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LEADERSHIP—What Works and What Doesn’t!

September 4th, 2014

And How You Can Make it WORK For Youleadership

By Leadership Keynote Speaker Connie Podesta

As I work with leaders, managers and supervisors around the world, I keep running into the same four leadership styles. One is amazingly effective and promotes a healthy, productive environment and the other three? Well they do exactly the opposite. They create havoc. Lack of motivation. Disruption. Teams that can’t work together. Low productivity. Resistance to change. And high turnover.

Let’s take a look at what DOESN”T work first.

Number one: The micro-manager. You know the type. Overachieving, wants to win, highly competitive. In themselves none of those three things are bad. But here’s what happens. The micro-manager is so busy hovering, manipulating, reminding, pressing, and doing things themselves, they lose the ability to create bench strength within their team. The employees don’t take responsibility because the micro-manager is right there to remind them or do for them. And here’s the other thing that gets missed. The employees never get a chance to explore who they are, to be creative, to fine tune or showcase their skills and talents. There’s just no room. Plus the typical micro-manager is quick to place blame and not so quick to compliment and encourage. So what happens when the manager is out for a week? There’s no one to step up to the plate-right? Because they haven’t created healthy, confident, pro-active risk takers in their teams who are willing to step into leadership roles and responsibilities. And when that happens? Everyone loses. People need a safe environment to try new things. Share ideas. Take risks. That’s how you create a great team.

Number two: Most wouldn’t on the surface find this person a BAD leader – but hear me out. I’m talking about the REALLY NICE leader. The one who hates confrontation. Doesn’t want to make anyone upset. Can’t make a decision. Is unable to have really crucial discussions about performance. Becomes everyone’s therapist, parent, friend—everything but the leader they need to be. The one who knows everything about everybody. Who’s divorcing, who’s sick, and who has kids that are giving them a hard time. They’re very motivational, involved, and eager to offer incentives. Not all bad traits. But here’s how this goes south. Because there are no repercussions, no consequences, no boundaries, they get dumped on. People take advantage. And marginal employees are allowed to slip by while the top producing employees pick up the slack (and resenting their job more and more every day!). People need fair boundaries, fair consequences and standards to live by. That’s how they grow. They how they get better. That’s how they learn. And that’s how you create a great team.

Number three—the absentee leader. This leader is so enmeshed in their own work that they pay little, if any attention, to their employees. There’s no coaching. No mentoring. No teaching. Definitely no role modeling. Employees are pretty well expected to fend for themselves. At performance appraisal time, the employee may finally hear what it is they have or haven’t done to deserve a raise or promotion—but there was no attempt throughout the year to help them grow, learn and thrive on their job. Leadership is there in name only and does not contribute in any way to their long-term personal development on the job.
People need attention paid. They need recognition. Appreciation. And respect. They need to be given every chance to grow and learn and thrive in their environment. That’s how you create a great team.

Now let’s get to the really GOOD – no UNBELIEVABLY GREAT management style. The folks that are willing to let go of a little ego to help grow people. The ones that challenge their team. Invite creativity and collaboration. Who let people take risks. Who mentor, coach, cheer, and train. But who also set boundaries, limits, expectations, and consequences. The ones who are there as living role models for how to successfully lead a team. It’s a fine line to walk when you are a leader. Caring, but firm. Open to ideas but not afraid to make a decision. Understanding, but committed to doing what’s right. Allowing leeway, but maintaining high standards. Knowing when to mentor and when to let go. Offering incentives while setting high expectations. Showing them how to do the job better, but not doing it for them. Complimenting when the time is right but having crucial conversations when necessary.

No matter what kind of leader you are—YOU WILL AFFECT YOUR TEAM”S ABILITY TO PRODUCE, COLLABORATE, PROVIDE SERVICE, DEAL WITH CUSTOMERS AND CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR ORGANIZATIONS GROWTH AND ROFITABILITY. The question is what path will your specific leadership style take them?

Once again, the psychology of human behavior helps us solve a mystery of how to succeed. When you understand who you are, you can translate that to what you need to do to help grow your business.
Here’s a video on the topic – take a look!

Ready to be the BEST leader you can be? Check out my eBook StandOUT Leadership. In it you will learn the 10 POWERFUL LEADERSHIP STRENGTHS to keep in mind when you are thinking about your own ability to influence others in a positive way. They are also the ten traits that you should look for when choosing the people you want to influence you.

How to Turn Limitations Into Strengths

September 4th, 2014

And See Yourself in a Whole New Lightstrengths vs limitations Motivational Keynote Speaker Connie Podesta

by Motivational Keynote Speaker Connie Podesta

So it’s a no brainer that we need to leverage our strengths.  If…we even know what they are.  Unfortunately most people are so focused on what they can’t do or wish they could do, that they don’t even take time to realize what they can bring to the table.  So step one.  Figure out exactly what it is you do really well.  And be proud of it.  Let people know about it.  Find ways to bring those talents into your job.  Your relationships.  Your quest for success.  Even your health.

Here’s a tip:  Don‘t wait for people to recognize and acknowledge what you do that’s awesome.  Believe me, they are too busy with their own stuff to even realize what you are doing—they are just trying to survive in a crazy, insane world. You have got to be your own best friend when it comes to spreading the word that what YOU do is vital and brings added value to the situation.

Now to the topic at hand — limitations.  We all have them.  No matter how hard we try to ignore them. Rationalize them.   Blame our parents for them.  Make excuses for them (not our fault we do this!).   And even justify them (I was just born this way—can’t help it).  Bottom line:  limitations have to be recognized and accounted for—no way out of this one—IF…you truly want to be happy and successful.  The worst thing you can do is act like they don’t exist or defend why you have them. Let’s play instead by grown up rules.  Step one, we own our limitations and then we strategically plan how we can change them, fix them, improve them, get rid of them, live with them or, even better yet, see if there are any that you just might be able to turn into strengths.

“How is that even possible?” you are saying.  Well take me for example.  I was always getting into trouble in high school.  Got kicked out of class more times that I can count.  Why?  Ha!  For talking of course!  More than one teacher told me I would never amount to anything because I couldn’t concentrate on anything for more than a few minutes.  Lack of attention span and constant talking were two huge limitations—both contributing to my lack of success in school.  Until…another teacher figured out how to turn my “weaknesses” into strengths.  He signed me up for the speech and debate teams.  Within a year I was excelling in school and leading the debate team in first place wins. Turns out, what was a limitation in one situation turned out to be a strength in high demand in another.

How about you?  Do you have any imitations that could be viewed as strengths if the situation were different?  Think about it.  You might be surprised at a few things you do that seem to be keeping you back that just might work to your advantage if you used them differently.  It is definitely worth a try.

Here’s a quick video to share some additional insights on the topic!

Learn more about leveraging your strengths in my new eBook STANDOUT Strengths.  Learn more here! Let me know what you think!  I’d love to hear!

Understanding Generational Mindsets

August 8th, 2014

A Lesson in Generationscp talk to each other

By Motivational Keynote Speaker Connie Podesta

I was interviewed while keynoting a leadership conference a while back and asked the question, “What can leaders do to help the generational diversity out there?”  It was a good question and one that I think is really important for today’s leaders.  You know, it’s easy to play the blame game-right?  The older generation is quick to judge the younger generations and the younger generation, frankly is quick to do the same.

Here’s the deal.  The Baby Boomers are known for being hard workers, nose-to-the-grindstone people.  They grew up believing if they worked hard enough they would get what they wanted.  They’d achieve a level of success that they aspired to.  And that’s all good stuff.  However, when I polled young people and asked them to describe their parents in just two words here’s what I got:  Tired and Angry.  I asked them to describe their bosses in the same way and guess what?  I got the same two words:  Tired and Angry.  And here’s why – most of them grew up with at least one workaholic parent.  Parents, that while most were well meaning, put everything into that ‘work hard=get what they want’ philosophy.  But many of them didn’t get it all-did they?  It would be different if they were fulfilled and happy, but many of them overworked, over achieved and they were left – well – tired and angry.

So to younger generations, the idea of working THAT hard didn’t equate to having it all.  In fact, quite the opposite.  So you see many young people who strive to be more balanced.  Have more accessibility.  Be at their kids’ soccer games, plays, and productions.  They don’t want their kids to think of them as tired and angry all the time.  But the flip side is that what they do want – they tend to want NOW.  It’s hard for many of them to realize they need to put in their time and pay their dues – something that was inherently drilled into the older generations.

So where’s the bridge? I tell my audience members and leadership clients to start with four simple words:  Talk to each other.  We’ve so much to learn from each other.  SO MUCH.  And it starts with communication.  Both sides can ask – what do YOU want?  What do YOU expect from this position?  How can we work TOGETHER to make it a win-win for both of us and the organization?  It all starts with conversations.  Open mindedness.  And a willingness to put aside some age-old (and age-young) stereotypes and connect with each other in new ways.

Our world is changing at a lightning pace.  The only way to keep up, move ahead, and make the most of it?  Is by working TOGETHER.

Here’s the clip from the interview – enjoy!

Want to learn more about bridging the gap?  Check out my book Texting Harry. It’s a great story – with an awesome spin on how communication makes ALL the difference in connecting generations.



Sales Like You’ve Never Heard Before!

July 22nd, 2014

The Secret is Understanding the Psychology of Human Behavior!cp secret

By International Sales Guru and Keynote Speaker Connie Podesta

Let me say this loud and clear.  I absolutely LOVE speaking to sales groups.  Any kind of sales. Franchise sales. Corporate Sales. Real Estate Sales. Insurance Sales. Direct Sales. Financial Sales. You name it.  Why? Because, unlike many jobs– salespeople have the power to impact their earnings in a very measurable way.  As a result, they are passionate about learning just about everything they can.  New strategies for closing the deal.  Techniques to use to “ask for the money”.  Ways to connect with new customers.  Ideas to keep the customers they have happy and satisfied.   Effective communication skills.  All of it. I love to feel their excitement every time I walk on the stage to motivate and challenge a sales group to reach even higher levels of success.

But what I LOVE the most is teaching my audiences about sales in an entirely different way than most have ever heard before.

Let’s face it.  There are hundreds of speakers, books, audio tapes, and seminars on…SALES.  The six keys, the seven steps, you name it.  And you’ve heard it all before.  What I want to do is to bring my audiences an entirely NEW AND DIFFERENT approach to sales — not just the same old stuff. The secret really is psychology.  Today’s salespeople need more than six keys or five steps to compete and succeed at the levels they want to be.  First, they need to be able to understand themselves – and their strengths and limitations when it comes to their “sales” persona.

Truth be told, most salespeople make excuses for not closing the deal—the top five being:  price, product, economy, territory and marketing/advertising.  If only the price was cheaper.  The product better.  The economy more affluent.  Their territory more productive.  Or better marketing for the product.  Then…everything would be just fine.

But my customer interviews and research shows that’s not usually the case at all.  Customers say the number one reason they don’t close the deal is… (Drum-roll Please)…they didn’t like the salesperson for some reason.  They didn’t trust them.  Believe in them.  Feel comfortable with them.  Have fun with them.  Like them. Respect them.  Or connect with them.  OUCH!  As a salesperson I know how it feels to think it could possibly be US that’s the problem.   One of the hardest things for any of us in sales to admit is this…sometimes it is our own personality that gets in the way of making the sale. But as hard as it is to admit this, it is even more empowering to recognize that if it is our approach or style that is sometimes the problem, then WE also have the power to fix it.  When I teach audiences how to recognize the parts of their personality that bring a potential customer closer to the deal and the other parts that may turn them away—it is a very powerful moment.

The second most important part of helping my audiences increase their sales is when I dig deep into the personality, habits, and attitudes of today’s buyers so salespeople can understand why people do the things they do, say the things they say, act the way they act, but most importantly why they BUY the way they buy. Each person has a buying style that incorporates many things:  their attitudes, values, comfort levels, personality style, etc.  I teach my audiences techniques that will allow them to recognize the buying style and habits of a potential buyer so they know better how to communicate and present the service or product they are selling.  It’s so much fun to watch even the top salespeople in a company learn strategies that can work with customers who would have normally walked away from the sale.

Psychology is amazing.  In fact I don’t believe that people can ever sell to their highest potential without understanding how it works in the sales arena because sales is totally about connecting with people.  And to do that successfully one must understand human behavior as it applies to sales.  The psychology of sales is the catalyst for building a sales foundation like you’ve never had before.  When I see the light bulbs go off in my audience once they realize, “Ah-ha! That’s how I find the hand-raisers or close for the sale.”  Or “so that’s why I never heard back from them,” or “Now I get why they went somewhere else,”—that’s when I know they are on their way to reaching customers they never reached before.  Closing deals that never happened before.  Connecting with new prospects that they never would have discovered before.  And feeling more successful than ever before.  Now that’s priceless, right?

Check out a quick video I did on the topic!

Want to learn more?  Grab a copy of my eBook, How to Make a Fortune Selling to Women/How to Make a Fortune Selling to Men.   It’s a WHOLE different way to look at sales!  

Never SETTLE for Less Than You Deserve

June 5th, 2014

Getting More from Your Life and Timemotivational keynote speaker connie podesta - don't settle

By Motivational Keynote Speaker Connie Podesta

Too often we see those who respect others and treat others with kindness and compassion–but then manage to not be nearly as kind of themselves. They SETTLE for less than they deserve.

Here’s what you need to know:  When people believe that true love, more money, losing weight, a promotion, or a bigger house is the thing they need before they can be truly happy, then they invariably SETTLE for less.  In their attempt to find the solution to their unhappiness, they will grab the first thing that comes along.  And they rationalize all the while about how it may not be exactly what they wanted, but… But what? When you honestly begin to believe that this HAPPINESS thing all depends on YOU—not on other people and other things—you won’t ever settle again.

I get it. Sometimes settling is EASIER. It’s the shortcut. The “bird in the hand,” as they say. It’s choosing a partner who is not the right fit, but you think is better than being alone. Or buying a house that you hate rather than saving more money for the one you love. Or taking a promotion that you don’t even want because the “better title” will hopefully bring you the validation you need at work. It’s trudging through, day after day, without ever stepping up to the plate and daring to try something new because it would be too scary.

It’s all right. Sometimes scary can be exciting. Propelling. Life-changing. Want more? Deserve better? Go for it. Don’t settle. Go after what you want and get it. Starting now.

Learn more about adopting Happiness in your life and thinking out-of-bounds in terms of how to create the life you really want in my eBook Re-Defining Happiness.  It’s empowerment plus!

Watch below as I give you some insights as to what the book is about! 

Take the Wheel!

May 7th, 2014

Taking Charge of a Memorable LifeMotivational Speaker Connie Podesta never give up power

By Hall-of-Fame Motivational Keynote Speaker Connie Podesta

Coincidence. Luck. Karma. Fate. Chance.  Words tossed around A LOT lately, right?  Sometimes as excuses for bad choices, right?  Sometimes heard from those who believe that life is just lobbing lemons at them and there’s no recipe for lemonade.  And sometimes, the foundation for lives lived unfulfilled and unhappy because people resign themselves to the fact that ‘that’s just the way life is.”

No.  The truth is you can feel POWERLESS, and take on the ‘life’s unfair’ attitude, or you can feel POWERFUL by actively, and passionately ACTING rather than REACTING to every situation and person you come across.  “But Connie, that’s a lot of responsibility.”  Sure it is.  A LOT.  It means YOU have to take ownership of your circumstance. You’ve got to take charge of your health, well-being, self-esteem, and security.  YOU have to be the one to LET GO of what’s not working and look for what does.  And YOU have to take the wheel in your own life and steer yourself in the directions that will get you where you want to go.

Is it always easy?  No.  But it is always worth it.  Because turning over the keys to your own joy, success, and happiness to someone else is not the life you were meant to lead.  Everyone single one of us possesses the talents, characteristics, tools, and attributes that give us everything we need to lead a happy and memorable life.  Sometimes we just have to get out of our own way, take our foot off the brakes, and make the CHOICES to find the solutions.

I challenge you to write down three things in your life currently that you can change your perspective and the choices you make about them for the positive.

Learn more strategies for making good CHOICES in my quick-to-read, easy-to-implement ebook, StandOUT Choices!  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Leave your comments here or head over to my Facebook page for more insights every day! 

How to Successfully Sell to Women (And Men)

April 21st, 2014

And Why This Book May Be NOT What You Expectedwomen-quiz

by Motivational Keynote Speaker and Author Connie Podesta

The truth is – times have CHANGED.  And smart, savvy salespeople are willing to make changes too in order to grow their business and keep their clients happy.  That’s one of the reasons I wrote the book How to Make a Fortune Selling to Women.  One thing that has become crystal clear in recent years is that statistics show that women influence 85% of all purchasing decisions. However, most sales training focuses on selling to men. So I was asked by audience  members and clients to come up with a ‘field guide’ if you will of how to connect with and better understand what it is that women want and need during the buying process.  The results it gets is proof that psychology really can teach what training can’t.

Oh and here’s the funny thing – I made it two books in one!  Selling to Women is 180 pages long — the flip side of the book?  Selling to Men is only three pages long!  Don’t get offended – the reason is easy! Men are much less complex—do these ten things and the deal is guaranteed to close!

I even have a cool quiz you can take to see how good your skills are!  Click here to start!

It’s a book I loved writing, but more than that – it’s a book that is changing things up in a powerfully positive way for a lot of salespeople. And that’s what it’s all about!  Click here to learn more about How to Make a Fortune Selling to Woman today!

Here’s a quick video on the topic! 

I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Post your comments below or on my Facebook page!


April 9th, 2014

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!


HEALTH is the Heart of HAPPINESS

April 4th, 2014

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!

Negative People in Your Life?

March 28th, 2014

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!