Saturday, November 28, 2009

Are you ready for the changing business climate?

Are you ready for the changing business climate?

Rate the following questions 1 through 5, 5 being the best

• How will you manage the possibility of increased workload?

• What is your stress level at the moment?

• Have you a positive work / life balance?

• Are you managing your emails in a positive way?

• Do you manage your flexible and fixed tasks, or do they manage you?

• Do you spend enough time deciding and prioritizing when it comes to getting the right task done at the right time?

• Have you a system to handle daily interruptions?

Would you like to gain 40 to 70 productivity minutes per day?

Let me introduce you to our WorkingSm@rt With outlook program
Please email or call or go to my blog


Priority Management is a global training company teaching people how to increase
Productivity and at the same time reduce stress and gain control over their day.

David Anderson /President
Okanagan Training Solutions
Priority Management - A Better Way to Work
250 762-5096 / 1-877-762-5096

Friday, November 20, 2009

How to Create Strong P@$$w0rd$

How to Create Strong P@$$w0rd$By Riva Richmond

A confession: For years, I have used horrible, entirely insecure passwords.

Due to laziness and an extraordinarily poor memory, I have broken possibly every rule of good passwords. I have included my name, which might be easily guessed. I have used common words that could be subject to “dictionary attack.? I have used the same password to gain access to many favorite Web sites, including my e-mail, thus creating a dreaded “single point of failure.? Only when forced to would I come up with long passwords containing numbers and symbols — the kind recommended by the sort of security experts I talk to on a regular basis.

Over the last couple of days, I’ve been changing my passwords at various and sundry sites to make them stronger — and promptly writing them down on a Post-It note.

I know, I know! No need to groan. That’s a huge security failure right there. But there’s been no one in my house but me the last few days, and today I’m going to select a better way to store them.

Today, I’d like to go over what makes a good, strong password, the kind you should be using to, at minimum, protect online access to your financial accounts.

Ideally, your passwords are six characters or longer and you can remember them. It’s a bad idea to make it memorable by using personal information — like your name, your child’s name, your pet’s name, your or your child’s birth date — or by using words in the dictionary.

Obviously, you should keep your passwords private. But keep in mind that you also need to be quiet about any personal tidbits you use in passwords or the security questions that some sites use to authenticate you. Identity thieves are out on the Web looking for this stuff. It’s why Facebook has become a big target lately. And recently on Twitter, there was a major hullabaloo over a game in which people were creating “porn names? from their first pet’s name and first teacher’s last name that quickly morphed into a likely effort to phish pet and street names.

You can, however, use dictionary words and loved ones’ names more safely by using them as a foundation for a password that also incorporates random capital letters, swaps letters for numbers and includes a symbol or two. For example, the extremely poor “password? password would be much stronger as “r1Va’5paZZw8rD.?

It would be even better to use a phrase, song lyric or line from a poem as the base and then mix in numbers and symbols, as well as misspell words or use bad grammar. For instance, “Hey Jude, don’t make it bad? could become “d9n’Tmak%6aad.? Or you can base the password on the first letter of each word in your phrase, which would turn the lyric into “HJ,dmi6.?

For more password dos and don’ts, read Microsoft’s advice:
or check the strength of the ones you are using now at

David Anderson - President - Okanagan Training Solutions
Priority Management - A Better Way to Work
250 762-5096 / 1-877-762-5096

Thursday, November 19, 2009

How to change your life In 2010 - Okanagan Training Programs

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day? ~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

William James, known as the father of American psychology said there are just three rules to follow if you want to change your life:

Start immediately

Do it flamboyantly

No exceptions

Well you may not want to change your life exactly but you may have thought of achieving a goal or just doing something differently in 2009. When it comes to change, many people procrastinate or fall victim to the "perpetually getting ready to do something syndrome" - a feeling that the time's just not right at the moment, or "I'll start next Monday, better still next month" and so on...

Here are some tactics for getting things done now:

If you do perceive that the starting task might be unpleasant then schedule it first (ie make it your 'A' priority) on your to-do list. It often turns out to be not that bad after all. (no exceptions)

All journey's begin with a small step, so break down complex projects into small pieces that are manageable and schedule the first step today. (start immediately)

Set a target date for completion. Go public-tell a colleague, friend or partner what you are doing and when you are going to do it. (do it flamboyantly)

And finally don't forget your biorhythms - schedule your toughest tasks during the periods when you have the most energy - that's usually the first part of the day or the weekend.

Priority has developed a wide range of learning programs that will help you develop the skills and competencies to make your life better and more fulfilled in 2010.

Click below to find out more about our world class training.

David Anderson - President - Okanagan Training Solutions
Priority Management - A Better Way to Work
250 762-5096 / 1-877-762-5096

The ten rules for meetings

You've been sitting in the meeting for 93 minutes. It feels like 93 days. It was supposed to last an hour, max, but the Senior VP is in the room, and the point of the session was to discuss his pet project, and no one wants to be the first to crack. Everyone else is busy making gratuitous points designed to flatter Mr. Big. You're entertaining fantasies about throwing a cream pie, or worse, at the blowhard who just won't stop talking about how successful the project will be. You know it's doomed to fail; it's the high-tech equivalent of selling ice to the Inuit.

You're asking yourself, who's in charge here? How did all these reasonably well-intentioned people get so far out of whack? And, more to the point, how can this juggernaut be stopped?

Since mass laryngitis is not an option, you need the Ten Golden Rules of Meetings. Moreover, you need to post them prominently in meeting rooms so that everyone can begin to follow them – especially the leader. Remember that even Moses had trouble with his unruly flock from time to time, so be prepared for the occasional outburst of the modern corporate version of Baal worship.

1..Always Know What Time It Is
The clock is God in meetings. Out of respect for the commitment and sanity of everyone who attends, meetings should never run over the time allotted. Especially regularly scheduled meetings. If the session gets bogged down in an issue, table it for another meeting. If the meeting must conclude by taking an action or decision, then schedule it accordingly. Tell all the participants before the meeting starts that it will go as long as necessary to reach the stated conclusion. Don't mislead people by minimizing the amount of work involved; that kind of trickery will only come back to haunt you.

2..Never Forget the Main Reason for Meetings
The only good reason to have meetings is to do something together that you can't do better alone. In business, meetings have three primary purposes: communicating, administering, and deciding. Of these, the first and last are most worthwhile. But the focus of all three kinds of meetings should be action. They should either be communicating the intention to take an action or the results of action that has been taken, administering a plan of action, or deciding among alternative actions. If you find yourself calling meetings – or going to them – that have some other purpose, you're wasting your time. And everyone else's. Find something else to do.

3..Remember the Golden Rule of Meetings: Praise in Public, Criticize in PrivateShut off public criticism when it arises. It's extremely destructive to morale and should be prevented. Indeed, much misery could be avoided in the business world if all members of the corporate community would remember a simple fact: if they are working for the same employer, then they are all on the same team. Corporate politics we will always have with us, but that doesn't mean that we have to accept them tamely. Help your vocally critical teammates by making it clear, in advance of each meeting, who is in charge, how long the meeting will last, and what the point of the meeting is. Then deal with attempts to take the meeting in other, more vicious directions as simple misunderstandings of the agreed-upon ground rules. Politely but firmly steer the meeting back to the right terrain.

4..Do Not Convene Meetings Outside of Normal Business Hours
Of course there are times when this rule must be broken, but they should be reserved for real emergencies. People who schedule meetings for evenings and weekends are merely advertising the embarrassing fact that they have no life - and they're expecting others to give up theirs. That kind of person should not be allowed to run anything, much less part of a modern corporation, because they lack the basic humanity to do a good job. Surviving in the fast-moving, devil-take-the-hindmost business world of today requires good peripheral vision as well as keen understanding of the work involved. Those without the necessary life balance can't possibly understand that world they're in or see around the next business corner.

5..Never Use Group Pressure to Logroll ConclusionsIt is simply wrong to use meetings to pressure people into agreeing to actions or ideas that they know to be immoral or illegal in order to promote the business of the corporation. Group pressure is a powerful force, especially where jobs are at stake. Don't misuse it to get people to stray from the straight and narrow, or bend the rules, or set the quotas dangerously high, or cut corners on quality, or any one of a thousand such activities that go on every day in misguided organizations everywhere. Your corporation has a set of values. If it doesn't include adherence to a code of ethics and the rule of law, change the values or find values or find somewhere else to work.

6..Don't Use Meetings to Destroy Others' Careers
There is enough room in every meeting for a disagreement without making it personal or destructive. More than that, it's wrong – and politically unwise. Modern corporate life has become so ephemeral and its denizens so transient that your past is bound to come back and face you again, and sooner rather than later. A petty triumph at someone else's expense at one job may well prove seriously embarrassing at your next job. Resist the temptation. Curiously, the unstable nature of today's workplace has encouraged people to take the opposite attitude. The thinking seems to run, "I'll never see these people again, so why not cut loose?" But the opposite is almost certainly true.

7..Keep the Personal and the Corporate Distinct
There's nothing wrong with having friends at work. But meetings are not for social calls. To be sure, a certain amount of socializing at the beginnings and endings of meetings is part of the grease that keeps the well-oiled corporate machine running smoothly. But the balance should be clearly kept on the side of business. Too much socializing will lead to resentment among the others at the meeting who are not part of the party. More than that, it's inefficient, bad for business, and corrosive for your soul. You need to have a life outside the corporate one. If you find that all your socializing is taking place in business meetings, it's time to change a few things.

8..Remember that the Best Model for Meetings Is Democracy, Not Monarchy
Resist the temptation to railroad your fellow participants into a decision you want. You need to lead by moral persuasion, not by virtue of your title. Brute force is not the appropriate mode for meetings, though jujitsu sometimes is. As a leader, you should always strive to understand the sense of the meeting. If you want to issue edicts, publish them in the media available to you. You don't need a meeting to announce a new course of proceeding that is not up for discussion. And watch out for other participants in the meeting trying to take control. Hijacking a meeting is a cherished corporate game, but a nasty one. It's your job as a leader to prevent that from happening.

9..Always Prepare a Clear Agenda and Circulate It Beforehand
It is more than courtesy – it is good efficient business practice to think hard about the purpose, nature and structure of a meeting before it takes place. These thoughts should be codified in the form of an agenda and circulated to all participants well in advance of the meeting. Time enough, at any rate, for the participants to prepare whatever they need to in the way of reports, plans, proposals, or the like. Far too often, people who call meetings grossly underestimate the amount of preparation required of the participants.

10..Terminate a Regularly Scheduled Meeting When Its Purpose for Being No Longer ExistsIf you can no longer clearly state the reason for having a regular meeting, it's time to kill it. Purposes change, and when the meeting has lost its reason fortaking place, be the first one to put an end to it. All periodic meetings should have a stock-taking every few sessions to determine if the meeting still has a purpose. It's just one way to fight corporate bloat and bureaucratic encrustation. Of course, for this discipline to work, you must have decided what the regular meeting was for when it was begun. Goal-setting is just as important in meetings as it is in the rest of corporate life.

David Anderson - President - Okanagan Training Solutions
Priority Management - A Better Way to Work
250 762-5096 / 1-877-762-5096

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

When are you at your best?

When are you at your best?
In our survey last month we asked at what time of day you worked most effectively (see the results on the main page). Almost half the 3,212 respondents said that they work best from 8:00-10:00am and most others worked best at some other time of the morning. Only ten percent of respondents said that they were ‘always on their game’. When you plan meetings, appointments or time for important project work, you should always consider your natural biorhythm. This is the recurring cycle of biological processes that affect your emotional, intellectual and physical activity. Most of us are 'morning' people - others are 'afternoon' people.

Ask yourself and your colleagues if they consider this when planning the day. Look around the office-see people busying themselves with trivia first thing each morning and going into vital strategic meetings at 2:00 pm-the time when very few are at peak performance levels.

Here's a simple process to ensure that you do the most important things in life when you are at your best!

Determine the two hours of the day when you feel your best.

Schedule your 'A' activities for this time slot.

Protect this 'time space' from all intruders.

If you do this for a week or two you will see an immediate productivity gain!
Start today to develop the skills that will help you stay balanced and in control of your personal agenda. By developing essential skills such as time management, personal organization, life/work balance and workload management you will improve every aspect of your life.

David Anderson - President - Okanagan Training Solutions
Priority Management - A Better Way to Work
250 762-5096 / 1-877-762-5096

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Persuading and Influencing

Persuading and Influencing
By Dr. Peter Honey*
In a sense, all conversations between people at work involve influencing. Just think how many times your colleagues ‘lobby’ you in an attempt to in an attempt to influence a decision, get you to change your mind about something or persuade you to do something. Explicitly or implicitly the aim of most communication between people is to influence. Whenever, therefore, your colleagues attempt to persuade you, it automatically provides a learning opportunity – if only you can get them to see it that way.

There are a number of influencing techniques you can help your team to develop which will stand them in good stead as persuaders. Watch for the following, did he/she:

Ask you questions to establish your starting position?
Set a realistic objective in light of your starting position?
Capture your interest with an initial benefit statement, ie say how you stood to gain?
Go on to describe other potential benefits?
Offer ‘evidence’ to back up the benefits being claimed?
Attempt to defuse some of your objections before you raised them?
Finish with a summary of the idea and its main benefits?
Sound enthusiastic?
Look at you for about half the time and make plenty of eye contact?

Any or all of these aspects are excellent lessons for your colleagues and it is more powerful to use real pieces of persuasion that crop up in the normal working day than artificially contrived role-playing exercises that are typically used on courses. Whenever your colleagues seek to influence you, which is often, you have an opportunity to coach handed to you on a plate.
Click here to learn more about the Priority Influencing Program... Used by leading companies around the world to develop their influencing skills.

Click here to learn more about the Priority Negotiating Program

* This article is taken from Peter Honey's best selling paperback now in its fourth reprint, 101 Ways To Develop Your People, Without Really Trying!

David Anderson - President - Okanagan Training Solutions
Priority Management - A Better Way to Work
250 762-5096 / 1-877-762-5096

Monday, November 16, 2009

Leaders are made, not born

Leaders are made, not born

by John Adair
Whilst debate rages over the differences between management and leadership and the various qualities which may or may not be inborn, practical people just want to know what they have to do, whatever it is labeled.

In today’s business climate three levels of leadership are now emerging which replace a single leader at the top. Together these form the overall leadership team of the organization.

Team leaders – responsible for between 8 and 12 people

Operational leaders – responsible for a sizable area of the business

Strategic leaders – responsible for the whole organization

Character is part of leadership. Leaders gain credibility by exemplifying the qualities expected within the working group and are different from managers because they possess certain generic traits such as enthusiasm, integrity, toughness, fairness, warmth, humility and confidence. The first step in developing leadership potential is to recognize those traits in oneself.

The suitable approach to leadership is based on the use of authority appropriate to the context. There are four types of authority:

Position – “Do this because I am the boss?

Knowledge – "Authority flows to one who knows"

Personality – Charisma in its extreme form

Moral authority – the personal authority to ask others to make sacrifices

To get people to co-operate, a leader will need to understand the particular circumstances and choose which type of authority would be most effective. The leader who knows what to do inspires confidence in others. Technical and professional knowledge can make a significant contribution to a leader’s development.

My approach focuses on group actions. A group of people working together develops a unique personality which has three overlapping areas of need. These needs are: to achieve the task, to build and maintain the team, and to develop the individual. Each interacts with the others, so that if a task is achieved, the team develops and individuals develop a sense of satisfaction. Equally, if the group lacks cohesion its task performance will fall, resulting in lowered individual morale.

At this point the mystique of leadership falls away – success comes from something a leader does rather than someone a leader is, so leaders can enhance their skills through practice, study, experience and reflection.

Leaders cannot avoid being some kind of example, because people constantly observe what they do and who they are. However, the individual has discretion over whether it will be a good or poor example (and people generally notice bad examples more than good). A sure sign of integrity is when a leader’s words match their deeds and the best leadership example is provided unselfconsciously as an expression of who the leader is, rather than something calculated to have an effect.

David Anderson - President - Okanagan Training Solutions
Priority Management - A Better Way to Work
250 762-5096 / 1-877-762-5096