What Melts Your Employees' Butter? Understanding Their UMPs (Unique Motivational Profiles)

No law says you must like your job, but what is it that motivates people to get up everyday and go to work? If your employee population all won the lottery tomorrow and were all financially set for life, how many would show up the next day? Surveys have suggested that 95 percent to 98 percent would bail out immediately. Can you afford to not understand what melts their butter, floats their boat, and fills their sails? 

An Inspired Environment

Maybe it has to do something with the rewards, recognition and incentives that go along with people showing up and staying for years on end. Some will argue that the bona fide way to a committed and loyal employee's heart is solely through monetary earnings, not to mention the gratification of a steady income. 

Or maybe, it has to do with working in an inspired environment, where mutual appreciation and respect for fellow co-workers and the employer not only exists but is also the norm. People want to feel wanted and appreciated. It's only human nature. My sister, Judy, a highly decorated first responder (she has won Paramedic of the Year in her county twice) commented the other day that the handwritten personal note from her Chief complimenting her on a particular "save" was so motivational - even more inspiring to her than her awards. It is that simple. 

Preventing the Butter from Hardening

First, lets figure out what turns off employees. Performance appraisals are often top of the list. They are the quintessential "CYA" activity. But, why do people shun appraisals like the plague? Because it is highly likely that it is highly reminiscent of their worst nightmare - the continuous assessment of grades in school and ongoing parental haranguing. 

Do they have any redeeming qualities? The focus on monitoring and assessing performance should undoubtedly be placed on setting attainable and collaborative goals, making collective decisions, and being able to tackle and solve problems within one's own relative sphere of responsibility and authority along with one's colleagues. 

Performance appraisals shouldn't be feared. In fact, they should be welcomed with open arms. In an ideal world, employers wouldn't manage people like two-year olds. Rather, they would encourage skill development and offer training, mentoring and coaching to make that happen. This way, there would be much more empowerment instead of nitty-gritty micro-management. And, many of the performance appraisal systems, while claiming the importance of "robustness" make a highly valued conversation too complex. Rather than scrutinizing every little minute detail or skill involved with an employee's work style or work ethic or way of going about daily tasks, it's certainly more encouraging to ground oneself in the ethos of valuing, motivating and rewarding people. In this way, the focus of appraisals will be on the positives and be a catalyst to cooperation and communications. The butter will start to soften. 

Understanding UMPs

Increasing the value of people, and truly understanding why people show up to work and why they stay, is just as important as why they leave. 

The tricky part, however, is that not everyone is motivated by the same things. Motivation is an incredibly individual expression. Figuring it our might prove challenging in larger organizations, but probing and prodding for what melts your employee's butter -- their unique motivational profile ("UMP") -- is an expense that is certainly worth spending. 

People are inclined to leave their job because they: dislike their boss or co-workers, lack the tools to be productive and move forward or work in a toxic environment, for example. People can be motivated by a myriad of things:

• Excitement that one's work brings them
• Engaging projects
• Interesting environments in which people work
• Captivating people with whom they work
• Work-life balance that the job allows them to have
• Ongoing search for meaning and purpose within their life
• Passion for their work
• Compensation and benefits
• Rewards and bonuses
• Job security
• Opportunity to learn new skills

Do you really understand your employees?

Melting the Butter

Money is notoriously viewed as a motivator, but it is not the only thing that gets people (who have not won the lottery) to come into this thing we call "work." The anticipation that rests in such satisfaction through rewards processes (paychecks, raises and bonuses) is enough to coax employees to tackle mundane tasks and other things that they really could care less about. These are extrinsic (aka external) motivators -- or de-motivators when they are more punitive than rewarding in nature. 

Due to the constraints of our economy today, most motivators are intrinsic (aka internal) -- driven by pure enjoyment and interest in the work being performed. The rise in intrinsic motivators is due, in large part, to both the addition of the Millennials -- the youngsters with high ideals -- as well as the fatigued experience of the Boomers -- the older folks who were supposed to be gone by now who now feel stuck in their jobs. Money, while important, is just not what it used to be. 

For every 10 articles you read on motivation, five will say that money is key and five will say that lifestyle is key. Today, people expect both. And there are no best practices that apply across the board to all organizations in a world of diverse cultures, values and opinions. People want it all and are tuned into radio station WII-FM ("what's in it for me"). Thus, if you can tap into and listened to the music they enjoy, determine their UMP, and use the myriad of tools that are available, you can put together the right combination of incentives, rewards and motivation to melt their butter. 

It is not a trivial task. And, one size does not fit all. Your job is to find the right mix for your people. Let the melting begin!

Written by Jim Finkelstein

Addressing Sensitive Issues in Your Team

Addressing sensitive issues on your team can be a scary thing – and unfortunately many choose to navigate around or simply avoid them all together.  But doing so will continue to negatively impact the culture, break down trust among the team, and ultimately impede on forward growth and reaching your desired goals.  Intervention early on is key – building awareness and creating a safe harbor within the organization that amplifies it’s not only ok to have these conversations - but it’s encouraged and supported in a judgement free environment.  It sends a strong message the people, their ideas and feelings, are valued.

  • Start with Awareness – Are you noticing poor teamwork? Continually having to redirect the conversation?  Are there team dynamics, such as missing deadlines, that indicate stress among the group?  Identifying these areas can sometimes be more of an art than a science, but measuring your experience against your expectations is a good place to start identifying potential conflict.
  • It Takes a Village – While team leadership bares the initial responsibility of setting a tone to address conflict, team members are also responsible for engaging in the tough conversations.  Each person has a responsibility to address concerns and engage in active listening.  Often times issues arise through miscommunication or other unintentional breakdown; regardless though, feelings should always be validated and addressed to promote healing through the change process.  Leaders that establish an atmosphere of paying attention to what’s transpiring in the group and provide an exploratory environment to engage in honest dialogue, will shape a culture that supports team engagement and development.
  • Establish the Game Rules – As you develop a sense of awareness and openness, be intentional of the process.  Require that dialogue remains respectful – avoid inflammatory language and stay aware of the level of intensity.  Take a break, step back and then re-engage when necessary.  And don’t forget to address the impact – how the specific issue is effecting individuals and the team as a whole. 

Addressing team issues can feel daunting, but continually promoting an environment to do so will transform your culture to address issues early and promote a feeling of safety, mutual respect, and team collaboration.

Written by Shalyn Eyer

Your Leadership Approach

Question for you…are you intentional about developing your leadership image?  Maybe that question feels a bit daunting as you begin to ponder, “Where do I start and what’s that even supposed to look like?”  This is not the spot where you “insert here” with the name of a personality you want to become – and it’s certainly not about crafting a false image that looks good on paper…

Discovering your leadership image is about identifying those very real aspects of yourself and developing them to become an authentic leader – regardless of where you fall on the org chart.  You see, real leadership isn’t simply about what you do…it’s about who you are, how you show up, and how you inspire others to do the same.  And discovering these things, developing them further, doesn’t have to be an incredibly complicated process.  Consider these steps as you engage in the process, and remember to enlist others to help you in the journey:

  1. Consider what you want to convey – Being self-aware of your strengths, weaknesses and overall personality is mission critical to building your leadership image.  Talk to others, work with a coach, utilize assessments…whatever it takes to understand how you show up – and then identify the gaps to where you need to be.
  2. Pay attention to others – We all know individuals that stand out as authentic and effective leaders.  Pay attention to the way they show up – how do they communicate and connect with others, what is their approach to working through complex or difficult situations – and then apply those learning moments to develop your leadership competencies.  Learn from others – what’s working and what’s not working – to further develop our own approach.
  3. Focus on the group – Effective leaders are just as focused on the team as they are on themselves.  They are genuinely interested in the development and motivation of their team members so that everyone is showing up at their best to achieve collective goals.
  4. Practice, practice, practice – Be specific!  Once you’ve identified a leadership development issue, consider ways to improve and set specific steps and timeframes to reach your goals.  Finally, hold yourself accountable to your own growth – accountability is after all, a critical aspect to authentic leadership!

Written by Shalyn Eyer

Strategic Planning: Dreams, Nightmares or Reality? Final Day

Here’s an important question that I rarely see addressed: How will we respond to underperformance in achieving the objectives of our strategic plan? By not answering this question, there is no established accountability for the plan. Not establishing accountability makes it easy to sweep strategic activities under the rug, thus negatively impacting the credibility of the strategic plan and those who are responsible for championing it within the organization. If you fail to establish accountability for success, then your strategic plans face an almost certain risk of not being realized.

Tip #8: Know your obstacles and mitigation plans.

Even the best made plans can experience obstacles. Often, I see leaders plan for everything to go right. But if you want your plans to become reality, then you will need to know how to respond to obstacles when they present themselves. Obstacles can include budget constraints, competing priorities, organizational resistance to change, resources, lack of executive buy-in, lack of technical capabilities, or a deficiency in the standard methodologies needed to successfully execute work. Take the time to identify the obstacles you foresee as having the ability to impede your plans, and identify actions that can mitigate those obstacles. Incorporate the mitigation plans into your detailed planning activities to ensure your strategy continues to move forward.

 Tip #9: Build detailed plans to support the execution of your strategy.

This is where the nightmare often begins. Without detailed plans, your strategy is nothing more than words on paper. Think about it this way; each strategic objective in your plan involves categories of work, related tasks, resources and time required to actually execute your plans. Without this information, you will struggle to organize around your work, and ultimately find yourself stuck in the nightmare of underperformance or even failure in achieving your strategic objectives. The ripple effects of this nightmare destroy the credibility of your strategic plan, and can even harm your credibility as a leader.  Do all you can to avoid this nightmare!

Tip #10: Execute your plans.

Once your detailed planning is complete, it’s time to put your strategy to action! This is where all your hard work becomes reality!


So, if you follow these important tips, what’s in it for you? The answer is simple: You reap the benefits of demonstrating command in the development and execution of your strategic plan, which ultimately builds your credibility to gain buy-in, approval and ongoing support in future strategic planning efforts. Why would any leader want to miss out on that opportunity?

Written by Corinne Sinnegen and Shalyn Eyer

Strategic Planning: Dreams, Nightmares or Reality? Day 2

Tip #3: Create strategic alignment.

Consider these two important points when it comes to strategic alignment: 1) Make sure your plans are in sync with the mission, vision and values of the broader organization, as the strategy you develop should contribute to the organization being able to perpetuate these important points. 2) Develop a set of guiding principles to build and validate your strategic plans. Examples of some of the common guiding principles include building a strategy that:

·       Reduces cost

·       Promotes process efficiency

·       Demonstrates ongoing growth

·       Eliminates non-value added work

Developing guiding principles provides an anchor for you in the development and validation process when creating your strategy. As you develop your plans, it keeps you honest in identifying the right objectives and provides a check point for confirming your planned objectives are on the right track.

Tip #4: Complete a SWOT analysis.

A SWOT analysis is a very common and simple activity used to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your organization or department. It provides useful information to consider as you build your strategic plan. For example, your plan can include specific objectives that address known weaknesses or it can leverage objectives that will further enhance known strengths. Using information from a SWOT analysis further provides the focus needed to create a strategic plan with intent and purpose.

Tip #5: Use timelines for a reality check.

A realistic plan is a good plan that is more likely to be accomplished. One easy way to conduct a reality check on your plan is to align the strategic objectives (by year if you are creating a multi-year plan) to the four quarters of a year.

Tip #6: Identify and stop non-value added activities.

Consider the following questions: Which activities being done today are not adding value or are creating inefficiencies?  What activities will unnecessarily monopolize my time and prevent me from being able to focus on executing a strategic plan? In answering these questions, you have the opportunity to identify and weed out, or even delegate, time consuming activities so that you are freed up to support the execution of your strategy.

Written by:

Corinne Sinnegen

Strategic Planning: Dreams, Nightmares or Reality? Day 1


In the words of an old Japanese proverb, “Vision without action is a dream; action without vision is a nightmare”. Take a moment to translate this thought into your organization, particularly when it comes to strategic planning. If you are like many leaders out there, you are probably being asked to be responsible for strategic planning for your organization or department. Statistics show the percentage of organizations that actually achieve the goals of their strategic plans to be quite small. So, why is this true?

Although there are numerous factors that can impede an organizations ability to achieve its’ strategic goals, there are four common trends that I have continually come across throughout my years of consulting: Lack of Vision, Missing the Reality Check, No Plan of Execution, and Unclear Accountability.

So how can leaders build and move their strategic plans from dreams and nightmares – to reality?  Consider the top 10 tips we’ll look at this week:

Tip #1: Know your long-term vision.

Before you embark on any strategic planning effort, ask yourself this question: Where does the organization or department need to be in the next 3-5 years? Failing to determine where you want to be over time is like jumping on the next available airplane without really planning your trip, and as a result, regretting the destination. Know your long-term vision first so that you plan your strategic objectives with intent and purpose.

Tip #2: Be a proactive planner.

Get in the habit of pre-scheduling time in advance to work on your strategic plans. For example, if you know that during the same time each year executives will count on you for a new strategic plan, then make sure to calendar the time needed in advance for plan development. Be generous with the time you allocate, as you may need time to socialize a strategic plan draft with key stakeholders for feedback, and complete multiple revisions prior to review and approval with executives.  Strategic planning is an activity that is vital to an organization or departments’ ongoing success, and there’s nothing worse than being rushed in such an important process. Make it an ongoing priority and give it the time it deserves!

Written by:

Corinne Sinnigen

Six Critical Tips for a Collaborative Leadership Environment - Day 3



We’re talking this week about the continuous shifting environment in healthcare, and a model for success developed by the Center of Creative Leadership that may just help your organization proactively respond – building leaders today that make a positive difference tomorrow!

Leadership Tip 5. Capacity for complexity, innovation, and change

Effective leaders will shift the culture from dependence to interdependence – recognizing the value of and developing leaders throughout the organization.  That interdependence across the lines stimulates conversation around a collective goal, it excites the masses, and drives innovation.  The moving parts shift from being simply cogs in the wheel – to interactive and dynamic structures that improve organizational flow and assist all stakeholders in working together and supporting one another through innovation and change.  As you put the best processes in place, make sure you have the right people in place to implement them!

Leadership Tip 6. Employee engagement and well-being

The conversation around employee engagement is always on the checklist for discussion, but in your conversations around the table, has the word “energy” ever come up?  Energy among your teams is critical for engagement and employee satisfaction, especially in an industry that is 24/7 and emotionally charged!  The next time your leadership team gathers to address this topic, consider this…“Energy is optimized when both leaders and organizations value the whole person, linking individual health and wellbeing to organizational health and well-being through purpose, integrity, and accountability.”[1]  Use this insight to maximize your people-strategies and develop your A-Game culture!

[1] Browning, H., Torain, D., & Enright Patterson, T. (2016). Collaborative healthcare leadership: A six-part model for adapting and thriving during a time of transformative change. Retrieved from http://www.ccl.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/CollaborativeHealthcareLeadership.pdf

Written by:

Shalyn Eyer

Six Critical Tips for a Collaborative Leadership Environment - Day 2

We’re talking this week about the continuous shifting environment in healthcare, and a model for success developed by the Center of Creative Leadership that may just help your organization proactively respond – building leaders today that make a positive difference tomorrow!

Leadership Tip 3. Talent transformation

Are you considering your talent pool – possibly even accessing talent beyond the walls of healthcare?  Responding to a new business environment, healthcare leaders will need to hire and develop those that recognize and proactively respond to what’s coming next…not simply what has always been done.  Rapid and continuous change is the new norm – requiring organizations to develop comprehensive strategies for hiring, developing and retaining top talent in business and clinical practices - building a culture steeped in continuous assessment, improvement, self-awareness and development. Consider this…do you have the right tools in place to make this happen?

Leadership Tip 4. Boundary spanning

As the saying goes, ‘there’s strength in numbers’ – but in healthcare, this can bring opportunity as well as challenge!  Leadership is challenged by the broad spectrum of healthcare layers (physician practices, private/public sectors, and the list goes on); however, as CCL reminds us, “leaders at all levels must have boundary-spanning capabilities [utilizing] support from multiple perspectives and stakeholders”[1] to co-create, innovate – and translate into real solutions.

[1] Browning, H., Torain, D., & Enright Patterson, T. (2016). Collaborative healthcare leadership: A six-part model for adapting and thriving during a time of transformative change. Retrieved from http://www.ccl.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/CollaborativeHealthcareLeadership.pdf

Written by:

Shalyn Eyer


Six Critical Tips for a Collaborative Leadership Environment - Day 1


One thing is for certain in today’s healthcare environment – uncertainty exists!  As organizations grapple with unknown future shifts, minimal or ambiguous response will only slow down the success meter. Healthcare leaders must consider and implement forward-moving action within their organizations to thrive.  Based on extensive research, the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) has created a model that provides organizational tools for your leadership success!  Excited to be a part of the CCL family, and have these resources at our fingertips, we’ll focus this week on six critical organizational capabilities for a collaborative leadership environment. 

Leadership Tip 1. Collaborative patient-care teams

Nothing new to us, right?  We know that patient experience should sit at the heart of the organization; but are you really practicing it?  Success comes by engaging clinical and administrative staff – all those involved in the care-giving experience – in active and purposeful dialogue, training on listening and story-telling skills, and collaborating across the lines to ensure problems are solved and decisions are made in a way that engages everyone and ensures everyone gets the right message.

Leadership Tip 2. Resource stewardship  

Connecting the patient experience to the bottom-line, CCL reminds us that “hospitals need both patient-focused business professionals and business-minded clinicians who can keep patient care top of mind.”[1]  This means building a culture of accountability and transparency, innovative solutions, and an entrepreneurial spirit.  Effective resource stewardship requires strategic leaders that understand performance metrics, financial indicators, engagement, and patient satisfaction.  Like so many of our clients have discovered, a willingness to hold creative conversations builds a leadership team and employee-culture that engages everyone, doesn’t break the bank, and stimulates the bottom-line.

[1] Browning, H., Torain, D., & Enright Patterson, T. (2016). Collaborative healthcare leadership: A six-part model for adapting and thriving during a time of transformative change. Retrieved from http://www.ccl.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/CollaborativeHealthcareLeadership.pdf

Written by:

Shalyn Eyer

Project Management: What's in your Bag of Tricks? - Final Day!

As a reminder: Tips 1-2...Tips 3-5...Tips 6-7

Thank you for the joining us the last few weeks! Here are your last group of tips:

Tip #8 Define Project Meetings

Define the various repeatable project meetings that will be required, who should attend, the purpose and the frequency of each meeting. The meetings you identify can be used to drive discussions that help reveal areas of project integration, resolve risks and issues, reinforce project manager responsibilities, or to identify opportunities for project work streams to partner with one another on various activities such as business process development or decision making. It’s much easier to define required meetings once you have an understanding of project structure.

Tip #9 Plan Decision Maker/Project Sponsor Engagement

Engaging decision makers and project sponsors really means three things:

  • Providing consistent project education
  • Providing tools that make it easy for these stakeholders to champion the project
  • Asking these stakeholders for feedback that can be incorporated into ongoing project and change management plans

In doing so, the project manager will be in position to lead from behind - meaning the ability to provide clarity on where the project is headed in order to continuously stay ahead of milestones and guide decision-makers and project sponsors through relevant discussions and decision-making activities, as well as adjust plans to ensure project success.

Tip #10 Create the Required Project Templates & Tools

Project templates drive standardization of project work by all teams. Templates can include the weekly status, meeting minutes (to document decisions made), Project Update template (for decision makers, project leaders), Monthly Leadership Project Dashboard Report template, PPT templates (to build project related presentations), etc.

Tools also help drive standardization and consistent project methodology. Tools include project team training documents (How to access and use MS project, how to update the project plan, how to use team repository sites such as SharePoint, etc), Action Item/Issue/Risk Reports, Decision Logs, MS Project (for project planning & tracking), or an Integration Tracking Log.

Develop the required tools that work for you organization, and store them in a location accessible by all team members. Be sure to drive consistent use of these materials throughout the duration of the project.

Organizations that are not used to following prescribed project methodologies typically are not used to the rigor and structure that they present. However, with a strong project management resource to guide them, project teams quickly adapt and eventually begin to appreciate the thoroughness that a good methodology provides. Taking the time to go through this level of planning is well worth the effort!

Written by:

Corinne Sinnegen



Project Management: What's in your Bag of Tricks? Day 3

As a reminder: Tips #1,2 & Tips #3,4,5

Yep – you guessed it!  We’re still talking about effective project management tips…it’s just that important!  If you are one of those organizations that lacks a standard project management methodology, then you’ve come to the right place!  We’re exploring the top 10 activities you can implement as part of your project management ‘bag of tricks’ when it comes to launching your next initiative.

Tip #6 Identify Project Team Skill Requirements and Create a Selection Process

The preliminary work of identifying roles and responsibilities should provide you with a good sense of the specific skills that each role will require to be successful on the project team. It should also help you when it comes to selecting individuals. Consider the amount of time required to select individuals, and the communications needed. For example, if your project is scheduled to start in the month of June, then plan to go through the selection process well in advance so that you have ample time to gain approval for and communicate team selections, and take your selected team members through the onboarding process.

Tip #7 Develop a Project Team Onboarding Approach & Materials

On-boarding is a critical activity, setting the foundation of knowledge and expectations for all selected project team members. It’s the one opportunity you have to start everyone on the same page. When it comes to the approach, consider providing separate onboarding sessions for the project manager and team leads from project team members, as it provides the education needed to position project leadership to help support the onboarding of team members.

When it comes to developing the onboarding materials, consider covering the following topics:·      

  • Project overview and scope
  • Project timeline
  • Project structure
  • Roles and responsibilities

The project methodology should cover:

  • Processes: Such as escalation, decision governance, risk/issue management, or deliverable approval
  • Project meetings & tools
  • Next steps for creating the project plan and RASIC document

Work with decision makers and project sponsors to obtain feedback on topics and content, and to determine which sections of onboarding they can lead.  Track onboarding completions and ensure that FAQs captured during onboarding are addressed and shared on a timely basis.

Written by Corinne Sinnegen


Project Management: What's in your Bag of Tricks? Day 2


As a reminder: Tips #1 and #2

Tip #3 Develop an Escalation Process

This is a really important step, and it should be done with decision makers or project sponsors in advance of assembling your team. The escalation process is critical in defining when project issues are escalated and to whom, for resolution. When building the escalation process, identify the key players involved, and collaborate with the decision makers or project sponsors on finalization.

Tip #4 Define Levels of Decision Making

This is really about establishing a decision governance process, as there will be times when teams are forced to make decisions that arise throughout the lifecycle of a project. Such decisions could impact project budget, scope, training, or even timelines - so you’ll want to think through who the players in the decision-making process will be, in the event your project is faced with the need to make adjustments. The decision governance process can be developed prior to the formation of your project team.

Tip #5 Create a Deliverable Approval Process

As in any project, there will be a multitude of deliverables. Given this truth, you will want to work in advance to:

  • Identify how deliverables should be vetted for approval
  • Identify those who have approval authority to sign off (This should be included in your RASIC document – check out the 1/24/17 blog)
  • Defining who on the project has approval authority is important, as it prevents team members from continuing work on completed deliverables, allowing them to focus on the work ahead.

Written by Corinne Sinnegen


Project Management: What's in your Bag of Tricks?


Effective project management requires a multitude of internal resources, including strong people and project management traits that support the organizations’ ongoing projects – along with methods and tools that serve as a driving force for project success. To my surprise, the majority of clients that I work with have no standard or preferred project management methodology that is used across all projects, thus, they experience inconsistent results.

If you are one of those organizations that lacks a standard project management methodology, then you have come to the right place. Stay with us over the next several days as we explore the top 10 activities you can implement as part of your project management ‘bag of tricks’ when it comes to launching your next initiative.

Tip #1 Establish Project Roles and Responsibilities

Before you even begin selecting potential members of a project team, define roles and responsibilities for team members, project sponsors, the PMO, project managers, subject matter experts, and any executive decision making body/group that you anticipate will be involved with the initiative. Defining this information up front with help you align the right people to each role. Work with key decision makers or project sponsors to finalize roles and responsibilities.

Tip #2 Complete a Project RASIC

A RASIC is a document used to define responsibility, accountability, sign off responsibility, who to inform, and who to consult regarding key project activities and deliverables. It is typically created once a project plan has been developed, as it should reflect key activities or deliverables. It’s best to work collaboratively with a project team to create this important document, as it helps the team understand levels of accountability, defines exactly what they are responsible for regarding activities and deliverables, and sets expectations for how and when they will interact with one another regarding project work.

Written by:

Corinne Sinnigen


Expertise in organizational change management, project management, professional facilitation, and executive coaching

Tips to Managing Organizational Priorities Day 3

If you are a leader in an organization having to distinguish between wants, needs and must haves, then you are no stranger to the level of stress the effort can present.  We’ve been considering some tips to navigate this space throughout the week – let’s keep the conversation going as you share your tips for success!

Tip #5: Stick to your deadlines

It’s important to identify and stick to strict deadlines to avoid spending too much time on one priority over another, as there may be some priorities that do not or simply cannot change in terms of timing. Once deadlines have been identified, it may be helpful to project plan the work needed to address priorities so that you are clear on what activities that support the priorities need to occur, when they must be done, and who will do them.

Tip #6: Be flexible as needed

Change is inevitable, so remain flexible as a way to help deal with changing priorities, making adjustments along the way by using the criteria you developed for assessing urgency and value as your guide.

Taking the time to prioritize and effectively manage work is a vital part of realizing organizational goals. By applying these simple tips, you will experience greater productivity and a sense of accomplishment by setting greater focus on those things that really matter for your organization.  

Written by:

Corinne Sinnigen


Expertise in organizational change management, project management, professional facilitation, and executive coaching


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Tips to Managing Organizational Priorities Day 2

If you are a leader in an organization having to distinguish between wants, needs and must haves, then you are no stranger to the level of stress the effort can present.  Stay with us this week as we share tips on how to navigate this space…and we’d love to hear yours as well!

Tip #3: Assess value

Completing certain tasks will offer more benefit than others, so some assessment of those tasks will help in setting priorities. Start with defining what value means, apply a scale of high, medium and low, and align the priorities to those levels to weed out those things that must be addressed first.

Tip #4: Set realistic goals

Organizing priorities by level of urgency and value will help to provide a view of how your priorities map out over time. In considering the time needed to accomplish priorities, be realistic about bandwidth for yourself, your staff and the organization, in accomplishing the priorities so that you avoid setting unattainable goals. To help further adjust priorities over time, consider things that can be handled more slowly over the long term as opposed to those things that are short term and need more immediate attention.

Written by:

Corinne Sinnigen


Expertise in organizational change management, project management, professional facilitation, and executive coaching


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Tips to Managing Organizational Priorities Day 1


Does this reaction look familiar? It’s the typical response that many leaders have when they are faced with trying to identify and manage their organizations’ priorities.

You’ve heard the old saying, ‘Learn how to distinguish between your wants and your needs”. Well, in today’s corporate environment, that is a very difficult task given the amount of priorities that organizations attempt to undertake.

If you are a leader in an organization having to distinguish between wants, needs and must haves, then you are no stranger to the level of stress the effort can present.

So to help make it a little easier, we’d like to share some quick tips to assist you with narrowing in on identifying and managing priorities.  Let’s consider the first 2…and then stay with us as we share more throughout the week!


Tip #1: Make time to schedule your priorities

Priorities are schedule driven, so be proactive with setting aside the time needed to schedule priorities so that you are able to meet deadlines. For example, if you know that you will be expected to set new priorities at the end of every year, then schedule time for the exercise in advance, and include the right people to help weigh in on the effort. Setting the time aside will ensure that you schedule your priorities appropriately.


Tip #2: Identify urgent versus non-urgent

Using your most current priority list, separate the items into urgent vs. non-urgent to determine the top priorities for a defined time period such as 90 days, 120 days, or Q1, Q2, etc. To help drive decisions in assessing urgency, you can develop a list of criteria that defines urgent and non-urgent. It’s important to know what those terms mean for your organization. Try using a scale of high, medium and low to further aid in distinguishing levels of urgency.

To check your assessment, consider applying this question: What priorities will have negative consequences if they are ignored? You may find yourself doing a little reshuffling after answering this question.

Remember, it’s vital to distinguish urgency, as not everything can be the most critical, most urgent or most important on your priority list, because if that’s the case, your priorities will not be realized.

Written by:

Corinne Sinnigen


Expertise in organizational change management, project management, professional facilitation, and executive coaching


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Importance of Connecting With Colleagues

According to a McKinsey Global Institute study, productivity improves by upwards of 25% in organizations when employees are connected. Connection requires communication, conversations, and curiosity.  Here’s some food for thought as you’re embracing new ways to drive the collaboration and productivity in your organization in 2017!

  • Connect with your team: ask thoughtful, open-ended questions on a regular basis – effective communication goes beyond the annual survey and flows across the org chart.
  • Get creative: Evaluate the way it’s always been done, identify stagnation in the process, and envision new ways to activate the conversation. “Wander the floor” – ignite impromptu conversation. 
  • Keep it simple: But be informative.  Be transparent and thorough in communicating change, challenge, and vision; but don’t bog down the message in technical and complicated jargon.  Your employees will appreciate an on-point message that keeps them informed, and allows them to connect their role in the organization to the message being communicated.
  • Build in Recognition: Effective communication is more than just communicating the facts.  Utilize communication to share success stories and recognize those that exemplify the story and mission of the organization.  Employees value being appreciated – and keeping your communication “fresh and new” will build engagement in the communication process and ultimately your organization.

Written by:

Shalyn Eyer


Well-versed in people relations, including – group dynamics, team orientation, conflict resolution and leadership strategy

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Don't Hold Back! The Value of Communicating Early And Often During Change Initiatives

Throughout my years of consulting, I have come across common misconceptions about the value of communicating comprehensive change information early and often in the change process. I have heard numerous leaders say, “Don’t communicate about change too much”. In fact, some organizations will refrain from communicating early on because they believe that:

  • Too much information or detail will be not comprehended
  • Individuals only want high level information, and therefore will not read the details
  • Too much communication may create anxiety
  • Communication may cause rumors throughout the organization
  • Communicating early may prompt more questions that leaders cannot answer
  • Individuals might react negatively to change

The truth is that in my 15 years of consulting, individuals impacted by a change initiative have never complained about receiving too much information, but they will not hesitate to let you know when they feel they are not receiving enough. In looking back on the change initiatives that I have led for clients over the years, it has been my experience that comprehensive change information that is communicated early and often:

  • Creates a strong sense of appreciation, as individuals feel involved and included in the change
  • Results in individuals viewing the organization as proactive
  • Creates an appreciation for a level detail and depth of the information shared
  • Promotes better understanding of the future of change for the organization
  • Lessens fear of the unknown
  • Diminishes the belief that the organization has something to hide
  • Creates a sense of appreciation for transparency
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Providing comprehensive communication about change often and early will help organizations to:

  • Effectively communicate a vision for change
  • Avoid the clean up associated with rumor mills or incorrect expectations or understanding of change, or the belief that the organization has something to hide
  • Prompt questioning and engagement
  • Build credibility for the change
  • Reduce resistance and move individuals from awareness to adoption to change
  • Reinforce the key concepts of change
  • Inspire individuals to focus on embracing something new as opposed to stressing over how to cope with change
  • Demonstrate command of the change

So don’t hold back on comprehensive communications about important change initiatives. Communicate early and often. After all, you can’t over-communicate information that is deemed substantial, significant and relevant. 

Written by:

Corinne Sinnigen


Expertise in organizational change management, project management, professional facilitation, and executive coaching

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Happy New Year: 6 Great Habits To "Reset" In 2017


Happy New Year!  May 2017 bring you love, laughter, friendship, challenge and abundant gratitude!! 

As I reflect on 2016, I have so much to be grateful for.  A great family, wonderful friends, colleagues and clients that give me such meaning and purpose and who accept my thoughts, support and guidance.  

When I think about a New Year’s resolution for 2017, it feels amazingly daunting.  Such pressure!  Like giving up candy for Lent back in the day.   What if I fail?   Then what do I do?  According to the Huffington Post, only 8% of people actually keep their New Year’s resolutions.  Not very promising statistics. 

A resolution sets firm, hard decisions to do or not do something.  Dr. Roberta Anding from Baylor College of Medicine has a different approach.  She says instead of a firm, hard decision for January 1, 2017, why not do a “reset”; an opportunity to “set again” or set your habits differently. 

I LIKE IT!  (It’s an opportunity to evaluate every day… if I need to.  And some days, I just might need to.)

So here are some of my “resets for 2017” taken from daringtolivefully.com

  • Play
  • Read more books
  • Be more grateful (I don’t think one can ever be too grateful!)
  • Become more confident… not over-confident … but confident
  • Increase your Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
  • Start a blog (How about that?)

Some of these I will be wildly successful at, and some I will, no doubt, have to “reset” from time to time.  But my 2017 “resets” show up as a blank notebook.  I get to use it however I choose.  The pages are simply waiting to be filled. 

So, let me ask you… What’s your “reset” for 2017? 

Written by:

Margaret Walker Scavo


Expertise in 1:1 coaching, team interventions and mentoring, leadership and organization development training, HR assessment and performance management



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Storytelling Closing Remarks

Our team at FutureSense would like to thank you all for traveling with us these last several weeks as we’ve shared our individual stories – the tales that outline our experiences, our passions, and our perspectives on life, family, and business.  As a firm, we believe our unique stories tie us together as part of a collaborative team, bonded with a blend of both unique and shared experiences.  Sharing our stories with you is just one expression of building the authenticity and transparency we believe in as we work with our clients, colleagues and friends.

Storytelling goes beyond policy and practice – it touches at the roots of who we are – as individuals, and within our organizations.  It provides a compelling and interactive way of communicating that dispels the org chart, creating a meaningful way of discussing who we are and where we’re going – strengthening our social bonds, honoring our past, describing our present, and shaping our future.  The stories we share enable us to create connections between what is being said and our own experience – and often trigger people into action.  In other words, stories move us! 

It’s practically impossible to listen to a story and remain passive – instead we connect with related thoughts, experiences and emotions.  Like it or not, our stories draw us in, and relationships and connections are built - trust and collaboration is established.  So keep telling those purposeful stories, and listening to others’.  Share them among family, friends, colleagues and certainly within your organization.  You might be surprised at what unfolds!