Archive for October, 2009

Testing doing a post from my iPhone

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

I made to Italy. Wrote a summary of the journey but cannot get the WIFI to work at the hotel.  So I am TESTING a post from the  IPHONE – irit wants to CAPITALIZE EVERYTHING.

Off to Cooking School

Friday, October 30th, 2009

When I got the last of the little birds to fly the nest off to college, I decided to go back to school as well.   Cooking school.   Nothing too extreme – I do after all have a business to run and employees to care for still.   It is part of my overall Mom Emancipation Program.   The “Mom Emancipation Program” involves doing those things that I could not do over the past 20 years and could not do the previous 27 years before that due to being in “real” school.   It will be interesting to see where the “Mom Emancipation Program” leads me as the goals are fairly vague – do those things I could not do the previous 47 years of my life.

Packing Light for Cooking School

Packing Light for Cooking School

I’m off to “Cooking School Lite” with Sur La Table in Italy.  So far the experience has been OUTSTANDING.   They have an event concierge who sends you cooking supplies before you ever get there.  Calls you every other week or so to check in on how you’re doing with your travel plans (her name is Andrea and what an asset she is to Sur La Table).   Yes I was a little anxious to do this – I’m not inclined to fly off to Europe for a ten day cooking school experience.  Plus all my cooking skills have been self taught.   I talked my foodie pal and writing guru Carey, into coming with me.

I like to see how light I can pack.  I managed to get everything I need for the next ten days stuffed into these two little bags.   The question is – will I be able to stuff it all back into those two little bags for the trip home?

Swine Flu Recovery Kit

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

Ginger Root - the Amazing Swine Flu Cure

Ginger Root - the Amazing Swine Flu Cure

As more and more of my friends and family succumb to the swine flu, I have been mailing them my swine flu recovery kit.   Yes, it might seem a bit odd for them to be opening this package that contains a large tuber of ginger, a box of zen green tea and a small container of agave nectar.   But for those who have tried this and reduced the severity and length of their flu symptoms, yes it is a GREAT swine flu recovery kit.   Ginger has been used since ancient times to relieve common flu symptoms of congestion, upset stomach.   It is  a well known anti-inflammatory as well.   And what is happening in your body when it’s fighting off the flu virus, inflammation.  The green tea is a great detoxifier – helps the liver and kidneys more efficiently get rid of the toxins being tossed off from your body fighting the flu virus.  And the agave nectar – a low glycemic sweetner for the tea.   Won’t spike the blood sugar – something that the flu invaders love.   Here is what I do with these three ingredients:

Slice up the ginger root – a lot of it – at least 1/4 cup per quart of water.   Bring the water to a boil and then just let the ginger root sit in the hot water.  Toss in several tea bags.  Sweeten to taste with the agave nectar.   Drink at least six cups of this a day until you start feeling better.

If you start feeling flu like symptoms coming on – start quaffing this gingerroot tea mixture.   If you are already in the full blown throes of the flu, have someone get you these ingredients and start drinking it.  You’ll be on the mend a lot faster.

Standard Disclaimer – this is no substitute for medical advice.   If you have a serious medical condition, and get the flu, get to your doctor.

Another great remedy is homemade chicken soup – already wrote up a great recipe for this.   Great anti-viral properties come from cooking the living daylights out of a chicken.   Don’t think it has any voodoo origins either.     I posted a chicken noodle soup recipe that will do the trick back in the summer –

For more of my flu remedies (I was one of the lucky ones who got the swine flu before it became that popular) check out this earlier post –

Cheetah Networking – How to Create Opportunities FAST

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

Leveraging Four Sources of Capital to Create Opportunities With Others

Leveraging Four Sources of Capital to Create Opportunities With Others

I have the good fortune to go to Project Management Institute Meetings all over the world. Like most meetings, people go there to “network.” The intent of networking is to meet people to create possible short or long term business relationships. HOWEVER, what I found at PMI meetings, that this was VERY difficult and time consuming to do. The best networkers were those people who went to most of the meetings and got very involved in the group. While this is a good thing in and of itself – it makes it very hard to do other networking activities so you can meet more people and create more possible business opportunities for each other. It is hard for even the most sociable person to walk up to a stranger and strike up a conversation. Even harder for someone who is more introverted. At the PMI meetings I go to, I see most people just sticking with the few people they may already know and not many venturing out to get to know other people.

About 5 years ago I decided to do something about it. I created a game called Cheetah Networking. It’s oriented around what other people need rather than immediately telling people what it is you can do for them (the standard 30 second elevator pitch we all get down for “networking” events). It is FAR easier to talk about what you need for most folks than to talk about how great they are at this, that, or the other thing. The largest group we did it for was close to 300 people. We’ve also led it for groups as small as 30 people. The basic premise is that you break the large group up into pods of about 32 people. In each pod, there are four groups of 8 people each. In four five minute rounds, you find out what people in your pod “need.” At the end of the four rounds, each of the four groups has a chart by their table that lists what all 32 people of their pod individually need. Each person studies their chart and figures out who they can help based on what they have expressed as their need. They then go find that person in their pod.

Meeting other people’s needs isn’t always about getting business from them – but it can lead to that. What the whole premise is based around is that we all have four sources of capital we can leverage to help each other meet a need or a goal. Those four sources of capital are:

Social Capital – our relationships
Knowledge Capital – our skills and capabilities
Brand Capital – our reputation, credentials
Infrastructure Capital – those things that enable us to do business such as a building, a website, a cell phone, car, etc.

For example, lets say you find out that one of the people in your group (we’ll call her Anne) needs a new roommate – she wants to find female roommate aged 25 – 30, non – smoking with no pets. You met someone in another group who has a daughter (Joan) who is looking for a place to live. Anne has infrastructure capital – a room available. You have social capital – you know this person who has a daughter that fits the bill.  The person you met has “brand capital” – that is a good reputation that you are hoping extends to her daughter Joan.  You connect Anne to Joan.  You have now just created three reciprocal relationships – with Anne, Joan, and Joan’s parent.  And you did this by leveraging three sources of capital – social, infrastructure, and brand.

In Bob Cialdini’s book called  the Psychology of Influence – one of the basic core elements of being human is we like to help others who help us.  That is when we do something helpful for someone, they naturally in turn want to reciprocate.  This is what networking is all about.  So the more people you can help, the more people will be more inclined to help you.  The key is finding out how we can all help each other – and it doesn’t matter in which area that help is in.  The reciprocity rules that we innately live under just don’t keep score like that.  And this is what Cheetah Networking is all about.

Recognizing that we all need to be helping each other create more opportunities, I took a big leap and decided to start doing these for the general public.   We are rolling them out first in California – October 20, 2009 in Culver City from 11;30 – 1:30.   I have folks on board to roll Cheetah Networking events out in Florida and Utah as well.  You can learn more about them at   If you’d like to learn how you can hold your own cheetah networking event – contact me at 888-659-2013.

Value of Project Management- Now a Quantifiable Study

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

By Kristen LaBrosse, CAPM

The real value of project management is not just a general consensus among professionals within the project management industry, but has been proven in a quantifiable study.

Everyone who is experienced in the Project Management industry knows the value of a PMP certification. You can sense it in the increased communication and efficiency of the project team, feel it in improved productivity in the day-in-day-out tasks, and see it in the cost savings strategies implemented and in the improved bottom line figures. But what is the real value to organizations of using a Project Management Professional and implementing PM industry standards to their projects?

In pursuit of answering this very question, PMI commissioned a three-year study on the “Value of Project Management” that looked at over 60 case studies from projects in various industries and around the globe in order to ascertain benchmarks for companies to calculate the ROI when they implement industry standard project management programs. 

A quote by Edwin J. Anders, PHD, director of Academic and Education Programs & Services at PMI, encapsulates the importance of this study very well:

“The Value of Project Management research findings have attracted special interest at our fifth biennial research conference.  This is the most definitive research ever commissioned to study the value of the implementation of project management.  The findings are expected to quantify that project, program, and portfolio managers are making significant contributions to organizations by implementing standardized project management programs to deliver projects and programs on time and within budget.  Full report findings will be published and released in October.”

This video provides an overview of the Value of Project Management study. The report not only describes the value add that Project Management Professionals provide, but also the negative effects of the lack of investment in PM development. The takeaway of his study has been deemed worthy for review by both Project Managers and Executive leaders alike in order to improve Project Management investment decision-making.

Part of this reports talks about the need for focus on continuously adding value within organizations. Companies who stop focusing on value, or think that they may be “done” with investing in PM development, have the history of actually destroying value within their organization. A continuous focus on actively providing value is crucial in order to maintain a viable company, let along a thriving one.

So what can you take away from reviewing this Value of Project Management Report? Perhaps a different view of how your own organization conducts projects, and a better idea of why an increased focus on investing in the professional development of Project Managers can add quantifiable value and results. 

Thanks for reading,