Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Change or Die! the Presentation

If you're going to be out and about in Indianapolis on 13 February, be sure to visit me at my presentation at the Indianapolis ASQ Chapter. Stop by. I'd love to see you there.

February 2006 Dinner Meeting: Change or Die! (Change and Organizational

You know the work to be done; you’ve done the research and created the design for the new system; you’ve trained your people and….well, nothing seems to have changed. Threats of process failure and professional consequence seem to make no difference. Are they just sabotaging you? Are they untrainable?

This training is invaluable for quality professionals and managers who are attempting to understand the nature of resistance to organizational or process change. Developed from an extensive study of the mind and human interaction, this seminar emphasizes the role of project coaching and the role of habituation in change. Participants explore a variety of change theories with an eye to supporting people while new systems take hold and new habits form.

Lalita Amos is the principal of Total Team Solutions, a consulting and training firm she founded in 1996. Areas of expertise include business and strategic planning; executive and business coaching; team and leadership development training; and project management. She as served as adjunct faculty at New York University and as senior trainer for Results Coaching Systems. Prior to starting her business, Lalita was a TQM Process Consultant for the world’s largest commercial printer and before that, a senior HR staffer. She’s a licensed One Page Business Plan Consultant, Certified Business and Executive Coach and a Certified Business Referral Trainer and Coach. Lalita a member of Purdue’s Order of Iron Key (leadership honorary) and a member of the College of Liberal Arts Dean’s Advisory Council.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007
5:30pm to 7:30 pm
Registration and Networking: 5:30-6:00
Workshop & Program: 6:00-7:30

University of Indianapolis
Hanna & Shelby StreetsIndianapolis, IN.
Schwitzer Hall (building 7 on the campus map)
Room: to be determined
Campus map and directions are available at

How Much:
$10 per person.
See for information and RSVP
Click here to register

Friday, January 26, 2007

LNB #034: Stop Selling Like a Man (Be Yourself)

This episode is NOT about women. What it's about is selling in such a way that bringing you're A-Game means you bring yourselves. Toni Nell of Springboard Consulting is a player. She's worked with A-List clients (like Morgan Stanley) and been the go-to-gal for such business luminaries as Jim Horan (One Page Business Plan) and Michael Gerber (The E-Myth Revisited). In her own right, she's seen and done about everything in a sales context. What she's learned is that selling is truly about understanding and moving into the world of your prospect or client - lock, stock and teardrop. Your PowerPoint presentations and glossy brochures be damned.

Key steps to being your ever-so-wonderful, authentic selling self include:
1. Relaxing
At a sales call, there may be nothing for you to DO, except be fully
competent and ask, "So why am I here?" Your curiosity makes you powerful.
2. Show up
3. Listen without agenda
4. Tell the truth
5. Let go of the outcome

New Date: Stop Selling Like a Man Teleclass: Tuesday, 27 February, 9 Pacific/12 Central. Conference Call Information: (218) 862-6100, pin 4040#

Call Toni to RSVP (or just show up): 831 464 7776

Check back here or at Toni's website for more details.
Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends


Listen Now: 32 minutes 0 seconds

Monday, January 22, 2007

Not Just Another Manic Monday

I was brushing my teeth this morning (yes, too much information) and listening to NPR. Now, it wasn't that bad of a start -- a little gloomy and cold, to be sure, but OK. Then, Luke Burbank reported on an interview with Cardiff University professor of psychology and expert in Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Cliff Arnall, and I wanted to go back to bed with extra covers.

Seems that today is the most depressing day of the year -- and for many reasons. Dr. Arnall cited these on his "please hit me until the pain goes away" parade:

  • Weather - it's cold, rainy or snowy and dark. Looking outside, I thought "Check! Check! Check!"
  • Debt - the ChristmaHannuKwanzaaka bills have started coming in and we've begun eyeing that iPod that little Cindy has been enjoying with mounting hatred.
  • Backsliding - while I'm certain that the road to hell is paved with dead batteries and cast-off Swiffer pads, I've been told that the pavers are actually good intentions. About now, those New Years Resolutions stop seeming possible and we begin to slump into the inevitable: this year will only be a little better than the last. If that.
  • Work routine - we're now fully back into the grind from a month spent eating and spending.
  • Need to take action - we have that feeling...the one that says we should get moving, but gravity has us locked earthward on our quest for the stars.
  • Long haul to the next holiday - OK, when the hairy heck is the next holiday?

Now, at this point in the interview (when I was considering garroting myself with my dental floss), Luke asked good ole Doc Arnall when the happiest day was. His answer, Friday, June 22. Why? He didn't say and I don't care. I'm gearing up until then, but I'm keeping that floss handy.

Um, Cheers?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Daddy's Little Barbarian

OK. I was watching TV with Garland when they showed Donald Trump getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. No problem with that. The relative merits of the Star have been under dispute and have been discussed in a 2001 ABC News story in which honorary Hollywood Mayor Johnny Grant was interviewed (recipients have, among other things, to pay a hefty security fee and are not selected by The Academy or other agency).

Still. Good for Donald.

What worried me was his acceptance speech. In it, he said:

"He's strong, he's smart, he's tough, he's vicious, he's violent -- all of the ingredients you need to be an entrepreneur, and most importantly, hopefully he's smart because smart is really the ingredient," the 60-year-old billionaire said of Baron during the ceremony.

Smart, tough, vicious and violent -- that's Donald's recipe for success. Although the two most loathed professions in the US are doctors and lawyers, one well-placed salesperson behaving badly can clear a room. Seemed to me that Donald had made a world view out of Conan the Barbarian's mantra. When asked in this groundbreaking film (um, yeah) what was best in life, he answered: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!

In Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends, Tim Saunders touts the value of being a corporate love bunny. Pretty simple concept, but I think he's on the mark. While many would love to have Donald's money, we just can't square his behavior or thinking with the basic skills our mommas taught us.

Friday, January 19, 2007

LNB #033: Open Book Management

Watching the Barbara/Rosie/Donald dustup got me thinking: These are three very powerful and very rich businesspeople. Are they good examples of power in the business world.

I hope not.

There's an "old economy" way of viewing power which includes control of information (spin) and resources; domination of co-workers, peers or subordinates; and crushing the competition. But, I just don't think it's what people signed up for when they started their enterprises.

The success of Firefox browser has people quietly wondering how they can be so powerful -- and simply give away their key information (since the release of Firefox 2 and IE 7, PC Week still gives the nod to the Firefox product).

Can you be powerful and still give away information?

Like open source software, Open Book Management seeks to gain market share through the sharing of key data. Wikipedia, Audacity and other products are winning through a business model based on openness and generosity.

Keys to success in Open Book Management are these core principles:

  • Provide employees and key contributors with all the information they need to help the business be successful
    * Financial data
    * Profit data
    * Performance data
    * Cost of goods/services sold, etc.
  • Train these good people how to use and understand this information.
  • Give these people responsibility for the numbers under their control.
  • Provide these people with a financial stake in how the company performs.
Whole Foods CEO, John Mackay has been such an evangelist of Open Book Management that all 6,500 of his employees are considered "insiders" by the SEC (for stock trading purposes). In a Fast Company article (Final Word: "I No Longer Want to Work for Money"), Mackay sent a letter to his employees giving them the straight skinny on changes in executive compensation -- that the peeps in the C-Suites were getting a raise (to keep the headhunters from peeling off key talent) and that his direct comp was going to a buck per annum.

A quick reality check will clue you in on a key fact: the people who need to know what's happening in your business (partners, key resource partners, employees) don't and the people you don't want to know (competitors) do. My friend, Dierdra O'Rourke from Intelligent Office told me that she can sit in any Starbucks and listen to confidential information being shared openly.

Listen Now: 17 minutes, 26 seconds

What's in My Reading Room?

Covey said "sharpen the saw." Sounds simple. but for the solopreneur and the entrepreneurial executive the choice may seem "development myself"...."get this project off the ground." Pitting growth against survival is a less-than-zero sum game. The real game is "grow or die:" Standing still is really moving backwards. I remember hearing a talk from Susan Taylor, then editor in chief of Essence magazine, who extolled the virtues on reading -- she plowed through 5 or 6 newspapers before heading off the her office every morning. That message stuck. Her breadth of knowledge about the world and the things and people in it was stunning. Essence, by the way, is a women's fashion mag.

My business associates and friends, particularly those who have ventured into my home office (where I keep the good stuff stashed) have remarked about the variety of stuff I'm reading at any particular time. One of the best gifts I was given (in addition to my life -- thanks, Mom) is a deep and abiding love of reading. Its opened up a world to me as a child that I got to explore as an adult. I remember the Grollier Encyclopedia we had as children. Momma would hand us a letter and tell us to read when we proclaimed boredom. And read, we did. I'd gotten to letter "T" by the time I'd moved away for school -- skimming the stuff that didn't light me up and reading deeply the stuff that did. I learned that there were people who could "talk" with their hands or in different languages from mine. I learned about a country called North West Africa (now called Namibia). Years later, standing on the tarmac in that country, I said a silent "Thank you" to Momma for those encyclopedia from years ago.

Reading has opening my mind and my heart and showed me that I live on an incredible planet populated with people who leave me gobsmacked every day. Its given me new ways to look at business issues -- my clients' and my own -- that have allowed me to grow my company and my insides.

Here it is:
The Management and Control of Quality (trying to understand the role of quality in service and information-based businesses)
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't (always a good one to read and re-read)
Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends (seems that "The Donald" is good TV, but not-so-good business)
Wired (love the innovations they discover)
Asimovs Science Fiction (helps me keep in mind that there's something new coming around the corner...if it's not already here)
O, The Oprah Magazine (love the cool stuff her staff finds)
Indianapolis Business Journal (for a local perspective on business)
New York Times - National Edition (for a non-Midwest perspective on the nation and the world)


Thursday, January 18, 2007

What's In My Ear (Alternative, Clever Title: MP-Me)

OK, critics. So, this wasn't the most clever sub-title. Anywhere, I've escaped to Panera (great grub, a good cuppa tea and free wi-fi) and here's what I'm listening to:

  • Nora Jones: Cold, Cold Heart
  • Amici Forever (The Opera Band): Terra e Liberta (Land and Freedom)
  • Nora Jones: Don't Know Why (heck, everything else on her first album)
  • Soul II Soul: Back to Life
  • De La Soul: Me, Myself and I
  • Putyourbodyinthemotion: Wiseguys
  • Santana: Smooth
  • Jose Feliciano/Rick Martin: Light My Fire/Guajire/Oye Como Va
  • WNUA Radio

Remember to stop and feed your soul while you're working. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

ROA = Return on Affection?

I'm reading Tim Sanders' new book, Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends. For those of you who don't know him, Tim's worked as an executive at and In his book, he talks about the value of, well, being valuable. As an aside, I'm always struck by books that espouse what I'd thought was obvious -- like the Warren Buffet booklet of CEO secrets that explained that you could determine the worthiness of a potential customer, vendor or employee by how well they treated the wait staff at lunch or dinner (lesson: mean people really do suck). But, I guess it becomes a business fact when someone can prove that they can make a lot of money and still not be a son of a gun.

In his opening chapter, Tim recounts a story of a poor sod who, "wired for war" as he was, sought to destroy the competition as well as the "friendlies" in the business only to be sliced when that sword cut the other way -- left out of business dealings requiring creative problem solving and trust.

It gets hard to believe that there can be a Return on Affection in the business world. The Donald-Rosie-Barbara dust-up shows three very powerful (and very rich people) making ratings hay about a lot of nothing. We sit transfixed waiting for the next installment. Donald's stance: if some one's mean to me, I'll return it 10 times over. Rosie's being Rosie ("comic" with a mean edge and a bright smile) and Barbara seems to be playing both ends against the middle. The Apprentice is being taught in business school to a new generation of potential power players who think this is the way money-makers act and years from now will be wondering how they ended up divorced with children they don't understand and who don't respect them?

Sitting across the table at b-Java, my local coffee haunt (where the staff is under strict instructions from Garland not to give me caffeinated java, dammit), a friend shared with me a conversation he'd had with his boss: in a performance review, his boss had asked another staffer where he wanted to be in 5 years. The staffer didn't know. My friend thought this was a telling point about the staffer, but I found myself wondering about the boss. Coaching and support of employees comes from affection and regard as much as anything else. Helping chart the course with someone who's clearly struggling to figure out where they want to be would have been an incredible kindness, helping to secure that employee for the longer term. People, in many cases, don't have career aspirations because they think they're in the eddy currents with no place to go.

Keeping valuable relationships, now, is as much about being willing to put ones self out for another. It's too easy to let someone flounder rather than making an offer to help. However, in the example with the staffer (yes, there's stuff in this story I don't know, but it serves as illustration), the cost of losing him to another company with a boss who gave a damn could cost upwards of 30% of that staffer's annual salary to replace and train another person.

It costs not to care. However, the example of The View/Donnybrook, makes it hard to believe it.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Scorpions on a Plane?

They won't let me bring shampoo...?

I was in my office looking over my immediate business travel needs for the year when I saw this article recounting an incident where a man, traveling from Chicago to Vermont on United, was stung repeatedly by a scorpion (emphasis and horror added). For a healthy adult, they explain, the a bite "can mean numbness or shooting pain extending out from the bite, or flu-like symptoms" (not to mention the insanity, mouth-foaming or death that I was imagining for myself).

Now, I watched Snakes on a Plane with great delight this past summer. I even put in my husband's information on the website so he'd get the call from Sammy Jackson (even more delight), but I never thought that there might be actual critters on the plane with me.

OK, enough on that. I think I'll go ahead and book that travel.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Ramen Noodle Inventor Dies...and the Hoards Mourned

You might not know his name, but generations of college students, late-night munchers, programmers and night-shifters have benefitted from his work.

Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant ramen noodles, died at age 96 Friday in Osaka, Japan.

Mr. Ando invented the quick, cheap meal to help remedy the post-war food scarcity found in his native Japan. His company, Nissin Food Products, now produces over 15 flavors of Top Ramen and Cup Noodles, selling 46.3 billion packs and cups worldwide in 2006. Mr. Ando's ramen restaurant can still be found on Times Square, so if you're ever in New York....

As a poor student and then an even poorer I-got-a-liberal-arts-degree-please-help-me graduate (when I figured out the real value of that degree, I started raking in the dough), I lived on ramen noodles. Here are a few of my favorite recipes (don't laugh):

  • Ramen noodles straight-up,
  • Noodles with ketchup and spices (the poor girl's spaghetti sauce),
  • Noodles with ketchup and bacon bits (imitation for me and the real stuff for my brother Rodney who shared an apartment with me right after I graduated),
  • Tuna and peas with noodles,
  • Steamed veggies with noodles,
  • Scrambled egg with noodles, and when I had gotten a pretty good check that week,
  • Noodles with real spaghetti sauce,
  • Of course. we can't leave this topic without some recipes straight from Nissan Foods (I really need people to see the Salmon Ramen with Fresh Vegetables recipe -- juillienned veggies and all)

Now, you would think that the very idea of putting any of those combinations in my mouth would have me shiver in revulsion, but there's something comforting about the thought of ramen noodles -- a 3 minute meal that costs a few pennies a spoonful. In fact, I'm going to keep a package or two in my briefcase for emergencies.

OK, now it's your turn. What are your favorite ramen noodle recipes. Give 'em over! Cause I know you've got them.

Friday, January 05, 2007

LNB #032: Staying off the "Road to Hell" (Achieving Goals)

You've heard that old saw: the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Well, I believe there's a lot of other litter on the hellbound highway. Part of that litter being business goals and plans. In this episode, we take a look at some of the keys to success.

Considerations for success in achieving 2007 goals

  • Courage -- see Wesley Autrey
    Here, I mean the kind of courage it takes to do the really hard stuff. Like that shown by Wesley Autrey, the New Yorker who, seeing a man having a seizure and falling off the subway platform, entrusted his children to the other bystander that was running alongside him to get to the man before he fell -- and jumped on the tracks....and saved both the man and himself.
  • Structures for existence
    Saying you'll get something done in your business is one thing, but if what you're trying to accomplish is bigger than your previous results, you'll need to have displays and reminders to keep you focused on your new level of performance and results.
  • Structures for fulfillment
    Get help. Period. You need nothing else to keep doing what you're already good at. However, producing at a higher level takes leaps in thinking and action. It also takes support to turn those leaps into easily repeatable habit.
  • What matters most
    Achieving goals is heady work. The game is to balance your past excellence in performance with new opportunities to succeed. Knowing what matters most, using a One Page Business Plan, will allow you to work with increasing levels of focus and ease.

Resources:'s Landmark Forum is a tremendous course for re-booting your thinking.
Try it.

Listen Now: 26:44

MP3 File