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Have you ever wondered why some people get up in the morning with a song in their voice and a skip in their step?  You know the people I am talking about, always looking for the good in others and believe that there is a silver lining in EVERY cloud.  How can these people be so darn positive all of the time?  “Look the sky is falling!”… “Oh no, it’s a shooting star!”

Ed Foreman, a gentleman who owns EXECUTIVE DEVELOPMENT SYSTEMS, a company out of Waco, Texas believes that you can have good and successful daily living by living one day at a time.  It’s how you feel about yourself that will direct your attitude on a daily basis.  If you can have one good day and multiply it by seven, what do you have?  That’s right…a good week.  Let’s multiply that good week by 52, now what do you have?  That’s right…a good year.  Ed has identified an EIGHT STEP DAILY MENU FOR LIFE, consisting of:

  1. WAKE UP AN HOUR EARLY EVERY DAY:  Do you realize you will have gained nine – 40 hour work weeks per year by waking up one hour early every day for a year.  Do that for six years and you have just gained an extra year of 40 hour work weeks.
  2. UPON AWAKENING READ OR LISTEN TO SOMETHING POSITIVE:  It’s a known fact that your alpha state of receptivity is at its peak as soon as you awaken, so what you hear or read will influence your thought process for the day.
  3. GO FOR A WALK AND BE THANKFUL:  Walking will increase the blood flow to the brain and being thankful for what you have on a daily basis will help you put the true challenges of your day in perspective.
  4. DAILY STRETCHING:  Stretching limbers up the body and increases the blood flow to all of your limbs.
  5. EAT BREAKFAST:  It is a proven fact that people who eat breakfast are less likely to gain weight.   You should eat breakfast like a “King,” lunch like a “Prince” and dinner like a “Pauper.”
  6. LEISURELY DRIVE TO WORK:  Don’t participate in a Mario Andretti type race to work.  Take an easy leisurely drive and do not allow other drivers to influence your day by setting you off in the wrong direction.
  7. MIND CONTROL RELAXATION:  For 15 minutes a day practice a mind control relaxation technique where you sit and meditate while controlling your breathing.  It has been said that this can equate to taking a two hour nap in the middle of the day.
  8. I AM TERRIFIC:  Any time someone asks you how you are, respond with a vibrant… “I AM TERRIFIC!”  If you do this regularly, especially during stressful situations, you will soon begin to notice a reduction in stress levels resulting from external influences.  Accepting that you have little or no control over outside influences in your life, allows you to control situations as opposed to letting the situations control you.

These are Ed Foreman’s EIGHT STEPS TO HAVING A BETTER DAY, WEEK, YEAR AND ULTIMATELY LIFE.  Another element to always remember is that worrying is nothing more than negative goal setting or the misuse of your imagination.  Keeping all of this in mind, have a wonderful and terrific day everyday!!!

Carl Messina, Director of New  Business Development

The good and the bad news for Connecticut business


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The good news for Connecticut businesses is, the recession is easing.  The bad news is, people who have stayed in their jobs throughout the bad economy due to economic fears of losing their incomes and not being able to support their families, and those that felt they were maltreated during the recession, are polishing up their resumes.  Some experts believe that up to 80% of American workers are thinking about or are actually seeking new jobs.  The negative impact to many companies may be considerable.  From what we have seen in the past six months, employers have begun to implement programs to retain some of their most talented and key employees, including executives, managers, future leader and those who work on the front lines.

As turnover is rapidly increasing, many employers are preparing for additional employee turnover in the coming year.  Once employers recognize that if key employee retention is a problem, even with an unemployment rate still hovering at 8%, the situation will intensify when more jobs become available in the marketplace as the economy continues to improve.  Astute employers will implement those actions necessary to retain their key talent.

According to a survey completed OI Partners in Hartford:

  • 90% of employers are concerned about turnover of high-potential employees
  • 72% are concerned about losing sales and service employees
  • 60% worry about middle-management turnover
  • 45% are concerned about losing their senior level executives

Workers with the highest rates of turnover include operations and production workers, sales and marketing personnel, accounting and finance staff and information services.

Companies need to implement training programs, business coaching, enhanced benefits, financial incentives and well thought out succession plans, sooner rather than later to retain their top talent.

For those companies that will be filling vacated positions, it will be even more imperative that they hire “the right people for the right jobs” so that new employees’ cultural fit and learning curves will be greatly enhanced.

Don't let your organization's workforce become your competitors' "catch of the day."  Be prepared, don’t let this inevitable scenario erode your bottom line.




Gratitude FROM client and TOWARD client-Business Coaching to the next level.


We, as business coaches and mentors always need to remember that we often find ourselves having to be much more.  It is too easy to forget, especially when implementing a proven methodology and/or process, that in order to be a  great coach and mentor, we always need to make sure that the bi-product deliverales-CONFIDENCE-MOTIVATION-INSPIRARTION are always delivered...not just in every meeting, but in every minute of every meeting. 

A client just sent me this casual email that served as an awesome reminder to me:

Subject: Thanks

"Just wanted to thank you again not only for lunch yesterday, but for all the help and support you have given me up to this point."

"While I am grateful for The Birch Group's help as a whole, and the institutional support they offer in support of you...the real value is in your company/individual expertise, passion and guidance."

 "If you ever need a favor, professional or otherwise, please don't hesitate to ask."

"Now that I'm stabilized and nearly 'tooled and ready', I'm looking forward to working with you in a different capacity moving forward.  Thanks again."



The Five Essential Elements of WELLBEING and Worforce Development


The Five Essential Elements

According to a new book, Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, released by Tom Rath, a NY Times bestselling author and Jim Harter, there are five essential elements of life that transcend countries, faiths and cultures.  Rath and Harter completed a study of more than 150 countries whose combined populations account for over 98% of the world's population.

Their study discovered what many of us business and career coaches already know, that much of what we think will improve our wellbeing is either misguided or just plain wrong.  They write: "Contrary to what many believe, wellbeing isn't just about being seemingly happy, nor is it about being wealthy and successful.  And, it's certainly not limited to physical health and wellness.  In fact, focusing on any of these elements in isolation could drive us to feelings of frustration and even failure."

The Five Elements are:

  • Career Wellbeing: How you occupy your time/enjoying what you do each day
  • Social Wellbeing: The quality of relationships and love in your life
  • Financial Wellbeing:  Managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
  • Physical Wellbeing: Good health and enough energy to get things done on a daily basis
  • Community Wellbeing: Engagement and involvement in the community where you live

Acting on these elements will enable you to enjoy each day and get more out of your life, while boosting the wellbeing of friends, family members, colleagues and others in your community.

These elements are also important to your organization, as when they are in balance, your  employees will be more engaged, healthier and much more productive.  When the leaders in your organization embrace the importance of these key elements, they create a more engaging place to work, resulting in greater returns for the organization.  When leaders ignore or dismiss these elements, they risk eroding the confidence of those that follow them and can severely limit their organization's ability to grow.

Strong leaders understand that each workers wellbeing and those of their family is largely dependent on their ability to lead and manage effectively.  When managers and leaders invest in their employee's well being, they foster a culture of communications and trust, thus creating a more efficient and higher performing organization.

Remember, an employee's effectiveness and level of engagement is typically a direct reflection of their relationship with their immediate supervisor.  When employees were questioned as to "whether or not their leadership cared about them as a person", the findings indicate that those that agreed to this statement :

  • are more likely to be top performers
  • produce higher quality work
  • are less likely to be sick
  • are less likely to change jobs
  • are less likely to get injured on the job

The most progressive leaders not only understand that they are in the business of boosting their employee's wellbeing, but they also use this knowledge as a competitive advantage to recruit and retain top employees.  Attracting top talent is easier if they can show a prospective employee how working for the organization  will translate into better relationships, more financial security, improved physical health, and more involvement in the community.  Just as the most successful organizations have worked systematically to optimize their levels of employee engagement, they are now paying much closer attention to employee wellbeing as a way to gain emotional, financial and competitive advantage.

The Cost of Employee Disengagement


Are your key employees fully engaged? 

If your answer is no or you are unsure, consider the cost of disengagement to your organization, and to your bottom line.  Per a recent study by Gallup International:

  • In 2008, the typical employee was disengaged from their work approximately two hours per day

  • By 2011, the typical employee was disengaged approximately four hours per day

  • One disengaged employee can bring down the entire team's productivity by 30%Coach John Birch, CEOand Founder

These are frightening statistics in the global economy where our client's expectations require that "we need to get extraordinary results from ordinary people."   There are many reasons for the spiraling levels of disengagement amongst the workforce, including fear over the current economic environment, too much time spent on the social media, mismanagement, and a lack of feeling appreciated.  Another recent study indicated that because of the economy, many people that are unsatisfied in their current positions have stayed in their jobs even though they are no longer satisfied there.  Actually, four out of five employees are either actively seeking new jobs or are thinking about leaving when the economy picks up. Either scenario is ripe for stress related issues, further disengagement and cost. 

Again, can you afford to let this issue affect you, your employees and the direct cost to your bottom line?  If not you may have to take action.  There are several ways to correct disengagement.  The first is to improve employees' motivation.  This can only be accomplished by thoroughly identifying the underlying issues that are affecting your disengaged employees, a difficult process as you have to look at your organization from the outside looking in.  You may find that either you or your management team is creating a less than satisfactory work environment for your employees to grow, or your organizational culture may be stifling creativity.   If either of these situations is present, you may need either coaching or formal training. 

What we often find is that an organization's hiring practices are outdated and that the "wrong people are hired for the wrong jobs."  The fall-out from these practices result in high turnover, lower engagement, less than satisfactory productivity, poor customer service and overall organizational malaise, especially if your disengaged employees have key positions.  If you find yourself struggling with these issues, you may need to take steps to enhance your job matching process in order to replace those disengaged employees with the "right people in the right jobs."

The keys to effective Job Matching are:

  • Understanding the Key Accountabilities of the Job
  • Letting the Job Talk
  • Eliminating Bias from the Hiring Process
  • Creating the Ideal Candidate Form

Previously, the hiring process mainly consisted of collecting resumes, interviewing, and background checks.  Often, people were hired primarily for their technical skills, allowing bias to creep into the interview and hiring process.  Today, companies need people who not are proficient technically, but also fit into the organization's culture.  Effective Job Matching should be based on a candidate's education, certification, salary expectations, behaviors, motivators, professional skills, acumen and experience.

When hiring, keep in mind that your candidates are three dimensional, and that the hiring manager should examine all sides of the candidate to ensure a good fit for the specific job.

MOTIVATORS “Lack of advancement negates professional development”-NOW I HAVE HEARD EVERYTHING



University of Iowa study finds employee training might actually increase turnover-

--“Lack of advancement opportunities negates benefits of professional development programs.”

Please follow the hyperlink to an article referring to a study from June 2011 at the University of Iowa.  Just when you thought you heard everything…  Although it is true that if an employee does not see any career advancement opportunities in the organization, and the market place for new employees changes dramatically from the buyer’s market it is today, then employees will start picking their heads up and testing the marketplace.  However in this marketplace, not many are looking to be the new person on the bottom rung in an organization. 

When the economy shifts, any training, development and learning that employees received will be remembered and appreciated and should create new opportunities in the existing organization which ideally lines up with the newly acquired skills and better developed employees.  

First of all, let us not forget that it was not employees who started the unbelievable lack of loyalty to their employers, it was the other was around.  Call it right sizing, off-shoring, outsourcing, laying off…whatever you want.  To me it is a lack of company loyalty and employees paying for bad business decisions made by employers.  One of the fantastic changes that is coming out of this development, the genx ers and a lousy economy is that diversity, learning and development are really becoming important components of our compensations plans.  This is fantastic. 

To say that people would leave because they have no career opportunities is not a stretch at all, as a matter of fact, it is so obvious I am not sure why we call it a “finding in a study”.  Aren’t the professional development programs designed to, among other things, provide new opportunities for growth within companies and organizations.

Furthermore, please let’s not forget that I can find studies that I would actually call “studies” that prove GenY ers are more motivated by learning and professional development that from Salary.  They still will need opportunity for growth of course.  That takes care of itself.  The motivated GenX ers, while they are seeking work and life balance, will develop and market their growing value propositions to the existing companies.  Employees who did not grow and develop and take advantage of company offerings will lose opportunity and attrition out.  Wallah-growth opportunities for fully developed genx ers who are familiar with and comfortable with their changing and growing value proposition.  Who benefits?  The company, the employees, the customers, the vendors and the shareholders.  Who loses? The companies that do not pay for learning and development and the employees too lazy to take advantage of these offerings.

It has been proven that professional development costs usually return something like 500% ROI.  I guess that is only if you do NOT work at University of Iowa.

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