Yesterday was March 8, 2021. I looked at my LinkedIn newsfeed and saw lots of posts thanking women - professionals who shared their gratitude for the women who have mentored them, who work with them, who work for them.
And my reaction?
I remember when International Women's Day was for feminist policy wonks who cared about equitable development around the world, equal pay for all women, and human rights. The slogans heard at gatherings to recognize the day were not about gratitude but about human rights - and the deep, intense need to have all humans' rights recognized, no matter their sex or gender.
It's not exactly a bad thing, of course, for International Women's Day to be a household phrase - if it even has achieved that. But we lose something when a day originally designed to bring together people fighting for human rights becomes "Thank a Woman!" day.
International Women's Day was a thing long...
Recently earning a Certified Virtual Facilitator™ credential, we have spent countless hours researching and test driving online tools to really wow our clients. Some work great; some had a learning curve before delivering; and some aren’t worth the time.
When looking for new collaboration tools for facilitation, we evaluate them in the following areas:
Here are a few standouts to explore.
SessionLab is a planning tool for group gatherings that includes a curated library of all kinds of facilitation activities. We love these because they help people get involved without the standard practice of...
How do you change someone’s mind, when asking them to change their mind means asking them to change what they believe about themself?
This ethical dilemma is deeply familiar to me.
Recently, I read two articles that touch on the concept of us-vs.-them - a basic phrase to summarize those interactions where you’re talking to someone whose mind you really want to change. Madeleine Albright writes about “Our destructive us-vs.-them thinking” in Time Magazine’s Feb. 1/Feb. 8, 2021 issue. And Adam Grant writes about “The Science of Reasoning with Unreasonable People” on January 31, 2021 in the NY Times.
However we conceive of “us,” we have ample grounds for humility. There is no question that we all have a right to quarrel with one another; that is the democratic way. But we also have a responsibility to talk frankly and to listen carefully, to recognize our own faults and to refrain from...
We are so proud to announce that our founder and president Gina is now a Certified Virtual Facilitator™, or a CVF™, credentialed through the International Institute for Facilitation (INIFAC)
This reflects a deep and practical knowledge of productive virtual meetings.
To receive this credential, Gina had to be evaluated against 22 competencies in the following areas: Presence, Assessment, Communication, Control, Consistency and Engagement. These competency areas are well-researched, international, and used for offline facilitation certification as well in-person meetings (remember those?).
What does this mean for our clients? In an increasingly remote-working, technology-driven world, working with a facilitator who is not only comfortable and familiar with virtual spaces, but has certified competency means that you can relax knowing she can navigate that environment in effective and proactive ways.
“My favorite part of the evaluation, and online...
This month I ran a new training for a repeat client. Break the Stress Cycle: Name and Manage Your Emotions looks at stress management from the standpoint of emotional intelligence. Being able to recognize stress, name the underlying emotion, and shift our emotion to a more positive or productive one is a learnable skill that will help you manage stress for yourself and your team.
During the training, something came up that I did not handle so well, and frankly, it has stressed me out:
When I asked people to name a stressor, someone wrote about how it's stressful to become aware of all the inequalities that have existed for a long time in the U.S. She felt overwhelmed by the sheer amount of issues, and also felt stuck, not sure what she could possibly do about them.
Let me first say: The idea of being aware of inequalities as a stressor is, itself, a privilege - clearly, she is not dealing with the life-or-death realities of inequalities. Neither am I.
2020 has been quite the year - and it ain’t over yet!
But one wonderful thing I’ve experienced is my love of partnering with others to deliver great content to people.
First, I partnered with Dr. Melissa Bird, the Natural Born Rebel, to bring you the Graceful Revolution for Managers.
Now, I’m partnering with Lisa Wilson, of LMW Consulting, to bring you Listen, Talk, Lead.
Both of these rock star women entrepreneurs let me do what I do best: talk about empathy, active listening, and communication, while they do what they do best - share stories, encourage you to trust your intuition, and learn to be the best version of you no matter where you are in your leadership journey.
2020 is teaching us a lot about good leadership, if we’re interested in paying attention. Countries where political leaders trust the scientific experts, and admit when things are going to difficult, got to flatten the COVID-19 curve more quickly. Countries where leaders feel they have...
I recently revisited my Clifton Strengthsfinder results. If you’re not familiar with this assessment, here’s a quick overview:
A psychologist named Don Clifton decided it made more sense to focus on developing people’s strengths than their faults. Clifton is considered the father of strengths-based psychology.
The Strengthsfinder is a set of 34 strengths present to different degrees in every human being.
The assessment gives you a deeper understanding of which of these strengths are strongest for you.
One of the interesting, yet difficult, things about Strengthsfinder is that they use their own language. For example, one of my top five strengths is Intellection. This is not a common word. The dictionary will tell you that Intellection simply means, “an act of intellect, thought, reason.” According to Strengthsfinder, someone with the Intellection strength is introspective and appreciates intellectual discussions. Spot on for me, but,...
If you follow me on LinkedIn, you know I write and think and teach a lot about active listening.
Yet it can STILL be really hard to do!
There are so many reasons I love the concept and theory of active listening, and reasons I love to teach about active listening:
When you actively listen to someone, you connect more deeply with them.
It’s the ONLY way to concentrate to truly understanding another person’s perspective.
It demonstrates humility because it involves asking them if you understand them correctly, and if you do get it wrong, you just roll with it and try to actively listen again and ask them again - like a listening/asking cycle!
It’s applicable to SO many situations:
Managing a direct report
Working or volunteering with a team
Getting closer to a loved one
Learning what the heck your teenager is thinking
Trying to understand the point of view of someone whose beliefs are a polar opposite to you...
Managing with Empathy
Think for a moment about your favorite manager or leader. Someone who was in charge in the organization you worked for, or work for today. What is it about them that makes them your favorite?
Odds are, what you love about them has far more to do with interpersonal skills than anything else. They listen to you. They care about you. They invest in you. They help you.
Managers who understand how to be human at work - how to empathize with fellow employees and direct reports - are far superior to managers who ignore or tamp down emotional connections.
There is little reason to trust a manager who refuses to become vulnerable and share something about themselves, and there is little reason to trust a manager who, when you’re feeling vulnerable, keeps their response business-like - or, let’s face it, robotic.
Managing with empathy can mean a lot of simple things; it comes down to being human.
How to Manage with Empathy
Ask someone how they’re...
I believe kindness, happiness, and empathy can change the world.
For too long, white Americans have lived in a bubble of privilege. The privilege is always mitigated by other factors - gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, income, health, and more. Yet our race always gives us privileges.
It seems like we may be in a time where more white Americans are waking up to this privilege than ever before. This gives me hope for the future. No one is free and equal until all are free and empowered.
As a white person, I’ve long had a desire to not behave in racist ways, and it seems like every year of my life I learn a little bit more about what that means. I’ve made mistakes and been insensitive. And I learn, and try never to make the same mistake twice.
I do the work I do because I believe that what we experience at work has ripple effects throughout our lives; if work is stress, we are stressed. And stressed people make bad decisions - sometimes, hurtful decisions;...