Business Change

New…A Carwash for Your Brain

Do you go through an internal battle when it’s time for a change? Do others resist your new attitudes and behaviors? Do you just want to go back to the good old days and stay in your zone of comfort?

Here is what I received from a colleague who was promoted to a senior leadership role talking about his discomfort as he navigates new territory.

Dear Sylvia,

Hope all is good with your move to California full time. I would like some help. What  I really want is a pacifier and a baby blanket. However, I’ll settle for some words of wisdom.

You know how amazingly happy I was to get the promotion to senior VP. I knew it was time and I knew I would do a great job. However, now that I’m in that bigger boss place for several months it’s not all sunshine and roses.

It seems I’m not getting the support I thought I would get. I even hear that damn gossip grapevine loudly whispering that I’m not as good as they all thought I would be. I feel alone and yes, abandoned by folks who I thought were my friends.

Not sure which way to turn.


Life Not Beautiful

Here is my response to Life Not Beautiful

Sounds like you’re stuck in the past. Yes, you were super successful and now it’s time for some major changes. I think you will find my webinar “Give Change a Chance” very eye-opening. You see, we all have the battle to fight to get to the next level of personal and professional development.

Think what it was like going from middle school to high school or high school to college, or college to work. You get what I mean.

I think when change is in the air we all need a “car wash for the brain!” Time to get the old, encrusted ways of thinking and responding washed away.

As you develop your leadership skills you need to find new and more effective ways to communicate. Many of your colleagues may have loved your ability to tell lively stories (you do have a way with words) and now, you just don’t have the same amount of time. Even more important, you have to change how you relate to those who now report to you. The quality of the relationships will change and you need to be ready for this.

Here’s how crazy hard it is to implement change even when you know it’s time for a change.

A study was done years ago about the quality of care received in hospitals in the middle of the night by tired interns and residents. It was not good. Many mistakes happened some life-threatening. Yet, it wasn’t until 2003 that congressional legislation required the interns and residents to work an 80- hour week rather than the insane 120 hours most had been clocking.

Pushback came from older physicians who were annoyed with the legislation saying “If it was good enough for me, it’s good enough for them.”

Change is tough and it is natural to go through a battle internally when it’s time for a change. Yet, looking at what is going on and doing it differently is the only real way for ultimate success. So, get a copy of the webinar and give me a call for a strategy session to help you find the best route to navigate your new leadership position.

Business Leadership Leadership Strategies

Here’s How to Avoid the 5 Basic Mistakes That Create Job Stress

Do you ever just wish that you could have a moratorium on change? That maybe, just for a month you could count on things staying the same? That you could depend on your work colleagues to show up and do their jobs so you could do yours? That sales would percolate and products get shipped on time? And yet, that’s not the way it is.

We all seem to be overdosed on change.

Change is the bedfellow of stress. Each day there is something new, exciting or challenging to keep us on our toes. And many of us are sick and tired of the ambiguity and uncertainty that makes us go home tired, burned out, defeated.

High daily outside pressure can lead to high daily internal pressure and voila, stress enters uninvited.

A study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine indicates that job burnout is a strong predictor of coronary heart disease and high stress leads to wear and tear and eventually weakens the body.

Stress, due to constant change, is the hot word in today’s work world.

To stay healthy and meet today’s business challenges with poise and power you need to look at the following check list and make sure you have the basic areas covered.

Mistakes lead to hypertension, poor sleep patterns and lousy relationships. So, pay attention.

Escape from reality: Your body wants to use old, outdated tactics of fight, flight or freeze to battle change. Won’t work. You can duke it out, and change will still win, leaving you exhausted. You can run but there’s nowhere to hide. You can stay put and change will happen all around you anyway.

Blame someone else: Upper management asking too much of you or direct reports slacking off. Maybe so. Are you looking for protection from the heavy load or blaming those who are not paying attention to your burden? The more you “should” on others as the culprits the longer it takes to get the results you want.

Time is the enemy: You are willing to change and get the work done. That’s the spirit. Except you want to do it on your personal schedule. You think you will feel less stress when you can spread out the project so you have more time to prepare. Won’t happen. When you resist the pace, you fight the impossible. Time is the constant, it won’t change. It’s up to you to move faster and resist less.

Work harder not smarter: Shifting your mindset is the monumental task. That’s where the real work is. Once you look around you and begin to create new patterns of reacting you can reduce stress and increase efficiency. Adapting to the newest technology or even asking for help when you never did in the past is the way. If you think adapting is tough, not adapting is tougher. Just ask a dinosaur.

No tolerance for course correction: Just in the middle of the project, when all seems to be going well, change changes its mind. This is the time to pivot, to improvise, to laugh at the impossibility of it all, to bounce and create a mid-course correction. The more you balk at the inevitable the more stress will sabotage success.

Making stress work for you takes personal initiative.

Over the top stress won’t go away. You need to be the master of your fate and make sure you are the stress master of your own destiny. It’s okay to get angry, rail your fist against the situation, however, only for a minute. Then admit you need to surrender to change and find new ways of responding.

Resistance to change is the biggest enemy of success.

Start to observe and manage your own behavior more effectively. Look at what triggers your upset and stop. Stop, breathe, pivot.

Yes, stop, decide to be the master of your reactivity not the servant of your old, outdated behavior. Then you and change become colleagues rather than adversaries. That’s the foundation of successful stress management.

Business Communication

3 Simple Ways to Stop Your Co-Workers from Driving You Nuts

It’s tough to confront people. Well, at least that’s what 90% of the population says. Is your tendency to avoid or even worse, deny, that difficult issues exist at your office?

It’s so much easier to blame others for being impossible to work with. We live in a “he did it, she did it, they did it” world. It’s always easier to fall asleep at night judging, blaming or attacking others. Then we’re ok with falling asleep with an angel halo above our own heads, with no regrets as to how we may have contributed to the matter.

To be a successful leader, look at situations from the eyes of a great parent. It’s not really that different. When conflict arises, instead of waiting for that pot of anger to boil over, act.

Here are three ways to stop the madness.

Don’t waffle: The first way to stop someone from driving you nuts is to be decisive. Ambiguity leaves lots of room for misinterpreting a situation. That’s a recipe for disaster. When in doubt, speak out. Ask questions. Don’t just assume the annoyance will blow over. It will just hide in the corner and then show up even bigger and noisier, and usually at the most inopportune time.

Communicate with conviction: Use strong words, be bold. Say you are upset, angry, damn mad. The softer the words, the less you will be taken seriously. Think about how you reacted when you were told to go to your room as a kid; no ifs, ands or buts. You went. You paid attention.

Do what you say: No threats. They won’t hold water. What works, is saying why you are frustrated, annoyed, damn mad. Paint the picture for them. Remember how one of your parents (the one you really listened to) said that your behavior was creating havoc, dissent, a nasty situation…and they said what they would do and then they did it?

We can compare these three ways of stopping your co-workers from driving you utterly insane much like gravity.

Let’s think about gravity for a minute.

If someone throws a ball in the air and you are standing right where the gravitational pull is, you will get hit on the head. Gravity wont apologize or feel sorry for you. It, well…it just is.

Be like gravity.

Once you are decisive, stay that way. Once you speak out clearly with conviction, don’t change your words. Once you do what you say, don’t start to make excuses.

Good leaders are like good parents.

You don’t want to destroy your co-worker, or boss, or direct report – you simply want them to know their behavior is frustrating you.

And like a good leader or parent, you also want to give your colleagues at work the opportunity to respond to you.

Relationships are complex and curious. They demand attention and live in the realm of shades of gray. There are many shades of gray to contend with and you will be the winner if you say what you mean, communicate it with clarity and do what you say.

Join the ranks of the 10% who are skilled at confronting others with grace and ease. That’s what great leaders and great parents do. If you need help in facing others, practice talking to yourself first, a friend second, and then go for it.

The more you speak out clearly, the more confident you will be and better yet, the more emotionally intelligent you become.


Business Leadership Leadership Strategies

Confidence Concerns: Even the Best Leaders Have Them

Did you ever wonder if you were going to be fired? Did you ever have a conversation with someone in a position to tell you to pack your bags and leave? Do you ever have to tell someone they are not a fit for your team and it’s time to say goodbye?

In my work with leaders for many years, I’ve observed that even the brightest and best leaders struggle with confidence.

Everyone has fears of being told they are not good enough. Everyone. In fact, did you ever hear of, ta-dah…The Impostor Syndrome?

Even the most confident individuals at some time or another, wonder if they are good enough. Even the stars of the world have confidence concerns.

The degree of nervousness about what others think of you, of how you will succeed in your life, of how you will measure your own success is a matter of confidence.

Take a minute and simply rate yourself on a scale of 1-10. Yes, do it right now. If you sit at a 10 you are on top of the confidence mountain and no one can really topple you to trip and fall down that slippery slope to “damn, I can’t do anything right.” And if you are at a 1, well, you are a veritable mess of contradictions, concerns, and confusion.

A study by the University of Melbourne indicates a connection between advancement at work and being self-confident. It shows what I teach and teach and teach, that who we are goes back to what we learned in our original organization, the family.

Take my leadership quiz to show where you’re stuck and then, once you see the issues, you can learn to grow past the self-doubts and the concerns that people see you better than you are, that annoying impostor syndrome, and bring your self-confidence to a whole new level.

This is one of the 3 C’s I will be talking about in my webinar in a few weeks. It’s about the most important underlying leadership strategies you need to be aware of for ultimate success: Confidence, Character, and Communication.

Think of it this way, if you do the work to become self- aware and polish your character and then build up your confidence, when you communicate you are really heard and respected.

Communication is like an x-ray of your inner self, out there for all the world to see.

You don’t want to undermine anyone else nor be undermined. When you feel extraordinary and shine with confidence you can be a beacon for others to shine also.

So, polish yourself to shine even brighter.

Business Business and Life Patterns Leadership Patterns

Why being a clown just doesn’t work

What happens at work when meetings get tense?

Does the team leader call for a break? Is there simply a deafening silence for a few minutes and then you just keep plodding on, ignoring the elephant in the room? Or does someone jump in with a joke, hoping to warm the frigid emotions?

Let me share a story that happened a few weeks ago at a meeting that perfectly illustrates the clown pattern at play.

After you read about how the tension was relieved, think about how you would have handled being in charge.

Here’s the scene: Dan, a jovial marketing expert, was known for his wit. He often jumped in when two or three individuals were throwing verbal darts at each other. This particular day, one of the strong and very opinionated women was under attack.

Dan waited till there was a short silence and said “Hey, you guys, this tension reminds me of a story I heard about a woman who killed her husband. Not just killed, she chopped him into pieces. The note in the house entry was that she had had enough. He never listened and for the umptenth time she told him NOT to walk on the newly washed hallway and kitchen floors and, well, he ignored her once too often.

The police arrived at the house and called into headquarters. We’re ready to look for the culprit. Response from headquarters, “What are you waiting for?” Response from police on site “We’re waiting for the floors to dry.”

What do you think was the reaction from the team of ten?

Meet Dan, a perfect example of the clown pattern.

Sometimes humor is the best way to drive a point home. It can communicate ideas that are serious in a lighthearted way. My question to you is, “How was Dan’s timing?”

The answer. The guys on the team laughed. The gals were furious. Instead of moving forward this team had to take a break and meet several days later when tempers cooled. Dan was asked by the VP to please, please not make any more jokes like the one from the other day.

The major work for those who have the clown pattern is to become a humorist.

Watch the video below and find out the best way to give effective feedback to those “Clowns” when they show up

The difference is all in the timing.

In my book “Don’t Bring It To Work” on pages 141-142 you can learn about how Mark Twain became a great model of how to use humor in difficult situations.

Let me know if you have any great jokes that can help lower the tension in meetings.

Business and Life Patterns Coaching Leadership Patterns

Restless Patterns

By Frank Walsh | CEOptions Certified Pattern Breakthrough Coach

It’s not you, it’s me… Well it’s also you, but with some guidance I have seen how the patterns of my past influenced our relationship.

I started to feel it in my mid 40’s. Things were different. I had evolved, you had changed. You didn’t make me happy anymore and I started to hate you for it. Still, we had been through a lot, so I didn’t want to quit. I felt I could fix things. I believed you had so much to learn from me if you would just accept it.

By 50 it was all over except the tears. I only saw you as irrational, controlling and heartless. But I know you were just doing what comes naturally, and I was playing my roll of the Rebel. I couldn’t fix you, so I would watch you destroy yourself with smug satisfaction, except that it wasn’t satisfying, it was saddening.

Business Business and Life Patterns Change Communication Growth Leadership

Guess Who’s Coming To Breakfast, Lunch and Maybe Even Dinner

Is your company going through a growth spurt? Need more good people to participate in your exciting endeavors? Want to fill the shoes of those who have moved up with those ready to move up?

Warning: Don’t overlook those seated before you.

Business Change Coaching Communication Goals

The Colors of Gender Thanks to Modern Marketing and Ancient Ancestors

From the day you were born, even before conception, there are beliefs and stereotypes that are attached to gender.

Let’s consider the color continuum for gender. Pink is for girls and blue is for boys. Right? Where did this begin? Who decided which colors belong to which gender?

Here is a brief trip through history. In the 1800’s all babies, male and female, wore white “dresses” in infancy. Thus, babies were gender neutral. These sacks were easy for changing diapers and to bleach when they became dirty.

Then around the 1920’s Western parents began dressing the little ones in colors. Pink was associated with boys. Yes, you heard me, boys. Here is the rationale: red is a bold and brave color and too strong for children so, boys got the watered-down version…pink.

Blue, a more subdued color was for girls. And by the way, blue was associated with the Virgin Mary, thus a color of purity. Just saying!

Business Business and Life Patterns Leadership

Fix-Em, Don’t Fire-Em

Ever hear (or say) something like “Diane is THE PROBLEM. Everything will be solved if we just get rid of her.”

How often does this type of response show up when things aren’t working at work?

Look, maybe Diane is THE PROBLEM and she must go. However, then again, maybe there’s a deeper issue lurking under the radar.

Our natural tendency is to point the finger at her, him or them and step back from looking at the whole enchilada.

Business Business and Life Patterns Goals Leadership

3 Fundamental Needs For Happiness To Start The New Year

There are three fundamental needs we all have that seem to sparkle more during the holidays and end of year, than at any other time. Check over the list and see where you will want to put your energies to grow and learn in the next year, which is right around the corner.

The first is the need for love and belonging. Love and belonging show up in many different shapes and colors. However, the theme is one of social interaction with family and friends. And yes, pets too.

Then, there is an area of belonging that comes from time in nature. Mother Nature and Father Sky are an important part of the Native American culture that we are hearing more about since Standing Rock and the pipeline dilemma that is making news.