Articles in Category: Blog

Help, I’m A Control Freak!

Written by Michelle Braden, CEO Posted in Blog, All Posts

Dear Michelle,
My husband and even my dear friends refer to me as a control freak! I own and operate a catering business, and yes I’ll admit I have a tendency to micro-manage (one time I almost divorced my husband and now ex-chef just because I thought his cilantro pesto was too salty!) How do I break away from my compulsion to control everything while maintaining top notch food service and quality for my clients?
– Control Freak in Harrisonburg, VA.

Dear Control Freak,
You have taken the first big step with any personal challenge and that is, “owning it”. In order to improve a behavioral pattern we have to first be aware of it, the second step is to make a plan of action. Most of our problems do not stem from what we do not know, they manifest from doing nothing. Below are some suggestions that should help:

  1. Open your mind to other people’s opinions and ideas – your way is not the only way.
  2. Wait, breathe, and think before you respond – this gives you a window of opportunity to mitigate a situation without regrets.
  3. Practice self-observation and keep a journal – this helps you to “see” yourself from an outsider’s perspective so you can correct mistakes.
  4. Set one goal at a time for yourself – changing a long-time behavioral pattern takes time, so be patient and try not to get overwhelmed.
  5. Set up accountability partners – confide in 1 to 3 trusted people about your new goals and give them permission to hold you accountable to the behavior changes you have set for yourself.

Changing anything takes time, but staying focused, developing a plan, and surrounding yourself with accountability partners will keep you on track. Following these steps will relieve stress on yourself and your business colleagues, plus give you more fulfillment in your life. Now how do I get a hold of some of the cilantro pesto?

Less is More

Posted in Blog, All Posts

Less is More

Goal setting can be an exciting time! You are energized and ready to conquer! Your goals are set and you will continually strategize, plan and monitor them.... as you should.  You are also open and willing to do whatever it takes... and there is often “one more thing” that has the potential to get the result/s you are seeking.  And you’ll often do it without a second thought.

But let’s be honest... all those “one more things” can often be detrimental to the very goal you are after.  Soon you will be doing so many “one more things” that you could lose sight of your original goal, strategy, or plan.  I would like for you to consider a new proposal for your goal setting..... DO LESS!  Consider the five strategies listed below to DO LESS so that you can actually achieve more:

  1. Work less
  2. Take on fewer clients and projects
  3. Talk less
  4. Have fewer meetings
  5. Volunteer less


Free Yourself of "Quick-Fix" Thinking

Written by Michelle Braden, CEO Posted in Blog, All Posts

I am always amazed how many leaders and organizations want immediate results in areas where immediate results are not possible.  I am even more amazed how many executive coaches and training organizations promise to deliver "Quick-Fix" results.

The truth is it takes time to develop leadership, change a culture, and build a business or anything else that is worth the investment.  There are strategies to set, skills to learn and new ways of thinking to embrace.  We then need to execute and implement over a period to create new patterns.  It is very similar to taking care of the body.  You cannot join the gym on January 1 and expect to be in perfect shape by January 30.  It takes time and commitment to see long-term results, but it is so worth it.

I tell my clients and myself all the time, if you want something different; you have to do something different.  Creating new patterns is an investment.  Let go of the notion it will happen with one or two day workshops or a few coaching sessions.  Make the investment for the long-term solution; you will be glad you did!

MSBCoach Extends Their International Reach in Cooperation with Upper Hand, a New Business Magazine.

Written by MSBCoach Posted in Blog, All Posts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE-- Charlottesville, VA-- MSBCoach will be sharing it's wealth of knowledge in leadership development with Upper Hand, a high-end lifestyle magazine and website intended to reach non-native English speakers throughout Asia, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.  Upper Hand's vision is to assist entrepreneurs and future entrepreneurs with English language assistance and business knowledge.

MSBCoach is excited to extend their international reach through partnering with Upper Hand Magazine.  According to Aleh Douhi, Co-Founder of Upper Hand Magazine, the magazine and website are reaching out to non-native English speakers who are active entrepreneurs or aspire to be entrepreneurs.  The magazine combines learning English with excellent business information and a lifestyle magazine.  MSBCoach proudly supports the magazine's vision of developing leaders by making this kind of information accessible to entrepreneurs and business leaders throughout Asia, Latin America, and Eastern and Central Europe.

MSBCoach is committed to partnering with International leaders who are making an intentional, authentic and positive difference within themselves, their teams, colleagues, organizations and communities.  This newest opportunity to inspire leaders throughout culturally diverse populations compliments MSBCoach's past publication partnerships with  FORWARD / Adelante, a Charlottesville, VA based bilingual publication with the goal of promoting the Latin and Latin-American business community in Central Virginia.

"As Upper Hand Magazine grows, we see our relationship with them growing and partnering in other ways," says CEO, Michelle Braden. "MSBCoach continues to look for opportunities reach people all over the world to inspire value-based leadership.  We are pleased to be able to share our knowledge with people all over the world who wish to be excellent business leaders."  The first issue is planned to be launched by the end of January.

MSBCoach partners with you to ignite employee engagement and excellence through inspired, effective leadership practices. MSBCoach provides businesses with leadership coaching, high performance team building, and employee engagement training programs, as well as organizational development consulting.  For more information, see our website at or contact Michelle Braden, President of MSBCoach, on Twitter @CoachingLeaders or on FaceBook

TMI… How Much is TOO Much Information?

Written by Stasia Rice Posted in Blog, All Posts

As a leader of a team or an organization creating a culture of transparency can be a powerful tool to build trust and organizational cohesion.

But what should we share, and when?  How much is too much?

One thing to consider the type of information, is it tactical or strategic?  Is it key to executing the next steps on the path, or is it helping to make sure we are on the right path?  The level of information and the way it is presented will depend on what its purpose is.

Tactical: How can you tell if you are giving too much information a leader about day-to-day operations or a specific project?   How much of the details of what you are doing (behind the scenes) or reasons for your decisions do you make should you share?

Ask yourself:

  • How much information does your team really need to do their job effectively?
  • Will they be more engaged if you explain the details – or check-out from boredom?
  • What does this do to your credibility as a leader?  Will explaining this allow them to see more clearly how you think and act or is it just your ego wanting attention?

When it comes to transactional information – its important to keep people in the loop – but more often than not, it should be at a higher level.  Just as you aren’t always interested in HOW the job got done, just that it did and satisfactorily, by keeping status updates and decisions made at the summary level, it allows them to make informed decisions and act on their own with a more comprehensive understanding of the impacts of their decision.

Too many details will make your meetings long and expects your team to be able to connect the dot and understand their impact to their work at the same time.   Make it easier for them by giving the highlights and the outcomes and offer offline explanations to anyone interested.

Strategic More often than not, we need to share the strategic vision and mission of our organizations and projects.  This helps to make sure everyone’s activities are in alignment with the overall expected outcomes.

Most of us communicate the “What” and the “How” of our activities pretty well, but it is also important to share "Why" we are doing them.  Good things come from including why we are doing things like:

  • Connection the “what and how”
  • Creating dialogue
  • Encouraging innovation and creativity
  • Providing clarity
  • Identifying errors/flaws/misunderstandings
  • Ensuring safety
  • Improving employee engagement
  • Generating buy-in

Always Share:

  • Strategic vision and mission of the organization
  • The challenges to achieving the vision and mission
  • The strategies and tactics to overcome the challenges
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Decisions that affect people, policies, methodologies, products, and services
  • The rationale or decision-making processes for difficult situations

Dangerous Territory:

  • Too much Personal Information – Use your personal relationship with the recipient as a barometer – but understand all things you share will become part of how people view you.  It is always important to be authentic, but you don’t also have to air your dirty laundry– and it can be a damaging habit to confide too much.
  • Ideas not fully vetted or thought out  (outside of a brainstorming activity) – or that are seriously couched
  • Sharing Frustration or overwhelm.  Be a real person, but buffer appropriately if the recipients can’t actually help.  Stress is contagious and drama is never productive.
  • Concerns about other leaders in organization
  • Admitting Flaws or Mistakes is often a great way to help other people learn from your own experiences.  However, not all that goes on behind the wizard’s curtain is required to be shared… just like I don’t tell my guests about the laundry baskets full of toys and papers shoved in the closet when they come over!

When in Doubt:

  • Consider Size and culture of your organization; share when sharing is promoted and accepted
  • Consider Role of the Recipient and their ability to act on the information – or will they just feel overwhelmed by the stress of the information?
  • Recipient’s ability to assimilate the level of detail shared with out disrupting their ability to function.  Not everyone is good at being in the weeds!
  • Before sharing – ask what your team wants, what level of information they need to do great work and make good decisions
  • Ask yourself:
    • What is my intention for sharing this information?  If the intent is pure, and you deliver it in a careful way, the outcome will often be good.
    • Is this stimulating the passion and commitment in the team members? Remember to also ask for their thoughts and ideas in order to get buy in and commitment!

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