Improve Internal Communications in 2020

One of the 2020 trends is improved internal communication. The news makes me wonder: is this an amazing trend or just a fantastic goal?

My gut tells me it’s a goal (not a reality) for many organizations, thus making it a “trend” . . . because improving internal communications is easier said than done, right?

We know that internal communication is the glue that holds organizations together. We also know that, individually and collectively, we have lost patience. We want our Internet to be faster, our download time to be quicker, and our office mates to respond instantaneously. Of course, all of these desires we have for speedy communications apply to learning news about our organization’s triumphs and tribulations. It is at this juncture – after a huge triumph or a scalding tribulation – that an organization of any size must consider: “How do we explain this? How do we celebrate/contemplate this occurrence?”

How can you positively impact internal communications TODAY (and build employee engagement at the same time?)

Let’s first consider the difference between how we communicate internally versus externally. The “rule of seven” is a well-known marketing principle, referring to the idea that prospective clients will need to come in contact with your organization seven times before they awaken to the idea that your organization is an option. While most organizations heed this advice for a customer, they are less apt to communicate as vigorously with their internal customers (e.g. their employees).

One of my clients, the head of a marketing and website organization, is an expert communicator . . . well, maybe an expert external communicator. When this leader sends out a newsletter every few months, I read them eagerly – they are interesting, humorous, and always contain a feel-good take-a-way for the reader. However, it took my insistent nudge to persuade this same leader to use his vast writing talents to update his staff of about 20 by sending a similarly well-written, informative, funny, and inspiring e-mail at the end of every week.

Rethinking internal communication in 2020 means that organizations need to “establish fast, interactive, and reliable channels to reach all employees.” A mobile app? A weekly newsletter? A stand-up meeting every Monday morning? When it comes to communication: more is more. The efforts made to communicate what’s new, to acknowledge and celebrate a team’s success, or to uncover the root cause of a less than perfect performance will be realized in increased trust, a better work environment, improved engagement . . . and ultimately a more profitable 2020.


To see the full article on 20 workplace trends in 2020 go to:

To learn more about engagement, trust, and communication with your team check out FRESH Leadership: 5 Skills to Transform You and Your Team 


Show Gratitude and Appreciation for the Strengths of Others

As we approach our nation’s day of thanks, our Thanksgiving Day holiday on November 28, it makes sense to think about the strengths of our friends, colleagues, and family members.

Why not try to unlock the fullness of and potential within every relationship by catching people doing what they do best? Appreciating the goodness in others – by looking for their unique qualities and their unusual gifts – creates an ideal relationship building environment.

As the quote above says, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. . . . It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”

Wishing you a Thanksgiving filled with appreciation and gratitude.



Did You Miss Yesterday’s Podcast?

Two-thirds of American workers are not engaged at work – which is a serious problem for business, as employee engagement has a strong impact on overall company performance. I was a guest on this week’s episode of “Taking Care in Business” with Kathy Pedrotti Hays and Vicki Bohlsen. We discuss how a focus on strengths can build engagement as well as corporate social responsibility.

Take a listen to this week’s episode:

If you’d like to learn more, check out FRESH Leadership: 5 Skills to Transform You and Your Team.

Morales SkillUpBuildUp Podcast Part II – Grow or DIE!

So grateful to Kofi Darku of Morales Groups’ SkillUpBuildUp Podcast! Thank you to Kofi for having me back to talk about the lifelong challenge we have to grow! Growth can be hindered by limiting beliefs. What are your limiting beliefs? How could a limiting belief be impacting your life and negatively impacting your ability to grow?

These questions and more and touched in this podcast. Here’s the link if you want to take a listen:

To learn more about the ideas discussed here, check out my 2 books:

FRESH Leadership: 5 Skills to Transform You and Your Team 

Unstuck at Last: Using Your Strengths to Get What You Want 

Morales SkillUpBuildUp Podcast – a FRESH perspective

Thrilled to be a guest on Morales Groups’ SkillUpBuildUp Podcast! Thank you to Kofi for being such a fantastic host!

Kofi and I discuss the ways in which the workplace has changed in the last 25 years . . . as well as how leaders need to respond to those changes. Of course, we touch on some of the highlights of my newest book FRESH Leadership, but Kofi does a great job of taking me off the beaten path as well!

Here’s the link if you want to take a listen:


To learn more about FRESH Leadership: 5 Skills to Transform You and Your Team check out this link.

Be Curious

Curiosity killed the cat, right? Wrong. Curiosity builds strong leaders and teams. Below are a handful of great ways  to remain curious about the world and reasons why curiosity helps you and those around you.

Ways to Remain Curious

  • Keep an open mind when speaking with others or learning new information.
  • Travel and experience different cultures within your own country and abroad.
  • Ask questions of others and be introspective.
  • Look for differences and similarities in all people and places.
  • Read as much as possible and mix your genre up – fiction, non-fiction, history, mystery, and anything else that spurs your interest.

Why Is Curiosity Important?

  1. Curiosity fuels our imagination. When we are curious, we are more likely to be creative at work and open to innovation.
  2. Curiosity improves relationships. Asking questions of others spurs connection and insight.
  3. Curiosity spurs self-knowledge. Thinking about why we think the way we do can help us understand ourselves as well as possible biases and blind spots.
  4. Curiosity prevents “know-it-all” arrogance. When we recognize there is always more to learn, we are humbled by our ignorance.
  5. Curiosity keeps us young. Curiosity about the others, ourselves, and our world inspires the wide-eyed wonder that we had as children.

Good luck on your journey to stay curious. Undoubtedly, your rekindled curiosity will move you forward.

For more about how curiosity can improve your and your team, see Sarah Robinson’s new book  FRESH Leadership: 5 Skills to Transform You and Your Team. 




Do You Have a BF at Work?

Saturday, June 8, 2019 is National Best Friend Day! Tomorrow I’ll be talking on WLIP Radio with Frank and Kim Carmicheal about how having a best friend at work can not only help your overall health but can also increase your engagement in the workplace.

Please tune into our live discussion at 2:30 p.m. (EST) at


Thank You ‘FRESH Leadership’ Launch Partners

A huge thank you to the many individuals who made the launch of my newly released book, FRESH Leadership: 5 SKills to Transform You and Your Team, a success. While writing a book might look like a solo activity from afar, up close there are a host of friends, colleagues, and advisers who make up the complicated support network that (at least in my case) is critical to pulling off the daunting task of publishing a book.

My sincere thanks go to:

Nicole Gebhardt and everyone at Niche PressWorks; John O’Haver and Jim Cota at Rare Bird; Eric Pascarelli of Pascarelli Productions; Greg Perez of Greg Perez Studio; early readers and reiewers: Martha Hoover, David Mangan, Brandon Miller, John Kirby, Elizabeth Miney, Eric Spohn, Elizabeth Urbanski, Joanie Muench, Tom O’Neil, Julie McGinnis, Matthew Feltrop, Kevin Pahud, SallyAnn Hulick, JoDee Curtis, Cheryl Graham, Deborah Dorman, Laura Hayes, Eugene Taylor, Laura Taylor, Brent O’Bannon, Cynthia Yosha-Snyder, Michelle Smirnoff, Nancy Merrick, Lisa Spohn, Dana Pahud, and Char Lord; and all attendees of the launch party on March 20 with a special shout out to Eugene and Kimberly Taylor who traveled from St. Louis, MO and Chris Smith, barista extraordinaire!

Thank you all for your support, guidance, and good will!



“FRESH Leadership”- Powerful New Insights and Tools for Today

What’s different about FRESH Leadership? Well, in short, it’s just better. Think of the differences we encounter with other things that are fresh or, conversely, stale – think of a fresh loaf of bread or a fresh scent in the air. No one wants to eat bread that’s hard as a rock, or breathe in putrid, un-circulated, stale air. Similarly, no one wants leadership that relies on decades-old practices that no longer fit today’s fast-paced world.

82% of employees see their leader as fundamentally uninspiring.[1]

FRESH Leadership: 5 Skills to Transform You and Your Team is written for managers and teams that are searching for ways to defy the staggering likelihood noted above, that 82% of employees see their leader as fundamentally uninspiring.

Relying upon the most current research, 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.

Leadership today is difficult, but it is not impossible. If you are looking to improve yourself, your team, or your organization, take a look at FRESH Leadership: 5 Skills to Transform You and Your Team.

For more about individual coaching and group facilitation see

Below are reviews from early readers of FRESH Leadership: 5 Skills to Transform You and Your Team.

FRESH LEADERSHIP is a quick-read crash course for managers at all levels, offering a “fresh” perspective on leadership, and why it matters now more than ever. Supported by both data and useful anecdotes, FRESH LEADERSHIP will convince anyone in management that adapting new management norms will not only make for happier, more engaged employees, but also for happier and more fulfilled managers.

Martha S. Hoover, Founder, Patachou Inc.

Not a book to simply place on shelf, Ms. Robinson provides a living document to be utilized and referred to weekly, if not daily, for those working and collaborating with team members seeking meaning and value in their careers.

Kevin Pahud, Partner | BKD

As a Senior Leader in a fast-paced company within an even faster-paced industry, I found the advice in FRESH Leadership completely spot on for creating and maintaining a productive environment for my team. The logic underlying the five basic elements for building a successful, engaged, happy team is beyond solid and laid out in a format that leaders with or without business backgrounds will find easy to understand and implement.

Laura M. Taylor, Executive Director of Compliance, Indiana University Health Plans

FRESH Leadership beautifully blends organizational behavior research and leadership common sense to guide new and old leaders alike on a brand new path. This book is a fast read, but don’t forget your hi-lighter which any leader worth their salt will have in-hand. I have already taken some of my highlighted sections and then transferred them to notes for this week’s meeting agenda. Sarah’s book is both insightful and practical. A winner.

Elizabeth Miney, National Training Manager, H2O at Home


[1] Brewerton, Rasmus, Hougaard Jacquelin, Carter Vince, and Harvard Business Review. “Why Do So Many Managers Forget They’re Human Beings?” Harvard Business Review, 5 Feb. 2018,



Leaders Know How to Give Thanks


It can be difficult to carve out time to thank our colleagues and team members. Leaders, as opposed to managers, make sure that giving thanks is a priority that doesn’t fall to the bottom of their to-do list. Why? Because there are a host of great benefits that result from this virtually expense-free leadership technique.


of employees said they’d feel better about their work and themselves if their boss


them more regularly. [1]

Below are a few of the reasons that leaders make time to thank their team members regularly:

  • Regularly thanking others shows appreciation of work and confirms the value of the work performed.
  • Saying “thank you” is a sign of respect. If we do not care enough to say “thank you,” then it may be inferred that we do not care about the person who has helped us.
  • Giving thanks can inspire and motivate others.

Are you unsure of when to thank someone? Do you worry that too much thanks will dilute the importance of saying thank you?  Some thanks are more meaningful than others because timeliness and authenticity are critical components to offering memorable and appreciated thanks.

The timing: Human beings (as compared to, say, poorly trained Labrador Retrievers) are able to maturely delay immediate gratification. For example, we can convince ourselves to “save” dessert until the end of the meal. Despite having the ability to delay gratification, humans benefit from immediate gratification. Waiting for our annual review to hear a few words of praise and thanks pushes the limits of  our human abilities to fully enjoy, or be gratified by, praise and thanks. Giving thanks the day after a big presentation or sending a written note a few days after the completion of a large project are exponentially more rewarding than verbal thanks in a performance review a few months later.

The authenticity: People are also savvy when it comes to sniffing out authentic versus inauthentic thanks. Years ago, I worked for a CEO whose standard form of praise was to say “’preciate it.” Of course, he meant to say “I appreciate it,” but instead he truncated the phrase and slurred the words into an almost unrecognizable phrase. There were a number of reasons why this thanks reeked of being inauthentic but the most troubling was how impersonal and generalized it was. Everyone got the exact same “’preciate it” for any good works – large or small.

Leaders-those who are formally recognized and those who work as unpaid and unofficial leaders-know the power of timely and authentic thanks.

To learn more about how and why to build an engaged workplace, read Sarah Robinson’s soon to be launched book “FRESH Leadership: 5 Skills that Will Transform You and Your Team.”  To order your book from Amazon, click here.

Below are comments from early readers and reviewers.

FRESH Leadership, by Sarah Robinson, is a must-read for any leader focused on building an engaged, high-performing team! The insights and tools presented in each chapter of this book are practical and easy to implement. I found myself leveraging them immediately after I started reading; challenging myself and my leaders with the self-examination questions and then utilizing the group discussion questions in leadership team meetings. Among many of the topics addressed in this book, Sarah’s take on service as an essential piece of what distinguishes a leader from a manager is fantastic!  I have found that “servant-leader” is such an overused and misunderstood concept, yet Sarah describes it beautifully. Overall, her common sense approach to leadership, bringing together “book smarts” and “street smarts”, make this book perfect for all leaders.

David Mangan, Executive Director, Marketing, Indiana University Health


Sarah does a beautiful job of engaging the reader by mixing research statistics with personal stories. The self-examination questions at the end of each section are powerful and allowed me to refresh the  learnings into my own business and personal life.  Sarah’s FRESH model is focused and easy to remember; it applies to all of us, no matter our position; it’s a book everyone should read!

JoDee Curtis, SHRM-SCP, Purple Ink LLC, Author of JoyPoweredTM, The JoyPoweredTM family, and The JoyPoweredTM Team


In my company, I am both led by a leader AND I am a leader to a team. Fresh Leadership was very eye opening for me in both aspects of leadership.  I now feel empowered to request change from my superiors and implement change in how I lead my team to create the success I aspire for our business.  Sarah has filled this book with so many resources to create an environment that will allow myself and my team members to have a work atmosphere that makes us all feel a part of a team. Recognizing everyone’s skills, feelings, frustrations and challenges will enable positive change and solutions.  Fresh Leadership is a critical tool to generating a business that employees can thrive, enjoy work and ultimately achieve success!

Elizabeth Urbanski, Etcetera Stylist, District Sales Leader


This is a well-written and practical guide for future and current managers. I love the summary at the end of each chapter and the helpful appendixes. If you ever wanted a list of things to go do, you can find it here. Whether you are a seasoned leader or a brand new one, this book is for you. This is a step by step guide to develop ourselves so we can better develop those we lead.

Laura Hayes, Director of LeadWell, MavPak


Sometimes I think all we need is another book on leadership. But, after reading FRESH Leadership by Sarah Robinson, I am convinced that we did need another leadership book. Ms. Robinson ties together many of the principles we have learned regarding leadership. Then she tweaks those principles and applies them to the fast-paced world we live in today. Covering generational differences – or lack of differences, employee engagement, connection, leading vs. managing, her perspective on each of these topics plus others draw the reader into thoughtful consideration and application. It’s not a hard read but it is one that can make a great impact. I read through the book quickly and then went back to work through the exercises at the end of each chapter. Lastly, I will involve my team in the exercises she suggests to include them in the process. Great points Ms. Robinson! Thanks for sharing!

Sallyann Hulick, Chief Marketing Officer, BSA LifeStructures


FRESH Leadership clearly speaks to overcoming the common pitfalls of a modern workforce – including issues I encounter with my team. Sarah Robinson doesn’t sugarcoat the solutions and the kind of leadership required, instead she makes the real solutions accessible. The self-evaluation and team questions at the end of each chapter get to the heart of what it means to lead a Millennial staff. I am already planning some team building time to apply these helpful tools. “The Unwritten Work Needs of the Present” on page 22 was a big ah-ha and possibly the biggest take-a-way from the entire book – especially as a leader who is hoping to leverage all that Millennials have to offer.

Mathew Feltrop, Executive Director, Patachou Foundation


[1] “Gratitude Revealed.” John Templeton Foundation, 7 Mikel, Betsy. “Science Finds You’d Take a 32 Percent Pay Cut If Your New Job Offered This