Archives For Relationships

“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?
Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at

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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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!
Image courtesy of iosphere at

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.
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG at

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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Job search can be unnerving and frightening. No need to be alarmed.

You can be scary good at job search!

Within these 4 Halloween songs lie tips that’ll help you take the veil off the darkness of your job hunt. Have a listen while I decrypt these for you, and when you give these tips a try, you’ll no longer feel that job search is like a gravedigger digging into unyielding, frozen ground.

1. “Monster Mash” by Bobby Pickett

For you, the living, this mash was meant too
When you get to my door, tell them Boris sent you.

Then you can mash, you can monster mash
The monster mash and do my graveyard smash
Then you can mash, you’ll catch on in a flash
Then you can mash, you can monster mash …

Yup, you gotta do the Monster Mash (i.e. Networking).

Just sending your resume to and answering job ads won’t bring your job search to life like meeting up with Boris, Igor or Drac (a.k.a. the employees and managers who work where you’d like to work). Imagine if you got to know Boris and they/your targeted employer invite you in because Boris sent/recommended you, just like in the Monster Mash song?

Your mind swirls as murkily as the nasty brew stirred in the witch’s cauldron because you’re not sure how to find the hiring manager (or employees) of your targeted employer. No worries because Donna Svei (@AvidCareerist) walks you through a very practical (and successful) process in her post: “Hiring Manager Inactive on LinkedIn? Four Terrific Options!”

As weird as it may sound, the Halloween party you’ll be attending (whether it is an adults costume cocktail party or kids trick-or-treating alternative) is a Monster Mash opportunity. Strange place to make a connection, you say? Not as strange as you may think. What if I told you that I had gotten a teacher apprenticeship at a entrepreneurship graduate school through the airport massage guy?! Read more by clicking here.

2. “Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell

I always feel like somebody’s watching me
And I have no privacy
I always feel like somebody’s watching me
Tell me it is just a trick …

Creepy as it may feel, this is exactly what you want when you are in job search.

You want recruiters, human resource managers and hiring managers (even colleagues and acquaintances) crawling over your social media profiles.

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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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Are You Being Authentically You, Like Ginger Zee? Photo From Ginger Zee's Twitter Bio

Are You Being Authentically You, Like Ginger Zee?
Photo From Ginger Zee’s Twitter Bio

Did you catch Ginger Zee doing a snow angel as part of her weather segment on Good Morning America?

She’s not shy about showing her fun and exuberant personality.  She’s being authentic and this engages her audience.

I’ve written about Ginger Zee before in my post, “Makeover Your Too Technical Resume”.  Ginger is my muse for good reason.  Since my post, Ginger’s gotten a promotion from the Weekend Edition of Good Morning America to the Weekday Edition of Good Morning America!

And that prompts me to ask you and my coaching clients…

Are you like Ginger Zee? 

Or are you suppressing the authentic you in your job search?

Many of us are hiding ourselves.

Take a look at the majority of LinkedIn profiles or listen to the typical answer to the interview question: “Tell Me About Yourself”.

It’s a robotic litany of roles, dates and skills.  Assembly-line, boredom-inducing sameness from one candidate to the next.

Are you feeling your mind drift?  Is the gray matter in your head turning more gray, tipping into the blackness of zone-out?

Guaranteed that’s what happening with the hiring manager’s mind.

You Are More Than Roles, Dates and Skills

You say “Sure, I know I need to highlight my accomplishments, not just roles, dates and skills”.

You've Got The Job! Image courtesy of stockimages /

You’ve Got The Job!
Image courtesy of stockimages /

Absolutely, right — accomplishments are key.

But, reciting dry facts and figures and even awards and recognition aren’t enough.

The beef is still missing (paraphrasing that iconic Wendy’s Hamburgers commercial) — and the beef is you.

Let’s say you’ve made it into the final round.  It’s between you with your accomplishment of a 35% increase in productivity and that gal with her accomplishment of a 45% increase in productivity.  Will she beat you out for the position?  Will that 10% be the deciding factor?

As a former hiring manager I can attest that what can count more is you being you and getting a resonance going between us.

If you can do that, the extra 10% achieved by the other candidate will be looked at as a rounding error — and you’ll be able to say “I’m so excited to accept your offer!”.

Here’s The Best Way To Get “YOU” into Your Job Search…

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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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50 Ways To Kindness At Work

September 30, 2013 — 4 Comments

If we don’t lead with kindness, who will?

S. Max Brown

S. Max Brown makes a good point.  Let’s meet his challenge and raise our hands.  Let’s bring on kindness at work!

With so many hours of our adult lives spent at work, we would all welcome more kindness, but how to do it?

Implement Those Sandbox Rules To Encourage Kindness at Work

There’s Leadership Wisdom in Those Sandbox Rules!
Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at

Many years ago, our executive leadership and HR rolled out the sandbox campaign. We didn’t realize the good leadership wisdom contained on those wallet-carrying-sized cards sent with fanfare to all employees. We threw the cards away or those of us who were more politically-savvy displayed the cards on our desks, becoming dusty and forgotten until replaced with the next employee engagement initiative.

Laminated on the cards were these simple rules:

  • Throwing sand is never OK.
  • Being mean will eventually result in you playing, unhappily, on your own.
  • No taking of other peoples buckets without asking
  • No kicking or breaking other peoples sandcastles
  • Playing nice with others is best.

If we had only embraced those rules!

We do have a second chance. You have a second chance. Did you catch the HuffPost Healthy Living article about the advice from sage third graders (!) on how to ripple kindness throughout the world? I’m gathering inspiration from them.

How about you?

Would you be willing to apply these 50 ideas for kindness from third graders at your place of work?

Try a few today. See the difference manifest in your work world and then try a few more. Note: Words in brackets [ ] are my additions.

1. Smile at a stranger.

2. Say thank you to the bus driver. […or your project manager]

3. Help someone carry her heavy groceries. [What’s on our plates at work can be heavy if we have to do it alone.]

4. Hold the door open for someone else.

Kindness #5. Leave a kind note for someone whom you usually don't get along with.

A kind note is always appreciated!
Image courtesy of gubgib at

5. Leave a kind note for someone whom you usually don’t get along with.

6. Give your Mom a hug and tell her you appreciate her. [How about a hug for your mentor?]

7. Sing a song to your teacher! [Early in my career, I worked in the “pit”, a communal room full of programmers. We, in the pit, would break out in a pop tune, changing the words to suit our situation. What an energy changer ~ even with songs sung on the dark side! What a relief from the dreariness of the pit.]

8. Let someone else choose the game and play it — even if you don’t like it.

9. Let someone else have a seat on the bus or subway. [Encourage someone else to sit in the good seat at the meeting and let them be heard.]

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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
Image courtesy of emptyglass at

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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Him: What will you be doing after you take early retirement?

Me: Hmmm…I’m not sure.

Him: You can’t just sit around watching TV all day. Really, what will you do?

Me: Maybe teaching…. maybe coaching?

Him: Just a minute…. (he runs off to grab his black book)

Him: (back with a business card) …. Call this guy.  He’s the founder of a small graduate school and he’s looking for teachers.

Him is not a recruiter, headhunter, job matchmaker, or career coach — at least not officially.

The Consummate Networker --- The Airport Massage Guy

The Airport Massage Guy. He’s Really A Recruiter, Headhunter, Job Matchmaker and Career Coach

Him is the airport massage guy.

The consummate networker.  And a recruiter, headhunter, job matchmaker and career coach.  Think about it.  Who does he connect with every day?  People who travel and need massages including (!) Road Warrior Executives and Managers, Movers and Shakers, Decision Makers.  Yes, Hiring Managers. (!)

You can get leads like this, too.  Just be sure to do these 3 things while networking on job search…

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