Archive for July, 2016

Ferien! Holidays! Vacation!

July 26th, 2016

In Switzerland the word for this season is “Ferien” and it lasts at least until mid-August


Ferien means vacation, or for my British friends, holidays. It means no school for five weeks (in the Ticino it’s two months, though). It means family holidays away somewhere; days of endless swimming at beaches; camping; backpacking; biking; and whatever else your heart desires that the pocketbook can afford. I am almost there; how about you?


Take a vacation!

In the US most people only have two weeks of holidays. In Switzerland the law is a minimum of 4 and most people have at least six. I do like this about where I live, I like it a whole lot! Most researchers would tell you that two weeks of vacation is too little, but at least it’s something, as long as you take it. It is really important to have a change of pace, a change of rest. Have the words “break, rest, free-time, hobby, holiday, and vacation” taken on a fuzzy foreign-word feeling? This is not good.


Do you feel like you can’t take a vacation because nobody else can do your job, or at least do it the way you can? Also, this is really quite a problem, for you and for your company.


So, are you always thinking about work, even when you are on vacation, lying on a beach sipping a cool drink? Hmmm… Need I ask more? You really DO need a break:


Help for the business from your vacation

Being away from work can truly help you. You are able to rest; you can regenerate; you become more creative, once again. Some of our best business/work ideas come while day-dreaming, and that may come from a good long vacation for you. Nice, huh? If you don’t take a holiday, you may become like Jack, the proverbial dull boy. I can’t help but quote an article from the economist:


“All this “leaning in” is producing an epidemic of overwork, particularly in the United States. Americans now toil for eight-and-a-half hours a week more than they did in 1979. A survey last year by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that almost a third of working adults get six hours or less of sleep a night. Another survey last year by Good Technology, a provider of secure mobile systems for businesses, found that more than 80% of respondents continue to work after leaving the office, 69% cannot go to bed without checking their inbox and 38% routinely check their work e-mails at the dinner table.”



Your body, mind and soul need rest and regeneration for a better level of performance at work. Your soul needs it for your personal well-being. You are not a machine and you need “you time”.


Creative Regeneration

The best way to become more creative at work is to schedule thinking time. A vacation can do this, too, but maybe both is the bet way, since hopefully, your thinking on holiday is less directed, and more like day dreaming.


But… I can’t stop thinking about work!!!

Maybe you worry and obsess about work even when you are on holiday. Remember, you can set your own limits. Check your work Emails every second or third day? Or only once a week? And turn off your phone. Just do it. Also, remember to do something different, or that requires mental concentration. I have recently taken up rock balancing and find it very fun, challenging, and helpful for my body, mind and soul. Whatever it is, make it challenging enough that you can’t think about work.


Be sure your team takes a vacation, too

Model it: if you are the boss, MODEL what a good vacation looks like!

You team needs to see that you can take a break so they feel good about it. Remember, they need to be recharged and creative at work, too!


Prepare for it

Preparation is key, though. Be prepared so you can leave but also so you can look forward to it. One of the best things to do to make you happier is to plan a vacation. But make sure your job/business will not suffer while you are away.


I wrote about holidays last summer in July, and here is the link: For more fun reading on vacationing, look here:


So, get ready and then take that vacation. Just do it! For the next few weeks I will be away on holiday, so I have re-worked a few blogs that will be re-posted. Enjoy!


Happy summer,

Patricia Jehle

Manifesta 11 What People do for Money

July 23rd, 2016

What people do for Money: a visit to the Manifesta 11 in Zürich


What do you do for money?

This is a very provocative question, when considered from different angles. First is the question of occupation, but then there follows all sorts of value-oriented issues.

A fellow art lover and I took the opportunity to visit the exhibition recently. We spent a good part of a day going from site to another, and I think we both felt that, at the end of our day, we should have tried to see more. But my human body was done, the brain, back and feet cried, “Enough!” Two days would have been better, I think. But I will go back and visit some of the ventures and perhaps go to an open air film, or two. Below is some quick info from the M11 website:


“Manifesta was conceived in the early 1990s as a nomadic, European biennial of contemporary art, responding to the new social, cultural and political reality that emerged in the aftermath of the Cold War. Following a desire to explore the psychological and geographical territory of Europe and to provide a dynamic platform for cultural exchange throughout the region, it takes place every two years in a different European city. Along with the Venice Biennale and documenta in Kassel, Manifesta is one of the foremost art events in Europe

Manifesta 11, with its theme What People Do for Money: Some Joint Ventures, focuses attention on the relation between artistic work and labour. In our post-industrial age, it is a concept that resonates acutely with life not only in Zurich but in the rest of the world.”

A building on the Water

My friend and I began the exhibit with the floating building called the Pavillion of Reflections on Lake Zürich. I do recommend this, as you can see films of the different pieces of art and the conception and making of them. Unfortunately the films in total last for something like seven hours, so we were only able to see two. But we were very lucky, in that the film on the butterfly in the Wasserkirche was one of the two films we were able to watch. I have to admit that this was my favorite one, perhaps because of the film, and perhaps because of the beauty of the butterfly and the meaning of the whole exhibit in the church.


A whole day of sights and sounds… and smells… 

We also visited the Helmhaus, the Dada museum (Zunfthaus Voltaire), and the Löwenbräukunsthaus and I found several of those exhibits particularly moving, not always positively, but definitely thought-provoking. One that was moving in many ways was the room full of waste, human waste. An artist had taken a day’s worth of human waste from the city water-treatment plant. 400,000+ people’s waste, dried and put in hay-bail sized cakes. The enormity of this makes me think about what it would look like for a week, a month… We humans do affect our environment in so many ways and this one was made very visible.

The sights, sounds, and smells accomplished what was meant to be: I was moved, in thought and emotion. So many more artists and takes on the question of what one does for money and with money can be discussed and written about. But not here, and not now. Go and experience it for yourself, instead.

Do visit!

So, what are your values, especially towards money? Are you willing to consider other people’s view points and experiences? The Manifesta will challenge you, and leaving one’s comfort zone is almost always a good thing.


Happy visiting,

Patricia Jehle

The Nitty-Gritty in Decision-Making

July 19th, 2016


The nitty-gritty part of decision-making

Last week I wrote in my blog about making decisions. I want to remind you of one thing before moving on into some nitty-gritty advice about decision-making. Remember, I said it is easier to make a decision when you limit your choices, so start there. The sky may me the limits, but your brain deals better with between two and six options. Here is my blog from last week about the concepts of decision-making, if you have not yet read it:


The nitty-gritty, some ideas:

Me, my values, needs and wants

Take time to think about yourself: what makes you tick, what makes you passionate and what leaves you cold. Would this decision some how go against the fabric of who you are? Would it enhance the person you are?

Also, you are given permission to say what you need and what you want. I write this, because some people have been conditioned to over look these things, and it is very important to take your own needs and wants into consideration.


The environment: my mentors, my co-workers, friends, family, etc…

What would the different people in my life tell me? Ask them, especially if it is an important decision. Remember you were not put on this earth alone; use the gifts you have been given in your various relationships to help you decide.


What’s the present environment? What are the options right now? Later?

What door is open today, at this very moment? What might be open in three, six, nine and twelve months? How long am I able or willing to wait to make a decision? Does waiting make a (big) difference?


Evaluate the consequences

  • Do a cost benefit analysis of the options, or simply list the positive and negative results
  • Scale the options
  • Look at the consequences, not just for myself, but for my family, and for my life, long-term
  • What would the consequences be in a year, in three years, in five years, in ten…?
  • Do I have enough time, money, energy, strength with what I have now? What will I have to give up? What is too much to give up?
  • If I look back on my life at 80 years old, what will I think of the decision, either way?


When I decide this or that, what happens in my inner-self?

When I decide A what does my gut feel? How about when I decide B or C? Where is my inner peace? Or if there is equal weight for either choice, try flipping a coin and then do what your gut feeling says (not on whether it’s heads or tails). In other words, use the coin to find out what you really want, and then do it.

If that doesn’t work, try waiting three days. Don’t think about it; just be – and then try deciding. Remember to “watch” your dreams; they may be telling you something, too.



Remember to not take yourself and your decision so seriously that you can’t make one. All decisions are part a of a flow in your life and though there are consequences for every decision, the hard consequences from poor decisions can be overcome and to some extent, repaired. So, make your decision, accept the consequences and start living. Don’t get stuck in the middle of the decision-making process. That’ no-mans land and we can’t live there for long. Remember, no decision is also a decision of sort, and not a very good one.

Maybe the best decision for you right now is to take a vacation, even from decision-making. A holiday, a vacation is on the horizon for me. Hopefully it is for you, too!

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Patricia Jehle



Decisions got you down? Try these seven suggestions.

July 12th, 2016

Choice overload? Decisions Decisions!!!


Most people think they make 70 a day, but many experts say that 35,000 conscious decisions are made by most adults daily.


If you are a CEO or business leader and you work only five days a week, you make almost 30 important decisions each day. Over 50% of those decisions are made in nine minutes, or even less. Only twelve percent are made in an hour or more. Of those 30 important decisions, there are multiple layers or micro-decisions found in each one.


Does that make you feel tired? It does me!


We all want to make good decisions so what can we do to make better ones?


Manage your choices. The below list of how to better manage (important) decisions is based on the TED talk by Sheena Iyengar and the article, both cited below, with my own added wisdom, as well.


1) Cut! in complexity and number

Less IS more! There can be too much of a good thing. If you have too many choices, you may choose not to engage at all; your decision quality decreases when given too many choices; and/or you are much less likely to be satisfied with your decision if you do finally choose. So, choose from only a few options. Also, for business owners and leaders, when thinking of potential customers USP is key in product development. Give them a few unique options, not 20 of “same same same”.


Complexity also matters. When it comes to complexity, start simple and get more complex and do not get very complex until the end. This allows you to make better choices and not give up before “the end”.


2) Make the results concrete

Ask yourself what will happen if… The consequences of the choice should be felt in a very vivid sort of way. This is also true from the selling end. Make it clear what will happen if they do choose your product.


3) Categorize them (it’s easier for us to understand categories)

We are much more likely to take the time to choose if we have categorized the choices logically.


4) Watch your body clock

Major decisions should be made early on in the day. Even if you are a night person, it is better to choose early on, and remember when working with people, most discussions should be held early on in the day.


5) Take a walk, or at least a coffee break

We all know it, but may not follow this advice. Better choices are made with a clear and rested head. So take breaks.


6) Use your Gut instinct, with balance and reason

Gut instinct is helpful when balanced with concrete information, credibility and remembering to take possible bias into consideration. Remember we see through our own biases and experiences and our emotions can be good, but they can also get us into BIG trouble, so be careful and balance everything.


7) Ask others, just do it

It should not go unsaid, and if you have nobody, find someone. I know of options, probably you do too. If not, ask me.


I wish you all the best with your next week of 139 decisions!


Patricia Jehle

Regional Director of the Alpha Group, Switzerland



Hard times? do these three things:

July 5th, 2016

Hard times, even now in one of the nicest months of the year, can happen.  Maybe your firm is now on shaky terms because of Brexit, maybe you have had a bad performance review, maybe you are unemployed, maybe you are in the midst of personal, family, or health problems.  Maybe you live in a place where peace is threatened and safety is not sure.  I have friends in each of these situations, and I know I am not alone in saying that for many, hard times are upon us.  Hard times are part of life and I have come to believe it is my — and your — response to difficulties that makes us grow.  What we do in the hard times is key.


Our response matters more than the situation.

Here are some ideas about what a positive response in difficult times might look like:

Take responsibility, but only for what you are really responsible for, and not more than that!

When I blow it, I need to own up to it, but at the same time, not beat myself up.  We are all human and we have to admit that we make mistakes and fall short of our ideals sometimes.  Also, we need to move on and to try again.  Wallowing is not allowed, growth comes by action.

On top of that, do not take more responsibility than what you have – remember it is not always us who are at fault.

Make sure not to “other-ise”!

If I am not at fault, I do not need to see the other entity a “bad person, or a bad group”.  It is not “them against me”.  If I want real change to happen, I need to see the other person/entity as a human being, too and accept that s/he can make mistakes just as I can.  Our common humanity should bind us together, not separate us.  It is what can bring us together, if we let it.  Isn’t that wonderful?

Self-care is key!!!

Whether I make the mess, someone else does, or it just happens, I need to remember to care for myself.  Every day, I try and think of three things for which I am thankful.  I try and do something good for myself: body, mind and soul.

Here are some ideas:

  • Exercise: even a twenty-minute walk can help clear your mind, and put you on a more positive path.
  • Sit down and write:  journaling or writing lists can help you focus on the issue and get it off your chest.
  • Get social:  join others and you might find out you are in the same boat as your friends, in this case you can support one another and enjoy each other despite the hard times.  Remembering we are not alone is key.
  • Get physical:  a hug can do as much for you as chemical medicines, you know!
  • Take a nap:  a short nap can rejuvenate and give you fresh perspective.
  • Read a good book:  even non-bookworms can enjoy a chapter once in a while.  I can eat books, and find them a great escape for an afternoon or so.
  • Eat good food:  there is nothing like treating yourself to your favorite meal or dessert.

No matter what, remember to respond well and keep in mind that we are all in the same boat.

Do take care,

Patricia Jehle

Regional Director of the Alpha Group, Switzerland


For another take on this, read this article:

And if you wish, join my group of SME business leaders here: