Archives For Leadership

“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep.” and so Rumi aptly advises us.

But, who is this breeze?
What if the breeze could be you?

Leadership can take the form of the breeze in Rumi's quote (i.e. Being the Messenger)

If you had the chance to be the breeze in someone’s dawn, would you take it?
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In the garden,

a lone unusual flower blossomed at the end of a branch.

Snapping a shot, I tweeted:

“TakeThisMoment #Leadership #Thought:
Go ahead, go out on a limb. Something good will blossom.”

This tweet about leadership resonated and was retweeted, but held a secret. Photo credit: Jackie Yun |

This tweet about leadership resonated and was retweeted, but held a secret.
Photo credit: Jackie Yun |

Then a breeze blew in

from @szark_1 , not a follower of mine but a follower of @ghani_b who follows me and I him.  Quietly responding to me and @ghani_b, @szark_1 tweeted:

what looks so beautifully is a strong poison ‘Datura’“.

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My old college roomie, years ago, sent me a book called:

“What Would Jackie Do?”

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Don’t Get Stuck When A Difficult Leadership Situation Pops Up!
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subtitled: “An Inspired Guide to Distinctive Living”.  If I were to follow the wisdom of Jackie O as outlined in the book, I could know what to do and bloom!

My old roomie would raise her eyebrow if she knew that some on my team asked that same question: “What Would Jackie Do?” — thinking Jackie Y instead of Jackie O — not for “distinctive living” but rather to figure out how to handle difficult work situations.

It was an effective crutch for their leadership (glad it worked!) and an ego boost for me (we all need that sometimes! ~ thank you, team!!), but …

As a leader, you don’t want to be the crutch for people long term. 

You want people to graduate from You! 

You want to see the core values you set for the organization become their own — internalizing these so they become leaders in their own right and make decisions from their minds and hearts.

Mission statements can be a helpful guide, but how memorable and inspiring is yours? (If yours is like mine was, it’s time to review and update. Some tips in this article from Business News Daily.)

For a simple approach with needed internal heart fueling power …

Try the “3 Words Exercise” 

Chris Brogan, CEO of Owner Media Group and NY TImes Best Selling Author, created this exercise for personal growth and as “something that would work within our thought process daily”.

Here’s how to get started.

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The Work Sharknado gnashes your good intentions to bits!

An unrelenting torrent of projects needs your guidance, a storm of less than delighted (i.e. irate) customers expects answers from you, and a pile up of high priority demands from your boss and the executive suite screams for your attention.

When can you find the time to thank your hard working team?

Don’t let the Work Sharknado blow your appreciation intentions into disarray!

You don’t have to let Team Appreciation fall into the jaws of the Work Sharknado!
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Don’t let the Work Sharknado blow your appreciation intentions into disarray.

Counterattack with this simple one-word approach:


3 Imminently Do-Able Ideas To Find Time For Appreciation

Re-purpose Your Time! Execute on Showing Your Appreciation.
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Execute on this and you’ll be able to give yourself back the time you need to show gratitude to your team. Here are 3 imminently do-able suggestions — these will also net some side benefits that’ll take you and your team’s effectiveness sky high.

1. Turn Your Office Hour into A “Thank-You” Office Hour

Turn Your Office Hour into a "Thank You" Office Hour

Your Office Hour: Perfect Venue to Show Your Appreciation!
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at

For your stream of office hour visitors, start each conversation with a word of appreciation. Don’t let the issue of the day cloud over and make you forget to express your appreciation!

On the flip side, (yes, hard to admit) there were quiet times during my weekly drop-in office hour when I wasn’t reeling anyone from the team in. Maybe this happens to you, too?

Don’t succumb to temptation to use that time to attend to your own work (I know the temptation myself!). Re-purpose those minutes into productive staff appreciation time.

Fill out your company stationery or a few blank note cards (which you’ve bought previously and stashed in your desk) with your sincerest “merci” to a team member or two. Then personally deliver these notes straight to the recipient!

No stationery? You forgot to buy note cards? No worries. Text or call instead. Email can do in a pinch, but it can get lost in that ocean of an inbox, even if the email is from “the boss”.

Ready to cast your net wider?

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Spring makes a statement.
Encouraged, my heart blossoms.
Johnny Jump Ups cheer.

Don't let Reluctance Negatively Impact Your #100HappyDays in a Row!

Johnny Jump Ups Cheer Away Your Winter Reluctance and Let You Jump into Spring!
Photo credit: Jackie Yun |

This is my haiku offering to Carol Varsalona (@cvarsalona). She tweeted me an “invitation to find the connection between digital photography and poetic expression”; asking me to submit a photo and original poetry to be part of her “Reflect with Me, April Awakenings Literary Event”.

And from that …

On Day 3 of #100HappyDays
I celebrate leaving my cocoon!

In a cocoon, there is no dancing, no walking, no breathing, not even a wink of the eyes. It is comfortable and sleepy; an intense and very familiar home.
When we begin to examine that comfortable darkness – look at it, smell it, feel it – we find it is claustrophobic.
We want to stretch out and walk, dance, even jump.
from Chogyam Trungpa, “Shambhala, The Sacred Path of the Warrior”.

Though afraid to Jump.

I pushed off the reluctance

To write Spring haiku.

It wasn’t simple.

Reluctance with its comforting scent of status quo can tug hard at me.

Even when I know all the benefits of jumping and I want to jump, the cocoon calls.

“Jump” was one of my 2013 #Threewords.  I wrote about it in the comments of Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter’s post.  Thank you, Jacqui (@ValueIntoWords — Master Resume Writer / Sailor), for introducing me to the #ThreeWords concept.

But, I did not jump at Carol’s invitation.  I tweeted to her that I was not a poet.

Does reluctance pull at you in the same way?

My advice:

When reluctance pulls,
pull back fiercely;
pull it out like unwanted weeds
by asking these 2 Q’s …

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 Who Can Resist 

Texas Chewie Pralines from Lammes  


Salted Brown Butter Texas Pecan Brittle Chocolate  

from The Chocolate Makers Studio?

“Yum-O” as Rachel Ray would say.


#100HappyDays: “There’s nothing as cozy as a piece of candy ...” ― Betty MacDonald

“There’s nothing as cozy as a piece of candy …” ― Betty MacDonald
Photo credit: Jackie Yun |

 On Day 2 of #100HappyDays 

Sweets are on my happiness radar.  

I’m the type who asks for the dessert menu before ordering the entree.

My favorite holidays are Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween and  Christmas.  (Chocolate, anyone?)

And My Advice to New Leaders: 

“Lead through a Bowl of Candy”

My candy bowl was filled with Reeses®, Snickers®, 3 Musketeers®, Milky Ways® and more.

A bowl of candy can become one of your best and favorite leadership tools.  Here’s why: 

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Your leadership will face untenable constraints.

How will you respond to the Tsunami that awaits your Leadership?
Image courtesy of federico stevanin /

T S U N A M I !

Crushing, demolishing, relentless.

Then, miraculous

L I F E !

The son, focused on getting his injured mother to safety amid destruction,

purposely ignores a whimper.

Until his mother speaks.

“What if that boy was Simon or Thomas?

You would want someone to help them…

Even if it’s the last thing we do.”


Those words of extraordinary heart-centered leadership are from Maria Belon, the real-life mother who wrote about surviving the 2004 Tsunami that hit Thailand.  Her book is the basis for the movie: “The Impossible” and the powerful “Even if it’s the last thing we do” scene:



From which a question emerges for us as leaders:

When the tsunami-at-work hits, 

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Some leaders say that Empowerment is passe, cliched.

I disagree.

There is still power behind empowerment.

Don't forget about Empowerment as a Leadership Tool

Empowerment is still a Bright Idea!
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG at

Review this definition from and see for yourself.

“A management practice of sharing information, rewards, and power with employees so that they can take initiative and make decisions to solve problems and improve service and performance.

Empowerment is based on the idea that giving employees skills, resources, authority, opportunity, motivation, as well as holding them responsible and accountable for outcomes of their actions, will contribute to their competence and satisfaction.”

Empowerment is a Basic Tenant of Good Leadership.  

My question to you, as executive to executive, leader to leader, manager to manager —- do you empower your people?

Before you blithely say, “I certainly do!”.  Tell me how you would answer the following 12 questions to see how you fare.

If you still don’t agree about the power of empowerment, please humor me.  Spend just a few minutes to answer these same 12 questions and see if you feel differently.  You might be missing out on having a more effective, efficient and happier team.

12 Questions To Gauge How Much You Empower Your People

1. If someone on your team makes an appointment with your boss for a 1:1 meeting just between the two of them, how do you feel?

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Letter From A Pumpkin

October 28, 2013 — 10 Comments

The wisdom of trees has long been written about.  You can find this wisdom in the works of the literary trifecta of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Mary Oliver and John Muir — works that leave us loftily moved about life and leadership.

Wisdom directly from a tree is just as illuminating.

Life & Leadership Wisdom from a Tree

Life & Leadership Wisdom in Nature

These words are from “Advice from a Tree” written by Writer-Artist-Imagineer, Ilan Shamir.

Inspired, I took my pen (that is, keyboard) to create an homage to Ilan Shamir and to a well-loved large squash — because nature, being abundant, doesn’t restrict wisdom to trees.

A Pumpkin’s Message

Dearest Friend,

Sometimes there is a mask carved on our outsides, put there for protection.  I say to you: “Shine brightly through that mask.”

Be the Authentic You!

Let Your Inner Flame Glow!
Image courtesy of hin255 at

Be the authentic you and #leadfromwithin — be willing to lead not just yourself, but others, too.

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Independence Day Songs Will Re-Ignite Your Work Passion

4th of July Celebration Songs – A Way to Re-Ignite Your Work
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Flag waving, parades, hot dogs, lemonade, family and friends. It’s the 4th of July and you’re looking forward to a break from work.

How about if you not only get a break, but return to work with a new sense of excitement, boldness, ownership, inclusion, and pride?

These 5 Independence Day songs (plus a bonus song) might just do that for you…


1. “Coming to America” by Neil Diamond

Got a dream to take them there
They’re coming to America
Got a dream they’ve come to share
They’re coming to America…

You’ve lost the dream and work is pure drudgery. Your energy and anticipation have dissipated. Revitalize by remembering when it was new. Feel what our forefathers and foremothers felt with the awesomeness of “Coming to America”.

If the song isn’t enough to re-kindle your spirits, read Alli Polin’s “Clear the Dust Off Your Passion”. Alli will get you re-directed. I like her observation and suggestion that “If your current perspective is ‘this sucks’, clearly you need to tap into a more powerful perspective”.

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If you haven’t seen the 2012 Valentine’s Day Reese’s commercial, watch it now before reading further. Yes, we’re no longer in 2012, but it just caught my attention.

According to the delectable chocolate-peanut-butter-cup candy maker, the three words your Valentine wants to hear are:

“I got Reese’s”.

You know what?  Given our politically-correct, sue-happy world; those three words are certainly more acceptable than “I love you” for your Valentines-at-work — your team.

Here are 21 other appreciative, thoughtful, full-of-gratitude #ThreeWords…

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