AuthorRivana11

Bond Underwriting Challenge

This is a real case that was handled by our surety bond experts… a doozie! See what you can make of it.

The facts:

  • This is a Performance Bond request for a multi-million dollar subcontract
  • The applicant / principal is a long established company
  • They have successfully completed similar sized projects
  • The company has a modest net worth, but is on a profitable trend. Ratios are OK.
  • Personal financial statements of the stockholders add more net worth to the picture
  • The company is owned by a father and son. Son is the primary stockholder.
  • We noted their SS numbers are only a few digits apart
  • Father has a substantial net worth. Son has a small net worth as indicated on his personal statement.
  • The applicant has started the subcontract
  • The GC / obligee has a mandatory bond form – very tough. It effectively makes it a forfeiture bond (obligee completes the job and sends you the bill.)
  • Father has a living trust
  • Son also indicated he has a trust

A lot of moving parts. What are the issues?

  1. Low company net worth. Too low for the size bond requested.
  2. “Close” SS numbers imply these individuals are immigrants (received SS numbers at about the same time). Are they U.S. citizens?
  3. Started subcontract. Why were they allowed to start without a bond? Degree of completion? Work acceptable? Bills paid? On schedule?
  4. Do we want to write a forfeiture bond form (financial guarantee?)
  5. What assets are in the trusts? Can they give indemnity? Will we rely on the indemnity of a trust?

– Think of your possible solutions –

Here is the approach crafted by our underwriters:

  1. Low company net worth. We do not prefer to require collateral because it may be counter-productive, making it harder for the client to complete the project. Instead, the client agreed to add capital to the company – an investment in their future. The funds could be a subordinated stockholder loan, or a stronger method: Additional Paid-in Capital. The latter is more permanent and therefore desirable. The client agreed to permanent capital that would be verified in writing by their CPA and supported by a current interim balance sheet.
  2. Close SS numbers. Why would we inquire about anyone with a social security number? It is because the number itself does not prove citizenship – nor does the filing of a US tax return. Non-citizens authorized to work in the U.S. can get a SS#. “Tax residents” are permanent residents and green card holders who are non-citizens required to pay U.S. taxes. All sureties are cautious when taking the personal indemnity of a non-citizen. They may easily flee the country to avoid their obligations. On this account we determined the father and son were immigrants as we suspected, and naturalized U.S. citizens.
  3. Started subcontract. This would be clarified by obtaining our All’s Right Letter from the obligee, stating the relevant facts on the project (degree of completion, on time, no problems, etc.)
  4. Bad bond form. We had previous dealings with this major GC and negotiated a bond modification that made the bond operate more normally. They agreed to use the bond mod again.
  5. Trusts. It turned out there was only one trust. The son was the beneficiary of the fathers trust, no separate trust of his own. A review of the father’s trust showed it was not prohibited from signing the indemnity agreement. However, living trusts are revocable, meaning the terms can be changed and assets moved out – making them unreliable indemnitors. And it contained the single most important asset, the father’s residence. How to overcome this last obstacle? Our solution: We will place a lien on the property giving us access regardless of changes in the trust.

There you have it. Did you come up with solutions to match ours? It was a tough / complicated case, but we worked hard to solve it.

All About HDPE Pipe Suppliers Services

HDPE pipes in India have numerous uses because of its versatility and flexibility. They are used in almost all consumer and industrial applications. Other features of these pipes worth noting are durability, anti-corrosive, malleability, recyclability, anti-mite, and anti-insects. Because, of these reasons, these pipe suppliers are in great demand in the current market.

Consumer and industrial applications

Reasons for HDPE pipes in India being suitable for a wide range of applications.

• It is resistant to insects, rots, and chemicals

• No leakage happens, whether in soil or water

• It is stronger as compared to stranger polyethylene

• It is effective against moisture

• It does not emit harmful substances

General applications

• Sewage system

• Water piping

• Sprinkler system

• Drip irrigation system

• Underground water piping

• Construction and building pipes

• Drainage piping system

• Water, gas, and other fluid transportation

Different ways in which HDPE pipe suppliers will help you

Buying HDPE pipes in India involves providing add-on services, quality check, and quality control by the pipe supplier. Below are some of the ways in which the supplier will assist you.

• Your supplier will line up your pipe with an existing liner pipeline. When you perform the extrusion, the heater is shut down due to excessive heat. The supplier, in this case, with the help of cooling fans lines up the old pipes with HDPE liner, maintaining the desired temperature.

• The suppliers take the requirements of the user to manufacture the polyethylene pipe liners according to their specifications. The pipes range in terms of diameter. Hence, you get personalized manufactured products.

• The pipe suppliers conduct fusion when new pipes are to be installed or existing pipes need to be changed. The fusion process makes sure that your pipes are not damaged due to weather conditions.

• It is the duty of the supplier to perform a proper inspection after and before the installation of the pipes. Timely maintenance and rehabilitation is also the work of suppliers of HDPE pipes in India.

Quality check and control provided by HDPE pipe suppliers

Proper quality check and control is one of the vital services provided by the HDPE pipe suppliers. Following are the services related to quality performed by the suppliers.

• The suppliers have to carry out the pipe quality check and assurance before deploying it to the consumer.

• The proper product inspection is to be carried out in the production area.

• The supplier should check the construction, appearance, and functions of the pipes properly.

• If you face any issues, you should supply all the information regarding the product to the supplier.

• You can also ask for in production photographs of the products as well as ask for samples.

• After the issue is sorted, ask for Corrective Action Report (CAR) to check for the long-term and short-term policies implemented by the supplier to solve the issue.

• Before accepting the order, one should ask for a practical inspection of the products from the supplier.


4 Important Reasons Why One Should Go For Junk Car Buyers Online

Your car had a good run and even served you well during its life expectancy, but now it is now time to buy a new vehicle and sell this old one – is that the case?

The problem that arises is whether to sell this car to junk buyers or put it online on websites that sell & buys old articles. Setting up your vehicle for online listing can be a tiresome activity as you have to deal with dozens of buyers and have to entangle your brain in some negotiations to grab the best deal.

That is not the case with junk car buyers, they don’t eat your brain even, you call them, they pick your car and you get paid out with a good amount that too on the same day – sounds interesting right?

Following are the few benefits that will explain why one should go for junk car buyers online:

1. You get paid out instant

Posting car online for selling takes a lot of time and even more time to get the money in exchange. It takes at least quite a week to look for buyers and set a great deal. If your backyard wants to be emptied in urgent, better call the junk car buyers, as they tow your car for free & even pays the amount on the same day of the towing.

2. Great price no matter what condition the vehicle is in

The best part is you don’t have to worry about the condition of your vehicle and spend in its repair before disposing of it for final as these buyers take the car in any shape & condition. Even if your car is without engine or spare parts, with dents or certain damages, they will still tow it.

3. Don’t you feel your time is important

Putting the cars for online selling & then waiting for the consumers to turn out with good deals never happens in a day. You not only have to wait for the buyers but also have to make sure the following checklist is all met with the buyer’s need:

– Have to clean the vehicle inside out.
– Have to take a clear & detailed picture of the vehicle to post.
– Putting a compelling description below the listing.
– Making communication with prospective buyers regarding the selling process.
– Scheduling the meetups & inspection for the buyers.
– Selling the cars with the good or desired deal.

But that is not the case with junk car buyers as they don’t expect you to meet these check-list points, they take away the car in any condition – on the same day you booked the appointment.

4. No need to beware of scammers

The task of selling cars on such websites is dubious for many as it is risky to plan a meetup and prevent oneself from frauds or scammers. But these junk car sites are quite reliable as they enter a contract first and even get you your money on the same day – the risk becomes less.

Try these buyers when you are in a hurry, want your backyard to be cleaned in an instant, want to buy the brand new car and most important want the money in the bank account to the earliest.


Here Is Your Affiliate Marketing Check List

Affiliate marketing is a way for a merchant to partner with independent marketers and pay them commissions for promoting his/her products or services.

When you sign up for an Affiliate Program, normally they cost nothing to join, you will be allocated

a special link (That is your Affiliate Link) for that product or service. This is a link or code that will help you and the merchant track the number of clicks and purchases and of course it tells the merchant who should be paid commissions.

To set up and start an affiliate marketing business you will have to decide what will be suitable for you as a way to promote.

Is it via a website,a blog,social networks or perhaps You Tube?

My recommendation is either a website or blog. On your blog or your site you can write permanent posts and pages that contain affiliate links.

On your blog or website you will be describing,reviewing,recommending and making clear the advantages of buying the product or services that you are promoting. Whatever you write,somewhere within the text needs to be your affiliate link so that when anybody thinking of making a purchase clicks on that link and buys it is your affiliate details that are provided to the merchant thereby enabling your commission payment.

You now need to get people to read what you have written on your website or blog, you get traffic to the site, attract visitors.

A lot of people when they are first starting do not know what to say to secure an audience.

If you write content in a way that gives useful information to your readers and that describes the products in an appealing way they are more likely to want to buy them. The more specific and reliable content that you are able to produce the more interest you are creating.

Interest builds you a following and that often converts to buyers then before you know it, you’re earning money for every visitor that clicks on your affiliate link and buys a product or a service that you promote.

You will be wise to build yourself an email list so that you use e-mail marketing to further connect with your audience and inform them of your new content and offers.

Building your email list is yet another subject and there are many strategies that need to be explored in detail.

Advice on this can be found all across the internet.

Get started with your Affiliate marketing business today, good luck but remember, never give up!


6 Ingredients For Meaningful And Productive Meetings

Meaningful meetings are possible, desirable, and should be the aim of every executive. Many people say meaningful meetings is an oxymoron, and they have a point. Research shows consistently that most meetings waste time and cost significant sums. Some studies show over 75% of meetings waste time. Get a Klu, a corporate coaching and training consulting firm found that professionals lose 31 hours monthly to unproductive meetings. Besides, they show that of the eleven million meetings held in the U.S.A. daily, half are wasteful meetings.

Curtailing wasteful meetings boost personal effectiveness and morale and improve company-wide productivity. I estimate that at least half of the hundreds of meetings I attended at work, church, and elsewhere, were unnecessary. We could have achieved better results without a meeting while not impeding relationships.

We must strive to hold meaningful meetings and stop the meaningless meetings epidemic. Always err in the direction of not holding a meeting. Still, as I show below, sometimes we need to meet. Meanwhile, here are six elements needed to hold meaningful meetings. Although they are not exhaustive, when followed, the chances of positive outcomes will improve significantly.

Meaningful Meetings Ingredients

These few basics will create the foundation for attendees to be effective at the meeting and following, and will aid the productivity of the group:

  1. Convener
  2. Purpose
  3. Agenda
  4. Targeted invitees
  5. Start & End Times & Meeting Etiquette
  6. Air Traffic Controller

Convener

Conveners have a responsibility for making meetings meaningful to produce specific results graciously, and compassionately. Conveners or their delegates arrange the meetings-including developing the purpose, agenda, and expected outcomes, with relevant persons. They ensure the right people record highlights and take needed actions, but they do not perform these activities themselves-they merely ensure others do them.

The convener needs someone to assist her to look at the process during the meeting. Without concern for the process, a few people will dominate, and discussions go off topic. It is crucial folks understand that the process determines the outcome.

Purpose

Not all meetings have the same purpose. However, each meaningful meeting must have a purpose. There are at least three meeting categories: information sharing, accountability and or reporting, and problem-solving. Why would anyone call a meeting without an explicit purpose? Often, a meeting is the ideal way for some folks to procrastinate-defer a tough decision. Then again, the convener, and maybe a few other folks, know the purpose, but do not articulate it to others in advance because that’s the way things happen in that firm-poor communications is the norm.

Sometimes people call meetings out of habit. They hold weekly and other meetings because that’s been happening for years. And nobody asks, why. I recall being invited to be an elder at a church. The pastor said they had weekly elders’ meeting, and I asked why. My response shocked him. Why wouldn’t I know? Still, I said, why do we need to meet weekly? The answer: That’s what we have always done. I declined the invitation.

Measningful Meetings in Japan

I saw two differences between business meetings there and in the West. First, most of those meetings were meaningful, but long, unlike here where meetings are meaningless and long.

Second, often in Asia, they tell you the purpose before problem-solving meetings. Then, they invite folks who plan to present at the meeting. Here in the West, many people come to meetings unprepared, but ready to give their views.

Third, the group paid attention when each person spoke, likely because of respect for elders and hierarchy. Participants listened to each other and built on each other’s contributions. In the West, when one person speaks, others don’t listen but plan his and her statement, which might be unrelated to what was just said.

In the West, sometimes you don’t know the aim of the meeting until after it starts. Many times the invitation does not mention the nature of the meeting. Then again, in the meeting, we compete for airtime. People don’t listen to another person’s view with an open mind. Instead, we interrupt one another in mid-sentence to add our views, even when it does not build on the speaker’s point.

In Japan, we defined and agreed the purpose of the meeting at the outset. Then we focus on solving the problem. Each person did not compete for airtime. However, I found this system weak in information sharing and accountability meetings. For instance, I was on the board of two Japanese public firms and the dearth of data given to shareholders and the brevity of shareholders’ meetings amazed me.

Meaningful Meetings Have Agendas

The ideal vehicle to define the meeting’s purpose is a carefully crafted agenda, with a starting and ending time. It should be comprehensive and indicate clearly items for discussion: ideally, with a starting and ending time for each agenda item. Besides, it should show a person or persons responsible for each item and the expected meeting outcome. Often we spend time on the first few items, especially if they are non-controversial, and rush the remaining, irrespective of their importance.

Targeted Invitees

Folks who attend meetings need a reason to attend. If the session is to share data or receive reports from others, only those folks relevant to those matters should attend. When the session is to solve problems, the size and invitees will vary based on the issue. These sessions need careful planning and a skillful convener to make sure each person explains his view without interruption. Folks must listen, hear, and consider what the speaker says before giving their ideas. It is crucial that folks know others’ views before debating and dismissing them.

Here are procedural matters to help us stay focused during a problem-solving session.

  1. Explain fully, specific proposals before debating them.
  2. Differentiate clarification discussions from challenges to substance.
  3. Finish one proposal before moving to another.
  4. Convener should encourage out-of-the-box approaches that challenge the status quo; never suppress discussions until each person understands the issue. Unusual proposals may be the basis for the solution; don’t restrain them just because they are unfamiliar.
  5. No one should monopolize discussions.
  6. Convener should be sensitive to different personalities: some folks will need encouragement to present their views.
  7. Meeting should agree action items: Someone should record key developments and specific follow up activity for each proposal including the following:
    • Who – responsibility for specific action
    • What – nature of action
    • When – timing of next feedback
    • Cost – source of resources necessary until next feedback

Although many of the above items apply to all meetings, they are particularly essential during a problem solving meeting.

Start & End Times & Meeting Etiquette

When the convener or other person call the meeting, the invitation should show the start and end times, and time and responsibility for each agenda item. The meeting should not last longer than 45 minutes to an hour-and should stick to the allotted times.

Do not allow late attendees. Advise all invitees that the meeting will start at the appointed time, so each person needs to be there a few minutes before to ensure an on-time start-and stick to the allotted times. The most offensive thing I see happening in meetings and events is when the convener says she will wait on more people to arrive. That’s an affront to those who arrived on time and merely encourages a sloppy, lateness culture.

Meaningful meetings mean proper time-keeping and the following meeting etiquette:

  • No latecomers allowed
  • No talking on cell phones or side discussions in the room
  • If someone leaves the room to take a call or to talk with a colleague in the corridor, she is not allowed to return
  • No extraneous discussions: time spent must focus on agenda items under discussion
  • Meeting will end on time and each topic will get its planned time
  • No interruptions-each person must finish his thoughts and no one must interrupt. Further, the next comment must refer to the most recent statement unless the convener decides to move to a different topic.
  • Each person present is valuable and her views are welcomed and encouraged-nobody will be allowed to monopolize the discussions.

In my “on-going meetings” (my classes) I insist that my students be in the classroom five minutes before the start time. Students who can’t be on-time can enter during a break period, but not while the class is in session. My students get it and are on time 99.99% of the time.

Meaningful Meetings Need An Air Traffic Controller

One person trying to take over discussions is the most difficult but crucial to prevent. Often the convener or chair does not focus on the process, so people get off topic. A few folks control discussions, and the meeting ends without attaining its aim. It’s vital the convener picks someone to help to ensure fair air-time for those with needed knowledge. An “air traffic controller” or process consultant (consultant) is the person to do this.

Process Consultant

When the focus is only on the result, shy folks and others who do not want to vie for air-time won’t speak. Others will talk, but will offer little. A process consultant who sits beside the convener to focus on the process and informs the convener, with no distraction, about deviant process issues is vital for a meaningful meeting. While the convener deals with the outcome, the consultant looks at the process to ensure ample air-time for folks needing to contribute. The consultant will look at body language, non-verbals, folks talking too much, people trying to speak but unable, and so on.

The consultant’s role is tough because that he or she is not part of the discussions, but is he or she tries to promote, through the convener, maximum sharing in the group. A well-versed consultant will watch the flow of discussions and ensure folks who would be reluctant to speak, but who wish to speak, offers his and her views on central issues. My experience is that these reserved folks have the most notable positive impact on the meeting’s outcome.

When Do We Need To Meet

Today, we have many different ways to meet electronically. We must be careful we do not meet because it is convenient, and we don’t have to leave our offices. Essentially, as I mentioned before, there are three broad categories of meetings, beyond needed face-to-face, one-on-one meetings: information sharing, accountability or responsibility reporting, and problem-solving. Still, before meeting, folks should ask the following questions:

  1. Why do we need to meet?
  2. Do we need interaction?
  3. Will we merely be telling people what they can read conveniently?
  4. Do we need to work together to come up with ideas?
  5. Will being together be valuable?
  6. Do so many people need to interact with each other?
  7. What if we didn’t meet?
  8. Is this the best use of people’s time recognizing that reducing the number of attendees saves time for everyone-attending and not attending?

Zero Electronic Devices Except For Note-Taking

To increase the probability of a meaningful meeting, we should not allow electronic devices in the room except for note taking. People who are “expecting calls” should not attend. The rule should be simple: If you are invited to the meeting, we need your complete attention. If you expect someone to contact you during the meeting, we will excuse you from the meeting and meet with those willing and able to be present.

To increase the probability of a meaningful meeting, we should not allow electronic devices in the room except for note taking. People who are “expecting calls” should not attend. The rule should be simple: If someone invites you to the meeting, they need your complete attention. So, if you expect someone to contact you during the meeting, excuse yourself from the meeting and ask someone else to brief you on the result. Only folks willing and able to be present, should attend.

Meaningful meetings help firms become more dynamic. These sessions can inspire employees. Every CEO should support them. The converse is true. People getting together with no real aim except to meet, create waste, expense, and crush morale.

To be sure, we need many face-to-face meetings because of the need for human interaction. However, we should question whether we need all meetings we plan to hold. Also, we should question the need for meetings others arrange and invite us to attend, always suggesting appropriate alternatives.


Profitable Ideas for Belly Dance Studio

After taking classes from other instructors, it is decided that the next step in your personal advancement is to become an instructor and start a belly dancing business.

The operation of a belly dance studio requires daily attention to students needs and desires.

In the beginning are the owner’s ideas of making money learned from previous experiences from other dance studios. There is nothing wrong with this, however; it will be temporary.

Immediate income is from students taking classes. A basic beginners course and different levels of classes to advance skills will keep students continuing the course to its completion. After the basic course students may leave.

What can you do to keep students attending and continuing an income?

  1. Specialty classes – these classes may be taught by self or hire other instructors.
  2. Props of sword, cane, tambourine, candelabra, candles, and veil. These classes may range from a couple of hours or taught as a weekend event.
  3. Zills and drumming – these are the basic percussion instruments which belly dancers use. Learning about different zill patterns and drum rhythms will help students understand the various rhythms of Middle Eastern music.
  4. Teach in-home private instruction and offer demonstrations at schools and other types of women’s organizations.
  5. Hire self out for national and international seminars as an instructor and build your brand name.
  6. Design a website page and keep it active with information. Include an application for attending classes or hiring a performer.
  7. Teach basics, techniques, and psychology of entertaining at private parties, restaurant dancing, and stage performances to students who want to become professional performers.
  8. Sell services of dancers for parties, conventions, and organizations for local, national, and international markets.
  9. Teach costume and accessories construction. These classes not only help students to have custom-made outfits for their selves, but it serves to satisfy their creative and imaginative interest for arts and crafts.
  10. Designing and assembling jewelry. Making jewelry which the dancer uses are beautiful and many dancers like their jewelry to compliment their costumes correctly.
  11. There are many other styles of this art form. In the past there were two categories of dances. Today there are nine different styles of belly dancing. It is not possible for one person to teach the nine different styles; hire other instructors. It is critical to offer variety in the dance studio; do not depend on one style.
  12. Teach or conduct workshops and seminars. Workshop classes are taught in one day. Seminars are conducted over a three-day weekend. Hire national or international instructors.
  13. Mount a display wall or a mini-shop in the studio and sell all essential costumes, accessories, jewelry, props, and musical items which dancers need or wish to own. Include consignment opportunities.
  14. Produce online videos and offer online classes.

These money-making ideas may be done one at a time or several may be incorporated


5 Steps to Move From Employee to Entrepreneur

Have you been considering quitting your day job in favor of starting a business? Have you just lost your job and are currently exploring alternative ways of earning a living? Have you always dreamt of owning your own business some day?

Before you take the leap of faith into self-employment, consider these 5 steps:

  1. Get clear on your goals/passions – It’s not enough to decide to become a business owner. There are several questions and things to consider before you move forward in becoming a business owner. You will need to think about what kind of business you wish to run. You`ll need to determine if you wish to grow it from scratch, buy an existing business or purchase an available franchise. But even before you decide that- you should think about how the business will fit in with the rest of your life. Running a business can be a huge commitment of time and money. So ask yourself what do you enjoy doing or what will bring you joy? You will spend much of your day on your business so it’s a good idea for the business to provide work you actually enjoy doing. Ask yourself what you are most passionate about? What would you love to do? What is your dream job/business?
  2. Do your research/homework – Don’t make any rash or impulsive decisions and don’t leave your day job until you are absolutely sure of what you want to do and have a plan for doing it. Take the time to do good research by researching the industry, the marketplace, your potential target clients, your competitors. Do proper business research including a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis. Get a good handle on projected revenues and realistic operating costs as well as an understanding on how long it will take to breakeven and generate more revenues than expenses. Identify your personal strengths and skills and determine if there are any skills gaps. Determine how you will close any skill gaps or lack of expertise. Which gaps can be closed through skills training? Which gaps can be closed through recruiting the right people? Which gaps can be closed through coaching or mentoring? Determine what options and opportunities are available to you right now?
  3. Learn from others’ mistakes – There is no shortage of people who have started or run a business. Speak to as many people as you can who have gone before you. Learn what you can about what works, what doesn’t, and what mistakes others have made. Don’t waste valuable time and money. Be open to hearing others` perspectives on what they would have done differently. Hindsight is always 20/20.
  4. Business Plan ahead – Do the work and develop a business plan. While it may be a lot of work, it will be time well spent and most financial institutions will require one if you are searching for financing. The process of business planning is not only to prove to the bank that your business will be a success, it’s also a roadmap for you to follow to ensure success. Running your business finances can be like running your weekly, monthly or yearly personal budget – so if you haven’t developed good budgeting and financial management skills, it might be particularly challenging and doubly important to have a solid business plan.
  5. Hire a mentor – Starting and running a business can be challenging or even lonely at times. In addition to the day to day operations of the business, you may be mentally or emotionally overwhelmed by being a business owner. Having a safe place to go to for advice, guidance, and accountability or simply as a sounding board can be just what you need to help you make the transition into entrepreurship easier and smoother. Good coaching and mentoring can really help you fast track your transition.

While there are many advantages to being an entrepreneur, it`s important for you to also consider the downside of self-employment. Become a business owner armed with as much information, skills and tools you can to ensure a successful transition from employee to entrepreneur.


Quick Tips to Connect With People More Efficiently

The internet and advanced technologies have helped businesses to grow rapidly and these also help people in different locations to connect easily. As companies begin to expand, the number of seminars, meetings, or presentations they conduct also increase. Highly refined thoughts and educative materials are presented in business meetings and conferences which need to be documented and captured carefully using business transcription. Important talks and discussions are common for any business setup and these talks can be recorded and transcribed into well-structured text and for future references. Today, with access to many good digital transcription agencies, companies can easily convert their audio or video recordings into text format. Sometimes organizations may have half of the employees in the office and the other half at a different location and with advanced technologies like video conferencing, telephone meetings etc they can connect efficiently. Whatever be the way adopted to connect with each other, it must be done efficiently and produce tangible results.

Here are some successful strategies to consider to connect with your team more efficiently.

  • Set up your own connectivity model: Business leaders can set up their own connectivity model to meet specific organizational needs. Connection and efficiency can be promoted by mapping daily, weekly and monthly communication expectations for your team, and also the ideal methods.
  • Use a digital communication model: With tools like social media, text messages, mobile conferencing and so on, people in remote locations can also connect well. So, leverage these tools to reach out to team members.
  • Provide open virtual access: Conversation platforms like Slack, Slido and others help to stay in touch. Business leaders should ensure that everyone has access to these, and it helps to have a human connection.
  • Provide a safe space for speaking up in the meeting: Providing a safe space for speaking makes the meeting more effective, empowers team members to ask what they need and support each other. It also helps to observe how each person engages.
  • Set up an agenda: Having a set agenda helps to ensure that you create the space to surface the roadblocks and provide support. Keeping an agenda reminds you of the topics that need to be discussed ad also keep track of the time.
  • Respect people’s preferences: If there is a problem to be addressed, lay it out to your team and get their opinions. You can communicate by phone, email or text and get everyone’s preference and then stay connected.
  • Socialize: Be active on social media and post images that inspire your team mates. You can also share ideas of what others are doing to generate creativity.
  • Make a schedule with intention: Organizing a meeting just for the sake of it is unproductive and inefficient. So, it is better to schedule a meeting which addresses something particular and is important to the organization.
  • Hold open office hours: Holding open a couple of hours a week helps all team members to connect with each other. The team members can book 5- to 15-minute conversations on an open calendar. But this open-source mindset can be inconvenient during busy weeks.
  • Be flexible and consistent: Meetings with team members in various locations is a reality for rapidly growing companies. Driving results, irrespective of the location, requires clearly written and verbal sharing of company objectives and success metrics. Managers will have to rely on both new talent and experienced workers at varying levels of expertise. It is important to be flexible and consistent when touching base with team members.


5 Life Planning Steps for Career Professionals

Many people are unfulfilled and trying to get unstuck in their life or career. Often they can’t pinpoint why they feel the way they do. They just know they aren’t happy, and they may have no idea how to make themselves happy. Our work together is focused on helping them figure out their passion, and their purpose in life (not just in their career) which leads them to more clarity in direction, to take specific action steps and to have a greater sense of control over their life and their career.

If you are currently feeling stuck or lacking direction in your career or in your life, here are 5 life planning steps you can take:

  1. Clarify your values – Values are what’s most important to you right now. And while values do not change in the short term, they do change throughout your life as you enter and exit various life stages. It’s good practice to regularly review your values to ensure you are aligned to what’s most important to you. I remember a time early in my corporate career, when career progression was important to me and I worked long hours, took night classes and did what I believed was necessary to get promoted. As I moved into motherhood, I found kids and family were more important to me and while my career was still important, I did forgo career moves that would have meant relocating my family. Later, I left my corporate role in favor of running my own business to create more freedom and flexibility. If you are finding yourself at odds in your career or in your life, it may be that your values have shifted and you haven’t yet aligned your life to support what’s most important to you right now, in this stage of your life.
  2. Identify your passion and purpose – What do you most enjoy doing? Are you doing “it”? Many people believe their passion should be their career. But there are many ways to fulfill your passion even if it’s not your main career. I know an artist who is accumulating some amazing pieces of art he sculpts hoping to exhibit them one day. Art is his passion, and yet he earns his living as a teacher. He finds many ways to integrate his passion into his work. For example, he volunteers for set design for school productions, he teaches art during the summer months at a local art studio, and he sculpts in his spare time. If you are one of the lucky ones where you are passionate about the work you do in your career, congratulations. And if you are not, there are still many ways to feed and nurture your passion.
  3. Define your goals – Do you have a clear set of goals for this year? And for the next 3-5 years and beyond? Life is a marathon, not a sprint and your life plan should reflect that. A methodical, disciplined approach to realizing your dreams and goals. What do you aspire to be, to have? Even if the goal seems too big or too unattainable, think about and plan for how you can move forward in the direction of what you most desire? Taking regular, baby steps will get you the results you desire eventually. Also, make sure you look at all areas of your life not just your career. Consider: money and finance, relationships, personal and professional development, health and wellness, spirituality, family, fun and recreation, and physical environment.
  4. Organize your finances – Do you have a financial plan? Many years as a banker taught me that some goals need to be planned for financially to be achieved. Generally, people don’t adequately plan for their future and then live a life of many regrets. You may have a goal to retire at 65 or start a business at some point, but unless you have planned for it financially, it may not be attainable. I worked with a client who desired to leave his corporate job and start a business. Through our coaching work, he determined the amount of money he needed to cover his expenses until his business broke even. He continued with his corporate job long enough to amass the money he would need. While it was not easy to save, be disciplined and continue with his job, it set him up for success and took a lot of pressure off his finances in the early stages of his business. Make sure you have adequately planned for emergencies, set aside monies to realize your goals and plan for your future including your retirement. A good financial plan is an important component of your overall life plan.
  5. Create your career plan – No matter where you are on your career path currently… at the start of your career or perhaps nearing the end and thinking about retirement – you need a career plan! A good career plan will include a review of your values, interests, passions, strengths, skills and experience as well as your career goals, options, and opportunities. A good plan will identify and address education/experience gaps, personal and professional development needs as well as available support and mentorship. Having a well thought out plan provides you with focus, direction and the confidence to take action. The better prepared you are for the future, the easier it will be for you to slide into your next career move.

If you wish to live a life of fulfillment and abundance and no regrets, it will take some personal reflection and planning. If you don’t have the motivation or know how to do it on your own, seek the assistance of a professional, whether it’s a financial advisor to assist you with a financial plan or a professional coach to assist you with your life and career plan, take the first step and get on track to realize your dreams and goals.


Stuck, No Options?

We have an epidemic! People everywhere feel stuck in their jobs. Some feel like they have no options to get unstuck. Unhappy at work, they know they are not passionate about what they are doing. Yet, many are unsure of what would make them feel excited to get up and go to work in the morning instead. They know they need to make a change or at least feel motivated to make some changes. However, moving away from what they are doing to some unknown doesn’t feel right either.

So if this sounds like you, what options do you really have?

  1. Don’t jump ship, just yet – The worst thing you could do is quit your job to try and “figure it out”. Without a plan, this approach rarely ends well. Unless you have lots of money, you may be forced to take any job and potentially end up in a worse situation than you were in to begin with.
  2. Do your homework – Get to the root of what’s making you unhappy. Is it the company, the work, the people? Or is it you? Maybe, you lack the confidence or the skills to do the work. Perhaps, it’s the commute you dislike or the lack of flexibility. It’s important to identify the elements that you most enjoy, the things you really dislike, and the items that you are okay with. No job is perfect, so there will always be some amount of compromise.
  3. Connect to your “WHY” – I love facilitating transformation and change in people. And while making a difference in people’s lives is my life’s purpose, I recognize that there are many jobs and professions that would have allowed me to serve and live my life’s purpose. I chose to become a “coach”. Others may have chosen to become teachers, counselors, managers, change consultants, etc. Life purpose is not necessarily a job or a career, but rather, how you show up.
  4. Get clear on what’s most important to you – Values shift over time. So what was important to you when you started your career, may not be important to you any longer. Take inventory of what is really important to you now and prioritize the list. You may find that providing a nice lifestyle for your family is number one on your list, perhaps higher on the list than career satisfaction. If that’s the case, it may keep you in a job or career that you don’t love until such time as the kids grow up or you’ve saved enough money. As your priorities shift and change, so do your choices and options.
  5. Get the right support – It’s not always easy to be objective when it’s personal. Getting an objective third party perspective can be very helpful. Enlist in a good mentor or coach to help you “figure it out” and get you on the right path.
  6. Set a plan – While the decision to change can happen quickly, sometimes there are many steps involved in the process. Identifying what steps to take before you take action will save you time and angst in the long run and give you tremendous clarity.
  7. Take action – Take the first step, no matter how small it is – move towards what you want. Before you know it, you will have made major progress towards what you want.

You probably have a lot more options available to you than you might realize. It’s not always easy to see them for yourself when you are stuck. Start by getting unstuck. And if you need some help to get unstuck, contact a professional coach.


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