The title of my blog today is a comment I heard while on a conference call with Jeff Sugarman, CEO of Inscape Publishing.  Jeff hosted the call, one of his quarterly Industry Insights phone meetings for Inscape affiliates.  In his calls, Jeff covers trends and topics in learning and development and the current business environment.  Inscape affiliates from across the country participate in the discussion.

Some of the key highlights from this meeting included the concerns that continue to plague businesses and organizations in the current economy.  Many businesses are still in the wait to see what happens stage, therefore taking few if any steps toward growth or change. 

A major concern of many organizations is cash flow.  Customers who are willing to spend money are also slow to pay jeopardizing cash flow.  This challenge is further exacerbated by the difficulty many businesses are experiencing trying to get bank financing. 

Recession weariness is also contributed to the slow recovery for many businesses.  Even businesses that have continued to survive are tired of hanging on, doing more with less, and worrying what tomorrow will bring.  In some ways this weariness has immobilized them.

The good news is that it is not all bleak.  Jeff pointed out that there are businesses that are moving forward.  These organizations are taking steps that will be better position them against their competition in the new economy.  From a talent management perspective organizations that are moving forward are also investing in their human capital—specifically in leadership development and innovative thinking (e.g. teaching people to think differently.)

One of the affiliates best summed up our discussion quoting one of his clients—“Sitting still in today’s business environment is like moving backward.”  This client is not only surviving but developing strategies and taking steps to move forward.

Join the discussion…

I’m curious, where do you see your organization today?  Is your organization in a wait and see mode or do you see signs of moving forward?  If your organization is moving forward what steps or strategies have you seen implemented that are working successfully.  Let’s share the innovation.

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Building Communication Bridges

Building Communication Bridges

I have run into a couple of conversations and situations over the last several days that make me stop and wonder why more of us are not cognizant of how our behavior (and words) can create such havoc in our lives and relationships.  Are we so self absorbed in our own selves that we have lost site of the importance and ability to bridge the common difference between our personality, behavior or leadership styles?


As a consultant and trainer I use many tools to help people understand themselves so that they can better understand others.  These tools are designed to help us see how strengths and weaknesses contribute to positive and effective relationships and communication.  Building self-awareness is the first step to getting to know others.  It is insightful when we come to know and accept who we are and how what we do, our behaviors and actions may be perceived by others.  Our next, step is to identify and understand the styles of others that are different from us.  What are their drivers, motivators, fears, strengths, and weaknesses?  How can their strengths complement our weaknesses and visa-versa?

If you are interested in learning more about the Everything DiSC © assessment tools please let us know.  We will be happy to share sample reports and discuss how our clients have been using these tools successfully for years.

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The Annual Performance Review

For many organizations performance appraisal time is a fall activity. I want to share an interesting article written by Jeff Sugarman and Mark Scullard of Inscape Publishing in Training Magazine. /trainingmag.com/article/annual-performance-review

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I have been planning to do this blogging thing for a while now.  I just have not bitten the bullet until now.  Maybe it is the whole September back to school thing that finally lit a fire underneath me to get started.  I am looking forward to communicating with others on organizational development topics and hearing your thoughts, sharing resources, ideas, and  best  practices, and sharing knowledge and wisdom.

Thank you for joining me on this new adventure.  Let’s stay in touch.

Make it the best day you can.  Remember everything you do counts, one way or the other.


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Remembering Ordinary People – Celebrating lives of Great Leadership

Leadership Skills – Remembrances of regular people demonstrating great Leadership

This past week was an affirmation of one of the key competencies discussed, practiced and applied in so many of the workshops that I teach: the power of Listening.  This was a week of memorial services and funerals for an extended family member and the mom of a best friend from high school.

A couple of things that moved me about the two people being remembered this past week was first the number of people who came out to honor, remember and celebrate their life.  Both of these individuals had touched so many people throughout their lifetime.  The second was that in the remembrances that were shared there was one theme shared about both of these individuals, their ability to listen intently to others. 

One of my best friends from high school’s mother recently passed away in New Jersey in July. This past week a memorial service was held to celebrate the life of Saran Gillies at Braintree Town Hall.  There were well over 150 people who attended the memorial service for this woman who was a leader in the Town of Braintree, MA politics.  Saran was the first woman selectperson in the town of Braintree and became Chairperson of the board.  In addition Saran was elected to Town Clerk in Braintree and was community activist involved in several organizations including the League of Woman Voters and Braintree’s recycling program. 

What really hit home for me was that a number of people who spoke who shared remembrances of a woman who was focused, committed, passionate and held strong convictions and opinions about what she believed in.  One of the common threads repeated in a number of speaker’s remembrances was that Saran was a gifted listener.  Several speakers noted that although they did not always agree or saw issues from very different points of view Saran always listened to learn and understand the other person’s point of view. 

On Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning I joined many people to celebrate the life and leadership of Father Gerard (Gerry) Barry.  Father Gerard, as I knew him, was the uncle of my uncle by marriage.  Father Gerard presided over many family weddings, baptisms, and funerals.  He was a man that touched many, many lives during his 60 plus years as a priest. 

The stories of so many family members and friends, fellow priests, former parishioners of St. Augustine’s, South Boston and St. Bernard’s, West Newton, nurses and doctors, and so many others who were touched by this great man looked to Father Gerard as a leader who was a skilled and practiced listener. 

In many of the stories that people told they emphasized how Father Gerard listened—really listened and responded to people’s concerns and problems.  Listening included people like the prisoner incarcerated at the Deer Island prison where Father Gerard was serving as pastoral council.   Father Gerard listened to one of the prisoner’s pain and disappointment about not being able to celebrate his daughter’s graduation from nursing school.  Although this prisoner had messed up (involved in the Brinks Robbery) his daughter was successful.  The leader in Father Barry listened and understood this was an opportunity to reunite a father and daughter, to mend a family.  Father Barry invited the prisoner’s two daughters to Deer Island for a graduation celebration.  Many years later, while battling cancer Father Gerard was cared for by a nurse at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.  That nurse was the daughter of the prisoner at Deer Island. 

Many wonderful remembrances focused on Father Gerard Barry’s ability to listen and understand.  He was an ordinary man who was a great leader.  An article in the Boston Globe on Sunday, September 10, by Kevin Cullen eloquently shares several stories about Father Gerard Barry’s leadership skills. 

Personally, I believe that communication, especially listening is the foundational skill of great leaders.  What do you think are the key foundational leadership skills?  Let’s discuss.

As I sign off, I quote Father Gerard’s famous expression when wrapping up a conversation, “Stay Loose.”

Make it a great day…and remember to listen.

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