Father and son spending time together

Give the Gift of Time

The holidays are just around the corner.  Will you celebrate with loved ones?  I hope you can.

For the lovers among you, scroll down to the end of this post for your gift. 🙂

For the parents among you, why not make this an opportunity to teach your children about leadership by letting them take the lead with you!!

You offer your time. The children choose how to spend it.

Children (of all ages) spell love: T.I.M.E.

Children (of all ages) spell love: T.I.M.E.

Time as a present to offer

Money cannot buy time.  Not when it comes to time spent with kids.

Play-together-time often misses the Christmas list…AND yet, it’s the gift kids crave.

How does one “give” time?  How can one make it feel like a present?

That’s why we created these Gift Certificates.  Personalize with your child’s name and you signature, et voilà!  You have a valuable stocking stuffer you and your children will cherish.

Click here to download Gift Certificates.

Kids and Parents Learn Through Play

Play teaches children how to overcome boredom, to set and follow rules, to win and lose with respect.  Those are leadership skills!

Let kids direct the play (that’s your gift). You’ll discover them WHILE helping your child learn to thrive….even with challenging team members (you?).

You thought your daughter was impatient? She spends ½ hour dressing and undressing a doll! That will stretch the fortitude of many adults.

One Mom’s Story

The first year I offered these gifts to my sons they all invited me to play their favorite video game. “Oh, no! Wrong gift!” I thought.

These shared screen times taught me so much.  This time was “extra video time” for the children and since the intent was to share a moment together, they willingly spent 30 minutes teaching me why they like this particular game, what makes it exciting, and how to win.

I observed their skills (or lack of) in anticipation, in strategizing, in concentration, and more.

And the following week when they struggled with homework, we applied ideas from the game to help concentration. “Let’s create levels.  When you finish your first math problem, you reach level 2!”

The next year, I gave each child two gifts of time. One could be used for games on screens. The other was for something else of their choice.  One child wanted to learn more about his bank statement.  Another wanted to go shopping.

I kept doing this for years, even when our eldest was in high school.  He asked for a visit to the ophthalmologist to see about contact lenses!

You Don’t Feel Like It

Screen games or doll dressing isn’t your cup of tea? Is homework theirs?

Look to the bigger picture.  Model leadership and balance long term gains with short term costs.

You’re creating memories, proving their importance, and connecting on their level!  You’ll be amazed how that encourages them to seek to connect on issues of importance to you…like picking up their bags and coats in the front hallway.  Seriously.

The Children Don’t Feel Like It

Kids might act like they don’t want to play with you.

“Children often resist love when they need it the most.”

“Children often resist love when they need it the most,” assert Dr. Scott Turansky and nurse Joan Miller, authors of Parenting is Heart Work. Be creative and kindly insistent. They might be testing the sincerity of your offer.

If the kids don’t want to play, consider admiring them for 15 minutes. No words. No judgement.  Simply seeking to understand them in their environment.

Say “Thank You”

That magic word for all ages concludes your time together on a positive note.

The Biggest Kid of Them All

How about playing with your spouse……! We’ve got a gift certificate for them too!

Gift Certificate for couple's romance
Gift Certificate for couple's romance

To receive Gift Certificates click here.

Photo by Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash.com

Man reflecting in park

When It’s Urgent to Reflect

For many of us reflection seems like a luxury in our over-packed schedules and high-efficiency mindset.

We feel a need to respond immediately.

To respond!

In our world of disruptive innovation and fast change, don’t we really need to initiate?

Proactivity requires reflection.  Overcoming recurring stumbling blocks demands new solutions.  In the words of Albert Einstein, “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”

Reflection gets us thinking at another level.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”
– Albert Einstein

Here are five situations when deeper level thinking is vital.

1. When Faced with Failure

  • The deal you were about to close fell through at the last minute.
  • You expected a positive response from a colleague and met a very different reaction.
  • An employee left the company or is in burnout.

Step back

We could be too close to the problem.

Try stepping back using space.   Using Post-It notes, write one element of your challenge on each note and place them in order on a wall.  Step back and discover the pattern.  Where is the breaking point?

Try stepping back or forward with time.  Two weeks ago, what was the situation like?  Two weeks from now, what would you like to happen?

2. When Your Body “Complains”

  • You cannot sleep at night.
  • You have gained or lost weight.
  • You get sick.
  • Your digestion has gone havoc; gurgling sounds interrupt your meetings (!)

“If I knew I would live this long I would have taken better care of myself.”
– 90 year-old Al McDonald, previous Managing Director (CEO) of McKinsey & Company

Your and my energy is finite.  With exercise, nutrition, self-care, and planning we can increase our productivity … to a limit.

Re-Prioritize

Physical signs point to a need for change.  It’s time to re-evaluate the distribution of work.  Are you accepting too many projects?  Is it difficult to say, “No”?

Seeking recognition is a common goal.  All humans experience the fundamental need to belong and to contribute to a meaningful community.  Colleagues and neighbors may admire superhumans from afar.  It’s people we come alongside.  It’s relationships with fellow humans that bring meaning to work and life.

Review your investments in time and energy to identify tasks to delegate… and offer others a chance to grow and contribute too.

3. When Bored or Feeling Blasé

When all you see is 10 000 shades of grey, mental fatigue may be blinding you to life in full color spectrum.

Re-Connect

Consider these color images.  The first lacks greens.  The second is without red.  Without these hues, one can miss out on the obvious.

Numbers for Color Blind. No green
No green => confusing!
Numbers for Color Blind. No red
No red => confusing too.
Color blind numbers vector
Even with all the color, reading the numbers takes effort. Similarly, additional perspectives makes reflection easier.

When life appears color blind, it’s an invitation to reflect.  Easier said than done when we are in the blues.  Connecting with another person can add the clarity of perception we may have temporarily lost.  (That’s what coaches like me do.)

We have been given life in technicolor.  It’s urgent to re-assess when life appears monochromatic.

4. When Your Calendar is Always Full

I read of a foreigner learning English who integrated phrases she heard spoken around herShe learned to respond to, “How are you?” with, “I’m so busy.”

Many of us live with little margin.  We plan flexibility out of our lives.

Think of Yourself

Have you travelled on an airplane recently?  The flight attendants remind us to put on our oxygen mask BEFORE we help others.

Many people postpone self-care, prioritize working for others over taking time for oneself.   If you don’t invest in yourself, why should anyone else?

Self-care is a way to express your worth to your entourage.  Again, if you don’t believe in yourself, why should your boss, colleague, spouse, or child?

5. When You are Bitter or Jealous

We all look at the world through a filter.  The lens of envy focuses on faults … and since we are all humans, imperfections in each of us will be found.

Bitterness jettisons us into a vicious cycle of hurt and retaliation. It’s a lose-lose situation, and the one who harbors bitterness suffers most of all.

Lack of forgiveness is like drinking the poison you wish for someone else, reminds us Nelson Mandela.  Riddled with venom we perish; our joy dies, our ability to contribute constructively dwindles, and our sense of belonging withers.

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
– Nelson Mandela

Focus on Long Term Benefits

Numerous studies report how the elderly look back on their life.  Men and women lament the energy they wasted on insisting that they were right, even at the cost of a relationship.  The wise in years wish for strong rapport with folk who know their imperfections AND respect them still.

You may not desire nor need to reconnect in a hurtful relationship.  Do reconnect with yourself and your values.  (Often this does imply some kind of gesture in relationship recovery.)

It takes some stepping back to recognize our own responsibility in a relationship rift.

  • The 10 additional critical words to make SURE the reprimand got across
  • The 10 additional decibels in our tone of voice so that the entire floor could hear the negative feedback

As we realize and express our responsibility in the conflict, we free ourselves from a victim mentality and from reactivity.

Do you use a mirror to pluck out an ingrown hair?  Consider getting a coach or a sparring partner to bring to focus behaviors which could be aggravating an already delicate situation.

 

Reflection Becomes a Habit of the Mind

Reflection becomes a habit.

Try this activity from Positive Discipline that we do in my workshops:

  • Put your hands together and interlace your fingers
  • Straighten your fingers and move them down one notch. If your right index was on top before, the left one will be on top now.
  • How does it feel? What do you want to do?
    One participant shared, “The new hand position felt weird.  I wanted to go back to the previous way, and without thinking did so.  Then I tried the new hand position again.  It still felt unfamiliar, but less uncomfortable.  I realized that with practice, I could do this.”

Neuroscience corroborates this phenomenon.  When we activate our brain (as in through reflection) neurons create a pathway of connections from one part of the brain to another.  As we rethink similar thoughts, those same pathways get utilized, like a path a well-worn path that becomes easier and easier to follow.

Phew!

Action Step

Schedule a free trial coaching call.  Get in touch.

 

 

 

Disconnect of listeners. Confusion

Avoid these Pitfalls that Create Disconnect with Listeners

This week I heard Muriel Penicaud, the French Minister of Labour, speak on gender equality.  The man who introduced her commented that “gender equality is a topic close to her heart.”

Penicaud went on to expose the business case for this issue of global concern.  She cited French government initiatives to encourage women in leadership positions and to reduce the pay gap between men and women.  She shared examples of corporations that had implemented pay equality and the resulting vitality and engagement on the part of all employees.

So why did my hand shoot up during the Q & A ?!

Here was my question:

“In the introduction, gender equality was presented as a subject close to Ms. Penicaud’s heart.  For such a global issue with a strong economic case, shouldn’t it be a subject close to men’s hearts too?”

“Point well taken,” responded the male MC, and the discussion moved on.

You, me, and anyone can demean our arguments and distance listeners with well-intentioned, yet un-considered words.

We’ll look at three verbal faux-pas and how a slight reframing transforms these degrading snippets into opportunities to collaborate and reinforce.

Disconnect Trap – Labels

Do NOT:  Talk about other’s opinions

“Samira, who is particularly concerned about religious discrimination….”

“Meet Jeanne, our advocate for non-violent communication….”

These comments undermine the person taking a stand AND they don’t make the one saying it look good either.  They create disconnect.

The speaker positions him or herself as someone who is not concerned about issues like gender equality, liberty in beliefs, or constructive communication.  It invites the question:  are they more concerned about themselves than about others?

The person of whom it is spoken is put in a box.  Samira and Jeanne may be the savviest financial analysts or most astute marketers in the office, yet the above statements have stripped them of professional qualities and labelled them as “activists.”

DO:  Own your opinion

For the talk with the Labour Minister, I would have liked to hear: “Our fourth topic is gender equality, a topic close to Mme Penicaud and to my heart.”

Take a personal stand. 

“I respect Samira for her outspokenness regarding religious discrimination.”

“We should all be aware of our unconscious biases, and I have learned much from Jeanne when she calls me to account.”

Owning your opinion keeps gossip down.  Instead of talking just about Samira and Jeanne behind their back, now you have a stake in the discussion.

It trains you in leadership.  Great managers have their team members’ back.  A culture of trust is built as much in the daily interactions as it is in the strategic decisions.

Disconnect Trap – Discrediting Yourself

DO NOT:  Introduce your ideas with “I believe”

“I believe we should…“

“In my opinion,…”

If you are saying it, you should believe it.

The personalization of your opinion invites others to transform the topic at hand into an issue with YOU. That’s a disconnection with the business at hand.  Stick to the topic.

DO: Speak what you know

If you have facts and observations which lead to a conclusion, you are bringing value to a discussion.  Share it.

If you have a creative and helpful idea, share it.  Share it with confidence that you are a contributing member of a team. It’s what they hired you to do.

Here are ways to create connection in a group discussion

  • State the facts
    “Joe said __________.  Jane said __________.  A common point is _______.”
  • Clarify the perspective
    “We have not yet looked at the situation from the customer service angle…”
  • Test your ideas in a smaller group or an informal setting first. Ideas build on each other.  The more they are shared, the fuller they become.
    Over lunch:  “What do you think about (your idea)?”
  • Muster courage and state your belief or opinion without an introduction
    “Here is an opportunity: _________”

Alternatively, stay quiet and listen.  Really listen.  That brings value.

Disconnect Trap – Shirking Responsibility

Do NOT: Transform responsibilities into favors

“I’ll do it for you when I finish what I’m doing.”

Is this person doing a favor for his boss or colleague?!

I experienced this situation in personal life this week.  Full grocery bags sat on the counter and I asked for help to put the food away.

“Let me finish this and I’ll help with your bags after.”  Who’s bags?  We have five men in our household.  Who will be eating most of this food?

Whether your team is at work or in family, everyone benefits.  Everyone GETS to (vs. has to) participate in the work.  We contribute together for each other.

DO: Own your part of the responsibility

Stick to the task.

“I’ll do it when I finish.”

Play your part willingly.

“What can I do to help?  What do you need from me?”

Put it into practice

In my trainings, participants experience “Aha moments” when they discover how their communication creates disconnect.  We build these opportunities for self-discovery through interactive activities such as this listening exercise:

Two people face each other standing three meters (yards) apart.  Person A reads off statements and Person B responds solely by moving forward (he is motivated to cooperate with Person A) or by stepping back (he disengages).

Some of the statements generate disconnection and Person B steps away from Person A.  Others bring them closer together. The entire group pictures how some responses push people away while others build connection.

Want more cooperation in your communication?  Drop me a note and we’ll get the conversation flowing.

French soccer team winning FIFA World Cup 2018

Winning. Insights from Rosabeth Moss Kanter of Harvard Business School

France just won the soccer World Cup.  It happened last 20 years ago.

The World Cup was launched in 1930 and every four years (except during WWII) national soccer teams throughout the world compete for the champion’s prize.  Of the 23 FIFA World Cups held over the years, nine countries experienced the glory of winning.  Only two times did the same country win twice in a row.

Confidence How Winning Streaks & Losing Streaks Begin & End

What makes a winning team?

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, professor at Harvard Business School, researched the question and wrote about it in her book, Confidence: How Winning Streaks & Losing Streaks Begin & End.

Moss Kanter’s determines that winning stems from confidence and leaders deliver confidence.  Learn how and apply her insights to your company or organization.

Success is a process.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter (RMK): “Failure and success are not episodes, they are trajectories.”

“Success is neither magic nor dumb luck; it stems from a great deal of hard work to perfect each detail.  It is even a little mundane.  Win, go back to work, win again.”

Moss Kanter also describes losing as a process and mindset:  blaming and making excuses.

Food for thought:

What processes do you have in place to learn from winning?

How do you share this knowledge?

Confidence-building is the leader’s job.

RMK: “Confidence underlies the performance of individuals, teams, businesses, schools, economies, and nations.  The fundamental task of leaders is to develop confidence in advance of victory, in order to attract the investments that make victory possible—money, talent, support, loyalty, attention, effort, or people’s best thinking.”

Food for thought:

What three resources does your team need most now?

  • Freedom to take risks and learn from mistakes
  • Consistency in management objectives
  • Trust to manage their own time and priorities
  • Appreciation of a job well done
  • Training to work more effectively as team

Confidence builds on past experiences and reactions to those experiences.

RMK: “But confidence is not an artificial mental construct, solely dependent on what people decide to believe; it reflects reasonable reactions to circumstances.   People are caught in cycles, and they interpret events based on what they see happening, on how they are treated by others around them.”

Moss-Kanter refers to events occurring during the performance AND backstage.  On the field AND in the locker room.  In front of the client AND in the conference room.

Food for thought:

How do your actions “during practice times” contribute to your team’s confidence “in the limelight”?

For example, what are the impact of gossip, ridicule, selective information, and pleasing in your organization?

When and how does your team practice before “big performances”?  Which of these apply to your team

  • Present challenges to the team for co-development
  • Identify worst-case scenarios and brainstorm potential solutions in anticipation
  • Role play critical meetings beforehand

Emotions are contagious.

RMK: “Good moods are both causes and effects.  Winning puts people in a good mood and being in a good mood makes it easier to win.  Positive emotions draw people together and negative emotions tend to push them apart.”

Food for thought:

What emotions do you express or allow at work?  When did you last hear someone (including you) say

  • How proud they are of themselves
  • They are excited to come to work
  • It’s satisfying to learn
  • They enjoy the teamwork
  • They are bored and would like new challenges
  • They feel let down and seek ways to build mutual support

What impact does expressing or suppressing emotions have on your team?

Winners face facts and address problems.

RMK: “It builds confidence in leaders when they name problems that everyone knows are there and put facts on the table for everyone to see.  It also helps other people get over their fear of exposure and humiliation to see leaders providing examples of accepting responsibility.”

“Accountability is the first cornerstone of confidence….Everyone said they knew what the problems were, but those problems were always some else’s fault.”

Food for thought:

Surprisingly, obvious challenges can be hard to pinpoint.  Like the fish who asks, “What is water?”
How can you step back and gain a fresh perspective?

  • Request feedback from a junior member of your team
  • Meet with an independent sparring partner
  • Accept a speaking engagement or an invitation for an interview which challenges you to synthesize strategies and actions

Winners really do work harder.  They track the specifics of their progress.

RMK: “(The CEO) was not looking for drama, he was looking for delivery.  Delivery required attention to details.”

Moss-Kanter spoke of the boring part of winning:  tracking the numbers and being disciplined.  It also helps everyone be on the same page and data reveals what needs to improve right now.

RMK: “Data, details, metrics, measurement, analyses, charts, tests, assessments, performance, evaluations, report cards, grades—these are the tools of accountability, but they are neutral tools.  The do not restore confidence by themselves.  What matters is the culture that surrounds them.  For losers, they are another sign that they are watched too closely, not trusted, about to be punished.  For winners, they are useful, even vital, tools for understanding and improving performance.”

Food for thought:

On a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high), how relevant are your metrics?  How much do you rely on your KPI’s for decision-making?

What do metrics conjure up in your culture: blame or learning?  What will you do about that?

 

Can there be Winners without Losers?

In the World Cup only one team receives the championship cup.

And yet, no one can categorize Croatia as “Losers” in the 2018.  Their president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic set the example in recognizing great sportsmanship in the competition and in her own team.  She embraced the championship cup holders as warmly as she embraced her own team.  Following suit, the French president Emmanuel Macron also embraced each of the Croatian athletes.

Emmanuel Macron and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
The final whistle blows. Photo from Purepeople
Emmanuel Macron and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
Victory to all champions. Photo from La Parisienne
Emmanuel Macron and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic hugging Mbappe
Such a HUG. Even Mbappe is surprised at her warm congratulations. Photo from La Parisienne.
Emmanuel Macron and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic in rain
Celebration rain or shine. Photo from La Parisienne.

The world witnessed a moment of connection as rain-soaked heads of states hugged sweat-soaked athletes, regardless of whether they held the prized cup or not.

Grabar-Kitarovic’s honorable stance at the award ceremony changed the way the French public views the Croatian team.

There is one world cup winner.  AND, there are no loser.  Everyone stands tall after the match.

 

What power-struggle in your life can we transform into a no-lose situation?  Contact me  to implement such a transition.

 

Quotes from Rosabeth Moss Kater are excerpts from her book
Confidence: How Winning Streaks & Losing Streaks Begin & End

Cover photo from Gala

Birthday Wishes for adult

4 Birthday Gifts Colleagues Crave…yet Never Make the List

If your birthday gets celebrated at work it probably looks, tastes, or smells like

  • a box of chocolates,
  • an invitation for drinks,
  • a bouquet of flowers, or
  • a bottle of whisky.

It’s nice…yet is that what they really desire?

Studies abound highlighting the link between quality performance and recognition of a job well done and a sense of belonging to a team.  Why not offer a gift that truly matters for your colleague?

Offer the Gift of Listening

We all have feedback to give and many of us wonder how and when to express it.  When it comes to sharing an insight with hierarchy, the time never seems right.

Make it easy for your team member and offer them openness to their viewpoint.  Seriously, present it as a gift.

One CEO invites the employees with birthdays in that month to join her for lunch.  It’s their time to ask her questions about the company.

Another manager schedules a one-on-one meeting with two agenda items:

  • one behavior the team member appreciates in the manager and that he hopes the manager will continue doing
  • one behavior the team member finds challenging. They discuss a specific time this behavior occurred, and the employee expresses what he would have preferred as an outcome.

Be the Gift – Offer to Help THEIR WAY

I am regularly asked to help unblock relationship challenges and one of the common culprits is assumptions.

To assume makes an A.S.S. out of U and ME
– my brother

To assume makes an A.S.S. out of U and ME.  Like when we assume our team member wants our advice…when, really, those wise words sound like a command (yet another one).

Or when you do your colleague a favor and your efforts are not appreciated to their “just value.”  Maybe he really wanted the manager to stop interrupting him with busywork so that he could complete the task himself.

If you want to be a gift, let your colleague choose how.  “I notice the deadline is approaching and there still is much to do.  How can I help? It’s your birthday.  Ask whatever.”

(re)Celebrate a Success on the
Million $ Birthday Chair

“Effective managers build on strengths.”
– Peter Drucker

Relive a Success

Are you too looking for ways to get big bang out of less time, energy, and funds? The Birthday Chair does it every year.  For less than $1, the birthday person feels like $1 Million!

Give them an opportunity to relive a moment when they succeeded and were proud of themselves.  Designate a chair as the Birthday Chair and decorate it if you lifke.  Then, together, discuss one of their achievement, focusing on

  • the feelings generated by the success
  • the conditions that contributed to the achievements

This is a powerful tool to encourage employees and allow them to connect with the purpose of their work.

It can seem out of place to revisit an “old” event.  That’s where the Birthday Chair can create the occasion.  It’s a moment that is out of the ordinary.

Explore Success with all the Senses

I like to focus on each of the senses when reliving a success.  It’s like adding muscle and tissue to a skeleton.  The achievement comes to life in multiple dimensions and feeds the desire to achieve further.

Here is an example of helping a team member revisit their great presentation

  • What did it look like?
    Team member (TM): “It was motivating to have everyone’s attention and not to have people perched on their phones!”
  • What did it sound like?
    TM: “During the Q & A, people asked relevant questions that moved the discussion forward. They were clearly interested.”
  • What did it feel like?
    TM:
    “I know now that I can overcome the butterflies in my stomach when speaking in public.”
  • What did it smell like?
    TM: “Sweat! From now on, I’m keeping a travel size bottle of my fragrance with me to freshen up before making a presentation.”
  • What did it taste like?
    TM: “Champagne!”

Uncover the Conditions for Success

You can even dig further to understand the conditions that helped create the success and to explore how these conditions could be replicated.

Recognize their Unique Gift to the Team

Birthday card for work colleaguesWhen do you discuss your team members’ qualities with them?  Usually during the performance review, which is also when people are stressed and wary of critique.

When do you focus on the capabilities you seek to transmit?  Try intentionally creating occasions to recognize qualities.  Birthdays present an excuse to experiment with a positive approach.

Here is a birthday card offered by the team to one of their colleagues.  Each person wrote something they appreciate about the birthday person’s contribution to the group.

Download your card here.

Apply to Life

Million $ Birthday Chair at Home

Boy blowing out birthday candles

We love this big bang for little buck method to make a child feel special and belonged.

We decorate one chair BIG TIME:  at least 6 balloons and as many streamers.  The chair goes in the middle of the room where the kids (or all ages) gather for the presents.  It’s also the throne on which he reigns during the Birthday Story Time.

The Birthday Story Time

Share a story to encourage your child to grow in confidence, character, and responsibility.

  • What happened the day they were born?
  • What quality have you observed them develop this past year?
  • What is a sign of growing confidence?
  • How have they helped you become a better person or parent?
  • What do they do that makes you feel loved by them?

About YOU

When did you feel appreciated at work for your birthday?  Share it with us in the comments.

Positive Discipline workshop

Photo Reportage of a SoSooper Workshop with INSEAD Alumni

Do you face challenging behaviors or difficult people in your life?

“All the world is queer (odd) save thee and me,
and even thou art a little queer (weird).” – Robert Owen

Relationships are tough and take work. 

It’s true for everyone…whether you have an MBA from INSEAD or graduated from the school of Street Smart or are too young for studies.  Little issues escalate into big annoyances.

  • Your manager “bosses” around, imposing demands without seeking your input
  • Your colleagues are on the phone during your presentations
  • Your partner treats you like a child, “Don’t forget to______”
  • Your child repeatedly misbehaves…. again!!

There are two ways to handle such situations.

Either one party wins and the other loses (Win-Lose “negotiations”)….

Or no-one loses, and everyone gains. (Win-Win results)

It’s sooooo much easier said than done.  That’s why I lead workshops to transmit skills to transform challenges into opportunities for growth for everyone.

Science-Based Relationship Tools

How does one travel from challenges to opportunities?  With relationship tools.  You and I tend to use the same tools over and again.

“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” – Abraham Maslow

The SoSooper workshops teach an array of relationship-building tools which build mutual respect, a sense of belonging, and the desire to positively contribute to the group.

These science-based tools are based on the work of Dr. Alfred Adler (author of Individual Psychology), Dr. Jane Nelsen (PhD in Education) and psychologist Lynn Lott.  Nelsen and Lott designed the Positive Discipline approach of learning activities which engage the mind, body, and emotions

Photo Reportage of our Interactive Learning Workshop

These INSEAD alumni participated in the conference, Introduction to Positive Discipline for Parents.  I lead numerous workshops for very different audiences, especially for groups of professionals.  With a team of other trainers, we adapt the strong relationship principles to the organizational context.

Discover Also: SoSooper Workshops & Conferences for Teams at Work

Enjoy this glimpse of our event!

Welcome & Context

When speaking with parents who are also professionals, I introduce parenting as leadership development.  We aim to bring up children who will sooner than later be someone’s colleagues.   We also deeply desire that our kids be leaders of their life, that they have the skills and capabilities to thrive.

Notice on the photos how the group is fully attentive.  No phones in sight!

INSEAD alumni at Positive Discipline conference

Inviting Contribution

As humans, we each have the fundamental needs to belong and to contribute.  I put this into practice as of the start, inviting the group to contribute with chores to make our evening conference flow smoothly.  We made a list of Jobs (scribe, clean up, photographer…).  Once the list completed, I invited folk to volunteer for a task.

Silence!

One of the principles of Adlerian Psychology and Positive Discipline is to be FIRM and KIND simultaneously.  The group presented me with the opportunity to model that behavior.

Smile.  “These Jobs still apply and we still need volunteers for each.  Who would like to choose what?” Wait expectantly.

One by one, people stepped up to contribute.  Thanks to each of you.

Oftentimes when a leader assigns a job to someone else, there remains a follow-up period.  It’s like selling the need to do the work. This happens in the office as well as in the home.  Since people volunteered, there was no more need for a convince-to-do-the-job effort.

Engaging group at SoSooper workshop

Set the GPS

Next, as a group, we created two lists.  In our case, we focused on behaviors related to our children.  In a professional context we would focus on behaviors and goals for our team culture:

  • Challenging behaviors of our children
  • Talents & Life Skills we want them to develop

No need to prompt with these.  Suggestions flow, and fast.  Difficult behaviors include perpetual negotiation, defiance, rivalry…  Capabilities to develop include self-esteem, autonomy, desire for excellence, sense of humor….

These lists represent our GPS.  The challenges represent our starting position, today’s situation.  These issues create the invitation to act differently so that, instead of reacting to misbehavior, we proactively train in appropriate conduct and demeanor.

Setting GPS at Positive Discipline workshop

Discovering a Tool

Much of the learning is done by allowing participants to discover the perspective of the other party, in this case, of their child.

Each of the fifty relationship tools presented in my full training programs is presented through a unique interactive exercise which, like this one, engages the whole person.  Instead of theory, participants discover the learning principles for themselves.  “Aha!”

Act 1

In this activity, ten folk played the role of parents and one father played the role of a child.  The “parents” gave the “child” instructions.

“Put your shoes on.” “Brush your teeth.” “Put the phone down.” “Stop fighting with your brother.”…

I love to see how parents enjoy these scenarios.

After this first passage, we debrief the “child” and discover that these instructions encouraged him towards the CHALLENGING BEHAVIORS, like defiance and resistance!

INSEAD alumni at Positive Discipline workshop

Act 2

We embark on a second passage.  This time “parents” present their request through a Firm and Kind question“Do you want to put your blue or your red shoes?” “What do you need to do so your teeth don’t feel scuzzy?!” “What is our agreement on phone usage?” “How could you work this out with your brother?” 

In debriefing, the “child” says he feels responsible and respected.  He is invited to think.  And he chooses to consider each question and probably act on it.  In looking at the two lists, this time he identifies with the talents and skills.  He’s learning decision-making, autonomie, and that he is capable.  His confidence grows.

Denise Dampierre and INSEAD alumni

Through playing the scenario and discussion, participants arrrive at the conclusions themselves:  giving people instructions generates resistance.  Asking questions invites cooperation.

Giving people instructions generates resistance.
Asking questions invites cooperation.

Tools Galore

This Introduction to Positive Discipline provides a taster of the numerous aids to build relationships that respect BOTH the framework-need of the parents and the connection-needs of the children, and to leaders and team-members for professional settings.

These relationship tools work in multiple contexts.

Discover: SoSooper Workshops & Conferences for Teams at Work

Contact me to find out more and to plan a taster event for your network.

Martin Luther King Jr "I Have a Dream"

6 Insights from MLK to Dream Big

Today we commenmorate 50 years since the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.  Many remember this inspiring leader in the human rights movement and his speech “I Have A Dream.”

What is your cause? What is your dream? 

Martin Luther King Jr did more than dream.  He transmitted it too…so that others could share it and spread it too.  He began with the folks close to him, and his circle of influence grew and grew…to include me and you!

Let’s start turning our dreams for those closest to us into reality.

1. Dream for the Next Generation & Empower Youth to Dream Too

Learn from this great man to dream big and empower others to have a vision.

It’s OK to dream big even when the situation looks dire

“I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulation. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail … I say to you today, my friends, though, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream…” MLK Jr

nine dots

You and I can limit ourselves.

We can allow ourselves to hope what is feasible – the Basic-Fix-Dream rather than THE GRAND-VISION.

We do this every day at work and in family.

We hope employees get the job done.  They do…and 70% of them lack engagement in their work.  Could we dare for a passion for contributing to their team and for excitement to grow?

When siblings fight, we hope for “no blood.”  Can we envision them as co-builders of an amazing venture?

You may be familiar with these nine dots.

The exercise consists of passing through each of these dots once with four straight lines.  No more, no less, no curves.

Try it.

The clue?  Get out of the square.  In fact, there is no delimited zone.  The nine dots are in the shape of a square and folks like you and I turn that into boundaries.

Dreaming means setting sights high…

…then following through with an action plan.get out of nine dots

2. Powerful dreams tap into a common heritage, a larger-than-me mission

“It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the hue meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”

According to psychologist Dr. Alfred Adler, grandfather of Positive Psychology, a communal vision which benefits your community, be it family, neighborhood, friends, or more taps into our basic human needs of belonging and contribution which he describes as “Gemeinschaftsgefuehl .”

A community goal brings along with it a network of supporters.

It takes a team to reach the stars.  Set a dream that motivates and engages all.

Co-dream. And co-labor (collaborate).

When you converse with your team members or even with your children, how often do you refer to the common goal?  Find ways to include it in every day conversation.

At work:  “Today was a good day!  I helped solve a customer problem and it felt like ’empowering our customers through our technological and service excellence.'”

In family:  “How will we talk so that we show we are a family and that we love each other?”

3. Live the vision

Walk the talk.

Be a dreamer whose actions speak louder than words.

The US constitution declared all men of equal value.  And yet they were not treated as such.

Are you ambitious for your team or your child?  What qualities do you dream for them?

  • Respect of self and of others
  • Love of excellence and effort
  • Wise decision-making
  • Curiosity and tolerance

Let the next generation witness it through your actions.

  • Speak to the young interns and children with respect…even when they act without thinking
  • Stick to your commitments, like when you say, ‘I’ll be there in 5 minutes.”
  • Allow them to live the uncomfortable consequences of their own unwise decisions when the stakes are low. Misplacing a 10 cent coin is less painful than losing €1000.
  • Listen actively to understand their perspective before jumping to conclusions

THAT is dreaming with credibility and conviction.  Our example convinces our youth of the value of our hopes.

4. Dream with valor

Martin Luther King Jr ignites our fire when speaking of brotherhood, transformational peace-making, and character.

A dream worth living for is one worth dying for too. 

Who do you want with you as you end your days here?  What do you want said of you and for them to share with each other?  NOW is the time to plant those seeds.

For me, I want the “F.U.N.” back in funeral.  It’s because I celebrate life today that I hope folk will remember me with a smile GRIN in later years.

5. Clearly define success

“…little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”

A clear goal vitalizes both you and your co-dreamers.

Visualizing is a technique many leaders adapt to help them define their objectives.

A friend shared her experience at a career change workshop she attended.  The facilitator invited participants to close their eyes and to think of their ideal (dream) job.

“Now visualize the office in which you are working.”

And they proceeded with another dream session.

“Describe your colleagues.  Their age, what they are wearing, their facial expressions…”

Specifics make the dream more real…and realizable.

6. Seek strength for the LONG (loooooong) haul

“This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with… With this faith we will he able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will he free one day.”

In our quick win world, how can we prepare for valiant dreams that require sacrifice and persistence?

Performance experts assert that it’s not talent that keeps people from reaching their goals; it is lack of consistency which engenders lackadaisical results then discouragement and finally giving up.

In what will you place your faith?  Where will you find your source of strength?

The question is not “if” you will require boosting and encouragement.

The issue is WHEN.

Martin Luther King Jr found his from the God of the Bible.  It did not make him into a perfect person.  It made him united with others AND able to take a stand alone, peaceful AND powerful, patient AND courageous.

WOW.

 

Cook kneeding dough

How Mindfulness Builds Confidence

Whatever the outcome, our confidence grows from taking risks. 

That sounds nice, and it may have benefited people like Elisabeth Moreno, CEO of Lenovo France, who spoke about this in her interview.

But is it true for ME and YOU?  How can I find out…safely?

For Your Action

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” — Benjamin Franklin

Many of us take in insights with the “FYI, For Your Information” mindset.

It’s like reading a cooking recipe.  And stopping there.

Moreno invites us to go further.  “For Your Action” and “For You to Transmit.” 

That’s like rolling up your sleeves, getting fingers in the dough, and kneading…and kneading some more.

In a work setting it’s about sharing the passion for excellence, the engagement that comes from connecting with another person, and the pride in a job well done.

This process of learning to transmit is (somewhat) straightforward with hard skills.  Take cooking: Turn the heat to 180° and bake for 30 minutes.  (Although, in France, I discovered recipes which instruct “Cook until done.” Huh?!)

What about with soft skills like risk-taking and confidence-building?  The steps-to-success for getting out of one’s comfort zone vary from individual to individual.

Mindfulness Makes Confidence-Building Easier

That’s why it’s helpful to be mindful of our specific behaviors and attitudes which help us grow.

We pause.

Breathe.

Bring back into our memory a past risk that worked out well.  Revisit it through a benevolent lens.  What worked?  What did I learn?

Then recall a risk that did not turn out as desired.  What did I learn about myself?  About others?

Step back again.

What did I gain from this reflection?

Confidence-Building Worksheet

Try this worksheet to guide you through the process.

Here’s an example of ways I have grown through professional challenges.

Confidence-Building-Worksheet-Pro

Click here to download the pdf.

Confidence-Building in Personal Life

You and I take risks at work and in life.  Here’s an example from my situation as a wife and mother of teens.

Confidence-Building-Worksheet-Personal

Click here to download the pdf.

For Your Action

It’s your turn!

Click here to download a blank worksheet for YOU.

Share this worksheet with a friend, family member, or colleague.  It’s a powerful discussion starter!

Jumping across rocks. Risk taking.

How to take risks with confidence – Insights from Elisabeth Moreno, CEO France of Lenovo

We all need role models, people who have tread the path we hope to travel and who came out alive thriving.

Elisabeth Moreno, CEO Lenovo FranceElisabeth Moreno, CEO of Lenovo France is such a person.  Lenovo is a $43 billion global technology company and a leader in the PC market.  Moreno, a black woman from Cap Vert who immigrated to France as a child and was brought up with little means, has risen to the top in the fast-pace, male-dominated world of high tech.

Moreno recognizes the significant role self-confidence and risk-taking have played in helping her achieve this success, and seeks to transmit these qualities to her team, her family, and to you and me.  It’s a delight to interview her.

As a CEO, my duty is to transmit.  It’s how we prepare the next generation of leaders.

“I took a risk…”

Interview with Elisabeth Moreno
CEO Lenovo France

Denise Dampierre (DD): “Welcome.  Let’s dive right in. Tell us about some of the risks you took in your career.”

Elisabeth Moreno (EM): “Hello.  Risks are like finding yourself at the bottom of the pool.  Either you sink, or you swim.  I swam.

A professional turning point in my career was when I accepted to launch an initiative in Morocco for a company I worked for in the past.  No one believed I could overcome the social, racial, and religious differences.  Yet, when you must rely on yourself, you discover qualities deep within you.  I consider my two years in Morocco as among the best of my professional experiences.

Another risk was also to join Lenovo. When they came knocking I was in my comfort zone and could have stayed there for years.  And yet…my flame was flickering.  Lenovo, a Chinese company, represented opportunity and the unknown.  I took the risk to be vibrant with life.”

Build confidence: Try. Dare. Make Mistakes. Fall…and get up again.

DD: “It seems that risk-taking is integral to your life-paradigm.  Where did it come from? Were you born with it?”

EM: “I was scared of everything as a child!  I feared doing wrong.  Dreaded not understanding or not being understood.  I was scared to try.  And the more I focused on my fear, the more it grew and the less I dared anything.

I learned to embrace risk by facing challenges and realizing I overcame them.

When confronted with the kinds of situations, “If this should happen to me, I’ll die,” I came out of them alive.  Those fears were in my head!  When I realized these were fears I created, I sought out counseling and coaching and embarked on some thorough soul-searching and soul-healing.

Confidence is like a flower needing daily watering.  It is a muscle to keep in shape with daily exercise.

When we take a risk and it works, we grow in confidence.  It nurtures more confidence.

Even if the risk does not work out as hoped, we still grow in confidence.  We learn from every trial.  And even in failed attempts, something worked. If that one element succeeded a first time, there is a high probability it can generate positive results again.  Our society depends upon risk-taking.

Once we gain in confidence, then we need to learn to maintain it.  Confidence is like a flower needing daily watering.  It is a muscle to keep in shape with daily exercise.”

DD: “You speak of changing yourself.  And yet many people resist change and risk-taking because they believe the problem lies with someone else.”

EM: “We only see in other people something that resonates with us, be it positive or negative.  Everyone is not sensitive in the same ways.  One person can be transported by a piece of music whereas his tone-deaf neighbor finds the noise discomforting.  One person will leave a conference feeling ecstatic and uplifted and someone else deems it was a waste of time and money.

It’s so much easier to believe the problem lies in the other person.  People do not change against their will.  If they want to evolve, they will.  The only person on whom you have real power to change is yourself.

We reap what we sow.  Sow hate; reap hate.  Sow discord; reap discord.  Sow love; reap harmony.

I spend a lot of time transmitting. There is no magic wand to extract change in someone else.  And yet, I can create circumstances which favor change in others.  First, to be a role model, which I practice in both my personal and professional life.  Next, to be authentic.  When I am genuine with others, I invite authenticity from them.  When you are sincere, 50%—no, it’s more like 80%—of your contacts will respond with sincerity.

We reap what we sow.  As a junior manager, I believed success lay in being tough.  I reaped fear and distrust.  Then I took the risk to trust my team.  Trusting anyone renders one extraordinarily vulnerable.  When I trusted, positive results abounded.

Life is like a mirror which reflects what we give.  Sow hate; reap hate.  Sow discord; reap discord.  Sow love; reap harmony.”

DD: “How do you transmit a desire for risk-taking to your team, to your young employees, and to your daughters?”

EM: “As a CEO, my duty is to transmit.  It’s how we prepare the next generation of leaders.

Our youth seek meaning in life and in work.  Purpose comes from the heart, not from the intellect.  We focus our training on knowledge-building; we need to build know-how.

Creating learning experiences implies accepting our vulnerability as people.  By doing, and through interaction, we face our humanity straight on. Unfortunately, today’s education in France focuses so strongly on the intellect, and we find ourselves disconnected from our own humanity. I wish our youth had more opportunities to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.

Parents are obsessed with grades and, with the best of intentions, raise children to become test-taking machines. I don’t blame them; we all want to protect our children and do the best for them. Unfortunately, many parents respond out of fear.

And yet, our children will, and need to, confront their own fears.  This is how to prepare them for taking risks and for success in life.

Purpose comes from the heart, not from the intellect.

For a long time, we have been taught that leaders should manage with their intellect.  Reasoning reigns.  I have learned that leadership also relies on your heart and your gut.  As parents, we are called to use our brains to find ways to connect meaningfully with our children and to help them develop grit.”

DD: “What do you want your employees and daughters to believe about risk?”

EM: “I want my daughters and everyone to dare to take risks.

Risk does not avoid danger.  The fear of risk will not keep bad things from happening to you or me.  In fact, it is a good thing to recognize the riskiness of a venture.  It will guide you to keep a safe distance from the edge of a cliff.

Only our fears are often exaggerated. The outcome is often less serious than we dreaded.

I want my girls to have confidence.  Let them try.  Let them dare.  Let them accept making mistakes.  They will fall…and pick themselves up again.

I want my daughters and my young employees to know they are marvelous and a wonderful life awaits them when they embrace it.

Too many people today no longer dare to risk.  If they don’t succeed on the first try, they are ashamed.

If you or I do not take risks, we might distance danger, but we will forget to live.  We end up like the walking-dead: biologically alive yet without a life inside.

The more risks you take, the wider you open your arms to life.” It need not be a big risk, even the small ones can open fantastic opportunities.

DD: “Are there risks you did not take and wished you had?”

EM:  Laughter.  “No.  Of course, there must be some.  However, I do not live looking in the rear-view mirror and harboring regrets.  While I am still alive, I can still embrace those risks.”

DD: “Thank you.”

Thank You

Elisabeth Moreno gave us food for thought.  May we feed on it wisely.

  • To clear out the fears in our head
  • To dare and learn
  • To nurture our confidence daily
  • To lead with humanity

Stay tuned as, next week, I’ll share exercises to put these insights into action.

P.S. I’m writing from my orange Lenovo PC.  My husband recommended it for the technical qualities and value for money.  I fell in love with the color; it makes me happy to begin work every day.

Cover photo by Sammie Vasquez from Unsplash
Martin Luther King Jr "I Have a Dream"

6 Insights to Dream Big for Your Family from Martin Luther King Jr

Today we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.  Many remember this inspiring leader in the human rights movement for his speech “I Have A Dream.”

What is your dream for your family? 

What do your children dream for their own future?
(Check out our workshop for teens)

1. Dream for Your Family & Empower Kids to Dream Too

Learn from this great man to dream big and empower others to have a vision.

It’s OK to dream big even when the situation looks dire

“I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulation. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail … I say to you today, my friends, though, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream…” MLK Jr

nine dots

You and I can limit ourselves.

We can allow ourselves to hope what is feasible – the Basic-Fix-Dream rather than THE GRAND-VISION.

If our children dislike school, we aim for passing grades.  Could we dare for a passion for learning?

When siblings fight, we hope for “no blood.”  Can we envision them as co-builders of an amazing venture?

You may be familiar with these nine dots.

The exercise consists of passing through each of these dots once with four straight lines.  No more, no less, no curves.

Try it.

The clue?  Get out of the square.  In fact, there is no delimited zone.  The nine dots are in the shape of a square and folks like you and I apply the boundaries.

Dreaming means setting sights high…

…then following through with an action plan.get out of nine dots

2. Powerful dreams tap into a common heritage, a larger-than-me mission

“It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the hue meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”

According to psychologist Dr. Alfred Adler, grandfather of Positive Psychology, a communal vision which benefits your community, be it family, neighborhood, friends, or more taps into our basic human needs of belonging and contribution which he describes as “Gemeinschaftsgefuehl .”

A community goal brings along with it a network of supporters.

It takes a team to reach the stars.  Set a dream that motivates and engages all.

Co-dream. And co-labor (collaborate).

Which of your children’s classmates will want to help your kid be better than everyone else? (or vise versa)

3. Live the vision

Walk the talk. Be a dreamer whose actions speak louder than words.

Be a dreamer whose actions speak louder than words Click to Tweet

The US constitution declared all men of equal value.  And yet they were not treated as such.

Are you ambitious for your child?  What qualities do you dream for them?

  • Respect of self and of others
  • Love of excellence and effort
  • Wise decision-making
  • Curiosity and tolerance

Let your children witness it through your actions.

  • Speak to the children with respect…even when they act without thinking
  • Stick to your commitments, like when you say, ‘I’ll be there in 5 minutes.”
  • Allow them to live the uncomfortable consequences of their own unwise decisions when the stakes are low. Misplacing a 10 cent coin is less painful than losing €1000.
  • Listen actively to understand their perspective before jumping to conclusions

THAT is dreaming with credibility and conviction.  Our example convinces our kids of the value of our hopes.

4. Dream with valor

Martin Luther King Jr ignites our fire when speaking of brotherhood, transformational peace-making, and character.

A dream worth living for is one worth dying for too. 

Who do you want with you as you end your days here?  What do you want said of you and for them to share with each other?  NOW is the time to plant those seeds.

For me, I want the “F.U.N.” back in funeral.  It’s because I celebrate life today that I hope folk will remember me with a smile GRIN in later years.

5. Clearly define success

“…little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”

A clear goal vitalizes both you and your co-dreamers.

Visualizing is a technique many leaders adapt to help them define their objectives.

A friend shared her experience at a career change workshop she attended.  The facilitator invited participants to close their eyes and to think of their ideal (dream) job.

“Now visualize the office in which you are working.”

And they proceeded with another dream session.

“Describe your colleagues.  Their age, what they are wearing, their facial expressions…”

Specifics make the dream more real…and realizable.

6. Seek strength for the LONG (loooooong) haul

“This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with… With this faith we will he able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will he free one day.”

In our quick win world, how can we prepare for valiant dreams that require sacrifice and persistence?

Performance experts assert that it’s not talent that keeps people from reaching their goals; it is lack of consistency which engenders lackadaisical results then discouragement and finally giving up.

In what will you place your faith?  Where will you find your source of strength?

The question is not “if” you will require boosting and encouragement.

The issue is WHEN.

Martin Luther King Jr found his from the God of the Bible.  It did not make him into a perfect person.  It made him united with others AND able to take a stand alone, peaceful AND powerful, patient AND courageous.

WOW.