Archive for April, 2011

Professionalism

April 16, 2011

Last night my husband, Nick, and I went to the Atlanta Opera. Cosi Fan Tutte by Mozart was playing and we are opera fans. In case you didn’t know, there were alerts for storms in the area – and the skies were definately threatening. We met up with some friends, had dinner, and went to our seats at the appointed time. Then the power went out. So, here we are in this huge performing arts center with no lights. Now, let me tell you the place was packed full of people ready to listen to beautful music. In fact, the orchestra was in place and was tuning up for the start of the performance. We, the audience, went completely still and quiet when the lights went out. The emergency lighting came on pretty quickly and the generator kicked in also. Then (and this is the point of my  blog today) after about 25 minutes of wondering what was happening next, would the electricity be restored would we see the show we came to see or would be all be sent home someone in charge of the opera came out on stage. He told us that even though the opera house had only generator power on at the moment people were working to retore the electricity. He also said the singers were in costume and ready, the sets were ready and we would see the show we came to see – just without the dramatic lighting. In otherwords the show would go on. We were thrilled! So, without delay the lights were dimmed, the conductor came out and the show moved forward. We (Nick and I) were very impressed. Under difficult circumstances the opera company put on a wonderful performance – I believe that is professionalism at its best. The saying that goes something like ‘when life hands you lemons make lemonade’ comes to mind. In my business, I never know what situation I might encounter when I go to someone’s house to give them a complimentary consultation. Sometimes it is an easy assessment to do and sometimes not so easy. I have a ‘can do’ attitude and ,clearly, last night the opera company had a ‘can do’ attitude also. They made the most of a less than optimal situation and the show was fantastic.

Small steps toward change

April 4, 2011

Recently I took a class offered by the Institute for Challenging Disorganization titled Kaizen – The Next Step for the Chronically Disorganized Client. It was a fascinating class. Kaizen is a word which comes from two Japanese roots, kai which means change and zen which means good. During this class I learned that when a person is taught how to make small changes toward a stated goal there is a better chance of success. You might wonder why that is true. Let’s think about this. I am going to use the example of a lifestyle change. Let’s say that ‘Joe’ wants to get in better shape. She decides that she needs to lose some weight and become more physically fit. She has been eating mostly fast food and has never been accustomed to  regular exercise at all. The reason that Joe decided to make this change is that she wants to be in better shape for her high school reunion. The first method Joe tries is a crash diet which made her hungry, cranky and generally out of sorts. She also decides she is going to exercise at a local gym everyday. After one week of trying this method Joe has gone off the crash diet – good thing since that is not at all a healthy approach and she stopped exercising after day three because her muscles were so sore. If I apply the Kaizen philosophy to Joe’s situation I think it would look something like this: Joe would sign up to work with a nutritionist. The nutritionist would teach Joe about some healthy foods to begin incorporating into her meal planning. Every time they met the nutritionist would have a few more changes for Joe to make. Joe would feel full, enjoy the meals she is making and weight would come off slowly and steadily. Joe would also sign up to work out with a trainer a few times a week. The trainer would teach Joe some exercises which would make her stronger and tone her muscles. The trainer would also encourage Joe in incorporate other daily exercise into her routine. Things that Joe might enjoy doing with her friends like swimming or walking or biking. The lesson here is that small changes which are not too tough bring results and are easier to maintain.