Last week I participated in virtual team meeting where a supervisor job opportunity was discussed. An African American woman spoke up and said, “why bother to apply? None of the managers at this company look like me.” The comment, while jarring, was hard to dispute. The diversity at the managerial level was obviously lacking. And while this company has tried to improve in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion, results have been slow and slim.
We are living in tumultuous times and the message we are hearing is loud and clear; we must do better.
We are all adapting to our new normal. Virtual Business Meetings, YouTube Workouts, Virtual Happy Hours, Zoom Dinner Parties … and my personal favorite "Improv Games Gatherings" on Zoom. Creativity is at it’s peak as we seek to maintain connection with others. Over the past week I have become somewhat of a Zoom aficionado, setting up virtual gatherings aimed to infuse optimism, fun, emotional support and human connection. As we shift to participating in, and in some cases, leading online gatherings, I thought some of you might find my list
Over the years, I have been in many plays and musicals … I was the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, a Hot Box Girl in Guys and Dolls, and Mrs.White in Clue (side photo:cast of CLUE ... I'm the one in black with the rope!) … just to name a few. And while being on stage is exhilarating, being part of a cast is an equally amazing experience.
~A HIGH PERFORMING MANUFACTURING TEAM releases a new product with a major defect resulting in lost revenue.
~A HOTEL LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE decides to allow job sharing resulting in happier employees, but creating holes in staffing. Guest Service is suffering
~A GROCERY STORE MANAGEMENT TEAM decides to eliminate self- serve checkout resulting in irritated customers and long lines.
Last night when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway presented the Best Picture Oscar accidentally to La LA Land instead of Moonlight, heads spun, tongues wagged, speculation soared and the blame game began. Who was responsible? Was it Faye Dunaway’s fault?
I have one of the most interesting jobs in the world. Every day I have the opportunity to meet with leaders and staff from a broad range of industries; ranging from healthcare to hospitality to transportation to technology. In each company I get to observe the inner workings of the business and marvel at the creativity and intricacies of each. As diverse as each company and industry is, there seems to be common denominator at the most positive and progressive businesses. What is it you ask? Open minded leadership. Let me explain.
The room is quiet. A dozen eager supervisors are listening intently to me at the front of the room. I say, “Close your eyes and I want you to picture the face of the best boss you ever had. Think about why they were so great. What did they do or say? How did they treat you? What made them different than other bosses you’ve had? Okay, once you have a clear picture... open your eyes.”
Recently I worked with a talented new CEO from a large investment firm. He was focused on business and driven to make an impact in his new role. However, one area he struggled with was in making decisions. Whether unilaterally or with his team, he seemed to linger ad nauseam over the decision, endlessly weighing pros and cons. Each week at the executive team meeting, the same topics would be raised and then postponed, for reasons that were unclear. Action items were discussed only in broad, general terms, with no specifics or assignment of accountabili
Last week I attended an off-Broadway performance of "The Illusionists". The show featured 6 amazing illusionists that wowed the audience with jaw dropping magic and illusions; everything from making people vanish into thin air to a Houdini-Style lock and chain escape from an ice cold water tank. The illusion that blew me away most, was when one of the performers inserted a quarter into his eye socket (ouch) and then made it reappear under the skin of his forearm – which he had to cut out to remove. Was this real …hard to say … but it looked real.
Have you ever been faced with a seemingly impossible task? Something so big, so hard and so daunting you thought; "No way... I could never do that! I think we have all experienced those kinds of moments when we doubt ourselves and our abilities.
Being Boston born and bred, and in honor of the upcoming Boston Marathon, it is my pleasure to share with you an article from one of my project partners, Jim Miller. Jim will run his 108th Marathon in Boston on Partiots Day , April 20th. Go Jim Go!
Empathy is one of the most powerful skills we have in our toolbox for building connection with our staff, our colleagues, and our customers. When we display empathy, we show others that we are listening to their situation, that we care about them and that we are attempting to understand how they might feel. When we do a good job of showing empathy, we create a sense of comfort, build rapport and drive relationship.
Every year millions of people make New Year’s Resolutions. According to the University of Scranton, Journal of Psychology, 45% of Americans engage in resolution making. That’s just a little under half the of the US population. And of those people, statistics show that only 8% are successful. Pretty pitiful!
A couple of weeks ago I was working with a client who was having time management challenges. We began our coaching session discussing the many tasks on his plate and the “time robbers” that just seemed to be gobbling up his time. As we dug a little deeper it became apparent that he was suffering from a common leadership condition I affectionately call, the Lone Manager syndrome. This is a when leader takes on more projects and tasks than necessary; specifically projects which actually should be handled by his or her team. This in turn affects his/ her ability to mana
As the Holidays quickly approach we all feel the stress of “too much to do and too little time.” And in the spirit of giving, we tend to take on too much and say yes to the many demands requested. When was the last time you said yes to something you wanted to say no to? We all do it. Whether it’s agreeing to meet a friend for dinner when you just don’t have the time, or taking on a project at work because no one else stepped up to the plate. Sound familiar?
Last week I had the priveledge and honor to be a guest on "The Coaching Perspective" radio show with Doug Gfeller. Listen to the Podcast and find out :
Recently a client of my expressed his frustration about how his coworkers use email. He had received a misinformed email message that, of course, was copied to a few critical people which in turn created a time consuming drama that could have been resolved in minutes. The email was about a safety issue (an electric shock hazard) at a large company. Allegedly someone had gotten shocked. Wouldn’t you agree that an issue like that warrants a phone call at least? It’s like emailing an ambulance when someone is having chest pains!
The word intention is often used quite liberally in the coaching field. We speak with our clients about being purposeful and intentional. Being clear on what we want and moving deliberately in the direction that will get us there. But when it comes to relationships with others, sometimes we can get so caught up with our goal and intention that we become unaware of how our behavior impacts others.
Many of the companies I consult with come to me with organizational ailments.
Hero or Leader?
Last week we all heard the incredible story about the bookkeeper at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy who talked the 20 year old gunman down from taking violent actions and initiating another school massacre. As I listened to Antoinette Tuff tell her story on TV, I was struck not only by her heroism, but by her natural leadership.
Recently I began taking Improv Classes through my town’s community programs. This is my 3rd class in the past year. I guess you could say I’m hooked. When I’m in class, I feel like I am 9 years old playing with my friends. Last night, I was transformed into a Hula Dancer with a lisp to and to a one-legged Russian Spy with secret information. I have finally found a place where it’s acceptable to “make things up” on the fly and be respected for being silly, creative and out of the box. So what does all this have to do with leadership?
Last year I completed mediation training through Orange County Human Relations. I took the 40 hour program to refresh my skills and strengthen my abilities as a mediator in the workplace. So often we think of mediation as something that happens in the courthouse … be it small claims, community conflicts or family law issues. However, more and more, I find that mediation in the workplace, or what I like to call “Relationship Repair”, is becoming a common need. Damaged relationships create stress and tension for one or both parties. Frustrations build and feeling fester.
The safety committee has come together to discuss last month’s accident report. Susan sits at the table, arms crossed and biting her lower lip, Robert is twirling his pen between his fingers and leaning back in his chair, Jessica is leaning forward, elbows on the table, Steven stares down at his lap with smart phone in hand and Michelle holds her face leaning on her hand. Joe reads through the incident report and asks for feedback or questions.