Category Archives: Communication

Avoiding the Conversation

Ah, the work-arounds we create when we are avoiding the conversation! A team member was telling me about an interaction where he was treated rudely by email. Before he addressed it directly he had an email interchange with another colleague asking for advice. He wrote a careful reply and received no apology, just a righteous justification. Is he going to address it directly with a phone call? No. He is avoiding the conversation. >

Yes, and…

Have you ever thought of using improvisational techniques (explained below) to improve the communication, the engagement and culture of your company? Vistage Speaker Chris Nielson brought them to my groups this week with great enthusiasm and success. Once engaged it is easy to connect, but how to engage? >

Paint the picture

When you are speaking to your team and you want them to remember a point and actualize the behavior required, do you paint the picture? >

Make it visual

The states shown in blue above have a smaller population than Los Angeles County*.

I was floored when I saw this visual that in one glance explained so much (good and bad) about my world. Yes, I knew that L.A. County was the most populous at 9.8 million and that Cook county in Illinois was second, but seeing it in a visual, that it had more people than 39 states? That is one powerful visual.

Curiosity is a superpower

On Friday, my Vistage group was listening to Indra Nooyi, retired CEO of Pepsico, talk about Leadership in a Time of Crisis. She was laying out her 5 C’s of Leadership of which no. 4 was curiosity. It occurred to me that curiosity is a superpower. >

Don’t “wuss out”

On Friday, I attended a Vistage webinar featuring Patrick Lencioni, the writer of 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, The Ideal Team Player, and The Motive. Lencioni has a new assessment he has developed called “Working Genius“. It is a great tool for assessing the “right seat on the bus*” for your team members. Assessment requires communication with the team member: letting them know regularly whether they are performing to your expectations. Lencioni said one of the biggest failures of many leaders is that they “wuss out.” I burst out laughing.


People are people everywhere

On our first day in Cairo, the tour guide greeted us with an eye rolling cliche – people are people everywhere. He continued: we want you to get to know the people of Egypt, not just our amazing historical buildings. Our guide in Jordan echoed similar sentiments. >

Great simplifiers

General Colin Powell, former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt, to offer a solution everybody can understand.” Are you good at this? >

As you think…

Ralph Waldo Emerson said life consists in what a person is thinking all day.* Well that is a scary thought! Have you ever thought about what you think about each day? Do you ever wonder what other people think about all day? We all spend a lot of time thinking about trivial things as time gets away from us. Want to be better?

I hear often that an idea came to someone in the shower. They didn’t plan the time to be creative, it came to them. Do you ever make a plan to let your mind run free? You could take 3 showers each day, but with the drought, that seems like a bad idea. Instead, you might plan quiet time where you allow your mind to drift. As a kid, I would lay on the grass staring at the clouds in the summer without anywhere else to be. Sigh. That doesn’t happen to us randomly as adults.

We all spend a lot of time thinking about things that don’t matter. In fact, we waste a lot of time on the unimportant. When you become aware of doing that, switching to a topic you had on your list to think about (keep these written on your phone), will gain that time back for more important things.

Let me be clear – I don’t object to people goofing off. But, how many times do you wish you hadn’t just spent 20 minutes on social media? Goofing off should make you feel better.

If what you are thinking about is not making you smarter or happier, change the subject. Ruminating over past mistakes or slights doesn’t make you happier. Think about why you are thinking about them. Give yourself permission to change the topic to something more valuable. If it is really bothering you, I bet it will come back up later.

This week, pay attention to your thoughts and change the subject to something more valuable when they are a waste of time. Let’s see if you feel more productive as a result.


+ The exact quote from Emerson is “A man is what he thinks about all day long.”  I saw it written without quotation marks as I repeated above. That made me curious. I found the exact quote when I went to double-check the accuracy. I chose to laugh and appreciate the rewrite I read first.

Committed to Growing as Leaders

This week my Chief Executive Vistage groups got together in person for the first time in 15 months. Wow! It was so sweet. There were so many lovely side conversations before starting, during breaks and sometimes during the meeting as people reconnected or met for the first time. >