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Naughty Can Become NICE

Naughty Can Become NICE

The road was slick from the rain. I did not want to complain because the Bay Area needs to fill up its rivers and reservoirs as fast as possible. None the less, when a car swerved just a bit too close for comfort I shouted out from that place inside that activates stress “Watch out you jerk.” My nine year old granddaughter said simply, “Grand-mom that was not very mindful. When we get home I’ll do some of the mindful meditations we learn in school with you.” And we did. We began by showing compassion for all things great and small. We studied an orange and appreciated its beauty and smell and the good health it brings us. We looked at a flower, we ran our fingers over a book and on and on. I know from all my research in leadership development that when stress hits the hot button we all revert to patterns from childhood to keep us safe. When our buttons get pushed we all tend to react in a less than excellent way. Well, the holidays are upon us and everyone I talk with says their stress meter is at the top. I want to give you all a holiday gift of a TED Talk by my friend Meng who is a semi-retired engineer at Google. Meng invited me to speak about my book, ‘Don’t Bring It to Work’ at Google and when we finally met in person I knew I had come across an extraordinary human being. He doesn’t just talk about compassion and mindfulness, he lives it. He was interviewed on 60 minutes...

Corporate Team Building: Creative Team Building Exercises

Newest research, hot off the press is that we live longer by standing and walking around. So many of us are chained to computers and sit, sit, sit all day long. More stand up desks are being sold and even ones that are attached to a tread mill. Everyone knows being thin and rich is good. Well, we won’t get there if we do not start moving around more. The research suggests that we should walk around while on the phone or at least take breaks every half hour and get a glass of water of a cup of coffee that makes us have a bit of a break. Here are some other ways to exercise at work. Hey do you… 1. Jump to conclusions? 2. Fly off the handle? 3. Push your luck? 4. Dodge responsibility? 5. Run down your co-workers? Guess there are now other ways to stay fit besides just plain old walking around. Seriously though, we are a species that is meant to run and walk and move around. So, how about setting the timer on your computer and take a stretch break every fifteen minutes or half hour. Your body will thank...

FREEDOM for the FOURTH

What does real freedom look like? It means being real, being who you are and not being afraid to express yourself in a healthy, positive way. Let’s celebrate FREEDOM this year in a new and powerful way. Let’s give each other the nod of approval that we can just experiment and be whoever we are without feeling judged. Now, that would be FREEDOM! Think of it this way. As a kid we were all GUTSY, male and female. We spoke out. We said what we saw before someone told us to be quiet, be good, behave. Think for a minute about one of your GUTSIEST moments. Take a few minutes and write it down. Practice telling it on the FOURTH. Tell it to family, friend, the checkout gal or guy at the market, the person who hands you the food at the convenience store. TELL IT TO SOMEONE. My grown daughters hate it when I tell the following story. They say “Mom, it is just over the top. Scale it down, shush it! And I say to them “When you are GUTSY sometimes you just gotta let loose!” Hang out with me. I wrote the book GUTSY because I had to. I became super sad thinking about how I used to sell myself out to be quiet, be good, and behave. I stayed in a marriage too long to please someone else. I was suffocating and was ready to go down with the ship rather than make waves. I used to keep my hands in front of my chest to protect myself. It often felt like I had been...

Take the Best Route from Management to Leadership

“How does a manager become a leader?” you ask. This is one of the most important questions in all of business. What the work world needs today are more leaders who can take charge in a strategic way and help everyone in the company have a “go for it and grow from it” mind set. Here are some vital differences: Management: Tell and Do…………………………….Leadership: Ask and Advise Management: Transactional………………………….Leadership: Strategic Management: Complete the Goal…………………….Leadership: Maintain the Vision Management: Control…………………………………Leadership: Connect Management: Do What I Say…………………………..Leadership: We’re in It Together So, what happens when a manager becomes a leader? There is an in-between time that is both energizing as well as challenging. Stan is a perfect example. When he was promoted to vice president of operations he knew he had to make some basic changes to the way he responded to his team. He was on a high speed highway in a shiny vehicle with brand new tires! And he was raring to go! He had his checklist: moving from control to passion, objectives to vision, stability to change, results to achievement, planning details to setting direction, short term to long term thinking. And then…………………….There was that day he knew leadership demanded more. It was at a meeting where concerns and complaints were as abundant as a tropical summer downpour. Initially he went to his knee-jerk behavior of shutting down the discussion. He hated conflict and had a pattern of being a lifelong avoider. He was comfortable in the world of right and wrong, pointing the finger of blame and moving on. He knew he was being tested and realized...

Leadership and Hidden Sources of Conflict

One day at a senior staff meeting Michael expressed strong doubts of George’s idea to acquire another company. Michael and George started to raise their voices, much to the surprise of the rest of the management team. Michael was so angry he was physically shaking; he nearly lunged at his colleague. He knew even as he stood there that his behavior was irrational – way out of proportion to the situation being discussed. He excused himself, went into his office and closed the door. After some deep breaths to calm down he started to write about what had just happened. As he wrote a memory seized him and he remembered an incident with his older brother (someone just like George). He was nine years old and no matter what he said he could never get his older brother to really hear him. The two boys were always competing for being the best, the smartest, the winner. And here he was, in this meeting feeling that his co-worker George was winning and he would end up being the younger brother who could never be first, never be listened to. Later that day Michael took a risk and went to talk with George who had stayed in the meeting dumbfounded with Michael’s reaction. Listening to Michael was a turning point in the relationship with the two men. Not the touchy-feely types, they were both a bit shy. However, finding out that George was not the source of Michael’s upset, was gratifying. They made an agreement to really hear each other and when in the heat of a discussion the situation seemed to veer off course they would stop...

Extraordinary Boss as Truth Teller

Did you ever think it is better to tell just a little white lie rather than have someone be upset with you? We all have at one time or another. Then there is the opposite extreme where the truth is told in anger with judgment, blame and attack. Not pretty! What a gift to have a boss who is not afraid of the truth, who is willing to let you be uncomfortable for the sake of growth. What a relief to know exactly where you stand without feeling diminished for a mistake. Telling the truth is an art form that we all have to learn. Often the best truth tellers are those who grew up being pleasers. You know, the folks who would always smile and say “yes” to everything so they would not make any waves and always be everyone’s friend. Except all that smiling and pandering really does get old. With a truth teller as a boss you are treated as an adult. You learn that you are strong and resourceful and you do not have to be protected. Telling the truth is NOT spilling your guts! Being in the presence of an extraordinary boss who can say it like it is and still have you feel capable is a gift. When you find a boss like that, you don’t have to keep changing jobs. You have hit the...