieve!

Change linens – it is great at night to snuggle up into flannel sheet sets. Allocate time to change over all the linens in each room. Do it all on the same day so it makes it easier to remember when they all need to be changed again.

Arrange your guest room -clean, tidy, dust and make some closet space for your guests. This is a great time of year for unexpected visitors so make sure your guest room is ready for anyone that might drop in for a visit or stay over after a meal.

Set up candles – candle light is so much more forgiving than bright lights. Use the dimmer switches or light candles, no one will know if you house is clean or not!

Decorate – choose a room, choose a color theme and choose the things that will make the most impact. Now go! You could spend 15 minutes on each room if you want. If you don’t get it all done, make another appointment with yourself to complete it.

Research recipe books – pull out all the relevant recipe books that you want to use and mark the recipes you will be making. Sit down in one place, in one sitting and make a list of every ingredient you are going to need for your special meal. This will prevent multiple trips to the store (or multiple orders online).

Order fresh flowers – these add a special touch to your home during this busy time; they create beauty and will be appreciated by those around you. You can have special holiday arrangements delivered by many companies, I like www.1800flowers.com – it is nice to receive flowers (even if you do have to order them yourself)!

Spend 15 minutes searching for serving platters – search your pantry, your cupboards and your basement for all those large platters you like to use during the holidays. Decide which food will be displayed on which platter. I always place them all on the counter top the day of the event so I know which platters are going to be used.


Learn to Outsource:

Hire a cleaning service – I love Harmony Clean because they use natural products and they are fabulous in Bucks County. Take 15 minutes to seek out your local service and schedule a clean; it is worth every cent I promise you!  Book a special onetime clean – if you know you have company coming, a party or a gathering of people; consider hiring the experts to clean your home from top to bottom. This will also make it easier for you to maintain during the holidays.  

Shop online – instead of spending time in stores, determine how many gifts and items you can buy online (from the comfort of your own home). You might also end up spending less money as you won’t be distracted by the other items in store.

Dry Cleaners – outsource your linens; take your table cloths, matching serviettes and any other linens you might need for your holidays, to your local dry cleaner and ask them to press them, this will save you time.

Spend 15 minutes chatting to party hire – a senior executive, one of my clients, says she simply phones the party hire store and tells them how many people she has coming for a meal and they deliver the cutlery, crockery, linens, candles and extra seats and tables she requires. She rinses off the crockery and they come and pick it all up – no cleaning, no fuss. Can you reach out to your local party hire store and see if they provide this service?

Order groceries online – order from your favourite supermarket and have them delivered to your home. For a small tip to the delivery person, you will save so much time and it also means you won’t have to carry them indoors during the cold weather.

Order your main ingredients – if you like to have a ham or turkey on the holiday table, now is the time to place your order for those items and any special order pies you might want. Search out your local farmers market or local produce store.

Sweet talk some help – during this busy season there are many services that can help you feel less stressed and give you more time. Consider online shopping services, personal chefs, and dry cleaners, cleaning services, flower delivery and local school children. You might be able to recruit local neighbourhood kids to help you with the many chores you need to get done. I pay my neighbors to help me achieve my ‘to do’ list.

For more strategies to help you stay focused on the joy the season brings, and rid yourself of unnecessary stress and distractions, watch this:

This video will show you how to:

– Save time this holiday season
– Focus on friends and family this holiday
– Avoid holiday season stress


The holiday season is for focusing on friends and family, it is not meant to be a stressful, busy time. This year, decide to stop trying to do it all and instead, pay attention to what matters most. We’d love to hear your strategies for how you remain focused throughout the holidays. Share in the comments below.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Be Kind and Pay Attention to those in Support Roles

be kind Any thoughtful leader knows the professionals in support roles are the backbone to a successful organization. Early in my corporate career I learned THE most important roles in any company include the Executive Assistants, Security Guard, IT team, and the catering and cleaning team. I made it a point to learn their names, their coffee orders and something special about each of them.


Professionals in support roles are truly some of the most important, most informed and most powerful people in your company. They have access to decision makers, understand company culture and the idiosyncrasies of leaders and they can help you in if you get caught in a jam.


Anytime I visit the gorgeous corporate offices of one of my clients at the Comcast Center in Philadelphia it’s not uncommon for the reception team to come around from behind the desk to give me a hug or when I am on the executive floor, for the team from catering to come into a meeting or a session I am hosting, and I stop to give them a cuddle and hear about their kids.


It’s vital to make sure that everyone in your company feels seen and heard, especially those in important support roles.


receptionist support roleThe receptionist knows everyone’s schedule and they are the first point of contact for your company. My little sister has this role in a major firm in Australia and we often chat about how important it is to be kind to them. Grab them a coffee occasionally; ask them about their weekend, they are your client’s first impression of your business. Pay attention to how much they do for your company brand and the atmosphere in your office.


Administrative assistant secretary support roleThe executive assistant or your leader’s assistant not only manages their calendar, they know how the leader is feeling, what they like and don’t like and also what your peers are working on. Their role is also to be a gatekeeper – respect their role and don’t try to go around them. Befriend them, seek their advice and always be organized in your conversations and requests of them. Pay attention to their systems to best work with them (not against them)


corporate security safe support roleThe security guards know the coming and goings of all the team, and over my career they were the only ones there when I arrived and often when I needed to get to my car late at night. Over the years I have learned so many fascinating things about their careers, how they have served in different roles and why they have chosen this career to support their families. Always smile, be kind and make a point of acknowledging the important work they do for you and your team. Pay attention to them when you enter and leave the building.


IT department professionals server support roleThe IT department members are vital. Ever had your email or server go down… yep, you don’t know what to do with yourself! They are talented, often under appreciated and they work long hours. Respect their systems, be kind when you make requests, spontaneously do something generous for them, buy them lunch or bring in treats for their coffee and never be angry or impatient with them. It’s not their fault your devices don’t work; don’t take it out on them. Pay attention to your tone with IT.


janitor clean up sanitation support roleThe catering and cleaning team often go unnoticed and they are deliberately discreet on a daily basis. Stop what you are doing if the cleaning staff enter your office, take a moment to look up, thank them and get to know them a little. You don’t need to have long conversations, just a moment of gratitude. I meet the most ah-mazing people in my travels and recently while speaking in North Carolina I met Rose, a beautiful woman who was cleaning the bathrooms in the hotel and she had been married over 50 years and was working to help one of her children with medical expenses. She was such a delight with a gorgeous smile, I always learn their names.  These team members work hard to create a productive environment for you and to prepare food you will enjoy. Pay attention to how they make your life so much easier and more pleasant and remind them when you can of how much you appreciate that.


When you pay attention to the little details you enjoy big rewards. Who are the most important people in your company? Invest 15 minutes today to surprise and delight those in support roles that you work with and let them know you appreciate them, that you see them and you value them.





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Monday, November 21, 2016


An Inside Scoop on the Power of Productive People

abundanceAbundance.  It’s the concept of more, of enough, and even more than enough and it translates to every aspect of our lives. Business. Relationships. Friendships. Time. Love. Money. Success.  It’s counterpart?  Is scarcity. Which is the feeling or fear that there is not enough, may never be enough to go around.

Both are mindsets that can move people to make choices about the directions in which they move their lives. What I want to share with you here is that you truly do have the ability to control the flow of what you want in your life by absolutely paying ATTENTION and focusing on one or the other.


If you want to move into a more powerful, more productive, abundant life, you have make knowledge-seeking your best friend and kick that scarcity mindset right to the curb and leave it there.


Chris Anderson is the editor-in-chief of the UK Wired Magazine and also the author of the great book book Free. Chris challenges readers to embrace a gift economy and shares that ‘today’s knowledge workers are yesterday’s factory workers’.  Interesting right? The truth is that knowledge IS in abundance. We live in a world where we can learn, literally, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week if we want – and we can even do it for free!  Hello Google! We have access to greatness, to inspired words, serious strategies, the success plans of like-minded business people, and the motivation of some of the best minds in the world right there at our fingertips.


Rory Vaden shares in his book Take the Stairs, ‘the most important skill for the next generation of knowledge worker is not learning what to do BUT rather determining what NOT to do’.


Let that sink in a little. While yes, information and knowledge is in abundance, it’s up to us to make conscious choices about how to share it, what to take in and what to abandon. We’re on the topic of productivity—right?  So when you’re eager to ramp up your productivity – one of the most important decisions you can make is determining what NOT to pursue, rather than to continue to be that person with the 4,000 balls in the air.  What things are absolutely right to put on your plate because they are critical to the direction you want your life to be in and what do you need to lay down, delegate or pitch?  Because abundance doesn’t mean necessarily having it ALL, it’s about having all the right things for YOU and the life you want to lead.


Chris Anderson in Free continues to share ‘abundance thinking is not only discovering what will become cheaper but looking for that will be more valuable as a result of moving to that’.  Time has become more valuable! We need an abundance mentality of how we can invest our time more wisely, with people we enjoy more, doing things we enjoy more if we want to filter our daily decisions to choose the most impactful activities.


If you’re ready to draw more abundance into your world and leave the negativity at the door — try these strategies:


Decline invitations that don’t excite you.  That time is valuable thing? Super important.  So why would you waste precious hours somewhere you have zero interest or excitement about? Will there be some times you simply can’t decline? Sure, but for the most part, honor yourself, your time, your journey and only accept those invitations you really want and are delighted to attend. The others?  Graciously decline their invitation. Save your time for things you are energized by.


Fully commit. if you are working on a project, go all in.  In a conversation? Be fully present and attentive.  Relaxing with a book? Immerse yourself in the pleasure of it (without guilt)!  Dinner with a friend or loved one?  Set the distractions aside and give them the gift of your time.  Whatever it is, you will glean so much more from EVERY situation when you fully commit to it with all you have.


Be generous. Generosity is like jet-fuel for abundance. It stokes the fire for more great things in your life like almost nothing else can.  When you generously share your time, money, energy, gifts, knowledge, wisdom, experience – all of it – you will attract all of those things right back into your life.  It’s good for your heart, your mind and your spirit, I promise you. Out for a meal? Pick up the tab. Going through a toll gate?  Pay for the fellow behind you.  Stopping at Starbucks?  Surprise the next guest in line. Drop donuts off at a fire station. Bring unexpected flowers to a loved one. Drop a few random “thank you for being you” cards in the mail this week.  Little things really do go a very long way, and generosity often feels even more rewarding for us than it does for our recipients.


So, start today. Fuel your abundant thinking by paying attention to all the ways you share your time, attention and energy with those around you.  What can you to do today so abundance wins and you increase your daily impact? Share your ideas with us here on our blog.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Focus on Positive, Productive Employee Engagement


Employee engagement

When you’re in a position of influence or authority, there are ways to help your organization increase employee engagement and overall productivity.  Each day we choose to be boring or engaging, productive or complacent. When we attend meetings, create presentations and host conversations, we can either demonstrate enthusiasm for our work and quality, or continue to deliver the status quo.


When you are mindful and choose to be engaging, people will pay attention and respond accordingly.  Voila – it’s that simple. Here are ten strategies to help you create positive employee engagement:

1. Be Authentic – The world wants you to be real, be human and be more of yourself. Stop trying to ‘fake it until you make it’ – show up as yourself and stop trying to be like everyone else.  As a famous philosopher Dr. Seuss says ‘why fit in when you were born to stand out.’

2. Be Interesting – Share stories from your sincere observations, life and world events. Provide examples that are current and relevant to your audience’s everyday life.

3. Be Enthusiastic – The energy you bring to every meeting and presentation is contagious. Your audience will rise up to meet you. Use people’s names, look them in the eye and share your passion of the topic or project with those in the room.

4. Be Contextual – Your audience wants to know why it matters. Share the strategic perspective first. Use metaphors and analogies when you present; they get audience attention and are memorable and repeatable. Simplify the complex with metaphors.

5. Be Fun – Don’t tell jokes to start a speech or a meeting (your audience may not know you yet). Allow people to have fun with you; self-deprecating humor is the safest and best humor to use in any situation.

6. Be Memorable – Pay attention to how the world sees you. Choose your words, your stories and examples.  Speak in triads – people remember things in threes i.e. nature, religion, phrases, advertising slogans – often we see things in threes i.e. faith, hope and love.

7. Be Involved – Use eye contact, encourage audiences and conference attendees to take notes, encourage your audience to be part of the learning process and conversations.

8. Be Brief – Don’t use 20 words if 10 will work, minimize your hideously ugly over-cluttered slide deck, make your point then move on people – it’s that simple.

9. Be Generous – Provide handouts in advance, allow audiences to connect with you before your presentation, participate in conversations in advance on social media forums i.e. Facebook, Tweet Chats, Google+ hangouts and webinars.

10. Be InquisitiveAsk questions of your audience and encourage them to ask questions. Make every presentation a conversation, instead of a presentation. People want to contribute and share their brilliance too.

Which of these techniques can you apply today? Which technique would your employees respond well to? We’d love to hear your thoughts what did you think, share your ideas with us here on our blog.

The post Focus on Positive, Productive Employee Engagement appeared first on Neen James.

Monday, November 14, 2016

5 Ways to Become a Chief EXECUTION Officer

Chief Execution OfficerWe are in an exciting time of disruptive change. Now more than ever before, human resource professionals lead the way with a need for exceptional service within organizations and fulfilling important roles that benefit everyone. As HR leaders, we know we don’t have time to do everything, we only time to do what matters.

What matters most to your organization? What matters to your employees?

To continue offering exceptional support to our business, serving our organization and focusing on strategy, we need a constant mindset of execution.  It’s easy to be busy; busy is not productive. We can no longer abide by the rules of time management. The old way of managing time doesn’t work. We must begin paying attention to what matters most.

In order to best serve our thriving and changing organizations, we need to be the CEO:                     Chief EXECUTION Officer.

Productivity requires implementation and execution.

The word execute means to ‘carry out or to perform’ and it derives from Latin exsequi, “carry out, follow up; punish.”  As HR professionals, we need build teams with strong reputations for execution, follow up and productivity.

Here are 5 strategies to accelerate productivity and build a reputation as the leader who executes:

15-minute rule:

Change the way you view time. Instead of thinking in 30 and 60-minute increments, reduce the time to 15 minutes.

Consider focusing on completing actions in 15 minutes: i.e. respond to emails, host a 1:1 with one of your leaders, complete a business calls, or reach out into your organization about potential partnerships.

People feel they don’t have an hour anymore; the key is to take action in 15-minute increments.  Can you encourage your team to begin approaching projects, meetings and completion in 15-minutes?  Encourage all meetings to be conducted in 15-minute increments. Suggest supervisors invest 15 minutes each week in additional training for the team to explore professional development opportunities.

What can you achieve in 15 minutes that will get you closer to the achievement of your organizational goals?

It’s the art of compressing time. Consider if you have 2 weeks to make a decision, how long does it take you? 2 weeks right.  If you have 2 minutes to make a decision, it takes you 2 minutes… can we compress activities into 15-minute increments?


Cancel meetings:

Yes you read this right! If you are holding meetings because you have the same meeting week after week, consider changing routine! Unless you have a strong agenda and a reason to invest everyone’s time, cancel the meeting. If you can’t cancel, consider reducing the meeting time by half. Complete an experiment, for your next meeting halve the time and encourage the team to stick to the agenda closely.  Meetings are an important part of every organization however invest time this month to determine if all the meeting you are hosting are operating effectively, is an agenda being followed, are actions being agreed and implemented as a result of the meetings. Are we moving the organization forward?


Pay attention: 

One of the greatest gifts you can give your team is your undivided attention. As busy HR professionals, it is easy to frustrate the team if you are constantly distracted by meetings, email and not focused on conversations. Distraction is perceived as disrespectful. Investing your attention, looking employees, colleagues, leaders and peers in the eye when you communicate will achieve more. Put down your smartphone and encourage your team to do the same.


Choose three strategies: 

Focus your attention on your top three deliverables.  Your to-do list is always growing and your email keeps coming. If we just focused on activities we wouldn’t be productive, we’d just be busy. True leaders know they need to prioritize on the highest impact objectives. Three is the magic number and allows people to retain focus.  Make sure your strategies are repeatable (others can share them throughout the organization), relatable (others understand how it affects them) and recognizable (others can see the impact of those strategies). As a leader your role is to focus on strategies you can execute!



Take regular breaks from technology, remove yourself from your email and the minutia that is draining your focus and energy. As the leader invest in the contextual deliverables, the big picture, the strategy – that’s it! Leave the details to those around you to execute.  Clarity and vision are often created when you step away from the everyday operations and allow yourself to brainstorm how we can do things differently; how we can continually disrupt the way we have always done things.

As human resources professionals, we must drive our organizations by focusing on the things that truly matter, that truly require execution. What can you do with your team this week to move the business forward?

To increase the productivity of your team, lead by example, and allow others to step into their brilliance by empowering them to execute the details of the strategies you create. Now that’s productive!

If you plan to attend #SHRMVLS this November, I’d like to know your biggest productivity challenge.

The post 5 Ways to Become a Chief EXECUTION Officer appeared first on Neen James.

How to pay attention at SHRMVLS

Watch video on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/lHGJybf_1is

How to pay attention at SHRMVLS

Watch video on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/lHGJybf_1is

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

How to Get Focused After a Long Meeting (Guest Blog: by Cameron Conaway)

A long meeting well executed can be tremendously useful, but it can also drain your focus reserves. Here’s how to reclaim your focus and finish the day strong.

long meetingWe’ve all felt our focus slip during a meeting. It happens for a variety of reasons, ranging from our feeling that the meeting is a waste of time to simply not getting enough sleep the night before.

It could even be because the long meeting interrupted a period of our own focused work, and we found it too difficult to detach from the project we were working on so we could be fully present. A pivotal study from 1989 even found that:

40% of corporate VPs admitted to falling asleep or dozing off during a meeting (tweet this)

Regardless of how successful the meeting was (or where our mind drifted off to during it), the moment immediately after a long meeting is nearly always a struggle. Post-meeting work typically goes down in a few of the following ways:

-You try to reclaim the focus you had before the meeting, but it’s difficult to get back to where you were.

-You’re on the maker’s schedule, in the Paul Graham sense, and the meeting disrupted your work day and perhaps even lowered your ambitions for getting focused to tackle an important project.

-You’re an introvert and, while meetings can be invigorating for extroverts, they are especially exhausting for you.

-The long meeting actually ended on an actionable item, and you first need to compile minutes, capture the agreed-upon solution, or otherwise focus on some sort of post-meeting work.

-You pat yourself on the back for participating, and rationalize why you should take an extra-long lunch break or cut your day short.

To be clear, there are countless other reasons. But while there’s a veritable movement rallying around how meetings sap productivity—and seemingly infinite list articles about how to make meetings more productive—there’s strikingly little out there about how to get focused and stay focused after a meeting.

So what does getting focused after a meeting look like?

For starters, it means not coming back to your desk having to make a bunch of micro-decisions before you can go deep. Ideally, you’ll come right back to your desk and know exactly what you need to work on.

To immediately dial-in like this you’ll need to pre-prioritize which tasks first need your attention, what can be completed in the time allotted, and what might be better off pushing to the next day.

Here are 3 ways, based on some of our own challenges over the years, to reclaim focus after a long meeting:

1. Have a pre-meeting meeting with yourself and/or your team (I know how counterintuitive that seems, but stay with me).

The most frequent meeting time is 11am, and the average meeting length is 31-60 minutes. Look what happens to the average team’s Flow activity throughout the day. Productivity takes a big dip, particularly with Tasks Completed and app opens:

Lunch is certainly to blame, but it’s worth expanding that blame a bit. If the average meeting is at 11am, that means it’s typically followed by lunch, and that means your focus was disrupted for a long period of time right in the middle of the day.

And you aren’t able to get it back to where you had it in the morning.

A major challenge in returning to work after a meeting is that you aren’t sure what to work on. Do you go back into focus mode or do you try to complete some small tasks so you can set yourself up to get focused later on?

A pre-meeting meeting can help you establish this. Take a few minutes before the meeting to jot down—either in an app or on a Post-It note—precisely what you’ll work on after the meeting. These few minutes of thought will help you organize which tasks are most important, and this means you’ll be better equipped to navigate that difficult post-meeting transition.

2. Channel the rest of your day’s focus by tapping into what science tells us about team size and productivity.

Notice how as teams get larger than 5 or 6 people, the sheer number of tasks the team completes doesn’t grow?

Research shows diminishing returns of working in a team larger than 5 or 6. Smaller teams typically mean greater focus and less chance for distraction. In short, going from a meeting directly into focused work as part of small team can be a great way to reclaim post-meeting focus.

If you’re working on a collaborative team project after a meeting, find a way to break a larger team into groups of 5-6 people (or smaller), and designate which part of the project each team should focus on. This decision to break your team up could help each member stay focused on the task at hand.

3. Be the change by making your post-meeting focus a habit.

In Edgar Schein’s book, Organizational Culture and Leadership, he writes:

…if a basic assumption comes to be strongly held in a group, members will find behavior based on any other premise inconceivable.”

In other words, focus needs to become such a part of your team’s culture that the premise of not-focusing is inconceivable.

Elements of a team’s culture (good, bad, or otherwise) are difficult to break when they’ve been exhibited so many times that they reach what Schein refers to as a “basic assumption.”

How to make that happen? Be the change. The best way you can let the important ripple of focus spread throughout your company is to exhibit it. Don’t just say how important it is to you, show it. And show it on a regular basis.

Here’s how. Before your next meeting, and in addition to #1 above, figure out which colleagues outside of your immediate team would benefit from knowing your post-meeting plans. Pull them aside, briefly, and let them know what you plan to work on immediately after the meeting.

Even something like:

Hey Jenn, just a heads up that I’m going into focus mode for a few hours after our meeting today. I really want to wrap up the Q1 marketing report by end-of-day. I’ll be available around 3 if you need me.”

This will give your colleague the heads up and you the pocket of uninterrupted work time you need.

This small act can go a long way to making focus part of your team’s culture.

Focusing as an individual outside of work is one thing, but getting focused when you’re part of a team in the workplace can be quite another. Once you’ve made getting focused at work a personal commitment, the next step is communicating this commitment with your team.

Need a way to kickstart that conversation? Sharing this article could do the trick.


The original blog post hosted on www.getflow.com can be found by clicking here. Cameron Conaway’s piece was a great fit for this audience and I wanted to share!

The post How to Get Focused After a Long Meeting (Guest Blog: by Cameron Conaway) appeared first on Neen James.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

How to Have More Impact and Influence with Attention

Watch video on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/V93Yf1eK1jU

Attention is EVERYTHING!

distractions impact influenceWe are all bogged down with distractions that leave us feeling overtired, overworked and overstressed. In today’s world, where technology rules the day, how can we avoid distractions and pay attention to what matters most? How can we leverage our attention to gain more impact and influence everyday?




This video provides ways to improve your ability to impact and influence with attention by:
– How to avoid distractions and pay attention to who is in front of you,
– How to embrace moments that matter and live in the here and now
– How to focus on what’s in front of you to create stronger relationships.


If you’re a leader trying to increase the impact and influence you have over your team, read these three strategies to to prioritize employees and make them what matters most.

Perhaps you are trying to communicate and connect with others in a more meaningful, impactful way but struggle to do so without involving technology. Consider these ideas that will communicate your message, increase your connection and improve your relationships.


What distractions will you commit to turning off? Who will you give your undivided attention to today?


The post Attention is EVERYTHING! appeared first on Neen James.

How to Have More Impact and Influence with Attention

Watch video on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/V93Yf1eK1jU

Tuesday, November 01, 2016


Thank you for all the AH-Mazing ATTENTION!

I absolutely love working with SHRM leaders to bring out the best of what’s possible in their teams. Things like empowered creativity. Crazy-amazing connectivity. Next-level collaboration. Through the roof productivity.

The truth is? All of that doesn’t have to be as hard as some people make it. And we really can put more FUN and balance into people’s lives.  That’s usually where I come in.  To deliver real-world strategies and ideas that REALLY work – at the office – at home – in relationships – the WORKS. And believe it or not? It all starts with ATTENTION. The incredibly focused kind that creates connections and change – and I’d love to share it all with you and your team.

I invite you to download the following with my compliments:

  • My Attention PaysTM White Paper: Filled with insights on how and why our increasingly lack of focused attention has literally cost businesses $558 BILLION dollars a year. Better still, it shares the strategies and ideas your team needs to turn that around and fuel out-of-this-world productivity and profitability.
  • The Ten Tips to Help Leaders Pay More Attention to Their Teams: This is particularly powerful as it shares the tools and tips leaders need to not only lead by example, but create a culture where entire teams shift from inattention to ATTENTION – and how that shift can elevate an entire organization.
  • My Most Requested Topics for HR Professionals: I love working with HR pros to bring best-in-the-business strategies to their teams and organizations. I put humor and fun together with the kind of serious tools it takes to help team prosper in entirely new ways and I’d love to do the same for your group.  Take a look through, and know that I customize each keynote to deliver the exact perfect message for your audience.

Ready for a powerhouse shift in your business?  Give me a shout or shoot me a message today to find out how I can create crystal-clear focus for your next audience and help you put a plan in place for the positive change that will send your results soaring!  G’Day!

The post SHRM appeared first on Neen James.

Monday, October 31, 2016

20 TED Talks Worth Your Attention

TED Talks Professional SpeakerIf you have limited time and want maximum learning, consider watching TED talks. Listed below are some of the TED talks that really got my attention, some are listed in the top 20 TED talks, and some are not.


Enjoy them all and share them with your teams to help boost their skills and focus on what really matters.

Work Life Balance:

Dan Thurmon




Body Language:

Amy Cuddy



The Power of Introverts

Susan Cain – Quiet TED talk http://ift.tt/AlhvbL



WARNING this one has a curse word and crude joke in the first 30 seconds of the video so you may not want to watch this one? The rest of it is brilliant!

Andrew Stanton http://ift.tt/z05vHx


The Power of Vulnerability

BreneBrown http://ift.tt/tDA5hJ


Creativity: Your Elusive Creative Genius

Elizabeth Gilbert http://ift.tt/1pO1OuV


Let’s Use Video to Reinvent Education

Salman Khan http://ift.tt/1yXiGA9



Simon Sinek – How great leaders inspire action http://ift.tt/1IW4oGt



Dan Pink – The puzzle of motivation



The post 20 TED Talks Worth Your Attention appeared first on Neen James.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

5 Questions With An Inspiring Woman

Inspiring Woman

Tiph is one of my secret weapons and you may have heard me talk about her in one of our keynotes.

She is the epitome of someone who pays attention to what matters. She is my stylist at Nordstrom and I adore her.

The way she looks after me and her book of clients is mind blowing. She has made my life so much easier and so productive. As you all know, Megan Kristel is someone I deeply admire, go to for advice, and she and Tiph are responsible for everything I buy and wear… and also how I feel in my clothes.


Tiph has great tips for anyone wanting to pay more attention to their team, to their clients or the people you share your life with. Enjoy this repost from Megan Kristel’s Well Dressed Life blog posted Oct 25th  2016.

If you have read this blog for any length of time, you have heard me talk about Tifphanie Lawson.  I met Tifph almost ten years ago the first time I took a client to Nordstrom for a shopping appointment.  A few hours before the client arrived, I was aimlessly wandering around the floor, worried, overwhelmed and out of my mind with nerves. Suddenly, a bubbly, smiley young woman approached me, and said, “You look like you need some help!” At that moment, relief washed over me, and Tifph became my long time Nordstrom stylist and a good friend.

Tifph provides us access to the private dressing rooms, the ability to pull from any department, so we don’t have to waste time running back and forth and fantastic customer service. She’s down to earth, kind, funny, and always willing to go the extra mile. She’s also a busy working mom of FIVE. That’s FIVE children.

So, I couldn’t think of a better person to feature during Working Mom Week.  Over the years I’ve watched her navigate the crazy life of work and motherhood. Despite everything she’s had thrown at her, she is endlessly positive and inspiring. You’ll see in our conversation below why I am so fond of her, trust her totally with our clients, and leave our appointments happier than I started.
Megan: Through our work with clients, I’ve learned that women have more in common than not. Like no matter how different we are, we can always find a way to bond. In your experience, what have you learned about women when you’re standing in a dressing room with them, often when they are their most vulnerable?

Tifph:  There’s a moment when you can feel an insecurity from almost any client. And it’s familiar because we’ve all felt it. I know I feel it in one way or another, whenever I try on clothes in front of those awful mirrors.  And I acknowledge it. It may not be the dress, but it’s the bumps or the thighs she’s feeling, and I use it as an opportunity to address who we are as women, connect, and lighten the moment up. I’ll share my insecurities, so they know we are in this together. Like when they feel their butt is too big for an item, I turn around and laugh! I have a huge mama butt, but it’s okay, because apparently, my husband likes it, even when I can’t get into my pants!

As a stylist, it’s my job to put you in the pieces that will look best on YOU, and we have to trust one another and be honest and communicative about all of it.

One of the things I admire most about you is that you are ALWAYS positive and present. In the ten years, we have worked together; I don’t remember a single day when I thought you didn’t bring your “A” game. To me, that’s become part of your brand. Even on days when I didn’t have my A-game, you always show up at your best. It seems like you have a unique perspective on life. Would you share that with us?

Awww MEG! Thank you!!! I’ll be honest, I go through things, and emotions, and phone calls from my kids’ school so often, like anyone else. But the truth is, I love my job. I love life. I love being around people who want my expertise, and I love fashion and wardrobing. There’s nothing, not happy about it! I learned who I was a long time ago, and I’m very comfortable in my work and home life. I’m always like “the mama bear.” People rely on me, come to me for advice, and I love being there for them and trusted. I don’t like to let anyone down especially myself. And I always try to focus on the positive, which you can find in anything. Happiness doesn’t have to be anything physical, or phenomenal; it can be the music you listen to on your way to work; the breakfast you took the time to prepare, or the words of inspiration I text my kids every morning when they’re on their way to school. The fact that I have a home, healthy children, and a hard working husband to wake up to, even if I wanted to fuss… means the most. So why not be great to everyone?!

With five kids, a husband who travels for work and a full roster of clients you know busy. What’s been your biggest challenge when it comes to finding “balance” and what have you done to get around it?

I had to learn the hard way to slow down. Four years ago, I threw my daughter a skating party for her eighth birthday, and 15 minutes into the party, I fell in my skates and broke my ankle in two places. Me, a woman who has not been off her feet for most of her life. I was devastated. I immediately began to worry about all of my upcoming appointments, my paycheck, and how the laundry would get done. I couldn’t even drive.

This happening was a game changer. After a few days straight of crying and being miserable I learned I needed to have surgery and screws put into my ankle forever. At that moment I knew there was nothing I could do to change the situation. So, I decided to see what happened if I accepted it. What would happen if I utilized all the amazing people around me and shared some of my life/load with them… and you know what? It worked out.

My leave was paid, and when you’re not driving 50miles a day, eating lunch out, and buying coffee 2-3x a day, the money was almost the same. My husband learned to do laundry! Can you believe that?! I had him take pictures of the washer and dryer on each setting as I returned home from surgery to make sure it was right. But he did it! My girls learned to get along better, and to help one another like never before. Who wants a hurt, healing, fussy mom? It started a tradition of us gathering together and just talking & eating. That was amazing, not being so uptight, pressed for time, and structured.

When I did return to work, we found out we were pregnant with my 4th and first son, so I cut one day of work from my five day week and left it like that. Now my cooking, laundering husband continues to help out. And when he’s gone, my mom fills in. My girls became little mothers of the home. It’s adorable. My painful, 3-month life lesson was to SLOW DOWN! I am way more productive, thoughtful and involved in the things I do. Everything is just feels more personalized. I won’t overwhelm myself with a crazy schedule or to-do list. Life will get crazy and happen all on its own, so I don’t have to serve myself more than I know I can handle without breaking down or feeling guilty. Those who love you and want you to be there for them, won’t ask you.

To me, you exemplify the gold standard of customer service. I noticed it the very first day we worked together, almost a decade ago! Can you share some of the little things you do/ have done for clients that make the biggest impact, for them and your business?

Customer service is huge in any business, this one especially. Aside from my background in fashion and product knowledge, my customer service skills are why my clients come back to me. Most have been loyal to me for 5-10 years. I make it a point to follow through and follow up. My business is not just about the clothing, but the ability to connect with people and be their liaison for all of their needs and dealings with the company I represent. It never ends after the appointment. You’ll get an email, alterations, invites, pictures of items that make me think about you, and even advice about what to travel with or wear for any special occasions. It’s like we’re dating! There are no one night stands with a great stylist.

My clients take time out of their busy lives to see me, trust me, and listen to me, so the fact that I go the extra mile, tracking packages and alterations, is one of my ways of saying thank you. You’re appreciated. Everyone works hard for their money, and they deserve to be treated as such, especially when you can spend it anywhere. I am about quality service, not quantity and it pays off.

Because I have to end asking something about fashion, what are your top 5 must-have pieces that every woman should have in her closet:

Oh yes, the fun stuff, haha!

Every woman should have a pair of dark skinny jeans. Year round. You can wear them all year with 70% of the tops in your closet. Personally, I love the DL1961 EMMA, mid rise it’s one of the softest premium denim lines on the market.

You should have a black blazer. A cotton knit or merino wool, it should be year round, and ready to complete any outfit for a smart look. I like it especially with jeans, or a fun tweed or print pant. It will give you some edge and make you look well put together. I love the Mural $74 blazer at Nordstrom.

A cross body bag is imperative. Smaller sized for traveling, running errands, or fun nights out. I love mine because I have to run around the store all day, and I can stay connected to the things I need most in a day- my cards, lipstick, cell phone, and hand sanitizer. It never weighs me down; it jazzes up my ensemble. When in doubt, Rebecca Minkoff works with everything.

comfy tunic for your leggings and skinny jeans. It’s a look that is not going away and works in any weather, no matter how you feel, even if you have gained a pound or two.

Oh, and a  lightweight leather jacket. It’s how you celebrate fall! It’s the most versatile piece you’ll wear with anything, anywhere. Pick your price point, from a $98 faux leather, up to $398 lambskin, either gives the same chic, updated, hip vibe!

Tifphanie Lawson is a personal stylist for Nordstrom in the King of Prussia Mall.  To set up an appointment with her directly, send her an email at Tifphanie.Hill@nordstrom.com. 

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

20 Strategies to Create Attentive Relationships

attentive relationshipsDo you want more fabulous, effective and attentive relationships with clients, friends,  your partner and your community?

Here are 20 strategies to implement. Choose two and execute them today!

  1. Turn off the TV and give someone your undivided attention.
  2. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to for a while and surprise them.
  3. Leverage Hootsuite to share shout outs on social media.
  4. Post a message on a friend’s wall FaceBook (find an old high school friend while you are there).
  5. Write a testimonial for someone on LinkedIn to praise someone you enjoy working with.
  6. Purchase note cards and randomly send a thank you note.
  7. Celebrate other’s success by leaving a voicemail and posting on their Facebook wall.
  8. Plan a vacation (or even a long weekend) with someone you love.
  9. Post photos to share great memories on Instagram.
  10. Make calls (hands free of course) while driving.
  11. Carry stamped stationery with you so you can write a quick note.
  12. Strengthen listening skills by ‘listening with your eyes’ (that’s what my special friend Donovan tells me)
  13. Leverage time zones if you have international friends and set up video dates.
  14. Use Skype or Zoom so you can see people you care about (and people don’t multi-task while you can see them)
  15. Set up phone dates with people you care about and clients you haven’t seen for a while.
  16. Book virtual lunches – I do these with my friend Scott Ginsberg and love it!
  17. Eliminate distractions from conversations – remove any distractions i.e. cell, tv, videos and focus on one person.
  18. Host an annual event i.e. we have an annual Australia Day party in our home in January and it is so much fun!
  19. Create weekly check in calls with people you care about.
  20. Collect business cards when you enjoy connecting with someone and follow up and stay in touch.


Bonus:  Have a face to face, real, eye to eye, belly button to belly button conversation.

People want to be seen and they want to be heard. Are you seeing people? Do they feel heard by you? These simple ideas will help you feel more connected and pay attention to what matters today.

What are your favorite ways to connect and improve relationships? Share your ideas with us here.



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Monday, October 17, 2016

Leading Companies Thriving in Open Plan Environments

Open Office Plan EnironmentSome of my favorite clients operate productively in open plan environments. When they were making the adjustments I was able to share strategies so they can Fold Time™, achieve twice as much in half the time.


Open plan spaces can a big adjustment for team members who may struggle if they have always worked in an office.

Offices used to symbolize status – now everyone is considered equal in an open environment workspace design.


Companies leading the open workspace movement include Viacom, Facebook, Cisco, Microsoft, eBay and Google.

Check out ideas on three strategies to be more productive in an open plan here.


If you aren’t sure if Open Plan is for you – check out the pros and cons in this article: http://ift.tt/292GLRv


Facebook has embraced open plan and created ‘frictionless working’



SUCCESS Partners the magazine SUCCESS and its parent company SUCCESS Partners Sources have created this environment with a clear understanding of people’s workstyle: http://ift.tt/2dIJuQC


Cisco Systems calls them connected workplaces and believe it maximizes flexibility, choice and collaboration. :http://ift.tt/2eb7j77


CBRE and Microsoft share the positives and negatives of this unique set up and also outlines how some offices are allocating space specifically for millennials:http://ift.tt/2dIJRdO


Google has made it work using a variety of workspaces to encourage creativity and collaboration and also allow people to focus:http://ift.tt/2eb8tPZ


eBay has focused on design to increase productivity and combined that with a mobility program to allow people to work remotely:http://ift.tt/2dIGWlJ


Need more ideas on how to be more productive in an open plan – check out these ideas.

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Pay ATTENTION to Your Words – They Can Change Your World

Words have power text on school boardThe words we choose to speak – either to the world or to ourselves have the absolute power create impact, connections, positive or negative change and action.  When we lose FOCUS and our attention gets drawn away from what we know will move us in the direction we want to go – our words or language often follows suit. To help you stay the course, let’s create a productive language palette.

Just as an artist uses a paint palette to choose from a spectrum of colors, the words we choose become our medium to create color, texture, and depth in our communication with the people around us.  Those words can be help or hinder. Move us forward or hold us back. To keep you “in the light” – let’s look at ways a productive language palette can improve your world.


Create impact: In the famous speech Acres of Diamonds, delivered over 5,000 times by Russell Herman Conwell, a tremendous orator and the founder and president of Temple University in Philadelphia, shares that the resources to achieve all things are all around us.  One of my favorite lines from the speech is ‘greatness consists not in the holding of some future office, but really consists in doing great deeds with little means and the accomplishment of vast purposes from the private ranks of life. To be great at all, one must be great here, now. If you wish to be great at all, you must begin where you are, now.’  He compels you with his words to begin your greatness right here, and right now – and an incredible place to start is with your words.


Choose positive language – words that lift, empower, ignite passion, present purpose and lighten the way for those around you.  Look people in the eye when you speak to them and listen to their responses. Put your phone down and be fully present in those moments and watch how much more productive and compelling they can be.  Please pay attention and be selective in your own internal dialogues as well.  Too many times people who share extraordinarily kind words with others are their own worst critic. They lift others but not themselves.  Let your positivity extend to your own self-talk as well.  It’s a difference maker, I promise you.


Create connections: Words cost us nothing and mean everything.  Before you speak, think about the words and impact they will make on the people you are with. I love the Rumi quote that shares, “Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates:

At the first gate, ask yourself, Is it true?  At the second gate ask, Is it necessary? At the third gate ask, Is it kind?”  It’s not always easy to slow our pace of speaking and listening down enough to pay attention to those all too important gates, but life, career, and relationships most certainly shift when we do. Take the opportunity to slow down, connect and show care and compassion instead of trying to quickly share your response, or be so caught up in your next sentence you’ve missed what was being said. Fully listen, connect and engage – and your relationships will expand and flourish because of that.


Create action: Choose action-orie

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Monday, October 10, 2016

10 Tips to Handling Difficult Customers

What YOU Could Be Paying ATTENTION To Starting Now

difficult customers yelling

It’s often a chaotic world we live in – attention spans are low and expectations are high. That makes for a perfect storm for difficult customers. The good news is that there are ways to keep your cool, turn customer experiences around, and even come out looking like a hero.  Let’s take a look at eight of those ways!



1. Don’t take it personally. Most of the time when a customer complains it’s because they are unhappy with the product, or company – not you as an individual. It could be NOTHING at all to even do with the experience. Maybe they stubbed their toe? Spilled their coffee?  Woke up late.  Stop before REACTING to another person’s emotions and think – is it me? If not, let that emotion GO.


2. Give yourself credit.  Remember all those mad skills you possess? The kind way you handle customer requests? The serious mojo you have when it comes to hitting your goals? Keep all of those things in mind when someone turns surly and never let anyone else make you feel less than you are.


3. Write it down. Want to make an impression? Write down the complaint. That shows the customer that you are listening and genuinely interested in resolving their issue.  If you’re on the phone, let them know that you are writing things down in detail.  People want to be heard and documenting a problem is a good way to illustrate your listening skills.


4. Get a supervisor in on the action. Got a REALLY tough customer on your hands and things feel like they are escalating?  Invite a supervisor to join you and the customer will notice you are treating them as important by seeking additional help.


5. Debrief with a trusted person when you’re done. When the customer leaves, it may be a good time to talk over the encounter with someone you trust in order to release the frustration, let go of any negativity and learn what can be done in the future should it happen again.


6. Master stress management.  There are so many amazing techniques you can learn to manage stress and stay the voice of reason regardless of raised voices or irrational customer behavior.  By learning to breath deeply, focus on the positives and also ensure your body doesn’t carry stress, you will be able to handle whatever (or whoever) the world sends your way.


7. Chalk it up. Here’s the thing: working with the public? There are going to be THOSE moments or sometimes even days where someone is gunning for you just because they can. Chalk it up to human nature, let it roll right off you and move on.


8. Look for the lesson.  Sometimes there’s a reason for the temperment, right? Maybe a system or process is off. A complaint can be a queue to take a look at what may need to be changed. Analyze the situation and see what can be done differently in the future for a better response.


9. Don’t lash out.  It’s easy in the heat of the moment to lash out to anyone who will listen if you’ve been mistreated by a customer (or anyone for that matter). Use caution. Breathe. Think before you speak to others so that you’re not taking your bad experience and transferring it to everyone in your wake.


10. Remember the big picture. Truth is, without customers, a company goes out of business.  Even when they are less than fun to work with – they feed the revenue stream that keeps the doors open and the checks signed. Give people the benefit of the doubt that they don’t MEAN to be challenging, and treat them with respect and understanding like the mature and successful professional that you know yourself to be.


The nice thing to keep in mind if you’re in the people business (and most of us are) – is that whatever the grievance, pressure, irritation, aggravation – any of it might be? It will done and gone before you know it. A blip on the screen. Handle it in the moment then move on to the next.  Who knows? The next one on the phone or in front of you might be the coolest customer ever!


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