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Ascend – Solve The Performance Puzzle

Blue Rooster Web is proud to launch the Ascend Performance Group’s website. Ascend helps businesses grow by providing leadership and organizational development, as well as, performance coaching. To better explain Ascend’s philosophy and thought process, we had a little help from Jim Knittel, Principle at Ascend.

Solve the Performance Puzzle

Each year, organizations combine to spend over one billion dollars on talent development, yet leaders often report that their employees fail to hit expected goals. Part of the problem is that in many cases, leaders don’t care what pieces are in the box, they just want to see the completed picture. In other words, they don’t get bogged down with the process of how talent development comes together, they just care that their employees are knowledgeable, skillful, engaged, motivated, and executing their job requirements. But as anyone good at putting puzzles together will tell you, the process is critical to the end product.

In my 20+ years of helping organizations solve their performance challenges, I’ve found that the corners of the performance puzzle include:

  • Process and accountability
  • Neuroscience
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Resilience


Each of these pieces bring a wealth of knowledge and insight into how we maximize performance. This article will look at key findings from each of these areas and propose a process for putting this puzzle together.


There are two lines of thought that must be considered in relation to neuroscience:

  1. Human brains are wired for survival and instinctively trend to the negative to ensure safety (fight or flight). That means we’re working against thousands of years of evolution to create new tendencies that look for the positives first.
  2. We know that only 5% of the decisions we make come from the prefrontal cortex – which is the thoughtful, logic-oriented part of our brain. To maximize performance, we need to be aware of the brain’s tendencies and be committed to operating in a manner that takes control over our emotions.

Therefore, when focused on talent development, we need to take into account our brain’s tendencies and incorporate a strategy to overcome years of evolutional control. Techniques such as questioning, meditation, and physical activity can create new pathways that will drive better thinking and, in turn, the potential to improve performance.

For the sake of simplicity, I have done an injustice to the complexity that has been uncovered in the area of neuroscience. For the purposes here, we need to know our reptilian brain is working against us, yet we can create new pathways that will drive better thinking and the potential for improved performance.

Process & Accountability

When we think of performance in any discipline, we naturally think of process and practice. Look at any high-performing organization and you’ll find one that has a clear vision, defined expectations, agreed upon ways of achievement, and a commitment to excelling through practice. When we compare those high-performers with the rest of the pack, we see an unwavering discipline to process. Successful organizations are not only committed to a process, but they demonstrate an inflexible commitment to holding everyone accountable to extremely high standards. They have identified a path, that when followed will ensure success, and in turn they have built strength through a community where everyone understands what their role is and how they each contribute to the larger goal.

As I reflect on organizations that I have witnessed, there is a general tendency to operate through vagueness, a lack of accountability, in-fighting, and a pervasive attitude of “good enough”. I’m sure we’ve all been part of teams where everything was an effort. Hopefully, many of us have also experienced being part of something where everything clicks. What creates the difference?

When we look to solve the performance puzzle we must ask ourselves, is our mission clear? Is there a defined process that explains what we’re doing, how to do it, and why we’re doing it? Does every member of the team understand their role and are they being held accountable to the high standards needed to excel? Are we incorporating practice, coaching and other developmental solutions to ingrain the skills needed to perform?

Emotional Intelligence (EI)

Popularized by Daniel Goleman, emotional intelligence refers to the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. I’ve captured EI as a separate bucket from our neuroscience bucket but there are many consistencies between the two. While both start with the inner-workings of the brain and bring us back to the ongoing struggle between the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex for decision making abilities, for the purposes of this conversation we’ll look at EI with a slant away from the science and toward the demonstrable skills that enable leaders to maximize their own performance and their followers’ performance.

Goleman identifies the five skills that make up EI – self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill. Not only did Goleman find that EI proved to be twice as important as technical skills and IQ as ingredients of excellent performance, his research showed that high levels of EI creates climates in which information sharing, trust, healthy risk-taking and learning flourish. In Leadership and Self-Deception, and The Outward Mindset, The Arbinger Institute calls out “the biggest lever for change is not a change in self-belief but a fundamental change in the way one sees and regards one’s connections with and obligations to others.” If our mindset shapes how we engage with others and behave in every situation, and an outward mindset allows us to behave in ways that further the collective results we’re committed to achieve, it would stand to reason that by developing our emotional intelligence we will be better skilled at getting out of our own way and maximizing the relationships with others.

If we start to look at the patterns emerging across neuroscience, process & accountability, and now EI, we see how important it is to operate in the present. Being aware of our mental and physiological states and how those states influence our decision-making, collaboration, accountability and creativity is paramount to our ability to perform at a high level. High-performers realize that processes, practice and habits are the elements that lead to results.


Evaluation of high-performers also uncovers the importance of resilience. Research shows that we need to be aware of our feelings and their power to control our choices. We need to acknowledge and overcome the reality that we will never achieve greatness unless we become better managers of our feelings and be willing to push ourselves beyond our perceived limits. Leaders and high-performers in any discipline share one trait – a defiant commitment to doing whatever it takes to achieve success. These people do not give into the feelings of “not today”, “not now”, or any other barrier their mind – or others – can put in front of them.

When we focus on performance improvement we need to create an environment that embraces a no-excuses mindset. It is not until we are willing to push beyond the fear, the discomfort, and the unknown, that we will begin to achieve the greatness that we are capable of.

Putting It All Together

We started this conversation focused on investigating how to maximize performance. While we only scratched the surface we have uncovered the key pieces to the puzzle. Improving performance and achieving success is not an easy process, otherwise talent development would not be a billion dollar business. What we need to recognize is that there are a lot of pieces to the puzzle that need to be well-constructed in order to achieve the picture we’re looking for.

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Compliment Almost Any Figure With Mobile Swimwear

Ladies, do you dread the annual trek into the swimwear section of your neighborhood department store or specialty shop? Afraid to order online without trying on? Been putting off getting a new swimsuit even though your last one is older than your middle school children? Mobile Swimwear has a new concept that is sure to revolutionize how you shop for swimwear! Mobile Swimwear is proud to offer USA made, Tara Grinna Swimwear. Tara Grinna designs have the ability to fit and compliment almost any figure type with her body-flattering silhouettes in a wide range of sizes.

This is the mission of our client Mobile Swimwear. They want to make sure that all women feel beautiful and comfortable wearing swimwear products. Paired up with Tara Grinna to provide luxurious designs, every woman is sure to feel confidence after a Mobile Swimwear trained stylist provides a private consultation. The stylist discuss your preferred swimwear styles and areas of your body that you want to maximize, minimize or hide. A swimwear stylist will offer professional suggestions about the styles and sizes which flatter your body type, including supportive bra-sized swimwear up to an F = (G) cup.

To learn more about our client Mobile Swimwear, please go to https://mobile-swimwear.com



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Empreinte Is An Art To Philanthropy

It is no coincidence that the holiday’s are the time of year that we all think about giving. So much so, that it is almost expected. With that type of pressure, who has time to vet out who you are giving to? Well that is exactly what happens to large corporations and private equity on a yearly basis. They get pounded by every non-profit for a donation.

Empreinte Consulting, LLC is a full service philanthropic consulting firm that partners with individual philanthropists, non-profit organizations and corporations that are looking to make an impact on their community. They help guide you on a path to give to charities who need it most and who’s mission aligns with your community beliefs.

Likewise, Empreinte helps non-profits to help them find them the right major donors. They consult with the non-profits to make sure that they are sending the right message and attracting the right philanthropists.

There is an art to Philanthropy. Empreinte has mastered this art by marrying the philanthropist and the non-profit. Thus creating a good synergy that helps the community they serve.

Blue Rooster Web is proud to launch Empreinte’s brand new site. Come check them out at https://empreinteconsulting.com and tell them what you think.


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Back 2 Basics Stepping Into An Unconnected World To Regain A Sense Of You

There is a place between here and there, far away from the sidewalks and city hustle that we all can regain a sense of us. Whether the journey is a back woods trail or a winding river, sometimes we all need to get Back 2 Basics.

I met Michael at a festival in Ybor City when he was selling his fabulous cooking syrups called Barrel Aged Creations. After talking about grilling and all of our food experiences, we started discussing the Back 2 Basics concept. Many of us live lives that we do not have time for ourselves, let alone a prayer to God. This disconnect with our spiritual life and our own personal life, leads us to become disenchanted with our own life. The Back to Basics Outdoor Ministry is designed to reconnect and ignite the spark between us and God. To see the glory of his creation and to find peace in ourselves.

For me, I am an avid hiker, kayaker and outdoors man. I love a good adventure. Why, because I do not bring my cell phone. I need to disconnect from everything and everyone. I need to go Back 2 Basics, if you will, and stop the white noise that keeps me from loving life and being productive. More importantly I need time to reflect on what has been provided to me by the Lord, and to be grateful for what I do have.

Not everyone can do this without a guide. Back 2 Basics is a non-denominational, Christian experience that guides you through a path to find exactly what I have illustrated above, gratitude. To guide an adventurer on an new experience, we decided to create an online platform that allows you to choose your adventure either by activity or by location in the US. Individuals or groups are able to work one-on-one with the team at Back2Basics to customize their outdoor adventure. Please check them out at https://back2basicsom.com and see what they have to offer.

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Maria Ricciardi may possibly be one of the most amazing and interesting people I have ever met in my life. Introduced by an old college friend and now her husband, I met Maria for the first time in Chicago on a cold and blistery day in late January. Maria has been the reason for the season ever since that moment, through her travel photography, I have experienced so many amazing things. The stories she can tell with just a picture let alone the words that can go along are captivating in its self. The relationships she builds in-person, with people, and with her photography bring life to the human condition and pose a different perceptive on the world.

Maria IS her website. She does live authentically, bravely and with lots of gumption. This portal into her travels and life, I could never do it justice, however, I can let her speak for herself.

“I am Maria Ricciardi and I am a traveler, writer, and photographer.  I started adding my journal entries to the photos I take to share my adventures and experiences one photo at a time.  At the end of the day, you will be able to walk the same path I did through my visual storytelling. I love to travel and experience new things, meet new people and photograph the world.  Supporting local economies, conservation of wildlife and environmental sustainability are incredibly important to me, and what I am conscious of as I explore. I hope to enhance your experience of travel through the trials and errors of mine, and take you on a journey of visual wanderlust.  My goal is to live authentically, bravely and with gumption…with my camera in hand.  Would you like to join me on one of my photographic adventures?” -Maria Ricciardi

Please check out Maria’s website at https://mariaseestheworld.com/ Drop her a line and tell her what you think. Also, come back often to her site and checkout her photo updates and awesome new worldwide adventures.


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Perking Up a Website with Blue Rooster Web

Aroma of coffee in the morning, there is nothing better to smell, when you are waking up. A cup of warm Joe.

Mike came to Blue Rooster Web a few months back looking for us to improve his current website. Java Joes Fundraising, which is a flash site, used an animate version of his iconic Java Joe. The site was hard to update and it could use a nice modern look. So we set off the make Java Joe hip again.

We made a slight update to Joe’s appearance, he walks out now having a cool pair of Ray Bans, smart phone, wireless ear buds and of course a pair of skater shoes. The site got an upgraded clean appearance, mobile compatible responsive tone. Lastly, we then combined three sites into one Java Joes Coffee, Cookie Joe and Fudge Joe.

Finally in a few weeks to come, we will be upgrading the store to an all in one e-comerence solution that integrated directly into Amazon for fulfillment.

There are a lot of other features that we were not apart of but, it makes Java Joes into a real fundraiser powerhouse allowing people anywhere to do fundraising with out having to put in a lot of effort. Check out Java Joes Fundraising new site at https://javejoesfundraiser.com

Remember if you are looking for affordable website design, hosting and digital marketing subscribe to Blue Rooster Web.

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Home is where the heart is, the launch of Calculating Destiny, a reimagined brand.

When she came to me with the original idea, I thought she was crazy. Financial services paired with the idea of home. Calculating Destiny is a professional  services and accounting company, dedicated to the tag line (which we created for them); “Strategic solutions that revolve around numbers allow you to exactly calculate your growth model through creative marketing, compliance, and metrics. Our partnership with you is designed to help direct your books, to turn ideas into profits.” How could this be about home?

Home is where the heart is. It is where we begin our day and end our day. In between, we think about home; our partner, our children, our pets and the spaces that surround them. In between the love of home, is the right to protect, nourish and grow it. This is where the financial part comes in. The numbers are what help build these memories, the structures, and the family. As business owners/leaders, our drive to create comes from our businesses, and what our business produces. Although it was crazy, the marriage of these two idea’s is genius.

Lets remove the sterile environment of company, corporate, partnership of firms, and lets come home.

Sun Sign Designs Inc, and Blue Rooster Web proudly announce the launch of Calculating Destiny’s new website. https://calculatingdestiny.com

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Blue Rooster Web Launches JK Executive Services

Located in Rochester New York, JK Executive services provides professional services in recruiting, staffing, and executive search. The site functions as a job search engine for the local Rochester, Buffalo and the state of New York. The state of New York has approximately 450,000 business with 100 or less employees and the city of Rochester has approximately 70,000 in total employment.

JK Executive Services connects leaders, strengthen culture and deliver results. Their initiatives are founded upon custom solutions, a conscientious approach and confidentiality at all times.

Please check out their site and our work at jkexec.com.

Affordable Website Design

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Blue Rooster Web Launches Southern Belle At Fripp Island

Vacation time is among us and we are dreaming of the beach in South Carolina. We are proud to launch another affordable custom website, The Southern Belle at Fripp Island South Carolina. Special features to this site are an integrated a calendar/reservation property management system. This streamlined the clients sales and property management process, as well as, made it easier for vacationers to rent the property online. The property management software also links into major listing sites like Expedia.  Please check out https://southernbelleatfrippisland.com and let us know what you think.