You have a platform – how do you use it?

“In Paris, in London, in Berlin, at every single corner of the world, human life…”
“…same planet, same stupid…”
“I bet the only fighting you have ever done is an egg to a spatula…”
“Just paying those who protect us at home and abroad the same respect …”
“It’s hard to swallow never mind digest many of the comments…”

Raw Emotions… Strong Reactions….
These are just a few excerpts from the comments I’ve read today on Social Media.
Real, heart-felt commentaries about current developments in different regions of the world.
People feel strongly, one way or another. Some use harsh words. Others use words not suitable for printing…

Real conversations
I often hear from my friends, “Please don’t hold back, Mariana, do tell us how you really feel!”
Sometime they say it with an amused smile. Other times with a grimace.
(The good news: they are still my friends.)
Saying the truth, having a real conversation does not need to resort to insults. Or disrespect.

Yes, we do face real, difficult problems throughout the world.
To find solutions it’s going to take discipline. Focus.
Smart leadership.
All of us doing our part, however big or small.

What do we have in common?
The focus needs to be on what we have in common, what we want:
A safe environment. Good working conditions. To contribute to the best of our abilities.

Reminding ourselves of our common goals it’s a step in the right direction.
Next is the realization that we need to work together if we want to reach these goals.
To succeed we need to join efforts. Together we are stronger.

Smart leadership
Leadership starts at the personal level. Get involved. Do your part.
Be a strong, smart leader. Use words to unite not divide.
Use your platform to bring people together. To find solutions.

It’s our world!

As of this writing, there is no space shuttle to take us
to another planet (that I know of anyway : )

This is our home.
It’s up to us to keep it clean.
And safe.
For ourselves.
And for future generations.


/Comments/in Leadership,Management/by Mariana Fieraru

Colors: can they improve performance at work?

Colors have been used by ancient cultures to heal the human body.
Some psychiatrists have used colors to help their patients understand themselves better.
And there are studies showing that certain colors can boost our work productivity.

Can color improve work performance? Or affect emotions?
Yes! However, it depends largely on your personality. Your culture. And your own experience.
All of the above will influence how you feel about any one color.

Think of a dynamic color – like red.
When used in a work environment, it may make you feel either overwhelmed or energized.
At the other end of the spectrum, in a blue-green work environment you may be too relaxed to work.
If you are a high-octane individual that blue-green may be exactly what you need to be at your
peak-productivity level.

Colors influence the way we feel and act. Experts agree about the top four colors best suited for
increasing productivity in the workplace:


Communication. Trust. Loyalty. Integrity.


Energy. Intensity. This color invokes strong emotions.


Optimism. Self-confidence. Cheerfulness. Fun. Wisdom. Logic. Analytical.


Balance. Stability. Growth. Vitality. Nurturing. Prosperity.

Again, it all depends on your personality. And how you relate to colors.
Your favorite may not be on the list above.

Choose what YOU like.
In your favorite shade or intensity.

If you are a high-energy person you may need to surround yourself with cool colors
like blue, purple, and green.
These colors will sooth you. And help increase your concentration.

To feel energized choose warm colors like red, orange and yellow.
They’ll energize and cheer you up at the same time.

A positive attitude at work is the best productivity booster, of course!
Surrounding yourself with colors you like it’s an added bonus : )


/Comments/in Leadership,Management/by Mariana Fieraru

Entrepreneurs: why it’s good to work with both small and large clients

Running a business.
It takes grit, persistence. And foresight.
And there are times when when we are pushed to the limits – especially on the first two!

Several years ago one of my clients suffered a major setback: more than $1.5 million dollars drop
in revenues.
That happened because they lost ONE customer. That customer alone was responsible for 40 percent
of their revenues.

Client struggled through some very difficult times – almost went out of business.

What saved them? Grit. Determination. And the rest of their customers.

Important lesson learned
They learned just how important those small customers were.
Just as important,they learned that loosing one small account wouldn’t create the “earthquake” in the budget like
the big account did.
True, the revenue they brought in didn’t compare to the larger amounts brought by the big customer.
Their smaller customers kept the business alive.
And they were just as important as the large customer.

The recipe for success
It’s great to go after that “big catch” account. It brings higher revenues.
Sometime comes in with the prestige and accolades.
It’s also important not to lose sight of the big picture.

Along with big accounts make room for small, “bread and butter” accounts.
Strive to have have a good mix. A combination of both, big and small accounts.
It’s good for business.
And it’s smart.
Plus, as my client would tell you, it makes for a much better night sleep.

          New postings: Tuesdays and Fridays

/Comments/in Leadership,Management/by Mariana Fieraru

Taxes: Transfer Pricing

Transfer pricing it’s usually a complex issue for a multinational company.
Especially during audits.

I assisted clients in audits when that was a thorny issue. And I also assisted
in audits when that was a non-issue; with no change in tax liability.

I prefer the last one (for obvious reasons!)

New Tax Developments – Transfer Pricing Regulations
2015 brings good news for taxpayers affected by transfer pricing issues.
With a recent court case ruling favorably for the taxpayer it becomes evident
that IRS needs to change the way it conducts audits and litigates cases where
transfer pricing is involved.

Theories of how related parties “should behave” have long been part of the IRS’
strategy of conducting examinations. Recent court cases may change that.

The IRS has stated that it’s working toward improving its methods. And that it
needs to focus on facts rather than theories.

That is good news for taxpayers.

Tax reminder: October 15
On the “lighter”side of things: do remember you have less than ten days to file
your personal taxes.
(That’s for those of you who filed tax extensions.)

And, if you are filing at this time, it’s a strong possibility you have a tax
bill to pay.
It’s probably safe to say most people are not jumping up with joy when they have
to send a big check to Uncle Sam.

If you are one of them try and see things in a positive light: having a tax bill to pay
it means you have had a good, profitable year.

Remember what Oliver W. Holmes, Jr. said:

“Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.”


/Comments/in Management,Money/by Mariana Fieraru

There are no limits

Far too often we tell ourselves we can’t.
We can’t because it’s “impossible”.
For one reason or another.

Don’t let self-limiting beliefs stopping you from
reaching your full potential.

Yes, there are real limits.
Wanting to be a basketball player or a high-fashion model,
most likely would not be a smart choice for a five-feet tall person.
(There are always exceptions, of course.)

But it’s a big difference between
real limits and self-imposed limits.

As Bruce Lee said:

“If you always put limits
on what you can do,
physical or anything else,
it’ll spread over
into the rest of your life.

It’ll spread into your work,
into your morality,
into your entire being.

There are no limits.

There are plateaus,
but you must not stay there,
you must go beyond them.”


/Comments/in Leadership,Management,Success/by Mariana Fieraru

Protect and Serve

A week ago Sunday I put this posting on Facebook:
“Because of several work projects, Facebook needs to become a “weekend sport” for me.”
I wanted to let my friends know so they won’t think I ignore their postings.

A week later
It’s around 10:30 in the morning. I’ve been working on a corporate tax return for
several hours and I need to stop and give my eyes a rest from the computer.

But before I can take a break I need to check the emails – in case it’s something that needs immediate attention.
As I glance at the messages on the screen one really gets my attention:
“Mariana – has your FB page been hacked?
The video from (XYZ Name ) doesn’t seem like you at all.”

Damage Control
Immediately I’m thinking of children.
In my network I have school-age children. On both sides of the Atlantic.

Within seconds I’m on the Facebook page, look for the name my friend mentioned, delete the post;
next, I delete the name from my list of friends.

Then I post few words about the incident.
Judging by, “…we haven’t seen it” replies from friends means Chuck and I stopped it in time.

Once all was taken care of I took a long break.
And reflected on what just happened.

Wild West
I’m thinking about the internet. How much use I get out of it. A great tool!
Then there are days like this…  when internet feels like a modern version of the Wild West.

Protect and Serve
And I’m thinking of Chuck, my friend who alerted me of the problem.
Back when I lived in California we were neighbors. He lived across the street from me.
This Vietnam vet, when talking about his service he said it was a privilege to protect and serve his country.
He still does it. Today he protected children from my Facebook family from seeing an inappropriate post.
Thank you, Chuck.


/Comments/in Management/by Mariana Fieraru

Always do your best – in time your BEST will be BETTER

“I’m looking for some good reading material. Any suggestions?” a friend asked the other day.
I recommended few titles including The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.
I’ve read the book years ago – its simple and sage advice stayed with me.

The four agreements (rules) are:

• Be impeccable with your word
• Don’t take anything personally
• Don’t make assumptions
• Always do your best

Be impeccable with your word
Say what you mean and mean what you say.
Remember, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
Words are powerful.

Don’t take anything personally
When you feel slighted by someone’s behavior – take a moment before reacting.
(Don’t let emotions control what you say and do.)
Be clear and know what you want – that will greatly influence how you react.

Don’t make assumptions
Tell others what you want/need. They can’t read your mind.
Ask questions. And listen.

Always do your best
Some days you’ll function at the top of your game.
Other days not so much.
Simply do your best at that moment.

Live your life doing your best.

These four simple yet powerful rules will greatly improve your interactions at work as well as with family and friends.

Sharing this blog with your friends is much appreciated.

/Comments/in Leadership,Management/by Mariana Fieraru

What Makes a Great Team?

What makes a great, effective team?

  • Shared common goals.
  • Good systems and processes.
  • Team members that know how to build on each other strengths and diversity.
  • Good leadership.

Same principles will apply to a multicultural team.
The only difference is that some processes will be more challenging to implement than others.

Good Systems and Processes
In an earlier post we discussed how important trust and communication are when building a successful team.
Equally important is making sure that each member feels valued.

The leadership needs to create a positive atmosphere where input and feedback is encouraged.
Most of all, each member needs to feel included. Sometime all it takes from management is to listen.
When team members feel their opinion counts then they’ll feel invested in the team.
And they will work harder toward reaching the teams’ goals and objectives.

Positive work environment
If you are the leader of your team you will get much better results when you create a positive work environment.
And include team members in the decision process.

To be a great leader you need to know how to motivate and inspire your team.
And that’s a win/win for everyone involved.


Sharing this blog with your friends is much appreciated.

/Comments/in Leadership,Management/by Mariana Fieraru

A Multicultural Workforce: Advantages and Challenges

Smart business leaders know the importance of understanding cultural differences.
In today’s increasingly complex business environment understanding your multicultural work force helps you gain and sustain a competitive edge.
And can greatly improve your organization’s productivity and bottom-line results.

Multicultural workforce or cultural diversity in the workplace – whatever name you use – it’s a reality in today’s business world. To get the best results for you and your organization it’s important to understand and effectively interact with people from diverse backgrounds.

What do I know about diversity in the workplace?
Well, that was a twenty-year-long learning process : )
The best way to learn about other cultures (for me) was to live in a border or in a port town.
San Diego is both. That’s where I learned about diversity. For those of you not familiar with the city:

• San Diego is the eighth largest city in the United States.
• With a diverse and multilingual population (by some accounts its residents speak close to100 languages).
• San Diego’s economy is led by manufacturing, tourism, military and defense industry.
• The city has one of the busiest border crossings in the world. More than $30 billion goods are going through customs every year.

San Diego was my home for twenty years.

Understand our differences
Celebrate how much alike we are

I could tell you about PD, MAS, IDV, and more of the same.
But I won’t.
Throughout this month I will share with you first-hand experiences and observations.

I work with clients who have business operations on both sides of the border. At the top of their agenda is learning about how each side operates best and gets the optimum results. Simply put, they want to maximize the benefits and minimize the challenges.

In today’s global economy that’s an important part of managing any business.
We’ll also discuss inclusion, which I think is one of the most effective tools to use in managing a diverse workforce.

“We are, I think, much more mature and wise today. Just as we welcome a world of diversity, so we glory in an America of diversity ; an America all the richer for the many different and distinctive strands of which it is woven.” Hubert Humphrey.

Sharing this blog with your friends is much appreciated.

/Comments/in Leadership,Management,Multicultural Work Team/by Mariana Fieraru

A New Year and a New You!

The time of the year also known as the “prime time” of resolutions!

What’s your resolution for this year?
And (more importantly : ) how do you plan to keep it going past January?

I find this quote by William Arthur Ward to be inspiring and worthy of sharing:

“Do more than belong: participate.

Do more than care: help.

Do more than believe: practice.

Do more than be fair: be kind.

Do more than forgive: forget.

Do more than dream: work.”

Happy New Year!
And may all your dreams of success come true in 2015!

/Comments/in Management,Success/by Mariana Fieraru