Archive for Perspectives

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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Nuts and Bolts of Change: A Few Simple Rules and Reminders

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You can build something with a few nuts and bolts…

Recently a colleague of mine made a comment that with all the changes going on in her organization she needed to learn more about Change Management.  In an effort to help, I dashed off a quick note with a few things to bear in mind when dealing with change.  To me, while there are many theories, approaches, methods, and tools, for every day needs we can really boil things down to a few “nuts and bolts.”  Rules and Reminders that if we all kept these in mind, would make things run a bit smoother.

  1. We all have only so much capacity
  2. Inform, don’t overwhelm
  3. Engage, don’t dictate
  4. Focus on the right problems
  5. Provide support
  6. Listen
  7. Less can be more
  8. Treat people with respect, as we would want to be treated
  9. Sh** happens (deal with it as best you can and then move on/let it go)

These really are the fundamental nuts and bolts.  Each can be unpacked in detail and explored in depth with theories, psychological profiles and all the rest.  But does the “every day person” really have time and mental capacity?  Do they need to know the details (see rule #7)?  Yes, there are times to employ a Change Professional but there are also fundamentals that it would benefit the whole if each and every person in an organization could bear in mind.

As I pondered some more on this topic, I realized that I have touched upon these themes before:

I’m sure if I looked further in my Archieves I would find these themes time and time again. 

Hope this short list helps.  What other Nuts and Bolts can you share?

My thanks to Nancy, for getting my brain going. 

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The Benefits of Simplification

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Today I read an article by a colleague, Patti Johnson, titled “Why Stepping Back and Making It Simple Solves Everything.”  While I do not completely agree with the title, I absolutely do agree with the premise.  We need to step back and simplify.  While I don’t believe it will solve everything, I do believe it will help – in many ways.

Work, life, business and even relationships have all become increasingly complex.  Often times significantly more than they need to be.  We work to “manage” life, rather than simply living it.

I believe that there are many drivers for this – some intentional, many unintentional.  Most of us do not create complexity “just because,” but as a result of other drivers, including:  thoroughness, lack of analysis, focus on the wrong issues, disconnects in strategy, fear of failure, desire to “get it right”, and concern about perceptions, to name just a few.

I could write a bunch of additional words here but in an effort to simplify, I’ll simply leave you with some questions to ask yourself (yes, pun intended).  Over the next week ask (possibly repeatedly):

  • Why are you doing that task?
  • What are you trying to achieve?
  • Are you seeking to “hear” and understand or are you busy talking?
  • What would happen if you didn’t do it (process, task, activity)?
  • Is that REALLY what would happen…?
  • What can you do to simplify not just your work, but your life?
  • Have you sat outside in nature lately, just being present in the world?
  • Have you walked barefoot in the grass or on a sandy beach, grounding yourself?
  • Do you really need that suit, dress, piece of furniture, car, or is it actually a want?
  • How come we often teach children about the differences between want and need but forget it ourselves?
  • What does reduce, reuse, recycle really mean to you? 
  • Could it mean more than that?
  • Can you get by with less “stuff”, rather than more?
  • What might you get back if you simplified your life?

Simplification isn’t always easy.  In fact, it can be darn hard.  It can take guts, sweat, a few tears, and facing our own fears.  But in the end you might find that you have given yourself something very important.  Perhaps a closer connection with yourself, your family or friends, more free time, more money back in your pocket, less stress at work, or even a new respect for nature and the circle of life.  You might find a bit more peace in the midst of the chaos we call life.

May you find ways this week, month, and year to simplify your life.  I think it’s time to go work on simplifying mine.  Peace my friends.

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All I Really Need to Know…

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There is a book I was reminded of today, called “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarden”.  It was a reminder that sometimes it really is the basics that are important.  

Most (albiet not all) kindergarteners are taught similar basic rules.  They are key “rules” and “lessons” that are important for working together at school and caring for ourselves.  

My pondering today is why does it seem that so many individuals have either forgotten or feel these “rules” no longer apply to them? 

Below is a summary.  

  • Share everything
  • Play fair
  • Don’t hit people
  • Put things back where you found them
  • Clean up your own mess
  • Don’t take things that aren’t yours
  • Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody
  • Wash your hands before you eat
  • Flush
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you
  • Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some
  • Take a nap every afternoon
  • When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together
  • Be aware of wonder
  • Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that
  • Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die.  So do we
  • And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK

They are so basic, yet so true, in so many areas of life.  Just think what might happen if we all worked a little bit harder to remember and follow these “rules.” 

It’s about love and caring, equality, taking care of yourself and others.  So basic, so true.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The book is by Robert Fulghum  You can visit his website at

Categories : Perspectives
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5 Key Questions to Gain Insights

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Use these 5 Key Questions as a compass to direct you on the best way to expend your energy.

Today, it’s short a sweet.  5 Key Questions to ask:

  • Are we doing the right things?
  • Are we doing them the right way?
  • Are we getting them done well?
  • Are we getting the benefits?

When the answer to any of these questions is No, the next Key Question is

  • WHY

Sometimes, Why needs to be Why, Why, Why.  You need to dig to get to the root problems, issues, and causes, not just the surface symptoms.

Answering each of these questions will take a bit of time and analysis, but the insights can be invaluable.

When looking at personal issues, not business issues, all you need to do is replace the we with I…

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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

My Wishes for You and Yours

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May you "ring in the season" all year long.

At the end of 2009 I wrote a post about My Wishes .  I was thinking about it today and my curiosity drove me to find that blog post

What was fascinating to me is that the song I referenced in the blog, “If Every Day Could be Christmas” is still just as impactful to me, but no longer just to me, to my daughters too.  When playing holiday music earlier this week one of my daughters commented on how much she liked that song. 

I was also struck by the fact that I still don’t like the concept of New Years Resolutions.  They often seem to focus on things that we need to “fix.”  I’d rather focus on improving or enhancing, maybe just simply accepting.  Why can’t we already be “good enough!”

Last but certainly not least, I still sincerely mean every single one of my wishes.  So here it is again, My Wishes now My Wishes for You and Yours.

May you find…

  • Moments of Joy during times of Sorrow.
  • The strength of Patience in the midst of a Crisis.
  • A sense of Peace in the midst of Chaos.

May you see…

  • The spark of life in every living thing.
  • A silver lining in every stormy cloud.
  • A reason to be happy and laugh each and every day.

May you feel…

  • A sense of purpose in your life.
  • Compassion for those less fortunate than you.
  • Love for yourself and from others.

It is my hope and wish for each and every one of you that you find reasons to live joyfully, have many people to love, and share many moments of laughter with others.

My wish and hope is that in 2012 you will come celebrate life with me.

  • Make wishes not resolutions.
  • Live, love, and laugh out loud.  ALOT!

If you can’t some days that’s ok too!  Just remember that each day is a new day – you can always start over. 

When you need to, get back in bed and get out of the other side.  Not just metaphorically, but physically.  See if it doesn’t help you change your outlook for the day.  You might just start with a laugh.  If it’s with me or at me and my ideas, that’s ok.

Laughter, whatever the trigger, will help recalibrate your day.  Smiles, Laughter, and Joy are contagious.

It’s my wish that you both find some for yourself and to share it with others (me included).  May you find a way for Every Day to be Christmas and for My Wishes to come true.

My best to ALL of you.  May you find peace, joy, love and happiness now and forevermore.

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Change can happen faster than we think when you connect an inspiring message with a strong medium and engage the heart.

By minute six of this ten minute TEDXSF video I had tears running down my face.  Both my mind and heart were engaged and I made some decisions about things to do differently both today and in the future.

This video captures the heart and imagination through the words of a child, time lapse photography (by Louie Schwartzberg), and very powerful words spoken by Benedictine monk David Steindl-Rast.

May you find 10 minutes in your busy schedule today to watch this video.  May it help you find inspiration, gain a new view of the world, and a sense of gratitude for all we have.

Click here to watch it.

My change?  To view the world a bit differently today.  To seek ways to continue to capture the sense of thoughtfulness and wonder I feel for the world round me.  My on-going action, to revisit this video when I feel the need for a bit of inspiration and help to “stop and smell the roses.”


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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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