Friday, March 28, 2014

Wisest Advice Shared and Three Cents of my Own



“The single raindrop never feels responsible for the flood.” If you’re taking part in something bigger than yourself that has detrimental impact, whether spreading gossip or not stopping others from spreading it, or, not “getting involved” when you see something happen that is terrible, you are responsible whether or not you like it.

“Remember, you’re just a walk on part in everyone else’s play.” You might believe you’re the most important person in the world, or you might think your opinions are the ones that should be heard and followed, but you aren’t the end all and be all in anyone else’s life other than your own.

“Stop looking around for the right person and try to BE the right person.” You get back what you “are”.

“Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” (No more needs to be said on this one.)

A reputation takes years to build and only seconds to destroy. Don’t ever, EVER let anyone in any way negatively impact your reputation. You are your word.

By living, there’s a risk of dying. If you don’t risk then you’re not living. It’s an existence.

“Call your mom.” Hey, as a mom I love this one!

You can judge the character of a person by how they treat people in the service industry.

Being old and being a grown-up are two different things.

Our lives are short but the things we can do within that time are infinite. The thing is, the more you put things off for “another time” or “later” the less you’ll do, the less you’ll be.

Everyone in this world, no matter where they come from and what they do, knows something about life and living that you don’t know. Find out what that is.

Always keep your promises. If you can’t make them happen, then don’t promise in the first place. Broken promises beget broken trust.

What do you want your legacy to be?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Who Do You Need to Know That You Don't Know?

In all my work with clients, whether in turbulent situations, corporate settings or in the lecture hall, I ask the same reality check questions "Who do you need to know that you don't know?" and "What do you need to know that you don't know?"  You know what you know. You know many people, but do you know what they know? How often do you sit around the table when a long time friend comes out with something and you turn, dumbfounded, because they shared something you didn't know of them?

Successful leaders don't know it all; they know who their go-to people are for what they do need to know. The more expansive your network is, the more thought partners you have access to. The world isn't slowing down any time soon and we can't be expected to keep up to its pace. It's even more critical that leaders align with people outside their immediate realm so they have access to a breadth and depth of knowledge and experience they need in order to lead.

But how can we grow the leaders of the future? In most cases, the traditional education model will not prepare them for thinking on their feet, nor for how fast the world is evolving through innovation and technology. Therefore some of the fundamentals have to change. Years ago, I was driving with my son and talking about just that. What he said to me stays with me for this day which was, "The traditional education system is failing not because of bad teachers, bad kids or low standards but because the content is not interesting and the environment isn't stimulating, but the rest of the world is. The educational model as we know it has lost its relevance. People learn more in online communities. The physical environment is too structured and doesn't allow for individuality".

Well, that's being addressed, I'm happy to say. Enter TED-Ed, Lessons Worth Sharing. Users can take any educational video as well as a TED video and easily create a customized lesson with it. Now there are TED-ED clubs, school-based programs that supports students in discussing, pursuing and presenting their big ideas in the form of short TED-style talks. Many of my clients now invite their staff to share a favorite TED talk and then discuss why they shared it and what the learning was.

Today, I'm happy to say, I read a position paper from the British Columbia Ministry of Education on their Curriculum Transformation Plans where they state "The current curriculum has too many objectives to cover and with so many objectives it can in some ways restrict student learning. Moreover, its highly prescriptive nature puts it at odds with the vision of a more personalized learning experience. With the improved curriculum, students will have increased opportunities to gain the essential learning and life skills necessary to live and work successfully in a complex, interconnected, and rapidly changing world. Students will focus on acquiring skills to help them use knowledge critically and creatively, to solve problems ethically and collaboratively, and to make the decisions necessary to succeed in our increasingly globalized world."

This is exciting! It's time leaders enabled their people to learn, share, create strong thought partnerships and evolve all those around them. For parents and teachers, it's about helping the next wave of leaders-to-be learn, and integrate the learning every day and to use the outside world as the global classroom it can be. You want to have a sense of where your kids are heading in the future? Bring back those dinner table discussions around something that blew you away that day and ask them to share the same. Watch a TED talk with them and then discuss it. Invite them to embrace curiosity and inquiry. We will never know all we need to know which opens the door to global relationships, to percolate on and design what we need to build a strong future.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Disconnecting

This post brings a different slant to what I usually write. I'm all for connecting, networking, having global conversations and sharing my perspectives. I also usually write a new year's letter sharing all that happened in the past year with my intentions for the year to come. However this year I disconnected instead.

For a while I felt guilty about not writing my letter and then came to the conclusion that those people in my life, who are interested in my life, already know what I've been up to. So I disconnected. I didn't post on Facebook, barely looked at LinkedIn unless I got a direct email through there. I didn't respond to work emails and didn't do all the administrivia I usually do at the end of the year.

And you know what? The world was still there on January 2nd! What a concept!

This morning someone I greatly respect shared an article with me and I was mentally whooping and hollering "YES!" Someone else did that as well!  It's an amazing post which I'll share with you called Logging Off by Kevin Conroy Smith. In my mind, he really does have 'A Better Perspective'. I am reminding myself why I used that phrase as my company identity. When I was naming my company and was going to call it "A New Perspective", a dear friend told me that sometimes the old ways are better. That conversation comes to mind more times than I can count.

Kevin's post brings it all full circle. In being so connected, we're disconnecting from life. So instead of posting everything I was doing, I just did it. Instead of sitting with my tablet or laptop, I shared life with my life partner. We puzzled, watched movies, went shopping, saw family and friends and cooked great meals. That is what connecting is all about.

Wishing you a year filled with connections, relationship, fulfillment and a better perspective on life.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Most Powerful Leadership Position of All: Parenthood

A friend's daughter posted a link to this Huffington Post article on Facebook and I knew I had to write about it. It's called The Sweet Spot by Julianna Miner.

So many memories came to mind as I read it, a sweeter spot for me as it's my mother's 85th birthday today. And when I say 85, that's 85 years young. I do want to be her when I grow up. 

The article brought smiles and tears...memories of when my son was young. We did so much together back then. We were closer than close. When he moved out to go away to school my friends and family were worried that it would be really hard for me. Then puzzled because it wasn't. When they asked me to tell them the truth about how I felt, my answer was a simple one. "He is exactly where he should be...finding his life and his way within it." He has and so have I.


Last night we were on a call with him and his wife, both sides on speaker phone so we could all hear and discuss what we were going to do for my mom's birthday. Of course we got off topic and joked, teased and laughed. It was the greatest conference call I ever had. 

Which got me thinking...the most important leadership job we could take on is parenting. Our kids watch what we do more than pay attention to what we say. My mother can attest to that. She always told me I would look at her intently when she told me something and then would do what I wanted. I'm grinning now just thinking about it.  The thing is, my parents taught me what I needed to know so I could make decisions. They enabled me every step of the way and when they didn't understand something, they looked at it from my perspective and then supported me in trying it out.

Is it any wonder I do what I do? 

I am in my sweet spot being surrounded by amazing people. And as we all grow through life, I know I have to pay attention to how it all comes together; work, home, learning, experiencing, and how I share it all. And tomorrow, when we celebrate my mother's birthday, I think I'd love to sit around and share stories, memories, wishes and dreams and then figure out how to make them happen.

As Julianna says "If raising children is like baseball or swimming, getting it right must be a cocktail of luck, faith, and showing up every day to do the work. And of course, never quitting (even when it all seems like a hopeless goat rodeo). And if you do it well, they won't just leave you. When they go, they will soar away. And all you can hope is that you set them up TO BE COMPLETELY AWESOME."

Thanks for the reminder, Julianna!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Leadership Lessons

I've been in discussions with many people of late on the topic of leadership; role vs. way of being, competencies, performance appraisals and every other perspective you can imagine.

I'll be part of a panel of leaders to discuss Understanding the DNA of a Good Leader at the DPI conference in May and was thinking about the approach I'd like to take to really dive into this conversation with participants.

This morning's Leading Blog post on Avoiding the "Mediocre Me" Mindset is one great perspective to discuss with the panel. What we do as coaches is help people shift their thinking about how they do what they do, why they do what they do and how they show up to the world in the process.

It's about being reflective, a self-observer to synthesize and process experiences as they emerge rather than worry about performance, what people think and how you are perceived by the masses. In other words, how can you let go of the need to please and impress people to cultivate your authentic self?


Monday, January 21, 2013

Thought Leaders


I am thrilled to spread the word about John Spence, (Chapter 1 in my book Leaders: Their Stories, Their Words) who was named as one of the top 100 thought leaders in trustworthy business behavior for 2013 by Trust Across America! Read on...

I first 'met' John Spence years ago when we were co-authoring a blog with other leaders from many parts of the world.  He is not only insightful, knowledgeable and authentic but a human-based leader in every sense.  He looks well beyond the bottom line and works with his clients to lead joyful and fulfilled, not to mention successful lives.

To quote John "Very few people have someone from the outside to be there for them, who’s there 100% for them. Let me help you, let me serve you, let me do whatever it is I can do to assist you." That's John in a nutshell. He has your back, helps you see beyond what you're currently seeing and turns people's and organization's worlds right-side up.

I'm at the stage of my career where I want to be teaching whatever I can to those willing and eager enough to learn. Through the teaching I in turn learn and so the circle continues.  I'll have more to share with clients and continuously create the shifts in my life that I need to be making. How are you keeping your knowledge fresh, current, and relevant? We live in a world that is never static, therefore we have to continue to dance in real time with our worlds as they unfold. 

When you start getting comfortable with your work, start questioning what you don't know, partner with others to stretch you, have those percolating conversations until you're back to uncomfortable. That's when you'll be truly dancing.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Meetings Generating More Meetings?

When was the last time you took a good look at why you're holding meetings? Walk into the meeting and state your intention and desired outcome. Then, periodically through the meeting, revisit both to make sure you're getting what you need. If not, redirect or adjourn it. Stating your desired outcomes shifts you to working smarter, faster and better.

Time is your most precious commodity. Don't waste it for you and others.