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Five Reasons Why Your Company Should Start A Book Club

A book club in a big company can be a great way to engage, connect, and deepen trust within your team or across departments. Having a book club is a chance to create intelligent and purposeful interactions, create new partnerships, share opinions, and improve overall communication by everyone involved. The book may be a topic to challenge, to connect, or to engage the group and it may or may not be one of choice. A book club forces members to reflect and interact in a different way. Learning another person’s background and opinions and allow them to share their point of view, open to different perspectives, and to trust and care for co-workers in a new way. It gives each person to be expressive with no hierarchy or agenda.

Here are five reasons to why your company should start a book club.

1. Connect Co-Workers

You know the views and opinions of your best friends, but rarely do you get the opportunity to have more intimate and authentic discussions like this with your co-workers. Perhaps, those on different floors have only shared the elevator or passed in walking through a floor other than their own. Yet there are interactions across departments in various forms. Gaining valuable perspectives from the diverse team of people you work with will create a greater connection to those people, greater respect, increase the level of trust and create a higher level of sensitivity while working with one another. Co-workers that like one another, work more effectively and efficiently together.

According to Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers: The Story of Success , people who live the longest result not from healthy living but from a sense of belonging. He studied a town in Roseto, Pa, a town entirely made up of citizens who came from the village of Roseto Valfortore in Italy. The study showed that the people had a feeling of trust and security among Rosetans because the people of the town always had someone they knew and who knew them to turn to for support. They concluded that the extraordinary health of this unique population could only be explained in terms of “extended family” and “community.”

Greater connection creates a strong community.

2. Create a sense of belonging

Book clubs are inclusive, allowing each member to participate and share their views. This creates a greater sense of belonging to the group. A sense of belonging is a basic need that builds confidence, trust, and connection.

In addition, Kelly McGonigal the author of “The Upside of Stress”, reveals a study that was done with college students. Freshman drop-out rates are above 50%. A study was done to show the impact on the drop-out rate as a result of making students feel a greater sense of belonging through support, connection, and engagement. The study group resulted in a reduction of that drop-out rate by more than 50%.

People who feel like they belong and they matter to the organization, are more engaged and take a higher level of ownership in their work and the results they are creating. They develop a “do what it takes attitude versus a “whatever” attitude. Bad stress goes down and good stress goes up to create a greater sense of contribution.

3. Create Inspiration
Fiction and non-fiction books on multiple themes, genres, and subjects can stir the thinking brain and grab a topic never thought of before.

People get stuck and sometimes all they need is a little inspiration or a shift in perspective to get them unstuck. An open discussion around a powerful book can be a huge inspiration to spark new ideas, outside of the box thinking, innovation, efficiencies, new approaches and more.

Inspiration often comes from getting outside of your current way of thinking and your environment and connecting thoughts from others, developments in other industries and stories about people that create new connections in our minds.

4. De-Stressing
Work can create stress and we need more ways to get rid of it. We can walk around and work out but getting into your heart and out of your head – can be a great way to relieve stress. Conversations around issues in the office can be therapeutic in this structured way like a therapy session. People can work together to find solutions to common issues using a strategy from one of the books that they read together and share perspectives on how these strategies can help reduce stress, improve efficiency and make the environment more fun.

The benefits of reducing stress at work will increase productivity, improve communication, elevate health, and improve relationships both inside and outside of the business environment.

5. Management Training
Make it mandatory to utilize what they have learned and apply it in their work. Get creative in getting all the above accomplished within this form of training. Instead of the usual course days that are often forgotten the day after the course. Engage the application of the principles they learn in the books over time in smaller chunks. Productivity will increase due to a focus on implementation, connection, and inspiration.

Billionaires can list multiple books to recommend that are fictional for influencing their decisions. Bill Gates cites Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger. Jeff Bezos cites The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. Just about every other major business innovator supports I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou and The Art of War by Sun Tzu. Books can open minds. Isn’t that why we tell children to read, to expand their thoughts and minds? Adults in major corporations should too.

Interview Sky Blossoms Seg 1 | Relationships

It’s Penny Zenker.  On this show we explore your greatest potential of tapping into core elements of time and energy management.  At Take Charge, we provide you with a strategic way to dramatically and sustainably increase your productivity and your profits.

This week we are going to focus on the psychology of relationships.  You have heard me talk about Championship psychology.  For those of you that are new, it means bringing your best into everything you do.  Treating every day like game day.  It’s clear in athletics and successful people know how to apply it to business.  So many times, it’s overlooked in our personal life.  Our relationships reflect and reform our success in all areas of life, especially in business.  None of us, succeed purely on our own.  Seriously, no one.  Can your business succeed if you are not forming positive relationships with employees and clients? Can you bring great energy to the board room table if your relationship with your spouse or children isn’t fulfilling?  Tony Robbins has been quoted saying “The quality of your life is the quality of your relationships.”  That is where the emotions are most magnified.  The real key to maintaining a championship psychology is being able to do this even when circumstances are not in your favor. 

Championship psychology in relationshipsLet’s take Nelson Mandela for example, he was unfairly jailed but he made a choice that he would like to focus on learning a language of his oppressors so when and if he would get out, he would bring about great change.  He was once asked how did he survive all of those years in jail?  He strongly responded with the words, I didn’t survive, I prepared.  So champions are not born champions. They are grown and you make a choice to be a champion.  It takes more than just DNA or desire to be one.  It takes passion, commitment and dedication.  This is true for how we show up for everything we do.  There is an expression:  How we do something, is everything.  We are creatures of habit.  How we do something is how we do everything.  Today I am joined by Sky Blossoms to share her experience on the topic of bringing a championship psychology to your relationships.

She is a relationship strategist for high performers as well as an author and speaker.  She received her medical degree and for more than a decade she studied psychology and alternate therapies.  Sky’s humble beginnings of growing up in the Ukraine, sparked her drive for extraordinary life experiences.  It prompted a relentless search for answers.  Her personal journey through pain, disappointments, and failures taught her vital lessons and led the discovery of bliss and fulfillment that she now shares with others.

On our program, you will learn three tips to dramatically improve your relationships.  How to understand your wants and desires intuitively.  A simple tool to discharge negative emotions.  You have such an energy about you.  It was nice meeting you in Las Vegas.  It’s great to have you here.

S:  Thank you Penny.  I am thrilled to be here.  I love your shows.  I am honored to share my knowledge and expertise with your audience.

P:  We are eager to get to know about you.  You have an interesting background about how you made it to where you are today.  Can you share a brief history about your journey?

S:  My early life experiences inspired my passion for relationships.  I was born and raised in Ukraine.  My parents struggled financially.  They often didn’t have enough money for food.  Out of desperation, they went to work in Germany for nearly four years.  Since they worked in the military base, the rules were strict and they couldn’t take me with them.  I had to live with my Grandparents in another place.  About 11 years old, I entered into some of the darkest years.  Depression and suicidal thoughts.  My parents improved their financial situation.  My clothes were getting fancy and my peers could only dream of the stuff I was getting.  But I learned that material stuff wasn’t anything compared to relationships.  I wanted to be with my parents.  I would have given all of that up.  I changed schools five times.  That taught me that the skill of relationship. It is one of the vital skills in life.  Later on, moving into another country and adapting to a new language, building new relationships from scratch. That is one of greatest skills in life you can acquire.  That is what brought me to do this professionally.  Also, personal fulfillment is by far one of the greatest contributors to happiness in life no matter how much you succeed in business.  There are two things that we ultimately need.  A great state of health and personal relationships and fulfillment.

P:  Those are things we take for granted until we don’t have them.  A great state of health and having great relationships.  So many people grow up in their family environment and they take for granted that they have and see their parents on a regular basis.  It must have been so challenging to be without your parents and all of the new schools and what not.

S:  I am actually glad I faced the challenge early on because I see if from working with my clients and working with families that it is often taken for granted.  We forget sometimes to eat or work out from running around, our system starts to break down.  The same with relationships.  We think its ok to watch tv vs. to spending quality time with your spouse.  Until we are faced with a divorce.  It’s better to do preventative measures vs. fixing problems when they arise. 

P:  There tends to be an urgency when all of a sudden it rises to the top.  That is why so many people search for balance because we live in an urgency culture.  We are reactive vs. proactive.  That is why we are talking about this today.  Why relationships affect our psychology.  I agree that we need to keep those things in the forefront.  Great state of health, one of the four components, is physiology.  It has to do with our state of health.  The other three elements in there which are purpose, language, and focus, they really have a lot to do with how we manage our energies.  Also how we filter those into the relationships and how we develop those relationships both with ourselves and with others.  We need to remember the core relationship with ourselves.  Do you agree?

S:  I agree!  Moreover, the quality of your relationship with yourself reflects in the the quality of the relationship with others.  I keep seeing the confirmation of that time and time again with every client I work with. 

P:  I believe that it is one that people tend to focus on in the least.  We are missing out of some of the most important elements because we are focused on other areas.

S:  I agree.  I think nobody is teaching that.  In school, we are not taught that.  Our inner dialog is so important.  Our self-image is crucial and how our relationships are formed.  Our belief systems and our outlook on life in general is all reflected back to us with our quality of relationships with coworkers, colleagues, everyone.

P:  When you were younger, you went into bouts of depression.  That is a certain area that talks about where your self-confidence and self-image was, right?

S:  At that time, my depression was due to my parents being away and I was missing them.  The whole environment was new and I felt like a victim.  It was done to me, against my will.  At the early age it is difficult to take ownership of that.  It was not happening to me it was happening for me.  I took it as a gift.  It honed my skills of forming relationships and cultivating them took years.  You start valuing relationships once they are taken away from you.  When you have to move to another city and your best girlfriend stays, it takes dedication to stay in touch and stay connected.  Here I notice people don’t even look at each other anymore.  In a social setting, everyone is glued to their gadgets now.  No more conversations anymore.  You don’t even know what the other person is feeling anymore.

P:  How did you go from medical school to deciding to become a relationship expert?

S:  It wasn’t conscious to be honest with you.  My interest and passions for psychology and human behavior came personally.  I was studying all of the information I could get on human behavior.  For as long as I can remember, it was helping me to cope on my own life challenges.  After medical school, I moved to the United States.  Here, I went on an exploration of careers.  I felt like being a dentist just wasn’t my calling.  To be a dentist or a doctor, you must be passionate and love it and feel called to do it.  Otherwise, I had no right to take that responsibility.  I felt like I liked it, but it was not IT.  I have done all kinds of things from hosting tv shows to working for video production companies, but I had the question of what is it that I am supposed to do?  Interestingly, sometimes life prepares you for what it is that you are supposed to do.  Your purpose is not always revealed to you all at once.  For me, it came in the form of inspiration.  I wanted to write my book.  My journey was unfolding in ways that most people would call miraculous.  Synchronicity after synchronicity.  I have learned that whenever I step on the right path, it unfolds before you.  If you are moving in the wrong direction, you are faced with obstacle after obstacle.

P:  That is an important point.  Some people I have come in contact with feel lost.  Maybe it’s a mid-life thing with some, they feel kind of lost.  They are not really sure what that passion is for them or their purpose.  I think it’s important to point out here that we don’t have to be born knowing what that is.  There are few people that are born into knowing that they are a dancer or a musician.  There are so many people who as you said, that through their life’s journey, they have found out later in life what it is that really takes hold of them.  Really brings their life and other’s lives to a whole new level.  I just wanted to point that out.  If you are in that place that you are not sure, take comfort in the fact that know that this is all preparing you for your next steps.

S:  If I may add, think of yourself like a piece of coal that is born to be a diamond.  When you are born as a coal, you don’t know yourself as a diamond.  You might need to go under some extreme conditions of pressure and high temperature before you can shine your brightest. 

P:  I love that.  Thank you for sharing that.  It’s time for a short break.  Stay tuned as we get into more depth with Sky Blossoms.

3 Guaranteed Ways to Improve Self Awareness

Being efficient and effective is directly related to your self-awareness. Many self-destructive behaviors, like procrastination and perfectionism, keep you from productivity. It’s because you are either unaware of the behaviors and how they affect you, or of strategies to change.

We all know someone who is totally oblivious to how they show up to others. They, continually, get results they are not happy with and don’t understand why. We see, clearly, the reason why but they aren’t open to hearing it, so we say nothing.

Don’t be that guy or gal!

Self-awareness is a Fundamental Building Block to Success

Self-awareness doesn’t come easy, but it is the gateway to greatness. Any successful athlete, businessman, or performer will tell you, one key to their success is the ability to gain greater self-awareness. Once you start, you hunger for more because the results are undeniable.

At one time, Michael Jordan hired 4 coaches. Why? Each coach brings a different perspective and has the ability to see his blind spots. We all have blind spots. Like Michael, we have to have a hunger to gain awareness around what others see that we cannot. Tiger Woods is another example. At the top of his game, he hired a new coach to relearn his swing. That sounds crazy, right? He hit a plateau and had to learn a new way to surpass his old level of play. No matter how good you are, there is always better. High performers stay in constant pursuit of the next level, no matter what it takes.

So how does your self-awareness affect your success? Why does improving your self-awareness increase your chances of success?

What do we Mean by Self-awareness?

Being self-aware means that you are conscious of your feelings, desires, motives, and flaws. It shows that you are, not only, driven and goal-oriented, but also you possess maturity. If you can observe yourself with an outsider’s perspective, you are certainly capable of success in any area of your life.

Improve Self Awareness

One person holds a sign or banner with the word Identity to spread awareness of his unique reputation

Why Does Improving Your Self-awareness Increase Your Chances of Success?

By improving your self-awareness, you enhance every area of your life; relationships, health, finances and create more fulfilling experiences. Who doesn’t want that?

1.Relationship Expand and Deepen

Your desire to improve and grow must become a passionate pursuit. People are drawn to those that push themselves to be their best. They want to be around people who set big goals and openly share their hearts. When you become passionate about your personal development, you will find your peer group expands, mentors appear and so does the opportunity to mentor others.

2. Get Better Jobs, Faster

Companies want to hire people who are self-aware and open to feedback because they correlate self-awareness with high-quality workers. When hired, those who are self-aware strive to help the company grow.  They look for growth opportunities and improvement. What we do in one area of our lives often reveals our mindset, how we think, and approach other parts of our lives.

If you’re driven enough to implement regular changes to improve yourself, you’ll surely be driven to implement improvements in their company. Your openness and willingness to look and see things from other perspectives will help you to see any potential problems, ways to save money, or find efficiencies for the company.

3. Health Benefits

Just imagine what your health could look like with better awareness. For example, being more mindful of what you eat will lead you to eat more of the right things.You’ll know what foods make you feel good and which ones make you feel bad. That puts you in the driver’s seat of your nutritional health. There are many more examples, but for now, just realize awareness creates healthier choices.

How Does Self-awareness Affect Your Potential success?

Not being self-aware can be incredibly detrimental to your personal growth as well as your ultimate success in life. According to David Brooks, author of The Road to Character. We build our character over time by our external interaction with the world, what we decide it means to us, and how we interact with it. The result is our character. Our character develops from cultivating our strengths and confronting our weaknesses.

Here are 3 ways to boost your self-awareness:

1.Get Curious

You step into self-aware by reviewing yourself as objectively as possible. Review your behavior, not with judgment, but with curiosity. As you learn from yourself and others what works and what doesn’t, you can choose to change your behavior. Through this, you create growth and expand your character.

2. Practice it

Building self-awareness is a skill that needs to be practiced and re-enforced. We all know that if we don’t schedule time for something it won’t happen. Plan time in your calendar to reflect on what works well for you and what doesn’t. Make it a point to use that time to review a key meeting or interaction, to define an assignment for yourself each week, create a feedback session, or whatever will help you to keep practicing.

Many companies provide leadership training but why not include self-awareness classes as part of leadership training. Management training programs would produce better leaders and managers as a result. The investment will far outweigh the cost.

3. Seek External Feedback

Often, how you see yourself varies from how others see you.  Being conscious of how you interact with others and being open to feedback is key. Ask for feedback directly and be ready to receive it, openly. Your only response to it gets to be “Thank you” and “is there anything else?” Take it in and reflect on it. Later, evaluate the source and what was said then see what sticks. You only own what is true for you. Some of what they say reflects their challenges coming but nonetheless, all of what they say is valuable to how you interact with them and how you are perceived by them.

It is hard to look in the mirror and see your flaws but see them as an opportunity to grow, not as an excuse to stay where you are. Live in a mindset that perfection is only found in growth and the pursuit of growth. It isn’t about perfection in your character, perfection lies in the facts that you are open and taking an active role in your personal growth.

So now it is your turn. On a scale from 1-10 (10 being best) how self-aware are you? If you asked four of the people, in your life, what would they say? What is in the gap?

Interview Robert Joslin Pt. 2 | Productivity and Efficiency

Welcome back.  This is Penny Zenker and I am joined with Robert Joslin.  Who is talking to us about program and project management and how to increase our productivity and efficiency.

R:  Thank You Penny

P:  I spent a lot of my time in technology as well as you.  I have always used it as a way to create more productivity.  How do you define productivity and why?

R:  The most efficient way of achieving something is time and cost. 

P:  The definition comes down to efficiency is that what I hear?

R: It depends on the goal.  If it’s on the academic side, you could be looking at an idea or a research paper.  On a production line, productivity could be so many cars, or books.  For an entrepreneur what you need to look at is the balance.  If looking at sustainable productivity over a period of time.  Doing a balance of things to ensure that you are continually productive.  It’s a mix of activities to insure a continuation of productivity.

Productivity and efficiency in project managementP:  I like how you explain that it depends on different elements.  That is why I ask everyone who comes on this show.  One person’s definition of productivity and what they want to achieve may be different from someone else’s.  It is a matter of balance.  I believe that productivity is more of a feeling as much as it is an outcome.  It’s how you feel about what you achieve.  You might say that I might be being productive or not productive, but you don’t know my goal was in the first place.

R:  There is obvious productivity with management by objectives.  You have to choose something that is quite obvious.  It is very personal and subjective and that’s why I mentioned it being about a balance of activities to achieve a sustainable productivity on an ongoing basis. 

P:  I agree.  What are the factors that you believe have the greatest impact on productivity?

R:  There is a lot of academic research on this.  Simplicity.  Anything that distracts you on what you want to produce.  A production line is easy to determine.  Like McDonalds. You are dealing with customer service and the efficiency of serving customers.  But also the customer reaction as well.  It depends on the industry you are in. 

P:  When you come up with that question as a factor or an element.  You talk about customer interaction or any type of communication for that matter.  I talk about it in previous sections when we talk about language.  We have communication with ourselves and with others.  Whether it’s our team or our customers and how we manage that.  I haven’t had anyone express it in that way before in my alignment with the ten critical elements.  That language that goes on with yourself and with others.  I wholeheartedly agree that language is one of the ten essential elements in time and energy management.  I would agree with that.  Are there any other key factors that you think stand out that should be discussed?

R:  Project management and balance of things.  For the people who are listening it’s about balance and knowing what it is.  It’s a natural sequence of things.  When I look at doing something like this coffee machine upstairs.  I will turn it on and I open the fridge, get the cups, and as its warming up I optimize the time to get my cappuccino. 

P:  Optimize the process of making coffee, only you!

R:  How do you optimize your environment?  When I run these large projects I lists tasks and issues and risks.  They can all impact the program.  They could cause the project to drown.  I have created this approach over the last 15 years.  I make sure that at every point in the project process, that I am matching sure we can cope with constant changing factors.  If you manage these factors in such a way, then you can keep productivity efficient.  If you don’t manage those things, your productivity will drop.  You will drown on a number of different things and you don’t know why because you lost control of your environment.

P:  I have seen that happen.  You are saying another really important is around the process.  By having a process, you are of let’s say reducing the distractions.  You are able to get greater productivity and focus on the tasks at hand.

R:  When you get phone calls coming in, how do you actually handle that?  Handling the risks.  Which ones do you enhance or do you try to mitigate?  If you manage these factors properly, your productivity won’t get derailed or dropped because of the constantly changing factors.

P:  I relate when you talk about managing the risks.  One of the elements of the process or of the planning and organization of the program in project management.  I lump that under proactivity.  To take a look at those risks ahead of time and think about what challenges might come up and be able to mitigate them ahead of time or at least control and manage them.  It will put you in a much better position for when something comes up.  It’s easier to deal with it.  My language for that is under the word called proactivity.  People can together with process and language and the other elements, can really make up having and maximizing productivity.

R:  There will be risks that you can anticipate but also there are the unknown.  It’s the ability to handle those and not go into a panic.  You have an approach to handle it.  If you can do that, then you can continue on.  If you didn’t have a process to manage these, then you will start getting into trouble. 

P: The glub, glub, factor.  You said drowning.  Let’s talk about stress.  In our first section, the uncertainty.  That can create stress for a lot of people.  Now you are talking about it in the area of not being able to anticipate everything.  How do we deal with those kinds of things?  What is the best practice with dealing with stress in managing these types of large projects?

R:  You have to have the personality to enjoy being on the edge of chaos.  People question your ability or your direction.  And if you have confidence in what you are doing, and also you have the A team or the Alpha Team, and also, trust, then it helps a great deal.  If you are uncertain or your boss doesn’t support you or your team is questioning then it’s a totally different story.  I think it’s really about starting a project, make sure you do enough planning.  Plan like a military operation.  Military strategy.  When you look at doing something, make sure you know the players.  How are you going to achieve.  Make a backup plan.  It puts you in a good position where you feel in control.  It’s a proactive way of reducing stress.  The opposite of stress is more adrenaline.  That is what you live off of.  Your team can achieve things that other teams just dream about.

P:  Planning, planning, planning.  The topic of this show.  At the end when we talk about project management, planning is an essential part.  Without the plan, the project will fail.

R:  There was a project I ran in Switzerland and it was an international project involving forty countries about, and I took six months to convince people that we could do the project this way.  It took nine months to complete.  Another member wanted to break it up and do it over a couple months.  But I knew that it could be achieved in nine months.  I picked a plan that had the alpha team on it and I knew the pieces to the project.  One part of that project was a country off on England.  They had problems with their banking system for two years, and so what I did was I used scouts in the program.  I put out a scout.  We found the best person on the island and then put a new banking system in and a new network with new pcs.  People couldn’t believe what they could accomplish. 

P: That was impressive.  I bet you get a lot of calls.

R:  There are other examples I can give.  It’s part of the tools and techniques that I use.  IF you can choose the right combination of tools and techniques with the right mix, it will make the difference.

P:  It sounds to me that it’s a difference between a black belt and a brown belt.  There are different levels of mastery.

R:  Yes.  If you want to achieve exceptional things you are going to find that many people won’t believe that you can actually achieve that.  They are willing to stop you sometimes.  They may feel out of their comfort zone or authority.  It comes down to who has the balls or guts to do.  And also, you have the team to support you.  Anything is possible.

P:  The project that you set up for six months to plan, and executed in nine months.  And also, when you put in a new banking system, would you agree with the statement that the more time that you plan upfront, the less time you need executing?

R:  I think it’s about 30% true.  It’s like a bell curve.  It depends on the complexity of the project.  There may be more variables to consider.  But also people, managers, don’t plan and also they may be afraid.  That is when things come up that you don’t plan.  That is where a good team comes to play.  When something changes, what is your response plan?

P:  Once again, it comes back to balance.  Not too much planning.  Over planning creates paralysis. 

R:  The research show that 25 to 33% should be about planning.  A big chunk of it. 

P:  I want to summarize that for people.  Planning is an essential part of project management as well as productivity and getting the greatest productivity.  We have researchers who say that 25 to 33% of your time would be spent on planning.  The optimal percentage.  Thank you Robert.  It is time for us to take a break.  Stay tuned.

Penny/Isaac Podcast

Penny: Thanks Isaac. It’s so great to be here.

Isaac: Yes, so tell us a little bit about how you got started. I mean one of the things that I felt so amazed at with you is that you’ve built very successful businesses. You’ve gone to Europe and built businesses over there and you speak internationally. But um ultimately you’ve got amazing systems for productivity and for business performance. So, I would love to kind of talk a little bit about how you became successful in the first place.

Penny: Ok. Well you know I think success starts with a mindset. I’m all about the systems and you know that because that’s what creates leverage.

Isaac: Right.

Penny: But before we go there, I think the really important things is success is about a mindset. I can give you all the tools and processes and you know all of that in the world, but if you are not in the right mindset, you are not going to utilize it. And I’ve found that many times how I came to really combining these skills and mindset together which is really one of my specializations, but you know I was thinking about that. What was it that sort of my spurred me into creating my own businesses and having that level of success. And you know I thought, you know my father died in an accident when I was 19. And um I really think that, and he was an entrepreneur, I really think that that made me embrace life, as you can imagine, in a totally new way where I just wanted to see things from different perspectives. I wanted to go out and stretch beyond you know what I was used to, what I’ve ever done and I think that was really the impetus, right? And shortly thereafter I created my very first business which was called Basket Case. It was with my best friend in college and it was so that we could earn some extra money to go to Europe.

Isaac: That’s awesome.

Penny: On a semester trip. So it started me in the right mindset. And then as I started my businesses, you know starting back when I and did go to Switzerland and was there for actually 16  years. I spent my whole adult life appreciating and understanding the first time what culture is, what different cultures are, how they function and then it’s not hard enough to start a business in your own country so I started one over there. And it was a great journey to really experience the challenges of not only being in a foreign country and having foreign languages, but just you know what it was to be successful in businesses. And that’s where it all started was with this IT company. Because I was always passionate about making things better and adding more value, finding the value and technology was a great vehicle. It still is and I love technology and now it’s combining those. As I said they keys was I was able to combine all the skills of knowing how to get the right technologies and ask the right questions, but really then bringing with the mindset together so that I could create the level of success that I have and was able to build that business from just me to a multi million dollar business and sell it to a public company. And it just sparked a whole series of great experiences with new businesses, with bigger businesses and then into working with Tony Robbins and being one of his coaches for the last five years was incredible. I worked with people all over the world in so many different businesses. It’s amazing how many different flavors of business there are out there.

Isaac: Exactly, absolutely.

Penny: You know so that’s kind of

Isaac: And personalities, right? It’s like you know you have to understand when I was you know working with you my wife you know is completely different personality than I am right. So you had to kind of coach me differently than you were coaching her and it was really interesting.  Like you helped me, I would beat myself up alot because of just unidentified expectations I would create for myself and when you started creating structure around what I was actually doing and performing, it creating alot of momentum in my life, alot more happiness day to day, operations and um obviously Erica being more of an analytic individual and systems creator, she completely loved the whole process of going through and creating all the little steps where it was a little more challenging for me.

Penny: Driving you crazy right?

Isaac: Right! Cause I’m more of a starter, visionary type individual and she’s more into the details. But I can get into the details if I’m disciplined enough. But what would you say are the biggest challenges that entrepreneurs face that you’ve seen cause I mean you’ve coached now a ton of very successful businesses and owners and now you are a productivity guru a round the world so I would love to see what you think would be some of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face.

Penny: Well I mean you know right? The biggest challenge that I’ve seen that are consistent across the board are people just they are trying to, they don’t recognize the true value of their time.

Isaac: Right.

Penny: And so they are trying to do it all.

Isaac: Right.

Penny: And that’s a common thing that I’ve seen is that they’re not doing the level of delegation that they need to be doing by recognizing what are the right things that they should be doing and what should they be passing over to others. So I’d say that’s definitely one of the main things that I’ve seen consistently. And then we just talked about, I mean what have you seen, like  you work with people in your business in trying to get them also to you know put time on their health. So have you seen that kind of things as well with like uh you know I don’t have the time in some of the most valuable areas that are going to bring them success.

Isaac: Oh yea of course. And it’s so frustrating sometimes because you know that if they do start outsourcing or they do start prioritizing their health and they focus on implementing these advanced systems, yeah it’s going to take a little bit of time initially to get everything set up and outsource/learn the health strategies and the high performance strategies, however, once you’ve got that and you understand some of these really powerful principles and techniques and solutions, that’s when you start saving like 10, 15, 20 hours a week. Exactly. And that’s when you also get to focus on your strengths. It’s like you said it’s like people aren’t really delegating so they can focus on their unique abilities or what Jim Collins calls the Hedgehog Effect.  It’s like can we truly get rid of the things that are blocking our performance so that we can skyrocket our ability to get more done in less time ultimately. So yea I definitely see that.

Penny: And that comes back to the mindset point right which is they are so focused on the initial pain, right? And not really focused where they need to be focused which is on the leverage they are creating and the success that is going to come in the future. But they do have to push through that pain and my good friend Dr. Thomas Duncan who you know too, as he says it’s hard, it’s hard to make the change and create new habits and focus on the things that you need and it’s also hard to live a lifetime and live with the consequences of not focusing on your health and things that are most important, so pick your heart. One of them has short-term consequences, you know and the other one has long-term consequences and effects. So you know.

Isaac: Omigosh I love that.

Penny: Isn’t that good. Pick your heart.

Isaac: Pick your heart. That’s fantastic.  So what would you say are some of the top solutions that that you help entrepreneurs face. What are the strategies and the programs you download into their mind, their business and their days.

Penny: Well I think the first thing is to really appreciate the value of their time. So we go through a little calculation exercise to help them realize that. We go through an understanding of what they are doing on a daily basis. And one of the principles that I’ll get a chance to talk about later and I know you follow this philosophy is it’s not what we do with our time as much as how much as we bring ourselves to that time.

Isaac: Right.

Penny: So it’s the energy management. So I help also help people to understand what are the peak times that they perform during the day

Penny: So it’s the energy management. So I help also help people to understand what are the peak times that they perform during the day. Because they want to be doing different things right? So you want to be looking at what does your day look like and how are you optimizing the hours that you are at your peak performance. Because there are times when you can get in the flow and there are other times, some people are night people and that’s when they are at their best. Some people are morning people and you mentioned it earlier. Everybody is different. The tools and strategies that are going to work for you and make you more productive and really feel good about what you are doing may be completely different than the next person. So, it’s important that, what I do is throw out there like you are doing with this awesome podcast is you are able to give people different strategies, hear how different people are making it successful in their life. And then they can try things out and see what works for them.

Isaac: Practically how could one do that. How could one figure out how to manage their energy and  not their time and figure out what part of the day is actually best for them to be able to be the most product self that they can be.

Penny: That’s a loaded question. I defined 4 elements that make up energy management. I’m not sure that we are going to have time in the podcast today. I have included that in my book because there are actually 10 things that I believe through my experience and through my own personal successes that there’s 10 core drivers of our productivity that help us to get into what I call the productivity zone. Um and just to name them in terms of you said so how can they can they know, so they can take a look at first of all in terms of finding out which times of the day that they are most productive is they need to journal that.

Isaac: Right

Penny: They need to take a journal and write down like take a week and identify, and I have some spreadsheets to do that but it’s pretty easy, to really write down what they do the whole day and in what time slots and see how that feels for them. Because I don’t know if you remember we did that with you too and there were some days where you were doing alot of content and you didn’t have any interaction with clients. Do you remember?

Isaac: Yeah

Penny: You didn’t feel like you were building up your energy because working with clients was something, if I remember correctly, that builds your energy. That you love to work with your clients. And so if you didn’t have that in the mix, then you weren’t getting the right levels of building your energy and being able to use it.

Isaac: Right, exactly. And I’ve kind of created and structured my week differently now so that I’m focusing mostly on energy boosting activities. Some things you just have to do to just get things done. But, you know like say emails or something like t hat. But even with emails I start using an app called Covideo so I can video myself responding to their emails so I’m not typing as much and it’s must faster that way. So I can read their email, I click on the Covideo link at the bottom of my computer, it pops up a window, I essentially respond to them, send over the email and they are blown away because within seconds, you know they get a video response to their email and it saved actually probably around if it was a longer email, around 5, 10, 15 minutes of me typing this stuff out. You know. So there’s little things and I’ve been using this one app called Rescue Time which shows you, it journals all the things that you do on your phone and computer so you can see how much time you are spending in Word or how much time you are on Firefox or how much time you are in this app or doing this on your computer so it can tell you essentially when you are most productive or when you are not most productive and um what’s kind of cool about it, and there’s other little programs for this, I’m sure you know about this, is you can actually block certain windows on your computer if it’s a timely leacher. For instance Facebook or LinkedIn or some of these programs that you go into it feels like I’m getting my time sucked out of me because I’ll get emotionally connected to somebody I really like on Facebook, a friend in Los Angeles, New York or something like that and then all of sudden an hour goes by, exactly.

Penny: Yeah

Isaac: So in order to kind of reshift that I feel like blocking some of those sites are helpful during certain periods of productivity during the day for me.

Penny: Totally. Just to make a point there. With all those different tools like you said, when you can manage your environment, it’s your environment that controls the distractions and you allow that. So you really do want to take a look at what’s your environment. Turn off your email pop-up. Change your settings to different things. Use these great tools. And some of these tools are going to be great for people. And as we said, everybody is going to be different. Others might not want to go to that level of tracking but the fact is that we can’t manage what we don’t measure or track. So we do need to write some of these things down. I understand it can be a real pain in the beginning to have to track you know whether you have a food journal you have to track, or if it’s what you are doing so that you can see what things you can actually delegate. But you  need to be able to start there so you can get awareness. Because most people, I was working with this one gentleman. I mean he sells I think himself he sells $50 million in product in his company. He could sell even more. He’s a really great salesman and manager of his business.

Isaac: Right.

Penny: And he, we found out that he spends 60% of his time doing proposals and it was a shock to him. He was like wow! I didn’t really actually think of that. And we looked at what part of the proposals are absolutely necessary for him to do. Where could it be systemized or standardized? Right? So that he could gain a lot of efficiencies and you know that’s a really big area. But you’ve got to track things first and then write down. You know like we did together. We wrote down the process of what you do right? Throughout the day and you interact with the client I was like write it down so that we can get a clear understanding of what the process is so when you want to train or delegate that process, you’ve now documented it and it makes it so much easier to on-board somebody or to tweak your own process to find out where you might have inefficiencies in your process, right?

Isaac: Right. Now that’s awesome. I feel like that is such a key component to being able to learn how to outsource because I think one of the biggest issues is people don’t realize all the things that they are doing that could easily be done by somebody else for a fraction of the cost. In that they are literally bleeding, hemorrhaging profit because they are not as productive as they could be. So, I mean, I’m so grateful and thankful that I had you in my life at the time that I did because obviously it’s helped create unbelievable amounts of success in my business so I’m grateful to you for that. Thank you.

But I wanted to get into what you felt like or what your 4 elements that drive productivity are and I’d love to maybe dive into a few of the 10 core things that drive productivity.

Penny: Okay. I’d be happy to. So, you know, what I term that energy management which is the key. That’s the psychology component and uh you know you know including physiology that really is, in my opinion, the main driver. That’s what leverages and makes everything else work. If you don’t have those, all the other drivers on top don’t function optimally. Like you’ll get results, but it’s no doubt when you push hard you get results, but the key is is to be able to get results about pushing that hard, right? That’s what we all want to do is work smarter and not harder.

Isaac: Yea exactly.

Penny: So the first one is purpose right? It’s really um it’s a big driver. When people tap into why they are doing what they are doing and they to the heart of the matter, it makes all the difference. Cause it enables them to jump through hurdles, to let things go that aren’t important because they are focused on that purpose. And very often, the purpose is outside of themselves.

Isaac: Right, exactly.

Penny: They’ll still be driven if the purpose is to make more money for me, but how much more driven is somebody when the purpose is take care of my family right

Isaac: Hmmm.

Penny: Right, then it takes on a whole new you know responsibility and integrity and everything that goes along with really having that purpose that is outside themselves.

Isaac: Absolutely purpose. So number 1 is purpose. Completely get that because I feel that everything I do is purpose driven and it kind of drives what I do, why I wake up in the morning. I don’t look at what I do as work. I feel like I’m in my retirement. You know if I was retired I’d want to be doing waht I’m doing right now.

Penny: It’s part of what makes you the energizer bunny.

Isaac: Right, exactly. But you know purpose, exactly purpose is huge. Um finding that core mission that you want to drive yourself into. So waht’s the second element?

Penny: Well if you only had purpose and you didn’t have these other elements, than it’s like rocket fuel. You’ve got a rocket fuel but you need the rest of the ship in order to direct it to the right place. So I just want to point that  out that some people say it’s all about purpose and it is, AND you need these other things to work together with it.

The second thing, I use the word language, other people might understand it as communication, and what it boils down to is you know I believe that language is really underlying key. Because it’s where our self-talk comes from and I believe that’s where everything starts because we always, whether we are conscious of it or not, we are asking ourselves a question when anything happens and it’s kind of like what does this mean? And we consistently ask ourselves questions or tell ourselves things that are either going to drive us in the area and in the direction of success, or away from it, right? So if I’m asking the questions of myself why am I so stupid? I’m going to get an answer and it’s not going to be a good o ne right.

Isaac: Right, exactly.

Penny: If I said how can I make this you know how can I use this to my advantage if there is something that didn’t work out or what can I learn from this, totally different result.

Isaac: Right.

Penny: So the way we use our language. I like to use Nelson Mandela’s interview with Tony Robbins because I really think it describes what I mean by language. Is that Tony Robbins is all excited, he meets Nelson Mandela for the first time and he’s like, what do I say? So he goes up and says Mr. Mandela how did you survive all these years in prison? And Nelson Mandela got really serious and he said I didn’t survive, I prepared. I mean think about the difference in language between if you use the word survival vs. preparation. Completely different energy, attitude and obviously completely different result.

Isaac: Wow that’s incredible. And honestly I think that language is one of the things that drives us you know forward in life. I was at a men’s group  last night and we were talking about um a bunch of various spiritual principles and strategies and solutions and we opened up the Book of James and it talked about how language is there is either life or death in the power of the tongue. It was talking about the tongue, the tongue and we are sitting there blown away with some of the stuff.  The insights that we got. But ultimately some of the guys there realized, wow, I’m beating the crap out of myself internally all day. I’m carrying some belief systems that I’ve had since I was a kid that my mom and dad you know put on me that it was really sad to hear this one story.

I won’t mention his name but he was this really amazing football star and his football coach was trying to get under his skin this one day and he said to him you are never going to make it to Division One. You are not good enough. And he’d already had scholarships on the line that he was essentially going to be off to these colleges. But because he believed that he wasn’t good enough because of what his coach said, and he believed it, that was the language that he would continue to communicate in his head, he didn’t end up playing D1 because he felt like it would have just been a waste of time. So it’s like and maybe some people might not be you know a sports analogy it could be something else. But I mean the language is absolutely huge and I honestly think that it’s probably one of the biggest things that would drive your productivity or not.

Like one of the things I’m asking myself lately is what am I doing that I don’t need to be doing. Right?

Penny: That’s a good questions.

Isaac: What am I doing that I don’t  need to be doing.

Penny: Right

Isaac: You know because my belief system is that I am an extremely talented, gifted high performance expert that is going to influence influentials to help multiply their impact in the world in ways I couldn’t even imagine. So, if I’m not doing anything but that and I’m working on all these little things that other people get juiced about that I’m not getting juiced about,

Penny: Right

Isaac: Then why deprive those other people and why kind of, why inhibit me from being able to actually accomplish what I want to accomplish.

Penny: Absolutely, it’s a huge, and it’s something that people don’t think of. So I hope that what they’ll take away from this you know this discussion is that they will be aware of it now. Because awareness is the first step of making any kind of change. You need to be aware of it. So that’s one of the things is just becoming aware.

Isaac: Yes, absolutely. So you’ve got the first is purpose, the second is language which is huge. What would be the 3rd pillar?

Penny: The third one is focus. And it seems obvious right. And language and focus kind of go hand in hand. I have kind of a matrix that shows that they kind of cross over with each other. Because your language is going to show where you are focused mentally. And just real quick I define focus a little bit differently. There are 3 types of focus. Most people think of it as attention in the moment. And I believe that’s one of the 3 pieces. The other 2 pieces are strategic focus which gives you the bigger picture and then there is mental focus which is tied into language which you know identifies mentally where you are. Because if you sit down to do something and you are really focused on whatever, preparing a contract let’s say. You are really focused on it but if your mental focus is going I hate this

Isaac: Right

Penny: Then you are not going to get the most out of the time and if you are not understanding the purpose and how it fits into the big picture and the strategic importance of it, right?

Isaac: Right

Penny: What it is to the, then you are not going to get that total alignment that’s going to help you be really as productive as you can be in that time.

Isaac: So you’ve got strategic focus which is like the big picture where you are ultimately headed to, the direction you are moving in. Then there’s mental focus which is like what is your own thought and emotional life around the time you are investing into the things you need to get done in the day.

Penny: Or around that particular item. Right.

Isaac: And it’s cool because I mean Dan Goldman he wrote the book Emotional Intelligence, he spent years not writing a book. Everyone was blown away with Emotional Intelligence. Everyone talks about EQ and dah dah dah dah around emotional intelligence and so they are like what book is he going to write next? What is the next book he is going to write? And the next book was Focus, it’s the title of his book. And it was really profound both because it went into all the details around how most people in the 21st century are scatter brained. They are driven by their mid-brain. They are not really accessing the level of frontal cortex activity that they could. And so that’s one of the most important things that we can do and he said that the 2 tools and strategies and solutions to maximize focus on a day to day basis is:

1)Meditation and

2)Present Consciousness. What are you doing in the moment? Like you said. Are you peed off at the fact that you have to do the contract and you are thinking about how you want to do something this weekend or are you present in the moment. And choosing to enjoy the process. Because it’s really a choice. And I think meditation can be hacked through some of the new technologies. Like I just interviewed the CEO of Muse and Ariel, just an unbelievable technology that will help to take your productivity from meditation to entirely new level to activate frontal cortex activity and really decreases stress levels.

I can’t harp on the importance of focus enough. I think that’s awesome. What’s the 4th pillar of your four essentials?

Penny: Well hold on, this  is a shocker. This is completely shocking and I know you’ll be absolutely shocked at this. It’s physiology.

Isaac: Yeah! Exactly.

Penny: Right. Because we’ve got this body and we’ve got to take care of it. And what goes in you know is really important how we take care of it. Sleep. I know you talk alot about sleep and nutrition and t hose are so important that we maintain this vehicle.

Isaac: Absolutely. And there are so many like bodyhacks and flohacks and and and uh you know brainhacks if you are interested in superhuman entreprenur.com, but that is absolutely essential because if people don’t have their health, then they don’t have really anything. I’ve seen this time and time again where people change their physiology all of a sudden their productivity skyrockets.

Penny: Totally

Isaac: So um that’s exactly it.

Penny: Totally. I mean there are alot of studies that show with people who have bouts of depression and what not. That just be getting up and physically exercising and moving their body. Our body is meant to move that it changes the brain chemistry so then it’s putting them in a much better state of mind. So it’s proven that its important. So people take care of your bodies. What’s going on?

Isaac: Exactly. I wake up at 5:30 i the morning. I focus on a little bit of journaling and um meditation, prayer, reading my scripture, you know doing some spiritual readings and then what I’ll do is I’ll go right into my primary focus of the day. The thing that I want to get done that is going to make me feel like unbelievable. And I’ll just get that done first thing in the morning and then I’ll reward myself with a workout after that around 9:00. So for like the first 3 hours in the morning after. So 5:30 – 6:30 I’m doing that routine.  I interviewed a guy who wrote the book Morning Miracle and I follow alot of his techniques and he’s actually in the superhuman entrepreneur podcast if you are interested in listening to that. But he is like just so powerful these morning routines. And then at 6:00-9:00 I’ll take breaks in between obviously. I’m just cranking out that primary objective and I typically got focusatwill.com in my ear so this beat hitting me in the head and it’s pretty amazing because you feel so good when you get that done and then you reward yourself with working out and it’s like. It’s just a great little productivity hack that I’ve found.

Penny: You are creating alot of great traction throughout the day, especially when you start getting the biggest thing done. I mean how great does that feel? You are like Yeah! And I wanted to just address sometimes back to where people are like I don’t have the time blah blah blah. Like my whole schedule changed. My son and my daughter were going to different schools at different times. I was like aaaahhh. That was my workout time in the morning. I was like ok how can I do this so that I meet all of my objectives. So funny enough my daughter suggested this and this was awesome. And I sad yes, that’s what it is.

From 6-6:30 we do yoga together.

Isaac: Oh that’s awesome!

Penny: It gets things started. I feel connected to her. So I think its important that people think outside the box right? And so if it’s not, if they don’t have the time to themselves because they are with their kids, how can they integrate their kids into their process, right?

Isaac: Right.

Penny: If it’s taking some time to focus on gratitude. So how can you do that all together. It’s even more special when you share it with someone else. So think about, it’s important that people think outside the box how they can still meet their needs, build their energy and include whatever’s going on their environment. Right? So  Nelson Mandela couldn’t control his environment but he could control what he did in that environment. It’s the same with any of us wherever we are. Victor Frankel talked about that too in the concentration camps. If they can do it in the most severe circumstances, you guys can do it too at home with whatever’s going on in your house right?

Isaac: Right, absolutely. You brought up some pretty pretty unbelievable examples right there. Victor Frankel and Nelson Mandela. You can’t really bring 2 bigger players in the world than just maximizing your psychology through challenging times. It pales in comparison people to the challenges that you are dealing with on a daily basis so I think that if you are doing something that you don’t necessarily want to be doing but you have to do, that you can easily just shift your mentality around it. It will help you get it done much quicker Penny is what you are saying.

Penny: Yeah.

Isaac: And um you are going to have alot more joy throughout the day through implementing that.

Penny: And let’s face it. The biggest time waster that people don’t necessarily think about is excuses.

Isaac: Right.

Penny: We spend alot of time, I hear alot of time people spending on excuses and in that time period they could have gotten something done. So you know let’s put away the excuses and find solutions.

Isaac: Absolutely, that’s fantastic. Are there are any of the 10 core foundational productivity factors that you want to kind of highlight right now that you feel would add value to the listener.

Penny: Well we just highlighted four of them. I think that probably the best way for them to get some exposure to all of them because you know they do go into alot deeper, is either to my book is available on Amazon, it’s called the Productivity Zone, Stop the Tug of War With Time. This is what it looks like.

Isaac: Very cool.

Penny: So in the book I go through with some personal stories and what not so people can also get connected with their own stories as to how this is applicable. And I go through each of the ten  the ten drivers.

Isaac: Nice

Penny: And how they are and basically I also have a framework around it that will explain about this windmill and how the windmill has 3 blades and these things fit together. So it kind of explains how we optimize right? Like a windmill as it starts to move and gain momentum right? Then we get more and m ore energy out of it and create that leverage.

Isaac: Yea. That’s fantastic. For people that are listening via audio, it’s a purple book with a rope that’s about to break in the middle. So it’s Penny Zenker, Productivity Zone. You can get that at Amazon. You’ve got a website as well. I’m sure you can get  more information about what you are doing as well.  What’s that website.

Penny: Yea the website is www.p10app.com.

Isaac: Yep

Penny: And there they can also get access to a free diagnostic that gives them sort of a basic understanding, self-assessment of where they are right now in their productivity. Cause it’s an important tool. I said earlier we can’t manage what we don’t measure. And most people aren’t able to measure all the aspects of time management. And so that’s why I brought these all together to give us a measurement tool. Because we want to bridge the gap. And in order to do that just like if we get in a car and going to go somewhere with the GPS. WE have to put in the destination. But we always take for granted that it knows where we are now. So we’ve got to get clear where we are now so that we can you know put in that destination and then bridge the gap. So this is a tool that enables people to do t hat. There is a free version. They can upgrade to the version that enables them to take the action plan as well.  Cause it’s not just about knowing where you are now. It’s about what do I need to do and then there is also the ability to take it on an ongoing basis. Cause that’s the ability is to track it and say okay, let’s look at the progress that we are making and celebrate that progress. That’s why we make progress is because we’ve got some sort of tracking to show that we are moving forward. Help us to adapt quicker to make changes, and then there is a whole on-line training program that goes into depth with those 3 areas of focus. Help people to understand in depth how do I manage that. There are some worksheets that people can do. Really. That’s what I love to do is to help people really break through to achieve you know that leverage that they are looking for to create. Not just incremental productivity, but more quantum productivity. To bring it to a whole new level.

Isaac: Wow! Thank you so much. And I know you’ve invested a whole lot of time and resources into creating those.

Penny: totally

Isaac: You started it years ago and you’ve just realized how much kind of work that needed to go into it and it’s a simple process, but behind the scenes it’s not as simple as as as as what the user sees. And so you know my hat’s off to you for creating that for the world because I know just from the the the people that I know you are impacting, it’s helping them exponentially and I’m very excited about that. And it is important to track your progress. Not just to look at where you are at right now. When somebody were to do a lab test with me, it’s important to get a follow-up because we want to see the transformation that’s taking place and if there’s any area we need to improve on, obviously you want to keep improving because it’s obviously going to maximize your performance and your ability to prevent disease and live a much longer healthier life. That’s really great.

Let’s shift gears real quick because you are mother of 2 children, running a business. You’ve built a multi-million business and it’s like how do you do it? I mean obviously productivity has to be near and dear to your heart because you’ve got a family, but I would love for you to just share with your listeners like I’m sure for even the men listening that you know that have somebody else that’s taking care of their kids that that they aren’t not as as I guess active as what you are doing on a daily basis. We’ll learn from some of this as well. How is it that you are able to accomplish what you are able to accomplish?

Penny: Well one of the best is necessity. Right? We rise to the occasion. And so that’s why we do need to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone. Because we do. You know I have to do it. There’s no, it’s not a choice. My kids are really important to me and so is making an impact in the world in addition to raising these 2 wonderful children. And so to me it’s not like there’s a choice. It’s you know okay so how do I do this, right? Uh and so I’m rising to the occasion. And I think I’m doing that through holding myself accountable. I’ve got accountability partners. I think it’s important that you know that I have a coach uh and wherever I want to succeed, I have an accountability partner. Or accountability tools. Does that make sense?

Isaac: Yes.

Penny: Because for whatever reason human nature is we are more apt to do something for other people or when other people are expecting it from us than when we set a date and it’s too easy. Oh, I’m not going to do it. So, I have a personal trainer because I know that I would rather serve someone else and I would skip that workout if um if I didn’t have somebody that was waiting for me there, right?

Isaac: That’s fantastic.

Penny: And I also know that he pushes me twice as hard as I would push myself.

Isaac: That amazing because most people when you really look into how the transformation and the science behind having accountability partners or like you created an accountability software that helps you just continue to maximize your productivity, whatever area of your life that you are wanting to improve, to have that accountability is so essential. And I’m excited about all the new technologies that are coming out. The new Apple watch. I’ve always wanted to meet this one individual, he’s this billionaire, he’s ?????? and he’s built sharecare.com, it’s like Oprah and Dr. Oz and I’m sitting in his office and we are just like geeking out about like the future of healthcare and technology and um you know the cool thing is that you know there are going to be newer and newer technologies and solutions to continue to make this world a better place. And yesterday I listened to Peter Diamodes who is a very very unbelievable just character. He have you ever heard of Peter Diamondes before? He’s written a book Abundance. But what’s so amazing about him is that he he he’s talking about the amazing incredible systems now that the world has to offer for us to continue to do more, faster because of Moore’s law and onging technological advances that’s exponentiating every 8 months. So it’s pretty amazing and obviously you are a part of that with solutions that you are creating for people. So very very cool.

Penny: Absolutely . And we have to learn also how to use the tools to our advantage right? Email can be a huge productivity tool but it an be a huge productivity waster. So we also we need to know how to use these tools and these new technologies in the right and best way so that it really does add as opposed to take away.

Isaac: Exactly. That’s huge.  So out of curiosity what is one of the success belief systems that you have that really drives you towards you know the kind of level of success that you have.

Penny: I’m not sure what you mean when you say belief system?

Isaac: Mantra, a belief system, a kind of a phrase of success, you know phrase that maybe you run in your head over and over. LIke I am a XYZ. Amazing productivity guru or something like that. What is kind of a belief system that you have that’s helped you get to where you are?

Penny: Um that’s an interesting, you know it might be that I have these 7 principles that are a part of what I call the blade of championship psychology. And I think those are kind of my mantra. And so just to give a couple of them is to appreciate that energy is everything. We talked about energy. Just to remind myself that how I show up is everything.

Isaac: Right.

Penny: The other thing is that choice is our greatest gift and to remember that it’s all a choice. You know sometimes that we think that it’s not. But if we put ourselves in that perspective that we do have a choice than it changes it. It creates stress when you feel like you are backed into a place or you’ve got nowhere to go. So I mean realizing that there is a choice here is also liberating.. You know some of the other key ones would be, one really really big one that I think alot of people don’t think about is that you choose your identify. So identify is really important. It’s like you said, I am and how we define ourselves. What comes after I am? And that it is infinite. That no matter  how I could define it it so much more.

I think more importantly I connect and realize that I’m not my roles in my life. That I’m so much more than that.

Isaac: Right

Penny: I think one of the key things that was at the bottom of my vision that I did when I was with you is I say I am an inspiration. And so that’s sort of one of the one of the things and uh you know some of the other ones are around language. You know cause  it falls around these principles. So It’s really to ask quality questions.

Isaac: Right

Penny: Because it’s not always, it’s never about the answers, it’s about asking the right questions. Cause when you ask the right questions, you’ll get the best answers.

Isaac: That’s  incredible.

Penny: They are all outlined in my book, these 7 principles. I kind of Steven Covey had the 7 habits and I you know some where in my next book it will be around these 7 principles. Because in there there’s no failure there is only feedback. And when you live by these 7 principles, life is just different. It’s just a happier more productive you know place. Cause for me productivity is a feeling. It’s not just what you accomplish. It’s how you feel about you’ve accomplished. And I ‘ve got so criticized by people. And they say it’s not a feeling. But I say it’s a feeling. Cause we are not machine.

Isaac: Right exactly.

Penny: If you are assessing the productivity of a machine, that’s different. You are looking for how many units of something come out. But that’s not what productivity is to me or what I think to anyone else. And funny enough that on my radio show that I do I’ve been doing it for 2 years and not one single person has given the same definition of productivity.

Isaac: That’s great, awesome. If there is one take away that you would have the listener do today, what would that one takeaway be?

Penny: I think it would really be around the mindset. It’s understanding that energy is everything. It’s how you show up and to reflect on those 4 things, purpose, language, focus and physiology that make up that how you control your energy. Any one of those, a tweak in any one of those is going to increase your energy.

Isaac: That’s fantastic. Energy is everything. That’s great! Well Penny, you are such a talented individual. Again it’s the Productivity Zone. Check it out on Amazon. And then p10app.com. Correct?

Penny: Correct.

Isaac: That’s the p10app.com for your ongoing transformation with productivity and again thank you so much Penny for investing the time that you have with us today.

Penny: Thank you Isaac. It’s been great.

Interview Robert Joslin Pt. 1 | Project Management

Robert Joslin is an engineering graduate.  He is a project and program management consultant.  He is an international trainer and an academic researcher.  He has experience in designing and initiating and program management delivery of large scale business, transformation, reengineering, infrastructure, strategy development including winning prizes for ideas and product innovation.  Previously he has been a consultant for a wide range of industries including telecom, banking, insurance, manufacturing and direct marketing while working for McKenzie and company.  He is currently studying for a PHD in strategy program and project management in Schema Business School in France.  He has coauthored a book called Program Management a Lifecycle Approach.  His input was around information structuring methodology.  His upcoming book is Portfolio Program and Project Success Factors.  Welcome Robert.

R: Thank you Penny.

P:  Tell us about your background and how did you get involved with this.

R:  Thank you. I was born in London.  I had a strict mother and moved to Switzerland about 20 years ago.  It started when I was in the cubs and scouts.  I won many awards and it taught me that I really enjoyed leading people and having an objective.  We did a lot of games.  Mind games.  I carried on into business.  Projects in business.  When I was in my apprenticeship I was part of the production line and operations.  I found there was a big difference between people working in projects and people working in operations.

P:  What would you say is the big difference?

Project managementR:  People who work in projects they live with uncertainty and are prepared to take risks.  People that work in operations like to know what they do in the morning in the next day, week, month.  In projects, every day is different.  Really it’s the uncertainty.

P:  Interesting.  It’s about uncertainty.  I was thinking that the difference is in the projects, I have been involved, I thought that it would be more of people that have more of a bigger vision and are able to, I can see the uncertainty element, and you have to get the moving parts to work at the same time.  It’s like cooking a massive meal for everybody.  And timing is just right.  Is that the uncertainty that you mean?

R:  You have a pretty good idea of what you are cooking.  All of the uncertainty in what you are trying to achieve and how you are trying to achieve it.  The uncertainty in the people. 

P:  The uncertainty is the dynamics in all that is involved.  And how to juggle those.  Project management and program management, Can you tell us the difference?

R:  Project management started back in the Egyptian times with pyramids.  Large projects.  And also small projects like cooking dinner.  A program is a collection of projects that are related in some way.  The benefits of doing them together under the umbrella of program outweigh the benefits of doing them individually.

P:  You said small projects can be things like cooking dinner or whatever.  People may not think of it but a lot of things we do day to day can be considered projects and combined together can be classified as program management.  Don’t you think?

R:  Yes, you just need to scale it up.  There are many project managements that are brought up to program manager.  Its ten or fifteen cooks working on different courses.  The grand finale is when dinner is served.  A program delivers benefits over a period of time.  The same is in cooking.  You have your entree, main course, desserts, you are delivering the benefits to the people eating over a period of time. 

P:  Drawing that analogy, I knew it would be interesting to have you on the show.  People can relate that analogy to their own life.  Whether it be cooking or the value and the benefits they are providing to themselves, family, organization and how they manage all of that.  And how the resources change.  The uncertainty of having different people involved.  That is what we are doing here today.  Drawing some parallel.

R:  During the course of my thirty years, one of the best project managers who was a secretary.  She was also efficient with her time.  She was good at running projects.  But when it came to certain complexity, she started to struggle.  She didn’t have the experience of that.  She would get to a certain level by managing that project extremely well.  Another is when I was working in London.  A CEO of a company who had a secretarial background.  She was an incredibly fair and efficient CEO.  She was a mother as well. 

P:  Some parallels for our listeners.  If you are a man, you will not fall into that category.  I’m just teasing.  As a mother, I can appreciate that.  We juggle a lot.  Project management and organization and planning and the skills going into that can be learned.  Would you agree?

R: Project management is anywhere in life.

P:  The more you practice the better you will be.  I want to go back to complexity.  I was talking with a client about how he has been able to get back time.  By reducing the complexity in his business, he has a huge assortment of goods he provides, he decided to cut away from his inventory the things that we not big sellers.  By greater organization and reducing the complexity, he was able to really simplify things to hand them over to someone else and also to be able to manage things better.  Do you think that is  an important part of the process?  Looking to simplify things?

R:  One of the areas I am looking at in research is complexity.  A lot of management research.  Found out there is necessary complexity and unnecessary complexity.

P:  We did another show with Steven Drews around value and adding value.  There were 8 wastes.  The Kaizan Process.  It is interesting and would love to dig deeper into that.  I don’t want to blow people’s minds if we go into the depth of that.  i can see that keeping your focus on what the goal is.  Profitability is the goal in my client’s case.  There is a certain amount of necessity that is required then there are items that are not necessary.  Is that what you are saying?

R:  You can’t reduce complex problems or make them simple either. 

P:  We use quotes from Einstein. It’s amazing how many years ago and his discoveries are more profound today.  I would like to talk about your upcoming book that talks about key success factors in project management and program management.  Can you share what are some of those key success factors?  Everyone wants to know!

R:  The differences of success factors and criteria.  I did research on companies.  If you look at a success factor in a project it is the elements and parts of the project that can be influenced to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.  That is what everyone wants to achieve.  What needs to be there and achieve the outcome?  There is no point starting something if you have no chance of succeeding.  What is success?  I had a program where on the cost of budget the time, the iron triangle where you have the scope, the cost, the time, were all met.  What constitutes success?  How do you measure it? There is not a quick answer.  But if you put a gun against my head, I would come up with an experienced project manager.  Manager support, good communications and a good schedule.  There are many more as well.

P:  People who follow this show and my ten critical elements in time and energy management, I found four items I can rate under championship psychology.  Three of those items after listening to your success criteria, one is Purpose.  You have a clear goal that drives everyone.  The second is Focus.  You know what it is that you are looking to achieve.  The third is language.  Communication.  All of this needs to make sure everyone is alignment.  This is critical when managing multiple people and projects at the same time.  A championship psychology is so important not only for yourself, but as a team.  Whether delivering that as a management team or a project team.  I love that description because there are so many of those things that draw back to the ten essential elements.

R:  I would like to add that research shows the most success project managers are the ones that is over 50.  He is actually able to motivate his team.  A happy team will achieve more.  Experience is important as well as motivation.

P:  I would like to talk more about motivation when we talk about time and energy management.  I see motivation as part of energy management.  We talk about the success criteria, what is the first step you do when you are planning for a large project or a program?

R:  Create a project chart.  It’s like a two or three page document with the essentials of why you want to go into this project.  The objectives, the sponsors, the risks, etc.  Once you actually document it, you get a much better idea of what people are trying to achieve because it’s in writing.  Bigger companies can use it as a base of conversation.

P:  The Why of this.  Connecting to the purpose so that we all have the drive and motivation.  We need this because of the benefits, impact, etc….For the listeners that is the most important thing for anything you do.  Whether you consider it a project or not, sitting down to look at strategy for business, your family, whatever area of your life, this is cross contextual.  You want to connect with what is the purpose.  What is the why?  You will have an inner connection.

R:  In larger companies you need to make sure when you align the vision, the mission, the objective of the company, you will achieve directional intent.  You could jeopardize the investments if not done correctly.

P:  We are running to our first break.  For our listeners, we are talking about program and project management and its relationship to your projects in your life.  Stay tuned.  This is Penny Zenker with Take Charge of Your Productivity.


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