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gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Leading Across Generations

By | Coaching, Communication, Diversity, Employee Engagement, Leadership, Pivot Point, Team Building, Training | No Comments

Research indicates that Millennials will be 75% of our workforce by 2025, and with this, organizations are struggling to engage top talent across generations.  Often, with leaders I coach, they ask, “how can we change the millennials to be more motivated, and less entitled?” to which I respond, “they are far less likely to change for us; they are far more likely to change us.”  There are so many wonderful traits this next generation brings to the workforce:  a genuine passion for making a positive impact on the world, a desire to work to live rather than live to work, and an uncanny ability to find solutions to complex problems.  Yet, there are some distinct behaviors and expectations that do not always align with organizational values and processes.

The Pew Research Center outlines generations by birth year range as follows:

  • Millennials: 1981-1997
  • Generation X: 1965 to 1980
  • Baby Boomers: 1946 to 1964

Much attention has been placed on Baby Boomer and Millennial alignment, as they represent two ends of the spectrum, and have the most differences between them.  However, Generation X is the next generation of leaders, and represents the majority of small business owners.  They are a force to be reckoned with as well, yet often blend in with the Baby Boomers or identify with the Millennials as the pendulum swings.  Humorously, at a conference I was at recently, the speaker talked about Generation X being overwhelmed by the Baby Boomers.  Due to their sheer size, Baby Boomers made Generation X into mini Baby Boomers.  Partially true, Generation X seems to be amicable and the most flexible to each of the other larger generations.

In order to effectively lead an organization today, leaders must inspire and engage across all generations.  In this post, you will learn:

  • Understanding how “coming of age” experiences shape generations
  • Learning how to “flex” your leadership style to meet the needs of each generation
  • Aligning cultural values consistent with generational expectations

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gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Appreciate Others that are NOT Like You

By | Coaching, Communication, Conflict Resolution, Diversity | No Comments

So, I had this epiphany when I was a young adult.  I was in college and it was freshman year, and it was my first time living away from home.  My roommate, also one of my best friends from high school, and I were getting into our first argument.  She informed me that, to my shock, “not everyone was like me.”  I thank Amy for this assertive statement, and recall that memory fondly as a great moment of self-awareness.

My roommate, Amy, and I had completely different personalities.  While we had so much in common in our passions and interests, we could not have been further apart on our communication styles.  As a results-oriented, direct communicator, I could not believe Amy would need time process her thoughts before sharing, and often thought of the impact on others before thinking of herself.  She’s the steady one; I am the bold one.  Still to this day, our differences are felt, and I am thankful to have someone to balance me out that knows me so well, and accepts me for who I am, even if our priorities are completely different.

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gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

What I Wish I Had Known Before Starting my Own Business

By | Career Game Plan, Coaching, Goal Setting, Leadership, Pivot Point | 2 Comments

As my two-year anniversary of starting my own business passed, I took some time to reflect on what I learned.  Having done the b-school thing, and the corporate gigs in a variety of industries and functional areas, the last two years have far surpassed any learning in the classroom or on the job.Being your own boss is hard.  Giving yourself a day off, or a weekend for that matter, is a challenge.  Dealing with the major swings in demand and revenue can be frustrating.  Yet, I would not trade this experience for the world.  It’s taught my daughters that women can do it anything they truly set their minds too, it’s made my relationship with my husband stronger (we now work together), share my passion with my family (my niece also supports the business), and it has helped me fuel my real calling for women’s leadership.

I get to go to work now, I no longer have to go.

I meet countless people that think that they want to start their own businesses, and they often believe it is not possible.  If you are one of those people with a great idea, but lacking the courage to make it happen, then this blog is for you.  The frequently asked questions here are a culmination of what I am asked most often in one-on-one discussions with clients and aspiring entrepreneurs.

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gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Model the Change You Want to See

By | Coaching, Communication, Employee Engagement, Leadership, Team Building, Training | No Comments

In my collaboration with women in leadership, I find that we wrestle with our own tough expectations, and projecting those expectations on others.  We often ask the rhetorical question – why can’t this person just change?  It could be an attitude tweak, an adjustment in initiative, or improving communication skills.  It doesn’t matter.  But the change needs to start with us.

Change is hard.  People do not change for us.  We can only change ourselves.  We cannot want it for the other person, even if we see that just a few small tweaks would improve their happiness and job performance significantly.  Instead of asking or expecting someone to miraculously change – improve their attitude, take more initiative, or listen more to our ideas.  Instead, ask “what could I do differently?”  As leaders, we have to show the team what good looks like.

It Starts With the Leader

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gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Women’s Wellness Strategies

By | Career Game Plan, Coaching, Confidence, Leadership, Pivot Point, Training | No Comments

At Pivot Point, we believe that wellness is defined as our ability to make conscious choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life.  Based on our research with every day women leaders and women in business, we have summarized our findings for women looking for ideas for their own personal wellness plans.

After copious research, and dozens of workshops with women leaders focused on their personal wellness, we believe that there are three key areas to improving your personal wellness plan, and it all starts with your purpose.  First, start with:

1) Knowing your why (and saying no to things not aligned with your why)

2) Then, giving to others through compassion (giving to give)

3) Followed by, prioritizing sleep (yes, sleep)

Let’s start with your WHY by asking yourself these questions…

  • What are the tasks/goals that get you most excited?
  • What are the tasks/goals that you are doing on your very best days?
  • What are the tasks/goals that people continuously praise you for?
  • What are the tasks/goals that you seem to be most effective at?
  • Who are the people that are most important to you in your life?

You may be asking, what does this have to do with wellness?  I have found in my work with women, that our choices must be aligned with our personal wellness.  We cannot be happy if we are busy trying to make everyone else happy around us.

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gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Recognize What You Want to See Again

By | Coaching, Employee Engagement, Leadership, Pivot Point, Team Building, Training | No Comments

 One of the most important tasks as a leader is to motivate their team.  Different team members are motivated by different things.  Some like public recognition, others prefer private praise, and some need it more, and some need it less.  As humans, I would argue that nearly all of us enjoy some form of recognition.  And, it’s one of the least expensive forms of motivation.  It does not even need to cost us a dime when tailored to the individual and done genuinely.

Leaders I coach often question, “I am supposed to recognize someone for doing their job?  I do my job every day and no one recognizes me.”  The answers is yes.  As leaders, we have to take the high road.  This means that we need to prioritize the time to give people positive feedback.  And, if we invest the time, studies show that team member performance increases.

What we choose to focus on matters.  When recognized, team members are more likely to repeat these behaviors, leading to better business results associated with these positive behaviors like increased client satisfaction, productivity, and/or quality of work.

Some tangible strategies to improve your culture of recognition as a leader are:

  • Kudos boards
  • Start meetings with “tell me something good”
  • Real time recognition

Kudos boards

A simple tool to build team morale – a visual display of all the great things the team is doing as a reminder of what good looks like.  This can be done in a variety of ways – a bulletin board in a break room or common area with post-it notes to recognize freely in the moment, a recognition box where team members can privately share their praise and leaders can display with employee approval later, or a client appreciation area with testimonials showcasing great client service.  I have seen it done well in various formats.  The key is getting buy-in from the team on how they want to be recognized, and tailoring the kudos board to their preferred format of recognition.  If they are a part of the idea to start, team members are far more likely to engage with the program and participate.

Each team is different, and their recognition needs are different too.

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gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Positive Affirmations that Work at Work

By | Coaching, Confidence, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Positive Thinking | No Comments

“I am good enough.  I am smart enough, and dog gone it, people like me!” 

Unfortunately for many leaders, the word “affirmations” conjures up memories of the Stuart Smalley segment on Saturday Night Live.  Although, Stuart proclaims these statements, you get the sense that he does not truly believe them, coming across as generic and lacking confidence.  While hilarious, positive psychology has advanced light years since this segment’s popular days in the 1990’s.  Over the last 20+ years, much improved information on our brain’s ability to internalize what we choose to tell it has yielded some impressive research and outcomes.

Positive thinking is not just a fad, it’s a must have for today’s leader.  It is one of the best tools to manage conflict, to coach employees to success, and to solve today’s complex business problems.

The leaders I coach often share these tools and techniques to improve their own positive thinking skills:

  • Power posing
  • “Will” and “am” statements
  • Visualization

Power posing

With nearly 40 million views, Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk outlines some proven ways to bolster confidence through body positioning.  By positioning our bodies to be bigger outwardly, rather than inward, our stress hormone, cortisol decreases, and our testosterone levels increase.  Although her research has been difficult to replicate, I personally believe wholeheartedly in it.  For me, when I have felt overwhelmed, or did something for the first time, or lacked confidence thinking someone else was better than me, I have power posed with positive affirmations, and felt a calmness and confidence wash over me.

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gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Stand Out as a Leader with Emotional Intelligence

By | Coaching, Conflict Resolution, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Team Building | No Comments

The way we are wired impacts our leadership style.  While I am not a neuroscientist, knowing the basics of our brains’ wiring is a huge differentiator for leaders.

Leaders feel the pain of the emotional intelligence, or lack thereof, on their teams.  They need to lead by example, recognizing the emotion when they see it, in addition to showing the team what good looks like in maintaining composure.  My favorite leaders have been passionate, yet calm, cool, and collected in nature.  They did not sweat when the rest of the team did.  They kept their composure and were a calming force for the emotions of those around them.  Especially when tensions mount.

So, if emotional intelligence helps us stand out as a leader, how do we cultivate it?  Successful leaders practice:

  • Self-awareness
  • Suspending judgment
  • Choosing to respond vs. react

Let’s begin with a short lesson in neuroscience…

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gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Manage Conflict: Demand Debate

By | Coaching, Conflict Resolution, Employee Engagement, Leadership, Positive Thinking, Team Building | No Comments

Who enjoys the “tough talk” with a peer, team, or direct report?  Chances are, it’s a dreaded conversation.  Perhaps even one that is procrastinated, hoping the conflict will just go away.

Yet, often I find with leaders, that when they have the “tough talk,” it goes far better than expected, and it results in a better relationship with the person.  Let’s discuss some of proven strategies I have found in my research and work with leaders.

Leaders that manage conflict successfully do so by:

1) Demanding debate (in a healthy way)

2) Holding the team accountable through ground rules

3) Building a culture based on trust

Demanding debate (in a healthy way)

On a high performing team, people often look at conflict as healthy.  We’re human, it’s bound to surface.  The key difference is that high performing teams deal with it proactively.  They have the discussion it in the moment, or close to the time of the conflict and clear the air.  They do not fear it, they welcome it as a chance to be better.

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gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Replace Feedback with Guidance, and You Will Get Better Results

By | Coaching, Conflict Resolution, Leadership, Positive Thinking, Talent Retention, Team Building, Training | No Comments

The word feedback creates fear.  It creates a feeling in the pit of our stomachs, followed by an overly emotional anxiety.  Merely hearing the word makes it hard to hear the words that follow.

Imagine this scenario, someone pulls you aside, and asks, “Can I give you some feedback?”  Fear takes over, you assume it to be negative, and you instantly imagine the worst case scenario.  That is because the word feedback has been framed so poorly in the past.  It has created negative perceptions based on the experiences that our brain remembers.  Our brain recalls the pattern of negative feedback, and prepares our body with fight or flight mode to take cover or run away.  Our emotions take over.  That doesn’t bode well for solid decision making and behavior.

The words we use matter.  So, let’s try a different word – guidance.  I have been searching for a better word than feedback for years – words like feed-forward, insight, coaching – have been floated out there in the coaching community, yet none have felt genuine or appropriate.  Then, a mentor of mine shared an article with me about a concept called “radical candor.”  What struck me most about the concept was the use of the word guidance over feedback.

Consider this, rather than saying “Can I give you some feedback,” why not open with, “I’ve got some guidance for you…”  It’s softer, it frames the moment appropriately, and emphasizes positive intent.  The word guidance ensures that the audience is still listening, and not emotionally hijacked and paralyzed with fear.  Furthermore, effective guidance requires leaders to:

  • Deliver it real-time
  • Assume positive intent
  • Be clear about the behaviors rather than the person

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