Cure for PMS?

Could there really be a cure for PMS? 

It has been studied in the past, that chocolate has the ability to trigger the release of dopamine and endorphin phenylethylamine which relieves the symptoms of PMS.

I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to experiment with chocolate and report on it! 🙂 And I shall.

After several tastings, I have found the closest thing to a cure – even if only for half an hour.  I’ve tasted submissions from several prominent places and chocolatiers in NY, CT, NJ, PA, and CA.

But this single bar is the winner! It’s a ‘bar’ about 2 inches wide, 1 inch high, about 3 inches long, and it’s the closest thing to heaven. Ok, maybe just a distraction from what ails you – mental or physical.

The prize winner for the best cure for the feminine condition:


Here is it!! The PMS Bar Courtesy of Barbera’s Chocolate on Occasion in Vineland, NJ.  Here’s what it’s comprised of:  Amy’s caramel mixed with crushed potato chips, and chopped pretzels, then coated in chocolate, and topped with mini pretzels!!!  I even think there’s sea salt on it, but it could just be from the pretzels. Doesn’t matter.

I must say, I thought my PMS creation was close – mine had mini marshmallows, caramel and chopped pretzels, made like mini truffles.  These were made while I was in CA, 2 years before I found the bar above.  Perfecting it was my hobby. I even made a version with wine caramel.  But I am not proud – Amy, the creator/owner of Barbera’s Chocolates, wins hands down.  The above pic was taken with my friends at Cedarvale Winery (also a place to check out for their Fabulous fruit wines (more in another post)! i did a wine and chocolate tasting here.  what a great group of people! but i digress)

Back to this PMS bar. Seriously – it’s like a meal. Happiness in a bar. It triggers your brain to involuntarily make you smile.  If you’re ever in Vineland NJ, you MUST check out the Barbera’s Chocolate on Occasion store.  And bring a blank check, or lots of cash.  There are several incredible options, ok, ok, more than several.  And you really won’t know what to get.  You will have a ‘nice’ tab, but it will be worth every penny of the tab!

Warning:  DO NOT unconsciously just chew through these works of art.  These are meant to be savored!  Allow the chocolate to coat your tongue.  Take your time.  Enjoy the flavors and textures.

Also, if you are going specifically for the PMS bars, call and check first since they are not made and carried all the time.

You will not be disappointed in any selection Amy has!





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10 Tips to Build Your Speaking Success in 2014

build your speaking successFrom my marketing and analytics experience, historical data tells me that only 23% of you scanned my post (or email), and 25% of that 23% actually did something, such as clicked like or opened a document, or clicked a link.  That’s basically 5% of my total list, who will ‘do’ something (aka conversion).  All of those numbers are higher than ‘industry standard’ of 20% for an initial ‘open rate’ and 2% for a ‘conversion’ (action) rate, because my lists are ‘concentrated’ (more on that in an upcoming post).  There actually is an important point coming up.

NOW – before I lose you, let’s put this in perspective for you as a speaker (using my %s above) through the following example:

You want do to a special seminar this March, and you want 55 people in the audience.

  1. To get those 55 people there (clicking to buy a ticket), that means roughly 230 people had to open an email or read a post.
  2. To get those 230 to open and read an email, that means you must have a list of roughly 1000 people.

1,000 people must be on your list today,  if you want 55 people in your seminar audience in March of 2014.  Are you ready for that? Right now?

Think about that book of yours – the same principal applies.

As an Emerging Speaker, or perhaps an Emerging Speaker with a growing business (and for the record, all serious Emerging Speakers need to be in a business mindset), the rest of 2014 should be all about list building and your Marketing,  positioning yourself for future success.

Here are the top 10  tips to build your speaking success, and each would be a wise  investment of time during these last 6 months of the year, to help get those gears spinning and propelling for all the great goals you have yet to achieve for this year.

#10. Take Stock.

What has worked well this year? What hasn’t? Where have you dropped the ball? Where have you excelled? You’ve put your goals out there at meetings with friends or Masterminds, now work with the end in mind. What do you need to start doing, or not doing, right now, to get you there? What systems / support / processes do you need to put in place now, to be ready when that success hits? Start by creating or implementing your own personal performance review system, so when this time next year rolls around, you can look and say to yourself, “Nailed it! I’m a Genius!’.  Then you can get invited to the Emerging Speakers Bureau’s success party celebrating all the great things we have all accomplished in 2014-2015.

#9. Get Crystal Clear.

Get crystal clear on what you want to achieve, why, and on your core message. Too many times we say ‘subjective’ goals, like ‘I want to be a professional speaker’, or ‘I want to speak to drive leads to my business’. But – what does that really look like to you? How will you know you’re a success?  If you have a goal, like achieve an Accredited Speaker status by Aug., that’s good because you now have the end goal, and when. For ‘the speak for business’ example, change it to something like: ‘I want to speak once a quarter to drive 10 new qualified leads into my pipeline’.

Don’t forget to get crystal clear on you – why you want to achieve something, and what message you want to promote. People want to buy from you, they want to hear your unique viewpoint.

Here’s the one thing you won’t hear from almost all the branding experts…..just … ‘be yourself’.  If you want your work and message to be sustainable and congruous and list buildable…. then know thyself. Play up the quirks or differences and use to your advantage. Start becoming smarter about your brand, so you know how to position yourself for maximizing everything. You can have an impact on other people’s perceptions when you learn how to play smarter.

#8 Work With the End in Mind.

Knowing #10 and #9 above, you can now work backwards, especially if you have dates. Write down key milestones that are part of your end goal, and attached dates to those as well.

Too often we have that ‘idea’ of what we want, but don’t color it in and then bring it to life so it’s in front of our mind as a target we are headed for every day. To move a wish and idea from the ‘wish category’ to real life ‘I’ve got to achieve this’ category it must become 3 dimensional with dates and details; it must be brought to life. It’s those fine details that separate a work of art from scribble.

#7. Do a Brand Assessment: id and target your message.

Now that you know where you want to go, what you want to achieve and why, and hopefully what you stand for or what differentiates you, go through all of your key profile pages: linkedin, facebook, twitter, youtube, association directory profiles, elevator pitches, etc and look at what you need to do to start bringing them current, or making them consistent / complimentary to your brand, or more relevant. For more info on doing your own Brand Assessment, read more in the 2nd half of this related post on my Speakers Bureau site.

This means updating your pictures, completing your profiles with the right taglines, descriptions, and keywords.  Update your e-media page with press release links & social media profiles. Update your bio and your ‘About Me’ page. Freshen up all the content on your website.  If you need help or a fresh set of eyes – contact me! (this link is for you to record a message for me – no keys to type, no numbers to dial, no putting it off!)

Additional ideas:  Get a makeover and update your look, Claim google authorship, get yourself on business and speaking directories, Reach out to your list and start connecting!

#6 Id Your Niche & Target Persona.

As emerging speakers, most of us just want to get in front of as many people to hone our skills. Darren LaCroix says ‘stage time, stage time, stage time’ for good reason. As a recovering perfectionist, I used to think your message had to be all ironed out, with your pitches / presentations perfect. No. Nope. Not at all. Why? Because when starting out you are not really sure of yourself, what preparation tasks work best for you, what other techniques work best for you, etc.

BUT! If you want to make the most of all that speaking and build a momentum that astounds you – understand your ‘niche’ – aka define your audience to a small set of qualifiers.  Who do you most understand? Relate to? Have an ability to reach? Are on the same wavelength with? Start there. It’s not just men, women, kids, but: specific age groups, specific jobs types, hobby interests, etc. ‘Women’ is not niche enough. Single women, aged 35-45, with 2 or more children in grade school, is much more specific.

Getting to this level of granularity helps you with the right language, getting in front of the right groups, and people, and having the people you are most comfortable speaking with, right in front of you so you can speak heart to heart. I have a persona template in the Speakers Toolbox that will help.  If you then target the groups / associations / clubs etc. that have more of your target, then your conversion rates will be higher, you will be more relevant, and will most likely get more positive reviews, followers, and referrals.

Your different keynotes, seminars, workshops, presentations may appeal to different targets, and may be able to be customized for different markets.  Doing so will help you make each delivery more successful, instead of having them as one size fits all.

#5 Update Your Keynote.

You’ve updated your message, and possibly your social media, and identified your targets. Then you shouldn’t neglect your keynotes and other presentations.

All of your topics could be tweaked, but you don’t have to do all of that now. Be on the lookout for updated stats, new humor, more relevant stories, etc. and start collecting things in a folder or useful space.  Work on titles – make them more engaging, add more of a hook to grab your audience before you even speak. Modify the colors and graphics in your presentation to be more consistent with your brand, your website, your other materials. Update your stories and anecdotes.

#4 Productivity Enhancers / Time Savers.

Since there’s 6 months left of 2014 to make it a huge success, it will help now to start getting ready for the success.

  • Start a stories / anecdote file and start listing helpful stories and anecdotes that may come in handy. Capture some the key details and points, and whatever you may need to help you recall.  Mark which topics they would be applicable to, etc. (A template of this stories file is in the Speaker’s Toolbox, but it’s easy enough to make your own).
  •  Set up a keywords, key phrases, and tags list for quick use.  As you use them, mark in the list where, how, when you used them, and / or when you implemented them.
  • Set up income and expense sheet, and at the very least, start tracking all of your expenses and mileage.  (An extensive tracking sheet and invoice template is in the Speaker’s Toolbox, but you can easily create a quick sheets in excel or Quickbooks). Regarding an invoice, even if you do free speaking events, get in the habit of preparing an invoice, and applying a ‘non profit or educational or partnership credit to ‘zero out’ the balance due.  But you can have your fee there, as well as travel expenses so all your ‘clients’ understand the value of what they are getting.
  • Set up and create a list of leads, media contacts, or even set up and use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool such as ZohoCRM (free) or Nimble or have it within your email marketing system such as Constant Contact.  It helps with tracking contents, progress, and ‘deals’ among other info.
  • Create a  Content plan / editorial scheduler (in the Toolbox, but can be created) to help you when you hit a writer’s block, but more importantly, helps you stick to a consistent delivery of content. Also, believe it or not, helps you with engaging with your followers.

#3 Build Some Lead Momentum.

There are many tools you can use to start capturing some leads and filling in that leads sheet you created in the above step.

Using the  Encyclopedia of Associations, Reference USA database, the Book of Lists or the Phila / South Jersey Business Journal, or writer’s market book in your library, you can identify the leads that most closely relate to your target markets.  You can even use a Social Media management tool such as MarketMe Suite which enables you to search for and mark leads. The bigger the list(s) you create, the easier it will be to send out pitches, requests, and proposals, not only for speaking opportunities, but to also be featured in the associations’ or groups’ newsletters or publications.   Your goal is to send out 3 query emails by the end of the year or end of January.  I am doing all of this to get more speaking opportunities for Bureau members by meeting with most local groups face to face, but if you want to speed up your opportunities – jump on in!

#2 Work on building your list.

Your list is the start of your funnel – your opportunity list for future sales of your books, information products, and tickets to your seminars. Building this list, and staying in front of them with relevant, periodic emails / newsletters, helps you stay ‘top of mind’.

You can do this even without a website (though website is highly recommended). So how do you do this if you don’t yet have a website? 2 ways:  Linkedin and Mailchimp or Constant Contact.  Both Mailchimp and Constant Contact will allow you to create a signup page that you can give out, or use as a link in your signature line in emails.  Linkedin allows you to export your contacts into excel, which can then be uploaded into Mailchimp and Constant Contact.   You can create a list collection tool in Facebook thru a Mailchimp or Constant Contact app (Constant Contact has some great sharing, Facebook, and integration tools), or you can create just a landing page with a video.

More on this in a future post, but the goal here is to focus on building your connections and your lists.

#1 Identify Partners and Influencers.

It’s been said that the key to your success is within your top 3-5 contacts.   It could be someone in the Bureau, or currently within your network, or someone you follow.  The goal is to start identifying individuals who offer complimentary services, topics, products, or those who you aspire to be like, the possibilities are endless.  Add to your network, starting interacting and engaging, and begin a list of people who might be able to help you reach your goals this year. As a starter, you have everyone in the Emerging Speakers Bureau!

When you start operating from a business mindset, you will find opportunities and possibilities around every corner.

It is all about your Marketing for the rest of 2014, Smart Marketing. People cannot hire you if they cannot find you.  If they find you and yet there’s no ‘social proof’, or you haven’t worked to build your ‘social currency’, then a referral to you might not be followed through by an event planner. The more of an ‘audience’ you build and connect with, the better that is for your results and in demonstrating your credibility and skill.

How can the Emerging Speakers Bureau and I help you? Which of these top 10 will you start working on? Ask your questions below or email me – OR – leave me a message (via computer mic)!  Each of these tips will become a subsequent post with more details, but there’s enough here to keep you busy for awhile!  You can build your speaking success in 2014.

(NOTE:  I am a Constant Contact and Market Me Suite Solutions provider, as part of the wing2wing support I provide speakers through my Coaching programs.  Wing2Wing means a fully integrated approach: technique, business, and online efforts. I found tools that help a business or an individual make the most of their time and efforts. If you have questions about the tools, the Coaching, the Bureau, or Speaking, don’t hesitate to contact me and leave a message!)

To your  success,


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Red Lobster Gummies

Red Gummy Lobsters


It ain’t chocolate, but nothing like a good gummy from time to time.  Swedish fish (did you know they no longer come from Sweden? But from Cadbury, up in Canada?), bears, rabbits, sharks, worms, snails, rats, snakes, marios, cola bottles, ALL kinds of gummies can fill the need.

Sadly,  these Red Lobsters Gummies aren’t one of them. There are plenty of people who may disagree with me, and that’s ok.  But I am quite sure – not a single person has really read the label of these things.  They look good, and have an aroma that you can smell 5 feet away from the bag. (Some candies are amazing that way – how they can pack so much smell into a small plastic bag).

Now – I get that pretty much ‘everything’ in the whole sweets category is fraught with ‘strange items’ in the ingredients list – but I have to draw the line somewhere. If I’m going to ‘satisfy the old sweet tooth’, I at least like to have pure ingredients, and /or keep the chemicals to a minimum.

Problem is, in order to satisfy most of the world’s cravings for things sweet, AND keep things at a manageable cost, manufacturers have to use ‘cheaper’ ingredients. The costs of pretty much every ingredient lately have sky-rocketed, and in order to keep retail prices at an affordable range, sizes get reduced or ingredients get substituted.

I get that – I mean, business is business.  BUT – I don’t think these red lobsters have a single, normal, natural ingredient in them! While working, I took a minute to read the label. I don’t think I should have.  Ok – ok – it does have sugar. Where’s the ingredient for its smell? But I’m guessing that 3/4’s of the product is sweetener. Then 1/2 of the remaining quarter is gelatine (at least it’s from beef! ewwwwwww! not good if you’re a vegetarian.) With the remaining going to oil, wax, and color. Yay! Oh, yeah, and it’s made in Turkey.   Enjoy!

gummy red lobster ingredients



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A Vegetable, A Fruit, and World Peace

A vegetable, a fruit, world peace, and the secret weapon.

Believe it or not, in my world, a “vegetable” and a “fruit” can lead to 15 minutes of pure bliss, better health, and world peace. And taken a step further, can become a secret weapon.  Now I’m no drama queen, but who wouldn’t want to know how to have 15 minutes of pure bliss?

A favorite bucket list item of mine, speaking at a TEDx or even just a (plain, old) TED event, to demonstrate that I am an innovative thinker, got me really pondering recently.  How could I take what I know, mix it with some originality, and come up with an innovative thought that could change the world? Well – I love chocolate, I am a mixologist, and an avid student of human behavior……

So – the vegetable:

 cacao pod and beanssugar cane  +  vanilla

= vegetable.

Yes, with my scientific, analytical deducing and proven scientific methods, I’ve concluded that chocolate (the child of theobroma cacao (a bean)) and sugarcane (a plant from the grass family that produces corn, wheat, and rice) and vanilla (a fruit of plant that has seeds, aka beans) means CHOCOLATE IS A VEGETABLE!

Imagine that – a vegetable!  AND, from random research (dating back to 1650), it has numerous – NUMEROUS – health benefits, so that makes it a superfood.  (considering I am merely a self-proclaimed nobel prize winning research / expert behavioral scientist advancing the importance of chocolate, you will want to check with your doctor first before following any advice.  AKA I’m not a doctor but I play one on my blog.).

So, praytell, what kind of health benefits can be had from eating HEALTHY doses of (the right) chocolate? (Now ladies, remember, a healthy dose of chocolate equals 1 oz of dark chocolate. Refer to “How to effectively eat chocolate for maximum benefits”)

◦      Improved mood;

◦      Improved memory;

◦      Improved appearance;

◦      Enhanced mental clarity & alertness;

◦      Energy boosts and pain reduction

◦      Increased effectiveness;

◦      Improved collaboration ability; and

◦      Increased negotiation and compromise abilities………

The details behind those claims will be available in a soon to be released white paper and you tube video. 🙂 But chocolate, in the right amounts and types, offers more than satisfying a craving.

Here we have chocolate, a seemingly innocuous thing, capable of all those improvements? That’s what I thought!

To take it one step further, and to promote my innovative thinking to the people that select innovative speakers for their TED talks… let’s look at how we can create world peace, from chocolate, a vegetable. A vegetable that almost everyone loves. (Those that don’t love chocolate are fooling themselves, and just denying themselves some innocent pleasure. Which let’s face it – we all deserve from time to time.)

  1.  if, at the same time of day, everyone took 5 minutes to slow down, and savor, the collective, magnanimous energy would dissipate much of the negative energy.
  2. if, prior to the start of a meeting, and a negotiation, it was required that everyone start by taking, AND ENJOYING, a piece of chocolate, it would trip up all the people coming in with alternative agendas and power trip mentalities….opening the door for win win conversation.
  3. the japanese have this custom (as well as other cultures i’m sure) of bringing a gift, because everyone likes presents.  it’s starts out the conversations and the visit on a less adversarial note.
  4. if you took some chocolate to the next doctor’s visit, maybe it might go better.
  5. imagine if the next time you got pulled over, you offered the policeman a chocolate. right….bad idea. he likes to stay angry and stay in the ‘power’ position. it was worth a shot.

Now – maybe if we add a little wine….. 🙂

(Side note, a little bit of trivia for you…. an interesting tidbit about vanilla: “Vanilla was completely unknown in the Old World before Cortez. Spanish explorers arriving on the Gulf Coast of Mexico in the early sixteenth century gave vanilla its current name. Spanish and Portuguese sailors and explorers brought vanilla into Africa and Asia later that century. They called it vainilla, or “little pod”. The word vanilla entered the English language in the 1754, when the botanist Philip Miller wrote about the genus in his Gardener’s Dictionary.[15] Vainilla is from the diminutive of vaina, from the Latin vagina (sheath) to describe the way the pod must be split open to expose the seeds.[16])” (from wikipedia – gotta love it))

And, for the record, I am all about the slowing down and taking time to smell the roses part – however you choose to do that. Chocolate just happens to be my ‘drug’ of choice.

When we know we are heading into ‘stressful’ situations, we have a tendency to worry, get anxious, and create all this extra stress going into the ‘situation’ which, most times, makes things worse. We don’t think at our best, we don’t react our best, we go on emotional autopilot – the ‘dead zone’.  Even work meetings tend to be this way.

Imaging though, if you took a few minutes ahead of time, whether with chocolate, yoga, some deep breathing, whatEVER – and just calmed down a bit to center. It really will help!  But don’t you think the other person is feeling a little that way too?

So – if you bring chocolate, and make it a ritual, just imagine how much better the outcome will be.  Do your part in aiding world peace, by bringing along a VEGETABLE! 🙂



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Top 5 Reasons Companies Should Adopt Alternative WorkSpaces – Love #2 & 5!

why companies should adopt alternative  work spacesWant better productivity?  Here’s a novel idea: treat your employees and partners as creative resources instead of trying to manage rats. 

I recommend creating or offering alternative workspaces at all companies.  Why? Because people work differently, at different times, and mainly because innovation, creativity, and collaboration can not occur freely in confined, gray cubes. Individual (small) meeting rooms, a working space in the cafeteria, a sitting area, standing desk area, unique meeting rooms with whiteboards and/or chalkboards, movable walls for a little privacy, etc. are all different types of options for alternative work spaces

There is typically push back when I say the above in a presentation to executives, so here are some of the typical concerns, or myths, that seem to drive that push back.

Myths vs Truths, flip the issue to find the real benefit:

1. Myth: I can contain and control the way my workers work (or I must contain). Gray and taupe and steel blue cubes may be the most inexpensive way to corral and manage your workers, but this is counter productive to the working styles of your most valuable resource. Want more productivity, innovation, collaboration, and advances? Allow your workers options. Yes – I know you may be concerned about fairness, liability, management….but if top companies like Microsoft, Apple, and pretty much every silicon valley company figured this out and made it work, so can you. Don’t want to make changes to your work environment?  Look for an alternative solution! There are plenty that exist.

2. MythA clean desk means a productive day. (this comes from left brained leaders and others who operate from a level of detail). NOW – don’t get me wrong – a messy desk can be a sign of something else, but when having to crank something out to deliver results – there’s no real measurable impact. A person with a messy desk can still meet deadlines and deliver results. It’s simply the challenge of a creative mind – embrace the ‘message’ you see and support that creative worker with alternative organization methods / ideas… you really do need these types of people even if they work differently than you.

First thing you can do to help – by default, acknowledge this person is NOT you, is NOT LIKE you, and does NOT WORK like you. Help them with alternative organizing methods, or offer to create a system with them, in a way that works FOR them. Many WANT to be organized like you, and get frustrated that they cannot be like you, and sometimes worry what you think of them. Look at this not as a flaw, but as a long term, impactful conversation that will yield more than what you can ever expect.

It really comes down to being all about diversity of thought and mental processing, and valuing the deliverables of the worker. You say you’re all about diversity? Perhaps not if all you focus on is the color of someone’s skin, or their ‘dis-ability’. It’s all about enabling & empowering differences, in whatever form,  to get the most ‘quality’ work out of someone, and increasing contributions to the team.

A supervisor extraordinaire associate of mine can turn around ANY team. With all the troubled teams she has dealt with,  she found that the  different, individual working styles of the members of the team were trampled on and disrespected for so long. This caused all types of team problems. The poor team results were simply the by product of work beating down on them so long, they’ve gone into ‘protective’ / ‘survival’ mode and have lost direction and value.  Firing to get rid of those ‘problem workers’ isn’t always the best answer. When you value and honor a team’s different work and style, and allow them to contribute – you cut down on absenteeism, dramatically improve morale, and more importantly, dramatically improve the results and bottom line of the team.

3. MythUnmanaged people will go haywire. There’s a common misconception that if you give people some privacy or can’t see what they are doing, they’ll play on their social media all day, take personal calls, do anything but real work. Really!? They do that not, when they are being watched.

Ever watch the dog whisperer?  For problem dogs, there is something like a .001 chance that there is a real defect in the dog.  In most cases, it comes down to the worst traits in the ‘alpha’ bringing out the worst traits in the ‘problem’ dog. Now I know you may be the best leader EVER, and have this attitude problem employee who doesn’t do what you want, how you want, etc. Take a look inside. There’s typically a good reason. Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT saying the employee is without fault.  But someone is the leader, and you cannot make anyone think / do / act like you, or your other star employees.  Look for the differences this person brings, and how to capitalize on that for the best of the team.  I bet you – treating all of your members with respect and looking for their individual value to the team will reap rewards you haven’t expected.

While this is ‘myth’ is related to #2, we are talking about allowing a worker access to an alternative work space. In terms of alternative working solutions, this should be a privilege in a working environment, not a right. There has to be mutual trust and respect.  Bottomline, you are looking for results, not how (or where) it’s done. If you get your results in less time, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Sometimes (if not most), creative workers’ minds are open to all the things around them – sights, sounds, energy levels, conversations, etc. because they are crafting ideas, designs, etc. all the time that are dependent upon those things. Yet this same gift, can be a major detriment during times when work has to be cranked out. Each of those things which helped in crafting ideas, now become major distractions in doing the tasks.  A Coworker’s constant cracking of gum, the heavily perfumed scent of a coworker, the negativity of the team under a deadline – all of these which were tolerable before become MAJOR impediments to work. So, many of these workers, particularly in crunch times, need quiet spaces, deadline rooms, white noise rooms, creative space rooms, to crank stuff out.  Honor and understand that instead of trying to control it.

4. Fact: current cube layouts were born in old business models. Efficiency isn’t manufacturing. Think madmen and secretarial pools. Or rows of accountants cranking out numbers, or lines cold calling salespeople desks all calling the next victim (er, sales lead) or services centers taking questions and complaints. This old style of rows and rows of cubes came from the manufacturing and union days of controlling and ‘managing’ employees. It was the old galley ship propelled by oars model. Stroke. Stroke. Stroke.  For manual labor this might work. And in Manufacturing where you are dealing with heavy machinery which could inflict major damage, or you needed to get the most out of that machinery in a day. But a different model is necessary when dealing with information, knowledge, and service workers. Driving efficiency in this model is about support for the individual’s working style or brain processing for optimal performance. The development cycle goes through different phases, as does an individual’s working style.

5. Myth: No person is strictly a cost center. Just as the company exists to be a profit machine, so should each department, and each individual. Many companies say they want to honor the ‘entrepreneurial’ spirit, but do not support or embrace what that really means, or know how to really make that a reality.  There are inherent risks, right?, because by default most ‘entrepreneurs’ are unemployable and tough to manage / handle. BUT – when you support the department & person as a profit center model and mentality…you are now defining the work as ‘stuff in (input)’ that is ‘transmogrified’ into ‘stuff that someone wants (output)’….it’s a micro business. The employee (or department) is responsible for delivering what someone wants, or they don’t get paid (income2profit). They are providing a service. To get the most profit (days off, awards / recognition, raises, bonuses) employees must be able to work in a way that supports what they bring to the table, within obvious constraints (legal, financial, risk).

6. Fact: Brainstorming needs a place to storm, and to invigorate the brain. Every notice how the high level exec or management teams go ‘off campus / off site’ during ‘that time of year’ to strategize and come up with the direction of the business (or budgeting)?  Well, I’m hear to tell you that 5 year plans no longer work (a topic for another day). That’s way too long a time period, given how fast things are moving. BUT – at the core of that or any plan is the service, the process. And as a department head, or individual in that department, you also need to remove yourself from the current place of business or environment,  to come up with new concepts, methods, plans of attack etc. Just as you have different rooms in your house to sleep, eat, watch tv, clean, take care of business, etc. the same applies to the way you work and the type of work you must complete.

Many creative agencies and environments already get these concepts and support the creative process.  But creative people reside in all types of departments and skill functions, especially in this era of disruptive technologies, business models, and generations. If you want to keep your department, your lifestyle, your services viable, profitable, and competitive, businesses and managers need to find ways to till the soil and fertilize the seeds. (even seeds need different types of environments to grow)

How are you going to develop results from your pool of talent? Consider alternative work solutions. They exist in your office, at your neighborhood coworking space, a maker space, and possibly even as close as your local library.  There are more benefits to utilizing those models than you could ever expect!

Really look at the diversity of talent you are responsible for leading. Or, if you are an individual, understand what really works best for you, especially during the different cycles of work.  What makes you most productive? Know that about yourself, and find places that honor that.

Comment below on what works best for you, or the challenges you encounter!


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Posted in Work Different by Rae-Ann Ruszkowski. No Comments

Honey – I’m stuck in the Coffice!

Do you coffice?












From the Merriam Webster Dictionary’s top 10 list, my favorite new word!


Definition: a café that a customer uses as a place in which to conduct business

Example:  “Acceptable ‘coffice’ etiquette states that something must be ordered during your stay.” – post on, April 21, 2011

Since I live and breathe coworking, and other alternative working locations, I absolutely LOVE this word, and can’t for the life of me, figure out why I hadn’t thought of it before. 🙂

Coffee houses, Paneras, Wegmans, libraries, co-working spaces (soon I’ll have my own), at the beach & on a boat (well, I live at the shore so these need to be on the list) all make great locations for working places.

When you’re serious about working though,  co-working spaces are the best, because when it comes down to it, sometimes you need different types of places, and you need people to bounce ideas and problems off of, and to make some serious headway.  The other places can be loud, distracting, and slightly inconvenient if you need to go to the bathroom or make/take a business call.

Join the revolution and honor your working style, create tools to support your success.

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Posted in Do Different by Rae-Ann Ruszkowski. No Comments