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HAPPINESS Doesn’t PROCRASTINATE

April 9th, 2014
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Keeping Pace with Joy, Balance, and SuccessMotivational Keynote Speaker Connie Podesta - Procrastination

By Motivational Keynote Speaker Connie Podesta

Procrastination is the silent killer of ambition, productivity, achievement, even peace and balance. And most importantly, it undermines your own HAPPINESS. Trust me, putting things off causes more stress, worry, and insecurity about the future than just taking a deep breath and taking the first step.

Where to start?  ANYWHERE.  When I find myself trying to avoid something, I look for the easiest place to start. The cheapest. The least frightening. The most accessible. The most comfortable. The least painful. And then I begin to work my way forward. There are many ways to procrastinate. One way is to simply do NOTHING—except maybe fret, worry, feel guilty, and stress out.  Doing absolutely NOTHING instead of CHOOSING to make the first move definitely comes from a place of UNHAPPINESS. This attitude is deadly when it comes to any form of progress, learning, development, creativity, and problem-solving. Some people procrastinate by doing other things that are totally unimportant—things that are useless, silly, low-priority, meaningless—in an attempt to convince themselves that they are indeed BUSY. Busy doing what, really?

If you’re putting all the big stuff OFF day after day, I am here to tell you that you are seriously causing yourself more anxiety and slowly eroding your self-esteem and feelings  of  self-worth  and  fulfillment.

Don’t  wait  for  tomorrow,  next  year,  the  kids  to  be grown, the new job to start, the economy to change, or  your  ship  to  come  in.  Make today the day YOU START—one step at a time. You can do it. I promise.

And it will feel, oh, so good!

Want to learn more about inviting HAPPINESS into your life and leaving all that toxic stuff behind? Read the first chapter of my Redefining Happiness eBook on me! It’s filled with ideas and insights for finding the joy and ditching the drama in your life!

 

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HEALTH is the Heart of HAPPINESS

April 4th, 2014
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Redefining the Good Things in LifeMotivational Speaker Connie Podesta - Food won't replace love and attention

By Motivational Keynote Speaker Connie Podesta

Every piece of research shows that HAPPINESS can absolutely have a positive effect on your health in zillions of ways. Every organ in your body thrives on HAPPINESS. It allows you to be calmer, sleep better, eat healthier, exercise more, and make better choices all around when it comes to YOUR life.

UNHAPPINESS does the exact opposite. It attracts illness; lowers your immune system so you can’t resist disease; stockpiles nature’s all-natural, good-feeling chemicals, such as endorphins, instead of releasing them into your system; and it depresses your body’s ability to create antibodies. Wow! For starters, UNHAPPINESS can’t get to sleep. Too much to worry about, gripe about, complain about.

UNHAPPINESS eats junk and justifies every mouthful. I deserve it. I need it. Bad day, so let’s eat. Good day, so let’s celebrate. Food won’t ever replace love, attention or approval. UNHAPPINESS loves the 3S’s: sugar, starch, and soda. Why? Because they feel so good—temporarily. That sugar high makes everything seem alright, until a few hours later, when zap! Down you go again. These 3 S’s are killers—literally. They will add weight, zap your creativity, and make you irritable and grumpy, and fill you up with wasted calories. When you eat empty calories, your body has to work overtime to compensate, and it doesn’t even get any fuel or nutrients such as vitamins or minerals in return. How fair is that? The next time you eat junk, at least apologize to your body.

UNHAPPINESS also hates exercise. It’s too tired from all the junk food. Too busy. Too sad. Too worried. Too little love for your own body. Sound like it’s time for a healthy change of pace? Ready to try HAPPINESS instead? Give your body what it needs. Walk. Move. Stretch. Eat well. Eat food full of vitamins and nutrients. Sleep. HAPPINESS thrives on taking care of YOU: your body, your heart, and your health. Now that is a friend to have on your side.

Want to learn more about inviting HAPPINESS into your life and leaving all that toxic stuff behind? Read the first chapter of my Redefining Happiness eBook on me! It’s filled with ideas and insights for finding the joy and ditching the drama in your life!

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Negative People in Your Life?

March 28th, 2014
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Remember the Three C’sDo I keep negative people in my life? Motivational Keynote Speaker Connie Podesta

By Motivational Keynote Speaker and Expert in Human Behavior Connie Podesta

On social media this past couple of weeks, we’ve been talking a lot lately about taking CONTROL of your life in terms of health, happiness, and ridding yourself of toxic thoughts, habits, and sometimes even PEOPLE. That created a slew of variations of one big question:  “Do I leave someone just because THEY are negative?”

Good question!  First step?  We’re talking about the people you can CHOOSE to walk away from.  Unhealthy relationships lack respect.  Joy. Mutual trust.  Toxic behavior.  THOSE relationships are the ones to walk away from.

Secondly, let’s define NEGATIVITY. It should never involve abuse of any kind. That is not acceptable no matter who they are. Even a spouse, parent or adult child. If, however, you believe you can help them by providing love and support and they are open to change (and there is no verbal, emotional or physical abuse) then by all means be there for them. Support them. Love them. Help them see a better, more positive way. But take care of yourself along the way. In most cases of severely negative people remember the three C’s.

  • You didn’t CAUSE it.
  • You can’t CONTROL it.
  • And you can’t CHANGE them.

So you must decide for yourself whether staying with them is detrimental to your physical and emotional well-being. You have a right to set limits, expectations and boundaries with the negative people in your life. Don’t be a martyr and accept that there is nothing you can do. Bottom line: If your love and kindness and compassion helps them. And you can see it makes a difference. And they don’t direct their hostility and anger towards you-then stay the course. But if they cause you to compromise who you are? Or change the essence of YOU?  Then it might be time for a change.

Here’s a quick video for you to watch as well.  I share why NO ONE can make SOMEONE ELSE happy.  It’s an important lesson to remember…

If you know someone who is in a toxic relationship, please share this post with them, and even bookmark it for yourself for those days you need a little reminder!  Hope it helps!

To learn more about REDEFINING Happiness in your life, check out chapter one of my eBook, Redefining Happiness.  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Post your comments below or on my Facebook page!

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How to Get People On Board Podcast

March 26th, 2014
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An Interview with Rory VadenRory Vaden Show with Keynote Speaker Connie Podesta

I had a lot to share in a recent interview with Rory Vaden, a leader from the Daily Discipline Blog.

Here are a few highlights of what we covered: 

-       Why your kids, your spouse, your team members, and your customers aren’t listening to you.

-       How to get anyone “on board” with your ideas in the first few seconds.

-       Find out if you are a “Relator” or a “Bottom-liner” and how it impacts your influence

-       Why being a great leader requires you to be a great influencer…

-       If someone is to be uncomfortable in the sales process it shouldn’t be your prospect – it should be you!

-       Recognizing someone’s personality style is easy; adapting your style is the hard part.

-       We don’t marry people who are like us; we find out who is most unlike us and decide they’ll be fun to annoy the rest of our life!

Listen to the entire podcast here!  

What about YOU?  Are you ready to start getting people on BOARD in your life?  Follow me today on Facebook for daily inspiration, tips, strategies and solutions! Oh – and a whole lot of fun!  

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The #1 Reason People Either Fail or Succeed

February 27th, 2014
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COMMUNICATION:  More Important Than EVER in Our Frantic 24/7 WorldNumber One Reason People Fail or Succeed by Motivational Keynote Speaker Connie Podesta

By Motivational Keynote Speaker Connie Podesta

Communication used to be my #1 topic.  But not anymore. Now, people are lulled by the flashy, new, quirky “it” topics– Innovation.  Collaboration.  Integration.  Synergy. And the list goes on.  These topics definitely sounds trendier than just the simple old-school communication topic.  But let’s be honest.  The flashiest topics in the world still depend on one thing—YOUR ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE your ideas, thoughts, feelings, and concerns in a way that allows people to understand, buy in and act upon what you want and need to happen.

THERE IS NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT THAN UNDERSTANDING HOW TO COMMUNICATE.

Think about it.  Have you had any arguments lately that didn’t get resolved?  Opinions that you couldn’t quite express in the right way?  Feelings that were misunderstood?   Needs that didn’t get met?  Concerns you couldn’t explain?  People with whom you just couldn’t connect?  Conversations too difficult to even risk?  Situations that you avoided?  Touchy topics that could have been averted?  Well welcome to the world of communication—or lack thereof.

The problem is we have stopped making assertive, healthy, respectful COMMUNICATION our #1 priority.  We have pushed it aside in our need to be “cutting edge”.  As though it were no longer the foundation of EVERYTHING!  Lack of effective communication is still the #1 cause for divorce.  And the biggest contributor to why people leave jobs. Have affairs. Refuse to collaborate. Lead unproductively.  Argue without resolution.  Fail to close the deal.  Parent ineffectively. And GET THIS!  Negative self-talk and communication takes it even one step further and contributes to weight gain.  Low self-esteem.  Depression.  Anxiety.  Failure to succeed.  Insomnia.  Fatigue.  Inability to make and keep friends.  Unhappiness. Procrastination.  Wow!

IT’S REALLY PRETTY SIMPLE!  There is absolutely nothing more important to your future health, wealth, success and happiness than learning to speak your mind assertively and respectfully so you can:  Have critical conversations.  Resolve problems.  Uncover solutions.  Get your needs met.  Relate well to others.  Work as a team.  Enjoy healthy relationships.  And BE HAPPY!  Ready to take a good look at how you communicate?  It will make all the difference in the world.

Here’s a quick video I wanted to share on the topic:


Want a really powerful way to realize the power of learning how to communicate in new ways?  Read Texting Harry.  It’s a page turner! (You’ll never look at your phone the same way again! 

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Balance: It’s NEVER About Time

January 22nd, 2014
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Changing Your Perspective on What it REALLY Means to Find Balance

By Motivational Keynote Speaker and Change Expert Connie PodestaMotivational Keynote Speaker Connie Podesta - Life and Work Balance

BALANCE?  It seems like everyone’s talking about it right now, but more often than not, people are struggling to make it all feel like it’s evened out. The truth is?  It’s never going to be EVEN.  We live in busy times and lead busy lives and work takes up an incredible amount of our waking hours.  And while that is a reality – it doesn’t HAVE to be a negative.

When writing the book on balance for my 10 Ways to Stand Out From the Crowd, it’s a topic we spent a lot of time and energy on.  We surveyed a lot of people and here’s what they told us was most don’t feel they have the time to do what they NEED to do, much less what they WANT to do.

Here’s what we heard:

  • “I want more time with my family.”
  • “I’d like some time to be alone.”
  • “I want to be healthier.”
  • “I need sleep!”
  • “I never have time to see my friends.”
  • “I want to be more involved in my community.”
  • “My spouse and I never have time to ourselves.”
  • “My job is too demanding.”
  • “I can’t seem to get organized.”
  • “There’s never any time left for me.”
  • “There aren’t enough hours in the day.”

Ringing any bells?  One of the things that helps – is to really change your perspective about time.  It starts to take the ‘pressure cooker’ valve off the need to make things equal in terms of time.  What I tell audiences is that balance is NOT about time.  It’s about how you FEEL when you are at work and at home. When you are working – do you feel respected?  Appreciated?  Recognized?  And when you walk through the doors to your home, do you feel those same feelings?  That’s what balance REALLY is – feeling cared about, respected, seen, heard, acknowledged and appreciated in all areas of your life.  Focus on bringing those feelings into focus and less about whatever the clock is telling you and you’ll feel a lot differently about BALANCE.

I was recently asked about my thoughts on work and life balance — here’s some insight…

Want to learn more about life and work balance?  Click here to download my all new eBook today– STANDOUT BALANCE .  It will change the way you look at life, work, and making time for yourself!

Visit me on Facebook and let me know what you think — or share your thoughts right here!  Make it a GREAT, and BALANCED kind of day! 

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Want More BALANCE?

December 5th, 2013
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A Change and a ChoiceCP Appointment

By Keynote Speaker and Change Expert Connie Podesta

I can just imagine what you are thinking right now. “Seriously? Where do I find more time when I’m so busy I can barely breathe? In a holiday season where I should be putting other people first and me last? ”

I hear you. I’ve been there. But let’s be honest. It’s not a matter of finding a few minutes–it’s the reluctance to change your routine, prioritize differently or rethink your options that keeps you so very busy.

Two things must happen if you truly want some balance in your life. One, you must truly believe you deserve some time for yourself and two–you must be willing to re-evaluate your schedule and let go of something. If you’re like me you don’t have any “extra” minutes floating around. Which means you may have to give up something in order to get time for yourself.

Let me share with you what I chose to give up to find some balance in my life. About ten years ago I decided to give myself a present. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day – I gave up watching the news, reading the paper and listening to talk radio. For six weeks, I let that all go. And here’s why…like so many of you, my life is crazy busy. From writing new books, to traveling for speaking engagements, to making time for my husband, children, grandchildren and friends – I kept finding myself saying, “I don’t have time.” Then one night just before Thanksgiving I was watching the new and it just made me so sad, and anxious and my husband said, “why don’t you walk away from that for tonight? It’s not bringing you any joy.” He was right. I realized with this one little action step, I had ‘found’ an extra 45 minutes to an hour every day – and ‘saved’ myself a lot of anxiety and worry over things I had no control over anyway. What a gift! Now each year, for six solid weeks, I take ‘my time’ and savor every minute. When my husband watches the news, I listen to music or a motivational CD, or read a book or take a walk. I stretch and do yoga. I go out and treat myself to my favorite latte. While it may not SEEM like a big thing to do – trust me. It is. It’s a VERY powerful thing you can do for you – AND it will positively affect those around you as well.

And if you’re like some who absolutely feel they NEED to know what’s going on in the world, I’ll give you this tip. All of what they are talking about on the news stations and in the papers has already happened and you can do nothing about, so the truth is, letting it go is the healthiest thing for you. But, we do live in an information world, so here’s my tip: Find an information buddy. Let that person know that if anything really important happens or if there is something you truly need to know, they can tell you. Let someone be your filter for a while. That’s a tremendous holiday gift they can give to you – I know it’s one of my favorite gifts that my husband does for me!

Try it. Make an appointment with yourself EVERY day. And make it JUST as much a priority as a client meeting, a doctor visit or conference call. Because the truth is? It IS just as important. Even if it’s just for 5-10 minutes. Take walk. Go to lunch with a friend. Get a massage. Go for a drive. Treat yourself to a chapter in a novel. Turn on some tunes. Find a quiet spot and just BE. Whatever it is that soothes your soul and helps bring you back to center at least once a day – put it right there in the action plan. The truth is NO ONE can live out of balance for very long, and we truly shouldn’t try. The toll it takes on our health, wealth, family, relationships, business, and minds – is just too high.

Want to learn more about leading a more BALANCED life? Read my new eBook, STANDOUT Balance – one of the 10 POWERFUL books from my Best Business Book of the Year Winning Book 10 Ways to Stand Out From the Crowd. I hope you enjoy it!

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How to Survive a Crisis

November 18th, 2013
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Fighting for Happiness in the Midst of Tragedy

keynote speaker Connie Podesta on handling crisisBy Motivational Keynote Speaker Connie Podesta

Whoa! Life is moving along just fine, thank you very much—when out of the blue, it hits us—a crisis! For me it was a recent house fire which destroyed 90% of everything material that I owned, loved and cared for. A crisis is something so far from what we wanted or expected that it totally knocks the breath out of us. “It’s like a dream,” we say. “I’m going to wake up and discover this never ever happened at all.” But unfortunately we don’t wake up. There it is, a looming force to be reckoned with right smack dab in the middle of our life. And there’s no turning back. We feel trapped and out of control. Enmeshed in a situation that is controlling us—or is it?

That’s the first question we have to ask when hit with a crisis—who is in control from this point on? While we certainly didn’t choose to be in this situation—we can and must CHOOSE to take charge moving forward. And that choice will make all the difference in the world. So get ready to learn how to emotionally deal with a crisis rather than allowing the crisis to wreak havoc with your emotions.

Let’s take a look at what happens to our mental state when we are faced with a crisis. The two go-to emotions that usually follow pretty quickly are either HURT or ANGER. Or both. We can feel sad, depressed, worried, overwhelmed, or fearful…these fall under the category of HURT. Or we can feel mad, bitter, resentful, vengeful, or hateful…those are a few of the angry emotions. And those emotions are part of a normal cycle when crisis steps in.  But what happens next is what is important if you want to take charge of the rest of your life and get through the crisis. The healthy approach is to experience HURT or ANGER for what is is—a natural “temporary” result of crisis or tragedy –while working hard to regain a sense of balance, control and even…HAPPINESS.

This is the hardest part of all. Believing that you even have a right to experience HAPPINESS—even for a moment or two–when the world is falling apart around you. So often people will FIGHT for their RIGHT to stay sad or to stay angry. As though those emotions are a penance they must pay for the rest of their life. And then something heartbreaking happens—they literally become an ANGRY person or a SAD person instead of a person who is just experiencing those emotions. The emotions take over their personality and change who they are. They believe that even experiencing tiny moments of HAPPINESS belittles the seriousness of the crisis and the effect it has had on their life. They yell or cry out “But I have the RIGHT to be angry” or “I have the right to be sad!” And I answer, “Yes, you do. But you also have the RIGHT to be HAPPY. And not feel disloyal to the pain you are experiencing.”

People who successfully deal with crisis take charge and look for ways to still find a joyful moment. Or a kind thought. Or a smile. Or a hug. They believe that the intentional search for happiness within the tragedy is their only true way out of the pain. In other words they FIGHT as hard for their RIGHT to be HAPPY as they do their RIGHT to be sad or angry. Tragedy and crisis do not demand lifelong penance. You’ve already paid a terrible price. But they do demand a clear intent to want your life to be better, move forward and become healthier. Otherwise the crisis is not just something that happened to you—it has become you. And you certainly deserve more than that!

The following video is an excerpt from an interview I did just days after my house fire.  I was scheduled to do it from my home—which I decided to go ahead and do even though most everything was gone.  It was the perfect time for me to walk the walk and share my thoughts about how to find HAPPINESS in the midst of tragedy.  A subject I have long talked about—but now I was living it day by day.  My goal is that this offers you hope as you continue to live life with all of its ups and downs.

Want to learn more about FIGHTING for your RIGHT to be HAPPY? Read my new eBook Re*Defining Happiness. It might just spark what YOU need to create a wealth of happiness in your own life (regardless of crisis or circumstance!)

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Like It or Not: You ARE a Leader

October 18th, 2013
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Leadership Perceptions De-BunkedKeynote Speaker Connie Podesta Leadership

By Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker Connie Podesta

Bottom line?  YOU ARE A LEADER. All the time.  Whether you’re at work or at home.   Employed or stay at home parent.  Paid job or volunteer. Willing or unwilling.  Honestly?  It doesn’t make any difference what you do or choose not do.  Even if you THINK you are a follower and always avoid center stage, you can’t escape the fact that you are ALWAYS in the position to influence other people’s thoughts, actions and attitudes.  That’s quite a responsibility.  We influence others all the time.  By what we say and do.  How we act and react.  What we believe or rail against.  When we talk or stay silent.  If we open up or keep things to ourselves.  Active or passive.  Right or wrong.  The reality is that the CHOICES we make have an impact on other people all the time.

Leadership means that we are aware of the power we have.  And it’s quite a responsibility.   And a privilege not to be wasted. Oh — and get this.  People have a tendency to pay attention to us–to watch, witness and imitate us—NOT when things are smooth sailing but rather when life is not going exactly the way we had planned.  Oh NO!  Unfortunately, our good days and good deeds can go quite unnoticed, but when we are out of sorts.  Out of control.  Out of ideas.  Out of patience.  Out of hope.  And totally into ourselves.  Oh, that’s when all eyes are on us.  Fair?  No. True?  Yes.

Leadership is the ability to live outside of yourself.  To understand how much power you have when it comes to your realm of influence.  Does that mean you have to always be happy or positive or in control.  No way.  But it means you have to acknowledge that your choices affect others.  Your attitudes are contagious.  Your moods are transferrable.  Your ideas are believed.  Your presence is felt.  Your voice is heard.  And when things go bad—as will invariably happen—your awareness of your power to influence affects your choices of how to act and react to whatever life throws your way.  We cannot always control what happens to us—but we can change how we react to those people and situations.

Leadership is:  an awareness of power.  A measure of character.  A promise to ourselves and others.  A standard by which we can live. And thrive.  And share.  And change the world for the better.

Here’s a quick video to share with your team!

 In my latest eBook on Leadership, you can learn more about the top ten traits of amazing people who understand and accept their part in influencing others in a positive way.

 

Keynote speaker Connie Podesta - Free Leadership eBook

 

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How to Unlock the Potential Within Your Leadership Team

October 3rd, 2013
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connie-leadershipInnovative Insights from Motivational Speaker Connie Podesta

By Julie Escobar, Syndicated Columnist

In a time when many organizations are working hard to grow their business, customer base, sales and profitability, savvy leaders are turning to industry experts for advice, motivation and real-world strategies for powerful change.  I asked just such an industry expert — Motivational Speaker and leadership expert Connie Podesta for her take on what’s working (and what’s not) for corporations and organizations today.

Julie:  Connie – what I love about you is that you’ve seen it ALL!  As a leadership speaker for more than 25 years, you’ve worked with Fortune 500 companies, global associations, corporations large and small and every sales industry imaginable.  So, tell me – when you take the stage – what kind of strategies do you share with leadership groups in particular so they can re-energize their teams and give them the tools, techniques and solutions they need to compete in today’s fast-changing world?

Connie:  Yes, it has been my privilege to be invited in by some of the best companies in the world and I have seen firsthand what works and what doesn’t.   It is amazing what an organization can do with the right leadership team in place.  And you’re right – change is the name of the game right now.  In fact, I tell my audiences that their success will be measured by the speed with which they can adapt, adopt and leverage new ways of thinking, selling, leading, and producing.

Bottom line:  Business as usual is over.  We cannot continue to do things the way we used to and still be successful, competitive and profitable.  But here is what I am finding:  people either get it or they don’t.  They are either in crisis mode or forward-thinking mode.  My goal as a leadership speaker is to make sure my clients are moving ahead full speed so they can be as successful as possible.

But first things first — organizations today need to expand the “title” of leadership throughout their organization because the truth is – whether you are sitting in a corner office or the new person in the mail room – everyone has the ability to lead others to success through their actions, thought, attitudes and ideas. I define leadership as the act of influencing others to make good choices.

Julie:  I know when you speak about leadership you always focus on one key word:  respect.  You must believe that respect is at the core of every great leader.

Connie:  You are so right.  Respect is where leadership starts.  Respect is how leadership is conveyed to others.  Respect is what determines whether someone would WANT to follow you, listen to your ideas, and take positive action that can make a difference.  I also love the fact that RESPECT spells out the seven key traits that every great leader must have:

1.         Responsible

2.         Empowering

3.         Successful Salesmanship

4.         Positive Attitude

5.         Engaging

6.         Confident Communicator

7.         Takes Action

Julie:  Responsible, I like that!  It can take on a lot of different meanings however, especially in a leadership role.  Can you expand on that?

Connie:  RESPONSIBLE leaders know that leadership is both a privilege and a responsibility.  They not only get that they are being held accountable for their actions but they would have it no other way. What better incentive to model best practices and lead by example than seeing your team members follow suit?  Want outstanding leaders?  Give them the tools and mindsets to take responsibility for the success of their team—and the belief that they play a huge part in the success of the organization as a whole.  Success it is NOT just about their department doing well.  It is also imperative that they interact and collaborate with other departments, vendors, resources and customers so they can achieve the best results possible.

But their responsibility goes even deeper.  After interviewing some of the world’s great business leaders, I have discovered that successful leaders have one outstanding talent in common:  They have the intuitive ability to “close the gap” between where their team is now and where they need to be in order to SUCCEED!  That “gap” is the difference between what used to work and what works now if they want RESULTS.  To do that they need to be excellent educators, mentors, coaches, and role models. Every leader is responsible for understanding and capitalizing on each employee’s own unique style, personality, talents, skills and strengths.

Julie:  Terrific – and I like the idea of that “shared responsibility.”  I think too often we see the opposite in leadership teams.  Now, more than ever, you see managers who take the “my way or the highway” approach to leading and that’s just not effective anymore – do you think?

Connie:  Absolutely not.  Strong leaders must instead EMPOWER and ENERGIZE their teams.  Success lies more in empowering people than “managing” people. Simply “managing” people will not create the strong bench strength that teams need in order to stay profitable and competitive in our world today.  I tell my audiences that leadership is more about “charging people up” than being in charge. More about making good choices for the right reason than pleasing everyone.  More about service than wielding power.

When I speak at leadership conferences, I talk about the difference between FEARFUL and FEARLESS mindsets.  A FEARFUL MINDSET is based on worry, desperation, anxiety, and even anger. Fearfulness causes people to resist change, become territorial and fight for status-quo.  A FEARLESS MINDSET focuses on creativity, confidence, hopefulness, and a take-charge attitude.  This allows people to move full-speed ahead and transform themselves, their business and their team to embrace the CHANGES needed to increase market share, stay competitive, productive and profitable.  When a leader can empower their team (and themselves) to be FEARLESS – they are able to unlock the potential for them to take ownership in their own roles as leaders within the organization.  And that begins a trickle down affect that is phenomenal.

Julie:  That’s powerful and I’m sure profitable too, right?  When everyone on the team is taking ownership of their roles and the greater goals – that’s synergy that’s absolutely vital in today’s market.  However, while synergy is great – I’m sure the number-crunchers in the crowd want to know more about how to increase SALES.  Your thoughts?

Connie:  Oh yes!  Without sales you can’t survive right?  Let’s talk about successful SALESPEOPLE.  The bottom line is this:  we’re ALL in the people business – which means – we’re all in SALES.  From the person that answers the phone to the person in the top office – each team member must be willing and able to “sell” and persuade others that what their organization offers is worth the time, energy, money and trust of each and every the customer.

When I work with leadership teams, I show them how to create a culture where employees feel excited, valued, knowledgeable and confident enough to help build an environment where quality products and outstanding customer service are the vision behind every decision—regardless of their specific job title or description.

Julie:  The idea that everyone is in “sales” is powerful.  Creating the right culture in your company is vital.  As is knowing when that culture is shifting or needs to shift to stay competitive and leverage the most from your team and market-right?  Not always easy to do in today’s ever-changing economy though.  As a keynote speaker or conference leader – how do you help companies stay “up” when it’s so easy to get “down?”

Connie:  Good question – and one I see a lot.  Most people and organizations view change as tough—even scary.  But I remind my audiences that successfully dealing with change is in their DNA.  Every generation before us has gone through more major changes than we have for the most part—with less communication, resources, and education.  We are built to be resilient and handle whatever comes our way. The key lies in POSITIVE ATTITUDES which result in POSITIVE PERFORMANCE.  In other words, what’s needed at the top of the organizational ladder are people dedicated and determined to get the job done the right way.  People who realize that complaining and negativity do nothing to propel them forward.  People who CHOOSE to figure it out and make things happen rather than wasting time and energy on worrying about what could have, should have, or would have been.

I always tell my management groups that good leaders are committed to solving problems, not causing them. They understand that people work harder, produce more, become more creative, share ideas and adapt to change more quickly if they are working in a safe, functional, healthy environment.  Successful leaders set the tone for the entire organization—they model the best behaviors, positive attitudes and open communication in the workplace.  In turn, they get employees who rise up to their level rather than ones who bring the group down.  Set the bar high and people will strive to meet those expectations.  Set the bar low and they will meet those expectations as well.

Julie:  I’ve always believed that people will rise up or down according to the standards you set.  I read a tweet of yours not long ago that made me laugh because it was so true! You said “Territorialism is irritating, immature & ineffective. Good leaders have the CONFIDENCE to share ideas.”  Can you share a little more about what you meant?

Connie:  Absolutely! There’s no room for that kind of old school territorialism in today’s business world.  A great leader ENGAGES THE ENTIRE TEAM.  The bottom line: knowledge is only power when it is SHARED.  In my leadership conferences I teach managers to get everyone involved.  I show them that keeping information to themselves is a sign of insecurity and will NOT get them recognized in a positive way—by their staff or senior leadership.  Create a culture where your team, your customers, your colleagues are all encouraged to be innovative, share ideas, exchange services and be involved.

That means that good leaders must also be good listeners.  That’s not an easy one for a lot of folks in leadership who believe that they have all the answers, but it is necessary. Remember, leadership is NOT about telling people what to do or bossing them around—it is about creating a sense of ownership within each person so they will want to do their best—even when left on their own.  I find it interesting to see which leaders feel confident that their staff will deliver and perform when they are gone and which ones feel like they can’t leave for even a day without the place falling apart.  Great leaders create great teams that work even when a leader is absent.

I also motivate my audiences to go beyond their organization’s walls and become outstanding networkers – not just with people across town, but with people all over the world.  Good leaders realize that it’s not just who you know – but who you don’t know YET that could make all the difference.

Julie:  Oh, I like that “who you don’t know YET” part and of course, the “good listener” part.  I’ve always been a fan of the phrase, “you’ve got two ears and one mouth in that proportion for a reason!”  Which leads us to Confident Communicator.  Please share a little more about that.

Connie:  Good communication is an absolute necessity to any successful organization.  Great leaders have tremendous confidence in themselves, their organization, their products, services and team.  One of the #1 complaints from employees is that they don’t know what is really going on behind the scenes.  Your team is only as good as the information and resources that is shared with them.  Employees also deserve to know WHY something is being done, changed or integrated into the workplace.  How can anyone feel ownership if they don’t understand the big picture?  Great leaders know how to motivate employees to get on board and integrate the bigger vision into their own particular job.

It is also important that leaders be able to have professional conversations with difficult people in difficult situations.  Often people want to avoid these crucial conversations and, as a result, negative attitudes and behaviors begin to become commonplace.  I help leaders understand that avoiding or ignoring behaviors that they don’t want or like will only ensure that they continue to be problems.  Leadership is about helping people become more successful and that means having the ability to identify limitations and replace them with strengths.  Leaders must motivate, challenge and be fair, but firm.

Ask yourself:  Does everyone on your team understand and effectively communicate with people at all levels?  Employees, clients AND senior managers?  No one in an authority position wants to be left out of the loop, misunderstood or surprised by news they should have already known.  Great leaders share information, are open to new ideas and committed to creating a trusting, productive culture.

Julie:  I know you believe that social media is an important communication tool for everyone.  Can you tell us more about that?

Connie:  As much as I believe that good leaders must be able to communicate face-to-face and that nothing will ever totally take the place of one-on-one, I also believe just a firmly that leaders must be proficient in every form of communication that their employees and customers use—including social media.

I am still blown away by how many people want to stick their head in the sand and act like social media is something they can just choose to ignore.  I always tell my audiences that “Social media is NOT a hobby—it is a CREDENTIAL that is necessary if you want to be successful.”  Think about that for a moment.  It is a CREDENTIAL—like a title or degree that tells people looking to do business with you whether you are someone who gets it or someone who doesn’t.  Someone who is current and in the know or someone who is lagging behind in status-quo land.

Many customers, especially those under 40, will be looking at your profiles, internet presence and involvement in social media to help them make a decision on whether to hire you, invest with you or partner with you.  You can’t escape the power of social media by simply looking the other way.

For one thing, it is how the younger generations communicate.  The reality is none of us can afford to turn business and customers away because our communication is not keeping up with the times. Good leaders are willing to communicate the way that is most comfortable for their customers—not the other way around. I inspire and encourage my leaders to accept the ever-changing challenges of new technology and embrace social media and every other new form of communication so that they can, in turn, mentor and teach those who are overwhelmed  and unsure about new technology and, in doing so, raise the bar for the entire organization.

Julie:  You’re absolutely right Connie.  There are so many people – especially those who’ve been in the management trenches a long while that are unwilling to adopt new communication tools – and in the end they will keep their organizations cemented in past rather than breaking future barriers.  Great advice.  And last but not least in your list of important traits is Takes Action…care to share more?

Connie:  We definitely saved the best and most important for last.  Everything we have discussed so far is only as successful as this last step: TAKING the ACTION necessary to grow their business.  Expand their customer base.  Manage on-going change.  Increase sales, productivity, and profitability.  Sustain quality relationships.  Keep their competitive edge and develop stronger leadership skills.

Actions totally speak louder than words.  I have seen leaders who say they believe in empowering and engaging their team, good communication, accountability, positive attitudes, and high performance but their behaviors just don‘t match up.   Good leaders make decisions.  Implement ideas. Finish projects.  Leverage their strengths.  They also understand that easy choices are not always the BEST choices.  They think long-term solutions rather than short-term quick fixes.  They realize that the choices they make today will have a dramatic impact on not just their future, but that of their team, their organization, and their customers.

As a leadership speaker, I share powerful tools with managers so they can ACT rather than REACT to people and situations.  We talk about leaving the already been-there-done-that road behind and instead fueling a vision that allows them to be creative and adaptive to changes in market, communication, technology and customer bases.  That makes for a true competitor and, in turn, an outstanding leader.

Julie:  Remarkable insights Connie- and important ones for anyone who is eager to succeed.  I’ve no doubt that organizations that adopt, encourage and reward these seven powerful traits can certainly unlock the potential not just in their leadership team, but in every member of their organization.   Savvy leaders can learn more about Connie’s powerful strategies in her award winning IPPY Best Book of the Year, 10 Ways to Stand Out From the Crowd:  How to Out-think and Out-perform the Competition.  Better still, invite her in live to motivate, challenge, and teach your team how to break new boundaries, open new doors and create that phenomenal trickle down success process in your organization.  They’ll laugh, they’ll learn and you’ll LOVE the immediate results!  Call her office to learn more at 972.596.5501.  Thanks Connie – you’re the best!

Connie Podesta is a top-rated motivational speaker and ONE OF THE INDUSTRY’S LEADING EXPERTS in leadership development. Using her talents as an author, board certified therapist, comedienne and TV/radio personality; Connie delivers customized high-energy presentations that creatively combine laugh-out-loud humor and compelling insight with real-world strategies and solutions.   Her extraordinary ability to help organizations and business professionals “close the gap” between where they are now and where they want to be has earned her fans around the globe.  To learn more about Connie and what she can do for your team visit her site www.conniepodesta.com or find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Connie.Speaks — she’s fun to follow!

Julie Escobar is a syndicated columnist who’s been in and around speaking and training industries for more than 25 years.  With a passion for helping sales professionals, entrepreneurs and organizations build their business, maintain their motivation and realize their goals, you’ll find her always on the lookout for new solutions, strategies and techniques that can make jobs easier and life better.  You can find Julie on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JulieEscobar.

 

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