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

Company Culture – What is it?

There is a lot of discussion about company culture these days.  Often the articles focus on the success of giant multinational corporations and their seeming success in having great work place cultures.  On occasion there is focus on these same gigantic companies and their failures in having a functioning and articulated company culture.

Whether praising or decrying a company culture the proposed solutions focus on adapting what worked someplace else to your own workplace.  On the surface that may seem like a reasonable idea.  It is not.

Company culture is dependent on the people who are part of the workplace.  It may start out as an informal set of guidelines that employees at all levels align with it.  Or it may be a more formalized approach setting out the parameters for the tolerance of risk and out of the box thinking.

Your company may have an atmosphere of casual dress, a games room, onsite child care, or well stocked kitchens accessible to all employees at no cost.  These are not cultural features.

Culture is deeper – it is what has formed over time and is based on surviving downturns, upturns and everything in between.   Shared assumptions leading to shared values, and historic data along with people who are rooted in the experience of sharing that data, are company culture foundations.

What is your experience and perception of a finely tuned company culture that employees chose to be a part of?

Let me know – I am genuinely interested.

Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

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

Culture and Transparency

Having worked in mining, construction, industrial supply, and healthcare the observation is that the permeating culture of an industry is either shaped by the entire organization, or, there is an undertone that is shaped by the employees.  In the case of culture being shaped by employees there is often a disconnection between what the leadership proclaims and the day-to-day operational practices.

Transparency in culture is a challenge that requires alignment from the executive all the way to casual staff.  One of the companies I had the privilege of working for provided a blueprint for that alignment that is worth sharing.

  1. Take the time to develop a code of conduct and ethics.
  2. Ensure you have input from all levels of the organization when developing the code.
  3. Orientation for all employees from the CEO / President to the part time casual staff is mandatory.
  4. Ensure employees to understand and appreciate that decisions they make and activities they engage in reflect the principles in the code of conduct.
  5. Encourage employees to refer to the code when faced with a decision or challenge.
  6. Provide a safe and confidential method for employees to voice concerns, code infractions, or areas that may need to be reviewed.
  7. Engage a random selection of employees from different divisions or departments to review the code of conduct every 2 – 3 years.
  8. Incorporate recommended changes to the code and have all employees re-oriented to the differences.

This company had a transparent culture that employees were all aware of.  Transparency was present at every level as was the level of engagement.  Employees typically had buy in and those who did not left to pursue other opportunities.  The overall attrition rate was less than 3 percent annually.

What experiences have you had with company culture and transparency?


Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

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

Vulnerability Creates New Opportunities

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.  It is useful to unpack vulnerability and how that leads to a more genuine self-expression.

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.

  1. Being Vulnerable Leads to Being Visible

Personally showing up at business events, with my clients, and generally in life when things are less than ideal is when I am being vulnerable.  Being vulnerable does not mean over sharing or laying out all of life’s details.  Vulnerability is to be open and approachable.  In essence I become visible for the skills and abilities I have.  The result is that I am approached more frequently to offer my services.

  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.


Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

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




Grit and the Art of Staying with It

At work and home most of us lead fast paced lives that require a certain level of commitment. For myself before the day is complete at the office or on an assignment I need to spend 10 minutes at least prioritizing the areas that need to be addressed the next day. That gives me a sense of completion. It allows me to be able to move from work mode to home mode. At home there are inevitably several areas that require and need my attention. I use the same practice of writing down the areas that need to be addressed the next day just before getting ready for a good night’s sleep. In my experience being well rested is crucial to maintain the pace of life and my physical well-being.

Grit is that determination and passion that fuels me through the rough spots or the maze of a work and home day. Having grit is really the art of staying with something to have it come to fruition. Staying the course in the midst of a change management process has brought the importance of grit home to me. Giving in to circumstances that do not align with the project and the expressed purpose of the change does not serve.

When challenged or confronted by difficult circumstances or people I rely on grit to kick in and carry me through.  The truth is that it has done so whatever the challenge has been.

Where does grit show up for you?

Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

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

Being Present in Your Workplace

Many articles on my social media feeds are focused on being present when you are at work.  Present is being defined as in the moment.  That is not focused on the past or the future.  Sounds simple right?  Staying in the moment is more of a challenge than it appears to be.

Try this exercise for 5 minutes – pay attention to your thoughts.  Are you thinking about what happened at home before you came to work?  That is past based.   Are you thinking about what you need to get done when you get home from work?  That is future based.  Are you thinking about  the task you are working on?  That is being present.  Now pay attention to your thoughts and track for even a minute how long you stay focused on the task at hand.  It may be shorter than you think.  Or you may be one of those exceptional people who is focused and stays with what you are doing for a prolonged period of time.

The practice of staying present to what you are doing is referred to as mindfulness.  It requires practice and patience to develop.  In today’s world the constant buzz of information surrounds us and takes our attention away from what we are doing.

Experts in the field are many and the suggestions offered are variable.  There is one consistency that focuses on having the ability to be present to what you are doing and to respond to what is occurring.  That is quite different from responding to what you are thinking.

Where are you in relation to mindfulness?

Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

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

Wisdom & Power of Women Regina – Saturday Sept 16/17

Have you noticed that there seems to be a lot of active change going on in the world right now?   If you are like many women you know that change is everywhere and occurring  with great rapidity whether you are personally ready for it or not.

Spend a few hours listening and learning about accessing deeper levels of your own wisdom and power. By doing so, you will gain the benefit, of enhancing your ability to cope with change.  You will be providing a place for yourself to be centered in the midst of the ever changing landscape in front of you.

Brenda Fedorchuk, Bestselling Author, Inspirational Strategist for Personal Mastery, heads up our speakers list.  Brenda will be talking about accessing and maintaining personal power in the face of whatever situation is in front of you.  In listening to Brenda you will appreciate her humour and gentle call to action.

Rachelle Roberts, Green Clean Life Champion will follow with a talk on the importance of achieving and maintaining your well-being.  Wellness is critical in the midst of change and finding ways to maximize that is central to being in your power. Rachelle is quick witted and will engage you in taking steps toward your well-being.

Ilse Pretorius, Image Consultant and guru of feeling good from the inside out follows and will be speaking about her own personal journey to wisdom.  Ilse has a dynamic presence that will assist you in uncovering the wisdom within yourself.  She is also a transparent and disarming person who will have you wanting to put your best foot forward.

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Business Change Agent rounds out the speakers list. Marie-Helene will be focusing on the importance of developing your personal influence and wisdom in your work and personal life alike.  She will share her own path to influence and wisdom. An engaging, funny and often irreverent speaker her talk will likely stir you to action in ways that may surprise you.

Check our website for further details

Engaging Leaders When They are Resistant

Working as an agent of change the most common factor that I run into is resistance to change. Not surprisingly it typically comes from the leaders in a group or business.  The issue of resistance is an aspect that receives a lot of attention pointed with an equal amount of recommendations for mitigation.

Here are some of the best tools I found to work with leaders when resistance shows up.

  1. Ask questions that educate. Focus on the questions that will cause the leaders to think differently and to embrace other points of view.
  2. Find out what the pain points are and put processes in place for reduction of those points. Engage leaders in a one-to-one discussion as to what they are feeling.  Ask questions to assist in the identification what is bothering them. Provide support for the leaders to articulate resolution.
  3. Take a stand and be influential not pushy. Suggest options that serve the process and allow the leaders to make the choices as to what action steps they are willing to take.
  4. Model good change leadership to the stakeholders. Ensure that your behavior models good change process. Engage leaders in a feedback process, ensure they agree, and then deliver.

Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

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