Helping individuals and organizations discover their
 potential and grow into it!


Check out our events page to download free tele-seminar recordings!

Recommended Reading:

- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

-The 8th Habit by Stephen R. Covey

-Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie

-Principle Centered Leadership by Stephen R. Covey

-Working With Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

-Primal Leadership by Daniel Golem,an, Richard Byatziz & Annie McKee

-Good to Great by James Collins

Check out our discount offer for group training on our events and recordings page!

Quick Marketing Tip

Use the 7-3-3 formula to insure that your prospects keep you at the top of their mind.  Here's how it works:

7 Contacts in 3 Months using 3 different Media, i.e. phone, e-mail, traditional mail.  Making yourself memorable is very important.  Consistent contact and repetition are your tools to do that.

Everything is Created Twice:
The Importance of Vision

 By Carol Kerr


Everything is created twice:  First in thought, then in form.  It is the thought--the vision-- that shapes the ultimate manifestation.  It is also that thought--when kept alive and clear-- that propels the success of high achievers.

Have you heard of Florence Chadwick? She was the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions.  Florence describes visualizing completing the seemingly impossible task.  It was the power of her vision that sustained her through the grueling preparation and the great swim.  Having conquered the channel, she set a new goal--to swim from the coast of California to Catalina Island--a 26 mile swim!   After months of physical preparation and mental visioning, Florence set out with her coach and her mother in the boat beside her.


It was a foggy day for the cold Pacific Ocean swim, and about half way there she almost gave up.  But her coach told her what she could not see--that her stroke was strong, her reserves not yet tapped.  Florence called up her mental vision of reaching the shore of Catalina Island. She pushed on, battling waves and fog for another twelve miles. Exhausted and engulfed in the fog, she could still not see Catalina Island, so she climbed into the boat.  Just as she did, the fog lifted: There, just a half mile ahead, was Catalina Island. "If only I could have seen it, I could have made it," she exclaimed.

From Florence's example, w
e see that vision not only sets direction--it creates and sustains motivation.  Once lost, both drive and direction are fragmented, and one-time goals may be lost to a sense of defeat. In business, it has long been recognized that the clear vision of a leader is what unifies stakeholders and forms the attitudes necessary for successfully completing any project.   The most successful companies and teams are lead by visionaries who are able to articulate their vision in a way that enrolls and excites others to commit to its achievement.  The most successful individuals are visionaries for themselves, their families, their communities, and their teams!

Anyone in a position of leadership--managers, supervisors, team leaders, parents, entrepreneurs and people dedicated to their own self development--can use the power of vision to manifest great results.  Here are five mandates for instilling and maintaining vision in yourself and others:

Know your values and the shared values of those you lead
Know what you want to achieve, and create a vision that is consistent with values
Invite key stakeholders to help craft a powerful vision statement
Paint word pictures of the future state and bring them into the present tense
Share the vision with passion and commitment as often as possible

As coaches we often work with people (or teams) whose vision is literally fogged over by their competing roles and priorities. They feel pressure to succeed in their families, their jobs, and even their hobbies.  With all those pulls, it can be difficult to sort out what they really want and how to get it. However, without a clear vision, they are stuck in a fog of competing or unclear priorities.


Our Company mission is to help organizations and individuals discover their potential and grow into it.  Both individuals and teams are often steeped in the fog of old habits and limiting beliefs.  Unleashing potential requires a powerful vision of what is possible. Like Florence Chadwick, we need to be able to see where we are going and to believe that we can get there. In companies we need to be supported by leaders who keep the vision crystal clear.  If we are self-managers, we need to create systems that encourage and support us through the fog.

How about you?  Do you have a vision of your desired future?  Are you absolutely clear about what you want to achieve in 2010?  If you lead a team or a company, have you painted the vision so clearly for your colleagues that everyone is aligned and moving deliberately toward common goals?

As we start a new year, it is important to assess and where we are headed both personally and professionally. Goal achievers have a system that supports them in getting where they want to go:

1. Create goals based on things you feel passionate about
2. Write your goals down
3. Do the SMART goal check:  Is each goal
Relevant to your life or business mission
Time Bound 

4.  Believe that you can achieve:  Visualize achieving your goal to the extent that you can literally feel the satisfaction or excitement of achievement. (Picture a coach prepping his team for the glory of the win and be your own coach!)
5. Identify clear action steps that will move you toward your goal. Write them down and share them with all stakeholders.
6.  Get buy-in from anyone who needs to support you in achieving the goals.  You may want to find a coach to hold you accountable to your action plan.
7.  Revisit you goal list frequently: celebrate and even reward completion of significant action steps, and visualize both accomplishing the goal and accomplishing your next steps toward goal achievement.
8.  Keep a record of goals achieved.  Revisit this list when you feel frustrated, and celebrate past success to reinforce for yourself and others that you really are a goal achiever.
9. If your progress is slow, remember that timelines to success can be changed without ever diminishing your goal.
 Once you are crystal clear, you need to find ways to hold yourself accountable. Whether clarifying your vision, setting goals, developing an action plan, or holding yourself accountable, you may need a partner to help you keep moving forward.


If you would like to receive a free workbook that will walk you through a visioning process, please call me at 410-349-1998 or e-mail carolkerr@www.futurefocuscoaching.com.


Happy New Year--May all your "Visions" come true!

Engaging Employees When the Paycheck Isn't Enough

By Carol Kerr

Lately we hear a lot about employee engagement--or the lack thereof.  As a coach and corporate trainer, I often work with managers who are frustrated with employees who have little interest in their work.  These people are hard to motivate, and sometimes create a "wet blanket" effect on the work environment.   Managers ask:  "How can I help my employees feel more engaged in their work and more fulfilled by what they do?"  

In is book, Liberating the Corporate Soul, Richard Barrett writes,
"The fundamental challenge facing business leaders is to create a corporate culture that supports and encourages all employees to tap into their deepest levels of productivity and creativity by finding personal fulfillment through their work.  People are clamoring to work for organizations that care for them as a whole person and allow them to bring their highest values to work."  

Barrett sums up the need quite well. We hear more and more that working for a paycheck just is not enough.  The challenge facing managers is to help people in their organizations value their work and to value the people they work with.

In reality, what usually happens when the symptoms of employee disinterest-- tardiness, lethargy, boredom, absenteeism and negativity--begin to emerge is that we employ the quick fix method, addressing the symptoms rather than the real problems.   Typically managers attempt to praise or reprimand these symptoms away. At best this may result in a few days or weeks of improved performance. 

Albert Einstein said "You can't solve a problem at the level at which it occurs." In dealing with employees that is always true:  To create lasting changes in behavior, a change in attitude must occur, and that requires a change in beliefs.  So how do you accomplish that?  There are two keys--belief based reinforcement and collaborative introspection:

Belief Based Reinforcement
A common human need is to be valued and appreciated by others.
We all know that appropriate reinforcement is fundamental to developing our employees.  We learned that in management 101.  What we may not have learned is that the way we positively reinforce behavior may mean saying more than the occasional "Good job!" and that negative reinforcement can actually be positive! 

Consider the difference between these two statements:
1. Nice job today.
2. You did an excellent job of explaining a complex concept to the staff.  You obviously have developed a deep understanding of the material, and that adds great value to what we do here.  I really appreciate the quality of your work.
Or between these two:
1. You have been late 3 times this month.  I will have to write you up next time.
2. I have noticed that you have been late 3 times this month.  Is there a situation that I should know about that is preventing you from coming in on time?  I would like to help you work through any issues because your presence is important here.
When we seek to improve behavior we must go below the behavior to the beliefs the employee holds about themselves and their job. So as a manager, I encourage you to put some belief "meat" in your praise and criticism.  

 Collaborative Introspection:
Introspection is essential to realigning beliefs.  Collaborative introspection is based on asking questions that help your employees discover their own solutions. Basically these are "good" coaching questions.  What are "good" questions?  Consider the following criteria:
-Open ended, leaving control of the scope of the answer with the receiver.
-Curious in tone, not containing value judgments.
-Employee focused (based on their needs and interests, not the company's)
-Present and future focused.

 Twelve powerful questions to ask your employees: 
    1. Why did you choose this line of work?
    2. Has anything changed that makes it less satisfying than you thought it would be?
    3. Tell me more about that.
    4. What about your job makes you want to get up and come to work in the morning?
    5. What makes you want to go back to sleep?
    6. If you suddenly inherited a million dollars and left this job, what would you miss the most?
    7. What is one thing that if it changed in your current role, would make you want to leave this job?
    8. If you could have any job here, what would it be?
    9. Which of your natural talents--ones that may show up in your hobbies or in other work you have done--are not being used in your current role?
    10. If you had a magic wand, what would you change in this department?
    11. What would you like to be doing 5 years from now?
    12. If you were me, and your clone was doing the job you have now, what changes would you make to make the work more satisfying.
 As you read the questions, you noticed the underlying intent:  To help both you and your employee more clearly understand his or her interests (not just current skills) and best fit within the organization. Nothing improves results more than aligning talent and interest with work. A tangential benefit of these types of questions is that they communicate interest in the employee, much as belief-based reinforcement does.   Your follow through is to do what you can to best utilize each individual's talents and give them as much "satisfying" work as possible.

For Louis, an IT manager whom I coached, learning and applying the question principle cut 16 weeks off his major project timeline and transformed his relationship with his employees from detached and strained into mutually respectful and committed.  This happened because the employees felt heard and valued; and based on what he learned, Louis was able to rearrange tasks to better align with individual skills and interests.  

 Now it is up to you.  Start with just one or two employees and practice the skills of belief based reinforcement and collaborative introspection.  If you need some help developing the skills, individual coaching or coach training will help you master the power of questioning skills.
The Empolyee Engagement PowerPoint handout from the Hunt Valley Business Forum meeting is posted on our events and recordings page.