Month: June 2014

Ashley Furniture: 4th of July Sale - 20% off!

Visit your local Ashley Furniture Homestore for the Fourth of July Sale. Get up to 20% off on select items – Save big for the summer, and the coming year!


Get Deliberate About Your Success

Deliberate Success.



Simply put,

– Be intentional about wanting to move forward in your life

– Set appropriate goals to get you there, for goals are the seeds of greatness.

– Take organized action on your goals. If you do not DO something, nothing will change. You will arrive nowhere. Take action.

– Ensure you are taking the right action that takes you to the right direction. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter how active you are… if you are moving in the wrong direction, you will not arrive at your desired destination.

– In the process, beware who you associate with – who you walk with. The people in your life make you. They influence almost everything about you: words, actions… decisions. If you walk with nine fools, you will become the tenth.

To your success.

Samuel A. Bakutana is Africa’s New Generation Leadership, Business and Education Consultant, an Inspirational Keynote Speaker, and…

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Networking: 4 Steps to Making Strategic Connections

Networking inforgraphic

Masterpiece Leader Blog

Strategic contacts are often people with whom you have no mutual connection. The bad news: For many, reaching out to these people is an overwhelming task that causes high anxiety. The good news: It can be mastered with structure and practice and it has a high return on investment.               

Once you have identified people to connect with, what do you say to them? How do you introduce yourself? The more you practice the following steps the easier it will get and the more likely you are to make it part of your ongoing leadership practice.4 Steps for Making Strategic Connections: Scripts for the: initial contact, networking meeting and follow-up

4 Steps to Make a Connection

1. Initial Contact: Whether in person or electronically, use your commitment statement as a way to introduce yourself and ask for a meeting. Tell them what you are committed to, what you are passionate about, and what you are working towards. Mention your common connection…

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8 Skills That Will Make You An Effective Leader

Skills for an effective leader

Scribble and Scrawl

‘Mostly leaders are born. Some inherit leadership. Some come by default.’ These statements coming from an acquaintance on social media induced me to write this post. When we think of leadership, traits such as charisma, authority, courage, oratory skills easily and instinctively come to our mind. These qualities are associated with great leaders or inspirational figures such as Margaret Thatcher, M. K. Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr.or Churchill and most these seem to be inborn qualities. Obviously, not all of us can have the style, presence or oratory skills of these great historical figures. Just like some people are gifted singers, while many others struggle to strike the right notes, some people are naturally bestowed with a charismatic persona, while others are not. Does it mean that in absence of inborn leadership traits, one cannot be a leader? Let us dig into it a bit more. Here I list down…

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Engagement – The Second of the 4 E’s

Engagement and Leadership

Leadership Strikes

Engagement evaluates whether or not your talent is engaged with:

  • what they do
  • the people they work with
  • their leadership
  • their company, its purpose and vision

These connections impact motivation, trust and loyalty…critical elements in terms of employee satisfaction and ultimately retention.

There are  typically three levels of “engagement”:

  1. Engaged: works with passion, has profound positive connections, innovates and are a force that drives performance outcomes.
  2. Not-Engaged: essentially “checked-out”, putting in their time and collecting a paycheck, with little energy or commitment.
  3. Actively Disengaged: a virus to the organization, this group proactively undermines the efforts of their co-workers and the business.

A 2013 Gallup poll found that only 13 % of the work force was Engaged, with 63 % Not-Engaged and 24 % actively Disengaged!

“Gallup estimates that actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. up to $550 billion each year in lost productivity, are more likely to steal from their companies, negatively influence their coworkers…

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Winners of Bay Area Impact Challenge Announced

Google Impact Challenge, Bay AreaThe Bay Area Impact Challenge was a crowdsourced effort to discover the best nonprofit ideas for improving life in the Bay Area.  The reward for those nonprofit efforts doing the most good to bring about a better Bay Area would win monetary grants and support from a newly created impact lab.  The impact lab is a collaboration between Google and Impact Hub SF to create a shared workspace for entrepreneurs invested in creating positive social and environmental change.

The challenge focused on the top twenty-five nonprofit initiatives in the Bay Area.  The top four projects, as determined by online voting, would receive a five hundred thousand dollar grant and a year of time to work in the Google Impact Lab.  The following six runner-up endeavors would receive two hundred and fifty dollars in grants each.  Additionally, the final fifteen projects would receive one hundred dollars in grants; all runner-ups would also be granted a year of time collaborating with the Google Impact Lab.

An article recently completed by the Philanthropy News Digest announced the top four projects and how they would employ the funds granted to them.  Hack the Hood plans to use the money to address equity in the region; they will seek to train low-income youths in the area in the tasks of creating and building websites for businesses, to equip them for employment in the demands of the twenty-first century workplace.  Similarly, the Center for Employment Opportunities indicated that it would use the funds to develop an online platform to help prepare formerly incarcerated individuals for employment in the digital world.

Health Trust declared that it would employ its funds towards the creation of channels to help supply and increase access to affordable local produce in underserved areas.  Finally, Bring Me a Book will use its money to provide youths with access to digital books in multiple languages in an attempt to widen the exposure of underprivileged children to literature and textbooks.  The nonprofit will also seek to create a supportive online community for parents and caregivers.

from Eugene Chrinian Charity
via Eugene Chrinian

Three Essential Traits of All Great Leaders

Eugene Chrinian, Three Essential Traits of All Great LeadersUnique ideas are hard to come by; evident even less often is the ability to successfully execute an idea.  Several qualities are necessary to make a dream take actual form in business.  According to an article recently completed by Forbes, these are qualities all entrepreneurs must have in order to succeed in business.

Character: To Lead By Example

A leader must lead by example. Honesty amongst colleagues is crucial; as the head of the organization, the leader must redefine a new moral example and code.  The company in creation is a direct reflection on the entrepreneur; therefore, the leader must reflect on the message they wish to send to the community and their employees. Creating a list of sought after values and posting it around the office can be very beneficial, not only to insuring that the boss keeps in line, but that the employees adapt the beliefs as well. Commitment is also important in terms of setting an example for employees.  If the leader expects their workers to be dedicated and hard working, they must first show that they are committed to the project too.  Nothing serves as a better motivational tool than seeing the boss down in the trenches.

Ability to Inspire Motivation

Motivation, in general, is key. If morale is low, productivity will suffer.  Several key components can be employed to insure morale never falters.  A sense of humor and confidence will certainly come in handy.  By setting an example of laughing off mistakes instead of wallowing in shame, employees will follow suit; in no time, setbacks will be viewed as temporary faults, not devastating damages, particularly if confidence is deployed to remind that setbacks are natural in business.  In general, a positive attitude can work wonders. A simple gesture, such as providing coffee or snacks, can boost morale for the day. The leader must remember that every member of the team is a person.  Addressing the needs of the individual will allow for the office mood to find the perfect balance between productive and playful.

Creativity and Intuition

Creativity and Intuition aren’t necessarily two aspects that one naturally assumes leaders need to have to succeed.  However, the article indicates that both can really help with navigating the road of the unknown. Creativity will help in the task of making on the fly decisions—scenarios that typically involve choosing between the lesser of two evils. If the leader can think outside the box, they may be able to adapt the less than positive idea to suit their needs. Along similar lines, intuition can help the leader in making the difficult decision to begin with. Finally, two well-known traits are mentioned—an ability to delegate and trust the talents of the team and strong communications skills to convey the conviction and vision of your dream.

from Eugene Chrinian Leadership
via Eugene Chrinian