Message From Our Founder

Message From Our Founder

Welcome to the 104th issue of CEE News!

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Do you know someone who is graduating this year? This is such an exciting time for graduates, but it can also be an overwhelming time as they prepare themselves for life after school. If you’re looking for some wisdom, inspiration, and advice to pass on to a graduating senior this year, here are seven short selections recommended by one of my own favorite authors, Ann Patchett.

 

  1.     A Short Guide to a Happy Life, by Anna Quindlen

Life is made of moments, small pieces of silver amidst long stretches of tedium. It would be wonderful if they came to us unsummoned, but particularly in lives as busy as the ones most of us lead now, that won’t happen. We have to teach ourselves now to live, really live . . . to love the journey, not the destination.

In this treasure of a book, Anna Quindlen, the bestselling novelist and columnist, reflects on what it takes to “get a life”—to live deeply every day and from your own unique self, rather than merely to exist through your days.

 

  2.      What now?, by Ann Patchett

There are too many forces, as deep and invisible as tides, that keep us bouncing into places where we never thought we’d wind up. Sometimes the best we can hope for is to be graceful and brave in the face of all of the changes that will surely come.

Based on her lauded commencement address at Sarah Lawrence College, this stirring essay by bestselling author Ann Patchett offers hope and inspiration for anyone at a crossroads, whether graduating, changing careers, or transitioning from one life stage to another.

 

  3.      This Is Water: Some Thoughts Delivered on a Significant Occasion about Living a Compassionate Life, by David Foster Wallace

Learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience.

Only once did David Foster Wallace give a public talk on his views on life, during a commencement address given in 2005 at Kenyon College. The speech is reprinted for the first time in book form in This is Water.  The speech captures Wallace’s electric intellect as well as his grace in attention to others. After his death, it became a treasured piece of writing reprinted in The Wall Street Journal and the London Times, commented on endlessly in blogs, and emailed from friend to friend.

 

   4.      We Should All Be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We teach girls shame. ‘Close your legs. Cover yourself.’ We make them feel as though being born female they’re already guilty of something. And so, girls grow up to be women who cannot say they have desire. They grow up to be women who silence themselves. They grow up to be women who cannot say what they truly think. And they grow up — and this is the worst thing we do to girls — they grow up to be women who have turned pretense into an art form.

In this personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from the much-admired TEDx talk of the same name—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman now—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.

 

  5.      Congratulations, by the way, by George Saunders

Be a good and proactive and even somewhat desperate patient on your own behalf—seek out the most efficacious anti-selfishness medicines, energetically, for the rest of your life. Find out what makes you kinder, what opens you up and brings out the most loving, generous, and unafraid version of you—and go after those things as if nothing else matters. Because, actually, nothing else does.

Three months after George Saunders gave a graduation address at Syracuse University, a transcript of that speech was posted on the website of The New York Times, where its simple, uplifting message struck a deep chord. Within days, it had been shared more than one million times. Why? Because Saunders’s words tap into a desire in all of us to lead kinder, more fulfilling lives. Powerful, funny, and wise, Congratulations, by the way is an inspiring message from one of today’s most influential and original writers.

 

  6.      In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It, by Lauren Graham

Here’s a secret: The lows don’t last any longer than the highs do. Like clouds on an overcast day, sometimes we have to face the fact that what happens to us in life isn’t controllable, and if we wait a while, don’t take it personally, and decide to enjoy ourselves anyway, the sky will eventually clear up.

In this expansion of her 2017 commencement speech at her hometown Langley High, Lauren Graham reflects in her hilarious, relatable voice on growing up, pursuing your dreams, and living in the here and now. She reminds us to be curious and compassionate, no matter where life takes you.

 

   7.      Woo Hoo! You’re Doing Great!, by Sandra Boynton

We all get overwhelmed sometimes, small people and big people and fictitious animals alike. Probably ESPECIALLY fictitious animals — just imagine how difficult it must be for THEM to believe in themselves.

On her social media, author Sandra Boynton likes to let people know about incredibly important holidays, such as Static Electricity Day or National Lima Bean Respect Day. She always illustrates her posts. So, on September 12, 2021, Boynton decided to post something for National Day of Encouragement.

She came up with a very shouty chicken saying “WOO HOO! YOU’RE DOING GREAT!” The deluge of responses were heartfelt and astonishing. That chance WOO HOO! post is what provided the title, cover art, and official spokeschicken of this book.

Sheri Nasim | President & CEO

Message From Our Founder

Message From Our Founder

Welcome to the 103rd issue of CEE News!

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For the past few weeks, everything around us has been changing. The days are getting longer. Birds are building their nests. Flowers are bursting with new blooms. There’s no denying that winter is over and spring is here. As humans, we’ve learned to adapt to the inevitability of seasonal changes. When it comes to organizational change, however, we often resist being open to new ways of thinking and behaving.

If you’re engaged in the effort to set a new direction, orchestrate innovation, or mold a culture, here are six universal truths that can guide you along the way.

  1. People don’t resist change. They resist being changed. As management guru Peter Senge suggests, resistance is greatest when change is inflicted on people. If you can give people a chance to offer their input, change is more likely to be met with enthusiasm and commitment.
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  2. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Big goals can seem overwhelming and cause us to freeze. This simple truth, attributed to Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, is a reminder to get moving. Take the first step, however small it may seem, and the journey is underway.
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  3. If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there. Many change efforts fall short because of confusion over the end goal. In the Lewis Carroll classic, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice asks the Cheshire cat which road she should take. The cat’s response reminds us to focus on the destination first, then choose the best path.
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  4. Change is a process, not a decision. It happens all too often. Senior executives make pronouncements about change, and then launch programs that lose steam. Lasting change requires an ongoing commitment to the process reinforced by constant communication, tools, and rewards.
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  5. Do not declare victory prematurely. In his book, The Heart of Change Field Guide, author Dan Cohen suggests that short-term wins do not necessarily equal long-term success. Cohen writes, “keep urgency up and a feeling of false pride down.”
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  6. Be the change you wish to see in the world. These famous words attributed to Gandhi remind us all — executives with associates, political leaders with followers, or parents with children — that one of our most important tasks is to exemplify the best of what the change is all about.

Any form of change requires an adjustment period, and some take longer than others. While seasonal changes are predictable and tend to go over smoothly, organizational changes tend to be met with resistance and confusion. If you’re trying to implement changes in the workplace, consider which of these truisms might help you get unstuck and achieve the results you’re looking for.

Sheri Nasim | President & CEO

Message From Our Founder

Message From Our Founder

Welcome to the 102nd issue of CEE News!

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If there had been Three Wise Women instead of Three Wise Men, they would have:
– Asked for directions
– Arrived on time
– Helped deliver the baby
– Cleaned the stable
– Made a casserole
– Brought practical gifts

That’s a joke shared by Susan Packard, Cofounder of HGTV, in her 2015 book, New Rules of the Game:10 Strategies for Women in the Workplace. I picked up Packard’s book when I attended the San Diego Women’s Week annual Leadership Conference in recognition of Women’s History Month that year. This year, I had the honor of speaking at the conference as a panelist to discuss the topic of Mastering the Art of Building and Leading Teams.

Since I’ve been in the management consulting industry for nearly twelve years, I chose to approach the subject wearing my consultant’s cap. One of my favorite ways to help teams achieve peak performance is to use an assessment developed by The Table Group to complement Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

I’ve used the assessment with several teams at Yale University, a senior leadership team with a communications manufacturing company in Salt Lake City, and a team at the Port of Long Beach. Each team member responds to a set of questions that measures collective performance in five key areas: Trust, Conflict, Commitment, Accountability, and Results. The resulting report displays the team’s aggregated responses in the shape of a pyramid, where each of the five areas are shown in a red/yellow/green schema. The results for Trust is at the base of the pyramid for an important reason.

As Lencioni explains, “trust is the willingness of team members to be vulnerable with one another, to admit their mistakes, weaknesses, and fears, and to rely on one another for support and guidance.”  Teams that take the time to build vulnerability-based trust with one another are more likely to engage in constructive conflict, focus on their commitment to collective goals, hold themselves and one another accountable, and achieve results.

In the competitive, power-based, often cutthroat world of business, admitting mistakes, weaknesses, and fears, and relying on others for support and guidance are not common behavioral styles. Entire organizations are more typically led by senior leadership teams where bravado, politics, and power-grabbing are the norm. In turn, the workforce finds itself struggling with gaslighting, mental health issues, and imposter syndrome.

Three Wise Women would have asked for directions. It’s not hard to imagine that they would have used their collective resources to show up on time, quickly assess the situation, and provide valuable support.

Women’s History Month is an opportunity to study, observe, and celebrate the vital role of women in American history. It’s also a time to reflect on what leadership styles are more likely to result in predictive team success, and what styles are about as useful as myrrh was to Mary.

Sheri Nasim | President & CEO

Message From Our Founder

Message From Our Founder

Welcome to the 101st issue of CEE News!

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“What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?” If you were a fan of “Inside the Actor’s Studio” hosted by the late James Lipton, you’ll recognize that as one of the ten questions taken from the Proust Questionnaire that Lipton asked his guests at the end of each show. Both Cate Blanchett and Dave Chappelle, “Architect.” Michael J. Fox and Eddie Murphy would have liked to have been teachers.

If I could choose any other vocation, I would want to be the Librarian of Congress. Reading, writing, and sharing stories have always been a large part of my personal and professional life. Some of my most treasured childhood memories were of loading my arms with piles of free books from our local library. I loved the adventures, marveled at the prose, and empathized with the protagonists – the antics of Pippi Longstocking, the determination of Francie Nolan’s, Jo March’s bravery.

Since September 2016, the role of Librarian of Congress has been held by Dr. Carla Hayden. Dr. Hayden is the 14th person to be named to the position, and notably the first woman and first African American to lead the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, newspapers, maps and manuscripts in its collections.

Her remarkable journey was captured in this October 2023 interview at Mount Vernon. In it, Dr. Hayden shares how, as the Director of Baltimore’ Enoch Pratt Free Library in 2015, she made the decision to keep the library open following the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray. Although the streets of Baltimore roiled in protest, the Pratt Library kept its doors open and served as a respite. While the streets burned and protestors marched, the library offered food distribution, restrooms, and internet service for all – with Dr. Hayden standing front and center.

In celebration of Black History Month, we’re recognizing notable Black Americans – both historic and contemporary. In addition to this story of one of my personal idols, Dr. Carla Hayden, we’re sharing an infographic about Black explorers, scientists, and activists like Pauli Murray and Matthew Henson.

I invite you to take the opportunity to be especially mindful of the lived experiences and influence that Black Americans have had in the world – this month and beyond. If there is a Black American who you especially admire, take a moment to share the impact they have made on American culture and the influence they have had on you personally. 

Sheri Nasim | President & CEO

Message From Our Founder

Message From Our Founder

Welcome to the one hundredth issue of CEE News!

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We are thrilled to mark the occasion of wrapping our 10-year anniversary celebration this month and coincidentally releasing the 100th edition of our monthly newsletter, CEE News! It’s been an honor to celebrate a decade of commitment to our mission – Taking you from what is to what is possible – and making an impact on hundreds of organizations and their teams. As we toast to this double celebration – 100 consecutive newsletters and 10 years of making a difference – we want to express our profound gratitude for your support.

100 Editions of Insightful Contributions
CEE News has been more than just a newsletter. It’s been a journey of growth, learning, and community building. From the very first edition to the 100th, CEE News has evolved into a trusted resource for emerging and seasoned leaders alike, offering solutions to everyday challenges and highlighting stories that inspire.

In addition to the customary “Message From Our Founder,” CEE News has been your companion through thick and thin, providing valuable sections such as “Sticky Solutions” to tackle your everyday business hurdles, a “Business in Focus” segment  spotlighting people-centric organizations, and a “Resources” section brimming with free content, including our contributions to Forbes™, infographics, white papers, and webinars with thought leaders who have shared their insights on pressing issues of the day.

The 10×100 Campaign: 10 Months of Giving Back
In honor of our 10th anniversary, we launched the 10×100 Campaign, a heartfelt initiative designed to give back to a world that has given so much to us. We pledged to donate $100, each, to 10 deserving nonprofits and share Q&A’s with their Executive Directors to spread their message of impact. What a joy it’s been to visit five San Diego-based nonprofits while also donating to five nonprofits that our followers chose through a survey.

This campaign has been our small way of saying ‘thank you’ for the support and trust you’ve bestowed upon us over the years. Together, we’re contributing to the betterment of the world, one donation at a time.

10×100 Campaign kickoff with Ashley Blanc, Executive Director of Girls Rising in March

 

Dropped in on Gary Weitzman, President of San Diego Humane Society and goodest girl Missy in April

 

Toured the San Diego Food Bank with CEO Casey Castillo in May

 

Enjoyed our time with Michael Halterman, Vice President of Operations of The Honor Foundation in June

 

Caught up with Cheryl Kilmer, Founder & CEO of TERI, Campus of Life, in July

 

What Lies Ahead
As we embark on the next 100 editions of CEE News and beyond, our commitment to providing you with valuable insights, actionable solutions, and stories that inspire remains unwavering. We are excited about the journey ahead and look forward to continuing to empower you on your leadership and organizational growth journey.

Thank you for being a part of the CEE News family. Your support has been the driving force behind our success, and we’re excited to see what the future holds as we continue to learn, grow, and celebrate together. Cheers to the next 100 editions and another decade of making a difference! 

 

Sheri Nasim | President & CEO

Message From Our Founder

Message From Our Founder

Welcome to the ninety-ninth issue of CEE News!

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As November unfolds marking an unquestionable change in the seasons, now is the perfect time for leaders to embrace a practice that can transform not only their own lives but also the lives of those they lead. Gratitude, often underestimated in its power, is a quality that can foster positivity, resilience, and stronger connections within your team. Consider these three ways that you can practice and model gratitude this month as a leader, and create a ripple effect of appreciation and well-being.

  1. Take note. The daily crush of meetings, emails, and Teams distractions can consume even the most disciplined leader. To pierce through this noise, start a daily practice of “catching” someone doing something right. Maybe a team member showed adaptability – one of your organization’s core values – by pivoting to a change in priorities. Perhaps another covered the workload of a fellow employee who’s dealing with a bought of Covid. The more your eyes and ears catch moments like these, the more you’ll prime yourself – and find – positive ways your team is intrinsically supportive of your culture and each other.
  1. Express appreciation. Don’t let an opportunity to express genuine gratitude go to waste. Make time this month to show appreciation for your team’s hard work, creativity, or dedication. Write a heartfelt note, have a one-on-one conversation, or carve out time in your team meetings for a brief gratitude circle. These gestures not only boost morale but also inspire others to adopt a similar attitude of thankfulness.
  1. Give back. Leading isn’t just about managing, it’s also about serving. November is an especially easy month to engage in a volunteer activity or initiate a charitable project with your team. When leaders actively participate in supporting the community, they send a powerful message about the importance of appreciation for what they have and compassion for others.

As a leader, most everything you say and do is amplified. Take time this month to cultivate gratitude and set the stage for a more positive workplace. Setting aside time to create a culture of gratitude will help your team develop resilience that will last long after the month is over.

 

Sheri Nasim | President & CEO