Strategies for Managing Difficult Situations

In the aftermath of tragic circumstances near the community where I live – it seemed appropriate to write about strategies for managing difficult situations or people. Last week a tragic accident claimed the lives of 15 people that were part of a community sports team.  Families have lost children and communities have lost friends.  The current mood is one of grief and sorrow.

Strategies for coping with difficult situations, circumstances or people involve the following:

  1. Identify and use your support network.

Be it a friend, a trusted co-worker, a neighbour, or an EAP counsellor – reach out, connect and share your feelings (if possible) or simply what is occurring to you and around you in the aftermath.  Focus on expressing what you need from the other person.  Examples may be a safe place to share grief, the need for someone to simply listen, or a scheduled break from your usual routine.

  1. Get some sleep.

Self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when you don’t get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present. A good night’s sleep gives you the perspective you need to deal with the situation you are in.

  1. Set boundaries

When you are vulnerable it is important to have boundaries in place.  Take time for yourself to rest and recoup. Avoid as much as possible other scenarios or people that will add to your stress factor. When you have looked after yourself you are in a better position to offer support or request the support you need.

Practicing the above behaviours allows for the relief of stress.

Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

Business Transition Specialist, Marie-Helene at

Newsletter Update

“Worrying about a problem is not a strategy for change”. 

Jody Williams, Chair Nobel Women’s Initiatives.

Effective Placement Business Transition – March 2018

Spring has arrived and along with the knowledge that warmer weather is on its way, even if it has not yet arrived on our doorstep. The days are clearly longer.  Hopefully productivity is on the increase and plans are unfolding at the correct pace for you and your business.

Company news for Effective Placement is that relocation has occurred.  We are now located in Saskatoon and look forward to serving clients throughout Saskatchewan, Canada, and in other North American locations.

For appointments or meetings Effective Placement will be utilizing the services offered at the Two Twenty Complex located in the thriving area of Riversdale.  Mail will be received at 220A 20th Street West, Saskatoon, SK. S7M 0W9.

That is just the beginning of the transition piece for the business.  Watch for rebranding announcements over the next several months.  I am truly excited about the emergence of new brand and focus for the business and am working with long time colleagues on a redesign of services and material that will be forth coming later in 2018.

In the event you are facing business transitions of your own check out for information on what actually shapes behaviours at work.

Perhaps you are wondering why you may be feeling a tad bit dissatisfied at work when it started off being your dream job. For insights as to why this may be check out

As a business owner one of the key skills to have requires being able to decline situations or opportunities.  Check out die information as to why it is beneficial to develop this capacity.


March Updates

  1. Power of an Unstoppable Woman – Saskatoon – April 15, 2018 – is cancelled. Rose will be having workshops in other locations. Kindly check her website for locations and dates that work for you –


  1. The Leaders Expedition (LEx) Are you interested in taking leadership within your business and community to a whole new level? Let’s talk about the possibilities for your community!

As always I am here to work with you and your business requirements that lead to your ultimate benefit.

Skills Social Science Graduates Have in Spades

It turns out that people with a degree in the Social Sciences may have the right type of soft skills to succeed in areas that are uncertain and murky.  That being the case – here are the soft skills that people with a Social Sciences education tend to have:

  1. Curiosity and willing to try new things.

It is speculated about 70 % of working people want to be told what to do and do that over and over again.  Enter the need for curiosity, and the ability to make up the rules as you along, a strong characteristic of Arts grads.

  1. Decoding or analytic skills.

Unpacking systems and processes are what Arts graduates are generally better at than others.  Using critical thinking skills developed during the degree courses is invaluable in terms of putting all of the puzzle pieces together into a logical framework.  It is also valuable when it comes to unearthing details overlooked by others.

  1. Reading people and communicating.

Having empathy and being able to see people as they are is a skill that Arts graduates have in spades.  Focusing on what others want and need and then being able to communicate that clearly is hugely beneficial.

The Conference Board of Canada has published a recent report ( urging universities and businesses to address career transition challenges faced by Social Science grads.  Businesses that have hired and recognized the unique skills these graduates bring to the table have benefited.

Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

Business Transition Specialist, Marie-Helene at info@effectiveplacement.c

Saying “No” is Powerful

As difficult as it seems to be saying “no” is an essential business skill.  The value of declining opportunities, invitations, and even clients is an invaluable asset to anyone.  It is especially valuable in solo or small business.

  1. Saying no garners respect.

When working for and with others I have learned that declining people is powerful.  For example it is powerful to let people know when they have not been successful in terms of a promotion or hiring process.  The person receiving the no has often thanked me for being transparent with them in providing feedback.  These same people have often stayed in touch and have utilized my services in other areas.  To me that indicates a respect for the work done and for me as a person.

  1. Declining opportunities frees up your time.

I have worked with a number of people who say yes to something and then spend their time complaining about the increased workload.  When presented with an opportunity that you think you may want – think it over carefully before you accept.  It may not be what you want at this point in your life.  At the same token it may have been appealing at one period and now it is not.  Saying no to something that you no longer have an interest in frees up your time and energy for a project that does.  Give yourself the permission to say no and reap the reward of time for what fits for you to show up.

  1. Regretting part of social work related invitation may be to your benefit.

At one time or another each of us has accepted a social work based invitation that has been frustrating at best.  It has been my experience as a manager at social events involving those that I work for and those who report to me that not everyone is on their best behavior.  Interacting with a co-worker or colleague who is incapacitated or angry at a social function is less than desirable.   For myself I make it a practice to show up for a brief period including the forma portion of the event.  After that making my regrets and leaving is a priority.  The people I work with know me professionally and by departing early my integrity is upheld.

Learning to say no is a powerful game changer in life and in business.  It has certainly served me and my clients well.

Need more clarity – contact me to discuss.

Business Transition Specialist, Marie-Helene Sakowski at

Knowing Yourself Entails Releasing Personal Biases

In a recent article by Adam Grant he asserts that as individuals we have biases that we are not aware of.  He goes on to state that the degree the trait is found in men is larger than in women.  A question becomes are you willing to get to know yourself better?  A second aspect focuses on your willingness to trust the feedback of others in getting to know yourself.

At work and in our personal lives the biases of those around us become glaringly obvious to us.  But what about your own personal biases? Have you done a deep dive into what biases you personally hold?  For example are you really as organized as you think you are? Are you as smart as you think you are?  Are you as focused as you think you are?

A useful and illuminating exercise may be to ask several colleagues what they perceive your strengths and weaknesses are.  Taking the time to note where the feedback is consistent and taking steps to embrace it could prove to be hugely beneficial in all areas of life.

Becoming aware of personal biases is the first step towards having a greater appreciation for your individual skills and talents.

Business Transition Specialist, Marie-Helene Sakowski at


Employee & Company Growth Are Often at Different Paces

You were hired for your dream job at company XYZ.  For the first few years you were in the zone – you meshed with the company culture and were a great fit in terms of your attitude and behaviour.  Suddenly or maybe gradually you began to feel less aligned overall with the company.  You wanted more freedom, or creativity or different challenges.  The fit does not feel quite right.  There is a chaffing going on.

As an employer and leader you notice that one of your star employees is indifferent.  The person maybe quieter, or appear to be less involved.  Quality of work may be a little inconsistent.  Attitude while still good has changed.  An underlying tension or apprehension is evident.  The company or the employee may have grown by leaps and bounds.  What started off as a great fit is no longer.

When facing a situation with an employee who is no longer a good fit there are some steps you as the employer can take to mitigate the situation.  First you can meet with the employee and develop a transitioning out plan.  Working with other businesses to find a home for the employee is a win-win scenario.  Another option is to look internally to determine if there is a role that will use put the talents and skills of the employee to good use.

What have you tried to ensure both you and an employee come out s winners when the fit is gone?

Business Transition Specialist, Marie-Helene Sakowski at

Process versus Goals

A recent article by Ozan Varol advocates focusing on the process and not the goal. After reading the article and thinking about process versus goals – I had to agree with him. Check the link for the article –  via @heleoworld.

I too have become trapped in doing what I love and having it be about page views or social media shares.  Writing is something I truly enjoy and when doing it for the joy of it – it is fulfilling. Doing it to increase my presence in social media it becomes a task that is laced with frustration.

It makes sense to find pleasure and satisfaction in the activity not the outcome.  Searching for shortcuts has not worked for me and has actually resulted in some of my most profound failures.

Open to new ways of addressing life along with the challenges and opportunities it holds – I am choosing to put my focus on and attention on the process and see where it leads me.

Are you willing to a different methodology as well?

Business Transition Specialist, Marie-Helene Sakowski at

Action at Work is Determined by Hidden Factors

A deeper dive into the aspects that actually shape behaviour and therefore action points to areas that operate below the surface. The “iceberg” analogy is useful here in that it describes processes operating beneath the surface that shape everyday action at work. What truly determines your actions in a work setting has little to do with the words on a wall or the quarterly goals set before you.

Behaviour at work is shaped by perception yours and your coworkers as to what is safe to do and what is deemed dangerous or not safe. The role of the unwritten rules plays a significant part in forming the actions taken.  Shared assumptions produce a realm for action as well. Tradition exemplified in the phrase “we have always done it this way” has a significant role where behaviour is concerned.

To shape or influence an organizational culture requires that the areas that are hidden and which are in play in manipulating behaviour do need to be brought up and fearlessly addressed.  The question that arises is the method for doing just that.

What have you found that works to bring about cultural change taking into account the above areas?

Business Transition Specialist, Marie-Helene Sakowski at

Distortions in Social Media

As someone who blogs and posts on various social media sites a recent article in the New York Times caught my attention. Check the following article for compelling suggestions on the sale of random personal profiles and the construction of fake profiles across social media platforms –

Like many others I am frequently the recipient of connection requests and follows from dubious and obvious scammers the most frequent falling into the relationship scam category. The point here is that these requests are more than a mere annoyance.

As a legitimate business owner offering services and products spending time blocking these requests takes me away from my purpose. It also has me question the time and energy spent on utilizing various social media as tools to promote my business. The data in the article provides an indication that traditional marketing may be the most appropriate method for authentic business promotion.

What has your experience been?  I am genuinely interested.

Business Transition Specialist, Marie-Helene Sakowski at