Life At Work

Actionable Tips and Inspiration on How to Restore
Joy, Purpose & Meaning In Our Work

NOT Everyone is a Leader

and Other Truths about Leadership that No One Will Admit

I have heard the refrain “everyone is a leader” ever since I got into the performance improvement/organization development business 20 years ago. The heart-felt sentiment behind this lie is good: everyone is equally important to the success of an organization and everyone has the potential and capacity to be an influencer. But having the ability to be an influencer or possessing good self-management skills is not the same as having the gift of leadership, particularly executive leadership.

The “everyone is a leader” myth, which has been blindly accepted as truth, actually waters down the significance and uniqueness of the gift of leadership and keeps people who don’t have that gift from finding out what they actually are great at doing. It’s like telling an athletic team that all of its members are star players, when that is far from the reality. If all of the team members believed they...

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Four Reason to Love Corporate Politics

The last role I held at Walt Disney World before I left to start my own consulting firm was as the senior manager for Operations Integration. My job was to ensure that the senior executives from the theme parks, resorts, lines of business and support organizations worked together effectively and were on the same page, and that large-scale initiatives were implemented effectively across organizational boundaries. When my team and I were brainstorming a logo for our department, we jokingly decided we would design the “O” in Operations Integration to resemble a large bull’s eye, because of the amount of corporate politics we had to manage and mitigate. It felt like a miracle when we got anything accomplished while balancing competing organizational priorities and the ego needs of high-level executives.

I, like most leaders and consultants, began to develop a deep frustration for corporate politics that slowed me down, because it was time-consuming and emotionally...

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Organization Development 101

A FAMILIAR CASE STUDY

Tim, a seasoned leader in his hospitality/entertainment company, finally made the leap from general manager to vice president of the flagship theme park of his company. As he assumed his duties, he realized there were several major challenges in front of him:

    • How can he keep his “product” fresh and new while maintaining the company’s heritage and traditions?
    • How can he re-engage his employees and make them feel special?
    • How can he break down the silos among the various departments so they can work together more effectively and creatively?

Like the great operator and manager that he is, Tim began a series of initiatives to help rectify the problems. He began a program called “Employee First Community,” which was conceived to make employees feel special by having a logo designed and placed on many internal communication tools and recognition gifts such as briefcases. In addition, he set up a series of meetings for the leaders of...

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Tips for Managing Resistance

It was time for my young daughters to learn how to ride a bike. My older daughter, Hannah, was clearly uncomfortable and afraid. She challenged me STRAIGHT ON. When I asked for her to get on the bike, she clearly and directly said no. She pitched a fit, engaged in a full one temper tantrum and ran back into the house. My younger daughter Ainsley, while equally afraid, chose a different tactic. She faked sick. She asked me to explain over and over again what she was to do before she would even get on the bike. Both children dealt with fears of loss of control and vulnerability. One was resistant, the other was not. And the resistant one wasn’t Hannah. It was Ainsley.

As consultants, we encounter resistance all the time. We propose a change, give difficult feedback and suggest alternatives to transform business processes to clients who will do one of three things:

    • Option 1 - Accept our recommendations and partner with us to transform suggestions into reality.
    • Option...
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5 Best Practices to Tap into Your Intellectual Property

If you struggle with transforming what your vast experiences and insight into concepts and skills that are transferable to your current and future clients, don't worry. You are not alone. 

To help you manifest your intellectual property that you can use in your content marketing and consulting delivery, let me give you Five Best Practices to help you get started:

  • First, look at the problems your clients typically ask you to solve. Do they want you to alleviate pain? (e.g., they no longer enjoy the business results they once did; their leaders are floundering; they must cut costs; etc.). Or do they need help in maximizing opportunities? (e.g., they want to be market leaders, but don’t know where to start; they want to publicize their assets, but are having no success at doing so; etc.) Now, consider this: The reason that a client calls you in is a clue what to your expertise is.
  • Second, analyze how you think about the problems or opportunities facing you. A...
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Why Every Executive Needs a Sounding Board

As consultants, we struggle with determining new ways we can add client value. We wrack our brains for breakthrough products and services or new content and resources to engage our clients. However, we are missing the one thing that we do that adds the most value which is when we serve our clients simply as sounding board.

All senior executives have a ton on their plates and on minds...and not a lot of people that they can talk to that do not have an agenda or expectations for them to be in perfect control all times. But when we, as consultant,s offer our think partnership to them, we provide a SAFE PLACE to help them sift through clutter and chaos to more quickly set to clarity in terms of both thoughts and desired action, so that results they seek can be accelerated and realized. 

When we act as an executive sounding board we provide significant benefits:

Common Vantage Point:

In contrast to client's direct reports and peers, we can see the world from THEIR point...

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7 Best Practices for a New Leader Assimilation

When a leader assumes a new position, the first 90 days are critical. It sets the tone for their tenure and determines employee expectations. You, as a consultant, have a unique opportunity to provide essential and critical support that will make or break both this leader's effectiveness and organizational performance. 

Here's 7 best practices that you can share with your clients to make sure that they transition well into their new role and quickly gain trust and connection with their direct reports. 

1. Do Nothing.

The first thing they should do is nothing. Do not introduce any sweeping change initiatives. And do NOT fire anyone right away. It is important for me to say that again: Do NOT fire anyone. Any change effort at this point will be viewed with skepticism, because employees are of the opinion that the new leader doesn't really know or understand them or their business yet, and are thus unable to make informed decisions.

Action Ideas For Your Clients to...

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4 Sneaky Myths That are Messing with Your Consulting Success Mojo (and How to Debunk Them)

4 - mindset mastery Jan 08, 2017

I know one thing for sure about you. You have great value to offer your current and future clients. You can sense it, right? You can feel it…your track record tells you it’s true. You see so many other people out there making tons of money consulting and you think to yourself, “Why not me?” (Even if you already have earned money consulting.) I know that you see your potential and you have the mojo to go after it. Yet something is getting in your way.

Mojo is such a great word when it comes to pursuing big dreams like building a thriving consulting practice. It’s not just about courage. It’s that magic power and “it” factor that is so crucial when going into the unknown world of both starting a consulting practice and then taking success to a whole new level.

But you experience what I call the 3 “S’s” That Steal Mojo. You feel stupid because you don’t know how to get your value out to the world....

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How to Get Started in O.D. (Without the Degree)

The one question I am asked almost weekly is, “How do I get started in Organization Development?” After 20 years in the field, I am starting to see that to excel as an organizational consultant is less about specialized knowledge and skills and more about a way of perceiving and thinking. Let me explain.

The best consultants I have worked do not all have masters’ degrees. Some don’t even have undergraduate degrees. What they do have in common are these five attributes:

  1. They have mastered systems thinking which means they get how organizations function in order to create value. They have an intuitive understanding that in order to improve a business result like customer service, many internal performance levers such as customer insight, employee performance expectations, service processes, employee training & selection as well as leadership performance and culture need to be enhanced and aligned.
  2. They have a vision for what organizational health looks...
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4 Soul-Sucking Myths About Burnout (and How to Debunk Them)

4 - mindset mastery Jan 08, 2017

It’s Sunday night and that dread is kicking in. All the responsibilities that you once were able to manage so effortlessly are starting to drain you. You feel lost wondering where all your passion went. Do you need a vacation or it is something more?

If this sounds like you, there is a good chance that you are more than tired. You are burnt out.

And I get it. I have been there, done that and have not just the t-shirt but the whole clothing line! Stress today IS for real getting worse. The pressure for delivering immediate and ongoing results at work AND managing the complexity of home life is intense.

As a recovering burnt out high achieving woman, I wanted to share with you four soul-sucking myths about burnout and replace them with much needed truths that are grounded in scientific fact to help you rise above burnout and allow it to become an agent of transformation and growth.

MYTH #1: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS BURN OUT

Burnout is real. It is more than being stressed. It is...

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