Sunday, December 31, 2006

One More Joined In Under the Wire!

I realise I posted my New Year's Blog and today is the last day of the year, but I would be remiss if I didn't welcome the 95th subscriber from Kenya. Welcome, stay a while and please share your thoughts and insights with us all.

Wishing all of you a very happy, joyful and prosperous New Year!

Best, always
Donna Karlin

Monday, December 18, 2006

Reflecting on 2006 and Looking Forward into 2007

Yes, it’s that time again where I sit down and reflect on all that’s happened in 2006. I’m amazed at how much was jam packed into a twelve month period! The year has been fuller, more enlightening and a huge period of growth for me…... a full spectrum of everything you could imagine. One of my clients keeps maintaining that I’m busier than any human being she’s ever known and that might be true, however busy also incorporates my personal world.

My work has morphed in a way. Last year I looked at how to change some of the dynamics of my work, for as I get older I have to take into consideration the extraordinary amount of energy required to Shadow Coach™ organizational and global leaders. I don’t ever want to get to the point where I find myself saying “I just can’t do this any more as I don’t have enough energy” and find myself in a place I don’t want to be. Rather, I want to continually reinvent what I do, grow, stretch, teach others so I can continue to pick and choose my clients and work with those who energize me and help me grow in the process.

As I look at “what’s new” in the world of ‘A Better Perspective™’, The School of Shadow Coaching™ and Donna within those contexts of course, I decided to share it all in a running list so you have some idea where we’re taking the company, the school and how, within both realms I’m making a point of growing in my field and figuring out ways of remaining on the cutting edge of Executive Coaching. And of course, if you want to know more, you know where to find me to ask : )

So, taking a deep breath…here goes!

January: 2006 began by being invited to co-author the book 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life with Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, Jim Rohn and gang. I found myself frantically writing on planes traveling to and from England (wait times in airports and long plane trips are great for these things!) The School of Shadow Coaching™ launched its first international awareness session in Chicago. Also in January the office was wired with whatever we needed to launch the Microsoft Vision Team so we could meet virtually on our calls and start looking at the context of collaborative technology.

February: I chaired the Communication and Conflict Management Skills Conference in Ottawa which was a big success.

March: We formally launched the Microsoft Vision Team and virtually met our counterparts from across the country.

May: We had our book launch for 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life.

June: Our first face to face meeting with the Microsoft Vision Team players to plan, collaborate and look at next steps for the team.

July: I was asked to come on board as one of the Thought Leaders for ExecuBooks Blog and began an extraordinary dialogue with my fellow bloggers from all over the globe. I was very fortunate to connect with amazing individuals, get to know Tom Morris from ‘If Harry Potter Ran General Electric” fame (I love that book!) and Steve Harper. NO! Not our Prime Minister though I’m razzed about it every time others see his name in my inbox or schedule, not to mention he could pass as our Prime Minister’s double!

September: brought the launch of The School of Shadow Coaching Advanced Coach Satellite Training in Chicago and the Organizational Leadership Training.

October: Our ICCO group (International Consortium of Coaching in Organizations) met in New York City to look at Stewardship within our profession as we coach global leaders. We had a select group of coaches from all over the world look at various dynamics, issues, and case studies to move our profession forward.

November: I was a speaker at the International Coach Federation Conference in St. Louis and had hundreds pumped and energized as they dove into the world of Shadow Coaching™. What an amazing experience!

December I launched my blog called “Jumping Into the Deep End of Leadership” with Fast Company Magazine’s ‘Fast Company Experts’ and launched my Executive Coaching article in Canadian Government Executive Magazine.

Whew! Lots happened with a great deal more to come for 2007. Right now we’re in the middle of putting the finishing touches on “It’s All About People….And About You” Virtual Program, a Unique Time and Self Management Program (that one I’m keep under wraps until we’re almost ready to launch : ), we’ll be looking at planning a series of live events for organizational leaders. A book on leadership is in the planning stages and we’re looking at taking The School of Shadow Coaching™ global!

Perspectives blog went from having subscribers from 67 to 94 countries and territories. I am continually amazed at the community of readers that’s ever growing.

And before you ask if I have a personal life, as yes, I AM very busy, the answer is yes. It’s very precious to me and I will never compromise my relationships and take for granted the gift of those relationships to put them on the back burner for anything. If I can’t live a full life, I can’t coach others on how to. It’s not only how I manage my time it’s how I look at my relationship to time which is never a renewable resource. It’s only here for the moment and then poof! It’s gone.

So before I close by wishing you all the best for the upcoming year, I will encourage you to look back at the past year and remember all your successes. Share them. Celebrate them and BUILD on them. Read as much as you can, speak to at least one person you’ve never spoken to before every day if possible and find out what their story is. That’s the richness of our lives…the stories we create over time. And, if you haven’t started yet, start writing your own story and remember how extraordinary life is when you pay attention. To my readers, clients, colleagues, family and friends I wish you the best of the holiday season, 2007 and the best of life!

Donna Karlin

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Preconceived Notions

What is preconceived notions exactly? Pre-acting, clairvoyance? I’m constantly trying to figure out why people pre-act, absolutely ‘knowing’ what the future has in store in the realm of “this will never work’ this is ‘going to be’ a problem etc etc. They are already upset, angry, worried about something that hasn’t yet occurred. Clairvoyance 101? Crystal ball? Where exactly does that come from, I wonder?

What happens in life is not as important as how you accept it and what you do with it, but it has to happen first! So much energy goes into acting before the fact that what happens during and after pale by comparison.

Preconceived notions is in my category of behaviours that get people into trouble. They are in great company along with assumptions, expectations…and when you don’t articulate what those expectations are, then we’re back into Clairvoyance 101 as we expect everyone else to read our minds.

I’m just in the process of finishing up my program “It’s All About People….and About You” (stay tuned) and when I look at patterns of behaviour this one is at the top of the heap when it comes to erecting the ultimate roadblock to success. After all, how in the world will one succeed if they already see that it’s not going to work?

People (us included) are wonderful, aren’t they? With all our intelligence we do, think and imagine the strangest things. But it makes life interesting, especially for a Shadow Coach™ who sees it unfold in real time.

But you never pre-acted yourself, right? I thought not. Me either : )

Donna Karlin

* A couple of notes: First, welcome new subscriber from Macao! 94 countries and territories and counting! For those of you who wonder how to subscribe so you're notified when my blog has been updated, scroll down to the bottom right and you'll see a subscription box. Enter your email address and you'll stay current.

Secondly, check out my new blog on Fast Company Experts called Jumping Into the Deep End of Leadership. I know I know, three blogs and counting (don’t forget ExecuBooks Blog) but as they all hone my writing skills and allow me to virtually meet such amazing people, how in the world could I say or want to say no? Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Laws of Technology and Myths of Change

Kranzberg’s 6 laws of technology:
1st - Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral.
2nd - Invention is the mother of necessity.
3rd - Technology comes in packages, big and small.
4th - Although technology might be a prime element in many public issues, non-technical factors take precedence in technology-policy decisions.
5th - All history is relevant, but the history of technology is the most relevant.
6th - Technology is a very human activity - and so is the history of technology.

Melvin Kranzberg’s First Law helps to clarify the myths of technology change: “Technology is neither good nor bad—nor is it neutral. At the risk of spoiling its Zen-like nature, let me propose an interpretation: a technology isn’t inherently good or bad, but it will have an impact, which is why it’s not neutral. Almost every applied technology has a good side and a bad side. When you think of transportation technologies, do you think of how they enable a delightful vacation or get the family back together during the holidays—or do you think of traffic jams and pollution? Are books a source of wisdom and spirituality or a way to distribute pornography and hate? Do you applaud medical technology for curing plagues or deplore transportation technology for spreading them? Does encrypted e-mail keep honest people safe from criminals or criminals safe from the police? Are plastics durable conveniences or everlasting pollutants? Counterfeiting comes with money, obscene phone calls come with the telephone, spam comes with e-mail, and pornography comes with the Internet. Every law creates an outlaw.”

Now that I’m a part of the Microsoft Vision Team (no I’m not a techie…I am in fact an Executive Shadow Coach) I look at the context technology has in my life as well as the lives of my clients. I’ve had this discussion with many of them as technology has changed dramatically over the years. It’s not only how a computer has gone from being the size of a room to one that fits into my pocket i.e. my BlackBerry but how it’s so integrated in everything we do. We don’t pay as much attention to it. It’s no longer this mystical machine that a select few know how to use. Everyone from my son to my parents use computers. Almost everything we do has a technological component to it. However when it comes to what we do with it, do we still have a choice?

Another question that continually comes to mind is, how do we co-exist with all this wonderful technology without letting it take over our lives? Work life balance is not what it used to be nor is it the same for everyone. It used to be that we unplugged before going on vacation. Now we schedule in our email and voice mail check at least once a day even when on holiday. And before I get a plethora of screaming emails on that subject, in my world and that of most of my clients, there is no way they can go a week without checking for many reasons. First of all, they can’t disconnect their minds as to what’s happening. Some might be out of work by the time they get home if they don’t pay attention. For others, if their minds are on what might be happening back at home, then they can’t disconnect at all. Checking in once a day to see what might be waiting when they get back at least gives them a heads up which they can choose to put aside until they come home, or give instructions as to how to handle a sensitive matter so they don’t get slammed by it the moment they walk into the office.

If that does happen, all the benefits of going away on holiday are negated in seconds. If they deal with hot issues along the way and then put them aside for the rest of the day, then they can relax and let go. One can disconnect technology but not the mind. Work with it instead of fighting it, set your boundaries as to what you need to know while you’re away and technology can be there for you in just the way you want. It’s all about setting boundaries. In that, we do have a choice.

Donna Karlin