Christmas Comes But Once a Year

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

three candy canes Christmas Comes But Once a YearToday marks the beginning of the festive season when our hearts are merry and loved ones, that during the year, we sometimes take for granted, become even more important! It is a time for giving and for sharing.

This year our festivities are clouded by our knowledge of the tragedy in Newtown Connecticut; and our sympathy goes out to the families of the victims of this horrific act. As a consequence, we will, this year, hold our loved ones a little tighter, in the realization of what could happen.

But through it all, let us remember the good things, and the happy times. Let us remember the origin of Christmas, and show the love we feel.

It is my hope that we will remember the words of that hymn “It came upon the Midnight Clear” and extend the joy of Christmas to all our family and friends.

To all of you, have a happy and glorious Christmas, and may the New Year bring you and yours an abundance of good times.

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Time is NOT the Issue!

Time Not Issue Time is NOT the Issue!Probably the most often heard excuse is “I don’t have the time.” But if you think about it – that is not the issue, because we already have all the time there is. Each day we are given 1440 minutes to do with what we wish, and at the end of the day they are gone and then we have a new set of 1440 minutes. So the issue is not that we don’t have the time, the issues is what we do with the time we are given!

Mastering time is not time management, it is self management – the management of our daily tasks and priorities to ensure that we accomplish what we wish to accomplish. This means managing ourselves, and allocating the time necessary to complete our priorities. If we deduct the time we have to spend in sleeping, eating, and other personal related activities, we are left with about 750 minutes per day that we have to spend on all the other things we want to do.

How then do we master this task?

The following are 7 areas where we might profitably concentrate our efforts.

1.  First of all, take stock. We must understand our own strengths, and those areas of our life that require improvement.
2.  Establish a clear vision, and set realistic goals. You must know where you are going if you expect to get there. Your realistic goals become your priorities.
3.  Set time estimates based on these priorities, and their validity or urgency. Toward the end of each day, set aside some time to plan your next day’s work plan. Then when you arrive at work – adhere to the plan!
4.  Identify distractions or interruptions, and work to eliminate them. An example would be to set strict time limits for emails and/or texting.
5.  Establish your own system for planning and controlling priorities and their time requirements. Try setting aside daily blocks of quiet time when you will not allow phone calls or text messages!
6.  Technology: Is the technology you are using saving your time, or is it consuming time? Is it a help or a toy?
7.  Balance your life and your work. Be sure to plan for recreation and/or downtime.

If by following some or all of these points, you could reduce your wasted time by just five minutes every hour, your productivity would jump 8.3%! Hopefully you could do even better!
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Are You Listening To Me?

Listen To Me Are You Listening To Me?“I know that you heard what you thought I said, but what you heard is not what I intended to say!” Sound familiar? How often have you been in this situation, where what you were trying to say – just wasn’t being heard!

In today’s fast paced, and constantly changing business world, effective communication is vital to improving employee morale, boosting performance and increasing the bottom line. But there are many barriers to effective communication, and these can occur at any time in the communication process. As our society becomes increasingly multi-cultural, these barriers are bound to increase. Effective communicators will use their listening skills to identify and overcome these communication barriers, to convey a clear, concise message.

The key to effective communication is to improve listening skills – because only by listening effectively can people respond appropriately. Listening is far more than hearing. Listening involves the ability to receive, interpret, and respond to verbal messages and other cues, like body language.

The Personal Listening Profile® is a product of Inscape Publishing Company. Its purpose is to help individuals identify which of five listening approaches they tend to use to processing, storing, and retrieving data.
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360 Feedback – 5 Tips to Make It Work For You

363 Feedback for leaders 360 Feedback   5 Tips to Make It Work For YouProbably few things can get an argument going faster than mentioning 360 Feedback at a meeting of HR professionals. Some will be strongly in favor of the idea, and many will be just as strongly against it. This has always puzzled me, because 360 Feedback is a tool, and like all tools it can be misused. Used appropriately it can be of great assistance in individual performance approval. Used improperly, it can cause problems!

360 Feedback is performance based. That, in itself, may have led some people to feel it could be used for performance evaluation. But that would be a mistake! Performance evaluation is an assessment of performance, based on criteria established for the job by the persons responsible for the job description. It is normally conducted by the person’s direct manager.

363 Participants 360 Feedback   5 Tips to Make It Work For You

360 Feedback, on the other hand, is information given to the individual from various people or groups with whom the individual has contact – normally his/her manager, direct reports, peers and other people with whom he/she has contact. It is advice on how the subject might improve his/her performance from their perspective. To be effective, this advice should be positive, and presented in a constructive manner.
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Unleashing the Power

Unleash Your Power Unleashing the PowerMy wife and I were recently in England at the time the Paralympics were being held. The athletes were people with obvious physical impairments, but who chose to exercise other gifts they had been given, and achieve world recognition. It was really inspiring to see a girl with no arms win the 100 metre backstroke in world record time; or a girl suffering from a form of dwarfism win two gold medals, a silver medal and a bronze medal. These people all had decided to focus on the gifts they had been given – rather than succumb to their obvious handicaps.

There are other examples of leadership in action from the non-athletic field. Dr. Stephen Hawking is probably one of the best known examples.He is a man who cannot speak except with the aid of a mechanical device, can’t get out of his wheel chair, except with the aid of a helper, yet is one of the most respected scientists of our time. Against incredible odds this man is fulfilling his destiny, and is just one example of many who are proving that the power is within you, when you choose to exercise the gifts that have been given to you.One of his many quotes is, “I notice that even people who claim that everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.”
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NorQuest Weekly Round-Up September 27

dreamstimefree 193757 300x219 NorQuest Weekly Round Up September 27This week has been full of great articles and blog posts, our top four are below:

HBR Blog Network: Ten Reasons People Resist Change
Leadership is about change, but what is a leader to do when faced with ubiquitous resistance? Resistance to change manifests itself in many ways, from foot-dragging and inertia to petty sabotage to outright rebellions. The best tool for leaders of change is to understand the predictable, universal sources of resistance in each situation and then strategize around them.

Fast Company: How To Ask–And Listen–Like You Mean It
Leaders who are helping others to grow and innovate are always trying to craft the best questions to make a difference. Here’s how to ask the questions that will propel your team and your organization forward.
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Do You Support Change?

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change” Charles Darwin

Change symbol Do You Support Change?	In the change oriented business world of the 21st century, change is not only a constant – the rate of change is increasing. Just as change is a law of life, so it is in business. Unfortunately, many team leaders and managers are ill prepared to address this changing landscape in the business world.

Change is apparent in any organization, but it is often compounded by other issues – such as management strategies for new revenue growth, planned culture shifts and the ever present initiative to contain costs. Left alone, your business environment can start to be dominated by rumours, back-biting, lack of focus, lack of energy and a breakdown of trust between managers and employees.
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