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Strategy and Vision

Strategy only has meaning when connected to vision. — Mark Francis

Identifying and understanding your vision, or where you want to go, is what gives purpose to the steps needed to get there (i.e. strategy). Doing something for the sake of simply “doing something” may look productive, but mostly leaves frustration, heart-ache, and unrealized goals after it is over. You deserve more — your teams and organization deserve more.

I’m here to help with both. Let’s visit to get you started.

Others-centered Self-awareness

All of us, at some point, have been challenged by what others perceive as our “real selves”. Regardless of how often this happens, our reactions to their perceptions can range from feeling gut-punched or angry to overwhelmingly encouraged. How often, would you say, others accurately describe your own thoughts of who you believe you are, including your attitudes and behaviors?   Now consider those around you…how are they feeling about what others perceive of them? Taken together, it is easy to see how relationships can get messy quick, many times based on false assumptions of one another. However, we can help create accurate awareness of others and their lives leading to fulfilling and authentic relationships, no matter their purpose.

How can we minimize the impacts of misunderstanding one another? Here are a few thoughts to encourage change:

  1. Resist Assumptions – Be ruthless with yourself anytime you assume anything. Practice recognizing when you do it and especially when you make decision based on it. Ask others to help you assess and better understand when you make assumptions with them. Sensitivity to your own heart grows in the light of offered transparency and accountability.
  2. Ask Questions towards Understanding – Clarifying questions become windows into the heart. All of us fundamentally want to define ourselves to others. Doing so helps us own our own path, and helps others see the real us.
  3. Invite Feedback – Making room for personal input from others in our life helps create increased sensitivity to the realness of our life. When we ask the question of ourselves on a regular basis, we strengthen our “others-centered” vision to look for the same in those around us.

Living life with others, whether at work or in our personal lives, can only be authentic and life-giving to the degree we continually grow our others-centered self-awareness. To be seen accurately by others becomes both a gift and a growth path to each of us. To offer the same to others strengthens your union with them and creates capacity for growth through all seasons. As leaders, this gift and growth path is ours to give to each person in our care. Let’s give it our best!

Change Starts Inside

“What we value in our hearts manifests in our daily lives. To change what we do starts with a change in what is important to us.” — Mark G. Francis

We rarely can hide what dwells within us as our crucial life values and motivations. They tend to leak out when we are not looking, mostly when we are focused on the “ordinary” tasks and efforts around us. Co-workers, friends and family can be very helpful in these moments as they experience the true YOU. Listening to their descriptions of your actions and behaviors can be eye-opening and authentic, even in difficult situations. If personal transformation and growth is important to you, look for the revealing language surrounding you and then take personal inventory of what you value. Emphasis here towards positive change will result in positive change in your attitudes and behaviors towards your best you.

A Gift for You

What traits, in general, would mark your relationships with those you lead? Do you consistently experience strong trust, open communication, faithful encouragement and steadfast confidence? Or, do those you serve with offer significantly less than this to you? If so, do you know why?

Generally a purpose behind staff and peer reviews, we can find ourselves wondering where we stand in the eyes of others. As leaders, knowing this reality is crucial for our on-going growth and success. I would like to help.

Asking for honest, yet meaningful feedback from those we work with can be intimidating. Sometimes we wait for “formal” reviews, which unfortunately, may never come or address the core issues. What if as either a leader or team member we didn’t wait? What if we stepped out with bravery to invite others to share their insight about us on a consistent basis?

Today I am offering you the use of a couple of tools I have developed from years of experience and asking these questions. My Bridging Assessment Resource Workbook provides both assessment tools and explanations to help you collect input and make assessments about these and other questions. It is yours as a free gift. You can find it here . Please feel free to share with others, and if you would want my involvement in this process, I would love to help. Contact me for additional information and scheduling.

One last thing. If you do use these tools, it would be a blessing to hear from you about how you were impacted. Thanks for your consideration.


Connecting verses Communicating

Thousands of emails. Tweets that fly out as fast as we can type them. Words, words, and more words. Emoticons, abbreviations, slang, and anything else that distinguishes us from others. We have become a culture of communication in forms that are visual, written, sound or all three. Daily it surrounds us, like a slave driver demanding more and more.

Into this reality, I ask what I believe is a deeper question — in the presence of all this communication, are we connecting in greater degrees? If connecting simply means staying in contact, then maybe we are. However, in my view, connecting means much, much more. Listening, seeking understanding, developing a value of other perspectives, and coming to better identify with others and their journey all reflect aspects of connecting that are especially relevant and important not only personal relationships, but also in the work environment. Are you connecting with others in these ways to greater degrees? Amid all the growing information exchange that surrounds us, I encourage you to be a connector. The impact you have will far outlive your own life.

A Journey Into Discovery

I want to challenge you today…will you take my dare?

The life you possess is of the rarest form. Why? Because there is no one else like you! Yet, we all get into those places where we diminish our living and begin to exist. Sound familiar? I know…I don’t like it either.

To challenge these parts of our life, I dare you to embark on a journey. Where to? A journey with wide open arms ready to embrace discovery, and no, not a place. No, I challenge you to explore the reality of who you are. There is more to you than you have seen or experienced. There are worlds of personal virtue you have been given to discover for this time and season of your life. What? Really?

Let me ask…have you fully plunged the depth of your serving others? What about the manner you honor others? Have you fully come to understand, much less do this consistently? You get my hints. I am daring you to ask more of yourself when it comes to positive, healthy and powerful internal virtues that serve and bless others.

I will be doing this too. I’ve been convicted of the “more” of my heart that I have not tapped into, especially as it connects to the world around me — people, environments, work, play, etc.

Let’s go after this with all we have. And if you need help or someone to walk it with, I would be honored to be a part of your journey. Together, let’s make this the year of discovery, impacting our world with the strengths we possess.

You can do it! I dare you!


What Impact Do You Have?

As a leader, you expect to impact circumstances around you. Increasing revenue, changing business outlooks, growing client population and the like remain as types of measurements that are both valuable and significant. But what about the people you encounter? More specifically, what about those you lead? How are they impacted by your leadership?

Important questions that determine both the quality and enduring nature of your role, I want to share some resources that can help you bridge what you may understand as your impact and what actually others receive from you. The Bridging Assessment Resources provide one mechanism for assessing your influence upon other leaders and teams you lead. Designed as a means of providing real-time perceptions how you connect with others, the results can give you the necessary strategic guidance over areas of strengths, as well as those that need attention.

For your copy, download from my HOMEPAGE on this website. Whether you choose to use it personally or would like my involvement for developing targeted action plans for growth, I offer it as a gift for your success. Let me know your comments and how it works for you.

Why cultural coaching?

How would you describe the organizational environment of your team? Of your organization? Of your leadership team? What cultural direction are you going and how do you get there? How do you measure success? Most importantly, what’s the point — how does culture affect your bottom line, whatever that may be?

These and related questions are significant whether recognized or not. Every organized collection of people operates by some set of code related to values that drive decisions, leadership styles, and how personnel feel about their involvement. Persistent and enduring organizations make culture part of their organizational success plan. Do you?

As a cultural coach, my desire is to help individuals, teams and whole organizations understand this powerful influence, its present role and more importantly, how it can be transformed to provide an environment for greater organizational success. Culture happens. It can also be intentionally created and sustained through time. Which do you desire?

My gift to you is a 1-2 hour initial visit to explore your potential needs and ways I could help. Why this gift? Because I would simply like the opportunity to at least share some encouragement with you over your present journey, regardless if we go any further. You are where you are because of the unique treasures you possess and how you offer it to others. I honor that success. How about growing it more? I appreciate your consideration.

The Virtue of Consistency

A life legacy flows from a collection of daily personal offerings amid the journey of one’s life. Even more significant in our present age where speed marks every level of individual and community culture, possessing a heart desire for the seemingly slower process of consistency becomes impactful beyond measure. Whether you are a leader or team player, the strength of your consistency shapes the impact you can have upon your sphere of influence. To build something that lasts, whether solid communication, positive motivations, or behaviors that value yourself or others, exercising consistency in a specific direction with measurable steps is a key process. Each of us have a unique capacity for consistency. But like other virtues, to grow means to choose to exercise it. Determine those areas you want to be more consistent and then make a step in that direction each and every day. Before long, you may surprise yourself.

Culture’s Impact

How is your organization’s culture impacting your efforts? Do you have cultural goals you are wanting to achieve? How do you measure cultural success? How many of your staff are enjoying their work or looking to leave because of your organizational culture? How is your bottom line, whether financial or otherwise, affected by your organizational environment?

These and other questions are increasingly more relevant in today’s world of organizational proliferation. Establishing, sustaining and maintaining a climate for organizational growth and impact, both internally and externally, is a significant context for exploring and answering these and other relevant questions that truly influence organizational success. To not only capture the “pulse” of your current culture, but to consistently work on one’s cultural environment helps to impact every level of organizational life — individual, team and collectively as an entity.

A common theme emerges both from practical experience and intentional cultural philosophy — Culture happens — it will be defined by defaulting circumstance or by specific vision. Who is defining yours?

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