Thursday, July 20, 2017

A glimpse into one of my coaching sessions. “4 Phases.”

Look at the baseball diamond in the middle of the photo. Think about what each box represents in your life. Start with your vision. Work around to each phase. As you can tell, this cycle is never ending. All information around the boxes are to get you through each phase. 

Here we have more keys to achieving your goals. Read through each one carefully. Try to find ways to implement those throughout your phases in executing your vision.

Call me if you are interested in coaching sessions at (281)370-6622. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Ready to Pass the PMP Exam the 1st Time? Let's get a class together for you and your team.

PMP Exam is changing in 1st Quarter 2018. Major changes such as the 6th Edition make it more difficult to pass the exam. Why Wait? Let me provide Project Management Training tailored to help your team passed the PMP Exam the first time. Discounted rates to encourage group enrollment.
I provide Project Management Training at its best based on student's PMP exam success rate. For more validation, see recommendations on Linkedin page.
  • Cost: $995.00 for 1st time students-$700.00 discount off $1,695.00 course fee
  • How: Need a minimum of 8 students to make a class (10 students needed if request is outside of Houston metroplex)
  • Where: Houston metroplex room provided (seating limited to 25 students) or can provide training onsite. My motto, "Have Students, Will Travel."
  • Timing: Prefer Five-Day class where 5th day is focused on exam questions, either five days in a row or provide Four-Day Boot camp with webex follow-up (in 4-two hour sessions)
  • Materials: All classroom materials and self-study aids provided, including PMBOK Guide-5th Edition,a study guide book, and many other study aids.
Contact information: Katherine (Kathy) Nixon, Email: Call: 281.370.6622, Text: 936.870.8256,
I appreciate your business and support. I enjoy being a part of your success. Let's get you and your team prepared for the PMP exam. Thanks, Kathy
P.S. - Thank you in advance for your consideration and passing this on to others who might value this opportunity.
#Plan for success starting now: 
  1. Complete and submit your online application at
  2. Schedule your exam time for the one to two weeks after the class (max. 45 days).
  3. Begin reading or re-reading the PMBOK Guide now.
  4. Practice your 10-minute drill daily. If new, write each day for 10 minutes what you remember of your PMBOK studies.
  5. Answer exam questions. Verify and investigate all answers from the PMBOK.
  6. Attend class with your schedule cleared and ready to focused for final review.
  7. Make travel and work arrangements so you will be ready for class time..
  8. Invite others to attend class with you. They make great study partners.

The Power is in Your Ability to See "It"​.

Each year, I like to share with my friends and family encouragements which I believe will help bring success, peace, hope, prosperity, guidance, thoughts to ponder, insights. It may be a small book or a desktop calendar of motivational quotes.
This year, I finally published a monthly perpetual calendar of encouragements I have accumulated. Today, I am sharing it with you. For the PowerPoint slide presentation, click on this link, Visualize Your Future. Enjoy!

To Play or Not To Play? Being a Part of Something Larger than Ourselves

Recently, at Deltek's annual conference, we were encouraged to help Deltek set a world's record. Four hundred and sixty-eight of us participated in creating a Guinness world record for the largest human image of a cloud.
Many times daily, we are given multiple opportunities "to play or not to play". Whatever decision is reached, it is my hope each of us will consider how to be a part of something larger than ourselves, in a good way.
One of my favorite quotes is "Trust yourself (and) create the kind of self you will be happy to live with all of your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement." For me, this is what Deltek was demonstrating, ... how to go from possibility to achievement, ... when they asked us to participate in setting a Guinness world record for the largest human image of a cloud. 
Deltek proclaims, "We did it! Congrats to all the Deltek Insight attendees, Deltek employees, The Gaylord National Hotel staff and others that jumped in on the fun and helped us set a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS achievement at DeltekInsight!. We are now the title holders for the largest human image of a cloud, (all 468 of us)." #GWRDay and #DeltekInsight!
P. S. I took a minute to reflect on why I participated. It was certainly not for the certificate from Guinness or fame and fortune. ... It was just because they asked. ... I was there, physically able, the time was allotted, and I was felt I was part of something bigger than myself. ... As it turned out, it was also fun. The group was laughing and joking. There were a lot of smiles and selfies being taken. ... I am glad I chose to play and can now celebrate in the achievement.
When I looked about the conference break area where the event was happening, many were standing on the sidelines, choosing not to play or participate. It made me wonder why. I mean, after all, they would have contributed to making the record even larger and they were already present. Was it because they felt the idea was embarrassing, maybe it is hard to embrace their inner child, or plastic raincoats make them feel claustrophobic, or they were not feeling well or it was not part of their job description or maybe they thought their business standing or respect would suffer? ... Regardless, they chose not to play. For them, it stayed only a possibility.

151 Years Later - The Call is the Same - "To Do All ... Which May Achieve ... A Lasting Peace Among Ourselves ..." .

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; ... to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." - Abe Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865
This trip to Washington, DC, I toured Ford's theatre. I was struck by the similarity to our country today and that of the country seven score and eleven years ago. The country divided ... instead of north and south, it is Republican and Democratic.
In coaching, there are four main questions, what would you like, how might you get it, how will you stay the course, and how will you know when you have it?
John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural address on Jan. 20, 1961, “My fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” 
How might we influence the well-being of this nation and its people?
It is my hope we as a people will take a moment to consider how each of us individually might promote unity, peace, harmony with our neighbors, in our communities, among our states and throughout our nation.  And then, ... take action. Doing something each day to serve a higher good of understanding, tolerance, support. Fostering hope, love, forgiveness, safety, health, and well-being. Well-being ... a good or satisfactory condition of existence; a state characterized by health, happiness, and prosperity.

To Protect Your Credit, Place a Fraud Alert with Credit Reporting Company

Three national credit reporting companies keep records of your credit history. If someone has misused your personal or financial information, call (or write) one of the companies and ask for an initial fraud alert on your credit report. A fraud alert is free. You must provide proof of your identity. The company you call (or write) must tell the other companies about your alert.
An initial fraud alert can make it harder for an identity thief to open more accounts in your name. When you have an alert on your report, a business must verify your identity before it issues credit, so it may try to contact you. The initial alert stays on your report for at least 90 days. You can renew it after 90 days. It allows you to order one free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting companies. Be sure the credit reporting companies have your current contact information so they can get in touch with you.Fraud Alerts
If you see something on your credit report that could be identity theft, you can place a fraud alert on your report. Here's what to do:  Notify at least one of the CRC's fraud units that you are a victim of identity theft. A call or letter to one will alert the other two. Say or write you want to flag your file with a fraud alert.
1. Experian: 1-888-397-3742, 1-855-246-9409
P.O. Box 9701 Allen, TX 75013
Contact us by phone - Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in your time zone.
2. Equifax: 1-800-525-6285, 1-888-766-0008
P.O. Box 105069, Atlanta GA 30348
3. TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289

Embrace the Shake by Phil Hansen

"When we change the way we look at a limitation, it changes how it affect us."  Phil Hansen.  This guy is amazing. 
"Limitation is something that has been put in our way. Self-limiting belief is something we put in our own way."
"What could you do if you embrace the limitations you have?"
For Phil, it was ...
  • Limitation. My hand shakes. 
  • Self-Limiting Belief. In order to be an artist, you need a steady hand. 
  • His limiting statement started. My hand shakes so I can't do art.'
  • Became the statement.  How can I do art with a shaky hand?
The results are WOW!

Be Sharp “Tell Me About Yourself” in Great Introductions and Professional Bios by Paula Asinof and Mina Brown

We often only have seconds to make a great first impression. Therefore, being prepared and practicing your 30 second "elevator" speech takes insight to your outstanding strengths.
The authors do a great job in helping you select the right format for you and your profession. Learn more by visiting Also, if you ever get a chance to hear her speak in person, she is inspiring.

Team Building For Sustainable Advantage

It is critical for teams to work together and interact successfully to accomplish the goals of the organization and provide sustainable implementation of leadership's strategies.  
Team building is the key.   Individuals, who discover their strengths and apply those strengths in their business (and personal) lives, provide value, leadership, and influence to team building.
If you are interested, I  recommend these two short, yet insightful books:
1.   Strength Finders 2.o by Tom Rath
2.  Emotional Intelligence at Work by Dr. Hendrie Weisinger.

The Art of Achieving Results: Doing the Right Thing -- All the Time, Every Time

   When you have time to read two books by The Arbinger Institute, they will encourage you to take a minute and ask yourself these questions to see if you are currently the right fit with your company. 
  • Is there good chemistry between you and your company?  
  • Are your goals aligned?  
  • What challenge do you and your company solve for your clients?
  • Do you add value to your company's current state of affairs?  
  • Together, will you and your company create more value for your clients?  
  • Are each of you (you and your company) advocates of each other's services and contributions?  
  • Can your clients state your and your company's value proposition?
   If you can't answer these questions affirmatively, ask yourself about your commitment to your company and yourself.
   When you find yourself no longer committed, engaged, motivated and looking forward to working as a team, it is hard to focus on getting your company's and your individual professional results.  
   Remember when you first desired to be part of the company.  You gathered company and employee information, you talked to others, you were excited about the interview and the possibilities.  Once hired, remember your attitude about the company, your teammates, your capabilities and your potential contributions, and the amazing future results from working together.
   Do you still get up each morning with that "can do" or "win-win" attitude? Attitude is everything.  Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can or you can't, either way, you are probably right."   
   When you help other people with your best, you honor our own values (instincts). You honor our instincts when you work in perfect harmony with yourself and others.  You are proud of your work product, you enjoy relationships, and you are thankful for the people and the work.   You do your best to help the company and the people within it to achieve results.  As Red McCombs says, "(You) expect to win, prepare to win, and execute to win."
   When you betray your values, the books say, "People who formerly were committed, engaged, motivated, looking forward to working as a team, ... now have problems in many of these areas.  And who do you suppose they (you) think caused those problems?"  Is it you or is it others?
   Do you see yourself as a victim, hardworking, good, fair, unappreciated?  Do you see other workers as lazy and inconsiderate?  If so, the books go on to suggest that you may be the one who needs to change in order to experience explosive growth in your firm (company)."  "Business don't grow, people do."  
   It is called, "Operation: Eliminating the Blame Game."   Begin again to take ownership of your behavior.  Live your strengths, and help others build theirs.  "When we examine our strengths and constantly help those around us to know their strengths and build on them, success will come our way."  Match your values (instincts) and goals to reach your dreams while challenging your limiting beliefs about your capabilities, your opportunities.  It is time to face your fears.
   Your success and the art of achieving results depends on your ability to honor your instincts and take responsibility for your actions, your attitude, and your choices.  Confidence and courage grow when you are at peace with yourself and know you are doing the right thing, all the time, every time.
   And when you get a chance, the two books by The Arbinger Institute, Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box and The Anatomy of Peace:Resolving the Heart of Conflict are excellent, easy, inspirational reads.

Business Meals Can Make or Break a Deal

I enjoy speaking at leadership conferences.  When attending college venues, I particularly enjoy the lunchtime meal because a business etiquette professional will be the lunchtime speaker showing these promising professionals the importance of a well-executed business meal.  Employers and clients are paying attention to your manners and ability to conduct yourself properly at a meal.
Remember to:
1.   Leave the best seat at the table for the guest of honor.  Best view, head of the table, easy access in and out.   Arrive early and be willing to have attendant move the table if it faces or is near the kitchen or bathroom.  If you plan to pay for the meal, give the waiter your credit card in advance.  Otherwise, the host(ess) pays.
2.   Shake hands and be introduced or introduce yourself to all at the table.  Concentrate on remembering names.  One tip is repeating name three times.  If possible, be prepared, look up the profiles on guests before the meal.
3.   Remain standing until the host sits.  Once seated, sit up straight and keep all four legs of your chair on the floor.  Keep your elbows off the table.  Place your napkin in your lap after all are seated.   When leaving the table, napkin goes in your chair, never on the table.
4.  Let the host(ess) take the lead in ordering.  Find something on the menu that you can eat gracefully and without making a special order or asking a lot of questions.  Avoid most expensive or unfamiliar food items.  Be decisive.
5.    Avoid alcohol.  If you choose to drink, only order one, regardless what others do.  Failure to keep to this rule could lose you the job or the client.
6.  Cut your food, one bite or piece at a time.  Avoid dicing it all at once.  Break off bread and butter one small piece at a time.  Avoid making a sandwich.  Silverware should be placed on your plate, never on the table.  
7.   Never, never double dip.  Avoid dipping your food into something available for others as well.  When sharing communal provisions, spoon onto your plate (butter or dressing).    Eat in moderation, never forego the meal or lick your utensils or fingers.
8.  Speak without food in your mouth.   Talking with food in your mouth is rude and a choking health hazard.   Avoid any controversial topics, bad for the digestion.   Listen more than you speak and remember to maintain good eye contact during the meal and when you depart.  Leave with a firm handshake.
9.   Say please and thank you, as well as yes and no, convincingly.   It is noticed.
10.   When in doubt, work from the outside in for your utensils.  salad fork before dinner fork, soup spoon before teaspoon.   Also, think b & d, bread and drinks.  If you make an okay sign with your hands, it looks like a "b" on the left (bread) and a "d" on the right (drinks).
Finally, do not apply lipstick, comb your hair, or use a toothpick at the table.  Good luck and remember people are watching and will notice good manners. My thanks to David Bamberg for the table setting photo.

Transitions and Mergers - Communication, Consistency, and Clarity

Bottom Line: Define the moment or the moment will define you. Publicly define and develop employee buy-in for the company's culture during transition and mergers.  Since your men and women in the field define your culture, how do your employees handle different opportunities to perform distinctively and extra-ordinarily?
If you are interested, here are two great change management books which address how to define the moment well:
1.  Five Frogs on a Log by Mark L. Feldman and Michael F. Spratt (PWC) - A CEO's Field Guide to Accelerating the Transition in Mergers, Acquisitions, and Gut Wrenching Change
2.  The CEO and the Monk by Kenny Moore and Robert Catell with Glenn Rifkin - One Company's Journey to Profit and Purpose
Easy reads, insightful and practical solutions.

Technical Writing Made Easier - Books to Read and Apply

When you have something to say, say it well or not at all.  You have precious seconds to get past the reader's thoughts of " 'So what?' or by 'And how is this relevant or important to me?'"
If you would like a refresher on good technical writing or perhaps struggle in this area, either way, here are two good books to read and keep on your business bookshelf.  
We use these books in our Technical Writing class.  One is "Be a Brilliant Business Writer, Write Well, Write Fast, and Whip the Competition" by Jane Curry and Diana Young.    The other is "The Elements of Technical Writing, The Essential Guide to Writing Clear, Concise Proposals, Reports, Manual, Letters, Memos, and Other Documents in Every Technical Field" by Gary Blake and Robert W. Bly.
Good luck!   Remember when you have something to say, say it well.  Give your readers a reason to take action or to reflect and discuss your ideas.

On-boarding in Mergers is about Repeat, Repeat, Repeat - The Vision, The Goal, Each's Role

They had survived three mergers over the last four years, and they were battle worn. When I was called in, the accounting department had been told that the corporate offices were moving to another city. Even knowing that their jobs were going away, most of the employees truly desired to see the company succeed. They were willing to train the new individuals and turn over the responsibilities in such a manner that it would be seamless to the customers and vendors as well as reflect their personal integrity. It was admirable to watch. These employees believed that if you would listen to them that they would make you more money and keep others working with them to thrive.
This true recount, above, is similar to others chronicled in a book, Five Frogs on a Log, written by two gentlemen from one of the Big Four accounting firms, who compiled research from 28 large merger/acquisitions, most of the names you would recognize. The strategies for success developed by both were similar. The only difference was their perspectives: one came from inside personnel and the other came from outside consultants. Interestingly enough, the employees mentioned above had not read a book; they had just lived the reality repeatedly.
In the show, Undercover Boss, CEOs take one week to visit various departments of their businesses and get a firsthand look at how things are done. CEOs were relating to their employees on a personal level. They experienced a short uptick in their stock price, but it was not sustained because the fundamentals of the company did not change. Fundamental change or on-boarding takes buy-in, a clear vision, and energy to focus everyone's behavior toward a monumental goal by helping them to understand their role (Their Role, The Goal, & The Vision).
  •          "Success is embracing change and emerging through the molting process stronger and united in cause." "The fastest way to embrace change, blend cultures, generate additional revenues, discover cost savings, and provide unique solutions is to hire an (on-boarding) ambassador (team), very early in the process, who focuses solely on others while promoting the leaders' vision."
  •           "An (on-boarding) ambassador (team) who serves as an effective advocate for the people is a powerful tool which develops trust, a team in one accord, and a "got your back" attitude with all stakeholders including employees, vendors, and clients."
  •           "An (on-boarding) ambassador (team) can also be considered a troubleshooter. A troubleshooter is a person charged with locating and eliminating the source of trouble in any flow of work."
Bottom line: It is about the power of choice, counsel and control:  a company choosing to address the challenges with directness, listening to the counsel and wisdom from all stakeholders, and exercising control by giving some of it away to others whose good ideas might propel the organization further faster.  Your Ideal Start Time is NOW! Good luck.
Be Proactive: In the book, "Who Moved My Cheese?", the character, Sniff, sniffed out the "flashpoints" or challenges of the environment while staying focused on the goal of finding the new location of cheese. Seek out the solutions to being in one accord as a company with purpose and determination to succeed.
How Might It Be Accomplished?  Hire an (On-boarding) Ambassador (Team).
1. Fastest way to embrace change, blend cultures, generate additional revenues, discover cost savings, and provide unique solutions is to hire an ambassador (equipped with a team), very early in the process, who focuses solely on others' perspectives while promoting the leaders' vision.
2. The Ambassador needs to report directly to the CEO. CEO and leadership must provide unwavering support.
3. The Ambassador needs to have confidentiality. Ability for all parties to speak with no consequences.
4. The Ambassador should be others focused, internally referenced, move toward goals, and see the possibilities.
Success Plan = Being of One Accord
1. Power of One Accord (Giving a Face to the Vision): Develop a rally around the leader and his vision, not the company. Success is developing trust and a "Got Your Back" attitude with all stakeholders including employees, vendors, and customers. What ways can the leader communicate the vision so that it is vivid and real for all?
2. Power of Directness: Shoot straight, be honest. Hide nothing. Speak first before it is presented from someone else's perspective. Back up your words with action, follow-through, and transparency.
3. Power of Yes: Synergy is when everyone can say "Yes" to an action step. The more yeses, the more progress.
4. Power of Difference: Support delivering the product in an extraordinary way. Promote "We Love Our Jobs: Living the Adventure" campaign. The goal is "Brand Envy" and earning the "Top Place to Work" award.
5. Power of Observing/Pro-Active Listening: Enlist all stakeholders and adopt attitude that "All Comments Matter". Generally, asking the right questions gives productive feedback from those who truly care about the success of the venture. Hot-Lines, Suggestion Boxes, and surveys handled with complete confidentiality are the key.
6. Power of Repetition: Tell what you are going to tell them. Tell Them. Tell them what you told them. Believing comes from hearing, truly hearing. True hearing comes when trust and buy-in are established.
7. Power of Honoring: Seek out, acknowledge, and reward anyone going beyond the call of duty to deliver extraordinary solutions. The goal is to energize the team and focus behavior toward winning big.
First, Engage and Understand the Ambassador's Role: It is all about health and relationships. Or more importantly, the health of all relevant relationships.
Empowering the employees, the vendors, and the clients to facilitate the success of the merger, acquisition, or major change and thrust the organization forward is the ultimate goal. An ambassador who serves as an effective advocate for the people is a powerful tool which develops trust, a team in one accord, and a "got your back" attitude.
The ambassador does not need to be a specific gender, race, color or creed. However, the ambassador best suited is secure enough in himself and his position that he can be "others focused", move towards solutions rather than away from challenges and see the possibilities in all ideas, people, and situations.
This powerful tool works best if the ambassador can be independent, working through the Human Resources department, but yet reporting directly to the CEO. The top leadership has to buy and support the ambassador's role and campaign. An ambassador's team is only as effective as the leadership allows and the stakeholders trust and employ them to diligently bring forth their ideas and questions.Quite frankly, the CEO and his leadership team are either your best asset or your worst liability. Do they convey confidence or arrogance? Do they instill trust or skepticism?The CEO who is willing to hire such an ambassador is saying that the ultimate goal is more important than any one person.
An ambassador can also be considered a troubleshooter. A troubleshooter is a person charged with locating and eliminating the source of trouble in any flow of work.
Second, Address the Elephant in the Room
It is said that mergers, acquisitions, and major changes are like having a death in the family and one of the top stressors. It is really like a death and a birth all at same time: double stressors. There are five stages to grieving: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. The stages in birthing are anticipation, uncertainty, intense responsibility, and finally joy and a sense of completeness with this new life. It is a lifecycle reality, embrace it.
When an elephant in the room is ignored, the cost is failure to reach or delay in reaching the ultimate goal. It is this "thing" hanging over everyone's head and permeating all aspects of the business. So, find unique ways to speak directly to the elephant. One company had a funeral. What unique ways could you employ to speak to the elephant in the room and get it to move?
Then, at the Crossroad, Stop, Look Both Ways and Listen Before Taking Action
In a business, it is a crossroad when there is a merger, acquisition, or major change. As children, we were taught to stop at the crossroad, look both ways, and listen before we crossed the street. In business, this technique helps you identify challenging areas, see what resulted from the actions in the past, entertain new ideas, and assimilate the information quickly and then communicate your final decisions to move ahead.
Listen to Ideas: Many grassroots' positions, especially middle management who have done a bulk of the work and have a pulse-beat on the people and the organization, know of some of the best cost saving or revenue generating ideas for their companies. Develop a system to have these ideas heard and given feedback to acknowledge and encourage proactive contributions.
I heard it said that an entire company is driven not by the sales and marketing department or even by management, but rather by the accounting department. The accounting department allows you a unique perspective to all areas of a business. The accounts receivable department interacts with the customers or clients. The accounts payable department interacts with the vendors. Individuals involved with reporting and verifying financial information interact with personnel in all divisions, locations, and departments.Keep accounting personnel on the ambassadors' team.
Bottom Line: It is about embracing change and emerging through the molting process stronger and united in cause.The best plan involves an elephant, a school crossing edict, and an ambassador. Addressing "the elephant in the room" directly is the most effective approach when facing challenges. Stop, look, and listen, which we learned when crossing at school intersections, applied to potential corporate flashpoints is cathartic and restorative.  People's Avocate(s), in the form of an on-boarding ambassador or ambassador's team, who focus on others' ideas and suggestions and have the full support of leadership, can produce results of energized and focused behavior where individuals create solutions to seemly impossible situations. Individuals, all together, with the attitude, "Failure is Not an Option", is an impressive sight to watch. It is about the power of choice, counsel and control: choosing to address the challenges with directness, listening to the counsel and wisdom from all stakeholders, and exercising control by giving some of it away to others whose good ideas might propel the organization further faster. The ideal start time, well, you can't start too soon.