April 2009 Newsletter

Are you a coach or a manager?

This month’s tip helps you be a better leader:

Take a moment to consider how you work with your team or staff on a daily basis.

April 2009 Newsletter ImageYou know you’re a manager if … you only see things in the short-term, plan out details of how work should be done, focus on results and create rules.

You know you’re a coach if … you envision the future, set a direction of how things should be accomplished, strive for achievement and see rules as opportunities.

By taking on the coach role, you not only enrich your professional relationships, but also enhance your business’s environment. You can take your company or organization to the next level by leading your team as a coach and leaving those managerial tendencies behind.

Teach, don’t tell: Coaches guide their team members with lessons. By not instructing employees on exactly what to do, coaches allow their employees to build their own skill sets and be self-reliant.

Let your employees flourish: Coaches give their team members room to grow! Managers focus on every little detail, stifling their employees’ creativity and ability to make the position their own.

Focus on your people: Sure policies and procedures keep a business running smoothly, but coaches have the ability to see outside of the tasks. Coaches realize that the “how” of tasks isn’t written in stone and that the staff sets the tone of how a workplace functions.

Coaches are leaders because they follow their vision: taking their companies and staff members along the way, guiding their teams toward long-term goals and tackling any obstacles that arise.


January 2010 Newsletter Image 2

Myth: Everyone’s joining the pessimists’ club.

It’s easy to fall in line with all of the other cynics who are voicing their constant negativity about today’s economy and business climate. Layoffs are everyday news and the stock market remains mixed. But bucking this trend will keep you going when the tide turns and the economy starts its upward swing.

It’s all about attitude

You know how much your attitude influences your life and business environment, but during times like these, a reminder is essential. Shifting your outlook to sunny may take practice (especially if you are a pessimist at heart) but the benefits will be bountiful.

Start with the basics of what is good in your life and business. It’s a simple premise that can be worked into your daily routine. Maybe wrap up the day by taking a moment to jot down what your biggest accomplishment was, even if it was just a small task.

Lessons learned

It’s hard to see what you are gaining in the midst of confronting challenges, but with each hurdle you overcome, a lesson will emerge. Are you learning new ways to creatively solve problems? Are you handling clients differently? Are you discovering new sales techniques? Are you growing as a leader and business professional?

Recognizing the up side to the down times will make you a stronger professional, boost your confidence and help you make the best decisions for your business. A fresh outlook will prompt the momentum to move you and your business forward.


Are you facing new challenges?

The Success Trek team is ready to talk! Sit down with us for a conversation and we will listen to your issues and challenges during a complimentary business or individual coaching session. For more information, contact Theresa Valade at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 219-680-7720. 

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August 2009 Newsletter

Am I responsible?
August 2009 Newsletter ImageSure, you’re a responsible adult and manager. At least you think so. But Tim Connor, in his book, “81 Challenges Smart Managers Face,” might make you think twice about how you are responsible. “Although you are responsible for your employees’ output, productivity and results, you are responsible to people, not for them,” Connor writes. He goes on to say that some folks think being responsible for people is the same thing as having sympathy for them. “Sympathy keeps people dependent. You feel that if they fail, you have failed.  Being responsible to people requires empathy; you understand what they are going through, but it is their stuff, not yours.” Support them, help them, Connor says, but give them the tools and training they need to be effective.

In his chapter on responsibility, Connor goes on to list how managers can be responsible to their employees, rather than for them:
1)  Make no excuses for poor employee performance.
2)  Apply empathy when employees have personal issues that may get in the way of their effectiveness.
3)  Permit no negative attitudes from top performers.
4)  Permit no employees to break the rules that others must follow.
5)  Don’t play favorites with certain employees.

Connor notes “personal responsibility is an absolute requirement if employees are to succeed and contribute their share to the overall success of your department or organization.” Making exceptions for one employee when it comes to performance standards “sends a message to other employees that the rules and expectations vary,” Connor says, depending on a host of variables, from gender to tenure. “Everything you do as a manger sends subtle signals to everyone,” Connor writes as he concludes the chapter. “Be vigilant to ensure that the signals you are sending are uniform and consistent.”

Connor’s book, full of short and snappy challenges, humorous and inspiring quotes, and evaluative quizzes and pointers, is published by Sourcebooks, Inc. For more on Connor, check out his Website, www.timconnor.comwww.timconnor.com.

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

January 2010 Newsletter Image 2Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Well, with enough peanut butter, anything is possible. Likewise, you can learn new tricks, too. Maybe it’s time to reinvent yourself and learn a few new skills. With ever-changing technology and a tightening job market, it never hurts to take a different approach.

 With that in mind, here are a few ideas to get you started:

     *Try an art class or a book group to stretch your mind. What did you want to do before a career and kids left little time for anything else? Skydiving? Scuba diving?
     *Take a class, finish that degree, get an MBA. Community and local colleges offer an astonishing breadth of possibilities. Weigh the time and cost commitments against the rewards. Will your employer help pay for you to further your education, toward another position at your company? Will a class on computer skills help you land a job when a potential employer sees it on your resume?
    *Network, network, network. Wait, let me repeat that one more time: Network. Talk to people you know at the gym, your neighbors, the folks at your house of worship. They may be familiar with what’s available.
    *Volunteer. Not-for-profits are stretched to the limits these days and spending some time each month at the animal shelter or mentoring kids at the Boys and Girls Clubs will help others, soothe your soul, and perhaps lead to other opportunities down the road.
    *Assess your skills. What are you good at? What would you like to be good at? How can you get where you want to be?
    The rewards of a little reinvention are unlimited – new friends, fresh business contacts, greater self-confidence, perhaps a promotion or another career. And, there’s always that dab of peanut butter, maybe in the form of a candy bar with some chocolate for good measure.


Are you ready to achieve superior results?

The Success Trek team is ready to talk! Sit down with us and we will listen to your issues and challenges. For more information, contact Theresa Valade at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 219-680-7720.


Free Webinar on September 17

Success Trek partner, Preventative HR offers a free Webinar on September 17th. It is on “Creating a Performance Management Plan.” To register, go to www.hrsentry.comwww.hrsentry.com.

Preventive HR is dedicated to providing its clients with tools and resources to help them efficiently and effectively manage their organizations.

Teaming with HR Made Simple, Preventive HR has created a free webinar series that will address various Human Resource topics.

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December 2009 Newsletter


                                               Don’t Stress It!


December 2009 Newsletter ImageSure, you handle stress all the time. Deadlines at work, the demands of home and personal relationships, the way the two sometimes overlap, whether it’s a work call at dinnertime or a teacher’s call while you’re on the clock.
Throw in the holidays, with the shopping and parties, family friction, planning and – we hope – careful budgeting of finances that already may be a little constrained, and it’s no wonder that the end of the year seems to hit like a reindeer hoof to the forehead.
So before you get spun out and start throwing tinsel and holiday greeting cards at co-workers and loved ones, follow a few tips for managing stress now and all year through:
* Take care of yourself. Get enough rest, go to the gym, get your teeth cleaned and your reflexes checked, whatever it takes. Everything is always easier to handle when you are at your mental and physical best. An added bonus is that working out helps reduce stress.
* Be realist about how much you can actually do. Wonder Woman and Superman had a lot of powers that elude us mere mortals and sometimes, accepting that makes life easier to handle. Think of your day like packing a suitcase for a trip – there’s always way too much to put into it than will actually fit.
* Limit your work hours, or at least try to strike a better balance between career and family time. That’s more important this time of year, when other priorities, whether wrapping gifts or planning a holiday dinner, may take up more of your time.
* Build in some break time. Maybe it’s a hot bath or a game of pool, or a long ride with your favorite song cranked up, or just coloring with crayons, at home or at work. But leave a little space for yourself every now and then, and everything else will be easier to deal with.
 Squash the Myth


Myth: I haven’t accomplished enough this year
January 2010 Newsletter Image 2This time of year is like 4 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon. Why? Because it’s like a weekend that has passed all too quickly, with a list of projects and chores mostly left undone. Quite frankly, the list was probably too long to begin with.
So, as the daylight fades on 2009, we begin to panic that we have not done nearly enough since the start of the year, when we pledged to start anew, give more, do more, organize, smile, pick up litter, work ahead of deadlines and take the dog for walks more often.
As the regret washes over us, we lose sight of what we have done in business and in life, the things little and big that have made a difference not only in our lives, but more importantly, in the lives of others.
Pause for a moment. Grab a cup of coffee or a mug of cocoa and reflect. Recall the things you’ve done and, if it helps the panic subside, make a list. Maybe your tally looks like this:
I gave to a charity in some way. I donated time or money, on my own or through my company, to improve someone else’s life. Though funds were tight this year, I was blessed to have so much more than so many others.
I volunteered in my community, doing a presentation at my child’s school, serving as a soccer coach, helped organize a fund-raiser for my house of worship. Though my schedule was busy, I found the time.
I commended my employees – or my supervisor – for their efforts, and pitched in where needed, without grumbling about whether it fit my job description. Though many companies have shut their doors, cut staff and slashed salaries, I was grateful for my employment, and shared that gratitude with others.
We have done more than we thought this year, and will do so again in 2010. Then, perhaps, we will pledge to do what we can without regrets over what we can’t.




How do you set your goals?

The Success Trek team is ready to talk! Sit down with us and we will listen to your issues and challenges. For more information, contact Theresa Valade at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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Feburary 2009 Newsletter

Myth: Success is a Gift that Some Receive and Other Do Not

December 2011 Newsletter Image

A close friend of mine shared with me the other day that her husband had his annual review. He was hoping for a year-end bonus and expected at least a “cost-of-living” pay raise. He got neither. In his disappointment, his response to her was, “Well, some get what they want and others don’t.” The same is pretty much true when it comes to overall success, isn’t it? Think of all the bosses, colleagues, friends and acquaintances in your life. Are there those for whom success seems effortless? They always get the raise, the bonus and the promotion; not to mention the gorgeous house, brilliant kids and great teeth. The evidence is clear – success is a gift that some receive and others do not. Right?  Wrong!

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! (Can you tell that I’m personally invested in this one?) Success is not something you receive, nor is it a minion of fate that favors some over others. That myth is toxic. I know, because it impacted the direction of my personal and professional life for years.

My bio says that I have more than 20 years experience in creating successful outcomes within business operations, strategic sales, organizational development, finance and human resources management. What it does not tell you is that I spent at least 10 of those years chasing success and being miserable because I never found it. Yes, I had what it took to “create successful outcomes” in teams, departments and companies; but, it seemed, I could not create successful outcomes in my own life.

So I began to believe that success was something that was given to others. As I mentioned above, this belief was toxic; it fueled envy and self-pity. But it also was tempting; it absolved me of personal responsibility for the state of my life.

How did I get from that dark place to where I am now – a happy and successful business owner? That story I share in the upcoming, second volume of The Gratitude Book Project: 365 Day of GratitudeThe Gratitude Book Project: 365 Day of Gratitude. But I can tell you that the change in my life began when I stopped focusing on what I wanted and began paying attention to what others needed.

No one is given success, but I know that success can come through giving.

As we near the holidays – the time of bonuses, promotions and big purchases – it is easy to focus on the success others seem to “receive.” But remember, there are those for whom your life appears effortlessly successful as well. Giving them what they need rather than waiting to receive what you want may just be the real gift you have been searching for all along.


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January 2009 Newsletter

How can I sharpen my time management skills?

This month’s tip prioritizes tasks:

January 2009 Newsletter ImageIf it’s January you can bet on a few things: cold, packed gyms and lots of diet company ads on TV. Whether you launch the year with a list of resolutions or not, you can make your day more productive without even breaking a sweat.

A key skill to being a success is managing your time and daily tasks. By giving structure to your day, you will be more productive and efficient.

Prioritize: Take the time to figure out what activities have the highest payoff. These priorities will be the foundation for making decisions and facing challenges throughout the day.

Write it down: Whether you put it on paper or a calendar or type up a daily to-do list, you need to follow a written plan every work day. Make sure the essential tasks are at the top of the list in the order of importance. These should be items you must complete by the end of the day. Then prioritize your other tasks, perhaps some assignments can wait until tomorrow? Delete or check off what you get done to see what you are accomplishing!

Deadlines: Set reasonable target dates to complete your projects and follow your own deadlines. A time limit helps you stay on track and be more productive.  

This month’s tip was adapted from an article by Paul J. Meyer as it appeared online at Success magazine.

Myth: Small business means small marketing plan.

January 2010 Newsletter Image 2Many small business owners must juggle varied roles, from financial advisor to administrative assistant. It can be overwhelming to think of donning another hat: marketing guru. Entrepreneurs not ready to invest in a marketing company can still put their businesses in the spotlight.

First, make sure to review marketing materials every year. As your business evolves, you need to present a consistent image. It doesn’t matter how many sources your materials come from as long as the message is the same.

Second, send out an e-newsletter. The tool is an easy way to stay in touch with clients and reach out to potential ones.

Third, work your way toward being an expert in your field. Check out online forums or consider writing for local publications. You will stay in the public eye and increase your name recognition.

This month’s Squash the Myth was adapted from the article “Marketing for Every Small Business” by Phil Daniels.


What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?

The Success Trek team is launching its new group coaching format. Join us for a two-hour look from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Tuesday February 17. Contact Lesly Bailey at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 219-707-9250 for more information and to learn how to register.


“People can alter their lives by altering their attitudes.”

– William James

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