Clarity Management Consulting

Posts Tagged ‘business’

Make Your Thinking Change-Friendly

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

How would you like to transform your progress? You need Clarity to succeed!

I’m sure you would agree that we would all like to transform our progress in 2012, right?

At the time that I’m writing this, we are at the beginning of another new year. As always, we look forward with anticipation to the opportunity to set a new business direction, develop new products and services, and chart a new course. Truthfully, though, we often find it challenging to shift gears and make the course adjustments we desire!

We all encounter the need to change. We know that change is needed in our businesses and even on a personal level. Who among us has never said, “I need to start doing this or that” or I need to stop doing this or that”… but never got around to it?

The key is that before we can change any behavior, we have to change our thinking. My goal is to give you the tools you need for your own personal empowerment. The ability to begin to see business challenges through a different lens means having a sustainable method for changing your direction.

You need Clarity to succeed, and I have developed a program that will help you retool your thinking for success!

Introducing Get Clarity, Succeed Faster!

Get Clarity, Succeed Faster is a new four-step method for developing and maintaining a change-friendly, success-oriented mindset. I am offering this program that I have personally designed with professionals and entrepreneurs like you in mind!

During this program, you will learn strategies for transforming your paradigms and mindsets in a way that will revolutionize your progress. You’ll learn how to leverage your rich experience base and your strengths to develop a mindset that is change-friendly as well as success-oriented.

In Get Clarity, Succeed Faster, you will learn how to unlock your ability to understand how paradigms influence your capability for making the course changes needed to take your business and professional life to the next level. You will walk away with important insights on how to get beyond just saying, “I need to start doing this or that” to saying “how can I transform my thinking so that I can do this or that.”

This 16-week online program covers a four-step process that will help you enhance your skills in recognizing, identifying, evaluating, and transforming the paradigms that are governing your business decisions. You will learn how to develop your own personal empowerment database that will give you a sustainable method for transforming the way you view business challenges.

I have incorporated four modules in this program to address each section of the four-step Get Clarity, Succeed Faster process:

Module 1 – “Recognizing the Presence of a Paradigm” is designed to help you spot the fact that you have a paradigm or way of thinking about a given situation. This is based on my experience which indicates that the first step in changing a paradigm is to realize that you have one in the first place!

Module 2 – “Identifying the Paradigm” involves some thought and exercises intended to help you “Get Clarity” on the underlying paradigm or assumptions that are driving your choices and decisions.

Module 3 – “Evaluating the Paradigm” gives you the tools to step back and really determine whether the paradigm you’re operating with is helpful or a hindrance, and whether the underlying assumptions are reasonable and accurate. This is a way of detaching emotionally from these assumptions in order to be more objective about them.

Module 4 – “Transforming the Paradigm” puts you on a course of progressing toward changing your paradigm in ways that make it serve you better. Now that you have some new information and insights about your underlying assumptions and the way you’ve been viewing a particular issue, you are in a better position to change the way you think about that issue going forward.

Downloads of the following materials will be available on a weekly basis so you can go through the material at a time that is convenient for you:

  • MP3 audio
  • Slides in pdf format
  • Transcript
  • And best of all: your action guide that you can use as a blueprint for moving forward.

Register now and get started! Go to to register and get your first lesson today!

A Sane Approach to Getting Started in Social Media

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Social media is just one of many marketing channels available to entrepreneurs. It is a single component of your toolkit. Moreover, like most marketing channels, it is about sowing now and reaping later. Think of it as a means of building relationships that will result in increased mind share and credibility for your product or service.

Many solo entrepreneurs know they need an online presence, but they have limited resources and can be intimidated by the volume of work. A tailored strategy for social media can overcome these obstacles and help you avoid the trap of having your time consumed by this tool at the expense of other critical business tasks.

Where should you start?

Start with your needs. Recognize that you can design your effort based on your business objectives and available resources. Here’s how to do it.

Decide what you want from social media.

Identify your marketing goals. These may include creating awareness, building your brand, building relationships, and demonstrating expertise. Prioritize these goals based on your needs. Use a tool like Table 1 to determine their relative importance for your business.

Figure out how much time and energy you are willing to spend.

Social media experts generally recommend posting frequently on your blog and on sites such as Twitter and Facebook to maximize exposure. However, you have to right-size your activity based on your resources. Even if you cannot afford to be heavily invested in this marketing channel because of staffing constraints, you can still have an online presence on a scale that suits you. Table 2 can help you plan your time.

Decide where to focus your effort.

Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and your blog all have the potential to enhance your online presence based on the type of business and your creativity in using the tools. Their relative value depends on your goals, as shown in Table 3. For example, if your aim is to demonstrate expertise, writing a blog is a great way to do it. Then you can use the other tools to direct traffic to your blog.

Execute and engage.

Once you have determined what you want from social media, the time you are willing to spend, and the tools you intend to use, get started! Develop your profiles and add content. Then invite clients, prospects, and business partners to connect with you. Remember to take advantage of your local social media community where you will find opportunities to engage both online and in person. For those in Central New York, the Linked Syracuse-Central NY LinkedIn group, which boasts more than 1,100 members, and the Biz Buzz Social Media Conference are two great examples.

Women Business Owners Serve on Technology Group’s Board of Directors to Cultivate Innovation in Central New York

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Rhonda R. Cabrinha and Monica D. Johns have some things in common. They are both business owners and members of Women TIES (Women Together Inspiring Entrepreneurial Success). Cabrinha is vice-president and equity partner at Ellis, Moreland & Ellis, a locally owned Independent Insurance Agency. Johns is president and CEO of Clarity Management Consulting, a Syracuse-based consulting firm. Both women are also members of the board of directors of the Technology Alliance of Central New York (TACNY). Might this suggest something about women business owners and geekdom?

You bet it does, according to Tracy Higginbotham, founder and president of Women TIES. “It sends a powerful message about women entrepreneurs and their commitment to be fully engaged in securing the prosperity of their communities,” says Higginbotham. As Johns says, “TACNY’s mission supports what has been identified as a critical business imperative, the importance of which cannot be overemphasized, namely the need to advance innovation by increasing the number of graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).”

TACNY’s work supports local schools and other educational institutions in their efforts to generate interest in the STEM disciplines among middle and high school students. “Technology and innovation are the building blocks of Central New York’s future prosperity. TACNY’s programs are essential for motivating the next wave of innovators,” said Cabrinha.

TACNY is a nonprofit organization that has served the Central New York community since 1903. TACNY hosts science and technology presentations geared toward middle school students and supports a myriad of local and regional student events, including the Science Olympiad middle and high school competition and the CNY Rocket Team Challenge, just to name a few. The group also offers lectures and tours that address the interests of technology professionals, educators, and other adults who simply want to become more tech-savvy.

TACNY’s signature event is the Celebration of Technology Awards Banquet, slated for September 19, 2011. It will feature Deanne Bell, possibly the most popular woman engineer in the country. As a television personality, Bell is best known as co-host of PBS’s Design Squad and host of DIY Network’s Money Hunters ( ). Organizers are looking to ignite students’ passion about science and technology, and they believe Bell is just the speaker to do it. Visit for event details.

Rhonda R. Cabrinha, CIC is vice-president and equity partner at Ellis, Moreland & Ellis, a locally owned Independent Insurance Agency. She has more than 35 years of experience in the insurance business and held numerous positions with National Grange Mutual Insurance Company prior to joining Ellis, Moreland & Ellis. Rhonda holds the Certified Insurance Counselor designation (CIC). She is a Regional Director of IAAC, the Membership Services Division of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of New York. She is actively involved in the Syracuse I Day committee, which she chaired in 2009. Rhonda is the 2005 recipient of Syracuse’s Insurance Person of Distinction Award and a past president of the Independent Insurance Agents of Central New York. Ellis, Moreland & Ellis ( provides insurance protection for individuals and businesses throughout New York State.

Monica D. Johns, MBA, PMP®, president and CEO of Clarity Management Consulting (, has more than 25 years of technical and business experience including positions with General Electric, Corning, and General Motors. Her background includes engineering, process improvement, team development, program and project management, and consulting. She earned her MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and her Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from the University at Buffalo. Johns received her Six Sigma Black Belt from the Institute of Industrial Engineers and holds the Project Management Professional (PMP®) credential conferred by the Project Management Institute. Clarity transforms businesses from the inside out. With expertise in project management, process improvement, collaboration, and team development, Clarity uses process improvement as an enabler for clients’ strategic goals.

Tracy Higginbotham, president of Women TIES, helps women entrepreneurs in New York State expand their local, state, and regional marketplace. She serves on a variety of business advisory boards and is a guest speaker on a wide range of business topics for local chambers of commerce and business organizations. Tracy is also a columnist for the Syracuse Post-Standard and a two-time recipient of the SBA’s Women-Owned Business Champion Award for Region II. She is a graduate of the State University of New York at Oswego where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and postgraduate studies in Business Management. Women TIES ( provides a variety of exceptional networking, development, and marketing opportunities for women business owners each month.

Self-Sufficiency: A Key Factor in How Women Entrepreneurs Approach Risk Sharing

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Self-sufficiency is a characteristic that influences the way women share risk as entrepreneurial leaders.  Women play diverse roles in their professional and personal lives.  Consider a woman who has a career, a family, and an elderly parent.  Each role demands a high level of commitment.  These roles do not always come with additional resources for delegation.  Consequently, the woman who has to fulfill these commitments must do the job herself in many cases.  This results in a level of self-sufficiency that is unique to women.

Women develop an acute sense of responsibility in these situations.  This is an essential part of risk sharing.  Entrepreneurs shoulder complete responsibility for their businesses.  These leaders often have to step in and take up the slack in critical situations to ensure success.  Women who succeed as entrepreneurs become proficient at delegating responsibility while holding themselves accountable for business results.  They learn to share risk over time.  Their self-sufficiency in meeting the challenges of their day-to-day lives provides a unique foundation upon which to build these skills effectively.

Comments on Management Styles

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

Changes in Management Styles

Management styles have evolved to meet the challenges of a tumultuous business climate.  The global environment has been in flux for well over five years.  The financial meltdown of the last three years exacerbated this.  The managers who have been effective during this period are those who were either adaptable already, or who learned to adapt as things changed more rapidly.  In turn, they helped their teams become flexible as well.

The Role of A Manager

Managers must realize that they play multiple roles.  Managers are part of the team and as such, they have to know when to play a collaborative role.  They also serve as coaches when needed.  On the other hand, they must communicate the overall strategic direction, as well as defining boundaries and required outcomes.  Teams are rendered ineffective when a manager is not proficient in juggling these roles or does not recognize what is needed in a given situation.

How to Identify the Impact of Your Management Style

You need to find out how you are affecting your team members, and the only way to do that is to ask.  360-degree feedback is indispensable.  The approach can vary.  I recommend that managers do things to cultivate relationships with direct reports so that healthy communication becomes the norm.  This will help ensure that feedback comes naturally rather than just being part of a formal discussion.

Ways to Change Your Management Style

Build a level of trust with a few key direct reports who can serve as sounding boards.  These people will benefit the most from any improvements in your behavior.  Conversely, they will suffer the most if you do not change.  Why not get their input on how to change?  A simple approach would be to ask a team member to observe various behaviors and report the observations, with some thoughts on how to be more effective.  This will provide some critical and, perhaps, surprising insights.

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