Trends in Business – Solid Stable Practices

Focus on the client. Tailoring service offerings to the client needs and staying focused on what is important to the client while juggling competing demands has a long history. Staying the course is a virtue especially when the client is looking for a quick fix to a long standing issue. Letting the client know a quick fix may not be the solution while maintaining open lines of communication and being transparent throughout a process is a top priority.

Sharing of information. Being clear in all communication is critical.  Sharing communication on various platforms is important for all levels of the organization to be up to date and informed.

Showing appreciation and giving thanks. Thanking those who are working with me on a project or initiative and appreciating that they are doing so on top of their day-to-day work is important. All of us require thanks and appreciation that is genuine and sincere.

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Change & Transition Consultant

Why Gamification Works

Gamification works because it taps into the motivators of recognition, competition, and reward. Gamification tools tap into psychological behavior we exhibit – specifically everyday decisions we make at work. The gamification process provides a relatively light-hearted as in fun platform to share work achievements, and work progress. It also allows for friendly competition building.

A successful gamification tool works when users are provided the following:

  • Motivation to perform the task and to receive the offered rewards or to gain recognition.
  • Ability to carry out the tasks by breaking them into bite-size chunks thereby increasing perceived capabilities of the user.
  • Trigger to complete the action.

Where in your business or organization has gamification shown up?

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Consultant – Change & Transition –



Addressing Burnout

The other day I posted about burnout indicating some of the symptoms of what is now officially noted as a disease by the World Health Organization (WHO). Research indicates that the recovery period for burnout takes anywhere from 6 weeks to 2 years with the average period being 6 to 9 months.

Following is a short list of strategies that address the condition and promote well being:

  • Develop a list of self-care processes that may include journaling, meditation, massage, yoga, reading, music, mindfulness, stretching, tai chi, dancing, and breath techniques.
  • Assess weekly where you are at in following through on the strategies you have chosen.
  • Adjust your list as needed for the upcoming week.
  • Detect early signs of deteriorating health then do something about it.
  • Make a point of identifying what burnout looks like for you (anger, frustration, exhaustion, etc.).
  • When you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help, delegate tasks, or reset priorities.

What other approaches have you or someone you know used to tackle and recover from burnout? Do let me know I am genuinely interested.

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Consultant – Change & Transition –

Signs of Burnout

It may not be a condition that is popular in terms of the admission of having it. That does not change the fact that many employees and professionals alike are suffering from it.

A recent announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that “burnout” is now recognized as a disease. WHO defines burnout as “a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”.

Symptoms of burnout include the following:

  • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
  • Increased mental distance from your job;
  • Feelings of negativism or cynicism related to your job;
  • Reduced professional efficacy.

Recognition of the symptoms of burnout is important for the next phase of addressing and treating what is now officially categorized as a disease.

What strategies have you found that are effective in tackling burnout? Do let me know I an genuinely interested.

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Consultant – Change & Transition –


Gender Productivity & Thermostat Control

Those that know me well would all agree that when it comes to temperature, I prefer warm to cool. Friends and colleagues alike would also agree that my productivity soars when it is warmer. Imagine my delight when I read an article about a study conducted in Germany that provides evidence for women in general performing better at work cognitively when the temperature in the office is higher.

Authors Agne Kajackaite and Tom  Y. Chang in their article “Battle for the thermostat: Gender and the effect of temperature on cognitive performance”, (2019), provide compelling evidence the productivity of women working in warmer temperatures was “significantly larger” than the dip in performance seen among men.

It may be time for that office thermometer to be raised by at least 2 degrees to have overall productivity soar particularly in offices where there is mixture of men and women.

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Consultant – Change & Transition –


The Capacity for Influence is Essential

Leadership and management are challenging in today’s business environment. Enter the capacity for influencing. It is an essential part of your toolkit and one that continuously needs to be honed.

Influencing is the ability to affect and or impact the decisions, opinions or thinking of others. This is achieved when you have the demonstrated commitment and trust in others to carry out the proposed activities.

In working with businesses that have varied in size from 40 – 250 people two influencing approaches worked best.

Emotional Influencing. The cornerstone of this approach is developing and maintaining relationships with those that you work for and with.  Ensure your approach connects with the values or goals of team members. Being in service is inherent to the emotional approach.

Cooperative Influencing. Garnering the support of team members relies in part to logic. Cooperation is the other factor thrown into the mix. Cooperative approaches involve all hands-on deck including yours.

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Consultant – Change & Transition –


Culture & Transparency

Transparency in culture is a challenge that requires alignment from the executive all the way to casual staff. A blueprint for cultural alignment that is worth sharing follows.

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

Transparency is present at every level as is the level of engagement. Employees typically buy in and those who do not leave to pursue other opportunities.

Business Consultant Change & Transition, Marie-Helene Sakowski at

Attention Control – A Necessity Today

There are a myriad of areas competing for our attention during the day. Having Smart Phones with us constantly makes it easy for us to be sidetracked onto social media sites for longer than we intended. Speaking from experience I have checked into a social media site and found myself mindlessly scrolling through my feed for the better part of an hour. Becoming aware of that I noticed I felt groggy. My brain was in neutral.

Noticing that I was wasting my time with the mindless diversion allowed me to get back to what was essential in my day.

Now when I find myself scrolling my feed I start to question if this is where my attention needs to be.  Doing that allows me to get back to what is imperative in my day.

Taking these steps and repeating them has brought me to the place of where control of my attention is second nature. The seduction of mindless activity and wasting time on them has lessened significantly.

What rabbit holes of distraction are pervasive in your day? Trying the steps outlined above may give you back your focus and time for what is important to you.

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Change & Transition Specialist


Complacency it Stifles Creativity

This morning – which did you wake up with – a feeling of being ready to go and tackle the list of items to accomplish? Or – taking your time easing into the day where nothing is pressing it is just another weekday with the usual things going on? Like many the latter bites me every so often and I notice that I have given a few hours over to being stuck in a complacency rut.

Being complacent may be a mask for fear. It is surprising the many masks that fears dons especially when you are in the midst of launching a new service or engaging with new clients. Fear stops us from being creative, from taking the steps that need to be taken, and from being courageous enough to launch what you are working on.

Fear has many masks in business. Another form it takes is in putting off doing what needs to be done.  Procrastination is a form of resistance and resistance in turn is a form of fear.

Are you willing to put yourself and your livelihood on the line to face fear directly and take the action you have been avoiding? If not – why not? If yes – the courage for doing so will likely provide you with countless new opportunities and unprecedented rewards.

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Change & Transition Specialist

Power Leaking Behaviors

The following behaviors demonstrate power leaks.

  1. Not asking for help – Asking for help indicates strength, confidence and courage. You create an opportunity to develop another by letting him/her do something for you and attempt to problem solve with you.


  1. Not Speaking Up – People begin to overlook you for career opportunities or project work. Speaking up indicates your engagement in what you are doing.


  1. You don’t ask questions. – When you ask questions, you invite others in and send the message that you value what others think.


When you demonstrate confidence in yourself, and you promote yourself by demonstrating a vested interest in what you are doing.

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Business Change and Transition Specialist,