I am often asked what value assessments and profiles add to the coaching and leadership development experience. I thought I would dedicate a blog to sharing some benefits.
Individual Coaching Value
We use two main assessments with our coaching clients, Everything DiSC® and Everything DiSC® Agile EQ™. Everything DiSC® helps clients understand their personality and how to better respond to the needs of other people. Everything DiSC® Agile EQ™ helps clients understand mindsets and how to better respond to the needs of the situation. Both help clients work in more meaningful ways and lead better in more situations.
Everything DiSC® is a personal development assessment that measures an individual’s tendencies and priorities. It is designed to support an individual’s understanding of his or her work-related behaviors, the behaviors of others, and how to apply this knowledge in work situations. The assessment discovers your unique personality style.
After taking the assessment, Everything DiSC® generates profiles based on multiple applications. We use these applications depending on the client’s situation (leadership, dealing with conflict, managing others, etc), to better coach to the client’s unique strengths and opportunities and help our clients succeed in all areas of life.
Everything DiSC® Agile EQ™
Everything DiSC® Agile EQ™ profile provides clients with valuable insights that help them explore the concept of emotional intelligence and take an agile approach to workplace interactions. In this personalized, 26- page profile, clients discover their DiSC style, learn, about the instinctive mindsets that sharpen their responses and interactions, recognize opportunities to stretch beyond what comes naturally to them, and gain actionable strategies to become more agile in their approach to social and emotional situations.
Team and Organization Coaching and Training
We also use assessments and profiles when working with teams and organizations. Seeing how teams work together and grow together is rewarding. We have online platforms to better help individual team members and ensure organizational success. We can do all team interactions virtually or in person, lots of great opportunities.
Knowing ourselves is important, but being open to growth and being vulnerable with others is where real beauty lies. Go change the world beautiful people!
Last blog, I wrote about following our instincts and acting on those nudges, using our gifts and blessing the world with who we are and with what we have to say.
This week I want to talk about something a little more difficult, but important to leaders.
What about the times we have to be, do or say things that aren’t easy or pleasant? What if we have to say something or do something that isn’t “sunshine and flowers”?
Now let me be clear. Too many people in this world use this “clause” as an excuse to be an ass in the world. Please do some reflection to determine if you are making the world better or just being an ass.
We see this phase often when working with dysfunctional organizations, especially when folks aren’t willing to examine their own behavior. “I am just looking out for the mission, the company – someone has to”
Here is another phrase seen often, “s/he was so mean and evil, so it is okay if others are mean and evil – s/he deserved it.” By that justification, we should all be running around harming each other.
I used the example in my last blog that leaders should think of themselves as air purifiers. We help take in the bad, clean it up and put back out good. That is what truly defines a leader. We serve the greater good. Society – we want a better world for all.
A leader doesn’t care about being right. A leader doesn’t care if someone deserves something. A leader acts a certain way because of high standards and values they have. A leader doesn’t say or do something to get back at someone or to prove something. A leader is only trying to “purify” the surroundings, to make the world a better place.
Here is our test, leaders, for everything we do, say and for how we want to be.
Is it for the greater good? What greater good?
Is it aligned with our values?
How will it make society better?
Am I showing compassion?
Not does it make me happy, but does it bring joy to the majority of those it effects. If not, does it harm people? If so, how am I addressing this?
As a leader, we may think that we are only in one leadership role, but we have the opportunity to lead in everything we do. That is how we change the world.
Do we put more negativity and toxicity in the world or do we take in the negativity and toxicity and clean it up and put back out something profound and good?
I am reading a great book right now and it reinforces what I believe about leaders. It isn’t the loud, dictators that build the best companies. And I assure you, the loud dictators don’t change the world for the better either. The best leaders are humble, compassionate, driven to the cause, inspired by humanity, moved by purpose and build lasting companies because people trust them. They have succession plans in place because they have no ego and success is bigger than self. This seeps into the people around them, into relationships and into society.
I challenge you, be a leader. Leaders change the world.
There is so much being written right now, folks trying to process and I often don’t know what I can say to contribute. I feel unsure of my contribution. I get an idea; I process and work to articulate it in a professional way… and then I second guess myself or it doesn’t seem important any longer. And, I do nothing.
Do you ever do this?
I have so many thoughts though. Many opinions. I find myself reading social media posts and articles and wanting to comment – forming a refined comment in my head. Not an aggressive comment that we all too often see, those are useless and way too abundant. But a well thought out one, one that explains why I think differently. One that longs to engage in a meaningful dialogue. And then I realize, no one cares and actually it will only spark a fight.
I write a blog draft. Then another one. And then, another. They sit in a folder. By the time I edit them, they seem so irrelevant. Eventually, I’ll post one because I actually love to think, to write and to share and I remember that my words don’t have to have meaning to others; they help me find meaning.
You may be asking, what is her point here?
Now more than ever, we are in a time when we need to process what is going on in this world, what things mean, how we think about it all, and most importantly – how we are to show up giving our gifts. And leaders, we must inspire others to do the same.
This world needs us to step up with our gifts. Have you ever noticed the negative folks share and man do they share loudly. They aren’t processing, filtering, or editing before they share. So, those of us that are wired to process, filter and edit before we share – when we delete (like I mentioned at the beginning of this post) after doing these things, we delete the positive gifts we bring to the world. Please don’t delete – and therefore my point starts here.
Let’s make a deal, release it!
When we get a nudge to say something, do something, be something to someone – process, filter, edit andthen do it. With all the love and kindness you can do it with, follow through. How can we pour into others and not take from them? This applies to our words, our actions and who we are in the world.
I debated on whether I should include “process, filter, and edit” or just tell us to say it, do it and be it. I did include it because too often folks don’t do these things and so much toxicity is put into this world. Let’s not contribute to the toxicity. People use the excuse that others are toxic and mean so it justifies a toxic, mean response. By that justification, we should all be running around harming each other. Be the change, leaders.
Think about what you put into the world. Think of yourself as an air purifier. Leaders, we are purifiers. Put good out. The truth yes, but in a good, honest way. When people read it, they need to receive it. No one hears ugly, hostile, blaming words. Help remove the toxic from society. Self care is how we remove it from our bodies – that is another topic. Be a purifier. The toxic is out there, but we don’t have to contribute or put it back out. Process, filter, edit and put good in the world.
Acting on our nudges…
We must act on those feelings, those urges. We must follow our gut instincts. Some of us have had life experiences that make us question our worth. We forget where our worth truly comes from. Some of us are tired from a life of hard work, and the energy to follow through passes quickly. But the truth is – the worth is in the release of doing what we are called to do, not in waiting to see how it comes back to us. The energy comes from the release of our work, not from the anxiety of holding on to it. Let it go.
Say, do and be… Release your gifts into the world. Pour into a world that desperately needs what you were so uniquely given to give. This is where we are meant to live.
We now find ourselves working in new ways. What is your new normal?
I’ve been asked by one of my clients to write a blog about remote work. I’ve worked from a home office for some time. I have an office space downtown, but I really love to spend most of my time in my home office, under a blanket with my sweet doggie.
Here are my “working remotely” tips. While I have been doing this for awhile, I am now working remotely with the addition of two college kids, a high school kid and a husband – all home with me, in my space. Our oldest works in health care and is currently living at home. That brings a whole new level of stress with it each and every day.
Honesty, I’ve broken all of these in the past two weeks! It is okay, just like meditation – just begin again.
Go to bed at the same time every night.
Wake up at the same time every morning.
Exercise. Meditate. Pray.Journal. Do something each day at the same time of the day to ground you.
Eat breakfast at the same time. Now, you can enjoy this with your family.
Set regular office hours. Have your kids set regular school hours. Each person should have their own “office”, even if just a small dedicated space in a room.
Take regularly, scheduled office/school breaks, but be flexible if a pick up game of basketball starts outside your home office/school space. Go play! Then, get right back to work.
Take a lunch break. This is important. Read. Walk outside or on a treadmill or up and down the stairs. Dance around the house. Clean a bathroom (this counts as exercise and cleaning). Garden. Power nap. The important thing is that you take a dedicated break.
Set a stop time. Stop work, write your successes for the day. Create your to-do list for the next day. Shut down your computer and leave your dedicated work space!
Exercise again. Meditate. Pray. Rest. Watch a short TV show. Do something that clearly separates work from home and allows you to make the transition.
Cook, eat and cleanup dinner together as a family.
Relax, we are shut in for a while. Do a fun evening activity. Read, bake, watch a movie, snuggle.
Go to bed on time!
Everyone in the family should have one chore/task to complete each day, regardless of age. Just think how great and organized your house and yard will look and be.
I just put a large sticky note on the door of the pantry with every day of the week listed. Every family member hanging out here can put a small sticky note on each day of the week with the task they will complete. Clean out bathroom closet. Bath the dog. Vacuum upstairs. Spend 20 minutes cleaning out the garage. Etc. Give them some control over what they want to contribute, to some degree.
Every once in awhile – skip the shower and stay in your comfy clothes. I do recommend changing out of your PJs and at least putting on yoga pants and/or workout cloths. I recommend getting showered and dressed daily, but maybe once a week – its okay to declare a “nope, not going to get dressed today” day. Just make sure it isn’t a day when you have a scheduled video call. I’ve done that before and was rushing around 10 minutes prior to the meeting. It wasn’t pretty, nor was I.
By creating a laundry schedule, they know when everything gets washed, dried and folded and they can contribute, even if forceably. No one will be asking if they can use the washing machine, for older kids. Mom or Dad aren’t expected to do everyone’s laundry, for the younger kids. Someone throws in a load each day according to the schedule. At night, everyone can fold while watching TV together.
Create a Schedule
Creating a schedule keeps order in the house and when chaos does strike, it allows everyone to get back on track relatively quickly. It also allows everyone to schedule calls, homework time, reading time and family time appropriately.
Monday – Friday
Morning Quiet Time (work) 9:00-11:30
Lunch Time 12:00-1:00
Downstairs Quiet Time (work) 2:00-5:00
Dinner Prep, Meal and Cleanup 5:30 to 7:00
House Evening Quiet Time 10:00
Family Prayer Time 11:00
Family Clean 2:00-3:00
Sample Laundry Schedule…
Everyone brings their clothes, sheets and towels down on Sunday. They also take their clothes up on Sunday from the laundry room.
On Wednesday, everyone brings dirty clothes down again and takes all clean clothes up from the laundry room.
I wash all the sheets, towels, blankets, etc on the weekend and on Thursday during the week.
This allows me to use the shelves in the laundry room to store folded clothes, everyone has a spot on the shelf. I also have a rod hanging from wall to wall to hang clothes until kiddos can take them up.
I’ve included some pictures. Since I am allowing/requiring help, it is a mess. Please don’t judge. The clothes get folded and placed on shelves above my washer and dryer. You are seeing the towel rags too.
Wash towels and sheets
Wash darks and workout clothes
We’ve Got This!
Hope this helps! Send your tips and we will post them!
It isn’t always easy to lead, but it is important that people have a leader that is easy to follow during difficult times.
A Leader Is…
A leader can calm.
A leader can guide.
A leader can comfort.
A leader can ignite a spark.
A leader can make the darkness a bit brighter.
Are We leaders?
Are we calming with compassion and guiding with truth?
Are we comforting others while igniting their spark to speak their truth during this time of toughness?
Are we brightening the world with our presence?
Right now, leaders are being asked to make some really tough decisions. It isn’t possible to know with certainty what is going to be the right decision all the time. And, right now the consequences seem enormous.
Consult the right people, use every expert in your network. Science, facts and data matter. Use your resources wisely and don’t be afraid to seek counsel. The wise do this often.
Don’t make decisions in isolation, rely on your team – all of your team, even the ones that think very differently.
Consider the stakeholders, the ones that will be impacted by your decision. How will this affect them and ultimately how will it affect the greater good – society?
Our leadership decisions often seem so irrelevant. Today, they seem enormous.
As leaders struggle with making the right decisions, we may not always agree with other leaders’ decisions. Let us show kindness and compassion as we support ALL leaders through this difficult time. We are in this together and together we are stronger. All leaders will ultimately fail forward, let’s be leaders by supporting other leaders publicly and personally. Confident leaders make better decisions.
You Are Not Alone.
Leaders, you are not alone. Use all your resources. Consult the experts, lean on your team, consider the affect to your stakeholders and ultimately the impact you make on society. And, support other leaders.
I believe we all have strengths and unique gifts that we are meant to share with the world. Not sharing them causes us to feel lost, anxious and wanting more.
I believe this world is hurting.
I believe through leadership we can heal this world.
The Strategic Difference works with individuals, teams and organizations to uncover strengths and unique gifts. We encourage and support you while you discover how to share them with the world and how to show up fully and authentically you – living your life with purpose and passion.
With strong leaders and better organizations, we will see a more compassionate and responsible society. I believe this.
As we engage in this election season, leadership is ever so incredibly important.
Politics are all too often guided by money and not the people. Leaders listen to the folks in which they lead and represent, and leaders ensure the wellbeing of those entrusted to their care is responsibly cared for – not those of special interests. We’ve gotten to a place where one liners, late night jokes and “my party” at all costs are the main priorities.
People, data, reality – don’t always seem to matter. At The Strategic Difference, we work with leaders to lead from a place of truth and focus. Truth to what is really happening according to the data, truth according to those represented and truth according to commonsense reality. Focus on the strengths of the leader and the purpose and passion of the calling. Leaders listen first, seeking to understand. Kindness and compassion matter.
Leaders open their minds to other perspectives. Hearing differences is what diversity and inclusion is all about. It will either strengthen one’s view or change it. A leader isn’t afraid of this.
Let us all be leaders as we engage in this election cycle. Let us lead in conversations, lead on our social media pages and lead in how we vote.
When sadness creeps in. When joy is hard to find. When relationships are a struggle and purpose is almost a meaningless word.
Where do leaders go? How do we get back? When numbing ourselves is so acceptable in today’s world. When the world around us is so angry and engaging with it causes more pain, leaders are tempted to turn away from the world and isolate.
People are hurting and with that, they hurt others. This world is hurting and in need of kindness, forgiveness and love. But for some of us, we give over and over; we too need. Leaders, we get empty too.
We know this isn’t how it is suppose to be.
Our world is begging for compassionate leaders. Sometimes we must walk away from the judgement, the ugliness. Sometimes we must speak out. But always, we lead with kindness and compassion, for actions will always speak more than our words.
I’ve been enamored with the concept of leadership for some time. A good leader puts in much effort and a whole lot of themselves, all the while making it look effortless and appearing invisible. A true leader makes it about the TEAM. It’s beautiful.
Today, I want to talk about the teams these leaders lead. Highly functioning teams are led by amazing leaders. They accomplish missions and change the world.
Not All Teams Are Strong
Dysfunctional teams are made up of individuals that can’t put the team above the individual. In the book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni, we see the common dysfunctions of a team.
While this book is an easy read, it is written as a fable; the content is technical. I recommend the book to folks leading a team. Although I am not going through the dysfunctions today, I want to share some thoughts about what we as leaders experience and how we influence our teams.
Again, strong teams accomplish missions and change the world. Dysfunctional teams spend a lot of energy fighting, wasting valuable time and resources and eventually destroying our organizations.
Not Everyone Wants To Be On a Team
I get called in to work with teams, often when things aren’t going well.
I learned which teams want something better collectively and which teams are made up of individuals wanting something better for themselves individually. In most circumstances, the majority of team members want something better collectively and usually there are just a few team members unable to grasp the team concepts and simply must leave in order for the team to move forward.
As a leader, it is imperative that your team is filled with members who can positively contribute. As a leader, it is your responsibility to show them how and to provide a safe space for this to happen . It is also your responsibility to remove or to encourage the removal of team members that cannot grasp the team concepts once shown and this privilege once given.
Side note: if problem team members aren’t removed, they stay and the good team members will leave. Good team members always have other options and will relocate to better environments. The team will end up consisting of individuals seeking something better for themselves rather than the team/organization. The organization has very little hope and the mission dies.
Making It About the Team
Those who can’t become invisible for the sake of the team must leave at this point, whether a consultant working with the team, the leader of the team or a team member. The team is the difference between success and failure.
The words we and us are common language.
Example: Our board. We experienced. Our team. We discovered. Our data. We (our team) ran reports.
Conversations involve everyone together.
Everyone owns what’s been done and what needs to be done.
No right verse wrong climate. The environment is one of improvement and seeking the best for the organization.
People are respectful of consultant’s time and team members’ time, which shows they are respectful by nature of others.
People listen, seek to understand, value input from others.
Team members are encouraged to contribute, think out loud and ask questions.
Stakeholders and constituents have a way to share and give input and it is met with appreciation, never judgement or defensiveness – it’s the only way an organization can grow, be relevant and meet the needs of the ones it serves.
Open, lively conversations.
All members attend all meetings.
The words I and me are common language.
Example: My board. I led. My team. I discovered. My data. I had my staff run reports. My EA.
Lots of individual conversations and gossip.
Individuals think they are somehow different and deserving of preferential treatment.
Individual team members think they are right and their way is the right way. They spend enormous amounts of time wanting to explain and justify.
Everyone wants to be heard, but no one remembers to listen.
No process for stakeholders or constituents to give input.
Team meetings are not collaborative.
A lot of “that isn’t what I meant”, “that wasn’t my intention.” – no accountability or personal awareness.
Passive aggressive behavior is common.
Sub-tweeting – social media accounts have memes and quotes referencing someone or something.
People see only other’s behavior as problematic, never their own.
Who’s Behavior Do You Call Out?
There is a meme going around. It shows someone walking away from a table and the person walking away is saying, “I will no longer sit at the table where I may be the topic of conversation when I get up from the table”.
It is an example of passive aggressive “sub-tweeting”. It is calling out other people’s behavior. And while it is a very reasonable point to make, I think there is a bigger point to be made in regards to teamwork.
We all too often are willing to “sub-tweet” about other’s behavior – call out other’s negative behavior. But, how many times are we willing to examine our negative contributions to a team or just in general? Are we the ones that often or even occasionally do the talking at the table when folks get up?
What’s a Better Approach?
How about we post that meme and then say, “may I never be the one that takes part in the conversation at a table about someone once they get up”? Or better yet, “may I always have the courage to speak compassionately and directly to someone and never be the one that instead talks about someone at the table after they get up”. Or, what else?
One is judgmental of others, without examining my own behavior. It is passive aggressive “sub-tweeting” about someone else’s behavior. The other two are more honest attempts to examine my own contribution to a team and to life in general.
We don’t have to post the meme, but we should still want to reflect personally on how we show up in the world and in our relationships and this includes our teams. But, if we do post, calling out other’s behavior via social media sends a message and I am here to tell you – it is never one that helps build a team or a relationship. Examine your own behavior, have the conversation compassionately to someone’s face or let it go.
Contribute to the World
Dysfunctional team members are quick to point out the bad behavior of others while never taking responsibility for their own. Functional team members own their own behavior as individuals, address what needs addressing and show up ready to be a team for the sake of the organization.
Take a look at the list above and let’s all consider how we can better lead functional teams and be better team members on the teams in which we are a part. I know I’ll be re-examining!
Great leaders build great teams and great teams build great organizations and great organizations accomplish missions and change the world!
A leader is a leader, in all areas of life… at all times. Leaders take the opportunity to create change and make the world a better place. However, it doesn’t mean free from mistakes, but it does mean a willingness to accept responsibility and to take opportunities for growth.
Leadership Isn’t Always Easy
This isn’t always easy, sometimes we get hurt.
People think leadership is strong and tough and being in control. Not always. Sometimes, it is gentle and kind and it hurts. And then it is gentle and kind again, and it hurts again. Ask any parent and they will tell you how much showing leadership to a child can hurt.
Lead According to Your Values
Leaders lead according to a set of values, principals and core beliefs that we set when we decide that we are going to be leaders in this world. If you don’t yet have these defined, I strongly encourage taking time to define them.
Leaders make decisions based on these values, principals and core beliefs and not whether other people “deserve it”. Because, we are accountable for our decisions. However, we also have to make decisions that are best for the organizations, people and homes that have been entrusted to our care.
This can cause such internal confusion at times.
My Real Life Lessons Learned
Recently, I’ve been working with someone on a personal project. Its been challenging, with timelines, scope, and cost constantly changing without conversations or consent. My questions are often met with defensiveness and sometimes even anger.
I made many decisions based on my values, principals and core beliefs. However, I didn’t always make decisions that were best for my family and our household. I tried too much to minimize the drama. For the sake of the project and others involved, I tried to avoid the conflict.
I see more clearly the decisions that I made that were based on my values, principals and core beliefs and those in which I used my values, principals and core beliefs as an excuse to justify avoiding conflict. Conflict isn’t always bad. I allowed her to be disrespectful to me, our family and our home by not having needed conversations and by not setting and maintaining appropriate boundaries for both of us.
This relationship should have been a positive energy exchange and as a leader, I was responsible to make sure it was. Although I feel betrayed and sad, I’ll do better as I wrap up this project and next time to see where I can set better boundaries and have the needed difficult conversations.
In the end though we don’t change the world without being in the world. And often, the world tries to change us. But having a clear understanding of our values, principals and core beliefs allows us to see when to pull back a bit, especially while hurt – reflect and then get back out there. Leadership is a beautiful opportunity to bring about change in this world.
Don’t harden though, don’t dictate and don’t let the world change you. Lead Always.
I’m often plagued by perfectionism and constant overthinking, needing the perfect order, system and product. Everything has to make sense in my mind before I can begin. I sit. I sit and I think. I think and I think and I think some more. And then, someone needs me. I jump to the ring of the phone, the beep of the email, the request of a child. I get busy with other’s needs and I never have to worry if my work is good enough to put into the world.
Self loathing and judgement come in here.
At the end of the month, my perfectly planned goals are nothing more than perfectly planned unexecuted goals. Then I get mad at myself all over again for making everyone else’s goals a reality while mine remain on paper.
Okay, this sounds awfully dramatic and I do work hard so this is only the worse case scenario. I’ve accomplished many of my goals. But, I still do very much struggle with the above and I do get stuck more than I’d like to admit. The truth is, we all do.
Here is a concept I want us all, including me, to remember.
What really separates those that move forward in life, with goals, finding joy, or whatever the measuring stick is we are using… is simply those that keep moving will move forward. Continuing to move forward once you are already in motion is a lot easier than having to start the forward motion over again and again and again.
Slow and Steady and Consistently.
It makes no difference how fast we move forward, just that we move forward. Don’t worry how fast others are flying by you. Often, they just have a burst of energy when you happen to see them go by. Slow and steady is almost always better in life. I’ll only add the word consistently to slow and steady. Let the momentum of consistency help you.
Here is a new standard, why don’t you try it with me this year?
No matter how slow or whacky or how much of a struggle it is, let’s keep moving forward. It may not be pretty, but is it forward progress? Think about all the first downs in football. Scrappy works. Think about Dory in Finding Nemo, just keep swimming folks – even when you forget where you are going.
No more waiting for perfect.
No more perfect post. No more perfectly planned social media schedules before I make a post, because well did you notice that I didn’t post anything for months. There is no such thing as perfect. As soon as we finish something, there will always be improvements to be made, so post it anyways. There are edit buttons. If folks judge us for a misspelling or for using a SnapChat pic that you snagged from someone else, instead of a perfect photo (like me here) – they are stuck and not moving forward. Those of us moving forward at all costs understand the struggle and we appreciate those doing the same. Those stuck are the ones judging. Don’t let them keep you from creating your masterpiece.
Remember, the plane didn’t fly on the first try.
Try to fly yours now. Let folks laugh. Be too busy making the adjustments to notice the laughing and to care. Eventually the plane will fly and then enjoy flying your masterpiece. But remember, nothing is perfect the first time. We have to put in the time. Go put in your time. Sitting and planning and waiting for perfection isn’t putting in the time and it doesn’t make perfection.
Your masterpiece awaits!
People sit and are judgmental because they are stuck and aren’t creating. Don’t be stuck. Go create. By creating you love others with your gifts. So, go love others and create your masterpiece one unperfect forward step at a time.