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The Masks We Wear

By Ellen Borowka

Masks have long been a part of daily life. From the past when tribal dancers wore them to worship their gods, to the present where children wear them for special holidays like Halloween. Our ancestors used masks for a variety of reasons. Some were worn to portray spirits, gods or animals; and others were used to protect and guard against misfortune and disease. There were masks to maintain contact with the dead through burial rituals or in ancestor worship; tomask2 represent characters in theater; and to celebrate the change of seasons and festivals.

Masks in Everyday Life

We use masks in everyday life too. Usually not made of wood, clay or stone as in primitive times, but one that seems invisible though it too conceals our true nature. This mask is the image or facade we present to others. It is our false self that was developed in response to an unsafe and demanding environment. We have different reasons for using this type of mask. We may want to protect ourselves from getting hurt or rejected by others. We may want to become what others want us to be, in order to be accepted by them. Perhaps we feel no one would like or love who we truly are, so we hide our true self. Or we might not like ourselves so we try to pretend to be like someone else.

Yet, I think the core issue is not feeling loved by others and ourselves. This seems to fuel our insecurities and we may find ourselves willing to do anything to be loved by others. Even denying our true self – who we are – our beliefs, our values, our desires, our needs. If we don’t love ourselves, then we depend on others to provide that love and make us feel worthwhile. Yet, they may look to us to provide the same thing! That makes for a very unstable foundation for our relationships as well as for our psyche.

How Do We Cope?

Coping mechanisms, like pleasing others, are based in these insecurities. We seem to develop our mask as a way to handle our fear of rejection and other painful feelings. Those who wear masks on Halloween are in disguise – pretending to be another person or creature. If we are conscious of our masks then we know we are not what we pretend to be. Many are not aware of the mask they present to others. Like the tribal dancer, we can in some ways become the mask we present. The facade can take over where we may feel we have little control over our lives. Whereas our ancestors may have believed that one’s religious or magical powers are released by changing identity and becoming another being, we actually lose our power when we allow our mask or false self to take over our lives. If we can’t be true to ourselves then we deny our expression, our soul, and we deny the light we bring to this world. I believe that each of us is here to not only discover and accept our unique qualities, but also to share them with others. That is the healing process when we touch heart to heart.

What’s Our Mask?

So, what kind of masks do we wear? I would say that our mask changes to meet the demands of the environment. In other words, our mask or false self depends on our external world whereas our real self relies on our internal world. Our mask reacts to the demands of our environment and our true self responds to our needs and desires. There are many different masks or coping mechanisms we take on. We may push ourselves to be perfect in how we look and/or how we act. We may deny our feelings of sadness or anger or fear, because we may have learned these feelings are “bad” or unimportant. We may feel we must always be right or good or knowledgeable. We may feel we have to care for everyone else to be loved and needed. Or perhaps we think we exist only to make others happy. These are just some of the masks we wear.
mask1What kind of mask do you wear? What are some expectations you put on yourself or false concepts you have of yourself? Do you think you “have to” or “should” or “must” do or say or be a certain way to be loved and accepted by others? If so, that might be part of your mask. A good exercise to learn more about your mask is to create a mask that represents the qualities of your false self. You can draw with markers or crayons and/or use parts of magazine pictures and words to create a life-size mask. Clay or paper mache with acrylic paints is also a good medium, and symbols are helpful to give your mask depth. Or you could write about it.
One might think it is necessary to get rid of the mask to allow the true self to be seen. Yet, actually we need both to live in this world and as our world becomes safer then we may need our mask less and less. George Washington once advised, “Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.” So, we need our mask to protect our inner self. What is also needed is to have a balance between the two – allowing our inner light to shine out to others, while protecting it from those that cannot appreciate it. Our masks are not bad, but it just comes down to choice. The real self has choices of how to be, but the false self depends on others for how it should be.

Finding Balance

How do you find a balance? Some ways are to explore your inner world, and learn more about your true and false self. Begin to distinguish between the two, and discover all you can about yourself – not only your good qualities, but also your “bad” qualities or what Jung would call your shadow. The shadow contains our dark side and it’s important to explore the darkness and find healthy ways to express it. Work to appreciate and accept your qualities, your style, your strengths and your weaknesses. Support your realness to come to the surface while still acknowledging the need for your protective mask.faces

Being Real

Allowing your inner self to come forth is scary as it risks rejection, so you might want to take small steps in your risktaking to feel safer. Some may have so much pain and anger from past rejections or betrayals that assistance may be needed. When the past needs to be healed first, I suggest turning to a counselor or clergy for help. Norman Cousins once said, “The great tragedy of life is not death, but what dies within us while we live.” Don’t let your mask suffocate your inner light, but rather use it to create safety and security so your light burns brightly to the world.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and her 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. Ellen has over 15 years of data analysis and business consulting experience and is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”.  To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

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, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

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.

9 Ways To Attract and Retain Sales & Customer Service People With Personality Testing

By Dana & Ellen Borowka

How do you build up your sales and customer service force in a down economy? The quick answer is don’t be a dodo bird.

While researching our book, Cracking the Personality Code, we examined the essentials of what managers and business owners need to know about hiring and managing sales/customer service people with the help of personality testing.

dodo birdAn interesting sales management guru we discovered along the way is Lee B. Salz. In June 2007, his widely acclaimed book, Soar Despite Your Dodo Sales Manager was published. In it, he deals with one of the biggest problems companies face, the chasm between managers and sales and customer service people.

He uses the metaphor of the dodo to show what happens when one fails to adapt. Those who adapt, thrive. Those who don’t become extinct like the dodo bird of ages ago. Some laugh at the use of the word ‘dodo’, but there is nothing funny about a business losing its competitive edge due to unmanaged change.

To hire the best sales and customer service people and keep them on the team, your sales or customer service manager needs to know what makes them tick. We believe the sales and customer service personality code can be cracked. If that sounds like a bold declaration, consider this: Studies show that personality tests are a far more reliable predictor of performance than interviews and resumes.

A proper test should reach beyond simple profiles and decipher a sales or customer service person’s underlying needs. This is key for employee development, team building, conflict resolution and succession planning. If you want to retain the best, you need to treat them the way they want to be treated.

Below are nine ways to use personality testing in the workplace to attract and retain the right sales and customer service people with personality testing:

1. Get the real picture.

Of course, every sales and customer service candidate wants to put their best foot forward during an interview. However through a personality test, you uncover a great deal aboutartist their ability to work well with other personalities, their problem solving abilities, their thought processes and their ability to tolerate stress. Personality testing gives you objective information that can help you make an informed decision about if this person is a good fit for the job and for the team. If you decided to hire the person, the questions you ask during the hiring process will reduce your learning curve as a manager on how best to manage this person from day one.

2. Help them be all that they can be.

Every sales and customer service person has strengths and weaknesses. Find out the real truth with an objective measure. Once you pinpoint the good and the bad, then you place them in the right position and coach them on where to improve.

3. Take me to your leaders.

Personality testing gives the manager and sales or customer service team a common language about how they like to interact. The assessments can help you train future managers on how to get the best out of the team.

4. Know how to manage difficult people.

Face it, there will always be difficult people and flare ups on the job. Use objective personality assessments to diagnose potential sources of workplace conflict. The best way to deal with a problem is to prevent it in the first place.

5. Get everybody to play nice.

Sales and IT, customer service and marketing, operations and financial people have to interact to make the company run smoothly. Too many employees get frustrated with other co-workers and just wonder why everyone doesn’t act like them. Through the use of personality profiles, managers can coach employees how to interact better with peers.

6. Treat co-workers the way they want to be treated.

In today’s fast-paced world of business, there is little time to get to know many of your co-workers. Using personality assessments as the basis for team building exercises can quickly get everyone to have a healthier respect for other ways of seeing the world.

7. Make managers better leaders.

The days of seat of the pants leadership are over. When sales and customer service managers understand what makes their people tick, then they can be better leaders. Knowing personality traits can help with motivating teams, communicating change and delegating authority.

8. Pick better teams.

Today so much work is done by ad hoc teams that come together for a specific purpose. Before you assemble a sales or customer service team it pays to know the strengths and weaknesses of the team members. Sometimes this can be the difference between a productive team that gets the job done and one that pulls apart at the seams.

9. Set people up for success.

Sometimes we hire the right employee and put them in the wrong job. Understanding preferred work styles and where a person would be happiest goes a long way to improving retention and productivity.

man jumping bldgWhile personality testing can be a valuable resource before you hire sales and customer service people, perhaps the true value of any assessment comes in using the insights it provides along the entire spectrum of employment. Personality assessments lend objectivity to decisions that may otherwise be largely subjective.

Remember, it is not how many great people you hire. The true measure is how many great people you keep! To find out more please email us at reception@lighthouseconsulting.com or call 310-453-6556, ext 403.

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

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 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. 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” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

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, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

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.

 

Dealing with Uncertainty

By Dana & Ellen Borowka

It can be very easy to feel shaken, when a part of our lives seems uncertain.  If we get yelled at, honked at while driving, or when personal or professional relationships feel unsteady. If our financial situation, the economy, international or local community seems to be on edge, or if we ofc on worldexperience a loss, that can all lead to feeling as if the carpet has just been pulled out from underneath us. What we thought was solid, now feels shattered and fragile. Some may go with the flow and just figure life has its ups and downs. While others may be devastated and can barely get up in the morning.  How can we deal with these situations when they come up, so that we don’t shut down?

Dealing with change

Sometimes we just need to be patient and supportive with ourselves, like taking a break and realizing life may not look the same as it did before.  People, who had been in a close relationship, may not be available to us in the same way.  Things do change; the earth is not standing still. It is constantly moving and rotating, yet as human beings we look for some form of stability.  We may need to reframe for ourselves how we view the core of our existence and that can be very scary.  However, if we are basing our security on how we think things should be when that is founded on shaky ground, then we need to begin with what we are really looking for. Sometimes evaluating our core values can be very helpful. Gaining greater insight into ourselves can help us to grow to meet the challenges.

The 1994 California Northridge earthquake

Most of us recall the 1994 Northridge earthquake that caused major damage not only in Northridge but also in many outlying areas like Santa Monica. Many residential buildings in Santa Monica were severely damaged where residents were not allowed back into their homes. The building, where we lived at the time, was badly damaged and we were concerned if it would be red tagged. Like many people during this crisis, we felt much uncertainty of what would happen to our home. Yet, we took some decisive steps to bring a level of stability to our situation and reduce the anxiety.

Tips for finding stability

We’ve come up with several ideas for you to consider when things in our lives seem to be unsteady:

  • Seek support. It is important to reach out to others not only for friendship and personal connection, but also to get feedback on what is going on in one’s life.   It’s also very helpful to get a reality check so to keep problems in perspective.  After the earthquake, we sought out friends who provided support and ideas in dealing with the challenging situation as well as insisting in helping us to clean up and repair the damage to our home.  One friend invited us to stay with her overnight, made dinner for us and even brought bottled water for our little bird!  Connection with others helps us to take the steps to deal with our challenges.
  • Maintain a routine to help provide a feeling of stability.  Be sure to do the things that bring you joy and to take care of yourself.  Sometimes, people stop doing their hobbies or exercise when things feel unstable.  Yet, it’s those things that can help to bring down the stress level.  If you go to the gym or enjoy a book club, then keep doing that.  Don’t stop living.  In fact, seek out various ways to reduce your stress, like renting a movie or going to the beach.  However, avoid relying on addictive substances or habits like drugs, alcohol or food to deal with your concerns.
  • Don’t let fear consume you.  Worrying about something never seems to make the problem or concern go away or even to make the situation better.  Find ways to vent that anxiety, whether through talking with a friend or going for a walk.  Again, getting another view point on the situation may help to bring that mountain of fear down to a people on worldmole hill or something that you are comfortable in managing.  After the earthquake, we were very concerned that we might lose our home.  Yet, we took proactive steps to reduce the fear.  We talked with a structural engineer and others to gain perspective on the situation.  We spent time with friends and neighbors, not only to talk about what happened, but also to provide support to others.
  • Find your center.  A boat is more secure when anchored or tied to something whether a buoy or dock.  The same is true for us.  We can weather the challenges of life better when we have a foundation, something solid to lean upon.  That may involve strong family or friendship ties, deep spiritual beliefs and study or using some kind of practice like mediation or yoga or hikes to center one’s self.
  • Make small improvements.  There may be things you can do to bring more stability, to reduce the stress level or create a more productive, satisfying environment for yourself.  Look around and discover what small goals you can develop for yourself.  It may be finding ways to show appreciation to your co-workers or clients, improving a system at work or starting up a personal hobby at home.

We would love to hear from you as what you do to help yourself get through hard times and to bring balance back into your life.  If you send your ideas back to us, we’ll share them in future Keeping on Track publications.

How to deal with uncertainty for staff

We have found that companies can assist their staff members during uncertain times by addressing those issues during team meetings.  Here are some tips for connecting with staff to reduce stress:

♦ Provide an open forum to address concerns.
♦ Explore any issues with productivity or staff morale.
♦ Do reality checks and address media rumors and economic/business concerns.
♦ Discuss business and personal opportunities for new markets, valuing the customer and appreciating those close to us.
♦ Explore next steps – some positive ways to deal with concerns.

Approaching our challenges

The main objective is to not let fear control us and to not allow it to control our professional or personal lives. Every day brings new challenges. The best way to approach these challenges is to not react, but know that there are solutions and options. As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in planting bizwomanmoments of comfort, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.”

We can learn from our challenges, we can learn new ways to work through issues and concerns. Instead of reacting to a problem or fear, we can ask ourselves: What can I do differently to handle this? What can I learn from this? When things feel uncertain, the temptation may be to hide under the covers or lash out at someone or something that has nothing to do with the issue. We may look at the problem with a dismal perspective, when we may need to view things with a realistic viewpoint.

Challenges become opportunity

Uncertain times push us outside of our comfort zone and no one likes that. John F. Kennedy once said, “When written in Chinese, the word “crisis” is composed of two characters. One represents the danger and the other represents opportunity.” It is during those challenging times that we learn the most, gain the most insight into ourselves. Then we experience a great sense of accomplishment… overcoming the fear of uncertainty, the fear of the unknown.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014 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 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. 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” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

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, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

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.

 

Having Doubts

By Ellen Borowka

– Have you found that sometimes it can be so hard to believe in yourself?
– Do you think you will fail before you even try?
– Do you settle for something less than you are capable of or desire in your life?

I have and I’m sure that I am not alone. These doubts and fears can be so paralyzing, so overwhelming that sometimes they become the obstacle we end up fighting against. At times, we may let these doubts push us to lower our aim for what we want. We settle for something less or stay in unchallenging, unhappy, unfulfilling situations only because they feel safe or familiar. Does this sound familiar? Then have I got a story for you!

I remember when I was considering whether to go to graduate school, but I almost didn’t go. I had many doubts, like “it’s too late to go back to school”, “I’m not smart enough”, heavy load“I’ll fail”. Yet, my friends and family encouraged and even pushed me to try and I did. Today, I have a Masters in Counseling Psychology, and I work with companies to assist their staff and management to be more successful as well as have greater job satisfaction.

So, what are some ways to overcome the doubts and to start to trust in yourself? Here are some tips:

Build & utilize a strong network of people

It’s much easier to endure and win a race when you have people along the way to cheer you on. We need each other to get over the bumps and around the curves of the road. People who tend to be the most successful in life are those who reach out to others for help. We don’t have all the answers, all the information, and others can help provide different options and support. Some to include in your network would be: friends, family, co-workers, mentors, clergy, counselors, etc. An important element is who to choose to be a part of your support system. Look for those who can support your growth with compassion and honesty.

Persist to the end

Don’t allow yourself to rationize why you should stop or not try. Don’t give up or allow yourself to think you are trapped in a situation. Some put aside their dreams or their needs, because they think they have reached a dead end. Look to your resources to pull yourself out of that. Further, some even decide to be a victim or martyr, and tell themselves that it is someone else’s fault or they don’t have what they want or need. Avoid such destructive and useless roles. Keep looking for ways to move beyond the doubts. There is a way around the obstacle.

Dive in deep

Fears and doubts are usually attached to deep issues – beliefs about ourselves and others that we have picked up from our family, culture or society. It can be helpful to explore these areas to not only gain insight, but to break through an impasse. It’s not pleasant to look in our emotional and mental mirror, but something helpful to remember is to keep a balance when taking a mental inventory. While it’s important to be candid with yourself on what needs to be worked on. At the same time, don’t beat yourself up about your flaws. We all have imperfections – even those who just seem to sail through life without any problems. We are human and part of that humanity is to learn and grow through horse & riderissues. Some places to start are: Self-help books, support groups, counseling, journaling, art, music, church or temple.

Visualize the ‘impossible’

We have all heard how powerful the mind is. The possibilities are greater than we can even imagine. As the White Queen said to Alice in one of Lewis Carroll’s books, Through the Looking-Glass – “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast”.  Then she counseled Alice to practice such a necessary skill.  So, it’s no surprise that how we imagine a situation or project might go can greatly impact us and how we will do. On the other hand, when we push ourselves to visualize success – incredible things start to happen. Just as powerful is what we say to ourselves every day. When we tell ourselves that we will fail, then it’s more likely that negative consequences will occur. Strive to halt such negative and hurtful self-talk. Rather than beating yourself down for a mistake or flaw – work to alter this inner voice to acknowledge your strengths, your talents, and your intrinsic qualities. Even directly combating negative issues, like if you tell yourself the same negative things before starting a project then push yourself to appreciate something about yourself.

Grow spiritually

Doubts can have a way of dissolving when we can look to a power that is greater than ourselves. This can mean many things to many different people like God or love, the universe and so on. Learn more about that power and what it means to you. Integrate it more deeply into your life and explore your spiritual qualities where strength can come from to overcome the doubts.

Breaking through the doubts – to believe in yourself and all you can achieve is possible. Use your resources by looking to those around you and deep within yourself. This will aid you in winning the race. A race where you have all you need within to finish. A race where you have already won before you even begin.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and her 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. Ellen has over 15 years of data analysis and business consulting experience and is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”.  To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

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, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

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.

 

 

How Robots Will Change the Future of Small Business

space robotBy Dana Borowka

Are robot employees in your future? Robots for small business have moved from science fiction to science fact.

Science fiction author, Isaac Asimov introduced The Three Laws of Robotics in his 1942 book, I, Robot (the basis for a 2004 film adaptation starring Will Smith.) Asimov’s Three Laws are:

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such actions would interfere with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

For a small business, I would like to add three more laws:

4. A robot must not call in sick.
5. A robot must not request a vacation day.
6. A robot must not ask for a raise.

When most people think robots in business they naturally form a mental picture of manufacturing industries such as automotive, electronics and consumer goods. However, small non-manufacturing businesses with fewer than 100 employees and 10 robots or less represent a growing segment of today’s market for robots.

What Exactly Is a Small Business Robot?

In practical terms, a robot usually refers to a machine which can be electronically programmed to carry out a variety of physical tasks or actions. The word robot can refer to both physical robots and virtual software, but the latter are usually referred to as bots. There is no consensus on which machines qualify as robots but there is general agreement among experts, and the public, that robots tend to do some or all of the following: move around, operate a mechanical limb, sense and manipulate their environment, and exhibit intelligent behavior — especially behavior which mimics humans or other animals.

The International Organization of Standardization (ISO) sets a standard for what constitutes a robot. ISO defines an industrial robot as being an “automatically controlled, reprogrammable, multipurpose manipulator” that is “programmable in three or more axes.”

However, a robot is more than a mere programmable machine like a Mr. Coffee. According to Majid Abai, Chief Sherpa of the IT and robot consulting firm, The Abai Group, to qualify as a robot requires a mechanical component and some level of programmable intelligence.

Abai is the founder and CEO of The Abai Group, Inc. He is a senior executive with a 30-year track record of building, transforming, and leading domestic and international organizations. Majid is focused on innovation, strategy, and execution in tech companies and IT departments. He speaks to technical and non-technical executives on how an effective IT organization and robotics could help increase business efficiency, revenues, and customer loyalty while reducing the costs for the company.

Abai says a true robot includes “the capability to add analysis to its tasks, not just serving as an automatically operated machine that replaces human effort.” Therefore ATM machines are not robots that replace bank tellers, and not because they do not resemble human beings in appearance or perform functions in a humanlike manner. A device that automatically performs complicated and often repetitive tasks is not what Abai would call a robot.

food robotBy Abai’s definition, a Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner, would qualify. A Roomba features a set of basic sensors that help it perform tasks. For instance, the Roomba is able to change direction on encountering obstacles, detect dirty spots on the floor, and detect steep drops to keep it from falling down stairs. It uses two independently operating wheels that allow 360 degree turns. Additionally, it can adapt to perform other more “creative” tasks using an embedded computer.

Forget the cyborg imagery of sci-fi too. A Roomba, for instance, does not have to look like a domestic servant with a vacuum cleaner, like Rosie the robot from the 1960s animated TV show, The Jetsons. While a robot can be a machine that looks like a human being and performs various complex acts (such as walking or talking) of a human being, that is not the true difference.

Future Small Biz Jobs for Robots

Robots are best applied in any fixed, purely repetitive task where the motions involved are predictable and routine. These include the four Ps of picking, placing, packaging and painting, as well as some forms of assembly, ironing and welding. Compared to humans, robots are faster, have almost unlimited endurance, are more predictable or just provide outright superior precision. They are also very useful in jobs that are too dangerous for humans, such as handling containers of molten metal in foundries or radioactive substances at nuclear power plants.

Fast food workers, tax preparers and cashiers will be replaced by robots in the future. Here are just some of the other ways small business will use robots.

Nurses and Healthcare Worker. According to MSN Innovation writer Mark Hattersley, the Japanese are taking auto line production and delivering it straight to the hospital bedside. HStar Technologies is now taking orders for its Robotic Nursing Assistant (RoNA) and Serbot, and researchers from Carnegie Mellon University are putting the final touches on a nursebot called Pearl. According to the sales brochure, RoNA is a “stable, highly mobile, dexterous, autonomous, bi-manual humanoid robotic nursing assistant. Equipped with highly dexterous robotic arms of payload up to 10 lbs.” The Serbot is designed to monitor and transport elderly patients with limited mobility. Pearl even has built-in telepresence functionality, which essentially allows the patient to talk through the robot to a physician or nurse. The nurse or physician can control the robot remotely using a tablet device. When not being controlled remotely the robot performs routine caretaking tasks and checks on the status of patients.

Attorneys and Paralegals. The rise of the machines in the legal world is coming. According to Jordan Weissman of The Atlantic, attorneys have employed manual keyword searches to sort through the gigabytes of information involved in these cases. Now more firms are beginning to use a technology known as “predictive coding,” which essentiallywalking robot automates the process at one-tenth the cost. “Several studies have shown that predictive coding outperforms human reviewers, though by how much is unclear. A widely cited 2011 article in the Richmond Journal of Law and Technology analyzed research on document review and found that humans unearthed an average of about 60 percent of relevant documents, while predictive coding identified an average of 77 percent.”

Truck Drivers and Chauffeurs. An autonomous car, or robot car, is an autonomous vehicle capable of fulfilling the human transportation capabilities of a traditional car. As an autonomous vehicle, it is capable of sensing its environment and navigating without human input. Today robotic cars exist mainly as prototypes and demonstration systems. The Google driverless car is a project by Google that involves developing technology for autonomous cars. The software powering Google’s cars is called Google Chauffeur. The U.S. state of Nevada passed a law in 2011, permitting the operation of autonomous cars in Nevada. Florida became the second state to allow the testing of autonomous cars on public roads and California became the third state to legalize the use of self-driven cars for testing purposes as of September 2012 when Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law at Google HQ in Mountain View. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder followed suit by signing legislation allowing the testing of automated or self-driving vehicles on Michigan’s roads in December 2013, but this legislation requires a human in the driver seat at all times while the vehicle is in use. For now.

Journalists and Copywriters. According to The Guardian, Forbes.com already uses an artificial intelligence platform provided by the technology company Narrative Science to generate automated news from live data sets and content harvested from previous articles. What makes it possible is that business news content tends to be formulaic and data-heavy, listing places, stocks and company names. The Los Angeles Times, meanwhile, uses robots to report on earthquakes: the organization relies on an algorithm that pulls in data on magnitude, place and time from a US Geological Survey site. NPR has reported on the use of robot sportswriters producing coverage of games.

Customer Service and Marketing Reps. Why outsource to India when you can use a robot instead? Another area where businesses use robots is in their marketing to consumers. Technology companies produce robots to demonstrate new devices or inventions and to create a sense of innovation and progress. Robots are part of interactive displays at trade shows where they compete with more traditional marketing tools for attendees’ attention.

Call Center Staffers and Outbound Callers. Every business needs some form of telecommunications infrastructure to communicate with suppliers and customers. Robots can simplify a business’ call center and handle incoming phone or Internet traffic to keep the channels of communication open and running smoothly. Automated calling robots place prerecorded calls, including appointment reminders and customer satisfaction surveys. Likewise, an automated call center uses a programmable interface to greet callers and direct them to the appropriate information or department.

Inventory Takers. Robots also perform inventory tasks for businesses with large warehouses or sorting facilities. Inventory robots are essentially driver-less vehicles that can navigate a warehouse and select specific pieces of merchandise, bringing them to employees who enter product requests into an automated system. Inventory robots save time and also reduce the likelihood of human error that can cause inconsistencies in inventory tracking.

Entertainers and Performers. Another class of robots used in business are those that entertain audiences. Robots and robotic displays appear in storefronts, in theme park attractions and in television and film programs. Some of these robots are skillfully crafted to resemble real people while others represent fantastical creatures or mechanical robots from a fictional world. Robot characters populate science fiction narratives while special effects robots endure hazardous conditions that would be unsafe for human or animal actors.

But Who Takes Care of the Robots?

Typically, many small business leaders today are not interested in using robots for three reasons: expense, lack of expertise, and fear. All of these will be overcome. As the price of robots continue to fall and functionality continues to rise, the robot employees are coming. The jump in productivity will demand it.

windup man robotThe answer to the lack of expertise and fear objections is to hire the right employees to help with your robotics. Without a doubt, a tough challenge for small business managers with robots is consistently hiring quality people to take care of the robots. These devices need to be set-up, programmed, monitored and repaired. No benefit comes without a price.

Hiring the wrong people to handle the robots will create many problems: reduced time to market, a loss of market share, higher turnover rates among productive humans on the payroll, lost management time, lost customers to the competition and the tremendous opportunity cost of unmet sales goals.

To improve any hiring decision, many companies have found they need to crack the personality code by using robust personality testing. Personality tests are a standard recruiting practice for many branches of the government and military, as well as many Fortune 500 companies when assessing potential hires for key or critical positions. This is not guesswork or an untested science.

Therefore, when hiring robot handlers the secret is to cultivate top performers through a three-step process: assess candidates with an in-depth work style and personality assessments, screen candidates for behavioral tendencies, and manage more effectively based on behavioral styles. The goal is to base your hiring and managing decisions on the best data that can be collected about the best personalities to work with the robots. The same you do for any employee.

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

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 www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

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, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

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.

What do I need to have healthy and loving relationships?

By Ellen Borowka, MA

When people usually think of what is needed to have a good relationship, whether romantic or a friendship, many will list out what they want in a lover or a friend. That is always important, but what we bring to a relationship is just as important.

Understanding the other person

First and foremost, empathy is vital to a lasting relationship. We have noticed through working with couples that when the relationship hits those tough spots, the first thing that flies out the window is empathy. It is one of the most difficult things to truly understand another’s point of view, as we are usually too busy thinking what we’re upset about. Most of us are too occupied with our own hurt, anger, disappointment and fear, to be fully aware of what someone else is struggling with. This is especially true when we’re angry or hurt by the other person, like when one partner doesn’t express enough affection to the other.

Some may feel that this isn’t true of them, and that they always strive to understand their partner or friends. For some people, that might be true. However, for the rest of us, this then leads to my next point that is essential to relationships – – self-honesty.

Being honest with ourselves

Now, the first thought might be, “What me!! I’m honest with myself!” Perhaps that is also true, yet we can always be more truthful to ourselves. Many people are not really honest about their part in the relationship problem. We see so many couples where one or both individuals point to the other with the exclamation of “Fix ‘em!” It is so easy for us to see the flaws and imperfections of each other, when what is needed is to look within first for healing.  Henri Frederic Ameil once said, “We are never more discontented with others than when we are discontented with ourselves.”  Couples that have successful, healthy and loving relationships are usually the ones where both individuals admit when they have made a mistake, apologize with sincerity and strive to work on their own issues.

Listening to others

The third element is listening to your partner or friend, which is a very difficult skill for most of us to do well.  We are usually so busy listening to our own internal thoughts and feelings, that we frequently miss not only subtle implications, feelings and body language, but also direct comments.  It is not enough for us to vent our feelings, if we cannot stop and open our minds to listen to the other person.  We all have been in situations where the person we are with just talks and talks without any interest in what we have to say.  Everyone wants to be heard and have someone really care about what they have to say.  It’s also helpful to remember that you don’t have to agree with another person to listen and understand them.

Conflict is part of relationships

This guides us to a simple, yet difficult concept to accept in life: Disagreement is OK.  Some people just can’t stand it when others don’t agree with them. Disagreement can bring up feelings of self-doubt or rejection.  It could be hard to remember that just because someone disagrees, doesn’t mean they are rejecting us or that we are wrong in our beliefs.  In times of disagreements, we can either live with the disagreement and not let it damage the relationship or find a compromise.

Finding the best solution

Compromise is crucial to successful relationships.  Some couples get stuck at a stalemate – refusing to budge over very big and very little things, ranging from how to raise the relationship2kids to who’s going to do the dishes!  If that’s true for you, then you are in a power struggle where there is only a win-lose situation.  Some people are so concerned with maintaining control that win-lose solutions don’t bother them, however this erodes the relationship.  Don’t allow your relationship is become a battleground!  Win-lose quickly becomes lose-lose in divorce court or relationship breakdown.

Finally, there is a wonderful old saying from Rabbi Hillel, a scholar from 2,000 years ago, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?  If I am only for myself, who will be for me?”  It’s important in our relationships to have a healthy balance between loving ourselves and respecting others.  If we take care of ourselves, but can’t reach outside of ourselves to others, then our relationships fall apart.  If we take care of others, but neglect ourselves, then we suffer and resentment builds.  We need both parts to the puzzle to have healthy lives and happy, successful relationships.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2017  This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and her 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. 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. Ellen has over 20 years of data analysis and business consulting experience and is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

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, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

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.

WAKE UP!

By Daniel & Ellen Borowka, MA & Nancy Croix

Waking up can be more than just opening your eyes in the morning. It’s setting a tone, finding a theme to center on for the day. At another level, it is becoming more aware of what we need to learn to grow and mature in this brand new day. What we want to be more alert to or recognize in our clock2lives to work on. There are various definitions of “wake” or “awake”. One is to be or remain awake – to keep watch. Another is to rouse from or as if from sleep – to arouse conscious interest. Some synonyms are to stir, kindle, challenge, inspire, ignite and provoke. That’s something thought provoking for this topic! First, we will explore ideas of how to set a tone for one’s day. Then we will look at how to become more aware of ways to inspire, challenge and ignite our growth process.

What’s guiding you?

Daily routines are an important part of our lives. When you wake up to start your day, are you allowing yourself to be guided by the events of the day or are you taking the time to mentally prepare for the day? The first option is leaving everything up to chance. The second option is to take responsibility and make choices for your well-being. A great way to start the day is to think of a quality, which you would like to express during the day. Taking the time to mentally prepare for the day can make a tremendous difference in the day’s events that happen, expectedly and unexpectedly.

Word for the day

This can actually turn your daily routine into an insightful way to wake up. As soon as I wake up, I focus on my word for the day. Once I have the word, I think about what it means to me. I write it down in my journal with the date and then share my word with my family, friends and co-workers. People will come up to me first thing in the morning and ask me what my word is for the day. I like to share my experiences associated with my word throughout the day with people. At the end of the day, I write about my experiences and what I’ve learned. When I find myself feeling sad, afraid or angry, I stop and think about my word to refocus my thinking so I can keep on track and have a healthy outlook on life. I have found that through this process, I learn more about different qualities so it becomes easier when I’m confronted with a problem or crisis. Then I can draw upon these qualities for insight and comfort.

What am I to awaken to?

I also constantly look at things I want to change, improve or resolve in my life. It can be hard to be fully honest with one’s self, as it means uncovering or adjusting how we catching a starrespond to others, handle things or what we truly stand for in our lives. One thing that is helpful to become more awake is to first look at our priorities.

Our priorities in life

Recently, we have been exploring our priorities. Some main areas could be our relationships with others, professional, intellectual and spiritual challenges, and our emotional and physical health. We can ask some questions to determine those priorities. What and who is important to us? Are we taking the time for what is crucial to us? Do we say that certain people or beliefs or activities are important to us then put something else first? Do we pattern our goals, objectives, our lives around these priorities?

Who do we hang around?

A friend once pointed out that who we hang out with reflects where we are psychologically, emotionally and spiritually. There’s a great quote, “Our attitudes toward others and toward ourselves, far from being contradictory, run parallel. How we feel about ourselves is how we feel toward others.” So, who do we spend time with? Are they supportive to us or do they drain energy? Do they inspire us to grow or cause pain and sorrow? Yet, before just cutting someone out of our lives, it’s vital to look at why we have them in the first place. What attracted them into our lives? Do we have someone who is struggling, so we can be the Savior, the one in control or so we can feel better about ourselves? Do we have people who control our lives so we don’t have to take responsibility for when things go awry? Do we seek out people to demean and devalue us to fulfill our feelings of worthlessness or low self esteem? Or do we look to control others so we feel in control and safe? It can be so helpful to look at who and why we have those around us.

Ask questions

Becoming more awake, involves challenging ourselves and what we do. Monitor and ask yourself questions. Why did I do that? What was my ultimate goal – good and bad? Do I follow through on what I believe in or do I let my fears or issues take over? Look at your motives – what is driving your actions, your words to others? When you can answer those questions honestly and take action to revise what doesn’t work well, then you have made some great progress.

When we know why we choose the people, the activities, our beliefs then we are more awake to where we are and what we truly want. At that point, we can start to let go of what or who doesn’t work; redefine our relationships and what we do; or to appreciate that which is around us. Thank goodness that every day we have the opportunity to wake up anew and to explore and enjoy each day.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

falling starDana Borowka, MA, CEO, Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst and Nancy Croix, Senior Operations Administrator of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC (LCS) with their 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.  LCS also has 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. LCS consultants have over 25 plus years of business and human behavioral consulting experience. Dana and Ellen is co-authors of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

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, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

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.

Making Successful Changes

By Ellen & Daniel Borowka

I’m sure you’ve had times in your life when making a change becomes a big challenge. Perhaps you want to change how you deal with certain situations or a part of your lifestyle like your diet or exercise. Change is very difficult no matter what we want to change. We start out with good MC900437519[1]intentions then for one reason or another; we go back to the way we’ve always done something. So, how do we make changes that stick?

What is blocking change?

Well, the first piece of the puzzle is looking at what is blocking the change. Sometimes, we just want a problem to disappear, so we make changes as a “fix-it” solution. Fix-its are rarely good changes as they are usually based on unrealistic or unreasonable expectations of a situation or ourselves. Like those times, when we may have stopped eating altogether to lose some weight or took a vacation to fix a troubled relationship. First, it helps to take a realistic view of the situation to be changed and have an understanding of the limitations and strengths involved.

Understanding our limitations

For example, if you want to change a troubled relationship, whether family or work, one should have realistic expectations of both one’s self and those involved. It would be frustrating and unhealthy to expect to be able to change another person or control the relationship to make everyone happy. We can only change our own behavior and ourselves. It’s important to have a balanced perspective of the situation. We can’t expect to make magical changes or to ‘save’ those around us. At the same time, we should not try to underestimate our strengths and abilities. If you have trouble evaluating the situation, then be sure to get feedback from unbiased and supportive friends, counselors or clergy.

Finding our focus

Sometimes, we want to change something that is so big that we feel overwhelmed. So, we end up either trying to put band-aids on this big problem or give up altogether. It’s helpful to focus only on parts of the problem and take one piece at a time. For example, let’s say an individual doesn’t feel good about him or her self. If that person would try to change everything at once, he or she would probably give up. An alternative would be to pick one thing to change, like shyness, and focus on that first. However, whenever making changes in one’s self, please get a realistic viewpoint from others. We are often very demanding of ourselves and may try to change what doesn’t need changing at all. This violates our true self – our style and sense of being, because we deny who we are. Sometimes, the change we have to make is appreciating who we are and that is a big change!

What are my motives for change?

Once you have focused on to a specific and manageable problem, ask yourself some questions about it. Why do you want to change it? What about the situation do you want changed and why? What are you expecting to get out of this change? At this point, motives for the change need to be examined in depth to see if they are healthy reasons. For example, if you want to lose weight to please others or because you don’t like yourself, then there may be bigger issues at stake. Look at what is underneath the problem and ask yourself, “What is really bothering me about this situation?” These issues need to be looked at. Otherwise, the change would only be at the surface, and surface changes do not last very long nor solve the real problem.

Taking small steps to change

Next, consider one small step you can take to begin the change process. An old Chinese proverb says, “The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” Change is much easier and less scary when it is done in small steps. For example, to work on shyness, one might begin by saying hi to the neighbors or the cashier at man watering2the supermarket and work up to small, light conversations with others. Then eventually build up to possibly joining a club and participating in activities or committees. The key is taking small steps in change, rather then overwhelming, sweeping changes. A good example of small changes is when I wanted to get back into doing artwork, but froze when I sat down in front of the blank canvas. So, I started out with using crayons and letter-sized paper, and just making shapes and using different colors together. I told myself that the end result doesn’t matter (lessening expectations and self-judgement), and what was important is the experience of creation (refocusing on the true need). This made the process less intimidating so I could get back to something I loved so much. From those small steps, I moved on to using different materials and techniques while feeling more confident in my artistic abilities.

Slow change creates significant progress

Once you have discovered a good small step – put it into action. Depending on severity of the problem, one may need to start out very slowly with the first step and repeat a few times for significant progress to be made. For example, if one is very shy, the first step might be repeated once or twice a week, and work up to doing it daily until one feels more comfortable to move onto the second step.

Celebrate and record your progress

After each step, celebrate your small step even if you feel the result was not as you expected. Remember that when you first started learning something new, like riding a bike, you probably didn’t do it perfectly. It took patience, practice and perseverance. Celebrate your courage, the experience of change, and your desire to take care of yourself. It is important to celebrate and appreciate yourself when you are in the change process. Record your progress and achievements. This can instill a sense of accomplishment as well as help to identify any further trouble spots in your progress.

Support is a necessity

Most of all, support is crucial during change. Seek support and feedback from understanding friends and others. Find a friend who shares your goals so you can help each other in making changes. Recognize that change is very hard and scary. As I said previously, we are very demanding on ourselves. We expect ourselves to be perfect and handle everything with ease. In actuality, we are human. It is ok to struggle and to be afraid as long as we don’t allow the fear or obstacles to block our progress. Give yourself support by challenging self-criticism, and telling yourself nurturing statements daily. Some examples of a nurturing statement are, “I appreciate myself for who I am” and “It’s ok to be imperfect.”

Fear of failure

Finally, a big obstacle for change is our natural fear of failure. There are two quotes that can give us perspective on failure. The first is, “Failure is never final! The only time you catching starcan’t afford to fail is the very last time you try. Failure does not mean we should give up; it just means we have a reason to start over.” (Don Shelby) The second, by Samuel Johnson, “Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.” We may get frustrated or disappointed, and yet, we need to venture on in spite of these obstacles. Change comes through with patience and determination to overcome the challenge that has confronted us.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014 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 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. 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” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

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, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

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.

 

Get Real!

By Dana Borowka

How often have you ever said or thought… “Get real”. What a challenge those set of words can conjure up in one’s mind. Being authentic can bring a number of mixed messages based on what we base our sense of reality on. One of the definitions for “authenticity” includes “genuineness or theater mantruth of something”. For example, a genuine book is that which was written by the person whose name it bears along with relating information as to what really happened.

What are we being genuine or authentic to? When we search for the authentic self or request others to “get real”, what are we truly requesting? Are we asking others to view life as we do, and then that would then usher in “reality” into their life? That may be the case in some situations. However, if we are not offering some level of empathic understanding in our daily walk, what kind of connection are we making with others? Whose book are we requesting others to accept as the “genuine” way to “be”?

Viktor Frankel was a psychiatrist and a survivor as a prisoner of war in several Nazi concentration camps. He wrote a number of books about his experiences and the search for the meaning of life. One of his observations I found to be very interesting and wanted to share it:

“Therefore man is originally characterized by his “search for meaning” rather than his “search for himself”. The more one forgets oneself – giving oneself to a cause or another person – the more “human” he is. And the more one is immersed and absorbed in something or someone other than oneself, the more he really becomes “himself’. Just consider a child who, absorbed in play, forgets himself – this is the moment to take a snapshot. When you wait until he notices that you are taking a picture, his face congeals and freezes, showing his unnatural self-consciousness rather than his natural graciousness. Why do most people have the stereotyped expression on their faces whenever they are photographed? This expression stems from their concern with the impression they are going to leave on the onlooker. It is “cheese” that makes them so ugly. Forgetting themselves plus forgetting the present photographer plus forgetting the future onlooker would make them beautiful. Forgetting themselves and overlooking themselves…. The humanness of man is most tangible when he forgets himself and overlooks himself!”

So, when we want others to get real, what is the basis for our request? I’m not sure if anyone can answer such a request with a completely “honest” answer. Rather, we may decide to challenge our sense of reality by asking questions that might include: Am I sharing my inner talents at work and at home? What do I value from deep within myself; and am I expressing those talents with those around me? Or am I just marching through time because…. What is the ‘because’? Why do we do what we do and what is our theater masksmotivation? Who are we smiling for – the onlooker, the photographer… who are we modeling for? If we were to simply “play” as a child, where we would express our inner self, what would we be doing – how telling that could be. Think about that one for a moment.

Deep questions for a deep topic…. So the next time we ask someone to get real, what reality are we asking them to align with. Ask yourself, “What am I aligned with?” Is it to help someone to fulfill a jointly shared vision, goal or objective or just trying to get a point across? We’d love to hear from you on this topic.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

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 www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

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, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

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.

 

Hiring Sales People & Attracting Top Talent!

By Dana Borowka

In this day and age, making the wrong hiring decision can cost you $50,000 to multiples of millions of dollars!! That’s a high price to pay, and it’s a conservative figure when you factor in the emotional pressures of training, evaluation, termination and then starting the hiring process all over again. By refining your hiring process, you can turn hiring into a profitable and successful venture.targets

Creating an Effective Recruitment Program

There are several steps to creating an effective recruitment program. The first starts with the basics – the job description. Many companies don’t even have job descriptions for their positions and that’s one of many hiring pitfalls. It’s very difficult to describe a position to a candidate, without having it well defined. The next problem with job descriptions is that they are usually not definitive enough. It’s important to detail the expected job performance outcome, and be very specific in what is needed and expected. The job description should have 30-, 60-, 90- and 180-day objectives, so the candidate has a clear understanding what is expected for the job. Be sure to review and update job descriptions regularly, as company needs and expectations for a position are bound to change.

The next step is to define where to recruit candidates or target your recruiting process. Now that you have an idea of what you need and expect for the position, where do you find this treasured person? There are many resources: Referrals, recruiters, ads, college placement centers, .com listings, etc. Of course, referrals are usually one of the best sources for candidates and giving out the job description to business associates and friends may reveal the perfect candidate. When working with recruiters, it is very important to be as specific as possible to avoid your time being wasted with unqualified candidates.
The same is true for ads so that the ad is as definitive as possible. College placement centers are not only good for recruiting college grads, but usually have facilities to list positions that require extensive experience too. They can be especially helpful if they are in close contact with the alumni association.

Resumes, Resumes… Piles of Resumes

Soon in your hiring process, you will be faced with a big pile of resumes. Look for resumes that are specific to your needs and notice the presentation style, which will tell you a great deal about the candidate. It is helpful to decide what the priorities are for the position and look for those first in the resumes. Once you have settled on a few resumes, we suggest the two step approach to interviewing. The first is the telephone interview, which can save you valuable time and effort. Ask the candidate a set of specific questions, such as: Why are you interested in this position? Please describe three key attributes that you have to offer to our company? Give me one significant program that you had an impact on in the last six months? Listen carefully to the candidate to see if the response fits the job description. This process allows the candidate to earn a face-to-face interview.

Interviewing – The Art of Listening

When interviewing in person, it is important to listen and not let emotions take over. The candidate should talk about 80 percent of the interview and the interviewer only 20 percent. The goal for interviewing effectively is to note their thinking patterns, and not get caught up in appearances, impressive schools or companies. During the interview, questions that are more specific are helpful in making successful hiring decisions. Some examples are: What significant impact have they had at three or more companies on their resumes – ask for specifics, percentage of change; Please describe in detail what brought about the change; What was their process, from A to Z? and ask how the magnifycandidate would handle a specific problem that you have seen in the position.

Identifying the Inner Traits of a Candidate & How to Best Manage the Individual

Once a candidate has been selected, then the most difficult part of the hiring process begins – reference checking. Many firms find professional organizations helpful when making background checks. Yet, as the old saying goes, “You never know someone until you work with them, travel with them or live with them”. Through in-depth work style and personality testing, you can reduce the possibility of making a hiring error. An in-depth assessment can identify inner traits of a candidate if the appropriate assessment is selected.

The following are some things to think about when reviewing various work style & personality profiles:

  1. Training or degrees required for interpretation of the data. Weekend training programs can be problematic since testing and human behavior is a very complex subject. When making hiring or internal decisions, organizations need as much information and understanding as possible as the consequences can be very costly.
  2. A copy of the resume should be supplied to the testing company to review when discussing the assessment results. We suggest to make sure that the testing company uses resumes as part of the process when reviewing the assessment on a candidate.
  3. Scale for “Impression Management” to understanding accuracy of results and if someone is trying to ‘fake good’. The questionnaire needs at a minimum of 164 questions to gather enough data for this scale.
  4. Common warning signs: When a representative uses absolute statements when describing human behavior, like ‘People are all the same’ or ‘People don’t change.’ This will convey what their level of understanding of the human personality is. Or when someone claims that their profile is 98 or 99% accurate, which rarely can be clinically supported. If you hear this, ask how the data was collected.
  5. Career Matching: Some organizations claim to know what the perfect “sales person” or “secretary” is from a personality perspective. Ask how many careers and occupations have been studied; is the data base validated by outside organizations or only by “applied in-house studies”. “Ideal” is very difficult to define due to the variance of geography, job history and education. What is most important is if the individual has a similar thought pattern that meets the criteria within the job description.
  6. Number of clinical studies conducted by major universities and there should be multiple studies for validation purposes.
  7. How long has the profile been used – what is the history.
  8. How often is the normative database updated and where is the data coming from. (For example, U.S. Census 1990, 2000)
  9. Cultural bias – is it built into the profile and for which countries.
  10. Does the profile meet U.S. government employment standards? Has it been reviewed for ADA compliance & gender, culture & racial bias?
  11. Reading level required (5th grade English, etc).
  12. Number of profiles administered.
  13. Number of actual primary scales as defined by the “Big 5” testing standards. Many tests will claim to have more scales than they actually have – this can lead to misrepresentation of data.
  14. Does the data provide the depth necessary, to understand how an individual is wired inside?
  15. Validity, reliability and basis.

These are some general questions and if a profile falls short in any one area, we strongly suggest additional research into the accuracy of the data being generated.

Legal Guidelines & Other Important Stuff

A common inquiry from companies and organizations is about the legal guidelines in providing assessments to candidates. Since industries vary, it is always best to check with a trade association or a legal representative. The general rule is that a test or any set of hiring questions needs to be administered to all final candidates in order to assure that discrimination is not taking place. More information may be found at the EEOC website, in the Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Examinations of Employees section.scale

Another question is how do new hires usually feel about taking an in-depth work style assessment. It shows that a company is serious about who they hire. If the company presents the testing program as a method of assuring both parties that they are making the right decision, the individual usually responds very well. The bottom line is that hopefully turnover is greatly reduced.

An in-depth assessment can be very helpful for personnel development and succession planning. As a hiring tool, they can be used to develop additional questions for interviewing and confirming the interviewer’s intuition that might be overlooked. This process gains more reliable and accurate data in order to effectively manage individuals to make hiring and personnel decisions a win-win for everyone.

If you are a hiring manager and would like to see a sample of an in-depth work style and personality profile or get more information, please contact Dana Borowka at Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC, (310) 453-6556, extension 403 or email at dana@lighthouseconsulting.com.

The key to onboarding is to understand what the individual needs in order to be successful. The information collected from an in-depth work style assessment can be used as a caching and management tool in order to reduce the learning curve and help the individual hit the ground running!

As you have seen, a successful hiring program requires many components that work together to provide the needed information for difficult personnel decisions. Combining a puzzlewell-defined job description, targeted recruiting and focused interviewing with an effective in-depth work style and personality evaluation program, turns hiring into a profitable and rewarding process.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

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 www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

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, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

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.