Archive for January, 2011

HOW TO COMMUNICATE AFTER A FIGHT: SIX EASY STEPS TO RECOVER RELATIONSHIP HARMONY! by John Gray

Posted in General Management, Life Management with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 27, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, and my own personal and business blogs, I’ve added the writings and videos of various thought leaders. I trust you’ll like this addition to Behind the Scenes.

HOW TO COMMUNICATE AFTER A FIGHT: SIX EASY STEPS TO RECOVER RELATIONSHIP HARMONY! by John Gray

Wouldn’t it be great if your love relationship could be a bed of roses all the time? Imagine being magically transported to a land of brilliant sunrises and sunsets where there were no misunderstandings or hurt feelings, no sideways glares, no slammed doors, and no arguing. As much as any couple may avoid fighting, the truth is, one minute you may feel great passion, and the next you’re contemplating divorce!

Too many times we justify this shift in attitude by thinking that our partner’s behavior needs an overhaul. Funny thing though, it’s usually not about them! So what’s next? How can couples open the communication again and put an argument behind them?

Read on as we take a look at the six steps to leaving a fight in the dust and getting back on the road to lasting romance.

1. Take the Edge Off—Get a Little Space
The best way to stop an argument is to nip it in the bud. Men, in particular, need to cool off and think things through. Women need to make sure that they are not bringing a ‘cold-front’ to the negotiating table. This is a good time to reflect on how you usually approach your partner. Take a step back and think about how much you love this person. Also, focus on your own needs and take some self-healing time.

2. Ease Into It After Some Downtime

Approach each other slowly and softly after some downtime. Wait until you can feel positively about your partner and the relationship, as it’s impossible to work things out when negative emotions are still on the surface. If your anger, hurt or frustration is still overwhelming, take it as a sign that you are not ready to jump into solution-making. It’s too easy to blow things out of proportion unless you take a step back and ease in to the resolution slowly.

3. Nothing Too Serious
After some time has passed, come back and talk again, but in a loving and respectful way. Fueling the argument is not your goal. Take it easy, and keep the conversation light, because even though some time has passed, you still may not be able to be objective right away. Simple gestures like a smile, holding hands or getting your partner to laugh at something silly and unrelated to the situation can be good icebreakers.

4. Women Need to Talk
Women often need to completely talk the problem through before they are able to stand aside and put it behind them. Men can mistakenly feel blamed and attacked when a woman works through her problems by talking, so it’s a good idea for her to reassure him. By letting him know how much he is supporting her by listening, she will free him from feeling unappreciated or attacked as she rehashes the details of the upset.

5. Men Need to Be Forgiven
After a big blow-up, men simply need to be told that they are forgiven. The four magic words to support a man in getting over hurt or angry feelings are, “it’s not your fault.” A man hates to feel criticized, or that his partner disapproves of him. When a woman forgives her partner for his mistakes, she not only frees him to love again, but also gives herself permission to forgive her own imperfections.

6. Both Parties Need to Take Personal Responsibility
Couples can’t point fingers after an argument and expect things to get better. Both men and women have to acknowledge their own shortcomings and take responsibility in order to move on and improve communication. Men have to let go of being righteous, demanding and overly sensitive, while women have an opportunity to apply new and improved relationship skills to assure him that he is appreciated and that she does not blame him for the fight.

Learning to communicate with each other through stormy times is essential to the success of a long-lasting relationship. While the best advice we have for couples is to avoid arguments, the stresses of ordinary life can get in the way of even the happiest Martian and Venusian collaboration. Again, forgiveness really is key for both sides. None of us will ever find a mate who is perfect all of the time; however, we can be the best for the one who is most perfect for us.

– John Gray

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.

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THOUGHT BUSTERS by Dr. John C. Maxwell

Posted in General Management, Life Management, Thought Busters with tags , , , on January 24, 2011 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.

THOUGHT BUSTERS by Dr. John C. Maxwell

The power of thought is indisputably great. For illustration, look at the life of Henry David Thoreau, a 19th-century Massachusetts philosopher.

In 1849, Thoreau, as a relatively unknown scholar, published his thoughts in a controversial essay about civil disobedience. The essay expressed his ideas about justice:
– Not all laws are just.
– A person should respect justice more than the law.
– Without resorting to violence, a person of conscience is justified to transgress the law to protest its injustice.

Thoreau’s thoughts, as the basis for nonviolent resistance, would end up fueling two of the greatest social advancements of the 20th century – Ghandi’s struggle to free India from Britain’s colonial rule and the American Civil Rights Movement led by Martin Luther King, Jr.

THOUGHTS ABOUT THINKING

Thoughts never begin fully formed.
Have you ever looked through a microscope? At first glance, the image appears blurry and indistinct. However, after adjusting the lens, the image comes into focus, and you can see with remarkable clarity.

When thoughts enter my mind, they are hazy and disordered, much like the initial image seen through a microscope. I have to fine-tune my thoughts by dwelling upon them, and connecting them to other thoughts I’ve had. It takes awhile for me to wrestle with a thought before its merit becomes clear.

Thoughts take time to develop their potential.
I am not a naturally brilliant thinker. My mind doesn’t overflow with out-of-the-box creativity. However, I do leverage experiences to stretch my thoughts. I have found that reflection turns my experience into insight. At the close of each day, I’ll review important lessons I’ve learned. I’ll mine failure until I’ve gained a nugget of wisdom, or I’ll consider how the day’s events validated or invalidated one of my ideas. Through time, evaluating my experiences helps my thoughts to expand and mature.

Thoughts take others to develop their potential.
Alone, my thoughts are shallow and unexceptional. However, I am able to polish and refine them through my interactions with other leaders. I enhance my own thinking by piggybacking on the wisdom of friend and colleagues. In conversations or observations of their behavior, I strengthen and confirm my own inklings about leadership and life.

Each of us is trapped inside our own perspective and limited by blind spots and prejudices. If we isolate ourselves, we diminish our minds, and our thoughts atrophy.

We are wise to seek out others to test our assumptions and sharpen our thinking.

Thoughts are very fragile in the beginning.
Gardeners know the delicate nature of a newly planted seedling. To survive, the plant must receive nourishment and be protected from harsh winds, weeds, or hungry animas. Until its roots take hold and its stem grows, the seedling is vulnerable.

Likewise, our thoughts are fragile at first. They are endangered by pessimism, busyness, insecurity, forgetfulness, and a host of other threats. In the words of Bob Biehl, “Ideas are like soap bubbles floating in the air close to jagged rocks on a windy day.”
In order to grow, our thoughts need careful attention and cultivation.

THOUGHT BUSTERS
Thoughts only reach their potential in a healthy environment. During my time as a leader, I’ve encountered the following environmental hazards, or thought busters, which threaten to destroy good thinking.

Criticism
When leaders pay any cost to ward off criticism, they sacrifice their best thoughts. In the words of Elbert Hubbard, “If you have something others don’t have, know something others don’t know, or do something others aren’t doing, then, rest assured, you will be criticized.” In my opinion, thinking requires boldness, the courage to be second-guessed, and readiness to endure conflict.

Lack of personal commitment to thinking
Taking action is by no means a negative quality in a leader. However, when a leader is all action, it’s only a matter of time until he or she falls behind, steers off course, and surrenders the reins of leadership. I like Gordon MacDonald’s appeal to mental fitness:
“In our pressurized society, people who are out of shape mentally usually fall victim to ideas and systems that are destructive to the human spirit and to the human relationship. They are victimized because they have not taught themselves how to think, nor have they set themselves to the lifelong pursuit of growth of the mind. Not having the faculty of a strong mind, they grow dependent upon the thoughts and opinions of others.”

As leaders, thinking keeps us in front. Before we shape the future, we must get our minds in shape.

Excuses
“I don’t have enough time,” has been my most common excuse to avoid thinking. However, blaming time constraints is not a legitimate excuse. After all, a great idea is one of the greatest commodities a person can own. Besides, by taking the time to think, we invent smarter ways to expend our energy and resources.

“I’m not creative,” has been another excuse of mine. Of course, blaming my lack of creativity is actually a sorry excuse for being lazy. Thinking well isn’t easy. It takes concentration, focus, and, most challenging of all, the discipline to stop moving for a few moments.

– by Dr. John C. Maxwell

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.

Inspirational Quotes and Images – Updated

Posted in General Management, Inspirational Quotes and Images, Life Management with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviors. Keep your behaviors positive because your behaviors become your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.” – Gandhi

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

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RAISING EXPECTATIONS (AND THEN DASHING THEM) by Seth Godin

Posted in General Management, Life Management, Raising Expectations (And Then Dashing Them) with tags , , , , , , on January 21, 2011 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.

RAISING EXPECTATIONS (AND THEN DASHING THEM) by Seth Godin

Have you noticed how upbeat the ads for airlines and banks are?

Judging from the billboards and the newspaper ads, you might be led to believe that Delta is actually a better airline, one that cares. Or that your bank has flexible people eager to bend the rules to help you succeed.

At one level, this is good advertising, because it tells a story that resonates. We want Delta to be the airline it says it is, and so we give them a try.

The problem is this: ads like this actually decrease user satisfaction. If the ad leads to expect one thing and we don’t get it, we’re more disappointed than if we had gone in with no real expectations at all. Why this matters: if word of mouth is the real advertising, then what you’ve done is use old-school ad techniques to actually undercut any chance you have to generate new-school results.

So much better to invest that same money in delighting and embracing the customers you already have.

– Seth Godin

If you’d like a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with me, 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.

SIX KEY PRINCIPLES OF ORGANIZATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY by Skip Reardon

Posted in General Management, Life Management, Six Key Principles of Organizational Accountability with tags , , , , , , on January 20, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, and my own personal and business blogs, I’ve added the writings and videos of various thought leaders. I trust you’ll like this addition to Behind the Scenes.

SIX KEY PRINCIPLES OF ORGANIZATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY by Skip Reardon

The following six principles form the foundation for instilling accountability within your organization.

Together they form a practical understanding of accountability, the transforming effect it can have on an organization, and its essential role in creating significant business results.

1. Accountability is a Statement of Personal Promise. Accountability is both a promise and an obligation to deliver specific, defined results. Accountability, as we define it, does not apply in an abstract way to departments, work groups, or entire organizations. Accountability applies to individuals and their personal promise that these functions will deliver the agreed results. Accountability is first and foremost a personal commitment to the organization and to those that the organization serves.

2. Accountability for Results Means Activities Aren’t Enough. Everyone in an organization, from the CEO to the janitor, has some piece of the business and a corresponding set of results which are theirs to achieve. Distinguishing results from activities requires a shift in traditional thinking, built on an awareness of why we do what we do, and what activities we need to focus our attention on.

3. Accountability for Results Requires Room for Judgment and Decision Making. If you’re not allowed to use any judgment or discretion on the job, if you’re told to follow the rules no matter what, if no decision is up to you, then your boss can only hold you accountable for activities. You can be held accountable for doing what you’re told, but you can’t be held accountable for the outcome.

4. Accountability is Neither Shared nor Conditional. Accountability agreements are individual, unique, and personal strategies. No two people at the same level in an organization should have the exact same accountabilities. Separating each person’s accountabilities can be challenging, but clarity results from the struggle to eliminate overlaps.

5. Accountability for the Organization as a Whole Belongs to Everyone. Every employee’s first accountability is for thinking about and acting on what is best for the organization, even if doing so means putting aside one’s individual, functional, or departmental priority. The most successful organizations expect and allow every person to be of practical assistance in realizing the organization’s goals.

6. Accountability is Meaningless Without Consequences. In an accountability agreements, consequences need to be negotiated. Negotiated consequences that are personally significant to the employee in question are an essential element of accountability agreements and are fundamental to forging a fair deal. This is a key step in forging an interdependent and mutually beneficial relationship with one’s employer.

BOTTOMLINE: Organizational accountability eliminates the tendency to make excuses and shift blame. When employees make clear and specific commitments for their own work, entire organizations become aligned and achieve specific measurable results.

– Skip Reardon

(SOURCE: Shaun Murphy, Ph.D. and Bruce Klatt, M.A. at Murphy Klatt Consulting. Adapted from a chapter of their book, Accountability: Getting a Grip on Results (2nd Ed.1997).

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.

17 FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF THE LAW OF SUCCESS by Napoleon Hill

Posted in "17 Fundamental Principles of The Law of Success" by Napoleon Hill, General Management, Life Management with tags , , , , , on January 19, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, and my own personal and business blogs, I’ve added the writings and videos of various thought leaders. I trust you’ll like this addition to Behind the Scenes.

17 FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF THE LAW OF SUCCESS by Napoleon Hill

I recommend you click on each scroll and print them for future reference.

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.

BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN FINANCIAL SECURITY by Denis Waitley

Posted in General Management, Life Management with tags , , , , on January 17, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, and my own personal and business blogs, I’ve added the writings and videos of various thought leaders. I trust you’ll like this addition to Behind the Scenes.

BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN FINANCIAL SECURITY by Denis Waitley

There is no job security. You can’t rely on staying with the same company through retirement. Pension plans, when available, are woefully inadequate. Social security benefits won’t come close to covering your living expenses in retirement.

The only way to reach financial security is to plan for it now, regardless of your age. You have to define financial security in your own terms. Have you defined the amount of assets that you need for financial independence?

Financial security is that amount of assets that will give you a specific income, after taxes, to live like you want to, without having to depend on day-to-day employment.

What is that amount for you? I believe it is more than you think. And, I feel that if you define it, you can reach it in ten years or less. Do you have a financial plan and the assistance of a financial planner? You need both. Always retain a financial planner on a fee-for-service basis. Don’t mix financial planning with an investment broker or insurance agent. What are your financial goals and what is your time line? Because I started late in my quest for financial independence, I have a maximum five-year period remaining for capital accumulation.

Action Idea: Wealth is not only based on income, but also on expenditures. Are you spending or investing? Are your purchases goal-achieving or tension-relieving? How do you use credit cards? Use your credit cards for services or purchases that retain their value or that build your business. Don’t use credit cards for vacations and personal entertainment, unless you plan to pay the entire balance in one or two months. Try to pay all your balances in full monthly. In this way, you avoid the ridiculously high interest payments. Realize that paying minimum balances, at high interest rates, means that you are paying two or three times what the original purchase was worth.

Most importantly, save at least 6 to 10 percent of your take-home pay each month, by writing a check into a savings account or mutual fund for that amount, as if it were a utility bill or house payment. The secret of most self-made multi-millionaires is compound interest. If parents saved one dollar each day for their newborn infant, by going without a cup of Starbuck’s coffee, or a Big Mac, or a soft drink for that day, by the time the child reached age forty, he or she would have a million dollars cash. No lottery windfall. No brilliant investment strategy. Just compound interest, which Baron von Rothchild labeled “The Eighth Wonder of the World.”

– Denis Waitley

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.