Are You Authentic?

Are you authentic? Do you value authenticity in leadership? At today’s Indy Chamber breakfast event, Seth Morales touched on the importance of authenticity and even shared a vulnerable moment – capturing his authenticity. Want to know how?

He cried. In front of people. Like all his employees.

Why? Well, Seth was speaking to his ever-growing staff at the Morales Group, Inc’s19th anniversary celebration. The highs and lows of the last 2 years, the impact of celebrating such a big anniversary, and his awareness that, as the new CEO, he is steering the ship all culminated. And in his words, “I balled!”

I love this! And appreciate leaders who are both authentic and vulnerable in front of their team.

Interestingly, I’ve never met Seth before today. However, in 2019, I was a guest on his organization’s “Skill Up Build Up” podcast talking about my books (and the importance of human connection and authenticity!)

Thanks to the Indy Chamber for another great event, and for Seth’s transparency today.

Want to know more about how leaders can build great teams? Check out  Fresh Leadership: 5 Skills to Transform You and Your Team for more about the importance of being authentic, transparent and human when leading others.

Let’s Get Your Wheels Turning . . . Ways to Empower Women

What did your organization do to acknowledge Women’s History Month last month? Nothing? Oops! Read on to prevent this mistake next year! You don’t want to be caught empty handed and scrambling for ideas when March 2023 approaches.

Here are tips that any size organization can follow:

#1: Start EARLY⏰
Example: A large midwestern organization with headquarters in the Indy-area started working on their plans for Women’s History Month January, 2022.

#2: Be INCLUSIVE👐
Example: They gathered a few great minds from a variety of departments across the organization to consider this question: what could we do during the month of March to celebrate and empower women – inside and outside – of our company. (We’ll call this group The Brainstormers.)

#3. Think about the IMPACT👊
Example: The Brainstormers wanted a solution that was both compassionate and unifying for women.

They wanted to create a unique empowerment experience for a small number of female employees and a few women who rarely have similar opportunities for growth: women who receive assistance from a local non-profit.

And this is where Fresh Concepts, Inc. entered into the picture. A member of The Brainstormers, Julie, had recently read one of my books and participated in an individual coaching session to better understand her CliftonStrengths assessment. Julie was so positively impacted by the process that she pitched the idea to the Brainstormers. Julie asked, “Could we give a similar experience – individual coaching sessions coupled with books to reinforce their learning – to women inside and outside of our organization?”

#4. Make it HAPPEN🔥
Example: What you see pictured here are the books that I delivered to the organization’s headquarters – books that would be used as “prizes” for the organization’s Women’s History Month celebrations and the lucky winners of individual coaching packages.

Bottom line: Don’t let your organization miss the opportunity to celebrate women next year! Use these easy steps as your starting points. Create a plan that highlights your organization’s appreciation of and commitment to women.

🎉And a final note, although the designated month of celebrating women is over, the habit of cheering each other on should never end.🎉

Find Meaningful Work – It’s Worth the Effort

 “Is meaningful work important to you?” After completing some polling on LinkedIn, it seems “YES” is the run-away winner. Great news? Not so much. Sadly, finding meaning in one’s work is not quite as easy as falling off a log . . . but don’t give up hope just yet. 

Whether you are an individual trying to find a job that brings meaning to your life or a corporate leader wanting to create a meaningful workplace for a variety of individuals, the diagram here is a great starting point for your consideration. 

In short, meaningful work can come from 3 areas:

Meaningful Work Level #1: The organization itself – the work itself and the people at work – make work feel meaningful. For example, this means that in an organization that makes widgets the organization believes they make the best widgets possible and the team is supportive and appreciative of the role you play in making high quality widgets.

Meaningful Work Level #2: The center ring of the diagram shows that when work is in harmony  (and NOT in conflict) with employees’ lives and needs, then employees find work to be consistent with the meaningfulness of their life. Think of jobs at organizations that have generous vacation packages, paid parental leaves, and work-from-home options. 

Meaningful Work Level #3: When work is directly connected to making the world a better place, it fits in the outer ring. The giving-back professions (like those in healthcare and teaching) are more likely to be classified as Meaningful Work #1 jobs.

As I noted in prior posts, I taught for 17 years at the college level, but it took me about 5 years to find this “outer-ring, giving-back” position meaningful. I had some work to do on myself before I could accept the true meaningfulness (a word?) of the job. I needed to feel seasoned and capable BEFORE I could connect to and appreciate the fact that I was making a difference in the education of others . . . that I was skilled enough to be a favorite faculty member or my class could rank among one of my students’ favorites. 

Since “retiring” from my side-gig of teaching in 2019, I have put all my meaningful eggs in my coach/author basket. I relish the wins that my clients achieve and delight in the feedback I get from those who have read my books and found them helpful. I deeply appreciate how my work is meaningful TO ME on all three levels discussed above. Of course, the emphasis above (TO ME) is clear . . . it only matters what I think. Right? 

So, the question is up to you. Are you looking for meaningful work? If so, which level is most important? Do you need to change? Does the work need to change? Does your organization need to change? The quest for meaningful work is not always linear, nor is it always easy, but it is definitely worth it. 

Go find it! (Let me know if you need any help!)

#TuesdayGiving – Got Plans?

Do you have big plans for the rest of today, #givingtuesday? Not so much? Well, just in case you’re open to suggestions I’ll share my plans . . . and possibly get your wheels turning.

You are probably familiar with the idea that it makes sense to think globally but act locally. The concept here is that it’s difficult to personally impact the entire world, but that our local actions – when aligned with the global good – CAN make an impact.

It reminds me of a famous quote about change from Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

That quote fills me up. It reminds me that my small efforts to help individuals or organizations matter.

This year, on #GivingTuesday, I’ve decided to give to two local non-profit organizations that are making a difference in our Indianapolis community.

These two inspiring non-profits were started by remarkable individuals who gathered their “peeps” with the hope that they could change the world for the better.

Their histories are different, their missions are different . . . their ultimate goal is similar: improving the lives of Indianapolis families.

Below is the (very condensed) 411 on these foundations.

1️⃣ Riley Children’s Foundation: In 1921 – yes, you read that correctly, 100 years ago – this foundation was created by the friends of the famous poet James Whitcomb Riley. For over a century, the foundation has worked to create, support and sustain the following entities:
🟢Riley Hospital for Children (that helps more than 57,000 patients annually!)
🟢The James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home,
🟢Groundbreaking pediatric research, and
🟢Patient programs that need additional funding.

2️⃣ The Patachou Foundation: In 2013 – yes, just 8 years ago – this foundation was established by restaurateur Martha Hoover to feed and educate food-insecure children in Indianapolis. In this short amount of time, the foundation has accomplished so much. In 2021, the foundation:
🟩Served 60,000 scratch-made meals to children,
🟩Facilitated interactive farm field trips for 150 youth,
🟩Selected 9 Food Fellows for a paid workforce development program, and
🟩Continued to equip schools to fight hunger using hands-on learning about food, nutrition, and cooking.

Full disclosure, I am grateful to know both of the remarkable leaders of these two foundations: Liz Elkas, the President and CEO of Riley Children’s Foundation, and Matthew Feltrop, the Executive Director of The Patachou Foundation.

Indianapolis is lucky to have such talented folks in these important roles, working to improve our city, our lives, and our globe.

So, did I get your wheels turning? What’s your favorite non-profit organization?

Hope you had a great turkey day and an even better #givingtuesday!

Recognizing and Compensating for BLIND SPOTS

The French refer to a blind spot as angle mort which literally means dead angle. Very apt indeed. 

There are at least 4 different types of blind spots.

Are you watching out for and compensating for each type?

Read on to be sure you are avoiding these visual and cognitive errors. 

Be on the lookout for these blind spots:

  1. Visual Blind Spot (literally): Do you check your mirrors or look over your shoulder before changing lanes while driving? In the USA there are 840,000 car accidents annually due to the visual blind spots that occur while driving. Most driver education teachers (back in the olden days) instructed us to look over our shoulder before changing lanes to prevent such “blind-spot” accidents from occurring.
  2. Blind to the Obvious (literally): Have you ever been unable to find your keys or cell phone, despite the fact that the item you were looking for is out in plain view? 
  3. Blind to the Obvious (figuratively): Has someone ever told you how remarkably helpful, insightful, or important your perspective or advice was to them? After receiving this lovely compliment did you think, “Wow, I thought that was so obvious.” If so, you were blind to your unique insight.
  4. Blind to Being Blind (figuratively): Do you have some behaviors that get you into trouble? I’ll share one of mine: I have a very difficult time asking for help. When I most need  help, I “forget” that requesting help is an option. Instead, I double-down on a preferred technique: WORK WORK WORK and don’t look up!

So, how can we compensate for, be prepared for, and overcome blind spots?

  1. Visual Blind Spot (literally): One obvious option to avoid this dangerous blind spot is to buy a car that compensates. Some cars have mirrors within mirrors while others have lights. Both options allow you, the driver, to “see” if a moving vehicle is lurking in your blind spot. Of course, you still need to be sure to check your mirrors!!
  2. Blind to the Obvious (literally): In the past, I lost my phone WAY too often. I usually found it on a bedside table, on my desk among papers, or nestled in the darkness under my car’s driver’s seat. I’ve improved my ability to know where my phone is by creating phone placement routines and sticking to them! Once I created habits for placing my phone in the same spaces, I unconsciously placed my phone in the most obviously remembered spots and could find my phone even if I couldn’t remember when I last had it. The “Find Your Phone” app is also a life saver. Problem solved. 
  3. Blind to the Obvious (figuratively): When we are blind to our own unique insights, it means we are undervaluing our strengths. As a Gallup Certified Strengths coach, I frequently see this occur. An example of this would be someone who has Individualization as a “Top 5” strength. This person is completely unaware that she connects to people by not only hearing their specific and personal stories but following up with specific questions. Compensate for this blind spot by knowing, owning, using your strengths DAILY. 
  4. Blind to Being Blind (figuratively): When we are blind to our own biases – biases of thought or biases related to behavior – we are in trouble. As a coach, I regularly see this occur when someone dives into one of his strengths without considering other options. The example above of working diligently instead of asking for help, is how my Achiever strength can sometimes be a blind spot. To compensate, I need to take a deep breath when I am feeling stressed. After calming myself, I may have a better perspective on how asking for (and graciously accepting) help might improve my situation. 

Nobody wants to be blindsided!

I hope these examples and quick fixes help you avoid the blind spots in your life.

Please let me know!

Want to Know the Secret to Live to 95?

 

What’s it take to be 95-years young? And more importantly, 95-years strong?

Read on to learn the delightful secrets of Geradline Corr.

Geraldine was born on March 12, 1926 in Chicago. She is 95 years old.

Two years ago she moved into a Northside Indy retirement community. The move enabled her to be closer to her youngest son and his family. Mike and Lee Corr are my brother and sister-in-law. I feel fortunate to have them as a part of my extended family and doubly blessed to gain Geraldine – or Gramma Corr – as part of the package deal.

I’ve known Geraldine for more than thirty years, but in the last two years – since this move – I have been able to see her more frequently. Over these 24 months, I’ve been awed by her positive spirit, her deep faith, her kind heart, her alert mind, and quite frankly her stamina. Hey, there have been nights when I’ve been out with a big family group, felt a bit tired, and realized that Geraldine was going to outlast me . . . again. Humbling.

Interestingly, within this same time period, I’ve watched the health of my own mother decline; I saw dementia set in. We lost my mom at a much-too-early age of 79.

So, these opening questions – about aging youthfully and with strength – are more than just passing queries for me. I care.

A few weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon, I asked Geraldine if she wanted to learn more about her strengths. As a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, I wanted – no, I NEEDED – to know what was keeping Geraldine so vital. She is as interested in the world and as interesting to chat with as any of my dear friends, despite being at least four decades older than most of them.

That afternoon, I walked Geraldine through the CliftonStrengths assessment, and her results fit her as perfectly as her favorite pair of Birkenstocks. See below:

  • #1. Connectedness – Geraldine’s faith is strong. She attends Catholic Mass daily and this has been her routine for at least the last 30 years. She says this time of prayer gives her “peace of mind and the ability to cope with life.”
  • #2. Consistency – Balance, fairness, and routine are important to Geraldine. She treats people the way she wants to be treated.
  • #3. Responsibility – Geraldine follows through on her commitments and remembers both what she says she will do and what you say you’ll do. I was a bit tardy in phoning Geraldine about my questions for this blog. My tardiness did not escape her.
  • #4. Positivity – Geraldine’s positive spirit is greatly impacted by her Connectedness strengths. She deeply believes there is a plan for all of us – even when things are difficult. She refuses to take on the negativity of others. Her Positivity will not allow it.
  • #5. Communication – While Geraldine is a great conversationalist, it is her listening skills that most impress me. She uses both to learn from people of every generation.

As a coach, I was thrilled to see how accurately these 5 strengths genuinely captured the delightful Geraldine. For her part, she felt the entire assessment process was affirming and allowed her “to be known and heard.”

As a strengths coach, I know there are no perfect “Top 5” strengths.

There is also no secret combination of strengths that will allow you to live to be 95 years old.

However, I am keenly aware that those who live and breathe the strengths they have are more engaged in the world. They live more fully. They live more youthfully and with more strength.

And Geraldine is proof of that.

Side note: I wanted to know if Geraldine was the oldest person to ever take the CliftonStrengths Assessment. I decided to ask around at Gallup. I shot off an excited email to Jim Clifton, Jon Clifton, Dean Jones, and Jim Collison. These guys put the all-knowing Chief Gallup Scientist Jim Asplund on the question, who said it’s impossible to know with absolute certainty . . . Gallup is unable to verify the age of assessment takers. However, he threw me a bone by commenting, “I think it is safe to say that Geraldine is in our ‘Top 5’ by confirmed age.”

My #1 Competition strength was happy to hear the news.

There are New Ways to Lead People: Want to FRESHEN Up?

Managing people is harder than ever.

COVID didn’t just change the world but also changed the DNA of our workplace in many ways. This new environment presents challenges with competing priorities from an increasingly dispersed workforce.

Our leaders must change as well to lead effectively in this new era.

Leadership practices – ones that rely on decades-old business disciplines that no longer fit today’s ever-changing world – are not going to inspire, motivate or build and maintain a culture of trust.

In the past, leadership and management have been measured on output and profit margin. Whatever it took to succeed was acceptable as long as the goal was achieved.

Today, employees are looking to leadership to embrace a spectrum of social and environmental needs and encompass specific values and ethics.

Well, now what?

Leaders need to think in new ways.

Leaders need FRESH ways of thinking.

Join me for a complimentary webinar on Wednesday, September 22nd at 12 noon (EST) to explore FRESH leadership practices that will impact you and your team TODAY.

Information shared in my book,  Fresh Leadership: 5 Skills to Transform You and Your Team, will be used as a guide (and possible future resource) to navigate this new terrain.

“FRESH Leadership” provides a road map for teams who are striving to learn more about each other’s deepest motivations and then cheer each other on to never-before achieved successes.

How? Using five key concepts:

  • F-FEEDBACK – Good communication revolves around the ability to give and receive feedback in a productive manner that will promote growth and change.
  • R-REWARD – a paycheck isn’t enough anymore to recruit and retain invested, inspired employees. They are looking for an intrinsic reward that comes from doing meaningful work and performing well.
  • E-ENGAGEMENT – Chances are you did a commendable job addressing employees’ basic needs (safety, stability, and security). Still, now you need to build engagement at work by supporting your employees and meeting them where they are now.
  • S-SERVICE – Serving your people in an empathetic, authentic way; putting your employees’ needs first.
  • H-HUMAN CONNECTION – Employees need to know that their manager or boss is a real person.

I hope to see you there!

Although it’s complimentary, you must register to reserve your spot: https://bit.ly/3sKHrmE

 

 

Make Your Habits Work FOR You

Everyone has habits. Some work for us. Some work against us.

Creating habits that improve our lives, our businesses, our communities, and the world around us is a worthy endeavor. Agree? Want some tips for changing your daily habits?

First and foremost, please recognize that we control our habits . . . not the other way around. 

For example, let’s say (fictitiously, of course) that I’m tired in the morning and have the habit of swinging by my local coffee place to grab an iced caramel macchiato. 

This delicious dose of caffeine and sugar may serve as my “reward” for going into work and, simultaneously, give me a perky disposition. 

By the time I arrive at my workplace, my mood is (at least temporarily) enhanced and I’m ready to start my day. 

This can be a hard habit to break because there may be more than one cue that is triggering this behavior and multiple rewards experienced! 

Is the indulgent coffee stop occurring because:

  • I’m tired and need caffeine and sugar to get me going?
  • I’m not ready to go to work and want to extend my commute time? 
  • I like chatting with people at the coffee shop and consider this a social stop as well as a coffee stop?
  • The special coffee – made just the way I want – makes me feel cared for and I need that some mornings?
  • All of the above? 

Hey, it’s complicated. 

But it is under my control. 

In order to feel more powerful and self-determined in the face of a compelling habit, I need to determine if it is working for me or against me. 

Let’s say, I’m actually ok with the expensive and sugary coffee habit as a treat, but think it has gotten out of control.

Once a week, I can “treat” myself, but going every DAY is insane. Of course, making this rational decision is not the same thing as actually taking action. 

How can I curb this strong habit? 

I need to create a new mindset – one that is consistent with my strengths – which helps me to create new habits that work for me and improve my world. 

  1. Mindset shift: I am not Maximizing my time, my money, or my nutrition with this bad habit. Excellence is my goal. This habit is wasteful. 
  2. Mindset shift: I am not Achieving as much as I could each morning by taking this long detour to stop for coffee. 
  3. Mindset shift: I’m high Competition. In the past, I  convinced myself that the coffee was giving me “an edge.” Moving forward, I must realize that this coffee habit is hurting my overall health and long-term wellness.

I need to create new (healthy and helpful) habits that ignite a new habit loop.

  1. New habit: I want to have habits that benefit others. I can harness my Significance strengths to shift my thinking about how this small change in my life can greatly impact another person’s life. What needy cause could benefit most from my “weekly coffee money?”
  2. New habit: I like to jump in, get things going, and get others on board with my Activator strengths. What if I got a few of my work friends to join me? We would raise a considerable amount of money if we pooled our money and created a “weekly coffee money” fund! Each week the biggest contributor to the fund could choose the non-profit who benefits! (This should also trigger my Competition strengths!)

Of course, the mindset shifts and new habits look different for each person depending on their strengths. What’s important is that these changes are consistent with way each person naturally thinks about things and creates more meaningful habits. 

Make sense?

Do you have a habit you love to hate? A guilty pleasure you’d like to break? Share!

Giving Back Is Fun: Thank You Mickey’s Camp

I attended Mickey’s Camp for Women this year.

Want to know what I learned there?

Here are the BIG ah-ha’s (least to most surprising):

  • This amazing event is everything it’s cracked up to be! This was my first year and I’m honored to say I was BOTH a presenter and a camper. (It’s hard to live up to hype . . . it did . . . but if you’d heard about this great event, I bet you’re not surprised!)
  • Martha Hoover (Patachou, Inc. restaurateur extraordinaire) is a FANTASTIC KEYNOTE SPEAKER. (Ok, this is not a huge surprise, right?)
  • Disc golf is actually more like golf and less like frisbee than I thought. (I’m thinking this is a medium surprise.)
  • The kangaroo boots are a KILLER workout. Seriously. (Surprised? Yes, it’s true! Great for your core, your balance, and quads!)
  • Mickey’s Camps (for men and women) have donated more than $3,000,000.00, to well-deserving local-to-Indy charities since it’s inception 20 years ago. (The gals camp started 14 years ago.) WOW!!! HUGE SURPRISE AND SO IMPRESSIVE!!!!

A BIG thank you to the great sponsors, the fantastic Maurer family (especially Mickey Maurer), and the amazing non-profits who were chosen this year:

  • Bradford Woods
  • Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • Lutheran Child & Family Services—Impact Program
  • Women’s Fund of Central Indiana

What an inspirational event.

Half-Way Through 2021 . . . Checking-in on My Goals

Hope you had a fantastic long weekend! Are you rested, ready, and excited to tackle the second half of 2021?

Yes!! It’s half-time!! On July 2, we marked the official ½-way point of 2021. 

TRUTH: I’m a bit underwhelmed with my 2021 efforts in personal development. 

FOLLOW-UP FACT: As a strengths coach this is a BIG issue. 

REMEDY: Gotta dig in, regroup, set some fun goals, and go. 

I found the attached handout “My Goals for 2021” online while I was digging-in and regrouping. 

It’s quite obviously a tool created for children. I adore it: simple enough for a child but sophisticated enough for an adult. 

Who doesn’t need to:

  • Try something NEW?
  • Learn something NEW?
  • Visit a NEW or FAMILIAR destination?
  • Read for fun? 

I’m a firm believer in the idea that growth of any kind makes us better. However, I’m also aware that adults (me included!) can resist learning new things. It’s easier to do the things we are skilled at and knowledgeable about. 

But we shouldn’t ever take ourselves too seriously. Right? I appreciate the juvenile decorations (hats and confetti!!) on this worksheet, since it reminds me that “hey, kids are supposed to do these things, why shouldn’t adults?”

Wish me luck! I’m excited to:

  • TRY: eating at new restaurants and cooking new recipes;
  • LEARN HOW TO: play pickleball;
  • VISIT: some favorite places; and
  • READ: more fiction and nonfiction books. 

Are you game? How can you fill 2021 with new learning, mini-personal challenges, and FUN?

Let me know if this sparks your interest.