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Leadership Lessons: Take “Difference” out of Diversity

HUH? You say. Diversity is difference. What else is there? Diversity management means having a rainbow culture with lots of people from different races, gender, ages, and ways of thinking and being. Isn’t that what diversity is all about? NOT QUITE. Diversity is about creating a culture where each individual’s UNIQUE way of learning and participating can become an integral part of the culture. A culture that honors individual creativity and ways of problem solving and a willingness to speak out is the newest, most powerful way to drive diversity at work. If we stay with the statistics of how many from each subheading from diversity manual should work in an organization, we are back in the last century. Rather it is about how to help employees create the conditions under which they can be the most collaborative and creative. This is how to increase productivity. The keys to a culture that wants people from many backgrounds comes about because the leaders have shown what being authentic looks like, sounds like, and feels like. It is about leaders who model saying what they mean and doing what they say. Work cultures that strive for uniqueness will by definition have diversity. In “UNIQUE: How Dynamic Leaders Drive Diversity” the following is outlines. For a free copy of the introduction (published in March 2014) contact Debbie@ceoptions.com. Four areas that can make a difference are: personal storytelling that increases authenticity; ownership of behavior patterns that need to be transformed; practice in dialogue (goes way beyond conversation) which is the essence of give and take in communication, and systems thinking to see the WHOLE organization as “we’re all in it together” mentality. Unique...

Leadership Development: Breaking the Mold with Giants and Glee

  San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy refers to his team, now getting ready for the World Series as a “bunch of misfits.” Huh? They played super ball in their series against the Phillies. Misfits?   Switch to Glee, the hit TV show that is capturing the minds and hearts of our nation; the story of a high school singing club full of misfits. These kids get along best with each other, having to do end runs around the popular kids.   Back to the Giants; lots of those who played so well in the series that just ended were cast out of other teams. Their visionary General Manager caught lots of flack all the while saying stuff like, “there is a plan, you’ll see” and he had to believe in those he chose to join the team. Not surprising that their informal song became Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin”; and they are doing just what the song suggests!   The common theme is that those who seem at odds with the traditional image of success can make it happen, can come in first; and win our hearts in the process. This is more than merely the David and Goliath saga; it is the beginning of a trend that will become more and more important in the coming years.   Thanks to Wall Street, our celebrity addicted culture, and down and dirty dealings in the political arena we are seeing that what looks good on the surface is not to be trusted. The tide may be turning to those who are real, who have true grit, play their hearts out,...

Battling Women and Windmills

In our Total Leadership Connections program we teach participants to go beyond the obvious, that leadership in any field requires deep thought; superficial considerations are merely not enough. Recently asked what I thought about all the brouhaha around actor/director Mel Gibson’s racist and venomous comments to ex-girlfriend and mother of his child I decided to do some research. Based on what I teach, how we either stand on the shoulders of the past or repeat it, I have a whole new understanding of what I think may be going on with this famous celebrity. Stay with me for a minute while I take you back to Mel’s ancestry, no not as far back as Bravehart, just to his father Hutton. Mel’s father, a devout Catholic has his own website where he tackles what he sees as the hypocrisy of his church in modern times. He also is a conspiracy theorist and a holocaust denier. I began to wonder how this man became so polarized in his thinking; we have to be taught to hate, it is not our natural state of being. I decided to dig deeper. You may have a hard time tying together what I am saying; it is counter-intuitive in the world we live in, which is fraught with dichotomies. If so, please find more information in “Don’t Bring It to Work” or you may contact me at Sylvia@ceoptions.com. Okay, here we go. One of the most vital aspects of our development has to do with crises; what I call hardening of the emotions. In Hutton Gibson’s life there were many. His mother died when he...

Leadership and Change: Ready on a Moment’s Notice

I must really be getting old! I remember when tornadoes were only meant to happen in Kansas. In past years most of us watched “The Wizard of Oz” and went along with Dorothy on her journey, yet it was just a story, right? While tornadoes indicate sudden change and danger they were “out there” in pockets of the country. They were meant to be in Kansas, not Connecticut. Well, not until this week anyway. The weather patterns of the world have changed, the world has changed, and we all need to be more adept at adaptation. Change in the blink of an eye is required by all of us, and leaders need to have the tools of change in their back pockets. Here is an example: Yesterday we finished the second session of Total Leadership Connections and sent the group on its way. Lots of stops and blocks happened once this group left the “Magic Kingdom” of The Country Place. Someone called to tell me about a tire that blew while he was driving, fortunately on a back road just off the highway. There were plane delays, sitting on a runway for hours without even water, even a tree from a quick yet busy thunder storm blocking a road to his house. What impressed me was the balanced manner in which these momentary unplanned changes were handled. NO victims in this group. No crabbing and blaming, no anger and upset. Well, maybe some upset; after all it is okay to be human. However, whether it was nature showing its strength, or a people problem, there was calm behind the...

5 Things to Brighten Up the Work Week

  What if everyday at work was amazing, rewarding, conflict free, and wonderful?   If that were the case you would be living in a pretend paradise that, I can assure you, would get boring, boring, boring within a month.   Anyone remember the movie “Pleasantville“? It is a 50’s type family living in a 50’s type community where everything is so….well pleasant. The beginning of the film is in black and white and only changes (I don’t want to spoil it for you, it’s worth seeing) so just note at some point it changes, or the word I would use is it transforms to what is real!   It is through conflict, facing our demons, embracing our shadow side, and really getting the fact that everything is connected and no one wins unless we all do that workplace relationships become and stay amazing so that each day has its own power:   Monday magic Tuesday terrific Wednesday wonderful Thursday thoughtful Friday friendly   And the week end has a shimmering quality because we are not fried from the week.   There is a new quality movement at work. It has to do with caring, creativity, compassion, cooperation. It has to do with each individual taking responsibility for becoming self aware and accountable. It is a needed reinvention of the workplace after health care reform. It is better not to get stress induced illnesses, agreed?   It is what we have always wanted at work. Now it is closer and closer to being there on a daily basis. Research and understanding of people technology bring us to better and...

“HMD” to All Women and Men Who Have Birthed Anything

  A female executive I am coaching called me very early this morning and complained about how hard Sunday would be for her. My response was not super professional; all I said was “Huh?”   She then launched into a soliloquy about the fact that she had made a conscious decision not to have children and every Mother’s Day she had tons of people who would look at her with sad expressions and either ignore the whole idea that she was childless or make banal comments about overpopulation or the fact that many people have children who drive them crazy.   This year she decided to leave early for a conference so she would be on the road on Sunday, driving from here to there to prepare for the week off site without having to fend off annoying comments.   I stopped her before she would spiral down to more defending, explaining, or justifying her position. I asked a question that is what I call a pattern interrupt, the kind of question we teach in our “Total Leadership Connections” program.   Just a bit of learning here; these “P.I.” questions are meant to make individuals stop their downward spiral of negative thoughts and help them engage a different, hopefully more creative part of the brain to think new thought. These questions cannot be answered Yes or No and, like an arrow are meant to hit between the eyes.   “So, what have you birthed?” was my bull’s eye question. Her initial response was “Huh?” I asked again and added “There are so many ways to birth without a uterus,...