The 4 Cs of Communication Through Uncertainty 

leadership management Apr 30, 2020

I'm sure you have a million things on your mind. There are so many things happening at once. Some folks are just now starting to settle into virtual routines, others are moving from one physical location to another to allow for deep cleaning and preparation for larger groups, and some are actively planning your re-entry strategy. In addition to just keeping up with all of the expectations associated with planning, many people have been expressing to me how just doggone tired we are. I'm tired, too. 

So for those of you who, like me, are feeling exhausted, I want to share 4 simple Cs to remember as you communicate: 1) Clarity, 2) Consistency, 3) Care and 4) Continuity. Though they sound pretty straightforward, I encourage you to think about how you can use simple structured approaches to help make your lifting lighter. Read on to get some ideas. 


Be clear about what is happening, even when you’re not certain about all of the details. This is particularly...

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This is NOT new normal (with video)

leadership management Apr 03, 2020

In reference to the Coronavirus pandemic, I keep hearing "new normal” this and “new normal” that. When I listen carefully to what people are saying, I often agree with their point--things have shifted, and fast. But the language of “new normal” implies permanence; exactly what we don’t want to apply to this current and temporary crisis. Language is powerful. It affects how we view and make meaning of things that are happening around us. It also colors the way others perceive these experiences. So, I would like to propose some alternatives for “new normal”: 

1. Reframe the way you are processing this situation. Yes, it’s filled with fear, uncertainty, loss, and grief. However, we can’t get swallowed up by those things. We can also look for the gifts. For example, the outpouring of kindness and generosity demonstrated over the last few weeks has been amazing. This is particularly powerful in the wake of what has been...

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Create Temporary Structures, Keep the End in Mind (with video)

leadership management Apr 02, 2020

This is week 3 for many of you. This Monday marks the beginning of the third week of living and interacting in a very new reality. You have likely, in weeks 1 and 2, made sure that your employees have access to the internet at home, know what shared tools will be used to communicate, and assigned short-term projects that can be completed away from your typical work environment. You have also, hopefully, exhaled.

In parallel, this is also the week when many are starting to experience personal losses due to the Coronavirus of family or friends. If this is the case for you, please know that I extend my heartfelt condolences.

In the midst of all that has happened and is happening, I encourage you to focus your energy with the end in mind. What do we want to be the experiences, the lessons learned, the triumphs that we take from this difficult time?

You've already learned that working from home takes a very different type of energy. As we are transitioning to virtual, many of us are...

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Focus on Your Well-Being

leadership management Mar 23, 2020

Here we are, the beginning of Week 2. I know that the Coronavirus has been around longer than 2 weeks, but last week was, for many people in the U.S., the beginning of what has now become a massive shut down of our schools, businesses, and life as we’ve known it. Every day there are new restrictions the timeframe for them extended.

I’ve been talking to people from coast to coast about making tough decisions, communicating during crisis, and centering issues of equity and our shared values. In the midst of all the conversations about taking care of others, I want to insert a reminder to take care of yourself.

Your sense of personal well-being might be comprised right now. You may be concerned about:

  • losing your job
  • demonstrating proficient in an online environment
  • balancing child care and education while working
  • being one of few people who are still expected to go into a physical workspace
  • making decisions that are going to adversely impact others
  • your own health or...
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Leadership in the Time of Coronavirus

leadership management Mar 12, 2020

The past few weeks have been tough. You have likely been consumed with deliberations on what to do about the coronavirus. With the World Health Organization declaring a pandemic and President Trump’s recent travel restrictions, anxiety seems to be only on the rise.

Many of you are making tough but considerate choices to cancel large gatherings and close facilities. I know you, like us, are worried not just about immediate health concerns but also implications for employees who will feel the very real repercussions of these decisions. I don’t have the magic answer. We are living through this real-time with you. However, I do want to take this moment to share a couple reminders.

1. Show up as the leader you want to be.

When we are stressed and adrenaline is racing through our bodies, our natural response is to avoid pain or uncertainty. As leaders, take this moment to center yourself, reconnect with your intentional leadership philosophy, and show up as helpful,...

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Are You Using Outdated Words To Describe People and Groups?

Have you ever been worried you're using outdated words to describe people and groups? Are you concerned that it may impact your client and professional relationships? Perhaps even offend someone?

Language sends a strong message to our colleagues, especially given the current level of public calling out of people for using words that are perceived as offensive or dated.

Inclusive managers are encouraged not to make assumptions about language preferences across groups, even within your group. 

What is inclusive language? Inclusive language is communication that avoids using words, expressions or assumptions that exclude people across gender, language, culture, religion, race, ability, family structure, marital status, sexuality, origin, class and/or organizational classification.

Why do we use inclusive language? 

Being intentional with our words conveys a genuine effort to truly see and honor people in a way that is most appropriate for them. It is an attempt to address the...

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Why You Should Be More Like Serena Williams' Coach

leadership management Mar 03, 2020

Growth happens in small doses. Does this sound familiar: It’s the fourth quarter and you’ve been working long days and weekends to complete performance evaluations for all of your direct reports. You are trying to capture—heck, sometimes even remember—all of the high (and low) points of the year. The expectation is that you document your employees’ achievements and areas for improvement for delivery during a “performance meeting”.

You come to the meeting nervous about how each person will handle the input; whether you’ve described it in ways that lead to learning.

Your employees, on the other hand, come to the same meeting often feeling disempowered or vulnerable. They may even express confusion or frustration with some of your comments, citing your own limited understanding or access to their work. Each person leaves the meeting feeling thankful that it’s over. The appropriate paperwork is submitted to HR. And we begin again,...

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Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Defined

Uncategorized Feb 20, 2020

Last week in a coaching call for our signature program, the Inclusive Manager’s Toolkit, one of the participants asked me to define diversity, inclusion, and equity. Until then, I had been rattling along assuming that we were all on the same page. After sharing some definitions, several other participants thanked me for the definitions and asked me to write them up. I realized that maybe more of us could benefit from definitions of these commonly used terms. So, below are my definitions. You or your organization (or Wikipedia) may define them differently. I hope these are helpful, though, to get you thinking about how you define these terms, how you see them in action in your workplace, and how you can continue to invest in your ongoing learning.

Diversity is the variety of ways in which people are described at individual levels and as affiliated with socially identifiable groups. There is diversity across groups, and often even more diversity within socially...

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4-Steps for Building Confidence

Uncategorized Feb 20, 2020

I spent the past few days in Aspen with my son, Shiloh, and some family friends. When the idea for a family ski trip with some of our closest friends was suggested I was immediately all in. I’m a skier. I grew up in Colorado and spent much of my young life in the Rocky Mountains. I remember college days when, as a student advisor, I would drive oversized University-owned vans with 11 other students to mountain retreats.

I drove through those mountain passes without a care in the world. Later, as an early career professional, I would take off the occasional Wednesday or Thursday to avoid weekend travelers driving through the Eisenhower Tunnel and up the snowy and windy mountain pass. These days were always so calming. It was me communing with nature, filled with awe by the grandness of the peaks around me. I would spend an entire day skiing alone, happy in the solitude. Since moving away in my early 20s, I go back to Colorado every year to ski. And now Shiloh, 11, has become an...

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Why Organizational Change Efforts Fail

Uncategorized Aug 19, 2019


Hello, Friend.

Does change have you down? Change is heavy on my mind lately. Everyone, everywhere I go, is wrestling with how to manage yet another change. The toughest part for most folks is the complaints. In the video I describe the Big Four complaints that I hear about most often:

  1. Communication: "We expect transparency!"
  2. Decision Making: "We want to know who is making decisions, how and based on what criteria." 
  3. Equity: "The decisions you are making, without consulting me, have a negative impact on me."
  4. Trust: "I don't believe that you have my/our best interest in mind."  

Are these issues familiar to you? If so, you're not alone. They're common areas of concern. The tricky part is that they aren't about change.

They're about process.

Actually, these issues reflect a lack of process sophistication that, if it were present, would totally transform not just your organization's ability to manage change but would lead to: increased engagement, higher...

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