For the Rules They Are A-Changing

By Shriram Natarajan
CTO, Digital Services, Persistent Systems


Bob Dylan sang, “The times they are a changing.” The way business works is changing. That is familiar territory for all business leaders. However, this current crop of changes is dramatically different from the ones past. The particular mix of causes, symptoms, effects, and the potential for value it represents are fundamentally novel. The nexus of elements and effects are together called digital and the process to get there is digital transformation. Let’s look at the particular confluence of forcing functions and strategies that will enable companies to thrive in the new normal.




From Real to Virtual

The most valuable businesses today (Uber, Netflix, Airbnb) often do not own the products they sell or the means of the services rendered. Their value proposition is that they can realize value in an ecosystem much more efficiently than the traditional players in the market. The digital natives are able to capitalize on the data capital amassed by others or created by their platform.


We see that over 40% of the S&P 500 companies in 2005 did not make the list in 2015. In the global marketplace, disruptive forces (be they competition, legislation, new technology, behavior shifts) are the most worrisome for established companies. Enabling flexibility and agility throughout the organization is the only recipe for success. Business models need to change on a dime – only software driven businesses can hope to achieve that. Digital immigrants are also able to make it in the new world. Companies like United Airlines and CVS are able to parlay their customer knowledge and assets to truly engaging experiences.


From Competition to Disruption

There used to be clear demarcation of what the market place was. Everyone knew who the competition was. There was a clear way to differentiate from the rest. Your mission statement laid out your unique value proposition. You had years for the message to percolate through the company and rally around the efficiencies that your organization created. You also expected that differentiation and competitive advantage to hold for the length of time it took to gain market share. But we live in a time of rapid tectonic shifts. A few short years ago, Facebook was not a threat to carriers. Recently, with WhatsApp they have encroached on the traditional telecom industry.


Companies need to embrace the bi-modal approach of driving efficiencies in existing value streams at one level while innovating for the future at the next level. The two speed approach ensures the right amount of focus and investments for each bucket. This is paired with the right level of executive engagement and expectations in each of them. Whereas in mode 1 the goal is reliability and operational success, mode 2 looks at to achieve transformation by time-bound, budget-bound experiments. Either mode would fail without the other. Each mode feeds on the other. Success in this two speed approach would lead you to continuous transformation by design.


From Acceptance to High Expectations

Customers have been demanding customers since the dawn of commerce. However due brand loyalty, inertia, cost of switching, or lack of choice, they tended to stick to a particular offering. The new breed of consumers is the savviest, least loyal, most demanding, most geographically widespread, most diverse of all time. They have the widest footprint of technology to derive value at their disposal. And they have the least attention span to boot.


Companies need to have omni-channel engagement strategy in place to play in the new market place. You have the tiniest window to go to market, capture the attention, and shape the behaviors of your target market. Being iterative and incremental is the only way to go. This applies equally to customer experience as it does to employee and partner experiences as well.


From Protection to Full Exposure

Traditionally access to capital, dominant market share, brand recognition, favorable legislative/regulatory policy all used to be fortress walls to keep out competition. There are many new ways to raise capital and build a core user base with crowd funding platforms. Market dominance is very fickle in many industries: either the business model shifts or a digital disruptor upends the market with a new compelling proposition. Even in today’s legislative climate, newer standards and requirements emerge that can force entire industries to rethink their product, positioning, and pricing.


Since the traditional defenses are crumbling, building agility within the enterprise is the way to go. It is said that the best way to predict the future is to invent it yourself. The best way to prevent disruption is to stay innovative. You need to foster an innovation culture. It can take the form of skunk works projects, a unit level agility initiative, or a full blown horizon two program. All of such efforts would be advantaged by a digital platform that is assembled specifically for your business. This unleashes creativity of your teams and can quickly standardize it too.

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”  …Alan Kay, Xerox PARC maxim


From Speed to Warp Speed

The only constant is change. We all know that. Everyone says that. No one said that the rate of change would be constant. The speed, sheer number of variables, and the multidimensionality that digital represents is different. Humanity is living longer. The number of lifestyle changing waves per lifetime is increasing (see below). The only thing that moves this fast and has the global reach is software. Software and technology has permeated to every layer of your organization. Instead of just using software, adopting its ways can make you a software driven business.


Key Pathways to Success

The “why” of embracing digital is plain to see. To recap on some of the elements of “how” to digitally transform:

  • Innovation culture: Enable your teams to adopt innovation as a way of life. Encourage experimentation. Failures are okay as long as they are fast failures and there has been an adequate return on learning.
  • Platform based approach: a flexible, rapid, secure platform is the key to tap the creative elements within the company. The platform provides a framework to show the value quickly and decisively. It also is the means for crystallizing the innovation developed and making it part of business-as-usual.
  • Embrace disruptive forces: companies that adopted the cloud and mobility have successfully surfed the first waves of digital. The ones that are not afraid to try new technology: IOT, Blockchain, Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality, Gesture based computing, 3d printing.
  • Software driven: businesses that choose to be software driven and adopt the Software 4.0 model have the greatest chance of achieving lasting success. At least till the rules change yet again!


It is quite easy to be left behind on the digital journey. Even if you are successful today, you cannot afford to sit out the digital wave. There are the wave riders or those that get washed away. It requires agility and readiness heretofore unseen; and it promises returns in orders of magnitude greater than the effort expended. So while Bob sings about times that are changing, you can put your organization into high gear and skip to the next song in your playlist. Katy Perry’s “Roar”.

C-Suite TV Talks Fearless Leadership and the Importance of Body Language

Best Seller TV’s September Programming Features Authors Carey Lohrenz and Greg Williams

NEW YORK, NY–(Marketwired – Sep 15, 2016) –  Best Seller TV, one of the top online business shows on C-Suite TV, has announced its September programming. This month’s programming features in-depth interviews with leading business authors Carey Lohrenz, author of Fearless Leadership: High Performance Lessons from the Flight Deck and Greg Williams, author of Body Language: Secrets to Win More Negotiations.

Carey Lohrenz, author of Fearless Leadership: High Performance Lessons from the Flight Deck, was one of the first women to fly fighter jets on and off aircraft carriers for the U.S. Navy. Her book was inspired by her experiences on the flight deck, working with a team full of high performers in volatile conditions where situations are ever-changing and how all of these factors helped to shape how people think about leadership and identify what worked and what didn’t.

Lohrenz talked about the “secret sauce” that defines fearless leadership and how it can be applied to Fortune 100 company executives. She talks about what fearless leadership looks like on an individual level and how executives can instill those same values on their teams. Lohrenz also adds that the biggest difference between those who are successful and those able to take it to the next level, is their ability to work through their fears.

She urges everyone to constantly push their limits — to do one thing every day that scares you because that’s how you grow.

Greg Williams, author of Body Language: Secrets to Win More Negotiations, talks about the importance of being able to read body language correctly and how people can understand what occurs when someone uses their body in certain ways through a number of situations, especially during the negotiation process. Williams’ tag line is, “We are always negotiating” and learning the nuances of a negotiation will help people gain insight on what the opposing negotiator’s body language might be saying.

Williams says there are several types of personalities: easy, difficult, hard, and open and people should conduct subtle tests to know which personality they will be negotiating with. He adds there are seven universal micro expressions that can help gain additional insight: fear, anger, disgust, surprise, contempt, sadness and happiness. Williams wants people to always remember, “That which you do today, influence tomorrow’s outcomes.”

All episodes of Best Seller TV will air throughout the month on C-Suite TV and are hosted by TV personality, Taryn Winter Brill.

“I’m excited about this month’s episodes as they delve into everyday situations that can be applied to any industry: leadership and reading body language,” Hayzlett said. “I was very impressed with Carey’s background as a fighter pilot and how that type of leadership can be applied to Fortune 100 companies as well as Greg’s ability to read into situations that can prove detrimental if perceived incorrectly. I think our viewers will gain valuable insight that’ll help them in future negotiations.”

For more information on TV episodes, visit and for more information about the authors featured in Best Seller TV episodes, visit

About C-Suite TV:
C-Suite TV is a web-based digital on-demand business channel featuring interviews and shows with business executives, thought leaders, authors and celebrities providing news and information for business leaders. C-Suite TV is your go-to resource to find out the inside track on trends and discussions taking place in businesses today. This online channel is home to such shows as C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett, Executive Perspectives and Best Seller TV, and more. C-Suite TV is part of C-Suite Network, the world’s most powerful network of C-Suite leaders. Connect with C-Suite TV on Twitter and Facebook.

About Jeffrey Hayzlett:
Jeffrey Hayzlett is the primetime television host of C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett and Executive Perspectives on C-Suite TV and is the host of the award-winning All Business with Jeffrey Hayzlett on the CBS on-demand podcast network, Play.It. Hayzlett is a global business celebrity, Hall of Fame speaker, best-selling author, and Chairman of C-Suite Network, home of the world’s most trusted network of C-Suite leaders. Connect with Hayzlett on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ or


By: Janna Hoiberg


When we were hiking the Colorado Trail one year, we hiked Mt. Oxford on day one. The morning was bright, with blue skies and warm temperatures. It was a perfect day for hiking a fourteener. We had camped part way up on the trail, hiked a bit farther, and dropped our packs in a cluster of trees. We marked the waypoint on the map (so we could find our stuff later in the day) and headed up the mountain.

The hike took us up and up, and as we got closer to the summit, we saw the storms rolling in. The clouds increased, the wind began to whip around us, and danger became real. The sight of a marker showing where someone had died on the mountain from a lightning strike brought the reality even closer to home. We started to make plans regarding how much farther we could push toward the top and still be safe.

Storms Reflect Realities

Doesn’t this reflect the realities in our business and careers?

Everything looks bright at the start. We have the new job, which includes a promotion and pay increase. We have hit the jackpot. We continue operating merrily along, basking in the sunshine of success.

Yet, there are storm clouds gathering in the distance that we haven’t recognized. We look to the distance and see only the striking blue of the sky contrasting with the beautiful, white, fluffy clouds. We are settling in and making progress—or so we think.

On a mountain, especially above tree line, it becomes fairly difficult to ignore a storm rolling in. There is little between you and those gathering clouds. Even if your head is down as you plod along, you still feel the change in temperature and the wind beginning to pick up. You still see the brightness beginning to dim. The scary thing is that above tree line, you are taller than most anything around you, and lightning likes tall objects.


How do we prepare for the storm on the mountain and the storm in business?

First, pick your head up and look at the clouds. What types of clouds are out there, and which way are they moving? How much farther to the top of the mountain? How much farther till tree line, where you won’t be the tallest thing on the mountain? You don’t want to be tallest when lightning strikes! Preparing for a storm also means carrying with you the items you need to survive bad weather and possibly an overnight stay.

That hike I just mentioned was part of a four-day backpacking excursion. Day one was the climbing a fourteener. We started off cross country, found the trail, and kept on going. The weather was great, until we got close to the top. Then the clouds came rolling in. In less than one hour we went from cloudy to stormy, to rain, lightning, hail, snow, and heavy wind. Hail hurts and hurts a lot. We finished up to and started a very quick descent down. I wanted to be at tree line as soon as possible and off that mountain pronto.

You prepare for storms in your business and career in very much the same way as you do on a mountain. Pick your head up and start looking around, so you are aware of any gathering clouds. Listen to what that boss, your co-workers, and your clients are really saying. Don’t bury your head in the sand and assume that if you ignore bad stuff it will go away. It won’t. Ask questions, and understand the implications of the answers. Ask for feedback from both peers and management. And, as always, read, read, read! Improve yourself. Learn new ways of doing things. Get out of your comfort zone. I have a lot of discussions with executives and managers about how to get people out of their comfort zone so they don’t have to be let go.


Be open to new ways of doing things, and embrace change. If you don’t embrace change, you throw yourself into a potentially major storm.


Effects Of The Storm

People make mistakes; they say and do things that are not appropriate. As a result, storms are created. Unfortunately, storms in business don’t usually pass as quickly as storms on a mountain top. The effect of storms in business can last for days, weeks, months, or even years. They can affect revenue, productivity, and profit. On the other hand, at some point storms pass, and you must let them. Storms happen; people make mistakes. So have you. Get over it, and get past the fact that the mistake affected you. Even if it was intentional, move on. You see where I am going with this: the issue once again comes back to attitude. Inability to move past a storm at work essentially leaves you permanently at the top of a mountain with a storm swirling around you—just sitting there, asking for lightning to hit. You are the only one who can remove yourself from the storm. Once again, the choice is yours.



About the Author

Janna Hoiberg is a well-known author, international speaker, and award-winning executive and leadership business coach with over 30 years’ experience in managing and operating successful businesses. She has helped businesses increase profits, grow fiscally, improve systems, and strengthen teams and executive leadership.

As the author of several books and a wide range of business articles Janna has gained recognition throughout the US as a thought leader in the unique circumstances of businesses owned and managed by one or more family member. Her book — The Family Business:  How to be in Business with People you Love, Without Hating Them – is a critically acclaimed, insightful compendium of her learning throughout decades of running her own businesses, speaking and coaching work teams who just happen to be related to each other.

Her latest book:  The Backpackers Guide to Business Success:  Thriving in the Wilderness of Business has been a great hit.  “Success seldom just happens; it takes perseverance, preparation, planning and commitment. In the backwoods, lack of perseverance, preparation and planning can make the difference between life and death. One wrong step can literally mean death. Not being physically prepared can leave you stranded on the mountain and totally lost. The same concepts are true for our businesses and careers.”

My Escape from the Law

by Scott Jordan


About a decade into my law career I woke up and said, “Miserable, miserable, no end in sight!” before collapsing again deep into sleep. I don’t remember the incident (my wife will never forget it), but it signaled to me that I needed to escape from the law. Soon thereafter, I started my business SCOTTeVEST to create clothing that incorporates hidden pockets for electronics, and I’ve been successful and happier ever since.

Maybe you aren’t a lawyer like I was, but unless you are one of the lucky few people who knew exactly what they wanted to be when they grew up — and became it — your current job is probably not going to be what you do for the rest of your life.


Whatever you are escaping from — or escaping to, for that matter — these are a few ideas from my book Pocket Man to get you started once you say, “I quit!”


Passion is the foundation

It’s a cliche to say “follow your passion,” but it’s a cliche that rings true. Passion is the foundation for knowing which direction to pursue. Many smart people find themselves “stuck” because, hell, when you can do anything how do you decide what to actually do? Passion is your first clue.

If you’re passionate about something at the start, it’ll fuel you through the ups and downs, and give you the fire to keep going through the boring parts as you pursue what it is you are supposed to be doing with your life. Don’t ignore what you are passionate about.

Patience is not a virtue…

And it’s certainly not my virtue. Most of the time when people wait for the precisely correct moment to send that email, place that call or take a leap. It has nothing to do with timing… it’s fear.

A quicker, less complete reply to an email in the next two minutes is better than a perfectly crafted one in two days. Be bold, don’t apologize. The same holds true with your career. If I had one piece of advice for my younger self, it would be not to wait as long to make my leap into my new career.

Paint yourself into a corner aka burn some bridges

Along with not waiting for the perfect moment to act, sometimes you need to stack the deck to force yourself to move forward. Book a non-refundable plane ticket (or in my case, a book tour). Turn in your two-week notice. Start moving, not pondering.

What seems like a desperate act from this end can look like a minor bump in hindsight. Create situations in which you must act to move yourself toward a career you are passionate about. Don’t give yourself a chance to chicken out.


If you accept mediocrity in any form for long enough, you become mediocre. Period.

There is a danger to not pursuing your passion and to getting stuck doing something you hate… it changes you, and not for the better. Remember the mom line: “If you keep making that face, it’ll freeze that way.”

I escaped from my law job when I realized I would rather play Solitaire than do my work. What did that say about me as a person and as an employee? I deserved better and so did my employer. When you’re unhappy, you’re not doing your best work. Don’t get stuck that way.


Have you ever had to “escape” from a job, career or career path?




In 2000, Scott Jordan created SCOTTeVEST to solve a common and growing problem: He loved gadgets, but there was no easy way to carry, organize, access and protect them while he traveled. As more people joined the “pocket revolution” he was starting, it became clear that the mission of SCOTTeVEST extended far beyond just the multi-pocketed vest he invented.

Today, his company has made over $50 million and developed a full line of tech-enabled, multi-pocket clothing for men and women that helps keep you organized, safe from pickpockets and always connected to your tech. His first book “Pocket Man” describes how entrepreneurs can use their unique passion for their products to leverage media to launch and sustain their businesses the way he built SCOTTeVEST.

The Pushes and Pulls in the Retirement Decision

By: Rob Pascale

When we’re faced with the decision as to whether or when to retire, virtually all the factors we have to consider can be looked at as having either “push” or “pull” qualities. Some things that occur in our lives pull us to retire, while others push us out of the workforce. Whether we’re pushed or pulled into retirement can impact on how well you adjust to that lifestyle.

As a general rule, pulls are good and pushes are bad. When you’re pulled into retirement, you’re enticed by the lifestyle; retirement is seen as the logical next step and something to look forward to, and you usually take that step by choice. Being pushed into retirement means the decision is often forced upon you, regardless of how you feel about your job. You are essentially thrown out of the workforce without much choice in the matter.


Here are some examples as to what we mean. Two of the most important considerations for retiring are money and health.

  1. Financial security works as a pull factor. Once we have achieved financial critical mass, we’re no longer obligated to continue working. So if we decide to retire, it’s because we see its benefits. Those who retire without the means to afford it, on the other hand, are almost certainly pushed in that direction.
  2. Health is mostly a push factor. While some people might consider retiring because their good health allows them the mobility to live well, the reverse is more often the case. Individuals suffering from serious illness or functional impairment may no longer feel they’re capable of doing their jobs, and so retirement becomes the only feasible alternative.

Personal factors, such as values, aspirations, and thoughts about how life would be like outside of work can be one or the other. Personal issues act as pulls if they have a positive tone, such as when retirement is seen as an opportunity to pursue new goals. However, negative feelings, such as wanting to retire because we dislike our job, operate as pushes.

Leaving a bad environment just to “get out” is a very different proposition from moving to a new environment because you expect benefits.

Many retirees who have been pushed into retirement tend to run into adjustment problems right from the start. They often have little advance warning, so they’re mentally and emotionally unprepared for the event. Without the right mindset – to become retirees in their heads — they’re less likely to make the psychological break from their careers. Furthermore, they’re likely to feel angry, resentful, unappreciated, and abandoned as a result of their circumstances, and these feelings might interfere with their ability to develop a new lifestyle.


In our survey of 1400 retirees, one of our respondents, a police chief who was forced to retire, described how he was prevented from enjoying his retirement because he could not come to terms with the events that led to it.  According to Charles,

“I was consumed with the way my career ended. I was running the work lives of a number of people and now I had nothing. This was not just a job to me; it was my life and identity. It was just too much for me to accept, because I didn’t come to that out of my own choice. It took me years to finally give all this up and start living again.”

In contrast, those retiring by choice have the benefit of knowing in advance when they will retire. They don’t have the stress of an “off-time” exit, so they have a better opportunity to plan their futures, as well as adopt the right attitude. They often begin distancing themselves from their careers while still in the workforce. They use the last few months at work to break away from their worker identities, while building up their connections to the retirement role.

In our own survey, we found choice retirees (i.e., those pulled into retirement) have more going for them than just time to prepare. They are motivated and passionate about things they want to do in retirement. They believe these activities will be rewarding, sometimes even more so than their jobs were. Those forced to retire, in contrast, are much less enthusiastic about how they will spend their time. It’s not uncommon for them to feel they cannot find interesting things to do and just don’t know what to do with their time.


What really differentiates pulled and pushed retirees, and successful retirees from less successful ones, is a positive attitude. Retirees do better if they maintain a positive frame of mind and are proactive in developing a fulfilling lifestyle. A negative attitude, in contrast, deters us from seeing the benefits of retirement and limits our motivation to create a personally meaningful lifestyle. Unfortunately, that’s often the attitude held by forced retirees.

To be sure, there are forced retirees for whom the situation is not so dire. They like their job and don’t intend to retire soon, but have a sense that retirement may be thrust upon them. When it happens, they’re not completely caught off guard. Some may even have come to terms with the inevitable before it actually happens, and have already started mentally preparing themselves for leaving the workforce. Because they made the right mental adjustments, they’re better equipped to handle the retirement experience


If you’re a forced retiree, you can best serve your own interests by coming to terms with your circumstances as soon as possible. Assuming your financial situation makes retirement a realistic option, the first step is to acknowledge that your retirement’s a done deal and you have to get on with your life. Dwelling on how badly you feel about being thrown out of the workforce serves no good purpose whatsoever. It will only inhibit your ability to move forward.

Once you’ve accepted your fate, you need to embrace the idea of retirement.

Begin the process of breaking your emotional connection to your job by thinking of yourself as a retiree. At the same time, work on developing the right frame of mind, by imagining the positives of the retirement lifestyle, such as freedom from stress and schedules. Turn your attention to how you will live in retirement, thinking about future opportunities. Work on making specific plans for your future, because these are critical for success.

Of course, none of this will guarantee that your retirement won’t have its downturns and disappointments, or that it will be as satisfying as your career. But it does put you on the right path so you won’t start your retirement in a mental state that will slow your adjustment down to a crawl.




Rob Pascale, PhD, founded Marketing Analysts, Inc, a quantitative market research company, in 1982. Dr. Pascale retired from full time responsibilities at MAi in 2005 at the age of 51. Throughout his 25-year tenure as president of MAi, Dr. Pascale was directly involved in over 5000 research studies for more than 50 of the largest corporations in the world, and has polled well over 2 million consumers.

Forget Work Life Balance – Run Off to The Circus!

By: Jones Loflin

Last year I wrote an article on LinkedIn entitled, Millennials Don’t Want Work Life Balance. My purpose was to highlight the different attitudes about work across generations. It obviously struck a nerve because it has received over 600,000 views. As I read the many comments left by readers, three things became clear about how people feel about the concept of mixing work and life. They include:


Technology makes it possible for us to have choices. Several people commented that if it weren’t for advances in technology, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to work from home, stay connected while out of the office, and keep in touch with friends and family while on the job.


When given a choice, many people prefer to blend work and life activities instead of trying to keep them separate. I heard from lots of Gen Xers and even a Baby Boomer or two who expressed their desire to “mix it up” during the workday.


As individuals we probably aren’t as open to different work/life perspectives as we should be. If the right work is getting done in an organization, and employees feel like they are in an environment where they can deliver their best work, isn’t that what really matters?


juggling elephants


Whether your preference is balance, blend, or blur, I think there is a more important question to ask:


“Is your approach moving you forward in the three key areas of your life?”


In my book, Juggling Elephants, I highlight that the key to work life satisfaction (or balance as some call it) is to manage your time like a successful circus. How does your approach to work/life address the needs of these three “rings?”

1. WORK.  Does your approach bring out your best work? And just as important, does it foster the best work of others on your team? As a manager are you more focused on outcomes… or HOW the work gets done? If your work is lacking because you are constantly blurring the lines and aren’t able to focus on the task at hand, maybe a change in approach is needed.

2. SELF.  We have different “work rhythms.” Some individuals like long periods of focus followed by extended periods of rest and renewal. Others have a “sprinter’s mentality,” and like short bursts. Either approach is fine… as long as you are taking care of your personal well-being. If you are constantly sacrificing what’s important to you as an individual because you are so caught up in your work, it might be time to rethink your perspective.

3. RELATIONSHIPS.  You may be advancing at work and succeeding at taking care of you, but how does your approach to work/life allow for the cultivation of relationships? As the ring suggests, this could be family, friends, and/or coworkers. We can’t deny the importance of quality relationships in making us more effective in the other two rings. How often have you seen a fellow employee struggling to deliver their best work, and the problem was not work? It was due to a strained relationship that was emotionally, mentally, and even physically draining them.




As a leader in your organization, recognizing the need for each individual to address these three areas is critical. For example, some employees may not have the desire to cultivate strong relationships at work, and prefer to build those relationships outside the workplace. Others may feel differently and want those opportunities while on the job. Both perspectives are valid, as long as each can bring their best work, and foster the same in others. Some excellent questions to ask your team to start a discussion on this topic is:

Do we, by policy, culture, or leadership, encourage or discourage individuals from focusing one or more of these three areas? How could we improve?

The issue of how we do work will continue to be an important conversation for years to come as technology continues to transform our workplaces, and people with different perspectives try to find areas of consensus. What will NOT change, in my opinion, is that our individual success will be determined by how we choose to balance, blend, or blur the areas of work, self, and relationships. How well is your approach to work/life moving you forward in these three key areas?




Jones Loflin is an internationally-recognized speaker and corporate trainer. He is best known for his ability to deliver innovative yet practical solutions to today’s work and life challenges. He is also the author of Getting the Blue Ribbon and co-author of Getting to It.

When Heart Intelligence Meets Conversational Intelligence®

by Judith E Glaser, CEO of Benchmark Communications, Inc. &
Deborah Rozman, CEO of HeartMath


For a period of time, Deborah was a psychologist for the Dr. Phil Show. What an awesome opportunity to experiment and research relationships gone awry. She remembers only too well coaching two of the show’s guests – Tammy and Reynir – and how this changed their lives.  Dr. Phil would send people he interviewed on the show to HeartMath for help.  Tammy and Reynir were on the edge of divorce. On the show, they were constantly reacting to each other and arguing hatefully. Dr. Phil told them they should divorce if they couldn’t change with the help he was going to give them. HeartMath changed the course of their lives, and enabled them to rediscover the love they had when they first met.


Imagine there are tools available to enable couples to reset their relationships; tools to learn new ways of communicating with each other; and tools to open up their hearts and minds to new insights and patterns of engaging. These tools allow them to know how to harvest the fruits of their marriage, and discover new value in their partnership.


Also imagine there are conversational strategies and tools available to business executives. Those strategies enable them to create healthy workplaces, and create space and aspiration for Co-creating Conversations® by elevating the their success in the marketplace.


And lastly, imagine you, personally, can have the exquisite ability to develop higher levels of intuition by seeing patterns that lead to bigger insights and ‘ahas’!”  Conversations are not what they seem. They are part of incredible energetic interactions that impact our neurochemistry and activate powerful systems and networks in our brain and heart that ‘read’ the energy and enable us to engage with others either as friend not foe – and all in .07 seconds.


Ten years ago when I first met Deborah Rozman, CEO of HeartMath – I learned about Heart Intelligence®, and I saw that my work in researching and developing Conversational Intelligence® would now have another dimension of connectivity. I knew then that we were destined to work together!  And as we launched our conversations to explore our synergies, new ‘ahas’ began to appear in the way we, together, could expand the insights about the impact of conversations. Not only conversations on the health of marriages, but also in the domains of business, government, and all areas where human beings engage with each other in conversations.



Doc Childre, founder and chairman of HeartMath, writes in their new book Heart Intelligence: Connecting with the Intuitive Guidance of the Heart:

 “Picture heart intelligence as the flow of awareness, understanding and intuitive guidance we experience when the mind and emotions are brought into coherent alignment with the heart…”

Heart intelligence isn’t just a subjective state of awareness. The heart contains its own intrinsic nervous system, called the “heart-brain,” which functions independently from the big brain in our head. It was only recently, in the 1990s, when neuro-cardiologists discovered that the heart-brain has neurons that can sense, feel, learn and remember then sends this information in the form of a heart rhythm pattern to the amygdala, thalamus and frontal lobes. Breakthrough research done at the HeartMath Institute discovered that when we are stressed, frustrated, anxious or insecure the heart rhythm pattern produces an incoherent waveform that is sent through the vagal nerve to the brain, creating cortical inhibition and often a fight/flight stress response.

On the other hand, when we feel love, appreciation, care or compassion, the heart rhythm pattern produces a smooth, coherent sine-wave, creating cortical facilitation and feelings of inner security. This brings our mind and emotions into a coherent alignment, enabling us to be more present to others and ourselves. Research has found that this physiological state of heart coherence helps us bypass unconscious emotional filters, activates the pre- frontal cortex and intuitive understanding. No wonder love is so powerful!

What’s so exciting is that more and more people are intuitively sensing the importance of including the heart in our interactions. They are being prompted from within that the heart’s input is essential for making wiser decisions.  Some have called this emotional intelligence, but it’s actually heart intelligence. As I say, “Heart Intelligence is a scientifically validated intelligence that is deep and powerful and enables higher levels of connectivity with other human beings.”

HeartMath Benefits


So how do Heart Intelligence and Conversational Intelligence work together to enable higher insights into the invisible patterns and the deeper ‘ahas’?


Conversational Intelligence® addresses the “alchemy of trust” in conversations. You could think of heart rhythm coherence as the physiology of that alchemy. When our inner security depends on the approval of others, they may say something that makes us doubt our self-worth, feel insecure. Real trust starts with feeling secure in our own heart. So the alchemy of trust starts with the heart. Learning how to bring our heart and brain into a coherent alignment connects us with the intuitive guidance of the heart and following that intuitive guidance develops that inner security.


HeartMath has created coherence techniques and emWave® heart coherence technology to help us access our heart’s intelligence and intuitive guidance system.  Being able to ‘make the invisible visible’ is the watchword of Conversational Intelligence® (C-IQ). By working with HeartMath’s emwave® we are able to see a person moving from low coherence (distrust) to high coherence (trust) and we can use this ‘state of being’ as an anchor for having healthy thriving organizations.




Now we can see what is going on inside of a person when they are in conversations with others. When we engage with someone and feel trust or not trust, our heart will show the essence of how we are connecting with each person. Look at the three levels of conversation that help define how we converse with others. Each has a purpose and a pattern.

In the Conversational Intelligence framework, there are 3 levels of communication:

 • Level I Conversations are not deep, not outside of what people already know. In fact they are often about confirming what we know.  These conversations follow a very familiar pattern: we tell others and we ask others – with the intention that the other person confirms what we know.

• Level II Conversations are negotiations, where people hold onto their viewpoints. These conversations follow a very familiar pattern: we advocate our point of view and we inquire about others points of view – in the spirit of influencing others to adopt our line of thinking.

• Level III Conversations are where people’s pre-frontal cortex/heart connection becomes accessible to them, creating a secure environment where people are more comfortable opening up; where you can pick up the energetic field of others more clearly, and intuitively sense the appropriate response. These conversations follow a very special and often less used pattern of engagement: we share with others and we discover with others in the spirit of creating healthy, innovative, empathetic relationships with others.



How do we see the patterns and the energy fields that emerge with each different level of conversation?  Heart intelligence turns the concepts of Level 3 into a reality. HeartMath has developed a powerful technique called Coherent Communication™ to facilitate heart intelligent communication: authentic speaking and intuitive heart listening. The HeartMath framework aligns with the Conversational Intelligence 3 level framework – enabling HeartMath to make the invisible visible! HeartMath has identified 3 levels of listening which map to C-IQ’s levels of conversation:

Level 1 is where you only hear at the “word level”.

Level 2 is where you listen from the heart. You hear the words but you also listen for the feeling level behind the words.

Level 3 is where you listen from the heart for the essence of what the person is trying to say. The essence level is underneath the word and feeling levels. Coherent communication guides you to connect with the other person’s heart to intuitively tune into the essence. Feeling love, care, appreciation or compassion for the person activates your heart rhythm coherence to intuitively and energetically sense the feeling and essence levels.


In the Coherent Communication technique you then reflect back to the person the feeling and essence levels to get confirmation. This often creates an energetic resonance between two people, allowing them to access more understanding of each other, more compassion, more insight, and to intuitively track together a solution to a problem or a creative approach to an issue.




When Tammy and Reynir arrived at HeartMath, Deborah gave them each an emWave2 and taught them how to get into heart rhythm coherence, to get their own mind and heart into coherent alignment before letting them talk to each other. Then she had them do the Coherent Communication technique around one question at a time.  She said it was truly amazing to watch each of them shift into their heart and actually hear and reflect back the feeling and essence behind what the other was saying.


As people feel deeply heard and understood, this facilitates their heart opening and enables an inner security they may not have experienced before. People then access their higher potentials and become more who they really are.


Creating this heart space isn’t just a soft skill. In our 35 years of work with global clients, we’ve seen leaders, CEO’s, teams, and whole organizations move into ‘sync’ with each other by understanding the three levels of conversation. As leaders learn to get in sync not just from their minds – but also from their hearts – they discover new ways of engagement, such as Level III Conversations. Over time, those conversations elevate their levels of co-creation and innovation to great heights by impacting the culture and bottom line.



At HeartMath they call this “business heart.” This is where they see leaders and companies start to change and create wonderful measurable results. The emWave technology objectifies heart coherence. It displays colored lights on a screen when you are physiologically in that state to handle access to your heart intelligence.


As I say, “Imagine you can have the exquisite ability to develop higher levels of intuition by seeing patterns that lead to bigger insights and ahas!” HeartMath’s coach/mentor program trains and certifies coaches in Coherent Communication, other HeartMath techniques and the emWave technology, which are add-ons to any coaching practice. The CreatingWe Institute and HeartMath have formed a wonderful partnership to bring these powerful tools and technology to more coaches, leaders and companies.



Judith E. Glaser is CEO of Benchmark Communications, Inc. and Chairman of The Creating WE Institute. She is an Organizational Anthropologist, and consults to Fortune 500 Companies. Judith is the author of 4 best selling business books, including her newest Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results (Bibliomotion, 2013) Visit;; or call 212-307-4386.


Deborah Rozman is CEO of HeartMath, Inc. and a behavioral psychologist. She is co-author of the Transforming book series with HeartMath founder Doc Childre (New Harbinger Publications): Transforming Anger, Transforming Stress, Transforming Anxiety and Transforming Depression, and the recently released Heart Intelligence: Connecting with the Intuitive Guidance of the Heart (Waterside Publications).Visit;

Don’t Chase Relevance – Find It!

by Dan Negroni


I am stoked about the debut of Chasing Relevance. It took two years of writing, research, content development, speaking, coaching, and training more than 5,000 amazing people by me and my colleagues at launchbox. But our systems, curriculum, and book are ready – ready to bridge the gap between non-millennial and millennial generations in the workplace and marketplace to help your business achieve real, BOLD results.


Here is what we learned: Houston, we have a HUGE problem.


  • Thirty percent of organizations lose 15% or more of their millennial workforce annually.
  • It costs companies $15,000 to $25,000 to replace each millennial.
  • 71% percent of organizations report that the loss of millennial employees increased the workload and stress of current employees.
  • Workload and stress combine with disconnection to breed disengagement: Seven of ten employees report being “disengaged” or “actively disengaged” at work.
  • The estimated cost of this disengagement is $450 billion.


Yes, millennials are a HUGE problem. They have taken over as the largest generation, and they don’t just want the power – they are the power.

They will decide what businesses succeed and which ones will be left behind. Those that want any chance of succeeding need to figure out how to win with millennials.


Yet only 22.9% of organizations have a plan in place to engage millennials and future generations.



Oh yes. But it isn’t a problem that needs to be solved. It’s a problem that needs to be embraced. Yes, I said it… we need to be bold and generous and embrace millennials. Because the way most managers are dealing with it now – mainly complaining – is not working.


What I find most curious is, how put-off and deeply frustrated many leaders from previous generations are by millennials. They paint a completely negative picture of “them,” as if millennials are a monolithic group of apathetic, disrespectful, unmanageable brats. They whine that millennials are spoiled, entitled, lazy, disloyal—all they want is power and all they think about is themselves.


Of course, complaining about the next generation is nothing new. But the way this millennial generation grew up? That is new. They had helicopter parents, got trophies for showing up, and had days filled with activities. They were encouraged to question, had a seat at the table for making decisions, and were told they could be anything they wanted to be, and are used to being connected to everyone, everywhere, every minute of the day.


And the world is different too.  Think of where we’ve been and the changes that have occurred in the last 30 years. We’ve gone from information in encyclopedias and microfiche to a crazy ass digital world where we can get any information, whenever and wherever we want. Millennials grew up “wired” and “wireless” and have never known a world in which technology did not impact, consistently change, and
 repeatedly shorten timelines of obsolescence. They know no other way.


Millennials came out of the #womb. And when they did, they disrupted all of the traditional timelines.


We follow the patterns of previous generations. We complain or throw up our hands in frustration and do nothing. As a result, all we do is chase relevance with them, often never finding it.


My book, and our business, have a better way. Our solutions will change your life, their lives, and your businesses.  Guaranteed.


And here is how you start:


Stop doing what you are doing. Realize that the place where youth and experience meet is the best place on earth.


The combination of raw, unbridled enthusiasm, curiosity, questioning and unlimited perspective is pure MAGIC when combined the right way with knowledge, time served, learned failure, and history.


Chasing Relevance answers the question we get asked all the time:  You really think we can connect with the next generation with the huge differences? ABSOLUTELY.


We all need to shift our mindset and trust ourselves.  When we shift our focus to connecting and delivering value to others, we win with our clients, employees, spouses, partners, kids … we become guides and mentors of the next generation and ourselves.


We have a choice: Embrace the opportunity millennials offer by pushing ourselves to be better leaders and coaches, or continue to ignore and dismiss the generational divide. The answer is clear: embrace opportunity.


That’s what our book, our business, and this blog will help you do.


Let us help you stop chasing relevance and make it happen. To learn more about the topics in this blog, get your copy of Dan’s new book Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage, and Maximize Next-Generation Leaders in the Workplace TODAY.



Dan Negroni, Esq and Author, is the Founder and CEO of launchbox. Dan is a business management and talent development consultant and coach. He addresses today’s critical cross-generational issues. He helps companies’ bridge the gap between managers and their multi-generational workforce. In turn, that bridge creates next generation leaders and increases employee engagement, productivity and profits.


Keep Stepping to Master the Challenges of Change

by Joy Marsden

Influential change advocate, Joy Marsden, shares her philosophy on the importance of stepping up and stepping out for leaders of today.


What behaviors do you need to adopt to grow and achieve success in a fast moving ever changing environment, where the people you lead are facing challenges month after month?


Recovering quickly from unexpected change is what separates the expert from the novice. The novice seeks to force new experiences into existing frameworks, confuses luck with personal skill, and relies on routine when a situation changes from simple and stable to complex and challenging.

By contrast, the expert never takes success personally, is always aware of their personal and technical limitations, and uses change as an opportunity to review, improve and innovate.  Whist the novice strives for stability; the expert accepts instability as the only status quo.

Overall, expertise means that we are capable of leading through change with an open mind and resilient attitude.  It means we ‘Keep Stepping!’.  The philosophy behind the Keep Stepping principles don’t just provide a superficial blue print for success but focuses on something more realistic.  When change comes, planned or unplanned, in any area of life, it is going to be difficult.  For the novice, this difficulty means clinging onto routine for comfort.  For the expert, this difficulty means a chance to innovate, to improve. Experts don’t stay still, they Keep Stepping.  So how do you become an expert in personal leadership?

Being the best means engineering the steps that you take in order to become all that you can be.  In order to do this, you’re going to need to ‘Step Up’, ‘Step Out’ and ‘Stand Out’ at different stages of your day, week and year.  It’s a never ending process, but a fulfilling process if you’re prepared to take the steps necessary for success.

As a leader, it’s up to you to make sure that you not only achieve your very best, but that you inspire the people you lead to achieve their very best too. The way you carry yourself, the person that you are, speaks volumes.

Do your employees see you as someone that inspires them? Or are you someone they simply work for that pays the wage at the end of the week.

I’m privileged to use the Keep Stepping program to help leaders and their teams throughout the globe to develop key skills that allow them to be more authentic in the office and at home and to enjoy their daily routines more.

The result, happier workers serving happier customers as they serve them better and see obstacles as opportunities.  This makes for a vibrant working environment where respect, honor and integrity are just a few of the values that start to shine through in the workplace.


Here are some steps from the Keep Stepping program for leadership success:


The way you see someone affects the way you serve them, and the way you serve someone affects the way they see you.  Serve your employees and your customers in the best possible way.



Simple, but not always easy to do, especially when you don’t even like the person you’re dealing with.  Here’s the thing, people respond to the person you are and the way you interact with them way before they respond to what you can do for them.



Make sure you understand what’s really going on. Do you get home from work and completely zone out? You’re in relax mode but not tuned in to the needs of the family?  This is a situation we can often look back and recognize quite quickly in a home situation, but do you notice when you haven’t tuned in at work? Are you missing important conversations, reactions, team dynamics that are essential for getting things done.



When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort circle and learnt something new?  Moments like these are essential for our growth and development.  This is often where the best creative ideas are born. The stretch is where great things happen.



A skilled carpenter gathers tools for his toolbox over time.  Time after time he has to draw on that experience and will use specific tools for specific jobs. How many of these skills do you use? It a wonderful thing when managers learn to draw out all the skills of their employees, when this happens, they will be leading a more fulfilled workforce for sure.


Keep Stepping!® is helping employees to do the things that matter most and make a positive difference both in their professional and personal life.


About the Author

Joy Marsden is an internationally recognized leadership expert, keynote speaker, and workshop leader, with extensive experience in working with leaders and their teams.

Joy is the author of Keep Stepping! Essential ways to lead yourself and others through challenge and change (Stepping Books, 2015). A leadership ambassador for the Chartered Management Institute, a Fellow of the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management, a Fellow of the Professional Speaking Association and Regional President in Staffordshire.

Let’s talk about Change, Baby!

By: Ilja Grzeskowitz


Some time ago, I read an interview from former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, where he made a fascinating observation. He said:

“Today, mankind produces more information, data and ideas than from the stone age until the year 2003 together.“

And he nailed it with that statement. Because the changes around us are getting more and more intense. Everything changes. Permanently. The economy, the organizational structures in our companies, our very own working space. As a keynote speaker and change agent, I have the privilege of working with lots of great organizations. And it doesn’t matter, at which industry I look, whether it’s a big brand like BWM or Lufthansa, or a small company with just a hundred employees. There is one thing they all have in common: The rules have definitely changed.


Change is the New Normal

Especially the globalization, the demographic trend and the digital revolution are the main reasons that markets change dramatically. And, the customers are behaving completely different than they used to do just a few years ago. That means that our ability to deal with this new complexity will be the most important factor if we will still be successful in the future or if we become obsolete. And just to be clear, I’m not talking about change for changes sake, but about change with a purpose, with intention. Change to reach your goals, to become more profitable and to get the results you want. In the near future, nothing will be more important, than to adapt to these new circumstances. Because constant change has long become the new normal.


Go First and Lead the Changes in Your Organization

What does all that mean to your jobs as leaders? First, you need to quickly adapt to all of the changes going on around you and adjust your own mindset. Even more importantly, you need to lead the changes in your industry, your company and your teams. Companies only change, when the people change. And it is your job to make sure they do. Not by telling them or giving orders, but by reaching their hearts and leading with your actions. And believe me, I know what I am talking about. In my own career, I started out as the youngest store manager in Germany’s largest department store corporation and overall, I was responsible for ten different stores all over the country. During that period, not only did I have to deal with tough competition, changing markets and the upcoming phenomena of online shopping, but also with a huge crisis within the company itself. Locations were shut down, profits were decreasing and thousands of employees were facing the fear of unemployment.


During these tough times, I learned the biggest lesson of my life:

Change is not what happens around you, but the way how you deal with it. It is your mindset. Your attitude.

And after all, the culture in your organization. Let me share one of my deepest beliefs with you: A company culture of innovation, flexibility and courage beats every sophisticated business strategy by far. Because there´s one thing, you can be sure of: If you are good, your competition will copy everything. They will copy your products, your prices, maybe even your marketing. But they will never be able to copy your culture.



Create a Culture of Change in Your Company

In my new book “Think it. Do it. Change it.”, you will learn how to develop this special attitude of change. I will show you how motivation really works, why the fear of going new ways is actually your best friend, and how to use your own uniqueness to lead the changes in your company, your community and most importantly, in your family.


At the end of the day, dealing with change is mindset. A certain way of thinking, deciding and taking action, that we have to adjust not only once, but on a daily basis. The more you use that special attitude, the sooner you will develop strong habits. And that’s important, because changes never happen overnight. They are a process with successes and failures. With ups and downs. You have to work hard to make it happen every single day. Isn’t it true? It’s never the one with the best abilities who wins, but always the one who is well prepared, takes massive action and changes actively. Because under the same circumstances it’s always the attitude, the mindset, the company culture that makes all the difference in the world. So dream big. Act bold. And you will get the results you want.




About the Author

Ilja Grzeskowitz (spoken Graesch –ko –witz) is an award winning keynote speaker who has inspired audiences in eight different countries on three continents. He has a University degree in economics and marketing and was a successful manager in retail, before he founded his own company in 2009. As a bestselling author of seven books, he works with organizations and companies on creating a culture of change. Among his clients are BMW, Lufthansa or Deutsche Telekom. The media called him, “Germany’s No.1. change expert.” Grzeskowitz is a father of two and lives in Berlin, Germany. Visit him online: