Archive for Change Revolution

Today I was pFear graphicondering the concept of Hope.

What does it mean to be hopeful?  How do we build hope in ourselves?  How do we build hope in others?

Why Hope on a blog about Change?

Because Hope can be a is a critical part of Change.  Both personally and professionally.  We must Hope for a different outcome, Hope for a different experience, Hope for a different result.  In order to Believe that Change is possible, we must have Hope.

As I pondered Hope further, I recalled a definition I once heard of Fear.

Fear = False Evidence Appearing Real

This made me think that it’s time we come up with a definition for Hope.  What came to mind was the following.

Hope = Having Optimistic Periods Everyday

To me the critical part of Hope was that we do not have to be optimistic all the time to have Hope.  After all, few of us are truly Pollyannas who continually exude Happy Happy Joy Joy.

This definition simply means that we need to find a bit of time each day to focus on the positive.  To look at the glass as half full rather than half empty at least once a day.  To have just a bit of belief that things can be better than they are.  If we have that belief, even if just for a few minutes at a time, then we have Hope.

That’s what Hope is.  A belief.  As long as we can grasp that flicker of light in that sometimes dark tunnel, we have Hope.

My wish for you today is that you let go of Fear, recognizing that is is often based on false evidence.  Look for that glimmer of light.  Find the bright spot and focus on it for a change rather than the dark.  Bring a bit of Hope to your day.

A bit of Hope can make the Happy Happy Joy Joy a bit easier to both feel internally and exude externally.

Here’s to Hope, Joy, and a bit of Happiness.  What do you think?




Driving Successful Change by Engaging the Entire Person

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Most change programs use tools and tactics which focus on building knowledge and skills.  Telling people what they need to do and providing resources and training to execute those activities.  While this is a great start, focusing on only those two elements (what I call the Head and the Hands) misses a crucial element of total engagement and long-term support, the Heart. 

How might your project soar if you focused on more ways to get to the heart of the matter?

How might your project soar if you focused on more ways to get to the heart of the matter?

In business settings we are often uncomfortable (a feeling) discussing emotions and how they are affecting the employees.  But they are part of every human being.  They drive both decision making and behaviors, whether we are conscious of this or not.  To truly drive effective change, you need to engage the Heart, where our motivation comes from.  Simply knowing something isn’t enough to drive people to make lasting behavior changes; they need to be emotionally engaged.  

I call this the Head-Heart-Hands model. 

Individuals need to be:

  • Ready … to take on the changes and accept the new way of thinking and / or behaving
  • Willing … to visibly sponsor and promote changes as the right thing to do
  • Able … to perform in the new manner, with the new processes, tools, and applications

It is critical to recognize the importance each of these components and build change programs and activities to support all aspects.  A change effort is most successful when you engage the entire person, their Head, Heart, and Hands.

I’ll close with a few items for you to ponder:

  • When was the last time you had a conversation at work about emotions?
  • How do you factor emotions into planning your change programs?
  • For change programs which were less successful was something left out? 
  • For change programs that were highly successful, were all elements included?
  • What actions can you take to actively engage the Heart, the emotions?  
  • When you as an individual believe you have been “heard”, how do you feel?  How motivated are you? 

I like to be treated like a whole person.  Don’t you?

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How Do YOU Define Success?

Today I read a blog today by a colleague of mine Marta Steele about Successful vs. Unsuccessful People.  It got my brain going for a bit and I wanted to share.

My initial reaction was that I really liked the list.  The actions on the left, Successful People, seemed to be the “right” actions.  It’s how I like to operate.  Actions that I would also like to see others take.  I’ve included a table below that combines the original list, Marta’s enhancements, and a few others I added.

A few minutes later I noticed something.  These are all ways to THINK or BEHAVE.  They didn’t really explain WHAT success is.  Hum, is that a problem, I wondered?

I also realized that I’ve seen a number of “commercially” successful people – in fact many executives – that constantly demonstrate the behaviors on the right. I started to ask myself the following questions:

  • How does success look from the inside?
    • How does a successful person perceive their actions?
    • How they feel about themselves?
  • How might success look from the outside? The tangibles such as job title, house, car and appearance… What about the “intangibles” from the outside? Charisma?
  • Does the difference (inside/outside) matter that much?
  • Can one be in conflict, feeling internally successful but not externally and vice versa?
  • Might those on opposite sides of this list view each other differently?
  • How would people who demonstrate behaviors on opposite sides of the list view each other?
  • Are individuals on the left more “content” and “happier” than those on the right? My hypothesis is that there is likely a high correlation…

Personally, I try to live on the left side.   It “feels” right to me.  I believe that operating on the left leads to greater success not only personally but for the broader groups and organizations.  I think it also leads to greater personal satisfaction. 

Living on the right can bring short-term success, but I’m not sure it is sustainable long-term.  When you don’t “play nice” and aren’t “above board,” others will eventually opt not to play with you.  Additionally, while it might bring individual success, it will not bring success to the larger group or organization if everyone behaved this way. 

What do you think?  How do you define success?  What actions do you believe lead to success?  Might businesses and organizations operate a bit differently if individuals (especially at the top of the organization) operated on the left rather than the right?

Want to stoke your brain a bit more on the topic of success?  You can read more in a prior article, What Does Success Look Like.  It might just give you a new perspective.

Successful People

Unsuccessful People

Have a sense of gratitude Have a sense of entitlement
Forgive others Hold a grudge
Give other people credit for their victories Take all the credit of their victories
Accept responsibility for their failures Blame others for their failures
Compliment Criticize
Embrace change Fear change
Challenge the norms Want to keep the sacred cows
Operate from a transformational perspective Operate from a transactional perspective
Read everyday Watch TV everyday
Keep a journal Say they keep a journal but really don’t
Talk about ideas Talk about people
Share information and data Horde information and data
Keep an abundance mentality Hold a scarcity mentality
Talk straight Spin the truth
Seek the opinions of those who think differently Surround themselves with like-mindedness
Take the first step to mend a broken relationship Wait for someone else to apologize first
Keep a “to-do/project” list Fly by the seat of their pants
Know when to say no Are addicted to busyness
Keep a “to be” list Don’t know what they want to be
Continuously learn Think they know it all
Evolve Stay stuck where they are
Want others to succeed Secretly hope others fail
Think WE Think ME
Exude joy Exude anger

What Hand Are You Holding?

There is an old song that goes like this:

  • You’ve got to know when to hold them.
  • Know when to fold them.
  • Know when to walk away.
  • Know when to run.

Sometimes, no matter the metaphorical cards and literal money on the table, the right thing to do is to fold. 

If accountability and responsibility do not align with authority and control you will not be able to do what you were hired to do.  In this case, you should fold your hand and walk away. 

Sometimes you run. 

Don’t under estimate how challenging it can be to do this.  Expecially when the anticipated income you walk away from is significant.

What does it take? 

Trust, Faith, Belief.  Trust in yourself, that you are doing the right thing.  Faith that there is a better opportunity awaiting you.  Belief that the opportunity will find you.  You just need to be there to see it. 

You won’t be able to play in that new sandbox of opportunity, where authority and accountability are in alignment and you can make a difference, if you are still sitting at the table, playing the old game.

I’ve put my cards down and walked away, can you?

If you find yourself in this situation, remember you have a choice.  Find your courage and the Lionheart Inside Yourself, to know when it is the right time to leave that game and find another.  I dare you.  I double dare you.  I double dog dare you.


Are you Living or Existing?

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Have you stopped today to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature around you?

Many times we think we are living, but we are really just existing.  We deal with the day to day and it feels like a grind. 

We trudge through our day, doing our work, working on our to-do list (or lists), answering the phone and email, and trying to make “progress”.  But we feel stifled, tired, worn out, stressed.   We’re trying to figure out how to change things but everything we think of feels like too much extra work.

We often look for the big solutions and big changes when the little ones can have the most impact.  A few weeks ago I wrote about the Value of Nature.  How taking a few minutes to enjoy Nature around you can go a long way.  Since that time I’ve made an effort to enjoy my back deck and the woods behind me as many days as possible.  I’ve also made an effort to visit with some neighbors on their back patio.  

Although my life is pretty chaotic at the moment (many major life events going on) my inner peace has been increasing on days that I’ve stopped to check out of work and the digital world and connect with Nature and neighbors.  On the days I haven’t, where I keep my head down focusing on the list, telling myself I don’t have time to go outside, I find my stress continues to increase.

Life’s not perfect, it’s a rare moment that it is.  It is, however for living, not existing.  Instead of a “to-do list” why don’t you write a “do not do list” this week.  Cut yourself some slack.  Get real with yourself and those around you.  Too often I observe individuals living in the in the “digital world” but missing out on the “real world” … and by that I don’t mean the contrived one on TV which isn’t all that real.

Put down the pen, leave the desk, turn off the TV.  Ignore your iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Kindle, and Nook.  Connect not only with others but with yourself as well.  The world will not stop if you ignore the phone, email, twitter, text or chats.  If fact, I believe it would be a better place with a little less of all of that.

Be present with yourself and those around you.  Be real not digital.  Look at your life one day, one experience, one encounter at a time.  You’ll likely be much happier.  I know I am.

Live your life rather than simply existing.  Peace everyone.

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Do you want to drive positive changes around you?  Can one person really make a difference?  Absolutely.  A greater difference than than you might think!

Yesterday I was interviewed for a BlogTalk Radio Show by Heather Stagl of Enclaria.  During the interview we discuss my own personal Change Revolution, how to start a revolution, courage, fear, and other related topics. 

Why does change require courage?  Change is hard!  You might need to rock the boat, rattle a few cages, or eh gads, talk about the elephant (or elephants) in the room!  You need to stand up and be counted.  You need to be open and honest.  You might need to go against convention and cultural norms.  But there may be others just waiting for someone to take the lead.  Can you be that leader?
Is there something that is really bothering you?  Is it something that you can control or do something you need to let it go in order to focus your energy in other, more productive ways?  Might it be something you can start your own revolution about?  Unsure?  Here’s some questions to help think you think about whether to start your own revolution:
  • Do I really care?
  • Why do I care?
  • How can I have an influence on this?
  • What action can I take?
  • What outcome am I looking for?
Did you know that fear can be False Expectations Appearing Real?  Can you let your fear go?  Can you redirect this energy into a more positive direction?

Each day you get a fresh start to decide how you want to approach life and your interactions with those around you.  How do you want to behave today? 

Do you have the knowledge in your head and the belief in your heart that you can make a difference?  You absolutely can.  One person, one interaction at a time.
Want to make changes but need some help?  If you would like help working through your challenges, driving your individual or business changes, drop me a line.  I’d love to help you either change yourself, change your business, or drive your own Change Revolution.  I can provide individual coaching and support as well as spearhead organizational and strategic change efforts.  After all, that is what my own personal revolution is about…driving positive changes in the world around me.   One person, one project at a time. 


What is the Change Revolution?

It’s many things.  The most important part being YOU! 

You impact the people around you each day in more ways that you can imagine.  How you act, react, and behave influences those around you.  

I’m personally on a mission to bring positive change to both businesses and to the people around me.  It’s not about dissatisfaction but rather about driving positive change.  I first wrote about this in my article The Revolution of One.  

We as individuals have more power than ever before.  We can each take accountability for our own behaviors.  Too often people slip into behaviors because it is easy.  They think “I don’t want to rock the boat.”  To this I ask if not you, than who? 

I believe that we should say “I can make a difference.”  I’ll do the right thing even if it might be harder to do. 

I believe that we each set an example, whether positive or negative, for those around us.

I firmly believe that if enough people act as individuals to be accountable and behave collaboratively we can gain momentum and begin the change process, even if organizational leadership is on board. 

For the American Revolution, it started somewhere, with someone believing things could be different.  There was no leader at the top.  It was individuals banding together because they believed things could be different.  Eventually leaders emerged.


Who’s Involved in the Revolution?

I wrote about a few individuals who I believe are positive change leaders in my article about Penguin Leadership.  I have another name to add to the list of Penguin Leaders, Heather Stagl.   Heather is a blogger and radio host of “The Change Agent’s Dilemma: How to Influence Change Without Authority” on BlogTalkRadio.  She is the author of the book, 99 Ways to Influence Change.  Below I’ve included a copy of her favorite blog from last year, 3 Traps that Keep Change Agents from Getting the Support They Need.

Last month, Heather interviewed Garrett Gitchell (one of the Penguins), President at Vision to Work  for her Radio Show.  To listen to Garrett’s show click here.  I’m up tomorrow, June 21st, for her 11 am ET show.  Click here to listen to my show live.

The title for the show is the “Revolution of One: Finding the Courage to Drive Change.”  A few of the questions we will seek to answer include:

  • What it means to be a Revolution of One?
  • Who can start a revolution?
  • How do you know you need to start one?
  • What about driving change requires courage?
  • How do you build courage?
  • Where does it come from?

Need Some Help?

If you would like help working through your challenges, driving your individual or business changes, drop me a line.  I’d love to help you either change yourself, change your business, or drive your own Change Revolution.

As promised, here’s Heather’s article…

3 Traps that Keep Change Agents from Getting the Support They Need

“It is common knowledge that in order for your change initiative to grow beyond your own span of influence you need leadership buy-in.  The truth is you need much more than approval; as a change agent you need leaders in your organization to take action that supports your initiative.

The trouble is, leaders often don’t do what is needed to implement change, even if they agree it should happen. You may think, If only they would (fill in the blank), you would be able to make some real progress.

This lack of proper leadership support is the top challenge for most change agents.  It frequently stays that way because change agents get stuck by the following traps.

1.  “It’s not my place.”

Allison was a supervisor who had been given a special assignment to implement the recommendations that resulted from an employee survey.  The biggest roadblock to improvement, she decided, was her boss’s boss, the very person who had commissioned the survey.  Allison’s boss agreed but would not do anything about it.  “What can I do?” Allison asked, “It’s not my place to address the issues with my boss’s boss.”

The organizational hierarchy can seem like an insurmountable hurdle over which to affect change.  When the person whose support you need is outside of one degree of authority, it can seem like political suicide to attempt to do something about it.  From this position of helplessness, it is easy to get stuck hoping he will figure it out on his own.

2.  “That’s just the way they are.”

Dan was a senior manager who worked directly for the CEO.  Dan’s key initiative to improve the company was to develop and solidify accountability to procedures.  The CEO, while supporting the initiative verbally, did not want to abide by procedures himself.  It was the CEO who had embodied the previously lackadaisical culture.  “I can’t do anything about it.  That’s just the way he is,” Dan lamented.

We often assume that the behaviors of others reflect an inner character trait.  This assumption is so common that psychologists call it the fundamental attribution error.  When you consider that someone will not support you because it is part of his DNA, of course you would automatically chalk it up as a lost cause.  You get trapped knowing it is impossible to change someone else.

3.  “He just doesn’t like me.”

John was a project manager who needed key data from the manager of another department.  However, John’s phone calls and e-mails requesting the information were repeatedly ignored.  John asked his boss to request the same information, and it was immediately handed over.  “Maybe she just doesn’t like me,” was John’s reasoning.

This trap is the mirror image of the fundamental attribution error.  Instead of thinking the lack of support is caused by her character, you think the lack of support is your own fault.  Whenever you interpret her behavior as a personal slight – she doesn’t respect you, she doesn’t like you, she doesn’t trust you – it traps you with self-doubt.  Insecurity is a lousy place from which to exert influence as a change agent.

Allison, Dan and John are composites of real change agents who were stuck.  But none of their traps were inherently real.  The traps were assumptions they made about the leaders and the organization.

The first step in getting out of a trap is to recognize that you may be in one.   Separate the facts from your assumptions about them.  From there, you can select a new point of view and step out of the trap, so you can find new ways to get the support you need to implement change.”

If you liked Heather’s article on 3 Traps that Keep Change Agents from Getting the Support They Need, you can read more of her blogs by clicking here.


The Value of Nature

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Need to go with the flow? Nurture yourself with a little Nature.

Do you feel the onset of burnout coming?  Do you want to refresh and renew yourself?  Feel like you need a vacation but don’t have the time and money for one?  Think small, not big.

Often we are moving so fast we don’t realize how much time we are spending inside buildings.  Our minds and bodies need to periodically visit the world outdoors. 

Connecting with nature – simply letting the sun shine on your face, listening to the birds, listening to the flow of water through a stream, dam or waterfall can be wonderfully refreshing. 

Even small things like packing a lunch and sitting on a park bench rather than inside a restaurant can be a boost to both your body and your mind.

Yes, a trip to the spa might be fun, but you can often get the same sense of peace and restfulness from a park.  Plus, it costs a lot less!

My challenge to you is to find those small pockets of time in your schedule to take yourself outdoors.  It can be something as simple as stopping at a park for just 15 minutes on your way home.  Do you have a deck or patio?  If so, when is the last time you had dinner outside?  Try it, you just might like it.

Have a story to share about how you’ve found little pockets of time to let Nature provide a little Nurture for your mind, heart, and spirit?  Click that comment button to share.  Love to hear from you!

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Is this a failure or a success?

First a shout out of Thanks to Jim Estill and John Wolforth for taking the time to hit the Comment button and share their thoughts on What Might Happen?  I Wonder…  last month.   This pondering continues on with ideas shared in that last post.  You can either blame it on John or thank him if you choose – this pondering a result of responding to his comment.  It got me thinking about what success looks like.

I believe that success can be a tricky thing.  It’s a moving target and always subject to interpretation.  I’ve also observed that some of the individuals who I think are wildly successful don’t always feel so successful themselves. 

I wonder how often we find ourselves measuring up short – but that is truly only in our own minds.  That we focus on the missteps and the could haves, rather than the did haves and wasn’t that great!

Let’s go to my favorite source, yes Wikipedia, for a definition.  “Success might mean, but is not limited to:

Now let’s look at their definition of failure.  “Failure refers to the state or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective, and may be viewed as the opposite of success.”

Hum, if we really think about it, we are in control here.  We define the level of social status, the objective/goal, as well as what failure looks like.  Pretty powerful.

It’s also important to remember that we all define success differently.  What does matters isn’t my defintion, but how you personally define success.     

Sometimes I think we fall in the trap of focusing on the big SUCCESS and we need to focus more on the little successes that we have all the time.  Or that we get ourselves hung up on how others define success and trying to meet their measure of success rather than our own.

I bet if we thought about it hard enough we could find a small success each and every day.  I know that this is something that I personally need to do more of – looking for those small, daily successes.  We often look at our daily failures, why not look at our daily successes? 

For today’s pondering I’d like to ask that you stop and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did I think about a failure today?
  • Did I think about a success today?
  • What did I think about this last week?
  • How do I define success?
  • Am I focusing on big SUCCESS?
  • What success(es) did I have today?
  • What success(es) did I have this last week?
  • How might I feel differently if every time I thought of a failure, I stop to also think of a success?

You are the only one that can define success for yourself.  You are in the driver’s seat.  Sometimes success might be about walking away from an opportunity.  Jonathan Field’s recent article Kill It to Build It reminded me of this earlier today.  Jonathan had a business idea but decided to “kill it” as it took him off what he viewed as his longer term path. 

The comments on his post and reactions were quite interesting.  While most were supportive, it was interesting to note the mix of judgmental and non-judgmental.  It made me stop to ponder how he felt after reading all the comments.  If it made him question himself?  I wondered how often we do this to others?

I think of life a both a juggling act and a tightrope walk.  We are trying to find that balance between short-term and long-term personal, professional, and family goals.  Often at the same time.  Additionally we move from one rope to another so maybe we should add in that areal act where we have to also have faith to let go of one bar and trust the other will be there to grab onto.  No wonder it’s often hard to feel a sense of achievement!

I think that maybe we need to adjust that success measure and realize that it’s not whether you dropped a ball or two, but rather you kept the other three, five, or seven in the air.  Not that you fell off the rope, but rather you climbed back up and got moving again.  It’s not that you missed catching the other bar, but rather you had the courage to let go of the first one.  Each and every one of these is a success.

Remember, you define both success and failure for yourself.  It’s something that I too need to remind myself on a regular basis.  I’ve found that there is no tougher judge of what I have done than myself.  Maybe it’s time to cut myself some slack or better yet, reframe how I measure success.  Will you join me?  

May you all be happy, healthy, and find success on whatever path you choose to take in life.   Remember, the power is yours.


Let’s talk about Courage and how to Find Your Lion: A conversation with Bill Treasurer

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The concept of courage has been front and center in my mind lately.  For those of you reading for a while, you may have observed that I have been building up to this.  There are connections, both directly and thematically in many of my blogs about driving change.  Most specifically within The Revolution of One, Stop, Look and Listen, Anatomy of a Change Agent, Penguin Leadership, and Being Lionhearted©.

I believe that we are at multiple crossroads.  I see the need for significant changes within businesses, within the political arena, and within social structures.  All three of these are connected in multiple ways across multiple dimensions.

I’ve come to the conclusion that we don’t just need Change Agents, that we need Lionhearted Change Agents ©.  That to truly drive the changes we need, more people will need to step out of their comfort zones.  Many of us need to be more courageous more often.  We must be aware of “social norming” and combat it at the source.  Not just how we act, but also how we react.

After writing Being Lionhearted©, I posted the following question in Linked In.

What does courage cost? How is it rewarded or suppressed? It takes great courage to drive long term, sustainable change? What can be done to build courage in today’s environment?

I had several motivations for doing this.  Not the least of which was to generate a dialog within a group of individuals who should already be Change Agents.  To ask them to think further and deeper about courage.  To encourage and challenge them to become more courageous themselves.

One of the participates in the on-line dialog is Bill Treasurer.  Bill is founder and Chief Encouragement Officer at Giant Leap Consulting (GLC), a courage-building company.  Bill established this company in 2002 to help people and organizations live more courageously.  He is the author of Courage Goes to Work, a book about how to inspire more courageous behavior in workplace settings.  His first book, Right Risk, is about how to take smart risks.  It draws on Bill’s experiences as a daredevil athlete.  Personally, I can’t imagine diving off of 100 foot platforms like he did!  Yikes.  Talk about Courage.

I had a chance to speak voice-to-voice with Bill regarding his background and experiences.  Bill believes “…that with less fear and more courage, workers take on harder projects, deal better with change, and speak up more willingly about important issues.”  I agree wholeheartedly with him.

Bill’s view is “…that individually and organizationally, people can generally be divided into two camps: safety-seekers and opportunity-seekers.  During times of heightened anxiety or uncertainty, such as NOW, the Camp Safety swells with refugees.  There is a danger in this flight to safety.  Just when our organizations need us to provide ground-breaking (and tradition-defying) ideas, we are, instead, hunkering down underneath our desks.”

Below are some of Bill’s tips for helping you be more courageous at work.  This list was extracted from his latest article, The First Virtue.

  • “Be Mindful of the Risks of Not Risking. The risk of inaction is usually more perilous than the risk of action.  As you consider a risk, be clear about the dangers of not taking the risk, too.
  • Ask the Holy Question. Here are the four most important words you’ll ever learn in the English language: What do you want? Most people don’t take the time to answer that question with specificity.  Those who do, however, are in a much better position to figure out the actions they need to take in order to get what they want.
  • Have Something to Prove. Take on challenges that cause you to have to prove yourself to yourself.  When the going gets rough, having something to prove can be a source of energy and motivation.
  • Make Forward-Falling Mistakes. Making no mistakes is just as dangerous as making too many.  Have a “mistake ratio,” a good balance between not making enough mistakes and making too many.  As long as the mistakes you make are forward-falling, you’re making progress.
  • Harness Fear. Fear is a normal, natural and necessary part of the work experience.  While uncomfortable, fear has energy, and that energy can be useful when facing tough challenges.  Harness your fear by spending time with it.  The more you experience the thing that you’re afraid of, the more desensitized you become to it.
  • Jump First. The best way to encourage those around you to be more courageous is to be more courageous yourself … first!  Ask yourself, “When was the last time you did something courageous that probably left a favorable impression on the people you work with?”  In other words, when did you last jump first?”

You can learn more about Courage Goes to Work, Bill’s international bestseller, at  Bill’s newest courage material, Courageous Leadership: Using Courage to Transform the Workplace, comes out in early 2011.  It’s an off-the-shelf courage-building training program being published by Pfeiffer.  Personally, I can’t wait to see it.

My hope is that you can find a bit more courage within yourself.  That you not just Own Your Elephant , but that you Find Your Lion Inside.  That you take positive action rather than just observing or standing aside.  It takes time, courage, and energy.  I’m hoping that you can find a bit more inside yourself and join my Change Revolution.  Cheers.

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Guiding Principles

- Think Holistically
- Seek the Root Causes
- Respect the Individual
- Demonstrate Accountability
- Collaborate with Clients
- Work with Integrity, Always
- Relate to the Business Strategy
- Ensure Alignment
- Demonstrate Responsibility
- Transfer Skills

Thoughts and Quotes