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Transactional Analysis - Part One

Posted By Jerry Houston, HPISolutions, Monday, November 7, 2016

In our continuing series on managing and leading in the 21st century, Founder and CEO, Jerry Houston, takes us into a very interesting topic, Transactional Analysis, or, in other words, the transactions that occur between people.  While this is not a new science, it is as valid and important today as when it was developed back in the 1970’s. We hope you find value in the concept of Transactional Analysis and find applications where it can be put to work in your organization today. 

People operate from three distinct perspectives, the parent, the child and the adult ego-states.   Eric Berne, the father of Transactional Analysis (TA) defines each of these states of mind as a “consistent pattern of feeling and experience related to a corresponding pattern of behavior.”  None of this has to do with your age, by the way!  All three of these states exist in all people at different levels.  Our minds have the ability to take in and “record” information and experiences.  This starts at birth and continues for the rest of our lives.  Understanding TA helps us to understand where we are coming from, and also where others are coming from when we “transact” with each other. 

Simply put, the three ego-states are:

The Parent Ego State

The old saying that a child that grows up with criticism will criticize is absolutely true.  If the “parent” is overprotective, judgmental, critical, supportive, then so might we be as we replay those recordings.  Think about that as it relates to being a manager.  Do you nurture, demand, compensate your employees?  

The Child Ego State

Think about how children behave…some good, some not so good.  Here are some words that might describe the Child in us.  Whining, crying, blaming (it’s not fair!), happy, joyful, innocent, playful, creative, inquisitive…you get the idea.  Now apply this to yourself or your employees.  Where do you fall and where do they fall when in the “child.”

The Adult Ego-State

When we are very young (about 10 months of age) we begin the ability to make choices about the input we are receiving.  This is because we gain the “power of locomotion.”  Information is gathered as we experience new things and how we feel about those inputs.  Your adult ego-state grinds out data to make decisions after computing the information from the Parent and the Child states.  Your Adult is very useful on the job.  It is rational, reasonable, practical, balanced and does not give in to emotion.  The Adult is a problem-solver.  If you want to change something about your life, it is your Adult that always has the correct thinking.  It takes issues that are created in the Parent or Child states and makes sense of them.  It is the objective and rational state that we are in…sometimes.

Understanding the three ego-states and where you spend your time as Parent, Child or Adult is critical in interpersonal relationships and personal improvement.  In our next article we are going to talk about CROSS TRANSACTION, or in other words, what happens when you are in one ego state and the person you are transacting with is in another state. 

We hope you have enjoyed this power idea.  If you want to know more about Transactional Analysis, don’t hesitate to contact us at and we will be happy to set a time to talk.

Have a Great Week!

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Passwords-Are You Set Up For Security or a Security Breach?

Posted By Amy Geils, The Streamlined Office LLC, Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Did you know that $16 billion was stolen from 12.7 million US consumers in 2015?  There are a few simple things you can do to protect yourself and your digital information.

  • Use different passwords for your most important accounts
  • Passwords should have at least 12-16 characters including a combination of at least 1 number, one uppercase letter, one lower case letter and one special symbol
  • Avoid using words that are familiar to you such as the names of your family members
  • Do not use any combinations of numbers which can otherwise identify you such as your birthday, zip code, phone number and certainly NEVER your social security number
  • NEVER click the button that says “Remember Password”. This stores the password in your web browser
  • Do not log in to financial or other important accounts unless you are on your own computer or connected to a private internet connection. Do not use public Wi-Fi hotspots or the like to access these types of accounts.
  • Change your password every 90 days
  • Protect your computer and other devices.  See my blog “How to Protect Your Digital Information”

For the full article which includes information and reviews of Password Management software, click here.  For a free consultation of all your office organizing needs call 480-221-0588.  

Tags:  business services  entrepreneurs  office organization  productivity  technology 

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Lets start talking about Business Ethics

Posted By Tracelyn Sutton, American Cancer Society, Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Lets Have That Conversation About B.E.



Business Ethics (B.E.) is a subject that is being discussed heavily this year. It’s interesting to know that a company’s ethic will determine its reputation. Good strong business ethics are essential for long-term success, increase profits and overall better lives.


In today’s digital world ethics is more important because news can spread faster. Think of strong B.E. as an umbrella that covers your customers, employees, vendors, competitors, neighbors, family, and friends. It is that important!


We want employees trained and understand Business Ethics. Workshops will teach the following: define and understand ethics, benefits of ethics, strategies to implement ethics at work, recognize social and unethical behaviors, learn how to make ethical decisions and how to lead with integrity.


Did you know that the company culture determines the ethics of an organization?


Benefits of Managing Ethics


Running your business ethically has many rewards. The circumstances of every business will identify the results of managing ethics. There are, however, ten common benefits that all businesses have when they manage their business ethics




Ethical companies comply with all legal requirements and are less likely to be fined or sued.


Consumers are more apt to support a business with a reputation as an ethical organization.·


Companies with ethical values improve their communities.·


Ethical rules save organizations from accidently violating the rights of employees or consumers.·


Employees’ personal moral standards will improve at an ethical business.·


A fair working environment facilitates teamwork and productivity.


Many successful financial business practices are reinforced by ethical business practices.·


Established ethical guidelines will lead a company in times of change and stress.·


Ethical companies retain employees and save money in turnover. ·


There is personal satisfaction in doing the right thing.


It is never too late to implement ethics in the workplace. Implementing ethics in the workplace is a complex but rewarding task. Every individual has a unique set of ethical standards. Allowing each person to follow his or her moral compass will result in varied results. Companies need to focus on implementing uniform ethical standards and rules throughout their organizations. Employees should never have to question whether or not they are doing the right thing.


Create an ethics committee in your workplace. Have an ethics executive. Make sure all staff and managers are trained. Consider your private policy, make sure it is up to date, and it includes surveillance, drug testing, searches, harassment and social media policy.


Common Dilemmas


There are many different ethical dilemmas in business that are specific to industries. There are, however, common difficulties that every organization will face.

  • Honest accounting practices
  • Responsibility for mistakes such as accidents, spills, and faulty product
  • Advertising that is honest and not misleading
  • Collusion with competitors
  • Labor issues
  • Bribes and corporate espionage

Law governs many of these dilemmas, but an ethical organization will make the right decision regardless of legal matters. Note, that because these issues are so common, it is important to create ethical standards and train employees to behave accordingly.


We are pleased to provide workshops for a minimum of 20 employees at just $20.00 per employee. This 2-hour workshop will provide all the answers and plans to begin a program in your workplace.

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Tags:  business  ethics  etiquette  leaders  learning  workshops 

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Productivity Tip: Scheduling Gmail to be Sent at a Later Date and Time

Posted By Amy Geils, The Streamlined Office LLC, Saturday, October 29, 2016

Are you a Gmail user who would like to be able to schedule emails to be sent at a later date and time? If so, this month's Productivity Tip on how to install and use Gmail Scheduler is for you! It's easy to set up and it's FREE with your existing Gmail account.  For easy to follow instructions, click here.

Tags:  be more productive  office organization  productivity  small business  technology 

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Best Marketers to Follow on Twitter

Posted By Patty Hughes, Strategic Marketing Services, Friday, October 28, 2016


Twitter is a fantastic way to catch up on news and get small bites of information in a timely fashion.As a small business owner, if you’re looking for new ways to market your business, here is a list of the best marketers to follow on Twitter.

Jay Baer – The most re-tweeted person in the world among digital marketers. Author, speaker, and podcaster. President of Convince & Covert. You know what he says is powerful when other marketers retweet him. His ideas are actionable and measurable.

Pam Dyer – Marketing Chief at Agile Alliance and is one of Forbes Top-25 Influencers.  She writes about all things marketing, traditional and digital. She puts a fresh new spin on tried and true marketing tactics.

Guy Kawasaki – Author of thirteen books and former chief evangelist of Apple, this guy knows his stuff. He travels worldwide to speak about marketing. His insights are spot-on and his ideas for elevating your marketing are easy to follow.

Seth Godin – author and blogger of all things marketing. He’s a must-follow. His Twitter account is basically the same as his blog. You’ll look forward to every new post.

There are many, many fantastic marketers out on Twitter (check out @StrategicMrktg!), but the above list is a great start for any small business owner to get a steady stream of actionable marketing ideas. Take the time to build a marketing list in your Twitter account, and check these tweets out when they come across your feed.

Want the full list?  Read the full article here:

Tags:  Twitter 

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Decision Making - The Power of Action

Posted By Jerry Houston, HPISolutions, Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Have you ever heard it said “if you do not make a decision, you have still made one?”  One of the keys to great leadership is the ability to make clear decisions in a timely manner.  Not to do so causes confusion in the ranks and leaves forward motion to flounder.  In this week’s Power Idea, our CEO, Jerry Houston, spends some time on this important issue.  It’s time to take action!


I love the quote about decision-making that comes right from our management development course module by this same name, “decision is a sharp knife that cuts clean and straight; indecision is a dull one that hacks and tears and leaves ragged edges behind.”


One of your key responsibilities as a leader is to make decisions.  Did you know that not making a decision is still a decision?  Decisions come down to making a judgment.  It is a choice between different alternatives.  One of the most critical issues in the business world is the lack of quick and effective decision-making and it can paralyze an organization.


Presuming what I am telling you is the truth, why is it that more leaders procrastinate and do not make timely and effective decisions?  A key ingredient to this conundrum is a lack of COURAGE.  Remember the cowardly lion from the Wizard of Oz?  Remember how he frequently lived in fear and was paralyzed by a lack of decision-making?  Courage is an everyday issue.  Developing courage and confidence will lead to a level of decision-making that will ensure long-term leadership success. 


The principles of decision-making are clear cut and understanding these basic tenets will dramatically reduce fear and hesitation when making decisions. 


  1. Recognize that a problem exists.  Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But, sometimes we stick our heads in the sand and hope that the problem or issue will go does not...and sometimes it gets worse.
  2. Define the problem.  In continuous quality improvement, this is called getting to the root cause.  What is the REAL cause of the problem?  This is a critical question to answer before you try to develop a solution.
  3. Identify possible causes of the problem.  Don’t be afraid to use the five “W’s” of Who, What, When, Where and Why.  This will help you to discover possible causes and determine the real problem.  Remember not to look for blame, because that causes others to be unwilling to help if they think they will “get in trouble.”
  4. Seek a series of alternative solutions.  Identifying a number of different possible solutions will help you be more open-minded in the different ways that a problem can be solved.  As my brother always says, “when we are all wrong together, we are still right!”  While that may not be exactly true, you get the idea.  Think how powerful this is if your selected solution doesn’t work.  You are ready with a second plan very quickly. 
  5. Choose the solution you think is best.  It’s time for a decision!  Which alternative do you think will work best?  Choose it and support it!  Your effectiveness of your decisions will increase relative to your open-mindedness to other ideas. 
  6. Share your decision.  It's time for action.  Communicate your decision and why you made it. Thank others for their input and their support now that the decision is made. 
  7. Inspect the decision.  The whole idea around making decisions is getting to the right actions and the right results.  Be sure to step back and measure the success of the decision and don’t be so territorial that you are unwilling to adjust the decision if it isn’t working fully.


Decision-making doesn’t have to be a difficult hill to climb.  Break it down in its parts and move through them in the order I have suggested in this article.  You will be surprised at the results and feel much more confident about the decisions you need to make as a leader every day.


Have a Great Week!


At HPISolutions, we believe in the unlimited potential of people and their organizations.  Contact us for a free consultation at

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Cyber Liability Risk and Insurance

Posted By Jamie Low CPCU CIC, Low & Johnson, Inc., Wednesday, October 26, 2016
I'm sitting on a panel regarding Cyber Liability this Friday.  It's free at the Burton Barr Library from 10 to 2 pm.  Drinks and snacks provided.  Register at the link below and come on down.

Tags:  business  business owner  Cyber  data breach  entrepreneur  Internet Marketing  Principal Financial Group  small business  social media 

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What's Your Marketing Voice?

Posted By Patty Hughes, Strategic Marketing Services, Friday, October 21, 2016


People buy from people, not from companies. You can have the best product in the industry, but if your customer service is lousy, you’re going to lose. Companies who show a consistent personality are the ones that resonate with prospects and clients. Ask yourself:  what’s your marketing voice?

Brand voice matters

Content Marketing Institute says it best:  A brand voice isn’t about the creation of a non-human voice. It’s about being consistent with the voice you are creating – positioning yourself as an easily identified and authoritative source for your area of expertise. Take some time to decide what your consistent brand voice and vocabulary should be.

How to find your voice

Overall, there are a few steps you can take to figure out what is the best representation of your brand and what will attract the kind of clients you want. Look at your company culture. What is it? Do you like to educate others? Are you active in volunteering or mentoring? Who ARE you? Look at what your competitors are doing. What resonates with you?  What traits and tones did they have in general?  

You have to be you

Let’s say that the pieces you really liked were funny, maybe even a little sarcastic. How does that foot to your company, your prospective clients, and you as an individual? What feels right for you? The only way to be consistent with your brand and true to it’s personality is to be genuine. What are you comfortable with and how do you want people to perceive your company?

Don’t write off humor

Businesses make the mistake of thinking that to succeed, they need to be all business all the time; keeping it professional and to the point. People like humor!  Humor makes your brand likable, approachable and noticeable. If humor is second nature to you, but you’ve been keeping it out of your marketing messages, you may want to rethink your approach.

Think about who you’re marketing to

Go back and look at your marketing strategy (if you have one). Who is your ideal client? What would that person want from your brand? What do they care about?  How do they communicate?  

You’ll know when you have your true voice

If you’ve read all of this and tried all the tips and STILL can’t figure out your voice, don’t panic!  You’ll know when you have your genuine voice. After awhile, you’ll KNOW what feels right and when you do, stick with it. 

Understand your marketing voice and you’ll see success over time.



Tags:  marketing voice 

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How to Create an Effective Email Newsletter

Posted By Patty Hughes, Strategic Marketing Services, Friday, October 14, 2016


Small businesses are constantly searching for new ways to engage prospects and clients. Here are a few tip on how to create an effective email newsletter.

1. Determine the goal of your email newsletter

Determine what you’re looking to accomplish and then ask yourself:  will this newsletter accomplish this?  If you’re unsure, DON’T send out the newsletter until you have a clear, measurable goal in mind

2. Do you really need an email newsletter?

More is not necessarily better when it comes to marketing. Make sure it serves a purpose; otherwise you should spend your time and energy with other marketing efforts.

3. Put some time into the subject line

Your newsletter will only be effective if people open it, so don’t go through the time and energy of creating an awesome newsletter, only to have a weak subject line like, “Our Latest Newsletter”. Boring!  Give people a reason to open it. Come up with creative, exciting subject lines.  If you need some inspiration for coming up with effective email subject lines, check out these articles:

4. Make your newsletter worth reading

If you’ve decided your newsletter serves a purpose, then make sure your readers feel the same way. One great guideline is to balance your newsletter content to be 90% educational and 10% promotional. Remember, you want your content to be useful.

5. Make your newsletter easy to read

People aren’t looking for novellas in their inbox. Don’t be too wordy in your email. Your email is to share information and engage; send them to your website if you want to provide them with more in-depth information.

6. Use images to make your email more appealing

Making your newsletter visually appealing is very important, so find some good images to add to the newsletter.

7. Measure the results of your newsletter

Take the time to actually read reports provided by your email program and compare to industry standards. Try some A/B testing to see if different subject lines, length of text or content impacts results. Results simply abysmal? Then stop and try something different.

Learning how to create an effective newsletter isn’t difficult. Follow the suggestions above and you’ll see great results for your efforts.


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Tags:  email newsletter 

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Project Management

Posted By Jerry Houston, HPISolutions, Thursday, October 13, 2016

Projects, projects, projects!  It seems like there is no end to projects.  We have Project Management experts here at HPISolutions who have some solid advice on how to effectively manage projects, manage expectations and how to produce the expected results, on time and within budget.  Enjoy this week's Power Idea written by Senior Strategic Partner, Laura Dillingham.

Project Management

Project Management began more than a century ago.  However, in recent decades it has become a vital component of business.  It is a discipline that has become key to success in global business where companies are vying for an edge over the competition.

How does a business manage a project so that it’s completed on-time, on-budget and with the quality and results expected?  To accomplish this a process is used known as Project Management.  Simply defined, Project Management is the ability to initiate, plan, execute, control and close the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria.

Let’s first take a moment to review the basic characteristics of a project.  A project:

  • is temporary
  • has a defined beginning and a defined end
  • is unique because it is not routine
  • contains a set of tasks designed to accomplish a specific and well-defined goal
  • often includes people who usually don’t work together.  In fact, people may even be from different organizations and in multiple geographical locations.

Projects can range in scope. They can be anything from designing or building a bridge, planning a vacation, wedding or a company function, moving a company to a new location, installing and/or upgrading equipment or re-purposing a room. There are specific steps that should be followed to ensure the successful outcome of any project. They are:

  1. Define the scope of the project. This step requires defining, in detail, what the project is supposed to accomplish, by when and at what cost.
  2. Establish a budget. Ensure that the budget covers unexpected items without allowing cost overruns.
  3. Prepare a Work Breakdown Schedule (WBS).  This is a visual representation that breaks down the scope of the project into manageable sections for the teams.  It requires assigning tasks to team members and setting deadlines for each task.  It is critical for the project manager to ensure team members have the necessary resources to accomplish their tasks.
  4. Use the Critical Path Method (CPM).  CPM is a formula used to determine the quickest way to complete a project as efficiently as possible.  CPM can be used to plan the project in whatever time increments are chosen, even down to the hour.
  5. The Project Manager and/or team will need to communicate to stakeholders and managers, as well as solve communication issues within the team.  Developing a Communication Matrix for these areas can greatly reduce stress and help ensure a successful outcome. Communication is key in Project Management.

Project Management involves a minimum of five interrelated actions and activities.  These phases are commonly known as:

  1. Initiating – conception of an idea, defining the project and the scope of work
  2. Planning - who does what by when
  3. Executing – launching the project, meeting deadlines, dealing with set-backs and quality
  4. Monitoring - controlling work, communicating and budget
  5. Closing - paying bills, lessons learned and kudos

Project management knowledge draws on seven distinct areas and three distinct disciplines requiring very specific skill sets.  They are:

             AREAS                                                      DISCIPLINES

  1. Integration                                          1.  Procurement
  2. Scope                                                 2.  Risk Management                                     
  3. Time                                                   3.  Human Resources
  4. Cost                                                    
  5. Quality
  6. Communications
  7. Stakeholder Management

Project Management brings a unique focus that is really defined by the goals, resources and schedule of each project. The value of that focus is proven by the rapid, worldwide growth of Project Management as a recognized and strategic organizational competence and career and in today’s business as a subject for training and development. 

If you would like to learn more, we invite you to contact us at for a free consultation.

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