The Power of the Pause

Sheila and I were on holiday this past week at The Sea Ranch, one of our favorite places to get away from it all. The Sea Ranch is located on the Northern California coast about 2 ½ hours from San Francisco. On one side of Highway 1 is a small swath of land where homes are built so as not to disturb the natural landscape of this rugged and beautiful land. While relaxing and enjoying the fog rolling in off the Pacific in the mornings and the sun breaking through and warming the beaches in the afternoon, we’ve also been doing a personal workshop with Jamie McHugh an international expert in mindfulness. Jamie’s unique approach to this work is his Read More

The Power of the Ask

My friend, Will Clower posted a brief video of his radio request to the Cunningham Draw Bridge (North Carolina) operator to open the draw bridge so that he could take his sailboat out into Pamlico Sound. The request: “Cunningham Bridge, this is the SV Amari requesting opening outbound.” Then a voice returns on the radio, “Roger that Cap’n, we’ll have one ready for you.” Then, like magic, traffic stops, the Bridge roadway goes up and Will and his crew boat on through. If only all our requests were met with such agreeableness and ease. Asking others to help us can be challenging. We don’t like to impose or inconvenience other people always thinking that is it a great imposition to Read More

Hurry Up and Wait

I was meeting with a team last week that had been charged by their company president to develop the organization’s leadership development program. The team had spent the last 9 months developing a leadership model, creating training modules, and building a coaching approach that would be state of the art for their firm. They were ready to roll out the program when the big stop sign shot up in front of them. Budget constraints, timing and the readiness of the firm to take on this new project were all impediments that were stated…along with “we’re still excited about it.” Hurry up and wait is a mainstay in today’s workplace. There is always of sense of urgency but the volume of Read More

What’s Next?

Two events happened last week that got me thinking about how success breeds success. For the past year or so a colleague and I have co-facilitated a CEO cohort group. The group meets to address common issues and concerns they face in their industries. They share best practices, problem solve issues, and support each other as they discuss their greatest challenges. They like and respect each other as well, of course. In our last session it seemed as if the trust had reached a point where the group was ready to take on something new. They began discussing how they could pool their collective energies to address an issue every company faces. Someone referred to it as a “Grand Challenge” Read More

Listen Up

I did some follow-up with participants from a workshop I conducted last week with one of my global clients. I found a consistent message from each of them as to their takeaway from the session. While they appreciated the content material I shared with them, the best part of the program was that I built in plenty of time for them to talk and listen to each other. My belief about these sessions is that the wisdom is in the group is that is what makes the program successful. The problem is that not everyone knows that and they think their wisdom is greater than everyone else’s. Fortunately, the leader of this group believes that and he demonstrated good listening, Read More

Find Your Groove

I met with a client at 7:30 AM last week and he told me he likes to get going early in the morning. While there are several reasons, his primary one is that he doesn’t have time to watch the news, which is always a downer. I liked his thinking until we started discussing his work in sales and he began explaining to me that he couldn’t hit his sales numbers because of (fill in the blank), “software not working properly,” “leads not returning calls,” “colleagues not feeding him prospects…” and the list went on. I refocused him on the strategy we laid out previously and discussed the small steps he could take this week to refocus his energy, but Read More

Getting Focused

How would you like to work 4 days but get paid for 5? I’d like it and so do the employees at Perpetual Guardian Trust Company in New Zealand. A research project at this financial firm undertook to determine how productive employees were over a 4-day workweek when they were paid for 5 days. The research showed and company founder Andrew Barnes agreed that his employees got done in 4 days what was previously accomplished in 5. In addition, employee engagement and satisfaction were reported to improve during the project period. Meetings were reduced to 30 minutes and colleagues created signals letting others know that they needed undisturbed time to get their work done. Their HR leader concluded that people Read More

The Crazy News Cycle

We are inundated with news 24/7. Regardless of which side of the aisle you sit on, national and local issues juice our brain into ruminating, worrying, and contemplating the future of civilization. Its been building for 30 years since Ted Turner started the all day news cycle with CNN and has now progressed to where we can watch TV shows, listen to news radio, and carry internet podcasts in our pocket. All this energy driven to our issues rile us up and have us cheering or jeering around our causes. It’s a great way to ensure citizen engagement, but not so good in that it creates a high allostatic load which is the wear and tear that happens in our Read More

Building New Skills

I facilitated a leadership development program last week where participants were asked to take a company based assessment of their leadership skills. The assessment identified a number of strengths but for most of the folks, the results also came back with about 8-10 “areas of opportunity” for improvement. Most folks had a worried look on their face as they reviewed the findings asking, “What the heck do I do now?” Research conducted by Mckinsey in 2014 indicated that the context in which leadership development occurs must be taken into consideration to determine which skills are the right skills. If your company is needing people strong in decision strengthen your decision making skills. At home, if you’re kids are becoming teenagers; Read More

Just One of Those Days

This past weekend was beautiful here in Pittsburgh and I spent Sunday morning over at the golf course. I was excited about playing that day and really thought I would have a good round. I was wrong. My golf game was horrible! I couldn’t drive the ball off the tee very well. My iron shots to the green went left or right. My chips and pitches were short or long of their targets, and my putts were just not finding the hole. Nothing was working and by the third hole I knew it would be a long day of golf agony. It was about that time when I decided that it was just going to be one of those days Read More