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Showing posts from 2017

Passing It On

Who passed it on to you? One of the life lessons I have pondered is how much of Who I Am is because of others and what they have passed on to me. Throughout my life there have been many people who have given me the gift of their knowledge, their values, and their spirit. My parents for example. My mom had so many sayings that I still use in my work with clients. My dad's aggressive moxie has helped me take the risks I have needed to take. They and others have been my mentors. I like the term mentor even though the relationship may not have been framed as such. A mentor is an experienced, and trusted adviser. A mentor is thinking about the mentee's future and provides guidance, drawing upon the well of their own lived experience. How about you? Do you know how many lives you have touched and enhanced in some way? Maybe now is the time of your life to be thinking about this, about your legacy. I have some clients who have reached a place in their journeys where they are tired o…

The Path is You

Some of the clients I've been working with are feeling like their lives are out of control. They have been through downsizings, and are now "doing more with less." Some said they are anxious and overwhelmed, feeling like they are drowning. Some have just about given up on hope. For others, stress is high, nerves are on edge, and tempers are rising. Some even said that their personal and family life is starting to suffer. They are trying to find their pathways through chaos. Two of my favorite bloggers, Dick Richards and Curt Rosengren, have offered some wisdom about finding your pathway. At his blog Riding on Dragons, Dick Richards muses about the "pull" of pathways: "The question–why am I attracted to images of pathways?–is yet another pathway that leads to an uncertain destination and so attracts me in the same way that I am attracted to the pathways in these photos. It seems that certain phenomena, be they photographic images or unanswered questions, dr…

Getting Done What Needs Doing

You may have heard the saying "It is easier to ask forgiveness than it is to beg for permission." I learned it early in my career when I was a Training consultant working in a nuclear power plant. Many of the people I interacted with had come from the Navy. Only recently however have I learned that Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper expressed it more fully: "If it is a good idea, go ahead and do it. It is much easier to apologize than to get permission." My colleague in organizational consulting Fred Nickols, who is a retired Navy man, confirmed that Hopper's dictum was well known. According to Fred: "I'm familiar with Grace Hopper's quote; it was quite popular in my day. She was a four-striper then. (It) makes sense if you like taking the initiative and getting done what needs doing." Over the course of my career, I have gotten into trouble for "going ahead and doing" things that needed done. But I wouldn't have done it any other …

You'll Never Work in This Industry Again!

Early in my career (over 30 years ago, in fact), I remember a manager saying to me and my team, "I'll see to it that you will never work in this industry again." He was a project manager, with a very large company, in charge of many vendors. I was with one of the vendors. He had heard that a competitor had made a play to steal us. Talent poaching was indeed rampant at that time. He was furious because he thought that he "owned" us. "I'll destroy you," he added. His words certainly sent a chill through me. But I remember thinking, "What a cliched thing to say. What a jerk." He thought he was king. He didn't scare me. Looking back on this incident, his words were an empty threat. They probably came from his fear and insecurity. This was the first time that I encountered what might be termed a "career killer." Career killers are points along your career journey where a serious disruption derails you. A career killer can be an…

Making a SOUND Decision

We make a lot of decisions in our lives. Some are daily decisions like "What will I wear today?" Others have more long-lasting import such as "Should I accept this job offer?" or "Will I get married?" When it comes to the big and important choices in life, what makes a good decision? For many, it's a rapid one. A decision made quickly so that action can be taken. Rapid decisions are necessary in many situations. Think of a battlefield. Or an emergency such as a fire. Some years ago, the concept of a RAPID decision making model was developed where the letters identified different roles related to a decision: R for Recommendation, A for Approval, P for Performer, I for Input, and D for Deliberation. Like SMART for goal setting, RAPID is a useful tool for thinking through the various players that may have an impact on a decision. But unlike SMART, it doesn't seem to really cover the process of decision making itself. So here is a new model that I ca…

The Leader's Calling

Professionally, I have worked for well over thirty years in the field of leadership development, developing leaders in businesses of all kinds, even in non-profits and in religious organizations too.
In addition, as a career coach, I am also a believer and a proponent in the idea of a "calling," a purpose that expresses your talents and passions here in this Life.
My colleague Nick Heap calls it your "core process:"
"Core Process starts from the idea that, when we are made, we have a job to do, a unique and specific job that fits you, that you were designed to do. When you do it, it goes astonishingly well, you are happy and energized, and you feel the most alive. Your core process shows you what you are here on the planet to do. Core Process is simply a way of describing what your job is, your purpose, your central and unique talent."
My colleague John Scherer says that your calling has an inside and an outside:
On the inside are "your natural abilities …

Discover the clown within

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How do you feel about clowns?

Some like them. Others are terrified of them.

Many years ago, probably back in late 70's/early 80's, I met someone who was seriously dedicated to clown work. Doing clown work was her ministry.
When she talked about it, you had to be impressed. She was part of an international network of clowns (I can't recall its name, sorry) that had conventions, speakers, workshops, publications etc.
Some of the fragments I can recall from her sharing...being a clown is serious work...a ministry...with the power to help relax, de-stress, laugh, let go, imagine and heal.
I read a piece online about clown work that discusses "discovering the clown within."
While I wouldn't claim to be a clown (in the official sense of my friend the clown), I have definitely done my share of clowning around. Who is making faces in the family photo album? Me.
Fooling around has always come naturally to me. I love it when some silly stunt of mine makes others laugh.
Making…

Impacting the Culture - Part 3

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While there is no silver bullet, no one magic answer for improving the culture of your organization, in this series (part 1, part 2), I have offered a number of ideas for getting started.  There are ways that have been tried and tested. It is possible to undertake the journey toward impacting your organization's culture in a meaningful way.


"If you want to change the culture, you will have to start by changing yourself."


To sum up, here is a little "magic"


Mirror - Look into the mirror. It all starts there. Know thyself.

Assess - Assess your own current impact on your organization's culture.

Gather - Gather input from the system, members and stakeholders.

Imagine - Imagine your organization at its best.

Convene - Convene everyone around making positive change.

So go forth and make a difference in your culture!

Bonus Thought:  One additional idea came from a colleague this morning:  Follow the example of the TV show Undercover Boss. Go to your front-line and find o…