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    5 Ways Women Business Leaders Can Control Technology Overload

    April 15th, 2013

    Women Business Leaders have two choices when it comes to technology: Control or be controlled.

    I had the luxury of meeting some women business leaders for lunch today to celebrate a birthday.

    A supposedly relaxing two-hour lunch on a patio overlooking the Gulf Coast became a harried flurry of confused energy. Cell phones rang with “urgent” calls, a conference call usurped one of the party attendees during the appetizer and mimosa course.

    Nearly everyone lamented how difficult it was to “get away “ on a Friday afternoon. Now lets face it, we were all disconnected from our desks, but none of us had escaped technology. We have entered the magnificent age of working remotely with the freedom of access, the joy of being any place and working any time. Did I say magnificent?

    As I watched this dysfunctional Coastal luncheon I wondered how to harness technology that has afforded us efficiency but perhaps taken away a sense of freedom.

    We all want to “super serve” our clients and customers but as one diner complained “my client wanted to know why, when he emailed me at 10pm on a Saturday evening, I didn’t call him back” I offer some basic rules on how to remain efficient but take control of technology:

    Be selective

    Don’t get sucked into small tasks; stay on track. Make sure that you are consistently aware of your big picture goals. This will ensure that you are spending your time wisely.

    Schedule time to check email

    Limit the times you check email. Try early, middle and end of day. Use this scheduled time to work without distraction, as the cost of context-switching is huge. While email is an essential and an efficient means of communication, evaluate and prioritize your responses.

    Schedule uninterrupted time to focus on important projects

    Besides getting out of email, it’s important to schedule time on our calendar where we focus on the projects that will bring us the most value. Sometimes that means being very clear to others about what you are and are not going to be paying attention to.

    Integrate mindfulness in the flow of your day

    Take a breather and recharge. The information will be there when you return and you will have built up mechanisms to efficiently shift through the clutter. Learn how to focus on one thing at a time. We can then learn to deal with many demands on our attention. For example, Twitter is a constant stream of information that can be diverting but we pop in and find moments that create meaning that couldn’t exist before.

    Deliberately deal with Social Media Platforms

    As business women leaders, we use compassion in our work. We apply this trait to our team as well as our customers. That same compassion is crucial for our own effectiveness in making a difference. Learn to set limits, develop boundaries and create a healthy balance in the use of technology to create meaning for yourself.

    In summary use technology but don’t let technology abuse you.

    15 Trend Tracking Tips for Women Business Leaders

    February 19th, 2013

    Women business leaders need resources to hone their trend watching skills that will help them keep up with where the market is headed and know where to take your company into the future.

    trendwatching.com, is one of the world’s leading consumer trends firm relying on a global network of hundreds of spotters. They are a great resource for trends and have honed a list of 15 Trend Watching Tips to further develop  your trend watching skills:

    1. Know why you’re tracking trends. Consumer needs remain the same, yet can be unlocked in new ways; these ‘unlockers’ can be anything from changes in societal norms and values, to a breakthrough in technology, to a rise in prosperity.
    2. Don’t get your trends mixed up. Switched-on women business leaders should track at least three trend levels: Macro Trends, Consumer Trends, and Industry Trends.
    3. Know a fad when you see (or smell) one. Fads won’t dramatically change the consumer arena. At most, they’re yet another manifestation of the fact that consumers want to be unique or crave convenience and surprise. The latter are actually trends. The products are fads.
    4. Don’t apply all trends to all people. Remember, in life and in trends: beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
    5. Be (very) curious. Ask yourself why’ whenever you notice something new, instead of immediately looking for shortcomings.
    6. Have a point of view. The more trends you spot and track, and the more skilled you’ll be at putting these trends into context, the more guidance you’ll have. When you have a broad point of view, even tiny observations start to make sense.
    7. Benefit from an unprecedented abundance of resources. Celebrate the incredible wealth of (real-time) trend resources at your fingertips via the Web, music, magazines and other media.
    8. Name your trends. It’s crucial to describe trends as imaginatively as possible so that you can arouse curiosity about the trend, create a common language for the trend and track activity around the trend.
    9. Build your trend framework. Create a “trend framework” by developing a long list of all the trends you’ve spotted over the years. Divide the list by main and sub trends, and track how these trends interact with each other.
    10. Start a trend group (even if it’s just you). Enlist your colleagues, friends, family, customers and suppliers to spot consumer trends.
    11. Secure senior backing or be doomed. Think of ways you can get final decision makers behind you. You can spot and apply trends like there’s no tomorrow, but in the end it won’t matter without their support.
    12. Don’t worry about timing or life cycles or regional suitability or . . . Avoid worrying about all the possible “what ifs” and instead look for opportunities—not threats.
    13. Apply, apply, apply. Ask yourself if the trend you’ve spotted has the potential to: Influence the company’s vision, become a new business concept, add “something” new for a certain customer segment or speak the language of those who are already “living” the trend.
    14. Have some fun! Please, don’t be too earnest about the quest at hand: trend watching is about coming up with exciting new products and services for your customers, nothing more and nothing less.
    15. Let others do some of the work for you. You don’t have time to do it all yourself so let trend professionals do part of the work for you.

    As you utilize these tips to better understand an evaluate consumer trends, there is one more thing you shouldn’t underestimate: your woman’s intuition.

    Women business leaders continually have to make smart choices for both their professional and personal lives. With a level head and sharp focus, we often naturally discern the best option out of group of many. So don’t forget to trust your instincts as you track trends and choose the next direction for your business.

    Click here to read TrendWatch.com’s complete article, 15 TREND TIPS

    5 Ways Women Business Leaders Can Embrace Their Femininity

    July 22nd, 2012

    Women who are running  businesses should detach from feminism and embrace their femininity.

    My daughter started her career in a high stress male dominated industry. We were reflecting on how a woman can succeed in this environment  without becoming masculinised. Women who are running  businesses should detach from feminism and embrace their femininity.

    The truth is that women have been liberated. We no longer need to spend our energies proving that we’re equal. We own our own companies, we assume leadership roles and we don’t have to wear ties to work.

    Here are 5 ways to create this balance while getting respect from both males and females:

    1. Don’t pretend that you’re one of the boys – you’re not. But at the same time don’t play the “us girls” game.  Work at your individuality as a person. Use your unique leadership strengths when dealing with an issue.
    2. You shouldn’t dress provocatively but you also don’t need to wear a burka.  You have a wonderful opportunity to express yourself  and your femininity.  Make sure that you are dignified and professional and let your gender work for you.
    3. It’s OK to talk about kids, make-up and hair but please consider your audience – these discussions may be boring to whomever is listening. Be yourself but remain sensitive to the situation.
    4. Respect both male and female employees. Disparaging remarks about men set a feminist tone and put a line in the sand when there may not have been an issue to begin with.
    5. Watch out for “womens only groups” why would you want to segregate ideas and talent. Position yourself as an entrepreneurial leader rather than a proponent of  “Women rule”

    You have a real advantage as a woman running a business – don’t blow it by  wearing workboots and snarling at men, rather walk around in your stilettos with strength and conviction.