Monday, December 14, 2009

Developing as a Professional: Finding Relief and Creating Peace from the Eight Avoidable Toxic Tendencies

Developing as a Professional: Finding Relief and Creating Peace from the Eight Avoidable Toxic Tendencies

Finding Relief and Creating Peace from the Eight Avoidable Toxic Tendencies

My pal Kenda Swartz over at has this blog entry. It's worth linking over there to read it:

This post is for anyone who engages in toxic tendencies, which for most of us…is most of us! While some may not habitually have toxic tendencies, these behaviors at any time can cause harm to your relationships and certainly wreak havoc on your body through the stress response. At the very least, I would want you to consider the notion that relieving yourself of toxic behaviors will bring more joy to your life.

Go to: for the full article.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Communicating to Employees about Change

Workshop in October

Managers need skills to communicate about change strategically, consistently and positively. This workshop helps managers:
· Plan how to communicate the right messages.
· Use a variety of communication vehicles for maximum impact.
· Monitor and squash the rumor mill.
· Empathize with employees without agreeing with them.
· Build a case for change.
· Establish and maintain credibility.

DATE: Monday, October 12, 2009 - 1 to 5 PM
LOCATION: Building J-7, Foothill College Middlefield CampusCubberly Community Center, 4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303
Cost: $85 per person
INSTRUCTOR: Patricia Haddock is a communication and training consultant who helps her clients attract, retain and develop employees, increase productivity and effectiveness, and improve interpersonal communication skills. Patricia has authored more than 600 magazine articles and 11 books.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Workshop: Survival Tools for Tough Times

Tough times play havoc with our emotions. We ride a roller coaster that takes us from the highest highs to the lowest lows. Your feelings do not come in a predictable sequence and can crop up at any time. This workshop provides tools and resources for managing negative situations and emotions:
- Fear: Stepping out despite yourself
- Loss: Allowing yourself to grieve
- Stress: Recharging by slowing down
- Anger: Cooling hot tempers
- Discouragement: Holding the course
- Rejection: Moving on

Join me and learn strategies for coping in tough times.

DATE: Monday, October 5, 2009 - 1:00 to 4:30 PM

LOCATION: Building J-7, Foothill College Middlefield Campus
Cubberly Community Center, 4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303

Cost: $75 per person
INSTRUCTOR: Patricia Haddock
CALL: 650-949-7797 OR EMAIL:


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"I" messages say what you mean

Use “I” messages. It is important that you let people know how you feel about the situation. “I” statements are assertive and forthright. They let the other person know where you stand and where you are coming from. “I” messages state what you think, feel, need, want or believe. They communicate the attitude that while you are not willing to give up what you need, you are willing to help create a win-win situation.

There are three parts to an effective “I” message:
1. a description of the behavior,
2. a description of the feeling(s) this behavior causes you, and
3. a description of the effects caused by the behavior.

Let’s say you have a colleague who is always late for meetings. Say something like this: “I noticed you have been late for the last two meetings. Since we can’t start the meeting without you, we waste a lot of time. How can we better coordinate our schedules so that the meetings start on time?”

“I” statements are less confrontational than “You” statements are. Compare this statement with the one above. “You are always late for meetings. Everyone has to wait for you. What a waste of time! Why can’t you be prompt?”

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Small change, big results

Don’t strive for major changes overnight. The Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement -- kaizen -- encourages us to take small, consistent steps that cumulatively make a difference.

One step may not make much impact; 10,000 steps can take you up a mountain.
• Make the tasks look small and easy in your mind.
• Do only a small part of the task each time.
• Five-minute plan: Work on something for just five minutes. At the end of five minutes, switch to something else if you want. Chances are, you'll get involved enough to keep going.
• Plan tomorrow and establish priorities. Sometimes, just writing down reasonable starting and stopping times can help you get going.

Expect some backsliding. Occasionally, your plans will not work. Accept setbacks and start again. You can always recover from a small mis-step. It's a lot harder to recover if you jump off a cliff!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Body Language

People are either communicating an openness and receptiveness with what is happening or are closing themselves off. Watch what other people are saying with their bodies and what you are telling them with yours. If words and body language clash, what the body is saying will be believed. Use appropriate body language to create credibility and congruence.

Negative Messages
• Fold arms and cross legs to reject what you hear.
• Lean back, doodle or look at the ceiling to show boredom.
• Sit back and join your fingers like a church steeple to show indifference.
• Slump to convey uncertainty and uneasiness.
• Slouch and walk slowly to show reluctance and lack of enthusiasm.

Positive Messages
• Open hands and postures to signal acceptance.
• Lean forward to show active involvement with what you are saying.
• Tilt the head to one side and nod occasionally to show understanding.
• Relax the face and smile to show acceptance and agreement.
• Sit or stand with an upright, but relaxed posture to show command and certainty.
• Walk with a quick gait and swing your arms to show confidence and enthusiasm.
• Stand and sit with an erect, yet comfortable and relaxed posture to communicate openness and a readiness to talk or listen.

Appropriate Eye contact
Eye contact can be tricky. Looking directly into someone’s eyes can be seen as hostile and even rude in some cultures. However, avoiding contact indicates sneakiness and the need to avoid disclosure. The solution is “soft eye contact.” Look at the person’s cheek, forehead, nose, chin or mouth. They think that you are looking directly at them but you avoid direct eye contact.

When addressing a group, regularly look around the room and make eye contact with someone for a few moments, then move on. Use short, frequent glances, but don’t stare. Everyone will think you are paying attention to them and you will seem to be in control of the room.
No Touch
Except for the handshake, avoid touching, which can misunderstood.

If you are summoned for jury duty, how do you communicate you don’t want to be there with just your body language? How do you communicate you want to be there with just your body language?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Compassion for people with ToXic Tendencies! Why bother?

The real question here is Why Bother? I mean, who wants to have compassion for a nasty, inappropriate or intimidating person? It’s hard enough to deal with day-to-day work priorities let alone with day-to-day work personalities. Don’t you just want to do your work and go home?

Here is my answer to Why Bother?
My pal Kenda Swartz has this interesting and valuable blog post. Check it out.

Purging Information

Purging files means either archiving files or discarding them. Inactive files that need to be kept should be archived. Archiving is usually determined by usage. To determine an appropriate archive strategy, consider the following:

• How often the files are referred to.
• The retention requirements.
• What the files are used for.

If possible, convert paper files to electronic files for archiving. If electronic conversion is not possible, store archival paper files in a storage room or basement and make sure storage boxes are clearly labeled. Electronic files should be archived on disk, CD, or flash drive. Make sure you create a directory. Once electronic files have been archived, delete them from your computer.

Some people have a hard time discarding things. Make it easy to throw things away by keeping your wastebasket, recycle bin, or shredder handy. Use them daily.

How do you know what needs to be trashed? Here are some questions to help identify documents that may be disposed of:

• Are there legal or other requirements for retention? If so, what are they? Post the retention requirements where you can easily refer to them.
• Will anyone use this document again? If so, how will it be used?
• Is an original required or will a copy due?
• Is this a rare, one-of-a-kind document or can duplicates be obtained?
• Can you retain an electronic version rather than a paper version?
• How difficult would it be to get a copy?
• Is this document required for documentation?

You can probably toss these documents:

• Working drafts after you have a final approved draft.
• Duplicate copies of documents if the original has been saved.
• Routine documents.
• Hardcopies of electronic files.
• Publications available in libraries or online.
• Notices and memos not needed for documentation.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Use a Positive Tone

Your writing will be more successful if you focus on positive wording rather than negative since words that affect your reader positively are likely to produce the response you want. A positive emphasis helps persuade the reader and creates goodwill. In contrast, negative words may generate resistance.

- Avoid judgmental words such as “you claim,” “failed to, “neglected to,” and “lack of.”

- Avoid words with negative connotations such as no, do not, refuse, and stop and words that convey unhappy or unpleasant associations such as unfortunately, unable to, cannot, mistake, problem, error, damage, loss, and failure.

In a few cases, you may want to use the negative for emphasis. There is a difference in tone between the contracted form and the two-word form--“can’t” and “cannot” or “don't” and “do not.”

Negative: In response to your question about how many units are needed to meet minimum graduation requirements, I regret to report that you are two short of the requirement.

Positive: In response to your question about how many units are need for graduation, students need 48 units to qualify for graduation. Our records show that you have earned 46 units. Two additional units will be required to for graduation. If you have any questions or want to discuss this, please contact me.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Be Loud and Proud

The following is from Caterina Rando's blog:

"Shout your advocacy position from the mountaintop. Let everyone know what you stand for. Erin Stafford is an image consultant, like so many others. However, Erin takes the position that every woman can look great without spending a fortune. Like Erin, pursue every opportunity to spread your opinion through articles, podcasts, blogs, vlogs, speeches and of course, your own website. Make your advocacy position clear and prominent in everything you do.

"Action to take: Decide what you want to be an advocate for. Or who you want to be an advocate for."

(C) 2009 Caterina Rando· Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 · No Comments »

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Neatness Counts

The Work Area: Now, take inventory of your entire work area. Note where the files are that you use daily. Can you reach them easily from your chair? What about the files that you need on occasion, are they well organized? Do you have the supplies you need such as paper and folders readily available? Consider the position of your desk and chair. You might try to turn them facing another direction rather than toward passing people. This is one way to minimize interruptions.

Keeping a well -organized work area reflects positively on your professional image. If you find yourself procrastinating or getting distracted easily, it’s time to improve your workspace and filing system.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Setting Boundaries

“No” is a small word with great power. Saying no more often can be hard, but it is one of the best tools you have for putting more time in your life.

Start by keeping your goals in mind. Say no to anything that takes you away from your goals or does not increase your productivity. This doesn’t mean that you avoid unpleasant or difficult tasks. The key is to keep your goals and priorities in focus.

Saying “yes” when you mean “no” can lead to feelings of resentment and anger. This can be more damaging to your relationships in the long run than saying “no” when you mean “no.”

Sometimes, saying “no” isn’t easy. Many people were raised to please others, not themselves and feel that if they say “no,” they will lose friends and associates. So, how do you say “no” without alienating others?

• Speak courteously and politely.

• Make “no” the first word you say and keep your statements simple and direct. “No, I can’t do that.” “No, I won’t be able to do that.”

• Give a reason if appropriate, but keep it short and straightforward.

• Show that you understand the situation. Remind people of your roles and responsibilities.

• State the consequences of saying “yes.”

If you’re not sure whether you want to say “no” or “yes,” ask for time to think it over. Be specific about when you will have an answer.

Practice saying “no” at least once a day.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Project Planning -- Set a Goal

Set a SMART goal for your project. What do you want to accomplish with the project? A SMART goal is a definition of the project with an end-results objective. It is specific, measurable, attainable, result-oriented and time bound.

Is this a SMART goal? “Plan and deliver a luncheon for eight new GSB faculty members on September 30, 2009 within a budget of $500.”

If not, what’s missing? How would we change it so it is a SMART goal?

It's missing the results objective.

“Plan and deliver a luncheon for eight new GSB faculty members on September 30, 2009 within a budget of $500 so our new faculty feel welcome and understand the college culture.”

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Becoming More Effective

Productivity measures what it takes to get a job done. We can improve productivity by doing more with fewer resources or less effort.

Efficiency measures how quickly and accurately we accomplish something. We can be come more efficient by working faster while maintaining or improving quality.

Effectiveness is the result of productivity and efficiency. We are effective when we do the right tasks and reach our goals.

Improving effectiveness is everyone’s responsibility. It is said that one minute of planning saves five minutes of execution. That’s a 500% return on your effort. Small gains in productivity can produce big results. This is illustrated by the Japanese concept of kaizen.

What are the benefits of becoming more effective?
Why is it important for you to become more effective?
What obstacles prevent you from becoming more effective?

See the entry for "Kaizen" to set an improvement goal.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Are you your boss's partner?

Partnership means that you:

• Prioritize job tasks.
• Accept higher levels of responsibility.
• Communicate assertively and appropriately.
• Enhance your abilities and skills.
• Take initiative.
• Offer solutions.
• Seek opportunities to help your boss succeed.
• Work effectively with others.
• Respect your boss and understand his/her needs.
• Respect confidences.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Motivational Styles -- Part 1

Toward vs. Away From Styles

This is the classic carrot vs. stick approach. People with a toward style are goal-oriented and are motivated by the pleasure they will get when they achieve a goal or reward. They want the carrot. Toward-oriented people know what they want and are willing to take risks to get it. They are the ones who sell the most widgets in order to win the trip to Paris. Many high achievers, managers, and leaders have a toward style. Because they may be motivated solely by achieving their goals, they may be less interested in the process of achieving the goal. Toward-oriented people can also be controlling and may dominate teams.

The away-from style is the opposite. They act to avoid the pain because they do not want the stick! Away-from oriented people do not respond well to goals, but rather act in order to avoid the consequences of not acting. They dislike problems and difficulties, know what they do not want, and will work to avoid it. They tend to be more cautions than toward-oriented people. However, they also find it harder to maintain motivation. With this style, as soon as the pain or threat is mitigated, they lose motivation and stop acting.

A toward person goes to the dentist because they want attractive healthy teeth. An away-from person goes to the dentist because they do not want cavities. A toward person wants to lose 25 pounds to look better and be healthier. An away-from person wants to lose 25 pounds so they will not have a heart attack or stroke. In each example, the results are the same, but the reasons for acting -- the motivation styles -- are very different.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

How Far Can You Go?

They might as well put a honing device in your bra, a camera in your car, and a listening bug in your Coach bag. No, it’s not the newest Bond flick. Around 75% of employers monitor employees’ electronic communications in some way; one-third monitor keystrokes! That’s right. Every time your fingers move across your keyboard, someone may be watching what you are typing. Creepy, huh?

Did you know your company might be checking what websites you visit using company computers – even take-home laptops -- and company time? If they find anything X-rated, you may find yourself an X-employee pretty quickly.

Did you know your company cells might have GPS to track your whereabouts when the phone is on? That quickie manicure, Nordstrom’s emergency or visit to mom may not be perceived as so innocent.

What about using your own cell at work? Surely that’s sacred, right? Well, your company can’t listen in, but it can track how much time you spend on your cell when you’re supposed to be working. Heck, some companies track how much time you spend in the bathroom.

Some bosses take a hard line with all this; other bosses are more laid back and understand you have a life outside the office. And many companies have a “reasonable use” policy for using technology for personal reasons at work.

Check your company's manual and find out how far you can go before you go too far!

Shaking Hands

Shaking hands properly is a mark of professionalism and sets the tone of the interaction. Too strong a shake, or too limp, and you put people off.

1. Extend your right hand, perpendicular (at a 90 degree angle) to the ground. Don't tip it to either side.

2. Exert the amount of pressure you would if you were squeezing an avocado. No more, no less.

3. Hold the grip for a moment with a brief up and down movement, then release. Do not cover the handshake with your left hand. Do not pump the hands as if you were priming a pump.Here's a good article on handshaking:

Friday, April 10, 2009

Eye See You

Eye contact can get you into trouble. Instead of looking someone directly in the eye, try soft eye contact. Look at their forehead, cheek, nose or chin. Stay away from looking at the mouth unless you want to be provocative.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Productivity Hacks

This article from The Renegade Writer was written for writers, but it's good advice for anyone who wants to develop as a professional. Go here to read it:

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Personal Power

Communicating a sense of personal power comes from a belief you can reach your goals in your own way. You communicate a sense of personal power by developing authority, accessibility, assertiveness, a positive image and solid communication skills.
Tips For Communicating Personal Power
* Identify someone in your circle of acquaintances who epitomizes the kind of authority you want to project and model that person.
* Make time for yourself and take care of your own needs to develop a healthy self-respect.
* Learn to say "No" when appropriate.
* Request feedback as a way to grow and learn.
* Develop an openness for change.
* Focus on your goals, and develop a sense of purpose and commitment.
* List every key person you know and set a goal to make contact with these key people at least once a month.
* Join key associations and make yourself known by volunteering.
* Always ensure that you make the best first impression possible. Stand erect and move energetically. Take every opportunity to practice these skills and you will soon find yourself communicating your personal power every time.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Manage Information

If you're overwhelmed with information -- print and virtual -- you need to implement an information management process. Here are the steps. We'll cover each in more detail in future posts.
· Determine what information needs to be retained.
· Determine major and subcategories of information.
· Sort paper files into major categories, then subcategories.
· Sort electronic files into major directories, then subdirectories and folders.
· Assign a physical location for paper files.
· Provide for back-up of critical electronic files.
· Label everything.
· Establish retention criteria.
· Establish retrieval criteria.
· Create archive files.
· Purge.
· Track stuff.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Courtesy Makes It Easy to Work with Others

Demonstrating courtesy is a mark of respect. It makes work – and life – easier for you and others. On the other hand, abrasive, rude behavior and incivility make work – and life – unpleasant. Business opportunities, customers, and promotions have been and will continue to be lost due to a lack of courtesy. Most discourteous behaviors can be avoided. Practice these courtesy behaviors until they are second nature.

Courteous people:

Freely use the words “please,” “thank you,” “excuse me,” and “may I.”

Show appreciation and give people credit for what they do.

Give compliments when they are deserved and praise other’s accomplishments.

Respond to requests and invitations graciously and promptly, and show up when they say they will.

Smile often.

Are always thoughtful to the people around them and considerate of other’s feelings.