Friday, May 29, 2009

What You Can Learn When You Stop Fearing Change

WebMD Feature from "Redbook" Magazine

By Kristyn Kusek Lewis

From layoffs to security threats, we live in a crazy and scary world. You could just pray for calmer times — or learn to love the occasionally wild ride.

Life, as you may have noticed, is one great big roller-coaster ride. From job changes (planned or not) to turn-your-world-upside-down milestones like marriage and motherhood, there's no end to the twists and turns you face through the years. And these days, what with headlines constantly reminding you about the shaky economy or latest terrorist threat, that ride through life can seem scarier than ever.

But consider this: Maybe feeling a little unsteady is actually a good thing. "We're brought up to believe that we should do everything we can to live tidy, predictable lives: Map out what you want! Have a five-year plan!" says life coach Gail Blanke, author of Throw Out Fifty Things. "But the truth is that you miss some of the best parts of life by living like that." In fact, notes Blanke, it's the in-between, uncertain times, the moments when you're tempted to just pull the covers over your head, that can teach you the most about yourself and help you grow — if you let them. Below, Blanke takes you through four scenarios that can rock your world in the best way possible.

You're shaken up by a major life change, like getting married or becoming a parent.

Big milestones aren't just about taking the next step (and taking lots of photos to mark the occasion!); they can also challenge your long-held beliefs about who you are. "The thing about getting married or having a baby is that it's not like putting a new lamp in the living room — it changes everything," says Blanke. As scary as it is to look at your life and realize that it bears almost no resemblance to your former existence, the best thing you can do is stop fighting those uneasy feelings. "I like to say that you should 'lean into' the change," says Blanke. "Instead of worrying, Who am I now? think of it as an opportunity to wonder, Who could I becomenow?"

One way to turn an identity crisis into an exciting metamorphosis is to develop a student mentality — meaning, take time to notice what you're learning about yourself in your new life. Ask, What am I discovering about myself now that I never would have otherwise? Maybe living with a spouse is showing you how to be more flexible. Perhaps caring for a colicky newborn is teaching you patience. Or maybe you know you're changing, but you have no idea how — and that's okay too. Going through an identity shift is huge, and it shouldn't feel as easy as getting used to a new haircut.

The point is, transitions are tough, but it's easier to uncover the lessons they have to offer if you stop thinking that you should know how to play your role from the start. Do your best to go with the flow, and in time, your new life will become second nature. As Blanke points out, "Remember what Charles Darwin said: It's not the strongest or the smartest of the species that survives, but the ones who can best adapt to change!"

You're having a career crisis.

Maybe you're in a dead-end job, or you're feeling uninspired by your 9-to-5, or you're perpetually worried that you might be pushed out by downsizing. Work woes can make it seem like your whole world is out of whack — but you don't have to succumb to that feeling. "Somebody made up this thing called a 'career path' where you just climb up the ladder, straight as a stick, and then — bam! — Florida!" says Blanke. "But I'm not sure that's such a great arrangement. Veering off course can be just what you need to unearth an entire new set of options for yourself."

One way to explore those options is to create your own think tank. "I have a client who was laid off from her job in the banking industry," says Blanke. "She gathered her good friends and former colleagues and asked them to tell her what they think her unique talents and attributes are." The point of this exercise, Blanke says, isn't to suddenly decide that you're going to become a pastry chef or head off to law school, but to brainstorm about your distinctive passions and skills. It shifts your perspective from, What should I do? to There's a world of possibilities out there."

You're worried about terrorism, your safety, and the state of the world.

rollercoaster.jpgHere's a situation where we pretend to know the end of the story before we finish the book," says Blanke. "We really burden ourselves by imagining the worst possible things that could happen to us, but that serves no purpose beyond making ourselves afraid." Fear, says Blanke, stands for "False Evidence Appearing Real" — meaning that we let our worries eat at us to the point where we believe that the worst-case scenarios are our realities.

The problem with this mind-set (besides, of course, feeling anxious and on edge 24/7) is that it blinds you to all the good things that happen every day. The antidote: "Develop the fine art of editing in your life," advises Blanke. "Get up every morning and ask yourself, What kind of news am I going to let into my world today? What am I going to listen to? What am I going to talk about?" This doesn't mean that you stick your head in the sand — obviously, it's important to stay informed — but that you keep a watchful eye on the kind of information you feed your mind. Do you fixate on negative stories? Do your conversations run pessimistic? If you tend to concentrate on the negative, see if you can pare down your daily doom-and-gloom intake (read one fewer bad-economy forecast in favor of something more helpful, like a smart money management story) so that you can open yourself up to more hope and optimism.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

ME: 2.0 Personal Branding in the Twenty-first Century

ME: 2.0 Personal Branding in the Twenty-first Century
by Victoria Krayna-Spencer

"I don't care how much power, brilliance, or energy you have, if you don't harness it and focus it on a specific target, and hold it there, you're never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants."— Zig Ziglar

"In today's fast-changing business environment, responsiveness - quickness, agility, the ability to adapt to changing demands - is more vital than ever to a firm's survival." (Bateman-Snell, 2003) A business, person, or brand that does not regularly examine its total marketing program cannot understand why it has succeeded or why it has failed. The purpose of making strategic marketing changes is to enhance opportunities for organizational and individual success. Organizations must be prepared to implement change effectively or die. Yet 90% will not make the changes necessary for their ultimate survival.

But what about marketing the individual? What if the individual were to examine and completely understand one's motivation; learning where and how to allocate one's energy and focus one's intellect, asserting one's competitive drive productively and efficiently; managing relationships in order to support one's objectives and deal effectively with saboteurs? What if one were to become responsive, agile, and capable of adapting to change quickly, as change is inevitable? How does one go from motivation to commitment?

What form of discipline would that require? That discipline takes the form of identifying a small number of priorities, directing resources to them, then measuring and holding ourselves accountable for significant progress toward them. These short-term victories equate to achievements that sustain and strengthen faith in the change effort, emotionally reward efforts, keep the real and/or perceived obstacles in perspective, and build momentum. Without sufficient victories that are visible, timely, unambiguous, and meaningful to others, change efforts invariably run into serious problems. As an individual are you the ten percent willing to make the requisite changes or are you the ninety percent that will forfeit the very life-breath of your dreams?

Bateman, T. & Snell, S. (2003) Management: The New Competitive Landscape, Sixth Edition. The McGraw-Hill Companies. New York, New York.

Krayna-Spencer, V. (2008) Change Management in the Twenty-first Century: Best Practices

Friday, October 17, 2008

Freedom's Journey

As of this very second;

I am willing to let go of what I think is acceptable, permissible, correct, feasible, achievable, mature, or predictable;

I no longer need to fit in anymore,

in this world of doubt,



prone to endless striving,


belittling, and needless


I relinquish the undermining philosophies of the pragmatic world---

and choose instead more;

more self-determining,



birth-giving thoughts.

Right here, right now;

I allow myself to be released,





and showered

with delicious good in every facet of my life.

Beginning today;

I am going nova; I will sparkle so unequivocally that others will forsake their own shadow choices.

I will keep my heart accessible and parade through wide-open doors in a welcoming world.

I choose to experience more pleasure,





nurturance, and

synergy than ever before.

Finally, I am free to be valued, cherished, treasured, cultivated, loved, and nurtured wherever I go and in whatever I do. There is such a magnitude, so many facets of God's Creation that I have yet to experience. The more I allow myself to receive---the more I can open up to receiving and giving my true love to this world as I have never received or given before.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

SWOT Analysis in Everyday Decision-making

SWOT Analysis is a method for strategy formulation and implementation that can be used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in the early stages of every day decision-making. In my practice as a Life Coach I use SWOT Analysis with my clients to determine Career Paths, the most effective learning modality for them, the degree, certificate program, or license that would jettison their career, and/or the college or vocational school that would best suit their needs. Recently I performed a SWOT Analysis while determining which Vocational School to attend to earn my Real Estate Broker's License.

As a Relationship Coach I often meet with individuals in a relationship with a person with a Relationship Disorder. What is acceptable to one individual may or may not be for another. A Relationship Disorder is not necessarily a Deal Breaker. The SWOT Analysis allows the individual to have a clear snapshot of the relationship to determine what their pay-offs are. Once an individual understands what features and benefits, liabilities, and potential threats the relationship holds, they can determine whether to stay or to walk away.

As a Wellness Coach I have had the benefit of working with individuals needing to lose anywhere from 10 to 90 pounds. When determining which type of program to place a client on, SWOT is a handy tool. Not only can the individual have a clear synopsis of the various diet plans, but also of their own motivational factors, eating triggers, 'get real' weight, realistic time-tables, etc.

If you have successfully used SWOT Analysis to achieve organizational, personal, or relational change; I would love to hear from you. Please respond to this post with 'SWOT Analysis' in the header.

Thank You and Make it a Safe and Productive Day
Victoria Krayna BSB/MM
Life Transformation Coach

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Strategy Implementation and Formulation: SWOT Analysis Part II

SWOT Analysis is a method for strategy formulation and implementation used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in the early stages of change management. A corporation, product, or process that is not regularly examined and evaluated cannot understand why it has succeeded or why it has failed. A business that objectively and systematically examines its processes can take steps to improve on what worked well and modify or eliminate what worked poorly.

The following is a sampling of SWOT Analysis recently performed by the Author on Dell, Inc.

SWOT Analysis


· Alert to the acceleration in the continuing global rate of change, developing trends, and economies.

· Expeditious in its decision-making and execution of goal-directed change that is in alignment with its organizational goals and objectives.

· Strategic management

· Technological innovation

· Rapid Innovation and resourcefulness

Dell’s strategy is; survival, sustainability, revenue generation, and profitability through innovation and speed. Dell’s efforts remain focused on four strategic initiatives:

· Driving global growth

· Attaining product leadership

· Superior customer service

· Embracing Dell’s corporate culture

Dell’s rapid innovation and resourcefulness has helped maintain its ranking amongst the top PC producers. Dell’s strategic focus on the business and educational markets has resulted in a significant market share in each of those segments. The organization was the leading supplier of computer systems business for two years running. Dell’s strategic development of its direct marketing agenda has resulted in phenomenal growth.


· Competition and substitute availability

· Differentiating divisional or departmental goals.

· Diminished capability to internally support innovations

There are potential ethical conflicts associated with Dell’s competitive methods. “If formal techniques, such as quality function deployment, are not used to explicitly focus innovation efforts on consumer demand, quality can become lost in the firm's narrow pursuit of speed as an end in itself, rather than an instrumental end to the success of the project.” (Kessler, 1996) “Friendly fire” or healthy competition amongst colleagues for idea generation or innovative solutions could result in faulty thinking, resistance, dangerous shortcuts, or liability issues. At a global level this strategy must be well thought out and carefully implemented in order to avoid cultural faux pas that could lead to misinterpretation of the customers true needs.


Dell’s recent business “Latitude” notebook, desktops and mobile workstations were developed with enhancements based on direct customer feedback. These innovations reflect Dell's ability to incorporate direct customer feedback into every product. These enhancements have increased:

· Performance

· Reliability

· Usability

· Environmental friendliness.

Dell’s fourfold strategic initiatives to drive global growth, attain product leadership, provide superior customer service, and embrace Dell’s corporate culture are permeated in everything it does.


· Compromised processes or products by engaging in too many technological fields and innovations.

· Having too many irons in the fire could result in spreading its resources too thin.

· Temptation to deviate from its own best practices

· Major delays in product rollouts

· Not done enough due diligence in an acquisition attempt.

· Government-imposed regulations

· Regulations regarding employee relations and globalization significantly impact the computer industry.

“The promises and perils of globalization take many forms. The most commonly experienced manifestations are in the realms of economics and culture, but much of what shapes the causes and consequences of globalization today, in any form, is its less glamorous regulatory underpinnings. Whether and how certain interests prevail during trade negotiations depends not only on the quality of the product, service, or idea being promulgated, but the strategic leverage their advocates enjoy (or the coalitions their different types of advocates are able to assemble) in the international forums established to manage the global economy.” (Woolcock, 2001)


Dell consistently delivers swift strategic response to match customer needs to products and service. In addition to a full line of desktop and notebook PCs designed for consumers, Dell offers network servers, workstations, storage systems, and Ethernet switches for business customers. Such tactical maneuvers have allowed Dell to remain the world’s premier direct-sale computer vendor.


Dell’s strategic alliance with the voices of the customer and stakeholders to accurately project and exploit trends and make prompt decisions by reassessing strategies, continually adds competitive advantage by leveraging and enabling the latest process concepts. Dell’s strategy to incorporate customer and stakeholder feedback in process innovation and product design ensures customer loyalty. This integration serves to prevent misinterpretation between perceived and actual customer needs. These alliances reduce time and cost as they minimize or remove steps in the research and development process. It also provides motivation for its employees. Rapid product development increases the learning capacity of employees while strengthening their technical, conceptual, and interpersonal competencies.

Keys to Success

· Commit to providing customer specific personal computers and software quickly, efficiently, and at a competitive price.

· Consider third-party providers in the delivery of hardware service.

· Provide a reduction in overall cost of ownership for personal computers, specialty products, and services.

· Be the single point of contact for customers and outsource complex projects.

· Enhance manufacturing efficiencies.

· Focus on the hardware market while managing other product lines and services businesses. (Aragon,1998)


Organizational survival is reliant on its capacity to project and maximize trends, make express decisions by reassessing strategies, continually adding competitive advantage by leveraging and enabling the latest process concepts. Organizations must be responsive, agile, and capable of adapting to change quickly, as change is inevitable. Historically, management teams throughout highly successful organizations have correctly identified those change initiatives through SWOT Analysis that ultimately brought about competitive advantage and how they might evolve. The critical challenges marketing managers of the twenty-first century face today require innovative thinking and integration to create an agile infrastructure.

Aragon, L. (1998, July) Dell’s Channel Secrets Revealed. VAR Business. P. 92-100

Kessler, E. (1996) Innovation Speed: A Conceptual Model of Context,

Antecedents, and Outcomes. Academy of Management Review. 21 (4) 1143.

Woolcock, M. (2001, November) Global Business Regulation. Contemporary Sociology. 30 (6) (2005, July) Dell Expanding With Global Opportunity, Diversified Technology Portfolio Supports Revenue Growth

Strategy Implementation and Formulation: SWOT Analysis

Organizational survival depends on keeping the organization alert to developing trends and economies. SWOT Analysis is a method for strategy formulation and implementation used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in the early stages of change management. A corporation, product, or process that is not regularly examined and evaluated cannot understand why it has succeeded or why it has failed. A business that objectively and systematically examines its processes can take steps to improve on what worked well and modify or eliminate what worked poorly. The purpose of making strategic marketing changes or process improvements is to enhance opportunities for organizational success. Organizations must be prepared to implement change effectively or die. The SWOT Analysis will analyze and evaluate several environmental aspects that could optimize or diminish the desired outcome of the project. The audit will research fluctuations in the organizational, industry-wide, and geographic culture, explore economic, demographic, and market variables, investigate deviations in legal, regulatory, and compliance issues, and assess organizational and competitive technological advances, changes, and obsolescence. It will reveal barriers to new entrants, and copy-cat products and services.

Significant to the accuracy of the SWOT Analysis is anticipating trends within the industry. Keeping an eye on competition is crucial to making appropriate adjustments to maintain competitive advantage. A SWOT Analysis involves thorough evaluation of all elements of strategy and formulation.

· Strengths: Constructive Organizational attributes

· Weaknesses: Destructive Organization Attributes

· Opportunities: Constructive external conditions

· Threats: Destructive external conditions

Correctly identifying the components of a SWOT Analysis is critical. Subsequent steps in the process of strategy formulation for the purpose of the achievement of organizational objectives may be derived from the analysis.