Five ways to have productive meetings

Many managers often feel they must foster a team environment and communication by having status updates. A meeting for the sake of meeting can be a waste of time.  Food may be provided and the manager may find that gets everyone there-then what?

I worked in an office like that-instead of sales quotas, we kept track of counseling appointments.  While many meeting foster communication….there must be room for open debate as well.

Here are five questions to foster healthy discussions and debates:

  1. What has occurred-what developments have there been?  What has changed.  This a great way to start the discussions about the concerns of the team or different departments.
  2. Now, what is it that we want to happen?  The outcomes needed needed  and how do we measure so we know we’ve achieved these objectives.  This enables prioritization.
  3. What are the risk factors.  This can start lively discussions…both the “big picture” thinkers and those more detail-oriented can come together to make an informed assessment.
  4.  What information do we need?  What data is missing?  Do we need to involve another or can we access the information quickly and …who is responsible for this?  This is a great question to decide on assignments.
  5. What mistakes were made or are still making?  This encourages attendees to speak out.and problem-solve.  Does it solely affect our team or is it company-wide?
  6.  BONUS  What would be the ideal outcome for this meeting?  This encourages your attendees to look ahead, do some future-planning…next, how do we get there?

It’s all in his head…Literally!

I truly can’t believe I’m telling you this…Last Monday, the love of my life-my husband had brain surgery!  He felt numbness in his left leg and tingling in  his left hand.

They admitted him the Thursday-we got a room in Neuro ICU on Friday morning after 20 hours in the ER!  They did an MRI which reveled a mass and lots of swelling on the upper right side.  We both were exhausted and apprehensive.

He felt better than I-I was terrified and trying to put on a brave front!  One of my best friend and my brother- in -law took turns supporting us.  Seeing him wheeled away and being told. he’d get worse before he gets better…This surgery scared me out of my mind!  I, of course, think of the worst-case scenario..and even though the neurosurgeon had done hundreds of these surgeries, something can always go wrong!

I was numb myself.  I couldn’t leave the waiting room-even though they had my description and cellphone number…My brother- in -law was hungry and persuaded me to with him to the cafeteria-I had a bagel, but could only eat half…

It was supposed to be a four-hour surgery and he would remove as much of that brain tumor as possible. They think that it’s part of his brain cancer and metastasized in the brain-they’ll send it to pathology.  Was his Keytruda no longer working?  I had a million questions running  through my brain.

He was back in Neuro ICU and we walked in and he was groggy but coherent!  He knew there were lots of people in the OR.  It’s a teaching hospital so everyone had another doctor-resident or intern observing and three anesthesiologists as I later learned three separate people tried to insert his breathing tube-he has “obstructed passageways”.  This means it was difficult to put a tube down his throat!  Well, duh!

Tuesday, he was downgraded to a regular room on the Neuro floor.  There was a lovely view from his corner room with two windows.  For Physical Therapy, he walked with his walker up and down the hall twice!  His neurosurgeon had found us and told us, he thinks he got it all out!   You could tell by his mobility and little numbness or tingling, that he was walking better and only the bottom of his left foot was numb.  His left hand had only a few fingers that still tingled.

The worst thing was fatigue.  He went tp physical therapy and walked up the steps they used.  They only had him use a cane and a week ago, he was discharged.  Two days after a successful brain surgery.  they follow up with radiation-the” cyberknife”- sounds way cooler, right?

He has six weeks of rehab-physical and occupational therapies.Fatigue still plagues him.  He’s to unplug and rest for 15 minutes, then resume activity!  He’s very motivated and practices his exercises daily.

Ah…Freedom-automation & VAs!

Transitions in Management Styles

Some managers are great. Some managers are not.  Yelling and berating employees is usually not a welcome management style and often results in alienating their employees.  When researching this, there were some notable exceptions!

The late Steve Jobs of Apple was notorious for yelling at his workers but they willingly tolerated his tirades because they believed in innovation and felt they were changing the world.  They told new employees that their boss, (Jobs) was a genius. Therefore, much of his harsh management style was overlooked.

The perception of the yelling boss depends on a number of factors and can swing from de-motivating to very motivating.  If the employee feels that their boss is authentic and deserving of their trust and openly explains actions, then employees often tolerate this management style.

Companies are being less hierarchical and flattening of management into more of a team environment.  Yelling is less tolerated.

What do you think?  Which style of management describes your actions?


Cancer-Living Scan to Scan!

We finally got some good news!  After 1 round of Keytruda…drumroll, please, 34/35 cancerous tumors in his lungs have either shrunk or are gone completely!  And another round begins.

They say in business, you’re only as good as your last sale, last project and with cancer-the last scan.

We’re going in our 2nd in three Keytruda treatments and thy are three weeks apart!  Time, once again, to hurry up and wait!  You’re only as good as your last scan.

When your loved one has cancer…you may wonder why I don’t capitalize the “C” word, I refuse to give it that much power!  See, when a loved one has cancer, your life is defined by it!

We try to do some un-cancer-related activities, go to a movie, out to dinner, a walk or doing a crossword puzzle together…We’re blessed to live in Baltimore, MD and have the Hopewell cancer support where education and support groups are available led by licensed social workers and is all free to any person diagnosed and their family members.  Such a great resource!

I invite you to share your stories and I’ll answer any cancer-related questions you may have.  I’m hardly an expert, but I’ve learned and know where to refer you.

The Transition to Innovative Thinking!

We’ve probably all heard the expression, “think outside the box”.  Unfortunately, it’s been way overused and has kinda lost its impact and become cliche!

It began with a simple exercise, a darling of Management Consultants in the 70’s and 80’s.  It consisted of three rows of three dots per row.  That was without lifting your pencil off the paper , connect all the dots…It can be done.  It just requires innovative thinking.

As organizations become flatter & less hierarchical, Management Consultants are championing cross-functional and a new way to think and provide innovation.

There is no box.  Innovative thinking is not only the realm of management.

This is a huge transition.  Ideas can come from anywhere by anyone in the organization.


It’s a “waiting game” when you have cancer…



When you hear the diagnosis, you’re in shock.  Then you start having those conversations with family and good friends. You wait for your oncology appointment and fill out the first of many health forms.  We were lucky, we got seen in a week-the waiting was nerve-wracking.  We were seen in a week-there was a cancellation!  The nurse says it’s usually 10 days-3 weeks!  Ahh!

Then the waiting game begins.  While waiting, you go down the “What if…” road…

I’m the wife of the cancer patient.  I can’t help but feel helpless! Chemo was 4 weeks later…It didn’t work, now immunotherapy but, of course, we had to wait 2 weeks and now, his 3rd round is next week.  3 weeks between rounds.

then, we wait…again.

Independence Day

Happy 4th of July!  This day and weekend has come to be associated with cookouts and fireworks…We’re really celebrating a country’s declared independence from tyranny, depending on which side of the Atlantic you’re on! 🙂  England does not celebrate this!

I propose we begin to be independent of seeking others’ approval.  In my coaching business, I see many paralyzed by the fear that someone will be upset if I take this action…and often wind up not taking it and resent the other person.

I’ll give you an example.  You finally get up the nerve to tell your family you’ve decided to start a business on the side while continuing to work.

Well-meaning naysayers will feel the need to tell you that’s crazy-you’ll be too tired.  Our family doesn’t do that and so on…Some will allow themselves to be convinced…and give up their dream before it’s even begun!

A few will go against the family/friends’ pressure and strike out on their own…Neither is ideal-you either succumb to peer pressure.  Or go against the norm and feel like a” lone wolf.”

Sometimes, you just need to “rebel” from the status quo.

What to do with feedback?

Not all of us take feedback well.  Or give constructive “criticism” in a helpful manner.  Just the term “constructive CRITICISM is loaded with feelings of dread or may trigger defensiveness or depression…”I can’t do anything right!”

Jack Canfield in “The Success Principles” talks about failure or success being feedback.  Failure, you learn what not to do and how to tweak it and see that result.  Success means keep doing what you’re doing…BUT sometimes, we want bigger successes, and we tamper with it and may make it worse-“don’t fix it if it ain’t broke”…Maybe changing that little bit and taking the risk of failure sometimes yields the greatest rewards!

When you get feedback, positive or negative

  1. Consider the source.  Do they honestly know what they’re talking about.
  2. 2.Get more than one opinion.  Now, if 3-4 are saying the same thing, it might warrant closer examination.

I know if I hear the same feedback from several different sources…I have to analyze it and ask myself-is there a kernel of truth to this?

It could be positive feedback-|You have a great “presence” about you…You must ask yourself-am I poised?  Am I calm under pressure?

I find that the potentially negative ones are often my blind spots.  “You always are defensive”.  As “no, I’m not” springs to lips…hmm, maybe there’s something to that!

Feedback is neither positive nor negative.  It’s just feedback!


“Turning Point” by Magician/Business Guru was my turning point!

I first met Marshall Sylver at Guerrilla Business School, billed as “an MBA on steroids!” It was intense and fun!  He was pure entertainment and hypnotised some of the students.  No, no one clucked like a chicken!

Then, the next day, he spoke about trances as subconscious behaviors, like driving home but only remembering the beginning and the arriving at the destination…Being on “autopilot” is a form of trance.  Of course, he had an event called “Turning Point” where he would go in more depth how these principles govern your behavior in business!

I signed up, of course.  I’m a life-long learner and a self-confessed, “Seminar Junkie!”

Finally, after my illness, then,hurt my back…I arranged to go to Las Vegas and stay with one of my seminar pals.  We’ve become besties and have been roommates five or six times!

It was great.  Why not be in a trance that you’re a strong leader or just feel positive, have a can-do attitude and get things done!

It was the shot in the arm I needed.  Still carving out time from dealing with my husband’s Cancer, but I manage to be there  for my clients 100% and work on my second book.

You can purchase my book on Transitions and the Transition Cycle in 3 easy stages Go to and it’s only 10 bucks with shipping included!  Save $7 and 50% of sales will be donated to, an all-volunteer responsible for providing  wellness packages to anyone diagnosed.

So, what is/was your “Turning Point?”

Next Steps-After Chemo, Immunotherapy…

My time is not my own!  I’ve learned that the Chemo didn’t work so giving immunotherapy a go.  You take Keytruda when the hope is that your immune system will help fight the cancer cells and shrink them or at the very least, keep it from spreading.Every cancer is different.  I am not a doctor.  Chemo didn’t work in his case….Please see a physician or your oncologist!This is just another step in the transition from being “healthy as a horse” to cancer patient.