10 Gold Pieces of Leadership


Leadership incorporates book skills, interpersonal skills, and a genuine interest in the people who work in the organization and the people whom the organization serves. Within the last 14 days, I have been in a total of 5 days of workshops and training; I have participated, co-facilitated, and facilitated on the topics leadership, mediation skills, diversity, and team building.  I’ve had a road trip, challenging conversations, and celebrated. It’s been a busy and productive time.   I reflect and offer these observations —ten gold pieces of leadership.

10 Gold Pieces of Leadership

  1. Be open to help.  We succeed when others contribute their efforts. We need mentors, teachers, supporters, and coaches and we need to assume these roles when its our time to pour into others.  I had chances to be on the giving and receiving end of help.  
  2. Offer opportunities. Offer as many opportunities as possible for others to contribute their talents in ways that matter to them and allows them to grow.  Opportunities come with rewards and all rewards are not financial.
  3. Acknowledge the person who points out the elephants in the room. We must address the elephants in the room because left unaddressed they multiply and become an angry herd, and that’s not a pretty sight.  
  4. Believe in possibilities. Speak success. There are enough gossips and naysayers in the organization.  Leaders change the dialogue to talk about ideas that examine possibilities and promote positive outcomes.
  5. Apologize when appropriate. I accused a vendor of making an error.  I learned within minutes, I made the mistake. Owning up with a sincere apology put the relationship back on track.
  6. Self-care.  We have to rest and refuel.  The weekend road-trip to Traverse City had the changing fall colors, sunshine, good marital conversations, and smooth jazz music.  As the passenger, I had four naps during the four hour ride.  I even had an introduction to heart coherence in one workshop. 
  7. Show some love. Listen when other speak.  When there’s a novice presenter send some good vibes her way, smile, and ask a question.  Also send a few emails to say thanks to staff or to checkin on someone going through a rough patch.
  8. Reach beyond your comfort zone.  Leaders grow and challenges offer growth opportunities. 
  9. Invest time to develop skills.  Study-Practice-Perform-Feedback-Feedforward. Repeat. This is our learning loop to gaining expertise. (Feedforward is what we take from the feedback and integrate into our study.)
  10. Celebrate others.  I enjoy taking pictures of friends and colleagues and sharing their accomplishments on social media.  It’s a small way to let them I see, hear, and appreciate them and what they do.  These posts are often like by 100 or more of other friends and colleagues.  It creates a virtual celebration.  Like Zig Ziglar said, “If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.”

There are many valuable pieces to help us on our leadership journey.  I’m grateful for the 10 pieces I mined during the last 14 days and for the opportunity to share them.  I invite you to share and join the conversation.

Question Our Hearts to Finish Strong in 2018

We entered 2018 with the  intent to achieve the highest and most beneficial outcomes on a personal, interpersonal, and organizational levels.  We work hard to get to those outcomes and we have 85 days and approximately 6 hours left to fulfill on our commitments.  Let’s finish strong. 

Take out our journals, vision boards, and lists of resolutions and goals.  It’s time for a heart to heart with ourselves. 

On a blank sheet of paper, answer the following questions: 

*What matters most to me? What do I want? What do I need?  We often find we want a lot and need much less.  Our wants also seem to be more for immediate, short-term pleasures like wanting and eating ice creams. 

*What will have the greatest positive impact on myself and others?  We are prioritizing the answers to the first question and will select 1-3 items to complete by 12/31/18.

*Who are my partners, teachers/mentors, coaches, and supporters?  They are my Tribe.  Have I given them access to me to help me? How will they be enriched by helping me?  Call a tribal meeting today.  Share your selected items, what the impact will be if they are accomplished, and how the Tribe can help.

*What bold actions can I take in the next week that align with and get me closer to my desired outcomes?  Bold means something beyond your ordinary actions.  Research and talking about what I want don’t qualify.  Each Sunday write those bold action items down.  3-5 bullet point items are fine.  (The limit reduces overwhelm and procrastination.) Text or email copies of the bold actions to my Tribe and provide a weekly update via call, text, email.  Identify milestones for October, November, and December.  Also identify rewards for reaching milestones that align with habits that support your commitment.

I am in the race too.   My two items are to facilitate The Aspiring Leadership Workshop and to complete the Domestic Violence Awareness Project, “She Is Someone’s Daughter.”  Specifically, I am designing and delivering a leadership workshop for 10 participants.  I am selling 100 Domestic Violence Awareness t-shirts,  collecting and distributing over 500 purses during the December holiday to survivors and service providers,  and  am hosting an intimate community awareness event.  I  joined Emem Washington’s Finished Strong Mastermind -2018 Facebook group, I have my closeknit tribe of 20 years, and I have work family and others who are inspired and invested.  I am energized and motivated.

On our marks, get set, go!

I’m running the race with you and cheering you on! Let’s finish strong.

Creating A Success Mindset

“Be as you wish to seem.”  Socrates

Being is a state of mind.  We get stuck when we cannot imagine a different circumstance than our current circumstances and we act in ways that align only with the current limitations we are experiencing.  We have a default survival oriented thought process when we are stuck.  Survival means we meet our base needs; creativity and fulfillment reside at a higher level.   Success is at a higher level.  Success means we are creative, fulfilled, and we support others in their pursuit of success as well.  How do we get unstuck when everything around us confirms and support that our current limiting circumstances is all there is?

Getting unstuck and moving toward success requires a different state of mind.  With a different state if mind poverty, racism, and other “ism” are not life sentences dooming us to failure.  They are challenges we reached beyond, help others surpass, and help dismantle.  To succeed,  we create a state of mind that is receptive to and moves toward success.   And then the set point for our minds becomes success inspite of setbacks and challenges.

Creating a Success Mindset

·         Take Inventory.    We experience our surrounding with our five senses.  Inventory who and/or what are part of our sensational experiences:  sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch.  Identify whom and what reinforces our limitations and what expands us beyond our limitations. Then we can create our individualize plan for success.

·         Detox:  We need to remove the toxic people and things we can from our experiences, and for those we cannot remove, we need to reduce the frequency, duration, and intensity of the interactions with them.

·         Escape: Escape our current limiting realities at least 20 minutes daily.  Physical escapes and mental escapes allow us to access peace of mind.   Peace of mind opens our imagination.  In the peace of mind state, we feel peace toward ourselves and others.  From our peace of mind, different thought patterns and emotions emerge. These support success. 

·         Affirm success through thoughts, feelings, and actions.  The more frequently and more intently and intensely we think, feel, and act to affirm success we create more opportunities for success.  We will create habits and patterns engage our senses and move us toward the success we desire.  These habits and patterns become our mindset.

A Success Mindset faces challenges and persists.  It becomes part of the core of our being  allowing us to be whom we wish to seem.


As always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts as well as we have the conversations to inspire minds and transform lives and organizations.


Creating Intergenerational Workspaces

Currently there are four generations in the workforce.  I am blessed to work with them all.  I am challenged to work with them all as well.  –Zen B. Brown

During the typical week, we as leaders confront dress styles that challenge our sense of professionalism, and we confront strong resistance from our workers with the most seniority as we introduce technology and change. Our workspace is inhabited by 18 year olds through 70 year olds, and we are charged with leading an intergenerational workforce although the different generations have diverse values, experiences, and perspectives regarding work.  As leaders, we have to create intergenerational workspaces where they all have a sense of belonging; they feel included and valued.  As leadership is an inside job, we must look at ourselves and take an introspective look to address this challenge.

Confronting this challenge, I asked myself probative some questions, and I offer my introspection and insights: 

1. What are the values that I see in having an intergenerational workspace? Workers with the most seniority usually hold valuable institutional knowledge and the new entrants into the labor force usually have the freshest ideas.  I need both perspectives to move our organizations ahead.  When all workers are engaged, synergy and creativity abound.  

2. Where does my implicit biases lie on this issue? First, I needed to normalize implicit bias before I can deal with myself on this issue without guilt and badgering.  Wherever we fall in the generational mix, we have certain individual beliefs and biases about work:  how work should be performed, how one should be attired for work, how technology should advance workplace innovation, how personal use of technology should be used in the workplace.  We have an endless list of our individual “shoulds”.   But as leaders, we know that imposing our personal list of “shoulds” will not result in engaged workers who are able to maximize results for our teams and organizations.  We serve our organizations and staff better when we take a step back, get a wider perspective,  and then are thoughtful, deliberate, and intentional as we act.

Harvard University offers a number of implicit bias tests that shed insight.  Now I have some of those insights regarding my own implicit biases, I set aside my automatic thinking.  Blue suits and blue hair may be able to coexist in a workplace.

3. What is the current generational composition of my organization’s workforce?  Am I prepared to move forward if the eligible workers retire?  Are the recent high school and college graduates leaving within a few years of hiring? The data is invaluable and it may point out the need to recruit high school interns and retired worker interns. My leadership team will assemble and we will identify issue and trends. We brainstorm and gather more data to give us context of how to move forward.

4. Where can I find more data about intergenerational workforce issues and approaches to create intergenerational workspaces?  The Pew Research Center offers a summary of the labor force.  I’m reviewing and discussing that data now.

5. What is the sentiment of the current employees?  All of the research may not be applicable to my organization so I need to hear from those currently work there.  For example, researchers suggest alternative workshifts, cafeteria benefit plans, and paid sabbaticals, but my individual workforce has the best insight what they want our organization to pursue with our resources.  Through conversations and other communications, I need to hear from them and make a commitment to do so.  

Like most leadership challenges, my insight and introspection continue to develop as I gather more data and am exposed to more information.  I don’t believe in just add water recipes to come up with solutions.  I look to forward to what other leaders have to share regarding creating intergenerational workspaces and invite comments.

Getting Our Brag On

We are not surprised that negative thoughts occupy our minds more frequently than positive thoughts.   Worry, doubt, fear and inner criticism are a part of the natural wiring of our brains.

Most of us brush off compliments and feel uncomfortable talking about our accomplishments. “You look nice today” is usually followed by a self-deprecating or deflecting remark or a quick “Thank You.”  Our goal is simplistic: shut the topic down and move on.  Aren’t job

interviews 30 minute sessions where we are put under bright lights and expected to self-promote?  Few of us look forward to them and even those who interview well do not necessarily loves being interviewed.  

Bragging on ourselves can help.  Most people can use a little bragging to help build self-esteem and self-confidence and few are at risk of becoming unbearable narcissists.  First, we need to create a Brag Book. 

Here are the steps to follow to get started:

Purchase an old fashion photo album or a scrapbook.

Locate copies of your degrees and pictures from events that celebrated your accomplishments.  For example, copies of positive work performance review, certificates of appreciation, certificates of completion and recognitions, and thank you notes and acknowledgments given to you by family, customers, friends, and organizations you value.

Write your personal manifesto and insert this as your foreword.

Select the pictures, awards, documents and certificates you want to include and add those in your book.  Insert them in your Brag Book.

It is important to put as much energy into creating your brag book as you would in creating one for your first grandchild.  Go overboard and don’t hold back.  

Once you are done, take some time to review your completed Brag Book.  The awareness should set in that you have made so many contributions and made positive impacts in your life and others’.  Now, find a special place to keep your Brag Book.

It’s not a daily read, but you should try to review and update it quarterly or at least as often as you would update your first grandchild’s

after he turns 1 year old.  

There are two additional times you want to grab the Brag Book, no matter what.  Your Brag Book is a go to prepare for interviews.  You need to become comfortable speaking about your accomplishment so get familiar and comfortable with all that you have contributed.  Role play the interview and incorporate your accomplishments.  Practice. Practice. Interview.  Second, the next time you are feeling low, grab your Brag Book;  it’s better and less caloric than a chocolate bar.  It will help you balance your perspective and help improve your thoughts and mood.

Let’s get our Brag on!