3 Life Lessons to Adhere to at Work

I recently read an article by a business man in New York who advocates a 95 hour week.  As to burn out he claims as long as you are having fun and meeting your goals you will not burn out. His schedule allows for 73 hour a week to eat, sleep, spend time with your significant other, and family.

Contrast that with another CEO of a successful company who claims that working 30 hours a week is plenty.  Clearly these are two very different points of view with each claiming a high degree of success.

For me the importance is to stick to the following when working and being flexible enough to get what needs to accomplished done in a timely fashion.  From my experience completion offers renewal and renewal allows for me to enjoy all aspects of lie including time away from work.

  1. Manage my wellbeing.

Taking time to replenish and renew is a priority.  Going to work in an office full of sick people and recycling colds and flu like symptoms is not a winning formula.  Stay home when ill – heal.  Encourage co-workers to do the same.  The work will be there when you return.  Deadlines are always being renegotiated.

  1. Embrace change and diversity.

 Each of us has habits that we are grooved into.  Do something differently.  Walk to work – or ride share.  Learn something new like a different language.  Pick a different spot for lunch.  Get to know a co-worker from another culture.  Keep yourself viable by being open to change.

  1. Be social.

Put yourself out in the world.  Even if you are the quiet type find places to network where you are able to meet others.  Being social is important for many reasons with the top one being connections are helpful when facing career change.  A secondary reason is a source of support when facing changes at work. Someone you know may have excellent suggestion for overcoming challenges.

Taking the time to put these suggestions into play is a step in ensuring that you are in a place to enjoy greater happiness and fulfillment.

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Business Consultant SME’s, info@effectiveplacement.com


#unstoppablewomanyxe 3 Phrases Used Are Reason Enough to Register for “The Power of an Unstoppable Woman”

Man or woman the way we speak impacts our lives.  Words do have power.  As this post is about women – I will focus on 3 phrases that many women use that are dis-empowering.

  1. I’m Sorry

A confident woman readily admits when she has made a mistake and apologies when appropriate.  The phrase “I am sorry” implies feelings of not being adequate or inferior.

  1. I’m Worried

Over use of the phrase indicates a focus on what may never happen at best and at worst a focus on the catastrophic for little or no apparent reason.  Worry is an indication of focusing on negative outcomes without provocation.

  1. I Hate to Bother You…

When you use this phrase you give away your power to another person.  You let someone else have control.

The seminar “The Power of an Unstoppable Woman” provides the tools for you to own and keep your power.  Join us in Saskatoon as 3 powerful women provide tips, pointers and follow-up for your to be confident and powerful in your daily life.

Register at https://www.picatic.com/event14830449865746.

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Business Consultant SME’s, info@effectiveplacement.com

3 Signs that Volatility is the New Normal

Many business leaders are grappling with the volatility that suggests a new normal in terms of conditions for the foreseeable future.  It seems that we are all of us are dealing with some form of change and for many extreme changes in the business world and in our personal lives.  Disruption is being heralded as the new way forward.  With disruption comes the un
known and an uncertainty of what is to come.

  1. Economic Volatility

The first reason for stating that volatility is the new norm is the unprecedented lack of predictability in terms of the economic times we live in.  It appears we are in a cycle of change and upheaval in terms of jobs, technology, and business operations.  The old rules no longer apply and the new rules if any are not clear.

  1. Expectations for Stellar Performance From Employees

Employees and managers alike are expected to be plugged in and tuned into work for far longer than the standard work day.  The expectation that texts, emails, and posts will be read and responded to after hours, during days off, and during vacation periods is considered by many to be normal.  In the midst of reading, viewing, and responding to the deluge of information employees and managers alike are required to keep up with their day-to-day accountabilities.   Many businesses are noting an increase in the use of employee assistance programs as the stresses of keeping up accountabilities mount.  Concern over what work will look like in the short term while managing constant change are common.

  1. Conflict between Work and Personal Time

The boundary between work and personal time is blurry at best.  The push to achieve and in some cases do more with less has people working later and starting earlier.  Smart phones and tablets are readily given out with the anticipation that availability is ensured on a 24/7 basis.  Commitments to families and partners may be placed behind the demands of the job.

Finding ways to address the new normal is required.  We are in a paradigm shift and it is imperative that as individuals we find ways to unplug and stay focused in what is for the most part largely uncharted territory.

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Business Consultant SME’s, info@effectiveplacement.com


3 Ways Vulnerability Creates New Opportunities Especially for Women

There is a lot of buzz these days about allowing yourself to be vulnerable and how that leads to being an authentic self-expression as an individual.  Much of what has been written focuses on women and that is an area of great interest to me.  It is useful to unpack vulnerability and how that leads to a more genuinely expressed woman.

As women we have traditionally kept a happy or positive outlook on events in our lives not showing the deeper feelings going on beneath the surface.  Vulnerability is often misconstrued with weakness, which it is not.  To be vulnerable is to be exposed.  Exposure in and of itself is not a comfortable place to be in.  It is my belief that the exposure is precisely where women need to be to grow beyond their current comfort zones.

  1. Being Vulnerable Leads to Being Visible

Personally when I am show up in my business, at business events, with my clients, and generally in life when things are less than ideal I am being vulnerable.  That vulnerability makes me more approachable.  Suddenly I am less barracuda like and more approachable.  I become visible for the skills and abilities I have.  The result is that I am approached more frequently to offer my services.  My visibility has increased dramatically as a result.

  1. Vulnerability Leads to Authenticity

 In the past I have taken on clients where I was not in alignment with the product or service being offered.  Those assignments were often fraught with difficulty.  The results were mixed and I was not at my best.  It became clear to me that working within those constraints was inauthentic for me.  Being vulnerable has enhanced my authenticity in that I now accept those assignments where I am aligned with the overall purpose and methods by which the business is conducted.

  1. Vulnerability Leads To Enhanced Engagement

When working with clients and presenting authentically the level of engagement increases dramatically.  The buy in from stakeholders is greater.  Cooperation is heightened.  Employee morale improves.  The project is completed with a sense of purpose and pride.

To develop the aspect of being vulnerable and therefore “Unstoppable” I recommend women attend “The Power of an Unstoppable Woman” seminar in Saskatoon, SK. Sunday March 12/17.  Follow this link for registration https://www.picatic.com/event14830449865746

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Business Consultant SME’s, info@effectiveplacement.com

4 Signs the Change Management Initiative You Are Implementing is Working

Being on the forefront of change within a business setting is like living on the cutting edge of a new identity that has not quite yet completed its morphing into the next best thing.  At best the process is in a cocooning phase that is followed by the metamorphosis into a different mode of operating. You know you are on the right track when you have:

  1. Clarity about where you are headed and buy in from stakeholders.
  2. The team working with you are engaged and completing their accountabilities.
  3. Recommendations from employees are encouraged and implemented when and where it is feasible to do so. Further to that when it is not possible to implement a recommendation the reasons for the decision are articulated and shared.
  4. Employees and managers alike feel valued and part of the process because they have a say and they appreciate the investment of taking their feedback seriously.

It takes courage and commitment to keep the momentum in a change initiative moving forward.  It may not always be easy so enjoy it when it is.


Marie-Helene Sakowski, Business Consultant SME’s, info@effectiveplacement.com

3 Ways to Keep an Ethical Perspective in Project Management

As a Project Manager you have taken the challenges of having a specific outcome occur within a defined time period.  Often you have been selected for a particular project because of similar experience within the same industry.  There are times when your experience ensures that you will be able to bring along a host of team members, procurement, and financial solutions to the table.

While it may be accurate to say that you do have access to the resources required it may not be prudent to bring the same parties to table as with your previous projects.  Let’s look at why you want to maintain an ethical approach and avoid using the same pipeline.

  1. Procurement

Starting a new project requires working collaboratively with the new stakeholders likely the management team.  Before assuming that you have the right procurement assets at your disposal check with your team and ask them if they have a preference as to suppliers.  Make sure you involve the team in setting the criteria for procurement with the necessary variable that need to be compared.  Once that has been completed you may go ahead and start the RFP process.  It may well be that the ethics require a different set of vendors than you have worked with before.

  1. Financial Status

Keeping up the costs of a project are imperative to ensure overruns are reported and appropriate decisions made as to the overall status of the work performed.  Cost overruns and the downstream impact of those are particularly important.  In developing the project charter and scope of work a financial reporting process was put into play.  You may find yourself in the situation where one of the managers of a project that has been closed has yet to report the project financials and the cost overruns that occurred.  The financial report is due.  Ethically I would say that you let the project stakeholders know that you will be delaying the financial report for a defined period of time.  Let the stakeholders know you do not have complete data at this time and wish to report accurately the costs to date and the potential downstream impact.

  1. Individual Team Performance

As the person on charge it is important to monitor the performance of your team.  You may have a situation where you have a team member that has been consistently underperforming and you have had a several discussions with that person to no avail.  It is important that you have clarity as to the reason for the underperformance.  It may be that a personal matter at home or with the individual is impeding the performance.  It would be prudent to have a further discussion with the individual to determine what aspects of the work load stay with the person and what aspects get shifted to another team member.  Ongoing monitoring will be part of the process and it may well be that the person is divested of duties on the project.  It is important to act within the HR policies of the business and to handle the situation with discretion and confidentiality whatever course of action is taken.

Following the above suggestions will go a long way to keeping ethics in place.  A stronger project team may well be an unexpected benefit as well as increased goodwill with the stakeholders.  Ethics do pay off in the long term and add to overall success.


Marie-Helene Sakowski, Business Consultant SME’s, info@effectiveplacement.com