Monday, June 8, 2009

Are You Preparing Yourself for Success?

I don't know about you, but I can't help but imagine how much better off we would all be if, collectively, we were thinking about how to continue on the path of success rather than the path of failure.  If you think about it, all we've been hearing from the media for the past year and a half (if not longer) is that we need to prepare for the economy to get worse, prepare for consumers to spend less, prepare for layoffs,  for travelers to take fewer and shorter trips, for conventions and business trips to be cancelled, for consumers to have less faith in the banking, housing, auto, healthcare, you name it, industries.  And really, all of those things have come true.  

Of course they have, it's what we've all been focusing on.  In fact, just yesterday Ben Stein on CBS Sunday Morning spoke of how hard the travel industry has been hit because of reactions to President Obama's suggestion that companies receiving government bail outs be very cognizant of how they spend their funds, and avoid lavish and unnecessary travel and spending.  However, he was not suggesting that companies in general avoid travel, cancel conventions, and eliminate spending on receptions or gatherings in general.  This in turn has had a huge trickle down effect, only making things worse.  

A similar effect is happening in businesses as companies continue to administer lay- offs, furloughs, and reduced hours while increasing workload and stress in the office. So how do we switch this around and prepare for success??  Because, after all, eventually the economy will turn around and customers will return to spend money - but will your company be ready to handle business?  If you've been finding ways to keep your staff motivated and dedicated to your company the answer may very well be "yes."  However, if you've been relying on the thought that "They should just be lucky they have a job." Well, what makes you think that once other companies start hiring again, your staff won't make a bee line for the door?  After all, they already know what you have to offer and if it hasn't been great, well why not take a chance on going with another company?    

The problem is that if they've been a productive part of your workforce, they take their education, training, and experience with them.  Leaving you to recruit, rehire, retrain, and reevaluate new employees - all at a hefty price to you. In fact, research shows that it costs an average of $65,000 to replace a middle manager-salary not included! It just makes good business sense to invest in your employees now, making them company advocates and saving you time and big bucks later. 

Some of the best ways to invest in your employees is by providing them with great leadership, professional development opportunities, consistent messaging, and employee incentives that won't break the bank.  All of which will lend a significant ROI, and keep your company preparing for success, rather than failure.    

Copyright © 2009 InBliss Coaching and Consulting LLC  All Rights Reserved Internationally.   Permission to reprint with attribution.

Contact Lisa and discover how you can accomplish your personal and professional development goals.

Lisa Broesch, President, Actualize Consulting Group

Partner in Professional Development • Keynote Speaker • Employee Workshops

1033 Featherstone Circle, Orlando, Fl  34761

T: (407)595-6771 • F: (407)291-9078 • Web Address:

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Stop Selling Yourself Short!

Do you know what you’re really worth?

One of my clients called me as she was attempting to work up the nerve to ask for a promotion.  When I asked her why she felt she was entitled, she quickly rattled off a laundry list of items she was clearly proud to share.

She told me that she had been with the company 11 years, had been a supervisor for 8 years, taken multiple seminars, developed several processes, led numerous projects, actively encourages “teamwork,” and has a very good attitude.  To which I replied “Ok, but why do you believe that’s worth a promotion?” It wasn’t the response she expected.  

I must say, I understood her confusion.  Haven’t we all gotten to that place in our career where we feel like we’re entitled to more money, and maybe more “clout?” I know I have, and I know that listing off what I “do” was typically the first place I turned for justification.  The problem is, nobody really cares what we “do.”  In other words, it’s not the action that brings value to the table, it’s the results of the action.  I know, you may be thinking, “What’s the difference?”  Well, let me explain and clear up a few common misconceptions.

Simply occupying a position for a long time does not make you more valuable to the company.  This “justification” comes up more than just about any other. Don’t let it happen to you! In most cases, you’re not entitled to more pay, promotion, or even job security simply because you’ve been in the job longer than anyone else. In fact, with the competition for gainful employment and the need for innovation, it’s more important than ever to constantly update your skills and talents. One of the worst things you can do is to work for a company for 25 years without expanding your areas of expertise.   

Being “busy” carries no value.  I worked with a woman for 18 years who never missed an opportunity to dramatically tell me how busy she was (at work and at home), every time I saw her.  Understand, in most reputable companies, employers don’t want their employees (particularly their leadership team) to work themselves into the ground. In fact, as a former executive myself, I much prefer employees who get the job done as efficiently and quickly as possible - leaving them physically and mentally  energized for the next project. However, for some reason, we often equate being “busy” with being invaluable. It’s not necessary to tell everyone how busy you are (how can you possibly take on more responsibility?), but it is necessary to deliver results. Don’t confuse the two . . . I wish someone had given me this tip before I spent a decade figuring it out! 

Companies typically think in financial terms.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely believe that all of the items on her list are essential to her professional development.  However, they are a means to an end. The real VALUE comes in terms of the results. For example, “developing processes” is fine, but streamlining efficiencies and increasing productivity are the resulting value of your efforts.  You don’t just “take workshops,” “encourage teamwork,” and “have a positive attitude,” you increase motivation and employee retention, and decrease turnover and training costs.  See the difference? It’s not the “how you do it,” it’s the “what you’ve done” that really matters. It’s important to look at all the areas you positively impact with your actions (decreasing turnover also decreases overtime coverage and recruiting time, and increases the overall experience of your talent pool). Where are you down-playing what you really bring to the table?

It isn’t necessary to constantly grab the spotlight. While you want to ensure you don’t go unnoticed, constantly taking credit, updating everyone on your accomplishments, and vying for high profile projects will only exhaust and frustrate everyone around you.  Don’t underestimate the importance of encouraging your coworkers and/or employees, actively recognizing the strengths of others, and leading by example.  These are traits that truly improve productivity and morale, speed the success of new employees,  and make you a truly invaluable resource.  What better way to Actualize your success?

Copyright © 2009 InBliss Coaching and Consulting LLC  All Rights Reserved Internationally.   Permission to reprint with attribution.

Contact Lisa and discover how you can accomplish your personal and professional development goals.

Lisa Broesch, President, Actualize Consulting Group

Partner in Professional Development • Keynote Speaker • Employee Workshops

1033 Featherstone Circle, Orlando, Fl  34761

T: (407)595-6771 • F: (407)291-9078 • Web Address:

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Shower the People You Love (or at least like) With Praise

How many times have you worked yourself silly to give a great presentation, finish a project or go out of your way to help someone else out . . . only to wonder if anyone noticed? 

My guess is that it happens more often than you care to remember and it can leave you feeling less than satisfied, perhaps even incredibly frustrated. Yeah, me too.  

Here’s the thing, if it’s happening to you and me, it stands to reason that it’s also happening to those around you. Perhaps even to your own employees, friends, spouses, children . . .you get the picture.  Is it even possible that you or I might possibly be responsible for causing someone else to feel this way??  As much as I hate to admit it, I’m afraid so.  

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself inside a corporate office or University, working one to one with senior management or staff members . . . it doesn’t really matter what title . . .the conversation very often turns to the topic of personal and professional value. Time and again the core issue is that they are in some sort of conflict (internal or otherwise) because they feel like they are not being recognized for their skills, talent, efforts, time - you name it.  At times, the frustration has been so intense that the person is literally ready to either give up their career with the company or simply stop making an effort.  In reality, they really don’t want to choose either option.  Would you believe that when I ask the question “What is it that you need in order to resolve this situation?”  ninety percent of the time the answer is “I just want to be told that I did a good job”  or “To be told that I made a difference.” Along those same lines, research shows that the majority of all conflicts in marriage and friendship can be traced back to one or both parties feeling under appreciated or under valued. 

Hmm, do you see a pattern?  Yeah, me too.  Yet, as frustrating and painful as it can be to be the recipient of the situation . . .how often to you find yourself really validating the people in your life. . .honestly? 

Now, before you start feeling the need to defend yourself it’s important that you understand that it’s not your fault.  I’m fairly certain that neither you nor I would intentionally cause someone else to believe that they are insignificant.  Odds are, most of the time we’re more worried about what other people think about us.  

In fact, I’ve seen some people become so concerned with making sure that they are recognized for their efforts that they would NEVER call attention to someone else’s great work for fear of being upstaged (yes, I know you would never resort to this tactic). 

In the interest of successfully retaining your friendships, employees, and customers, as well as increasing employee productivity,  it’s time to end the cycle.  Yes, I’m suggesting that you go out of your way to acknowledge the little and not so little things that others do to make your life and your career a success. 

Now, when you start to do this several things will likely happen: 1. You’ll feel a little ridiculous because this might not come naturally.  Not to worry, the more you do it, the easier it is.  I promise. 2. You’ll have a hard time finding things to “appreciate.”  That’s OK, don’t work at it too hard.  Just notice those times when you’re thinking to yourself “Wow, they did a great job,” etc. and then make an effort to verbalize your genuine thanks. The key is to offer sincere validation.  Remember, it is likely what the other person is looking for. 3. You won’t see an immediate payoff.  Be patient because eventually you’ll set a new tone in your environment and you’ll start seeing indicators that your efforts are being recognized.  Employees will become increasingly satisfied, friends may offer their help a little more often, and people will likely appreciate you more.  Activate potential and you’ll realize results. Ultimately, isn’t that what we’re all looking for?

Copyright © 2009 InBliss Coaching and Consulting LLC  All Rights Reserved Internationally.   Permission to reprint with attribution.

Contact Lisa and discover how you can accomplish your personal and professional development goals.

Lisa Broesch, President, Actualize Consulting Group

Partner in Professional Development • Keynote Speaker • Employee Workshops

1033 Featherstone Circle, Orlando, Fl  34761

T: (407)595-6771 • F: (407)291-9078  • Web Address: http//

©2009 Actualize Consulting Group, All rights reserved. Permission granted to excerpt or reprint with attribution.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

You're Only As Good As Your Word

Someone recently asked me what they should do to develop a “peer level”  relationship with their clients because they felt they weren’t getting the respect they deserved.  That same person forgot to show up for a business call we had scheduled for the following week. 

Hmm, is it a coincidence that they’re not getting the respect that they desire?  Not likely.  There’s a saying in business that basically states that you can usually tell how successful a person is by whether or not they keep their agreements.  In business and in your personal life, keeping your agreements is one of the top ways to show respect for another person.  And let’s be honest, who wants to have a “peer level” relationship with someone they believe doesn’t respect them?  

 Obviously, you would never even think of being anything less than a true professional...but just in case you know someone who might need a gentle reminder, here’s a few tips for keeping agreements that you are welcome to share.

Tip 1.  Show Up. Whether it’s a meeting with a partner, client, employee or friend, it’s essential that you are consistent in being where you said you would be, when you said you’d be there.  If you’re going to be late or not make it at all, call well in advance...better yet, do everything in your power to be there on time.  Five minutes late is enough time for your employee, partner or client to doubt  your commitment to the relationship and ultimately doubt your credibility and your professionalism. This is not the kind of thinking that will help solidify business (or personal) relationships.  

Tip 2.  Make the call.  I bet you can think back to at least one time you were expecting a call that was important to you (waiting to hear from a potential client, a job offer, the results of a test, a potential love interest) only to be kept waiting...and waiting...long after the promised day and time passed.  It’s frustrating at the very least.  Yet, far too often so called “professionals”  will avoid calling when they are uncomfortable with the subject or simply overcommitted.  Just take a deep breath, start dialing, and keep your agreement. 

Tip 3.  Deliver on your promise.  Whether you promised to finish a report, give an employee their performance appraisal, or bring the sports equipment to the game, someone is counting on you.  True professionals and those truly successful in life realize that they are only as good as their word. You seldom get an opportunity to reclaim the trust that can be broken by failing to follow through on a commitment.  If you gave your word, keep never know who might be counting on you. 

When I first started my career, someone gave me a memo pad that said at the top “if they really want the project completed, they’ll ask twice”.  At the time I though it was kind of funny.  Now I realize that if I really want to be successful, once is all it should take.  

Copyright © 2008 InBliss Coaching and Consulting LLC  All Rights Reserved Internationally.   No portion may be reprinted or used without prior written permission.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

One More Out the Door??

Think back to the last time you were really looking forward to something.  Maybe it was a vacation at an amazing resort, a great dinner out, or buying a new piece of state of the art electronics.  Oh, the anticipation leading up to the event!...Your life will be so much better!...Did the reality live up to your expectations?  Far too often the answer is a flat out “no”. Usually because the hype was far greater than the actual product. 

A few years ago I decided to finally indulge in my dream to spend a week being pampered at a luxury spa.  I researched all sorts of options all over the country, booked my airfare and ground transportation, and could hardly wait to go! The spa in Utah advertised world-class service, gourmet food, spectacular views and a top-notch spa.  From the moment I arrived at the resort I felt my excitement turn into deep disappointment.  The reception lobby had stark white walls, rental quality furniture and employees that looked less than thrilled to be there.  The spa featured fluorescent lighting, blaring rock music, and really nothing resembling “top-notch”.  Without access to a computer or a vehicle, I quickly phoned a friend who gladly helped me research other nearby spas where I might escape.

In my consulting practice, delivering on your brand is one of the top areas I stress to business owners and employees, because there’s always another company around the corner who will gladly take your dissatisfied customers.  For that reason, I’ve put together a few tips to help you assess your business and see where there may be opportunities to enhance your image.

Tip 1. Clearly reflect your brand.  Once you have defined how you want your company to be perceived, use your brand as a filter for everything your customer encounters.  In other words, if you are a spa and you’re advertising luxury and pampering, that should be the overriding theme at your establishment.   Your furnishings should be lush and your staff should actually “pamper” your clients. You could certainly add additional elements such as hiking and exercise classes but they should not be the focus.  Simply put, give your customers what they came for. 

Tip 2Think of your business as an “experience”.  In my many years with Anheuser-Busch Theme Parks, I often encouraged my creative teams to look at every detail our guests encountered.  From parking the car in the morning to leaving late in the evening there were hundreds of “experiences” that could make or break a great day.  Take a look  around your business and “see it” through your customer’s eyes.  If you were the customer, would you appreciate the overall experience?  Are you delivering on your brand or is it time to add some new and improved elements to your offerings?

Tip 3. Your employees are a reflection of your brand.  Whether we’re talking about a doctor’s office, restaurant, or call center, your customers expect great service from everyone in your company.  If your receptionist or other employees are rude or unknowledgeable your customers will view your overall business in that light and sales will likely suffer.  

Tip 4. Develop opportunities for emotional connections. Put some time into understanding how your customers might hope to “feel” as a result of doing business with you.  In other words, do you want them to feel energized, comfortable, relieved, rested, in “good hands”?  You can influence your customer’s  ability to “connect” to your business through the use of appropriate background music, lighting, paint colors, artwork, and your employee’s interactions with your customers. Think about how much a soundtrack can enhance a movie (whether it’s romantic or action packed). If you walked into a nightclub that didn’t feature great music and attractive lighting, would you want to stay and order drink? It’s very often the “feeling” we experience that prompts us to either move on or stay and indulge. 


Most of the tips I’ve mentioned can be addressed with modest impact on your budget and high return on your investment through increased customer that’s working InBliss!

Copyright © 2008 InBliss Coaching and Consulting LLC  All Rights Reserved Internationally.   No portion may be reprinted or used without prior written permission.

Friday, June 20, 2008

That's What I'm Talking About!

Since we're on the subject of business image, I just have to tell you about a new spa in Orlando that is second to none in terms of great guest service.  The owner is Sarah Woodgett-Athey and she was previously the Supervising Skincare Therapist at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando and the Canyon Ranch Spa Orlando. 

I must say, from the moment you walk in to the modest spa, you will feel like a dear friend who's visit is long overdue.  Sarah and her associate Milena know exactly how to make a busy person slow down and be pampered (they even have an express 30 minute facial that you'd swear was longer!).  It is definitely a luxury that I can no longer do without! 

Because the day spa is not attached or affiliated with a resort (you won't find a pool, hot tub, or steam room), their rates are very reasonable (massages are about half of what you'd expect to pay at a larger spa).  They have a peaceful relaxation room and a full line of skin care products available.  By far their biggest draw is their great guest service and incredible treatments - now that's what I call Bliss! 

Visit FaceHaven's website at or call 407-240-1212

Friday, June 6, 2008

Business Image... What's that???

Sure, we've been talking about the importance of building your personal image, but have you stopped to consider the image of your company or the company you work for?  At some point, we've probably all worked somewhere that we weren't proud of.  I know when I was 18 (yes, just a few short years ago) I worked for a company that provided security guards for construction sites.  Let's just call it Mr. X Security.   Though I generally liked the people I worked for, I really dreaded going to work.  The office that I worked in smelled musty, the drywall was crumbling, the carpet was in terrible shape, the windows were permanently foggy, and the place was literally falling apart.  

Over time, the owner of Mr. X Security began to add other odd jobs to his scope of work.  He started offering cleaning services (though I am positive that no cleaning had ever taken place in that office) and, at some point he tried offering child care services. It's not surprising that the quality of client and the quality of employee the company was attracting was let's just say... sketchy.

Hmm.... what went wrong here? 

Let's start with Branding.  When people see your business, they want to understand what it is that you do - what services you offer.  In a company named Mr. X Security, it certainly seems out of place that they would offer cleaning services and child care which have really no connecting points that I can think of.  It's not that you can't offer separate services or just needs to make sense.  

For example, say you want to open a theme park and you want to call it Music World.  Great!  So you start to add in music themed rides, musical entertainment, a resort featuring great musical eras, a restaurant featuring famous musicians, etc.  Good start.  Now, you decide it would be cool to add in Dinosaur Land as part of the park because you think dinosaurs are really cool and because you found a bunch of them at a great price and they will take up a lot of space in your theme park. You'd also like to add in a high speed race track and a kid's oversized play area.  Hmm... really?  

It's so important that your customers (and you) are able to connect the dots. Once you added in the dinosaurs and race cars, the brand got cloudy. If you can tie them back to music then you might have something.  If the kid's area featured oversized musical instruments, maybe a tuba that they could crawl through, etc. you're on the right track.  Now, you might be thinking, I've seen theme parks that feature all kinds of stuff - race cars, talking mice, flying carpets, you name it.  The difference is that their brand is defined as "magical" or "make believe" or "an escape from reality" - now you can throw in the kitchen sink! 

The other piece is the first impression and overall experience that people get from your company.  If you have a cleaning company and your office is filthy... no deal.  If you advertise as being the "friendly alternative" to dentistry and your receptionist is rude... no deal.  If you have a spa that is advertised as "pure bliss" and your customers have to walk through a convention area, a noisy check in lobby, and crowded elevators... no deal.  You MUST deliver on your promise.  Think about what your customers might expect and over deliver.  I promise, if you have a cleaning company your customers will expect your office, vehicles, and employees to look clean and well groomed. 

Another example, if you have a company named InBliss, you will want to be sure to offer services that help to make your customer's personal and professional lives more successful, more rewarding, and more blissful in general.  Hopefully I've delivered on the brand.  

For more information, email me at or visit my website at 
Copyright © 2008 InBliss Coaching and Consulting LLC  All Rights Reserved Internationally.   No portion may be reprinted or used without prior written permission. 

Meeting Clinton Kelly!

Meeting Clinton Kelly!
Meeting Clinton Kelly - I love him!

Clinton shares a few tips

Karen's "Before" Picture

Karen's "after" picture