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Integrity & Awareness by Paul Burnstein

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Take Advantage of the Slower Pace

The end of the year is rapidly approaching. For me, 2007 went by in a flash. With holidays and vacations, this can be a frustrating time of year to try to finish up projects as we are often waiting on others. Strategic planning now can save you time next year. Set goals, timelines and get the research you need started while other things may be slow.

Some of you may not be experiencing the lull in activity due to the need to have projects completed before the end of the year. If that is the case, wrap up the year and take time at the beginning of next year to do your planning.

The awareness for today is to take advantage of the slower pace (if it exists for you) and put in some time to plan for next year.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


People use excuses all the time. They are used to blame others or to explain why someone did not do what was promised. I am sure that have all had an excuse at one time or another. I have no problem with acceptable excuses. I understand that people cannot always fulfill their promises.

Where I do have an issue is with people who use excuses to get out of doing things. As I said, excuses can be acceptable at certain times and in certain situations, but they cannot become the norm.

If you are one always coming up with excuses, stop promising more than you can provide. If you are the one receiving excuses, look at what is creating the holdup.

The awareness for today is understand that some times an excuse is acceptable, but not always and you need to find that balance for yourself.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Action Items

I just left an almost five hour finance/budget meeting. One would think I would be exhausted, and I am, but I am also quite energized. Quite a few things came up in the meeting that require follow up or research. Some of those items will be handled by myself and others I will delegate as needed. I feel like I have a lot on my plate, but they are good action items that I know will benefit the company.

The awareness for today is to recognize when we take the time to create task lists and action items, we create more efficiency and consistency in our work day because we have a basic idea of the expectations from our days, weeks and months.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Glitch in Communication

I must have some wires crossed internally today as I do not seem to be communicating well with others. I am not arguing with people, but somehow what I am saying or writing (in e-mail) is not being heard. I have answered others questions and yet I am asked the same question again by the same person. I have also had a few e-mail responses where the person replying did not even read my notes or questions.

I guess it is just an off day for me; they happen. Perhaps I am the problem, perhaps it is others; maybe too much turkey, weather shifts, Monday, whatever it is. This too shall pass.

The awareness for today is to recognize that we cannot always have the best day ever. Tomorrow will be better!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

For those of you who celebrate the holiday, I wish you a very, very happy Thanksgiving! For those of you who don't celebrate it, I wish you a fantastic Thursday!

The awareness for today is to appreciate family, friends and loved ones and to be grateful for that which we have.

Cheers to all!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cultural Tolerance

Thanksgiving Day is Thursday here in the US. With that being said, many of my US associates are traveling this week or simply taking time off to be with their families or friends; I myself will take a half day on Wednesday and take off work on Thursday and Friday. Because of this, the weeks pacing is quite off. I have received very few calls thus far this week, but I have been very busy with e-mail, mostly the e-mail is international.

While thinking about this, I realized that there have been times when I have contacted associates of mine who were unavailable due to their own traditions even though I needed to get work completed. I am okay with this.

The awareness for today is simply to be tolerant of other cultures' and countries' traditions and holidays.

Monday, November 19, 2007


We always strive to work with the best people. We want to hire employees that impress us and who have fantastic recommendations. The problem is that even the "best" people have off days and situations that arise which are out of their control.

A company that I am working with is struggling with one specific department. The department was launched with the best of intentions and a fantastic action plan. Partially due to outside events, the department has not performed as well as expected; I believe that the department was not as well staffed as believed to begin with. At this stage, it is a rush to remedy the situation and possibly hire replacement staff.

The awareness for today is that every business can have unforeseen situations pop up even when strategic planning has been done from the onset. Go with it and do the best that you can when you are put in a situation you cannot control (which really is most situations; you can help shape a situation, but you can't really control it).

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Business Integrity

I was contacted this morning by a man looking for funding to assist his company in the buyout of another company; we will call him Franklin. I had been introduced to Franklin by an associate of mine at the Institute for Independent Business International. After originally being introduced to Franklin a couple of months ago, he never provided the information promised to me and after he did not respond to a couple calls or e-mails, I simply let it go.

Upon receiving the message from Franklin today, I immediately let the associate who made the introduction know that Franklin had contacted me. I asked if he was still in contact with Franklin, but the main reason I checked in is that I did not want him to feel that I have circumvented him. I will still plan on sharing fees (if there are any earned on this!) with the associate who made the introduction, even though Franklin came to me directly. This is how I would want someone I made an introduction for to treat me.

The awareness for today is to remember to give credit where credit is due...especially if that credit involves any sharing of fees.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Deal Back on the Table

Let me see if I can explain this so it makes sense...I had been working on a funding deal with a consultant that I connected to one of my funding sources. They had chatted and my funding source had passed on the deal. Today, to my surprise, I found out that they began discussions again yesterday.

I am just baffled by how this even came about. The last conversation I had with my funding source was that if I got the client to provide more historical financial data, I asked if they would be willing to look at the deal again. The answer was yes, but that information was never provided. I am not at all upset that discussions have begun again, just surprised.

The awareness for today is to appreciate those things which we have no control over, but still benefit from.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Busy Day, Good Day

I know there is an old saying out there that is along the lines of "if you have something that needs to get done, give it to the busiest person." Logically, that doesn't make would think that you would give it to the least busy person. However, once someone is busy working and they have found their groove, they can generally accomplish quite a bit more than they normally do.

I am having a day where I feel swamped, but I know that I am accomplishing quite a bit. The work keeps getting piled on and I keep completing it. It is definitely satisfying.

The awareness for today is to first remember to breath when you get overloaded with work. Then focus and complete what you need to accomplish. It is that simple.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Great Blog Comments

A friend of mine from Boulder, "Jennie," is a regular reader of my blog and is also great at providing comments. Her comments generally illustrate the timeliness of my posts in relation to her life and she shares her own experiences related to the posts. Thank you "Jennie!" Please check back and read some of her comments if you have not done so.

I know that I have quite a bit more readers out there (I can actually track how man people read my blog). I would love to hear from you. Please share your experiences with me and let me know if you would like me to discuss a specific subject.

The awareness for today is to give. We often get stuck on taking, but giving is equally important. Look for areas in your life where you feel you can give more.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Communicating Responsibilities

Working with a start-up company can be fun as well as frustrating. One thing to think about is that staff often wear many hats. When this happens, there may be different staff members who have responsibility or authority over the same or similar areas.

We recently came across a situation with a fulfillment house we are working with. The fulfillment house wanted clarification as to who could approve orders and who they should be confirming with. There was a simple solution; I created a memo outlining staff roles and responsibilities around the fulfillment house. The memo was shared with all staff and even with the fulfillment house (I know, memos are for internal, not external, communication). The fulfillment house was quite appreciative of the memo as they then knew who to contact and who had authority over different areas.

The awareness for today is that not all solutions need to be complicated, sometimes all we need to do is write out some basic parameters and make sure everyone is on the same page.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Good Intentions

I really appreciate good intentions. However, they must be taken with a grain of salt, as good follow-through is more important than good intentions.

I know many people who want to do good, but they set goals and make promises that they cannot keep. Everyone is allowed a certain amount of leeway, but after a few missed deadlines or broken promises, it is difficult to take someone at their word regardless of their intentions.

The awareness for today is to be someone who follows through with his or her promises. Strive to do that which you commit to doing.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Personal Ethics

I was recently asked by a client, who was traveling, to forge his signature for a software beta test we were applying to. I said that I was unwilling to forge his signature and when asked, "why?", I said that I had problems with it ethically.

The solution was simple, I signed his name on the documents and added "by PBB" (my initials). Additionally, I had the client send me an e-mail sharing that he had read the documents, was travelling and was authorizing me to sign on his behalf. I then printed and included the e-mail when I sent in the signed documents.

We should never be ethically uncomfortable with any business acts we are performing. Sometimes they are not so unusual (I know that it is not uncommon for an assistant to sign a document on behalf of his or her boss) and sometimes they may seem quite inappropriate. Gray is always a difficult area to operate in.

The awareness for today is to remember to remain true to yourself and to look at the big is not always difficult to tell right from wrong.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Daylight Saving Time Ends on Sunday in the US

Just a reminder that Sunday morning Daylight Saving Time ends and our clocks go back one hour if you are in a location that observes it. There is some great information on Daylight Saving Time, the changes that are occurring in 2007 and how it all works here; I took a lot of information from the second page of the article.

Sunday morning we can take an extra hour of sleep and still get up at our customary time since this is the fall and in fall, time falls back (as opposed to the spring when time springs forward).

The awareness for today is appreciation for that extra hour on Sunday morning!

Have a great weekend and enjoy that extra hour!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Problem with Problems

"The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem." - Theodore Isaac Rubin, 1923-

I read this quote and was wowed by it. It is very simple, yet it says quite a bit. There will always be issues, or problems, in business. Even when things are going quite smoothly, little issues pop up. Let the above quote resonate a bit with you; problems occur and we need to be aware of that fact.

A little over a week ago, I blogged on "The Certainty of Change." We cannot expect everything to remain the same and therefore within change we will have problems come up that must be dealt with. If we can remain flexible, we will be more prepared to deal with these changes.

The awareness for today is to recognize that we will all face problems, but if we are open to them, we will be able to deal with them much more effectively.