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Blue Health™ Videos English/Danish/Spanish

BH Video

Blue Health™ is the newest Leadership Development program created by Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a global consultancy based in the USA.

Here is a 2-minute video in ENGLISH.

Here is a 2-minute video in SPANISH.

Here is a 2-minute video in DANISH.

So, if you are interested in having critical thinkers as leaders (as opposed to mindless foot soldiers) and resilient leaders who can bounce back (regardless of whatever “shizzle” is coming down the pike at work – or at home), then your company needs this program.

We build healthy, functional leaders.

Contact us at info@corporatelookingglass.com.
Visit us at CorporateLookingGlass.com

Leading with Determination: WebMD’s Dr. Paul

Paul

We’ve all heard “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Well, if that holds true, then Paul Seville, MD, MBI, CPHIMS, has super strength.  A urological surgeon turned medical informatics expert, Dr. Paul has survived FIVE brushes with death.  Here’s a quick run-down:

  1. Malpractice. A pediatrician’s erroneous medical judgment led to a severe chronic kidney infection; rendering Dr. Paul to lose both healthy kidneys and be subjected for years to dialysis.
  2. Surgery. In 6th grade, he received a cadaveric kidney from a motorcyclist’s death.
  3. Surgery. Once the first donated kidney reached its longevity, his sister donated her kidney to him.
  4. Car Crash. A speeding, drunk, uninsured, twice-deported illegal resident crashed into Dr. Paul’s car head-on while he was driving around a corner, placing him in the hospital for a couple of days as he urinated blood.
  5. Bike Accident/Brain Surgery. The ecologically conscious doctor was bicycling to work with his helmet on, when something happened to the bike and he ended up head first onto the pavement.  He had 2” by 3” of his skull removed to suction out the coagulated blood that was pushing the left side of his brain towards the right, and now has titanium filling the rectangular space.

Dr. Paul is one of the several medical doctors who have endorsed the newest Leadership Development program created by Corporate Looking Glass, LLC, which is Blue Health™.  While he currently resides in Portland, Oregon, he is originally from the only Blue Zone in the USA, Loma Linda, California.  He read my blog 10 Traits of a Positive Thinker: #7 DETERMINATION, and recognized how he leads with determination.

One of the amusing stories he shared with me is how he was conducting rounds as a hospitalist, and entered a room where the adult daughter of a patient was angrily waiting.  “My father has gone through a lot of pain, and you have NO idea what he has gone through!” she yelled at Dr. Paul.  He calmly addressed her concerns about her father’s post-op care.  She continued to rant about her presupposed belief of Dr. Paul’s inability to relate to her father’s condition.  Formerly ashamed of the long scars Dr. Paul’s surgeons left on his sides (#1 above) when he was a small boy, he opened his white lab coat, lifted his shirt, and revealed the monstrously large cicatrix – which appear as though he was sliced open from front to back on both sides…only because he was.  He answered, “I know what your father is going through, because I went through it myself.  And, multiple times.”

How many doctors can say that?  How many doctors have been on both ends of the knife?

Furthermore, how many of us can say we get back up on our feet to serve others when we could be consumed with our personal needs?  Former Vietnam Prisoner of War (POW) General Admiral James Stockdale said, “Self-realization cannot be achieved without service to the community.” Dr. Paul no longer practices surgery, but continues to serve others with his expertise at WebMD.

Stockdale: “The pre-Socratic Heraclitus said the development of the heart has to do with the capacity to face and experience reality.  The capacity for that experience is also the capacity for courage.  The heart wills, it is the seat of conscience, it introduces purpose.” (See blog on Purpose).

Dr. Paul championed many years of childhood taunts, only to be the bully’s champion in the operating room.  Epictetus (the ancient Greek philosopher): Difficulties are what show men’s character.

When asked how Dr. Paul feels about the mistake his surgeons made when he was a little boy, he echoes Epictetus: “It is unthinkable that one man’s error could cause another’s suffering.  There can be no such thing as being the ‘victim’ of another.  You can only be a victim of yourself.  It’s all how you discipline your mind.”

New Year is not the only time when you can begin anew.

 

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners.  We increase retention.  Visit CorporateLookingGlass.com.

© Rossina Gil, 2015

Source:

Stockdale, Jim. Thoughts of a Philosophical Fighter Pilot.

How to Turn a Dysfunctional Leader into a Highly Functional Leader

BH Blog 1

Jane Doe (Not her real name!) is a VP at a large organization.  Her boss sits in the C-Suite and rewards her for reaching the objectives listed in her job description.  The problem is Jane has had more than two entire team turnovers in less than two years.  Her boss wrestles with the question: How can he let Jane go when she is doing exactly what he hired her to do?

Jane’s boss weighs the actual costs of personnel lost, recruiter time, learning curve and the intangible costs of distrust, watercooler chatter and lack of team cohesion against Jane meeting his annual objectives and goals.  It’s so much easier for him to keep the status quo, so he turns a deaf ear to the complaints streaming in through the uneasy Human Resource directors.  Jane’s workhorse style and “the whippings shall continue until you are all happy” are inconsequential to him, since results matter more than feelings.  In essence, he is teaching Jane to just “get ‘er dun” and she is more than ready to comply.

Let’s be clear here: The dysfunctional leader is not just Jane; it is, firstly, her boss.

Examples like this real-life “Jane” and her boss abound in Corporate America.  Yet, slumped productivity, wide-spread disengagement, and high levels of attrition are costing the U.S. economy an estimated $370 billion yearly, according to Gallup.*

  • How can a company retain specialized top talent AND keep team retention strong?
  • How can the organization avoid ex-employees posting on GlassDoor.com and damaging the organization’s brand and reputation of its ability to manage well?

Blue Health™ is a two-day Leadership Development program that is designed with a heuristic approach – which enables executives to discover how they can improve engagement, productivity, and overall well-being for themselves, their teams, and the organization as a whole.

The Blue Health™ model demonstrates the ancient Greek philosophical foci of Mind, Body, and Spirit (Energy Management); to which we have added the systemic dimension of the Organization.  This Positive Psychology program is a deep dive into optimizing performance and social dynamics. It engages participants in critical thinking and incorporates various methods of adult learning theory to keep comprehension and interaction levels high.

Our associates have conducted primary research from executives within the world’s five Blue Zones (locations known for holding the highest concentration of self-sufficient centenarians), and Blue Health™ is endorsed by multiple medical doctors from the only Blue Zone in the USA; Loma Linda, California.

If you are ready for healthy, functional leadership, please contact us at info@CorporateLookingGlass.com for further information.  Or, dial 615.431.9689.

Be Well.

Rossina Gil is the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC, a team of Leadership and Organization Development Practitioners and Interculturalists, based across the USA.  Rossina co-launched the Blue Zones initiative in Des Moines, Iowa (Sponsor: Wellmark); and Redondo Beach, California (Sponsor: Beach Cities Health District).  She is the author of The Corporate Looking Glass: Using Culture for Your Competitive Advantage (available on Amazon.com), which is required reading at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management.  www.CorporateLookingGlass.com

© Rossina Gil, 2015

*Source:

http://www.fastcompany.com/3009012/the-costs-of-ignoring-employee-engagement

 

Self as Instrument: Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi

Iommi

Naturally, one of the benefits of keeping diverse company is exposure to different tastes from your own.  So it is that, as the parent of two boys, I accompanied my husband to the barber shop and perused through Rolling Stones magazine while I waited.

I came across how Black Sabbath played their farewell tour this September 2015.  Now, I experienced my high school years in the ‘80’s, so I was no stranger to this band; however, the associations I had of this band were all negative, especially given that I lived those years in a community which kept the Sabbath.  As an adult, my programs entail critical thinking, unconscious bias, implicit associations, and dealing with second-hand bias.  In Tony Iommi’s case, there are a lot of explicitly negative associations (in my opinion), and, yet, to retain critical thinking we must examine the origins.  This is the trait of a leader: Be curious.  What follows is what I uncovered about Iommi, who is Black Sabbath’s sole continual band member and primary composer, the man who invented the Heavy Metal riff and is ranked by Rolling Stones as #25 of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.

Anthony Frank Iommi was 17-years old at work in a sheet metal factory when he lost the tips of his middle and ring fingers on the “fretting” hand.  He was more distraught at the prospect of having to surrender his enjoyment of guitar playing than the fact that he lost his fingertips (that’s my female, non-guitarist subjective experience at play).  Recognizing Iommi’s distress, his factory foreman played him a recording of the famous jazz guitarist, Jean “Django” Reinhardt.

Iommi:

“My friend said, ‘Listen to this guy play,’ and I went, ‘No way! Listening to someone play the guitar is the very last thing I want to do right now!’ But he kept insisting and he ended up playing the record for me. I told him I thought it was really good and then he said, ‘You know, the guy’s only playing with two fingers on his fretboard hand because of an injury he sustained in a terrible fire.’ I was totally knocked back by this revelation and was so impressed by what I had just heard that I suddenly became inspired to start trying to play again.”

Unique Sound and timing of consumer readiness/delivery.  Iommi slackened the strings to ease the tension on his fingers, so it wouldn’t hurt so much.  This produced a strange sound, which became a technique and the mainstay of heavy metal music.  The sound has the musical technical term of Tritone, or the flattened 5th (a.k.a. augmented 4th), which spans three whole steps in the scale.  In the Middle Ages, this dissonant music interval was called “diabolus in musica” (the devil in the music).  Diminished chords are often used during the scary parts of horror movies.  Consequently, Iommi became known as playing the “Devil Chord.”

Band Name and the discovery of marketplace demand.  Iommi’s band was called Earth, but they discovered there was another English band named Earth, so they opted to change their name to avoid confusion. It just so happened that the movie theater marquis across the street from the band’s rehearsal room displayed “Black Sabbath”— a 1963 horror film, starring Boris Karloff.  Bassist Geezer Butler commented, “Strange that people spend so much money to see scary movies.”  Light bulb…people want to feel.

Marketing and creating the “stick factor.” Iommi didn’t come up with the concept of the upside-down cross; he always wears the cross necklace rightside up.  However, once Black Sabbath recorded its first album under that name, the marketing group kept with the theme of rebelling against a long-held standard of mainstream tradition.  This perceived Satanism solidified, and indelibly etched, this group’s place in Rock – a musical genre that already attracted a group of “rebels” against traditional culture.

Leaders follow their passions, despite the obstacles.  They carve their place in time by staying true to who they are, and by recognizing that being different may be the greatest asset they have.  Carbon copies are not craved as much as limited editions.  Realizing that sometimes life’s disasters happen for a reason — which are usually unknown to us in the moment – is critical for resilience and success…and, if we are resilient, we place ourselves in a better position to experience a high bounce after a deep fall.

Thank you for being you, Tony.

How do you practice self as instrument?

 

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, cultural integration expert, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners.  We increase retention.  Visit CorporateLookingGlass.com.

© Rossina Gil, 2015

Sources:

BBC interview.  June, 2013.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QEd8CqAmGs

Iommi, Tony. Iron Man: My Journey through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath. Simon & Schuster Ltd. (2011). 

NYRock.com. Ozzy Osbourne: The Godfather of Metal”. June 2002.

Talent Mapping: The Crux of Corporate America

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Of the total workforce population, there are roughly 76 million Baby Boomers, only 50 million Gen X’ers, and a whopping 86 million (& counting) Gen Y/Millennials.  Not only is there a cultural Generation Gap, there is a Talent Gap – the disparity of prepared, workforce replacements – that requires “Talent Mapping” in order to keep the economic backbone of this country strong.  Talent mapping is the process of critically examining what talent exists within the organization and how to strategically plan to prepare for future needs and/or growth initiatives.

Some of the best practices can be extrapolated from a microcosm.  For example, Switzerland has a population of <8 million; yet, is has been hailed by the Economist magazine for several consecutive years as having the highest quality of living.  With very little natural resources from which to draw, how do they have such a strong and stable economy?  Their number one reason is: they invest in their people.

In fact, most of the businesses in Switzerland are privately owned.  If we were to draw from our own talent perceptions on working for private companies, we would find that there are many perceived advantages.  These advantages can be used as recruiting and retention levers to attract and maintain top talent.  Among the top three most compelling reasons to join a private company are the following: inclusion, having a voice, and a higher degree of interrelatedness (both internally and externally).

 

The Three Horsemen of HR

Recruitment.  Development.  Retention.   These three areas form the triumvirate and serve as the crux of your organization’s success.  If you are deficient (or lacking) in one of these areas, then it is akin to sitting on a 3-legged stool with one leg missing – your future will indubitably falter.  The first and most strategic recruit in an organization, according to Ana Dutra, CEO Korn/Ferry International, is “A really strong head of HR with a focus on Talent Management and Leadership Development.”  S/He plays an important role in establishing the company’s reputation, which is the most frequently cited element in attracting (& retaining) talent.  And, with the proliferation of websites that facilitate the “real” Employee Engagement and Organizational Health surveys on the internet – meaning a survey that renders no repercussions from supervisors who exhibit frustration over low roll-up scores – current, ex-colleagues, and potential candidates can anonymously share their impressions of what the organization’s culture, interviewing process, and treatment of its people are really like.  These impressions are, unfortunately, generally in stark contrast to whatever the company website and other forms of propaganda profess for it to be.  This is the corporate version of Zagat’s guide.  How have others found the ambience to be like?  What is the price you pay to be there?  Is the service friendly?  How many stars would you give it?

 

Leadership Development

Less than half of the organizations within Corporate America have formalized processes for identifying and developing high-potentials (hi-po’s).  One best practice to keep the three horsemen at bay is to implement a Career Model Framework.  This framework is a system accessible by any company employee through the company’s intranet; it lays out a set of objective competencies one needs to achieve in order to be considered for promotion.  Merrill Lynch has a first-in-class system which enables its financial advisors to track their individualized progress.  Meanwhile, stories are regaled from other organizations, such as Amazon, that so-called Organization Leadership Reviews are intended to be objective, yet promotions seem to be heavily reliant upon subjective, anecdotal data (versus contextualized and hard data) and the senior leader’s ability/influence to persuade, either negatively or positively.

 

Top Developmental Tools

Retain your organizational knowledge, the investment made in the Learning Curve, your company’s morale / team-spirit, and maximize the Return on Investment (ROI) to strengthen your leadership pipeline and competitive advantages by utilizing all of the following tools.

  • Leadership Development Workshops
  • Targeted Training
  • Career-Pathing / Coaching
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Stretch Assignments / International
  • Rotation
  • Objective Metrics (e.g. Career Model Framework)
  • Practice Diversity & Inclusion
  • Telecommuting Options
  • Mentorship
  • Treat Your Vendors Like Internals (this goes back to Inclusion)

Business is relationships.  The way you manage those relationships is the way you’ve managed your future.

Thank you.

 

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, author, cultural analyst, coach, speaker, and facilitator.  She wants Anne Taylor’s Kate Hudson Holiday Collection for Christmas.  CorporateLookingGlass.com. 

 

Resources:

Forbes Insights, The Talent Imperative, April 2013, pg 20.

http://online.barrons.com/article/SB50001424052748703889404578440972842742076.html#articleTabs_article%3D1

http://www.forbes.com/2005/09/28/career-babyboomer-work-cx_sr_0929bizbasics.html

https://www.metlife.com/assets/cao/mmi/publications/Profiles/mmi-gen-x-demographic-profile.pdf

Of Mice and Mentors

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The subject of mentors and sponsors frequently surfaces among the high-potentials in Corporate America’s most prestigious firms and organizations.  How do I get one?  What is the difference between the two terms?

Recently, a manager commented that she has a “crappy boss.”  Since the first step in a constructive dialogue is to provide specific, measurable, and objective details on behavior and steer away from evaluative and judgmental  adjectives that label the person, the question to explore is, “What is it that s/he is doing, or not doing, that causes you to label your boss as ‘crappy’?”  Answer: “She is not developing me.  Others at my level are being developed by their supervisors.”  In another situation, it was the supervisor exasperatedly telling his direct report, “I don’t have time to coach!”  And yet another manager commented, “I don’t want to coach!”

Well, to those who have DR’s (direct reports), coaching is what comes with the territory…once you have DR’s, you are responsible for their professional development and performance.  The number one priority of being a leader is leading others toward higher levels of accomplishment(s)…this is also known as succession planning, strategy, and focusing on long-term success and the survival of your organization.  The reality is, many professionals are promoted to levels of management based on competencies that do not include the necessary skills to develop others.  In essence, it is the Peter Principle — where employees rise to a level where they cannot fulfill their duties.  Corporate America is replete with supervisors who have risen to their level of incompetence.

What to do?  Find a Mentor.

When you have a boss who does not spend the time to coach/guide you, and there is no Leadership Development support, this is where you have the opportunity to seek out mentors.  Mice cower; leaders find peer mentors and senior mentors within the organization to advise them on how to meet and exceed expectations.  Some organizations offer formalized programs for mentoring; however, the best mentoring is often organic – where you manage to find each other, and there is no official titling to your relationship.

  • Got 10?  Ask people for 10 minutes of their time, and be prepared with a couple of questions that can help you understand how to increase the quality of your deliverables.
  • Never dine alone.  Approach someone sitting alone at lunch and ask if you may join him/her.
  • Back to School.  Research who in your organization attended your alma mater, and seek them out.

An external mentor, preferably someone within the same industry, would also greatly benefit leaders at all stages of your career.  External mentors can provide you with an outside perspective that may enlighten your view of a situation.  This may be, for example, a former professor, your parents (depends), or you can hire an executive coach.

Sponsors.

Advancement is often accelerated by those within the organization who know you personally and professionally, and can influence decision-makers to offer you new projects &/or promote you.  These types of people are your sponsors.

  • Join an Employee Research Group (ERG).  If your organization doesn’t have one, perhaps you can start one.  ERG’s are professional colleagues who convene to focus on solutions for target markets.
  • Research activities.  Are you really good at racquet ball?  Golf?  Bowling?  Invite a senior executive to a challenge.  Leaders usually enjoy strong competition that isn’t cocky.
  • Provide a win-win.  If you attract a new client or gain positive publicity, this can attract attention to your abilities to lead within your sphere of influence.  Sponsors recognize leadership potential when you follow passions that demonstrate how intrinsic motivation leads to success.

It is an illusory conclusion that we can get there (wherever “there” may be) alone.  Take charge of your career.  It is easy to deflect blame onto others, yet true leaders can come up with solutions that still help you reach your goals.

Happy Hunting.

Thank you.

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, author, cultural analyst, coach, speaker, and facilitator.  CorporateLookingGlass.com.

10 Traits of a Positive Thinker: #2 ENTHUSIASM

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Built upon the foundation of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s work, The Power of Positive Thinking, positive psychology author Scott Ventrella states that “Positive thinkers are tough-minded reality-based people who blast through problems with energy and zeal.”  Cynics and skeptics do not change the world.

Ventrella lists 10 traits of a positive thinker: 1. Optimism, 2. Enthusiasm, 3. Belief, 4. Integrity, 5. Courage, 6. Confidence, 7. Determination, 8. Patience, 9. Calmness, 10. Focus.

This blog addresses Enthusiasm in Leadership.  If you can answer “yes” to the following questions, you may be a leader who exhibits enthusiasm…

  • Do I wake up feeling excited about the day ahead?
  • Do I thrive on finding needs that interest me and fulfill them?
  • Do I have and show energy about projects that excite others?
  • Am I energetic in pursuing outcomes?
  • Do I get a kick out of life?

Enthusiasm comes from Greek entheos, meaning “inspired.”  It literally means “possessed by a god” or en theos, “in God.”  So, essentially…What leaves you feeling inspired?  What has you ready to spring out of bed in the morning?  What contributes to having you feel like you have the Living Spirit in you?

Philosopher Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”  This is not to say that you should give up your day job to become a NASCAR racer.  Nor does this suggest that because you love your work that you are immune to the politics and bureaucracy at work.  It means being able to stay focused on which aspects of your work from which you DO gain enthusiasm.  Losing the love in your work can be like a relationship…sometimes it’s tempting to pursue something new to rekindle that excitement.  Is what first attracted you to your assignment/relationship no longer there?

Examine what made your position attractive to you in the first place.  (See blog The Four Temperaments & the Organization).  Usually, you are attracted to what you can do and in which type of organization you can provide those services.  Organizations (not to mention supervisors) have “temperaments” as well, which may indicate a natural affinity or an opportunity for you to leverage yourself as a complementary necessity.

ENTHUSIASM STIMULI

Which of the following suggestions inspire you to become enthusiastic?  Is it…

  • The intellectual challenge?
  • The involvement of others?
  • Learning something new?
  • The freedom to do what you want?
  • Accomplishing something worthwhile?
  • Experimentation and discovery?
  • Being creative or innovative?
  • Producing something others will enjoy &/or use?
  • The outdoors or nature?
  • Travel or adventure?
  • Planning and organizing?
  • Influencing or helping others?
  • Working or playing alone?
  • Having a peaceful, relaxing time?
  • Competing against others or a standard?
  • Spontaneous activity?
  • Meeting a personal goal?
  • Discussions or conversations with others?
  • Non-structured activities?
  • Physical challenges or activities?
  • Working with your hands?
  • Fantasy, drama, “Imagineering”?
  • Appreciating something beautiful, creative, or interesting?
  • Or, what?

Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant Virginia from my Nashville flight to Los Angeles responded to my length of service question, “17 years, and I’m the junior one on the aircraft.  Southwest Airlines is a nice place to be.”  Virginia found what she likes to do and with which airline.  She discovered her enthusiasm stems from her passion to travel and help others.

I consider Enthusiasm to be Passion.  What is yours?

Thank you.

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, author, cultural analyst, coach, speaker, and facilitator.  CorporateLookingGlass.com. 

Sources:

Scott Ventrella, The Power of Positive Thinking in Business (New York, NY: Fireside), 2001. (pp. 15, 69-71, 112-113).

Virginia, Southwest Airlines, non-stop a.m. flight 332 BNA to LAX on 5.6.13.

©Rossina Gil, 2013

10 Traits of a Positive Thinker: #1 OPTIMISM

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À la Ventrella (i.e. Scott Ventrella), who built his work, The Power of Positive Thinking in Business, upon the foundation of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s work, he states that “Positive thinkers are tough-minded reality-based people who blast through problems with energy and zeal.”  Cynics and skeptics do not change the world.

Ventrella lists the 10 traits of a positive thinker as the following: 1. Optimism, 2. Enthusiasm, 3. Belief, 4. Integrity, 5. Courage, 6. Confidence, 7. Determination, 8. Patience, 9. Calmness, 10. Focus.

This blog addresses Optimism in Leadership.  The next 9 traits will be addressed in my weekly postings.  If you can answer “yes” to the following questions, you may be a leader who exhibits optimism…

  • Do I meet challenges with a sense of control?
  • Do I act with a sense of hope about what lies ahead?
  • Do I work to minimize the impact of my doubts and fears?
  • Do I keep my spirits up even when things aren’t going well?
  • Do I gear myself to be positively hopeful in my attitudes and expectations?

The “Law of Positive Expectancy” (or the Power of Projection) can be defined by the story the “Little Engine That Could.”  Through hard work and optimism the Little Engine achieved what it expected to achieve, which is what we can do for ourselves as humans.  We also achieve what others expect us to achieve – such as parents, role models, teachers, coaches, etc. – and, conversely, we may not establish “stretch goals” for ourselves nor attempt to achieve what we project to be possible, or thwart any intentions to achieve something, if others deem our ideas as impossible.

In the workplace, optimistic leaders gain a competitive edge on others because they have…

  1. Self-Enhancement – Decision-Makers can control their anxiety better with optimism, which allows wiser judgment.
  2. Self-Presentation – Leaders who present themselves in an optimistic manner and more positive light are generally more accepted than those who are negative.
  3. Perceived Control – Leaders in control (or perceived control) tend to rely heavily on direct action and responsibility of situations.

TRIGGERS

Most of us are sporadic pessimists.  This means that we occasionally get triggered by situations that tend to contribute towards making us FEEL, THINK, or ACT less optimistically.  Below are four itemized categories of areas that may dim your optimism in the workplace.

Being Managed

  1. Receiving (or not receiving) performance reviews/feedback.
  2. Being left out of decisions or plans.
  3. Not being recognized or rewarded for performance.
  4. Difference in personal and/or managerial styles.
  5. Lack of communication with my manager on work progress, issues, opportunities.

Managing Others

  1. Giving performance reviews or feedback to others.
  2. Having to deal with conflicts among others.
  3. Dealing with style differences among employees.
  4. Being kept “out of the loop” on important issues, problems or decisions. (See blog Workplace Xenophobia)
  5. Having to deal with personal problems.

Organization & Culture

  1. Company politics and game playing.
  2. Policies, processes, or systems that hinder progress, new ideas, or exceptions to the norm.
  3. Reorganization, reengineering, downsizing, and so on.
  4. Bureaucratic structures, reporting relationships, layers.
  5. Insufficient communication and dialogue about what is happening and why.

Peer & Customer Relationships

  1. Company gossip or the “grapevine.”
  2. Opinions or feedback on my performance that goes to others, not me.
  3. Feeling or knowing that I am being lied to, blamed, or patronized.
  4. Not being able to negotiate over projects, deadlines, requests.
  5. Being left out of decisions or problem solving that affects me and/or my employees. (See blog The Corporate Bully)

Bobby McFerrin wasn’t the first to sing “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” but if we sing it ourselves, our positive well-being and self-esteem are healthy for us and can influence others favorably.

Optimism helps.

Thank you.

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, author, cultural analyst, coach, speaker, and facilitator.  CorporateLookingGlass.com.

Sources:

Scott Ventrella, The Power of Positive Thinking in Business (New York, NY: Fireside), 2001. (pp. 15, 69-71, 112-113).

 

©Rossina Gil, 2013

Judgment Day

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Most people dislike judgment and wish to escape it. However, judgment is much like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog’s Day…it is there every day, and there’s not too much one can do about it, but get used to it and make the most of it.

Psychologist Paul Ekman argues that judgment is essential to survival. It is a part of our hardwiring, since judgment stems from our EMOTIONS. In fact, Dr. Ekman asserts that there are seven universal emotions: Contempt, Disgust, Anger, Sadness, Surprise, Fear, and Joy. These emotions are called universal because he found that the expressions for these emotions are understood regardless of one’s cultural origin. To test his theory, he brought pictures of authentic emotions to a remote village in Papua, New Guinea – a place where civilization was left untouched by the outside world and could not have “learned” these expressions through media or human contact. His landmark study revealed that these seven emotions are innate and could be accurately assessed by other humans. So, all humankind is born with the ability to “judge” or ascertain situations.

 

But Isn’t Judgment Bad?

All judgmental comments are helpful in understanding the NEEDS of the individual placing the judgment; hence, the utilization of Performance Management Reviews and 360-Reviews in the workplace. Subjective assessments can be mitigated by including all comments; not just the critical and hypercritical feedback.

Supervisors, and those without Direct Reports, can make more effective judgments in a variety of ways. First and foremost, slow down the knee-jerk reaction by practicing inquiry. Then, contemplate the three areas I reiterate in my blogs, namely: EMOTIONS, THOUGHTS, and ACTIONS.

EMOTIONS. Dr. Ekman found that emotions are a psycho-physiological (i.e. mind/body) experience that drive a person to action. As infants, we experienced emotion before cognitive development. So, when someone expresses an emotion and we do not understand the reason or intensity of the emotion, we have very likely at some point, and under different circumstances, experienced the same emotion and can, therefore, relate to the person using critical judgment. RECOMMENDATIONS: Practice compassion. Ask yourself, have I ever been disappointed, frustrated, confused, etc. by XYZ (e.g. someone offering me direct feedback, not giving enough face-time, not communicating “enough,” using words I can’t understand)?

THOUGHTS. Each employee moves forward making a series of daily decisions based on their thinking process. Reasoning is usually a combination of Nature (i.e. genetic/internal) and Nurture (i.e. environment/external). For example, a supervisor could be a Linear thinker and can get lost if someone jumps from A to C, without having discussed B. Men are typically Linear thinkers. If s/he is Linear and has a Systemic thinker for a direct report, then conflict can ensue because the supervisor could feel frequently lost and may attribute that to the direct report. A Systemic thinker can easily jump from A to D (or even G) because that is how his/her mind works. Women are typically Systemic thinkers, which is why there are jokes about how complicated a woman’s mind is (7-lane highway or massive circuitry) versus a man’s mind (dirt road or a one-push button). RECOMMENDATIONS: Practice Inclusion and Equifinality. This means that “there are more ways than one to skin a cat.” Plus, diverse thinking increases your competitive advantage (See blog Women in Corporate Leadership).

ACTIONS. Since we are the product of the sum of our experiences, we tend to be more receptive towards certain individuals than to others. At work, one supervisor/direct report might think that you’re fantastic, while the next one may not. How does this happen? Experiences vary by individual and that is what impacts and shapes expectations. Lack of experience usually reduces the ability to practice inclusion and equifinality; and if s/he has little to no experience and lacks compassion, then you are S.O.L. (i.e. sh*t out of luck). RECOMMENDATIONS: Recognize how experience contributes “added value.” Experience, unless dysfunctional, never diminishes value contribution and must be optimized.

Suspend judgment. Embrace emotion, question it, and do no harm.

Thank you.

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, author, cultural analyst, coach, speaker, and facilitator. CorporateLookingGlass.com.

Source:

Ekman, Paul. Emotions Revealed. (New York: Owl Books, 2003).

©Rossina Gil, 2013

Women in Corporate Leadership

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Since we each have a predominant proclivity towards a particular style, being able to understand, leverage, and blend the other styles helps an organization maximize its competitive advantage. Another way to optimize strategic input is to incorporate women in corporate leadership.

A recent Catalyst study reported: Fortune 500 companies with three or more women on the Board outperform other companies with 53% more returns on equities, 42% more return on sales and 66% more return invested capital.

What keeps women back?

Sure, some women may “opt out” to care for their children, but the real hindrance is two-fold:

  1. External – the culture (ACTIONS)
  2. Internal – fear of failure, perfectionism/underestimation, risk-aversion (THOUGHTS; EMOTIONS)

EXTERNAL. Unfortunately, in my corporate experience in Leadership Development, the external variable is typically attributed towards men imposing a glass ceiling on women. I regret to share my observation how it is also other women’s insecurities projected onto women that prevent the successes of our corporate sisters. Whether it be envy or wishing to be the sole woman at the top, there are invariably those who shove a steel stiletto into the face of the woman climbing the corporate ladder behind (or next to) her. As an Arab proverb goes, “people only throw sticks and stones at fruit-bearing trees,” or in modern-day parlance, as Ryan Seacrest says, “If no one hates you, then you’re not successful enough.”

INTERNAL. Women internalize far too much. Women are more likely to crumble, kvetch, and gripe about having received a negative appraisal or imperfect critique; whereas men tend to blow off the criticism as someone else’s problem. Whether criticism is positive or negative (and hopefully requested as opposed to unsolicited), you may place it into 1 of 3 buckets: valid, invalid, and irrelevant. Congressman (sic) Marsha Blackburn shares, “It can be very helpful to learn to process criticism (just) as you do your mail – sort it while hovering over the trash can: ‘Junk…junk…junk…hmmm, not sure, I’ll open that one and see…junk…’”

The internal variable appears to supersede the external variable…what I mean by this is, history is replete with examples of how women have achieved leadership success (i.e. self-confidence or assuredness in one’s ability), despite gender (i.e. socio-cultural barriers). In fact, there are currently 17 female world leaders in power as Presidents and Prime Ministers of their respective nations, as of January 15, 2013: http://www.filibustercartoons.com/charts_rest_female-leaders.php.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  1. Create a community within the organization (& outside) of mentors, role-models, networking groups. Find those who can help navigate through an organization and provide a support system.

  2. Identify your value contribution, your unique talents, what you bring to the work environment to best enable success.

  3. Make sure that your voice is heard. Speak up and speak out.

  4. Don’t wait for a promotion; when you’re ready, ask for more. You don’t ask, you don’t get!

  5. Expose girls to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM careers) subjects early on.

 ORGANIZATION-SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS:

  1. Offer retention-focused benefits such as on-site childcare, maternity benefits, women’s networking groups, mentoring, and development.

  2. Ask women in the organization what they want and need from their employers. What do they value? For some, it may be the option of flexible work arrangements or job-sharing.

  3. Create a culture that appreciates Inclusion; not conformity to the male leadership model (see my blog Workplace Xenophobia).

  4. Take a hard stance on sexual harassment. One company paid its female executive for her lawsuit against one of the organization’s most senior executives, and the company continues to employ him, despite the dozens of witnesses to his harassment. The result? The talent left (which is one less woman to promote); and, what kind of message does that send to the remaining talent base? For an organization to be healthy and competitive, it is imperative that all levels of management be protected.

Susan Lucas-Conwell, Global Chief Executive Officer at Great Place to Work® shared, “Ultimately, an organization that genuinely cares about their women employees will keep their women. We have found that those companies that have active policies in place that ensure equal rights for women and have taken active steps to redress that imbalance, are most successful.”

The question “Can Women Have It All?” is immanently sexist. How the workplace enables us all (men, women, Baby Boomer, Gen Y, etc) to have it all, however we define it, will be the hallmark of a great place to work; a workplace where attrition will be low.

Women, the time is nigh!  Veni, vidi, vici, Baby.

Thank you.

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, author, cultural analyst, coach, speaker, and facilitator. CorporateLookingGlass.com.

Copyright 2013

Sources:

Catalyst.org

Greatplacetowork.com

Marsha Blackburn, Life Equity, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson), 2008.