Diversity in icecream. Tin Pot Creamery

Embracing Differences without Conflict – from Steven Sels, CEO Primagaz

We are continuing with our series on diversity inspired by Steven Sels, the CEO of Primagaz.  The previous post broached the benefits of diversity and how the company’s intentional strategy to build multi-national and multi-cultural teams favorably impacts their talent management, bottom line, and corporate culture.

Read: 12 Riches of Diversity – Interview with Steven Sels, CEO Primagaz

Today, Sels shares the practical side to harvesting these riches:

  • How it happens
  • Who does what and when
Steven Sels in action

Pre-Requisties to Effective Diversity – Differences without Contention

Sels believes diversity programs fail to reap these riches when the prerequisites are not yet in place.

“Do not start with diversity because it will crash.  For me there is no real cost to diversity. But there are prerequisites that, if they are not in place, I am convinced a diversity strategy will not work.

When there is a culture of openness, collegiate decision-making, work organized in networks (vs. in silos), and the willingness to hire people who do not fit a standard profile, then diversity speeds up performance and growth.”

Denise Dampierre (DD): Describe collegial decision-making at Primagaz.

Steven Sels (SSe): Our Executive Committee – the CEO, CFO, COO, CHRO, CMO – meets weekly.  We are an international group: I am from Belgium, we have a Turk, two French, and a Franco-American who has lived 15 years in the US.

Every Monday, we take the whole afternoon together.

It starts at 11:00 and we resolve the first two issues on the agenda.  Over lunch, the five of us take one and a half hours to debrief the previous week and share what’s coming up.

The afternoon is open for presentations from throughout the organization.  Numerous teams present a project for review and decision-making.  We add to the agenda proposals of a maximum of five slides submitted by the previous Wednesday. During the Monday meetings we spend thirty minutes in discussion with each team.  We do not spend the time reviewing the presentation; we explore and debate the issues. It requires considerable preparation by everyone.

These five slide proposals and ensuing discussion require that team members are aligned with each other; the teams themselves have already practiced collegial decision-making.

The Exec Com reviews many projects every week.  This gives us a feel of the trends and new perspectives. The invitation is open to any team to convince us of a project.

“It can be very difficult for people from other countries to manage French teams.  The fact that we see each other very regularly makes it easier to understand and to be understood.”

DD: Do you have to meet every week and for as long?

SSe:  It’s because we see each other every week that we advance faster.

Colleagues outside the company tell me that this half-day is wasted time.  For me it is four half days gained time!  We don’t have to get the train rolling, it already is in movement and these meetings build the momentum.  It’s a continuum that functions easily, smoothly, and productively.

“Since we review many projects every week, we gain a feel of the trends and new perspectives.”

DD: How do you arrive at collegial decision-making?

SSe: We aim for a unanimous agreement in our Executive Committee.  If someone is not in accord, it is the responsibility of the other members of the committee to find the arguments to convince him. This can take several sessions. If we do not succeed in convincing the other person, then we do not proceed with that venture.

Since we meet so often, we get to know each other and learn to work with our various cultural frameworks and individual personalities.  It is rare that we cannot reach an agreement.

This collegiate decision-making works so well for us because we are multi-national and multi-cultural.  We need to take advantage of our diversity of cultures, points of view, and characters.

Once we have reached the agreement, implementation goes super-fast.  Management is all aligned and we each know what to do to make it happen. What a great advantage!

DD:  You described collegiate decision-making at the Executive Committee level as possibly lengthier in discussion yet speedy in implementation.  How can you act quickly if operational teams also go through the time-consuming process of collegiate decision-making?

SSe: This process of having groups present to the Exec Com forces the teams to be aligned beforehand.  They have been through their own collegiate decision-making process before their proposal reaches us.

“Once we have reached the agreement, implementation goes super-fast.  Management is all aligned and we each know what to do to make it happen.”

DD: What happens when you cannot reach an agreement?  How do you avoid outright conflict?

SSe: It happens very rarely. Very, very, very rarely.

We have a culture where things get said directly, not in back-handed comments in the hallways but face-to-face in the Exec Com meetings.

We also acknowledge cultural differences and account for it.  Take the French. Their communication style is High Complexity & Very Direct.  By the way, this is only true in France, not in other European cultures.

High complexity means using long sentences and sometimes running around the bush before getting to the point. They can also be very direct with comments, like giving a slap.

Germans have Low Complexity and are Direct.  Italians and Spaniards tend towards High Complexity and Indirectness.  That’s also the case with our Turkish head of HR.  The Americans have yet another mentality.  These differing mindsets are wealth that we want to tap into. If we only have French people around the table, or men or women, everyone will come in the same direction because we are all biased on the same way of working.

And yet, it can be very difficult for people from other countries to manage French teams.  The fact that we see each other very regularly makes it easier to understand and to be understood.

“We aim for a unanimous agreement in our Executive Committee.  If someone is not in accord, it is the responsibility of the other members of the committee to find the arguments to convince him.”

In some rare cases, you still need a CEO to decide. I remark, “There are too many different opinions around the table. Here is my proposal and why I think it’s the best for company.”  I open the debate and ask if everyone can find themselves in this solution. And we move on.

DD: Even that is a collegial way to decide!

DD:  How do you handle errors in a collegial decision-making environment?

SSe: We need to be close to our teams and to be visible.  Visible thought leadership. We work in a decentralized organization; we depend upon trust. People must be comfortable saying things.

Admitting error only works when people know an example of someone who exposed himself and the situation turned out positively for him and for the company. They can tell themselves, “I dare speak up.”

We apply this regularly in meetings asking, “Is there still an elephant in the room?”  Is there a potential or actual problem that everyone sees yet nobody talks about?  We make it super easy and simple to broach so that people see that they are not blamed.

When I learn of a mistake, I pick up the phone and call someone at our holding company.  We can only correct mistakes when we know about them.  Then we seek solutions.  It’s simple.  It’s our culture.

I worked in other organizations before joining SHV Holdings where employees had suspicions about unethical behavior.  They kept quiet.  That doesn’t happen here.  Bad news travels quickly so that we can do something about it.

“How we shape our buildings shapes our business and our people.”

We also have to be in touch with our indirect reports and reduce notions of hierarchy.  Hierarchy fosters fear.  We use our physical building space to create connection.  It’s open space with possibilities for privacy.  Open space only works well when people also have an opportunity to retreat.  We call it Total Workplace Organization because how we shape our buildings shapes our business and our people.

There is no golden rule to preventing mistakes.  It’s a daily effort.

Thank You

Many thanks, Steven Sels, for sharing with simplicity (Low Complexity) and candor (Direct) how Primagaz transforms the concept of diversity and the reality of different perspectives into quality decision-making and speedy implementation.

  • Meet often & consistently
  • Model the behavior you seek
  • Create processes which reinforce collegial decision-making at multiple levels
  • Take time to get Ready & Set. Then GO!

Stay tuned for the next post where I’ll be sharing a tool to put these insights into practice.

Questions for Steven Sels?  Post them in the comments below.  Thanks.

Cover photo – Tin Pot Creamery
They ship ice cream throughout the US! 

Woman doing pushups in Pilates class

Lead Constructive Meetings – Tips from Pilates

For many of us, meetings are a necessary evil.  We need team ressources and support, so we have to meet.  And yet many meetings feel unproductive.

How does one organize and run a meeting for optimal teamwork and productivity?

Contrary to popular believe, efficient and effective meetings rarely start by jumping right into the meat of the matter.  That’s expecting everyone to have thinking, listening, and creative caps donned.

It’s rarely the case.

Here is inspiration from one of my most envigorating weekly meetings:  a Pilates class.

1. Define the Mindset

Tips from Pilates

Our teacher begins every class the same way.

“Breathe.  Stand straight.  Feet hip-width apart.  Shoulders above hips.  Tummy muscles squeezed tight. Let your chin drop towards the sternum and feel the stretch

Every time, I am caught by both surprise and familiarity.

Surprised because I’m slouching, am disconnected with my body, and don’t even realize it!

These regularly repeated words prime both my spirit and my body for stretching and muscle-building. It takes 10 seconds.

Positive Mindset in Meetings

How do you prime your team members for alignment during your meeting?  Model the behavior you seek.

For connectedness: Take 10 seconds to smile and look each person in the eye.

To tackle a challenge regarding the competition: Link your fingers and stretch your arms out in front of you.

To foster listening: Stay silent until the room quiets down.

2. Engage the Core Muscles

Tips from Pilates

“Tighten your abs. Squeeze the inside of your thighs 

Engage the Core Muscles in Meetings

What will constitute a “firm core” for your meeting?  Let the group know the intellectual muscle you expect.

“Let’s put those creativity caps on!”

“We have a full agenda.  We want to hear from everyone who has something new and relevant to add.”

“Disagreement is OK. When we present our viewpoint, let’s stick to facts. I may request a moment for each of us to write our thoughts down before continuing the debate.”

3. Clarify Expectations

Tips from Pilates

“Feel the stretch in your lower back…”   It’s our cue for success; if we only feel the legs, something is out of whack.

Clarify Expectations with a Meeting Agenda

A shared written agenda helps keep the meeting on track.  It’s an agreed-upon tool to refocus.

“The decision we have to make today is ___________. You have a valid point and we still need to move ahead.”

Time indicators on your agenda adds yet another element of accountability.

“We had spent 15 minutes debating this issue.  Are we getting ready to decide or do we need to come back to this topic with additional information?  If so, who will do what?”

4. Maximize Results in Minimum Time

Tips from Pilates

“Let’s tone triceps.  For these push-ups, place your hands facing forward with arms next to your body.”

Standard push-ups build upper body strength.  This particularly positionning tones triceps.  Our goal is fit-looking arms to show off our summer wardrobe.  These forward-facing pushups get us the results easier and faster.

Stay Focused

Less is more.  Avoid distraction that generate lengthy, somewhat-related discussions.  Aim to define several concrete steps to move forward and assigning who does what.  That’s HUGE and motivating to all.

5. Self-Evaluate

Tips from Pilates

Between exercises, our Pilates instructor reminds us to align our body, to strengthen our core, and where to feel the stretch.

Oops!  I squeezed those glutes five minutes ago and then shifted my concentration to the movement.  In that short time span, I forget to keep those butt muscles engaged!

Invite Re-Alignment throughout the Meeting

In the same way, it’s helpful to return to meeting’s posture, purpose, and schedule to check in.

To avoid putting someone on the spot, invite self-evaluation.

“How are we doing on creativity/timeliness/mutual respect/?  What could you do to help us be more imaginative/productive/effective listeners?  Let’s continue

Read Turn Good Intentions to Great Teamwork for an example of self-evaluation during meetings.


6. Nourish your Brain

Tips from Pilates

Between exercises we rehydrate with water infused with lemon, ginger, or cucumber.

Serve Water during Meetings

Do you know that the brain contains 80% water?  Studies show that hydration contributes to memory and clear thinking.

Serving water also creates a pause in the meeting dynamic.  Try relieving tension between participants by offering a glass of water.  These nanoseconds allow the brain to receive nourishment AND to process emotions which boosts the ability to reason and rationally weigh alternatives.

The humble act of service demonstrates your care for the participants.  It’s a basic human need to seek belonging and significance.  A glass of water with a smile allows you to connect one-on-one with a person, even during a large meeting.

7. End with a Closing Routine

Tips from Pilates

“One last stretch before we go.”

Stretch the Value of the Meeting with One Word to Recap

“Let’s go around the table with a take-away from each of you.”

This is a gentle yet firm way of securing buy-in
.at least on something.  Peer pressure encourages even the reticent participant to contribute.  It could be eye opening for them to realize the meeting held value to their colleagues.

If the closing comments fall below your hopes,consider how to prepare or manage your next meetings differently.  Take stock:

  • What went well?
  • When were the less productive moments?
  • How well did your respect the schedule (ie and respect the value of your participants’ time)?

Want to participate in a business meeting with these tips in action?  Contact me about organizing a conference in your workplace.

Apply to Life

These techniques work marvels with children around the kitchen table.  It’s the opportunity to address an elephant in the room and get the kids involved.

“I noticed that we have trouble getting out the door on time in the morning.”

Define the Mindset – Smile.  Reassure the children this is a time for solution-finding, not blaming.  “Around this table I won’t tell anyone to ‘Stop dragging your feet.’”

Clarify Expectations – “Let’s come up with ideas to make mornings calm and joyful.  From our list we can choose one to try this week.”

Invite Self-Evaluation – “Yes, your brother could ______.  What could YOU do?”

Stay Focused – When the kids squabble among each other, reframe.  “Hum. How is that pinching helping us get out the door on time? (Pause. Eye contact. Smile.) Another idea?”

Finish Strong – “Let’s each say one phrase to share what you thought of our meeting.”

  • “I felt like a big person.”
  • “I know how to help.”
  • “We have great ideas!”

Cover photo from Unsplash

Boys in teamwork. What collaboration!

Turn Good Intentions into Great Teamwork

Who among you works with youth or young employees?  How do you help the next generation to transform good intentions into teamwork, collaboration, and positive results?

That’s what I had the opportunity to put to the test this past week when teaching a class in Introduction to Management to university students, youth with several months of corporate work experience.  The university called me in to pick up a class in the middle of their curriculum; I began with the topics of Motivation and Leadership.  How appropriate!

Personable and polite students entered the class with good intentions.  In theory, they were motivated.  In practice, they quickly lost focus by chatting with a colleague or scrolling on their mobile phone.  Bye bye, teamwork.

Professor colleagues lament the young generation’s lack of attention and most respond in either of two schools

  • to carry on whether the students are listening or not
  • to walk over to the students’ desk and close their computers for them

Motivation 3.0

My area of expertise is Motivation-in-the-Era-of-Internet which expounds that employees are most motivated when they find autonomy, mastery, and purpose in their work.  Ignoring students or treating them like a child lies contrary to this Motivation 3.0 approach.

“Management is about creating conditions for people to do their best work…And what science is revealing is that carrots and sticks can promote bad behavior and encourage short-term thinking at the expense of the long view.” – Dan Pink, from Drive

Additionally, my experience with Millennials confirms their search for authenticity and connection in relationships.  Neither of the above teaching/leadership styles convey either genuine interest in or an engagement with the students.

Here was my dilemma:  How to teach/lead and engage these students in a way that

  • ensures results (the material is covered qualitatively=
  • creates a sense of belonging and desire to contribute among the students?

In other words, how to help these Post Millennials transform their good intentions into positive teamwork?

Team-Generated Collaboration Guidelines

We used a tool that works wonders in my workshops: Co-Developed Group Guidelines

This tool helps both create and maintain a constructive work environment.


1. The first step entails putting the good intentions into writing.  Here is how.

Invite your group to share, “What can we each do to work together as a great team?”

Folk respond right away with, “To respect each other.”  And the list continues.

2. It’s helpful to break down vague or over-used words. 

  • “What does respect mean exactly?”
  • “What will it sound/look/feel like?”
  • “What is an example of lack of respect that we should avoid?”

3. Once the brainstorming complete, invite the group to prioritize three to five of these great team behaviors.

The process of making the list together brings the success-criteria to top of mind.  It’s like hearing the reminder to drink 1 liter of water a day.  We know these are helpful behaviors AND we benefit from remembering to do so.

The process of having built these teamwork criteria together builds belonging to the group and accountability.  “It’s the rules I made.  It’s normal that I should keep them.”

Here is our class’ list.Teamwork collaboration guidelines


As humans, any rule is hard to follow, even the great ones we make ourselves!  We need help yet even well-intentioned positive reminders can sound like nagging.  Invite self-evaluation as an effective means of follow through.

Half-way through my class I invited our group to review our team ground rules.  “How are we doing? Thumbs up (good teamwork), side ways (OK job), or down (need improvement).”

In our class, thumbs were all over the place!  That’s an opportunity to address the elephant in the room.

it looks like some people think we are listening while other people talk, and others don’t.”

That’s where I appealed to everyone to think of one or two behaviors to change so that our listening improved.  Some students closed their computers on their own accord.  We reshuffled the break-out groups which had the effect of separating chattering partners.  People sat up straighter in their chairs

And we smiled (!) and continued with class.

And for our next session on Communication and Teamwork, we’ll begin by reviewing those same co-developed ground rules and setting a personal goal to be 1 Great. Team.

How do you engage your young employees?  Please share in the comments.

Apply Teamwork Guidelines to Your Work

What is your challenge with teamwork?

  • People arrive late in meetings
  • Folk repeat what has already been said or done
  • Meetings have no agenda
  • Lack of trust

Try setting a new stage.  Instead of focusing on the challenges, brainstorm together about great teamwork and, TOGETHER, set yourselves some clear guidelines.

Apply Teamwork Guidelines to Your Life

Easter is this Sunday.  In France, it’s customary to celebrate over a looooooong meal with extended family.  You love the food, wine, and company.  The kids get bored Ă  table for an eternity.

Try this activity “en famille.

“Sweethearts, what can we do to make the big family meal a great experience for everyone?”

Everyone can brainstorm:

  • “We could get up and play between courses”
  • “We could get up and help (!) between courses!!”
  • “We could have Easter Egg drawings and color them while the adults finish eating”
  • “We could make an Easter Egg hunt for the adults!!!”

Once the brainstorming juices have flown free, then select one or two options that’s acceptable to everyone. 🙂

Photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash

Sand seeping through hands

4 Timely Ways to Overcome Procrastination Quickly

With HUGE delight we welcome our guest blogger, Sonya Kaiser.  Sonya was a high school classmate of my son and has now graduated from University of Pennsylvania in Biological Basis of Behavior with a minor in Psychology.  Sonya is bi-cultural, with a French father and American mother, and has lived on several continents.  She currently teaches in a bilingual pre-school in Seattle, Washington, USA.

It’s a treat to benefit from her scientific knowledge of the brain and its impact on behavior.  It’s also an honor to feature a young woman whom I knew as a teen and is now a colleague.  She’s keeping me on my toes!

Please do let Sonya know what you think of her article! Which of the Procrastination Traps catches you most off guard?!  How do you overcome it? Share your questions about neurology and time management in the comments.


Sand seeping through hands
Time running out

We’ve all done it, thought “I’ll do it tomorrow”, left an assignment to the last minute, procrastinated a task for so long that eventually we just forgot we wanted to do it in the first place.

Procrastination is an enemy to many and the best way to handle it is to know your enemy.

Did you know that procrastination can be caused by a few  psychological patterns? Which one of these speaks to you?

Procrastination Causes

Fear of Failure

Fear of failure

The reason that is most commonly brought up is a fear of failure.

The feelings of anxiety or self-doubt that come over you when you’re unsure whether you can complete a task successfully can quickly become crippling and prevent you from getting started.

Even worse, as time goes by, you can start overthinking and building the task so much in your mind that it becomes harder and harder to overcome that fear.


Kids in viking costumer with shields
“No way!”

Another possible cause of procrastination is a sort of self-defense mechanism, to maintain a positive view of yourself.

Your sense of self-worth is often determined by your ability to successfully complete tasks. This is why it’s often easier to check easy tasks off your to-do list than more challenging ones, why you might tend to avoid anything with a higher likelihood of failure.

Procrastination can also be a convenient defense if you do end up failing.

If you don’t give yourself enough time to complete the task, you can blame the failure on the lack of time rather than your own lack of ability, which in turn enables you to maintain your confidence in your abilities.

Problem for the “Future Me”

Einstein in color graffiti
“I’ll be smarter later”

Another common reason to procrastinate is the idea that your future self will be better equipped to handle the task. You might think you’ll be in a better mood, less tired, or more emotionally prepared in a few hours or a few days and you leave the burden of your task to a future you.


Which of the above have tempted you the most?!  Fear of Failure – Self-Defense – Delegate to “Future Me”

Want help setting up your Pro-Doing-It-Now plan?  Ask your question here.

Strategies to Turn Procrastination Around

Divide tasks into smaller pieces

Watermelon cut into smaller pieces
Chop, chop

This will make them seem more manageable. It’s always less daunting to start a task when you can picture the end of it.

Tips for parents

Instead of writing “clean the house” on your to-do list, try “tidy living room, do laundry, mop floors, vacuum floors, fold clothes”

Tips for students

Instead of writing “write 10-page essay” on your to-do list, try “find topic for essay, research for 2 hours, write an essay plan, flesh out essay”.

Set tangible deadlines

kitchen time
“Driiiiing!” Time is up.

If a deadline isn’t imposed by someone else, try giving yourself one. Self-imposed deadlines are generally less effective than external ones, but they’re better than nothing!

Tips for parents

If you do give your kids a deadline, try using “when” rather than “if”. For instance, try saying “When you’re done cleaning your room, we can play a board game” instead of “If you clean your room, we can play together”

Tips for students

Try setting a timer to encourage yourself to work for a specific amount of time without stopping or getting distracted.

Block access to distractions

Fence with this way sign
Stop. Turn. Go.

It’s so easy to let your attention wander. As an adult, the main culprits are often distracting websites like social media or streaming services. But kids can be distracted by anything that moves, anything that makes a noise or even by their own exciting inner lives.

Tips for parents

Try keeping your kids’ attention focused on boring tasks, like putting on shoes and coats, with a little song that you can all sing together.

Tips for students

There are a few great apps that can help you block websites in a more effective manner than just self-monitoring, like SelfControl and StayFocusd.

Find joy in the task itself

Boys in garden
“Joie de vivre” – Contagious joy.

It always helps productivity and mood to think of tasks as things that you want to do or get to do, rather than things you have to do. Try to make tasks either positive, worthwhile or entertaining in some way.

Tips for parents

Add a sense of competition to dull tasks like getting ready for school. The first person who’s completely ready gets to ring a little bell! Ready, set, go!

Tips for students

Instead of sitting down or pacing while studying some flashcards, put on some music and have a little dance party!


Boy mopping floor doing chores

Build Kids’ Confidence with Chores

Today’s Gift on the Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home advent calendar for parents

1 magnetic Chore Chart for parents & kids together
from Ludocatix  

How to receive this gift?  Take the fun quiz on the Parent Advent Calendar today and you could be the lucky one to win the draw.

“What life skills do you want to transmit to your children?”

Ludocatix chore chart

This is how we begin our Positive Discipline parenting workshops and invariably parents share a list of traits like these:

  • Responsibility
  • Autonomy
  • Love of excellence
  • Empathy
  • Respect
  • Teamwork

Today’s gift helps you transmit these skills to your children AND SIMULTANEOUSLY make life easier for you.  Ludocatix offers you a magnetic chore chart which you and the kids, together, adapt to your home.

Do You Know?

In a survey of 1001 US adults, 82% said they had regular chores growing up but only 23% indicated that they require their children to do them, reports the Wall Street Journal in their article “Why Children Need Chores.”

What happened?

Many parents feel they burden their children with chores and feel guilty.  Or they fear chores could negatively impact their relationship with the kids.  Yet research demonstrates the opposite.

Research indicates that those children who do have a set of chores have higher self-esteem, are more responsible, and are better able to deal with frustration and delay gratification, all of which contribute to greater success in school.

Aren’t those the skills parents desire to pass onto their children?!

Today’s gift, a magnetic chore chart you can create with your children, helps them remember their chores in a fun and colorful way.

10 Ways Children Benefit from Chores

Here are 10 reasons why chores are great for kids
and therefore great for you too.

  1. To help kids feel needed
    How do you define your family?  What helps the kids know that they BELONG.  When a child has a regular chore, the other family members COUNT ON HIM.  He is needed; he has a role to contribute to the well being of all.
  2. To build a love of excellence
    Parents get to encourage quality in work as they observe how well a chore is completed.  They are also able to provide immediate, usable feedback.
    “Honey, is that pink toothpaste I still see on the bathroom sink?  A clean sink is shiny and white.  Show me how you cleaned it last time and we’ll find one thing you can do differently to make the sink glow!”
  3. To not treat parents like the Maid of the Butler
    When parents or house help do all the chores, kids tend to treat those who clean up like
servants whose purpose is to fulfill their desires.  Parents have a higher calling!  When children participate in chores, their respect for parents grows.  They’re not going to treat Mom or Dad like servants, because they do the same thing!
    “Darling, we are a family.  Everyone helps.  It’s what we do.”
  4. To teach responsibility
    The dishwasher gets emptied every day.  The trash gets taken out several times a week.  We vacuum the living room on a regular basis.  Household chores are recurring tasks and children learn to the importance of ongoing maintenance effort.
  5. To manage time
    Chores require a little bit of time.  It takes 5 minutes to set the table.  10 minutes to declutter the front hallway.  10 minutes to vacuum under the dining table.  A regular chore requires a child to integrate these few minutes into their daily schedule.
  6. To improve school grades
    Performance at school is often related to ongoing, regular effort
just like chores.  Mastery of a subject grows little bit with daily practice.   Chores show immediate results and thus reinforce the value of this daily effort.
  7. To build empathy
    We do chores for the benefit of everyone in the family, not just for ourself.  At an early age, chore-doing children get to learn to think of and act for others.
  8. To build hope for the future
    Chores truly become burdensome when they are done alone.  When children see their parents always busy with household tasks and not available to play, they create a sad vision of adulthood: all work, no fun.  Why grow out of child-like behavior if it’s to become a slave to toil?
  9. To become a more attractive partner
    As the mother of four boys, I remind them, “If you want to attract a woman of value, you can’t treat her like a maid.  Treat her like a woman of value!”  And that means doing your share of the chores.
  10. To be appreciated & affirmed
    The result of chores is immediate.  Either the table is set or it is not.  And everyone in the family knows who’s turn it is to prepare the table for dinner this week.
    “Sweetheart, that’s a lovely job folding the napkins this way.  Thank you!”
    “Today we can thank Joe for the clean hallway.  Thanks, darling.  I really appreciate not tripping over backpacks.”

And we have not even mentioned that kids enjoy a cleaner home, they learn motor skills, they test negotiation skills (“Can you do the dishwasher for me today and I’ll vacuum the stairs for you tomorrow?”) and soooo much more.

Chore Charts

How to move from theory to practice?  A chore chart sure helps.  And Ludocatix’s colorful magnetic charts make it easy.

Children and parents work together to decide who does what when.

And as the children grow and their abilities evolve and your family needs change, well, just move the magnets around to update the chart!

Photo by Frank McKenna on Unsplash

Boy mopping floor doing chores

Construisez la Confiance de vos Enfants

Le Cadeau du Jour sur le calendrier de l’avent Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home

1 tableau magnétique pour partager les corvées entre parents et enfants
de Ludocatix 

Comment recevoir ce cadeau ? Faites le quizz amusant du Calendrier de l’Avent pour Parents aujourd’hui, et vous avez l’opportunitĂ© de gagner le cadeau grĂące Ă  notre tirage au sort. N’hĂ©sitez plus, la chance est avec vous !

“Quelles compĂ©tences voulez-vous transmettre Ă  vos enfants?”

Ludocatix chore chartC’est ainsi que nous commençons nos ateliers de Discipline Positive et les parents partagent une liste de qualificatifs comme celle-ci:

– ResponsabilitĂ©
– Autonomie
– L’amour de l’excellence
– Empathie
– Le respect
– Le travail en Ă©quipe
– …

Le cadeau d’aujourd’hui vous aide Ă  transmettre ces compĂ©tences Ă  vos enfants ET, SIMULTANÉMENT, vous facilite la vie. Ludocatix vous propose un tableau de corvĂ©e magnĂ©tique que vous et les enfants, ensemble, adaptez Ă  votre style de vie.

Le Saviez-Vous?

Dans un sondage paru dans les Wall Street Journal et menĂ© auprĂšs de 1001 adultes amĂ©ricains, 82% ont dĂ©clarĂ© qu’ils avaient des tĂąches mĂ©nagĂšres lorsqu’ils Ă©taient enfants mais seulement 23% ont indiquĂ© qu’ils demandaient Ă  leurs enfants pour les faire.

Que s’est il passĂ© ?

Beaucoup de parents ont l’impression de charger leurs enfants de corvĂ©es et de se sentir coupables. Ou ils craignent que les corvĂ©es puissent avoir un impact nĂ©gatif sur leur relation avec leurs enfants. Pourtant, la recherche dĂ©montre le contraire.

La recherche indique que les enfants qui font des corvées ont une meilleure estime de soi, sont plus responsables et font mieux face à la frustration ce qui contribue à une plus grande réussite scolaire.

Est-ce que ce ne sont pas les compétences que les parents veulent transmettre à leurs enfants ?

Le cadeau du jour est un tableau magnétique que vous pouvez créer avec vos enfants afin de les aide à se souvenir de leurs tùches ménagÚres de façon amusante et colorée.

10 Façons dont les Enfants Bénéficient des Corvées

Voici 10 raisons pour lesquelles les corvĂ©es sont bonnes pour les enfants … et donc gĂ©nial pour vous aussi.

  1. Pour aider les enfants à se sentir nécessaire
    Comment dĂ©finissez-vous votre famille? Que faĂźtes-vous pour que vos enfants sentent qu’ils font rĂ©ellement partie de la famille ? Dites aux enfants qu’ils ont un rĂŽle Ă  jouer pour contribuer au bien-ĂȘtre de tous.
  2. Stimuler le gout de l’excellence
    En ce qui concerne les corvĂ©es, les parents peuvent voir la qualitĂ© du travail et fournir une rĂ©compense. “ChĂ©rie, est-ce c’est du dentifrice rose que je vois dans l’évier de la salle de bain ?Un lavabo propre est un lavabo brillant et blanc. Montre-moi comment tu l’as nettoyĂ© la derniĂšre fois et nous trouverons une chose que tu peux faire diffĂ©remment pour faire briller l’Ă©vier!”
  3. Ne pas traiter les parents comme des serviteurs
    Lorsque les parents font toutes les corvĂ©es, les enfants ont tendance Ă  traiter ces derniers comme des serviteurs dont le but est de satisfaire leurs dĂ©sirs. Quand les enfants participent aux corvĂ©es, leur respect pour leurs parents grandit. Ils ne vont pas traiter maman ou papa comme des serviteurs, parce qu’ils font la mĂȘme chose! “ChĂ©ri(e), nous sommes une famille.  Tout le monde participe.”
  4. Pour enseigner la responsabilité
    Le lave-vaisselle se vide tous les jours. Les dĂ©chets sont retirĂ©s plusieurs fois par semaine. Nous passons l’aspirateur rĂ©guliĂšrement dans le salon. Les tĂąches mĂ©nagĂšres sont des tĂąches rĂ©currentes et les enfants apprennent l’importance de faire des efforts.
  5. GĂ©rer le temps
    Les corvĂ©es nĂ©cessitent un peu de temps. Cela prend 5 minutes de mettre la table. 10 minutes pour nettoyer le couloir. 10 minutes pour passer l’aspirateur sous la table Ă  manger. Une corvĂ©e rĂ©guliĂšre nĂ©cessite un enfant afin d’intĂ©grer ces corvĂ©es dans leur emploi du temps quotidien.
  6. Améliorer les résultats scolaires
    La performance Ă  l’Ă©cole est souvent liĂ©e Ă  des efforts continus et rĂ©guliers … tout comme les corvĂ©es mĂ©nagĂšres. La maĂźtrise d’un sujet se dĂ©veloppe peu Ă  peu avec la pratique quotidienne. Les corvĂ©es donnent des rĂ©sultats immĂ©diats et renforcent ainsi la valeur de cet effort quotidien.
  7. Pour construire l’empathie
    Nous faisons des corvĂ©es au profit de tous les membres de la famille, pas seulement pour nous-mĂȘmes. À un Ăąge prĂ©coce, les enfants qui font des corvĂ©es apprennent Ă  penser et Ă  agir pour les autres.
  8. Construire l’espoir pour leur avenir en tant qu’adult(e)
    Les corvĂ©es deviennent vraiment du travail quand elles sont faites seules. Quand les enfants voient leurs parents toujours occupĂ©s avec les tĂąches mĂ©nagĂšres et jamais disponibles pour eux, ils crĂ©ent une vision triste de l’Ăąge adulte : que du travail et pas de plaisir. Pourquoi sortir de l’enfance pour devenir l’esclave du labeur?
  9. Devenir un partenaire plus attractif
    En tant que mĂšre de quatre garçons, je leur rappelle souvent : “ Si vous voulez attirer une femme de valeur, vous ne pouvez pas la traiter comme une servante. Traitez-la comme une femme de valeur! “ Et cela signifie faire votre part des corvĂ©es.
  10. Pour ĂȘtre apprĂ©ciĂ© et reconnu
    Le rĂ©sultat des corvĂ©es est immĂ©diat. Soit la table est mise, soit elle ne l’est pas. Et tout le monde dans la famille sait Ă  qui c’est le tour de mettre la table Ă  manger cette semaine. “ ChĂ©rie, c’est un trĂšs beau travail de plier les serviettes de cette façon. Je t’en remercie! ”

Finalement, nous n’avons mĂȘme pas mentionnĂ© que les enfants prĂ©fĂšrent une maison propre, ils testent les compĂ©tences de nĂ©gociation (“Est-ce que tu peux  faire la vaisselle pour moi aujourd’hui et demain je passerai l’aspirateur dans l’escalier ?”)

Tableau des corvées

Comment passer de la théorie à la pratique ? Un tableau des corvées aide certainement. Et les cartes magnétiques colorées de Ludocatix le rendent plus facile à utiliser.

Les enfants et les parents travaillent ensemble pour décider qui fait quoi et quand.

Et à mesure que les enfants grandissent que leurs capacités évoluent et que les besoins de votre famille changent, eh bien, déplacez simplement les aimants pour mettre à jour le tableau !

Photo de Frank McKenna sur Unsplash


Hands helping each other

Faites la Paix avec Quelqu’un

Le Cadeau du Jour sur le calendrier de l’avent Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home

1 heure de coaching pour réparer une relation + des SMS quotidiens de suivis pendant 1 semaine avec Denise Dampierre 

Comment recevoir ce cadeau ? Faites le quizz amusant du Calendrier de l’Avent pour Parents aujourd’hui, et vous avez l’opportunitĂ© de gagner le cadeau grĂące Ă  notre tirage au sort. N’hĂ©sitez plus, la chance est avec vous !

Le cadeau du jour vous aide Ă  vivre une vie sans regrets et Ă  rĂ©parer vos relations. Vous recevrez une heure de coaching pour crĂ©er un plan de rĂ©conciliation et vous bĂ©nĂ©ficieriez d’un suivi SMS quotidien pendant 1 semaine pour vous encourager et modifier votre plan selon vos besoins.

RĂ©concilier ?  C’est la Question

Obtenons l’avis sur ce sujet de personnalitĂ©s connues :

Steve Jobs, fondateur de Apple entre autre

Quel que soit l’Ă©tape de la vie dans laquelle nous sommes en ce moment, au final, nous allons devoir affronter le jour ou le rideau tombera.

Faites un trĂ©sor de l’amour pour votre famille, de l’amour pour votre mari ou femme, de l’amour pour vos amis…

Que chacun agisse avec amour et occupez-vous de votre prochain.

Clayton Christensen, professeur à Harvard Business School.  En parlant des relations parents-enfants :

Le temps de planter un arbre est avant que vous ayez besoin de son ombre.

Charmantes Dames

Que feriez-vous aujourd’hui pour que votre relation reste aussi forte et vive demain ?

L’histoire d’une maman

Voici un aperçu d’une conversation de coaching avec une mĂšre de quatre enfants :

Maman: “Je ne veux pas faire face aux erreurs du passĂ© que j’ai pu commettre avec mes enfants. Je suis humaine.”

S’excuser ? Non !

“Voici comment je traite mes erreurs du passĂ©. C’est comme si je les balayais sous le tapis et les plaçais derriĂšre moi pour que je ne les vois pas.”

Nous avons tous les deux beaucoup ri en imaginant la scĂšne et ce que les enfants verraient : une mĂšre souriante avec un tapis TRES CAHOTEUX derriĂšre elle! LOL

Pendant que nous parlions, elle a admis que les dĂ©bris se trouvaient vraiment entre elle et ces enfants, comme un obstacle Ă  escalader pour gagner de l’intimitĂ©.

Maman: “Un petit obstacle n’est pas un problĂšme.”

Coach: “Quel est votre objectif avec vos enfants? Avoir une grande intimitĂ© ou de petits problĂšmes?

Hand building lego wall
Les barriÚres se construisent ou se détruisent ?

Désolé Semble Etre le plus Difficile des mots

“Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” – le titre d’une chanson de Elton John

“Mais j’ai raison!”

Les parents peuvent se demander: “Pourquoi s’excuser quand j’ai raison?!”

Il faut deux personnes pour avoir un conflit. TrĂšs rarement une partie a 100% raison et l’autre a complĂ©tement faux.

En ce qui concerne le problĂšme sous-jacent entre vous et votre enfant, vous avez probablement raison. La chambre a besoin d’ĂȘtre nettoyĂ©e. Il faut rentrer Ă  l’heure aprĂšs la fĂȘte. La façon dont vos enfants parlent aux aĂźnĂ©s compte Ă©galement.

Et le processus compte aussi. Peut-ĂȘtre avez-vous eu une rĂ©action excessive ? Êtes-vous fermĂ© aux commentaires de votre enfant qui voulait partager son point de vue ? Des distractions ont-elles limitĂ©es votre capacitĂ© Ă  vous concentrer sur votre bien-aimĂ©  ?

Durant le coaching, j’aide les parents Ă  savoir quand ils ont mis de l’huile sur le feu et que cela a entraĂźnĂ© des tensions dans la famille.

Ne soyez pas dĂ©solĂ© de demander Ă  votre enfant de ranger sa chambre. C’est votre devoir de parent.

Vous pouvez vous sentir attristĂ© de lui crier dessus quand il ne vous a pas rĂ©pondu aprĂšs que vous lui ayez demandĂ© de faire quelques choses plusieurs fois. “Et, chĂ©rie, est-ce que nous pouvons travailler ensemble de telle sorte que je ne sois pas tentĂ© d’Ă©lever la voix parce que tu ne me rĂ©ponds pas plus rapidement ?

“Est-ce que les excuses vous rendre plus faibles?”

Au contraire. Des excuses sincÚres de votre part vous rende authentique, une des qualités que les adolescents apprécient chez les adultes.

Marilyn Price-Mitchell, rappelle aux parents que le respect est assimilĂ© Ă  un exemple de comportement et de langage respectueux, et non Ă  un acte “ d’’enseignement ” traditionnel (un discours). MĂȘme les jeunes enfants comprennent quand les adultes ne vont pas dans leur sens. À l’adolescence, ces messages contradictoires peuvent entraĂźner des divisions de plus en plus profondes entre les adolescents et les adultes.

(Marilyn Price-Mitchell est l’auteur du livre “Tomorrow’s Change Makers: ReconquĂ©rir le pouvoir de la citoyennetĂ© pour une nouvelle gĂ©nĂ©ration”. Psychologue du dĂ©veloppement et chercheuse, elle travaille Ă  l’intersection du dĂ©veloppement positif de la jeunesse et l’Ă©ducation.)

Chat et chien réconciliés
Comme c’est BEAU la rĂ©conciliation !

Se rĂ©concilier, c’est choisir d’aimer

Nelson Mandela disait :

“La rancƓur est le poison que l’on boit en pensant tuer son ennemi.”

Se rĂ©concilier ne signifie pas qu’un comportement incorrect devient tout Ă  coup acceptable. Une mauvaise action reste mauvaise.

RĂ©parer une relation, c’est choisir d’aimer mĂȘme quand on a Ă©tĂ© blessĂ© et d’oublier sa rancune pour avancer.

Se reconnecter met la priorité dans la relation plutÎt que de se concentrer sur le manque de respect, le retard perpétuel, ou le comportement difficile de nos enfants.

Il se peu…

Il arrive souvent (mais pas toujours) que lorsqu’une personne reconnaisse ses torts dans un conflit, l’autre le fasse aussi.


Note: Ce coaching sera réalisé avec Denise Dampierre, une éducatrice spécialisée et certifiée en Discipline Positive. Si votre situation nécessite une expertise médicale ou psychologique, Denise peut vous recommander à un spécialiste.

Photo de Brooke Cagle sur Unsplash et de PetsWorld

Hands helping each other

Make Peace with Someone

Today’s Gift on the Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home advent calendar for parents

1 hour Relationship Repair Coaching + daily SMS follow through for 1 week
with Denise Dampierre

How to receive this gift?  Take the fun quiz on the Parent Advent Calendar today and you could be the lucky one to win the draw.

Today’s gift helps you live a life without regrets and to repair a relationship.  You receive 1 hour of coaching to create a reconciliation action plan and daily SMS follow through for a week to provide encouragement and tweak your plan as needed.

Let’s gain insights from wizened folk.

Steve Jobs, founder of Apple and much more

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.

Clayton Christensen, professor at Harvard Business School.  In speaking about parent-child relationships

The time to plant a tree is before you need the shade.

Lovely Ladies

What will you do TODAY so that TOMORROW your relationships remain vibrant and strong?

A Mom’s Story

Here is a glimpse of a coaching conversation with a mother of four children:

Mom: “I don’t want to deal with past mistakes I may have made with my kids.  I’m human.

Apologize?  No!

Here is how I treat my past blunders.  It’s like I sweep them under the rug and place them behind me so that I don’t see them.”

We both laughed as we imagined the scene and what the kids’ saw: a smiling mother with a VERY BUMPY rug behind her!  L.O.L.

As we shared, she admitted that the debris really lay between herself and the children, like a hurdle to climb to gain intimacy.

Mom: “A small hurdle is not a problem.”

Coach: “What’s your goal with the children? Big intimacy or small problems?”

Hand building lego wall
Building or taking down the relationship barrier?

Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word

“But I am Right!”

Parents may wonder, “Why apologize when I am right?!”

It takes two people to have a conflict.  Very rarely is one party 100% in the right and the other completely at fault.

Regarding the underlying issue between you and your child, you are probably right.  The room does need to get cleaned.  Curfew is to be respected.  The way one speaks to elders matters.

AND process matters too.  Might there have been an over-reaction?  Were you closed to feedback and your child wanted to share his point of view? Did viable distractions limit your ability to focus on your loved one?

In the coaching I help parents realize where they may have added fuel to a slight tension flicker
which resulted in a full-blown flame.

Don’t be sorry for asking your child to clean his room.  That is your parenting prerogative.

You can be sorry for screaming at him when he did not respond after you asked him numerous times.  “And, darling, can we work out together a way that I won’t be tempted to raise my voice because you would respond more quickly?”

“Will apologizing make we look weak?”

On the contrary.  A sincere apology for YOUR part of the conflict makes you authentic, one of the qualities teenagers appreciate in adults.

Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD reminds parents that respect is assimilated through language and modeling, not through the act of traditional “teaching.” Even young children understand when adults are not walking their talk. By adolescence, those mixed messages can cause deeper and deeper divides between teens and adults.

(Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD, is the author of Tomorrow’s Change Makers: Reclaiming the Power of Citizenship for a New Generation. A developmental psychologist and researcher, she works at the intersection of positive youth development and education.)

Reconciled cat and dog
Isn’t reconciliation PRECIOUS !

We reconcile to choose to love.  To reconnect.

Nelson Mandela is reputed to say,

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

Reconciling does not mean pretending that the incorrect behavior suddenly becomes acceptable.  The mis-action remains wrong.

Repairing the relationship means choosing to love even when you have been hurt and to let go of the resentment so that you can keep thriving.

Reconnecting places the priority on the relationship rather than on the back-talk, perpetual tardiness, or any other of our children’s challenging behaviors.


It often happens (but not always) that when one person recognizes their part in a conflict, the other party admits their misdead too.  Phew !


Note: This coaching will be with Denise Dampierre, a trained Positive Discipline educator and certified in Appreciative Inquiry.  If your situation requires medical or psychological expertise, Denise can you recommend you to a specialist.


Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash and PetsWorld

Woman gently holding vulnerable child

Give a Gentle Answer

Today’s Gift on the Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home advent calendar for parents

Family Tickets to the “Calm Anger” Parent + Child Workshop
from SoSooper 

How to receive this gift?  Take the fun quiz on the Parent Advent Calendar today and you could be the lucky one to win the draw.

Today’s gift invites BOTH disagreeing parties to join in fun activities and guided discussions to

  • Clarify the issue of dispute
  • Identify triggers to outbursts
  • TOGETHER find solutions to gain agreement
  • Make a routine chart to stay on track

Parents and children leave with a practical action plan to BOTH avoid outbursts AND resolve them quickly when they happen.

And it’s fun!


WHO is the REAL opponent?

The parent, the spouse, the child, or the issue?

Isn’t is amazing how a simple issue can suddenly escalate into a battle between parent and kid?  In our coaching we hear worried parents ask, “What is wrong with my child?… What is wrong with ME?!”

Take heart.

“Children who argue have good character qualities like persistence, perseverance, determination, creativity, and an ability to communicate ideas. The problem with arguing is that your child views you as an obstacle.”

Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, in Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids!

How to get out of arguing with children?


Boxing girl by Frank deKleine


Let parent and child partner together in finding a solution.

It takes two people to have an argument.

And BOTH arguers contribute to the disagreement and BOTH can orient the exchange towards peace.

Miller and Turansky remind us that the subjects we argue about are often not THAT important.


Images by Madi Robson from Unsplash, SoSoooper, and LetMeColor.com

Woman gently holding vulnerable child

RĂ©pondez avec Douceur

Le Cadeau du Jour sur le calendrier de l’avent Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home

Billets Gratuits pour l’atelier “Calmer les colĂšres” pour parents + enfants ensemble.
de SoSooper

Comment recevoir ce cadeau ? Faites le quizz amusant du Calendrier de l’Avent pour Parents aujourd’hui, et vous avez l’opportunitĂ© de gagner le cadeau grĂące Ă  notre tirage au sort. N’hĂ©sitez plus, la chance est avec vous !

Voici un aperçu de l’atelier. A travers des jeux et des activitĂ©s en famille, vous aborderez des discussions enrichissantes :

  • Clarifier les differends
  • Identifier les dĂ©clencheurs de crises
  • ENSEMBLE trouver des solutions pour obtenir un commun accord
  • Faire un tableau de routine pour rester sur la bonne voie

Les parents et les enfants repartiront avec un plan d’action pratique pour Ă©viter les crises Ă  la maison ET les rĂ©soudre rapidement quand cela se produit.

Et c’est amusant !


QUI est le RÉEL adversaire?

Le parent, le conjoint, l’enfant ou le problĂšme?

N’est ce pas incroyable de voir comment un problĂšme simple peut soudainement dĂ©gĂ©nĂ©rer en une vĂ©ritable bataille entre parent et enfant ? Dans notre coaching, nous entendons des parents inquiets demander : “Qu’est-ce qui ne va pas avec mon enfant? … Qu’est-ce qui ne va pas chez moi” ?!

Gardez l’espoir !

“Les enfants qui se disputent ont certaines qualitĂ©s de caractĂšre comme la persĂ©vĂ©rance, la dĂ©termination, la crĂ©ativitĂ© et la capacitĂ© de communiquer leurs idĂ©es. Le problĂšme de la dispute avec votre enfant, c’est qu’il vous voit comme un obstacle.”

Dr. Scott Turansky et Joanne Miller, dans Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids!

Comment sortir des disputes avec vos enfants?

Boxing girl by Frank deKleine


Laisser le parent et l’enfant s’entraider pour trouver une solution.

Il faut deux personnes pour avoir un argument.

Et les deux arguments contribuent au dĂ©saccord. NĂ©anmoins les deux peuvent orienter l’Ă©change vers la paix.

Miller et Turansky nous rappellent que les sujets sur lesquels nous nous disputons ne sont souvent pas si importants.


Images de Madi Robson sur Unsplash, SoSoooper, et LetMeColor.com