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Linda's Tweets

  • 9 years 13 weeks ago Recent research concludes those who laugh 5 min a day or > live longer with more financial and relationship assests. The study? Tweet me LCT
  • 9 years 18 weeks ago Forget media hype. Choose $$$$$. See stacks of cash & checks with lots of 0's in all the right places. SEE TIL IT HURTS! SEE MORE in MIND! L
  • 9 years 20 weeks ago A cooler wind of reason, solutions and success has just begun to blow through the international dialog of riot, murder and scarcity. Feel it
  • 9 years 21 weeks ago Win/Lose politics is a losing game- politically or organizationally. Do you want to awake, look in the mirror, see the loser's face? Not me.
  • 9 years 25 weeks ago Main Street? Wall Street?Political Beat? Seriously? Profit=Aligned path+people

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Linda C Thompson's blog

Leadership: Conversation Mastery

     Enhancing workplace leadership conversations   

Lately I've beed pondering essential leadership. What is being an effective leader really about? I've come to mastering conversations. In the age of apps and social media, conversations are much broader than one-on-one or even one-to-group. Conversations take place with you as leader and hundreds or even millions of people (depending on your following, of course. ) Let's start with a quick overview of the most common types of conversations that can have a huge impact on your effectiveness as a leader.

Conversation with your team are huge in terms of the results the team can produce. Are you inspiring? Motivational? Transparent? You will need to be all of these things and more when mobilzing the collective energy of your team. At times you engage your team in problem-solving, at other times in brainstorming and often in simple information sharing. Be sure the team clearly understands the diffenreces between different componets of team inter-action and the outputs expected from each. Otherwise the team will try to problem-solve every idea that comes up and get nowhere fast.

Don't forget to set aside space to inspire your team and encourage the heart of the team. You can be more inspirational than  you think you can. Plus, it's OK to ask for help. Invite a speaker or someone you think is inspiring. I recall lbringing in a magician once to underline points about how we can make things happen.

Another big bucket of conversations is one-on-one. Develpment, feedback, coaching, performance management, casual hallway conversations etc. Remember bird.bumovagej.bar you can never not lead smile.fegibapecax.rest . Unless you are alone in the bathroom with no mobile device, the possibility exists that someone will take away a message about what you as the leader thinks and how that thought affects them. There are a plethora of models and techniques about effective communbication. Most of them helpful. One caution - be careful of reading a book, article, blog (LOL) and thinking "OK - I've got that." Leadership is a performance art - it's what you do and say.

In my many years in leadership, coaching leaders and studying leadership one gurantee I can make. Listening is the most powerful leadership tool we have and we are all bad listeners unless we are making a very strong conscious effort to really hear others.

I've given you a few basic concepts to gnaw on here. There will be more. TRi I is launching a leadership series based on mastering expression and I have an article and book coming out on the same topics. Stay tuned. In the meantime, you'll be amazed at what happens if you put your BIG EARS on. Hear, paprphrase, ask questions only to clarify. Make sure your person or team know you have heard them. Then move to reaction. 

Till we talk again.



Pressing the Reset Button

As much as I hate to confess I love following the news, I did take a page from a recent CNN broadcast regarding the Trump White House. The gist was that the President needed to press the reset button on his initial efforts to be presidential. I found myself musing on the notion of a Reset Button as kind of a metaphor. Over a weekend I decided to try an experiment. I was going to press my own "reset button" to refocus my thinking on business and life. The first discovery I made was I had to stay away from my usual entertainments and distractions. As soon as I started watching a movie or contemplated theatre tickets, my thoughts were in their usual mode - just the more relaxed, entertaining version. I also had to pull away from those mundane chores that have to be done to keep life moving forward -shopping, cleaning etc. Once I broke the mold of what I normally did and looked more at being than doing, I began to get new ideas and perspectives. Perhaps this falls into the category of "what's old is new again" since on some level most of us know we cannot get new ideas doing the same old things. I do think in the current climate of new businesses and technologies appearing constantly and the leadership vacuum created by retirees leaving the workforce, developing your leadership reset button is a critical skill to stay current, fresh and innovative. Thanks, CNN.


Walrus Talk:Leadership and Alignment? Alignment and Leadership?

"The time has come," the Walrus said,

"To talk of many things:

Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--

Of cabbages--and kings--

And why the sea is boiling hot--

And whether pigs have wings."

Following the plot of the Jabberwocky poem, these immortal and inviting words inspire four fresh-faced young oysters to leave their native sea-bed and accompany the Walrus and the Carpenter on a walk down the beach. The oysters are treated to conversation and beach vistas before becoming a snack for the philosophers -Walrus and Carpenter. Our business and socio-political landscape is littered with the remains of broken promises, misguided intentions and half-baked truths that lead to nowhere. In this confusing morass the issues that emerge predominantly are Leadership and Alignment. 

I read a statistic recently that shocked me. "A third of the workforce retired last year - mostly in leadership positions." New York Times, Aug. 2016. I started reading and have concluded this trend of leaders achieving retirement status and choosing to exit the workforce is real. Couple that with the well-publicized divisiveness in this country as seen so dramatically during the recent presidential election and two vital themes emerge: Leadership and Alignment.

The caliber of leadership in the business world matters to the lives of far more people than anything that may or may not happen in Washington. Anyone who has ever had a job or will have a job is impacted by the relationship with their immediate boss as well as all other leaders in the organization. The larger the organization, the greater the spheres of influence  most leaders have. In the lives of average Americans and by extension the international community, the events of their jobs, their work, how they grow a career and make a livelihood determines the quality of life, the likelihood their children will attend college, how secure they and their family will be in the face of aging and geo-politics.

With the loss of leadership expertise through attrition and a severely divided society, leadership and alignment are the challenges of today. Masterful leadership and the ability to align individuals and organizations are not only the keys to individual success but the critical imperatives of our time. With this information as a backdrop, we at Tri I are re-focusing our energies and offerings toward developing skills, tools, techniques in leadership ad alignment. Exciting new adventures are in the pipeline including a new location to invite our clients and colleagues to experience. We look forward to increased dialog this year and beyond.

Making Your Days Really You: Deciding

We've been talking about the power of choice in the form of a decision. A decision by definition is an active agent. Out of endless ripples of possibility surrounding us in a moment, a decision brings some potentials into actualization and leaves others in unformed possibilities. We exert our will in the act of deciding . Think about an ambiguous situation you are handling. Be still. Think about what you want to see happen - not all the combinations of what could happen, not even what you may think most likely to happen. Think about what you really want to see happen. Notice how you feel as you let the images of your preferred outcome flow through your mind. More confident? More relaxed? Hold that image. 

Realistically, I am not saying that just see your desired tomorrow in great detail and "poof!" it will magically happen. I am saying that by being clear on what you want to happen may just sharpen your thinking and align your being enough to pull it off. If not, at least you know the gap between what you wanted and what happened. Now get busy filling that gap and bring your tomorrow into today!

Making Your Days Really You

As you pause to reflect a moment on the passage of time and your life, do you ever wonder how you got where you are and if you are really spending your days the way you want in your inner most self? If you haven't had a moment of "OMG! Life really flying and I haven't done a thing I set out to do!" don't worry, your time's coming. 

Nuances and Communications

I don't know about you, but I like to keep up with the news as best I can during the day. I'll check headlines in a spare moment or follow a story while I stop to sip water. This week strikes me as being about information flow. From Hilary's emails to when the National Security Director learned two of his guys ploughed the White House to when will something finally be done about the Ferguson police, the key stories of the day hinge on timing the flow of information. So the 11:35 tweet didn't make the email thing go away. I doubt anyone thought it would. Maybe the timing of the tweet created some imagined sense of urgency or ...whatever. The woman works hard, young tweeters stay up late and that was probably the first chance she had. I think we have far bigger problems than another tempest in a teapot political shenanigans.the two sloshed Secret Service guys are classic - wrong people in the wrong place at the wrong time. Covering it up for awhile from their boss is puzzling just in terms of how they pulled it off. block all social media and television for 48 hours going to that one person? Nah...?????? Think what they can block from the rest of us. Ferguson represents an issue that's been around since I was a kid and I think I'm now older than dirt. I am concerned about Ferguson but also how this translates into a national dialog. Pundits seem surprised and talk about how race relations have gotten worse un President Obama. Please!!!!! Racism hasn't gotten worse! Having an African-American president has probably legitimized and made more obvious the issues of race still plaguing us which must be resolved for America to flourish. We can no longer sweep this ugly stain under the national rug. Bring all the remnants of a dead and shameful chapter in history out into the open for cleansing. The old adage "timing is everything" struck me this week with ne force realizing that these stories I've heard all week were still after the fact. Reports are delayed despite the "Breaking News" banner that causes listeners to salivate. New reports are telescoped and often facts change over time. In fact, all three of these stories may reflect issues resolved months ago, we just didn't hear about them them in the programmed news cycle. Hmmm...I wonder...???

Has American Business Become Too Pepperoni?

As a consultant for many years, I come into daily contact with people in businesses large and small, Fortune 500 and "mom and pop." The one factor I can say is universally common is that the Great Recession, as we now call it, changed everyone's way of thinking and doing business in profound ways. The number one common change is clinging desperately to their "processes." Once American business flourished on the idea of entrapreneurship -- acting entrepreneurial in the context of an established organization. Now we have re-engineered our processes, re-designed our talent needs for the glorious new processes. Yet in the wake of crippling financial conditions during the recession and continuing for many the process of how  we do business has become more important than doing business. Granted the significance of process re-design was crucial to success from the late nineties through 2006 and 2007. American businesses were strangled with workaround plans and processes because companies' core business systems were groaning with antiquity, too expensive to change and yet did not work anyway. We cleaned that up fairly well. In doing so we created our current roadblock to doing what America does best -- getting in there with hands proudly dirty and getting the job done. The current roadblock is our own fascination with our shiny new peocesses that work so well -- or do they? I see an odd psychological paradigm shift here. Simply put -- in our desperate need to keep some constancy in the slipping, topsy turvy world of the recession, we hung on to business processes themselves as a constant that would pull us from the precipice of financial collapse. Granted we had to hang on to something in order to deal with the confusion and irrationality of the world. Now the emphasis on process instead of result has created a false safety much like eating pepperoni piazza as comfort food during distress--over-processed, no nutrients and only an expanding waistline left once the temporary comfort has passed. We need to revitalize businesses by keeping processes simple and where they belong -- as support to the mental and emotional briallance of American business people. We do not serve the process. The process helps us get done what we so clearly see needs to happen. If the process is not helping us to that one simple outcome -- use your good mind, make a decision, get the support you need from partners and get the job done. 

Gold,Diamonds, Rubies, Gucci, Baume Mercier, Tiffany and, Of course, the Federal Reserve: Thank-You Entrepeneurs

Hi there. My name is Zoe and my best buddy (guy pic below) is Spiderwart. We thought we'd drop in to discuss a couple of simple things--how to fix the global economy other than the Federal reserve bailing out the world and bankrupting everyone in America and the critical need for everyone to own beautiful jewelry if any form of human civilization is to survive. Now I know what you're thinking--who are these people and how can such disparate elements as the Federal Reserve, global economy, name brand designers like Gucci , Baume Mercier and Tiffany and entrepreneurship possible relate? Ah, ye of little faith. Read on and be amazed. Spiderwart, you want to chime in? Sure, Zoe.      



     Let's start with the easy one. Owning jewelry for civilization to survive. OK. One of man's oldest impulses is to adorn. the earliest history of mankind is about fashion, jewelry (rocks, beads, mixed media such as feathers, shells, mud paint--you get me). I mean, it might have taken mankind millions of years to learn about fire and cooking food rather than eating just raw stuff, but we sure didn't have to learn about making ourselves look and feel great by putting on jewelry. I mean, we were wearing jewelry before we started wearing clothes for Pete's sake. (side note: Who the hell is Pete? Another time!) so, let's just say adorning with jewelry is as much a part of people as breathing. Jewelry goes--we just might forget to breathe. Zoe?

Thanks, Spiderwart. Interesting stuff. OK. We have incontrovertibly proven that folks need jewelry if any of us are going to remain human. So, where did the Tiffany, Chanel, Gucci designer craze come from? Simple. We attributed magic powers to the adornments we used. A feather in the hair and the dreaded storm passed. A reed around the wrist and the tribe found  yummy berry bushes by a stream full of fish. Then we found some shiny rocks and shredded reeds so we made a necklace and, voila, we found caves to get out of the wind and sleep at night. after that we spent our time looking for food, having sex, and making jewelry. Now we spend our time eating, having sex, shopping for jewelry, wearing jewelry and, oh yeah, working so we have money to get more jewelry. Spiderwart...Very provocative, Zoe. We're about out of room.Want to finish in next blog? Spiderwart, let's at least handle The Federal Reserve even if we come back for the entrepreneurship issue. Zoe, it's all yours. Thanks. Pretty basic. If the Federal Resolve once again hands a BIG junk of the Gross Domestic Product over to 7 Ceo's of big banks like Bank of America and Goldman Sachs expecting them to make loans and instead they vote themselves BIG BIG bonuses, none of us will have work, can't shop for jewelry and human civilization will fall. Zoe, that's an amazing insight. Thanks, Spiderwart. The single hope to prevent such madness is a massive break-out of entrepreneurship. More on that later. This is Zoe... and this is Spiderwat...saying Glitter On! until we meet to chat up entrepreneurship!



Re-Focus on the Real

The most important and fundamental aspect of business is the end result. Few business professionals would argue this assertion. Differences enter with the definition of the end result. Is the result the financial bottom line? Many heads are nodding. Is the end result the affect your job, your company, your organization has on you and your family in terms of your  compensation, social dynamics and colleaguial relationships? More heads are nodding with mutters of "all the above." I sugest all factors are mentioned are extremely important, especially to affected individuals. Yet the end result of business is the sum total of the impact products and services have on the customer, consumer and the world. This "final analysis" impact is understandably swept aside allowing business professionals to focus on self, family and not much else. We must broaden our thinking.

Consider the case of Bill, CEO of a large electronics corporation based in the US and operating in 12 countries. Bill had a Harvard MBA, impeccable background and had worked his way up the ladder for 15 years. Bill was named CEO by the board. In the first year of his leadership the company increased profits significantly. Bill was on his way to being a very successful CEO. Then the unthinkable happened. One bright tuesday morning unique only in that Bill had an hour of office time instead of a full slate of meetings, the FBI arrived at Bill's office door, confiscated files and informed Bill all company operations were suspended pending the results of an investigation into links between the companies' distribution system and ties to an international drug cartel. After 3 years the investigation did not find wrongdoing on Bill's part but did cite him for lack of oversight of international operations in countries known to be hotbeds of drug smugling. While no charges or other negative legal repercussions ensued, Bill's caeer was effectively over. If we think a bit, Bill's case may be more dramatic than most, but not rare. Most CEO's at some point are called into question by the board, stockholders, consumers who experienced significant harm in using the company's products or services. Outside of the CEO office, few of us in the corporate/organizational world experince the impact of the end result of the company's business. Ironically, the CEO position is probably one of the least aware of the details of any part of the company's operation.

Let's play "what if". What if, everyone in a company keenly felt responsible for the way the company impacted the world in which it operated? What if communication flowed freely in a corporation allowing perceptions, concerns, fears of consumer damage to easily surface and be really heard at the lowest level of the hierarchy? OK. Perhaps the notion is fool's gold. Let's start small.

Try this experiement. Listen to the chatter of your company at whatever level you hear. Assume at least 50% is based on something true. You may have a few really rotten days as you come to grips with all this new information. Hold on. Only half has any basis in fact. Now, pick your spots. Identify one or two items on the grapevine that have the potential to blow into something fairly nasty for the company. Investigate gently to the extent you can.If your investigations indicate further exploration may be necessary, go to the colleague you most trust and have conversation. If your colleague concurs that there may a significant issue in the works, begin surfacing details, facts, concers up the ladder. You will run into a strong "no, leave it alone" at some point. When that happens you have found the "pinch point" of thye issue. Now you have to decide. If you choose to walk away -- be sure you walk away clean. Do not walk away looking over your shoulder thinking you will come back to this problem at some point. Walk away knowing you will not pursue the matter any farther and you are comfortable  with your decision. If you decide to continue, you have reached the point of value that allows you to see something of the end result of the business. Congratulations and good luck!

As a way of life in the business community, we must examine the factors in our orgaizations that help or hinder clear observation of thye end result. Beyond any individual risk that may or may not be in our future, we must conside the long-term impact of our every day actions.Think about just about any topical issue from the Middle East to the economy to the state of education in the US. All these issues and more could have been solved at some earlier point when the effects were not so systematically devastating. Let's solve these matters when they are solvable instead of letting them become a worldwide condition.

Competitve Politics

Once upon a time a Presidential Election was based on respectful differences of ideas, statesmanship and visionary good for our country and the world. The carnal  viciousness of the current presidential debate is unprecedented in our lifetime. Consider the impact of the national dialog in this election year on the corporate/organizational world. By unconscious osmosis, the way we lead, as executives, changes. Ask yourself a few simple questions -- just hear your own answers truthfully rather than the way you want to hear, think you "should" hear or any of the myriad of methods we use to hide our truth from ourselves.

  • Is there one individual among your direct reports who contacts you, knocks on your door if you are in the office and have a door, more than anyone else?
  • Does the information you receive from your direct reports range from "it's OK" to "glowing"?
  • Do members of your direct report team come to you about the bad behavior or incompetence of other members of the team?
  • Have you even once heard negative feedback from a credible source outside your directs about your direct report team?

If you being completely truthful with you, answered "yes" to any of these questions, it is highly probable negative competitive politics are keeping your directs both individually and as a team from achieving plan much less their best. As we continue our due diligence, a few more questions for you to ponder.

  • How have I changed the way I'm leading and why? External/internal ambiguities and changes? Pressure from other parts of the organization? The world offers a plethora of perplexities that impact us. Which ones are most prominent in your thoughts?
  • What are the upside and downside of how I have changed the way I lead? What can I do to maximize the upside and mitigate the downside?
  • What are the people outside my group that are reality checkpoints saying when I discuss these questions with them? If you do not have people you trust that you have asked to be your reality checkpoints (no family members here regardless of how wise their counsel), then get some. Leading at your best is based on your heart, mind, vision, the quality of information you receive and your ability to listen with your "Big Ears", "Aerobic Listening".

The ideas that surface as you consider these facets of leading will bring you to fruitful insights if you let them. You extraverts may need people to talk through your ideas with those you trust. Remember, you can never not lead (everything you do or say sends a leadership message) and assume everyone in your organization tells everything to one person they trust -- the roots of the "grapevine." Others of you may find writing your thoughts more helpful. One assurance I make without reservation is that win/lose negative politics in your team has to do with how you are leading to some extent. Of course there are other factors, yet the knowledge and skill to foster an environment of thriving in ambiguity, loving change as opportunity is the path to leadership mastery.

I have posed many questions here to spark new thought and ideas. I, too, go through the same process. Sometimes I come face-to-face with the realization that I have seen the enemy and it is me. Let me suggest one answer amid all the questions. Pondering leads to perspective; perspective leads to purpose; purpose leads to statesmanship, vision, power used positively. The single most important factor in determining the course to a new solution is asking the right question. Ask "how" and you presume a better direction. Ask "if" and you have already chosen failure.

Be Well, My Friends.

Linda C. Thompson