CEE Blog

Perspectives on the World We Work In

What’s Your ROP (Return On Purpose)?

Organizational success doesn’t happen by luck. It’s intentional. As author and noted TED Speaker Simon Sinek tells us, those that succeed in the long-term are clear not only about what they do, and how they do it — they’re also crystal clear about their why.

Next week, I will be co-facilitating The Re:Imagine Leadership Summit with Dr. Tony Baron. It’s a day that will include candid conversations with executives from a variety of purpose-driven organizations. They’ll share their why, along with stories about how they lead high-performance organizations grounded in purpose.

It is my honor to introduce you to our Purpose Panel executives, and to invite you to join us to hear them in person at the Summit.

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JOE MUSSELMAN

In 2012, just 13% of Navy SEALs had job offers when they got out of the service. By comparison, 98% of Wharton MBA graduates received 2-3 job offers at graduation. That was an injustice that Joe Musselman set out to correct in 2013 that led to the launch of The Honor Foundation. THF is a world-class, 120-hour, MBA-style nonprofit program that helps Navy SEALs and other Special Operations forces successfully transition from military service and back into the corporate world. To date, THF has graduated 200 Fellows, including 1 of only 5 women SEALs in the world. Their goal is to impact 65,000 members of the Special Ops community by 2020. The program begins with 4 weeks of purpose training to help the students get grounded in their why before they move on to what’s next.

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RACHELLE SNOOK

You may know WD-40 as the blue and yellow can that sits under the sink, in the garage, and in the toolboxes of every household in the America. What you may not know, is that the WD-40 “tribe” is a purpose-driven, high-performing culture. Rachelle Snook, WD-40’s Global Talent Acquisition Manager has played an integral role in that dedication to culture. She carefully recruits candidates for culture fit, and she helps new members transition into the tribe. From Day One, she makes sure every tribe members knows their potential career path, including salary ranges, for any position they are interested in applying for. With an annual employee engagement index of over 90%, Rachelle knows first-hand how purpose maximization is connected to profit maximization.

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DAMIAN MCKINNEY

When Damian McKinney began his career in commercial real estate over 35 years ago, he noticed two framed posters in a senior executive’s office: one said “Poverty Sucks” and the other said “He who dies with the most toys wins.” Against that backdrop, Damian has insisted on reclaiming leadership and redefining success. He used his parents for inspiration and worked to model what they had instilled in him – that leaders have a responsibility to use their power to benefit others. To use their position to be of service to their team, to their organizations, and to the community at large. As Founder and CEO of McKinney Advisory Group, Damian uses his global platform to teach others about his purpose driven approach to leadership.

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DEAN CARTER

Although he looks like he walked off the pages of a Patagonia catalogue, Dean Carter took an unlikely path to end up there two years ago. He started his career at well-known retail brands like Pearle Vision, Pier 1 Imports, and Fossil. Just before joining Patagonia, he was the Chief HR Officer for Sears Holdings Corporation. Suffice it to say, Dean has worked for organizations where operating efficiency and return on shareholder value far outweighed social and environmental responsibility. His background gives him a unique, behind-the-scenes perspective on the impact of culture on performance. Today, he uses his insight to help Patagonia live out its mission statement: to build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire, and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.

 

Question: How would you calculate the ROP (return on purpose) at your organization?

The Power Puzzle: Unlocking the Code to True Engagement

A few years ago, my family and I went to Cancun to celebrate my husband’s birthday. While we were there, we took a trip to Chichen Itza, one of the greatest Mayan centers of the Yucatán peninsula.

Today, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes a stepped pyramid dedicated to Kukulcan, the feathered serpent god. The pyramid is a feat of Mayan engineering and an astronomical marvel.

Each of the four sides has stairs with 91 steps. The platform at the top serves as the last step, for a total of 365 steps in all.

During the fall and spring equinoxes, the sun’s shadow forms an enormous snake’s body, which lines up with the carved stone snake head at the bottom of the pyramid. You can stand about 30 meters in front of the main face of the pyramid, clap your hands, and the sound travels up the face and bounces back out like the sound of a sacred bird worshipped by the Mayans.

When you visit Chichen Itza, you can’t help thinking about the pyramids left by other ancient civilizations around the world. The Mayan and Egyptian pyramids are best known, but pyramids can also be found in places like China, Iraq, France, and the Canary Islands.

We know that Chichen Itza’s stepped pyramid served as a temple to Kukulcan. He was the god of laws, fishing, healing, the calendar, and agriculture. We know that the Egyptian pyramids served as tombs to preserve the bodies of pharaohs and help their souls cross over to the afterworld. We also know that the pyramid archetype has been passed down for thousands of years, and is still embedded in our organizations.

Where does the power flow in your organizational pyramid? Does it flow up to the person at the top to preserve his or her legacy in perpetuity? Or, does it flow down to benefit the larger community?

In his book, On Moral Business, Max L. Stackhouse wrote that “Business leaders are increasingly the stewards of civilization.” Stackhouse argued that many of our institutions – government, families, universities and churches – are failing. What if the responsibility for future civilization depends on business leaders?

When you work as though society depends on the decisions you make as a business leader, it makes you think about which way the power is flowing in your organization. Is society better off because your organizational pyramid exists?

Question: What are you doing to test the flow of power in your organization? Do you track employee and customer satisfaction? Does your organization give time, talent or treasure to the community?

Aligned Goals: Connecting all 5 Generations. Side by Side.

As our Employee Engagement Specialist, Jenny Jacobs brings an infectious humor and midwestern sensibility to everything she does. Jenny is a lifelong learner and a natural teacher who guides our clients through a structured employee engagement method that improves bottom lines and results in changes that last. Jenny holds a B.A. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Michigan and is a 2017 Masters candidate for Organizational/Industrial Psychology from Azusa Pacific University. And don’t forget to check out the short video below where Jenny introduces herself and our new program.

By: Jenny Jacobs

Years ago I was on an archery league. One of the first things I learned was the importance of proper body alignment. Although it was important to have a proper bow, arrows, and sight/scope the most important aspect of hitting the target was proper alignment: the foot facing forward must be parallel to the shooting line, as well as the arms and hips. A person could have all of the best and most expensive equipment but if the alignment is off the bullseye will never be hit. An interesting aspect of this was that many times I felt that my stance was perfect but then someone would come along and point out what I could be doing differently. As soon as I made the tiniest adjustment my shooting would improve exponentially.

So it goes in the business world. Organizations can have all the bells and whistles for their employees (great benefits, employee activities, snack, bring your pet to work, etc.) but if they never teach their employees the proper technique for alignment with goals and growth the rest of that “stuff” is pointless.

Employees want to do well in their jobs. They want to feel a sense of purpose and engagement in the workplace. No one wants to come to work each day and be oblivious to how what they do accomplishes a larger task.

You must empower your team members to fully understand how what they do each day is connected to the goals of the company and how they are an integral part of those goals.

Helping your employees tweak their “stance” is the surest way to adjust alignment to hit the bullseye every time!

Click here to learn more about 5 Generations. Side by Side. and reserve your seat for our June 6 workshop!

 


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CEE News is designed to help you with the challenges you face every day by sharing infographics, white papers, best practices, and spotlighting businesses that are getting it right. I hope you’ll subscribe to CEE News and it becomes a resource that continually adds value to your walk as a leader. If I can be of assistance in any way, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Purpose: Connecting All 5 Generations. Side by Side.

As our Employee Engagement Specialist, Jenny Jacobs brings an infectious humor and midwestern sensibility to everything she does. Jenny is a lifelong learner and a natural teacher who guides our clients through a structured employee engagement method that improves bottom lines and results in changes that last. Jenny holds a B.A. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Michigan and is a 2017 Masters candidate for Organizational/Industrial Psychology from Azusa Pacific University. And don’t forget to check out the short video below where Jenny introduces herself and our new program.

By: Jenny Jacobs

In my last blog, I discussed how for the first time in history we have five generations working side by side. This can lead to challenges and divisions, even for the best of leaders. To engage and ignite all five generations, we recommend deploying the Transformative Leadership Model. It’s a model with four distinct quadrants: Purpose, Alignment, Strengths, and Learning & Growth.

Today, I will dive deeper into Quadrant 1: Purpose. I’d like to start by observing some fascinating facts about butterflies and their purpose as published in the Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies.

  • Butterflies lay their eggs only on milkweed because milkweed is poisonous to some animals therefore their eggs remain safe.
  • There are over 28,000 species of butterflies and they all serve a specific purpose that accomplishes the end result of the metamorphosis cycle.
  • Butterflies are not only delightful to see fluttering around but their existence is crucial to the wellbeing of our ecosystem by supplying pollination, reducing air pollution, and enhancing environmental beauty.

The butterfly understands its purpose. It knows what it needs to do, how to do it, and how it contributes to a greater purpose. Purpose is hardwired into its DNA.

Do you know what your company’s purpose is? Do your employees know the role they play in achieving that purpose?

If your employees do not understand that they are part of the bigger picture of your organization, you are missing out on a crucial aspect of employee engagement. According to a 2014 study by Gallup, only about four in ten employees (41%) know what their company stands for and what makes its brand different from its competitors’. This lack of brand awareness is not a marketing problem; it is a mission-driven leadership and management problem.

Since it is counterproductive to design five distinct programs or strategies to manage each generation, the Transformative Leadership Model empowers management teams to encourage a meaningful work experience by leading everyone together. Connecting your employees to your higher purpose will take your organization to the next level.

Question: Do your employees know that they are part of the bigger picture of your organization?

Click here to learn more about 5 Generations. Side by Side. and reserve your seat for our March 28th workshop!

3 Ways Humble Leaders Keep their Egos in Check

Feedback is the breakfast of champions.

That’s a statement that author Ken Blanchard explains in sports terms. “Can you imagine,” asks Blanchard, “training for the Olympics with no one telling you how fast you ran or how high you jumped?”

The leadership application, of course, is that without feedback we cannot accurately assess reality. If we don’t know what we’re doing wrong, or what’s going wrong, we can’t fix it. This makes sense intellectually, but in reality, feedback can go down like a bowl of cold, lumpy oatmeal.

Today’s leaders face increasingly complex problems. No one person can have all of the answers. That’s why leaders of the 21st century must have the humility to encourage feedback. To step back and create space for others to show you your blind spots and help you make improvements that count.

Harvard Business Review contributors John Dame and Jeffrey Gedmin called this intellectual humility. “Without humility,” the authors argue, “you’re not able to learn.” Here are three principles of humility that will help put you in a feedback frame of mind:

1. Know what you don’t know. The higher you climb up the proverbial corporate ladder, the greater the temptation it is to believe that you are the smartest person in the room. But deep down, you know that you don’t have all of the answers. You may not even have all of the questions. Know when to defer and be open to learning from others.

2. Resist falling for your own publicity. Part of the leadership role is to maintain a positive outlook. Your confidence boosts that of your team and your customers. While it’s important to have a positive outlook, it’s just as important to correctly assess reality. Keep your spirits high, but your judgment at an even keel.

3. Never underestimate the competition. No matter how smart you are, how many hours you are willing to put in, or how creative you get, do not allow a residue of hubris to set into your culture. There is always competition for your customer’s attention.

The first task of any leader is to assess reality correctly. You can’t do that without having the feedback you need to make necessary adjustments. Open yourself to feedback by having the humility to know your own limits, keep your ego in check, and resist the false comfort of complacency.

Question: What specific actions are you taking to remain humble as a leader?

The 100-Yard Dash Leadership Theory

One evening, author and leadership consultant John Maxwell was having dinner with Olympic athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Until last year, Joyner-Kersee was the most decorated U.S. woman in Olympic track and field history.

As they were chatting, Maxwell decided to have a little fun with the athlete. He sat his fork down on his plate, looked Joyner-Kersee straight in the eye, leaned forward and said, “I bet that I can beat you in a 100-yard dash.” Joyner-Kersee stopped in mid-bite, and searched John’s face for any hint of whether he was joking or serious. This was the first woman ever to break 7,000 points in the heptathlon, a 2-day, 7-event contest consisting of the 100 meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 meter dash, long jump, javelin throw and the 800 meter run.

Maxwell let a moment or two pass, then said, “Actually, now that I think about it, if you give me a 10-yard head start, I bet that I can beat you in a 100-yard dash.” Over the course of the next few minutes, Maxwell continued to stretch his need for a head start until he settled on, “Yes! If you give me a 90-yard head start, I’m 100% confident that I can beat you in a 100-yard dash!”

Maxwell’s 100-yard dash dinner story serves as a reminder to leaders. Whether you’re trying to implement a new process, orchestrate innovation, or mold a culture, you have to meet your team where they are before you can get them to where you want them to go.

If you’re leading a team, chances are, you’re far ahead of the rest of the group from Day 1. You may have more years of experience, and less fear of calculated risk. You probably have more data and background information that led to the decision that change is necessary. You have a better grasp of the ideal outcome. That’s the equivalent of a 90-yard advantage, and a major team de-motivator. Think about the last time you gave your team a new project, and ask yourself these three questions:

1. Did I take the time to lay the proper groundwork, or did I jump straight to the end?

2. Did I give the team time to ask questions, or did I do most of the talking?

3. Did I help the team understand what “there” looks like, or did talk mostly about what’s not working today?

In a Harvard Business Review series on The Secret of Great Teams, an effective team was defined as “a group of people who do collective work and are mutually committed to a common team purpose and challenging goals related to that purpose.” As a leader, it’s your responsibility to give your team what they need to truly succeed.

Another truism of Maxwell’s is this: leaders who complain that “it’s lonely at the top” aren’t really leading people anywhere – they’re just taking a hike. Make sure you give them context, allow plenty of time for their questions, and give them a roadmap to success.

Question: What tools do you use to make sure you’re not leaving your team in the dust?

 

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CEE News is designed to help you with the challenges you face every day by sharing infographics, white papers, best practices, and spotlighting businesses that are getting it right. I hope you’ll subscribe to CEE News and it becomes a resource that continually adds value to your walk as a leader. If I can be of assistance in any way, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Uncertainty? Not if You Ground Yourself in Purpose

Yesterday, I had the honor of speaking at the American Public Transit Authority Annual CEOs Summit in San Diego. The Summit was attended by about 150 public transit executives from across the country.

Like many other industries in the U.S., public transit faces an uncertain future. Regulatory uncertainty – where does public transit fit in the new Administration’s infrastructure plan? Macroeconomic uncertainty – when the economy is up, gas and cars are affordable, so transit ridership is down. Disruptive uncertainty – will ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft complement or erode public transit services?

No industry is immune. Uncertainty will remain high for the foreseeable future. Forecasts are likely to be wrong. The world is no longer predictable or stable.

During times of uncertainty, it is the leader’s role to bring order to chaos, calm nerves, and manifest a non-anxious presence. One of the most effective ways to do this, is to reground people around organizational purpose. Now is the time to clarify and renew your commitment to the bigger impact – collectively – that your organization is making in the world.

To that end, I challenge you to honestly assess where your organization falls in the 5 Levels of Purpose:

Level 1: Our organization has not clarified or codified its purpose.

Level 2: I couldn’t tell you what our purpose is without looking on the website – and that’s probably true for most of our employees as well.

Level 3: Our organization has a purpose, but we don’t actively use it to inspire employees.

Level 4: Our organization has a purpose that inspires our employees, but we don’t take purpose into account when making business decisions.

Level 5: Our organization has a clearly defined purpose that is hardwired into our DNA. It inspires our employees and guides our business decisions.

If your answer fell between Levels 1 through 3, you have an untapped resource that will help you stabilize your team, and inspire them to work together to make a collective impact. If you answered Level 4, work to hardwire purpose into your business decisions. Think about what you measure, what you reward, and what you ignore. Are they in line with your organizational purpose?

Level 5 companies like Patagonia call purpose “Our Reason for Being”. At Level 5, you’re not immune from uncertainty, but you are clear about why the world is better off because your organization exists. Having clarity of purpose is like having a North Star. It will keep you on your path, and help you make decisions that will sustain you through the chaos.

Question: Have you worked for an organization with a clear sense of purpose? How did that impact you as an employee? 

 


Interested in getting more content like this? Subscribe to CEE News!

CEE News is designed to help you with the challenges you face every day by sharing infographics, white papers, best practices, and spotlighting businesses that are getting it right. I hope you’ll subscribe to CEE News and it becomes a resource that continually adds value to your walk as a leader. If I can be of assistance in any way, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

How to Engage 5 Generations. Side by Side.

As our Employee Engagement Specialist, Jenny Jacobs brings an infectious humor and midwestern sensibility to everything she does. Jenny is a lifelong learner and a natural teacher who guides our clients through a structured employee engagement method that improves bottom lines and results in changes that last. Jenny holds a B.A. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Michigan and is a 2017 Masters candidate for Organizational/Industrial Psychology from Azusa Pacific University. And don’t forget to check out the short video below where Jenny introduces herself and our new program.

By: Jenny Jacobs

Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it. – George Orwell

I recently received an email with the subject line: Transform your bedroom into a master retreat. The thought of this prospect filled my heart with delight. However, I soon realized it would only happen if I were the one who did all the work! I then decided to focus my energy elsewhere…

Everyone loves the result of a transformation, but doing the work to bring that transformation about can seem daunting. Where do I begin? How do I do it? What if it fails? It’s enough to make you resign to the status quo, even though you know the status quo is not as good as it could be.

Are you ready to ditch the old, ineffective ways of trying to engage your diverse workforce? Are you prepared to implement new, transformative concepts that inspire and equip your entire team? If so, I’m excited to introduce our new program called 5 Generations. Side by Side.

For the first time in history, five generations are together in the workplace. Why 5? Here are some converging trends:

  • Traditionalists – not ready to retire
  • Baby Boomers –’sandwich’ generation supporting millennials and traditionalists
  • Generation X – rising executives
  • Millennials – the new managers
  • Generation Z – college graduates

Today’s managers may have both a 22 year old and a 75 year old on their teams. When things go wrong, generational differences can soon turn into blame:

“They don’t have the proper work ethic!”

“They don’t understand technology.”

“If they would only pay attention I wouldn’t get so frustrated.”

It’s important to appreciate the differences that each generation brings to (and expects from) work, but just as important not to use these differences to reinforce generational divisions. When we focus on the differences of people – whether in terms of age, race, or gender – there is only division.

The 5 Generations. Side by Side. program focuses on setting aside generational differences and bringing people together. By tapping into the power of the Transformative Leadership Model© this program focuses on what every generation wants in their work environment:

  • Meaningful Work
  • Aligned Goals
  • Strengths-Focused
  • Learning & Growth

Over the next few months I will be unpacking each quadrant of the Transformative Leadership Model©. If you’re ready to ditch the old and make the changes that truly engage every generation, I invite you to join me to learn more about 5 Generations. Side by Side. and the Transformative Leadership Model©.

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The 4 Steps to Extraordinary Productivity in 2017

Remember the days when someone asked you, “How’s it going?” “Fine,” was your auto-response.

“Fine” was code for, “I have a lot on my plate both personally and professionally right now, but unless you have an hour to listen, I don’t think you want me to get into it.” Everything wasn’t fine. You knew it. The other person knew it. But, “fine” was the socially acceptable response.

Today, when someone asks you, “How’s it going?” the new socially acceptable answer is, “Busy.” Busy-ness has become a badge of honor. You have messages to answer, meetings to prepare for, data to review, and decisions to make. You’re connected to work 24/7. You’ve tried the latest software to unclutter. You’ve bought the newest devices to keep up, but you just can’t break the cycle of busy-ness.

In 1992, global internet traffic measured 100 GB per day. Last year, that rate exploded to 20,235 GB per second. There’s been an explosion of information to consume, but we still have a finite number of hours per day to find the valuable bits. As this rate, we’ll quickly move from busy-ness to burnout if we don’t find a way to better manage our time. Here are four ways successful leaders don’t let busy-ness get in the way of business:

1. Prioritize. Start by deciding the most important priorities in your life – both personal and professional. Stephen Covey called this the “Big Rocks” principle. If you think of your day as a bucket, and you start your day without a plan, you’ll soon get busy filling your bucket with little rocks (tasks, cat videos, whatever). Before you know it, your bucket is full, and you spent another day working on things that have little value to you either personally or professionally. Instead, watch Covey demonstrate how to prioritize your Big Rocks.

2. Centralize. Next, decide on a system where you can keep a daily list of things you need to work on. The choices people make here fall into one of two groups: the techies and the Gutenbergers. If you’re a techie, you’ll probably want to use one of the many multi-platform productivity tools like Evernote and sync it with an app like Remember the Milk to help you manage your tasks. Gutenbergers prefer to track tasks on paper. Franklin Covey is a recognized leader in this area, with lots of options to choose from. Regardless of your preference, you’ll want to centralize all of your tasks in one system. Stop writing reminders on sticky notes and in random devices. Put all of your tasks in one place – and remember to put the Big Rocks in first.

3. Categorize.  You’re clear about your Big Rocks and you’ve chosen one place to keep track of your personal and professional tasks. Now what? In no particular order, make a list of your daily tasks. Next, put them in A, B, and C categories. A tasks are important, B tasks have medium importance, and C tasks have low importance. Now, number all of the A tasks in order of importance, and do the same for the B’s and C’s. If you’ve done this correctly, something that made your Big Rock list has an A beside it. Not necessarily A-1, but it’s at the top.

4. Recognize. Brace yourself for this – your task list will never be done. But, think of it this way. If you start each day with a plan in place, and if you only manage to get one thing on your list done, it will be the most important thing you had to do that day. Over time, you’ll see that some of your B’s and C’s could be delegated so that you’re focusing on the most important priorities in your personal and professional life.

You can continue wearing the busy-ness badge, or get real about your priorities and work on the most important things first. The choice is yours.

Question: Do you know someone who uses a time management system? What impact do you think it has on them personally and professionally?

5 Leadership Books to Have on Your Radar for 2017

If you’re still trying to shake off the political hangover from last year, you may want to turn to leadership books that offer fresh inspiration in 2017.

Here are 5 books being published this year to keep on your radar. Among them, you’ll find uplifting lessons from history, and titles that will help you re-ground yourself through the year.

1. Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace, by Christine Porath, PhD

MasteringCivilityWhat it’s about: From the leading authority on workplace incivility, Christine Porath, shows why it pays to be civil, and reveals just how to enhance effectiveness in the workplace and beyond by mastering civility.

Why pick it up: Incivility is silently chipping away at people, organizations, and our economy. Slights, insensitivities, and rude behaviors can cut deeply and hijack focus. Even if people want to perform well, they can’t. Ultimately incivility cuts the bottom line.

 

 

2. Radical Candor, by Kim Scott

RadicalCandowWhat it’s about: A former Google executive and faculty member at Apple University, Kim Scott believes that “workplaces are too nice — really ‘fake nice’ — and that we’d all be better off with unvarnished honesty, especially when it comes to evaluating performance.

Why pick it up: “Radical candor,” according to the book’s synopsis, sits at the “sweet spot between managers who are obnoxiously aggressive on one side and ruinously empathetic on the other.”

 

 

3. Captain Class: The Driving Force Behind the World’s Greatest Teams, by Sam Walker

CaptainClassWhat it’s about: The former global sports editor of The Wall Street Journal profiles the greatest teams in history and identifies the counterintuitive leadership qualities of the unconventional men and women who drove them to succeed.

Why pick it up: If you’re a sports fan and a leader who reads, you’ll enjoy Walker’s list of the 16 most dominant teams in sports, and the traits that led their captains to lead them to sustained, historic periods of greatness.

 

 

 

4. Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy, by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

OptionBWhat it’s about: Following the sudden death of her husband, Silicon Valley executive Dave Goldberg, Sandberg described widowhood at a young age as “a club that no one wants to belong to.” Co-authored with Wharton professor Adam Grant, the book is focused on recovering from adversity.

Why pick it up: Though not strictly a business book, it includes stories of people who recovered from a variety of hardships, it includes lessons for leaders who want to build their own resilience, too.

 

 

5. The Push: A Climber’s Journey of Endurance, Risk, and Going Beyond Limits, by Tommy Caldwell

ThePushWhat it’s about: In 2015, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson made the first free ascent on El Capitan’s Dawn Wall in Yosemite National Park. Caldwell documented the hardships he faced and what he learned in the process.

Why pick it up: It’s a memoir that will inspire you to conquer your own Dawn Wall, climb to new heights, and push past your own limits.

Part of a leader’s job is to steer a team through uncertainty. But, doing so can leave you feeling drained. Refuel yourself in the pages of some of our favorites picks coming out this year.

 

Question: Which of these five titles do you find most compelling? 

 

EventbriteHeaderCreate a culture that transforms at the speed of change. Come to a one-day immersion in transformative leadership crafted to inspire and engage you. Learn more or register here. Have questions? Email me directly at snasim@executiveexcellence.com.

 

twitter_newsletterInterested in getting more content like this? Subscribe to CEE News!

CEE News is designed to help you with the challenges you face every day by sharing infographics, white papers, best practices, and spotlighting businesses that are getting it right. I hope you’ll subscribe to CEE News and it becomes a resource that continually adds value to your walk as a leader. If I can be of assistance in any way, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Martin Luther King, Jr.: The Power of Transformative Leadership

In honor of this week’s observance of Martin Luther King, Jr., I am re-posting this blog originally published on January 19, 2015. I think it bears repeating.

Consider this. When Martin Luther King, Jr. announced the March on Washington in August 28, 1963, organizers hoped for a gathering of 100,000 protesters to generate enough political force to mobilize the government into action. No one could be sure how many would answer the call. Yet, they came in droves.

They came by train from New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago. They loaded onto buses from Boston, Milwaukee, and Little Rock.They drove by car from Maryland and Virginia. They flew in from San Diego and Seattle.

At 7:00 a.m. that summer morning, ten people set up their own folding chairs near the Reflecting Pool. By 10:30 a.m., nearly 20,000 milled around the Mall. By the time the formal rally started at 1:15 p.m., the crowd packed across the mile long grassy area from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument and stretched a mile northward to Connecticut Avenue. Some took positions in the trees in front of the Lincoln Memorial. In the end, nearly 250,000 people packed around the Reflecting Pool in sweltering 83° heat.

Half a million people came of their own volition. They came because they heard the call in their guts. Martin Luther King, Jr. had no authority over them. He had nothing tangible to offer them when they arrived. He could not even guarantee them safe travel. Yet, he had tapped into their human desire to dream, to grow, and to belong. He used his formidable influence not to serve himself, but to share a vision and help others achieve their potential. That’s the power of transformative leadership.

Question: Do you know transformative leaders who inspire others to achieve their full potential?

 

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SUE Talks: Give the Most Transformative Speech of Your Life

You’re standing on stage. Alone. You can just make out the silhouettes of the people sitting in the audience. Mostly women. In the back of the room, cameras are trained on you. Everyone is waiting. You take a deep breath. You have 12 minutes to give what may be the most transformative speech of your life. No notes. No PowerPoint. No clock. Just you.

That’s the challenge that I and 31 other women have faced since San Diego-based Connected Women of Influence (CWI) launched the SUE Talks in the Fall of 2015. CWI has been helping to advance and elevate professional women since 2008. This powerhouse association has grown from 12 to over 200 members, and offers a diversity of programs and events like Executive Roundtables, the Women Lead Institute, Women Lead Radio, the Women of Influence Awards, and Women Lead Magazine.

The idea for SUE Talks began as a flash of inspiration. CWI Co-Founder Michelle Bergquist and SUE Talks Co-Founder Deanna Potter were chatting about more ways that CWI could help professional women share their stories. “Why don’t we host a series of short talks by women who want to share their professional journeys and the lessons they have learned?” they thought.

From that conversation the SUE Talks were born. SUE stands for Successful, Unstoppable, Empowering women. Some of the presenters are professional speakers like me. (You can watch my SUE Talk here.) Others had never been on stage before. But all SUE Talkers are women sharing deeply personal stories and demonstrating the power of authenticity. Here’s a sampler:

1. Dear World, by Erika De La Cruz

dearworldIn “Dear World,” Erika De La Cruz shares the story of losing everything in life that was dear to her at a young age. With the help of college friends and a poignant gift that she received from a shocking flea market purchase, De La Cruz learned a pivotal lesson. Every day, we get the chance to determine what is valuable to us and the value that we will bring to the world. Every day, we get a chance to write a letter that begins with “Dear World.”

2. Adversity is a Slingshot, by Lyena Strelkoff

adversity“1.2 seconds. That’s how long it takes a woman to fall 25 feet. It’s also how long it takes to turn a life into gold.” That’s how Lyena Strelkoff, a former dancer, begins the story of how a fall from a tree while on a date in 2002 turned her into a paraplegic. In “Adversity is a Slingshot,” Strelkoff shares the surprises she faced when dealing with paralysis, including the biggest surprise of all – how much better it made her life.

3. I am That Woman, by Bethany Kelly

thatwomanIn this funny and warm SUE Talk, Bethany Kelly shares that although she is the textbook definition of survivor, the word survivor doesn’t work for her. Instead, she chooses to practice “aliveness.” She explains, “survivor is a fact over which I have no control. Aliveness is a state of being which I can choose.” Kelly’s journey to aliveness took her from simply existing to becoming her own champion and starting a thriving publishing company.

4. Your Biggest Breakthrough is Born at Rock Bottom, by Jessica Joy Reveles

biggestbreakthrough“The room goes dark, but not quiet. Many of the children are my son’s age. Some whimper and whine and others cry out loudly. I shut my eyes tight, a futile attempt to fall asleep that first night . . . “ With quiet grace, Jessica Joy Reveles walks us through her journey from homelessness (twice) to success. She reminds us that it’s “when we’re at our lowest that the most primal instinct in us sparks the will to survive.”

5. Your Ego, by Sylvia Becker-Hill

youregoIn “Your Ego,” Sylvia Becker-Hill takes us on a 2,000-year journey dating back to ancient Egypt and the birth of “Cleopatra’s curse,” which still haunts women in business today. Because of Cleopatra’s curse, the pain of unrealized potential is shared by millions of women worldwide. In this haunting SUE Talk, Becker-Hill shares her powerful ritual of how to rewire our brains, break Cleopatra’s curse, and enjoy being SUE – successful, unstoppable, and empowered.

This year, CWI is hosting four more incredible evenings of SUE Talks. Click these links if you are inspired be a SUE Talk presenter, sponsor or register for SUE Talks, or want to watch more SUE Talk videos. We all have challenges and setbacks. SUE Talks remind us not to let our setbacks define us, but to use them as a springboard to reach our full potential.

Question: If you were challenged to give a 12-minute speech about your professional journey, what lessons would you share?

 

twitter_newsletterInterested in getting more content like this? Subscribe to CEE News!

CEE News is designed to help you with the challenges you face every day by sharing infographics, white papers, best practices, and spotlighting businesses that are getting it right. I hope you’ll subscribe to CEE News and it becomes a resource that continually adds value to your walk as a leader. If I can be of assistance in any way, please don’t hesitate to reach out!