Author Archives: Michelle Cubas

Join the VMP™ to boost your Emotional Intelligence

08 Jan 16
Michelle Cubas
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Following Carolyn Myss’ model of cultural development, humans moved from a dependent to independent mindset as cultural developed. Myss contends the next effective step will be interdependence.

After several company projects, I recognized a universal gap that prevented the leadership from moving the organization forward. I initiated the VMP™ process as a response to that gap. My method simplifies a huge benefit to companies who need a resurgence of energy and perspective in their development.

Quick Background . . .

My take is that the business management paradigm began shifting in the 1980s toward greater cooperation, in part, forced by an Asian influence of quality circles and interactive communication. The auto industry saw the impact first hand. The American style was top-down, do your job and do not talk back to the boss.

To trim waste and open silos with cross communication between departments, new systems appeared. In the expanding global economy, supply chain changes became critical because of cross-cultural influences as well as production issues.

Today, we have lean manufacturing models like Kanban. The Gemba Walk is another perspective to add information and streamline processes. Although focused on manufacturing, service companies can benefit by learning about these systems and how they may offer pathways to continuous improvement in their own ranks.

VMP Benefits . . .

The mask of uncertainty is removed. PersonShadowHoldingMaskReal issues are addressed

The mastermind approach has a long history of success. Consider the guilds of Europe. People saw the power of pooling ideas and resources to advance.

In America, at the start of the 20th century, Napoleon Hill, in his Think and Grow Rich best seller, advocated for mastermind groups as a success tool. He discussed the power of engaging the energy and respected people’s ideas to generate further creativity and innovation that pointed to a joint goal. This is the lynch pin—everyone is focused on a singular outcome and the group energy is applied toward how it will be achieved.

Facilitation and Implementation . . .

Objectivity is a KSF, key success factor. That is why the VMP approach is effective. It is apolitical and distant from the work-a-day entanglements that accumulate within companies and small businesses.

  1. The key for effective application is facilitation. It is critical to have a mix of mindsets so as not to create a “group think” environment.
  2. There must be solid ground rules.
  3. Most of all, participants must feel they are safe to express themselves and honor a code of confidentiality.

It is divided into two parts: Form to Function and Emotional Intelligence.

VMP 2016 button copy

To learn more how this powerful process can serve you and your enterprise, please contact me directly at 480-510-7166 for a complimentary consultation.






Get rid of the -ING!

08 Jan 16
Michelle Cubas
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A verb with an – ing ending dilutes your message . This is a gerund (grammatical) a verb that acts like a noun but is a weaker verb.

Learn More About FREE ModuleAlso, the -ing ending implies an ongoing situation, while using the verb is more direct and firm.

This is useful when you write a speech, scripts, or give a presentation to emphasize your message.

Being an Accelerator Leadership Style Readies Organizations for Innovation

07 Oct 15
Michelle Cubas
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Using Karin Hurt’s premise of 7 Roles of an Exceptional Leader, I see myself as an “Accelerator.” You can review the others here.
 Race Car
What is an Accelerator?
This leadership style is off script . . . intentionally, rather than a “seat-of-the-pants” approach. The Accelerator clearly puts forth ideas to stimulate the team but doesn’t give the “answers.” The team matures when it provides its own content after the leader sets the stage.
Daniel Pink is a current trend disrupter and contrarian who fits this description, also—I am a contrarian, who removes a script and expands the creative space for my clients.
Terrie St. Marie (Starbucker)  has a post describing the difference between a boss and a leader. It supports the Accelerator model as well.
Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great, researched companies and their leaders to find the “secret sauce” of their greatness.
The company, USAA, focused primarily on military service members, is world class from hiring through retirement. They are a serious business model for any company. Part of the success formula is the upfront investment in personnel and superb training. The environment is conducive to exceptional service.
Here are my take-away elements to use from the Accelerator model:
  • This type of style takes calculated risks.
  • The Accelerator provides clarity for the project.
  • The Accelerator relies on intuition for validation.
  • The Accelerator’s self-confidence is contagious to the team members.
  • The Accelerator is directed toward progress rather than holding power. Interestingly, they are easier to follow because of this emphasis.

A benefit to workers immersed in an Accelerator climate is the boundless energy that is created. It is the fertile seedbed that innovation seeks. For example, taking calculated risks creates excitement without being reckless.

It is a true talent to transmit and guide an audience through and to an idea or conclusion. There is decisiveness and clarity so that team members understand what is expected and can produce a successful outcome; it is not an exercise in futility, leaving people shake their heads about, “Why are we doing this?”

Trusting one’s intuition informs perception to see different perspectives. The self-confidence, not hubris, of an Accelerator is contagious and inspiring so people want to rise to a similar level within themselves.

The humility and strength that emanates from an Accelerator leader, holds for a “good of the house” attitude rather than self-aggrandizement. They use the the pronoun, we, frequently, which assures the listeners they are not alone and the leader is in the boat with them.

There is inclusiveness and belonging baked into the relationships of the leader and the team. The Accelerator invites ideas and relieves him or herself of the burden of knowing all the answers. In such an environment, ideas flow and appear quicker and continue to generate a positive energy to achieve the vision set forth by the leader and the team. -MC

Reward yourself and collect your Coach Cubas Coins . . .

03 Sep 15
Michelle Cubas
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Rewards make the world go round. That’s why I created the Coach Cubas Coins.

They are a fun way to connect and redeem for products and services because you took the time to check in. Also, the coins are useful to reward your team members and keep them engaged with what’s important to you and how they can commit to continuous improvement.

Contemporary research shows the main issue in retaining top-tier employees is engagement or the lack of it. Although most people would think money is the big motivator, engagement is the lynch pin to employee loyalty and retention.

The following mantra is a constant reminder to me to reward others and myself:

Be sure to collect your coins by registering. You can redeem them for coaching, services and products.

That which gets measured gets done.

That which gets done, gets rewarded.

That which gets rewarded, gets repeated.

Steps to Futurize Your Business

16 Jul 15
Michelle Cubas
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Want a noteworthy differentiator? Futurize Your Business.

Futurize your business in shifting markets with these simple and systematic steps.
Only two elements are required to apply them:
1. An open mind
2. Resourcefulness, not competitiveness.

Here’s your action plan!
* Keep a log of personal and staff meetings even if you are the only employee. (Binders work well and are easily updated and amended.)
* An effective action strategy is to consistently meet with vendors who support your business. Have a breakfast round table and ask these types of questions of each other:

Why are you in business? Dogs in arms
Restate your answer at least three times. For example, if you are an interior designer, do you sell furnishings and decor items or prestige, comfort and support your client’s creative expression?

Practice with professions that touch your business and see what evolves out of the discussion:

-Service station attendant
-Hotel reservation agent
Keep adding to the list, and you will find interesting ideas you can apply to your own business. You want to be able to access who your list members know.

The next steps . . .
Insulate your customer base while attracting more. This requires attention to what matters to them.
-Use Customer Insulation and Bridging! You will have to be brutally honest with these entries. In fact, have the round table give you feedback.
-Why would you use your services?
-Why do customers use your services? (Consider: reputation, price, value, quality?)
-Where do your customers come from? (Referrals, phone book, coupons?)
-What do I have to stop DOING to start BEING __________________! (Productive, profitable, approachable????)
A stark analysis of these questions will reveal highlights and gaps in your business. Once your vision is clear, and you’ve redefined how you want to conduct your business.

Additional ideas:brainfood

-Apply the Everybody Reward System (ERS)
This doesn’t eat time-It does require consistency.
-Eliminate secrecy, and let everybody “buy” in, even to discomfort,
-Reduce wasted resources! For example, start a recycling program, redeem cans, bail cardboard and flow it back into the company.
-Offer extraordinary ThanQs (rewards to include others supporting your employee like partners, children, family members)
-Put surprise on your side. Apply “Catch ’em in the Act!(” to reinforce behavior you want repeated.
-Catch ‘Em in the Act™—Publicly offer unexpected reward/recognition/ compensation/participation-encouragement to continue their vision and positive behavior.
-Reward only exceeded expectations.

  • Examples:
    -Use of a company vehicle
    -Movie passes
    -Weekend getaway
    -Pampering services
    -Gift certificates for choice
    -Babysitting services
    -Car washes

Hire Traits and Talents, Not CredentialsPass-It-On-hamsters
Examples for hiring practices:
Use the first part of the interview to set the company tone and explain your vision. Explain your expectations in black and white terms.
Then ask the candidate to repeat it back.
-Ask yourself, “Do they share my vision?” You’ll know within three minutes!
-Ask them to define what business you’re in?
-Avoid an “enough rope to hang yourself. . .” mentality.
-Be clear about what your job descriptions are in terms of what the company needs, your preferences, and the meaningful events during the year-business anniversary celebration, trade shows, and company events.

Once hired:
Review the participation in one month-Do they share and understand your vision? Do they understand what role they play in the big picture?
Find out what excites them: $$$, belonging, leadership, recognition-public or private. If encouragement is not provided in a meaningful way, it’s like giving someone a surprise party that hates surprises! (You’ll know in 15 minutes)

Company Self-Assessment Data
Excellent survey opportunity-Vertical Response or Survey Monkey are  easy to use and distribute.
Who are you attracted to for clients?
Whom do you attract?
Who do they think you are?
Who do you think you are?
How do people find you?

Promote memorable imaging—Mental perceptions of who you are and what you do.
Where is your location? Describe how to find you.
What does your image say about you?
Does your logo support who you are?
Are your materials representative of your level of commitment, service?
Is your message about accessibility in how to do business with you?

Awareness saves your resources.
Marketing resources are often reactive rather than planned.
Keep a log and have your team participate: How important is marketing to your business?
What would it take to raise your respect for marketing services?
How do you effectively use promotions?
How do you effectively use events?
Where are you in the process? If always in the middle, you need help!
What is your plan to achieve the next level?
Line extension
Site change
Added services

Preventative Marketing
How are you doing it right and delivering on the promise?
Halo effectiveness-publication placement & association with others who address your market
Avoid “good enough” thinking
Avoid underestimating expectations, “Nobody knows the difference anyway”
Where are you “playing” and with whom?
How do you prioritize campaigns.
Where can you shine in the calendar year? Avoid holiday clusters.
Is anyone out there? Select your targets, don’t just shoot!
How do you determine your pricing foundation-reactionary, dreams, perceptions and actualities?
Define Your Marketing Style

Log Entries
“If you overheard people discussing you and your business, what would you like them to say about you and your business. See how close the answers are. Can you really separate them?”

How to Achieve Profitability in a Non-Profitable Environment

Be sure to collect your coins by registering. You can redeem them for coaching, services and products.

Be sure to collect your coins by registering. You can redeem them for coaching, services and products.

Find the gold mine in niche treasures and existing contacts!
Tighten your audience appeal and marketing campaigns.

Define and develop your:
* Influencers (people who don’t buy from you, yet tell the world!)
* Vendors
* Alliances
* Similar business. What are they doing? Go the other way. Otherwise you sap energy and resources mimicking others. The idea has to be original to someone, why not you!
* Resources-Don’t fritter time and resources in a dry pond! That’s not defeat, that’s smart. Smaller fish have less economic impact than big fish! Collectively, a business is healthier with many fish.


Michelle Cubas is an Enterprise Business Analyst & Certified Business Coach. She practices nationwide through her small business and corporate ThinkShops (The practice focuses on interactive, participatory marketing and social media. For newsletter and business data, visit her at or e-mail
Positive Potentials, ThinkShops, Futurizing Your Business, E-web, Catch ‘Em in the Act!”, ThanQ are trademarks of
Positive Potentials LLC/The Enterprise Coaching & Consulting Practice
(480) 510-7166 (480) 444-4189 fax
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