Archive for June, 2010

Leaders of Tomorrow.. Today

When you look at your organization and see the leaders around you, as well as look within, what do you see?  Do you believe these leaders to be leaders? Do you have your own beliefs of what makes a good a leader? Do you even meet them?

I am a big fan of the Center for Creative Leadership as I learned much about them having lived in North Carolina and seeing how they impacted leaders who worked with them. I always wanted to go and would love to work for them one day.  They asked a great question of 2,200 leaders from 15 organizations, in three countries between 2006 and 2008 – do the leaders within your organization have the skills they need to be successful in the future?-

This is what they found. The 7 leadership skills that are most critical for success, now and in the future, are:

  1. Leading people: directing and motivating people.
  2. Strategic planning: translating vision into realistic business strategies, including long-term objectives.
  3. Managing change: using effective strategies to facilitate organizational change.
  4. Inspiring commitment: recognizing and rewarding employees’ achievements.
  5. Resourcefulness: working effectively with top management.
  6. Doing whatever it takes: persevering under adverse conditions.
  7. Being a quick learner: quickly learning new technical or business knowledge.

Interestingly, they go on to say that some organizations reported greater strength in these areas but weren’t seen as important as the 7 above:

  • building and mending relationships,
  • compassion and sensitivity,
  • cultural adaptability,
  • respecting individual differences,
  • composure,
  • and self-awareness.

Again, I disagree. I think the bottom 5 are more important than the top 7. Why? Because the top 7 can be coached, learned, developed.

The bottom 5 are harder to coach and develop. I say this because it requires one to look within, to have humility, to be vulnerable, and to admit imperfection.  Most leaders do not take the time to reflect, learn from their relational mistakes and try to use that learning to do better. Actually most don’t want to.  What often happens is ego gets in the way and a leader believes it is the other person’s issue; never their own. But let’s face it, when there are issues in an organization, they are often relational. Conflicts arise and they become personal. Coalitions develop. Stonewalling occurs. Contempt starts to breed. Seems to me you would be left with individuals instead of teams.   Leadership is about having a vision and inspiring people to commit.  Therefore, to me, leadership is about people. If you are not committed to the people in your organization, how are you accomplishing your goals?

June 24, 2010 at 7:32 am Leave a comment

The bonus of motivation

I was reading the latest issue of Business Week last night and read the following from Joe Torre, the Dodgers manager, about his decision to leave the Yankees.  I think we often wonder the real reasons why people do things and in the sporting and celebrity world, the assumption is often money.  However, this case, it was quite what one might think.

“I was offered a very nice contract from the Yankees [after the 2007] season but it was a reduction in pay. I could get the money back if we won this, that, and the other thing. I was insulted that they thought I needed to be motivated financially to go out there and do a better job. That’s when I walked away”.

This kind of motivation, dangling a financial carrot, does not seem to work for him. And I don’t see how it would for anyone, or at least not for long.  Oh wait, this is exactly the kind of carrot that is dangled in front of CEO’s. If the stock price rises, you get a bigger bonus.  Hmm, at what cost do some CEO’s make unethical decisions based on an individual decision to increase their bottom line without regard for everyone else?  How many pensions of an ordinary person no different from myself, have been wiped out by greedy executives?

Shouldn’t the motivation be more about effectiveness? Bringing value to the world? Creating quality product or providing a valuable service?  This is based on people. Not a person at the top (or persons), but people.  There is a reason there are 150,000 employees at Bank of America or Lockheed Martin (an old estimate I’m sure).   I am only one but I wish a bonus to be reflective of the value I have brought, not how I manipulated the system so that we looked good. I want my organization to actually be good.  I wonder, can some of the executives and those big dogs on Wall Street truly say they have been good? I am sure there are many taxpayers who would disagree.

June 23, 2010 at 2:24 pm Leave a comment

College World Series, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, and WAHL

I received this information from Zach and really appreciated the share. I hope you enjoy it too!

What a great way to support the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, experience a great WAHL product, while taking in the finest College World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium. The final year at Rosenblatt.   Men, I hope you will lend your support, and your faces!



– WAHL seeking to end unkept facial hair epidemic while supporting National Fallen Firefighters Foundation –

STERLING, Ill. (May 13, 2010) – It’s no coincidence that as the weather gets warmer, personal appearance becomes a higher priority. And while clothing and hairstyles get most of the attention for those seeking to look their best, properly groomed facial hair is often overlooked—and misunderstood. In an effort to help all those suffering from crooked goatees, out-of-control mustaches and bushy beards this summer, WAHL, a leading manufacturer of grooming products, is coming to the College Baseball World Series to help area men get a handle on their facial hair.

The WAHL Let It Grow tour is buzzing across the country to provide free professional trims and trimming tips at events where unkept men can be found. The tour is coming on the heels of a recent study from WAHL that reports nearly 60 percent of men nationwide grow some style of facial hair throughout the year and many desire instructions on how to improve their style. The tour’s mission: Support men on their quest to define their personal style, and educate those seeking assistance from facial hair experts.

“The first thing people notice about you is your face, and well-maintained facial hair can be a make or break with that all-important first impression,” explains celebrity stylist, salon owner and WAHL Master Barber Ben Phillips. “Unfortunately, maintaining facial hair is a game of trial and error for most guys. They learned how to shave from their dads or older brothers, but no one taught them the ins and outs of facial hair maintenance. That’s the void we’re hoping to fill with this tour. WAHL wants to help men choose the right style and educate guys on the best techniques to achieve that look.”

WAHL’s 30-foot mobile barbershop features a team of professional facial hair stylists who are prepped to groom men, offer tips and when prompted discuss sports, vintage cars and other topics heard in a typical barber shop. For those looking for a little more pampering and entertainment, the barbershop also offers WAHL massage products, a strongman competition and music.

College Baseball World Series from June 18 to June 20 located at 3362 South 13th Street.  The trimming team with be in full force from:

  • June 18 – 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • June 19 – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • June 20 – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

If looking your best is not enough of an incentive for guys to participate, WAHL hopes they will consider supporting a great cause. For every trim performed, WAHL will donate one dollar (up to a maximum of $2,500) to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, a non-profit organization that honors America’s fallen firefighters and assists their surviving families and coworkers.

In addition, those freshly groomed Omaha men that participate are automatically entered into the 5th annual WAHL Man of the Year photo contest, a search of the best beard, mustache and goatee in America. One finalist will be named in each category at all tour stops. National winners will receive a 42-inch flat panel HDTV in each category.  WAHL will post all eligible entries to beginning May 31, 2010 and voting will remain open through November 8, 2010 at 5 p.m. CST to determine the finalists.  All finalists will win an mp4 player.  The national winners in each category – beard, mustache, and goatee – will be announced by February 15, 2010. Entry into the WAHL Man of the Year competition can be done on-site during the WAHL Let It Grow mobile tour or at beginning May 28 at 5 p.m. CST.

For more information on the WAHL Let It Grow Tour or Man of the Year contest, visit

About the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF)
The United States Congress created the NFFF to lead a nationwide effort to remember America’s fallen firefighters. Since 1992, the nonprofit foundation has developed and expanded programs to honor fallen fire heroes and assist their families and coworkers. For more information on the Foundation and its programs contact us at 301-447-1365 or visit

About WAHL

Now in its 91st year, WAHL Clipper Corporation is an international industry leader in the manufacturing of products for the professional beauty and barber salon trade, consumer personal care and animal grooming.  Headquartered in Sterling, Ill., WAHL currently employs some 2,000 people worldwide. WAHL products are available in 165 countries around the world.  For more information about WAHL, visit

June 16, 2010 at 10:49 pm Leave a comment

Same but different

So, starting a new kind of chemo.  It is weekly and I take a bunch of pills instead of going in to get the drugs through my port like before. It is therefore a lower dosage (whooppeeee!).  Even though it is weekly, it won’t be as intense as the chemo treatments the first time around.  This will help the lymphoma but also the psoriatic arthritis that is rearing its ugly head.  I had talked previously to folks who have had chemo this way and they said it was more tolerable.    So a bit of the same, but also different.  But hey, I’m still here right 🙂  And that, to me, is all that really matters.

June 14, 2010 at 1:16 pm Leave a comment

Go Big Red!

Yesterday was a good day in sports news. Well, no, it was not about the Redskins, or Phil Mickelson, or my Hoosiers. Oh wait, my Hoosiers were involved!  The Big Ten will now include the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Cornhuskers as of today.  As an undergraduate alum of Indiana University and longtime Hoosier fan (we’re talking back to elementary school), I think it’s pretty cool that UNL will be joining the Big Ten. I am current doctoral student at UNL, so that only makes it that much better. I will have started and ended my college experience in the Big Ten, with two red and white schools whose rallying cries are Go Big Red.  Life is sweet.

June 12, 2010 at 6:46 am Leave a comment

Do you connect?

Do you connect with people? When you are talking to someone, are you really listening to that person? Or do you instead scan the room – constantly?  Do you listen with half an ear or are really present in the conversation? Do you ask questions that lead with curiosity or are you waiting for your turn to talk?  Do you add value or just stand there thinking about other things you would rather be doing?

In short, are you connecting when you are conversing?

John Maxwell has a new book out called Everyone Communicates, Few Connect. Now, first, I don’t agree. I don’t think everyone communicates. I think everyone believes they do, but they do not.  But I will let it slide, since it’s just my opinion.  But I do agree that those that communicate, there isn’t always connection or relational development.  I think this is hugely important. There are many books that address this insular state of being (Bowling Alone is one such book) that continues to increase. I do think we depend on technological tools more than we used to, but as I’ve said before, some of those tools increase the connectivity we have instead of reducing it.

I moved around so much when I was younger, to write letters was a challenge for connectivity. We moved from Greenwood, Indiana to South Bend, Indiana to Harrisonburg, Virginia, within 3 years (thankfully during each summer). Cell phones and email were not there and long distance was expensive.  To maintain close ties to your friends by letter was possible, but let me tell you, if you moved like this, the challenge increased.  Now? I can talk to my friends in Pittsburgh, Harrisonburg, Raleigh, Charlotte, Atlanta, Columbia, San Diego, Bloomington, Chicago, etc. by so many means imaginable, being connected is no longer an issue.

Yes, I am a relator per Gallup’s StrengthsFinder themes. A positivist too.  So connecting with others, building relationships, is my natural state of being. But I think we can all be like this  by just being present when we are with others, giving them your full attention, and being curious.   How do you connect with others?

June 11, 2010 at 6:17 am 4 comments

Lost my way and I don’t care anymore

I realized today that I have lost my way. I hate that it happened and I fell back on old patterns but that is life – messy and unpredictable.  After a few weeks of odd, unhappy, unsettling, and sad situations occurring, I was getting bogged down with behaviors of people I know I can’t change, being challenged by negative attitudes, feeling like I had to accommodate or even ignore others bad behavior, and in general, people pleasing.  All of this is unhealthy, most especially people pleasing. This is the most unhealthy place to be in because there is no me, only you.  And after many (many) years, I have realized that I have a right to think about myself, to choose things that benefit me first and then think about and be there for others.  However, lately, I have let the crap of others bring me down and suck me in. This is my issue, not theirs. It is not my job, nor my concern what others do, how they handle things, or how they act or react.  I can only be me. I lost sight of this.  As the realization of this has slowly come back to me recently (due to some seriously fine friends, my dad and my therapist), I am coming back to me.

Why? Because I believe in me and who I am. I believe in championing for fairness and equality. I believe in laughter. I believe in seeing the good in the world. And most of all, I believe in love. I don’t mean necessarily romantic love, but love for humanity.

As I was having this epiphany that I can either let myself get mired in bullshit or I can let things float away like a cloud, I heard this song on the radio and I thought the sentiment and some of the lines just fit.

I don’t care anymore by Phil Collins

Well you can tell ev’ryone I’m a down disgrace
So drag my name all over the place.
I don’t care anymore. (I don’t care)
You can tell ev’rybody ’bout the state I’m in
You won’t catch me crying ‘cos I just can’t win.
I don’t care anymore I don’t care anymore

I don’t care what you say
I don’t play the same games you play.

‘Cos I’ve been talking to the people that you call your friends
And it seems to me there’s a means to and end.
They don’t care anymore. (they don’t care)
And as for me I can sit here and bide my time
I got nothing to lose if I speak my mind.
I don’t care anymore I don’t care no more

I don’t care what you say
We never played by the same rules anyway.

I won’t be there anymore
Get out of my way
Let me by
I got better things to do with my time
I don’t care anymore I don’t care anymore
I don’t care anymore I don’t care anymore

Well, I don’t care now what you say (I don’t care what you say)
‘Cos ev’ry day (everyday)
I’m feeling fine with myself (I’m feeling fine with myself)
And I don’t care now what you say (I don’t care what you say)
Hey I’ll do alright by myself (I’ll be alright by myself)

I don’t care (I don’t care) anymore (anymore)

Do you care? Hell no!
What what?

‘Cos I remember all the times I tried so hard
And you laughed in my face ‘cos ya held all the cards.
I don’t care anymore.
And I really ain’t bothered what you think of me
‘Cos all I want of you is just a let me be.
I don’t care anymore
Did you hear? I don’t care no more

I don’t care what you say
I never did believe you much anyway.

We won’t be there any more
So get out of our way.
Let us by
We got better things to do with our time

We don’t care anymore
We don’t care anymore

Thanks to  for posting the lyrics

June 9, 2010 at 2:22 pm 4 comments

Just plain tired

I have more good days than I have bad, which is good. I slept for 13 hours again last night, so things are still taking a toll.

I have found the more people push me, the more I just walk away. I am tired of others’ agenda placed upon me.  Life is not a tic sheet.  Sometimes, friendship ebbs and flows.  I have friends I talk to every single day. Others I talk to once every few months. I feel no less connected to either.  I was reading Gilda Radner’s It’s Always Something yesterday and she mentioned how her mind wanted to do so much with her friends but her body didn’t always agree.  This happens to me a lot. Before I was told I had cancer and been muddling through with various symptoms and unknown effects for almost a year, I had no idea why this would happen to me.  Now, when it happens, I understand it more.  Apparently, others don’t understand it. Well, all I can say is, I wish you could. But if you can’t, there isn’t anything else I can do to explain it and I no longer want to try. It is exhausting feeling guilty for putting myself first and I’m not going to do it.  And I don’t anyone else should either.  The first person you should always take care of is you.  And no one should feel guilty about this.

So when I have those times when I am not doing anything, when the fatigue is out of control, when the lack of motivation is heavy, when I have some pains, I look to the simple things that make me smile.  I have said it many times before in this blog, but I like simple.  I don’t care that I am a simple girl. I do not like complicated. I do not like drama.  I like ease and simplicity.  And more and more, I am trying to find the smile inside so I don’t have to always obtain it externally.

Here are some of the things that make me smile when I am at home:

hearing the birds chirp on the trees outside my windows

watching the leaves sway

watching the bunnies frolic from my desk

being encased in kitty love during a nap – Mew on one side and Menley on the other

being able to just be .. with my thoughts and all my ideas

reading a book, uninterrupted, for hours, during the rain

watching the snow fall at night

a mug of hot tea

the little snores of two sleeping cats

sitting on my deck just enjoying the breeze or the sun or both

the amazing sunsets, a new amazing picture from mother nature every night

June 6, 2010 at 9:38 pm Leave a comment

What matters most …

You know what matters most… well that is different for everyone.  Curly said it best when he held up one finger “One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean shit. And that’s what you have to find out.” 

For me, that one thing is friendship. True, honest friendship.  Friends that laugh with me, friends that share, friends that support. And vice versa.  It can be by phone, email, text, IM, Twitter, or Facebook.  I spent this past Saturday afternoon with Laura and her daughters. It was a great day of lunch and shopping. And for once, I didn’t buy a thing (miracle lately for me).  Sunday, I went to see Sex and the City II with girlfriends.  We laughed and enjoyed.  And just the other night, I had dinner with Cathy.  During it all, another group of girlfriends and I were emailing back and forth about future, life and whatnot. And last night, a truly wonderful talk with my Dad. This is just an example of the kinds of friendships I have that bring me joy and life in my world.  We bring each other up. We love and care for one another. And we are there.

Friendship is a powerful thing.

June 4, 2010 at 12:37 pm Leave a comment

Leaders and Leadership Part II

What do I believe in besides vulnerability? Love, positivity and fun.  I know, you think this to be all whoooy-balooey.  Froo froo stuff. Too soft.  Well I disagree, and some of the largest companies agree with me.

Who you are cannot be segregated by personal vs. professional. You are a whole person who brings the whole you to work and to home.  Therefore, it is my belief that having a heart in the workplace is important. If you want to read more about this, check Kouzes and Posner’s The Leadership Challenge or Encouraging the Heart. Excellent books by leading authors in the leadership field. I have talked of this before but showing that you care, that you appreciate, and value another person is not soft. It is a valuable trait that makes an incredible difference in the workplace. Ask Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines.

Positivity and fun go hand in hand in my opinion. As a leader, you must reflect positivity in the workplace. Don’t let shit roll downhill. Don’t emulate the climate of those above you. Create the environment you want for your group and support each person.  Keep everyone moving forward, allowing for mistakes the associated learning that comes with, and create an atmosphere of joy.  At the same time,  bring fun in and laugh, make jokes, have fun. This is a great boost to productivity, creativity and overall desire to do work.  Ask Tony Hsieh of who has a new book out about this very thing, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose.

This does not mean you don’t have to be a tough boss, who expects a lot and challenges others.  You can do all of this.

The greatest compliment I received today was from a friend and former coworker. It was out of the blue, but she told me that I was the best boss she had ever had, that I challenged her more than anyone but I also believed in her fully.  It almost made me cry. That was 4 years ago and she mentioned that she hadn’t had a good boss since.  This is the true measure of how I am doing – what others believe of me as a leader.

June 3, 2010 at 12:17 pm Leave a comment

June 2010