The PMA Blog

Stop Working So Much!

Posted by Deb Cullerton on 5/8/19 6:50 AM

It's in my blood!  I grew up in a family that rewarded it.  For many years I believed it was responsible for everything good in my life.  I have always put it in my top 3 values and traits.  And, I now believe (and it kills me to say so) that I was wrong.  In fact, it may be my biggest limitation in achieving both my professional and personal goals.  While I have spent years jumping in and working more and harder when things get dicey, I realized now that this hard work ethic has, at times, caused me to:

  • Make the wrong prioritizing decisions at times when my health, my family life and my spiritual needs were on the line.
  • Become judgmental when others chose differently.
  • Measure "hours in play" instead of results.
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Topics: Productivity for All

Is the "People Stuff" Getting You Down?

Posted by Deb Cullerton on 3/19/19 7:25 AM

I was coaching a client last week and asked about his progress since he went to our WorkingSm@rt class.   He said, "Well, I'm more organized and more focused but I haven't solved the one issue that takes up more time than almost anything else -- the people stuff!”.

I knew he was saying it tongue in cheek, but he winced a little as he said it and I knew there was more truth there than he was comfortable with.  I wish I could say it was the first time I've heard this complaint, but it's not.  It's impossible to focus on people's productivity without consistently running into the challenging people issues that can take up significant chunks of our day.

 So, without ado, I thought I’d outline three people areas that waste significant time in our workplaces with a few solutions that can make a significant impact:

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Topics: Productivity for All, All About Teams, Leadership Matters

Running Meetings with Purpose:  Wait, Why Are We Here?

Posted by Stephanie Sibille and Deb Cullerton on 2/6/19 11:39 AM

Last week, as I plugged into my computer and logged into my video conferencing software, I found myself asking this exact question. It was the end of a long week, and I was meeting with some industry colleagues to discuss a potential upcoming project. While the work was exciting and I was happy to connect with my colleagues, I found myself dreading this particular phone meeting.  Why, you ask?

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Topics: Productivity for All, All About Teams, Leadership Matters

Finding TIME to Achieve Your Goals

Posted by Deb Cullerton on 1/16/19 8:59 AM

In LEAN Six Sigma, there is an acronym for 8 different forms of operational waste called DOWNTIME (defects, overproduction, waiting, not utilizing staff talent, travel, inventory, motion, excess processing). This has me thinking about my own time this month as we head into the new year with big audacious (maybe not hairy) goals.  Where will the time to make these things happen actually come from?

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Topics: Productivity for All

There is no Q5:  5 ways to take control of your 2018 results before it's too late

Posted by Deb Cullerton on 12/6/18 3:37 PM

There is no Q5!  I saw this headline on something this morning and I almost spit out my coffee.  It's obviously true but I know many people who keep waiting for that magical time.  You know the time that they finally jump on the work necessary to achieve their 2018 goals.  And the thought of this year quickly fading into the past will come as a real surprise and painful reality.  So, if this rings true, don't let the last 3 weeks slip away on you.  Here are 5 ways you can not only end 2018 on a high note, but also start 2019 with some amazing momentum:


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Topics: Productivity for All

Be an Advocate for Change

Posted by Deb Cullerton on 9/14/18 3:48 PM

It's not always easy for managers to know what their role is during changes.  Here are two big ones.

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Topics: Change Happens

Where Do They Stand?  A Simple Technique for Understanding Buy-in

Posted by Stephanie Sibille & Steve Ockerbloom on 4/16/18 12:13 PM


Raise your hand if this scenario sounds familiar: you’re 55 minutes into your one-hour team meeting to introduce a new change, you wanted your team to weigh in, and now you’re heading down a rabbit hole that you don’t think you can get out of.  You know that one of two scenarios are inevitable: you risk running over and making people late for their next appointments, or someone is bound to leave feeling thoroughly unsatisfied. As managers, how do we get in front of this phenomenon while still giving people a voice?

One of our favorite ways to gauge buy-in is with an incredibly simple but effective tool: Fist to Five. If you’ve never heard of this, it’s based on a 0-5 scale, with the idea that you can take the temperature of the room simply by having people hold up one hand to display where they stand. Here is the scale that we recommend using: 

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Topics: Insider, Organizational &Talent Development, All About Teams, Leadership Matters, HR Executives

Say What Now? 4 Steps to Managing Resistance to Change

Posted by Stephanie Sibille and Deb Cullerton on 4/6/18 2:47 PM

Think back to the last time you suggested a new idea to someone else. It could have been as simple as a new recipe for dinner at home, or as involved as suggesting a new way to solve a complex problem at work. How was that information received? Did people go along with your suggestion, or were you met with resistance that surprised you?

In our Change Leadership and Change Readiness workshops, we often begin by polling the room and asking who thinks that they respond well to change. Here is what normally happens: a handful of hands go up immediately (maybe 1/3 of the room), some people admit that they’re not too fond of change, and most people will say that it depends People are open to change when it directly benefits them, or better yet, when it was their suggestion.  So what is a leader to do when a change coming from the organizational leadership is met with resistance? 

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Topics: Organizational &Talent Development, All About Teams, Leadership Matters, HR Executives, Change Happens

5 Ways to Change Your Results Today

Posted by Deb Cullerton on 2/15/18 10:40 AM

Focus on Results, Not Tasks

In order to change results, you have to focus on the right things. Thinking about your day as a bunch of to-do's will get you nowhere fast. Instead, drive your day by the objectives. What are the results you are trying to accomplish and is there a direct correlation to the way you are spending your time? If your tasks don't roll up to a specific objective, seriously question their value.  And if they do, prioritize and work the most important one first.  


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Topics: Organizational &Talent Development, Productivity for All, Leadership Matters

The Struggle for Focus and 3 Ways to Improve It

Posted by Deb Cullerton on 8/7/17 3:36 PM

This morning I didn't follow my own rules and here's what happened:

7:00 Start pc

7:01 Dive right into email

7:03 Open email with fun blog title for website company

7:05 Peruse their website

7:07 Link to someone they like in neuroscience (a field that's like crack for me)

7:10 Read everything the neuroscientist has ever written on the web

7:40 Consider 3 new business ideas; discard all of them

7:50 Decide to go to twitter to link with the neuroscientist

8:12 Wake up from a twitter-induced fog to realize I have lost the first FREAKING HOUR of my day!!!


 How many times has this happened to you?

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Topics: Productivity for All

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