Monday, April 15, 2013

Be All In

Each year for the past 4 I have hosted a leadership development event in my community in partnership with Giant Impact and hundreds of other sites around the world.  This year is no different, and we are into the 30 day countdown.

There are always a great deal of preparations and to-do's. I would not get as far as I am without the help of an advisory team that comes up with great connections, super ideas and refreshing energy that helps to keep me focused and lead the entire group forward. To them I am truly grateful.

Each year, we are surprised by the selection of leaders that take the stage. I did not recognize one speaker this year LCDR Rorke Denver is scheduled to speak.  He released a book in February entitled 'Damn Few' - I spent time this weekend reading it.  It was awesome...and for many reasons:

  • this is not normally the type of book I read - not into military issues from a book perspective, more from the news.
  • it was human - he is a person, an individual, a fine arts major, a dad, a warrior, and a leader
  • it made me cry - read the words he would send to his daughters and you will too
  • it was about family - his blood and his brotherhood
  • the words connected the dots from who he is to how he leads
Of course - there are always lessons in any book you read. And if you are like me, I read some over and over again and find new meanings each time (because it is what I need at that time). My takeaways are this:
  1. Be ALL IN - no matter what you choose to do, be all in - head, heart, hands and feet - engaged, focused and ready to learn.
  2. Plan and prepare - be so practiced that it becomes second nature....ask all the questions, go through all the scenarios and then take action, being ready to shift on the fly as the scenarios pop up
This is life. This is for business.  This is for family.  This is for always.

Come out to the Leadercast on May 10, 2013.  You can buy tickets for the Windsor Essex Leadercast at or call 519-745-6820.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Notes from To Sell Is Human

If you have not yet read Daniel Pink's To Sell Is Human, you are missing out on a great read that engages you in evaluating your everyday conversations and interactions with everyone around you.

Not only that, Pink goes on to provide you will applicable resources and tools that you can use immediately.  For example - did you know there is not only an extrovert and an introvert, now also an 'ambit-vert'.  There is a quick 18 question survey to take to see into which category you fall (after having taken the survey, I validated my 'extroverted' nature, and was provided with tips that can help me move more towards centre on this continuum.)

More than anything, the examples and research presented is easy reading and definitely hard copy book is full of post-it notes to review and share with clients (so get ready!).

Top 3 lessons that impacted me -
  1. Clarity comes from learning to ask better questions.  Did you know that there is a brain trust dedicated to questions called the Right Question Institute?  I do now and will be working with their website and ideas to learn to ask better questions, including the unexpected, irrational question.
  2. There are 6 pitch methods - I will be working on the exercises Pink provides to hone my skills here and help my clients with this as well - especially to assist in articulating common threads and assisting to develop teams.
  3. Servant Leadership lives and breathes. When I first learned this concept it felt like air in my lungs, a song in my soul. It was perfectly okay to help others and be there for others as the leader, serving first.  The simple emphasis again brought joy to my heart and has helped me look at my work to ensure that as I interact with people and we work together that we are both better for having connected.
Long post, I know, so how about reading the book and providing your lessons!

Monday, April 1, 2013

An Open Letter to Those Who Wish to Rewrite History

Not sure how your weekend went, but mine was great until I received a text message from a guest in my home requesting I take down a photo. Not sure where you stand on this subject and know it is touchy so here goes. This particular individual is looking to rewrite history by removing, at any cost,any reference to the past.

I have had some tough relationships in the past, been divorced etc. and worked hard to get through the pain....anger, grief, sadness....and come to grips that though the relationship did not last, there are lessons (and 2 beautiful children) that I only could have learned that way. Trying to rewrite the past won't work. You cannot erase it. It happened. Take the lessons and learn, moving forward to hopefully not make those same mistakes again.

I can say that while I am not grateful in the 'thank God I married him, had to fight for custody and my kids no longer see their dad' excited kind of way. It's grateful in the manner that the universe only gives you what you can handle to teach you lessons and make you stronger, type of grateful. The question I ask the history re-writer is why can't you face the past and grow from it instead of asking the rest of the world to live your new interpretation?

I guess I must be completely intimidating and unapproachable. I know that I have a strong presence and am not afraid to express myself or make decisions that others may not make, instead of cowering in a corner, letting others make my decisions for me or even speak for me. Another question I have for you is why can't you just talk to me? Am I really that awful? Do you not know how much it hurts to be left out?

While I love technology, there is clearly a time for conversation. This would have been it.
A text message doesn't cut it. I can not tell you that it would change what was in place, but I can say I would have been happy to listen (and happy that there was an opportunity for conversation instead of incessant texting where words have been said that cannot be taken back).

How does all this apply to leadership, you ask? Personal leadership is critical to everyone's ability to build community, grow organizations and develop into an evolving society ( hope that's not too redundant). Personal leadership is about seeing all sides and making uncomfortable decisions. Personal leadership is about holding emotions in check, or giving weight to them when you need to. Personal leadership is about using your voice when needed. Personal leadership is about knowing when to walk away.

Wish I could say 'April Fool'! but can't. Instead I am just feeling like one for trusting that things were moving in a new direction with this always turbulent relationship. I was contemplating removing this guest from my contacts. Then I decided that that action would be out of anger, not allowing myself the space to heal the hurt I currently feel. While this roller coaster of relationship spirals into a continuing vortex of the unknown, I can say that , I will stick to my values and attempt to protect my heart while running into them now and again.