Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Blame is the oldest game in town. It was invented by Adam who, after eating of the forbidden fruit, told God, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12). In other words, it’s Eve’s fault.  Dorothy Leeds in “Good Lessons from Bad Women”  performed her one- woman show at the inaugural MACs Celebrate You! Women’s Entrepreneur Summit which wrestles with the concept of goodness and dives deep into a world where good is bad and bad is good. 

Not much has changed since Adam’s day. Ask almost anyone why something bad happened and they will point to someone or something else. In my experience, it is exceedingly rare for people to stand up and take responsibility. Let’s say for example a company misses their budget for the prior month. The CEO is disappointed as well as the entire Executive Leadership Team. They had worked so hard to hit their numbers. But, they missed. It happens, right?
A few days later, the CEO, Cheryl,  was meeting with Karen, one of  the company's  consultants. She asked, “So, how did February end up?” Cheryl admitted that they had missed their budget. Karen innocently asked, “So why did you miss?”
Like  most CEOs do in this situation. Cheryl blamed the current economic environment. “Well, the market is tough right now,” she explained. “Gas prices are up. So are interest rates. This has taken a bite out of discretionary spending. Consumers are just not frequenting bookstores like we had hoped.” Cheryl then went on to cite the U.S. Census Bureau, Publishers Weekly, and other industry publications.
she  finished with what she thought was a note of optimism. “We didn’t do what we had hoped, but we’re still ahead of last year.”
Karen then said, “Okay, I get that the environment is tough. But, let’s be honest, it’s always tough, right?”
“Yes,” Cheryl acknowledged, not quite knowing where she was going. Then she dropped a bombshell on her psyche.
“Cheryl, what is it about your leadership that led to this outcome?”
“Excuse me,” Cheryl replied, knowing full well what she had just asked. Nevertheless, she gently repeated the question.
The CEO  was speechless for a full two minutes. “Well, I’m not exactly sure,” she stammered. “That’s a great question, but I don’t know quite what to say.”
Thankfully, she gave her  a little help. “As long as the problem is ‘out there,’ Cheryl, you can’t fix it. You’re just a victim. I’m not trying to shame you. I am trying to empower you. You can’t change your results until you accept full responsibility for them.” Cheryl nodded in agreement, still not sure if she  liked what she was hearing.
She patiently waited for the weight of her observation to sink in. They  then spent the next couple of hours examining Cheryl's behavior. As it turns out, she was not only making excuses for herself, she was making excuses for her team. She was too easily letting them off the hook. She slowly began to see a direct link between her leadership and their operating results as a Company.

The bad news about taking responsibility is that you can’t blame someone else. It always comes down to your leadership. There is always something else you could have said or done to produce a different result.
But the good news is that once you accept responsibility, you can change the result. Why? Because your behavior as a leader is 100 percent under your control. Changing the result is as simple—or as hard—as changing your behavior.
Imagine how different your family, church, company, or even country could be if everyone took personal responsibility for their outcomes. Perhaps Gandhi was thinking the same thing when he said, “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”
I ask myself this question: What is it about my leadership that is producing these results? It’s a powerful—and empowering—question. And, it applies to just about every situation.
So let me ask you, are you happy with the outcomes you are experiencing in your life and work? Where would you like to see change? What have you been blaming on other people or your circumstances? What is it about your leadership that is producing these outcomes?
Until you are willing to ask this question—and face the answers—you will continue to get the same old results.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

3 Real-Life Lessons from the Social Media Trenches

3 Real-Life Lessons from the Social Media Trenches

by LENA A. WEST on Mar 16, 2011
Every so often, I look back on how social media has changed my life and my business. Some lessons I’ve learned the hard way, by experiencing them first-hand. And, I also consider the painful lessons I’ve been spared by witnessing them take place in other people's lives and careers. Below are three of those stories. They are all true and some minor details and names have been changed to protect the innocent – and the not-so-innocent.

Some years ago, I found out that a multi-national management consulting company, that’s led by a very well-known author and businessman, was launching an online community. I sent an e-mail expressing interest in being notified when the community launched. When the community launched, I made sure to comment regularly and communicate my feedback – good and constructive – to the community organizer. After about two months, I noticed that the community rarely covered Internet marketing in its content. I saw this as an opportunity and offered to write a series of articles about Internet marketing for the community. After a few back-and-forth details, I became the community's first external contributor and secured a place as THE Internet marketing expert within the community.

Lesson: People who show up, express an interest, are prepared, and deliver win every time. Successful people do what other people don’t.

About the Author

Lena WestLena L. West is an award-winning social media consultant, blogger, speaker, journalist, technologist and the Founder of the Authentic Influencer Braintrust, a high-level, social media marketing membership program for business owners and Real Women Do Social Media, the only social media training initiative created exclusively for women business owners.

Lena will be a Keynote Speaker at the MACs Celebrate You! Women's Entrepreneur Summit on Saturday, March 26th at Lake Isle Country Club, Eastchester, NY

Can Businesses End Racism?

Can Businesses End Racism?

by LENA WEST on Feb 28, 2011 -
When I was approached about writing this article for
OPEN Forum for Black History Month, I thought to myself, “Whaa? I don’t know what to write! How can I possibly make a connection between social media and Black History Month?”

So, what to do?

After much thought I came upon the question I wanted to explore:

With social media’s expansive, far-reaching messaging capabilities (Egypt, anyone?), why have companies taken a clear stance on supporting the quest for a cure for breast cancer, or being more kind to the environment, or in support of PETA, but relatively few have said a word about racism, outside of the almost obligatory Black History Month Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King nod?

I say relatively few because some business leaders are having progressive conversations about racism; not surprisingly though, most do so under the cloak of “increasing diversity." Or, “cognitive diversity," in the case of Joe Gerstandt, whose website tagline is “illuminating the value of difference."

At the end of one of Gerstandt’s blog posts titled Rubbing Brains Together, he provides tips on how to benefit from different ideas. The first of those tips is on having conversations about diversity in your business: “…if you do not have disagreement you should be very, very concerned because you have a lack of honest communication.”

That statement alone made me realize probably the core reason many businesses don’t dare broach the topic of racism: the “d word”…disagreement. I mean, really, what employer wants to have their employees disagreeing in the workplace about racism? We can get almost anyone to agree that it’s good for all people to be kind to the planet. Most people will agree that we need to protect animals. But, getting people on the same page when it comes to racism? That’s a tall order. Could social media help? Read More

About the Author

Lena WestLena L. West is an award-winning social media consultant, blogger, speaker, journalist, technologist and the Founder of the Authentic Influencer Braintrust, a high-level, social media marketing membership program for business owners and Real Women Do Social Media, the only social media training initiative created exclusively for women business owners.

Lena will be a Keynote Speaker at the MACs Celebrate You! Women's Entrepreneur Summit on Saturday, March 26th at Lake Isle Country Club, Eastchester, NY

Friday, March 18, 2011

Where Are The Women Billionaires?

According to Forbes Magazine, only 14 women world-wide have generated wealth in the billions, accounting for 2 percent of all self-made billionaires. There are twice as many women starting businesses compared to men, but only 20 percent of businesses worth over $1 million are women-owned.

Consultant Sharon Hadary argues that women approach business in a fundamentally different way than men, which may explain the statistics. “Men tend to start businesses to grow them to be large and to be the boss while women start them to do something meaningful and to make a difference,” she explains. “Becoming a billionaire isn't their objective,” she adds, “As women, many are less likely to have a goal of generating personal wealth, though we are starting to see more and more of that motivation among the younger generation.”

Women now contribute half of the household income (compared to 20 percent in the 1950s) and they’ve made great strides in the workplace over the past several decades, but they are just beginning their journey in terms of entrepreneurship and amassing impressive wealth.
The list is bound to grow in the coming years, but here’s a list of the current women self-made billionaires…

Wu Yajun ($3.9 billion) – Real Estate Developer in China

Rosalia Mera ($3.5 billion) – Apparel Manufacturer from Spain

Elena Baturina ($2.9 billion) – Constructs Affordable Housing in Russia

Doris Fisher ($2.4 billion) – Founded the Gap Clothing Store in America

Xiu Li Hawken ($2.4 billion) – Runs Shopping Centers in the UK

Oprah Winfrey ($2.4 billion) – Broadcasting Mogul in America

Giuliana Benetton ($2.1 billion) – Clothing Company Owner in Italy

Chu Lam Yiu ($2.1 billion) – Makes Tobacco & Food Flavorings in China

Zhang Xin ($2 billion) – Property Developer in China

Yan Cheung ($1.7 billion) – Chairwoman of Nine Dragons Paper Packager in China

Meg Whitman ($1.3 billion) – Politician & Former Head of eBay in US

Chan Laiwa ($1.1 billion) – Real Estate Investor in China

Lei Jufang ( $1.1 billion) – Runs Medicine Manufacturing Company in China

J.K. Rowling ($1 billion) – Author of Harry Potter Book Series in UK

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Enthusiasm is inspirational, it creates flow and success and improves Your Productivity

Enthusiasm is an essential ingredient to success. It changes how you take action, how you deal with challenges, how you open your eyes to new possibilities or leverage the ones you are currently working with.
You can ask anyone you know who is successful in their life or business and ask them if they think enthusiasm is an essential ingredient. They will reply “most definitely” because it has such a powerful impact on our mindset.
Enthusiasm is contagious. People buy from someone they know, like and trust… And enthusiasm just makes that flow to you.
Enthusiasm sets off a whole new wave of energy and it creates new ideas in you and the people you are working or interacting with.
Like everything else there are different levels of enthusiasm and it manifests in many ways in different people. But even if it’s a quiet person who is enthusiastic, its palpable, it really shines on their face, in their body language, when they speak about the topic or idea they are enthusiastic about.
Spend each day this week noticing what you are enthusiastic about, and how does that manifest its self in your daily thoughts and activities.
Look around and notice the people you know or just people you come into contact with what are they enthusiastic about?
Watch people and see what happens between them when one is enthusiastic and how the conversation changes and how the other persons energy level rises and they too seem to be having a swell of enthusiasm because the emotion feels really good and its contagious.
“Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes shine to the stars. Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes, the swing in your gait. The grip of your hand, the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas.” ~ Henry Ford

Monday, March 7, 2011

Will Plums Replace Blueberries In The Super-Food Stakes?

There's an emerging star in the super-food world. 

Plums are rolling down the food fashion runway sporting newly discovered high levels of healthy nutrients, say scientists at Texas AgriLife Research. 

Plainly, "blueberries have some stiff competition," said Dr. Luis Cisneros, AgriLife Research food scientist."Stone fruits are super fruits with plums as emerging stars." 

Far from fruit snobbery, the plum is being ushered in after Cisneros and Dr. David Byrne, AgriLife Research plant breeder, judged more than 100 varieties of plums, peaches and nectarines and found them to match or exceed the much-touted blueberries in antioxidants and phytonutrients associated with disease prevention. 

The duo acknowledge that blueberries remain a good nutritional choice. But Byrne said their findings are plum good news, especially in tight economic times, because one relatively inexpensive plum contains about the same amount of antioxidants as a handful of more expensive blueberries. 

"People tend to eat just a few blueberries at a time - a few on the cereal or as an ingredient mixed with lots of sugar," Cisneros said. "But people will eat a whole plum at once and get the full benefit." 

Discovery of the plum's benefits - along with that of fellow stone fruits, the peach and the nectarine - came after the researchers measured at least five brands of blueberries on the market. Against those numbers, the team measured the content of more than 100 different types of plums, nectarines and peaches. 
Read More

Motivators and Creators Women's Group

Are You Holding Back Your Business From Being The Best?

We all get stuck. You’re busy working in your business. You think you have a clear plan of action that will deliver the results you are striving for. But something’s missing. The results you want don’t materialize. Just like everything else in your business, there’s a system to identify what’s holding you back.

Instead of randomly second guessing yourself, ask the questions that success coaches like Omar Periu asks to help people become financially independent. Here are seven areas where you may be holding yourself back.

1. Fear of Failure
If you are pushing the envelope to break through to play a bigger game, there is always a risk. If you let fear of failure dominate your decisions, you will remain a prisoner. If you learn to ‘eat failure’, ‘get over it’, and ‘move on’, you can focus on the results you do want. Learn from each failure and keep going. It’s part of success. “Feel the fear and do it anyway”.

2. Pain of Change
It’s easy to be held back because the pain of change looks so great. That little voice tells us that we can tolerate how things are because the pain of change will take too much effort, time, upheaval, etc. We ignore it until finally the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change. Instead, think from your goals. What will those goals do for you when you do make that change? Let those achievements drive you to make the change.

3. Self-doubt
Self-doubt is a poison all around us. It creeps in very subtly, so subtly we don’t know it’s sabotaging our business. Vigilance is really quite easy, but it’s a system of habits we need to maintain consistently so self-doubt can never get a foothold. It’s using affirmations, journaling, reading, mentors, self-development programs to keep you and your business moving forward.

4. Blaming Others
As children we learned to blame others. As the leader of your business, you can break this habit by becoming accountable for every decision and every result, good or bad. Decide to become ‘excuse-free’. Take responsibility.

5. Justifying/Validating
We are so busy in the business, it’s easy to assume our competitive position, marketing approach, business structure, pricing model, or way of doing things is the only way, the best way for the business; because maybe it worked well in the past or it’s the only way you know. But if you want to break through to reinvent your business or grow it, justifying or defending how you’ve done things up until now, is actually holding you back. Become aware of it, and start brainstorming/mind-mapping alternate possibilities in each area of your business.

6. Complaining
When you complain to friends, family or your team, you are giving them permission to support you in a pity party. That only reinforces that you’re stuck and that you want to stay stuck. Instead, for every complaint you want to voice, turn it into opportunity for you to change, try something new, master something new and ask friends, family and your team for suggestions and solutions.

7. Lack of Skills
There are two parts to the lack of skills challenge. First, you need to recognize that you do not have a particular skill set. That’s really OK. No one can know everything, nor should you try to be the master of every area of your business. Second, decide if it’s a skill set you want to or need to learn, or if it’s a skill set you can hire. If it’s a skill set you need to achieve your goals, follow through to learn those skills. But if the skills needed are outside your expertise, use other people’s skills. I don’t need to be a web designer to have a robust website. I just need to hire someone who can build it for me.

The bottom-line is that you are the leader of your business. It’s your responsibility to recognize when you are stuck and what you are doing to hold you and the business back from being your best. It’s your choice to get unstuck. Until you change, nothing will change for you or your business.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March is National Women's History Month

The public celebration of women's history in this country began in 1978 as "Women's History Week" in Sonoma County, California. The week including March 8, International Women's Day, was selected. In 1981, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) co-sponsored a joint Congressional resolution proclaiming a national Women's History Week. In 1987, Congress expanded the celebration to a month, and March was declared Women's History Month.

Congressional Resolution Designating the Month of March "Women's History Month"

Whereas American women of every race, class and ethnic background have made historic contributions to the growth and strength of our Nation in countless recorded and unrecorded ways;

Whereas American women have played and continue to play a critical economic, cultural, and social role in every sphere of the life of the Nation by constituting a significant portion of the labor force working inside and outside of the home;

Whereas American women were have played a unique role throughout the history of the Nation by providing the majority of the volunteer labor force of the Nation;

Whereas American women were particularly important in the establishment of early charitable, philanthropic, and cultural institutions in our Nation;

Whereas American women of every race, class, and ethnic background served as early leaders in the forefront of every major progressive social change movement;

Whereas American women have been leaders, not only in securing their own rights of suffrage and equal opportunity, but also in the abolitionist movement, the emancipation movement, the industrial labor movement, the civil rights movement, and other movements, especially the peace movement, which create a more fair and just society for all; and

Whereas despite these contributions, the role of American women in history has been consistently overlooked and undervalued, in the literature, teaching and study of American History;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that March is designated as "Women's History Month." The President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation for each of these months, calling upon the people of the United States to observe those months with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities.

Motivators and Creators Women's Group