Welcome All!

If you do not adapt, if you do not learn, you will wither, you will die.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

For 2016 “Do what others fight to avoid”

It’s okay to goof up every now and then.
It’s okay to be wrong as long as you can admit and correct.
It’s okay to draw outside the lines whenever you can.
It’s okay to be just here, not in the past nor in the future.
It’s okay to let go of the ‘right and ideal start’.
It’s okay to act on your first thought and start with the obvious.
More often that you’d think, it’s okay to not have a plan.

Because the mind that is occupied is missing the present. This reminds me of a quote by Isaac Newton: “If I have made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention than to any other talent.”

It can be fun to goof up.
It can be relaxing to act silly.
It can be revealing to not know.

While skiing down the Big Sky slopes with our three teenagers we were once again reminded that nothing is ever really predictable. Regardless your focus, skill, and plan, there are unexpected wobbles, unanticipated icy patches, unpredictable beginners, and many more surprises on the slopes. You have to accept, adjust, laugh a bit, and in the worst case: pick yourself up.

The best things in life aren't things. They are mindset and habits.
A mindset that focuses on giving thanks, credit, and encouragement. It’s a habit of embracing the new and unexpected, allowing risk and mistakes, and being present here, now.

Dare it. Do it.
If not now, then when?
And don’t forget to have fun while doing it.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Emotional Intelligence

Looking for a relevant Professional Development opportunity for the new year? 

Jan 12 Breakfast session in St. Paul: 

"Keys for Improving your Emotional Intelligence" 
for PMI-MN,  Holiday Inn East 2201 Burns Ave St Paul. 

A session with practical relevance, candor, humor, and Dutch Directness 

7:00 – 7:40 am. Register, Breakfast, Networking
7:40 – 7:50 am. PMI-MN Chapter Business / Intros
7:50 – 8:40 am. Presentation
8:40 – 8:50 am Questions & Answers

Reservations by 01/01/2016: PMI members $24, non-members $34 
Partners PMI members $22, non-members $32


A snapshot from this interactive session: 

Followed by practical tips on how to bridge 4 gaps ...

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Bridging the Confidence Gap session in Minneapolis, 4-6pm Nov 17

November MNWiSP Meeting

Bridging the Confidence Gap

Join us on November 17th for a very special MNWiSP meeting! We will welcome Drs. Carolien Moors, MSc, founder of HardTalk Biz Coaching. She will lead an interactive discussion around research about women in the workplace and the psychology behind confidence as well as the art and science of selling. She will also talk about 7 habits of confident women and help you formulate personal confidence goals, strategies and techniques! 
You don't want to miss this lively meeting! Sign up: http://ow.ly/UeNHu 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Book Review “The Ten Golden Rules of Leadership”

Book Review “The Ten Golden Rules of Leadership”
Classical wisdom for modern leaders by Michael A. Soupios

Soupios applies thoughts and practices from Greek philosophers to leadership. To avoid repetition, I share eight of his ten rules. They are easy to write about and challenging to live by when the going gets tough. May they invite you to reflect on and question your own leadership practices.

‘Know Thyself’ – Thales
Self-comprehension is a fundamental precondition for effective leadership, but you first have to overcome three hurdles:
1.    Society’s distractions that keep you from meaningful self-inquiry.
2.    Self-defense tendencies such as obscuring, distorting and fictionalizing on behalf of a fabricated reality that fits your needs.
3.    Your tendency to seek out a maximum of pleasure (hedonistic principle). So why would you engage in painful and candid self-exploration and self-confrontation?
When your self-assurance becomes rash presumption, you turn from a valuable asset to a dangerous liability. If you take success for granted because of earlier success, complacency will follow. Success requires continuous effort and humility that acknowledges the possibility of defeat.

Office shows the person – Pittacus
The investment of power and authority in a person rapidly reveals their inner qualities. Power will reflect what no resume does: the person’s psychological disposition. Misuse of power can be a psychological deficiency: Power becomes a compensatory asset - a defense mechanism to counterbalance feelings of inadequacy and vulnerability. The abusive application of power (the need to control and dominate) becomes a way to attain a sense of security and confidence. Of the many potential shortcomings a leader can bring to an organization, arbitrary application of power is lethal: Criticizing micromanaging, second-guessing, or bullying others creates a toxic and unproductive environment where people watch their backs and avoid risks.

Nurture community in the workplace – Plato
Community development and positive group sentiment are virtues that leaders must nurture by providing the right support and incentives. 
For this to happen, leaders have to conquer three obstacles and help their staff do the same: “Individualism” (I before We), a lack of willingness to critically self-assess and the myth of the lone, maverick, self-made genius

Do not waste energy on things you cannot change – Aristophanes
Leaders must assume a posture of flexible response: Quick to take advantage of new opportunities and quick to discard practices that offer little prospect of benefit. Honest failure should be forgiven but intentional and hypocritical refusal to own up is very harmful. A leader’s capability to disregard a failing project and act accountable for failure is a reflection of his ego status and character. Do you have the confidence and courage to acknowledge your limitations and misjudgments?

Always embrace the truth – Antisthenes
Effective leaders embrace the truth, in every situation. They encourage candid criticism throughout the organization, they are skeptical of flattering appraisals, and they don’t allow authority to stand between them and the truth. According to Antisthenes there are only two people who will tell you the truth about yourself: An enemy who lost his temper and a friend who loves you dearly. Sadly, organizations are rarely inclined to examine their own premises. Instead they want employees to endorse the prevailing system of beliefs. Challenging a leader’s decisions is uncommon but you need to ask yourself: “What do I gain with yes-men who passively accept my predigested views?” I invite you to be among the few who have the maturity and emotional security to invite and accept criticism and dissenting views.

Let competition reveal talent – Hesiod
Knowledgeable employees can be hired. Yet bringing out their talent and aligning talent with organizational interests requires an environment that allows employees to compete with each other in a constructive way. Leaders want to select individuals in whom contest is likely to generate high levels of enthusiasm and creativity.

Live life by a higher code – Aristotle
Aristotle believed that leaders with high moral standards lead an unusually principled life with a dutiful commitment to personal virtue. Leaders need to earn the trust of their followers for everyone to thrive. This trust doesn’t happen by accident. You earn it not through the power and authority that was assigned to you but through your character and your personal conduct:
You invite and value contrarians and don’t hold grudges. You assist those who are in need and don’t ask or expect something in return while remaining calm in the face of crisis.

Always evaluate information with a critical eye – the Skeptics

When you assess information please remember: What was conventional wisdom only yesterday may no longer be valid today. You must consider the circumstances that shaped the information and critically examine the means by which it is conveyed. You want to look out for hidden agendas or political objectives and suspend judgment. Make sure to develop a critical mindset that accepts nothing at face value. Lets close with Socrates: “The unexamined life is not worth living”.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tackling Change Management Negativity

Change can be hard on people for many different reasons. To mention only a few: many people dislike the uncertainty that comes with change, they do not wish to let go off what they had and know, and they fear loss of status and competency. When preparing for and implementing change, leaders should be prepared for negativity from employees. Here are some tips to tackle negativity in a constructive manner:

1.    Make sure to provide sufficient, timely, repeated, and clear information to decrease the chance of unnecessary confusion.
2.    Take time to address negativity one-on-one and face-to-face rather than sending an email. It’s the interaction during which you gain the best insight into what is bothering this particular person and therefore:
3.    Don’t assume you know the reason for the negativity. Refrain from premature conclusions and quick judgments. Ask questions to dive deeper into the thoughts and fears of the person.
4.    Avoid the trap of taking negativity personal. It’s simply tempting for employees to direct their fears and negativity towards a person, which can be their own manager or top management. This may show itself as casting blame and finger pointing but remember, the negativity is almost always a rejection of the process and an expression of fear and loss of control. 
5.    Ask the person: What is it that you fear and what is it that you need?
6.    Inquire what the person expects and needs from you specifically.
7.    Agree on clear actions, timelines and a mutual understanding of how you will know whether the needs of the person are being met.
8.    Be candid and clear in regards to any needs that cannot be met and/or you believe to be unrealistic. 
9.    If there are barriers to direct and honest communication, address them and take measures to prevent them in the future.
10.Make sure to appreciate the candor, vulnerability, and transparency during the conversation.

Yes, all of this requires your time, energy, and focus, which I know are in short supply. Yes it takes patience and perseverance to tackle negativity. But remember, you don’t want to take short-cuts to alleviate tensions superficially or temporarily. Remember, whatever you don’t tackle now, whatever you don’t tackle with care, it will haunt you later, multiplied by built up emotions and by interpretations that have gone wild.

Lets close this post with 20th century science philosopher Karl Popper:

“All life is problem solving”