My One Secret for Your Extraordinary New Year

My New Year’s confession: I feel a little bit schizophrenic at times. As a governmental leader and executive coach it’s my job to wear two hats. While coaching, my philosophy is that YOU have all the answers. My coach role, then, is to ask the questions, be a confidential sounding board, a thinking partner who helps you discover your answers. With your permission, I hold you accountable for actions you decide to take, to try, and to tweak until you succeed in reaching a goal or intentions you set. As a public sector leader often the expectation of elected officials, staff, and others is decidedly different: I'm expected to have the answers, or do my darnedest to listen and find a range of the best answers based on my experience, education, and the sacred trust I feel when using public monies (meaning your money). In honor of our New Year, I'm wearing both hats today and sharing my one secret recommendation that will help you have a great 2016. This secret is for coaching clients and everyone I'm connected with as a public sector leader—and for you dear readers. Are you ready? Drumroll please… SMILE MORE! Okay, you probably expected something harder to do, something … [Read more...]

Mandela Inspired Trust-(Re)Building Framework

Pumping gas at a station just off I-40 somewhere in Arizona, a man wearing a dark, wrinkled uniform approached me. The wind blowing his ruffled hair, he carried a rubber boot with a few dollar bills sticking out. Standing a little too close for my comfort, he dangled the boot toward me and asked, "Would you like to donate to the firefighters' fund?" I replied, "Do you have some kind of identification?" The man gave me a puzzled look, "no, not really ID, but there's my fire truck parked right over there." Sure enough, there it was. Huge, red, shiny, a fire truck that awed. The overwhelming majority of people in the U.S. believe that other people cannot be trusted. According to the lastest General Social Survey,* two-thirds of Americans say "you can't be too careful" in dealing with other people. Mr. Arizona Firefighter met one of the majority when he came face-to-face with me. The GSS was first conducted in 1972. At that time, 50% of adult Americans said that people can be trusted. Forty years later, not only do people in the U.S. distrust the government (except perhaps their local government), we've gained a hard-earned mistrust of institutions like Wall Street, banks, law … [Read more...]

Teamwork in Glass Blowing, Work & Life

As a child, I wanted to make coloring books come alive. I dreamed of being an artist. As an adult, I have taken classes and made many attempts to create fine art. It wasn’t until this year that I found my medium – hot glass. And, little did I know that working with this magical hot liquid would be the experience that would bring teamwork vividly alive. Glass Blowing Teams Like business, glass blowing is filled with glorious inspiration and bitter setbacks. A glass blowing team can consist of two people or 11 people, depending on the design and size of the piece. The teamwork in glass blowing enables you to reach a creative potential that would have been literally impossible working alone. Glass blowing, as I’m sure you know, is about manipulating very hot, molten glass. Glass is gathered from a Glory Hole onto one end of a blowpipe and then inflated by blowing into the other end. Shaped with wood and metal tools, the hot glass is then placed in an Annealing Oven. Movements like gathering, centering, blocking and marvering are just a few of the terms in this challenging and demanding process that embodies endless creative possibilities and is oh so rewarding and … [Read more...]

Leaders Who Attract Main Street America’s Women

Writing a book about what Main Street, America women think and care about is an awesome, humbling and sometimes challenging experience. I’m at a crucial stage in writing The Flight Patterns of Superwomen, the book that amplifies the voices of America’s majority:  women. I’ve come to well understand why Nora Ephron, the writer of iconic films like Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally, and Sleepless in Seattle said, "The hardest thing about writing, is writing.” The women I interviewed definitely want to be acknowledged as individuals (beyond polls, pundits and demographic lumps): “What I really care about is being seen as an individual, distinct. It is important to me because I’ve always been pretty independent and I don’t think that just because I’m a woman that means I think X or think Y – I want to be seen as an individual.” (E, NE) Yet, all voiced a passion for the collective, the common good of the nation and the entire global human family. Writing that honors women’s voices definitely presents a “yes and” opportunity. Women Lead Now First, "yes," women are not equal in the U.S. and almost all the women I interviewed said women here 'could and should' be doing better. But … [Read more...]

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