Cynthia Murray Enterprises LLC

Say No to the Status Quo!

 Cynthia Murray: Posted Thursday, January 9, 2014

An older director from a different department called my desk and said, "You'd better get off your a** and bring me the paper to sign before I go home for the day!" Rest assured - that was a problem. I was furious, but I opted to calmly comply with his request and wished him a pleasant evening. Then I picked up the phone and called HR to say, "Houston...we have a problem."

Conflict at work is almost inevitable. Hopefully, it's not an ongoing issue, but trust me that if you work with a group of people long enough, there will be issues and conflicts that arise. How to handle them is crucial not only to your well-being, but to your organization's success.

Obviously, it's best to maintain a professional and amiable relationship with your co-workers making every effort to avoid conflicts whenever possible. But, what do you do when, despite best efforts, you encounter a co-worker who seems intent on stirring up strife, harassing, bullying or bringing personal conflict to your doorstep? The ancient wise answer is...it depends.


All conflict is not the same, so neither will be your response to it. However, there are some basic principles to consider when you are confronted with that pesky person with whom you must work. Let's look at the spectrum of options that you have at your disposal before you decide how to handle the issue:


1. DO NOTHING. I know, that sounds strange, but the reality is that you don't necessarily have to do anything (other than pray for relief!) in some cases. These are usually the situations in which the aggravating person is annoying, but not seriously affecting you, the company or the project. In addition, he or she may be someone with whom you do not have to work frequently.


In many cases, while this individual is annoying to you, s/he is probably exhibiting similar behavior toward others as well. Time is your best resource here. The more you continue to work in a professional manner and refuse to stoop to their level, the more stark the contrast between their divisive and unprofessional behavior becomes. 

In this scenario, believe me that this person is getting the attention of supervisors and Human Resources anyway and will often be among the first to be dismissed when the opportunity presents itself either by way of company layoffs or annual reviews. Irrespective of how good they are at what they do, when they cause division among the team, their value to the company is diminished and they will, in all likelihood, eventually be terminated. This option takes the least toll and effort on you, so be careful when deciding whether to pick this conflict battle.


2, CONFRONT PEACEABLY. At times you may decide to confront the individual about his or her behavior in a professional and non-personal way. With this option the key is to alert the person that you are not pleased with the professional relationship and that you are motivated to get along. Basically, extend an olive branch while being clear that things cannot continue the way the have been.  

Be very specific about examples and always link them to ways that the unhealthy working relationship is affecting team performance. Be open to a discussion about ways that you both may be able to improve. This method is good because it allows you the liberty to try to resolve your own conflicts instead of running to Human Resources every time the offending person does something. You don't want to appear unable to resolve conflict. Keep note of incidents if things do not improve and you have to go to the next level.


3. ESCALATE FORMALLY. There are situations when neither of the above methods is appropriate to the problem or incident. The example of what happened to me at work is just one of them. You must decide when to pick up the mantle to advocate for a higher standard of behavior at your place of employment. In my situation, while I was admittedly personally offended by his language, rude behavior and erroneous and arrogant display of authority over someone not even in his department, the issue was not about me. Human Resources required him to be accountable for his actions, he admitted what he said and appropriate action was taken. Needless to say, he never spoke to me in that manner again and we were able to have an effective working relationship until the day he left the company.

I was incensed at the fact that someone in a position of authority would behave in such a manner, thereby setting a tone and standard for others to follow. In addition, I thought, "If he would treat me this way, he will surely treat others the same way and get this company sued!" Further, this awful lack of leadership will ultimately affect the bottom line as employees feel unappreciated and simply won't want to work with someone who may be an integral part of the team. Therefore, the team is less productive resulting in wasted time, substandard performance and diminished quality of goods and services.


In that case, all ended well. Human Resources required that director to be accountable for his actions. He admitted to what he said and the appropriate corrective action was taken. Needless to say, he never spoke to me in that manner again and we were able to have an effective working relationship until the day he left the company. If you find yourself in a serious situation, know that your Human Resources Department is there for you and responsible to address your concerns. Use them as a resource when the situation requires it for you, the organization and others who may be experiencing or will experience the same offensive behavior.


To book Cynthia Murray for your next special event, conference or training workshop for your team on this topic and other successful strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, coach and author. To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning! Copyright 2014 CME, LLC

Go Team! Working Together to Win

Cynthia Murray: Posted Friday, March 21, 2014

The fundamental concept of achieving a group goal and winning is teamwork. Without out it a project or effort is almost certainly doomed to fail or at the very least fall short of the intended expectations. From athletes to corporate enterprises success is dependent upon a fully functioning team made up of committed individuals who are dedicated to achieving a common goal.


The reality is that even individual professionals depend on teamwork. How's that? Well, the reality is that no man is an island and no man stands alone (as the song goes). For example, a race car driver may be the person in the spotlight of the cameras, but he is relying on a specialized team from auto mechanics and part purchasers to driving instructors to make sure that he crosses the finish line ahead of the pack. How about doctors? The best surgeons in the world are still reliant upon skilled nurses, anesthesiologists and hospital staff to maintain the facilities and equipment in tip-top shape. Remove any person in the team and the odds of achieving success and winning plummet. 

In the same way, the most sophisticated CEO or any other group leader depends on the efforts of those that s/he leads to achieve goals and sustain success. Teamwork is the key. So, let's take a look at the a few important elements of teamwork to increase the probability of winning:


1. Understanding the common goal. It goes without saying (although I must say it here) that in order for a team to achieve it's goal, each participant must know and be in agreement as to what the goal actually is. Nothing spells confusion and wasted time like the lack of understanding as to what the group is trying to accomplish. At the beginning of any game everyone wants to know what is the object of the game - how do you define success. It seems so simple and yet this is an area that can be overlooked. Make sure that the team knows what they're reaching for and they'll be able to keep their eyes on the prize.


2. Communication. The ability of the team members to communicate effectively is crucial to achieving success. Words and symbols are important. Good communication includes speaking a common language relating to the effort. This can be particularly important in projects using a specialized lexicon or acronyms. Make every effort to ensure that everyone understands and is using the same terms appropriate to the project. In addition, it's very important that teammates have access to one another with adequate time and technology to stay in touch to communicate problems, needs and milestone successes. This becomes increasingly important the farther away teammates are from each other, whether it's different departments, states or countries.


3. Support. Effective teamwork requires that the members of the team help each other out. There's no room for big egos or people wanting to steal all of the credit for achieving goals. Teammates have to first carry their own load and then pitch in when others are struggling for whatever legitimate reason. If one sees an area of vulnerability or potential advantage for another team member, he or she should be ready to let the other person know and be willing to assist in whatever way is feasible.

Implementing these basic principles of teamwork will greatly increase the likelihood of achieving your mutual goals. So, in the spirit of collaboration and a thirst for winning, here's a big "Go Team!" to you and your colleagues and wishing you much success.


To book Cynthia Murray for your next special event, conference or training workshop for your team on this topic and other successful strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, coach and author. To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning! 

#IcoachUwin

Give Back and Go Forward

Cynthia Murray: Posted Wednesday, March 12, 2014

It stands to reason that every business wants to get ahead, but not every company knows or implements one of the biggest secrets to longevity and success. In fact, a lot of time and money is spent analyzing market data, creating strategic plans and pursuing high returns on investment. While all of that is good, there is still another method to keeping a company at the top of its game. That secret weapon? Charitable giving.


That's right, giving back to the community, whether at the local or global level, is a tried and true method to a company's profitability and staying power, not to mention it's just the right thing to do. The beauty of it is that whether you are an entrepreneur or a Fortune 500 company, you stand to gain when you give generously to and serve charities.


Below is a link to some of the companies which gave the most cash in 2012 as reported by Huffington Post. You'll find in their ranks the likes of Target which gives 5% of its earnings to charitable organizations. To read more about these generous and successful companies click here.


Other corporations like Chobani, the famous yogurt company, may not match the bigger companies dollar-for-dollar, but they donate a whopping 10% to charitable causes. Now, that's impressive!

As an solo entrepreneur, I understand the importance of giving of my time and money to organizations and causes that I know are making a powerful and positive difference in the world. That's why I support organizations such as the Ron Brown Scholar Program which awards $40,000 scholarships to exceptional African American college-bound students who matriculate to top-tier universities across the United States.

As a business owner, I have committed Cynthia Murray Enterprises over the past few years to giving 10% of the profits from sales of my skin care products (Divine By Design Natural Skin Care) to Bombay Teen Challenge in India. This amazing ministry rescues children and fights the war on sex trafficking in Mumbai, India.


I also invest my time and money to go on Christian missions through Divine Women of Destiny Ministries International. I travel as a volunteer around the world to help those men, women and children who need it most as seen in this photo of me on March 12, 2014 teaching at a women's conference in Jammu, India. This is just the first of four missions trips this year including destinations to Central America, the Middle East and Africa.   

While we certainly don't give just to get something back in return, it always works out that way. When you give to good causes and charities, your business in blessed in return and prospers. So, look for ways to give of your time and resources when and where you can. You'll earn great satisfaction from helping people and you'll be so glad you did!


To book Cynthia Murray for your next special event, conference or training workshop for your team on this topic and other successful strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, coach and author. To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning! 

#IcoachUwin

Get Organized and Get Great Results

Cynthia Murray: Posted Friday, March 7, 2014

Sure, we all would like to be more neat and organized, but for one reason or another it doesn't always work out that way despite best intentions. So, what happens? Why are people disorganized lately more and more and what are the consequences both personally and professionally? Well, there are a few important reasons to look at as well as some solutions to help get you organized and happy, happy if you fall into the "Where the heck is that file?!" crowd.


HEY, WHY SO DISORGANIZED?


If you've asked this question, you're certainly not alone. Brother International Corporation published a white paper in 2010 entitled "The Costs Associated with Disorganization" based on responses they obtained from a survey of over 800 U.S. full-time employees. The report revealed that "the search for lost and misplaced materials accounts for nearly 38 hours or approximately one work week annually per employee." The white paper also estimates that the costs associated with time spent searching for lost files and computer data exceeds an astounding $177B per year. So whether you are a large company or a sole proprietor, this issue is well worth looking at and resolving.


Let's take a look at reasons why it might harder for some to reach destination organization.


1. Many times there is little or no forethought put into what needs to be done so people go about the day feeling scattered and not focusing on important tasks. They simply react as assignments and new obligations get thrown at them. The key is to be proactive and not simply reactive. Having a simple To Do Checklist in order of priority can really help to get and stay organized on the things that need to get done in a day. 

2. Another disorganization culprit is not putting things away in their proper place in the home or office. Not filing or placing things in their appropriate spot causes items to be misplaced, misfiled, mistakenly thrown away by a family member or "lost" in the proverbial black hole only to be found months later stuck to something else. Simply putting things back where you found them as soon as possible avoids this major obstacle to organization.

3. Poor time management and procrastination can also lead to a disorganized frenzy. Simply by allotting yourself an additional 15 minutes in the morning before heading off to work or an appointment will have you feeling calm, cool and collected with necessary documents in hand. No one wants to arrive late to a meeting or get a speeding ticket on the way!


WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES BEING ORGANIZED MAKE?


Take a look at just a few of the effects of being disorganized:


1. Frustration. Disorganization can lead to physical and emotional stress in the form of headaches, irritability, high blood pressure, low self-confidence, moodiness, and generally feeling flustered and embarrassed.


2. Lost focus. When you lack organization at home and/or work you create distractions from the substantive tasks at hand. Your focus becomes the search in the Land of the Lost for your phone, memory stick, bills or receipts. That all translates to lower productivity and not being prepared for work, business or personal meetings.  

3. Decreased confidence. Disorganization heightens the risk of lower confidence in you from others such as superiors and teammates, clients or customers. The Brother International white paper said that, "80% agree that someone who is disorganized hurts the productivity of the whole office." In addition, "71% of surveyed participants feel that a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind."

If your colleagues and clients see or even perceive that you are disorganized they may be less likely to want to work with you. Your work space speaks volumes about how you are handling things or at the very least, how your ability to handle things is perceived. If your desk or home office looks scattered, then people may think you are not as capable as others or able to get the job done.


4. Time is money. Late responses due to lost or forgotten paperwork (including contact information) can mean penalties, late fees, losing out to faster competition as well as missed opportunities and appointments.


HELP GET ME OUT OF THIS MESS!


1. Lighten your load. You can delegate some of your responsibilities to other capable members of your team. You may need to resign from some boards, the HOA, or other organizations temporarily or permanently if you find that your participation is causing you to lose time, money and focus on more important matters and obligations. Remember success is not so much about how much you do, but how much you do well.


2. Use a filing system. It doesn't have to be fancy, expensive or elaborate, but stick with it and know where it is. Put things in their place. This really helps at tax time. Quick Books is okay, but a manila folder with labels is better than a shoe box stuffed with receipts that are not properly filed. Something is better than nothing when it comes to filing.


3. Give yourself those 10-15 extra minutes to get to work, meetings and appointments if at all possible. You will be more relaxed, focused and confident when interacting with colleagues and other professionals. Hardly anyone prefers to work with people who always arrive frazzled and out of breath, unable to put their hands on needed documents or are simply unprepared. From now on, you can be ahead of the curve and ready to take on the world! For more on the topic click on this great short article by Ramona Creel. http://www.smead.com/hot-topics/disorganized-998.asp


To book Cynthia Murray for your next special event, conference or training workshop for your team on this topic and other successful strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, coach and author. To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning! 

#IcoachUwin

Damage Control: Repairing a Business Relationship Rift

Cynthia Murray: Posted Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Building and maintaining good business relationships is a key component to success, if not survival, in today's marketplace. In addition, it's just the right thing to do - make and keep business associates as friends for long, mutually beneficial relationships.


So, what do you do when there is a rift in a professional relationship due to some incident such as late delivery or misunderstanding regarding your service? Today, I give you five essential tips to repairing the relationship and doing damage control, as we are going to assume for purposes of this blog that you want to maintain the business relationship and not go your separate ways.


There are additional effective strategies that I teach in my seminars relating to legal advice and negotiations, but these five tips form a good foundation when confronted with this type of conflict.


Tip #1: Look before you leap. Never attempt to tackle the problem with the other party without first obtaining as many of the related facts as possible. This will require speaking with your team and all of the stakeholders involved to get relevant facts, opinions and perspectives on the issue(s). This is an integral step to understand exactly the nature of the problem to be addressed and begin to seek feasible resolution.


Tip #2: Time is of the essence. Contact the other party as soon as you can to let them know that you are aware of the problem and are working on gathering information to bring about a mutually beneficial resolution. This will assure them that you are giving proper attention to the issue and will help ease the tension. It also lets them know that you need a bit of time before replying with a full response or beginning to negotiate.

Tip #3: Assess whether you or your team has in fact made a mistake in the provision of the goods and/or services. If so, own up to it! This act alone may prompt the other party to be more flexible in coming up with a solution, avoiding costly re-work and a potential lawsuit for breach of contract. Don't be afraid to address the other party about any errors or breakdown in communication on their side too. Both parties may bear some of the burden in the problem.


Tip #4: In your response as well as in future negotiations toward resolution, be as open and honest as possible. Still use discretion with what information to disclose based on legal and proprietary information, but be sure that whatever information you do share is accurate and truthful. There is no room for deception in business and especially when trying to preserve goodwill with a customer, client or professional colleague.


Tip #5: Keep your emotions in check. Nothing spells disaster like losing your temper with the customer or client. It's unprofessional and only adds fuel to the already burning fire. Remember that your and/or your company's reputation is on the line, so don't give reason to tarnish the good name that you've worked so hard to build!


To book Cynthia for your next special event or a training workshop for your team on this topic or other successful strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, coach, author and attorney. To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to purchase so you can start winning! 

#IcoachUwin

After the Fall: How to Start Over After Failure

Cynthia Murray: Posted Monday, February 17, 2014

I really enjoy watching the Olympics. Every athlete is exceptional whether they win a medal or go home after defeat to train and try again. There is something compelling about watching athletes perform and compete for a title that has all but consumed their dreams for success, wearing the gold, standing on the world's stage and listening to your country's anthem as the entire world watches. I imagine the intense pressure that many of them experience having been labeled "the favorite" or the "darling" of their chosen sport.


They step onto the ice, the slopes or the rink and carry the weight of the world's expectations to win or lose. Now, that's what I call pressure. They close their eyes, pace the floor and even talk to themselves preparing to do what they have worked their entire lives to achieve. Then they step up to the starting line and it's show time.


As we all know, they don't always win. Sometimes even Olympic favorites "fail" at a given goal or endeavor. For whatever reason, be it injury, lack of focus, wardrobe malfunction or a less than perfect performing environment, the one on whom everyone is betting often doesn't win the gold...or even take the winner's podium! The rest of the world takes a universal gasp when they fall and Olympic hopes are shot, but the athlete quickly shakes it off and re-calibrates for the next event or the next four years.  

Why? Because he has the heart of a champion and champions don't quit just because they fail or miss the mark. If competing is what they were born to do, then they literally get up, dust themselves off and start over. They get back into the zone and focus on methods of improvement. They analyze what went wrong and begin to auto-correct, not self-destruct. The champion also understands that success will be based as much on physical ability as psychological attitude, guts and grit.


The champion doesn't let failure define them. She doesn't allow an instance of failure, no matter how great, label her as a "failure". A favorite phrase of the winner is "When I come back next time..." and there usually is a next time for fame to make its footprint in their lives. They don't allow the media to define them or competitors to intimidate them. They know they've got what it takes and they're willing to pay the price for perfection...next time.


This winning attitude goes beyond Olympic villages and can be found in boardrooms, classrooms, courtrooms, operating rooms and any other place where champions find themselves.


There is a "field" where you practice too. You are no less a champion than an Olympic athlete when you walk into the place where you give the world what you were born to do. But, sometimes you fall in a presentation, a report, a competition or case. It's okay. Review it. Analyze it and learn from it. Then, let the champion in you get up after the fall and start again. You can win if you don't give in! 

Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC


She is a speaker, coach, trainer, author and attorney. To subscribe to Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now free! Click here. To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia click on the book cover photo above.


To contact Cynthia Murray for your next special event, training workshop or to arrange Life or Executive Coaching services, write to us on our Contact Us Page. #IcoachUwin  

Finding Your Focus

Cynthia Murray: Posted Friday, February 12, 2014

This week and last I was a guest speaker at two great events teaching women the skills that we need to possess in order to achieve our professional goals. However, the principles that I taught are universal and apply to both men and women alike. Now, I want to give you the same wisdom nugget that I shared with each of them. One of the primary keys to achieving your career and professional goals is..FOCUS.


It was readily apparent to me that the people in both groups of women are already destined to achieve success. It's in them just like it's in you. I already knew that by virtue of the fact that they invested a full day of their time and money to participate in two programs through which they would learn about skills needed to succeed in career and business and network with other forward-thinking, successful people. The first conference was the Dream Builders' Academy and the second was the Quadruplicity Women's Conference sponsored by our local Chamber of Commerce.

But, having the potential to succeed and actually succeeding are two very different things. You must have a success plan and then work it! As I wrote in my last book, The Power of A Plan: 10 Keys to Achieving Your Goals and Winning "Your success is not an accident, fate or a lucky break. It is intentional, strategic and methodical. Whether you achieve your dreams and goals is primarily up to you." (p.. 117)


So, if you need to focus, what exactly does that mean and how do you do it? Glad you asked. Here is an easy acronym (you guys know I love my mnemonics) F.O.C.U.S:


F = FORGET past failure. Learn from mistakes, but don't let them define you and hold you back from pursuing your goals.


O = Be OPEN-MINDED and embrace new opportunities. Network outside of your normal group, attend meetings in different areas and get to know people with whom you would not normally have the chance to interact (Keep in mind that could mean people from other industries, cultures and socio-economic status).


C = CONCENTRATE on the object of your goal or dream. You have to keep a mental and/or physical image of what it is that your shooting for. This will be a literal life line for your dream when times are tough and life's distractions come hurling at you!


U = UNDERSTAND your values and don't deviate from them. This assumes that you espouse such virtues as honesty, integrity, fairness, justice and benevolence toward others. Tough economic times and crisis can challenge you to loosen your values.


S = STRATEGIZE on how to win. Remember I said that success is strategic and methodical. You are not going to land that big contract just sitting on the corner outside of their offices. You'd probably have a better chance of winning the powerball lottery! Take time periodically to think about what you want, where you need to be, when it's time to launch, etc. I discuss these and many more facets of your strategy to win in my book.


I'm reminded of my high school social studies series about civil rights in the United States. It was called, "Eyes on the Prize". It's a great title and perfectly sums up my point for the week. If you want to reach your career goals and win, never take your eyes off of the prize.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC


She is a speaker, coach, trainer, author and attorney. To subscribe to Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now free! Click here. To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia click on the book cover photo above.


To contact Cynthia Murray for your next special event, training workshop or to arrange Life or Executive Coaching services, write to us on our Contact Us Page. #IcoachUwin 

What To Do When No One Is Watching

Cynthia Murray: Posted Friday, February 12, 2014

This is the first post in our new blog category entitled "Just When You Thought..." In this category I will share short snippets with you about amazing stories from the news or our own personal encounters with folks that will definitely raise your eyebrows. They will be things that, well..., I just have to share with you! I hope you enjoy it and please know we love your comments too. Let' start a dialogue. Here goes!


So, what would you do if you worked for (perhaps) not far above minimum wage at a thrift store and had the task of going through old clothes to clean out the pockets of lint, dried gum and crumpled paper when you find the mother load? 

That happened to a manager at a Goodwill store in Michigan. Read what happened by clicking on the link below!


http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/good-news/goodwill-manager-finds-43-000-donated-clothing-returns-165404130.html

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