Gen Y

With ONE Simple Question!

Leaders, managers, investors, parents, and coaches, are often realizing and mentoring someone’s big dream.

The bigger and more outlandish the dream, the greater the disbelief and concern.  This doubt can produce unhelpful reactions like “what are you thinking” or “it sounds too risky”.

Yet there is ONE simple question that powers success with both inspiration and practicality.


Realizing & Mentoring Another's Dream With ONE Simple Powerful Question Image: KLW Photo



The ONE Simple Question

“What do you picture?”

This questions powers positive inquiry, broader and deeper perspective, dialogue, and research. It unearths understanding of:

  1. What does the dreamer think it will take to make the dream a reality?
  2. How complete or accurate is that picture?
  3. What strengths and how much endurance does the dreamer have?
  4. What obstacles does the dreamer foresee – internal and external?
  5. How will the dreamer handle missteps and mistakes – psychologically and practically?
  6. What help, truly, does the dreamer expect?



What do you picture is a far better question that what is your plan? The latter requires great foresight of details at the start yet doesn’t assess the dreamer’s true readiness.


For leaders and managers with a tough career slot to fill, knowing the applicant’s vision of that job is critical to a successful decision.

For parents with wide-eyed teenagers or high achieving college students, asking what do you picture encourages them to consider their dream more deeply without killing their spirit.

For investors in new inventions, knowing how the inventor thinks and pictures the future will affect the win or lose.

For coaches, this one simple question — what do you picture sets up a positive non-directive dialogue with those they coach.


There will be time for plans and details. Yet if you skip the picture and go right to the plan, the plan will be incomplete. It will lack success factors that are found within the dreamer not within the plan.

Have you tried this question — what do you picture? What was the result and response?


From my experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach


©2011 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach, guides people from inspiration to action. Her workshops, consultations, keynotes, and DVDs, turn interaction obstacles into interpersonal success and business wins. View footage, keynote topics, workshop outlines, and customer results at this site.

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Starting a company? Looking for a job? Attempting to sell your house? Trying to change careers? Get noticed by being different but …

to achieve success — be memorable.



Memorable is not just what makes you different.  Memorable connects you with others in ways that matter to them.

Success in Two Words - Be Memorable.




Memorable affects others.

Memorable creates a story.

Memorable builds a trust.

Memorable sparks an insight.

Memorable fosters respect.

Memorable eliminates doubt.

Memorable comes back to you.

Memorable keeps you present.

Memorable changes their reality.

Memorable reflects value.

Memorable brings you into their future.






Be Memorable!

    Do you have noticeably good planning skills? Add and use foresight to be memorable. Prevent a problem on a project or discover and open an opportunity for your customer, your boss or your organization. Outstanding skills get you noticed. Using them to help others makes you memorable.


    Are you a remarkably fast learner? Your boss can hand you anything new and you can do it? That’s good. Learn before the skill is needed and you increase your value. Start today to be memorable tomorrow.


    Do you have a special talent for teamwork? Worthwhile in today’s collaborative workplace. Excel at it during times of stress, low morale, or critical change and you will be memorable to every leader.


    Are you a people person? Sales or customer service is your sweet spot? Certainly a plus. To be memorable, deliver wonderful service recovery with urgency. Offer customers compensation even for the smallest inconvenience. It builds phenomenal trust and reaps gratitude. You will be memorable!

Kick Start Your Success
The suggestions above are just a few examples. Try these questions to discover how you can be memorable:

  1. What three things do most people notice about you? Why? The answer will uncover ways for you to be memorable.
  2. What is one strength that people don’t notice in you? Start using it in ways that matter to others.
  3. What are two areas in your work or personal life where you see a need, a void, pain, fear, or doubt in others?. Fill the need/void or remove the pain, fear, or doubt. You will be memorable.



How have you been memorable in your work or personal life? Please share your story in the comments section below to inspire others.

To our continued mutual growth,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach


©2011 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach, delivers workshops, keynotes, and consultations that turn interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. Leaders have been booking Kate for 21 years to fill the gaps of diversity with business wins. See this site for customer results and book Kate now.

Diversity on teams generally breeds better results and more success. Is this now true of the generational diversity in the workplace? It can be if you as leaders provide team building across the generations. Maximize the value of generational differences and you can realize the potential and success of experience meeting youthful innovation.

There are light, fun ways for team members across generations to get to know each other.   If you want members of multi-generational teams to get to know how they each think, here is a proven approach that produces more substantive results than the purely lighthearted fun events.

I developed this exercise, Success is Ageless, to use with one of my customers and now use it in several variations with many other customers around the globe.

Teamwork Across Generations (Istock image)

Team Building Across Generations

Benefits of the Success is Ageless team building exercise:

  1. Common bonds built from both similarity and difference
  2. Fewer fear-based hidden blocks
  3. Respect from common struggles of different journeys
  4. Success from experience meeting innovation

Setting: Simple office training or conference room that allows people to move around and work together.  The setup must encourage interaction. ( Do not do this exercise around one conference table or in a room with rows of tables/chairs.  These setups do not encourage interaction.)

A/V: Internet access, printing capability, flip charts/easels, videoconferencing (if virtual teams).

Approach: Step One – Have each team member select an image from online resources — one image from her/his early childhood or early teenage years.   They should select an image that made an impression on them, say something about them, or changed their outlook in some way.  If for some reason you will not have internet access, ask the team members to do this step in advance and bring the image to the team building workshop.  If you have team members that are not computer savvy, they can bring a copy of a picture from newspapers, books, magazines etc…

Once this step is done, break into groups of 3 team members each of mixed generations.  For the image from childhood/adolescence, each one tells a story about what was happening to her/him that coincided with that image.   How did it shape who they are today?

Step Two: Hand out a pre-printed image of a current event.  Team members in each group discuss the image. A current event that suggests both struggle and success/achievement tends to work best.

Here are the guided discussion questions for this segment:

  1. What feelings do we share about this event?
  2. Where do our outlooks differ?
  3. What do differences represent to each team member — win/lose, right/wrong, need for collaboration/flexibility, chaos/order, fear/courage, hierarchy/teamwork, etc..

To end this team building exercise, highlight how team diversity can breed great success.  It may take longer for teams to gel and get along.  Nonetheless the different talents, knowledge, outlooks, and innovative ideas are essential readiness tools to handle any challenge that comes to the team. Diversity also helps prevent the terrible plague of groupthink.

Pair up one last time.  Write and read aloud one positive statement about the talent, knowledge, and insight that your partner brings to the team’s projects and success. This final step secures the lessons learned of respecting differences and carries them into daily teamwork.

Respect the Differences.
Learn to Love the Differences.
Find the Fit.

What variations or additions to this team building exercise would you suggest?

©2010 Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. All rights reserved.

If you would like to re-post or re-publish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach, delivers team building and customer relations workshops that bridge the gaps and deliver the benefits of diversity. Contact her now to deliver custom team sessions that bring your diverse teams to the heights of success.

Volumes are written on becoming a great leader.  The skills and challenges can seem complex and overwhelming. There is so much to learn. New leaders are particularly challenged to quickly learn and master leadership skills to lead the team to success. As a client recently outlined the challenges of one of his new leaders, I immediately thought of pictures that would fuel her critical success.

You can apply leadership principles more quickly with pictures that remind, reinforce, and trigger successful behaviors. As you read this post, please share in the comments field a lesson and/or picture that you think fuels new leaders’ success.




Pictures for Critical Success

    Picture 4 Critical Success Image by: Thomas Hawke

  1. Avoid Micro-Managing. Have someone take a picture of you holding a ball with both hands. Put the picture on your desk and in your mobile device. Look at the picture morning, noon, and later in the day. Ask yourself, do you want to be holding that same ball for the rest of your professional life? If not, you must let others carry the ball!


  2. Picture Open Discussion Image by:Lynn Dumbrowski

  3. Resolving Conflict. As a leader if you ignore conflict or lead in order to avoid it at all costs, your results may suffer. Whether you are afraid of conflict or just new at dealing with it, conflicts in office environments are resolved through great questions, listening, understanding, and discussion. When you sense conflict may erupt, immediately picture people talking it out. Then take steps to make it happen.

  4. Feelings of Inadequacy. Handled well, your feelings of inadequacy can lead to your success. Overlooked or mishandled, they can turn you into a little Napoleon. Don’t let that happen to you. Select a picture of strength that speaks to you and spurs your growth: an unpolished diamond, an oak tree, vegetation on a beach that thrives even after a storm, or pictures of you – as a baby, a teenager, and today. Believe in yourself as you learn and grow.

  5. Recognizing Contributions Big & Small. Study after study in western workplaces show that recognition is a universal morale builder and preserver. This story of a starfish creates a memorable picture and is one of my favorite leadership reminders: StarFish – Every Contribution Makes a Difference.


  6. Lead People Image by: Cymph37

  7. Lead People, Manage Processes. If you were a strong line manager before being promoted to a leadership position, now you must lead people not manage them. How to remember the difference? Try this picture —>.
    People are moved by inspiration, processes aren’t.




There are many free pictures online at http://flickr.com, http://www.google.com/imghp, and low cost pictures on many other sites. Consider having each team member pick out a picture that will remind, reinforce, and trigger a critical success behavior for themselves. Pictures are powerful reminders.


From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

©2011 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please first email info@katenasser.com for terms of use. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, customer service, customer experience, and teamwork. She turns interaction obstacles into business success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

Teens & GEN Y, your future will be successful beyond your current boundaries.  Many teens and GEN Y see the difficulties and the boundaries and think: Why do we have to go through this? Your future will rock when you start to ask: How do we get through this?

Your future will rock when you combine your special talents with lessons learned from others who have overcome difficulty.  This came to me recently when a friend said,  “If I only knew these things when I was a teenager!  I could be so far ahead of where I am now.”

So here’s a list of lessons learned from my life and diverse friends on Facebook & Twitter to rock your future with success.  If you are a parent reading this post, share these with your teens and GEN Y and their friends/parents.

GEN Y Success with Lessons Learned Image by:Camera Slayer

  1. Separate surviving and thriving in your mind.
    Hopes and dreams stay alive when you can live with survival skills and work for and towards thriving.  If you think that your current survival is the only life you will have, you will miss chances to thrive.
  2. Volunteering to help those you live with builds bonds that grow into adult relationships.
    Many people today volunteer with charitable organizations and non-profits. This is wonderful. Yet, do you volunteer to help your family? It shows your ability to think of others’ needs without being told. It lays the seeds for your adult relationships with them. It also prepares you for teamwork in the workplace.
  3. Build your network early and keep in touch.
    The more people you know and help, the more people who will be there when you need help. Sooner or later we ALL do. ~ Joan Koerber-Walker, Chairman & CEO, CorePurpose
  4. Create your future self now.
    Ask yourself, “How might this choice affect me in 5 or 10 years? ~ Don Eric Weber, Executive Coach
  5. Show genuine care for any job you do.
    Even if it’s not your dream job, people will remember your attitude and actions. ~ Jay Baron, Cable Techie, Canada
  6. Never let disappointment discourage you.
    Consider it a chance to learn. ~ Kathi Browne, Executive Spouse Coach
  7. Lead by example.
    Lead in ways of being respectful to others even if they differ from your beliefs. Value acceptance and tolerance. ~ James Sorenson, Customer Service Professional
  8. Work hard at what you utterly love.
    Work hard. Embrace risk. Do something you utterly love. Be a good person. Pay it forward. ~ Ted Coine, Author & Speaker, 21st Century Business
  9. Develop the habit of finding out everything about things that interest you!
    In this way, be a fanatic to build your life. ~ Joshua Symonette, former NFL Player, Professional Speaker
  10. Find your strengths.
    Success follows from self-awareness of one’s strengths and playing to them. ~ Joe Williams, NASA Scientist
  11. Never under estimate the power of gratitude. ~ S. Max Brown, Speaker & Radio Co-Host
  12. Let your walk be your talk.
    Stars walk their talk. Super Stars let their walk be their talk. ~ Dave Carpenter, Mentor to High Performers
  13. Conquer your fears with knowledge and will.
    You will achieve things you thought were impossible to do. ~ Anne Egros, Global Executive Cross Cultural Coach
  14. What you do for others matters.
    In some ways, relationships beats smarts. ~ Barry Dalton, CIO
  15. Show up. Pay attention & participate.
    Honor commitments or let people know you can’t, and why. ~ Roy Atkinson, IT Professional
  16. Honor, regard, respect.
    Hold tenaciously to honor, regard, and respect for yourself and others. ~ Ty Sullivan, Director Marketing NYC Restaurant Group
  17. Just because you think it, that doesn’t mean it’s true.
    Don’t act on big thoughts without checking other sources. ~ Jim Morgan, TeamTrainers.
  18. Define Success.
    Think about what success means to you. It’s different for each person. ~ Jane Perdue, Leadership Consultant & Coach
  19. Pay attention to the details.
    Also, nurture and help everyone in your orbit — friends, family, teachers, employers. ~ Pattie Roberts, Professional Writer
  20. Form and live good habits.
    Habits are the most important thing to success. Take constant daily action steps toward your dream. ~ Gary Loper, Business/Life Relationship Coach
  21. Use the GROW model.
    Goals, (Current) Reality, Options, Will (what will you do) from MindTools.Com. Start with identifying your goals and writing them down or verbalizing them. ~ David Brand, Coaching Fan
  22. Nothing beats a forward focus, solution orientation toward life. ~ Dan Rockwell, Non-Profit Leader & a Leadership Blogger

My final tip: Get comfortable with change. When it knocks, open the door! A VP of HR told me that #1 trait they look for — flexibility and comfort with change.

Please share your lessons learned for success in the comments section below.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach, inspires success through her keynotes, workshops, and training DVDs on various people-skills topics most especially communicating across diversity. Her latest DVD on the regional differences in customer expectations throughout the USA is available here Customer Service USA – What They Expect Coast to Coast & Everywhere in Between.

A recent MSN CareerBuilder article What They Should Have Taught You in School offers insightful practical advice to all GEN Y (aka Millenials). The writer, Anthony Balderrama, did a great job of amassing lessons learned and best advice on the professional people-skills you will need to succeed at work. I contributed three tips for that article.

Yet the topic is so valuable to GEN Y and to all those changing careers, that I include here more of the best professional people-skills to learn before work.

Six of the Best Professional People-Skills to Learn for Work:


  1. Flexibility. How well do you work with different people? How do you react when asked to change certain behaviors? I asked a VP of Human Resources one day, what is the most important trait you look for in a new hire? Answer: “Flexibility and adaptability. Things never stay the same and employees who can’t work with different bosses and team members are a drain!”

  2. Communication that connects! Communication today has to cross generations, cultures, educational backgrounds, and occupational areas. How well do you connect through your communication with someone different from you?

  3. Positive Initiative. Employers hire you to contribute your all and to help create business success. So give more in effort than you ask for in privileges. True story: An employee emailed his manager the following message: “I would like to work from home 3 days a week. How can you make this happen for me?” In the next downsizing, he was gone. If you want to explore working from home, speak with your manager (not email) and ask what you would have to do to get this accommodation from the company (as opposed to how she can make this happen for you). The manager is not your concierge!

  4. Balancing. Regardless of your age you have individual goals and beliefs different from the organization’s. Learn early on how to focus on the organization’s goals first and foremost while still being you. If you find this balancing act tortuous, you may do better in self-employment.

  5. Understanding Beyond Words. If you tend to be a literal person, you will need to learn to read between the words. Organizational politics exist and thriving in it requires this skill. Asking great questions and observing are two surefire steps to developing this skill.

  6. Diplomatic honesty. As you work on teams — good teams — your honesty will be expected. How you deliver that honesty will impact your work relationships for a very long time. One excellent way to deliver diplomatic honesty is to speak about observable behaviors and events rather than your interpretations of behavior and events. For example, if one team member’s behavior is so strong that it causes friction, discuss the exact behaviors as opposed to saying “You are always trying to dominate!” Not only can you not be sure that person is trying to dominate, that statement will leave an emotional scar that plagues future interaction. Moreover, it doesn’t give the person anything specific to change.

Invitation: Please add your insights on the best professional skills for work in the comments field below. It will be an ongoing expansive resource for learning.

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

©2010-2012 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

A recent post at http://resumebear.com emphasizes once again that people-skills (also known as soft skills) top employers’ lists of desired qualities. [http://resumebear.com/blog/index.php/2009/12/06/five-character-qualities/]

People-skills or soft skills also top the list of top skills that employers want and new graduates (GEN Y) lack. [http://www.resumebear.com/blog/index.php/2009/05/21/top-skills-employers-want-and-new-graduates-lack/]

As a 20 year veteran entrepreneur, I can also attest that outstanding people-skills or soft skills top the list for business success.  So whether you are a new graduate (GEN Y) or among the many people changing careers or industries, improving your people-skills (soft skills) is a winning step. What skills specifically? Verbal and written communication, listening, and teamwork.

I will be posting a series of content rich articles with tangible soft skills improvement steps.

In this post, 3 solid steps that improve communication with customers, teammates, suppliers, and definitely with leaders.

Soft Skills Tip #1

Soft Skills Tip #1


  • Speak current and future not past. Our communication is often riddled with references to the past.  Don’t believe me? Spend five to ten minutes being aware of what you say.  You will be very surprised at how often you reference the past.

    Now rethink what you truly want to say and reword it to be focused on the present or future.  Focusing on the present and future minimizes the risk of digging up old problems between people, gets you active on solutions, and increases your value to employers and customers. It changes your image, your relationships, and your career/business success.  Simply put: In business, don’t take people back to the past.

    True story to illustrate: I found a blog article on soft skills and posted it on Twitter.  I liked the main points the author made.  One of my Twitter followers read it and thought the author’s writing skills were poor.  She sent me the following message.  “Did you read it before you posted it?”  Her focus on the past made this a very poor communication. It can cause problems in interpersonal relationships.  After I wrote back to her, she made it clear that her main point was “I don’t like the author’s writing style”.  Her original message communicated something else.

  • Soft Skills Tip #2

    Soft Skills Tip #2


    Speak honestly and positively. Honesty is important in business.  How you deliver the honesty determines how the listener will hear and react to your message. Even during conflict, you can speak with positive tones to speed the healing after the conflict.
    Simple Rules: State facts as facts and opinion as opinion. State what needs to change and what is currently good.

  • Soft Skills Tip #3

    Soft Skills Tip #3


    Skip the sarcasm. Sarcasm can often be misunderstood. It is more a form of anger than a form of humor. Keep it for moments with a close friend who loves your sarcasm or leave it to the stand-up comedians and bloggers whose brand is sarcasm. Customers, teammates, leaders and even suppliers respond much better to positive action oriented messages.

  • I hope you will share these tips with others. I ask only that you credit this site http://katenasser.com.

    Check back frequently for more soft skills tips that strengthen your career and your business success. I welcome your tips, comments, and questions below.
    Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach

    When I was a senior in high school, my father told me to take typing “because all girls should know how to type.”  WHAT, I screamed.  As I raged on about this remark and swore never to take typing, my mother offered another view. “You are going to college next year right?” Yes, I shot back.  “Well how will you do your papers if you can’t type?  It has nothing to do with being a girl.”

    Despite my father’s attitude which made me scream, I did take typing as a graduating senior and my fingers still scream the keyboard at 90 words a minute.  I typed all my papers quickly in college while many pulled all-nighters. Moreover, I made money typing others’ papers from their handwritten drafts. 

    After college I took a job as a computer programmer. My fingers screamed the keyboard at 90 words a minute.  As other programmers hunted and pecked their code, I took a longer lunch.  After my IT jobs, I started my own training/consulting practice where once again my fingers screamed the keyboard typing reports, email, and now for tweets on Twitter and discussions on LinkedIn.

    Thankfully, I had seen the wisdom in my mother’s perspective.  Moreover, I learned something far more important than typing.  On your life’s journey, what sounds like bad advice isn’t always bad.  How you hear it makes the difference. You owe it to yourself to consider ideas before you make a choice.  This will affect your personal relationships, your team efforts at work, the customer experiences you deliver, the sales you make, and most importantly your life choices.

    What colors your ability to listen, assess, and find a hidden pearl of wisdom?

    • Dislike for the messenger’s attitude and other views
    • Your map that doesn’t allow for a detour
    • Internal noise – your thoughts saying no instead of hmm … what if
    • Baggage and bad memories
    • Fear
    • Short-sighted view of life

    How many people (older than Gen Y) imagined this online life at the keyboard?  How many including Gen Y imagined this terrible economic crisis?  Yet can you remember your grandparents saying save for a rainy day?  Did you dismiss it as old-fashioned and irrelevant?

    Have you ever heard the expression: It’s amazing how wise your parents become as you get older?  That isn’t to say you should cling to the past.  Rather as you live in the present, improving how you hear things can open your life to new horizons.  You may discover an idea that will change your life.  

    When I was unhappy with my IT jobs and struggling to create a happy life, a career counselor assessed my picture and told me that I wanted to be self-employed.  I was baffled and thought she’s crazy.  Then I thought, hmm …what if

    I explored it, researched it, planned it and did it!  That was 20 years ago and I never looked back. She was right and it changed my life.  Thank you, Paulette Zimmerman, for that pearl of wisdom and I thank myself for thinking hmm… what if?

    What advice would you give graduating seniors from high school, tech. school, and college?

    I’ll start the list and ask that you add your advice below in the comments field.

    • Learn as much as you can — everywhere you can. You never know what will become a pearl!
    • Build fun and responsibility into your life starting today.
    • Associate with people of all ages – your age, older, and younger. Pearls of wisdom are hidden in others’ experiences.
    • Create your life with vision, persistence, patience, and the disciplined action to get there.

    Now it’s on to my next hmm… what if

    Update on this post: A couple of days after I wrote this article, I found an article in USA Today by Alan Webber, entitled “Hey, Grads, It’s Time to Write New Rules”.   He straight out says never stop learning.   He has published a book with many more rules called Rules of Thumb: 52 Truths for Winning at Business Without Losing Yourself. 

    Parents, the book might be a great family read and discussion to mentor your teens and college grads into adult life! 

    If you wish to share this info on other blogs and websites, please credit this URL.  I welcome your additions to the advice list in the comments field below and welcome your tweets at http://twitter.com/KateNasser.

    Happy Mother’s Day Mom.

    Many thanks for your pearls,

    Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach