Many leaders have been asked to take the MBTI. As noted on the website, the “purpose of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) personality inventory is to make the theory of psychological types described by C. G. Jung understandable and useful in people’s lives.” I’ve used it in my coaching and have found it a very powerful tool when helping people to reflect and appreciate their preferences and ways of being at work. [Read more…]
Once a year, Santa Barbara rolls out about 15 old pianos and places them on street corners on State Street, the main street in downtown, and invites everyone to play. It is an event I look forward to as all styles of music fill the air for a week. The pianos are painted festive colors and invite any and all to sit and play. I savor the opportunity to play the pianos at different times of day. There is something very indulgent about playing at 7am as part of my morning walk as the world wakes up and I am the only one on the street with my music.
One of the things I love most about “Pianos on State Street” is the range of abilities. While I must admit I get a little tired of Heart and Soul, Chop Sticks, and the one piece people play with their knuckles, for the most part it’s fascinating to see what music people play. It’s amazing how in the moment, people will sit down and just play. I rarely play for anyone but on State Street, I lose my inhibitions and sit down and play for the world.
I become the great pianist I’ve longed to be. For one week, everyone is a pianist! [Read more…]
Last summer I coined a term for myself: “be the cloud”. My goal in this rather silly expression was to leverage my adaptability strength and learn how to navigate life’s challenges with a little more fluidity, curiosity, and appreciation for differences.
When I am being the cloud, I am able to adapt to other people’s needs by simply forgoing my own needs for a while and honoring the needs and interests of others. This may sound rather simple but it actually requires great awareness, flexibility, curiosity and even grace. Being a cloud does not mean you are getting stomped on, it means you decide to take a look from above and see the whole. It means looking at something with new eyes and trying to understand the heart of the people and heart of an issue.
I grew up in Minnesota. The “Land of Ten Thousand Lakes” is actually an understatement; there are lakes in every corner of the state. Minnesota is also on Lake Superior, the largest great lake that actually holds more water than all other great lakes combined. It’s a wild, dangerous, cold, beautiful body of fresh water that feels and acts more like an ocean than a lake.
I’ve lived most of my adult life on the ocean or by lakes in New England. Abundant fresh water is a part of my life path. I grew up learning to care for our water but never did conservation mean so much as it does now.
In the leadership and career transition world we speak a lot about passions. We often ask: What are your true passions? or If you could imagine yourself a year from now how would you be living your passions? I’m starting to think that perhaps we need to find another word because for many people the word “passion” just does not resonate.
How do you answer the questions…. What are you passionate about? and What are your passions? Can you answer these questions? My guess is if you are like most of my clients, you don’t know how to begin to answer that question.
“Everyone at DoSomething.org knows that the best ideas can come from anyone in the room; this is a key XYZ value.” What is XYZ? Well it is the definition of the three amazing generations who will be our next generation of leaders. Generation X Born 1966-1976, Gen Y (or Millenials) Born 1977-1994, and Gen Z Born 1995-2012. These up-and-coming leaders are launching businesses and nonprofits, seeking work-life balance, and striving to make a difference in the world.
Every Wednesday at DoSomething.org, all the DoSomething.org teams gather and pitch each other big ideas by saying. “Let’s do something about________________”. This “innovation meeting” is at the heartbeat of their organization. Their collective commitment to sharing big ideas is what supports millions of young people every day to do more volunteerism and community improvement projects. [Read more…]
There is a bit of a myth that leaders always know the right thing to do because they have experience, knowledge, skills and positional authority. This myth is quickly shattered when a leader makes a mistake, miscommunicates, offends someone or totally misses the strategic mark. Mistakes happen. If it has not happened to you yet, rest assured it will. We are human. Nevertheless, what may not always happen is leaders asking for forgiveness and followers (colleagues, staff, etc.) granting forgiveness.
Furthermore, what happens when tradition, politics or other driving cultural norms forces a group of leaders to go down the wrong road and ends up causing harm? Harm to individuals, families, friends and strangers? Wise leaders know that the harm must stop and that it is a time for humility, vulnerability and forgiveness. It does and can happen. [Read more…]
WAFWA is the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Association. Each year regional and national conferences are held to support the professional development of our nations state, federal, and NGO fish and wildlife professionals. This summer the western regional conference was held in Reno, Nevada.
As part of my work with conservation leaders and the Management Assistance Team, I was asked to conduct a four-hour workshop for a group of WAFWA leaders on developing their leadership style through strengths. On July 17, we gathered at the Peppermill Casino and Resort to explore the concepts of leadership style, personal mastery, strengths and personal mission statements. A sunny day, a beautiful pool, casinos, multiple bars and restaurants could have tempted these remarkable leaders away but they came to learn, focus and reflect on who they are as leaders. [Read more…]
The Music Academy of the West in Montecito California brings together the next generation of symphony musicians every summer to learn and perform. The musicians come from all over the country to study enormous volumes of music, play with exceptional colleagues, study with master musicians and conductors, and practice to achieve excellence.
This summer the Music Academy of the West has gathered another group of exemplary musicians from universities, music schools and graduate schools. Similar programs such as the Banff Music Festival and Aspen Music Festival gather other top musicians to study, learn and polish performance skills for the ultimate goal of playing with a symphony. [Read more…]
Different leaders need different things to bring their talents to their work. Maybe in order for you to contribute big ideas, you need a quiet space. Maybe in order to be strategic you need a very clear end goal. Maybe in order to get things done you need a list. Or maybe you just need a good dose of competition to energize you for the day. As a leader you need to take care of yourself and be able to articulate some of your core needs.
As a walking coach, I’ve noticed that many leaders are more creative when they are moving; they need to be moving to generate ideas. Researchers at Stanford have found that the creative output of people increases by an average of 60% when they are walking. I have observed my walking client’s ability to step out of the mindset of problem fixing and start thinking big when they are walking. As we walk together, I notice their ability to see connections increase while they gain greater clarity on the critical issues. Recently, I had a client who just could not figure out why a certain employee was so problematic. As we walked, the client started to stitch together some pieces of information that he had not focused on before. He was then able to generate some creative ways to move forward. He left with increased energy. Maybe one of the things we need as leaders is to start moving more. [Read more…]