All posts by Nicole North

Should you follow the pack or go rogue?

I’ve been thinking lately about our human tendency to follow the pack and my newfound tendency of “going rogue.” I’m a trusting person and easily influenceable. If you tell me this is the BEST HAND CREAM EVER, I will buy it.  If you tell me you tried a new workout and it was THE HARDEST WORKOUT EVER, I will go and try it tomorrow.  Ask me to smell this milk because it is the MOST EXPIRED MILK EVER, I will get my nose right in there.

So it’s a newfound habit for me to say, “That’s awesome that it is working for you.  Right now I’m doing this, and it is really working for me too. Yay us!”

But Everyone Says So!

People (and probably some science reports too) say that we MUST eat breakfast; doing so helps us consume fewer calories later in the day and maintain a healthy weight and may even improve our concentration and productivity. They also say we shouldn’t weigh ourselves every day because it could case us to become over fixated on what may be natural fluctuations rather than indications of weight gain or loss.

“They” say we shouldn’t look at our phones first thing in the morning – it can distract us from our morning routine and can decrease our productivity by focusing on external priorities rather than our own.

And we mustn’t work out every day, because our bodies won’t have adequate time to recover and we won’t get results.  

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 4.57.45 PM

Don’t get me wrong, I realize there are studies and science  that may back these statements up with statistical significance.  But here’s the thing: all of the “pack ideas” I talked about above don’t work for me.

When I eat breakfast, I’m starving all day and (after testing this theory out by tracking and monitoring the data) I consume more calories than are necessary for me to maintain my weight. So do I keep doing it because everyone else is telling me that is the right thing?

Similarly, weighing myself every day keeps me on top of fluctuations that could otherwise be more dramatic after a week.

And I LOVE working out.  Provided I balance my workouts, it is my stress relief and my time that makes me happy. So why should I be unhappy, provided I am being safe and taking care of my body, when my way works for me?

And finally, if I don’t check my phone before bed AND first thing – guaranteed I will miss a meeting, or miss a cancellation of a meeting and make an unnecessary trip.

Now statistically speaking these “rules” might be great for the majority of people, and the majority of people will see better results following these rules.  But, as we know, there is a great deal of human variation.  I am a sparkly unicorn and I am different.  These rules do not work for me.

The thing is, it’s easy to follow the pack.  It’s part of our human nature.

…social conformity is based on mechanisms that comply with reinforcement learning and is reinforced by the neural error-monitoring activity which signals what is probably the most fundamental social mistake – that of being too different from others

Read more:

Follow The Pack? Or, Go Rogue!

Maybe your competition uses a certain process improvement methodology (like Lean or Six Sigma), or a particular sales tool, or social media strategy and you want to implement it to keep up with the trends. But what if it just doesn’t work for YOU (and your team, and customers, and stakeholders)?

  1.  Does it feel natural to do what the pack is doing?  Sure, good habits take time and consistency, but if the process is so difficult that you can’t get the habit to stick, maybe it isn’t the right strategy for you.
  2.  Have you experienced errors, defects, or problems using the pack’s idea? If you notice missed deadlines, faulty products, decreased employee engagement, or increased customer complaints – maybe you need to re-examine your plan.
  3.  Have you tried and tested any other options? If you haven’t tested and tried out alternatives, how do you know that this is the best for you?  How can you make a decision with out data – numbers or experience? Reflect on the past – was there a time that you were doing really well?  What were you doing?  Should you align with the pack, or “go rogue”.

Let us know how you follow the pack or go rogue @whiteboardcons #gorogue or #followthepack!

Until Next Time,


3 Steps to take before you quit your job

It happens so suddenly.  Things seem to be chugging along and one afternoon you come to the drastic realization: “I want to quit my job”.   It may have been percolating for some time. Anger and resentment like to age like a fine wine (mmm wine. Is it Friday yet?).   Maybe something specific has triggered your sudden need for change. Perhaps you’ve had a sudden leadership shuffle or organizational realignment that just turned your work-life upside down. Either way, something has to change and you’re going with the all -or-nothing approach. You want to quit your job.

Okay, sit back and breathe.  This has happened to all of us.  The following 3 steps ensure that you are making the right move, and if the move is real – how to make sure you are prime interview material.

3 Steps to Take Before You Quit Your Job

Assess. Correct. Act.

1) Assess

First things first.  Let’s do some root cause analysis.  Some questions to ask yourself:

  • What do you love about your job?
  • What are you really good at?pablo
  • What could you be better at?
  • What makes you think you should be better at them?
  • What do you dislike about your job?
  • Which one in particular (there may be many, try to pick the one with the biggest impact) would you say is making you want to leave?
  • Why [insert answer to your last question here]? i.e. Why do you think your boss doesn’t know how to lead?
  • Why [insert answer to the last question here]? i.e. Why do you think your boss has no desire to help you to succeed?
  • Why….[you get the picture right]? i.e. Why do you think your boss dislikes you as a human?
  • What evidence do you have to support your beliefs/observations?
  • Is it possible these are assumptions?
  • Where do you want to go?
  • Why do you think it will be better?
  • What evidence do you have that supports that?
  • Is there a person/place/resource that you could use to determine if another agency/consulting firm/hospital etc. will be better?

*Note: This line of questioning will hopefully have you saying things like “Well, I just assume s/he dislikes me because x,y,z, but I don’t know this for a fact.”

2) Correct

Now, finding a job can take a while.  So maybe there are some opportunities in that big list above to make some course corrections.  Make things better.  Maybe they get so great you don’t need to leave, or maybe they just become more tolerable while you are on the hunt for that new dream job.

  • What can YOU change about your behaviours/habits/style that could help?
  • What skills/experiences do you need to develop to make the transition?
  • What tools, resources, people (mentors, colleagues etc.) do you have to help you make changes/get experience and skills?
  • What changes would help that YOU have influence over?
  • What things do you think can OTHERS change?  Are you willing to have a conversation with them about it/work together to solve it?
  • What things aren’t going to change/things you don’t have control or influence over (i.e. policies, organizational structure) ?  Can you come to terms with that staying the same during your transition?
  • What things might get in the way?

3) Act

Now do the things.   Make the changes.  Use your influence, tools, resources, and people to help you get what you need. Make the best of the situation.  Now is a great time to “SHINE”.  This will serve a couple of purposes: work will be more bearable, you will have overall better days that make you happier, you will be more confident, and you’ll have people who are willing to give great references. You may love it so much, you decide to stay.

Have you had the sudden urge to leave? Did you act on it? Did you use some of these steps? How did it turn out? What would you have done differently? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below or on Twitter @whiteboardcons #iquit.

Until next time!



Public Speaking Tips for people who’d rather die than speak in front of a group.

Which scenario describes you best 1 minute before a presentation?

1) Heart racing.  Nervous, but antsy.  Alert.  Reviewing your notes for the umpteenth time. Worried you might forget something, but slough it off – they won’t know what they missed if you forget something.  You rock at winging it!  Step in to the room, find your light (or the nearest fluorescent fixture) and go! Clear loud voice, moving, engaging the audience.  See someone looking a bit bored, but immediately assume they are clinically insane because this presentation is AMAHZING. Redirect attention to the 9 people smiling and vigorously nodding. Become more alive and energized with every nod. Eliciting laughter and interaction. Cut to end of presentation. Fist-pump.  Nailed it.

Or does this sound more accurate?

download2) Heart racing.  Cold sweat. Also feel oddly hot.  Face is bright red, as is neck, chest, and….can’t look any further down.  Read notes again – DON’T FORGET to use the word gargantuan in the 3rd sentence you have planned for the 3rd slide.  It is the only word that is important and if you forget it, the whole presentation is ruined. ARE THOSE PIT STAINS? OMG.  This is going to be the worst. They are going to think I am stupid. I hate this. I’m the worst at this.  I’d rather be in a coffin right now.

Public Speaking is my worst enemy.

Anything sound familiar? If you said #1, thanks for stopping by. You are like me and totally get your jollies from presenting.  Share this with people who don’t get how you do it. Bye Felicia.

If you said 2, you are the MAJORITY.  75% of people have glossophobia.

3 Public Speaking Tips

1. Look for your person. There is always one person nodding and smiling and totally eating up everything you are saying.  Either they come naturally, or you plant them in the front row.  I’ve found that there is always one empathetic soul who “feels” your presentation pain, and does everything possible with their face to make you feel comfortable.  Look at them, trust that you are doing ok.

2. Recognize people intake information differently. The fact of the matter though, is that not everyone nods and smiles and looks so excited every time you speak.  Others take in information differently, they are seeking details, or are analyzing information. Their facial expression ranges from quizzical to what appears to be downright offended at what you are saying.  Look away and find #1.  Calm down.  Now – are you speaking with enough detail? Too much detail? Too high level? Not high level enough? Take stock of those furrowed brows, and make some adjustments – even better – call it out. “I see some quizzical faces out there – how can I help?”

3. The triangle of power. If you are one to get shaky hands, or in your aatrumphitler_thumbexcitement flail your arms around more than a bird in flight – this trick is for you. Activating pressure points while also giving your hands something to do.

Even the most confident and authoritative speakers use it. Not that I want you to harness the energy of these two.

We’d love to hear your public speaking nightmares and successes @whiteboardconsulting on Twitter.

Until next time,





3 Questions to ask your potential new boss to avoid a toxic workplace.

Why oh why did I take this job?

You spent days perfecting your resume.  Days finding the right salutation for your cover letter.  Weeks ruining your manicure fretting about the interview process.  And if you happen to work in the public sector, you’ve spent hours rehearsing your presentation assignment with anyone who will listen.

All that hard work, and the phone finally rings – “We’d like to offer you the job!” download

Fast forward 2 goodbye cake parties, 12 transition meetings, and 17 emails about how lucky you are to “get out of here”.  You’ve got your big girl/boy suit on and it is week 3 of your new job.

You said the biggest challenge was going to be what?

You thought you did the right thing! You asked the golden end-of-interview question:

“What will be the biggest challenge you foresee for the winning candidate in this new role?”

This is a great question.  But they didn’t tell you that the office is the perfect example of a toxic workplace! You are dissapointed, demotivated, and think you may have made the worst decision ever!

Don’t get me wrong,  “a challenge” from one individual to another has a great deal of variability. For one it might be subject matter expertise, for another it is senior management support. Managers looking for a team member aren’t going to say things like:

  • The culture is super toxic, have fun!
  • I’m a really great operational manger, but I suck at leadership (oh and I hate team meetings FYI).
  • Your team is the worst performing team in our entire company.
  • My boss is even worse than I am.

3 Questions to ask your potential new boss (BEFORE you say YES!)

You might feelimages awkward asking these questions.  I guarantee that this moment of mild awkwardness is FAR less painful than arriving at TWCC (Toxic Workplace Culture Central). Read more on the signs of a toxic workplace culture here.

  1. How would you describe the culture of the organization? This is a great open-ended question that’s pretty hard to hide behind. If you have an honest hiring manager, they will be clear about the challenges and opportunities.  Be ready with some probing questions to help you out in case you get some tight lipped answers (i.e. You say “Great”, tell me more? How would employees describe the culture? How would another team describe the culture?).  I would be delighted with answers like: our branch does a bi-annual team building event offsite, we have a running club, we have a lunchtime yoga session that more than half of the team participates in etc.
  2. Can you tell me about the history of the team that I’ll be working with? Ooh.  This question is more loaded than a baked potato. Here’s where you can find out things like how new (or how established) your team is.  Perhaps you do some diagnosis on their stage of team development, or how you might apply the situational leadership model.  You can start to understand how resilient the team might be to change (based on their recent history with change).
  3. What kinds of systems/processes are currently in place in the organization to support open and transparent communication and team building? What I would want to hear in this answer are things like: we have weekly 1:1 coaching sessions with our team, we have a very rigorous performance review process, we believe strongly in training, coaching, and having difficult conversations…

Remember, the hiring panel is not only interviewing you, but you are interviewing them – to see if this job, culture, and environment is a great fit for you.  Otherwise, on to the next opportunity!

Now what if you’ve got the job and you’ve got the toxic culture blues? Not to worry, stay tuned and next time I’ll share the top 3 tips to dramatically improve your culture (even if you aren’t a manager)!

Until Next Time,


P.S.  Looking for a new role?  Ruth is offering 3 coaching sessions to a select few volunteers, snag this $500 value before spots are gone! 

How to get that one task FINALLY done!

Procrastinating sucks for everyone

You’ve got one.  Your spouse has one.  Heck, despite Ruth’s diligence for to-do list’s – I think even she has one.

That one task on your  list that you just never do.

For a while you move it to the next day’s To-Do list.  But eventually you just take it off of the list.  Why? Maybe you’ve convinced tumblr_mzzztwwCmJ1qg0vpco1_1280yourself you’ll never get it done?  Maybe the shame of not completing it every day is making you crazy. Are you scared of the outcome? Do you just hate the task? Is it going to take too long? You have terrible time-management skills? Whatever it is, it’s not a good feeling.

For me, it happened when Ruth and I had made a sales target.  And one of my lead measures (if you don’t know what those are, click here) was to do some warm market networking. There was one particular individual whom I had met 4 years ago on vacation, that I wanted to talk to about our coaching course and some process improvement and other things.  And for 1 WHOLE year it was on my list.

A colleague of mine who does Sales training asked if she could connect me with anyone, and we realized we had this mutual contact, and even then I just wouldn’t let it happen. I know that sounds weird.  But I just didn’t follow up on it.  I didn’t know why at the time, I just didn’t. *


So I had the opportunity to become a certified coach this past weekend.  I thought the course was interesting, applicable to a bunch of different types of coaching, and the teacher was fabulous (click here to find out more)!

To be completely honest, it took me a little out of my comfort zone, the methodology was different, the tools were new to me – however- I was willing to try. So, be open to getting your task done and let me know if it works! It requires a little bit of imagination!

4 Steps to Getting UNSTUCK

1. Write down your goal

  • call the contact by Mar 29, 2016,
  • plan the event by April 6, 2016,
  • start the business plan by April 25, 2016,
  • get a website, draft an e-book….whatever you get the point. Just be sure to put a specific date on it: What day in March?

2. Fast forward to your goal date. Imagine you achieved that goal. Write down three obstacles that(might have) got in your way.

  • time,
  • fear of making the call, fear of not getting called back, fear of someone thinking I was being “sales-ey”.
  • wanting to get it “perfect” etc.

3. What solutions did you employ to remove the obstacle?

  • I blocked time in my calendar,
  • I got some extra coaching to prepare for the call,
  • I got an accountability partner to help keep me on track,
  • I used a panel of advisors to make sure I got it right….etc

4. How do you feel now that you did it?

  • Great!
  • It’s finally off my list!
  • Awesome, the client signed with me, I feel successful!
  • people love it, I feel accomplished!
  • we had 98% attendance at the event, I feel so proud!

5.  What do you know now that you’ve achieved the goal, that you didn’t know then?

  • I can absolutely do this.
  • I’m so glad I did this now, the timing was PERFECT.
  • It’s not that hard/time consuming.
  • If I put my mind to something I can totally do it.
  • If I have someone keeping me accountable I can get it done.
  • Great things come from biting the bullet and just doing it!

How does that feel?

Different? Are you motivated in a different way? I was. Let me now how it goes for you @whiteboardcons #getunstuck.

*Note: Guess who was sitting next to me when I sat down at the coaching course?  That one contact I was supposed to call.  Coincidence? Stars aligning? Who knows.

Until Next Time,


The Worst Advice We’ve Ever Heard About Process

Glazed & Confused

When Ruth and I talk about what we do (in case you are new, teaching and facilitating teams undergoing change, specifically using process improvement tools), we tend to get one of three responses:


Glazed & Confused.

1.  A glazed over and confused look, followed by “That’s nice!”.

2.  I love process!!!! [Insert riveting story about how they have improved their processes]. I/We/I know someone who SO needs you guys. [insert dorky six sigma and lean lingo here]

*Note #2 is our favourite client! Or, our personal favourite…

3. Oh ew. I hate process.

Ruth and I, being the masters of the open-ended question, usually follow up #3 with, “Oh really? Tell me more about that!”.  The responses are varied, ranging from having a poor experience to just plain weird.

Top 3 reasons people THINK they don’t like process.

  1. Process is too bureaucratic, we need to be CREATIVE.  Ok. I know
    images (1)

    Process Kitty

    at first glance, processes seem to lock you in to a singular way of doing things.  In reality, by preventing yourself (or your team, or clients) from re-inventing the wheel for every simple task, you can focus your time and effort on the value add parts, and that’s where you can be creative.  Also, mapping a process isn’t something that is carved in stone?  Great process improvements have a strategy built in to monitor, assess, and update on a regular basis -there’s always room to be flexible.

  2. Oh, that’s for big companies, not an solo-preneur like me. Process is best described as how you do what you do. Even if you are a sole proprietor, you at some point have to interact with someone else in your organization or the client themselves to deliver your product or service. Do you consistently get what you need, when you need it, in the form and format you need it, from your client? Unless one or both of you are clairvoyant, there must be some “conscious intervention”, and that conscious intervention is process.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  It’s a process, it’s a process, it’s a process!! Everything is a process, and if you want to grow your business, take on more clients, and surprise and delight your clients, be efficient, and effective – you need to look at how you do what you do. With a critical eye.
  3. Process stuff is super expensive, I couldn’t afford it. Okay, this one isn’t weird. It can be true.  The big guys charge big per-diems to come in, ask alot of questions about a business they aren’t familiar with, and then send you home with some binders and reports full of charts and diagrams and arrows.  What if you could learn the basics of process improvement, pair it with your expertise, and make real dramatic change?

Unglaze your face.

The secret is out.  Process isn’t that hard.  GASP.  It’s quite simple really.  A few tools from the bible of process improvement (Lean Six Sigma), some post it notes, and a marker – and I think you can already start to make some change.

My gift to you is an old blog that will get you started, and then if you want to know more, see how we can teach your teams to THINK LIKE CONSULTANTS.  Save money, be amazing, all that jazz.

Let us know how it goes @whiteboardcons #processisntthathard.

Until Next Time,


How to use process tools for anything. Even moving!

Moving is a Process.

Think of your last move. You and your spouse/partner giggling hysterically while you pack boxes.  Flirtatiously throwing bubble wrap at one another while you pack? Then after a smooth experience with your moving company, arriving at your new home, giddy with excitement, settling into at least 10 glasses of champagne next to a cozy fire.

If you just snorted or guffawed- you aren’t alone.

What does a living hell look like?download

The first thing I did when we bought our new house was open a bottle of wine (it wasn’t going to open itself was it?).  Then, being the process geek I am, I began to map the current state of moving that I had experienced in the past. I won’t bore you with the VISIO document. But it sort of went something like this:

Step 1. Buy House

Step 2. Start Packing random stuff.

Step 3. Stop packing for a while because have run out of Cardboard Boxes (so has nearby grocery store).

Step 4. Unpack most of things packed in Step 2 because I needed them.

Step 5.  Nearly murder partner/spouse because they have to date packed nothing.

Step 6.  Pack frantically and angrily for a number of days.

Step 7.  Stop packing.  Realize move is still 3 months away.

Step 8. Unpack 90% of Step 6 items while looking for yoga mat that have not used in 3 years but need for “Girls Yoga/Brunch” on Sunday.

Step 9.  Realized have not booked movers.  Panic.  Call first movers that appear on The Google after searching “Movers Toronto”.

Step 10. Begin frantically packing again. Rip 7 boxes because I overpack them and everything falls through the bottom.

Step 11. Stop packing because it is Les Mills Release week and I have to go to every gym class ever.

Step 12. Begin frantically packing.

Step 13. Cancel girls indoor rock climbing date because “I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE THE #&$^#% MY ROCK CLIMBING SHOES ARE.

Step 14-18.  Slight wine induced blur of packing, crying, fighting with spouse irrationally, and scramble packing.

Step 19. ARRIVE AT NEW HOUSE!! Look lovingly at spouse/partner and sip champagne for about 13 seconds.  Immediately proceed to next step.

Step 20. Unpack frantically trying to get house ready for guests.

Step 21. Repack 70% of items as realize new house does not have closet space.

Step 22. Frantically look for that black top for girls wine night. WHERE THE &#&^#^#^#^ is that TOP?????

Step 23. 6 months later feel settled and have shit together.

So pain. So pain.

So this time, older, wiser, armed with process tools out the wazoo I vowed that this time my move would be better.  So first I focused on what I felt were the key pain points  (or for us process geeks, two Lean Wastes) for me during this process:


  • not being able to find one blasted thing before or after the move, causing packing and unpacking again (OVERPROCESSING)
  • running out of  boxes/ripping boxes due to overpacking and having dead time where I wasn’t doing anything. (INVENTORY/WAITING)

The first thing I did being the consultant I am – I outsourced.  I rented reusable, stackable boxes that come with little labels  from (no kickbacks or anything for me, I just found these guys awesome and fast). No running out of boxes. Check!

The next thing I did, was made some space in my garage, and I used huge post-it notes to label each major room in the house (Kitchen, Living Room, Master Bedroom, Master Bathroom etc.)

Next I started packing things that 100% would not be required (i.e. Summer clothes, clothes that no longer fit me yet I am very hopeful that one day I will look like I did when I was 22, shoes that I paid alot of money for however never wear because I work from home in workout wear 98% of the time).

I packed one to two boxes a day.  Every day I brought them down to the garage, put them beneath the room they were assigned to, and labelled the box K1 = Kitchen box 1.  I then quickly wrote on the post it note on the wall, K1= dehydrator, stand mixer, and baking supplies. This way – when I nonsensically needed to make jerky in a hurry or bake homemade bread for the first time before we moved, it would be simple to find which box it was in.

Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams.


Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 3.03.53 PM

Fast Forward 3 months later this was me on moving day.  Ha. It was great.  The easiest move ever. Check me out with my feet up on moving day!

And then when we arrived at the new house and got ourselves settledd my husband turned to me and said – “Sweetheart, do you know which box the Apple tv is in?”. I gleefully pulled out the post-it notes I had collected from the garage, and promptly announced: “LR11!!” with a huge boastful/gloaty smile.  He replied: “Gosh you are an amazing woman!”.  We quickly connected to the internet (that I had arranged installation for weeks in advance)and were cozily catching up on our favourite documentary. *

We laughed and giggled, clinked our champagne glasses together, and smiled.  Life was good. **


*I forgot to to order internet installation. So we didn’t have internet for about 3 days.  I’m the worst.


**Actually, I collected the post it notes from the garage and randomly jammed them into an ottoman as the movers were putting it into the truck.  I didn’t find the post-it notes until 3 days later.  When husband asked for them and I couldn’t find them he may have replied something along the lines of:  “You are a total bozo.”

Moral being – there is ALWAYS room for more process improvement – in ANY process.  Just imagine using this in a more formal way at the office and you can only imagine the reduction in stress, overtime, and rework!

Tell us about your favourite day-to-day process improvements especially moving @Whiteboardcons #movingisaprocess!

Until next time,


Sames, Woes, & Whoas: Building Relationships

Happy Friday everyone.  During our course, “Can I Tell You Something?” last week we talked about networking and building rapport with others. One tool that we taught was creating sameness.  Namely, if we can find the things that are the same about us and the person we are interacting with, we will likely build rapport.  Sameness can be attire, vocal tone, posture, gesture, speed of speech, volume of speech, shared experience, you name it.  WE also talked about how different people interact, and one way that I’ve seen many women interact (and I’ve done it myself), is the “I love your ______, where did you get it?”. I know.  So basic. So uninspiring.  But I cannot tell you how many relatimages (3)ionships (superficial and deep) have been formed through this very sentence.

Earlier this week, I ran into a friend and we had lunch together, and we started talking about this very same topic.  She, very eloquently said that many people like to connect through “woes”.  Either you are commiserating about the terrible networking event you just went to, or lamenting about how your husband/spouse/spousal equivalent ALSO leaves dishes all over the kitchen.  And as she was so eloquently describing this, my mind wandered a bit, and I started to think about how interesting this friend of mine was, and how I appreciated her ability to talk about these ideas in such a holistic way.  And I started to appreciate what characteristics and traits she had, that I didn’t.  And I just keptimages (2) thinking how amazing that was. WHOA.

And then we had a 2 glasses of wine induced epiphany (okay it was 1.5 glasses, but who’s counting).  The final, and most advanced mechanism for going beyond “sameness” and “woes” in a relationship -was “WHOAS”.  That moment where you recognize the person you are engaging with is not only similar to you in many ways, but also very different. And you say “Whoa. You are incredible”.  And to move even beyond that, you are amazed at this difference and appreciate it. Whoa.

That’s what we said.

3 Steps to Building Relationships

  1. Establish rapport through sameness.  Match postures, gestures, speed, vocal tone, and volume with the person you want to connect with.  Use open ended questions (ones that end in something other than yes or no) to discover things about the person that you may be able to establish a greater degree of sameness.
  2. Some of the sameness established above, may turn into a bit of kvetching about a shared crappy experience. Share and understand each others WOES. This is okay.  Don’t let this become the centre of the conversation, but use it to leap into step 3.
  3. Whoa.  Discover now what is unique and amazing about that person.  The key here is to celebrate it.  There is a gap between your “sames” and your whoas. And that gap and understanding of that gap is where a true relationship flourishes.

I’ll let you take this little piece of genius with you today. Tell us what you find out about yourself and your relationships @whiteboardcons #sameswoeswhoas.


Until next time,


The power of saying YES!

Why so much “NO”?

Happy Freezing Friday.  This morning I am cuddled under a number of blankets and nursing ANOTHER cold.  images

This week Ruth and I were ruminating (#GoodWord) on why people find it so easy to say no. I was dealing with  a vendor and in addition to there being some huge gaps in the teams’ understanding of their roles and responsibilities, there was an awful lot of no-ing going on.   I heard these among others:

  • No, I can’t help you with that, you’ll have to call xyz….
  • No, we don’t do that, sorry.
  • No, sorry our system can’t do that.
  • No, sorry, I can’t do that.
  • No, you should have done xyz…

images (2) The list is endless.  In a business world driven on customer satisfaction, why are there so many people saying no to their customers all the time? It almost seems that we are predisposed to say no first!  No is easy. it’s fast It takes less work. It defers responsibility to someone else. It is less work. I’m not suggesting that business/individuals do things beyond their offerings or to risk their profitability.  I am talking about using language that is more helpful to your customer, and one that creates OPPORTUNITY.  Opportunity for future purchases, opportunity to build a reputation of strong customer service, and opportunity to continuously improve every day! I love the context of saying yes to the person and no to the task (read more here).  

How to say “Yes!”

  • That isn’t my area, however, I will contact xyz for you and have them call you back.
  • We don’t offer that exact service, but we offer something similar.  If this still doesn’t work I can refer you to xyz who does!
  • Our system doesn’t have that particular functionality, unfortunately.  Let me see how I can do that in a different way.
  • Our policies and procedures (attached here) don’t permit me to do that.  I understand you are frustrated, I can’t promise anything, but let me make a few calls and see if I can help make this right.
  • Next time might I recommend doing this, let me help you out in the meantime.

I like Peter Shankman’s idea here, to challenge yourself to say yes to three things this week.  See what opportunity comes of it! Let us know @whiteboardcons #justsayyes!

Until next time,



How much is this task worth? Efficient Time Management Using Data.

*Update: Remember that blog where I said Ruth and I were going to stay accountable for doing the blog.  This is me doing the blog.  Late.  To note, Ruth didn’t say “That’s OK!”.  She said something to the effect of, “So when will you be posting the blog”. Super effective from an accountability perspective. Thus, why I am posting this blog on Tuesday. *

What’s happening over at Whiteboard?  Lot’s of things.  We’re meeting up with clients old  and new, and are super excited about all of the great process work, leadership work, and culture development we get to do with our clients this year.

So this new year has everyone setting goals, emptying their email inboxes, finding new and better ways of doing things. We are all bombarded with so many tasks to do , how do we actually know which ones are the RIGHT ones to be spending time on?

The steps below outline a process that you can use to identify your tasks, identify what they are worth, analyze the data, and then start booking your calendar in such a way that you can maximize the work you do to benefit you and your organization.

Step 1: Brainstorm all of your activities.IMG_0463

What are the primary activities you do in your business; emails, phone calls, actual “work”, social media, presentations, workshops?  Write them all down (or use excel if you are of that ilk.)

Step 2: Assign value to each of them.

This can get tricky, the key is to make your best guess.  Some items might not have a dollar attachment to them, and others you might need to do a little work for. I’ll take you through some of my examples:

Networking events: Last year I went to 27 networking events, and through those events (so far), We have approximately $10,000 worth of business.

1:1 Meetings: Last year I did approximately 100 1:1 meetings, and they yielded about $5,000 in revenue.

Get the point? It’s not a science, but you should start to see some patterns.

Step 3: Analyze the data

So you might start to see some patterns, like the 27 hours you spend on Social Media each week haven’t yet yielded you a client.  That doesn’t mean you should stop doing social media, it is an important part of your business – rather, you could probably spend 10 hours and get the same benefit, and donate some additional time to Networking events, which seem to contribute to your sales pipeline.

Step 4: Book your Calendar!

Now, book your calendar with the activities that generate VALUE, and slot in the time to take care of all of those day-to-day tasks and emails that may not add direct value, but are a necessary evil!

Have a great, productive, efficient, and VALUABLE week!

Until Next Time,


P.S. Like my doodle? Check out Carolyn Ellis at Brilliance Mastery! She taught Ruth and I how to doodle and we’re hooked.  Be prepared for many doodles to come!