ERP Help for Companies Drowning in Data But Thirsting for Actionable Insight

By David Shaffer, ERP Practice Head, Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC

Do you feel it is “sink or swim” with the tidal wave of data that is hitting your business? “Data, data everywhere, and not a drop to help us think” is a common lament.

by thisisengineering-raeng

But there is a tremendous opportunity you might be missing that competitors are taking advantage of, including interactive dashboards. These highlight key performance indicators – clearly and concisely – so executives can make decisions based on data and reality and not in a vacuum.

These capabilities are powering a next generation change in how the deluge of data can help you make better decisions. Consider these quick examples:

A men’s grooming product maker successfully implemented enterprise resource planning (ERP) to better track inventory and financial data.

A rapidly expanding confectioner used ERP to standardize thousands of chocolate-making processes and restructure an ineffective warehouse management system that could not keep pace.

A manufacturer of chemical products, which are used in electronics, automotive, and housing industries, implemented an ERP system to avoid human errors and to be able to automate workflows for increased productivity.

In each example, ERP was used to harness data.

Today, any business can obtain ROI with effective systems and processes that promote growth strategies.

Companies, regardless of industry, need to recognize the ever-growing need to integrate responsive information with optimal best practices within day-to-day operations. In the past, the selection of appropriate systems has been confined to those who have large budgets, resources, and time to do extensive evaluations and due diligence. That is no longer the case.

ERP Is The Mortar In The Brick Wall

To use a masonry metaphor, an ERP system is like mortar, the cement-like mixture of sand and lime that keep bricks in place. You can think of an ERP system working like the mortar that binds together the different computer systems for a large organization (your bricks). Without an ERP application, each department would have its system optimized for its specific tasks. With ERP software, each department still has its system, but all of the systems can be accessed through one application with one interface. The systems stand together like a strong brick wall.

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Please understand that the appropriate evaluation and selection of systems is equally critical and important to the success of the mid-size, growing business. Based on years of evaluation, support, and success, we have developed a proprietary process that brings the same value and benefits of past selection without introducing extensive costs. Our belief is that hard-earned dollars should be directed toward solution implementation and not toward selection.

We recommend a process that incorporates a series of integrated steps that quickly and efficiently highlight the following:

• Scenarios that mirror operations in order to test the viability of proposed solutions

• Accountability for vendors that align implementation of value applications with operational efficiencies

• Selecting software solutions that follow business processes from ordering through fulfillment rather than just specific application areas

Implementation And Project Management

To help position our clients for success, we created an ERP selection process called Quick Start, developed with the expertise of consultants who bring business and system knowledge to the selection process. Our team recognizes the value of your investment and have first-hand understanding of the impact effective systems and processes can have on meeting growth strategies.

by alexanderstein

The Quick Start process encompasses several key interrelated steps that build upon each other and are directed toward the selection and implementation of the Information System that meets your requirements. The process focuses on your unique and key business flows rather than the nice-to-see demonstrations that many vendors focus on during demonstrations.

We recommend the following steps to select an ERP system:

1. Begin The Right Way. Get a qualified consultant who has traveled this road many times. Start with an initial kickoff meeting to set expectations, including an outline of preliminary observations gathered through an interview and site walk-through evaluation process.

2. Make A List; Check It Twice. Based upon the preceding interviews and data gathering, develop and review a list of key requirements for the new system, comprising needs that are distinctive for strategic growth. Create a list of key requirements and key business scenarios. Receive suggestions based upon observations for possible operational efficiencies.

3. Set The Scenarios. Develop key business scenarios as a framework for software demonstrations Unlike most selections that focus exclusively on application capabilities, recognize that businesses rely on the flow of information across departments. Scenarios reflect overall flows from order through fulfillment.

4. Assure Accurate Scenarios. Review the key scenarios with interview participants to assure accuracy.

5. Round Up The Vendor Suspects. Distribute requirements and scenarios to select software vendors. Identify possible solutions based upon experience and software vendor feedback from distribution of requirements. Assure that vendors understand the need to demonstrate the scenarios.

6. Demo That System Please. Participate in vendor demonstrations. Obtain consultant support to help your team in evaluating the potential fit of vendors. Assure that demonstrations are addressing the scenario requirements. Consultant should assist your team to evaluate the best fit.

7. Plan The Implementation. Review the recommended implementation plan. Some negotiation is required at this point.

8. Support Project Management. Have consultant provide interface between your company software implementation team and the vendor. The consultant should support the implementation of best practices.

Final advice

The selection process must put you in control over the software vendor by assuring the proposed solution meets the process scenarios, and the consultant can help maintain that delicate balance of power. A selection process typically can be completed within an eight-to-ten-week window. Utilize consultants that are able to integrate business understanding with the value creation associated with information systems. Make sure the funds are spent on the right things, which translates to software delivery rather than consulting evaluations.

by Campaign Creators

If you are open to a conversation about an ERP system, improving manufacturing workflow, or how our in-depth work style and personality assessment could help your team, including pricing and the science behind the tests, please contact us at 310-453-6556, extension 403.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, and our website:

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2022

David Shaffer, who heads up the full-service business consulting ERP practice at Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, is recognized for his ability to effectively integrate all aspects of the business, including financial management, information systems, infrastructure, and operations. David assists companies from executive strategic planning through operational and business process improvement opportunities to the selection and integration of management information systems solutions. His range of company support includes start-ups through Fortune 500.

In addition to a full-service Business Consulting Division, Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style & personality assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, sales and customer service training, negotiations training, interpersonal communication, stress and time management, and leadership training.

To order the books, Cracking the Personality Code, Cracking the Business Code, and Cracking the High-Performance Team Code, please go to:

Checklist To Create A Hybrid Work Environment Culture

By Patty Crabtree

“I just want everyone back at the office and let’s just get back to normal,” many a business leader has said.

But let’s face facts: the old ways of business will never really happen again. That train has left the station, that ship has sailed.

During the pandemic businesses have been exposed to the possibilities of remote work. Many workers found it to be liberating as they were no longer tied to that commute or the rigid nine-to-five schedule. Now that we have seen what is possible, how can we capitalize on it and develop that world class service?

Here is a surprising statistic: If given the choice between a $30,000 raise or permanently working from home, employees at some of the biggest companies said they would choose the latter. LinkedIn News, citing a survey by professional network Blind, reports 64% of respondents would forgo the extra cash for the remote work benefits. About 67% of Google respondents preferred permanent work-from-home, as well as 64% of Amazon, 62% of Microsoft, 69% of Apple, 76% of Salesforce and 47% of JPMorgan Chase employees.

“I’m not surprised at all,” said Chelsea Jay-Wiltse, a career coach at “The pandemic provided an opportunity for many professionals to reset and rediscover their priorities. Most professionals found working from home provided a better work/life balance, more time with family and friends, and decreased stress levels. Utilizing technology to its fullest extent is the way of the future.”

She offers this prediction: “More employers will need to offer flexible scheduling and remote work options to remain competitive when it comes to attracting talented professionals.”

However, the message we keep hearing at Lighthouse Consulting is businesses want to return to normal, all the peas back in the pod. We are not a fan of this word normal. This word gets thrown around every time something pushes us outside our comfort zone as people crave the known and are afraid of the unknown.

Normal is such a disempowering word. It takes away from the opportunity and encourages things to go to back the same. But a return to normal is just an illusion as our world has changed. With all the opportunities that have occurred, why would someone want to go back to the way things were when there is a possibility of something better?

Déjà Vu All Over Again

Déjà vu is the feeling you have experience something before. For me, I faced this dilemma many years ago as my company faced a staffing crisis. As a small company, our solution was to start building a remote workforce. Through trial and error, we developed a high performing and successful workforce that cultivated a high retention rate of both clients and staff. Our culture of innovation thrived, and collaboration was strong. As profitability increased year over year, we had proof this concept worked.

As more people are vaccinated and the infection rate is decreasing, the talk is about moving back into the office toward that normal. Many leaders are inferring they will demand everyone return to the office while employees are wanting options. Some want to be able to work remotely a few days a week. Others want to work remotely full time.

Managing A Hybrid Workforce Takes Focus

So, how do you balance this desire for a hybrid-work-environment so it supports everyone’s desires?

Managing a hybrid or fully remote workforce takes a different focus. One word I like to use here is intentional. A more intentional focus on the nuances of a diverse work environment is important to continue a healthy, successful workforce.

Here are some aspects to consider as you plan for continuing a hybrid or remote workforce:

  • Culture. How has your culture evolved during this time and how does it need to further evolve to support a hybrid or remote workforce? Do your current core values fit this new environment? Is a fine tuning needed?
  • Communication. Have you established a formal communication plan to ensure all messaging is heard by staff? This would include the types of events that can occur throughout the month, who should be included in the communication and what method the communication is expressed.
  • Strategy. How have your leaders ensured a focus on both short-term and long-term strategy? What is the long-term vision and plan for the company while embracing a hybrid or fully remote work environment?
  • Management. What training has been provided to managers to ensure they effectively supervise the hybrid or remote workers and maintain a high level of productivity and staff retention?
  • Customer Service. How has customer service evolved? Has this been an intentional practice or in the moment solution?
  • Collaboration. How have you encouraged collaboration in a hybrid or fully remote environment? What tools have been put in place to ensure collaboration continues to thrive?
  • Team Building. What hybrid team building activities have been established? Are they scheduled on a regular basis?
  • Training. How has ongoing training evolved to support a hybrid or remote workforce?
  • Flexibility. Is that nine-to-five work environment really the only effective way for your staff to be successful? Is there an opportunity to provide flexible schedules that support company needs along with a healthy work-life balance for your employees?
  • Meetings. What tools have been put in place to facilitate effective meeting and encourage a healthy dialogue?
  • Recognition/Engagement. How has your recognition program evolved to be inclusive of both office and remote workers? What is your engagement plan?
  • Interviewing. What practices have been put in place to support effective remote hiring?
  • Onboarding. Do you have an effective plan to onboard new hires both in the office and remote workers? Does you plan include team building and culture activities?

“The pandemic lockdown only accelerated the work-from-home trend,” says Dennis Consorte, a small business consultant at “In a digital age, commuting is a waste of time for many professions. If you work in retail or construction, then sure, you need to show up to do the work. If facetime is important to company culture, then businesses should consider rotating schedules where staff visits home base once a week. The key is in measuring the value that people provide, rather than the hours they work.”

Consorte says this mindset eliminates concerns over employees who work fewer hours than their peers, because it’s the value they produce that matters, regardless of how long it takes. “Work-from-home rewards workers with hundreds of more hours of personal time each year, making for a better work-life balance, and happier employees produce better results,” he adds.

Developing a successful and lasting hybrid workforce takes building a new muscle. A muscle of enhanced communication, unique team building approaches, leaders driving the conversation and showing the way with a new focus and creating an offering that is attractive to existing and potential employees along with ensuring your customers continue to feel valued.

This is like any new strategic initiative. Being strategic takes planning, focus, communication and accountability to implement and thrive.

If you are open to a conversation about any of these aspects of creating a hybrid work environment culture, please call or email and we will set up a time to talk.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2022

Patty Crabtree is a Senior Consultant at Lighthouse Consulting Services with 25 years of operations and finance leadership experience. Her phone number is 310-453-6556, ext. 410 and her email is

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style & personality assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication, stress & time management, sales & customer service training and negotiation skills as well as our full-service Business Consulting Division.

If you are open to a conversation about how our in-depth work style and personality assessment could help your team, including pricing and the science behind the tests, please contact us at 310-453-6556, extension 403.

For more information, please visit our website, to sign up for our Open Line webinars and monthly Keeping On Track publication or to order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code”, “Cracking the Business Code” and “Cracking the High-Performance Team Code”. If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, & our website:

How to Increase Revenues With Market Research

By Henry DeVries

“As a venture capitalist, I get pitched dozens of times every year, and almost every pitch contains ‘market research’ lies,” says Guy Kawasaki, a Silicon-Valley based author, entrepreneur, and evangelist. “I am often accused of ridiculing market research and focus groups. Guilty as charged.”

Kawasaki says useful market research can help you decide what needs attention, how to select the appropriate issues, and what strategies would address the most pain points where you have the most to gain.

“My mission is to empower entrepreneurs,” says Kawasaki. “For them I advocate real-world market research, a technique practiced by Honda, Walmart, Dupont, and other successful companies that entails sending employees at every level to observe how their products or services are actually used by customers.”

Proven market research involves listening. Chris Stiehl, an independent research consultant who calls himself “The Listening Coach,” has built a career on helping companies really listen to their prospective customers, guests and clients.

“Your prospects are talking, but are you really listening?” asks Stiehl, a human-factors-engineer by training who has worked for the Cadillac division of General Motors, Cisco System, Pacific Gas & Electric, Cisco Systems, and even the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Stiehl and I met when we both taught market research at the University of California San Diego, and then went on to co-author a bestselling book on market research titled Pain Killer Marketing: How To Turn Customer Pain Into Market Gain.

“At Cadillac, we spent about $20,000 on a Voice of the Customer project that saved the company $3 million per year going forward,” says Stiehl, who notes that a lack of listening is not just a North American problem. “We have conducted listening research in India, China, Brazil, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Switzerland, as well as Canada and the United States.”

During the journey, Stiehl and I have identified several myths that are holding companies back.

The Eight Great Myths Of Market Research

Myth # 1: Focus Groups Are The Best Way To Listen. I say down with focus groups, and I have been a focus group facilitator. Focus groups rank as the number one waste of marketing research dollars.

Myth #2: Marketing Research Is Prohibitively Expensive For Most Companies. Many people think marketing research projects cost $25,000 to $50,000, but that is not true. Typically, a small to medium sized company may invest $6,000 to $12,000 in a solid market research study. If the prospect is harder to reach, such as doctors, the price goes up. As Barack Obama said on Twitter in 2013: “If you think education is expensive, wait until you see how much ignorance costs in the 21st century.”

Myth #3: You Cannot Know The Mind Of Customers And Clients. The reality is just the opposite. You must ask and then really listen. If you want to know what customers and clients think, go have conversations with them.

Myth #4: You Need To Survey Hundreds Or Thousands To Really Know. What you really need to do is talk, not survey. A dozen one-on-one interviews will generate as many customer pain points as seven focus groups. The problem with low-cost online surveys is that results are skewed. Surveys have their place, but they must be formulated by listening to interviewees first.

Myth #5: You Have To See People Face-To-Face. In this time of pandemic, the last think you or the interviewee want is to be face to face. Reach out and touch people by phone or by Zoom. Also, these one-on-one interviews by phone or Zoom can be conducted with people in different time zones, something difficult to achieve with focus groups.

Myth #6: Interviews Cannot Go Deep. Actually, interviews allow you to probe. The depth of information obtained for each topic is actually greater in one-on-ones as well, since the moderator or facilitator does not feel the pressure to cover every topic.

Myth #7: The Key Is To find Out How The Customer Or Client Will Gain From Your Product Or Service. Actually, you want to find the pain. Pain beats gain every time. Psychologists and sociologists have repeatedly found that consumers are more motivated to avoid pain than to seek pleasure.

Myth #8: Market Research Is Above Company Politics. Sadly, this is not the case. When it comes to market research you need to skip the politicking. How does a company decide which pain points to address? In most cases, the decisions are political, based upon who claims the loudest.

During conversations with a prospect the goal should be to monopolize the listening. A good rule of thumb is to listen 80 percent of the time and talk 20 percent.

These are the three proven steps for success Stiehl and I have used when it comes to listening carefully and responding appropriately:

Identify the issue. What is on their mind? What is their goal, what assets do they have in place, and what are their roadblocks? Ask questions to find out and listen carefully.

Listen for the prospect’s mindset. This is not about good and bad people; actually, this is about how they view the world at this point in time. Are they a thinker, a doer, a struggler, or an achiever? How do they view similar products or services. Again, ask questions and listen carefully.

Respond in a way that meets what that person wants and needs. To respond appropriately requires matching your language to the mindset of the prospect. Say the appropriate words that the thinker, doer, struggler, or achiever needs to hear. Great market research can help you target the correct messages in your marketing customer service.

Active listening is the skill needed to execute this type of questioning. Active listening involves participating with the customer in the interview. When you have heard them, you must summarize what you have heard to make sure you have heard correctly.

As Tom Peters described in his book Thriving On Chaos, “Listening to customers must become everybody’s business. With most competitors moving ever faster, the race will go to those who listen (and respond) most intently.”

Pain Into Gain Market Research Riddle

Your target prospects experience their own unique frustrations and pains. As the old adage states, “People don’t care what you know, until they know that you care.” Truly identifying your prospect’s predicament tells them that you understand and empathize with them.

How will prospects hire you unless they trust you?
How, in turn, will they trust ideas they have not heard?
How, in turn, will they hear without someone to speak?
How, in turn, will you speak unless you have a solution?
How, in turn, will you have a solution unless you understand their pain?
How will you understand their pain unless you listen carefully?
How will you prove you listened unless you respond appropriately?

When you have conversations with prospects, here are ten starter market research questions you might work into the conversation:

1. Can you describe for me the “ideal” experience with a ____________ (your product or service). How do most compare to this ideal?
2. Can you describe for me a recent time that the experience was less than ideal?
3. What are the three most important aspects of doing business with a___________?
4. If I said a __________ was a good value, what would that mean to you?
5. In what ways does dealing with a _________ cost you besides money (time, hassle, effort, etc.)?
6. What is the biggest pain about working with a _________?
7. Would you recommend a _________ to a friend or colleague? Why, or why not?
8. How does working with a _________ help you save money?
9. What does a _________ do really well?
10. If you had the opportunity to work with a ________ again, would you? Why, or why not?

The magic phrase during in-depth listening sessions is this: “Tell me more.”

The Bottom Line

Finally, all of the internal and external data is combined to direct improvement to the places that can have the maximum impact on the customer relationship—in other words, where you achieve the “biggest bang for the buck.” (Note: This process is often called the House of Quality; see the May-June 1988 edition of the Harvard Business Review).

Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC offers custom market research specializing in understanding customer wants, needs and requirements. We have designed and implemented one-on-one in-depth research studies, surveys and quantitative studies across a similar range of internal (employees) and external (customers) audiences. And sometimes we even conduct focus groups.

These market research services can be parlayed with the other offerings from Lighthouse Consulting Business Practices Division such as talent development, in-depth work style and personality assessments, team building, sales & customer service training & workshops, presentation skills, cyber security, manufacturing workflow, IT strategies, ERP selection and CFO/COO best practices and planning. If you are open to a conversation about this, we are ready to listen to what you have to say.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2021

Henry DeVries is a market research consultant with Lighthouse Consulting Services Business Consulting Division as well as an author and educator. He is the author of 14 books on marketing and writes a weekly marketing column for Henry has a 30-year successful track record of market research projects including business forecasting, in-depth interviews, focus group facilitation and surveys for clients such as Marriott Corporation, San Diego Padres, Foresters, The Fieldstone Company, and the University of California San Diego. Previously he was director of research and president of an Ad Age 500 advertising agency where he doubled billings from $5 million to $10 million in five years. He also served as the chief marketing officer (assistant dean) and marketing faculty member for the University of California San Diego continuing education program, where he helped raise annual non-state (private) revenues from $22 million to $45 million in seven years. On a personal note, he almost won $13,000 on the TV game show Jeopardy!, but did manage to snag $13,000 on Family Feud.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, & our website:

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style and personality assessments for new hires and staff development. Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops on team building, interpersonal communication, stress and time management, leadership training as well as our full-service Business Consulting Division. To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code”, “Cracking the Business Code” and “Cracking the High-Performance Team Code”, please go to


Finding Inspiration During Tough Times

By Dana D. Borowka, MA & Ellen W. Borowka, MA

It’s so easy to get caught up with the news, lack of business, cash flow forecasting, etc. So, we are at a crossroads… do we sit down and ruminate about the dire situation we find ourselves in? Or do we rise higher… together to find answers and inspiration – not only to help our own families, companies, communities but also our nation, our world. This is a unique time where we all are facing the same situation… across the globe. We are all in the same boat. Though for some people… this will hit harder than for others. What do we do? Where do we go? Moving forward also means learning from others. We recently did a Covid-19 poll with our clients and we share those insights as well as some ideas for finding our way during this difficult time.

Moving Forward with Fear

Stewart Emory once said, “The absence of fear is not an option that is available to most people. People are looking for that, but that is just not an option. The difference between people who are really making it in the world and the people who are not is simple: The people who are making it in the world are making it and they have fear.” He then continues, “To go forward we need to make the growth choice. The fear choice is to retreat to comfort and avoid the fear. The growth choice is to take fear as a companion and move ahead. To have a life that is a joyful adventure, we need to be willing to take the risk. Courage is the willingness to be afraid and act anyway.” We can’t eliminate fear, but we can find ways to manage it so we can move forward on to do the things we have to do. We will address fear more later in this article.

Inspiration Leads to Finding Answers

I was raised in both Judaism and Christian Science. What a mix, huh?! Yet both go hand in hand when having to deal with difficult times and finding ideas to keep inspired. I woke up one morning during my high school days wondering what kind of job I should look for during the summer. I had been reading a bible lesson from the Christian Science Church and the topic that week included ideas about supply. One of the bible stories shared was when Jesus fed over 5,000 people. They had gone to hear him speak and share inspiring ideas. They went to get inspiration and insights about their spiritual selves and not for the sake of being fed. As a matter of fact, they had no idea that anyone would feed them… other than filling their need for ideas about God. I was so moved by this idea of gathering ideas for inspiration. The next thing that happened was that my phone rang. It was my Sunday School teacher who worked for her son in the travel industry. They were wondering if I would be interested in being trained to be a tour manager and lead groups across the country. This turned out to be an amazing opportunity to meet a lot of people and to have fun and travel the US and Canada. It was interesting to me how this prospect came about. I was first inspired by what others did when they went to hear Jesus speak and they were fed. When I read and studied this bible passage, I too was fed by fulfilling a human need. It all happened so fast. Insight, inspiration and my summer need for a job was met.

Finding Connection

In today’s time, we all need to turn somewhere for inspiration and ideas whether it’s visiting with friends, support groups, round table, associations, temple or church groups, CE/Key Executive groups such as Vistage. No matter what it is, you want to be around people that can support others and to lift everyone up.

An Invitation

I’d like to invite anyone who would like to join a Wednesday evening Christian Science testimony meeting that is held via Zoom. I just started to attend them and have found so many ideas that have lifted up my spirit. These meetings consist of readings from the Bible and from the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy who founded the religion many years ago as well as some singing and prayer. Half of the meeting is spent with the meeting participants sharing what they have learned during the week from their study of the Bible and through prayer. The ideas are practical and useful filled with lots of take-aways. The meetings are on Wednesdays 7:30 pm PT and only last an hour. If you are interested in attending, please let me know and I’ll get a zoom link to you. See further in the article for more ideas for finding peace.

Ideas for Inspiration

Change is in the Air: It is good time to consider the following quote from Albert Einstein: “The significant problems we have today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.” We need to be receptive to consider how we have done things in the past and when things need to change in order to stay current. Remember the Rolodex cards? Even the good old fashioned light pole is being changed out for the more modern version that does not pollute, uses solar electricity, notifies central headquarters through a wireless device when it needs service, and is quicker and less expensive to install.

A Strategy with Stress: We all need to deal with one key element of miscommunication… stress! If we are just reacting without a strategy or a tactic to execute then we are doing no better than running in circles. Stress or “fear” can cause us to shut down and reduce our capacity to listen. An excellent team exercise to understand how stress manifests within the work environment is to have the team members draw a picture of what each person feels they look like when under stress and write out some key attributes when staff members are under pressure and when they are feeling relaxed. Here are some questions to facilitate a discussion: How do your team members manage stress? Do your team members support each other when under pressure? What would be helpful when under stress? If you’d like us to do a lunch time remote workshop entitled, Thinking Clearly or…Is Stress Getting In Your Way? Please let us know… it’s fun, engaging with lots of take-aways.

Be Like an Ostrich: The old tale that ostriches bury their head in the sand just isn’t true. What they are really doing is resting their heads on the ground which allows them to pick up on vibrations so if a predator is near by they can protect themselves. Ostriches are actually excellent listeners! We all need to be like an ostrich and become outstanding listeners. One way to develop your listening skills is to practice active listening where you paraphrase what you think the other person is saying to you. Another thing to do – listen to your heart and soul for inspiration. You might get some great ideas from that still small voice inside.

Get to Know Who You are Dealing With: Stephen Covey said, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Part of this is to try to understand the people around you. One way to do that is to identify three key traits for each of your team members. Look for commonalities and develop a strategy for how to approach each person in order to communicate in a way that is most effective for everyone.

Create a Communications Plan: Here is a team exercise to focus on communication – briefly answer the following questions:

a. How do you listen… if at all?
b. What are three things that haven’t worked for you when communicating in the past?
c. What are three things that have worked?
d. What would you like your team members to do that they aren’t doing?
e. What are some baby steps to improve your listening and communication style?

Communication and empathy are crucial to developing a successful interpersonal relationship. The more you reach out with a plan in mind that is based on listening and openness, the more ideas will flow to you on how to best manage up and manage down.

We also have a fun workshop on this topic – let us know if you would like to know more about it.

Managing Fear

Fear or stress can feel overwhelming. So, how can we manage it better? The following are some articles on getting a handle on fear, so you can think clearly:

Are You Prepared to Lead the Way – or Has Fear Got Your Focus?

12 Tips on How to Think Clearly and Not Let Fear Control You

Overcoming Fear to Grow by Paul D Walker

Feeling Burdened?

Deeply Prepared People Create Their Own Weather by Larry Wilson

Preparing Your Thought for the Day by Paul D Walker

Finding Peace

Tools for Difficult Times from Unity Church

Temple Menorah

Temple Beth Sholom

The People of the United Methodist Church
First United Methodist Church of Santa Monica


Daily Lift from Christian Science Church

Headspace (meditation app) is offering, for a limited time, free subscriptions to 1) anyone who is unemployed ( and 2) anyone who lives in LA County ( They also have a 2 week trial period.

Calm is also a great app – . They have a variety of meditations on youtube, free resources ( and a trial period.

Lighthouse meditation workshop – We also have a remote meditation workshop. If you would like to talk further about any of these topics, please give us a call.

We hope this helps you to find some peace and support.

Covid-19 Poll – Lessons from our Clients

Finally, we recently took a Covid-19 poll to see what lessons our clients have learned during this difficult time. We would love to hear your ideas too…just email us at Here are some of the responses:

1. What is the most important lesson you or your business learned?

• Our employees care more than we thought and are more loyal than we expected.
• Can’t take any time together for granted. Appreciate all the little things that make us a team.
• Importance of reserves and diversification
• Something we already knew but anchored with the pandemic is the ability to work from anywhere including home. We pivoted almost all if not all of our 4000+ employees to be able to work remotely including call centers within 2 weeks.
• Be Flexible and be ready to adjust at moment’s notice—In other words: Always have a disaster plan in mind
• I can operate much cheaper than I was operating.
• To react quickly. We got the PPP loan because we were first in line. There is no time for procrastination in today’s world.

2. What one thing do you or your business wish had been done differently?

• Laid them off immediately, subject to recall.
• Dealt with employee issues prior to COVID
• Relationship with smaller bank … Wells was not responsive at all to our needs when required.
• I wish the country had not been shut down.
• Wish I had realized how serious this was earlier in the process
• I have never been an early adopter of anything but I wish I had gotten on the Zoom train sooner.
• I wish we had been more prepared for the turnaround time between the PPP loan and furloughing people right afterwards.

3. What one thing did you or your business do that turned out to be a really smart move?

• Struggle, work hard and become debt-free over the past years.
• Managed IT and Cloud services
• Took time to develop personal relationships with customers. Salesmen instructed to avoid discussing business and simply get to know customer on deeper level.
• We kept masks around since day 1 so that when customers come in we can put them on and make the customer feel better.
• Learned to use ZOOM—wish I had stock in them.
• Furloughed staff quickly and then was able to call back for a month with PPP
• Keep marketing through the troughs. There are still plenty of prospects buying.
• We had the right technology to go virtual very quickly. We also added some new things into our days to keep us connected and engaged. For instance, we started a book club and its been a smashing success. We also created a Weekly Work Log so that we could see what people were doing at home and find out what successes they had and what they were struggling with.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2020 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO and Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC with their organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your business”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management. They have over 25 years of business and human behavioral consulting experience. They are nationally renowned speakers and radio personalities on this topic. They are the authors of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” , “Cracking the Business Code” and “Cracking the High-Performance Team Code”. To order the books, please visit

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, extension 403, & our website:

Our Sino-Am Leadership Program helps executives excel when stationed outside their home country. American managers in Asia and Asian managers in America face considerable business, personal, and leadership challenges because of the cultural differences. This unique program provides personal, one-on-one coaching. For more information visit,

We also have an affiliate in the UK who covers all of Europe so we are now a true multi-national company that can support our clients globally.

LinkedIn 4.0 – Learn About Accelerated Connectivity Like Never Before

By Rick Itzkowich

When people ask me how I became the “Rick I – The LinkedIn Guy,” I take them back to 2007. When the recession hit, I was searching. Like most people who originally sign-up for LinkedIn, I wanted to generate new referrals. Connecting on LinkedIn was free so I signed up. But quite frankly I had no idea what to do with it. And I didn’t do anything with it other than invite a few people to join me on it. That was the extent . . . for a while.

Then one day during my BNI – Business Networking International chapter meeting, a member requested an introduction to an individual. Since I didn’t know the person, I wrote down the name. I thought to myself, “Maybe they’re on LinkedIn.” I went back to my office, and I did a search. And sure enough I found him. To my surprise, I not only found him, but I also found that he was connected to two other people that I knew. I asked these individuals if they would be willing to facilitate an introduction. One of them introduced me, and I got my first taste of the awesome power of LinkedIn. The short story is that my BNI colleague ended up doing substantial business with this person, and that’s when the light bulb went on. The purpose of LinkedIn had worked through me in a big way. I began to realize it’s tremendous potential.

Technology is a means to an end—not an end in itself. New technologies emerge all the time. And this can be totally overwhelming. But, there are certain aspects of technology that are allowing us to advance in our networking. LinkedIn is a valuable technology that offers speed and convenience in today’s busy business world. It fosters relationship building and the ability to start conversations with people based on your connection.

LinkedIn gives you insight and visibility into the connections that people who you know have. It offers you this untapped potential that most people do not even know they have available to them. Plus, it helps you organize useful connections for you and those you know.

Here’s an example. Let’s say somebody who wants to meet Mike Smith doesn’t know that I know Mike. But they do a search on LinkedIn, and they find out that Mike is a second-degree connection to me, Rick Itzkowich. They ask, “Hey Rick, I see that you’re connected to Mike. I’ve been trying to connect with him because of his asset protection specialty. Do you know him?”

I can tell that person, “Not only do I know him, he worked on my estate plan. Let me introduce the two of you.” Before LinkedIn, they didn’t know that I know Mike, and I didn’t know they wanted to meet Mike. LinkedIn makes that possible in a very logical and reputable manner.

Now, there are three potential obstacles that need to be acknowledged so that the intention of LinkedIn is not misunderstood. First off, people mistake LinkedIn for a traditional sales channel. They assume that you meet people on LinkedIn to direct sell to them. They think it’s Facebook for business and may engage in an unprofessional manner or use pushy sales tactics. As LinkedIn is all about nurturing relationships and building your credibility and trust with your connections, a direct sales strategy creates ill will.

Another factor to consider is that you do need to spend time on LinkedIn. Not a high volume of time — just putting in 30 to 45 minutes per week can pay off big time. I like to allocate just 10 minutes a day. I might send out five invites to connect and write two recommendations for colleagues over my second cup of morning coffee.

The last obstacle is that there is no LinkedIn guide, and unfortunately there is a ton of noise out there about how to make LinkedIn work.

Let me offer ways to avoid those obstacles: focus on your profile, network, and activities. You need to have an effective profile. Be sure you include a professional head shot and in your profile copy speak to your audience in the first person about what sets you apart in a way that doesn’t read like a resume. Keep your profile complete and up-to-date, as it is your mini sales webpage. You need to build a large diverse network. Send out invitations. Ask for names and add them to your LinkedIn. Discuss LinkedIn so others know to find you there. Your activities need to have some congruency as well as a strategy for growth. If you already did an impressive job of having a thorough profile that actually targets specific things related to what you are wanting to accomplish, complement that by actively staying involved on LinkedIn and clearly speaking to target individuals. This way, others feel like you are real, that they know more about you, and that you know what you are talking about in your industry.

I’ll let two Vistage Chairs tell you in their own words how my LinkedIn guidance worked for them:

“I am in countdown mode for my upcoming event. Of my 31 RSVPs, all but two, are from LinkedIn. Your system rocks and worked perfectly for me, especially since my husband and I have only been in Scottsdale since September. You rocked IT! The referral system and my tenacity with LinkedIn outreach has given me a good start. I am anticipating 20 out of the 31 who signed up. Thank you for introducing your system to me. It’s been a terrific experience.”
Susan Giles Bischak, Vistage Chair

“I did two sessions with 17 referrals and [received] three immediate responses. One appointment for one-hour worth of work. Priceless.”
Tom Rodell, Vistage Chair

These types of results are typical when you have guidance on how to tap into the power of technologies such as LinkedIn. Furthermore, you can link other technologies and find more relationships to foster. With the mindset of a technology-empowered connector, you keep your connections alive through referrals.

In addition, LinkedIn supports trust-building and that’s why it’s effective when it comes to referrals. LinkedIn is used as a first point of referral contact that gives you visibility and reach. For my line of work, when I meet somebody offline, my first action is to send them a LinkedIn invitation to connect. I use LinkedIn to gather some basic information, and then use my invitation and LinkedIn’s messenger to start a conversation. Once we are connected, LinkedIn allows me to be visible to that person’s connections as well as allows me to search for professions connected to my new contact. Essentially, LinkedIn is a giant database that allows you to find more targeted people via a variety of filters. As you can see, if you use LinkedIn effectively, it will give you the opportunity to identify mutual connections and people you want to do business with.

Lastly, LinkedIn’s feature of being able to give people recommendations adds trust. A recommendation on LinkedIn is different from many other places because it can be traced back directly to the individual. If you leave me a testimonial, somebody can click on that and know that you exist. They can read your profile, which gives them confidence that this was a real recommendation, a real testimonial as opposed to one that was made up. In addition, you cannot change a single word of a recommendation or testimonial, which adds validity.

So, it’s not just having your profile up on LinkedIn, but it’s utilizing LinkedIn to the max. I am happy to give you my How to Monetize LinkedIn in 10 Minutes per Day guide at no charge. Click here to download the 15-page PDF or paste this into your browser:

In closing, let’s connect on LinkedIn! Send me an invitation at and feel free to ask me questions.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2020

Rick Itzkowich (It’s-ko-witch), aka “Rick I – The LinkedIn Guy” is a Vistage Chair and founder of 501 Connections, Inc., a San Diego-based business, networking, and referrals coaching company. Rick is a genuine people connector. He helps people bridge the two worlds of face-to-face and online networking. As an official member of the prestigious Forbes Coaches Council and successful entrepreneur, Rick coaches, writes and creates turnkey products that meet today’s demand for tools to increase profits through referrals. His products QuoteActions, Link Power Now and Rock-IT! Referrals have generated millions of dollars in revenue for businesses worldwide.

Rick is a sought-after author and speaker. He presents to a diverse group of sales, networking and professional organizations, and is a regular SCORE® speaker. Internationally his YIKES! LinkedIn workshop earned the Best Speaker Award at the Dubai “You Learn Twit Face” social media conference. As a former CEO and business owner of two successful companies, one manufacturing and the other in professional development, Rick has logged more than 30,000 hours of corporate training. Rick was born and raised in Mexico City. He speaks five languages and has traveled to 43 countries facilitating learning vacations. He resides in La Jolla, California. And, in his spare time Rick plays on a nationally ranked tournament baseball team.

Contact Information: Rick Itzkowich, Vistage Chair, Entrepreneur, Speaker & Author, (858) 456-7653,,, LinkedIn:, Twitter: @thelinkedinguy

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, & our website:

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management.

To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code”, “Cracking the Business Code” and “Cracking the High-Performance Team Code”, please go to

Our Sino-Am Leadership Program helps executives excel when stationed outside their home country. American managers in Asia and Asian managers in America face considerable business, personal, and leadership challenges because of the cultural differences. This unique program provides personal, one-on-one coaching. For more information visit,  We also have an affiliate in the UK who covers all of Europe so we are now a true multi-national company that can support our clients globally.

Creating a Culture Strategy — On Purpose — For Today and Tomorrow

By Suzanne Mayo Frindt & Dwight Frindt – Excerpt from Cracking the Business Code

Is your company culture and your leadership practices designed for success in today’s world?

By Brian Hefele

By Brian Hefele

In the face of unrelenting change and increased complexity of issues facing us in business today, our past based practices and structures may not be sufficient to succeed in this new paradigm. Let’s take a look at how company cultures and leadership must shift to respond powerfully to the circumstances we are currently experiencing.

People don’t really fear change itself; they can become afraid that they won’t be successful in the new paradigm. It is the job of leadership to create conditions, a culture, where people can learn, grow, and adapt to be successful in today’s world.

Change and Change Again

Our world is rapidly shaping in many amazing ways:

♦ As the video, Shift Happens has pointed out to the millions of YouTube viewers who have seen it on the Internet, “We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t exist, who will be using technology we haven’t yet discovered, to solve problems we don’t even yet know about yet” (Shift Happens video, created by Karl Fisch and modified by Scott McLeod).
♦ The quantity of information, its availability, and speed of delivery are increasing at an exponential rate as costs are approaching zero.
♦ The number of people accessing and using this information, and the many ways it is disseminated, has exploded since the advent of personal computers and the Internet — which in turn exponentially speeds up the rate at which new technologies are developed.
♦ Women are stepping into leadership roles at all levels, in diverse venues and in unprecedented numbers all over the world.
♦ Awareness that our global environment cannot continue to withstand a collective human consumption race is spreading quickly.
♦ Our children are being born into and growing up in a world that is so different than the one we grew up in, that it requires a new way of being for them to lead successful lives.
♦ More people over 65 are alive today than have ever lived to that age, so that group will be looking for whole new models for leading healthy, successful lives.

The list of changes that we have already experienced is inexhaustible. And as soon as you read this article, there will be even more changes that have occurred. Accelerated change has become the new normal. At the same time, we hear many clients say “as soon as it slows down or gets back to normal.” Those who think there will be a return to the “good ole days” are in for a great shock.

Our cultures, leadership, and structures have to shift from top down to valuing learning and expanding capacities to problem solve in the face of uncertainty, mining all available wisdom and creativity.

Culture…What’s That?

By rekre89 (Flickr)

By rekre89 (Flickr)

Excellent companies have Financial Strategies, Operational Strategies, Marketing and Sales Strategies, and commensurate Resource Allocation Strategies (including People, Time, Money, Equipment/Assets, etc.). How many companies actually have a Cultural Strategy? Yet all companies have a culture, implicitly if not explicitly. They have been developed on a historical basis and impact productivity, success, and health for generations. And, they can be experienced differently depending on one’s position within the organization.

Our first conversations with executives about Culture and Culture Strategies begin with a definition — a shared definition. Since so much of what comprises a culture is often accidental and somewhat invisible, some people have a hard time accepting that there is one, or that it can be defined or even changed.

Once we work through a few of the definitions below, most CEOs and executives agree they do have a definite culture. Then comes the question of whether it is the most productive culture given their purpose, values, and the changes we are experiencing every day.

A company culture can be defined as:

♦ A cognitive framework consisting of attitudes, values, behavioral norms, and expectations. (Greenberg and Baron, 1997)
♦ The collective thoughts, habits, attitudes, feelings, and patterns of behavior. (Clemente and Greenspan, 1999)
♦ The pattern of arrangement, material, or behavior, which has been adopted by a society (corporation, group, or team) as the accepted way of solving problems. (Ahmed et al., 1999)
♦ Includes the organizational values, mission, norms, working language, systems, beliefs, and habits. It is also the pattern of such collective behaviors that are taught to new organizational members as a way of perceiving and even thinking and feeling. (Wikipedia)
♦ A set of shared mental assumptions that guide interpretation and action in organizations by defining appropriate behavior for certain situations. (Ravasi and Shultz 2006)

From this collection of definitions of culture, it becomes clear that a group or an organization’s culture is foundational to the success or failure of all other strategies, and yet little, if any attention, is consciously placed on the care and feeding of a productive culture. It is the invisible glue that binds together ever more diverse workforces, including people from many cultures and generations. Since it is invisible, most executives are not conscious of culture or of the implications of their decisions on the development of, or the degradation of, culture. Organizations in a high growth or acquisition mode are at a high risk of failure due to culture clashes. It is very unusual for us to see organizations that understand the criticality of this dimension of an acquisition, or adding lots of employees in a short period of time. Without a clear and intentional culture strategy, along with the allocation of resources to be sure that it is communicated and very well understood and incorporated into every day business interactions, the culture is drastically impacted by whatever the acquisition brought with them, or what the large numbers of employees bring with them. The sad reality is that productive organizational cultures often suffer a demise due to an unconscious neglect by leadership.

What people often complain about is usually a description of the unproductive aspects of the culture, at least from their perspective. We have heard from executives: lack of accountability, defensiveness, competitiveness at the expense of the company, or customer outcomes. In an organizational 360 tool that we use, we have heard from the workforce: micro management, lack of trust, no clear direction, compensation, and reward systems that emphasize individual results rather than company success. This was all within the same company!

Many organizations that we have encountered through our leadership development firm, 2130 Partners, have had what we call “accidental” cultures. Perhaps it was generated initially by a founder entrepreneur, mirrors other cultures in the same industry, or was created by a particular hiring practice or compensation structure. Nonetheless, most cultures develop by accident.

Cultures can be designed on purpose, and existing productive cultures can be maintained and enhanced intentionally.

Leadership — Replacing Commands with Vision

In this evolving new reality, successful leadership will have a very different nature than traditional approaches.

By Aadi Sing

By Aadi Sing

It was quite different to be a leader in simpler economic times and when the world moved at a slower pace with less connectivity. There were successful models and practices in place as well as more easily identifiable and attainable goals. Patterns of entitlement offered at least the illusion of security, and there was more time and predictability in producing results. However, now — when previous business models and assumptions have been turned on their heads, when people’s livelihoods are changing and disappearing regularly, and when successful businesses are being transformed for the new realities — the leadership required is radically agile, proactive, and creative.

Leaders who will be effective in this time of incredible opportunity are those that lead as if they are in a dance with reality — that is, they look to create exciting new paradigms, processes, and even companies based on creating the next game while being responsible for the current and unfolding global economy. They are not simply waiting until the economy gets back to normal or using past experiences to map out current pathways. Being in a dance demands conversations appropriate to dancing. Think about it — when you get out on the dance floor, do you tell your partner, “I need these four steps from you in the next minute, followed by a repetitive pattern until I tell you otherwise”? If you have done that, perhaps you have found that it leaves you with very few dance partners. How then do you engage with others in this new reality?

We call the management model we use to replace the old “command-and-control” paradigm, Vision-Focused Leadership, which is an approach grounded in shared vision and built through collaboration.

Vision: A mental image produced by the imagination

Vision-Focused Leadership as a mental model shows how thinking, listening, speaking, and actions — most importantly those that you employ to lead others — are focused and informed by a shared vision. Focusing on your shared vision allows you to make choices; orient your creativity, energy, and resources; and correlate your thoughts and actions and the actions of people working with you on your shared intention. In the absence of shared vision, it is easy to become victims of or be distracted by circumstances, worries, and fears, and to react based on instant, automatic, unconscious, and unexamined thoughts, beliefs, and judgments stored in your mind. Without necessarily realizing it, the past winds up driving your bus.

When we talk about leadership here, our intention is to stress that leader- ship can be evoked anywhere in an organization — that is, every person can exhibit leadership qualities, no matter what his or her job description may be.

If you and your team members have done a good job developing and sharing the vision, then creating powerful actions will flow much more naturally. People will be able to individually source their ideas, actions, and interactions from the shared vision. If you replace commands with shared vision and broaden the source and responsibility for creativity to the entire team, you will maximize creativity, ownership, collaboration, and velocity in fulfilling the shared vision.

We use the term “Yonder Star” to include shared vision, goals, objectives, and strategies to obtain it. It can be applied at any level from a strategic corporate vision to your vision for the outcomes you intend to produce in a single conversation or meeting. The Yonder Star is the ideal, out in front of you and up above the path you are currently traveling, that provides a common focus and inspires your actions. Rather than hanging onto sacred past-based activities and processes (i.e., “what did we do and how did we do it last year?”), priorities, plans, and milestones are designed from a focus on the Yonder Star. From this mind-set, actions are prioritized by their value in fulfilling the Yonder Star. All members of the team are inspired to explore their own integration of the goal with their passion to contribute and the specific role their work will play in its fulfillment.

From shared dedication to the overall outcome, a pervasive attitude of “I’ve got your back” naturally develops within each member of the team. Dissent, one-upmanship, and agendas fueled by self-interest tend to fade to the background.

Collaboration Requires

Connection, Alignment, and Focus

Yonder Star clipartThis graphic is our shorthand illustration of this notion. Here we show a group of people who are interacting from a solid foundation of mutual trust, respect, and safety to reach their mutual Yonder Star. In this case, a collection of aligned Yonder Stars, shown in a stack of different sizes, depicts the many intermediate goals that lie between your current situation and fulfillment of your Yonder Star. To sort out which actions will be most productive on your route to your Yonder Star, look back from your fulfilled Yonder Star and ask, “What’s missing in our current reality that, if we work on it, will accelerate fulfilling our Yonder Star?” From your list, determine the decisions and actions that will be most leveraged in closing the gap. By leveraged, we mean the actions that produce the greatest impact while requiring the fewest resources and taking the least amount of time to accomplish. Get started, monitor results, recalibrate with new position updates, and continue on your path or make adjustments as necessary to stay on course.

Collaboration — New Ways of Working Together

As we go forward, those who lead will be the ones taking advantage of the creativity and productivity gains available by focusing on the human, collaborative dimension, while laggards will suffer in the face of unrelenting change.

The extremely affordable, and nearly instant, access to vast amounts of information and ways of interacting with whole communities that are becoming available, combined with a productive attitude toward change and the new realities it brings, creates huge opportunities for you and your leadership. However, leading effectively will require a new mind-set to unleash potential and creativity and to capitalize on opportunities.

The challenges lie in strengthening your ability to choose the direction, form the goals, and then communicate and enroll others so that you build groups and organizations that can collectively navigate shifting realities. This means improving your ability to communicate, work together collaboratively, and lead others to do so as well. If you learn how to identify and utilize the navigational guides to traversing this uncharted territory, you will experience higher productivity, more rapid innovation, and greater organizational agility. Additionally, responsiveness to the needs of customers and other stakeholders in the organization and more rewarding relationships will become something you can rely upon.

Building Collaborative Capital — It Begins with Me

To effectively change our outer reality requires being willing to shift our inner reality.

Today, talented, educated people who know how and are motivated to work interactively with each other are the key to success for more and more businesses. This new collaborative approach means many more minds are put to work on the opportunities and challenges facing us whether in business, in our organizations, or even in our families.

When we were born, we came equipped with the most powerful computers on earth (although Shift Happens cites projections that the quantitative computing power of a supercomputer will pass that of the human brain by the year 2013). These innate computers serve us well in producing new ideas and dynamic solutions — as we can see in all that has happened just in the past twenty years of technological growth. The core thought processes that guide our reactions and interactions were mostly loaded into your brain and ours when we were children and have been chugging along ever since, functioning as an unconscious and unexamined operating system.

Don’t change the world, change worlds…starting with your own.
Adapted from St. Francis of Assisi, Catholic patron saint of animals and the environment

Being able to think in new ways requires challenging the very basis of your own thinking — your self-concept, worldview, and automatic ways of interacting with others.

What Is a Productive Culture Anyway?

By Anne Davis (773 Flickr)

By Anne Davis (773 Flickr)

We don’t use terminology such as “good” or “bad” cultures, which is a binary and simplistic assessment. We consider the organization’s purpose, or vision and mission to determine if the existing culture supports the achievement of that purpose while calling forth the best from the people within the organization. Does it call forth high performance and productivity on a sustainable basis? Does it reward Self-Generated Accountability and Productive Dialogue? Does it foment gossip, jealousy, politics, CYA, or individual success over company success?

What is productive in a culture is what people are proud of about their company or their work. When shared values are demonstrated and memorialized in great stories, people tell about “the time when…”

What If You Created a Learning Culture?

A Learning Culture is one where the individuals and teams consciously invest in growing and developing themselves. In a Learning Culture, executives are conscious and purposeful about the impact of decisions and strategies on the fabric of cultural development. There is a purposeful focus on reducing friction and waste in communications and developing productive working relationships. People know there is an expectation for growing and learning. Hiring decisions are made with an interest in an individual’s ability to learn, adapt, grow, and shift outdated mental models, as much as their past-based, functional experience. An atmosphere of curiosity, forward thinking and ‘how can we learn from this’ thinking permeates. It becomes the foundation or platform on which everything else is built.

What Are The Payoffs of a Learning Culture?

For an organization, this type of culture provides much more innovation, creativity, flexibility, agility, and expedited problem solving capabilities. It also affects retention and even hiring decisions of individuals in the firm.

For individuals, it provides opportunities for learning and growth; enhancing marketability and value to this or other organizations. It also provides forums to be challenged, to add value, and to contribute at a high level. Some CEOs have actually expressed concern that growing their people will make them more vulnerable to their best people leaving. However, if looked at from the individual’s perspective, why would they leave unless they have fully used up the growth opportunities where they are right now? Why would someone leave a position where their value and contribution are recognized, supported, and rewarded?

How Can We Develop a Learning Culture?

There are many books and articles about learning organizations including work by Senge and Argyris that explain in depth about the what and how of learning organizations. Our 2130 methodology (and terminology adaptation in some instances) ties to the 5 aspects of a learning organization that are generally accepted by leadership “gurus” as follows:

1. Systems Thinking: Understanding how things influence each other as a whole. Our view is that executives and organizational leadership are accountable to the entire organization and all stakeholders for this larger view. This includes strategy development, planning, implementation, review, and adjustment. This is a level above what most executives contribute on a day-to-day basis from their functional expertise (Finance, Operations, Sales, Marketing, HR, etc.). In addition to a responsibility for systems thinking on an individual executive basis, it is also critical that the entire executive team itself operate as a productive, learning system. Most organizations develop a Vision statement, Mission, and Values that constitute the overall framework, (we call it the ‘Yonder Star’), and then on a regular basis develop strategies, initiative, goals, and actions in the dimensions of finance, operations, marketing, sales, resource allocation, and to a lesser degree, culture. Our methodology, “Vision-Focused Leadership” is designed to support systems thinking. We work with top executives — the CEO, President, or entrepreneur — in a trusted advisor or executive coaching assignment to create a learning culture. We also work with the team of top executives to support the development of and focus on all the strategies required to be successful. Our Operating Principles create a platform for a productive, learning culture with the executive leadership team and then the entire organization.

By Gerd Altmann

By Gerd Altmann

2. Shared Vision/Values: “A vehicle for building shared meaning” from Peter Senge’s Fifth Discipline. Unfortunately, this often looks more like the version from Dilbert: “A long meaningless statement that proves management’s inability to focus.” Over the last 20+ years we have worked with organizations to develop Vision, Mission, and Values using our “Vision-Focused Leadership” methodology. Leadership gurus have been espousing for at least two decades the value of a shared vision to focus and align resources. Absent a shared vision, individual agendas rule the day and gaining personal power becomes a major executive focus. Shared Vision/Values encourage a learning culture by emphasizing the gaps toward our Shared Vision/Values, what is missing and what is next, versus what is wrong from the past.

3. Productive Mental Framework: We talk about busting mental barriers, increasing mental agility, and increasing capacities to deal with the unrelenting pace of change and increased complexity of issues facing leadership today. It requires skills at reframing for ourselves and others, and developing focus in chaos and high emotional states. Past-based arrogance and rigidity undermine productive cultures. It is critical to become aware of our blind spots and biases to be able to think clearly in the present to make the best decisions in a complex business environment. We use our Operating Principles and Essential Notions, developed and validated over the past 20 years to help build a learning culture platform and equip leaders and man- agers with the mental and collaborative skills needed in today’s world.

4. Personal Mastery: This is the commitment of every person in the organization to improve, develop, and challenge themselves to be more than they are today, and to proactively challenge themselves inside a framework of contribution and collaboration. Individuals who insist on status quo and structural barriers to communication usually self-select out of a Learning Culture. In our book, Accelerate: High Leverage Leadership for Today’s World, we say that when individuals develop themselves they have increased their collaborative capacities. We will get older automatically, however to grow as we age requires a conscious choice. In our work, we describe conscious choice as the Leadership Choice Point. Every moment of every day presents an opportunity for choice. Will I relate to the world around me, the circumstances of my life as the defining parameters, or will I choose to use the circumstances as an opportunity to grow toward the Yonder Star?

5. Team Mastery: In addition to individual learning and development, organizations must realize that groups of people, (of any size of two or more), creates yet another “entity” with its own dynamics and productivity levels. Two or more people, who may be very developed individually, when put together in a group or team may not be as productive together as the sum of their individual productivity. The question becomes: will we synergize our efforts where 1+1=3 or more, or will we diminish productivity potential with friction and waste to make 1+1=1.5 or less? There are numerous examples of sports teams that have all “star” players, yet a team of “average” players can beat them because of the way the average players have developed their team effectiveness. The sum of what the players produce together is much greater than adding up individual skills — and so it is for organizational groups and teams. There are group skills and developmental opportunities that build on, yet are distinct from individual capacities. When groups develop these capacities we call that increasing their collaborative capital.

So What Will You Do Now?

1. Take stock of your culture. What are the stories being told about your organization by employees, clients, and vendors? What stories would you like to be told? What attributes of this powerful, invisible platform are important to you? Where are the gaps? What will you commit to taking on, challenging the status quo, and BEING as an example of the cultural aspect you are committed to developing? (We use an online organizational assessment to gather objective and confidential data to understand the present condition in an organization).

By Skeeze (Pixabay)

By Skeeze (Pixabay)

2. What cultural “artifacts” do you have in place? (We call the collection of these items, all on one page, your Strategic Focus.)
a) Compelling Vision, Mission, and Shared Values (We also use our Operating Principles as a key piece of culture definition because they are design principles for productive conversations.)
b) Business strategy that fulfills the Vision and Mission
c) Bold Goals that clearly take ground toward the strategy and mission, and are consistent with your vision and values

3. Is your Leadership and management team aligned behind #2 above?

4. Has your Strategic Focus been clearly communicated? Does your team know how to communicate it to their folks?

5. Are your departmental and individual goals lined up with the Mission, Vision, and Strategy?

If you are missing any of the above, fill in the missing pieces immediately! If your Vision or Mission statements are a paragraph long or no one remembers them anymore, throw them out! Vision and Mission statements have a positive influence on culture only when they really “live” inside the hearts and minds of people in the organization. It is not a job for the marketing department or your PR firm to “word smith.” It is the role of leadership to capture and communicate and nurture the Vision and Mission and Values. Each executive and management team member must be willing to have their leadership and management practices be guided by these major cultural influencers you create. When the actions or practices of people in management positions are contrary to what have been espoused as values and the mission then there is a huge disconnect for individuals in the organization, resulting in cynicism and resignation.

If you need help, consider hiring a professional facilitator to work with you and your leadership team to help define the existing reality, clearly define each aspect of your Strategic Focus and identify the gaps. Accomplish this first, before working with the balance of your organization, to develop thinking and behaviors consistent with a learning culture and self-generated accountability.

Above all, keep growing and learning and Accelerate your Leadership.

If Leadership is not consciously strategizing, designing, and developing culture, what is left to form it? Culture exists and is alive in the stories employees, (and vendors and customers), tell about what it is like to work there, how people get treated, how to get ahead, whom to hold your tongue around, whom to please, whether merit or seniority count to a greater extent, what happens if you are ill, what are the opportunities for development, promotion, raises, learning. What stories are being told about your company? What stories would you like to be hearing? How does leadership affect those stories? What are the payoffs? These are the questions to ask to get conscious about the affect of your culture.

by Devanath (pixabay)

by Devanath (pixabay)


Accelerate: High Leverage Leadership for Today’s World by Suzanne and Dwight Frindt – to order go to

“Developing a Corporate Culture as a Competitive Advantage” by Golnaz Sadri and Brian Lees .

Peter Michael Senge is an American scientist and director of the Center for Organizational Learning at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is known as author of the book The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization (originally 1990, new edition 2006).

Chris Argyris is an American business theorist, Professor Emeritus at Harvard Business School, and a thought leader at Monitor Group. He is commonly known for seminal work in the area of “Learning Organizations.”

Suzanne Frindt is a co-founder and principal of 2130 Partners, an executive leadership development and education firm that launched in 1990. She is also a recognized speaker on the topics of Vision-Focused Leadership™ and Productive Interactions™, speaking to organizations around the world. She is also a Group Chair for Vistage International, Inc. an organization of CEOs and key executives dedicated to increasing the effectiveness and enhancing the lives of more than 12,000 members. Each month she facilitates groups in Orange County, California, and Seattle, Washington, while also regularly contributing entrepreneurial creativity and management experience to several companies through service on their advisory boards.

Dwight Frindt is also a co-founder and principal of 2130 Partners. Since 1994, Dwight has been a Group Chair for Vistage International facilitating groups of CEOs and senior executives. He has received many performance awards for his work at Vistage and in 2009 Dwight became a Best Practice Chair and began mentoring the Chairs in the South Orange County area. Since then he has added two additional Best Practice Chair regions; the Puget Sound and the Greater Pacific Northwest. In 2011 Dwight received the Best Practice Chair of the Year Award – Western Division. Combining his work with 2130 Partners and Vistage, Dwight has facilitated more than 1,000 days of workshops and meetings, and has logged well over 13,000 hours of executive leadership coaching. In addition to working in the for-profit world, Dwight and Suzanne are very committed to working with non-profits and have been investors and activists with The Hunger Project for many years. To reach them, please visit

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2016 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, & our website:

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement. To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code” please go to

We recently launched a new service called Sino-Am Leadership to help executives excel when stationed outside their home country. American managers in Asia and Asian managers in America face considerable business, personal, and leadership challenges because of the cultural differences. This unique program provides personal, one-on-one coaching. For more information visit,

To Be In The Right Place At The Right Time – Think Like a Weirdo!

By Dana Borowka – Excerpt from the book, Cracking the Business Code

If you or your team members are going to be sitting down for a management meeting soon, ask yourself – who is the oddest and most unusual thinker on your team… who comes up with the most fantastic ideas? Those are the weirdos in your group. One definition of a “weirdo” is one that is odd, unusual and fantastic… even a bit magical or mystical. It’s those who upset the apple cart and watch the apples roll down the street and observe the flow. Maybe it’s even the person who sees how the market place is shifting and gets everyone upset. Or the individual who has an idea on how to improve the work flow that causes everyone to pause and then reply, “We can’t do that!” Yet that idea might save 10 catching ideasseconds of time in processing orders. This multiplies out to saving 800,000 seconds a year for a department or 13,333 hours annually, which could equate to $250,000 – 500,000 of hard earned money saved… all due to the weirdo. Now that is weirdness at its best!

Upsetting the Apple Cart

No longer do we have boxes to think outside of! Our goal is to create the next new whatever – to help those we work with to not only improve but inspire coolness in our lives. Whether your organization is a service-based financial firm or manufacturing operation – we all need to do whatever it takes to help one another in reaching our market place.

Here are some questions to consider for your team:

♦ What does it take to keep ongoing business and grow market share?
♦ What is the first step to take to start those proverbial apples rolling?
♦ Are you and your team being intuitive and what the heck does that mean anyway?
♦ What are we hearing:
— From our market place?
— From staff members?
— From colleagues, friends, others?
♦ How do we know if we are listening to what is being said?

The answer:

It takes creativity that will affect the approach and the execution. We want to create an environment of thinkers as opposed to organizations filled with silo individuals that respond with – “I can’t do that!”. The days of silo thinking are long gone. That type of thinking came about from attempting to build a machine we called “homogenizing customer service”. That is one way to lose business overnight!

Having the “Can Do” Attitude

Recently, I was in contact with an organization that kept telling me they can’t accept bulk orders – they could only take one order at a time. I really wanted this product so I kept climbing the laddercalling back and finally found a true go getter – “a weirdo”. This individual had the “can do” attitude. Due to the organizational structure this person worked in and against all odds, we found a work around! Later, I spoke to the supervisor and wrote a note to the organization about what had taken place. I received a wonderful note back from the CEO who shared how appreciative they were for the ideas I shared. For them to be in the right place at the right time, all they needed to do was to listen. Now they have an opportunity to approach a huge market place that they had never thought of before. Yet – if I had not been so persistent, they would never have known nor thought about how they were closing off a source of revenue. Not only the revenue but they were also missing out on sharing a product with others who would truly appreciate it. Don’t miss out on sharing your services and products due to a lack of listening. You and your organization should be thriving with your heart, mind and soul in the right place – at the right time. All it takes is to listen and then to execute through the creativity that is all around you right now.

For additional ideas on this topic, you can read more in Chapter 10 in our book, Cracking the Personality Code.

Be a Trend-Setting Weirdo!

What brings a company to life is a creative approach where ideas are contributed and fulfill the vision of the organization. Creativity will guide your organization to go with the flow of an ever-changing market – it will provide ideas for bringing your service or product to the market place and to stay ahead of the pack. It will produce a fun and exciting environment for the refinement of processes, services, sales, marketing, accounting, production, QC and every department in your organization. So, go ahead and be a trend-setting weirdo!

We’d love to hear from you about this topic – please email us at

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2016

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and his organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. They also have a full service consulting division that provides domestic and international interpersonal coaching, executive onboarding, leadership training, global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training, operational productivity improvement, 360s and employee surveys as well as a variety of workshops. Dana has over 25 years of business consulting experience and is a nationally renowned speaker, radio and TV personality on many topics. He provides workshops on hiring, managing for the future, and techniques to improve interpersonal communications that have a proven ROI. He is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, & our website:

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires and staff development, team building, interpersonal and communication training, career guidance and transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

We recently launched a new service called Sino-Am Leadership to help executives excel when stationed outside their home country. American managers in Asia and Asian managers in America face considerable business, personal, and leadership challenges because of the cultural differences. This unique program provides personal, one-on-one coaching. For more information visit,

How to Take Your Company’s Attitude to the Next Level

By Boaz Rauchwerger

In my nearly 30-year career as a professional speaker, with many events for groups of CEOs throughout North America, I’ve noticed that there’s something different about companies that achieve great success.torch bizwoman


It all comes down to ATTITUDE. The culture of highly successful companies exemplifies an above-average can-do attitude that makes them leaders in their field.

In my opinion, attitude is not part of the thing, it’s not the majority, it’s EVERYTHING! John D. Rockefeller, the founder of the family fortune, said, “I’d much rather hire someone with a great attitude than someone with more degrees than a thermometer who has no clue.”

So, if your company doesn’t have an above-average, positive, can do attitude, here are some ideas of how to integrate this concept into your culture.


This is a very powerful word that, when used with people in the outside world with enthusiasm, sets a premise that says your company is doing great! I teach people, when someone from the outside asks, “How’s business?” that they answer with, “UNBELIEVABLE!” Do so with enthusiasm and everyone will give you the benefit of the doubt and think you’re doing great.

The words ‘super’, ‘fine’, and ‘terrific’ are all at one level. UNBELIEVABLE is at a higher level. And, when the other person asks, “Is it really going that good?” simply respond by saying, “All I can say is that it’s UNBELIEVABLE!” The majority of people will walk away and spread good rumors about you because they’ll judge that you must be doing great!

Who does that word affect the most? The person saying it because of the positive response from others. I would suggest that you ask everyone in your company, whenever communicating with someone on the outside, to use UNBELIEVABLE when people ask how business is going.


How about changing the way your employees see your company? Whether you have a handful of employees or hundreds, why not give everyone the idea that you’re all working at an INNOVATION FACTORY?

Psychologically, you no longer produce widgets. Your main product, from now on, is INNOVATION. New ideas. Isn’t that what a championship lighting manteam does? A championship team is constantly coming up with new ways to do things, better designs, and new products.

This idea can be easily implemented by getting a banner produced, at a place like FedEx Office, that reads: “Welcome to Your Innovation Factory”. Post that banner in the lobby of your company or wherever everyone can see it every day. Announce to your employees that, from now on, you’re going to reward new ideas that you end up implementing. What if someone comes up with a great idea that can lead to better products, improved services, or higher profits?


This is another sign that can take your company’s attitude to the next level. Have these words, in large type, placed on an 8 ½ x 11 piece of paper, with your company’s logo at the top. Then have signs printed with these words, and your logo, on very bright yellow paper. Yellow and black have a great contrast and get everyone’s attention.

Then laminate several dozen of these signs, using heavy lamination, and post them throughout your company. At the entrance, in hallways, in everyone’s cubicle, on the doorpost of your office, at the entrance of meeting rooms. Ask everyone, when they see one of the signs, to just touch it.

Something positive will happen in everyone’s subconscious mind when they do that. Make sure that people see you touching your sign on the doorpost of your office. If visitors ask about the signs, offer to give them a few to take back to their company. Because you’ve used heavy lamination, they will not think to make their own. They will post your sign, with your company logo, in their office. This is great advertising!


Get copies of the following two books and place them on everyone’s desk: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie and “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill.

woman readingBoth of these books, international best-sellers for many years, were written in 1935 and are still very applicable today. The Carnegie book, in my opinion, is the best personal development, attitude, creating great relationships book ever. The Hill book is actually an attitude book. It describes the attitudes of some of the most successful people in America and what made them achieve great success.

As I said, place copies of these two books on everyone’s desk, including yours, and don’t ask anyone to read them. Say the following, “There’s no need to read these books. I would just appreciate if you keep them on your desk.” What do people do when you tell them not to do something? Yes, they will end up reading and your company will benefit greatly. Just seeing them everywhere will positively affect people.

Then, when you start company meetings, say the following: “I was reading a page in the Dale Carnegie book that I thought was interesting. I’d like to read it out loud and then ask each of you to comment.” Read a page and then ask everyone to comment. Don’t ask for volunteers. Just start on one side of the room and go around. This exercise will tell everyone that YOU are reading the books.


One thing that is very harmful to a company’s great attitude is a negative, false rumor circulating among your employees. I suggest Monday morning pep rallies, no more than 30 minutes, where you squash any false rumors.

Play some upbeat music ahead of these weekly meetings and introduce any new employees who joined the company in the past week. Ask pep rallythose employees to bring some pictures from home so everyone can get to know them better. This will make them feel important.

Let people know about the challenges of the past week and, with more emphasis, report enthusiastically about the good things that happened in the past seven days. Compliment people who have gone the extra mile and make a big deal about it. This will make people feel important.

So, let’s summarize the action steps that will take your company’s attitude to the next level:

  1. Use the word “UNBELIEVABLE” when people ask how your business is doing.
  2. Create a “Welcome to Your Innovation Factory” banner and post it where everyone will see it every day.
  3. Create the “Every Day I Play Like a Champion” signs and post them throughout your offices.
  4. Get copies of the Carnegie and Hill books for everyone at your company and ask them to keep them on their desks.
  5. Have a Monday morning pep rally where you let people know what’s going on and recognize people who go the extra mile.

As John D. Rockefeller said, “Attitude is everything!” These ideas can take your company’s attitude to the next level. Let’s get started!

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014

Inspiration and Techniques for Building Championship-Level Performance – Lighthouse clients have one thing in common – all are committed to boosting the performance of their organizations. So, we are pleased to introduce our clients and friends to Boaz Rauchwerger — speaker, trainer, author and consultant. We highly recommend Boaz to you. Ask him to deliver one of his inspirational programs at your next executive retreat or strategic planning session.

One of our favorite Boaz programs is “Playing Like a Championship Team Every Day”. It helps you build on the strengths of everyone’s individual differences. This program helps you discover five steps to get everyone to join the building crew and resign from the wrecking crew. This is a very powerful and inspirational program that receives rave reviews every time.

• Master five techniques to inspire others to perform like champions
• Six recognition techniques including the powerful “good finder” program
• Learn four ways that your team can gain a competitive advantage
• Identify the three prerequisites for maximizing the team’s results
• Learn the two forms of keeping a daily score so everyone wins

Who is Boaz? Over a 30-year span, Boaz, author of The Tiberias Transformation – How To Change Your Life In Less Than 8 Minutes A Day, has conducted thousands of seminars internationally on goal setting and high achievement. He has taught over half a million people how to supercharge their lives, their careers and how to add Power to their goals. His innovative program, for individuals and corporations, is a simple and highly effective process for high achievement. He was voted Speaker of the Year by Vistage, an international organization of CEOs and business owners.  How to Contact Boaz – Want more information on Boaz’s Power Program, including “Playing Like a Championship Team Every Day”? Just click here and we’ll be in touch.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, & our website:

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”, please go to

We are in Forbes!

forbes imageWe have exciting news to share!

Forbes just ran one of our articles entitled, How Robots Will Change the Future of Marketing.

Please feel free to pass it along for those that you feel could benefit from the information. You can also read the article in full on our website here.

The Genius Within

By Dr. David Hawkins, M.D. Ph.D. – Excerpt from the book, Power Vs. Force

Recognized geniuses may be rare, but genius resides within all of us. There’s no such thing as “luck” or “accident” in this cosmos; and not only is everything connected to everything else, no one is excluded from the universe – we’re all members. Consciousness, like physicality, is a universal reaching for litequality; because genius is a characteristic of consciousness, genius is also universal. It follows that that which is universal is available to each and every person.

The process of creativity and genius are inherent in human consciousness. Just as every human has within himself the same essence of consciousness, so is genius a potential that resides within everyone – it simply waits for the right circumstance to express itself. Each of us has had moments of genius in our lifetimes, perhaps only known to ourselves or to those close to us. We suddenly make a brilliant move or decision, or say exactly the right thing at the right moment, without quite knowing why. Sometimes we might even like to congratulate ourselves for these fortuitous events, but in truth we really don’t know where they came from.

Genius is often expressed through a change of perception – a modifying of context or paradigm. The mind struggles with an unsolvable problem, poses a question, and is open to receive an answer. The source that this answer comes from has been given many names, varying from culture to culture and time to time; in the arts of Western civilization, it’s traditionally been identified with the Greek goddesses of inspiration called the Muses. Those who are humble and grateful for illumination received tend to continue to have the capacity to access genius; those who credit the inspiration to their own ego soon lose this capacity or are destroyed by success. High power, like high voltage, must be handled with respect.

Genius and creativity, then, are subjectively experienced as a witnessing; it’s a phenomenon that bypasses the individual self or ego. The capacity to finesse genius can be learned – though often only through painful surrender – when the phoenix of genius arises out of the ashes of despair after a fruitless struggle with the unsolvable. Out of defeat comes victory; out of failure, success; and out of humbling, true self-esteem.

One of the problems in attempting to understand genius is that it takes near-genius to recognize it. The world frequently fails to identify genius altogether; society often gives acclaim to its work without noting the intrinsic genius of its creation itself. Until one acknowledges the intrinsic genius within oneself, one will have great difficulty recognizing it in others – we can only acknowledge without what we realize within. For example, Mikhail Gorbachev was the subject of enormous worldwide attention, but at the same time, the world never really did acknowledge his genius: Single-handedly, and in only a few short years, he completely revolutionized one of the greatest empires on Earth, and his only sources of power were his inspiration and vision. (Had the communist regime been based on power, nothing could have overturned it; because it was based on force, it was destined to come to an end under the hand of a charismatic leader who was aligned with power.)

Genius is one of the greatest untapped resources of our society. It’s no more specific than it is personal – people of genius frequently have multiple talents in different realms, and they might have answers to a diversity of problems. Yet society suffers a great loss because it doesn’t know how to nurture its geniuses, and in fact is often either indifferent or hostile to them. This is unfortunate, for they characteristically don’t cost much to maintain. The lifestyle of those we term genius is typically simple, and they’re seldom interested in money or fame. Genius is characterized by an appreciation for resources and the economy of integrity, because the genius values life and sees the intrinsic worth of all of its expressions. Since time and resources are considered precious, doing more than is necessary is viewed as a waste; therefore, people of genius often lead very quiet lives and usually only come forth, very reluctantly, when there’s a cause that must be supported.

painting your wayBecause they are in touch with an endless source of supply, geniuses experience only a minimum of want (such simplicity seems a common characteristic of true success in general) – for there’s no need to “get” when you already “have”. The basis of this nonmateriality, this seeming naïveté, is a radical understanding of the nature of the universe itself: That which supports life is supported by life; survival is thus effortless, and giving and receiving are one and the same.

Genius is notoriously interpreted as unconventionality or eccentricity. It’s true that such people, due to their alignment with high-energy attractors, have a different perspective on life; therefore, things have a different significance for them than they do for the average person. The genius is frequently inspired to intense activity by insights beyond our understanding.

Genius isn’t stardom – those who attain prominence are a very small minority. There remains a legion of geniuses who achieve no such status; many appear in no way noteworthy and may, in fact, have never had formal higher education. What characterizes this type is the capacity to exhaustively utilize what experience they have, and to capitalize on it by the dedication necessary to reach a high degree of mastery. Many productive geniuses aren’t recognized until years after they’ve died. In fact, the gift – or curse – of genius often brings about unfortunate consequences during such an individual’s lifetime.

One characteristic of genius is the capacity for great intensity, which is often expressed in a cyclic fashion. That is, the personality of the genius sometimes seems to incorporate polar extremes: When inspired, he may work 20 hours a day to realize a solution while it’s still fresh in his mind; these periods of intense activity tend to be interspersed with intervals of apparent stasis that are actually times of fermentation, which is a necessary part of the creative process. Geniuses understand the need to make space for ideas to crystallize, for creativity occurs under appropriate inner, not outer, circumstances. The stage is often set by complete distraction – we all know stories of people who have gotten the answers to complex problems while sitting in traffic on the freeway.

A primary reason that so many people fail to recognize, and therefore empower, their own genius is because in the popular mind, genius is confused with a high IQ. This is a gross misunderstanding, which has arisen from the fact that many celebrated geniuses in the fields of mathematics and physics indeed have high IQs; however, in those fields, the IQ necessary to comprehend the work is a prerequisite. It would be more helpful to see genius as simply an extraordinarily high degree of insight in a given area of human activity. After all, there are droves of noncerebral geniuses in many fields – such as art, music, design, and invention – whose innovative, creative talents fall within certain limited lite plantparameters.

Keep in mind that IQ is merely a measure of academic capacity for logically comprehending symbols and words. From our studies, it appears that the alignment of one’s goals and values with high-energy attractors is more closely associated with genius than anything else. Genius can be more accurately identified by perseverance, courage, concentration, enormous drive, and absolute integrity – talent alone is certainly not enough. Dedication of an unusual degree is required to achieve mastery, and in the simplest definition, one could say that genius is the capacity for an extraordinary degree of mastery in one’s calling. A formula followed by all geniuses, prominent or not, is: Do what you like to do best, and do it to the very best of your ability.

The following excerpt was taken from Power vs. Force, by David Hawkins, M.D. Ph.D. (Hay House). David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D., is an internationally renowned psychiatrist, consciousness researcher, spiritual lecturer, and mystic. Author of more than eight books, including the bestseller Power vs. Force, Dr. Hawkins’s work has been translated into more than 17 languages. Website: It is available at or directly through Hay House at and all bookstores. Dr. Hawkins also has a new book, Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, & our website:

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

To order the books, Cracking the Personality Code and Cracking the Business Code, please go to