Posts Tagged ‘Drive and Motivation’

Need More Time? Find More with Flow – DiSC Showcases, Time-Sensitive Offers

February 21, 2011

People-Whispering Tip:

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to go on a Caribbean cruise with Hay House where I participated in a “Writer’s Workshop.”  My wonderful first coach, Cheryl Richardson, was one of the presenters and it was great to see and learn from her again.  I have posted our photo on my Facebook page.  Check out Cheryl’s work at

As I reentered my “normal” life at home, I began reflecting on the nature of time and how it can be hard to get back into the swing of things upon returning from a vacation.

In my work as an executive coach, I see that many people walk through their days unaware and out of touch with their emotional lives in the workplace as well as at home.  This inattention can cause people to flip back and forth into two extremes:  during much of the day, people live their lives filled with the anxiety and the pressures of work and “making a living” kinds of obligations, while during their leisure time, they tend to live in a state akin to passive boredom “vegging” out in front of the TV or internet.

The real key to getting things done with a high degree of satisfaction and even joy is challenging ourselves with tasks that actually require a high degree of skill and commitment.  Psychologist and author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced “chick-SENT-me-high”) wrote the best-selling book “Flow” on this topic and offered compelling research to show that we actually desire the joy of complete engagement and don’t want to just “do nothing.” 

Instead, we want to do what we do with a transformational approach.  It is not so much what we do as how we approach what we do.

Sure, it is easy to say that being on a cruise in the Caribbean is more fun than compiling your information for your taxes or paying your bills both of which I had to complete upon returning home.  That said, I bet you know people who can’t seem to relax even while on vacation such that they must always be doing something or checking their Blackberry or iPhone.

I must admit it took me a few days to drop some of my worldly concerns and projects enough to let the rhythm of the sea enfold me.  And I had to chuckle at the sign in the photo below in Half Moon Cay whose caption reads “I Wish I Could Stay Here Forever.”  This is my writing friend Lucy and me on our last day with the ship in the background.  I suspect the “here” in this message refers not just to this beautiful island in the Bahamas, but to the state of mind we all long to live in daily.

I Wish I Could Stay Here

The good news is, this state of mind can be taught and self-taught and I have included some of my tips in the “Transformational Coaching Tip” section below so be sure to scroll down! 

Over the years, I have learned to train myself and my clients to be more consistently in the flow.  Living in the flow means living fully in the present.  It means not hanging out in the past rehashing old issues or previous conversations.  It also means not hanging out in the future trying to second-guess how things will turn out. 

Instead, it means focusing all of our attention on each interaction, whether it is washing a dish, attending a meeting, doing your laundry, or listening to a loved one or colleague.  Whenever we are fully engaged in whatever we are doing, time seems resonant and full.  Many call this practice mindfulness and there are great books out there about it.

It also means knowing yourself well so that you can be aware of where you are now and where you want to go.  Even more fundamental than that, you must also know who you are and how you help or hinder yourself. 

As a coach, I loved the movie “The King’s Speech” as it exemplifies the ways and whys we struggle when we could be in the ease and joy of flow.  Aside from superb acting, it is an uplifting triumph of awareness.  The main character becomes more aware of the beliefs about himself that drive his behavior and learned some tools and techniques to deal with his stuttering.  But it wasn’t until he reframed his identity and completed a successful public address, that he knew he could stop being derailed by powerful emotions and unknown drives.

Once you become aware of how you think, act, and feel and understand what you believe at work and at home; you can begin to accept where you are now with all of your strengths and limitations and become a leader in your own life.  Then you can begin to consciously mold your own destiny and express yourself with authenticity and real power. 

I wish you success on your journey!  I coach leaders to become more self-aware and emotionally intelligent so that their success is inspired with ease and flow.  This can be done one-on-one and with teams and groups in training sessions or keynote speeches.

For the appropriate balance of challenge and support in becoming a better leader of your life and the lives of your direct reports and colleagues and associates, feel free to call us at 404-327-6330 or email me at

 DiSC® Assessment Application (s):

1) The Time Mastery Profile and Facilitator Kit

Sometimes it is important to get tactical about managing our time and yet effective time management still begins with self-awareness.  The Time Mastery Profile and Facilitation Kit is a unique tool that provides you and your staff with a complete understanding of where they are now and where they need to take action to improve their time-management effectiveness.

Setting priorities and managing time are vital to enhancing individual and organizational performance.  If you could reduce your staff’s wasted time by just 5 minutes every hour; productivity would jump 8.3%!

This profile helps people explore time-related behavior in 12 categories:  Attitudes, Goals, Priorities, Analyzing, Planning, Scheduling, Interruptions, Meetings, Written Communications, Delegation, Procrastination, and Team Time.

The 32 page EPIC Time Mastery Profile is more robust and includes the Skills Gap Analysis.  This feature shows how respondents rate their skill in each category as well as its importance to their jobs.  This data helps a “leader as coach” to determine where to assist someone in focusing their time-management efforts for greater personal and professional success. 

There is also a Facilitator Kit with fully scripted training and coaching exercises for use with both the paper and online Time Mastery Profile.  The online assessment is only 10 EPIC credits or $32.00.

For more information on how these training and coaching tools can support your business, please call us at 404-327-6330 or email me at

2) Virtual Educational Webinars – Limited, Time-Sensitive Seating Available

Enhance your internal management, sales, and employee training programs with The Everything DiSC Application Library product line

One of the biggest benefits of having your team take any of these profiles is the ability to run Comparison Reports on any two individuals for free.  This is excellent information for coaching for performance or for conflict resolution, etc.

If you or your internal training staff are interested in learning more, join me for the upcoming webinars led by the experts at Inscape Publishing.

 You will experience the profile of your choice (Everything DiSC Sales, Everything DiSC Management, or Everything DiSC Workplace) as pre-work, and then participate in an interactive, 90-minute webinar from the comfort of your office.  


February 22, 2011:  Everything DiSC Application Library from 11 AM to 12:30 PM Eastern.

This webinar provides you with an overview of all of the assessments and training programs in the suite including Management, Sales, and 363 for Leaders.

March 2, 2011:  Everything DiSC 363 for Leaders from 12:30 PM to 2 PM Eastern  

363 for Leaders is meant for anyone who wants to use 360 degree feedback for leadership development; whether they are an emerging high-potential leader or an experienced executive.  In addition to the free profile with a retail value of a very cost-effectively priced $155, you can purchase an invaluable Coaching Supplement Report to create an action plan for development.

March 14, 2011:  Everything DiSC Application Library from 4:30 PM to 6 PM Eastern

This webinar provides you with an overview of all of the assessments and training programs in the suite including Management, Sales, and 363 for Leaders.

TO REQUEST A SAMPLE REPORT AND/OR PARTICIPATE IN THIS FREE OFFER, send your name, company name, approximate number of supervisors/managers, your title, phone number, city/state to  The relevant information will be sent to you electronically.


Schedule a DiSC Strategy Session with me.  During this 45 minute complimentary discussion, we’ll discuss your business objectives and challenges, talk about your organization’s leadership capabilities, and see what assessment and coaching/training tools would best benefit you and your team/organization’s needs.  You are under no obligation to make a purchase and there is no pressure, just a process of education about your options.

Call us at 404-327-6330 and/or email me to have a conversation about how these tools can help your organization start on the path towards more effective talent development today!                                                                    
Transformational Coaching Tip:

“We are shaped and guided by what we love.”  Goethe

Coaches and leaders who are coaches have learned to ask themselves and others questions that create value and new ways of thinking and being. These questions can help to guide us in discovering what we love. Here are a few for you on your journey into flow:

1. What is your natural pattern for getting things done? If you are not a morning person, don’t fight it. Schedule your important activities and meetings for the time you are naturally in “the zone.” I resist any “one size fits all” advice as it just doesn’t work that way in my experience.

2.   What are your natural talents and defining strengths? Skills are things that you can do while talents reveal how often and how well you do it.  Talents are instinctive, naturally recurring patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving that can be enhanced by new knowledge, skills, and experience. Identify yours and leverage them!

3. What are the activities and tasks that I can get so absorbed in that I lose track of time? There are clues in your life that can help you determine your career path and perfect creative self-expression.  For example, I love to speak, coach, write, and help people with personal and professional growth.  It took me awhile to realize I could make a living at it.  Make sure your career is aligned with your passions and you can’t help but succeed.

 4.   How can I keep developing hidden talents into new strengths?  Commit to a life of continuous learning and growth.  That’s where the fun is!

 5.   How did I take on new challenges this week or how did I face old challenges in new ways?  Exercise your reframing muscle and remember the power of a positive attitude in getting things done under even the most challenging of circumstances.

As stated earlier, the best of life comes from a willingness to stretch byond your current capabilities amd explore, test, and reflect on expanding in new and exciting ways.  Enjoy the process and find the flow without effort!

Of course, it is easier to stay focused in an empowering direction with the assistance of a trained coach.  For assistance in operationalizing any of these best practices into your workplace for more powerful, effective results, feel free to call us at (404) 327-6330 or email me at 

To your inspired success!

How to Hire Now, Leadership Principles, Digital Age Beliefs

December 2, 2010
People-Whispering Tip:

Human beings have always been fascinated with what the future might bring. This curiosity has led to wonderful achievements in all facets of life including science, art, literature, and of course, one of my personal favorites, motion pictures. Who can argue with the exploratory and visionary spirit of the “Star Wars” series for example? Or how about the classic “Back to the Future” with likable Michael J. Fox?

As we near the end of the year, we tend to look back on what the year has brought us. This can be a wise, reflective practice if we are grateful for the gifts the year has brought as well as grateful for what we have learned for the future. Depending upon your tendency to look back or to look forward, you might be more inclined to think about what 2011 might bring than on what you have learned from 2010. 

Regardless, it makes sense to assess previous learnings and leverage that knowledge to create an even better and brighter future with intention. While being intentional about creating, it can also be useful to look at trends and predictions for guidance and ideas in addition to learning from the past.  With all of this in mind, I scoured my library shelves for some “fresh” material to honor the end of 2010. 

Since my primary area of expertise is in helping individuals, teams and organizations to create leading-edge, healthy thriving workplaces where people want to go to work and are empowered to bring their best selves to the table, I thought it appropriate to look at workplace trends. 

Now that we have survived what many are calling “The Great Recession,” what does the future hold for the world of commerce?  How can we begin to thrive again but on a solid footing this time and not by building our houses on proverbial sand if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphors?

With this goal in mind as you plot your next career move, shape your company’s corporate culture, think about reinventing the way you work, and/or relate to your peers, direct reports, colleagues, and customers more effectively, consider the following guidelines:

  1. The best and brightest people will gravitate toward those corporations/organizations that foster personal growth.
  2. The manager’s new role is that of coach, teacher, and mentor.
  3. The best people want ownership – psychic and literal – in a company; the best companies are providing it.
  4. Companies will increasingly turn to third-party contractors, shifting from hired labor to contract labor.
  5. Authoritarian management is yielding to a networking people style of management.
  6. Entrepreneurship within the corporation-intrapreneurship is creating new products and new markets and revitalizing companies from the inside-out.
  7. Quality will be paramount.
  8. Intuition and creativity are challenging the “it’s all in the numbers” business-school philosophy.
  9. Large corporations are emulating the positive and productive qualities of small business.
  10. The dawn of the information economy has fostered a massive shift from infrastructure to quality of life.   

This sounds like fairly current advice with the exception of the references to the “Information Age” which are now often replaced with “The Digital Age.” Actually, these hot new trends are taken from the 1985 book “Re-inventing the Corporation” by John Naisbitt and Patricia Aburdene. I was surprised that we are still talking about these trends as if they are new ideas while they have been in process at successful organizations for quite some time.  Ahh our short-term memories as human beings!

As things change, they remain the same as the saying goes.  And we still have ample opportunity to revisit and implement these leading edge recommendations as we move solidly into the 21st century.

As an Executive Coach and Leadership Trainer/Consultant, I am struck by the prescient nature of the authors’ comments about the “new” role of the manager. Likewise, the identification of trends as identified by Daniel Pink such as a nation of freelance contractors and an emphasis on intuition and creativity in “Free Agent Nation” and “A Whole New Mind” are also very relevant in today’s global, virtual, increasingly interdependent economy.

The good news in my mind is the fact that current technologies make it impossible for us to go back and operate profitably in silo-ed, traditional, “command and control,” hierarchical organizations. Transparency is required and hoarding information to gain power is harder and harder to pull off. 

At the same time, the internet and other technologies are seemingly commoditizing many products and services which can benefit the consumer in terms of affordability. Just look at the price of most electronic devices now from even a few years ago.  And yet, just as Naisbitt identified so many years ago, we all still seek, high-touch as well as high-tech and price is never going to be the only factor in why people buy what they do. In other words, in this “Digital Age,” it pays to care.

To differentiate itself, a successful organization must use the internet more to engage with its customers (both internal and external – ie employees are internal customers!). Successful companies see their employees and customers (and even competitors in some cases) as partners so as to develop solid, long-term, mutually profitable relationships. 

In short, we need to reexamine some of the philosophical foundations of our lives and of business and not be afraid to find that many of the old ways are crumbling.  We are ready to build new ways of working and living in accordance with a new set of more enlightened business principles which are centered on collaboration, transparency, and loving, caring relationships in the workplace.

What it all boils down to is that caring is the fundamental principle for success in the new world of business.  The “Digital Age” is and will always be about people communicating, interacting, and creating value with and for other people. 

Once we all embrace that, we will be living and thriving in a brave, new world.

Come join me on your personal and professional journey to embrace these principles. You and your organization can thrive instead of just survive in this new paradigm of the 21st century workplace. 

For more on how to change your corporate culture to one where employees are self-reliant, emotionally educated, self-confident, and empowered to create solid, bottom-line results, please call us at 404-327-6330 or email me at

I know the reason I have been successful in business for the last 16 years despite economic cycles is because I truly do care about my clients, customers, and business partners.  Let us succeed and exceed our wildest dreams in 2011 together!

My sincerest wishes for a joyous holiday season however you celebrate them.


Make it your best holiday season ever…!

DiSC® Assessment Application (s):

1) The Role Behavior Analysis:

Speaking of trends, one of the happy ones I am noticing lately is the fact that many of my clients are hiring new people and are concerned about attracting and retaining the best people for their roles and for the organization.

In recruiting and hiring the best, companies need to train their interviewers or interviewing team(s) on targeted, behavioral interviewing techniques.  This involves asking questions in a structured interview that elicits detailed descriptions of an applicant’s past behaviors which are related to behaviors required for success on the job.

A successful interviewer will not only ask questions about the interviewee’s education, credentials, and experience, but will also ask questions to see how the applicant might fit within the organization’s AND the team’s culture.

Another key success factor to hiring well and for onboarding someone successfully at all levels of the organization is matching the prospective employee with the behavioral expectations of the job.  

Any job has multiple roles which require not only different skill sets but differing approaches to how the job or task is accomplished.  The DiSC System is used to very effectively bridge the “how” and the “what” of a job. In other words, most job descriptions tend to focus on the “what” of a job by defining the tasks, duties, or responsibilities. It is often unclear “how” different people (multiple bosses or stakeholders are common for most positions today) expect that job to be carried out which makes all the difference in terms of whether the individual is successful or not.

The Role Behavior Analysis provides a specific set of DiSC related statements which clarify and define role expectations eliminating confusion greatly increasing the chances of a good fit.  A team of interviewers profiles the roles of a particular position and creates a Consensus Role Behavior Analysis which is then compared to a DiSC Profile the applicant fills out. This is used as the basis for a dialogue in the interview and is also very useful for performance coaching once the person has been hired.     

For more information on our workshop “Finding and Hiring the Best” and/or how to use the Role Behavioral Analysis, please call us at 404-327-6330 or email me at

2) Half-Day “The Coaching Conversation” Workshop 


The Coaching Clinic

Our 2 day leadership development workshop also has a half-day introductory version called “The Coaching Conversation.””The Coaching Conversation” is a great introduction to the Coaching Clinic in that participants learn and practice our proprietary 5 step coaching model.

We will be offering public seminars in 2011 (watch for dates to be announced soon) and would be happy to bring “The Coaching Clinic” and/or “The Coaching Conversation” into your organization to assist you in transforming your culture from wherever it is now to one with engaged, passionate, committed, productive and fulfilled employees.

Thanks to all of you who attended our complimentary webinar entitled “Creating a Culture of Engagement with the Coach Approach.”  We will be offering this webinar again in a new and improved format as well as webinars on additional topics of interest. 

 The half-day is a great way to get the members of your organization excited about the value of coaching as a part of your executive and managerial leadership development efforts. 

Participants experience “coaching” and “being coached” first-hand around their practical business problems.  As they come up with solutions in real-time, the “aha” moments lead to some powerful shifts and behavioral changes that can make a real difference to any organization.

This workshop is also relevant for onboarding and culture change initiatives.

Call us at 404-327-6330 and/or email me to have a conversation about how this program can help your organization start on the path towards more effective talent development. 

3)  Recession-Proof Your Career CD Program with Workbook and Personalized DiSC Assessment

Are your employees searching for sustainable job/career security in today’s “turbulent” times?


This program is packed with the essential tools and mindset shifts necessary for ongoing career management success.  This is information you can’t afford to be without.  Learn how to make the words “laid-off” and “unemployed” irrelevant to you now and forever. 

As a Business Leader responsible for Employee Development (and all leaders ultimately are!) or as an HR or Training Professional (in your organization, do you find your employees have unrealistic expectations about career growth and development? Do you hear the following complaints from your people?: 

  • My company doesn’t recognize my true gifts and talents and keeps putting me in the wrong roles for me!  (see above re the RBA)
  • I don’t see an opportunity for growth and development in my field at this organization.
  • I want to progress in my company, but I don’t know if I want to be a manager.  I don’t want to be a manager like my manager!
  • There are no good role models of leaders that I want to emulate here.

How about in your own career and creative self-expression?  Do any of the following questions ring true for you?

Are you tired of being down-sized, right-sized, reorganized into positions and/or companies you can’t seem to get passionate about?

  1. Have you reached a point in your career where you know you have more to offer than your employer recognizes and rewards you for?
  2. Are you wanting to be sure you are actualizing your full potential to grow and change and make a contribution to your direct reports, your peers, your team and your organization?

 This product is for ANYONE who:

  1. Has been laid-off or outsourced more than once due to mergers and acquisitions or “the economy.”
  2. Is in a “dead-end” job that doesn’t utilize their skills and talents fully.
  3. Is in an organizational culture that doesn’t match their style and/or values.
  4. Is uncertain about how best to market themselves and find the work that is best for them.
  5. Wants to guarantee their career growth and success for the long-term even in today’s turbulent times.  


For a complete content description of what the 4-CD set includes, call us at 404-327-6330 or email me at

Your 4-CD set includes a personalized DiSC Classic 2.0 Profile as well as the invaluable content/information on the CD’s with a workbook containing PowerPoint slides for less than $100.00 plus shipping and handling for a limited time.  This is a great deal so grab on now!


Transformational Coaching Tip:One of the fundamental principles of effective coaching is that while great coaching ultimately results in behavioral change, the real transformation begins at the level of an individual’s belief system, mental models, and attitudes. So in keeping with this principle, this month’s “tip” is not a list of “TO DO’s” per se.

Instead, the following are fundamental beliefs or premises about the new caring economy taken from the book “The Caring Economy” written by Gerry McGovern.

While I thought it was a new book given the transformational, leading-edge nature of the material, it was actually written in 1999!  Everything old is indeed new again in some form or fashion as truth is universal and timeless!

The “Digital Age” demands new thinking and a new philosophy as follows:

  1. The “Digital Age” requires a new set of business principles, governing everything from research and development to customer interaction.
  2. The “Digital Age” is about technology finally becoming transparent and people becoming paramount.
  3. In the “Digital Age,” people have never been more educated, self-confident, and empowered.
  4. People care. People care about themselves.  They care about their family, their friends, their community, their country, their environment.
  5. Business needs to care about people if it wants long-term success.
  6. The internet is a revolution primarily in communication, not technology.

Great food for thought indeed.

As we close out 2010 and begin 2011, enjoy this magical season and may the miracles of your heart come true!

Feel free to call us at (404) 327-6330 or email me at for ways to operationalize any of these best practices into your workplace for powerful, effective results.

All my best!  Laura


Lessons in Leadership and Tender Power: What Can Leaders (YOU) Learn from Princess Diana’s Legacy?

July 7, 2010
People-Whispering Tip:One doesn’t need to look too far for examples of companies that are failing because they have clung to outdated mindsets based upon hierarchy, autocracy, paternalism, and bureaucracy.  These modes of “command and control” style management are thankfully nearing their completion in the world of business today.  Global markets and technologies which democratize access to information are just a few of the trends supporting this shift.  The shift is not happening without resistance however.

Many of today’s “senior management” are products of decades of business management programming with deeply-rooted hierarchy and control issues. Many of the leaders I have worked with would rather see themselves as generals leading an army, instead of the coach-facilitator leader they know might be more effective.  Many senior leaders fear the prospect of giving up control because they fear negative results.  Sadly, many business schools still give students primarily a technical education and a sense of self-importance, but neglect to emphasize the essential understanding of what makes people tick or the importance of ethical values and social responsibility while still making a profit. 

Recent events in the Gulf are a glaring example of poor leadership in my humble opinion.  It is time to rethink what authentic power really is.  It seems as if many in the traditional business world fall into the trap of being overly impressed with the intellect and credentialing and overwhelmed by emotions at work.  This I have never understood as it seems to be obvious that we bring our whole selves to work.  If I have to leave my passion, energy, talents and commitment at the door to get through my workday, imagine the loss of potential to the company as well as to the individual.

This challenge has been around for some time in that employers are always interested in ways to boost productivity, commitment, and job satisfaction for obvious self-serving reasons.  I was delighted to see that this summer’s HBR’s OnPoint magazine (selected articles from Harvard Business Review) highlights articles on “Reawakening Your Passion for Work” and “The Human Moment at Work” among others.  Even if you are not a “senior leader” in your workplace or organization, you can benefit from understanding how to shift from a “command and control” mindset to a more facilitative coaching leadership style.  I like to think of it as tender power which is an end result of effective people-whispering.

And people-whispering comes down to some conscious communication and action guidelines. One of the first keys to doing this effectively is to act from the healthiest part of your personality that you have access to in the moment.  This requires self-awareness which is the first step to emotional intelligence.  When I interpret the DiSC® Personal Profile and other self-assessment and awareness tools for people, I am careful to point out that all styles have natural strengths and fears which can result in blind spots without awareness and intention.  The more you explore your intentions, the more behavioral options you will create.  Yet regardless of your behavior, people can always read whether you are coming from love or fear.  Loving intentions create real, tender power.  

Between the stimulus and response, or stated more concretely, between the time some event or person triggers you and you are tempted to lash out, manipulate, caretake, fix, teach, judge, blame, gossip, etc., you have a choice.  That choice is to act from a loving part of your personality or to react from fear or an unhealed place within yourself.

The best way to become conscious of which part of yourself you are coming from is to choose your intention before you speak or act.  Doing this allows you to choose the consequences that your words or actions will create in those around you.  And remember, being a true leader regardless of position or title is about creating a positive healthy environment around you like a petri dish where a healthy culture can grow. 

If you are not sure of your intentions, you might ask yourself “what is my motivation?” before speaking or acting.  You can go within and consult your intuition or inner voice and be clear that you are coming from inspiration and shared responsibility, power-with versus power-over.  The DiSC® Personal Profile can give you insight into your fears and strengths as well as how you might behave under pressure or judge others.  This awareness is not to chastise you or make you feel badly about yourself.  Instead, self-knowledge about our potential shadow side gives us power when we shine a light on it. From this awareness, we can make thoughtful, heartfelt, intuitive solutions for the highest good of all concerned.  

This is the mindset and heartset of the 21st century leader.  For more on this topic, I encourage you to read my award-winning article, “Leading with Love.”  I will also be starting a blog on this topic soon in addition to the People-Whispering blog. Stay tuned and for practical tools and application on how to apply this to your business, feel free to call us at 404-327-6330 or email me at



DiSC® Assessment Application:Last weekend, I had the opportunity to go to the exhibition, “Diana:  A Celebration” which was the award-winning exhibition paying tribute to the life and work of the late Diana, Princess of Wales.   It was a moving and inspiring showcase of her life and work and brought back memories of what was occurring in my life during major events in her very public and short one.

Whatever may or may not have been true of Diana, Princess of Wales, she had an indisputable ability to connect with all kind of people to uplift and inspire them.  Known for her charity work, she was called “the Peoples’ Princess” and often took on unpopular, unfashionable causes including AIDS, leprosy, and landmines among others.  She seemed to listen with empathy to others who weren’t often heard.  How well do you listen to others?If we relate this to the DiSC® Personal Profile, the Personal Listening Profile, and other self-assessment tools, we can see how she used her intuitive knowledge of how to connect to others to make a positive impact. 

Diana had a knack for “people-whispering” in that she knew how to get people talking, adapt to their style in order to cross the bridge into their world, and partner together with them going forward.  I was struck by her compassionate leadership.  Let us all be reminded of the incredible positive impact tender power can have in whatever context you find yourself a leader in business, in the non-profit world, in your family, in your community.



Transformational Coaching Tip:I mentioned the HBR OnPoint Summer 2010 issue earlier and found it so rich I had to come back to one of the articles entitled “Retention Through Redemption.”  The article shares the story of demoralized employees (sailors) cheering as their departing CEO leaves the company (the ship). 

This is exactly what happened when the USS Benfold’s unhappy crew bid their captain farewell in 1997.  Today, the vessel is the pride of the Pacific fleet such that sailors from other ships are clamoring to join its crew.The new captain of the ship attributes his success to breaking bad habits and jettisoning old attitudes starting with his own.Here are the key lessons learned which fit nicely into our theme of tender power this month.

  1. Reject the “Command and Control” style – in today’s technology-driven, complex organizations, no single person can manage all the information and make all the split-second decisions required.  Effective leaders provide a compelling vision and clear values – and guide (not dictate) their people to success.
  2. And Learn How to Listen – treat every encounter with every person as the most important thing in the world at that moment.
  3. Differentiate Freedom From Lack of Discipline – set limits and define unbreakable, ethical and safety rules.
  4. And Then Hand Out Trust and Responsibility – if you’ve led well, delegate.
  5. Redeem Employees During Their Toughest Times – when people are at their worst, you can only redeem them by taking some scary chances.

I encourage you to read the article for more and to call us at (404) 327-6330 or email me at for ways to operationalize these best practices into your workplace.

Leadership as a Future Business Imperative

February 1, 2010

“The Leadership Gap as a Future Imperative” 

People Whispering Tip:        

As we start a new decade and continue to climb out of the worst recession since the Great Depression, it is crucial to revisit the importance of leadership skills.  New research from the highly respected Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) found that organizational leadership skills are inadequate to meet both current and future demand.  CCL surveyed a representative sample of 2,200 leaders from 15 organizations, in three countries between 2006 and 2008 with the intention of answering the following three questions:

  1. What leadership skills and perspectives are critical for success now and in the future?
  2. How strong are current leaders in these critical skills and perspectives?
  3. How aligned is today’s leadership strength with what will be the most important skills and perspectives in the future?

Without delving into the research project’s findings in depth, the bottom line is, the study revealed a significant leadership gap in the competencies that are most critical for success now and in the future.  This study and others like it, point to a global shift in the awareness that many of today’s leaders are not well prepared to effectively lead today’s most talented employees.  One could point to flaws in the study as it is based upon the subjective opinions of people deemed to be “leaders.”   It was also a forced-choice survey using competencies from CCL’s Benchmark instrument within a relatively short, five year time horizon.

All of that said, the results still point to some alarming needs in crucial areas highlighted by the recent recession.  For example, “resourcefulness,” “doing whatever it takes,” and “being a quick learner” are more critical now than ever before.  My work supports these results as I have worked with some very talented people in the last year who are excellent at leading change initiatives and strategic planning but have a need to let go of what used to work for them and their organization in order to adapt to a rapidly changing market environment. 

Sometimes this means learning new skills.  For instance, in the training and development field, traditional face to face trainers and instructional designers may also need to learn to design and facilitate online courses using new methodologies and tools.  This is a new skill I have invested in learning more about this past year.  Sometimes adapting means letting go of old methods and flawed premises.  Sometimes it means learning to transfer skills from one context to another with a fresh and yet experienced eye.  One thing is for sure though.  Being successful as a leader always requires self-reflection and a willingness to grow and evolve or die.

As you enter this new decade, ask yourself if you are doing everything you can to improve your skill set and to keep your personal and professional development ahead of the curve of the present and future needs of your business.  I am continually amazed at the numbers of “leaders” who are still ignorant of key business needs such as social media trends, emotional intelligence skills, and/or global, cross-cultural issues to name a few.

On a positive note, one of the most exciting trends in my opinion is the fact that the increasing complexity of today’s business environment is forcing us all to rely on our intuition more consistently.  No one can possibly analyze all of the variables necessary to predict the future without a combination of analysis and inner knowing.  Both skills are needed for the future.  For a great outline of the need for more whole brain thinking, I recommend reading anything by Daniel Pink particularly his book, A Whole New Mind.

If you’ve been reading this Ezine or have worked with me in any capacity as a coach, speaker, or trainer, you know that one of my guiding principles for inspired success is to take personal responsibility for your future and to seek support to implement your goals and intentions. As we kick off a prosperous 2010, ask yourself:

  • What am I doing to improve my leadership skills?
  • What am I doing to assist others in growing their leadership capabilities?
  • Am I taking inspired action or just going through the motions by doing what is expected of me?
  • How can I shift my attitude and perspective to stay fresh and on the leading edge without throwing the proverbial “baby out with the bathwater”?

I love this quote by Peter Senge about the nature of true leadership.  He says, “Leadership is about creating a domain in which human beings continually deepen their understanding of reality and become more capable of participating in the unfolding world.  Ultimately, leadership is about creating new realities.”

In 2010, take the leadership challenge to recreate and reinvent your reality personally and professionally.  You’ll be glad you did.
DiSC Assessment Application:
One of the misconceptions people often harbor about leadership is that it necessarily implies positional authority.  While tacit authority certainly helps, it is even more important to be able to “influence without authority.” 

As I prepare for a training course with my Forum colleagues for a division of Siemens, I am reminded of the power of DiSC to help others do just that.  Our participants are a selective crop of the “best and the brightest” relatively newly hired “high potentials.”  As is often cited in the management literature, these Millennials have high expectations of management which indeed they should.

What they don’t know yet however, is the importance of speaking to their managers in the manager’s language rather than just asking the same questions over and over again (and more loudly).  One of the basic tenants of human behavior is that even our greatest strengths when overused can become liabilities.  It is akin to the old cliché of doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.  Instead, a change of strategy – in this case, employing the art of people-whispering – is required.

Once you understand your own behavioral style and personality characteristics, you know what your gifts and strengths are as well as what you might tend to overuse.  We teach people to leverage these strengths, but also to attune to the language the other is speaking in order to communicate with them in a way that makes sense and “lands” with the listener not just the speaker.

This ability to connect and communicate with people with differing styles is at the heart of leadership and always will be. Understanding DiSC and all of its applications in today’s new world of work is endlessly exciting as real magic occurs when people relate at this level.   Another key to leading regardless of your title, is to cultivate your self-worth and become a new you in the new year with enhanced self-esteem.  Check out my book called A Guide to Getting It: Self-Esteem for more support in this area.  It is a compilation of great contributions from some highly regarded Master Certified Coaches in both the life and business coaching arenas. 

Make no mistake, these skills are not just warm and fuzzy people skills.  Understanding how to use DiSC- based relationship skills encompass a wide range of personal, social, communication, and self-management behaviors.   You can have all the technical expertise in the world, but if you can’t sell your ideas, get along well with others, or create solutions for organizational problems, you are going nowhere fast.

Transformational Coaching Tip:

Last month I promised to continue to offer more ways to stay in touch with your aliveness and to stay out of a rut.  Since I do my best to practice Don Miguel Ruiz’ Four Agreements, one of which is “be impeccable with your word,” I am offering more such pearls this month.  Yet because it is a New Year and a New Decade, I feel compelled to include something akin to New Year’s Resolutions.

For any Jane Roberts fans, you’ll recognize this list which focuses primarily on the feelings and attitudes to cultivate first before inspired action is recommended.  Email me if you’d like further information as to the source of this wisdom.  Here goes:

  1. “I will approve of myself, my characteristics, my abilities, my likes and dislikes, my inclinations and disinclinations, realizing that these form my unique individuality.  They are given to me for a reason.”
  2. “I will approve of and rejoice in my accomplishments and I will be as vigorous in listing these-as rigorous in remembering them – as I have been in remembering and enumerating my failures or lacks of accomplishment.”
  3. “I will remember the creative framework of existence in which I have my being.  Therefore the possibilities, potentials, seeming miracles, and joyful spontaneity of Framework 2 (the invisible creative intelligence) will be in my mind, so that the doors to creative living are open.”
  4. “I will realize that the future is a probability.  In terms of ordinary experience, nothing exists there yet.  It is virgin territory, planted by my feelings and thoughts in the present.  Therefore, I will plant my accomplishments and successes, and I will do this by remembering that nothing can exist in the future that I do not want to be there.”

Happy New Year!