October 2012

It’s productive to go where the energy (and synergy) is

Meryl road 200When I told Michelle Mondragon I wanted to do another photo shoot, she said while she was willing to do some indoor lighted shots, her specialty is in natural lighting and nature settings. It was cold outside the morning she came, and the indoor shots took most of our time. Yet somehow, even though I only have a few outdoor shots to choose from, those are decidedly the best. 

I try to listen closely when people tell me where their heart is, because that’s where they do their best work. If I had this shoot to do over again, I would start outside and leave inside for leftovers. I’d go where her energy is because that’s where she does her best work. 

It’s like that for all of us. Sure there are times where stretching is the way to go. But stretching needs to come from a foundation of self-knowledge of where our gifts are. 

We’ll talk about how to balance our unique gifts with what others want (or think they want) from us at the Online Admin Training Camp. Admins create that balance every day. 

(Michelle Mondragon is the photographer who shot the photos for The Legend of Mighty Mouth.)


It’s productive to go where the energy (and synergy) is Read More »

Why Beth Cried After a Huge Win

party boxImagine you created an event that you had been dreaming about for years. You weren’t sure if it would fail or succeed. You poured your heart and soul into it. And when the big day came, the turnout far exceeded your expectations and several people insisted that you offer events like that regularly. 

That’s what Beth did. It was the realization of a dream for her. And yet when it was over, she went home and cried most of the afternoon.

To a linear logical mind, that makes no sense at all. But neither man nor woman is ruled by logic (logos) alone. There’s also emotion. Interestingly, the Greek word for that is pathos, which is also the word for suffering or experience. I like the word experience much better. It’s only suffering if you resist it.

Beth didn’t resist at all. She cried all afternoon, slept ten hours and basked in the afterglow the next day.

That doesn’t make sense to everyone. But it makes sense to me. And if it makes sense to you too, I vote you most likely to succeed in the long run.

My congratulations to Beth! 

Why Beth Cried After a Huge Win Read More »

Assistants Understand Stealth Leadership Skills

Greg Gieson tells an interesting story about a leadership training he recently led where one attendee stood out because, unlike the others, he never volunteered to lead an activity or project.

And yet at the end of the training, this attendee was voted the best leader there. 

True leadership is like that. It isn’t about fanfare or recognition. It’s about supporting what is needed for success and letting others be strong when it serves the mission. 

This is something admins know well – at least the best ones do. Assistants support someone else’s lead by definition, and yet they continually lead by drawing out the excellence in others and being key parts of the solution. We’ll be polishing that skill at Executive Admin Virtual Training Camp next month. 

Assistants Understand Stealth Leadership Skills Read More »

It’s not easy being me – but it beats the alternatives

Meryl Road 100I’ve never been one to take everything at face-value, but I learned to pretend I did. I’ve also never been a power babe, but I learned how to simulate one. For many years my questions were below the surface, and my quest was invisible. For many years more, my questions surfaced and my quest was impassioned. There are ages and stages to life, and at different times we focus on different areas of growth. The bigger story is: life is a process of becoming our biggest selves. Life is a process of becoming whole. Your journey might not look the same as mine, but it’s pretty certain that’s what you’ve been doing, too, on one level or another.

Like everyone, I have my unique take on life. Unlike everyone, I feel compelled to strive to live that. Sometimes people ask why I can’t “leave well enough alone.” When I’m in the process of trying to understand something that wants to emerge – why someone else’s three-step-plan doesn’t work for me – why someone’s “I’m fine” didn’t ring true – or why something that everyone else embraces triggers bells and whistles in my gut – I wonder, too. When I get the “ah ha” that lets me be me, I’m glad I am who I am. Idiosyncrasies and all.

It’s not easy being me, but it beats the alternatives. It’s probably not easy being you either, but no one else can do it like you can.

My administrative excellence online training is an inside-out approach that guides you in making your job your own. 

It’s not easy being me – but it beats the alternatives Read More »

The Perils of a Premature Apology

She declared she had no idea of what the issue was, and then she apologized. I suppose she was sincerely sorry she had caused harm. But if you don’t know what you did that caused harm, how can you make certain you don’t do it again? 

He thanked her for the apology, but let her know he was more interested in getting to a deeper understanding. She wanted to end the issue. He wanted to explore and resolve it at the source. A premature apology can derail learning from each other. 

Before you say you’re sorry, seek to truly understand what happened. Avoid the perils of a premature apology. Embrace the glories of a well-handled clash of the mindsets.

The Perils of a Premature Apology Read More »

Everyone Needs an Angela: 12 Admin Roadblocks Webinar Replay

I felt prepared and confident before presenting The 12 Admin Roadblocks and Remedies Webinar – but I also felt somewhat funky and my energy was low. That all changed in the first two minutes of the webinar. My assistant, Angela, had asked if she could introduce me. She said she had been eager to do that. She explained that some things had been bubbling up for her and she wanted to communicate them. I didn’t ask her anything about what she might say.

I was stunned by what she said. Angela’s words had the power of heart, clarity and authenticity. She spoke of how deeply impactful working with me has been. She spoke about how transformative being on a SpeakStrong Journey was for her. Even if she hadn’t been speaking about me, I would have been deeply impressed and moved by her words. The fact that it was about me touched me deeply. Her authentic expression set the tone for the webinar.

Later, I told Angela that I think her words say more about her than about me. Obviously I must be doing something right to win that much respect, but I also know how flawed I am. Working with me can be challenging in many ways. Angela’s words of praise may be deserved, but the fact that she doesn’t let my limits overshadow her appreciation of me is a reflection on her.

I wondered how many of the admins who attended the webinar could speak of the people they support in the same way. I would hope it would be true for all of them. Everyone needs an Angela.

When I present, I never know what the highlight will be for me. In this case, it was the introduction. If you work in support of someone, what would your version of Angela’s introduction sound like? Would you be able to say something that catalyzes the excellence in your manager as she did for me? Think about that as you enjoy the replay. 


Everyone Needs an Angela: 12 Admin Roadblocks Webinar Replay Read More »

Synergy Center PowerPhrase: How About Them Broncos?

powerphrase icon2My Synergy Session with Ed was a Bronco Sandwich today. Last night the Broncos were behind 0-24 at half-time. The final score was 35-24. That’s exciting for Bronco fans, and Ed is a Bronco fan. I knew it would be a source of pleasure for him, and I like tapping into people’s joys. So I opened by saying,

  • How about them Broncos?

Ed appreciated the mention. It was a nice opening to our time together.

I raised the Broncos again at the end. It was a nice ending to our time together.

Where’s you heart? Where’s the heart of people you engage with? What can you say to give them the opportunity to talk about what’s in their hearts? 

Of course, if you talk to a Charger’s fan today,  a Charger Sandwich will have a very different tone than my Bronco Sandwich did. It still might be a good on-ramp for a shared discussion. Caution – this might be tricky if you’re a Broncos’ fan yourself.

Synergy Center PowerPhrase: How About Them Broncos? Read More »

Synergy Sabotage: Not Walking the Talk

I used to write about Poison Phrases . Who knows – I might start again. But I felt limited by that category because what is poison in one situation is helpful in others. So I’m working with the header Synergy Sabotage – trying it on for size.

tripMark works for a company that manages by consensus. Everyone needs to agree before they can move forward with a decision. In theory, anyway.

In terms of The Synergy Center, requiring unanimous consensus for everything can be too extreme and cumbersome. It  over-compensates for command-and-control leadership. While it assures every voice is heard, it can be unmanageable. But this post is about something else.

At a company meeting, Mark strongly disagreed with a decision that the IT director favored. The group overrode Mark because “only one person objects.”

Not walking the talk is synergy sabotage. If your principles say you decide by consensus and then you don’t, you’ve lost a lot more than the support of the person whom you overrode. You’ve lost your compass. You’ve lost trust. People get the message that principles don’t matter when they are inconvenient.

While I don’t recommend unanimity for all decisions, I’m even more passionate about the need to say what you do and do what you say. If you find that unmanageable, don’t just throw your principles under the bus. Live them or revise them and live that.

Now Mark is actively looking for other employment.

Another option would be to address the inconsistency. To say:

  • Either we decide by consensus or we don’t. If you override my objection and end the discussion, it’s clear we’re not walking our talk. We need to decide how we decide for real, and then do it. 

Synergy Sabotage: Not Walking the Talk Read More »

SpeakStrong from The Synergy Center: Someone was indiscrete and I was injured

powerphrase icon2It starts with passive or aggressive communication. Often the next stage is to swing to the opposite polarity – the passive communicator gets heavy-handed and the aggressive communicator goes soft. Eventually we develop balance – which is assertiveness – yet can look like passiveness or aggression at times.

Don was rightfully upset that his bank told another interested buyer that he had already inquired about a specific property. That prompted the other buyer to put in their offer immediately and helped the other buyer win the contract.

The damage is done. Don wondered if he should just let it go, or write a scathing and threatening letter to the bank president. His initial considerations had no middle ground.

Don isn’t mean-spirited, so when the choices are so extreme, he is likely to say nothing – and let it eat away at him.

The fact is, Don was wronged, and leadership at the bank needs to know about it. One option moving forward is to go to the president and say:

  • Someone at this bank was indiscreet and I was injured. I don’t see any way to make it right now. However, I do want to let you know what happened so you can make it right moving forward.

SpeakStrong from The Synergy Center: Someone was indiscrete and I was injured Read More »