The Girl in the Red Pumps

How to survive your first days back from the holidays

We have all enjoyed being on holidays this past week, indulging in homemade baked goods, cocktails, turkey dinners and especially the occasional nap.

All good things must come to an end or balanced out again.

Follow these 3 tips to survive your first week back to work.

1 Plan. Set aside an hour to plan your outfits, prepare in separate Tupperware containers items needed for quick breakfasts and lunches on the go.

2 Set Goals. Make a list of 5 tasks that must be completed. These tasks must be A priorties. 

3 Smile. Having a positive attitude will make your week run smooth. Your positive attitude will be contagious and good for all around you.


Top 3 Key Elements to Sustain Productivity Improvements

At a recent Productivity and Innovation Conference, organized by Windsor’s WEtech Alliance, I had the pleasure to cover social media as a CSD employee behind the scenes for the Key Note Speaker, Adriana Girdler., CEO of CornerStone Dynamics.

This was an opportunity to showcase what I had learned about Twitter and learn some insight and learning’s that I can incorporate into my ways of working.

What I want to share with you is elements that sustain productivity improvements in the workplace.

Adriana goal was to draw the audiences attention to the business challenges that still remain in effect from the 2008 recession and how it relates to each individual in respect to their contribution to increasing productivity within their organization.

She explained that increasing your productivity will ensure that you are keeping your profits in your pocket, the quality of the product and service you are providing is remaining high so you sustain your customer loyalty. By looking at your productivity that will ensure you have growth for the future. This is very true.

Through out the presentation she explained that in order to sustain  any productivity improvement programs or activities, 3 core elements MUST be in place. If not, your activity will become the flavor of the month and sink.

The 3 core elements to sustain productivity fit together in a pyramid

  • Leadership
  • Process
  • People

Each element was explained in depth with tips and techniques that allows you to succeed and master any productivity improvement will work.

Adriana public speaking presentations was engaging and entertaining. I was able to walk away with value added information that I can actually use on a daily basis.

Strengths Finder 2.0

Strengths-Finder-Tom-Rath-MacThe #1 Wall Street Journal Best-seller 

Christmas cheer was spread in our office as each of us was handed the latest New York Times best-seller from Tom Rath and Gallup Press – Strengths Finder 2.0. 

As the new year approaches organizations are revisiting their strategies for the new year. We were given this book to take part in an assessment that lists your very own Top 5 Strengths.

How does this assessment and a new year strategy go together? Our workplace will be incorporating our teams strengths and placing us where needed. What a way to engage employees to feel valued.

Want to know your top 5 Strengths – take the assessment with the on-line code within with purchase. See where your strengths can be utilized.s

WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) – Promotes Accountability

WBS imageWhat a refreshing Monday morning! I started my day off with a 10:00 a.m. WBS Meeting (Work Breakdown Structure) a.k.a everyone is held 100% accountable for their tasks of which they own.

Those that project manage – this tool is essential. Now, for those of you in organizations who do not have joy in taking part in such a tool I will explain how it works. Keep in mind they are many suitable layouts you can use to present your WBS for your project/department however, the methodology stays the same.

A WBS provides a structural view into a project/department. All documentation is stored in one document where all tasks are captured, owner of task is listed, due date and comments are provided. It is an essential tool for planning and executing tasks.

The benefit to a WBS is that it clearly defines the work for the project and to develop the project’s schedule. First and foremost I want to point out that this is a live document. Any changes you make will be viewed by those who have access.

One person is the lead administrator, who manages the bird’s eye view of tasks being completed, approves date extensions requests, requests status updates and in charge of keeping a fresh, clean, updated with weekly changes running copy of the WBS.

We use our WBS for our immediate team of 4 members. A WBS is efficiently conducted in Excel utilizing many tabs. Each tab at the bottom is named after the specific department or area you are monitoring and of course have ownership of these tasks. You must include in one of first tabs some managing information and instructions on how to properly monitor/manage/input updates for others involved to see progress and monitor their own progress.

The first column at the top of the Excel sheet is where action items are listed with full descriptions. It is important to provide full details for clarification. This ensures clear direction.

In the next column, you will put the due date. The beauty of Excel is that you are able to format cells to change colors as dates approach. Due date change daily, in respect to today’s date formatted at the beginning Excel document. My company has theirs formatted to turn yellow 15 days prior to due date. Yes, this is how efficient we are – sufficient time to plan how to complete task!

When the cell turns yellow you are visually prompted to take action. This visual reminder reinforces, without a person physically reminding you to take ownership and drive your task. What a great way to relieve the pressure off managers having to constantly remind their teams of deadlines that are fast approaching.

The truth is, this tool empowers you to manage your priorities and tasks. If you are facing roadblocks in a particular task- no problem! Just communicate. Your team will appreciate your honesty. Also if a team member is your roadblock they are prompted to take action sooner than later.

It is important to clearly state your action plan to overcome roadblocks. This way people know that you are able to manage.

Professional Key Ingredients – The Reminder Segment Five

The Reminder – Determined and Motivated! This personality trait is often the driving force behind the successful execution. Always reminded and reminding others of the purpose of the task. They continually ask questions such as “why will this be successful? Will the company profit because of this?

A team needs individuals who can see past the roadblocks and is able to strategically plan movements forward. They are able to maintain a clear thought process, while remaining focused with the goal in check. They are able to identify roadblocks and have the ability to delegate tasks to ensure the project/task does not remain “blocked”.

Someone with this personality trait is the first to speak up when they see areas in which people need to be redirected to stay on task and focused. They possess the confidence to make hard decision and hold people accountable for their actions.

Stay tuned for the next segment….The Cheerleader.

Professional Key Ingredients – The Customer Advocate Segment Four

The Customer Advocate – This is someone who never loses sight and reviews the vision from an opposite standpoint. How will this change be successfully implemented by others on the working end or customer end? Does this new process interfere with other department’s processes, and if yes, how can we integrate the two systems into one that works for the entire process.

This personality trait ensures brilliant brainstorming ideas are still aligned with the company’s vision and customer’s needs. Without proper alignment – where are we really headed? 

Stay tuned for the next segment….The Reminder .

Professional Key Ingredients – The Executor Segment Three

The Executor – This is someone who is onboard with new ideas and shares the vision. Someone with this trait is able to see future benefits and is open to positive changes! This type of thinking involves looking at the entire process and walking it from beginning to end. While walking these steps this person is able to analyse exactly who is needed to carry out the necessary steps, what logistics are needed to put this vision into action, where will it be launched, when will we anticipate seeing the changes and how will this be a success.

These people ask “why” five times to ensure all bases are covered and ideas have been carefully thought through. This personality trait likes to create a strategy and maps possible roadblocks in order to overcome and rise above.

Stay tuned for the next segment….The Customer Advocate.

Professional Key Ingredients – The Visionary ! Segment Two

The Visionary – Someone with this trait actively looks for open opportunities to create efficient workflow and eliminate wasteful actions within the workplace.

They question standard ways of working process steps that are currently in place. This is someone who takes pleasure in implementing efficient changes and better working strategies. Someone with these traits is able to visualize future change needs and brainstorm creative ways to empower fellow co-workers to adapt to their vision. This action will help to ensure their participation in the next phase.

This type of employee simply by nature seeks change opportunities because they take pride in creating a more efficient flow within in the workplace. In doing so, the visionary feels a sense of accomplishment by creating processes that contribute to the bottom line and make and creates goal to work towards.

Stay tuned for the next segment….The Executor.

Professional Key Ingredients – Personalities! Segment One

Professional Key Ingredients – Personalities! Segment One
By: Julie McKeon

October 15, 2012

When looking at hiring new employees, project managers and lead team members for the upcoming high profile project that you are preparing to launch you must insure you have covered your basic foundation – personality traits of employees that you wish to attract. The candidates personality traits have to be in lined with the organizations vision and mission statement.

These personality types are commonly associated with the model of personality development created by Briggs Meyer, the author of the world’s most widely used personality inventory.

Those with hiring power will need to view their organization’s needs as a full box of crayons. Everyone comes to the drawing board with unique talents and strengths and everyone contributes to the group as a whole.

Be prepared to look beyond titles and unveil key personality traits of empowering individuals that are able to rise and see beyond current state and strive to future state.


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