Archive for July, 2010

Recommended Reading – Updated

Posted in General Management, Life Management, Recommended Reading with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 31, 2010 by Robert Finkelstein

Every weekend, I update my Recommended Reading list with three new books. I think you’ll find my suggestions thought-provoking, inspiring and educational.

This week: Great books on CREATIVITY and INNOVATION.

To see the entire Recommended Reading list of over 125 titles, please click on the link. “Recommended Reading

*If you’re interested in purchasing any of the books on my Recommended Reading list, for your convenience, I’ve linked all the covers directly to their respective pages on Amazon.*

I invite you to subscribe to my blog, “Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO – Operate at a Higher Level.” You’ll find the “Email Subscription” box on each page of my blog. If you have any business questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you. Thanks.

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16 QUESTIONS FOR FREE AGENTS by Seth Godin

Posted in "16 Questions for Free Agents" by Seth Godin, General Management, Life Management with tags , , , , , , , on July 30, 2010 by Robert Finkelstein

In addition to the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, my own personal and business blogs, the recommended reading list, and information on my consulting business, I would like to share some of the writings of various thought leaders…in particular, one of my favorites, SETH GODIN.


16 QUESTIONS FOR FREE AGENTS
by Seth Godin

If you’re starting out as an entrepreneur or a freelancer or a project manager, the most important choice you’ll make is: what to do? As in the answer to the question, “what do you do?”

Some questions to help you get started:

1. Who are you trying to please?
2. Are you trying to make a living, make a difference, or leave a legacy?
3. How will the world be different when you’ve succeeded?
4. Is it more important to add new customers or to increase your interactions with existing ones?
5. Do you want a team? How big? (I know, that’s two questions)
6. Would you rather have an open-ended project that’s never done, or one where you hit natural end points? (How high is high enough?)
7. Are you prepared to actively sell your stuff, or are you expecting that buyers will walk in the door and ask for it?
8. Which: to invent a category or to be just like Bob/Sue, but better?
9. If you take someone else’s investment, are you prepared to sell out to pay it back?
10. Are you done personally growing, or is this project going to force you to change and develop yourself?
11. Choose: teach and lead and challenge your customers, or do what they ask…
12. How long can you wait before it feels as though you’re succeeding?
13. Is perfect important? (Do you feel the need to fail privately, not in public?)
14. Do you want your customers to know each other (a tribe) or is it better they be anonymous and separate?
15. How close to failure, wipe out and humiliation are you willing to fly? (And while we’re on the topic, how open to criticism are you willing to be?)
16. What does busy look like?

In my experience, people skip all of these questions and ask instead: “What can I do that will be sure to work?” The problem, of course, is that there is no sure, and even worse, that you and I have no agreement at all on what it means for something to work.

– Seth Godin

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session, for more information, please refer to my Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email me at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. I welcome your comments below. Thank you.

WHY YOUR NOT-TO-DO LIST IN MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR TO-DO LIST by Gary Bencivenga

Posted in General Management, Life Management, Why Your Not-To-Do List Is More Important Than Your To-Do List with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2010 by Robert Finkelstein

In addition to the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, my own personal and business blogs, the recommended reading list, and information on my consulting business, I would like to share some of the writings of various thought leaders.

WHY YOUR NOT-TO-DO LIST IN MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR TO-DO LIST by Gary Bencivenga

We all have the same 24 hours in a day, yet some people accomplish so much more than others. What are their secrets? Here are the best ways to boost productivity from some of the brightest minds on the subject…

SMARTER STRATEGIES

Apply the 80/20 rule to everything. Roughly 20% of your daily activities are responsible for 80% of your success, income and personal happiness. These are your “big-payoff” activities.

Conversely, 20% of your activities are causing 80% of your wasted time. These are your “low-payoff” activities.

The best way to multiply your productivity is simple — always be looking to free up more time for your big-payoff activities by ruthlessly eliminating the dozens of low-payoff ones that you unwittingly tolerate.

Example: One of the most successful executives I know keeps a framed sign over his desk and carries an index card in his shirt pocket with the same message — Is this leading me to my main goal? He checks that reminder numerous times a day and saves countless hours each week by staying on track — cutting off quickly from time-wasting phone calls, meetings, gossip, etc., and relentlessly getting back to the big-payoff activities for himself and his company.

Harness your “hour of power.” Whatever your highest-payoff activity, rise early and give it the first hour of your day — what I call your “hour of power.” This gets your day off to a highly productive start.

The late Earl Nightingale, a management guru, explained that if you spend this early-morning hour in the study of your chosen field, you’ll be a national expert in five years or less.

Gain six to eight extra hours of productivity every day. Your second-most-productive hour is right before you go to sleep. This is a great time to leverage your productivity by arranging for your mighty subconscious mind to solve a problem while you sleep peacefully.

How to do it: Just before going to bed, think about a problem or question that you’re working on. Then say to yourself, Great subconscious mind, I don’t want to work on this matter too hard, so please just figure this out for me by the morning while I sleep peacefully. Then completely forget about the matter and drift off to sleep.

You’ll likely find that during your hour of power the next morning, you will be brimming over with ideas that are perfect for your project. Be aware that your morning ideas are slippery fish. If you don’t catch them immediately on getting up, they’ll swim away forever. Keep a pad and pen at your bedside to capture your ideas.

Don’t carry your “to-do” list in your head. You not only will forget things that are on the list, but an inner voice will perpetually nag that you must be dropping balls somewhere. Use a written to-do list to capture everything you must remember — every phone call, task and follow-up action. Review the most urgent and important items daily, and all items weekly.

Don’t multitask. As Confucius said, “A man who chases two rabbits catches neither.” Modern studies show that when you try to accomplish two activities that require focused attention at the same time, both suffer significantly.

Slow down. When focusing on one high-priority item at a time, don’t rush through it. You do your best thinking when you are focused and relaxed. As Mae West advised with a wink, “Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly.”

Get enough sleep. Research shows that your productivity, clarity, alertness, judgment, creativity, memory, motivation, relaxation, cheerfulness and lots of other wonderful qualities all thrive on adequate sleep and suffer without it. Also consider an afternoon nap — one of life’s most rejuvenating luxuries.

Do what you love. It’s much easier to be productive when your work is your play. You will want to give it your full attention and every minute you can — and you easily will brush off countless distractions that seduce others. So in all of your activities and goals, and especially when deciding which to choose as your highest priorities, remember the words of editor and author Christopher Morley, “There is only one success — to be able to spend your life in your own way.”

YOUR “NOT-TO-DO” LIST

Your not-to-do list is even more important than your to-do list. You must work every day to minimize or get rid of those 20% of activities that are wasting 80% of your time — by maintaining a not-to-do list. Helpful…

Never answer e-mail in the morning. Reserve your precious morning time for your highest-payoff activities. Also, shut off your e-mail program for most of the day so that you won’t be interrupted by each new incoming message. Limit reviewing your e-mail to specific periods, perhaps once around noon and again later in the day. Keep replies short with answers such as, “Thanks”… “Look forward to it” … “Will do”… or “I agree.”

Don’t answer phones just because they ring. Too often, it is a salesperson, fund-raiser or other pesky soul out to waste your time and ruin your focus. Have an assistant or answering machine screen your calls, or let them go to voice mail. As psychiatrist Edward M. Hallowell, MD, author of Crazy Busy, says, “If you don’t manage your time, it will be taken from you.”

Flex your no muscle. Whenever someone asks you to do something that you would rather not do, remember this simple two-part formula — (1) “Thanks for asking” (for having confidence that I could do this, etc.), (2) “I can’t, because… ” (you’ve just been given a major new assignment or whatever) “so I wouldn’t be able to give it the time that it deserves.” If the petitioner persists, don’t debate the issue. Just keep robotically repeating your reason for declining, and the person soon will let you alone.

Of course, if the person making the request is your boss, remember that he/she is your number-one customer and that it’s important to be on the same page about what’s important. Sound out whether this new request supersedes your current tasks. In other words, know what is most important at all times, and put your focus there.

Ask two questions of every task: (1) Does this have to be done? (2) If so, does it have to be done by me? In all matters, strive to be not just efficient but effective. Efficient means doing things right, but effective means doing the right things — which is far more important.

Delegate the kaizen way. If you’re a control freak and can’t delegate easily, do it the kaizen way. Kaizen is the Japanese approach of continuous improvement with small, nonthreatening, easy-to-take baby steps. Ask someone to do a small task for you. As soon as you’re comfortable with one delegation baby-step, take another, and so on. It’s easier to get 10 people to work for you than for you to do the work of 10.

– Gary Bencivenga

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session, for more information, please refer to my Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email me at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. I welcome your comments below. Thank you.

KEYS TO FINDING YOUR GENIUS by Jim Rohn

Posted in General Management, Keys to Finding Your Genius, Life Management with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2010 by Robert Finkelstein

In addition to the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, my own personal and business blogs, the recommended reading list, and information on my consulting business, I would like to share some of the writings of various thought leaders.

KEYS TO FINDING YOUR GENIUS by Jim Rohn

(Excerpted from the Jim Rohn One-Year Success Plan)

Change Your Beliefs. It is up to you to do the work of changing your beliefs. And when you do you will be opening up new worlds – literally! This month Chris is going to talk about winning the thought battle, which will help you keep negative beliefs out and positive beliefs and thoughts in. Feed your mind with information that will change your belief. By taking part in this One-Year Plan, you are doing just that. But also ask yourself if you are doing that with belief. The truth is that you have an amazing mind with a capacity for learning that is beyond your comprehension. You must believe this. And when you do, you will be unlocking the potential of your mind!

Get the Right Knowledge. Words–if they are not true–are meaningless. I hear children say, “I read it in a book.” But is it true? Just because someone says it or writes it, doesn’t mean it is true. As learners, we want to get the right knowledge, not just information or opinions. It is our job to seek out information and knowledge and then test it and run it through our minds to see if it is true, and if it can be rightfully applied to our lives in order to make them better and help us succeed. We need to weigh and measure what we learn in order to gain the right knowledge. And when we do, we will be unlocking the potential of our mind!

Become Passionate about Learning. This will take some work, but the only way to do it is to begin learning about things that have an immediate impact in your life. When you learn about a new financial concept that helps you earn money or get out of debt that will get you fired up. When you learn about a way to communicate that helps you sell more product, that will energize you. When you learn about how to interact with your family in a healthy way and your relationships get better, that will inspire you! Become passionate about learning. And when you do, you will be unlocking the potential of your mind!

Discipline Yourself Through the Hard Work of Study. Learning will take work. Until someone comes up with modules that can plug into your mind and give you instant access to knowledge, you are on your own, and that takes work. The process of learning is a long one. Yes, we can speed it up, but it is still a process of reading, listening, reviewing, repetition, applying the knowledge, experiencing the outcomes, readjusting, etc. Simply put, that takes time. Slowly but surely, when you discipline yourself, you gain knowledge and learn. And when you do, you will be unlocking the potential of your mind!

Learning is possible, no matter what your age. You are never too young or too old. Your mind was created to learn and has a huge capacity to do so. This week, make a commitment to unlock the potential of your mind!

Let’s do something remarkable!

– Jim Rohn

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session, for more information, please refer to my Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email me at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. I welcome your comments below. Thank you.

Quotes and Images – Updated

Posted in Inspirational Quotes and Images, Life Management with tags , , , , , on July 24, 2010 by Robert Finkelstein

“Ever felt an angel’s breath in the gentle breeze? A teardrop in the falling rain? Hear a whisper amongst the rustle of leaves? Or been kissed by a lone snowflake? Nature is an angel’s favorite hiding place.” – Carrie Latet

My Quotes and Images page is updated daily.

To see the entire list of 100s of great quotes and beautiful images, please click on this link.
Quotes and Images

I invite you to subscribe to my blog, “Behind the Scenes – Operate at a Higher Level” You’ll find the “Email Subscription” box on each page of my blog. If you have any business questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you. Thanks.

YOU MATTER by Seth Godin

Posted in Life Management, You Matter with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2010 by Robert Finkelstein

In addition to the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, my own personal and business blogs, the recommended reading list, and information on my consulting business, I would like to share some of the writings of various thought leaders…in particular, one of my favorites, SETH GODIN.

YOU MATTER by Seth Godin

When you love the work you do and the people you do it with, you matter.

When you are so gracious and generous and aware that you think of other people before yourself, you matter.

When you leave the world a better place than you found it, you matter.

When you continue to raise the bar on what you do and how you do it, you matter.

When you teach and forgive and teach more before you rush to judge and demean, you matter.

When you touch the people in your life through your actions (and your words), you matter.

When kids grow up wanting to be you, you matter.

When you see the world as it is, but insist on making it more like it could be, you matter.

When you inspire a Nobel prize winner or a slum dweller, you matter.

When the room brightens when you walk in, you matter.

And when the legacy you leave behind lasts for hours, days or a lifetime, you matter.

– Seth Godin

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session, for more information, please refer to my Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email me at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. I welcome your comments below. Thank you.

Quotes and Images – Updated

Posted in General Management, Inspirational Quotes and Images, Life Management with tags , , , , , , , on July 20, 2010 by Robert Finkelstein

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” – Judy Garland

My Quotes and Images page is updated daily.

To see the entire list of 100s of great quotes and beautiful images, please click on this link.
Quotes and Images

I invite you to subscribe to my blog, “Behind the Scenes – Operate at a Higher Level” You’ll find the “Email Subscription” box on each page of my blog. If you have any business questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you. Thanks.