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A few days ago at the Fortune Small Business Growth Summit in Atlanta, GA, Tom Peters, the keynote speaker and co-author of Search of Excellence, polled the audience of 300 executives on how long they believe the down turn will last. Over 57% believe that it will last at least 2 years.   Over the next few blog entries, I will share  practical pointers to help firms and individuals proactively and successfully move through tough times. 

People.  The most important element in business and life is PEOPLE.   Yet when times get tough, people may be what  you neglect.  You can turn lemons into lemonade with the right chefs.  Tom Peters and I recommend maintaining:

  • Integrity (Do what you say you will do with honesty)
  • Dignity (Even if you cut back or make changes, do so in a way that helps your firm retains its good reputation and helps people maintain their dignity.  Give choice if possible)
  • Communication (More open communication is the best.  People appreciate knowing the situation and participating, if possible, in creating the solutions)

What's your plan for turning the worst of times into the best of times?  Join my new GROUP Learning and Coaching program and create a proactive plan for you and/or for your firm. This approach is effective, affordable, and risk free.  Check out the money back guarantee.  There are still a few slots open so act now. Sign up by 10/31/08 for BIG bonuses at  

Theresa M. Szczurek ( and  


During the recent National Speakers Association conference in New York City, I facilitated a session with Bob Danzig, CPAE and legendary former chief executive officer of Hearst Newspaper Group.  He told speakers, consultants, and business leaders what we need to know. Danzig shared wisdom from the CEO's perspective of having hired many excellent, and not so effective, consultants ( This message is useful for all business people, especially in tough times.

Consultants and business people are destiny architects playing an important role to help frame a firm’s and the clients’ future.  Yet many consultants who Danzig hired for big bucks would come in after their assessments and give PowerPoint presentations to the management team that were an ‘ocean of data.’ With an analytical ‘head’ perspective, they shared the numbers and facts.  Danzig has this feedback to consultants who used this approach, “You brought attention and presented data with intelligence.  You filled people’s minds.  You did NOT touch any hearts.  You limited your efficacy.”  These consultants missed the heart.

Regardless of where you are consultants or business people working with clients and/or employees, are you missing your client’s heart? Are you missing your employee’s heart?

How can you be more effective and efficient?  Danzig strongly recommends business people touch hearts by telling stories, “If your objective is to stimulate action, ask yourself ‘How can we touch hearts?’”  Look at the firm’s history.  Find a story which affirms the message you want to bring out. 

While stress and uncertainty of these times may move you to be more into your head, make sure that you balance the head and heart. Be more effective by touching hearts by telling stories!

Theresa M. Szczurek ( and