winter_landscape.jpgHAPPY NEW YEAR!

Turning Points 2014 /  New Dreams 2015

Put on your “I have greatness in me” hat and consider all you have accomplished in your personal and professional life in 2014, big and small – jot it down.  You should fill an entire page of things like making new friends, taking a trip, creating something new, learning a new skill, an accomplishment and more – and feel good about  what you’ve done and make peace with any sadness and hurt.

  • Reach for your inner vision and imagine with excitement, a full year ahead of you with new goals, dreams and actions to take – think big!
  • Think about what you want in your life, not what you must do next and, remembering what it took to overcome your challenges and accomplishments this year.
  • Make a list of the blocks or difficult times or tough decisions you had to undertake and ask yourself what qualities did you evoke within yourself to move forward? Endurance, persistence, humor, courage, grace?
  • Remind yourself of your strengths and all of the greatness within you and bring this awareness with you into every day of 2015!

Wishing you a joyful, peaceful, and prosperous New Year!

sepia_stacked_hands.jpg Trust is the key to great workplaces.  This fact is based on 25 years of research by firms such as Gallup and millions of employees surveyed.  It’s virtually impossible to accomplish great things without it.  People will say, it’s not necessary, yet our own experience and history dictates otherwise.  My own history in the workplace taught me that when I was able to establish a relationship of trust with my boss, I could rely on his support for my professional development.  I also had experiences where trust was broken and I had to gauge to what extent I could trust that person.  Some people become cynical when their life experience reflects a series of broken trust situations.  The alternative is to begin with smart trust.  Provide individuals the opportunity to do what they say they will.  Trust is revealed in behavior.  Behavior is the key to the quality of truthfulness.  Consistent behavior reveals the scope of truthfulness or lack of it.  We either trust people to behave honestly or we trust them to behave deceitfully, in varying degrees. Either way, their behavior informs us to take the appropriate action.

New Perspective:

Self awareness is key to a good start.  Be aware of your biases  and personal filters.  Notice if you’re “clean” in your dealings or whether you rationalize that the end result justifies those well constructed means.  Perhaps you are also contributing to a climate of mistrust.  Relationships grow in trust when the interaction is transparent and boundaries are clear.   

  • Make the effort to find common ground  and articulate it
  • Take the step to trust first and test the outcome later
  • Measure to what extent you are willing to accept repercussions of mistrust
  • Make the choice to trust to the level where trust is not broken

“Leaders must be willing to go places where they are not certain they will succeed.”


The fun theory: Check out how Swedish ingenuity persuaded people to take the stairs vs. the escalator!

Your personal management style is based on a combination of three needs: to achieve, to dominate, and to affiliate.  Throw into the mix your personality traits and you are either setting yourself up for success or failure.  The difference is your level of awareness of how you impact your relationships, whether it matters, whether end results justify means, and whether positional power trumps collaborative power.

Setting up for failure:

  • You may have a high need to achieve with an equally high need to dominate.  With this combination, you will want to be too involved with details, micromanage, be too demanding, while your delegation skills will be impaired by your need to control.
  • If your need to achieve is too focused on individual gain, teamwork will suffer, as well as, your ability to see the big picture.
  • If you’re the “I work alone” type with a need for dominance, you’re likely to not cooperate with colleagues, demand strict allegiances and put up walls to maintain independence and control.
  • If your greater need is dominance with a capacity for aggression, you will likely exhibit a warlord mentality with an abusive management style.  You will tend to push through decisions that lead to quick fixes and reap resentment and lowered performance from staff.

Dominance, with an appropriate combination of achievement and affiliation, and with attuned personality traits can prove to be a winning mix.  As an example, if you’re low on deference (giving respect), you will experience tension between yourself and your boss vs. having high deference for others, thus making a success of relationships.

New Perspective:    We each have exceptional strengths to counter our self-sabotaging tendencies.  Becoming more aware of our strengths, needs and traits helps us to make improved choices.    

Setting up for success:Heightened awareness of responses (tone of voice, abruptness, impatience).

Confident enough to ask for help when needed.

Ability to pull together a group of people to act on shared goals.

Evaluate information more carefully (use SWOT Analysis and SMART Goals).

Develop the ability to see multiple solutions.

“It takes more work (emotionally, mentally, spiritually) to be a Collaborative Leader, but it’s worth it — both for the organization’s sustainability and the leader’s personal growth.”   

(Article originally printed Jan. 28, 2014)

Often clients come to coaching with generalized goals such as learn new skills, to be more assertive and confident or improve their lives in some way — they may not be clear or certain but something has happened to bring them to a tipping point or there’s a recurring event or issue that keeps them stuck.  Most people want to live a fulfilling life, experience joy at work, feel happy, productive and purposeful.  Their conscious mind is telling them they need to make changes or accomplish something and yet something is keeping them from moving forward.

They intensely want to grow but their subconscious mind is sabotaging their conscious mind with an inner conflict.  While the conscious mind wants to achieve a clearly defined goal, the subconscious is blocking that clarity (the subconscious is not happy, it has unresolved issues).  In coaching the client discovers how their limiting beliefs have a negative impact on their actions and how ineffectual patterns of a lifetime interfere with their growth.  Coaching supports a new frame of mind and creation of new life patterns – creating a bridge between the two minds and affecting a happy alignment. With this awareness you are ready to clearly define your game-changer goals and set on your path, taking on challenges,  initiating actions and producing results.

 New Perspective:

Tips to determine whether your goals are clear and your game winnable: 
  • Gain clarity so you can assess whether your goals are structured for success
  • Decide on essential skills needed to achieve a successful outcome
  • Assess and then focus on your strengths and talents
  • Identify the success gap from where you are now to where you want to be
  • Identify tangible steps and create actions that lead to results
  • Obtain the support and resources necessary to help you succeed

Maybe defining purpose is not as important as having purpose.  It’s easier to figure out what it’s not.  It’s not that emotional response to a heated situation or moment or even picking up a cause. It’s not an unresolved pattern that keeps repeating itself throughout a lifetime and makes one react in a circular fashion so that it appears to be a quest. What drives purpose is probably passion.  Finding your passion will lead you into your purpose.  The purpose of life is simply a life of purpose – said by Robert Byrne.

I once met the Dalai Lama, and while brief, my encounter truly touched me.  His whole reason for being is about being happy and helping others find the happiness we all have a birthright to experience. As he pointed out, there is joy in helping others and if you can’t help others, at least don’t hurt them.  Finding purpose for me is about having the courage to see things clearly and to be clean my own responses to life as it unfolds. Having an open mind and heart allows us to see the truth about ourselves and discover our passion and purpose.  When you look at the sky on a clear night, you see millions of star.  If you used a paper towel tube and looked at the same sky, you would see a very small piece of the universe.  How you view your universe defines you.

New Perspective:  

Your life has purpose

Your story is important

Your dreams count

Your vote matters

You were born to make an impact


We all know that corporate culture influences performance and that the impact can be positive or  a source of misery. So what makes for a great corporate culture? Certainly, a culture that communicates the organization’s mission and purpose gives employees a sense of resolve. Purpose orients every decision made, whether on a grand scale or at every desk. Think Google, Zappos, Disney, Wegman’s. Vision, the very foundation of an organization is also shared with employees.   Values are the guiding force and provide the guidelines of behavior. For a company like Google, values are “a better world, faster” and using innovation to tackle the world’s biggest challenges.  This company is about creating lasting global impact and successfully engages their employees to embrace this culture.

What are the core values in your organization?

Do they impact mindset and behavior in such a way as to elicit greatness?

New Perspective:  John Coleman in the Harvard Business Review blog network, writes about the six components that make for a great corporate culture.

  1. Vision: A great culture starts with a vision or mission statement. Example, Oxfam envisions “a just world without poverty.”
  2. Values: A company’s values are the core of its culture.  Guides behaviors,and mindsets needed to achieve the vision.
  3. Practices: Of course, values are of little importance unless they are preserved in a company’s practices. They are reinforced in all policies and operating principles. Practices reflect: “I mean what I say and say what I mean.
  4. People: No company can build a coherent culture without people who either share its core values or possess the willingness and ability to embrace those values
  5. Narrative: Any organization has a unique history – a unique story. And the ability to unearth that history and craft it into a narrative is a core element of culture creation.
  6. Place: Place shapes culture. Open architecture is more conducive to certain office behaviors, like collaboration.  Place – whether geography, architecture, or aesthetic design – impacts the values and behaviors of people in a workplace.
 In her recent “Your Stairway to Wealth” blog, Hazel Palache reminds us of the 80-20 Rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, a perspective I use

with clients to pull back from the stress and overwhelm edge. This principle works really well in tandem with Stephen Covey’s concept of what to put in the jar first – his big rocks approach.

In Covey’s video, he half fills the jar with small things that fill our lives, using sand as the analogy. He then tries to fit in all the big rocks beginning with the rock labeled, not urgent but important (planning, preparation, prevention and empowerment), next in the jar, he places the rock symbolizing relationships and family, the third, employment issues and then major projects. Another rock included community, service and spirituality. One of the bigger rocks was called “sharpen the saw” which relates to being so busy cutting you forget to sharpen the   saw and waste lots of time and energy cutting with a dull saw – or as a relatable example, too busy driving to take the time to get gas. More rocks were labeled as big opportunity, or urgent and important, like getting back to your biggest client. Obviously, all these rocks did not fit into the jar. But, when we shift how we do things and use a different paradigm, we get extraordinarily different results. By putting all the big rocks (important things) in first, and all of the sand poured in last (the small things), all the spaces are filled make everything fit

New Perspective:

The Pareto Principle says that 20% of your actions will account for 80% of your results.  This is like paying attention to your big rocks first to get an 80% return. The next time you’re daunted by a long to do list determine what’s on the list: big rocks or tiny sand pebbles? Select one or two big rocks for the day, preferably what is not urgent but important – the urgent and important stuff are the things you must address no matter what. Having too many of these gives you less time to address your big rocks.

  • Evaluate whether you keep yourself in a state of crisis and urgency.
  • Share these concepts with the people in your life and increase productivity all around
  • What action taken today will give an 80% result for 20% of your efforts?

We are starting our new talk show series this February, emphasizing dynamic leadership traits for best workplace results.  We’ll explore the topics that are most meaningful to you and how you can best improve yourself, your situation, your workplace environment and have an advantageous impact on the organization. Future topics:
Create a Compelling Vision of Your Future
Keys to Building Resilience Reduce Stress and Have More Fun Level Five Leadership Traits
Best Leaders Develop Future Leaders