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Kathy Marshack News

Minimize Stress by Creating a More Workable Schedule

Monday, March 11, 2013


Do you feel like there are just not enough hours in the day? It's a common complaint to hear someone say they need more time. And if you constantly feel anxiety and stress because you’re too busy there can be mental and physical health repercussions. By following a few simple time management tips, you might just be able to feel like you are accomplishing more during your day.


Here are a few simple strategies worth implementing:


1. Schedule your day thoughtfully. Write it out on paper or electronically. Distribute activities evenly throughout the day. If it starts to get too hectic, focus on the most important tasks and move the others to another day.


2. If you must reschedule, do it as soon as possible especially if it involves someone else. You want them to have the opportunity to shift around their schedule. This is just common courtesy.


3. Identify opportunities to multi-task. This requires creativity. Look for ways to merge tasks. Make phone calls while getting your car service...throw in a load of laundry and then run to the grocery store. 


4. Be flexible. Things come up, mistakes are made, and not everything goes as planned. When you are more prepared to go with the flow you won’t feel so out of control.


Creating more time in the day will give you a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. If these strategies are just not working and you continually feel overwhelmed, you may need to learn stress management techniques. A mental health care professional can assist you in this regard. Contact my office to set up an appointment. 


Click here to learn more about Managing Stress. 

Entrepreneurial Couples - Navigate Successfully Through Difficult Conversations

Thursday, February 14, 2013


“I'd like to talk with you about something," she says.

"What now?" he asks with a sigh.

"Well I'd like to know what we are going to do about this problem," she says, starting to get frustrated.

"I'll take care of it. Stop pressuring me!" he shouts.

"I'm not pressuring you. I just want to help and I think we should talk about it," she says imploringly.

"I said I'd take care of it. I'm working on it. Why won't you get off my back?" he says emphatically.
  


Does this conversation sound familiar? If it does, then you are most likely married or in a long-term relationship. These types of conversations are even more typical when a married couple also works together. Even though they may be common in relationships, it doesn't mean they are healthy. In fact they are frustrating and can cause long-term damage.   


In order to change the course of these conversations, there are three things to keep in mindFirst, when couples live and work together there is an increased potential for misunderstanding. The more you are around anyone and the more you talk with that person, the more opportunity there is for miscommunication, misunderstanding and arguments. Second, when you work with the one you love, misunderstandings carry more weight than they might with someone you are not as emotionally connected with. You care more what they think of you and if they believe you care about them. Third, men and women problem solve differently. While men are competitive and want to prove themselves by solving the problem on their own, women strive to include others in the process of problem solving to come up with a group decision.


So if we take another look at the dialog above with these three considerations in mind, the miscommunication is much easier to unravel. First, the wife is trying to have a conversation with her husband about a subject that they have probably beaten to death, and with no resolution. She means well, but he feels like she is just shoving his face into the problem once again. Secondly, the husband also believes that she is accusing him of failing to solve the problem or to solve it quickly enough. In reality, she is offering to help him solve it. Third, the wife assumes that her husband understands that she is trying to help when she asks questions, but he can only hear that she is asking questions he cannot answer. (Click here read the reverse dialog when the couple understands these communication differences.)   


It may not always been this simple. It takes a lot of hard work to try to navigate communication pitfalls, but it can be done. The better you are at reading those subtle differences in style that can lead to tragedy or success, the more likely you are to be successful in all your communications in business. Set up an appointment with a marriage therapist/family business coach who can help guide you through this process.


For more information, take a look at my book Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home.

Strong Team Dynamic Linked to More Women

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


What kind of individual do you want on your business team? Intelligence is often the desired quality. According to an interesting study in 2011 published in the Harvard Business Review, more women on a team lead to a greater success rate. When given tasks such as brainstorming, puzzle solving, and making decisions, the teams with women scored higher. (Read What makes a team smarter? More women)   


What makes team dynamics with women more successful? In a nutshell, it’s called being a good team leader. This includes being a good listener, being concerned about others, and being open-minded. These are abilities that come more naturally to women, which is why they are great employees, managers, and entrepreneurs. 


Even though these things come naturally to most women, in order for them to be truly successful, these good qualities must be cultivated. To learn more about how a woman can be a successful business leader, read my article – It takes three things to be a successful business woman.

Defining the Solo Entrepreneur with a Supportive Spouse

Thursday, December 27, 2012


What is an entrepreneurial couple? Since I wrote a book about entrepreneurial couples, I frequently hear that question. There are three types of entrepreneurial couples: solo entrepreneur with a support spouse, dual entrepreneurs, and copreneurs. It is important as an entrepreneurial couple to define which one you are. Let's now focus on one type: the solo entrepreneur with a support spouse.

 

Definition:

 

●  One partner owns and manages the business

●  The supportive partner helps out with the business part-time or psychologically

●  The supportive partner may be employed outside the business

 

Example:

 

Bob and Carol used to work together in their successful nursery and garden supply business, but Bob has since returned to his old employer leaving Carol to manage the business on her own, as a solo-entrepreneur. Bob has become the supportive spouse. He is employed elsewhere, providing emotional support to his wife’s business, but not really involved in the day-to-day management and headaches of running it. Carol, on the other hand, recognizes her talent as an entrepreneur and is much better suited to running the operation on her own as a sole proprietor.

 

Summary:

 

While each entrepreneur brings his or her own character, strengths, and weaknesses to the business, the supportive spouse also has qualities that balance with the qualities of their entrepreneurial spouse to create a specific relationship style and business. To learn more about the solo entrepreneur with a supportive spouse, download my eBook - Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home

Promote Fair Compensation for Women in Family Firms

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Women in family businesses are often the backbone of the organization. Whether she’s the founder, a founding partner, a supportive spouse or daughter, or an employee of the family enterprise, a woman often is willing to do work that others feel is beneath them because she recognizes the greater good. Research has shown that when a man starts a business, he usually can count on his wife’s unpaid labor during those lean start-up years. Women entrepreneurs, on the other hand, realize that they must go it alone if their businesses are to succeed. They too use the services of family and friends in those early years, but often their husbands don’t offer unpaid help with such menial chores as housework, child care or envelope stuffing.   


As a stakeholder or a stockholder, a family business woman should be accorded compensation, benefits and perks befitting her considerable contributions to the health of the family and the enterprise. There are two ways to accomplish this. First, the business owners should re-evaluate their standards and update stock, compensation and benefits plans for female employees. Second, they should implement programs to encourage the talent development of the girls in the family.   


Here are some suggestions:

  1. Develop flexible compensation plans that reward women for their hard work and talent even if they work part-time or take a leave of absence.
  2. Institute stock purchase plans for part-timers.
  3. Evaluate voting rights. Is it absolutely necessary to be a partner or a full-time worker to have a vote?
  4. Don’t ever pay the women according to what they would earn at another company. Pay them for their value to your family business. Obviously, a wife or mother is worth much more as your advocate than she would be paid as a bookkeeper in a non-family company.
  5. Pay for child care, and encourage the family business women and men to take advantage of the opportunity. Better yet, set up on-site child-care centers so that family business women will not conflicted about leaving their children to go to work.
  6. Set up a system to mentor the girls in the family. Often young women don’t even consider joining the family business, because they see the handwriting on the wall (i.e., the guys have sewn up all the good jobs). Arrange apprenticeships for the girls so they can learn first-hand about opportunities at your family firm.
  7. Offer scholarships to girls who are willing to study business in college or major in an area applicable to your family business.
  8. Don’t restrict scholarships to college. Offer start-up capital to young women who want to set up their own businesses if they write a good business plan.

Many family business owners mean well but just haven’t taken the time to delve into this problem. But if compensation and other recognition aren’t handled fairly for family business women, the enterprise will suffer from relationship disharmony as well as a “brain drain.” For the health and future success of the family business, these problems need correcting immediately.   

For additional information, visit Entrepreneurial Life - Families in Business. You can also download my recently released eBook for only $9.95 - Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home. Chapter 6 is on “Women Entrepreneurs: Are They Different from Men?”

Entrepreneurial Couples: Making it Work at Work and at Home – Now Available for Download

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


A growing phenomenon are husbands and wives joining forces in an entrepreneurial venture to make their dreams come true. For years I’ve been coaching and writing about these "entrepreneurial couples." And what I’ve observed, and my research supports, is that becoming an entrepreneurial couple is risky both professionally and personally. There are many challenges that come with this lifestyle. It's not an easy road, but the payoff can be great. 

 

My book, Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home - was written to address what it really is like to be an entrepreneurial couple. This book uses real-life examples to identify the challenges of this entrepreneurial lifestyle, as well as offer specific advice to help couples find the right balance at home and at work. It includes interactive questionnaires that help assess strengths and weaknesses in each area of the entrepreneurial lifestyle. If you’re a busy couple, this book is just what you need to help you design a more balanced, integrated, and meaningful entrepreneurial life.

 

Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home – has just been made available on my website as an e-Book. Download this PDF and share a copy with your spouse for easy and convenient access via laptop or tablet. Take it with you on your next vacation or business trip! Click here to download your own copy for only $9.95. 

How to Avoid Communication Problems in Family Businesses

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Bad communication is a major pitfall for family businesses. If families in business together do not learn how to properly communicate, the business and more importantly, the family will suffer. Poor communication or miscommunication is commonplace because not everyone is a naturally born communicator. It is a skill that has to be developed.


Before a complete communication breakdown, there are usually a few minor missteps that occur. Consider a few of this missteps and how to avoid them. 


Using a filter.  Humans have the tendency to only hear what they want to hear. Our desires, our past experiences, and what we focus on are filters. Filters shape how we listen and how we respond. So, when in conversation, ask yourself if a filter is shaping what you are hearing and speaking. If it is, remove it.  


Complaining. If there is a problem that needs to be solved, don’t be a complainer. Constant complaining is like a nail on a chalkboard and it doesn’t accomplish anything but aggravate the people around you. If there is a problem, speak about the problem and how to solve it. 


Poorly chosen words. You have heard it a million times, but it must be repeated. Think before you speak. Words have the power to cause a lot of damage and it is hard to erase what you say. So instead of saying something you will regret, think about it in advance. If you need time to think, ask politely to resume the discussion after putting some thought into the manner. 


Families in business can learn much about proper communication by enlisting the help of a family therapistContact my office if you are interested in setting up an appointment. 


My book - Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home – is also available for purchase and is highly beneficial for helping entrepreneurial couples to be better communicators. I’ve recently released it as an ebook. Download it and share a copy with your spouse for easy and convenient access via laptop or tablet. Take it with you on your next vacation or business trip! Click here to order your copy.

Entrepreneurial Couples - Don't Be a Divorce Statistic

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Divorce is all too common for entrepreneurial couples. If you are an entrepreneurial couple, you must make a concerted effort to save your marriage before the trouble ever starts. Simply, the best insurance against divorce is to attend to the relationship first, the business second. Sadly, the opposite seems to be what most entrepreneurial couples do. The pull of the business is strong, immediate and concrete. The pull of the marriage is strong too, but not as immediate and certainly fuzzy. Because it is easier to react and answer the phone call rather than remember to say something loving to one's spouse, the typical entrepreneur opts for responding to business needs first.

 

Business is about competition and marriage is about love. In business the goal is to compete, to win, to make a profit. In marriage there is no goal, but rather a process . . . that of exchanging love. Being loving and receiving love are the basics of a healthy marriage. How much work is love anyway? How much effort is there in telling your spouse he or she is loved? How hard is it to carve out one night a month to go on a date? Is it such an extravagance to bring home flowers for your sweetheart or treat him or her to basketball tickets? Along with all of the other e-mails you respond to each day, would it take so much of your precious work time to send an e-mail of appreciation to your spouse too?

 

To put it simply, put the marriage first by doing one loving thing each day for your spouse. You can do battle and conquer all day long in the business world, but at the end of your day, switch modes and have a conversation about nothing at all with your spouse. Don't search for the bottom line. Don't anticipate the close. Instead hold her hand, look into his eyes, talk a little, and congratulate yourself on how lucky you are to have a business partner who is the love of your life.

 

For more information, visit Marriage Counseling - Couples at Work and Home.

 

Available for purchase, Dr. Marshack's Book - Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home  

 


Entrepreneurs – How to Cultivate a Good Relationship with Your Employees

Sunday, September 09, 2012


A key to running a successful business is to have a good working relationship with your employees. This responsibility falls on you as the business owner. When you’re an entrepreneur, you are dependent on your employees to keep your dream alive. The best way to do that is to cultivate a positive, productive, and healthy working environment for you and your employees.

Here are some tips to create a good working relationship with your employees:

Set expectations. When you hire a new employee, it is important to clearly define what is going to be expected of them. How can you expect an employee to perform the way you want if they don't know what it is you’re looking for? Help them to see why these expectations are important to you and your business.


Commend. Positive feedback is vital when it comes to encouraging your staff. Be on the lookout for opportunities to give sincere commendation. Your employees will feel appreciated which leads to increased productivity. This will also make it easier on you if you need to give counsel. If counsel is tempered with commendation, it won't be as difficult to take.


Communication. Speak with your staff regularly. Get their feedback and opinions. They are at the forefront of your business and are usually in the best position to know what is really going on. Don't just encourage them to talk to you make sure you talk openly with them. Think about what you know about the business and share it with them.


Respect. Treat your staff the way you would want to be treated – as a capable adult. If they feel respected, you will too.


Building a good relationship with your staff takes time and effort, but it will be well worth it! For more information, visit Entrepreneurial Life to learn more.

The Benefits of Being Creative in Business

Thursday, May 03, 2012


Creativity is often linked to artistic ability, but that is not necessarily the case. If you are an entrepreneur, you have shown yourself to be a creative person regardless of any artistic talent. In fact, creativity can be an important key in keeping your business successful and your enthusiasm for your work running strong.

Creativity can be used to improve or improvise a variety of situations. Instead of being stuck with one single method of approaching a situation, being creative allows you to look at many options. By opening your mind to different options, you are opening your horizons and may be surprised with the end result. It may be a way that you have never looked at a problem before.

If you have an good idea, sometimes you just need to run with it. It may or may not work, but allowing your creative juices to flow will only enhance your entrepreneurial abilities. This may be a new way of thinking for you, but with practice and time you can improve your creativity skills. Think of it like a muscle. A muscle has to be trained over time and be used regularly to be of use. Creativity is a never ending process, so do not get discouraged if a situation does not have the intended result. A failed creative thought or idea may not work for a particular situation, but it may for another one down the line.

So, think outside the box. Challenge yourself. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

Would you like assistance in unleashing your creativity? Consider setting up an appointment with a business coach. If you live in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area, please contact my office for an in depth consultation.


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