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Sunday
Feb212016

My Accidental Discovery -- What You Need To Know

 

It's Getting Awfully Hot... 

It's still the First Quarter and already many of my Startup CEO and other C-Suite clients are feeling the heat to deliver more with less.


Sound familiar? 

The only way to get more done with the same or fewer resources is to work smarter, not harder.

 

My Accidental Discovery

What was I thinking playing competitive full-court weekend warrior basketball with a bunch of 18-year olds?

My back was a wreck and I finally agreed to have an invasive back surgery.

Two weeks before the procedure, a friend encouraged me to seek treatment in something called Alexander Technique.

Desperate and in too much pain to be cynical, I agreed. Much to my surprise, the Alexander sessions helped and I cancelled the surgery. To this day, I'm fortunate and continue to live a very active lifestyle.

 

An Unexpected Consequence

The Alexander Technique helped me to develop greater awareness of my posture and movement and how my unconscious postural habits – we all have them – contributed to and aggravated my chronic back pain, but also required me to utilize more energy than needed to complete simple every day tasks like standing in front of a room of clients.

 

The Principle of Appropriate Energy

The Alexander Technique taught me that there is an optimal amount of energy required to successfully complete a task.

Think of Michael Jackson dancingEric Clapton playing guitar, or University of North Carolina star Marcus Paige on the basketball court.

 

And while I’m obviously not a world-class musician or athlete, I’ve learned over and over that the Principle of Appropriate Energy applies to every aspect of my life, especially work.

I work with a diverse group of clients in terms of industry, company size, gender, nationality, and personality.

On good days, I feel like I’m in a groove or what psychologist and author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls “flow”; everything seems to unfold effortlessly.

I love days like this.

But occasionally, I feel like Sisyphus pushing the boulder up the mountain; things requires double or triple effort and sometimes I’m exhausted at the end of a meeting.

Those days are difficult.

 

When I’m in a flow state, I’ve noticed that my posture is relaxed, my breathing is full, and there’s a marked absence of tension in my face, neck and shoulders. I remember to remember to be aware of my presence and draw on what I learned from the Alexander Technique.

On the days when I’m in Sisyphus mode my breathing is shallower and I might find myself clenching my jaw and rolling my shoulders.

Awareness of the tension in my body is the first step for managing my energy and my impact; when I’m aware, I can choose to disrupt my habitual patterns and substitute a more open and relaxed posture.

 

Doing this has a positive impact on those around me.

 

It also has a positive impact on me.

 

Harvard University Professor and TED Talk presenter Amy Cuddy has done extensive research on how our non-verbal behavior impacts how we think about ourselves.

According to Cuddy’s research, we can change our body chemistry (i.e. hormones) by changing our posture.

Just two minutes of posing in an open and expansive posture triggers a significant uptick in testosterone – the hormone associated with dominance and self-confidence – and a down-tick of cortisol – the hormone associated with stress.

Conversely, just two minutes of closed and contracted posture triggers an uptick of cortisol and a down-tick of testosterone.

Cuddy’s research also demonstrates that people who demonstrate confident posture or presence are consistently more likely to be selected for jobs than those that do not.

So as you think about all the Board and investor presentations and town hall meetings you need to lead in 2016, remember to apply the Principle of Appropriate Energy and pay close attention to how you present yourself to your audience—and to yourself.

 

Andy Satter
Founder | CEO
Andrew Satter & Associates, Inc.
(845) 256-0995 (direct)
andysatter@satterassoc.com  

Monday
Feb152016

How Can These Teenagers Change The World? 

Meet YEG – the Youth Economic Group.

 

 

Five years ago, my friend, the Reverend Richard Witt, Executive Director of the Rural & Migrant Ministry (RMM) and a former client, invited me to meet a newly formed group of remarkable young women and men living in rural Sullivan County, NY, where poverty and hopelessness run high and high school graduation rates run low.

 

 

The First Members of YEG


YEG was created by RMM to teach disenfranchised high school students basic business skills through the process of launching and running their own cooperative business, and to support them in becoming advocates for social and economic justice in their communities.

Along the way, it is hoped, the students will learn about leadership, integrity, accountability, and the power of having each other’s backs, and they’ll acquire some of the skills that they’ll need to graduate from high school and carve out successful lives for themselves.

The young men and women of the inaugural YEG group that I met in 2011 attended local high schools that were infiltrated by gangs, a sad truth that hasn’t changed in the years since the group’s inception. Many came from families that were severely tested by events beyond their control. The constant fear of parental deportation and food insecurity weighed heavily on several of the members, and it continues to do so today.

That first year, as in all subsequent years, YEG members were invited to participate in a 2-day Economics/ Business 101-like boot camp designed to teach them basic business fundamentals. Created and led by Carrie McIndoe of Economic Ventures, Inc. and funded by the Jenjo Foundation, the overnight student boot camp retreat is often the first time many of these teenagers spend time away from their families.

Early on, YEG received startup grants from Trinity Church Wall Street and Ed Sermier, former CFO of the Carnegie Corporation. After incorporating the lessons of their boot camp, the inaugural YEG students were tasked with choosing a co-operative business to launch.

There were only three criteria the business had to meet:

  • It had to be legal
  • It had to fill a need in their local community
  • It had to have a shot at sustainability

The students also added a fourth: it had to reflect their values.

Launching Their Business

The second time the inaugural YEG students and I met, it was a brutally cold winter day. The purpose of the meeting was to determine what kind of business they would launch, and rather than sitting around indoors, we decided to conduct a series of site visits. Up and down the main streets of Monticello, Liberty, and Fallsburg we walked, ducking into the few stores that were still operating, and bracing ourselves against the wind.

Afterwards, we defrosted with some hot cocoa and debriefed our field trip:

  • What did you notice?
  • Who was shopping and what, if anything, did they have in common?
  • What types of businesses were missing?

Eight weeks later, the students and their program coordinator piled into a van and drove to Boston to visit Equal Exchange, a successful cooperative that specializes in fair trade coffee and chocolate. For many of the students, this was their first venture outside of Sullivan County, not to mention New York State.

Soon, pumped up with new knowledge and enthusiasm, the students launched Basement Bags, a cooperative venture that would create designs and silk screen them onto fair trade organic cotton tote bags and t-shirts sourced from a women’s cooperative in Mexico. 

From the get-go, Basement Bags products have advocated environmental, social, and economic justice. Over time their inventory has grown to include other designs and slogans to capture the attention of a broader audience.

The next time we met, the students were excited to show me their new setup in the cold basement of a local church. They proudly presented their first designs and silk-screened products.

When I asked to see their silk screening press, Danny, one of their leaders, proudly held up a hobby silk screening kit that was the size of two cornflakes boxes laying flat and placed side to side. 

“How long does it take to make each bag, from start to finish?”  I asked.

“About 17 hours, give or take,” Danny replied. 

“Where do you sell the bags and what's the price?” 

“We sell them at farmers' markets and craft fairs for $20.”

I quickly did the math and knew I had to get involved. That night, after describing my experience to my wife Nan, I called Richard and asked how much a professional silk screening machine would cost.

“About $2,500,” he said. “We want to buy one but don't have the funds right now.” 

When I asked him if the students would attend a fundraiser and give a short talk about YEG and its mission if we held an event at our house, he didn’t hesitate. 

“They’d love to.”  

The students gave an awesome presentation and conducted a Q&A session with our 30 guests; we raised $2,600 for a new industrial silk screening press.


Flash Forward: 5 Years


When you have a strong and compelling mission and the right kind organizational structure and support, people can and will achieve amazing things.

YEG members are now paid salaries.

In the five years since its inception,100% of the YEG graduates have graduated from high school and gone to college.

As one of the founding YEG members said, "The fact that I'm the first person in my family to graduate high school is amazing. The fact that I'm going college on a scholarship blows my mind."


Paying It Forward


Giving back is a core YEG principle. In a future blog, I will describe the annual YEG Youth Entrepreneurial Symposium and how YEG members pay it forward for the benefit of other struggling youth in similar stressed situations.

 

 

Andy Satter
Founder and President
Andrew Satter & Associates, Inc.
(845) 256-0995 (direct)
andysatter@satterassoc.com

Monday
Oct262015

How To Avoid Embarrassing Texting Screwups 

How To Avoid Embarrassing Texting Screwups 


 

4 Ways To Avoid Embarrassing Texting Screwups, Especially If Using "Auto Correct."

 

  1. Set your phone to "airplane mode" when composing important texts and re-read before pressing "SEND."

  2. Always pause and take a time-out before responding to messages that cause your blood pressure to spike. Repeat, always.

  3. Step back and consider what the situation looks like from the other person’s perspective.

  4. Ask the other person to clarify his or her message if you have any doubt.

 

Continue below to read moron this topic.

 

 

Survey: 82% use texting daily for business; 

32% use texts to close business deals.

 

In a recent NY Times article, Yale researchers Konika Banerjee and Paul Bloom concluded that humans tend to see meaning in events that randomly surround us. 


My take on this is that we all see the world through different lenses and we all benefit when we  test our assumptions before acting on them. 

If you don’t, you run the risk of acting on inaccurate assumptions and the results can range from inconvenience to disaster. 

 

Here’s a texting-related anecdote a client recently shared with me that illustrates my point:



David (not his real name) and Tom are peers and best friends.  David works in sales, Tom, an eternal optimist, in HR. 


David was having a particularly difficult week at the office and he was fighting off the flu. 

Sales were down and a critical deal that everyone thought was a slam-dunk was threatening to blow up at the last minute. 

 

Tom, generally a caring friend, sent his friend the following text message:
 

 

(Tom) “How r u feeln?”
 

 

(David) “Stressed off the charts.”

 

Tom didn’t respond and a week passed before David and Tom spoke again, this time in-person:

 

(Tom) “Did you close the deal?”
 

 

(David) “Nope – blew up.   The *!$**! client backed out at the last minute, which is why I texted you that I was stressed out.”

 

(Tom) “What? I read your text quickly and thought that you were feeling better!”
 

 

(David) “Huh? Why would you think that?”

 

The two backtracked to the texts.

 

 

It turned out that David’s phone had auto-corrected his message to read “Stressed off the chasers.”

Tom, in turn, up to his eyeballs in his own stress, had read the message quickly and somehow saw it as “Chased off the stressors” – which he interpreted as a good thing.

David and Tom could laugh at their misunderstanding because they have mutual trust. 

 

Besides, no money, time or prestige was lost in the process.

 

But that’s not always the case at the office where the stakes can be high and we sometimes depend on people we don’t know or trust.

 

As we grow even more reliant on texting, opportunities for miscommunication will grow geometrically. Throw in some virtual and cross-cultural variables and BAM, things can get funky quickly.

 And while there are no guarantees for avoiding miscommunications from time to time, following these four simple steps can greatly reduce the odds and save you lots of time in the process.

 

 

Hope u found this rtcal worthapile.

 


Andy

 

Andy Satter | 
Founder & CEO
 | Andrew Satter & Associates, Inc.
 | (845) 256-0995 | andysatter@satterassoc.com | 
www.satterassoc.com

 

Andy Satter is an executive coach for startup CEOs, Fortune 500 firms, and executive teams. Andy also provides organization change and strategy consulting to clients and is a master practitioner of the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI).

Monday
Apr272015

What Startup CEO’s and Other Executives Can Learn from Rock Stars (April 27, 2015)

Who's your favorite Rock Star and what can you learn from him or her about leading millennials?

 

Neil Young divides the world of rock into two camps – Beatles and Stones – and claims he knows a lot by your selection.

 

Regardless of whether you prefer Mick or John or Amy Winehouse or some other music icon, your favorite icon probably has a great voice and/or is a killer musician.

One more thing: Rock Stars being Rock Stars, I bet your favorite icon is, or was known as a “high maintenance” performer.

 

Rock Stars show up in different shapes and places, don’t always have tats and  need not carry an axe.

If you look around your company, you might discover a Rock Star analyst or engineer or sales exec in your midst.

 

Then again, you probably already know who they are because they out-perform everyone else and play to their own beat.

And that’s what makes them so damn challenging. 

 

Are you following my riff?

 


Many leaders are searching for best practices for managing millennial Rock Stars.


Here's how I recently coached a client on this issue:


Karen (not her real name) is a baby boomer, who starts her 13-hour workdays at 7am, works through lunch, and rarely leaves before 8pm.

Alan (not his real name) is a millennial who starts his day at 8am, regularly takes a half-hour for lunch, and is typically out the door by six, even when the team is facing critical deadlines.  At night, he works from home after meeting with friends for an early dinner.

 
Karen: “We need Alan for his brilliance. We don’t want to lose him to a competitor, but he’s driving me up the f*!@# wall with his work ethic.”
 
Me: “What’s his work ethic?”
 

Karen: “Well, he doesn’t seem committed.  He works fewer hours than the other team members and is always the first out the door.”
 
Me:  “What’s the caliber of Alan’s work?”
 

Karen: “Consistently first rate, brilliant.  And he always meets his deadlines."

Me: “Is Alan readily available whenever you need him?”


Karen: “Yes.”

Me: "How does he get along with the others on the team?"


Karen: "Fine. They appreciate and respect him."
 
Me:  “So what’s the problem?”

 
Karen: “I get it.  But I can’t get over it.  I’ve built my career on hard work and sacrifice.  I just don’t see the same commitment from Alan.  But the other young team members don’t have an issue.”

Me:  “Okay.  What are some options going forward?”
 

Karen:  “I can insist that Alan punch the office clock for longer hours, piss him off, and risk losing him and the other young team members in the process, or I can manage him for his exceptional outcomes.”


Karen shook her head and actually started to laugh. Managing him for his outcomes is what she has started to do.


If managing a Rock Star employee has you pulling your hair out – definitely not recommended for baby boomers – try shifting your focus to their results rather than their process.


As long as they’re playing by the rules and not disrupting the team’s ability to deliver great work in a timely fashion, why not flex and let them continue making great music for your company?
 



After all, you can’t always get what you want, but you can learn how to let it be.
 




In a future blog, I’ll explore some strategies for keeping the rest of your millennial band in tune and on the same beat.

 

 

Andy


Andy Satter
Founder and President
Andrew Satter & Associates, Inc.
(845) 256-0995 (direct)
andysatter@satterassoc.com
www.satterassoc.com

 

 


 


Wednesday
Apr082015

Big Ideas Don't Show Up When Your Brain's Been Hijacked

 

Many startup CEO's and other executives are feeling intense heat to generate new ideas in order to move the needle of their company’s business. 

Sound familiar?

 

If you’re spending most of your days fighting brush fires, it’s nearly impossible to think expansively; your body and brain are physiologically operating in survival mode -- fight or flight -- even if your life is not on the line -- although it might feel like your job is.


Daniel Goleman, author of "Emotional Intelligence," coined the phrase "amygdala hijacking" to describe how the amygdala, or fear center, becomes triggered by perceived threats and overrides the rational or executive functioning parts of our brain. When this happens, we're often surprised and not proud of our actions.


Bottom line, big ideas don't show up when our brains are in survival mode.


 
We’ve all heard the definition of insanity is when you keep doing the same thing and expect a different outcome. 

If you're frequently thinking or saying: "I’d focus on more strategic initiatives if only I could get out from the weeds,” no wonder you're coming up with few new ideas but lots of headaches.


 
So, how do you increase the odds of having an Ah Ha! moment when you feel like your head is going to explode? (Hint: A larger bottle of Advil is not part of the answer.)

 
Disruption. 


You have to interrupt the amygdala hijacking in its tracks and get out of the fight versus flight response if you want a different outcome. Think of a circuit breaker or a reset button which are designed to interrupt the flow of electricity.

And while I'm not suggesting you grab a live wire, there are safe and easy ways ways to disrupt a stressful rhythm or pattern.


How do you do that?


Many people recognize that their best ideas come outside of the office. Some do their best thinking in the shower, on the subway, or in their car.  Others get breakthrough ideas while running, walking, or working out at the gym.

Where do you get your best ideas?


Over the past few months, my personal idea factory worked best when I’ve been Cross Country Skiing. (Yes, I'm one of the few people in the Northeast who has not wanted winter to end.)


Regardless of where you do your most creative thinking, it's essential to build in out-of-the office time on a regular basis.
 

As a management consultant and executive coach, I've witnessed many clients having game-changing insights outside of their offices. 

I've conducted coaching and brainstorming sessions walking on bike trails and sitting on park benches. When the weather doesn't  cooperate, no problem – there's usually a nearby diner, café, or museum.


And if leaving the building isn't an option, it helps to meet somewhere other than your personal office.
 

Take mini-breaks every day. 

On days when you just can’t get outside, take the stairs to a different floor and walk around in a different pattern from your norm.  In the process, you just might strike up an unexpected and meaningful conversation or think of something new that makes the trip worthwhile.




If you're looking for a thinking partner to develop new ideas or gain some insights, let's take a walk. You just might discover a new big idea or insight underfoot.


Look for my next blog: What Startup CEO’s and Other Executives Can Learn from Rock Stars.



To learn more about our Executive Coaching, Team Alignment, and Strategic Facilitation Offerings, contact:


Andy Satter
Founder & CEO
Andrew Satter & Associates, Inc.
1 (845) 256-0995 (Direct)

andysatter@satterassoc.com

www.satterassoc.com