Monday, December 7, 2015

A holiday from change?

Would you agree that at least the holidays are a place where we should not worry about change?

Home and Hopeful for the Holidays

Dear Ho-Ho-Ho

Wishful thinking!  I assume you aren’t talking about the spare change to drop in the charity bucket or the need to rethink using tinsel once the cat shows you a sparkly tail?

Ho Ho Ho, you’re in the wrong career and century! Change will happen; it’s the scale of change that may fluctuate. You probably won’t get a brand new assignment or see projects go “red” over the last two weeks of December. You will change your socks, cut back on your working hours, and make some extra phone calls to family.  Change is “relative” – especially over the holidays…

Take some joy in unexpected pleasures between now and New Year’s.  Re-evaluate routines to bring into 2016. Add some extra quiet time; take away some stress. Help others to do some of the same. Sometimes change is simply a different routine for a little while.

Best until 2016

Monday, November 30, 2015

A woman's life - danger

It doesn't matter where we live, how old we are or how well we fit society's view of beauty - danger is present in every woman's life.

For some it will be the extremes of poverty, being barred from education, denied a voice at the most rudimentary of tables. For some it will be less public and be in the corners of what should be safe homes and families. For others it will be random: working for a jerk or being female and in the wrong place at the wrong time (for this I still take a moment of silence for the Montreal Ecole Polytechnique massacre on Dec.6, 1989).

For some, it will simply be the burden of depression for reasons that are personal and/or reflective of a world where being different and feeling alone creates a stigma that can be unbearable.

I recently had a stalker. It was a creepy, unpleasant time. A male friend commented that he had experienced three stalkers in his lifetime and yet I felt no camaraderie. I twitched when folks stood too close to me in public spaces. The tree branch knocking on my window was no longer comforting. A male voice became "other" when I couldn't see the speaker. It was not the first or most extreme menace I had seen in my life; it was a reminder that that threats are constant in every woman's life. Sometimes we are lucky enough to forget for a while but that's a small percentage of us.

That was my recent small window into danger. As the darkness of our days gets longer, take the hand of your friends as they walk alone. Mentor in other countries. Give to charities that support women and children breaking cycles of violence and poverty. We are one world and everyone deserves a voice, safety and support.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Monday, November 16, 2015

Nothing is like starting a new job

Between the adrenaline rush of not knowing what to expect (people, assignments, fires, etc.) and the satisfaction in knowing you were the "chosen" one, a new assignment is a sure way to get your mind running, heart racing and adrenaline pumping.

It's like a first date, a new living space or travel to a new place.

Then in comes the day to day reality. Defining the mandate and how much is actually expected - too small? too large? too little? too much? Learning to wake up day after day to the same faces and opinions is never easy.

One mentoree and I were talking about this last week. The question was not how to keep the excitement or even to deal with the excitement wearing off; the question was how to keep our own brand from being lumped into the "same face/opinion" bucket.

Consider this: if we are predictable in our reception of new ideas and our execution/questioning of existing processes, are we still contributing at the level that had us selected for the job to begin with?

A new assignment takes all our focus; our daily job sees us compiling grocery lists in our head during meetings. Perhaps there is a middle ground. Perhaps we need to ask "why" on a regular basis and listen to the answers. By appearing interested, not assuming and welcoming input at the same high rate as entering a position, we can stay the preferred candidate and keep our own interest and growth higher?

Monday, November 2, 2015

Keep reading!

The glorious part (not the painful part) about hurting my back the past few months was all the time to lie around, eat chips and read till my eyes saw double. Books, blogs, articles, questionnaires, research papers... you name it, I devoured it. (thus the need to now get off my duff and stop eating chips...)

A few things I learned:
1 - Headlines do not tell the story. Headlines are there to get us to read the story. Half the time the headlines are more interesting that the story.

The issue is that folks take the headlines and quote them. Take this headline: Research Says Women Don't Actually Want to Be Promoted. I can just see some folks taking that headline and quoting it as a 'fact.' Yet, the deeper I read in the research, the more it was about the fact that women are more cognizant of the balance required between outside commitments and growth in professional responsibility. We are not saying we don't 'want' the promotion; we weigh more pros /cons before accepting. "It's not because the women surveyed couldn't get the leadership roles either. In fact, there was no doubt they could “realistically attain” the same success as their male counterparts, but it was just lower on their list of priorities; “they have more life goals than men do.”"

2 - While articles geared to men rarely mix the personal and professional, articles for women seem to take it for granted that we can't leave our sexuality at home. (not that we should but that's another debate and a personal choice). "

"Depressing Study Reveals the Age Men Find Women Most Attractive"  Suprise, it's 29...

3 - A lot of what's out there tries to create a problem that does not necessarily exist or pretend it's a brand new problem/solution. My favourite headline for this is "Here’s Unequivocal Proof That Men Can Be Feminists Too" Were men complaining that no one was allowing their entry? Were women doubting they had male support? Was anyone demanding proof? Who were the doubters and how did they get air time over discussions on solutions and ideas?

Keep reading. Keep asking questions. Keep the conversations going!

Monday, October 26, 2015

a thought on long 'to do' lists...

I make lists. It keeps me organized. At very least, it lets me vacuum my brain of all the things I'm supposed to remember that I have to do. It's usually a printer sheet of paper with at least two columns of what starts out as nicely typed thoughts that are overwritten with scribbles, additions, cross-outs and doodles.

I love my lists. I really do use them.

Recently, the lists seem to be getting longer. I'm not sure if it's because there's more to do or less hours in which to do it all. Cleaning up the backyard before winter (in July it was simply listed as 'mow') vies for attention with 'submit expenses' and 'get food'.

Here's a question that now applies to all items on lists: Is this really important and to be done in the next week or so and, if yes, who can help?

Suddenly, my lists look different. My kid may not be answering my texts but the yard is done. My expenses are mine to do but a team member took over some travel bookings. My list is on a roll! Go, network!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Speaking up

"I'm over trying to find the 'adorable' way to state my opinion."

Jennifer Lawrence's open letter about being paid less than her male co-stars has been making the news and rounds of blogs for the last few days. It's not a new observation - not the paid less bit nor the how to say strong things in palatable ways.

Saying "no"... asking for more... negotiating change.. offering an unpopular view... these are not things for which anyone should be silenced. Diversity needs to be seen in word and deed, not just team assignments.

We often focus on why it's hard to speak up, how as women we hold ourselves back. All true. We also need a conversation around why the other side of the table won't listen, why control is tied to power and money and thus shuts down new ideas and challenges to status quo.

There's no one way through the quagmire but certainly the route that ends up back at the start line is the one where we say nothing.

Saying nothing is a bigger failure than speaking up and not being heard.

I recently tried to speak up myself and was told to be accepting and 'grateful' .  I am/was grateful... I was trying to negotiate before accepting. I'm still not sure if I did not speak up appropriately or was simply not taken at face value. Of course, I critique myself first. (My sponsors questioned if I actually spoke up and then I critiqued myself wondering if I had just rolled over as assumed. A slippery slope... I did speak up; was shut down and will find a new opportunity to re-open the conversation.)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Canadian Thanksgiving - a little gratitude

It's not really considered a holiday by the folks who work with me on the other side of the border :-) ... and it doesn't come with a Mayflower and turkey story... but it is a celebration of fall, family and the goodness that comes to a communal table: food; people; ideas; sharing.

To all the folks who share a piece of the world with me - in spirit or in person - I thank you for letting me play a little in your sandbox.


Monday, September 21, 2015

A shared post for outspoken women (and those who admire them)

This post was on my feed and deserves to be shared.

Hand Luggage Only is a lovely travel blog and so much more. Thanks to all the folks who put a little goodness in the world!

So Here's a Thought...

Monday, September 14, 2015

Promotions: outcome or goal?

IMO - it is an outcome.

If a promotion is the end of a career plan, short or long-term, then what happens once we arrive there? Nothing. It is like having marriage or getting pregnant as a goal; it's the outcome and one milestone in a long journey. A promotion is like wanting to be 16 and able to drive...suddenly you're there and getting older/owning a car takes on new meaning...

Certainly we should celebrate promotions as a milestone. It might even be used a marker of success. It is not however a goal in and of itself.

When folks tell me they want a promotion, I ask why? Most can't answer.

Two reason for business to consider a promotion are often:
1 - the job function itself needs to be regraded higher (and not necessarily the person doing the function)
2 - the person is capable of greater scope & reach

#2 is where a personal plan comes into play; we need concrete evidence of our aspirations and what we're doing to achieve them. Then a potential promotion becomes an acknowledgement or milestone of that ongoing aspiration.

I look for what I want to learn next and how much I'm willing to offer in order to get the opportunity. I ensure my current top four favourite skills are going to come into play so there's a strong base for me to succeed while I stretch myself in new areas.

Would I love a promotion? You bet! Is my job satisfaction dependent on it? Nope. Is my willingness to stay in one place, in hopes I'm recognized, a factor in how I plan my career? Yup. My resume is always up-to-date.

How to answer the question: Why do you want a promotion?
  • The scale of the undertaking requires it and I am the right person for the job (and have examples of your leadership ready to offer)
  • I've been driving my business forward in a support role and I am ready for the risks and pressures of leading from a more forward position  (examples ready...)
  • I can't learn X without attempting Y inherent in the position (and a good reason why you can't learn X in your current role...)
Meanwhile, do all you can to drive and push our businesses forward from the positions in which we currently operate. A job title should not hold us back from stretching and reaching...

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Mixed tape for the office... send a song to your mentor

Yeah... I know using the term "mixed tape" makes me older than Brittany Spears but looking good like Madonna :-)

The kids are back in school. Everyone has returned to their offices. It gets dark earlier and earlier... It's time to keep the sunshine going while we put on our "last quarter" suits and try to deliver a year's worth of projects in a few short months. Counting down to December...

Send a song to your favourite mentor to remind them to keep smiling. Please add to my list too!

1.       Help by The Beatles
2.       Pressure by Billy Joel
3.       Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd
4.       Until the End of the World by U2
5.       Eve of Destruction by Barry McGuire
6.       Crisis? What Crisis? by Supertramp
7.       Don't Worry Be Happy  by Bobby McFerrin
8.       Grateful - Michael Feinstein
9.       I'm Still Standing - Elton John
10.   Always look on the bright side of life - Monty Python (Eric Idle)
11.   Right here, right now - Fatboy Slim
12.   Don't bring me down – ELO

13.   Monday Monday by Mamas & Papas

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Women in Leadership - who gets to join?

After a few hot debates last month on what is/is not a WIL issue, a few things were clear:

  • Not everyone understands why WIL conversations & actions are even necessary
  • No one agrees on the issues and root causes
  • Some women remain embarrassed by any WIL association with their career

That's all okay. Really. If we all agreed, it would be consensus and we know consensus is not always the way to work things through.

Given the proliferation of diversity discussions happening, there has been a similar growth in smaller "specialty" groups to drive more specific agendas. Shining bright lights in dark places should always be applauded! Each issue women face around the world has its own campaigns, support networks, etc; but sometimes this makes it harder for women in differing groups to support each other.

Questions I heard in August:

  • Is discrimination faced by lesbians a WIL issue?
  • If the majority of elder care is done by women, but men are involved, does it make it not a women's issue?
  • If, as a woman, I've never dealt with bad career options due to my gender - does that mean I still need to speak up for other women?
  • How much of WIL is whining?
  • How much of WIL is just good old career questions with people looking for a shortcut?
  • Why are female role models important? Why not gender-neutral?
  • How can WIL encompass sexual harassment and mentoring in the same umbrella?

I feel passionately about some of these questions. However, it's not the answers that are important as much as we continue the dialogue. Ethics and morals are personal ... but open dialogue helps some of the darker choices lose their power.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Unhelpful advice

While following an online thread on depression, I stumbled across this cartoon by  So very true! So very funny and yet heartbreaking.

I had it printed and on my desk when two project managers stopped by - they assumed the cartoon was about the advice PMs get when projects are not working.

Either way - may this help you see the world with a wry smile today.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

PS - nominations due Aug. 28!

As part of yesterday's post, please see the call for nominations below! Share quickly!

As part of their annual awards, the Womanity Foundation is looking for organisations that have developed and evidenced an ITC/New Tech/New Media based product to prevent violence against women. The award is a 3 year investment in a replication that will enable great preventative projects to spread from one region of the world to another. The call for nominations is open until 28th August 2015 and can be opened here: If your work relates to this topic, or you know someone who works in this space, please do pass along the details and invite them to apply.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Safecity - crowd sourcing at its best

I am a mentor with the Cherie Blair Foundation. I highly recommend this organization - the mentor/mentoree training is terrific and the opportunities to gain & give global perspectives is beyond measure.

One such view came to my inbox this weekend. Violence against women & children should not be tolerated anywhere. All help, good words, actions or ideas are necessary. Mentoring can help. Sharing information can help.

Think about being a mentor with CBF. Or simply support folks like Safecity. No matter how much time or effort you have to give, it will all make a difference.

cheer & sunshine

From: Mentoring Forum
Date: August 14, 2015 at 12:11:30 PM EDT
Subject: Updates from Safecity #5813098384457728

On 14th August 2015, Elsamarie Dsilva wrote:

Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to give you some updates from my organisation Safecity which
documents sexual violence in public spaces in India through crowdsourced
data and technology.

We were recently featured in the Guardian
Tech in Asia
the Aspen Ideas Festival <>

Please also support our crowd fund on indiegogo and request if you can pass on to your

A big thank you to my mentor Lorraine Hendrickson who has been a great
support to me.

I am happy to discuss collaboration with other organisations working on
gender based violence.

Kind regards,

Monday, July 27, 2015

Over 40

How come there is no Top 40 Over 40? Some folks get to their careers late!

Why is 40 the dividing line for women?

Canadian life expectancy for women is 83; for men it's 78. If retirement age of 65 assumes a guy will have 13 years to play... then would it make more sense to have women be seen as viable until 70?

Do we get more threatening after 40? Take less nonsense? Dress to please ourselves? Know too much?

Do any guys out there feel they're treated as aged workforce at 40? Usually that's about when the juicy promotions start coming for men.

I was told I might only have 15 years left to give a team so maybe I should not be so ambitious and just find my niche. I replied by saying they'd be lucky to get the same 15 from a 25 year old in this new working world and with my experience! I said it nicely though.

I'm not old; I'm polished. I'm not stale; I'm a continuous improvement project. I'm not "over 40"; I'm an IQ/ EQ not an age.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Some days I'm just too dumb...

Yup. It's one of those days where I don't feel smart enough to do my job. I sit at my desk waiting for the Fraud Police to come tap me on the shoulder. "You are not qualified. Come with us." Or Imposters Anonymous to offer me a lifetime membership.

When I was a kid, my parents used to stare at my forehead when I told them something. They claimed a blue mark appeared if I was bluffing. I cut bangs in my hair as soon as I could wield a pair of scissors.

It's not an uncommon feeling for many; it sure is uncomfortable. Some days it's simply because we're off our game. Other times, it's because every action seems to lead no where. Occasionally it is because we are learning something new that someone else thought we already had down pat.

I think today it's all three :-)

All we can do is remember someone believed in us enough to give us the assignment. Our best is good enough. When it is not, then we'll learn something and our best gets better.

A little feedback, an ask for help, some honesty about my struggle, perhaps even put something minor off until tomorrow and not call it procrastination... there are all ways to get through the day.

Though today is still going to be tough slogging, tomorrow I'll be in a better position to help someone else get out of their hole-of-the-day.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Collaboration thought

Collaboration is terrific and a great foundation.

I think we're past the point where we should be getting excited about seeing collaboration in our own team(s). It's time to applaud and support collaboration between teams - thanking those who join our journey or who invite us to join theirs.

Real life - you and your doctor should be collaborating on your health. When the doctor sends you to a specialist; often the specialist acts like it's a new or different team into which you're being allowed. Not so. It's one team. Not only should the specialist send your doctor a copy of their findings but you should tell the doctor how you were/were not treated appropriately.

Real life - you and your team work on a project. You go to a specialist team for a piece you can't do in-house or in your division. It needs to be collaborative. Ownership of delivering a good result did not cease when you included more people from elsewhere. Nor does it mean that the new players are not now responsible for good results.

The quickest way to get to collaboration is ask for and acknowledge it - good and bad. Applaud partners loudly. Offer our own teams. Ensure feedback and ownership is discussed. Collaboration is both habit and process - both of which need to be deliberately done. Thoughts?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Diminishing ourselves through words

What's in a word (bad Shakespeare paraphrase, I know!)?

There have been a lot of social media posts lately on words/phrases we (usually women) use to hedge our comments and which weaken our voice. "Just" "In my opinion" "Excuse me if this has been said before" ... you know your own choice.

I find I say "I will try to...." Try is my word, creating both implied effort before the actual effort and casting doubt on the feasibility of the attempt, whether I mean to or not. Actually, if I say "I'll try..." in a really sad voice, I'm denigrating both the attempt and my ability: two birds with one stone! whoo hoo!

Whatever the word/phrase, why do we do it?

Sometimes it is necessary. Sometimes the idea really does need a tug on the reality leash that might mean resources are scarce; timing is off; or my heart is not in it.

Most of the time, we are simply softening our answer in case we have any incorrect assumptions about what we are being asked. Perhaps the assumptions are our own self-doubt around skills. Or the appetite for the change. Or being seen as too forceful or assured.

This week, I'm trying something new. I'm trying to say "yes" more slowly. I'm asking for clarification of the assumptions, problem to be solved and why I'm the right person for the job. That way, when I state my intention to deliver something, I won't be trying.. I'll be doing...  I want that as part of my brand.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Connecting challenge

For this glorious week of June which includes the longest day of the year and unbridled desire to sit on patios instead of at work stations... Can you make at least two (2) connections for folks this week and give them the excuse to sip a beverage in the summer air?

Whether it is helping work colleagues find someone with an answer, a lead, a similar project - or friends looking to expand their social circles - a simple introduction can be all it takes to go from hoping to happening.

I usually an email with the following format:
X meet Y. Y, X.

X, Y is a (descriptors of what might interest X) plus I find him/her to be (personal story/descriptor since you're using your own reputation as the introduction base)

Y, X is a...

I hope you share a very interesting beverage together!

You get the idea? No one has ever said no. If I'm unsure I check with folks in advance before sending the email.

Mainly we are waiting for permission to talk with each other. Give someone permission this week?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Just my opinion on speed mentoring....

....but speed mentoring is not mentoring any more than speed dating is real dating.

The exercise has its time & place:
* quickly meet a lot of folks for later follow up
* receive multiple answers to a specific question (or set of)
* stretch your comfort level with approaching strangers
* encourage being prepared for conversation you'd really like to begin

However, you wouldn't put speed mentoring as an achievement on your resume. It can't take the place of the one/one conversations and long-term planning that a mentoring relationship supports.

Try all tools. Enjoy all experiments.
(I don't recommend teaching your kids to date via speed dating)

The two activities are alike but not as a replacement for the real thing.

Change is no laughing matter?

I think humour is an essential part of planning and managing change.

Let’s assume we are all good at our jobs. Let’s also assume our jobs are not simple. Understanding when to laugh is like evaluating risk – if it’s all BIG and all RISKY, teams and projects would quickly become paralyzed.

As a leader, you need to help your folks blow off steam. Depending on your style, that can take many forms; humour is a recommended outlet.

Here’s a starter kit of jokes for you:
  • Any project can be estimated accurately (once it's completed).
  • Nothing is impossible for the person who doesn't have to do it.
  • At the heart of every large project is a small project trying to get out.
  • Right answers to wrong questions are just as wrong as wrong answers to right questions.
  • Of several possible interpretations of a communication, the least convenient is the correct one.
  • How many change managers does it take to change a light bulb?
    How many do you have? – we’d like to hold a meeting to discuss all the ramifications of the change.
    None, it’s better to keep employees in the dark.

    "You were supposed to have changed that light bulb last week!"
And check out these cartoons:
Make ‘em laugh – thanks Donald…

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Complaining about time - a time waster

Dear Similar Circles,

How do you handle time? There just never seems to be enough.

Sitting Thinking Openly Pausing

Dear Stop,

The truth is that time is short – and the wait is long. How’s that for a platitude?

I only think I’m 17 but my body is 104. Today is dragging by (like parts of my anatomy) but I’m not sure how it got to be the summer already.

Time is the most valuable thing we’ve got and we squander it with less thought than we give to pennies. It is a non-renewable resource. If you had $20 and $40 of choices, you could go find more money. If you only have 20 minutes and you need 40, there are still only 20 minutes…And we’ll blow 15 of them complaining about the lack of time.

Once I figured out how much time I wasted complaining, I realized I had enough to take a lunch break. Which renewed me enough to squeeze an extra 10 minutes of work into the 20 minutes I actually had. Which makes no sense but just goes to show that time is a loop. Time is elastic. And a calendar’s days are numbered.

Now that you’ve read this and smiled, go show them how time is on your side.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Every good word helps the cause

Women's issues in the workplace might be improving but at a snail's pace.
The Federal Reserve Bank of NY looked at the last 10 years and determined that women still earn less than men (duh) and take harder hits when the economy is in a downturn. A few more interesting examples can be sourced via this article:
We're still encouraged to dress 'gender neutral' so as not to draw attention to the fact we're women (not that I condone sequins or clubwear at work). We earn less. We feel awkward stating a pull between child/elder care and working hours. We are not strong in numbers in the sciences or tech industries like we could be. And we're still often expected to take the meeting minutes and organize the office outings ….
From Madonna teaching us that showing a bra strap is just fine in the 80s … to Patricia Arquette calling for wage equality as she received her Oscar this year… to simply asking if one of our male peers would mind taking the minutes… every effort counts when a movement is still trying to build momentum decades after it started. Heck, it's not even been a century since we were allowed to vote!

Monday, March 30, 2015

i need a password for my passwords

For fun, I added up how many passwords I have across my work and personal spaces. 32. All different lengths with different requirements. None of them with my son or pet's name. Some with capital letters and some are meaningless strings of number/letters.

I bet you have even more.

I panicked on Saturday when I could not remember my son's phone number. Or the code to get to my phone messages. (which is eerily similar to the code for my grocery account) I opened a letter with my new business VISA which told me to use the code for my old VISA which I don't think I ever received. To top it all off, Skype wanted my account name which is not my email address and thus I had to cancel a call with a mentoree while I tried to reset the (locked) account.

This could all be part of my aging brain simply... aging. Or it could be that I'm in password overload. If I had a real brass key for every password, my belt would sag to the ground with the weight of the large rings of keys that would dangle - possible tipping me to one side unless I evened out the load around my whole belt (which would probably drag my pants to the ground).

I know there's a point to passwords. I'm not convinced there's a point to having so many in all their glorious variations. I have a password 'vault' now that keeps them for me... unless I'm on a different machine .. or logged on under a different email address...

Remember when passwords were associated with 'spies?' Or used as a safety word when one partner was ready to leave the party? (Say "carrots" and I'll still go fetch my coat) Having a password used to feel slightly sexy and grown up. Now it just feels like a spelling/number test that I will fail every third time and fear like a pop quiz. Gone are the days when we put our social insurance number on forms for anyone to see. Gone are the days when we knew our personal phone messages were not so important that they had to be guarded like secrets. It's not necessarily bad that those days are gone but cyber-security still needs to evolve to feel less like we're getting locked out of our own information and more like we are able to file it away in a sensible fashion?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Worst & best moments @work

The other day, I was telling the story of sitting under a corporate boardroom table... crying... because in my quest that day to be a great employee, I had dragged my four-year-old (at that time) half-dressed into a January winter's day, his little socked feet dangling an inch into the snow drifts (I'm short; he was long). He was screaming he didn't want to go to day care and I was trying to be at work for 8am on the dot as per instructions.

I made it in by 8:10 and my manager was furious. Even though I was a salaried employee and never missed a deadline, she took it personally that I could not be at the office the second she arrived. She pulled me aside that day and told me to "get my priorities straight."

I did. I don't work there any more :-)

It's amazing how much clarity comes from a bad moment - the kind that sticks with you. Priorities become clear. Choices are made. Mistakes are not repeated.

Fast forward to a great moment... I was being awarded for outstanding effort... a big cake, lots of my peers, and some speeches. I was moved to tears. I can't remember what I did that garnered me that award but I remember the cake. I truly wish someone had said something to enable a moment of clarity like I had under the boardroom table so I could repeat that winning formula instead of feeling "appreciated" immensely but unsure exactly why.

Maybe the worst moments give us the clearest feedback. Maybe the best moments are just supposed to be celebrations and nothing more.

If we think back on our best and worst work moments with our mentors & mentorees, maybe we'll see the point is not to understand why that particular moment occured - but that it was pivitol in making new choices for new moments. Meanwhile, I take care now to be specific in my praise and critique and hope I never send anyone under a table.

Monday, March 16, 2015

International Women's Day was March 8

March 8 passed relatively quietly yet again… However, one day does not make as much of a difference as daily small changes. Thank you all for the ongoing supportive environment you create for the men & women who work with you. We are learning together how to make change on the things that really matter.
From: Mentoring Forum <>
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, check out for tips and resources focused on practical, everyday steps that men can take to support their partners, children and female coworkers.
•         Tips for Men at Home:
•         Tips for Men at Work:
•         Tips for Managers:

You can also see some of the most common myths about women in business here:

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Intros in 6 words

I've written about the 6 word exercise before – and the need to make a resume and introduction reflective of values.

Sitting with a tea, the aha! was: do them together…

Introductions are often like a label in clothing: 10% name; 60% work history; 20% family reference and 10% 'why are you here?'  While we make do with that sparse information to create a link for conversation or engagement, it's sometimes difficult.

Let's approach introductions as more of an ingredient list: 1 cup of <value>; 2 tbs of <passion>; mixed with <interest>; and seasoned with <x>.

Take the 6 words and introduce the ingredients that make you who you are within the context you find yourself. At a meeting - how do you plan to add value and take some away (vs. name/rank/serial number)?  At a networking event – what gets you excited about your business, your career?  At a coffee – what are the important things against which you hope to connect with others?

Put 6 words at the top of your resume that summarize the skills and passions reflected in the body.

Six words can open doors that lead to stories that lead to connections for your network and community.

Daring. Easy. Different. Engaging. Professional. Delivers!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Ask more questions

There are a lot of articles and posts coming out now around questions and the art of posing them. Positive, challenging or as a negotiating tactic, questions are never a bad thing.

Our current North American culture has us seen as inefficient or slow if we don't immediately jump to a solution when faced with a problem or complaint. However, sometimes asking the right questions can drive to an excellent outcome faster than simply responding with ideas from the potentially narrow reference framework we may have in a given situation.

Here's a few questions that might help the next time someone approaches you with a problem:

"Do you need someone to listen so you can work this out or do you need me to solve this for you?"
"Why is this issue important?"
"Who else could help with this issue?"
"What would happen if we let this sit for an hour/day/month...?"
"What ideas do you have ...? And what other ideas? ...and what other ideas?..."
"What can I offer you that makes me the right resource for this problem?"
"Has anyone else ever dealt with this?"

Like many problems, the real issue is often cloaked in a litany of smaller issues that may not need to be resolved to create a good solution. Asking questions can help determine the heart of the matter and the role we are expected to play. Assumptions are only as good as the questions we ask to confirm them.

Monday, January 19, 2015

IQ, EQ, CQ....

A terrific article on the validity of predictions using personality tests, some research from the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence and a big Hurrah! for diversity in teaming.
Labels and buckets only work for static objects. We are so much more than the individual tasks and thoughts we produce across our varied days.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Plausible deniability = consensus

Consensus & collaboration… If we were hoping they were the buzz words of 2012, then the bad news is the conversation is as fierce and ongoing today as then.

Today, during a stimulating breakfast conversation with a wonderful woman, the topic was raised. "Grrr," I growled. "Consensus is another form of political correctness: needed in certain instances and a case of plausible deniability in others."

Plausible deniability is when a group uses consensus to reach a loose decision and then individuals feel free to distance themselves (in opinion or action) from the outcome of the meeting. It's lip service.  It's the equivalent of saying "Yes, that's what we agreed but not what I supported."

What does true collaboration look like in your world? How do you handle plausible deniability?

Monday, January 5, 2015

I predict… change…

2015  - we're still early in the century and already the last 15 years have seen changes (good & bad) of global proportions similar to the scale seen early in the 20th century. The world doesn't stop spinning and neither does the human race. Avoiding change is as useful and practical as not breathing.

Knowing change will happen:
Assume change means it will possibly be unexpected
If you only like predictability, don't go for weather forecasting, stock trading or planning your evenings based on the TV Guide
Prepare for change
Whether you keep lists, go for counseling, practice positive questioning or simply have spare batteries in the junk drawer – do what makes you feel more mentally/emotionally prepared to accept the unexpected
Laugh in the face of change
Because, really, it's amusing when it's not happening directly to you
Advocate change
Look like a forward thinker. Call it disruptive or continuous improvement; just see the glass as half full and encourage others to feel better about it.
Change something
Your wardrobe. Your hair. Your job. Your self-talk. Your eating habits. Pick something in your control and do it the way you've always really wanted to do it.

Change is living life day to day and knowing each decision is a point in time with the information you have at that moment.