8 Alumni of Columbia Business School Changing the World

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Honored to be profiled in the most recent Columbia Business School magazine as one of the “8 Alumni Who Are Changing the World” with Warren Buffet (’51), Sally Krawcheck (’92) and five other inspiring change-makers.  Thank you, CBS!

Click here for the complete article.

 

TWEAK IT: December Book-a-Day Giveaway Courtesy of Citrix

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Do you have friends or family members who want to:

  • Stop feeling constantly overwhelmed by competing demands at work and in their personal lives,
  • Take more control over the way their work and life fit together,
  • Be their best, on and off the job, every day?

To help, Citrix has donated 20 signed copies of my book, TWEAK IT: Make What Matters to You Happen Every Day for me to give away every day starting Monday, December 2nd through Saturday, December 21st.

Here’s how the giveaway will work:

  • Each morning, starting Monday, December 2nd, the FIRST person to email me after 9 am est at the email address tweakitbook (at) gmail.com will get a free, personalized copy of my book mailed to them.
  • In your email, please include the following: your name, your mailing address, and the name of the person to whom you would like the book dedicated.
  • Every morning, I will post a reminder of the giveaway on Twitter and Facebook.
  • If you miss the giveaway one morning, try again the next day.
  • The final day of the giveaway will be Saturday, December 21st. (This will give us time to mail the book to you for the holidays, assuming you live in the U.S.)
  • One book per person.

Again, the email address is tweakitbook (at) gmail.com.

Thank you Citrix for helping me share a little work+life “fit” inspiration this holiday season.

Citrix has been a generous sponsor of TWEAK IT this past year because they, like me, are committed to offering products that help you flexibly manage your work and your life to be your best.  Here are a couple of my favorite Citrix products you may want to check out*:

GoToMeeting — Easy-to-use, web-based video teleconferencing and screen-sharing platform that lets you connect with colleagues and customers face-to-face anytime, anywhere.

Podio — Project-management, information-sharing and communication platform that allows teams to consolidate and record interactions and documents in one place.

Happy Holidays!  Now, send me an email and win a book…you get 20 chances!

*Full disclosure: To give me a first-hand experience using their products, Citrix offered to let me test them free of charge.

 

Open Office Spaces and Telework: Marriage Made in Heaven, That No One Talks About

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There’s a growing awareness that if an organization wants to realize the full potential of its open office space, then there are some real challenges that have to addressed related to uninterrupted focus, and quiet.  

Yes, when you substitute long tables and plug-and-play spaces for office walls and dedicated cubicles, you can fit more people into the same area which saves money.  And, when individuals encounter each other more easily throughout the day, it can encourage collaboration and creativity that might not happen otherwise.

But what do you do when you need uninterrupted time to focus deeply on a project?  Where do you go to have a private conversation with a colleague or a client?

Currently, the answer is to offer a certain number of quiet rooms that can be reserved in advance for a specific period of time or to provide areas/alcoves that provide some freedom from disturbances.

Unfortunately, what we’re hearing from employees and leaders is that these dedicated private spaces oftentimes don’t match the need. Here are some common experiences:

  • A person will reserve a room for an hour to give their undivided attention to a project, but finds that sixty minutes isn’t enough time. However someone else needs the room. They have to pick up in the middle of their work and lose momentum.
  • An individual spins his wheels struggling to complete a report by the end of the day because colleagues decide to hold an impromptu meeting in the space next to where he is working. He tries to find an alcove that’s quieter but all are taken.

People have found ways to adapt and work around the challenges. They are using headphones even though the music can be a distraction, albeit a lesser one. Others extend their workday to complete the tasks that require the most concentration. They wake up earlier and work from home before they leave or in the evening when they return.

But there’s alternative solution that doesn’t get enough attention. What if organizations promote the periodic use of telework as a alternative option when undistracted attention and quiet are needed to get the job done, well and efficiently? It’s a win-win for both the organization and its people.  The cost-saving/innovation benefits of the open office space are coupled with the productivity boost from periodic, strategic and targeted telework. If done correctly, it can be a marriage made in heaven.

Instead of losing focus and productivity:

  • A person who needs to give undivided attention to a complex project can telework that day from a location that allows her to think deeply.
  • An individual who finds the impromptu meeting of his colleagues too distracting, can leave and find a location more conducive to concentration.

After her group transitioned to an open office space plan, the General Counsel of a global pharmaceutical company quickly realized the power of telework to address the concentration struggles of her team.

She encouraged her staff attorneys to pick the place where they did their best thinking when they needed to prepare for a case and get through a complicated document.

Some attorneys chose to work in the office, some at home and others from a coffee shop where no one knew them. One attorney even chose to work from a library close to the office.

The trick is that the General Counsel couldn’t determine where each person who reports to her would be the most productive on a given day.  For the open office space/telework marriage to thrive, each individual employee has to be taught, as part of their everyday work+life fit management practice, to think through “where” they will do their job most effectively.

The open office space trend will continue as organizations look for ways to cut overhead and save money. However CFOs and facilities management should partner upfront with Human Resources, the IT group, managers and employees and explore how telework can make the transition successful for the business and its people.

For more on the topic, check out Katherine Lewis’ recent article on Fortune.com  “The slow death of the private office.”

What do you think?  Are open office spaces and telework destined to be together?

Gen-Y: “Promote Yourself” to Get the Work Flexibility and “Balance” You Desire

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Trust me, my corporate clients recognize that Gen-Y/Millennials place a high premium on work-life “balance” and flexibility in the when, where and how they do their jobs.  

What those same corporate clients don’t 100% trust is that their under 30 year old employees understand that the secret to “balance” and greater flexibility is…performance and results.

In other words, if you consistently deliver and “do what you say you are going to do, when you say you are going to do it,” fewer people are going to stand in your way if you want to work from home one day or shift your hours (assuming it makes sense for your job).

But how do you achieve that optimal level of performance and deliver those results in today’s workplace so that, in turn, you can achieve your goals, on and off the job?

In every generation, there will always be people who don’t want to make the effort.  But my experience has been that most millennials are willing to work hard.  They just need someone to lay out what that looks like in action, because the secrets to success that worked for their 50 year old boss, aren’t necessarily going to work for them.

Dan Schawbel’s new book, “Promote Yourself,” is a great place to start.  It offers an honest roadmap, like his “14 rules of the new workplace that millennials need to master“:

  1. Your job description is just the beginning.
  2. Your job is temporary.
  3. You’re going to need a lot of skills you probably don’t have right now.
  4. Your reputation is the single greatest asset you have.
  5. Your personal life is now public.
  6. You need to build a positive presence in new media.
  7. You’ll need to work with people from different generations.
  8. Your boss’s career comes first.
  9. The one with the most connections wins.
  10. Remember the rule of one.
  11. You are the future.
  12. Entrepreneurship is for everyone, not just business owners.
  13. Hours are out, accomplishments are in.
  14. Your career is in your hands, not your employer’s.
Millennials, if you follow these steps, you are much more likely to hear “let’s give that flexibility you want a try,” rather than the often unfair and misguided “you just don’t want to work hard.
To learn more about Dan Schawbel and “Promote Yourself”

How to Beat the Back-to-School AND Back-to-Work Crunch!

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We know it’s coming – the dreaded back-to-school crunch – but every year we seem to be caught off guard. Plus, as we struggle with the beginning of a new school year, work projects on hold for the summer suddenly go into overdrive as fourth quarter/year-end is just around the corner.

It’s a double whammy recipe for disaster unless moms and dads take action now.

As I explain in my new book, Tweak It: Make What Matters to You Happen Every Day, (Center Street/Hachette), parents can get ahead of the mayhem by adding these simple “tweaks” to their weekly work+life fit check-in the last couple of weeks in August:

First, identify, breakdown and plan the back-to-school activities typically encountered every year. For example:

  • Add 2013-2014 school dates into your calendar, including extra-curricular sport and activities.
  • If your kids haven’t started school yet, review the “summer pre-work” your child may have and count back from the first day of school to set a reasonable schedule for completion. Minimize the last minute all-nighters.
  • Buy school supplies early, before the line is out the door and the shelves are picked clean (I seem to find myself in those lines every year!)
  • Take advantage of back-to-school sales to buy a couple of basic needs but count on shorts and t-shirts for the first few weeks. Saves money and unworn clothes in the closet.

Next, think about projects and responsibilities at work that will require attention after Labor Day:

  • Sit down with your boss to clearly identify projects and priorities for September and October.
  • Ask if there is anything you and the team could do to prepare and get a jump-start on. Right now, we are planning for upcoming consulting projects and speaking engagements that will gear up after Labor Day.
  • Share dates you may need to take off or have additional flexibility around back-to-school, such as first day(s) of drop off and pick up.
  • Leave the evenings and weekends the week before and two weeks after the start of school as free and uncommitted as possible.
  • If you have to schedule out of town travel or evening work activities, make sure you coordinate with your partner or friends for child care coverage well in advance. I have a trip to San Francisco the week after my kids start school, but I am already thinking about what I need to arrange before I leave.

A little bit of thoughtful planning, discussion and action now, can limit the back-to-school stress, and the fourth-quarter work frenzy later.

What do you do to beat the back-to-school AND back-to-work crunch?

If you haven’t done so already, I invite you to connect with me on Twitter @caliyost and to “like” our Facebook page.

Work+Life Fit: Enable Engagement, Profit and Sustainable Growth

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I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Moe Abdou, the founder and visionary behind 33Voices.com.

The mission of 33Voices.com is to “bring together the most influential thinking and thinkers on the planet to help entrepreneurs and business creators build great businesses and live great lives.”

With an intention like that, you can’t help but be a fan.

Not only is Moe Abdou a terrific interviewer, but he truly understands that work+life fit and flexibility are strategic business imperatives that can lead to engagement, profit and sustainable growth. That’s not always the case for business leaders, like Moe, with backgrounds in finance and entrepreneurship.

Because he “gets it,” we covered a lot of fascinating territory in our interview, including:

Ambition.  Why we need to expand the definition of ambition beyond just “work.”  How some of the most interesting and successful people are ambitious in work AND life. These are the highly engaged, creative, innovative thinkers influencing companies and communities.

Work+life fit, engagement, and profit: Why there is a direct link.

The challenge posed by work and life integration.  Clocks and walls disappeared and no longer tell us where work ends and other parts of life begin. Because nothing replaced those traditional boundaries, we are still reeling from the radical change.

Work+life fit and sustainable growth.  There are times when work may be a greater priority, but then there will be periods where personal demands require more attention.  In order to sustain work effort for the long haul, we cannot continually neglect our health, loved ones, professional development.

Why we need to manage the fit between work and life:  I talk about how my work with these issues over the last two decades caused me to reject the mythology that someone else could tell us when to shut down and find an overall sense of well-being.  Why knowing how to manage our unique work+life fit is a modern skill set that requires training and support.  And why I wrote my new book, TWEAK IT, to offer a simple weekly work+life fit “how to” practice.

How to harness the power of small deliberate actions. We can’t be reactive bystanders frantically responding to what comes at us every day. We need to reflect and make small, intentional choices in our work, personal life and careers each week, otherwise it’s too overwhelming and what matters to us won’t happen.

I hope you will take a few minutes to listen to the interview. Then please share your thoughts about work+life fit as a modern path to the engagement, profit and sustainable growth.

Again, many thanks to Moe Abdou and 33Voices!

Audio:

Highlights Deck:

Yes, Small Biz Owners CAN Work and Have a Life Too! Tips and Challenges

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If I am completely honest, one of the primary motivations for writing TWEAK IT, was to learn how to make what mattered to me happen every day, on and off the job.

I am an entrepreneur/small business owner.  While there are many wonderful benefits to my chosen professional path, there are a few downsides.

For me, and for many small business owners I meet, one of the biggest challenges IS managing our work+life fit. 

Perhaps we have a greater degree of flexibility and control, but we often have more limited resources–time, people and money.  Therefore, it is very easy to fall into the traps like:

“I’ll just send one more email, and then have dinner with my family.” But then dinner’s over, or

“I can go to the gym tomorrow because I need to finish this proposal.”  Then you realize you haven’t moved your body in three weeks.

After researching and writing TWEAK IT and then following the simple weekly work+life fit practice myself for that last few years, I believe small business owners can work AND have a life.

We just have to be a bit more intentional about it. 

So I was thrilled when VISA Small Business approached me to be the featured expert on their Facebook page last month!

I offered entrepreneurs/small business owners seven of my best work+life fit tips and challenges.

VISA transformed them into such beautiful graphics, I had to share.

What other tips and challenges would you offer?

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Challenge #1:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Challenge #2:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Challenge #3:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tip #1:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tip #2:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tip #3:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tip #4:

 

The Joyful Honor of Being One of the “40 Over 40 to Watch”

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Recognition for doing work you love is always a thrill.  But when I was named to the inaugural “40 Women Over 40 to Watch” list, I experienced a special mix of honor, excitement, humility and joy.

Here’s why:

The “40 Over 40” creators and judges.  Please take a minute to review the names of the remarkable team who created this list honoring the accomplishments of women over 40 years old–Whitney Johnson, Christina Vuleta, Jocelyn Bonneau and Molly Ford.  Then, take another moment to look at the list of judges.  To have my work recognized at any age by this impressive mix of women and men from tech, corporate, social impact, vc, media, etc…Thank you all.

The mission of the list:  As list co-creator, Whitney Johnson, noted in a recent Harvard Business Review post, the research shows that “entrepreneurs get better with age.”  All I know is that, at age 48, I feel even better than I did at 28, which was pretty good!  The list is public acknowledgement of the power that comes from growth, wisdom and experience.

The other 39 women:  WOW! Seriously.

Each winner’s “Push Page”:  This may be one of my favorite new discoveries thanks to the “40 Over 40.”  Each one of the winners was asked to create a “Push Page,” which is a social media platform on which you answer questions about yourself.  Everyone’s answers offer a fascinating, in depth, glimpse into who they are.  Check out my page…you will discover, among other things: the name of my greatest mentor; what activity I love to do but wish I was better at; what I disrupted; my first job and the favorite place I have ever traveled.

Future winners:  As soon as I read this year’s list, I couldn’t help but think of next year, and the next year.  The founders of “40 Over 40” hope to inspire younger women with role models.  If I can offer inspiration and celebrate their future success, count me in!

 

 

Why “The Third Metric” Success Conversation Has Just Started

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Last month, on June 6th, I had the honor and pleasure of speaking at Arianna Huffington and Mika Brzezinski’s inaugural “The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power” conference.  

The panel on which I spoke (above) was “Re-Working Work.”  It’s an important topic because, if we want to rethink the traditional definition of success, then the way we work and spend much of our day has to adapt and become more flexible.

I shared my thoughts about “How Success Flexibility Creates Opportunity, On and Off the Job” in a pre-conference blog post on The Huffington Post:

“I’m often asked, ‘If you had to give one piece of advice, what would it be?’ After I say, ‘See the countless possible ways work can flexibly fit into your life,’ I add, ‘But be sure that you redefine success related to money, prestige, advancement and caregiving to match the unique fit you have chosen. If you don’t, you will feel bad about the choice and give up.’

We covered a lot of territory in one day at The Third Metric conference.  And bonus: one of my quotes from the panel was included in the highlights of quotes from the day (check out slide #10)!

Speakers and attendees made headway identifying the changes that would help make physical, mental, and spiritual well-being a larger part of the way we collectively define “success.”  But the conversation is far from over.  It has just started.  Why?

Everyone gathered that day in Arianna Huffington’s beautiful apartment–from the CEO’s of large corporation (Aetna), leading doctors, entreprenuers, journalists, to the television personalities–agreed that the path we are all on is unsustainable because:

  • It’s hurting us personally.  We are stressed, sick, eating poorly, not exercising, not sleeping and not performing our best in all of the areas of our lives.
  • It’s hurting our families and friends.  We aren’t maintaining and nurturing the personal relationships that matter and renew us.
  • It’s hurting our businesses.  Health care costs are soaring and workplace engagement is at historically low levels which hurts profit.

Any criticism I read of The Third Metric conference related to a feeling that it didn’t adequately acknowledge the realities of lower income workers, especially women, who don’t have the luxury to think about these issues while trying to hold down three jobs.

I was encouraged by how many conference speakers did reinforce the often difficult day-to-day work and life realities that many, many people face.  Certainly these concerns need to remain a primary focus.  However, change and dialogue have to start somewhere, and the conversation at The Third Metric was a smart and sincere beginning.  But can’t stop at one meeting or at one group.

I am very hopeful that the passion and commitment both Huffington and Brzezinski brought to their first conference will continue to move the needle.  I look forward to seeing what they decide to do next as they encourage us all to expand our definition of success beyond simply money and power to find the modern, “third metric.”

How do you think we need to expand our definition of success beyond money and power?

 

 

 

Celebrate Success! (Quick Tip #6)–Join Me: “TWEAK IT” Webinar TODAY

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Welcome to Day #6 of TWEAK IT “Quick Tips” Video Series! 

 

For six days, I have shared  short, get-started nuggets of wisdom to help you fit work and life together every day in a way that let’s you be your best, on and off the job.

My friends at Citrix produced the videos to preview the FREE Webinar: “TWEAK IT: Harness the Power of Small Changes for Work-Life Harmony” webinar I am facilitating TODAY, Tuesday, June 18th at 1:00 pm est.

Join us for the webinar (more than 1,000 people have signed-up so far) and enjoy the tips!

TWEAK IT Tip #6: Don’t Expect Perfection.  Celebrate Success! 

Today, I explain:

  • Why you need to make 70% you bar of success
  • Why it’s important to celebrate what you DO get done, because it’s often more than you give yourself credit for, and
  • Why one of the biggest mistakes we make is to expect perfection.

 

TWEAK IT “Quick Tips” Video Series Recap:

To make what matters to you happen every day…just “tweak it!”