(570) 636-3858 info@ceoptions.com

Water Fight

As I was researching the effect of ongoing conflict in the workplace for my book about long-term patterns, I was struck with how many people will “go to the mat” to argue for their position rather than look at what is really in everyone’s best interests. Anyone own a pair of Puma or Adidas sneakers? The two companies were started by brothers who became such rivals that the town where they both lived in Austria was divided by who wore what. The Puma people didn’t talk to the Adidas people, would snub each other at the local pub. And the feud created a great opening for Nike to take the major share of the business. Then I came across an article in a recent Business Week magazine (April 14, 2008). It caught my eye because a subsidiary of corporate Swiss giant Nestle plans to operate one of the largest spring-water bottling plants in the U.S. in the town of McCloud, California, in the foothills of Mt. Shasta. The area around Mt. Shasta is breathtaking. It is a place where my husband Herb and I spent time when we were searching for answers to an illness that had plagued him for many months. Just being there helped. I remember the water tasting sweet and pure. So what is the big deal if Nestle bottles the water and sends it around the country for others to enjoy? First, there was no buy-in from the community of 1300 residents. They are furious that their elected representatives signed the deal without consulting them, keeping it behind closed doors. Next is the ecological consideration....

Mad as Hell!

The other day I turned on the television to catch up on the media buzz around the Pennsylvania primary and ended up mesmerized as I watched a group of teenage “cheerleaders” in Lakeland, Florida participate in violently beating a classmate and videotaping the incident.   My mind went from the youngsters’ desire to videotape in order to become instant celebrities on YouTube to “Where were the parents”? I began to mull over the frustration I feel about the media, the internet, and our “stimulation addicted” society.   Loud, crude, rude, and outrageous seem to be the modern themes of not only acceptable behavior, but of what actually gets all the attention. That is the route to becoming rich and famous.   And that leads me to Phil McGraw, aka Dr. Phil. His show continues to hit new lows of subject matter and poor taste as participants verbally abuse each other so “good daddy” can set them straight. Isn’t Phil with his grey mustache and bald head the epitome of the “ideal” father figure? He is strong, both physically and emotionally, competent, clear-headed, direct, and “tough-loving.”   Actually, his advice is only good for TV sound bites and not so good for long-term sustainable change for his “clients.” All he does is create a forum for his down-home good ole Texas one-liners (as in “This isn’t the first rodeo I have participated in,” to show the world that you can’t pull the wool over Daddy Phil’s eyes!).   And then I read that his producers bailed one of the cheerleader teens out of jail in exchange for an exclusive interview...

A Moment of Truth in Black and White

Recently I asked one of my colleagues if she had heard Barack Obama’s speech; she paused and then said, “You mean THE speech?” The capital letters in her voice told me she knew she had heard something of uncommon importance. I know I did. For me, it brought back a memory of a particular moment of truth in my life, which I’d like to share. This is not about politics or who to vote for. It’s about what goes on inside us and inside business organizations, as we teach in our Total Leadership Connections program. Her name is Vivian. She is a tall, beautiful, African-American corporate VP, the epitome of correctness in her tailored business suit. When I first met her years ago, she rarely smiled. She told me once that she often wondered which bothered the men in her organization more, her blackness or her woman-ness. She often wondered which bothered her more. Vivian was part of a small group of internal and external consultants who came together to create a program for all of the field business units. It was called ConneXions: Results Through Relationships. We met, five of us, on a regular basis. Our agreement was to go for core truth in our communications, exactly what the program was geared to teach. Over time, we began to feel more like family than family. It was by far the safest Vivian had ever felt in a group. Slowly, she let her guard down. As she became more open, her wardrobe changed. She would wear the African prints she loved and her favorite jewelry of ebony and carved...