Monthly Archives: June 2015

5 Behaviors That Effect Change – My Personal Journey


This website usually provides readers with tips and tools on business issues, challenges, or interests.

However, allow me to share a story with you about how the business practices in my world as a Results Consultant helped me on a more personal level.

It involves a lifelong struggle I have had with weight, particularly keeping it off and finding the right balance through diet and exercise.

It was a moment of enlightenment that took years to realize.

One day something clicked, and I realized that my efforts at weight loss and sustaining it were so similar to the behavior changes I was expecting of my clients. I took a step back and changed my approach.

As a company, we speak ‘against’ flavor-of-the-month training and teach and instill behavioral embedding techniques to sustain behavior change.

We talk about viewing behavior change as a gradual, long-term process rather than a one-off training event.

Yet in my personal life, I was following fads, one-off dieting fads… one after another… I remained frustrated to find myself losing motivation, reverting to old unhealthy habits, never finding a balance or making a change that I could sustain.

I had a wakeup call. If I am going to practice and preach ‘behavior change’ with organizations made up of different individuals, personalities, roles and a spectrum of motivation levels, I need to tackle my Challenge with Weight using the SAME APPROACH!

Let me see how I can apply the business principles to my own life.

  • Do I have a structured approach? Yes
  • Is it easy to manage and easy to apply? Yes
  • Is it a process, rather than a one-off event? Yes
  • Is the Objective in Place? Yes

The Goal/Change: Adapt my personal eating habits to impact positive weight loss & sustain the weight loss

So my approach used Cohen Brown’s The Success TriangleSM.

The Success Triangle, performance,

Success is the outcome of consistently utilizing the three sides of the triangle: Clarity, Capability, and Motivation.

Losing weight for me meant changing what I ate, why I ate, and how much I ate.

I lost 35 kilos (75 lbs.) in the first 8 months. The part I’m really proud of is that in the last 4 months I have found my balance and the weight has remained off.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about sharing such a personal story, but if it can be of benefit in any aspect of your life, then consider it a gift.

Here is my approach:

  1. Clarity: Be honest about why you’re trying to lose weight. Make the change for yourself. Relying on others for motivation is a fickle thing. If you are doing this for yourself, the likelihood of success is much higher. Take responsibility for the change. Track what you are eating each week, why you are eating, and how much. Acknowledge and face the fears you have, not only about starting your diet, but what you expect might happen during the diet and afterwards. Ask for support to handle your fears when needed.
  1. Clarity: Set yourself a goal you would like to achieve and be clear about what that goal means and what you expect from yourself. The goal should be realistic. Including several small steps (mini-goals) in your overall goal is advisable as well.
  1. Motivation: Make a daily plan of what you would like to eat and how much. Failure to plan is planning to fail. And that’s no cliché! Include healthy snacks during the day to keep you motivated and avoid being hungry. If necessary, including incentives throughout the day or week can also help keep you motivated.
  1. Capability: Keep tracking your goal and activities and evaluate what worked and what didn’t work. Change what didn’t work and keep on doing what worked. Ask for support/ideas/input from family and friends (or experts) when needed.
  1. Motivation: Compliment and reward yourself when achieving the small steps in your goal (in my case, new clothes, a healthy dinner at a restaurant, etc.). Of course, compliments from others help a lot as well. Identify the people and places or activities that keep you motivated not only during the weight-loss period but also afterwards.

If you have any questions about my approach, please let me know.

If you want to learn more about Cohen Brown’s behavioral change processes for any challenge you may have, please contact me.

Good luck to all of you who want to make a long-lasting, positive change!

Brenda Schäfer is a Results Consultant with the Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc. covering the territory of Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Do you say it’s urgent?


eisenhowerDwight David Eisenhower had a pretty decent career. Supreme Commander of the forces that defeated one of the vilest regimes ever to threaten civilization. 34th President of the United States during one of the most prosperous periods ever experienced by any country in the history of the world.

So who better to turn to as a model for how we use the precious time of our lives? I’m referring of course to the Eisenhower Principle that distinguishes between urgent and important activities. It goes like this: “I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” Rendered as a graphic, the Eisenhower Principle might have looked like this on June 5, 1944.

With all the claims on his time, Ike needed a simple, clarifying way to make sure that things that appeared to be urgent didn’t divert him from things that were assuredly more important—and at the same time, not procrastinate matters that were both urgent and important.

He also recognized that great time management means being effective as well as efficient. We must spend our time on things that are important and not just the ones that are urgent. To do this, and to minimize the stress of having too many tight deadlines, we need to understand this distinction.

When I began to teach managers and employees how to manage their time most productively, I was working with executives from one of the country’s greatest brokerage organizations – ambitious, hard-charging, intelligent executives. But they had in common a failing endemic among high achievers who are not skilled in managing their time: They had trouble distinguishing between urgent and important. So I adapted the Eisenhower Principle to the workplace in the form of Critical Few versus Minor Many.

Our Critical Few are those which, if we neglect them, will have dire consequences for us, whether in business or our personal lives. Our Minor Many are not necessarily insignificant, but they can wait, and their neglect might be disappointing but not dire.

Personal preferences can complicate our reasoning. I get great intellectual stimulation from floating new ideas with my team, and I consider time spent this way to be of the utmost importance. One of my colleagues likes to work out problems alone, doing solitary research. Another likes to solve business problems by putting a pencil to them – working them out in financial terms. Who doubts that these preferences cause all three of us to consider work that we enjoy to be more “critical” than work we dislike?

So, to separate our Critical Few from our Minor Many, the first step is to subject our too-long to-do list to an 80/20 analysis that obviates personal preferences: Which ones deliver more value than the time, energy, and expense it takes to accomplish them?

When clients wrestle with priorities, I take them through the DERSSIM Logic System.

  • Define the problem.
  • Understand the Effects of not solving the problem.
  • Identify the Reason for the problem.
  • Conceive a Solution.
  • SIM stands for the Solution Implementation Methodology.

Which problem, if not solved, has the greatest negative or positive effect? Sometimes the reason for the problem isn’t immediately identifiable, but the effect may require immediate attention.

If an individual is having difficulty breathing, the reason may not be immediately apparent; however, getting the individual to breathe is of utmost importance. In other words, act now on urgent matters.

Even when the reason is apparent, remember that a solution for a problem without a solution implementation methodology is worthless.

So the next time you are faced with way too many obligations, all of which “feel” urgent, take a deep breath, and run them through the DERSSIM Logic System. It won’t take long, and it will quickly clarify things for you. You will end up knowing, with confidence, how you should allocate your next minutes and hours. You will know what is urgent for you when you apply the Important vs. Urgent Test, taking care to apply it objectively to your own situation and needs. We all know people for whom almost everything seems urgent. When my wife answers calls for me at home at inopportune times, she has a habit of cupping her hand over the phone to whisper a reminder to me: “He says it’s urgent, but it might be HIS urgent and not YOUR urgent.” I find that immensely helpful.

Just remember – nobody else can decide your urgent. Learn how to quickly draw those distinctions for yourself so that you don’t suffer those agonizing moments of wondering what to do for whom and when – and almost inevitably, out of a desire to please or clear the decks for your own purposes, doing other people’s urgent, not your own. That’s not the path to career success or life happiness!

Businesses Strive for Lean and Continuous Improvement


Cohen Brown President and Co-Chairman, Edward G. Brown and Independent Publisher, Jim Barnes.

Cohen Brown President and Co-Chairman, Edward G. Brown, and Independent Publisher, Jim Barnes.

The Axiom Business Book Awards are the most respected critical guidepost for business books in the publishing industry. These prestigious and competitive awards are presented in 21 categories and serve as the premier forum to help readers discover new and innovative works. Axiom Award-winning books will help them to understand changing trends and technologies affecting the business world and to recognize opportunities in our complicated new economy.

When Cohen Brown Management Group’s president and co-chairman, Edward G. Brown, learned he was the recipient of an Axiom Award for his book, The Time Bandit Solution: Recovering Stolen Time You Never Knew You Had, he was thrilled. The book won in the category of Operations Management, Lean, and Continuous Improvement. The perfect category for a man who, for more than 36 years, has trained and consulted Fortune 500 companies on behavior and culture change. The Time Bandit Solution provides the definitive “how to” for time management. It’s not just a day planner but rather contains specific tools and techniques to assist corporations and individuals who want to learn how to stop unwanted interruptions and gain back their time. The Time Bandit Solution teaches how to put an end to interruptions and maximize the resulting time surplus.