Leaning In and Stamina

It seems that there is an ebb and flow to work as tasks and projects creep forward. Certainly there are times during the day or week that project management and leadership begin taxing. Groups are working too slow or too fast. Communication may be lacking. Staff may be having conflict due to particulars and direction. In all cases great leaders have stamina and continue to lean in on staff.

Leaning in is a skill that certainly can be learned. Tasks and projects require air time and room to breath. Managers observe every task, evaluate, and offers feedback. Leaders will observe but not engage tasks. Over the course of tasks patterns may develop requiring leadership to reshape or redirect. The overall project has an expected outcome. The Manager will focus on every task to assure the project is completed. The leader will allow tasks to develop and offer push inquiry.

Leaning in is not the same as leaning on! Leaning in is hearing and evaluating. Leaning on is exactly that; no room to breath.
Stamina to maintain this distance even when it seems tasks may be going a different direction is critical to solid leadership. Our staff will never learn to lead if they have not learned how to fail gracefully and with support.


Juggling Life: Some Balls will Fall!

…we invariably have balls fall!

How often do you hear someone say ‘too many balls in the air.’ Is it really true that we have too many balls in the air? Or, is it that we have the perfect amount of balls in the air and sometimes balls will be dropped as a reality in life? Either way we are juggling balls and not, say, eggs or cell phones so if they fall they don’t break!

If we are fully committed to our families, our communities, our work, and our friends then we will invariably have balls fall. What we have to do is be prepared mentally for this. The you think you can plan for everything then you will be in for a real surprise. I think the headlines in the paper and leading stories on the news illustrate that we can plan but it does not mean that we can have every variable covered.

Yes, balls will hit the ground that we throw up, our spouses toss up, our children heave ho, and so on. Now we have all kinds of balls hitting the ground. It is a juggling nightmare. Yet, we still have some balls up and we are still in the game for those that we care about. It is not the fact that balls are dropping. Rather, are the balls that matter the least dropping. Or, if it is an important ball, figure out how to pick up the right balls.

Forgive yourself early and often if you drop a ball. Each ball dropped is an opportunity to pick up another one and figure out how to keep it in the air. Juggle away. Why not?

Walking the Walk in Negotiating

Keys to negotiation and maintaining self dignity.

I continue to notice how the needs of people rarely completely align with the perceptions of other people around them as issues become more and more tense. What causes tension? Money? Time? Effort? Ability? The art of negotiation is to know who you are and ensure that clarity is established between you and the person that you are having dealings.

All of these cause tension when people are unable to be clear on perception or message delivery. Tension increases as clarity is fogged by personal beliefs, core values, and fears in communication or the message being communicated. Certainly this can be mitigated by having courage and walking the walk.

The six steps to walking the walk to align perceptions even if agreement is not met:
Clearly state your position and if needed the rationale (core value, company policy, or legal precedent)

  1. Clearly offer choices to the ideas that are available and if choices are not available inquire with the other person possible solutions
  2. Reach for the best possible agreement or move the idea forward to be addressed at a later time
  3. Email a follow up to where the discussion ended including what was discussed and what the next steps are for agreement
  4. Follow up the conversation and seek agreement and follow up with an email
  5. Stick to your core values if agreement could not be met with resolution and dignity
  6. Do not yield on the core values, company policy or the legal precedent as an employee or an employer when reaching agreement

Live to see another day  because this is only a small blip in your overall life. Truly, which hill are you willing to ‘die’ on? Also, remember that when you make a deal be sure that it is OK to replicate with others because others will certainly find out about it and if it is great they will want it too!









Remaining Balanced!

Keeping your core values and keeping your core friends and family in harmony.

Our ability to manage our internal compass that keeps us rationale with the irrational inputs from external sources is critical to communicating with those that we love and to be honest, those that may not be our favorite people. Certainly we are bombarded by the news, the news of the news, and the analysis of the news of the news. All of this can be daunting and centers on you to be assertive.

First, (1) how do you know your own core values and how do those core values drive your own life? (2) How much do your core values drive your conversations with family and friends? (3) How much does the external noise push the core values out in a more overt way from you to others? (4) Are your core values interfering with your relationships?

Each of the questions build on each other and may, or probably will, create increased tension with friends and family as your core values become overt. What does all of this mean? Truly, in my view, it means remaining balanced because we as individuals can and should control our own core values, maintain our core values, and maintain the relationships that we have with other people that may or may not share our core values.







Integrity of a Relationship; A Lifestyle

When we talk about trust and faith in relationships, we truly are talking about the integrity that we bring to the conversation. If we only live in a pattern of being forthright and honest, we establish a pattern that creates its own momentum and the discussions move forward with little sideways momentum. Yet, if we offer ‘some’ trust and some ‘faith’, we are moving the relationship slowly or not at all.

Think about something as simple as setting up a meeting or a date with a loved one. If I hedge to committing time then I am offering only ‘some’ trust and ‘some’ faith. To offer all that I can offer I would better serve myself and the other person with a clear answer and clear direction. If it is something that I don’t want to do then I need to weigh the value of how the other person ranks it. If it is important for the other person, the trust, faith, and integrity will allow me to say ‘YES’ I will go. If it is something that I value low and the other person merely wants my company I have to weigh my personal pursuits to the OUR pursuits. Certainly MY time is important but so is OUR time.

This also brings us back to balance. If you are balanced then the requests should go both ways with equal congeniality and in many cases, Love. If the other person or I am hedging commitment, the trust, faith, and integrity of the relationship can erode or remain stagnant. Why not say yes and go!


The Economics of Housing

Being in California we get to see the best and worst of prosperity and opportunity. The New York Times penned an article regarding the lack of housing to support the high housing prices in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. This article mentioned homelessness as one of the defaults of this dilemma. One of the contributors to the article spoke of living in Manteca, California and having to travel 80 miles to the San Francisco Bay Area for her $180,000 nursing position. Some solutions that ALL Californians are capable of making:

  1. Move to the San Francisco Bay Area and decrease square footage and increase housing cost
  2. Find a nursing job in the California Central Valley that pays less but lessens commute and hopefully maintains the current lifestyle
  3. Find a nursing job out of state that lessens commute and lowers cost of living
  4. Retrain for a different position and increase eligibility and income locally

The economics are simple. If it costs too much to live in the community then the industry increases its income for these people to entice them to work far from their homes. Certainly we saw this with the high wages in North Dakota with the fracking.

Currently, the state government is working feverishly to solve this problem for workers to be closer to their jobs. How much will this current crisis be solved by the work of the state legislature in compelling local communities to create more housing in their neighborhoods? Is this a new problem? Has this happened since the beginning of mass transit and the industrial revolution?

Most importantly for this blogger is the impact of the decisions that those with big commutes make on that person’s family and friends. Is it worth it to chase the carrot and for how long?

Families are the Backbone of America

America is great because of the value that we place on families. When we think of the intertwining of neighborhoods through our children we realize the value that families have in our communities. As our children play Little League or tennis, football or basketball, gymnastics or band, we continue to build networks that geographically are tight augmenting human relationships through common activities. As our families attend church and community events, we continue strengthening those community oriented ties drawing people to the support of the community rather than leaving those same people isolated and alone.

Families that live in urban or rural areas build collaborative networks of support allowing family decisions to come to fruition through common ideals. This is not a time gone by in the 50’s but rather a continuing evolving nation that becomes stronger through this interaction.

As our children grow up and witness this sense of community we hope to continue the essential trend for local networking for the maturation of our American values. As we focus on our own families and seek ways to support our community and ergo other families we will see common ideas and common values pervade. As we focus on families we will notice people not condemning others but seeking ways to support others. This reality is seen daily by giving a ride to your child’s classmate whose mom is working or volunteering to coach because the other parents have obligation. If we all pitch in we all benefit in the tightly developed community!