Category Archives: High Performance Teams

Going back to the office

Every Vistage group is having the same discussion: how/ who/ when to go back to the office?  Those who never stopped going in –  the essential in-person company leaders roll – their eyes. They have been masked up and in the office/field the whole time, but what about the rest of us???? >

unintended benefits of PPP money

Has anyone studied the actual uses of the Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) loans/forgiveness?

Because the pandemic totally devastated approximately 20% of the economy in sectors like travel, events, hotels and dining, it is hard to imagine how these industries have survived, or how the PPP money could have helped them for long. If they are still surviving, they are maybe 1/3 the size they had been before the pandemic. For them it has been tragic. Hopefully, they will come back as the economy reopens. >


A new year, turn over a new leaf, leave the pandemic behind….as we began January, hope was in the air. I was feeling motivated, focused, grateful. >

Peer Pressure

“Hey girl, do you want a puff of this? “. “You know, everyone is doing it.” “Just try it once. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to do it.”

Throwback to middle school….or every parent’s fears about their young kids experimenting with something that turns out to be dangerous, permanent  or sends them down a road to addiction. >

One small step

When I was developing my brand with the help of the amazing Emily Aiken of the Story Studio, I could not figure out how to structure my blog at Word Press. Neither Emily nor Michelle Sherman*, who were my accountable group, could fathom that I didn’t know how to take this one small step to start the project. They helped me get a website and word press developer and I was on my way. >

Oxygen to breath

Breathe. Now through a mask. The irony of this pandemic is how much it relates to our breathing. With my chronic cough, breathing is not an idle issue, so perhaps I am more sensitive to the effects than others. I figure if  I get Covid, I’m in deeper trouble than most. But this concern about breathing is not just about me. >

Mentor, don’t instruct

How often does someone try to delegate up to you? Hey boss, how do I get on the shared drive? Hey boss, what should I say to this difficult customer? Hey boss, should we get a different supplier? >

Take time to notice

On autopilot, are we?

We stumble out of bed in a sleepy fog at 0-dark-30 and get through our morning routine by habit (habit is good). Then somewhere after or during the morning shower or maybe not until we turn on the car after our morning caffeine, we begin to wake up. Do we take time to notice? >

Giving feedback

Do you give fair and accurate informal feedback to your direct reports? Teams that do outperform by 40%. Would getting better at giving feedback and receiving it help your company perform better?

Dr. Eve Meceda spoke to my Vistage groups about mindset and gave us a set of clues for how to give fair, accurate informal feedback. My favorite was “to say it how they can hear it”.

That reminds me of a joke I heard many years ago. A guy was telling me that he and his wife had a lot of hallway sex. As a middle aged married woman, I was unfamiliar with the concept and asked him to explain. He said, they would pass each other in the hallway and say Screw you! , “No, screw you!” Okay….Like any good joke, the outcome was totally different from what you might have imagined from the introduction.

This is the same thing that can happen when we give feedback, if we don’t give it with good intentions and in a way that the other person can hear it, the result will not be good.

So, if someone is an extravert, praise them in public. They probably want more enthusiastic acknowledgement, a plaque, etc. If you are an introvert, your style may not match theirs and they may leave because they don’t think they are appreciated. Speak up in a way that may be uncomfortable to you. If you have words of improvement, just call them into your office and tell them calmly what the issue is. Ask them how they see the situation. They can usually speak off the cuff.

If you are an extrovert, and they are an introvert, praise them in private. A simple note may be exactly what they want. Give them time to prepare if you have words of improvement. Perhaps, they can consider what you said and come back in 2 days to discuss how they want to address the situation.

Say it how they can hear it. In both cases, they  will see you as respectful, and you might begin to create a culture of higher performance. Who doesn’t want that? Pick one person this week that you have been meaning to either praise or suggest improvement and try this technique. Next week, we will discuss receiving feedback.



Orchestrate Diversity

Friday night we watched from the seats of Disney Hall as Zubin Mehta, the former conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic slowly walked out on the arm of the violinist Pinchas Zukerman to conduct Brahms’ Violin Concerto. Mehta was carefully guided up a ramp to the conductor’s platform and led the orchestra from a chair due to his frail health. It was a breathtakingly beautiful performance. I had a sense that this is the last time I would see him conduct.

I thought back to when I was in my 20’s and would come to see the LA Phil at the Dorothy Chandler pavilion. It was a much bigger space and did not have the sound quality for which the Disney is world famous. The orchestra was mostly white and almost completely male. Mehta who is from India was part of the blind auditioning that began to hire musicians who played behind a curtain so women and minorities were hired at higher rates.

This Friday, when I counted, (and I always count) how many women, Asian Americans, African Americans… I saw about 35% women, 20% Asian and 2 African Americans, I saw progress, but not enough.

Why? Because we become what we see modeled. We believe we can play for the LA Phil if we see other people like us playing. Obviously virtuosity matters for a world class orchestra. But, what I’ve seen at Disney Hall and I saw recently at the Hollywood Bowl, is Chinese Americans showing up to see Lang Lang play. Then a mostly Hispanic community showing up for La Santa Cecilia, Cafe Tacuba and Mon LaFerte. The jazz concert drew from all of Los Angeles communities.

It seems to me it is good business to orchestrate diversity on stage and the audience will follow.

How do we bring that greater awareness to our businesses? Are we losing potential customers because we have not diversified our team? Are we even aware that our customers may be looking at our diversity as a sign of vigor, future thinking or hustle? This week, let’s ponder how we are doing reaching out to all parts of our community to orchestrate diversity. It can be breathtakingly beautiful.