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 Insight: Real Conversations – The Five Questions Worksheet

As published in CU Insight When I ask executive audiences, “How many of you know that you need to have a conversation but you have been putting off actually having it?”, almost every hand will raise. Maybe your direct report hasn’t delivered the report when he said he would. Or perhaps you noticed how a newer team member has been a courageous voice on a challenging project. Whatever it is, we know we need to get better at addressing the real conversation, in real time, and to do so directly with the person or people involved. However, not many of us are comfortable doing so. Many prefer to avoid confrontation or any form of conflict. We are also surprisingly inept at sharing the positive impact others have upon our lives and/or the incredible contribution of their work. There are so many great things we think and feel about others that we simply do not share. For some, sharing the positive impact others have can be even more challenging than sharing the things we want them to do differently or better. After all, why provide feedback that sounds like praise? Isn’t it their job to get the work done well? We [...]

By |2020-11-06T10:08:46-08:00November 6th, 2020|Leadership Communication, 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 [...]

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 |2021-08-24T10:46:00-07:00December 1st, 2019|Leadership, Self-Mastery|

FORBES: Artistic Unity – How To Radically Improve Your Leadership Communication

As published in Forbes. The human mind wanders. A lot. Almost a decade ago the Harvard Gazette reported that 47% of the time we are thinking about anything and everything other than what we are actually doing! In 2014, TIME reported that the average attention span, thanks to advances in technology, topped out a whopping eight-seconds, citing the attention-grabbing headline, You Now Have a Shorter Attention Span Than a Goldfish. However, apparently (but not surprisingly) many of us were too distracted to register these findings, as two years later they were reported again by the New York Times. Clearly, our monkey minds are alive (and not entirely well).  Mindfulness, which might be best defined as the ability to give our full attention to what it is we are doing, is now billion-dollar industry! This October, Europe hosted its first conference focused on how we can best incorporate mindfulness into our organizations, but I digress. With our minds so easily distracted and the pings from our “smart” phone only making matters worse, it is no wonder we misinterpret, misunderstand, or completely miss entire communications we ought to have received. It is also why others fail to act upon the vision, values, [...]

By |2021-08-12T14:31:36-07:00November 12th, 2018|Leadership Communication, 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|
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