Strategies for Managing When the Going is Tough


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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Business Change & Transition Specialist, Marie-Helene at


Why 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, to be vulnerable is to be open and approachable.

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 Leads to Authenticity – 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.  Now I accept those assignments where I am aligned with the overall purpose and methods by which the business is conducted.

Vulnerability Leads to Enhanced Engagement – When working with clients and presenting authentically the level of engagement increases dramatically. Cooperation is heightened. Employee morale improves.

Business Change & Transition Specialist, Marie-Helene Sakowski at


Personal Power Leaks Are A Liability

Additional aspects of your behavior that point to not managing your power in business or in your personal life.

  1. Changed your goals based on other people’s opinions. Changing course just because someone doubts your abilities gives that person power over your life.
  2. Hypersensitive to criticism. Feedback from other people can be instrumental in helping you become your best. But, if you value other people’s input too much, you may avoid doing anything that could lead to criticism.
  3. Other people have the ability to bring out the worst in you. If you allow someone else to cause you to get so angry you say or do things you later regret, or you succumb to pressure to do something against your values, you give away your power.
  4. Spending a lot of time talking about people that you don’t like. Every minute you spend thinking about someone you don’t like or complaining about someone you don’t want to be around, is 60 more seconds you give that person.
  5. Other people determine the kind of day you’re going to have. The kind of day you’re going to have should center around the boss’s mood or your co-worker’s actions.

Take Back Your Power!

Commit to becoming the driver—rather than the passenger—in your life. Decide that you’re going to be in control of how you think, feel, and behave regardless of the situation you find yourself in.

Business Change & Transition Strategist, Marie-Helene Sakowski at

Harness Your Power – Sunday October 28/18 – Join us!

As a woman, are you ready for a fun and fabulous event? Get your ticket now to join us for a transformational day that will kick off the autumn season with powerful wisdom!This one-day workshop is for women of all ages who want to solidify and maintain their power in the midst of change, chaos, and volatility. Our speakers are talented women who are accomplished at managing all that life holds in store for them with power and grace. Join us for a mini-workshop day that includes a shopping gallery just for women, with a variety of one-of-a-kind items, and a pre-event stretching warm-up! Our care and attention also includes providing lunch and refreshments to attendees.

“A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.” — Diane Mariechild

Details found at:


Are You Leaking Your Personal Power?

Empowering other people is productive. But giving away your personal power sabotages your chances of success. Giving away your power robs you of mental strength and derails you from your goals. There are several ways you might be leaking your power. You might not even realize you’re doing it.

Signs of leaking your power include:

  1. Giving in to guilt trips. If you really don’t want to do something, be strong enough to stick to your choices, even when someone tries to take you on a guilt trip.
  2. Self-worth is tied to other people’s opinions of you. Not everyone is going to like you. But, you don’t have to let one person’s opinion define who you are or how you feel about yourself.
  3. Difficulty setting boundaries. You get to decide who to allow into your life. If you grow resentful of people who take up too much of your energy, it’s a sign you aren’t setting clear boundaries.
  4. Complaining about all the things you have to do. You decide how to spend your time. No one forces you to go to see the dentist, or attend that family gathering.
  5. Hold grudges. Whether someone hurt you yesterday or 10 years ago, holding a grudge allows that person to take up more space in your life.

Take Back Your Power

Commit to becoming the driver—rather than the passenger—in your life. Decide that you’re going to be in control of how you think, feel, and behave regardless of the situation you find yourself in.

Business Change & Transition Strategist, 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?

Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

Business & Change Specialist, Marie-Helene Sakowski at



Resistance to Change is Normal


It is quite normal to resist what appears to be occurring especially in the workplace where the changes have the potential to lead to some type of loss.

Four additional factors that cause resistance during a change initiative follow.


  1. Loss of Support System(s)

Changing organizational structures usually shakes the workplace up and support structures are viewed as being eroded.

  1. Previous Change Experience

Attitudes toward change are determined in part by the way we have experienced changes in our work and personal life in the past. Those employees who have lived in the same neighbourhood, driven the same route to work, and done the same job over many years are likely to be discomfited by any change.

  1. Peer Pressure

Employees tend to resist change as a form of protecting one another and thereby demonstrating workplace loyalty.

  1. Lack of Trust

When employees trust that a change process will have them be treated respectfully there is a marked decrease in resistance to change.

All sources of resistance to change need to be acknowledged.  As people our emotional response to change requires validation.  It is a change agents’ role to try and foresee objections.  Doing so may save you valuable time and effort in having fewer if any fires to put out.

Business Change & Transition Specialist, Marie-Helene Sakowski at

Hidden Factors at Work Determine Your Actions

A deeper dive into the aspects that 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 Change & Transition Specialist, Marie-Helene Sakowski at

Change Management Steps from Strategy to Action

Having worked for several different industries in a change management capacity the heavy lifting comes about in engaging management and the remaining workforce to move from talking about change to taking action towards change. Following are some suggestion to engage everyone into purposeful action that leads to the strategic change desired.

  1. Take a close look at where things are currently.

The strategy for the change initiative has been communicated.  Managers, employees, and the champions for the process are in place.  It looks like all systems are ready to go. Something is missing as despite the communications process, daily, and weekly updates the process is seemingly stalled. Begin with asking your team what appears to be the blockage point. Listen closely to what is or is not being said.  It may be that there is a fear of losing autonomy, scope, or simply fear of the unknown. Ask outside of the team for input as to what it would take to have change be accomplished and embraced. Once you have identified the common element to the resistance of change set out clear action steps that involve various stakeholders throughout the process. Keep revisiting what is going on.

  1. Revise as necessary after implementation

It is not unusual to have a process stall once an of implementation has occurred. The workforce may even revert to previous models of doing or completing tasks. Take the time to schedule refreshers and feedback sessions. Continue until the changes are part and parcel of the day-to-day routine. Once again ensure that stakeholders have clear actionable areas and that they continue to have buy-in.

  1. Hold a team meetings 6 – 12 months later

Team meetings are a perfect place to celebrate the successes and lay claim to the action areas that are still outstanding.  Perhaps the areas that remain incomplete are no longer relevant and can be discarded.  Or there may be some additional initiatives that are relevant and timely as a result of the changes that have occurred.  Devise action steps to have the desired outcomes take place.

Change management is ongoing. Clearly new strategies and action are required. Having inspired a company to go from talking about something to doing something about it is good news. It is also a step towards ensuring additional changes have a better chance of being more readily implemented and embraced.

Business Change and Transition Specialist, Marie-Helene Sakowski at

5 Leadership Steps in a Change Management Journey


It occurs to me that we as a global community are embarking on a journey of change management and leadership where traits from each area overlap and offer a way to move forward with initiatives.  As a leader you may for example be involved in several initiatives that require change in your business or organization. As you navigate your way through the change process you will likely benefit from some key leadership traits.

  • First be purposeful.
  • Second have the changes have meaning.
  • Third keep it simple.
  • Fourth recognize the success.
  • Fifth follow-up on the feedback and track what needs improvement.

Business Change & Transition Specialist, Marie-Helene Sakowski at