Category Archives: Relationships

leadership lost

“Power isn’t control at all — power is strength, and giving that strength to others. A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others that they may have the strength to stand on their own.”
― Beth Revis


You may have heard about the recent event on United Airlines that resulted in having a passenger forcibly removed from a plane.   It was an event that you’d think would never happen unless that passenger was threat to others or the plane.  In this case it was just someone unfortunate enough to be “randomly” selected to give up their seat to an United employee.

The event is a great lesson in leadership or the lack of leadership.  Years ago a great experiment was conducted, “The Stanford Prison Experiment” which demonstrated that just following the rules can lead to unwelcome outcomes.  Something similar happened when the gate agents followed their rules and asked for some help from the security contingent.   The security team decided to forcibly remove the passenger (just doing their job).   In the process of removing the passenger, the passenger was injured.   As it turns out people will conform to their roles and act accordingly.

When leadership doesn’t empower their employees to provide great customer service they rely on the rules, rules that don’t take into consideration the meaning and real value of the people who are to be served.

What would need to change for United to be a customer focused organization?


core values

“There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do. ” Freya Stark

What are core values?   These are values that are important to you or the organization you work for.  These are deep-seated values that you identify with as necessary components of you or you work.   Some people value honesty, integrity,  trust,  intelligence, or a strong work ethic.   No matter what they are if they are in alignment with who you are the more satisfied you’ll be.   Your identity is wrapped up in your core values.  It is what you believe in.

How well do you know your core values?    I have found that looking at a list of over 300 values that most people find it difficult to winnow the list down to just a few values, just 3 or 4 values that are the most important to them.   With too many values it is easy to get lose focus on what is really important and identify with values that are tangential to the real you.

Why is it important to have just a few values?    You can certainly have many values that are important and without a focus on a few it leads to less intense focus on the values that are the most important.    There are probably just three to five core values that you can develop with sufficient intensity to make substantial improvements on.

Identify your values

1. Take a look at a list of values and quickly choose 10 values that you identify with

2.  Narrow the list of 10 values down to 5

3. Now choose the 3 values that you strongly identify with

What can you do to strengthen your values?

Take a look at Zappos values and how they apply those values in the work environment.

How are you living out your values?

If you are interested in finding your core values Taylor Protocols offers an assessment that will identify your strengths in four areas.    The information is useful in finding the right career and how to resolve conflicts with others.    When you know what values are being challenged in yourself you can develop strategies to reduce that conflict.

Take some time and get to know your core values today.

Joy – The responsibility equation

“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”   Albert Ellis

Joy, what is it?

Is joy happiness?   Is joy the sustained sense of well-being that we experience when our needs are met and some of our wants are met?   Is joy a sense of contentment in the midst of all of life’s circumstances?

Some people would say that joy has no definition, it is a state of mind that defies description.   It is a feeling that is different for every person.    Let’s look at an example, two stewardesses on a plane with basically the same job, the same pay, the same circumstances and yet one is happy and the other is grumpy.    The conditions on the plane are the same for both stewardesses, yet one is happy and the other isn’t.   What is the difference?

Where does joy come from?    Does joy come from things outside of you?    Joy seems to be manufactured by the interpretation of the situation you  see yourself in right now.   If you find yourself being anxious, upset, worried, fretting, angry, or depressed about how things are in your life there will be little space for joy.   If you find yourself at peace with what you have and where you are in life right now then you’ll probably sense some joy and happiness.

The difference it seems between feeling joy and not having joy is about taking responsibility for joy.   If you take 100% responsibility for your life then you will start experiencing more joy in your life.   Responsibility means that you are doing all that you can to create the outcomes you want in life for you.   It means that you are giving more, you are more concerned with others than yourself.  It means that you give with the expectation of getting nothing in return.

For many people getting more stuff provides some level of increased happiness yet that only lasts a short amount of time.   Hedonic adaptation takes over and that new car, new home, new bike, new clothes, or new something only has a short impact on happiness.      So while new things provide momentary happiness that happiness dissolves within a relatively short amount of time and as a result there is an increased sense of dissatisfaction which increases the pressure to get a happiness fix.

The responsibility equation replaces those momentary happiness fixes with a sense of long-lasting joy.   That is taking 100% responsibility for all things, giving more and doing more.   Think about it, what would living the 100/0 equation do for you?

Take a look:

running on the hedonic treadmill

“The 7 Deadly Sins are:
Wealth without work
Pleasure without conscience
Knowledge without character
Business without morality
Science without humanity
Worship without sacrifice
Politics without principle”  Gandhi

Everywhere people are chasing something and are finding that as hard as they chase they are unable to grab hold to this elusive thing.   You may hear in their words, “If I only __________________”, then I would be _____________.  What is that second word?

Was it happiness?   Yes, people are chasing happiness and are having a hard time grasping it.   The faster you run towards happiness the greater the distance to achieve it.    Studies have been done on those who win lotteries and those people have a six month boost in happiness before returning to the level of happiness they had before their fortunate outcome.

People who are the happiest have strong relationships, a rewarding career, supportive social networks, financial sufficiency and ability to make choices. To jump of the hedonic treadmill try improving your relationships,  working at something you enjoy, and spreading happiness around.

Relationships matter

 Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. ‘Pooh!’ he whispered. ‘Yes, Piglet?’ ‘Nothing,’ said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw. ‘I just wanted to be sure of you.’ “ A.A. Milne

Positive psychology research has shown that people with good relationships are happier than those who don’t have relationships with others.

Rewarding Career

Working a career that uses your strengths and abilities leads to greater happiness.   Examine your strengths and talents and find work that leverages them.



Supportive Social networks

Happiness is contagious.  Research done by Dan Gilbert shows that happiness spreads.   If someone else is happy you’re likely to catch some of that happiness and spread it to others.  Find people who are supportive and happy and spread it around.



Other happiness indicators are:

  • Financial Sufficiency – having enough money
  • Democracy – sense of choice, empowered
  • Religion – increased sense of fulfillment
  • Praise to criticism ratio of 3 praises to 1 criticism

“In a true partnership, the kind worth striving for, the kind worth insisting on, and even, frankly, worth divorcing over, both people try to give as much or even a little more than they get. “Deserves” is not the point. And “owes” is certainly not the point. The point is to make the other person as happy as we can, because their happiness adds to ours. The point is — in the right hands, everything that you give, you get.”   Amy Bloom

the excellent organization …

” Employee engagement is currently at an all-time low in the United States and costs companies an estimated $370 billion dollars annually. In this time of improving return-on-investment (ROI) and profitability, it’s ironic that the key to every company stimulating profitability is the very thing that so many organizations neglect  enhancing employee engagement. ”  John Brubaker

Are companies losing $370 BILLION dollars each year?    If companies do have 84% of their employees ready and waiting to move to another organization the impact is large.   Hiring a replacement, training the replace and getting them to the point where they are producing at a high level takes time and time is lost opportunity for any company today.   Margins are tight and organizations should be looking at ways to establish strong relationships with their employees.


Some companies will say it’s OK for an employee to leave there are plenty of replacements out their waiting for a job.  Employers who view employees are consumable and replaceable resources will soon find that they can’t hire the people they need to hire to create a thriving and powerful business.


The goal of a business is to create a profit(to stay in business) and having employees that share that goal is important.   A business that can grow its profits draws to it more success.  People want to be associated with success.   A business that is able to produce innovative and high quality goods and services has an opportunity to last.


People are an important part of any business.   Happy people, engaged people are success drivers for the business.  If a business believes that people should think of work as a “privilege”, as in you are luck to be here, what kind of business will that be?  It won’t be a business that attracts the best type of worker.


If an employee believes that they are contributing to the success of the business in a meaningful way they will give more.   That is if the business views the employee as a part owner then that person is much more likely to go the extra mile and to find ways to make the business run better.

In some cases managers don’t have the tools or a good relationship with their employees.   For the manager that discounts the value of a positive relationship (trust, encouragement, acknowledgement, and confidence) they may find that their best employees are looking for something more meaningful and satisfying to do.

Organizations that are experiencing an increase in employee exits may want to consider their environment.  Is it a good place to work and take action to ensure that it is a good place to work?   It doesn’t cost a lot of money to improve employee engagement.   It does cost a lot of money to replace employees when they decide that it isn’t worth working for the company any longer.    A company that cares for its employees will find that its employees will care for the company.

For the organization that realizes that employee engagement is important may find that bringing in coaches to work with managers and employees is a lot less expensive than replacing employees.

“A company has a responsibility beyond making a profit for stockholders; it has a responsibility to recognize the dignity of its employees as human beings, to the well-being of its customers, and to the community at large.”  David Packard


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broken … relationships

WIIFM … What’s in it for ME.   We live in a “ME” focused society and wonder why relationships at work and home don’t work.

50 percent of all marriages in which the brides are 25 or older result in a failed marriage. — National Center for Health Statistics

A 50% failure rate in business would get serious attention, yet for married men and women divorce is nearly routine an acceptable way out.    It may be that the cultural differences between men and women are not being adequately addressed so the default has become, “separation” or “divorce”.   What could change the outcome of a relationship that is going in the wrong direction?

If both people took 100% responsibility for making the relationship work then perhaps there would be a higher success rate.   Not only is taking responsibility important so is knowing what the other person “needs”.    Most people enter a relationship with the intent of making it work and sometimes the “communication” between the man and the woman gets so bad that both people want the relationship to go away.

So, let’s look at what things might need to change to get a relationship back on track.   Men need respect.  Women need love.   Men speak in the language of respect and miss the need to communicate love to their wife.   Women speak in the language of love and miss the need to communicate respect to their husbands.   It is a classic model of having a good intention with a poor outcome.

For men it means listening to their wives and not trying to fix anything.  It just means being understanding and caring vs. a mechanic, engineer, or repairman and trying to fix the problem.   The problem men have is that they feel that anything that is brought to them needs a solution and listening and being empathetic isn’t the first thing that comes to their mind.

For women it means speaking to their husband in terms of appreciation.   What may happen is that wives will notice an issue that needs to be addressed but bring it up in such a way that it sounds disrespectful and that leaves the man feeling like he doesn’t matter.  When the man feels like he doesn’t matter he responds to his wife in an unloving way.

So, it may start with disrespect and then to unloving, the cycle begins and before long the argument has peaked and the man walks away and quits talking which only angers the wife even more.   Both people want what they want (WIIFM) and that makes it difficult to stop the cycle.

Men could stop the cycle by responding, “When I hear that it sounds disrespectful” and the wife could stop the cycle by saying, “When I hear that it sounds unloving”.   Instead of generating more tension and more anger it takes one person to stop the cycle and say, “I feel ______________ when you say _________________”.

Is it easy to stop the cycle?   It does take some maturity and discipline to recognize that an argument is starting to spin out of control.   It takes courage to stop bringing up things that happened months ago as fuel for justifying how one feels.

Simple first steps:

1. Women speak in a language or respect to your husband or partner.

2. Men speak in a loving way to your wife or partner.

If you don’t know how, ask,  ask the other person what it means to speak in the right way and then listen to the response.   Work on it and see what happens.

“caring is a tacit agreement to take care of each other”  Zig Ziglar

at the crack of dawn

Welcome every morning with a smile. Look on the new day as another special gift from your Creator, another golden opportunity to complete what you were unable to finish yesterday. Be a self-starter. Let your first hour set the theme of success and positive action that is certain to echo through your entire day. Today will never happen again. Don’t waste it with a false start or no start at all. You were not born to fail.”    Og Mandino

Sometimes the early morning comes to early for some.   Early on May 11th a program aired that gave the viewers some insight into the power of coaching and how coaching can transform the way people interact with the world.  

Coaching is transforming businesses so they are more efficient and effective.    With coaching employees are more engaged and more productive.

Individuals that receive coaching start to make great progress towards the achievement of their goals.   Coaching provides the accountability people need especially in the world we live in today where change is happening at breakneck speed and getting faster.     Coaching clients can learn how to manage stress, reduce anger and understand what triggers their emotions and coaching can help people live a more positive and inspired life.

People with ADD/ADHD can learn coping skills that will allow them to perform at much higher levels.   Overall coaching is a process that can make a great impact in all areas of life.

Find out what coaching can do for you.

Systems thinking and leadership

“A cardinal principle of Total Quality escapes too many managers: you cannot continuously improve interdependent systems and processes until you progressively perfect interdependent, interpersonal relationships.”  Stephen R. Covey

Often individuals in an organization are being held responsible for the failure of systems or processes and this leads to downward spiral in productivity, morale, and commitment.   At the core of organizational output are systems and processes.   At the core of systems and processes is the purpose, “what is the reason for ___________?”     Knowing the purpose of a system or process is the first step in understanding how to make the system work better.

When systems don’t work well and don’t deliver the results in many cases the flawed assumption is that the people are responsible.  In reality people are only trying to implement the system the best that they know how.   Leaders without substantial belief in systems will fault the people.   When people experience negative motivation, punishment will follow the lack of results, the desired results never appear.  

Leaders that believe people are reason for poor results are often thinking reflexively and that limits potential solutions to the problem and often leads to even poorer results.   

What can be done?

  1. Understand the purpose, understand what and why is to be done.
    1. What is the problem that needs to be solved?
    2. Why does a solution need to exist?
    3. Find out what the customer needs.
    4. Find out what output will create the right result.
    5. Find out what process will create the intended result.

If the process doesn’t produce the intended result then appropriate actions should be taken to correct the process.  

are you letting time manage you?

“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”   Carl Sandburg

Is time managing you or are you managing your time?

People create lists so they can check things off when they are done with them and others just do.   I don’t know which type of person finds at the end of the day that what they expected to get done didn’t get done but it must be one of those.

What needs to be done should be done.   What can wait to be done is better left undone.   Use those moments to do something that is really important.

If all the time you have is rushing about doing, and doing things that are of little matter your life will matter less as well.   Do the things that matter.

It wasn’t long ago that a story was shared about a man who grew up in utter poverty.   One of nine children in the family he worked his whole life to be free of poverty.   He gained wealth through his hard work.   He made a fortune in real-estate.   He was known as a tough dealer.

Later in his life as he lay on his death bed he shared something of great value.   It is all about relationships in the end.   What will matter in the end?   Will it be that list of things that seemed so important or will it be the value of the relationships that you created during your life?

How do you want to spend your time or how do you want to invest in your time?  Make time work for you rather than you working against time.

the art and practice of humility

HEART in coaching with HEART has more meaning than just the word HEART.  HEART means, humility, encouragement, acknowledgement, relationships and trust.

Having HEART means working on those five life essentials daily and it means reflecting on each element and asking the question “Did I perform them well?” In our society standing out is more important than letting others shine.

Wayne Mack writes from his book “Humility” this definition, “… a truly humble person is not arrogant and assuming in his relationship with people”.    The value opposite of humility is pride.  Pride says that “I am” all that is, I am all that others need to see or hear.  In other words pride is putting the center of focus on the individual rather than away from it.

Practicing thankfulness is one way to begin to defeat pride.   Being thankful for all of life including other people is emblematic of those who are humble.   Putting others first in all of life is an act of humility.

Pride says, “I am better than ___________”.   Pride has no room for others.

If pride takes over a person’s life then there is little room for others to share or play a part in that person’s life.  If pride pushes other people away, humility draws other people closer.

The humble person has to be able to manage emotions well, anger, bitterness, impatience, and defeatism all have to be mastered and that takes time and effort.

How would you describe yourself, humble or proud?

Do you have difficulty with pride?

Do you practice humility?