|A Note From The President|
|How Did They Do That?|
|Fun & Games|
PO Box 19577
RPO Manulife Centre
Toronto, ON M4W 3T9
T: (416) 929-2882
Let me but do my work from day to day,
In field or forest, at the desk or loom,
In roaring market-place or tranquil room;
Let me but find it in heart to say,
When vagrant wishes beckon me astray,
“This is my work; my blessing, not my doom;
Of all who live, I am the one by whom
This work can best be done in the right way.”
Then shall I see it not too great, nor small,
To suit my spirit and to prove my powers;
Then shall I cheerful greet the labouring hours,
And cheerful turn, when the long shadows fall
At eventide, to play and love and rest,
Because I know for me my work is best.
Henry Van Dyke
If you were in Anne Grant's position, what would you do differently?
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Fill in the missing link in questions 1 and 2.
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- Jenny likes all kinds of chocolate except truffles. Jim likes truffles and Mars bars. Kathy likes only chocolate with caramel filling. Does Jenny like gummi bears?
- On the second Friday in February, the Grateful Company celebrates “Gratitude Day” to honour employees. What’s the latest day that “Gratitude Day” can appear on? February14, February 15, February 18, or February 20?
results from last month's newsletter:
- reading between the lines
- Down Under - Australia
- 20 degrees below zero
- mind over matter
- 6 degrees of separation
You can accomplish anything in life, provided that you do not mind who gets the credit.
Harry S. Truman
Make up your mind to act decidedly and take the consequences. No good is ever done in this world by hesitation.
Thomas H. Huxley
Knowledge is power. Information is power. The secreting or hoarding of knowledge or information may be an act of tyranny camouflaged as humility.
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A Note From The President
My clients are very important to me. I value them the way I value my friends. I am always seeking new ways to grow personally and professionally so that I can bring a fresh perspective to projects. I often go to the bookstore to browse and see which books I am drawn to. As a result, besides reading business books, I find myself reading books like, A Whack on the Side of the Head, What to Say When you Talk to Yourself and Excuse Me Your Life is Waiting. I am continuously striving to interrupt my brain and prevent it from switching off – I don’t always succeed.
While reading “Did You Spot The Gorilla” by Richard Wiseman, there was an exercise where you had to fill in the missing numbers on the face of a clock with Roman numerals. I completed the exercise in seconds and thought how easy the exercise was. It turns out that in nearly all instances, except for the Big Ben in London, the number four is represented as IIII on clocks and watches and not IV. Daniel Wiseman is from the United Kingdom so I automatically thought that this had to be a UK phenomenon.
The next day I went looking for clocks with Roman numerals and discovered that the number four was indeed represented as IIII. I always prided myself on being very observant, so I was shocked that I didn’t notice this before. I asked many of my friends if they had ever noticed that the four was written as IIII and not IV, and I was very pleased when they all answered no.
It appears that when your brain comes across anything over and over, it tends to switch off. How many things do we miss because our brains are switched off?
Do you function on automatic pilot? Do you take the same route to work each day? Do you use the same process to solve problems? How many times do you use old assumptions when making decisions? What do you do to get a fresh perspective? How do you interrupt your brain to prevent it from switching off?
For the next month I would like all my readers to do something different, just for the sake of doing it different. Let’s consciously interrupt our brains to prevent us from becoming complacent.
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is an excellent book, but very difficult to read. It is written in old English and not structured in a way that you would expect. It took three attempts for me to finally read through it. To read this book and get the most from it, you need to set aside at least two hours. This is not a book to read in 15-minute time slots, and you’ll need an open mind when reading it.
The effort you make in reading this book is well worth it. Even though the information in this book was originally recorded in a manuscript in the 1700s, it’s timeless, and reaffirms that there are no new ideas. You will come away feeling richer. There are many lessons you can learn from reading this book. I am amazed at the way he used information to educate the masses.
Franklin wanted to introduce what he called a public subscription library, but when he tried to get the subscriptions, people objected and were reluctant to participate because it was “Franklin’s project”. He immediately learned that it was often more important to relinquish control of a project to benefit humanity if doing so would make it be accepted.
In the book, Franklin talks about his 13 virtues, which he tried to integrate into his life – temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity and humility. He chose a virtue and focused on it for the entire week. Benjamin Franklin wanted to be morally perfect, but found perfection to be elusive. He realized that being perfect wasn’t possible, but he was glad he tried because he was a happier and better man after trying. Some of the virtues may not make sense in today’s world, but it is still worth thinking about.
He was also an excellent time manager, accounting for every minute in the day and would never go to bed without first examining his day.
Benjamin Franklin, inventor, printer, publisher, business owner, franchiser, master of strategic alliances, fundraiser and so much more, gives new meaning to the terms “Jack of all Trades” and workaholic.
I recommend this book with reservation because it’s so difficult to read.
November’s Book List
Did You Spot The Guerilla? How to Recognize Hidden Opportunities, Richard Wiseman
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Franklin
Imagine, for the past two months your staff has been working 16-hour days to get the new project launched. They are dedicated and want to do what’s best for the company. You all know that things will get back to normal very shortly. You wish that your employees could get a powernap to give them the energy to get through the long days. (I created this scenario, so what if I have a vivid imagination.)
Help is on the way! If you’re in New York City, you could schedule it so that employees could visit MetroNaps and get a powernap. MetroNaps offers rows of futuristic-looking sleeping pods, specifically designed for 20-minute powernaps. Prices range from a $14 one-day pass up to a $65 one-month unlimited pass. Or, if that’s not convenient for you, you could purchase a MetroNaps Pod, with prices starting at US $7,950.
Do Powernaps at Work Boost Idea Creation?
- 10% of survey respondents reported that they came up with new ideas at their desk
- 30% of survey respondents reported that they dreamed up their best ideas when they were drifting off to sleep
- 6% of women attributed their new concepts to the workplace compared with 17% of men
- One in five 25-34 year olds polled reported that they had their best ideas at work
- Of those questioned, 70% considered themselves "ideas people"
- Men and women have different opinions on what constitutes a good idea. Men consider the teabag – invented 100 years ago – the best invention (26%), while over 50% of women surveyed heralded chocolate or the bra as their top ideas
Suggested top three tips to increase creativity and idea generation at work:
- Try brain-priming exercises. Focus on a problem, move onto something else for a while and then come back to it. The break will have primed your brain into another way of thinking
- Have flowers and plants in the office because research conducted by Behavioural Scientist Roger Ulrich, Ph.D., has shown that flowers and plants can help to produce 15% more ideas in the workplace
- Have a specific ‘creativity’ room in the west side of the building. International feng shui doctor, Paul Darby, suggests having a specific room in the west side of a building is symbolic of creativity, new ideas and new beginnings. Use colours such as white, cream and silvery grey
If the three tips do not stimulate productivity, you can always get a MetroNaps Pod.
Note: This is a research study of 1,000 people conducted by the East of England Development Agency, and was published in the Guardian on September 6, 2004
How Did They Do That?
Challenge: “As one of four directors/shareholders in a boutique consulting firm, I came to the realization that my business needs were not being met by the organizational structure. I believed that after five years together, the business was ready to grow and that we needed to expand our in-house personnel beyond the directors to include associates and affiliates. One of our directors was philosophically opposed to expanding the firm beyond four individuals. I disagreed with her. However, as a group of four operating on a consensus basis, I had to convince all of my partners that expansion was beneficial before anything could be implemented”.
Solution: “I spent time individually and at director’s meetings building the case for additional personnel. In the meantime, the director who was opposed to expansion decided she would prefer to have a solo practice, and invoked our shareholders agreement to be bought out. Because the ground work had been laid in advance, the remaining three directors were able to move quickly to recruit affiliates and associates after her departure. The inclusion of additional personnel has strengthened and added value to our consulting business as well as expanding our internal community of interest. Further staying within the agreed consensus process, that is a cornerstone of our firm, kept us true to our founding principles. Even if an obstacle seems insurmountable, investing time in building support for new ideas can result in an accelerated move when the timing is right. Our expanded firm is all the more successful for the diversity and wisdom of our additional colleagues”.
- Be aware of and use existing processes to resolve conflict
- Be true to your principles
- Comply with organizational values
- Take the time to lay the groundwork and build consensus before trying to implement your vision
What Can Ambeck Do For You:
Ambeck Enterprise provides diverse business research and analysis services to senior level executives, through the relevant distillation of diverse facts and data.
Formula For Success
“I take care of myself as well as my company. When I am happy, healthy and refreshed, my business thrives!”
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