To Find The Right Path, You Have To Go Down A Few Wrong Ones by Ryan Roslansky

The vast majority of people in large organizations are afraid of innovation and change. The cost of failure is typically so high that avoiding risk altogether is the safest option.

However for a company to succeed long term, it must continually attract new users and customers. And to get those new users and customers, you need new ideas, strategies and products.

Regardless of any corporate rhetoric, creating new products, especially in a large organization, immediately puts you in a difficult “swimming upstream” position. I’ve watched brilliant people with ideas worth trying — ideas that could be crazy or crazy like a fox — get driven into submission when their plans are meeting’ed to death. Mediocrity ensues. The status quo survives. And long term success becomes harder to imagine.

A core tenet to innovating is understanding that nothing is going to work perfectly the first time. Blockbuster Hollywood scripts aren’t turned into movies after the first draft. Developing a new idea is a maze of ideation, testing, learning, and repeating… The key to success is keeping the following points in mind during the innovation process:

  1. Stop talking about It and do something. Adapting a quote from Van Wilder, simply talking about an idea and holding useless meetings is like sitting in a rocking chair. “It gives you something to do, but you’ll never get anywhere.” Do something tangible. Make a prototype. Talk to users. Hack something together to test with customers. Just do something.
  2. Don’t over invest in the beginning. Invest as little time, money and effort as possible to legitimately test your thesis.
  3. Recognize quickly if it’s a good or bad idea. Be honest and objective with yourself. If it’s a bad idea, you’ll know. Pivot. If it’s a good idea, accelerate the velocity.

Innovating puts your and your company on the offensive.


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Business · Consultations · Public Relations · Sports

5 Career Lessons from Derek Jeter’s Last at Bat at Yankee Stadium by Lonny Anger

I, like millions of Americans, watched Derek Jeter’s last at bat at Yankee Stadium. It will go down as one of baseball’s greatest moments, and certainly a fitting way for Derek to end his career at his home stadium. As I was watched the fans provide him with an appropriate sendoff, I couldn’t help but think of how this experience transcended sports and was really a metaphor on what we should strive to do in our careers.

Stay Focused on Only the Most Important Things

What amazes me about Derek is his ability to compartmentalize. He knew, as did everyone in attendance and everyone who was watching or listening, that this would be his last at bat in Yankee Stadium – FOREVER. A historical moment. One, where similar to other events of such magnitude, you will remember exactly where you were and what you were doing. However, here is Jeter knowing that he needed a hit to score Jose Pirela. Everything else was insignificant. Not the moment, not the history, not the occasion. He was solely focused on what truly mattered: winning. We need to start caring about what matters and forget about everything else.

Seize the Opportunity

One can argue that Jeter was given more than his fair share when talent and looks were being divided among us. But the truth is that he has always made the most out of every opportunity provided to him. It was not a surprise to me that when he had the chance to win the game, he did. He has always relished in opportunistic situations. There are opportunities in front of us every day. We just need to have Jeter-like vision to capitalize on them.

Be Grateful

After he was done hugging his current and former teammates, Jeter took a walk to shortstop and did what is normally his pre-game ritual for the very last time. He did not do this for the cameras. He did it because he understood that he was in a unique situation, one in which millions of people would love to be. He is the most beloved, popular, and respected athlete of our generation. But it was clear that he considers himself a very lucky man. Make sure you take some time to be appreciative about what you have, and not focused on what you don’t have. (More on this in my next post.)

Be Humble

In his final home plate appearance, he hit a walk-off single. Yet, when most people would be talking about how great they are, Derek congratulates the Baltimore Orioles and thanks the fans for their support. Then, when discussing the fans chanting “Thank You Derek”, he says he doesn’t understand why they are thanking him since he was just doing his job. Humbleness at its finest.

Always Think of Your Kids

The only person in Yankee Stadium who was not impressed was Derek’s nephew, Jalen. To Jalen, Derek Jeter is Uncle Derek, not Derek Jeter the baseball player. So, while he is being interviewed, Derek made sure to pick up his nephew who was running towards him. He knew that Jalen probably wouldn’t understand if he told him to wait. This was a key moment for me, and a great reminder that no matter what happens at work, to my kids I am just “Dad”.

Congratulations on your retirement, Derek Jeter. I learned a lot, and will miss watching you play.


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Interpersonal Communication Keys to Effective Leadership by Bob Newton

“The monkeys are running the zoo!”

Anyone who has ever heard this saying understands that this simply does not work as a parent, or for that matter, within any organization we are associated. There needs to be clear direction, communication and leadership to achieve optimal levels of success.

I mean, if I allowed my children to run the house devoid of any type of leadership, I assure you that a zoo would probably be a much calmer and more desirable place to reside. But I digress..

Today I would like to discuss the idea of effective interpersonal relationships, and the importance of building authentic relationships to leadership. If you did not realize it, how you manage your interpersonal relationship will make or break your responsibilities as a leader. It is that simple!

I have compiled three key core aspects of interpersonal communication, as it relates to leadership, that will facilitate authenticity, accurate understanding and overall success towards building world-class teams. There are many more, I am sure, but these three I believe have the greatest return on your investment.

1. Understanding Behavioral Styles

Effective leadership requires that we strive to understand our teams’ behavior and or behavioral styles so that we can maximize our effectiveness as leaders over our direct reports.

However, many will ask, “What exactly is “Behavior” as it relates to the workplace and why is it important for me to be aware of as a leader?”

Behavior, much the same as defined in the psychological or sociological professions, refers to peoples’ actions and or reactions to stimulus– both verbal and non-verbal. In every interaction an individual has on a daily basis, the outcome of their communication style is what can be seen or heard by others. In addition, it must be understood, most importantly, that individual behavior is what invokes reactions (Action begets Reaction) from others that overwhelmingly impact a team’s effectiveness.

It is critical for a leader at any level to understand that behavior, although often overlooked as a critical component to be assessed during our evaluation process, is the most influential facilitator of success or failure within any organization.

I would urge you to become a student of your employee’s behavior. The better you can understand each individual within your team the better you will be able to support them, groom them into successful employees and achieve overall success as a cohesive team.

2. Listening & Effectively Communicating

The principles behind interpersonal communication dictate that there must be a sender and a receiver to facilitate effective communication. When one or both of these two key components are missing and or not receiving the message clearly, we have a communication breakdown.

“But how does that apply to my leadership and how do I improve my abilities to communicate clearly with my direct reports? I understand what I’m saying, so why don’t they?,” you are probably now saying.

Well, that is not as difficult to answer as one might think.

Primarily, we as leaders must humble ourselves to understand that we do not always have to be saying something to be effective and or inspirational. In fact speaking is perhaps the worst thing you can do more often than not when placed in a leadership role. Effective listening builds authenticity, respect and most importantly trust! Additionally, listening builds a sense of ownership amongst your team that allows your reports to feel that their opinions really do matter.

Countless experts have written on the subject, but if you consider one of my personal favorite quotes, I believe you get a better understanding of the core concept I am attempting to drive home here. Stephen R. Covey once wrote, “Seek first to understand, and then be understood.”

That is a fairly heavy, if not philosophically profound, statement so I am going to allow you a moment for that to sink in…

Ready? OK…

So Covey’s profound statement illustrates better than anything else I can think of that our role, as a leader, is firstly listener and learner followed then by speaker, not the other way around.

Understanding this principle is paramount to effective interpersonal communication and will make or break your team’s success. Moreover, if you can grasp the concept that you will achieve greater heights of success by listening more and speaking less, I would offer that you will foster more effective teams that achieve higher levels of effectiveness with more authentic interpersonal relationship amongst the group.

Listening is a skill that can and should be learned and practice repeatedly, as you will no doubt ever perfect the skill. Furthermore, improving your skill as a listener will become a portion of your skill-set’s that will become integral to all aspects of your life, but very much so when leading in any capacity.

3. Understand that Criticism is YOUR best learning tool.

I believe it is a fairly accurate statement to say that no one loves receiving criticism, especially someone who is in a leadership capacity. In most cases, our immediate reaction is to become defensive or deny the critical comments.

Yet, understanding that criticism is the best learning tool we are afforded in every aspect of our life and is paramount to improving our abilities is a priceless lesson worth learning.

When faced with criticism we end-up, all too often, wrapped up in thinking about how we are going to respond to the judgment instead of really hearing what the person is trying to tell us. The criticism may hold an element of truth that could help us grow as individuals if we were not so busy being defensive. In addition, the added bonus is that our image as a leader would improve if we could remain in control during times of conflict and confrontation that often are associated with criticism.

To effectively handle criticism I would offer there are three critical skills that will help us in receiving the message in a more effective manner:

1) Allow the criticism to sink in before you speak.

2) Understanding the specifics behind the criticism and ask yourself, “What caused this individual to identify my short coming and how accurate is it?” Clarify Clarify Clarify!

3) And lastly, even if it is personal do NOT take it as such. Grow from it and thank them for pointing it out!

At its core, the essential component to correctly handling criticism is to maintain an ability to hear criticism without becoming defensive or angry. Utilize words that acknowledge the other individual’s point of view and accepting that it could very well be accurate on some level. Then ask yourself, “So what am I you going to do about it?”

In the end, whether you are a manager or a leader in any capacity, these core interpersonal skills are necessary to achieve your optimal success. By improving in these areas you will be afforded the ability to better influence others, demonstrate and receive respect for those you are charged with and create a positive team environment where trust is at the cornerstone of all that you do.


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How Successful People Deal With Stress by Bernard Marr

A survey by TalentSmart showed that 90 percent of top performers know how to manage their emotions in times of stress so that they remain cool, calm, and able to do what needs to be done.

That’s an important lesson in and of itself for all of us – because all of us experience stress in our lives. Research has shown that some stress is good for us: it helps us perform at optimal levels. Too much stress, however, can have serious psychological and physiological repercussions.

Since we can’t necessarily avoid most stress – especially in our work environments – it’s to our benefit to learn how to deal with it, and learn from the examples of those who are already successful.

According to surveys and other research, successful people have some strategies in common when it comes to managing stress.

They practice gratitude for what they have.

It may sound a little Oprah to you, but developing a gratitude practice is a psychologically proven way to reduce stress and maintain a more positive outlook on life. When you have a more positive outlook (and less of the stress hormone cortisol) you are happier and more productive, too.

They stay positive.

Easier said than done? Sometimes. But successful people tend to be those who see opportunities for growth masquerading as failure, and who look for the lessons learned when something goes awry, instead of wallowing in what could’ve/should’ve been. Maintaining a positive outlook. It’s a popular and proven stress management tool. If affirmations aren’t exactly your thing, try reframing negative thoughts. If you find yourself dwelling on something negative, try adding, “But what I can learn from this is…” Even just noticing that you’re stuck in a negative thought can help you move away from it.

They focus on progress, not perfection.

No one is perfect. Not even the most successful people on the planet are perfect – and they would almost certainly tell you the same. Richard Branson, for example, has had some well known failures in his time, yet has always been blunt about his belief that you fail quickly, fail big, learn from it, and move on. Many of us worship the cult of perfection, but letting it go may release us from a heavy burden of undue stress.

They practice self-care.

Successful people often have the presence of mind to realize that they must care for their most important asset – themselves – in order to continue to be successful. They prioritize healthy habits like getting enough sleep, limiting caffeine and alcohol, getting proper exercise, and switching off from technology periodically. Being overly tired, hopped up on chemicals (like caffeine and alcohol) and constantly monitoring our digital lives puts our adrenal glands into overdrive, and our stress levels through the roof. A truly successful person will strive to find balance to help moderate his stress.

They rely on routines.

One major cause of stress is the number of decisions we have to make in a day. Every decision from whether to have the sandwich or the salad all the way up to hiring and firing decisions weighs on us and causes us stress. Relying on simple routines like having the same lunch every day, answering emails at the same time, or even simplifying your wardrobe can help save your stress and sanity for the bigger decisions that really matter. President Obama (who undoubtedly knows a great deal about stress) mentioned this in an interview with Vanity Fair:

You need to remove from your life the day-to-day problems that absorb most people for meaningful parts of their day… You’ll see I wear only grey or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make. You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia.

They keep the big picture in view.

Finally, successful people are able to keep the bigger picture in view, rather than focusing on minutiae. This is about focusing more on the “why” behind what you do than the “how.” For example, you might feel yourself getting stressed out about the fact that you have to work out every day for an hour (the how), but if you focus on the reason you want to work out – to be healthy and live longer – you may find the actual task less stressful.


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Business · Consultations · Public Relations

Tips on Writing a Business Plan

When I started my firm in 1990, I had a business plan. My 2-year business plan was very simple with an outlined objective goals and business efforts. I utilized the business plan to begin the implementation of progression to develop a small firm which was sustainable in regards to providing public relations services at a reasonable rate. The best library of business resources is Small Business Administration, They provide a large spectrum of informative resources and outlets for start-ups. In addition, they provide business customer service support, whereas, you can call to speak with a business specialist directly to ask questions. It was imperative for me to have all the details in starting my business. An entrepreneur has to decide if they want to be a sole proprietorship, Inc. or LLC. You must have full knowledge and comprehension of business standards and finalize which is best for your company. In my early years in starting my public relations firm, I wish I had more capital to sustain the beginning failures. A start-up will encounter more failures within the first 5 years before progression of success. So my advice to anyone starting a business, ensure you have the substantial capital for the first 2-5 years to sustain the ups and down spirals of your business’ revenue. Ensure to have a clear outline of your overhead cost and expenditures. Overall, through a few hiccups, I have been successful in maintaining my firm and keeping overhead very low by working from home and extending by business services viral and mobile to my clients.


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Business · Consultations · Public Relations · Social Media

Marketing Mistakes

The #1 marketing mistake is not gaining consumers’ interest.  A marketing mistake is not having a brand that is authentic, and the failure to reach its target consumers. In lieu, a marketing campaign can fail due to focus misplaced, incorrect pricing, and not providing product and services as promoted or advertised.  A company main marketing campaign must have an objective goal that focuses on the potential consumer’s needs. The essential development of a company’s brand has to be able to connect and attract the right consumers.  The marketing campaign needs to have a consistency of informative, engaging, influential and relatable message to consumers,  A marketing campaign has to be quarterly monitored, managed and revised to stay allied with consumer’s interests.  In essence, the marketing strategy needs to have consumer interchange from direct surveys, and product reviews.


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Skills That Can Save Small Business Owners Money

The beneficial skill a small business owner needs to learn is systematic operational risk management. Why?  A small business needs to adopt the effectiveness of daily operations.  A small business should always be prepared for many unexpected business events. To be able to sustain a systematic operational risk management, a small business will be able to continue to fulfill its organizational goals and conditions. The systematic operational risk management can be monitored and foresees the business from an analytical standpoint to determine losses a small business can concur. A small business needs to be able to avoid and detect losses quickly, and in a timely manner to avoid failure.   


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Why Successful People Never Bring Smartphones Into Meetings by Dr. Terry Bradberry

You are annoying your boss and colleagues any time you take your phone out during meetings, says new research from USC’s Marshall School of Business, and if you work with women and people over forty they’re even more perturbed by it than everyone else.

The researchers conducted a nationwide survey of 554 full-time working professionals earning above $30K and working in companies with at least 50 employees. They asked a variety of questions about smartphone use during meetings and found:

  • 86% think it’s inappropriate to answer phone calls during meetings
  • 84% think it’s inappropriate to write texts or emails during meetings
  • 66% think it’s inappropriate to write texts or emails even during lunches offsite
  • The more money people make the less they approve of smartphone use.

The study also found that Millennials are three times more likely than those over 40 to think that smartphone use during meetings is okay, which is ironic considering Millennials are highly dependent upon the opinions of their older colleagues for career advancement.

TalentSmart has tested the emotional intelligence of more than a million people worldwide and found that Millennials have the lowest self-awareness in the workplace, making them unlikely to see that their smartphone use in meetings is harming their careers.

Why do so many people—especially successful people—find smartphone use in meetings to be inappropriate? When you take out your phone it shows a:

  • Lack of respect. You consider the information on your phone to be more important than the conversation at hand, and you view people outside of the meeting to be more important than those sitting right in front of you.
  • Lack of attention. You are unable to stay focused on one thing at a time.
  • Lack of listening. You aren’t practicing active listening, so no one around you feels heard.
  • Lack of power. You are like a modern-day Pavlovian dog who responds to the whims of others through the buzz of your phone.
  • Lack of self-awareness: You don’t understand how ridiculous your behavior looks to other people.
  • Lack of social awareness: You don’t understand how your behavior affects those around you.

I can’t say I’m surprised by the USC study’s findings. My company coaches leaders using 360° assessments that compare their self-perception to how everyone else sees them. Smartphone use in meetings is one of the most common coworker complaints.

It’s important to be clear with what you expect of others. If sharing this article with your team doesn’t end smartphone use in meetings, take a page out of the Old West and put a basket by the conference room door with an image of a smart phone and the message, “Leave your guns at the door.”


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Business · Consultations · Public Relations · Quotes

How to be happy

The one tip I can share on how to be happier is to do what you love with any out giving excuses.  We must embrace our inter-passion.  Life is about doing what you what to do and being happy doing it.  I offer the advice to always tap into your soul by meditation and to dig deep to pull out the creative person you are destined to be. Happiness starts within oneself.


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Business · Public Relations · Quotes

How I created a career from passion to fit my dream lifestyle

I created my business for the passion in working the sports and entertainment industry.  As a publicist, I get to meet and work with great talent. I wanted a business that would give me the flexibility to travel the world, and experience different people and cultures.  In addition, I wanted a business lifestyle that would allow me to express my creative freedom.  Lastly, working in the public relations industry, it provides so much diversity, and it allows me to grasp from other resources of life through the art of public relations.


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