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GUTSY WOMEN for FREEDOM

GUTSY WOMEN for FREEDOM

We all know about George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and John Hancock. They are reminders of how determined we must all be when freedom is put in harm’s way. I have always wondered about the women of the Revolution. In school all we were taught was that Betsy Ross was known for sewing the American flag. Now, that in itself is a marvelous undertaking. However, there were so many others who we need to know and honor. So I did some research and felt a swell of pride about the courage and the well…GUTSINESS for so many who risked their lives and did not hold back out of fear. Here are some of our heroines: Like Deborah Sampson cut her hair, bound her breasts and put on a uniform to fight next to the men. Like Ann Bates, a Philadelphia school teacher who changed her name and sold supplies to the British as a way to spy on them and bring information back to General Washington’s troops. Like Nancy Hart. She was known as a woman of fearless spirit and a hot temper. One amazing account of Nancy’s life was the evening that six British soldiers stopped to find a Whig leader. They demanded she cook them dinner and stacked their weapons in a corner. As the soldiers were getting a bit tipsy on wine, Nancy began to pass the muskets through an opening in the cabin wall to her daughter. When the soldiers noticed what she was doing she picked up one of the guns and warned them she would shoot, which she did. One man was killed and...
Prioritize!

Prioritize!

When your technical skills are great and you really care about your constituents you should be getting lots of kudos for your work. Right? Well…not so fast. Number one is, you MUST prioritize your RELATIONSHIPS. So often people skills are what creates a limiting career path. Now, what exactly do I mean? I mean YOUR personality may be the limiting factor. Here is an example: Jim, the head of client services in a large company was in charge of buying and placing new furniture for the open space casual meeting area. There was a team meeting and the team decided what they wanted. Hear me…the TEAM DECIDED. They even picked the fabric colors and decided how to have the furniture lend in a soothing way with the colors of the walls. All well and good. Almost! Then Jim, who took being the head of client services to heart, spent time rethinking the plan. He called the team together with his new ideas. They voted and still wanted what they had picked. After all, this was a TEAM DECISION. New furniture was delivered and placed in the open space, for, oh about a month. Jim hated the way it looked. He called some maintenance men to change this furniture with some that was in a long forgotten work room. How did his team handle this? Was there a conflict resolution meeting? Did Jim lose his job? Was there a battle of the decorating mavens? None of the above. Jim became the butt of many jokes, some funny, some vicious, some clever. Was that the end of it? Not quite. When...
Leadership Training: The 5 Second Breath

Leadership Training: The 5 Second Breath

Troy is one of the most energetic, funny and charismatic leaders in the company. When someone needs help it is there immediately. When someone has an idea Troy is there with suggestions. When someone feels frustrated, well, you guessed it, Troy has the words that work. EXCEPT…… Troy was not always a hero. Everyone used to steer clear of Troy. And Troy had no idea why. You see, Troy was trigger happy; with his mouth, that is. You know the type. Male or female most co-workers wanted to say “ZIP IT!” Read more of Leadership Training: The 5 Second...
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...
Talk of Torture Timely for Leadership development

Talk of Torture Timely for Leadership development

What a bummer that Angelina Jolie will miss the opening of the film “Unbroken” that she directed. Sadly, she missed the chicken pox as a kid and has to break out and itch as an adult. However, the timing of this film is placed perfectly. With Dick Cheney in great confidence saying he did not think that our country used torture and John McCain taking an opposite view we can get beyond the verbiage to see what torture looks like in Jolie’s film. In one interview Jolie was asked if she thought the film would pave the way for a summit on torture in war zones. Her answer was not that of a mediocre actress and a “spoiled brat” as someone said on the Sony tapes. It was the response of a mature woman who wants to make a difference. “The intention of the film and the message of Louis’ story is about the resilience of human spirit, faith, brotherhood and forgiveness. However we review history and how it affects us today, we have to look at it with a clear mind and an open heart. And it’s not about just having judgment, it’s about trying to understand each other and how we are planning on moving forward together.” Thank you Angelina. This is the same underlying message that is in “Don’t Bring It to Work”. Too many people think that work is “torture” and there are not enough dialogs about understanding each other and moving forward together. Maybe “Unbroken” will open a door for more and more discussions of what really matters to us as human...
Leadership Development: SHUSSSSH Don’t Rock the boat

Leadership Development: SHUSSSSH Don’t Rock the boat

Imagine a world where bringing up unpleasant or conflictual subjects is applauded. Imagine if in school good grades were based on asking the unaskable. Just imagine. Where would YOU fit in that kind of setting? Would you be one to ask “Hey, why is the emperor naked?” Or would you be one to put your hand to your lips and say “Shussssh!” You want to know where our general discomfort started with asking tough questions. It began way back when you were a little tyke and you saw your mother or care giver in a bad mood. You KNEW something was wrong, you could just feel it. And you asked “What’s the matter?” And the response more times than not was “Nothing! Just go play.” If you persisted you were called a trouble-maker. And if you just went away you were called a helpful, good child. Now fast forward to adulthood. You are now in charge of leadership development training at your organization. What do you do when someone persists in asking the questions that no one wants to tackle? Here is what Seth Godin has to say about being very, very quiet. We Can’t Talk About It We can’t talk about how we could do things better around here We can’t talk about what isn’t working We can’t talk about the countless opportunities we ignore We can’t talk about what hurts We can’t talk about dignity We can’t talk about how to make magic happen We can’t talk to our boss, our employees, our board, our investors We can’t talk about the things we can’t talk about That’s...