Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

We All All ONE

April 20, 2018

WeAreOne

I am most inspired and energized when I think, speak and feel as if We Were All ONE. But it’s never easy to maintain that mode, in this world which rewards the driven, the talented, the accomplished, the beautiful. Yet it is fundamentally inspiring and invigorating when we embrace that Mindset of ONE.

When 22-year-old Warriors guard Patrick McCaw was carried off on a stretcher in the middle of a game in Sacramento following a scary fall, he couldn’t feel his legs. . In that moment of shock and disbelief, when everyone feared the worst, wondering if Patrick would ever be able to walk again, players, fans, coaches, physically and metaphysically came together in silent prayer and commiseration.

This is the Mindset of ONE – when we think, speak and act as one, for the benefit of ALL. In this post, I will suggest strategies for maintaining that Mindset of ONE, even in the most challenging situations. It is my hope that these strategies will help bring perspective, humor and courage when it matters the most.

  1. When you next connect with someone you find far superior to you in some way, be open and supportive and curious. Invite opportunities to have your paths cross.
  2. When you next connect with someone you find far inferior to you in some way, be open and supportive and curious. Invite opportunities to have your paths cross.
  3. Choose to walk and be with people who lift you up, but be inclusive of others who also seek support and comfort.
  4. When someone is different than you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, be curious about what they think about inconsequential things and how they came to that perspective.
  5. When someone is competing with you in a sport, keep reaching for stars, and be gracious whether you win or lose.
  6. When you are passed over for a promotion or a project or an opportunity, invite feedback, information and learnings. Then get up and try something else.
  7. When the same door remains closed to you, either seek another door, or ask how the mindset of ONE may help you enter this new room and opportunity.
  8. Be kind, open, transparent, direct in your communications – in your thoughts, in your words, in your actions. All the time. Every time.
  9. When the same life lesson comes back once again, ask yourself how the mindset of ONE may help you embrace the lesson, and move on.
  10. When elected leaders divide us, find ways to remain connected, despite them.

We can all choose to make the world a better place – one conversation, one leader, one organization at a time. With the Mindset of ONE.

* Thankfully, it appears that sustained a lumbar-spinal contusion and although in great pain, is able to slowly walk, as of the writing of this blog.

Advertisements

The Inner Journey

March 27, 2018

Life coaching, motivation and self realization concept

The wise say that life is a journey, not a destination. And in that journey, your greatest obstacles come from within.

It’s a given that we will faces challenges great and small. But the inner conflicts are the ones that limit our ability to rise, to shine, to excel, and to become a bigger, better version of ourselves.

Sometimes these barriers are a reflection of our current mindset and circumstances. We just aren’t ready to think and do things differently.

1.We might have a mind-set that we’re not good enough, and may never be good enough to reach for that next level.

It might be related to a misperception of what’s involved, or a disconnect between your perception of your own abilities and the needs for that next project, role or level. You may be happy and satisfied with this mind-set. But if you’re not, start by asking questions about the opportunities, your assumptions and your abilities.

Asking the right people and getting candid answers will help you better understand circumstances beyond your own perceptions and reality. This is generally a good thing!

2. We may be responding or reacting to past mistakes, or even still suffering brand and financial consequences from same.

  • Embrace the courage, fortitude and resilience to make the most of failures.

Make failure the fodder for future success.

3. We might be challenged by life circumstances that make it difficult to embrace something new and challenging.

  • The important people in your life are the most important things in your life. If you need to be there for someone important in your life, make that choice to do so, and postpone those other opportunities.

Don’t second-guess yourself for putting the people you love first. Don’t judge others if they made that choice for their loved ones.


Sometimes these barriers are a result of negatively comparing ourselves to other people or other ideals.

1. We live in a competitive business environment where there are so many talented, accomplished intelligent and accomplished people.

  • It’s hard to compare yourself positively with those amazing people around you.  And you should choose to work with amazing people as it increases the likelihood of success!

You are likely too biased to fairly assess the needs and the intersect with your abilities, but if you gather multiple inputs from wise and trusted others, you will find a truth larger than one you can own yourself personally.

2. Sometimes we limit ourselves by assumed ‘Must Have’ requirements that don’t fit your own profile.

  • You can’t change your gender, IQ, SAT score, alma mater, track record, year of birth, etc., and if you assume that your characteristic precludes you from specific role(s), opportunities, etc, you’re very much limiting what you can target.

What opportunities would open up for us if we start questioning our ‘Must-Have’ assumptions?


Sometimes our own self-centered view of the world prevents us from seeing a broader, bigger set of opportunities.

1.The defeatist ‘It-Will-Never-Work’ perspective may be true some of the time, but generally it zaps energy from an idea that may have been promising.

  • Be open to what’s new and what’s different, even if it makes you feel uncomfortable.

Give someone or something a chance unless all the data says it’s not practical or logical to do so.

2. The ‘It’s Too Late’ mindset assumes that an idea or opportunity is too late to market or does not add enough differentiating value compared to competitive offerings.

  • It’s hard to get with the program if that’s what you’re thinking, and it’s hard for a project to succeed if many people had that mindset. If you feel that way, make the case for changing the offering, disagree and commit or find another opportunity.

Having the too-late mindset will not help the company or product succeed and you will be unhappy while going through the motions.

3. The ‘Been-There, Done-That’ mindset means that you don’t want to try doing again what you’ve already seen or done in the past.

  • This might be because you didn’t like it last time, or it didn’t go as well as you expected last time, or you don’t think it will be an enriching experience to do it again.

Sometimes that ‘Been-There, Done-That’ perspective is useful, and sometimes, not so much.

4. The ‘Not-Invented-Here’ mindset makes it hard to follow someone else’s idea.

  • This is especially true if it’s counter to what you’re used to, or what you think should be done instead.
  • Sometimes it’s a bitter pill to swallow, to have to follow that particular someone’s idea…

Sometimes following someone else’s idea or energy can open up new opportunities, thoughts, relationships and energy.

5. The ‘It’s-Not-My-Fault’ mindset is often built on fear of failure, and a history of lackluster results.

  • If you’re going to commit, commit fully and be prepared for the results, good or bad.

Own up to the results, whatever they are. This is the best way to learn from each attempt.

Best wishes on your inner journey. You are the only one who can manage it and direct it, so make the most of it and STRETCH your own perception of yourself.

 

Mentors and Champions and Sponsors, Oh My!

January 16, 2018

MentorsSponsors

When I think of mentoring, I get an image of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, trembling in fear of ‘lions and tigers and bears’, but then bravely linking arms with her friends the Scarecrow, the Tinman and the Lion, following the Yellow Brick Road, and finding a better version of themselves.

A Champion is someone with Heart, like the Tinman. He or she is someone who would speak highly of you, and well of you, regardless of whether you ever find out. They are the cheerleaders who support you and believe in you, and ultimately help you get to where you want to go. We all need champions. And we should all champion others. (Beware of those who want you to champion them, yet don’t champion anyone else in return.)

A Mentor is someone with Backbone, like the Scarecrow, someone who’s wise and experienced AND wants to support you in building skills and finding more fulfillment and success, both professionally and personally. They leverage their in-depth direct professional and personal experience in guiding their mentees.

An Advocate is someone with Courage, like the Lion, someone who backs you despite pressure, despite conflict, despite resistance. They believe that you are the right person for the role/position/project and are willing to put resources and support behind you so that you succeed.

A Sponsor is an Executive with the Power to open doors, influence others, recommend advancement and create positions within an organization for someone he/she takes under their wing. The Sponsor in this analogy is the Wizard of Oz – the person who could potentially help Dorothy return to Kansas.

In the end, Dorothy finds that she herself has what it takes to get to where she wants, and that the champions and mentors and advocates are right there in her back yard.

So when the obstacles and doubts and challenges present themselves to you, listen to the Good Witch Glinda when she spoke to the Wicked Witch of the West, ‘Oh Rubbish. You have no power here. Be gone, before somebody drops the house on YOU.’

Be a Bigger YOU!

December 29, 2017

Maker:S,Date:2017-10-11,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-ve

As we embrace the shiny newness and promise of 2018, reflect on what you’ve learned last year, and resolve to be a bigger YOU in 2018. The picture was taken in front of a sculpture of a tree near the Santa Rosa mall, and reflects the promise of new growth following the 2017 fires. The thoughts below represent my learnings from 2017.

  1. See competence and consistency as two sides of the same coin. Keep reaching for one, and let the other catch up before leveling up.
  2. Have the confidence to keep reaching for stars, and also the humility and openness to welcome input and feedback.
  3. Communicate boldly, clearly and transparently, but listen and observe more than you speak.
  4. Be open and imaginative enough to see through your own filters, as frightening and as confusing as it may be to do so.
  5. Have a strong moral compass around your values, but respect that others may have the same.
  6. Be youthful and energetic in your approach, wise and open in your perspective.
  7. Be compassionate and supportive, while also being wise and reserved for those who might take advantage.
  8. Strive for courage, and temper it with common sense.
  9. Be calm, especially when circumstances are extreme, but err on the side of measured action.
  10. Be slow to judge, quick to learn.

Wishing everyone a 2018 which surpasses your hopes and dreams!

A Note to My 20-year Old Self

November 22, 2017

As we enter into our time of Thanks-Giving with friends and family, and from there into the whirlwind of fun, work and activities of the holidays, I want to stop and write a message to my 20-year-old self.

This message is musings of my wisdom and learnings (such as they are) to the person at 20, so many decades ago, and yet just yesterday in my mind. It is also a message to my own daughter, who will reach that 20-year-old milestone in a few months.

  1. Be bold and keep raising the bar for yourself. Never settle. It won’t always feel good to always be reaching. But in the end, it will be all good.
  2. Know your values and never compromise on them for any reason.
  3. Make a stand for yourself and help others make a stand for themselves, but only if they want your support. This is the only way to overcome injustice and complacency, and help us all as individuals, as leaders, as people do our part in making the world a better place.
  4. “Right” has many definitions, many contexts. Never judge those who feel like they are doing the ‘right’ thing. Beware of people who would judge you for doing what you think is the right thing.
  5. Be ever inclusive, especially with people who don’t think or act like you do. It benefits everyone.
  6. Do the right thing, even if it’s inconvenient, even if there’s no reward, even if there’s a negative consequence.
  7. Have patience and tolerance for yourself and others. It’s a great path for growing and thinking and expanding.
  8. Take a page from Maya Angelou’s book – it’s more important how you make someone feel than it is what you DO.
  9. Celebrate the little things. Don’t take them for granted as they are the essence of life.
  10. It’s all about energy and love. Love what you do, and do it with and for people you love being with. Have the energy to do it well, and enjoy doing it well with and for others.

I hope that you also find it relevant and interesting for yourself and those you touch. Happy Thanksgiving. Happy Holidays!

Peeling the Onion

October 30, 2017

OnionThe end of the year is a time to celebrate successes, reflect on learnings, plan for what’s next, and appreciate all that you have. This year, I see my gifts in layers, like the layers of an onion.

  1. I appreciate the roots of the onion, which connects it to the ground. It provides for our basic needs like food, water, air. I see the victims of the many disasters this year, from floods to fires to human-related calamity. My heart bleeds for them, and I feel grateful to have ongoing access to basic needs.
  2. The tough basal plate at the bottom of the onion is connected to the roots, and to me represents the basic connections between people which allows us to get along with each other, embracing our similarities and differences. We are all ONE, connected to the root, connected to the earth.
  3. The tunic of the onion – the paper-like outer piece – represents the infrastructure we often take for granted. I’m grateful for the predictable, stable infrastructure in my life – the rules, operations, processes, agreements, procedures, materials – which helps everyone make plans and get places and get things done.
  4. Then there are many ‘scale leaf’ layers of the onion. One of them to me represents the variety of people and experiences around me. Living in a dynamic and diverse region is in turns perplexing and annoying, while also being energizing and fun. I’m grateful for the diversity of people, thoughts and ideas which surround me.
  5. Another scale leaf represents exposure to the brightest, most creative technologists and professionals. I’m grateful for these brilliant others who have helped me to connect the dots in new, novel, different ways which benefit and serve others.
  6. Another scale leaf is the tangible results of connecting the dots – the technologies, products and solutions which have the ability to change the world. May we all be fortunate enough to have access to the tools and information and people who stretch my imagination, build my knowledge, exercise my mind and expand our outlook and perspective.
  7. The most unsavory, but also necessary scale leaf is the way which represents failure and under-performance. I’m grateful for the adversities in my life, and to those who helped me perceive them as a gift, a lesson to be learned, a stepping stone for what’s next.
  8. Another scale leaf represents the ecosystem of associates, family, mentors, and friends who help us overcome that adversity and be a better version of ourselves in many ways.
  9. The scale leaf closest to the center of the onion are the most trusted people – those who provide unconditional love, those who see you at your worst and at your weakest and stand by you still, those who provide support when you feel all alone, those who are just another piece of your very self.
  10. At the heart of the onion is the immature flower. It represents hope for the next generation and opportunities for the future and celebrates all things and people who help us each build and embrace a better tomorrow.

My wish for you is that you can choose an environment which welcomes measured risk-taking, applauds new ways of thinking, speaking and acting, and embraces opportunities for DOING things differently.

Create a Friction-less Experience

September 26, 2017

Image title

In this age when we are inundated with so many choices, and the ‘do-nothing’ choice is so attractive to many, it’s important to provide a friction-less experience in order to build mind-share and revenues.

  1. Being friction-less means knowing what you’re providing, and delivering it to those in need in a way that works for them.
  2. Provide a product or service which is both relevant and sustainable, both scalable and versatile, one that is configurable with many standardized elements.
  3. Everything end-to-end – from ordering to integration, from support to billing – should be easy, intuitive, seamless and elegant.
  4. Documentation should be freely and easily available. Support should be patient and understanding. User communities should be welcoming and helpful.
  5. Make the product or service available in modes most convenient to the customer – desktop, mobile, device, etc.
  6. Build a community of users who can connect to each other, and work together to help improve the offering.
  7. Allow this community of users to customize the product or service offering and provide feedback for desired future functionality.
  8. Track the right metrics, and know what the metrics mean about the needs of the customer, so you can deliver the experience they’re seeking.
  9. Be laser focused on the value-add of your product or service. Collaborate with partners for elements which are not part of that core offering, but make sure that your partners are delivering an exceptional frictionless experience.
  10. The bottom line is that the leaders and the product and service offering must provide a stellar service offering, and inspire trust and loyalty by consistently delivering results which customers define as exceptional.

Sounds easy and obvious right? But few are able to execute well on all elements. Maybe your offering will be one of those lucky few.

A Magnet for Positive Energy

August 24, 2017

PositiveEnergy

There’s power in positive energy – all good things are based on one’s ability to create, attract and build on that positive energy.

This month’s post reveals my strategies for attracting positive intentions, positive people and positive results.

  1. Consciously choose to feel happy, healthy and alive, embracing your current circumstances – living your today rather than wishing for a future to come, a fond memory of the past. Note that those who are more grateful for simple everyday things will be much happier and will have much more positive energy than those who see these gifts as tiresome, same-old things.
  2. Decide to break a habit, whether it’s a good one or a bad one. Simply doing things differently will bring positive energy and help open up more possibilities.
  3. Along those same lines, adopting a routine of someone you admire is another way to choose more paths to happiness and positive energy. It also attracts more positive and happy people to your circle.
  4. Celebrate the little things regularly. It will help you better appreciate the journey of life. Don’t wait until someone/something happens exactly a certain way – a circumstance which may never occur.
  5. Challenge yourself regularly to level-up something – your goals, your energy, your exercise routine, your pampering plan… something that stretches how you experience your life and your world.
  6. Laugh deeply and often and spend time with people who make you love doing so.
  7. Ask someone how they accomplish the things that you do every day and consider adopting their way of doing it.
  8. When you share about your day, highlight both the roses and the thorns, but spend much more time detailing the roses – the good stuff.
  9. Know what it feels like when you enter a vortex, a download spiral of energy, ideas and people. Spin out of it – don’t let it draw you in. If you *must* engage, protect yourself, bring a support system and make sure that you can successfully climb out of it!
  10. Those who have positive energy treat failure like a badge of courage, learning the lessons from each experience rather than feeling fear, shame and inadequacy.

May positive, constructive energy surround you.

From Hard-Ass to Bad-Ass

August 24, 2017

BadassWomanText

The next time you hit a crossroads in your life path, consider the options – Should I be half-ass about it, or choose to be a bad-ass? There’s something to be said for being half-ass. It’s safe, it’s predictable, it’s necessary (depending on what else is going on in your life).

But if you choose that bad-ass path, it may be kind of scary. It’s choosing to be consistently great, being confident that you can do it when you may not be sure you can, choosing to level yourself up, knowing that you’ll inevitably fail. If you have the courage and insight to choose that path, perhaps this post will help you succeed.

  1. Set and respect your moral compass. It is the foundation you need to succeed. With it, you’ll know that your successes will matter to yourself, your team, your company, the world. Without it, nobody else will really care if you succeed.
  2. Know your strengths and cater to your strengths. Do the internal work necessary to know unequivocally what your proven and aspirational strengths are, plus any areas of weaknesses you need to bolster in order to succeed.
  3. Follow your vision – it has to start with a passion to change the world and a strategic idea which can be tactfully implemented.
  4. Follow your instincts, but make sure that the data backs up your instincts. Your gut is seldom wrong so listen closely to it. But be curious about the facts behind your feelings.
  5. Embrace the uncomfortable. Staying comfortable made you good at being half-ass. If you’re choosing bad-ass, be open to ideas, people, functions, protocols, technologies and everything else which makes you shiver in fear, shudder in disgust, cringe with dread.
  6. Surround yourself with people who are better than you. Empower people around you to succeed.
  7. Find your best fit within a group of great people. Park your ego and seek and realize the greater good. Disassociate from people who do this in thoughts and words only.
  8. You’re going to fail, so accept that fact and be stronger and smarter with the next iteration. Not even bad-asses can bat 1000.
  9. Make a statement, don’t stand on the fence. Even if it means swimming against the tide.
  10. Believe that you can change the world. We need a world of change agents.

Share YOUR bad-ass story.

Befriending Dragons

June 11, 2017

PrincessDragon

There was once an ordinary princess who lived in an extraordinary world. It was a world where cars were driving themselves, where remote-controlled drones performed remarkable feats, where communications spread across the globe like wildfire. It was a world where the brilliant and hard-working earned massive amounts of money, influence and credibility, where world-changing solutions made daily headlines, where happiness and world peace were just a start-up, a funding, an exit away.

The princess was told her ideas lacked merit, by those who leveraged those ideas to conquer new lands. She was told her inexperience caused discord and indecision, by those who benefited from her new approaches to solving problems. She was told that her gowns were dated, and that the house coat suited her better anyway.

She was ousted from her castle, by those who claimed her throne. She was relieved of her treasures by those who swore to care for it. She told herself she preferred to live in the cottage at the foot of the castle, and wander with the animals in the forest.

Once, in her wanderings, she came upon seven wise men, on their way to work. She greeted them with surprise and pleasure, hungering for friendship. After a brief and pleasant interchange, they parted ways, agreeing to convene later in the forest at day’s end.

The princess told her story at the evening meal, and the wise men shared their advice on befriending dragons.

Dopey said, “If you’re the princess, why aren’t you on the throne?”

Sneezy said, “It’s because of those dragons. I also have an aversion to self-serving dragons. ah-choo”

Sleepy said, “What a great story. Let me sleep on it and get back to you.”

Doc said, “The best remedy is to regain your rightful place on the throne. Let’s go befriend those dragons. We can sleep now and tackle the dragons in the morning.”

Bashful said, “Do we have to face those dragons?”

Grumpy said, “Yes, Bashful. Doc’s right, if we have to face those dragons, let’s get it over with.”

Happy said, “Find a way to be happy, despite what dragons say and do. And choose new dragons you can be happy with.”

In the morning, the princess and her wise men marched to the castle and charmed, humored, cajoled them, while outwitting, outplaying, and out-maneuvering them, and otherwise conquering, ousting or be-friending them one by one. The princess regained her rightful place on the throne for many years to come, to the delightful of the good people of the castle.

*No dragons were harmed in the writing of this post.*