July 22, 2019

Dressing for Leadership: A Video/Audio Interview with Dolores Hagen of Sixty and Sensational

I had the pleasure today of interviewing Dolores Hagen of Sixty and Sensational on the topic of dress, style, hair and make-up for women who are in leadership roles.  As you all know, your credibility can be either helped or harmed by the way you look on the outside.

I encourage all women of all ages to watch this video.  Dolores did a wonderful job pointing out what works and what often doesn’t by critiquing some of our world’s most famous women leaders.  Included in the video presentation are comments on First Lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, the new Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

For more information on Dolores Hagen, and her new Sensational You Program, visit http://SixtyAndSensational.com

Just click the play button and you will be taken to Fuze Meeting to watch and listen the interview.  Great stuff!

dress for leadership

9 Leadership Lessons To Learn From The Mission to Kill Osama Bin Laden

Osama Bin Laden is deadThere is not a day that goes by that for some reason I don’t think of September 11, 2001.  I don’t know why, but I will see something, read an article or just be driving down the road, and suddenly the visions come rushing back to my memory.  While these memories are only from watching the news and reading what the journalists had to say, I just cannot shake the vision of:

  • Two planes crashing into the world trade center
  • Smoke filling the New York City sky
  • Men and women, performing the the Sign of The Cross, holding hands and jumping from 80 floors to their death…not because they wanted to die, but they had to make a choice.  Do I die from being burned to death or the quicker, more painless way of the fall either killing me instantly or injuring me to the point that I may never walk again?
  • The screams and tears as people in New York City watched this in horrid and ran from the smoke and white ash that filled the streets as if a nuclear bomb had exploded.
  • The thousands of family members who stood in shock and grief, knowing they would never see their loved ones again

I also cannot help but wonder about the people who were killed who were passengers on the planes that crashed into the building or in an open grassy field and the people who were inside the World Trade Center, simply starting their day when they went their grave either by being crushed by an airplane or flying debris or having to burn to death in flames, described by many as one of the most painful ways to die.

This sounds so dramatic, because it was and still is.  This is the reality of September 11, and the man we have to blame for it was finally put to death yesterday.  I do believe that someone like this needs to be severely punished, and it was just a matter of time.  You can run from the CIA, but you just can’t hide (although he did it pretty well for ten years).

Today, people are celebrating, and the peacemakers are as usual being critical that Osama Bin Laden’s murder was a kill mission and that violence only leads to more violence.  While this is somewhat true, all I have to say is this:  If you are an American citizen and you are criticizing our president for making this decision to go after a brutal murderer, then it is time for you to move to another country.  While I cannot stand violence, we are not talking about a person who stole a piece of candy.   We are talking about a brutal murderer and a “leader…if you can even call him that” who has given the Islamic religion a very bad reputation and a place to live called fear. I want to make clear that the people who are Islamic are not all members of this  Al Qaeda regime whose only mission seems to be to kill innocent people so that they can fly on some type of power trip, because they have been told by a higher power that the innocent must die in order to teach a lesson (or some such nonsense).  But, now, because Bin Laden did the unthinkable “in the name of Islam” the people of Bin Laden’s land have to face criticism, racism and are shunned in airports and in the public.  In my opinion, if this man were captured, it would not have been enough.  We would have captured him and then would have to drag out a trial that would last for years.  This mission was carried out in a way that all leaders should be studying today.  Here are the leadership skills I immediately see were at play during this operation…the skills which helped the mission to be achieved, and as a leader, I strongly encourage you to study this mission and learn from the skills applied:

1.  A clear mission: To kill Bin Laden.  Yes…this was a kill mission.  While there may have been a discussion around capture, this mission was to rid the earth of one of our greatest threats to humanity.  The mission was clear…not fuzzy and long written and long winded.

2. Laser focus on the mission: As the report goes, this mission to get Bin Laden has been in the planning stages for two years, and the focus has been razor sharp.

3. Responsibility. President Bush made it clear that he wanted Bin Laden “dead or alive”, and he did not accomplish that.  Unfortunately, President Obama inherited this duty, and not once has he criticized the former leadership for not capturing or killing Bin Laden.  He made this “mission critical” and obviously said “If no one else is going to do it, we are going after him, and we are going to succeed.”

4. Strategic Agility: This mission is not something that was talked about in a bar over a week-end retreat and then implemented.  I can guarantee you that every step of the process was calculated out to the very minute, the very second.  The President and the CIA met numerous times to plan out what would be one of the most historical events in our history.

5. Discretion: This mission nor the strategy were leaked.  We’ve been through that before, and the secret nature of this mission was airtight.  In leadership, there are times when you are going to need to practice the deepest level of discretion, especially when the stakes are so very high.

6. Delegation: Obama did not go into Bin Laden’s mansion and kill him.  He gave the order to the CIA and the military to do the job, and he empowered them to get the job done well.

7. Top talent placement: The mission was accomplished by a team of Navy Seals.  As you probably well know, the Navy Seals are are the U.S. Navy‘s principal special operations force and is a part of the Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC).  They are the best of the best, and while I am sure their knuckles were white, they have been trained for years for a mission such as this one.  They knew exactly what to do.

8.  Vigilance: This mission has been planned and coordinated over a two year period.  The focus, importance and desire did not wane or waver.  To wait two years for a mission to be accomplished will send many leaders into a state of frustration, and the mission then gets dropped.  Learn from this vigilance.  Well thought out missions take time, patience and commitment.

9.  Persistence: The mission to get Bin Laden did not stop until it was accomplished.  I am sure multiple road blocks were thrown into the path, but our leaders found ways around and over those obstacles to make this mission come to fruition.

I know that this day will not bring back the thousands of men and women who were lost in 9/11 and the thousands of men and women who have been murdered by this man.  But I hope in some way that the family members of the victims of the brutality of Bin Laden will find just a bit more peace and closure knowing a man who obviously found joy in killing innocent people is no longer roaming this earth just to do it again.

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The Top 3 Most Common Employee Complaints

What would your employees write on the wall next to your suggestion box?

This cartoon always makes me laugh.  In looking at this cartoon, simply ask yourself this question “If uncensored, what would your employees write on a wall next to a suggestion box about you and your executive team?”

In the leadership coaching work I have provided executive level leaders and their teams over the last ten years, I have discovered that there are 3 main complaints employees seem to voice regarding upper management and the leadership team.  These complaints or concerns are not isolated.  They are common across all geographical boundaries, so take note of these and rather than take my word for it, go ask your employees how they feel about these concerns.

1.   Micromanagement: We all know what it feels like to be micromanaged.  Your boss, parent or authority figure is constantly checking up on you, breathing down your neck or looking over your shoulder to make sure the job you are doing is absolutely textbook perfect.   Micro-managers are usually obsessed with controlling the project and pushes everyone around them to succeed, beat the clock and “do it the way we have always done it”.  If you are a micro-manager, you are taking a big risk of disempowering your employees,  actually hurting their work performance and destroying their confidence.  In this case, it is not uncommon for a top employee to eventually become so frustrated they will leave and go to work your biggest competitor.

Solution: Prior to the start of a project, fully train your team on the plan, strategy, processes, expectations, where to go for resources and when to ask questions, and then…let your employees go and implement the job you have empowered them to do.  Give them the freedom to take on the project, and if you do observe an employee going way off track, invite them into your office, explain your observations and retrain on that one aspect of the project.   During a new project, you may also notice an employee taking on a task that may not be what you asked, but it is actually getting better results, so take note of that.   Ask someone you trust to observe you during the project and to call you on the carpet when you start back down the micromanagement track.

2.   Lack of Accessibility. It is not uncommon for the executive level leaders and senior managers to become isolated from the employees of the company.  Their offices are located in the executive tower at the top of the building and they literally stay on that one floor for the entire day.  This creates a feeling of a hierarchy at play, and as an employee, if you are  below the top of the totem pole,  you will feel so far removed from the decision makers that you may either:

  • Do a really lousy job, because you think no one is looking or cares
  • Start down a path that is illegal (stealing, harassment)
  • Begin wondering what secrets the company is trying to hide from you
  • Quit your job

In my opinion, there is no excuse for this.  This approach is the “good old boys network” approach, and is really outdated and no longer an advantage for success.

Solution: Lead and manage by walking around the company on an every other day basis.   Simply pop in and out of different departments to say hello and to find out what is going on.  Take a notepad or your digital device with you to jot down complaints and suggestions and notice if you see repeating patterns in concerns, worries or doubts.

Another approach to improving accessibility is to hold town hall meetings two times per month, and give your employees the opportunity to gain access to you and your team and to talk to you openly and candidly.  During the town hall meeting format, as a leader, your job is to listen and to thank your employees for their suggestions…not to justify or make excuses for why something may not be going so great.  It is perfectly fine to explain why a certain decision was made to clear up any confusion, but it is not okay to argue or make excuses during dialogue with your employees.  At the end of the day, your employees need a voice, and if there is a negative perception floating around your company,  it is your job to change the perception from negative to positive.

3.   Wrong Fit. In this scenario, an employee is hired to fill one job and the first day he shows up, he ends up in a completely different role.  In my mind, this is basically a form of lying to an employee.  If an employee is hired to do one job and placed in another, he will forever be miserable.

Solution: Perform a Strengths Finder Profile on each employee and place them in roles where they can thrive.  You can purchase the book Strengths Finder 2.0, and inside the book will be a code to go online and take the assessment.   If you discover at the last minute that the job  OR the job description is going to change, and it is not a good fit for your new employee based on her skill set and strengths, it is critical for you to communicate to her that the job role has changed and give her the option to stay or move on to find a better fit.

The Top 3 Reasons Motivation Does Not Work

In the world of coaching, we talk a great deal about “motivation“.  I have even had colleagues introduce me as a “motivational speaker”.  This grinds on my last nerve, and here’s why.

Motivation does not work!

Take a look at this dog to the right.  There are several things that could be “motivating” the dog to not snatch the hot dog and lap it up:

  • Great job using Photoshop
  • The dog has been very well trained
  • The photographer tried 10 times and made sure he snapped the photograph in two seconds
  • The dog is not a dog
  • And a few other reasons

My point is this:  Dogs will be dogs, and dogs LOVE to eat meat in any shape or form.  So, my hunch is that if left alone, this dog would scarf down that hot dog in ten seconds flat.

There are 3 basic reasons that I believe motivation does not work, and here they go:

1.  Motivation is a “pushing” mechanism. Have you ever attended a motivational seminar or worked with a health coach who was “pushing” you to achieve a goal against the greatest of your will and might?  It feels yucky.  Now then, they may spin their words and sprinkle their magic pixie dust to get you to “change your life forever”, but the old motivational seminar or “in your face” health coach is like a shot of a cortisone.  The inflammation goes away temporarily out of being in a trance or scared to death, but the true injury did not really heal.  The cortisone was just a short term fix.  Motivation is just like that shot of cortisone…it is a short term fix, and if you are feeling “pushed” to do something that you really don’t want to do, your success will be very short term, but instead if you really want to keep yourself healthy, you’ll do it for yourself, you’ll feel like exercising and getting supplements as kratom extract to feel the best you can.

On the other hand, anabolic steroids does work…something in life that you are really attracted to and drawn to, and it has nothing to do with a health coach screaming in your face or a motivational speaker using his NLP to put you into a trance.

2.  The “motivation” is not tied to changing the environment. We all have the ability to pull will power up, but if our environment is not redesigned in a way to help us reach our goal, we will do what anyone does who is trying to break a habit…we slip or relapse.  If you are trying to lose weight, and your pantry is stocked with Famous Amos cookies, Reese Cups, Lays Potato Chips (you can’t eat just 1) and all of your favorite “fatty foods”, there is a very good chance on a bad, tired, stressed day that you will go to the pantry and go on an eating frenzy.  The same holds true with the people in your environment…if they are not joining you in this goal and if they are eating your favorite foods, the mimic in you will follow them right to the pantry.  To truly succeed with a goal, you really do have to change everything around you if you want to succeed.

3.  Motivation is a form of pretending that you want to do something. If you are pretending you want to do something, just stop!  On the other hand, if you have a goal that truly inspires you and stirs passion inside your soul, there is a great chance you will succeed with your goal.  If you have been shamed or sent on a guilt trip to “get some motivation”,  in about two weeks, you will find yourself right back in that trap.  Standing in front of the mirror and pumping yourself up gets old, but when you are working on something so exciting that you dance out of the bed and out the door every morning, you are going to succeed…because you WANT to and you LOVE what you are doing.

So, I would love to hear some comments on this post.  Just drop them below, and let me hear what you think.

Businesss Comic Books Hit Bookstores Today

If you are looking for a new, quick and exciting approach to reading a business book, Roundtable  Companies has just launched its first wave of business comic books in bookstores across America today.

I picked up a copy of The Long Tail by Chris Anderson, and I cannot wait to see how RTC has portrayed one of my favorite business books of all times.

So head over to Amazon and check out the suite of books now available

If you go to this page, and scroll down, you will see the business comic books on sale.  Just pop open the screencast link to see a glimpse of this first selection of business comics.  Have Fun!


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Executive Coaching: 10 Critical Points to Drive Behavioral Change

When coaching an executive client, many coaches believe that in 3-6 months, magic is going to happen.  Some coaches believe that simply because a coach is involved in the process, a client is going to change for a lifetime.  Maybe…but not so often does this really happen.  While this MAY be true, there are so many factors to consider:  the team members, board members, culture of the company, home life, physical health and the list just goes on and on.

I have written out 10 key components that I believe are critical to helping your client create behavioral change…not just for 3 months but for a lifetime.

1.  When coaching a business owner or executive level leader, you must get involvement and commitment from all stakeholders around the person you are coaching. This means the boss, employees, team members, colleagues and family members.  They have to be supportive of the change and not throwing sarcasm and jokes into the topic of coaching.

2. It is critical to get feedback from other people about this behavior by performing a full review (360 degree review) with the key stakeholders who truly know the client. The client cannot see himself or herself, but the people around the client are making assumptions and drawing conclusions based on their observations.

3.  Determine in writing the key behaviors to change and what they look like now and what the client and stakeholders agree the behavior should look like to help the team improve. With intangibles like coaching, it is difficult to measure if coaching works, so it is important for everyone to agree that “When we see x happen, we will know that change has occurred.”  Be very careful about tying success to a dollar outcome.  The behavior may improve and the bottom line may fall, so this has to be discussed upfront.

4.   Write out a week by week plan of action with the client. Having a plan is crucial, otherwise, both you and the client will have no idea where you are going.  This plan certainly needs to be flexible, but without a plan on paper and checking in each week with that plan, you will end up going nowhere fast.

5.  Check in on a monthly basis with the client and 1-2 key stakeholders (everyone needs to be in the room) to determine where you feel the client is in the change process. If you just talk with the client, the boss, CEO, Board of Directors and employees will want to know what is going on.  Ask your client for permission to meet with 2-3 people who know the client and who he trusts to discuss the progress and any shifts which need to take place in the coaching.

6.  Find out upfront what types of approaches have worked for your client in the past, but do not dwell on the past. Simply discuss what has worked and approaches that just don’t work for your client.  Those old approaches MAY have worked in the past and they may not work today, so ask your client “In your honest opinion, how effective do you believe that strategy for change will work today, given that our world has changed by leaps and bounds in the last five years?”

7.  At the end of the coaching, sit down and map out an exit strategy for next steps. This is where the stakeholders are going to be asked to really step in.  If you are working with a key team member for 6 months, and you are then suddenly gone, who is going to be checking in with your client?

8.  Remember…you cannot work miracles. The behavior the client keeps slipping back into has probably been a part of your client’s life for 20-30 years.  If you think you can change your client in six months, it is time for you to hire a coach to get a grip on reality.  Once you have provided the coaching, tools and resources to your client, with a solid exit strategy, it is no longer your fault or failure if the client “slips”.

9.  Your goal of coaching a leader is not to win a popularity contest. The goal is to get the client to succeed in changing the behavior that is causing anxiety for your client, the team and all stakeholders.  This is serious business, and you have to be willing to be tough enough to even get fired over it.  You have to be willing to go the distance by holding the client accountable, assigning tough exercises and supporting them every step of the way.

10.  If a client is slipping back into old behaviors, avoid using the word “Why?” This can create a great deal of defensiveness.  Simply say “Seems like we are now back to square 1.  Tell me what has gone on in the last few months/years that has pulled you back to where we started.”  Using a child-like approach can also be helpful, simply by saying..”Hmmm….how come?  What happened?”

Please add your ideas on this subject.  We all want our clients to succeed, and all suggestions are so welcome and wanted!

And…don’t forget.  The TOUGH COACHING program begins today, April 6 as 12:00 p.m. Eastern with a live, real time coaching on the topic of “How to coach a client who has been coached and has slipped back into the old behavior.”  To sign up, head over to this page.

TOUGH COACHING Starts Today at 12:00 Eastern

As a reminder, TOUGH COACHING will start today,  Wednesday, April 6.

We still have a few openings, so we invite you to register today and invite a friend to do so.  We are going to have a great deal of valuable information to offer you!

Here are the details:

Dates: 6 Consecutive Wednesdays from April 6-May 11, 2011
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m. Eastern
Facilitators: Bea Fields and Mandy Schumaker

Our first four class clients and topics are as follow.  These are going to be tough clients with rich dialogue and the client will be coached LIVE.  Following the coaching, we will engage the client in a debrief and then turn to you as the audience for a debrief and discussion on what to do, how to do it and any additional ideas you wish to contribute to the group.

April 6: Robert Friesen, Founder and CEO of Bentech and Senior Attorney with  Robbins, May and Rich Attorneys. 
How to coach a client has been coached and has slipped back into old habits.

April 13: Anton Kaufer, Sales Development Manager of Local Thunder. 
How to coach a client who has a challenge around confronting direct reports.

April 20: Dr. Shane Perrault, President of Counseling for African American Couples in Maryland/D.C. Area, author of 2 books and blogger for Psychology Today.
How to coach a client who agrees to complete field work and is not moving through to completion.

April 27:
Scott Wilder, Founding Partner and Digital Strategist at Human 1.0 and the Human 1.0 Network, Acting CMO and Advisor at CloudFi and former Designer and Director of Client Forums and Community for Intuit.
How to coach a client who can’t get ahead due to problems with relationships with others and thinking his ideas are better than others.

Our last two classes will be asking for volunteers from our class to step up and be coached, so please take this opportunity to sign up for our May 4 and May 11 classes for live coaching.

Following the call, you will be given access to a library which will include:

  1. Audio Download of each call
  2. Handouts which cover the topic of the call in thorough detail, including what the behavior “looks like”, the possible root causes of the issues, coaching questions to ask, activities to assign the client and a full set of resources
  3. A list of coaching questions to use with your clients on each topic
  4. At least 3 sample assessments to apply when coaching on client on each topic
  5. A thorough list of resources to help you coach your clients more effectively

Sign Up Today for the 6 Week TOUGH COACHING Program

7 Great Quotes on Twitter From March 30, 2011

Having Friends On Twitter is So Much Fun!

I was out on Twitter today and found some great quotes…I am a quote fanatic, and I want to share these with you!

1.  RT@ Kaysea62762 “A ship in the harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships were made for.”

2. RT @doeyhagen “Beauty is how you feel inside and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.” Sophia Loren

3. RT @ytvp “Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion. What we think of ourselves determines our fate. “-Thoreau

4. RT @GlobalWorkplace “The real voyage of discovery starts in seeing with new eyes.”  Marcel Proust

5. RT @JoCaywood “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams

6. RT @ JanineElias “Be the change you want to see in the world!” Mahatma Gandhi

7. RT @ eileenlunny “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” ~ Marianne Williamson

What is your favorite quote?  Leave it below and post it on Twitter!

My personal favorite of the day: “A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.”~Rosalynn Carter

Are You Slipping Back Into Old Habits? Fear May Be Your Issue

Collage of fearsToday, Mandy Schumaker and I added two posts to TOUGH COACHING related to a leader falling back on old habits or regressing as opposed to moving forward. When you want to move from your house to another location, hire long distance movers chicago il.

Have Your Leadership Skills Regressed by Mandy Schumaker

5 Strategies to Pull Your Butt Out of a Fear Slump by Bea Fields

Please remember:  We will be offering our TOUGH COACHING program starting March 6 with a client who is both a CEO and an attorney (George Collins P.A.) on the topic of someone who has been coached and has now slipped back into old habits.  This is going to be a fabulous call!

And…if fear is holding you back from something big, OR if you feel you are regressing in life or business,  please take the time to read these articles.  They do bring light into the dark shadows. Buy buy glass pipes online for your room to decorate your workplace.

Quote for the day: It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer. ~Albert Einstein

When A Leader Fails, Who Is At Fault? The Training, The Coach or The Client?

On March 16, Kelly and Marshall Goldsmith wrote a great post on BNETWhy Leadership Program’s Don’t Work (Hint: It’s Not the Coach).  I had read the post on BNET and then about 8 people sent me the post.  I have been sitting at my desk for the last week looking at this article  thinking about the positions taken in the post.

The Goldsmiths take the position that at the end of the day, if a leader or manager attends a conference and has no follow up, success rarely follows.  The rate of success increases based on the frequency of follow up coaching and at the end of the day, it really is the responsibility of the client to change.   Quoted from the article:

The bottom line: It’s all about you, not the coach, not the book, not the program. If you’re reading a book or listening to lectures on leadership, but you don’t actually do the work and it’s like watching Arnold Schwarzenegger lift weights–you’re not going to get muscles. That’s why we later wrote an article, based on this study, called, “Leadership is a Contact Sport.” To become a better leader, you must have the fire within to change, do the actual work, and–this is key–have the humility and courage to discuss your progress with a colleague.

I never thought I would see the day when I slightly disagreed with Marshall Goldsmith. In my opinion, he is one of THE top executive coaches in the country and does fantastic work.  He has written several books on the subject, and his style is not passive…it is strong, direct and bottom line oriented, and his clients do get results.  If they don’t, then yes…what the Goldsmiths say in this article is probably true.  If Marshall Goldsmith were my coach, and if  my results were tanking, then I would have to agree that it was all about me.

I do want to add another view to this post.  There are times when I believe the coach needs to take ownership for the client’s lack of success.  Here are some examples when the coach can hurt the client’s chance of success and truly should take responsibility:

  1. The coach is not strong enough to lay the truth on the table. How many times do you find yourself holding back on tough questions and tough responses, because you are afraid of making the client mad?  Gosh…he might just fire you, then what will you do?
  2. The client needs therapy…not coaching, and the coach is not confident enough in her skills to either turn down the client or ask the client to first see a therapist before entering into a coaching arrangement.  If you notice a client is in regret, remorse, guilt, talking about being/feeling depressed, and if you are not a therapist, this is time to turn the client in the direction of an experienced therapist.
  3. The coach is not holding the client accountable. Coaching is not a process of lying on a couch just chatting about past problems.  That is therapy.  Coaching is a proactive, moving forward, active process during which the client must be in action around changing key behaviors connected to success.  As a coach, if you are not holding your client accountable, then who will?
  4. The coach is not challenging the client to go to multiple resources to find conclusions to their current dilemmas. I recall Thomas Leonard once saying “Just remember: The answer is out there somewhere.  The answer may be in the client.  It may be in you.  It may be in a book.  It may be in a week-end seminar.  It may be in a family member or in a scrapbook.”   Sitting around and waiting on the answer to just land in the client’s lap like manna from heaven is probably not going to happen.  The coach must be willing to push the client to go digging for what I call “treasure answers”…both internally and in the environment.  The client must be willing to go and find creative ways to make things work, and then practice those strategies over and over again until they become wrote.

At the end of the day, as a coach, if you are:

  • Challenging the client right and left
  • Being honest and direct
  • Asking tough questions
  • Holding the client accountable
  • Bringing great resources to the table for exploration
  • Pressing for more clarity
  • And making it real

Then yes, the Goldsmiths are right.  If you are bringing 110% of yourself to the coaching process, then it then is the client’s full responsibility to either move up or down.  Just don’t expect your clients to have any type of movement if you are in the middle eating milk toast.



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