Lead Up

Outstanding Women: Yaritza Jinette Peña

 Yaritza Jinette Peña is a Dominican notary with her business, YFP Notary. Yaritza loves helping the Hispanic community in every way she can.

When she’s not working or studying, she enjoys her soccer mom duties and reading the news to stay up to date.

She’d like to see more resources for the Hispanic community in New Orleans: “Sometimes it’s hard to even open a bank account in Louisiana without an
ID/social security number.

I would also love to see a reform in the way driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations are handled for undocumented immigrants.

Outstanding Women: Sophia Dheming

Sofía Dheming es una catracha orgullosa de sus raíces.
Como agente de bienes raíces, Sofía se enorgullece de poder abrir las puertas del sueño americano y recordarle día a día a las personas de nuestra comunidad latina que si se puede lograr ese sueño de tener una propia vivienda.
Cuando no está trabajando en ventas y contratos de vivienda con su empresa Maison de Nola Realty, Sofía disfruta ir a los diferentes festivales que la ciudad ofrece casi todos los fines de semana y pasar ahí tiempo con su familia y amigos.
Sofía quiere que se cambie la percepción de que los latinos llegan a este país a “quitar trabajo y oportunidades”. Al contrario, ella está convencida de que “este es el país de las oportunidades y vinimos aquí trabajar para mejorarlo”. Sofía nos recuerda con el mismo entusiasmo con el que trabaja para sus clientes que, “El límite es el cielo”.

Outstanding Women: Diana Ortega

Diana Hernández es mexicana y es la fundadora y CEO de Ortega Stone Masonry, LLC.
Como mujer en el mundo de la construcción, Diana ha encontrado un gusto por las variadas experiencias que ofrece esa industria. Diana tiene la habilidad de entablar buenas relaciones con las personas que conoce.
Para ella es un orgullo que cada vez haya más mujeres en la industria de la construcción, y sobre todo liderando sus propias empresas. Cuando no está ocupada tomando decisiones para dar un óptimo servicio a sus clientes, Diana disfruta viajar, conocer lugares nuevos, pasar tiempo con su esposo y sus dos hijos, a quienes siempre anima en sus partidos de soccer. Diana piensa que Nueva Orleans sería la ciudad perfecta si lograra mejorar la seguridad, mitigando la violencia, y ofreciendo más oportunidades de educación para la comunidad latina.
¡Felicidades Diana por ser una mujer ejemplar!

Outstanding Women: Paula Polito

Meet Paula Polito, the heart and soul behind Beary Cherry Tree, a beloved child development center in Jefferson Parish. Paula received her Doctorate in Philosophy with a concentration in Urban Studies/Affairs from the University of New Orleans. Paula's passion for Early Care and Education shines through in every aspect of her work. Not only does she oversee the center's day-to-day operations, but she also tirelessly advocates for quality childcare.
As a contract trainer for Teachstone, the maker of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System® (CLASS), Paula is dedicated to ensuring that teacher-child interactions at Beary Cherry Tree surpass industry standards and that every child receives the best possible start in life.
Driven by the success stories of the children in her care, Paula wears many hats in her community. From chairing the Louisiana Department of Education Advisory Board to serving on various commissions and councils, she's a true advocate for early childhood education at the state and local levels.
She prioritizes respect, kindness, and honesty in all that she does. Paula and her husband teach their three children these values and the importance of a strong work ethic. When she's not busy making a difference, Paula loves spending quality time with her family and friends, staying active, and championing the cause of all children. "I yearn for the day when our area views the childcare industry as a critical component of the economy. I would also like a stronger investment in our youngest learners,” she says.
With Paula leading the charge, that dream might just become a reality. Help us congratulate Paula Polito on being an outstanding woman!

Tania Valeska, Queen of Everything

Para leer en español, presiona aquí: Tania Valeska, Reina de Todo.

Por AnaMaria Bech

Tania Valeska is a renowned Latin artist in New Orleans who got attention with her colorful Latin music and Samba dance performances. Born and raised in Nicaragua, her parents instilled a love of art and enrolled her at an early age in ballet classes and dance competitions. Tania found her passion for dance and knew it would be her professional career. She became the first non-Brazilian Latin American woman to obtain the title “Rainha de Bateria” in the 2022-2023 Rio Carnival.

She attended the University of Commercial Sciences (UCC) in Managua, where she met a Brazilian instructor who introduced her to the batucada and discovered an excellent affinity for Samba because it resembled Palo de Mayo, the typical national dance of Nicaragua she had already mastered.

When she was 18, she moved to Chicago. “I met all of Brazil,” said Tania, referring to the large Brazilian community of that town. She danced with various musical groups and continued perfecting her Samba moves, capoeira, and Brazilian rhythms. Tania participated in shows and competitions with the Chicago Samba Brazilian Band in different cities. She obtained the title of Samba Princess and Samba Queen of Chicago, a great recognition among many other accolades.

Her first visit to the Rio Carnival came in 2015, where she danced as a Passista with two samba schools: Curicica and Unidos do Viradouro. Tania has consecutively participated in the carnival as Passista with several samba schools, including Alegria da Zona Sul, Estacio de Sa, and Imperio Serrano. In 2021, she became the first foreign “Rainha de Bateria” at the Encima da Hora School, an honor highly respected by local Samba queens and the Samba school community.

Tania Valeska settled in New Orleans in 2019. With her knowledge of various rhythms and enviable physical condition, the Nicaraguan Samba Queen has worked as a dance instructor for children and adults, had her own dance studio, and formed Samba Carioca in New Orleans. The amateur Samba group performs at various events and festivals in the region. She is also a physical trainer in different gyms and created samba tutorials for weight loss to define the body and work muscles with a unique and fun routine.


Her current great passion is fashion design and making suits. Her role as a designer is inspired by her experience in dancing and the need to move with comfort and confidence while still looking elegant and sexy. “You have to show some skin. All women should feel sexy,” says Tania. Sharing with designers through her presentations throughout the country and living surrounded by colors, fabrics, rhinestones, and sequins led her to learn many wardrobe tricks. The need for many outfit options for her competitions also prompted her to make her designs. “When I started to see that I could glue a rhinestone or sew to fix a dress, I knew I could also glue a rhinestone for a cocktail, gala, or prom dress,” says Tania. 

That’s how she decided to take sewing classes, continued sketching her dresses, and launched her fashion lines for carnival, gala costumes, swimsuits and exercise clothing. Her brand, Royal T Couture, has already hit the catwalks at New York Fashion Week, and several of her designs received praise during the famous fashion event. On Miss Nicaragua Sheynnis Palacios’s visit to New Orleans, Tania spent some time with her. She took her measurements to make an exclusive design for the new Miss Universe. 


As with everything she sets out to do, Tania Valeska will turn her clothing line into a success. If you want to feel like a queen during the Mardi Gras carnival balls, at your prom or your next gala event, you can contact Tania to design a dress in your style. Visit royaltcoutureboutique.com and let Tania Valeska turn you into a Royal T, Queen of Everything, like her.

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Beliv in the Big Easy!

Beliv in the Big Easy!
Click aqui para español- >Beliv in the Big Easy!
La compañía local de bebidas Big Easy Bucha fundada por Austin Sherman y Alexis Korman anunció el jueves 4 de noviembre su adquisición por la compañía latinoamericana Beliv. Esta transacción permite a Big Easy Bucha expandir su producto a nivel internacional, y a su vez, le da la oportunidad a Beliv de penetrar el mercado estadounidense con sus más de 28 productos de bebidas.
Esta adquisición es una gran noticia para la economía de la ciudad de Nueva Orleans y para el ambiente empresarial de Luisiana. El plan a largo plazo con la adquisición de Big Easy por Beliv es mantener operaciones en Luisiana y contratar personal adicional. “Hemos visto grandes adquisiciones por estos días en nuestra ciudad. Es una oportunidad de crear impacto. Queremos que los empresarios vean que esto es posible”, dijo Austin Sherman, CEO de Big Easy.
Norman Barnum, presidente interino y CEO de NOLABA expresó su gran alegría por esta adquisición. “Esta transacción es grande para el estado. Retiene 47 empleos, crea 50 empleos nuevos directos y 119 empleos indirectos y, además, permite una fusión con un mercado internacional que expande los productos de Big Easy y visibiliza una marca que se asocia con Nueva Orleans. Estamos muy emocionados en NOLABA por nuestros emprendedores y por nuestra comunidad”.
Los empresarios de Beliv están gratamente sorprendidos con el ambiente de emprendimiento de Nueva Orleans.
“Entrar al mercado estadounidense con emprendedores como Austin y Alexis es un paso importante, porque más allá de encontrar un producto o una marca, estamos buscando talento y mente emprendedora, y sabemos que Estados Unidos lo tiene y tiene una visión innovadora”, dijo en exclusiva a VIVA NOLA José Enrique Alba Escamilla, CVO de Beliv.
  • Published in Lead Up

Workforce Heroes Program

Workforce Heroes Program

Para español clic aquí ->Programa de Héroes de la Fuerza Laboral

The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana in a Partnership with Delta Administrative Services announced a new initiative to support the community impacted by COVID-19 by recognizing Workforce Heroes. This program consists of placing impacted individuals into jobs for six to eight weeks at a time to help return displaced workers back into the workforce and to help stimulate the economy. The program is generously funded by Delta Administrative Services, long time partners of HCCL who share the interest of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana in helping those who are most affected by the current situation.

One of the recent hires by the program is Anabelle, who was placed in a customer services position at Metairie Bank. You can refer individuals who have been impacted by the pandemic and you would like to see returning to the workforce. 

The Hispanic community has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic in different areas including health, access to capital, and unemployment.  As the largest Hispanic business organization, we felt the need to respond to the urgency to help individuals without gainful employment. The Workforce Heroes Program is only one of the actions taken by our organization in response to COVID-19. During this extraordinary time, it is important to remember that there is strength in community, and supporting each other through hardship is how we will rise together.

To apply to be eligible for this initiative, please fill out the following form: Workforce Heroes Application

The Continuous Improvement Cycle

The Continuous Improvement Cycle

By Carolina Lozada

Click aqui para español- > El ciclo de mejora continua

What is the continuous improvement cycle? Continuous improvement is an ongoing effort to improve products, services or processes. These efforts can seek “incremental” improvement over time or “breakthrough” improvement all at once.

This strategy became relevant in the 1950s with the growth of consumerism and the large-scale expansion of the middle class. Its applications are innumerable and can be used to address questions of productivity to bring about effective changes.

Among the most widely used tools for continuous improvement is a four-step quality model—the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle.

Sounds simple, right? Even though we have always known these actions, we usually do not think of them as a strategy.

That’s why I want to ask: when you plan something, do you write down your plan? Do you follow up when you finish your plan? It is by doing this that you can find the difference in acting and obtaining success. 

There will always be actions that, although they have been planned, will not work out as expected. Some of them will take you closer to what you want to achieve, and others, unfortunately, will delay you. The success of this strategy is to identify the results of your actions.

We constantly “do” tasks and actions, but we rarely stop for a moment to check the results. Checking will allow you to identify what to do “more of” and what “stop” doing. With these lessons you will be increasingly efficient in your daily life to move into the next “act.” 

When we have an ambitious plan, the recommendation is to divide the “plan” into several stages and to check and improve along the way.

“There are no difficult or impossible things; it is the organized approach that allows us to see beyond obstacles, recalculate our direction, and achieve our goals. Do it now.”

The Organization/Happiness Connection

The Organization/Happiness Connection

By Carolina Lozada

Click aqui para español- > La Conexión Entre Ser Organizado y La Felicidad

We frequently hold many conversations that include productivity and organization. When talking about organization, usually your mind refers to having your work or home organized. However, organization can have more transcendental effects. Beyond knowing where to find an object, organization can help reduce stress, increase happiness and help your brain get some rest.

Studies have determined that, in general, a poorly organized life produces a tiredness effect and diminishes creativity, since the brain interprets information as confusion. Some things you can implement quickly, and inexpensively to become more organized are:

Keep a calendar

For appointments, meetings, celebrations:

Keep a calendar on you. Whether you keep it on your cell phone or a physical agenda, take note and record your commitments to prevent conflicts with your schedule. Make sure you include personal time and with your loved ones. Ah! And always before committing to an event, check your calendar first!

Focus on what brings you joy

For your belongings: In addition to the method of defining a place for everything and putting everything in its place, we suggest you read the KonMary method of the Japanese organizational coach, Marie Kondo. Her method consists of several steps, but in a few words, it focuses on discarding any article that no longer generate happiness. The book costs less than $10 and it’s short. After applying this method, I was surprised that there were so many things that I had that had completed their cycle and after getting rid of them, I have felt better and relaxed when at home.  Perhaps it is the effect of being surrounded only by things that make me happy.

Plan your meals

For your meal: Plan for the week. Include a simple and flexible plan for your family. You will save time and money by having what you need to cook in your cupboard, and you will avoid throwing away food that you bought and got damaged.

Play it in your favor! Increase your happiness, get the most benefit of a better organized life!

Establishing Meaningful Connections

Establishing Meaningful Connections

By Carolina Lozada

Click aqui para español- >Forja conexiones valiosas

Has this ever happened to you? You have a conversation with a stranger, then find yourself walking away with a smile on your face because you found a new perspective when you least expected it.

In this edition of Lead-Up, we examine three words and the roles they play in how we interact with others.


Connecting with someone usually involves three factors: who they are, what they do, and what they can do for you. You may not even notice, but the mind is transactional, and your mind makes these assessments every time you interact with someone,

The risk you take when connecting with people is that you may end up disconnecting from yourself. Interacting with others by way of “connecting” often involves conversations surrounding achievements, services, business, etc., leaving no room for spontaneous interaction, creativity or innovation. It’s not surprising that the process of “connecting” leaves you feeling drained.


When we meet someone, we awaken a genuine interest in them. Getting to know someone requires being a curious and active listener.

Knowing someone is an important part of what makes us human. It makes us sensitive, compassionate, and understanding. It also opens our minds to learning from others, generating new ideas, and discovering new solutions to old problems.

The value of getting to know others lies in the discovery of new worlds in each person. As others get to know you, they in turn will discover your world, which will only expand your horizons.

Being Coherent

Once you connect with and get to know new people and allow them to get to know you, you will begin to generate new ideas, receive feedback, and create new experiences.

Be coherent in your words and actions, and always remember that every interaction is viewed from all angles and multiple perspectives.

Plant your seeds while aligning your actions to your words and you are sure to reap prosperous harvests.

The Four Agreements

The Four Agreements

By Carolina Lozada

Click aqui para español- > Los cuatro acuerdos

The Toltecs, a civilization of thousands of years ago, are known for having a wealth of knowledge. They defined four agreements as a way of living their societal life. These four agreements continue to be relevant today and are used by those who lead their own lives and by those who are in leadership positions and guide others on a day-to-day basis.

First agreement:

Be impeccable with your word


  • To build and motivate others 
  • Towards truth and love
  • Say only what you mean
  • Use your words in a positive way towards yourself and others

When you are impeccable with your words you will feel good, energized, happy.

A former boss of mine used to say, “complaining will not change anything, so why do it?”

Second agreement: Do not take anything personal

When you do not take situations in a personal way, you remove the emotional load it contains.

We all have good days and not so good days, and this influences our reactions, so do not take it personally. You never know if a person is going through a personal storm during that moment of his or her life. By not taking things personally, you prevent falling into victimization behavior.

Third agreement: Always put your best effort

When you give your 120%, you know you gave the best of you so you will not regret anything. You may not see immediate results, but sometimes you are sowing for tomorrow.

Fourth agreement: Do not suppose

Be clear when asking. If you have doubts, if you see a behavior in someone that is of interest to you, ask with prudence. Supposing increases the risk of fabricating unfounded stories in your own mind.

Cool your mood and keep your productivity with a S.O.D.A.

Cool your mood and keep your productivity with a S.O.D.A.

By Carolina Lozada

Click aqui para español- >Refresca tu estado de ánimo y mantén tu productividad con una S.O.D.A.

Have you experienced one or a couple of external situations that have ruined your day?

You cannot always control what happens around you. However, you can always control how you respond to the situation and therefore you can control and keep being productive.

The following method is based on neuroscience and can be very helpful when you feel that your mood is starting to go from a good to a not so good mood. It’s known as S.O.D.A., which stands for Stop, Observe, Detach, and Act. It has been proven effective, and takes only 1 minute to put in practice. You and your body will thank you for it.


Stop for a moment and...

If you are sitting in a meeting, move your body slightly from front to back.

If it’s conversation on the phone, walk.

Drink a glass of water.

Observe: the situation as if you were outside it to gain perspective and rationality.

Detach: The emotions associated with the event like frustration, sadness

Act: Take the most convenient actions to adapt or manage the event.

The objective of these actions is to send a different signal to the brain and distract it from the “getting angry” signal. A sudden change of mood is interpreted by the brain as a threat, so it sends a message to your whole body of “fight or flight”, which reduces your ability to make rational decisions and increases impulsivity.

Consequently, in the short term, you will lose much of your physical and mental energy feeling literally as if you had been in a physical fight. This leaves you exhausted, which takes recovery time and affects your productivity. A long term consequence is that, you are at risk of saying or doing something that you will regret later once the event has passed.

Is Leadership Only for Those in the Workforce and in Management Positions?

Is Leadership Only for Those in the Workforce and in Management Positions?

By Carolina Lozada

Click aqui para español- >¿Es cierto que el liderazgo es solo para las personas que trabajan y/o que están en altos cargos?

Nowadays, there are leadership concepts that seem to be exclusive to those in the workforce, but overall these concepts are useful to everyone.

The reality is that the courses and classes are geared towards people in positions in management because of a marketing strategy that assumes these employees are the ones with the money to invest in learning these strategies.


Here at VIVA NOLA Magazine, we understand leadership is necessary for all aspects in life, and we offer this “Lead up” section as our commitment to offer information and tools for everybody in any role in life. A leader could be someone at a school, at a market, within their own household, or in a place of employment, but a leader is most necessary in everyone’s own life.

Let’s think about school. You usually remember that one teacher who really wanted you to learn, the one who was calm, and the one you could tell was enjoying what he or she was doing. This teacher was inspiring you to learn and made his particular subject interesting and meaningful to you.

You most likely liked that class the most because the teacher was able to convey a love and an interest for his job. Some of the traits displayed by the teacher are found in leadership traits.

There is a model of leadership that has lasted over time called “The Extraordinary Leader.

This model was created by Zenger Folkman, a global company dedicated to leadership training, and its founders describe this model as a simple, scientifically validated model to achieve greater achievements.


The Extraordinary Leader is based on 16 competencies that distinguish 10 percent of the best leaders worldwide. These competencies are grouped into 5 dimensions, which we show in the graph.

The good news is that anyone can develop or strengthen these dimensions and doing so can make everybody exceptional in the different roles of life.

Pathfinder, a business and personal development coaching company, and VIVA NOLA have partnered to offer a master class, at the end of June, to identify your strengths within the five pillars of The Extraordinary Leader and what you can do to develop them.

For more details about the master class, e-mail  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Step by Step! Let’s Get There!

Step by Step! Let’s Get There!

By Carolina Lozada

Click aqui para español- > ¡Pasito a Pasito! Vamos rapidito

When it comes to new, big, complex, heavy, but at the same time, exciting challenges, as it could be  project at work, or changing your lifestyle, studies have shown that the secret to success lies in  defining a plan and dividing it into small steps, and each time you achieve one of them, celebrate it almost as if it were the end of the overall goal.

An easy way to think about this is to picture a watermelon, for example. The watermelon is big and delicious, but if you were to eat it, you could not do it in a single bite, right? It would be more viable to break it into small pieces and enjoy each one of them.

The key to success is backed by neuroscience. When we achieve these small steps, there is an effect of joy and the brain, in return, gives you motivation, emotion and a feeling of “I can do this and much more.” That’s when you enter the productivity zone. No matter how many obstacles you find, you will feel the confidence within you to move forward, you begin to see mistakes as opportunities to do things differently next time, and suddenly you become the person who achieves the purpose.

Try it. Make of your brain your best ally!

So, what should the steps to eat that big watermelon be?

1.Check if there is previous information about that big project or idea that you want to execute.Investigate!

2.Prepare the plan by dividing it into small activities until you have fully executed it.Write it!
3.Define which are the most important.

4.Check at the end of each step how things are going, what is working, what you can change, what you can do more of, what you can do without. Revise!
5.Give yourself the gift of happiness of what has been achieved. Celebrate!

IKIGAI. What’s your reason for getting up each morning?

IKIGAI. What’s your reason for getting up each morning?

By Carolina Lozada

Click aqui para español- > IKIGAI. ¿Cuál es tu razón para comenzar el día?

How did you feel this morning when you began your day? What was your reason for getting up each morning? The Japanese have the term IKIGAI, which roughly translates into a "reason for being," encompassing joy and a sense of purpose and meaning and a feeling of wellbeing. Iki means life and gai means realization of hopes and expectations. IKIGAI is applicable to the small details of daily life, as well as to long-term goals and accomplishments.

So, let me ask you: Is the reason you woke up this morning a source of joy in your days? Does your motivation make you wake up even before your alarm goes off?

Look at the images below. Observe each one of them, taking your time to find the answer to each IKIGAI element.

Element 1. What you love to do HEAD IN SAND

Element 2. What you are good at PERSON BIG LAUGH

Element 3. What the world needs JIRAFFE

Element 4. What you get paid for HAND IN DOUGH

Bet on yourself and do what you love doing! Be dedicated and share your talent with others and you will start to see money will follow. If you are doing things driven only by money, that may be the reason you often feel tired, lethargic and with lack of motivation.

Increase your Daily Productivity

Increase your Daily Productivity

By Carolina Lozada

Click aqui para español- >Aumenta tu productividad diaria

Do you have a time during the day when you feel overwhelmed by information in your mind, so you find yourself involuntarily closing your eyes, moving your head, or taking off your glasses? This is a reaction to a signal sent by your brain asking you to take a short break Here, we provide you with some options that will allow your brain to relieve that overload, oxygenate, send the body more energy and, therefore, increase your productivity to continue your day. You can do all the options at once, or you can select them throughout the day. These will only take a couple of minutes and your whole body will thank you!


Repeat 10 times each. (Total duration 30 seconds). Gently move your head from left to right to stretch your neck. Open and close your arms slowly. Take one step forward. Lean your body forward and stretch your back leg. After counting to 10, switch to the other leg.


This is a method used by soldiers in the army to reduce stress. (Total duration 1 minute). Inhale counting to four. Hold your breath counting to four. Exhale counting to four. Hold your breath counting to four. You can repeat a couple of times.


Connecting your senses distracts your brain for a moment allowing you to relax. Count five things you see. Count four things you can touch. Count three things you hear. Count two things you smell.


Set a two-minute alarm, so you won’t be worried about exceeding your time. Close your eyes and visualize that you are taking a walk through a place surrounded by nature. This will provide a fresh breath of air to your brain, since it cannot differentiate between reality and imagination.

3 Signs Your Strategic Planning Process Is Incomplete

3 Signs Your Strategic Planning Process Is Incomplete

By Blanca Robinson

Click aqui para español- >3 señales que su estrategia de planeación está incompleta

Strategic planning is the development and implementation of various operational plans by companies or organizations, with the intention of achieving objectives and goals. These plans can be short, medium or long term. A sound strategic planning process includes three elements. If your organization does a poor or incomplete job on any of these areas, your process is incomplete and won’t get the results you expect.

Answer the BIG strategic planning questions. These include: Who are our customers; how can we better serve them? Who are our competitors; how can we beat them? What do we do best; how can we build on that edge? What are potential scenarios to consider for the future; how will we prepare for them? How can we defend against threats and seize opportunities? Some organizations come up with brilliant answers to these questions but can’t take them to the point of clear initiatives that get done. The BIG questions are worthless if they don’t result in a few clear, compelling strategic initiatives.

Set a few clear priorities and an overall strategic theme. The best outcome is to identify the most important priorities for the organization. Starting with a long list of potential priorities, the organization discusses the relative value of each, and hones in only a few key priorities. This discussion also leads to greater clarity about the big strategic planning questions, especially about what the organization should do best. During this phase, many organizations settle for a long list of priorities. This has the benefit that nobody feels excluded or insulted; however, it makes it highly unlikely that the organization will get anything done completely.

 Implement. The biggest complaint we hear about strategy is that it never seems to get executed. A few reasons why:

 - Neglecting to commit essential resources to the strategy, including capital, training, technology, and people.

- Failing to take things off the plate of busy employees, and instead just stacking more work on them. - Having lack of will to stop old initiatives that compete with the new.

- Not setting clear roles, responsibilities, accountability, and rewards systems.

- Giving up after a few setbacks or initial resistance. A sound strategy spends as much time on implementation planning as it does on the more glamorous work of answering the key strategic questions and setting priorities. Some organizations are strong at asking the big picture questions but fail to follow up. Some set too many priorities, and can’t say “no” to good ideas, despite limited resources. Which of the above areas is weakest in your organization?


-Blanca Robinson, owner of VIVA Consulting Group, is an Executive Coach and Business Strategist. For more information, visit www.vivaconsultinggroup.net.

The Struggle to Engage and Motivate Employees

The Struggle to Engage and Motivate Employees

By Blanca Robinson

Click aqui para español->La dificultad de involucrar y motivar a los empleados

Every leader faces this problem. In fact, it is a billion-dollar problem! According to Gallup, only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged, and 25% of employees report that they are actively disengaged. The costs associated with this are staggering in terms of lost productivity and the cost of replacing employees. Engaging and mobilizing employees can be a daunting challenge, but a few simple behaviors can make a huge difference to improve engagement.

It is frustrating to have to read minds

Many employees are frustrated because they feel like they must read their manager’s mind. They don’t know how they are doing and how they can improve their performance. The annual performance review is sometimes their only chance to find out, and that event is so stressful and formal that the environment is not always conducive for improvement.

Spans of control contribute to the problem

This situation is not completely the fault of management. In some organizations, spans of control have become so large that managers must complete formal performance reviews monthly.

The solutions are simpler than you think

There are many simple strategies to engage and mobilize employees. They cost almost nothing to implement, can be put into place immediately, and have huge impact. For instance, one opportunity that many leaders have – even at the C-level – is to give more frequent, informal feedback about how each employee is doing. That way, everyone in an organization knows what is expected of them and how they can get better.

The 7 questions

There are seven simple questions every leader must answer and communicate to employees frequently. Small, informal conversations about performance go a long way, especially when they include teachable moments about different situations and details.

What do I expect from you?

What are you doing well?

 What, if anything, could you be doing better?

What, if anything, do I want you to do better?

What will happen if you improve (e.g., more responsibility, more time with leadership, more desirable assignments?

What will happen if you don't improve?

How can I help?

While all these questions are important, the last question is especially important. It shows the employee that the leader cares and is not merely abdicating responsibility or shifting blame.

Blanca Robinson, Owner of VIVA Consulting Group, is an executive Coach and Business Strategist. For more information, visit www.vivaconsultinggroup.net

Leading When You Are Not in Charge

Leading When You Are Not in Charge

By Blanca Robinson

Click aqui para español->Liderar sin estar a cargo

Have you ever had thoughts like, "l bet I could solve this problem better, but the boss never asks me what I think; how can I influence my manager about what to do; what difference does it make if I like that or not — I have no power. I'm not the one in charge!"

While the statements above can be thought-provoking or feel very true to you, I am going to challenge your premise by saying that the only true statement is "I'm not the one in charge" (at least technically).

You can exert influence even when you're not the boss; it's all about learning how to Lead Up.

How, you might ask, can this happen? Simply put, being a leader isn't about something you have; it's about how you act and the attitude you have, coupled with strong working relationships.

Successful leaders know how to inspire others and find ways to unlock hidden potential in others.

They are willing to do what others won't. They personally invest in the work they do. This is especially evident in working with the boss, manager, or supervisor.

Having a strong relationship with your manager is critical in ensuring that you work together effectively, so that your influence up is exerted, and your voice is heard. If there are conflicts between you and your boss, or if you do not like your boss, there are two immediate and distinct questions:

First, are you willing to take 100% responsibility for the relationship? Often, in a conflict we tend to become victims and blame the other person or expect them to change. Like it or not, in the workplace, it is up to us to make the relationship work and to take full responsibility for our impact and the results we are achieving. We mustn't sit back and wait for the other person to act.

Second, are you willing to make the relationship work? If not, then you are effectively choosing to play the victim role by sitting back and tolerating the situation. Much like in personal relationships, such as marriage, any relationship requires an ongoing, conscious choice to make it work.

There are three things to keep in mind: 1) The relationship with your manager depends on both a strong business and personal foundation; 2) It is up to you to take full responsibility for the quality of the relationship with your manager; and 3) To strengthen the relationship with your manager, you need to fully understand what he or she values — both personally and professionally — and help him/her succeed.

Your first thought is probably why should I care if my manager succeeds? Keep in mind that even the CEO of a company has a boss — could be the biggest customer(s), members of the board, or some key employees. Everyone can benefit from taking time to assess their relationship with their superiors and how to improve it.

It is important to understand what drives your boss. How does he/she define performance, how does your boss measure success, how does your manager make decisions? The better you understand your manager's aspirations, communication and leadership styles, and definitions of performance, the better you can develop an accurate picture of your relationship with your manager. From there you can identify ways to strengthen the relationship. Are there certain behaviors from colleagues or other employees that are sure to upset your manager? What does your manager expect you to achieve? How would your manager say you are performing? How does your manager expect you to communicate progress, issues, and results? If you don't know the answer to these and other questions that may surface, either review them with a colleague

or plan a way to ask your manager directly. If you feel uncomfortable having a conversation with your manager about how he or she defines success, that says something about the quality of the relationship. Please keep in mind this is not how to suck up to your boss.

These are guidelines of how to understand what drives your manager to succeed so you may then influence decisions, ensure your voice is heard, and become an asset to your organization. This is how you can Lead Up.

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