Thursday, December 11, 2008

Teams on Thursday - Why Teams?

The Conference Board Review just published a great article "Think Horizontal: The Case for Organizing Your Company in Teams". Bringing forth the business case for teams, this article looks at a number of perspectives about the benefits of teams - including the essential of SPEED.

You can download Think Horizontal here.

How are teams playing a different role in your organization right now? What leverage are they providing you?

Have a great week,

Jennifer Britton
Potentials Realized
Mobile: (416) 996-TEAM (8326)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Creating a Powerful Business Vision

As we move into late November, a lot of business owners are starting to turn their attention to plans and strategies for 2009. Last month I held a special call on Creating a Powerful Business Vision - designed to get business owners reconnected with their vision for their business 1, 5 and 10 years down the road.

When was the last time you revisited your business vision, or even your own personal vision for your career if you are an employee?

As we move into the end of the year, there are going to be a number of opportunities to join me for some reflection time virtually. I will be holding several virtual retreats to provide you with the space and structure to take stock of the year that was, and plan for 2009. I hope that you will consider joining me for:

2009 BizSuccess Virtual Business Planning Retreat (by phone)
Friday December 5th and 12th, 2008 (1-4 pm Eastern both afternoons) OR Saturday December 6, 2008 (10-4 pm Eastern)

Join me for a high impact 6 hour business planning retreat where we focus in on your business, your goals and what you want to achieve in 2009. This business planning retreat is suited for small business owners, solopreneurs, coaches and trainers. Retreat from your home or office (or anywhere else you'd like!). The program includes the 6 hour phone based program which includes group calls online (15-20 min/hour) and individual planning time offline, as well as the 2009 BizSuccess Virtual Planning Manual, and a group follow up call. Space is limited to 15 business owners. Cost: $150 US. Click here for more information.

Leverage Your Time for 2009 Personal Planning Retreat (by phone):
This personal planning retreat is designed to support you to renew, recharge and refocus while creating a powerful plan for 2009. A major focus of the retreat is in supporting you around time management tools and creating some space to reflect on what's important. The program includes 5 hours of structured group and invidual exercises. You will also receive the Leverage Your Time Retreat Manual (by email) and a group follow up call in January.

Choose from 3 different dates:

Saturday December 13: 10-3 pm (Eastern)
Friday January 2: 10-3 pm (Eastern)
Saturday January 17: 8-1 pm (Eastern)

Click here to register or for more info. Cost: $125 US

I look forward to having you join me this holiday season virtually!

To get you started on creating your own personal or business vision, please consider the following questions. 5 or 10 years from now:
* What are you doing?
* What are you known for?
* What are you excited about?
* Who surrounds you?
* Who are you influencing? Who are you being influenced by?
* What are you especially good at?
* What do others say about your work/your business/your life?

Warm wishes,

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPT
Potentials Realized
Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960

6 Essential Skills for Today's Marketplace

I spoke last week to a group of financial services professionals on essential skills to navigate today's marketplace. I wanted to share a few of these skills with you this week at the blog.

In today's times of unprecidented change, developing your change muscle and learning to thrive in a highly complex, interconnected, unpredictable marketplace often requires a shift in the way most professionals have been doing business.

One school of thought which I was initially introduced to as a graduate student years in the early 1990s was systems theory. Systems theory really pervaded my work in the realm of international development, ecology and the environment given the interconnected and complex nature of the problems being addressed (poverty, climate change etc). I'm finding it very interesting how discussions around systems theory are now becoming quite mainstream, and influential, in the dialogue around the current economic situation. One of the gifts of systems theory is the ability to deal with these highly complex, interconnected processes/systems.

One author who have been writing on these subjects in the last few years includes Peter Senge (MIT Professor and author of The Necessary Revolution, Presence). I heard Peter speak a few weeks ago in Montreal and his message was powerful, and taken from his work in The Necessary Revolution. Peter also tied in the concept of sustainability, an older environmental adege from the early 90s, AND one that is resurfacing as a core concept for 2008.

What are some of the core skills and approaches you are seeing as essential in today's marketplace? For individuals? For Teams? As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts....


Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC
Potentials Realized
Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Teams on Thursday - Teams in the Downturn

There has been a lot of discussion lately about what role teams play in the current business context given the recent volatility in the markets.

I have found it interesting to see clients continue to invest, proactively, to team based intiatives, in part recognizing that the only way they will get their work completed is through their teams, whether the team is established, or is newly forming, given the organizational changes.

Here are 5 reasons teams why teams continue to remain a driving force of organizations throughout this downturn:

1. The Power of Collective Wisdom - Psychologists have demonstrated for years that group decisions are better than decisions made one off.
What does the collective wisdom of your team know that the individuals don't?

2. Reducing duplication --When teams function well, team systems can reduce a lot of the duplicaton and time spent with tasks being repeated by individuals.
What systems do you have in place as a team that reduces duplication? Any new systems needed to address duplication that is going on?

3. A diversity of approaches to services, products and support to clients/customers -- one of the greatest gifts of a team approach can be the diversity of approaches and philosophies it's individual memebers brings.
What new ideas live in your team which could support you in doing things differently?
4. The Power of Collaboration: Collaboration in and of itself often also leads to new ideas and approaches.
What step can your team take this week to enhance collaboration, or remove barriers to collaboration?

5. Enhanced Sustainability: While team members may come and go, teams in and of themselves usually have a footprint or essence greater than its members.
What's the essence of your team? What's the footprint it leaves?

Have a wonderful week!
Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPT
Cell: (416) 996-TEAM (8326)
Team Coaching: Including the Team Diagnostic Assessment

Monday, October 13, 2008

Calling all Small Business Owners - Last Chance

Last call to all small business owners to join me for the 90 Day BizSuccess group coaching program starting this Friday (11-12 noon Eastern). There are 2 spaces remaining for entrepreneurs/small business owners to join me for an intimate group coaching experience for the next 3 months. Join myself and a maximum of 7 other business owners for an intensive virtual (phone based) program with accountability, resources and best practices to GROW your business.

The 90 Day BizSuccess program is designed for new and experienced business owners who are looking for a supportive, action-oriented group coaching program to intentionally focus on their business development.This 3 month program includes:

  • 7x 1 hour group coaching calls with a maximum of 8 participants (Fridays from 11 - 12 noon Eastern, 8-9am Pacific) over a 3 month period
  • Bi-weekly modules delivered full of tools, resources and exercises to grow your business
  • 36 E-Biz Tips delivered to your mailbox 3 times a week for the program length
  • 15 minute lazer coaching 1-1 session with me on a monthly basis at no extra cost!

During the three months of the program you will:

  • Create Your Business RoadMap: Develop or refine your business vision
  • Explore your unique strengths and abilities as a business person, identifying areas for leverage and competitive advantage
  • Get clear on your niche (or niches) - Who are your clients? Who do you serve?
  • Identify what unique products and services you offer and how this sets you apart from other providers
  • Explore Your Web: Identify opportunities for collaboration and partnerships with other business owners and service providers
  • Develop your marketing strategy and budget
  • Investigate how your business can leverage technology and social media to build their client base and increase sales through an introduction to blogs, podcasts and other platforms
  • Develop a concrete business action plan for the next year

One session will be dedicated to additional topics that matter most to participants

Cost: $347 for the 3 month program.

There are still 3 spaces remaining in the program. To register and reserve your spot you can visit us online or contact me directly by email/phone at jennifer(AT)potentialsrealized(dot)com/ 1-866-217-1960 (toll free across N.America) or at my mobile (416) 996-TEAM. Curious about how the program may benefit you? Please give me a call.

Some of the recent work I have done for busienss owners include: "Starting Your Own Business - A Guide for Women in York Region" (2006) and the Succession Planning Webinar Series early this year.

I look forward to hearing from you and having you join me for this incredible journey of action, learning and accountability as you take your business from GOOD to GREAT! This will be the last 90 day Biz Success program offered before the end of 2008.

I look forward to having you join me!

Warm wishes,

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPT

Potentials Realized

Coaching for Small Business Owners

Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960 ~ Mobile: (416) 996-TEAM

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Skill Sets for Mentors

Mentoring continues to be an essential element for many talent management programs across industies. Lower in cost than many other learning intiatives, mentoring programs can provide powerful opportunities for junior employees to learn from those that have gone before.

This year, I have been involved in providing coaching support to a number of mentoring programs across industies and often get asked, "What type of skills are useful for mentors to have?"

Think about any opportunities you have had to be mentored, or provide mentoring. Some of the core skills I see as essential for great mentors include:

1.Listening - Mentors are often seen as a sounding board for proteges/those being mentored. How effective are you being at listening to your protege and what they are looking for from your relationship.

2.Feedback - Proteges are often very eager in learning what has worked/what hasn't from mentors. As such, mentors are often called upon to provide feedback/insights in terms of industry trends, what's worked/what hasn't in their career, professional development options - - to name a few.

3.Creating Powerful Questions : Powerful Questions rarely start with WHY? They are open ended and often start with WHAT?

4.Coaching: Creating opportunities for Accountability, Acknowledging your protege, and Encouraging them towards their goals

5. Relationship Building: The mentor/protege relationship can be a very powerful one and often requires intentional design. How much attention have you put towards your mentoring relationship?

What do you see as essential skills for mentors? Feel free to comment below.


Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Potentials Realized
Coaching, Training and Consulting Services
Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960
Email: jennifer{at}

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Teams On Thursdays: Intergenerational Team Management Issues

Teams on Thursday: Intergenerational Team Management Issues

Intergenerational management issues continue to be a hot topic in the world of management and HR these days – whether it’s getting in touch with how employees of different generations get along, or how mentoring relationships between different generations can be fostered.

What intergenerational Team Management Issues are showing up on your team?

Here are a few questions to consider

* Who is on our team? Is it GenX, Millenials (Gen Y) or Boomers?
* What are our preferences in terms of communication? Leadership? Teamwork?
* What common ground exists amongst all of us regardless of generational membership?
*What is the biggest challenge our team faces due different generational membership?
* What is the biggest opportunity our team faces due to different generational membership?

Here's a link to a blog post I wrote last year on Managing across Generations, with a number of tips from CCL for managers and leaders to consider.

What resources or articles do you like/refer to when looking at this issue of intergenerational management?

Have a great week,

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CHRP, CPT
Potentials Realized
Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960
Email: jennifer{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com

Monday, June 23, 2008

Succession Planning Web Seminar Series Launched

Many of you will remember that one of the projects I was working on this winter was a Succession Planning Web Seminar series for Entrepreneurs and SMEs in York Region. As a business coach, I was one of four professionals who led a 15-20 minute seminar series on steps and tips to creating your own succession plan as a business owner.

The series has now been launched by the York, South Simcoe Training and Adjustment Board (YSSTAB) and you can now view the web seminar series online here.

Succession planning continues to be a hot topic for both corporate North America and also SMEs. What steps have you taken to ensure business continuity within your team or organization. I hope that you will take a few minutes to view my web seminar entitled 8 Steps for a Successful Exit. Many of these tips are just as applicable to leadership succession wtihin larger organizations. I hope that you will take a few minutes and click on over to view the web seminar series.

Warm regards,

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CHRP, CPT
Potentials Realized
Coaching Services for Business Owners
Toll free: 1-866-217-1960

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Six Team Challenges for Project Management Teams

Six Team Challenges for Project Management Teams
by Jennifer Britton, Potentials Realized
Copyright 2008. All Rights Reserved.

By their very nature, project management teams are unique, and face unique opportunities and challenges. This article examines six unique team challenges facing project management teams, along with some questions project managers may want to consider with respect to their team.

Challenge #1: The Team’s finite timeline
Project Management exist for a finite period of time, with a fixed beginning and end period. This may be days, weeks, months or sometimes years. Teams outside of the project world, theoretically are forever.

What challenges does your team’s finite timeline pose? What do you notice about the team process and their needs as you move from kick-off to implementation and finish?

Challenge #2: Different roles and responsibilities of different Team Members

Project teams often involve a fluid mix of different team members coming in and out of the project.

How much time have you spent clarifying the different roles and responsibilities of the different team members in your project. Where is the overlap? What are the gaps?

Challenge #3: Different team members belong to a series of different project teams:

It is quite common for staff members to belong to multiple project teams at one time.

How strong is the association/membership to your team? What steps can you take to boost team members association to your team?

Challenge #4: Possible Virtual Nature of the Project Team:

A very common challenge within project teams is their virtual nature, where members of the team are either M-Workers, or actually located in different venues. Virtual teams can pose a wide range of challenges as they may operate across time zones, distance and cultures. To see what else I've said on virtual teams, click here.

If we have a virtual component to our team, who is on it? What obstacles exist due to our nature of the virtual team? What steps can we take to ensure that those needed are involved in our team process and communication?

Challenge #5: Unclear Vision for the team
Unfortunately, it can be common for the vision of a project to held tightly by a few members of a project management team, and not widely shared by all.

Who has contributed to the overall vision of the project? Who shares this vision? What steps can you take so that all team members share the vision?

Spend time with the team creating a common vision of the end result

Challenge #6: Unclear on the strengths of the team

Given the often transient nature of project teams, it is quite common for the time together to be spent on action (which can often be unfocussed) rather than preparation and planning. Remember, every 10 minutes of planning can save 60 minutes of unfocused effort.

What strengths does each team member bring to your team? What are the strengths of your team system as a whole?

Look for an assessment such as the Team Diagnostic Assessment to measure the strengths of your team system, or StrengthsFinder 2.0 to look at the strengths of individual team members.

Jennifer J. Britton is the founder of Potentials Realized. Jennifer works with teams, organizations and business owners to achieve the success and impact they desire in teamwork, business, and performance issues, through the provision of coaching, consulting and training services. She regularly facilitates team building and team coaching sessions and retreats (virtual, on and offsite) with governmental, nonprofit and corporate clients. As a performance improvement specialist, she works with leading edge organizations across North America and the Caribbean. Visit Jennifer online at . Jennifer worked as an international project manager from 1992-2004, managing projects across the Americas, Caribbean and Europe.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Teams on Thursdays: Risk Taking

“Real teams don't emerge unless individuals on them take risks involving conflict, trust, interdependence and hard work.”
- Katzenbach and Smith: The Wisdom of Teams

What risks have you been taking within your team recently?

Is your team risk-sensitive or risk-adverse? What does this say about your team?

How does your team measure on a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being low and 10 being high) in terms of:

* Conflict
* Trust
* Interdependence
* Hard Work

What's the one action step you could take this week to take a risk in service of the team?

Have a wonderful week,

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Potentials Realized
Team Coaching
Toll free: 1-866-217-1960
Email: info{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Time Management: An Alternative

An Alternative to Time Management: Manage Your Energy, not your time

“Managing Energy, not time is the fundamental currency of high performance. Performance is grounded in the skillful management of energy”
- Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, The Power of Full Engagement

A few weeks ago I spoke on time management tips and high performance to a group of managers and staff. As part of our session I challenged participants to consider looking at managing energy, rather than time as a key to "great" performance. A wonderful book on this topic, which you may in fact find a real paradigm shifter, is Loehr and Schwartz book - The Power of Full Engagement. It is worth checking out!

“Great leaders are stewards of organizational energy. They begin by effectively managing their own energy. As leaders, they must mobilize, focus, invest, channel, renew and expand the energy of others”
- Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, The Power of Full Engagement

What steps have you taken this week to manage your energy?

If you are a leader, what steps are you taking to mobilize, focus and renew the energy of others?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Teams on Thursdays: Leverage Your Team's Strengths

The Gallup organization and researchers such as Marcus Buckingham and Tom Rath have been leaders in the field of strengths based leadership. Many of you will have probably read, or heard of books such as Now, Discover Your Strengths (Buckingham), Go Put Your Strengths to Work (Buckingham) and Rath's StrengthsFinder 2.0.

Here are 3 conclusions from Gallup’s research on conversation, engagement, and strengths:
If your manager primarily ignores you, your chances of being actively disengaged are 40%
If your manager focuses on your weaknesses, your chances of being actively disengaged are 22%
If you manager focuses on your strengths your chances of being actively disengaged are only 1%

What a difference when you look at strengths!

I saw Tom Rath speak last year in Atlanta and was really struck by one of the business metrics that he shared about how important employee engagement, and a strengths based approach can be:

An engaged workforce has 2.6 x the Earnings Per Share (EPS) than a disengaged workforce. That's a pretty significant figure.

What are the strengths present in your team? As individual team members? As a whole team or system?

How easy was it to answer these questions?

There are some fantastic leading edge assessments available to measure and map your team strengths. One that I stand fully behind, and use with teams that I work with, is the Team Diagnostic Assessment. The Team Diagnostic Assessment has also used in companies including Johnson and Johnson, McDonalds, ING, Unilever, Hilton, Bank of America. The Team Diagnostic Assessment provides a mapping of 14 key strengths of a team. Part of the uniqueness of this tool is that it looks at the team as a system (rather than a collection of individuals). As we all know, any change affects the system -- how often do you take a look at your team as a system? The tool was developed by Team Coaching International.

If you would like to learn more about the Team Diagnostic Assessment, I would invite you to contact me.

Let's discuss how this assessment can provide invaluable insights about your team as a system, its strengths and how these can be leveraged to create, or sustain, a high perfomance culture and results. The assessment also includes a one to two day offsite retreat process with the team, grounded in team coaching. I am presently booking presentations (virtual/webinar or onsite) with corporations who are looking for cutting edge tools and processes to support their teams and results later this year.

Global team? No problem -- the assessment can be delivered in 12 languages, and the retreat can be held virtually. Multiple global (intact) teams? I work with a global network of practionners who can also deliver the program in your languge and culture.

Contact me by email or toll free (1-866-217-1960) to learn more about the Team Diagnostic Assessment and how it could support your team(s). I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a wonderful week,

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CHRP
Potentials Realized
Email: jennifer{AT}potentialsrealized{dot}com

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Teams on Thursday: Creating Quality Communication

I led a seminar yesterday on time management strategies and was reminded of the importance of taking time to reflect on the quality of our communication within teams. Communication is not just about the frequency, it's really all about the quality.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • On a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being really, really terrible and 10 being exceptional), how would you rate your communication with team members overall?

  • How frequently do you communicate with your team members face to face or by phone (rather than text or email)?

  • What's the impact of face to face or voice to voice communication over your email communication?

Overutlization of email continues to be a huge barrier to performance within teams. The time that a series of back and forth emails takes, can often be resolved in a five minute phone call.


Over the next week observe what patterns of communicaton are present in your team.

Which communication patterns or activities support the team, its' results and purpose? Which ones aren't effective?

What is one specific action step you can take this month to create quality communication within your team.

Have a great week!


Jennifer Britton, PCC, CHRP, CPT

Potentials Realized
Team Coaching
Coaching, Training and Assessments for Team Peformance and Results

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Teams on Thursday: Synergy

Teams on Thursday: Synergy

"Synergy is the highest activity of life; it creates new untapped alternatives; it values and exploits the mental, emotional, and psychological differences between people."
- Stephen Covey

What synergies exist within your team?
How does synergy support you team?
What are the new alternatives which are created from synergizing with others on your team?

Teams allow the principle of "the whole is great than the sum of its parts" to exist in part because of the synergistic nature of the relationship between individuals.

Take note this week of how your team is working together. Is it synergistic or something else?

Have a great week.

Warm regards,

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC, CHRP
Potentials Realized
Team Coaching
Toll free: 1-866-217-1960
Email: jennifer{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Solid Foundations for Mentoring Relationships

The Art of Relationship : Mentoring
Copyright 2008 - Jennifer Britton. All Rights Reserved

Great Mentoring is all about building strong relationships

Studies have shown that mentoring fails because:

1.Lack of commitment to the relationship
2.Unclear expectations
3.Lack of trust

"For a Mentoring relationship to be effective, both parties must commit the time and energy to work with each other” – Murphy and Ensher

What energy (time and focus) have you invested to your mentoring partnership?

Whether you are a mentor or protege/mentee, create a solid foundation for your mentoring relationship, by holding a first meeting to discuss your expectations, groundrules etc, and consciously shaping your relationship.

Some of the questions you may want to consider discussing include:

  • What are your goals for this relationship?
  • What role do you want me to play?
  • What do you expect from our relationships (for mentor, for protege)?
  • What are our boundaries?
  • How frequently will we meet?
  • If there are milestones or success measures for the protege - what do these look like?
  • What are we committed to?

Even if you've been working together for a while it's never too late to discuss these questions. The stronger your relationship, the more powerful your mentoring experience will be.

Warm wishes,


Jennifer Britton, PCC, CHRP, CPT

Potentials Realized

Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960
Email: jennifer{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com

Would you like to reproduce this article? Please do with our contact details and copyright intact along with the bio below. We would ask for a link to our site and that you provide us a link or copy of where it is published.

Jennifer Britton supports organizations on teamwork and performance issues as a coach, trainer and consultant. She also helps professionals build stronger relationships for enhanced results in the areas of teamwork, leadership and mentoring. She regularly delivers talks, workshops and gruop coaching on these topics to professional associations and organizations. Visit her online at the BizToolkit blog for more tips on mentoring or at her website: Potentials Realized.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Teams on Thursday: Essential Team Reads

Here are a few of my favorite books on teamwork and team issues:

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team -Patrick Lencioni

The Speed of Trust - Stephen Covey

The Wisdom of Teams - Kazenbach and Smith

Mastering VIRTUAL Teams - Duarte and Snyder

The Leadership Challenge - Kouzes and Posner (more about leadership in a team envrionment)

You can pick up several of these at the bookstore I've set up with Amazon here.

A couple of these I am particularly biased about (The Leadership Challenge and the Five Dysfunctions of a Team) as I deliver workshop programs from these models to teams, AND I also know how powerful the models can be for teams.

What are some of your favorite team reads right now?

Warm wishes,

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CHRP, CPT
Potentials Realized
Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960

Monday, April 28, 2008


A short while ago I delivered a series of seminars for a wonderful organization which was just launching their own mentoring program. It's been interesting for me as everywhere I am turning these days I seem to be seeeing something about mentoring.

What's been your experience with mentoring? Does your organization have their own mentoring program in place? What exactly is mentoring?

Mentoring itself is receiving a lot more attention these days as more and more organizations and professional associations are recognizing the value of both formal and informal mentoring programs.

From my experience effective mentoring programs recognize the value of the mentoring relationship and invest time into creating a strong relationship between mentor and protege.

Some great resources you may want to look to if you are new to mentoring include:

Ellen Ensher and Susan Murphy. Power Mentoring: How Successful Mentors and Proteges get the Most Out of Their Relationships, 2005.

Robert Tamasay and David Stoddard. The Heart of Mentoring, 2003.

and two excellent online resources:

The Coaching and Mentoring Network (UK) :

Peer Resources:

In addition to my Teams on Thursdays columns, I'll be doing a series on mentoring so keep posted. If you know of other resources for mentoring, please feel free to post below

Have a great start to the week,

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CHRP, CPT
Potentials Realized
Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Teams on Thursday: Tapping Into Your Collective Wisdom

"None of us is as smart as all of us."
- Ken Blanchard

Today's team post is all about the collective wisdom and knowledge that resides within the entire team.

Questions to consider:
What's the collective wisdom of our team?
What are we able to do only as a team and not as individuals?
What is our unique team "smarts"?

You may want bring these questions into your next staff meeting. And if you do -- please let us know the impact of the questions using the comments below.

Have a great week,

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CHRP
Potentials Realized
Toll free: 1-866-217-1960
Email: info{at}

Friday, April 11, 2008

Executive Coaching in the news

There was a very interesting article and accompanying video yesterday in the Wall Street journal online entitled "Executive Coaching - Worth the Money?". The video looks at the actual impact of one company's experience with employing executive coaching services.

The Wall Steet video discusses how the owners have benefitted from a series of offsite coaching sessions (4/year) supported by regular ongoing 1-1 phone based support work. It's a great practical example of how executive coaching is supporting businesses - large and small - from many different industries.

Many of you will recognize that this is quite similar to some of the coaching work which I undertake including Shadow Coaching, 1-1 executive coaching, or a team coaching approach which involves all business partners, owners or senior managers.

Curious about what executive coaching might do for your managers, or teams? The most recent 2008 Sherpa Executive Coaching survey has found that at least half of executive coaching is currently being used for leadership development purposes.

What's your biggest leadership challenge right now?

I'd welcome speaking with you to see how coaching services could support your managers and teams performance, retention and productivity measures.

Have a great weekend,

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CHRP, CPT
Potentials Realized
Toll free : 1-866-217-1960
Email: jennifer{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Teams on Thursday: Roles within a Team

I’m going to be starting a weekly column here at the blog on teams - a central passion of mine and a huge part of the work that I do with organizations.

As more and more organizations are realizing the critical role teamwork can play in their organization, they are also looking for more resources to support the development of their excellence.

Today’s teamwork quote is from H.E. Luccock:

"No one can whistle a symphony. It takes an orchestra to play it.”.

This quote reminds us of the critical interconnected and important role of different players within a team.

Within the context of matrix management, virtual teams and other organizational approaches, the roles that are present within a team are no longer as straightforward as they used to be.

Creating an environment where all team members are clear on their role(s) and how they are evolving can play a key role in enhancing productivity, job satisfaction and overall business results.

As you look at your team here are some questions to consider:
What are the different roles present within the team?
What roles are not present? What can you do to fill them?
What roles are overpopulated?
What roles serve the team?
What roles hinder the team?

If you are a team leader or manager, consider spending some time looking at this during your next team meeting or offsite. As a team member what do you notice? What do you think the team needs?

Have a great week,


Jennifer Britton, PCC, CHRP, CPT

Potentials Realized

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Four Years, Four Lessons To Live By

Today marks the 4th anniversary of Potentials Realized. It was 4 years ago today that our door, and phone line opened.

I’ve intentionally built some time in over the last few days to reflect on where we’ve been and what some of our goals are for the future. As a business coach, I love doing this work with my clients, and it’s been great to walk my talk and use my own tools for my business.

I’ve also boiled down four of the lessons that have served me best during my first 4 years in business.

Business Lesson #1: Be clear on what you want as well as what fuels and passions you
Keeping clear about what I love and want to create has been quite instrumental in building a business and a model which enables me to enjoy the best of the city during the winter, as well as the best of Muskoka during the summer. My time up north renews me on an annual basis, providing the opportunity for more strategic thinking and program/product development.
Coaching Questions: What do you want to create in your business? What's going to give you energy? What can't you live without?

Business Lesson #2: Don’t be afraid to create your own path
When I first started coaching four plus years ago, one of the only models available was one-on-one coaching. From the start of my business I was eager to create and design coaching experiences for groups. I've loved being a pioneer in an emerging area of the coaching profession - group coaching. Rather than feeling like a renegade I created my own path. You can read more about group coaching over at my Group Coaching Ins and Outs blog.
Coaching Questions: What's your path? What unique contribution can you make as a business owner? What's the unique path of your business?

Business Lesson #3: Persevere
Strategic perseverance has played an important role in growing my business. If it didn't work, I asked why? If it didn't work, I tried again and refocused. If that didn't work, I tried again.
Most of us know the stats on marketing -- it may take 7-11 times for a consumer to purchase, so why do so many business owners give up after the first try?
Coaching Questions: Where do you need to persevere? What needs to be refocused?

Business Lesson #4: Learn from all experiences, the good and the bad
And finally -- reflection and learning has also played a key role. Whether it's been a great experience or one that's not been so great, identifying the learning and applying in the next step has been critical.
Coaching Questions: What can you learn from your most recent success? What can you learn from your most recent failure?

Some interesting facts:

The US Small Business Association states that only 2/3 of small businesses survive after their first 2 years in business and less than half make it to 4. WOW!

What have been some of the lessons which have served you best in growing your own business?
In closing, I want to thank all of you who have supported myself and Potentials Realized as we've grown. I look forward to many more years of serving you -- and if we haven't had the opportunity to meet - I'd love to connect to see how we might synergize.
Have a fantastic week,
Jennifer Britton PCC, CHRP, CPT
Potentials Realized
Group Coaching Essentials
Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960
Email: info{at}
PS- Stay tuned for some of our anniversary month specials and announcements! I'd also invite you to visit our re-freshed Potentials Realized site (our original 2004 site was wonderful, AND it was time for a facelift - I'd welcome your comments on our new one!).

Friday, March 28, 2008

Gearing Up for Earth Hour

I’m gearing up for Earth hour tomorrow evening here in Toronto from 8-9pm. Toronto like dozens of other cities around the world will be undertaking an hour of voluntary “lights out”

Originally started in Sydney, Earth Hour seems to be growing exponentially. Last year over 2 million people and 2100 businesses took part.

For a quick overview of what Earth Hour is, check out this Toronto Star article:

Some of the cities we will be joining tomorrow evening include:
Montreal, Vancouver, Bangkok, Tel Aviv, Copenhagen. The Toronto Star reports that over 150 cities in Canada alone will be participating this year – giving Canada one of the highest participation rates around the world.

What will you be doing for Earth Hour?

My own roots are intially in the environmental sector, and as such this initiative has captured my attention. Some of you may know that I hold a Masters degree in Environmental Studies, and a significant part of my work globally involved support to community based initiatives such involvement in establishing the Santa Elena Rainforest Reserve in Costa Rica, sea tutle research and environmental education in Guyana, and then support to the countries of the OECS (Eastern Carriben) on the GEF funded work around biodiversity and climate change initiatives, legislation and education. That's why when I do get to write about environmental issues and corporate social responsibility on the part of businesses - I get so excited!

I think that this is a great initiative and my hats off to WWF to finding an initiative and message that is really getting people inspired and fired up (especially little children). What steps will you take today to do your part?

With Earth Day also a few weeks away (April 22nd ) keep your eyes posted for more on what what you, your team and your business can do for the environment.

Have a great weekend!


Jennifer Britton, PCC, CHRP, CPT
Potentials Realized
Group Coaching Essentials
Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960
Email: jennifer(at) potentialsrealized(dot)com

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Succession Planning for Business Owners

Some of you may have noticed that I've been a little quieter than usual on the blog. It's because I've been involved in a number of pretty large pieces of work, one which revolves around Succession Planning for Business Owners. Later this month, YSSTAB will be launching the Succession Planning Webinar series for SME's (Small and Medium Enterprises) for York Region. York Region is just located north of Toronto and is Canada's fastest growing census division.

You can read more about the Succession Planning Webinar series over at YSSTAB's website. Approximately 70% of business owners will be retiring in the next decade or so and surprisingly a very small proportion have a succession plan in place. This has the potential for profound impact on the labourforce (for places like York Region especially where 95% of the labour force is employed with a SME), as well as the economy.

As a Business Coach, I am joining 3 other experts (a business valuator, a lawyer, and a financial planner) on this hour long webinar series, designed to provide SME's more information about sucession planning and what to consider when creating one for your own business.

It's been a very exciting process for me over the last few weeks and I am looking forward to keeping you posted as we move into the launch of the webinar series. In the coming weeks, I'll be sharing with you a number of the 8 strategies I talk about during the succession planning webinar.

Do you have a succession plan in place for your business?

Stay tuned!


Jennifer Britton, PCC, CHRP, CPT
Potentials Realized
Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960

Thursday, February 14, 2008

10 Ways to Get to Know Your Team

Strengthening Your Team Relationships
10 Ways to Get To Know Your Team
Copyright 2008 - Jennifer Britton. All Rights Reserved

We can spend a majority of our waking hours at work. But how well do you know other members of your team?

This month's blog focus is all about strengthening relationships in your work and life. Here's a list of 10 things you could do to strengthen relationships within your team by getting to know each other a little better:

1. Create out of the office/off-hours opportunities to connect. It may be as simple as a luncheon out, or a walk through a nearby park.

2. Create a job shadowning day where you get paired with a fellow colleague and learn about what they do you. If a full day is just too long, make it a half day process.

3. Pair staff members together as team supports or buddies. These support teams can be rotated every month or so, enabling all team members to get to know each other.

4. Create special project teams which will foster closer working relationships.

5. Create an environment of trust. Trust is essential in order to facilitate close working relationships and create the foundation of for . How we create trust? Through transparency. Walking our talk. Creating shared leadership opportunities, practicing integrity.

6. Create opportunities for loved ones or family members to attend team events. These people know your team mates best. You might be surprised at what you learn about them, and what you learn about yourself based on discussions.

7. Instead of bouncing that email to your team mate, get up, go over and speak to them!

8. Invest in opportunities for the staff/team to "get away" from the office to focus in on team issues and get to know one another. Bring in an external facilitator to boost the process (Click here for an article I wrote on what to consider when designing your next team retreat).

9. Make sure that your team meetings are working for you as a team. Are they sapping energy? or boosting morale? Have team members suggest short activities or ideas that could be brought into the meetings to avoid the Death by Meeting syndrome.

10. Look at what everyone brings to the table. As a team, you should have a shared vision of what you want to accomplish. How does each team member see their role in contributing to the team's vision and accomplisments?

What are some approaches that have worked well for your teams? As always, I look forward to having you comment below.

Warm regards,

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CHRP, CPT
Potentials Realized
Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960
Email: jennifer{at}

Looking for some additional ways to strengthen your team. Read my article: Team Building Tips: Take Your Team From Great to Extraordinary

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Strengthening Your Relationships At Work

My theme for February is all about relationships in honour of Valentine's day. As a relationship systems coach I tend to do a lot of work with business partnerships and teams (as well as some intimate couples) who want to move their relationship from great to extraordinary. In honour of this, most of my blog posts here, along with my sister sites Your Balanced Life! (all about work-life balance) and Group Coaching Ins and Outs (all about group facilitation) will have a relationship flair to the end of the month.

When was the last time you focused on your relationships at work? It's funny how we spend a majority of our waking day at work, and yet many workplaces suffer from a clinical team detachment. How often do you get together with your team mates to communicate? Or do you work for a company where your communication with your next door neighbour is by email? Please don't laugh -- this really does happen in some workplaces.

So....regardless of what your commuication mode's some food for thought as you consider strengthening your relationships at work.

Creating Positive Workplace Relationships - a great article from Peter Vajda over at

Creating Positive Intentional Business Partnerships -- a blog post I wrote last week on questions to consider when you are looking at creating any business partnerships -- joint venture or business model

So here's a question for you - What is one thing you could do this week to strengthen your relationships at work? What impact would that have?

Stay Tuned later this month as I'll share a list of intentional activities you can do to foster stronger working relationships with your co-workers and business partners.

Have a great rest of the week,


Jennifer Britton, PCC, CHRP, CPT
Potentials Realized

Monday, February 04, 2008

Come - Get Organized with Me Next Week

Was one of your New Year's Resolutions to get organized? Is it still sitting on your new year's list? Ready to check it off?

Come join me, world class organizer Hellen Buttigieg, and a small group of other individuals, next Monday night for the Get Organized Virtual Intensive . The program will be held on Monday February 11 AND 25th from 7-10pm (EST) by phone. We are hosting a group coaching program for individuals who are READY to GET ORGANIZED!

It’s going to be a very interactive two evenings of information and action -- to support you in getting things in order. We are holding the program by phone, so that you can tackle your closets, your drawers, your desk during our time together…no excuses! The program is a mix of time spent on the phone as a group where you will get tips, tools and other resources for organizing (15 minutes every hour) and then structured individual exercises offline to apply these new tips at your home right away (the next 45 minutes of every hour). Hellen and I will be there throughout the two evenings to support you to bust through any obstacles that may pop up!

For more information about the program please click here.We still have space for a few more individuals to join us for these two evenings of fun, organizing, coaching and tips so if you’ve been sitting on the fence about joining us, I hope that you will email me at to reserve your spot. Cost: $250 US or Canadian( a fraction of the cost of what it would be to work with Hellen and I individually for the same amount of time ~ approximately $4000). Registration forms are available here.

Get a head start on your spring cleaning and check it off on your list!

Questions? Please give me a shout at 1-866-217-1960 or drop me an email. I look forward to hearing from you!

Warm wishes,

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CHRP, CPT
Potentials Realized

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What do you think? Small Business Marketing

A number of my small business clients have been spending the month focusing on creative ways to get the word out about what they have to offer. I always love looking at just how the internet is creating new opportunities to small business to get the word out at no, or low cost.

Walking my talk is very important to me, and throughout the 90 Day Biz Success Program, I too undertake a number of the assignments my clients work on.

A neat tool that I have just started exploring (and I mean just started) is Smilebox, which allows you to create a slideshow with music at no cost.

I thought that I'd try my hand at putting together some photos for my spring through fall programs up in Muskoka which I run with my colleague Sharon Miller. This year, in addition to our couples and women's retreats, we are also offering customized executive and team retreats in Muskoka. You can find more information at our Retreat2Muskoka site.

You can view my Smilebox creation here:

Click to play potentials realized
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make a slideshow - it's easy!

It's a very basic slide show, and is just a quick filler for the moment but it was really neat to be able to put this together in less than 15 minutes.

What do you think? There's space for you to comment after you've viewed the slideshow, and as always, feel free to comment below.

Have a great week!

Warm regards,

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CHRP, CPT
Potentials Realized
Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Employee Engagement in the new year

Employee engagement continues to show up as a critical issue for many managers and workplace learning professionals. You can read earlier posts I've written on the topic here.

The 2007 ASTD Employee Engagement Survey has just been released and answers some of the following questions:
  • How many workers are engaged?
  • How much does it matter to the learning function?

This study looked at link between learning and employee engagement and involved 750 respondents in an online survey. ASTD collaborated with i4cp and Dale Carnigie and Associates for the study.

You can listen to a podcast about the survey and its results here.

ASTD has also published an interesting article this month by Cris and Mel Wildermuth of The Effectiveness Group entitled the "10 Ms of Employee Engagement". I saw Cris present on this model back in June at the ASTD Conference in Atlanta -- it's a great model! I hope that the model will be able to spread more into the mainstream in coming months. Cris - if you do read this, I'd love to have you as a guest blogger or interviewee here.

For an additional mneumonic approach to Employee Engagement, check out the 10 Cs to Employee Engagement, originally published in the Ivey Business Journal.

What employee engagement issues are showing up for you right now in your organization?

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CHRP, CPT
Potentials Realized
Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960
Email: jennifer{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com

Monday, January 14, 2008

5 Tips for Effective Virtual Team Meetings

5 Tips for Effective Virtual Team Meetings
Copyright 2008 - Jennifer Britton. All Rights Reserved

Is one of your new years resolutions to ensure that your virtual team meetings are more effective? Today’s post includes 5 tips for Effective Virtual Team Meetings. Perhaps you work with in-person teams - not to worry, many of these ideas will apply to you as well.

Tip 1 – Establish Ground Rules or Ways of Working for the Group

This is an essential for any group process. Spend time at the start of your work together to develop common ground rules or ways of working to frame how you will work together. These should be written down and circulated to the group as a reminder.

Number one rule -- Don't assume! It's very dangerous to do when you are in a room together, and even more so for when you are working across time, geography and cultures!

Some examples of ways of working for a virtual team might include:
* Start and end calls on time
* Rotate call times to meet the needs of different team members in all time zones
* Respecting all team members ideas and perspectives (which does not mean agreeing with all of them, rather respecting them)
* 100% Focus on the meeting at hand (and not surfing the net, reading other materials, sending emails during the call)

What else would you include in your group’s groundrules?

Tips 2 and 3 – Be respectful of time
A major challenge, and opportunity, of holding team meetings across distance and timezones, is that participants may be calling in at different times of the work day (or even before or after work). Some team members may be gearing up for the work day, others may be winding down.

Virtual Team meeting management requires respect of time on two levels:
1. Start and End the meeting on time. If the meeting is set to 60 minutes, make sure that the meeting is 60 minutes
2. Set calls at times convenient to the group -- for example, setting a 10 am call Toronto time, would mean 7am for someone in LosAngeles, 4 pm in Germany, and midnight in Japan. Take a look at where your team members are located, and if necessary, rotate call times to make the convenience equal for all members. If a majority of members are based in a similar time zone, ensure that the call has enough leverage and substance to warrant different time zone team members calling in in their pyjamas.

Tip 4 – Have an agenda - and one that works!
A really common pitfall for most teams today is the Death by Meeting syndrome, so wonderfully captured in Patrick Lencioni's book of the same name.

Lack of an agenda or roadmap for in-person meetings can be deadly, and for virtual teams exponentially so!

Some quick tips for virtual team meeting agendas include:
* Circulate the agenda a day or two before the call (keeping in mind the impact of weekends in different time zones)
*Recap at the end of all calls: agreed action points, who will be accountable, next steps
* Time at the start of meetings for a short update from all callers
* Ensure that there is enough time for all essential items to be covered. If you find that meetings consistently go longer than 60 minutes and you just can't squeeze it all in, what about going to a 75 minute, or 90 minute format?
* Circulate the key meeting points or a recap next steps as close to the end of the meeting (within hours,not days of the meeting end). A simple template approach can be quickly used for this.

Tip 5 – Build connections outside of the meeting
Virtual Teams often start off with great gusto and energy. The lack of face to face meetings can make it difficult for some teams to sustain the inital energy over time.

Wherever possible, create opportunities for team members to build connections outside of the meeting. Whether it is holding formal face to face meetings on an annual basis (strongly recommended, and in great frequency than every year!), or creating informal virtual networking functions outside of the usual team meetings, time spent by the team outside of the formal meetings can help to support the team's development and sustained performance.

There's a lot more on building connections outside of the virtual environment, so please stay posted.

Hope that 08 has started off great for you and your teams! As always, I welcome your comments.

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton, PCC
email: jennifer{AT}potentialsrealized{com}

PS - What's your team's stretch going to be this year? What do you want to look back on in December of this year and say "Wow! We did it!". What support do you need to make that happen?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! And welcome back to the Biz Toolkit blog. I hope that you each had a wonderful holiday and got some well deserved rest. Are you ready to make 2008 great?

For those of you who like New Years predictions, I've come across some great blog posts that are already out there including:

Amit over at How to Manage Human Resources : 60 HR Predictions for 2008

Queen's University's (Canada) Predictions for 2008

What other posts have you read about New Year business predictions that you've liked? What are yours? Feel free to comment below.

Do you want to make 2008 great for your business?

If you are looking to make the new year great and you are a business owner, I hope that you will consider joining me for the 2008 Biz Success Virtual Planning Retreat. If you haven't had the chance to do your business planning for 2008, here are three chances to join me for a six hour structured business planning retreat by phone.

No need to leave your office and all your resources. Each hour we will meet for 10 -15 minutes by phone as a small group to focus in on a new area of business planning, and then we will spend the remaining part of the hour offline doing our own work on our own business. This program will be of interest to new and experienced business owners -- anyone who wants to ensure that business will be great in 2008! See my earlier post on December's programs here.

You have three sessions to choose from:

BVR-081: Saturday January 5 (10 - 4pm EST) OR
BVR - 082: Sunday January 13 (10 - 4pm EST) OR
BVR - 083: Thursday January 17 and 24 (7-10pm EST both evenings)

In addition to the retreat, each group will have a follow up call, and each particpant will receive the Biz Success Planning Manual by email. This is a resource for the retreat and for the year ahead.

Your investment - $150 US or Canadian. Space is limited for each virtual planning retreat so email me if you'd like to reserve your spot. You can also call me toll free at 1-866-217-1960. Download a registration form here.

Have a wonderful start to the year!

Warm regards,
Jennifer Britton, PCC, CHRP, CPT
Potentials Realized
Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960