About Erika Andersen

Over the past 30 years, Erika has developed a reputation for creating approaches to learning and business-building that are custom tailored to her clients’ challenges, goals, and culture.

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Archive for December, 2010


Christmas Eve

Here I am, late on Christmas Eve, reflecting on my life and sharing my reflection with you, dear reader. My husband has already gone to bed, and I’ve finished my Santa Claus duties…everything is ready for tomorrow morning.

On this night last year, Patrick asked me to marry him. The year since then has been, without a doubt, the most exciting and happiest year of my life, both personally and professionally.  And I suspect the best is yet to come.

So here, in this quiet house, with the fire burning low and the Christmas lights glimmering, I’ll tell you what I believe.

I believe that we each have an infinite capacity for happiness, joy, contentment and love. I believe we too often resist being happy; thinking it’s not possible, or that we don’t deserve it, or that circumstances or other people are making it too difficult.  I believe that happiness is our birthright, and that we can feel happy even when our external situation is difficult.

And the wonderful thing is: when I’m happiest, I seem to have the greatest power to be a positive force in the world.  When I’m content and joyful, I find it releases ever more of my talent, energy, clarity and focus to support others to become who they can become, and accomplish what they can accomplish.

For me, this is the essence of the holiday season, independent of religion or creed: when we’re at our best, we have the best possible impact on everyone and everything around us.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.


Technology Brings You Holiday Cheer

I’m old enough that I’m still impressed by the power of technology, especially when it comes to communication.  When I was a kid, there were three ways to send holiday greetings: the US mail, the phone, and in person.

Because long-distance phone charges were high, and you could only do a certain amount of running around to see people in person (still true, until they get that whole teleportation thing down) – the mail was the default setting for holiday communication.

So, think about it (especially those of you who weren’t around for this part of history).  You made a list of all the people you wanted to send holiday greetings to; found out each of their mailing addresses if you didn’t already have it; wrote out a card and addressed an envelope for each one; put the cards in the envelopes and affixed a stamp to each; went to the mailbox or the post office, and sent them out.  I remember my mom spending what seemed like weeks preparing and sending out her Christmas cards every year.
Now you can just write an email (or go to one of the many places that offer pre-created e-cards), create a group email list, and – click. Instantly all the people to whom you want to reach out, all over the world, get your message.

And it’s evolved even further over the past couple of years, through the miracle (to me) of easily embedded video links, so that you can send yourself, in effect: sharing a personal message in a way that lets friends and family see and hear you.

Or you can post (a verb that now means “write in your blog” vs. “send a letter”) your greetings…which I’ll do next week, and that will give me a chance to share my best holiday wishes with you and all my blogosphere friends – even though I may never have met you, I still think of you as a friend.

And that’s the cool thing.  That all this technology can make it simpler and faster to meet and get to share parts of life with a wider variety of people, spread further apart.  Which, I believe, can only help break down the barriers between people and countries, and make it more likely that the word “foreigner,” with all its negative and limiting us-and-them implications, will gradually drift out of use.

P.S. I’ve taken advantage of the aforementioned video technology to send a holiday message to all the folks on my Insider List.  If you’d like to see and hear it, I invite you to join the conversation – if you haven’t done so already – in the sign-up space to the right of this post.


Core Values at Tikatok

I had a great time last week helping the team at Tikatok clarify their core values.  Tikatok is “an online platform where parents and their children can write, illustrate, and publish their original stories into professional-quality hardcover and paperback books or eBooks.” It’s a little company with a great idea that lives within Barnes & Noble.

Tikatok’s president, Sharon Kan, called recently and told me that she felt her team had developed a unique  culture that was intrinsic to their success.  She asked if I could help them create core value statements that would capture their culture and help keep it strong as they grow.

We had a great afternoon, and they agreed on their five essential values, and then simple statements of how they intend to demonstrate those values day-to-day:

1)      (TRUST)  We believe in our customers and each other.

2)      (EMPATHY)  We care and we build communities that care.

3)     (PERSONAL IDENTITY)  We encourage self-expression.

4)     (ACHIEVING FULL POTENTIAL)  We inspire everyone to achieve their full potential.

5)     (HAPPINESS)  We invite people to do what makes them happy.

One thing I really like about these core values statements: all of them apply equally to their customers and to the members of the Tikatok team.  This kind of congruence is truly powerful: it’s the ultimate version of practicing what you preach.


Blogging for Forbes

I’m very excited – my wonderful publicist Barbara Henricks and her colleague Kaila Murphy have just told me that the folks at forbes.com are inviting me to be a regular blogger for them.

What a great platform!  I’ll keep blogging here, of course, as I have for the past four years, and this will stay the same mix of personal and business that it’s been all along.  My Forbes blog will be more business-focused, though my lens will be what I’m always curious about: I’ll explore how we and others can make work a place where people create the careers and lives they most want, and where we can get great results that also make a positive impact on the planet (or at least not a negative impact), while having a good time.

They’re asking me what I want to call my blog. It’s supposed to be my name, and then a title – kind of a tagline. I’m considering either  “Talking About Work” or “How Work Works.”

I’d love your feedback, or any other ideas…