Self – Awareness is Necessary for Change

The Oxford dictionary defines awareness as the “knowledge or perception of a situation or fact”.  Given that perception is a large part of awareness the question come to mind – what  types of awareness  is brought to the workplace?

Are you someone who shows up at work with the awareness of it being difficult?  Or having past experiences cloud your judgement of a current situation?

Or are you someone who comes to work with the awareness that different opinions from your own are necessary for growth and change?  Do you focus on the needs of other worker s before your own?

Having the latter part of perception and awareness is required to be successful at work.  The shadow side of focusing on difficult and the negative negates having positive and lasting change to occur.

Need further details?  Contact me to discuss.

Solo and Small Biz Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at

Authentic Self Promotion

  1. Be Generous

In essence be in service to your clients.  Genuinely being there to help is essential.  Keep at it even it is difficult.  Promote those you are working with or for.

  1. Be Trustworthy

Tell the people you are working for the way it is.  Focus on the facts and not the story leading up to the current situation.

  1. Be Present

Listen not with just your ears.  Pay attention to the body language of those around.  Pay attention to the pauses and silence.   Speak only when necessary.

  1. Be Open Minded

Listen to what others have to say leaving preconceptions behind.  Try something different with an open mind it may just work.

  1. Be Adaptable

Admit to yourself and others when change is necessary.  Champion a new way of doing things as an opportunity for learning yourself included.

Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

Solo and Small Biz Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at

Using Intuition as a Manager

Intuition may be the highest form of intelligence. Looking at managerial competencies and linking that to intuition in the business world lead to the following list.

  1. Action Orientation

Taking action at the right time is crucial in business.  Whether the action is quick or over a prolonged period of time may be an intuitive decision.

  1. Dealing With Ambiguity

Trusting that change is the order of the day is an important intuitive aspect.  Being able to live with the change and make operational decisions in trusting that gut feeling requires a capacity for discomfort.

  1. Approachability

Being open with others is important even when the final outcome is not clear.  Trusting the intuitive sense of pursing the course and communicating that the final outcome may be somewhat changeable is truly an innate process.

  1. Business Acumen

Being able to read the market place and make decisions based on the goings is perceptive and shrewd at the same time.  Taking action to support those insights as quickly as possible is invaluable.

  1. Managerial Courage

Having the courage to take action on what is often perceived as a lack of evidence or an unsubstantiated hunch is not without its risks.  However it may pay off in the long run and the daring person who trusts that intuitive pull may just win the day.

What decisions have you made in business that was based on something other than logic?   What was the end result?  Do let me know as I am genuinely interested in the outcome.

Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

Solo and Small Biz Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at


Introverts and Highly Sensitive People Are Needed Now

Not everyone in our culture is an alpha person.  For those of us who are introverted or highly sensitive that world is one that is foreign.  The natural tendencies for those who are not the alpha type are quite different from the “go get what you want and take charge” perspective that defines our culture.

Introverts and highly sensitive people are different and that is an important distinction.  Introverted people are on the quieter side.  Highly sensitive people may not be as quiet.  They do however share some of the same natural tendencies.

  1. The need for quiet time is one of them. Alone time to process information is important for both traits.
  2. The need or preference to work alone for part of the time. Again to process information and offer solutions beyond what is typical or expected.
  3. Having deep and meaningful discussions with colleagues or friends on a one-to-one basis. Group and large meetings have their place and both traits are able to deliver in large groups.  The one-to-one dynamic is needed to build quality business interactions that are based on trust.

At this time workplaces and the overall culture of “go get what you want and take charge” is under question.  The overall volatility of the workplace and life in general is demanding a review of values and mores that have been help as the only way forward until recently.  Introverts and highly sensitive people are demonstrating that another way of doing business and being in the world is possible.  And at this time in history those other ways are a necessity.

What other traits do you value in highly sensitive and introverted people?

Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

Solo and Small Biz Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at

Soft Skills from a Liberal Arts Perspective

It turns out that people with an Arts degree 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 Liberal Arts education tend to have:

  1. Being curious 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.

Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

Solo and Small Biz Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at

Quiet Time Enhances Creativity & Productivity

The mantra of busyness is one that most of us are familiar with. A different approach is becoming popular and it is one where you actually schedule or plan for a period of quiet in your day. The quiet is needed for creativity – the stuff that we all have and are not accessing due to busyness.

  1. Plan what you want or need to learn.

With a period of quiet you can actually think about your learning goals and take action steps toward its achievement. You may experience a breakthrough in the process.

  1. Practice skills that need to be developed.

Stopping the automatic process of doing and getting the same results may take effort. Practicing something different until we begin to see different results pays off and is worth the investment and the periods of quiet that go with it.

  1. Contemplation in relation to achievements and failures

The expression of taking a walk to clear your head is common place and sound advice. It is also helpful in the development of ideas. Taking time to contemplate provides opportunity for creativity to flourish.

  1. Solving problems as they occur.

With quiet time built into your day the opportunity to solve the problem that has occurred is available.  The need to push the issue aside and stick to a to-do list is mitigated.

  1. Try something differently and experiment with it to see if it works.

It may not work.  It is still a valuable opportunity to learn from and test the ideas that you have.

Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

Solo and Small Biz Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at

Focus on your Purpose at Work

It is easy to forget the lofty goals your company or business stands for during the day-to-day operational requirements that we all face.  There is always a process or a checklist or a task that needs to be initiated or completed.  Developing your own inner sense of purpose while at work provides the meaning that we all tend to seek from the ways we make our living.

Ask yourself what you are good at in terms of doing the things that come more easily to you.  Give yourself a pat on the back for taking on those tasks or projects you know that you are best person for.  Pay attention to the outcomes that feel useful and that provide a sense of accomplishment.  Note the work that you are doing now and its future benefit to you in your career or personal life.  Consider the relationships you have at work and the best fit for working partnerships on your projects.

Paying attention to all of the above factors goes a long way to developing a sense of inner purpose at work.  Try – it may be more than just a little illuminating for you.

Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

Solo and Small Biz Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at


Body Language Power Poses

Researcher Amy Cuddy claims power poses work in terms of influencing your thinking and thereby your behaviour patterns.  Working with men and women in a broad cross section of industries, mining, industrial, health care, manufacturing, construction, and various government agencies it has been my observation that they do work.  Further to that they work equally well for both genders.

Women and men who sit huddled at their desks with shoulders hunched in and head bent down do not appear to inspire confidence.  Nor do they appear to inspire collaboration.

On the other had men and women who take up space – stand confidently – arms their sides or on their hips with a solid stance inspire confidence and the desire to work collaboratively with them.

What I have observed suggests that Ms. Cuddy’s research has validity.  That a power poses do influence the thoughts and behaviour of the individual.  Power poses appear to also influence the behaviours of those around them.

Ms. Cuddy suggests that individuals practice power poses for two minutes prior to having an important meeting, discussion, or even job interview.  Her suggestion may have significant merit.  Certainly a two minute time investment is worth trying out to determine the validity of her research.  At the very least you may find your scope of influence at work or in your personal life growing.

Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

Solo and Small Biz Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at

Simple Technique May Increase Creativity

Being fully present when you are interacting with someone is considered to be crucial.  The question remains how to best do that.

A simple technique to stay and be present is also useful in instilling calmness is breathing.  Yes breathing.  Take a breath to focus yourself on the person in front of you.  Keep breathing and you are likely to fell a calmness settle in over you as well. Breathing and paying attention to the person you are interacting with is often referred to a s mindfulness.

Having achieved a state of calmness you may be surprised to note that creativity is also present.  A solution to that problem or puzzle at work that has been on the back burner may suddenly come to you.  Or that creative idea for a new project or program suddenly comes into pace.

Breathing regularly and staying present may actually allow you to conduct your day-to-day business and life in a stress free.  Rather than reacting from a flight or fight place.  Working stress free now that would be a game changer.  It is certainly worth considering and even trying consciously breathing during interactions with co-workers, colleagues, and competitors.  After all what is there to loose expect stress.

Need further details?  Contact me to discuss.

Solo and Small Biz Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at


Actions to Take When Networking

Networking events may be challenging or great depending on you.  As an extrovert you may relish the opportunity to meet and be with new people or known acquaintances.  As an introvert they may be a challenge to get through.

Whatever your trait is – the following suggestions will assist you in making the best of a networking opportunity.

  1. Listen intently to the person you are interacting with. Take the opportunity to practice listening with every new person you meet.
  2. Ask open ended questions of the people you meet. Doing so may lead to an in-depth conversation which you and other person are both likely to enjoy.
  3. Focus on the person you are speaking to. It is not the time to be glancing around the room – or fiddling with your phone.
  4. Find a common ground conversation starter with the person you are with (the food at the event, travel, weekend plans are some areas where commonality may be established).
  5. Before moving on to the next person – acknowledge the current person by name and offer an opportunity for a connection point.

Ty these suggestions out and happy networking!

Need further details?  Contact me to discuss.

Solo and Small Biz Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at