CU Insight: Leadership Insight

As published in CU Insight How do you define leadership? Do you think of great leaders you admire and strive to be like them? Do you feel in order to be a good leader you need to be something more than you are? Do you ever feel you’re not doing “leadership” right, like there’s some special characteristic you’re not sure you possess? Perhaps you are waiting for some grand experience to call forth your leadership? If so, this may be the problem. Leadership does not live in the arena of grand actions and gestures. If it exists at all, it is found in our unglamorous day-to-day thoughts and the corresponding actions that occur to us to take as a result. It’s easy to busy ourselves with the appearance of leadership and many do. I know I have. We read the books, attend the courses, follow and quote the gurus, seek and hold the titles, but as we do so, we often fail to listen to and hear ourselves. In all our working and striving to be in charge of something or someone, we forget the only thing that actually matters: to listen to our own highest counsel and to be [...]

By |2021-07-02T16:24:39-07:00July 2nd, 2021|Latest Articles, Leadership, Self-Mastery|

CU Management – Leadership Matters: How We Build and Break Trust

As published in CU Management. Practice these leadership fundamentals to consistently convey your intentions, competency and reliability. Although many of us have had to deal at some point with a senior manager who seemed to lack morals, empathy or sincerity, the majority of organizational leaders are not compulsive liars and cheats, out to pull one over on the rest of us. Most leaders are healthy, well-adjusted adults who have invested greatly for the opportunity to contribute to their chosen profession and industry. They are often highly educated, competent and want to do the right thing. They are you. Why, then, does a lack of trust plague so many professional relationships, teams, departments and organizations? As we work at leadership level, we might notice that we still have these kinds of thoughts: “He is so frustrating to deal with.” “I don’t like her.” “We can’t count on the sales team.” But what we are really saying is that the person or people involved have not fulfilled some necessary level of trust: “He is so frustrating to deal with because I don’t trust him to follow through.” “I don’t like her because I don’t trust that she has my best interest at [...]

CEO Magazine: What Can Only You Do?

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. I know it feels quicker or more rewarding to do it yourself: to answer that question, respond to those emails, and/or solve the problem of the day. However, every time you jump in and do something that others could do, you detract from your work, work that only you can do. You also hinder others from learning, leading, and working at their appropriate level. We each have only eight to ten good working hours per day, so it’s imperative we leverage ourselves first, and then coach and develop others to do the same. Start With You What are the two or three key things someone at your level of leadership needs to be spending the majority of his/her time on? What is your real job? What is it that only you can do from your title and position of power? Where do you need to show your face because your presence matters enormously? What communication can only come from you? Where do you currently spend the majority of your time? Look at your calendar. What changes need to occur? What do you currently do that really needs to be owned [...]

By |2020-09-30T15:52:07-07:00September 30th, 2020|Global Leadership, Latest Articles, Leadership, Leadership Coaching|

FORBES: Between Stimulus and Response, Where Are You?

As featured in Forbes Your CFO resigns. A merger proceeds. A key leader is let go. You lose a major deal. Your direct report handles an important task poorly. A water pipe bursts in your home. Authorities warn of a pandemic virus. Your children make decisions you wish they didn’t. Your spouse uses a certain tone of voice. World leaders take actions that scare and affect us all. How do you react? Do you find yourself wanting to vent to anyone who will listen, perhaps instantly taking to social media? Do you look for someone or something to blame, righteous about the fact that this should not be occurring? Do you allow yourself to feel hurt, angry, scared, sad or disappointed? Or do you mostly cover up your real emotions with a facade you believe to be more socially acceptable? Perhaps you shut off, go numb and, as Brené Brown put it, “have a couple of beers and a banana nut muffin.” On the other hand, maybe you find yourself relaxed and able to easily lean into the event. Are you open, curious about the news and eager to research it fully, taking nothing at face value? Do you focus [...]

The Secret of Exceptional Coaching

I have spent the better part of the last 19 years teaching mid-to-senior-level leaders how to more effectively coach for performance. My clients have included thousands of successful men and women in some of the world’s best organizations. These talented professionals have advanced degrees, upwards of 40 years’ of leadership and management experience, and sometimes even advanced coaching certifications. Many consider themselves to be highly skilled at coaching. Some are, most are not. It is not that all of these exceptional men and women do not understand what great coaching entails. Having asked thousands of leaders in many parts of the world to tell me about their own personal best coach—someone who had a profound and significant impact on them becoming the person and professional they are today—I know they understand it well. Some tell me about their mother or father, a grade school math teacher or football coach, a first boss, or, better still, their current supervisor (although I hear this less frequently than I should). When I ask them to tell me about the character of their own best coach, the relationship they shared, and if there is something that this coach did or said that they still [...]

By |2020-03-06T01:55:16-08:00March 5th, 2020|Leadership, Leadership Coaching, Leading Culture, Self-Mastery|

The CEO Magazine – Up Your Mental Game For Your Strongest Business Year Ever

This article first appeared in The CEO Magazine 2019. Up your mental game for your strongest business year ever When stress builds it becomes harder to relax and enjoy your downtime. It’s time to take back control of your thought processes so you can raise your mental game. A number of clients have recently shared that last year turned out to one of the hardest. Whether their situation involved a merger, an acquisition, a significant restructure, a new (and much bigger) job, and/or a significant family illness or loss, it seems that many today feel that life is becoming more challenging and complex, and that fulfillment and success are more elusive than ever before which impacts your mental game. I feel so anxious on Sundays. Why did I spend my entire weekend ruminating over that conversation? Why do I struggle so much in being present at home? I am not sure I am having fun anymore. During the course of a single day, we each handle countless relationships and tasks, and then judge ourselves ad nauseam. We might feel grateful for a special moment we enjoyed with our partner, be excited we won the big deal, and feel on top [...]

By |2020-02-06T13:09:02-08:00February 6th, 2020|Leadership, Self-Mastery|

FORBES – Become A Better Communicator: One Simple Change That Changes Everything

As published in Forbes.  Listen to others speak, and one of the first things you will notice is how often people use words like “we,” “you,” “one” or “they” when they are really talking about themselves. For example: We are getting frustrated … You try to connect with millennials, but … If one hasn’t bought into the idea, then … They might not trust him … One of the smallest and most powerful changes we can make to significantly improve our communication is to replace these four words with “I”: I am getting frustrated … I try to connect with millennials, but … I have not bought into the idea, so … I don’t trust him … This one simple change changes everything, and it has a big payoff. When I speak from my own experience, my listener(s) experience me as more authentic, transparent and, often, trustworthy, all qualities we seek and expect from those we work with and through. Using “I” creates more trust because it actually is a more honest way to communicate. When I use the word “I,” I no longer get to hide behind vague identities like “one.” Instead, I immediately take ownership and accountability by [...]

By |2020-01-29T12:01:48-08:00January 29th, 2020|Leadership, Leadership Communication, Leading Culture, Self-Mastery|

Keynote At Pebble Beach: The Inner Game of Executive Leadership

This past November we gave a keynote to 40 CEOs of some of the largest credit unions in the United States. The #1 and #2 “Best Places to work” in the entire nation were among them. The event was held at the beautiful, world-class Pebble Beach. What we shared with our audience, we will now share with you. You are a success. You have reached the pinnacle of success. You are a C-suite/executive-level leader of a value-based organization that serves thousands, no doubt positively impacting many more people in the communities and businesses in which you operate. Well done! It is extremely important to your future leadership impact and success that you really accept this acknowledgement. Why? Because what you do inside of yourself you will do with others out there. If we cannot acknowledge, validate, and champion ourselves, we simply can never do this well for others. In your role, it is imperative that you easily and frequently acknowledge, validate, and champion those in your care. Nothing could matter more than you feeling good. And by good we mean whole, loved, enough; valued, seen, recognized; alive, excited, inspired… Why? Simply because your life matters. Because you feeling good will [...]

By |2020-01-29T11:44:15-08:00December 1st, 2019|Leadership, Self-Mastery|

FORBES: The Moment Of Leadership – Maturing Past Our Desire for Direction and Validation

As published in Forbes We all want to be successful, to win the approval of others and to be chosen for those limited, top, coveted positions. We work hard to become educated, accomplished and known as the best. Unfortunately, the older we get, and the more we move up the organizational ladder, the more elusive and harder to define real success actually becomes. To make matters worse, there is no sure path to achieving it, even if we could clearly define it for ourselves. Senior leadership is daunting, and for those who have risen through the ranks by being chosen, arriving at the executive level can be quite a shock, an uneasy feeling of being untethered and the illusion of an ultimate authority who could offer solid direction, validation and approval nothing but an immature desire. “Tell me what you want me to do.” “Why am I not getting any direction, acknowledgment or validation?” “I don’t know what ‘they’ want!” The transition to the executive realm can be compared to the transition to parenthood. Although we are not all parents, most of us understand the analogy. I remember the first day I was alone with our newborn son. My husband [...]

By |2021-06-28T20:18:38-07:00October 28th, 2018|Global Leadership, Leadership, Self-Mastery|

FORBES: The Thrill of Seeking Mastery

As published in Forbes. Photo credit: Lori Ann Hansen Photography As a senior leadership coach, I am a human behaviorist, an avid reader and a life-long student. I know that working on myself is a critical requirement for effectively helping others. I would like to tell you that this work has always come naturally and easily to me and that I have been a willing and eager student of myself, but that would be an outright lie. Only a decade ago, I recall telling my professors, who had strongly encouraged me to visit the on-staff counselor, that although I was certain that kind of professional help was needed by my classmates, I myself did not require it. I am sure they struggled to keep a straight face. The irony now is not lost on me. Here I was completing my master’s degree so I could advance leaders by having them look at themselves and how they interact, react and impact others, while I was unwilling to do the same. Worse, I actually believed I had no personal work to do. Now, that is the definition of arrogance. Today, I still struggle to master myself in terms of my inner thoughts and [...]

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