Keys to Stress Management

I read this wonderful article, by Travis Bradberry, that focuses on how smart people stay calm.

The number one take away for me is that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress.  So often, I have seen that times of crisis truly gives the cream the opportunity to rise to the top.  Some of the other key take-aways for me from this article include:

  1. They appreciate what they have.  Taking a few minutes to contemplate what you are grateful for reduces your stress wich increases your effectiveness.
  2. Staying positive – During a time of stress, it is easy for people to turn negative.  Being negative makes doing the hard work necessary to complete the stressful situation more difficult.
  3. Limiting caffeine – This is a very controversial one at Whitman Business Advisors.  Our leader can drink caffeine by the boatload.  However, the article does discuss how being hyperaroused by the caffeine can make your emotions run away from you.  I will be keeping a close eye on this one.
  4. They squash negative self-talk.  This is something I have struggled and have seen many clients struggle as well.  I often see the person who has the most negative things to say about them is themselves. I think part of this is people are much more likely to “own” negative feedback than positive.
  5. They breathe – so often changing the pattern for even a few minutes can have a significant impact – for some people breathing exercise work for others taking a quick walk or grabbing some water work.

Stress is a long-term effectiveness and happiness killer.  Stress is also part of our lives so taking the time to learn methods to handle it more effectively is worth the effort.

What stress reduction techniques do you use?


Not So Fast . . .

One of the most far-reaching changes to Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime regulations was about to begin effective December 1st.

This change doubled the threshold for exemption from overtime pay to $47,476.  What’s more, the exemption would have automatically been adjusted every three years beginning in 2020.  On November 22, 2016 a federal judge in Texas halted this change and put on hold a major initiative of the Obama administration.

At this time, employers do not need to implement the FLSA changes by December 1st.  However, after hearing the full case, the court could allow the changes to move forward.  On the other hand, the incoming Trump Administration will now have time to weigh-in on the overtime initiatives sponsored by the outgoing Obama administration. WBA’s Human Capital Services team will closely monitor this important development and keep clients appraised in the weeks ahead

Current Dilemma

Many employers have already implemented the new overtime regulations.

Undoubtedly, this can pose a problem for employers having to pull-back from overtime eligibility notices that were implemented over the past few months leading up to the effective date of December 1, 2016.

Employers will have to think about which approach will cause the least disruption to their workforce. Some employers may decide to keep the changes – if already implemented – and abide by modifications put forth the by the Trump administration, and made into law by the FLSA.  Employers, who have not reclassified their employees for overtime purposes, would want to hold-off and keep a close watch on developments going forward.

Have you implemented any changes? How does this affect you, at this time?

Questions are good. Good questions are even better.

A key skill, whether you are in leadership, sales or support, is asking questions.

I recently read this article on, “4 Questions Smart Leaders Always Ask Employees to Improve Their Performance,” which discusses things to ask your direct reports during your one-to-ones. You do have one-to-ones, right?

I often see leaders who are “too busy” to have one-to-ones with direct reports – this is a mistake. Meetings with direct reports should be highly valuable use of your time, and a priority that complements your performance review cycles.

My favorite question on that list is #2: List three things that motivate you to do your work each day.

Understanding what motivates your reports will give you valuable insights to get more out of your team, while allowing the team to enjoy what they do more.  And happier employees are more productive employees. And more productive employees make happier bosses. See where this is going?

What questions do you use during your one-to-ones?

Getting in the last word is a good interview tactic.

Asking questions at the end of an interview is a chance to make a great last impression.  

You want to show the interviewer that you are sharp and confident.  The worst question is that you have none.  

I like question # 5 on this list. How would you describe your company’s culture?  So often, when someone does not work out in an organization it is because of culture not skill set.  

I also like question #14. What have past employees done to succeed? This question will give you insights to what is important to the interviewer and organization.  

Be prepared to ask questions. Do not think you will come up with them on the fly.  

What is you favorite question? (Let us know below!) 

Vision? It’s more than just seeing where you want to go…

I recently read this article about what could be holding you back from success:  

5 Habits that are Holding You Back
@LollyDaskal – of Lead from Within – published this article on and it stuck in my mind: 5 Terrible Habits That Hold You Back From Success (there are actually 6 bad habits) 

When we facilitate partner retreats, one impactful issue that is all too common is a lack of a clear firm vision.  Often times we find multiple visions that cause friction among the partner group. 

Even worse is when we find no vision except for occasionally tweaking the way things have always been.  

The entire organization needs to be on the same page – with the same set of end goals – if you’re going to get there… and everyone needs to be bought-in and excited about doing it.

One of the biggest consequences of having no clear vision for your firm, as the article discusses, is a lack of motivation that results from your team!

If you are frustrated by where you, individually, or your firm is stuck – call the team together and talk about vision! Once the vision is clear, motivation issues typically fix themselves because your people can see where they’re going, and thus figure out how to get there.

Share your experience with building, revising or achieving your firm’s vision, below: (and of course, achieving a vision just means it’s time for a new vision to carry you forward)

We are available for partner and firm retreats to help you build your vision, or refresh an old vision that is no longer serving you in the 21st century.


Creating your own reality…

I recently watched this video and loved it.

So often, I see people typically not make decisions because of fear.

Isaac talks about how fear makes us replace the unknown with “awfulizing.”

It is amazing how often when we write the story, or the staff writes the story, the story that is told is typically worse.

No Bad Teams, Only Bad Leaders… do you agree?

So often, when we meet with managing partners, we discuss under-performing teams.  

The conversation almost always focuses on lower level employees and not practice leaders.  

This article, “Former Navy SEAL commanders explain why ‘there are no bad teams, only bad leaders,'” by Richard Feloni, on, discusses the importance of leadership in the effectiveness of teams.  


Click to read the whole article

What are your thoughts? Share them below: