It’s Not Easy Being Green…

Posted on 20. Jun, 2012 by in Blog, Coaching

You ever notice that there’s a lot of pressure to be, well – something?

Be better, be the best, top of the class, stack ranked #1, be visible, be appreciated

Or to get something?

Get promoted, get a job, get a better job, get a better commute, get noticed!

For today, what if you take a minute to just be grateful that you are YOU? What if just for today, you take a rest – a time out from all the “being” and “getting” to be comfortable in your own skin?  Even if green and not so easy as Kermit says.. Will you take a moment to rest in knowing YOU:

Are Skilled,


Make a difference to people around you – maybe in ways you don’t even notice.

Many times the biggest gift we give others is the gift of being ordinary and letting others be ordinary along side with us.

Can you join Kermit and me for a few minutes of resting and comfort in – well being green?


Do you Have the Courage to be Vulnerable?

Posted on 29. May, 2012 by in Blog, Coaching, Leadership and Development, Teamwork

AuthenticVulnerable. Exposed.

Hate these words? Most people say they do.

They don’t want to look bad in front of people they work with or lead.

They say, “I don’t want to look silly, stupid – be called a fool.”

Most team members already know who you are. They know what you can do and can’t do – what you’re good at and where you struggle. So why pretend?

At what point do we finally “give in” and just be who we are? Own our strengths and weaknesses, then mesh with others strengths and weaknesses to create something truly special?

In teams, being authentic and real with team members requires self awareness, vulnerability and – the big one –  authenticity. The hardest? I gotta think Vulnerability. And without it, how can anyone truly be authentic? It’s all tied.

Vulnerability has presented some of the biggest biggest roadblocks for some of the best leaders I know. I think their ability to take it head on and embrace it has made the difference. One of the best explanations I’ve heard about the Power of Vulnerability comes from Dr Brené Brown. Funny, practical, authentic, and an expert in her field, she provides insight and clarity about vulnerability and the power of it in all aspects of our lives (not just business).

 Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW (more…)

Leadership: The Muffin-Top Deluision

Posted on 22. May, 2012 by in Blog, Coaching, Leadership and Development

Graphic by Antony Bennison

Yesterday I did it again. Went too far. Asked the question that didn’t need to be asked.

My son just finished a book report. (Always a fun family project) and we were discussing symbols.

I asked him, “if you were to choose a symbol that represents who you are now, what would it be and why?”

He thought for a minute and answered, “a flame.”

He then explained why he chose it with insight and depth I didn’t expected from a fifth grader.

In my surprise – I fell prey to my own curiosity and took it to the next level, not heeding the little voice warning me not to go there… I went there.

“If you were to guess what symbol I would chose, not just as your mom but who I am deep down, what would you guess I’d pick?”

He barely paused. “A muffin top.” He choked through his laugh.

Yes. Of course I was mature. Gave him a playful punch in the arm and wrestled him to prove I am “skinny-tough enough” to still take him. But then had to look in the mirror. How bad is that “muffin-top?” Am I kidding myself? Not seeing what the kid sees? (more…)

Change: A Broccoli Eating Contest?

Posted on 18. May, 2012 by in Blog, Change Management, Coaching

Sometimes there are things in my business I don’t want to do. You know what I mean? If you’re a procrastinator (like I am) it’s those tasks you save for last in case you really do run out of time and won’t have to deal with them. For me, it’s the ones that require focused quiet time and zero interaction with anyone else. Like documentation, accounting, paperwork. Yuck.

I look for a way out. I start to think – Hey, I’m creative, I’m an entrepreneur. I bet I can find someone to delegate this to. I look around to see who’s there only to end up pointing at my own chest.

Once I tried to farm out a particularly distasteful task to a grumpy looking woman peering at me in the bathroom mirror. She just shook her head and gave me one of her disapproving, thin-lipped smiles. It didn’t work. I even tried to catch the eyes of what appeared to be a team of people in the corner of the mirror – at the seam, but they were too wiggly. Pointless to get them to take anything.

Broccoli motivator for changeSo! I’m trying something new. Coach myself like I would you. Influence myself to re-frame the issue and tackle it. Sounds easy you say? Not for a well practiced procrastinator. I have to link this to something. Something that will change my mind and behavior. I think I found it. Broccoli.

I’ve decided that grappling with unpleasant tasks is like eating broccoli. My dad told me years ago, it’s the only veggie a person can solely live on. While I was disappointed that chocolate didn’t have these same characteristics, it’s a good factoid to know about the itty-bitty trees on my plate.

I actually like these little crowns as green veggies go, so this might work. I invite you to try it with me. Who knows? Maybe this will help you too.

Step 1 –  I only have to do 20% of this task in my day so the other 80% is really awesome.

Just like, I only have to eat 1 cup of broccoli to get three phytonutrients (the words all begin with the first syllable of gluco and I can’t pronounce any of them) that work together in a unique way to aid the body in detoxification. If you want to see the real words and true facts. Check out The World’s Healthiest Foods and their blog post on Broccoli.

I saw it on the internet, so you know it must be true. (more…)

Leaders – Don’t Swim Alone!

Posted on 14. Feb, 2012 by in Blog, Leadership and Development, Teamwork

BridgeLite Consulting

Human Beings are made to be in relationships. Sure, there are times when being a “Grizzly Adams” seems appealing.

When a project isn’t going as planned and there seems to be an extra supply of critics on hand to comment.

When a “significant other” acts like they are more significant than you think warrants significance at the present moment.

When a day is just not going the way you anticipated or planned.

Hanging out in a mountain cabin all alone can sound pretty appealing. But it doesn’t last.

Why? People are designed to be with people. And that’s the difficult part sometimes. Working side by side, team by team, to make something happen requires people. People united in purpose to make a difference.

Let’s face it, some days, being with those people, those challenging, grating, different-than-we-are people is just plain hard. For all of us. And for those in leadership? No hall passes granted to not be with people.

Leaders without people with them – well, aren’t leading. Aren’t participating. Being with people-that is the job.

Leaders can get stuck when they forget this fact for longer than one bad day. When leaders get stuck, and find themselves alone, three key factors as to why it happened emerge: (more…)

Change Management: Changing Lanes – Remember to use the blinkers!

Posted on 25. Jul, 2011 by in Blog, Change Management, Servant Leadership

We were at the 4-way stop. The one at the edge of town, always busy with several cars lined up in each direction.

Straight through the stop sign to access the local farmer’s market. A right turn earns a peaceful afternoon at one of several local wineries. Turn left and quickly arrive at a gas station and loop back into civilization.

It’s one of those intersections where you hope at least 3 drivers are paying attention.

Changing Your Organization - use your signals

Signal change using the "3 Cs"

Alot of people.

Alot of choices.

Alot of movement.

Many accidents have occurred at this concrete patch. Most times as a result of a driver wrongly predicting the moves of another driver.

Yesterday, as my husband and I were waiting our turn at this popular junction, sure enough, one of the drivers neglected to use a blinker – the turn signal to let the other 3 drivers know of her intentions. My husband commented, “traffic sure flows better when people just remember to use their blinkers!”  Yep.

Interestingly enough, no horns blared, no shaking fists or other gestures flew out of  car windows, just a massive “tentativeness” permeated the area. For the next 2 sets of drivers navigating their turns, hesitation, unsurety, and a lack of trust regarding intentions clogged the area.

Was the driver going to turn or go straight?  The right turn signal is on – does he mean it?  Can I trust the signal or lack of a signal? Is he going to go straight after all or did he forget to use the blinker and is about to turn?

People ended up, well – stuck.

This same thing happens in organizations – businesses, schools, churches, (families too) when “the driver,” otherwise called “leader,” neglects to signal a “lane change,” “turn” or any other change in direction.

When we neglect to clearly share our intentions, we leave people wondering, tentative, and unsure about their next steps. Sometimes even bigger issues are ignited –  Trust Issues. And once the trust foundation is shaken, the workload doubles as you have to repair trust and still drive the required change.

Just like at the 4 way stop,intentions are honorable. People just get in a hurry and forget. So before you start the change process, a quick reminder.

Remember  the 3 Cs:


Change to Drive Changes

Posted on 25. May, 2011 by in Blog, Change Management, Transitions

Enough Already!

I hate it when I have to “eat my own dog food.”

For the past two months I’ve been in change mode, but this time, for ME.

It’s so much easier to help others change. Don’t you think?

I hope you notice, we just launched the new website. Yea!

The need to CHANGE sprung from the desire to clarify and simplify. I want it easy for you to quickly see and view offerings, get a true picture of who we are, how we deliver, and provide a broader range of resources for you.  Also, I need an easier way to make updates and add content for all ya’ll when the desire or realization strikes at 12:30am.

Thanks to Umstattd Media – we are LIVE and have met these goals!  Big thanks to Katie, Sam, and Thomas for their patience and creative and analytical solutions.

These site changes are all and more than I expected. All goodness. But instead of doing my usual Happy Feet Dance as I see the light at the end of a project, I’m a little grumpy. Why?

Makes no sense.

Or maybe it does make sense and I get to laugh at myself – again.

It’s because I have to change.

Change process, tools, application integration, registration, and many other itty- bitty things that really don’t matter but do – because I have to change how I use them.  Outlook vs Gmail; phone to Facebook to Twitter and back out again. The list seems long and yet I know in about 2 more weeks, I’ll have the IT equivalent of postpartum amnesia and will wonder what all the fuss was about.

So, I’ll tell the truth and confess:

I like changes. Love new adventures. Can’t wait till I can put new ideas into motion, as long as I don’t have to change anything.

Ahhh – good to be back online!

What about you?  What do you like and not like about  making changes?

Failing into Success

Posted on 16. Feb, 2011 by in Blog, Change Management, Servant Leadership

I’ve quoted this for so many years, almost thought it was mine:

“Are you green and growing or ripe and rotting?”

Originally stated by Ray Kroc, founder of the McDonald’s empire, the quote is reiterated by Derek Sivers in his worth viewing YouTube Clip:

When driving change and new projects, many leaders think they must have all the answers.  For some, it’s difficult to say 3 magic words:

I don’t know.

It didn’t work.

Let’s try again.

Another fantastic resource on the topic of driving lasting change and developing a growth mindset is the book, SWITCH by Chip and Dan Heath. Clear, well written, great insights – and with a sense of humor!

A Must for leaders driving change.

Authentic, Servant Leaders know the value of a growth mindset. Experimenting. Learning. Sharing.


Leaders Leading WITH Leaders

Posted on 01. Feb, 2011 by in Blog, Leadership and Development, Servant Leadership, Teamwork

Team Tug-a-wars!
Team Tug- Wars

Team Tug- Wars!

We talk  about how to lead followers – but what about leading leaders?

Or, more specifically, how do we effectively team with other leaders  to drive changes, hammer out a new initiative, raise funds, promote an idea to the Board – or – participate effectively as a Board member?

We see it all the time.  And, we cope by joking and complaining about the  “power struggles,” bullying, and begin to label our teammates with not so nice labels.

When working with a team of strong willed, independent thinkers, convinced that their way is the only way, here are some survival tips:

1. Listen 80%, Talk 20%

It’s amazing what we learn when we genuinely listen. Not  speaking or focusing on our next brilliant utterance, but listen to what is really being said by others.  Valuable team time can be squandered when we are not really listening to each other. And, it’s easy to move into conflict when we begin to make assumptions about what we think we are hearing when only half listening. Try applying the 80/20 rule to listening in team meetings and see what the true landscape is.

2. Ask Clarifying Questions – Don’t Assume.

There is a reason that the word ASSmption begins with those first 3 letters…. Take time to clarify what you think you hear, especially if the comment seems out of line with the discussion or what you expect. It also helps if the question is asked with respect, without hidden agendas and in true question format. For example:

Do ask:, “Fred, are you saying  you believe the delivery should be next week as opposed to this week?

Don’t ask: ” Fred, you can’t possibly mean that the delivery should be this week as opposed to next week!”  [Besides being a statement as opposed to a question – the real statement is the underlying tone – “Fred, you idiot! You can’t possibly mean that the delivery….” You get the idea.

I see this in teams – alot. The not so subtle “clarification” that is really intended to coerce the other party back to the speaker’s way of thinking. The attitude in which a clarifying question is asked is just as important as the question.

3. Focus on the problem that needs to be solved – not the personalities.

Tug-of-wars in meetings can pop up without much warning when the focus is on each other  rather than the problem to be solved.  If a team is debating more than required to uncover data that helps the decision making process, shift the focus. If in a room together, shift focus to the problem on a whiteboard or flip chart. If in online meeting, highlight in meeting tool and/or verbally restate what you think the problem to be solved is- sometimes, just restating the problem statement, will refocus attention. Arguing is guaranteed to diminish as you partner with each other to solve the issue at hand.

4. Remember, as a servant leader – it’s not about you.

Skilled leaders, remember that it’s not about “winning” or “losing.”  It’s about driving the new initiative forward. Enabling the change to occur, etc. The best outcome is the one where something gets done, all feel engaged, energized and respected.

Where can you shift focus this week and team with your leadership colleagues to make a difference?

The Romper Room Effect

Posted on 28. Jan, 2011 by in Blog, Leadership and Development

In 1952, a new “kiddie learning show” show was launchedRomper Room.  Syndicated across the country and shown in England, Ireland, Japan and Australia, the show provided a much needed ‘time out’ for weary parents as their children sat, eyes glued to the TV.  The preschoolers interacted with their televisions, audibly answering  questions when asked such as, “Did you know the horse was brown?”

Tiny squirming children would wait  patiently (or not so patiently) for the highlight of the show, the closing scene where Miss Nancy (the original host out of Baltimore)

or Miss Debbie, Miss Susan, Miss Sally, etc. would position her magic mirror in front of her face, look directly into the camera, and recite  the names of  the good boys and girls she could see that day.

Some children would jump up and down in front of the TV, attempting to get Miss Whoever’s  attention as the roll call began,

“I see Sarah, I see Bobby, I see Suzie…”  And 40 years later , “I see Michelle, I see Tiffany, I see Tyler, I see Brandy” – you get the idea.

(Nope – I never heard Denise. -Ahh the agony!)

Which, years later leads us to the Romper Room Effect in leadership.

As a leader, how many times have you had the opportunity to hold up the magic mirror?  A way to see people that are doing good things, just waiting to be noticed?

That employee wanting you to notice  he is doing a good job.  That volunteer wanting you to recognize  the hours she is putting in makes a difference.

Did you see him/her? Did you offer a thank you? A “good job” comment?

The recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report  indicates that the number of people leaving their jobs, not affected by a layoff is up by 6%.

Up in an otherwise down economy.  Why? Many cite their boss as a primary reason for exit, along with lack of opportunity for contribution, or loss of confidence in senior management.

Most reasons for leaving are concerns about how they are viewed, treated – noticed.  [note: compensation is hardly ever noted as the reason to leave.]

What about you? As a leader, do you see and value the people vying for your attention??

If not, perhaps it’s time to look in the mirror.