Does It Take Courage to Change? Absolutely!


Summary: Today, I tell a true story about one man’s quest to find his most profound truth and what it means to be vulnerable at work. Equally important is what this meant to his team.

Here is how it started. HR called The SVP of marketing of a flourishing organization for a meeting. There were constant complaints regarding his leadership style. It was not possible to ignore it any longer.

He was pissed!

“His reports,” he told the head of HR, “are a bunch of whiny babies, and his job was to get them to grow up!”

All things considered, the head of HR groaned and called me.

In short, she wished me luck in helping make change happen. I wished myself luck too!

The best way to heal the hurt is to communicate with authenticity and accountability.

Eventually, there was an off-site with the team to “heal the hurt.” That included the hurt on all sides.

Consequently, there are many parts to the intricate puzzle:

  1. the boss versus the team
  2. emotions of the individuals
  3. honesty needed to speak truth to power,
  4. willingness to listen without being defensive,
  5. desire for a breakthrough rather than a breakdown,
  6. commitment to positive change,
  7. transformation of the work environment

What transpires is often a “miracle story.”

All in all, the team agreed (often reluctantly) to consider the following:

  1. They were all in this together, and no one would win unless they all did
  2. Everyone was accountable for keeping emotions from spilling over
  3. Communication would be direct and without “JUBLA” (judging, blaming, or attacking)
  4. The Pause Method is “take a breath” and listen before responding.
  5. No one would be transferred or fired for telling the truth
  6. Everyone would participate by looking at their behavior
  7. There would be changes to the way the team worked together

Great title for an off-site is Relook, Rethink, and Realign.

So far, so good.

What that means is, on paper all the boxes could be checked.

In the same vein, the big question is: what would happen when truth led to hurt feelings and conflict?

BEFORE: The 20 individuals on the team along with their boss had several one-one meetings with me to find out where the bumps and blind spots existed.

Hence, this meant digging into history and herstory to find the underlying causes for the disconnect at work.

I will not go into detail.

Telling the truth (without spilling your guts) takes discipline and courage.

Above all, simply know it was a tense and rigorous time together.

Then, the magic happened.

In addition, once the boss told his truth in a clear and non-judgmental way, many others took the risk to be vulnerable.

As an illustration, here is a condensed version of what he said to tell the truth without “spilling his guts:”

                                          “I want to apologize. Please know, this is not easy

                                            for me. I was always a deny-and-avoid type of guy

                                            when it comes to admitting weakness.

                                            However, through this process of relook, rethink,

                                            and realign, I learned some vital truths about myself.

                                            I was a lousy listened. While I was a great delegator,

                                      It was all about what I wanted and needed. I really

                                      never took what you all want and need into consideration.

                                      That is no longer the case. Look, I may slide back from time.

                                      And that is when I request each of you tell me what I need to

                                       hear differently. All you have to say is, “Please listen.”

                                          The “magic” word is “listen.”

                                     It will be what stops me from being bossy. It will return to me

                                     to be the boss you need and the boss I want to be.

                                     Now, let’s all change for the better.”

Afterward, the magic continued.

                                            There was laughter and listening.

                                             Included were compassion and creativity.

                                             Best of all was productivity and purpose.

Even better, what was learned off-site was used at home.

How do I know?

I received three calls from spouses who asked me if my team could work with their organizations.

The reason?

They saw valuable shifts in more open and honest communication when situations at home became tense.

Learning about systems and how all is connected is vital for effective leadership

The moral of this story is “We are all connected and no one wins unless we all do” which is the core philosophy of Creative Energy Options.

Ultimately, I hope you can create a culture of deeper communication that will foster higher productivity for your organization.

Here’s to your success,


PS. If you would like a free copy of th introduction to “Don’t Bring It To Work” please email me at

Posted in
Creative Energy Options

Sylvia Lafair

Creative Energy Options