Speak Strong

Balance Your Bigness

Is your exec or manager a brilliant shining star? Do you ever feel small or invisible next to him or her? What if you sometimes seem smaller than you are, because actually you’re bigger than people can see?

An Impressive, Imbalanced Executive

On a recent hike to catch the last fall leaves, my friend and I chatted about a celebrity entrepreneur who sold his company and lived and taught personal development in our area. You’d know him if I named him. But this article isn’t really about him – it’s about you and your boss. So I’ll call our celebrity friend “Rich,” which fits (but not as well as it once did).

Dare to Intrude

I set my computer to open to the desktop when it wakes. Clicking the locked button only took a moment, but it was an unnecessary step that I took several times a day. This is what Lean Manufacturer Paul Akers calls a two-second improvement. You probably need your computer password protected, so that’s likely not an improvement you would make. But I suspect there are a thousand things like that that you could do that would eliminate unnecessary steps in your work.

The Power of Being at Home With Yourself

Persona and Personhood

I love to hear feedback after I speak. This recent comment really struck me:

“During your talk, I turned to the gal sitting next to me and told her: ‘Meryl just said the opposite of what the speaker before her said.'”

“Thanks for noticing!” I replied smiling. “From the moment I heard the title of the keynote that I would follow, I expected we would say different things.” The keynote I followed was called “Cultivating a Leadership Persona.”

“I’ve spent most of my adult years working to drop persona and be the real deal,” I explained. My new friends nodded approvingly and knowingly.

It used to bother me that my perspective often is very different from others’. It doesn’t bother me anymore. I’ve become more at home with myself. I see things differently without needing to discredit how others view then. The speaker before me made some important points and offered useful tools. I offered some alterative views.

Is this Method Right for Me?

communcation planHello Everyone! Cassia here,

Meryl and I have been going through the eLearning and practicing what we preach, so to speak.  Week One of the eLearning asks you to reflect on you communication past and I wanted to share some of the things I have learned in my communication journey.

When I first came to work for Meryl three months ago, I felt fairly confident in my abilities as a communicator. I had pride in my ability to resolve confrontations and felt my communication with those around me was clear and kind.

It wasn’t until I spent some time helping Meryl refine her descriptions of the four communication styles, that I began to reflect on my own style and voice. It was like wiping the mirror clean of all of that debris that had blurred my image before; like lifting a veil; like walking into a brick wall. I realized how I would change my style with different individuals but mainly identified with the Achiever style.

The Grace

Do you say what you mean and mean what you say WITHOUT being mean when you say it?

Are your words weapons, or expressions of wisdom?

Sincerity is far more effective than brutal honesty. The SpeakStrong Method is gracefully effective.

NIA: Stepping back into life after the Waldo Canyon Fire

sanjanaHiking, meditating, listening to music, swapping stories, getting massage – there are many paths to healing after an experience like the Waldo Canyon Fire. I embraced many of them in the past week since we were able to come home from eight days of evacuation.  I could have gotten right down to business but was grateful to be able to take care of myself before going back to business as usual – if there ever is such a thing. 

Friday, after five days of being home after evacuation, I took my first venture into the city. I went to Mel Stahl’s NIA class.

Mel led us in Sanjana, which is a great routine available in the NIA videos I offer. The rocking of the rhythmical movements soothed me, and moving in dynamic new ways energized me. Mel is a perfect teacher for me. It’s not just the movements she leads. So much of her gift is in how she exudes the pure joy of movement as she dances. It’s a bit like a puppy thrilling over a walk or a ride in the car. Her joy and sense of pleasure are infectious in the same way I find NIA co- founder Carlos’ pleasure in movement to be infectious – even on video. 

Song by song, bar by bar, I felt myself danced back into life. All the healing work from the previous week had taken me inside to peace. This was my first venture back out into life.

I followed Mel’s NIA class the next day with Communidance free form dancing.. As healing as it was – and it was – while returning, I had a little irrational fear that I would drive home to see  an enormous smoke plume behind my house as I had two weeks before. Instead there were flash-flood warnings and neighbors sandbagging. Yes, there is work yet to be done. And bit by bit we’re all stepping back into life in our own ways.

You may not have recently been faced with the liklihood that you would lose everything like we were. But we all have our own traumas, large and small. Before you open your mouth, ask if you’ve done what you can to step into your own life in full empowerment. I use lots of tools to find my center and get my footing so when I speak I won’t pull others off their center and compromise their footing. NIA is high on my list of favorite ways to take myself to a place of having something worth saying. It feels really good to be coming back,.

Luna Lovegood and the Top Ten Admin Phrases Webinar

Luna Lovegood, the dreamy Hogwarts student in the Harry Potter series, had a SpeakStrong moment that changed the course of events in the final episode of the Harry Potter series. It’s a SpeakStrong moment that illustrates well that sometimes support staff needs to be outspoken with the people Lunathey support.

Harry was in search of an item with little idea of where it might be. When Luna tried to get his attention, Harry dismissed her by saying he didn’t have time to listen to her. Luna replied,

  • Harry Potter, you WILL listen to me.

That got his attention. From there, she explained her thinking about who might know the best place to look for the item. Harry heeded her advice and got the clue he needed. And the rest is Hogwarts history.

Luna didn’t assume to be the leader in the quest. She knew this was Harry’s mission, and she also knew that she needed to SpeakStrong to get him to listen to her. Like that, people in support roles need to get their exec, manager or director’s attention to consider their ideas clearly. That’s best done simply, but at times needs to be done with more assertiveness. 

That was one of the points of discussion in the webinar Admin PowerPhrases. You can watch the replay and download the slides to get the rest. 

Please, will you adopt me too?

I just received an email requesting auction items for a fundraiser for a couple to adopt an 11-year-old boy.

powerphrase_icon2The tale they tell is that the couple was in the Philippine orphanage to adopt their daughter when the boy came up to them and said,

  • Please, will you take me home with you, too? I love America.

He was the oldest child at the orphanage and had watched numerous friends be adopted, leaving him behind. With that ability to make direct requests, I think that young man will do very well in business. 

Let’s not waste a great crisis

In the world of lean management and manufacturing, problems are considered opportunities to grow. FastCap, a company I toured, clearly has that principle engrained in the minds of their people.

powerphrase_icon2The day before my visit, the plant had a power outage. While they were able to operate normally in general, they did find some holes in their back-up systems. They discussed the issues in their company-wide employee meeting. One of the operators blurted out,

Let’s not waste a great crisis.

Everyone chuckled and nodded in agreement. Crisis shows us where we’re strong and where we’re weak. Once the crisis passes – for FastCap that meant the power was back on – and we’re not fighting fires anymore – it’s time to let the crisis teach us where we have room to improve.

Simple sharing got results

“You really got his attention,” my husband noted. He was referring to the contractor who actually showed up on time today, and apologized for having been late so often.

powerphrase_icon2“You must have spoken strong.”

What had I said? I just shared the truth – that my husband and I didn’t believe any estimates he gave us because they were consistently unrelated to when he actually arrived. I explained that we didn’t enjoy relationships where we didn’t have trust, and that made us reluctant to do any more work with him, even though the quality of his work was excellent.

I just told him how it was. My husband had complained about his erratic arrivals many times, but my words got through.

The man has a heart, and I spoke from mine. That tapped into his. Sometimes simple truth is the most powerful.