Blog

Making That Connection

connection

As we launch into another year of operations, I know many of us have had some time to think about our work styles and how we communicate with one another. I recently ran across this article by a woman who teaches at Duke and who helps people who are moving into executive roles…but that’s not what caught my eye. It was the fact that the article was about improving communication. Bottom line: no matter who we are (big wig executive in a large corporation or not) we can always get a little better at this!

Here are some highlights:

  • Read people: look for nonverbal cues, especially eye contact
  • Watch your “emotional thinking”: filtering out the positive and focusing only on the negative; black or white thinking where you don’t consider gray areas; over-generalizations where one event colors your thinking
  • Honor promises: do what you say you are going to do
  • Be open and value others
  •  …but…pick one thing to work on!

Summer Veggie Flatbread

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Serves 2-4

tomato, sliced or chopped

zucchini, squash &/or eggplant,

thinly sliced

vidalia onion, thinly sliced

s&p

olive oil cooking spray

naan bread

basil pesto

goat or mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat grill or broiler

2. Slice tomato & eggplant, lightly salt & drain on rack (15 mins), pat dry

3. Spray squash, eggplant & onions with cooking spray; season s&p

4. Grill or broil squashes & eggplant (2-4 mins), set aside

5. Spray both sides naan bread with cooking spray. Broil or grill 1-2 mins per side

6. Spread naan with pesto, top with grilled vegetables, tomatoes & cheese

7. Grill or broil 2-4 mins, until cheese melts

Note: sub Udi’s Gluten Free Pizza Crust

All About That WIG

WIGS (680x370) (1)

Let’s play multiple choice: Which of the following is a true statement?

a) We’ve just completed the first Period of our “new year.”

b) We’re preparing for our annual company meeting next week.

c) Every MG account is thinking about their WIGs (Wildly Important Goals) for next year.

d) All of the above. 

Hmm….pretty easy question. Right? 

Do you have 8 minutes? If you watch this 8 minute video, you will get the best reinforcement of why WIGs are so wildly important, and how to work them this next year in a way more effective than ever before. Really. 

And if you have another 3 minutes and 44 seconds…see how a hospital went from the bottom 3% to the top 99% in patient satisfaction…because they worked their WIGs. Check it out and get inspired for WIG work!

The Number One Reason You’re Not Losing Weight

losing-weight

I recently came across this article on a popular fitness blog. I almost immediately dismissed the article as another piece telling the reader they are eating too may calories, not fasting enough, not burning enough calories, etc, etc. I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case. It is not a topic that is often discussed when talking about weight loss, but “too much” dietary restriction is often the culprit when weight loss fails.

Metabolism 101 is that the body will go into starvation mode and store what food it does get when it’s not being fed. I see this often when working with college students who believe extreme calorie restriction is the answer to their weight problems. We all know calorie restriction can be a slippery slope, so what is the best approach? As the author states, eating enough calories to keep you satiated, but enough to create a calorie deficient that results in a 1 to 2 pound weight loss per week. It’s not a glamorous recommendation or a magic bullet, but one that is proven to work.

Long-Term Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors

veggies8jul2015

“Bikini season” is now in full force. I will admit giving into this phenomenon by purchasing a DVD that claims to have your body bikini ready in one week.  Full disclaimer, I do not buy into this marketing ploy, I just happen to be a fan of this fitness person’s exercise regimen   As I sweat through the vigorous workout and listen to her drone on about getting bikini ready, I do wonder how many people actually believe this work out will result in bikini worthy abs.  Realistically, working out for a week will not result in Olympic style abs, but that doesn’t mean you should give up exercise and healthy eating all together.  Establishing long-term healthy lifestyle behaviors will enable you to enjoy food and meet your health & wellness goals.

A few healthy eating tips courtesy of appforhealth:

  • Reduce overall calories to promote fat loss. Excess fat is quickly mobilized from the middle, so you’ll quickly see changes to your mid-section, if you lose just a few pounds.
  • Reduce or eliminate nutrient-poor carbohydrates (read: candy, soda, baked goods). Simple sugars cause rapid rises in blood sugar and have been linked to excess belly fat. To know the 46+ names food manufacturers use for sugars in their product, use this tool. 
  • Keep saturated fat to recommended levels (7-10% of total calories) Again, saturated fat has been shown to be linked to larger waistlines, so eat more poly and monounsaturated fats in place of foods rich in sat fats.
  • Avoid man-made trans fats, which are still in many foods. To tell if a processed food contains trans fats, look for partially-hydrogenated oil in the ingredient list.
  • Eat more whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Diets rich in these foods are consistently associated with smaller waistlines.
  • Enjoy nonfat or lowfat plain Greek yogurt.  Yogurt may help whittle your middle and the beneficial probiotics may help alter your gut bacteria to keep your GI tract healthy.

The Extra Person

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There’s a notion in business that you have an extra person at the table (or, in the kitchen…) when you have a strong, positive culture. This extra person helps attract the best talent, retain long-term key people (at every level), take care of your customers, grow your opportunities and protect your future. So a panel of experts talking about this at the NRA show is no surprise.

Constantly defining, teaching and modeling what makes MG unique is how we make sure Culture remains an extra person in our midst. Starting with our core values…and bringing them to life, every day: Got wow? See the style? Feel and taste the love? Having fun as we’re being flexible?

And, once again, change is part of the picture, even when talking about Culture. A few quotes from the panel of experts:

“It’s about the here and now, not the way it’s been forever…encourage people to constantly grow with you and prepare them for change…If you don’t like change, you’re going to hate extinction.”

Mexican Chopped Salad

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Serves 6-8

Dressing

½c  fresh lime juice

3 T  honey

1 t  cumin

2  cloves garlic

1 t  sea salt & black pepper

½ c olive oil

Salad

1 head romaine, chopped ½” pieces

½ ea red & orange pepper, ¼“ dice

½ med red onion, diced in ¼” pieces

½ med jicama, peeled & ¼” dice

1med zucchini, ¼” dice

4 med tomatoes, seeded & ¼” dice

3 c corn kernels, fresh, grilled (or frozen)

1 can black beans, drained & rinsed

½ c cilantro, finely chopped

tortilla strips, crispy

Dressing

1. mix lime juice, honey, cumin, garlic, s&p, whisk in oil

Assembly

1. combine all vegetables, toss with dressing, top with tortilla chips

Where a Strength Goes Weak

superhero

Just about any weakness can be attributed to one or more strengths that are overused. 

That’s an interesting start to a leadership article. Grabbed my attention. And so did the next paragraph which describes how an emerging leader’s passion for taking care of her customers was turning into a liability. Wait! Turbo-charged customer service is who we are! 

According to Dan McCarthy (who was a business leader until 2011 when he joined the faculty at the University of New Hampshire), there are six common leadership strengths that can be overdone…to the point they become weaknesses:

#1 – The results focused leader. When overdone, the results become more important than…fill in the blank…the people, the customer, the culture, the fun, etc. 

#2 – The courageous leader. Taken too far, this leader becomes uncompromising, burns bridges. 

#3 – The caring, compassionate leader. Too nice can mean not dealing with underperformers, avoiding conflict, inability to make tough decisions. 

#4 – The empowering leader. What? You can overdo this? Yes, if you give too much responsibility to those not ready for it, and not enough direction to those that need it. (So, remember to lead situationally!) 

#5 – The motivational leader. Even this one can be a weakness, IF it means pushing people beyond their limits, or burning your team out. 

#6 – The visionary, brilliant leader. Think Steve Jobs. This leader is two steps ahead, which is great for setting strategy, but if overdone, erodes an ability to relate to (and listen to) others. 

All of the above are strengths. Be aware of yours and work them, but the point?

Be open to feedback, and learn to “dial it back”, especially when under pressure.

5 Words You Should Stop Using When Talking About Food

food-words

This blog post by Ellie Krieger completely resonated with me simply because these are words commonly associated with food that are negative, shame inducing & scientifically inaccurate. 

Though the actual blog provides much more detail, I have summarized Krieger’s main points below. 

Detox: As Krieger points out the word “detox” implies that your body is unable to rid itself of harmful compounds & unless you engage in a radical eating plan, your body will be filled with toxins. What many detox proponents fail to mention is that our kidneys & liver do this job adequately.

Cleanse: Same idea as detox (Krieger likens these terms to cousins). A promise of body purity that never lives up to its claims.

Skinny: Our world is inundated with images of skinny bodies. When skinny is used to describe food products, we fail to see the purpose of food, which is to nourish our body.

Never: Applying the term never to any situation almost always backfires, especially when it comes to foods. The term never sets the stage for food obsession & rebellion.

Perfect: A toxic term when used to describe food behaviors and body image.

Grilled Peach, Brie, Basil Flatbread

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Serves 4

1          prepared pizza crust or oval flatbread

2 T       olive oil

2-3      peaches, peel on, sliced ⅓”

¼-½ Ib brie cheese, rind removed, sliced

¼ c      basil leaves, torn

s&p

cooking spray

1. Pre-heat grill to medium

2. Drizzle peach slices with 2T olive oil, toss to coat

3. Grill peaches, 2 mins per side, remove

4. Coat both sides of crust with cooking spray

5. Grill each side, 1-2 mins

6. Top crust with peaches & brie

7. Put pizza on grill rack or pizza stone, cook 3-5 more mins

8. Remove to cutting board, sprinkle with basil, slice

Note: can do final cooking of whole pizza in a 400 ̊ oven.