Who am I not?

November 24, 2013 Leave a comment

A simple question that is “hard” to answer:  Who am I not? (in relation to my business, relationships, family, etc.)  You can ask the same question for your team or family or business.  Who are we not?

Last year, I found flow in my business dynamics by asking the question: Why not?  The Who am I not question is deeper for me.  It’s not about flow.  But rather about essence.  It hits a personal, internal place.  What is hiding?  What needs to be revealed to succeed?  What must I stand in or develop to get to the next step?  What changes need to happen in me to face the new circumstance?

We tend to be familiar with the deep, philosophical question:  Who am I? But when we ask Who am I not?  it puts us on an edge.  It brings up things that are hidden and not known.  And stuff we might want to be. Stuff we find difficult to deal with. Try and see what you feel inside when you think about what am I not?

For me, it is uncomfortable.  It doesn’t have a “bad” or “negative” connotation.  Rather a place of growth and development and change.  To increase our flexibility, capacity and perspective.

But the interesting thing is that it’s not the same as what are my weaknesses. This puts me on the defensive and calling me wrong.

Who am I not – softens the look on yourself during change.  Opens the door for compassion and at the same time challenge.  New perspectives about new ways to stretch when change happens – as is our normal life flow….

Ask yourself:  Who am I not?  Who are we not?

If you’d like to expand your possibilities, watch for the nonverbal signals of what’s not there.  It will expand your awareness and capacity.  It’s the nonverbal stuff that gives us cues into what’s not? and what’s wanting to happen?

Curious to hear about your experience!

Ask Why Not? instead of Why?

July 19, 2012 1 comment

For the last 3 years I’ve been working to add more ease and flow in my life and work.  Coming from over 25 years in the hi-tech environment, I was always pushing, rushing and on the go…  When I took a step back, I understood that there were parts of myself that I’m missing and not using…  Not being fully in the momment and enjoying the small stuff…

My goal: How to mix that positive, active, directive energy with a softer, flowing, heart-based flow?

Mindset change: Going from Why?  to Why Not?

  • Why? is great for understanding the problem?  Going to solution?
  • Being in the hi-tech environment in new program development, system engineering and software development, this mindset served me well!
  • But in my business, most of my time was marketing.  The old mindset wasn’t working….
  • I love challenges.  Thinking. Doing. Achieving.  Get results.   I noticed that if it wasn’t hard, it wasn’t worth doing…
  • So building my own business was a transition: From hard challenges to it’s OK if it’s easy!
  • In my business, managing energy and business focus, i learned to love the dance, the lowest hanging fruits.
  • Ask Why NOT? The challenge in the flow doesn’t have to be hard!

With the new mindset comes new behaviors…  If I find myself working hard, grinding, in frustration, I take a step out.  Ask myself, what’s the easy way?  Open up with positive energy by asking, Why Not?!

Why not try this simple question out for yourself?!

Connected teams show better business results

14 team strengths help to highlight key risk factors from the start of any corporate or business project:

  • 7 Productivity Strengths: Team Leadership, Goals & Strategies, Proactive, Decision-Making, Resources, Accountability, and Alignment
  • 7 Positivity Strengths: Trust, Respect, Camaraderie, Communication, Constructive Interaction, Values Diversity, and Optimism

For corporate projects and programs, it’s important to reveal the team’s existing way of work alongside what’s making them less productive. It’s easy to see the potential in 1000’s of teams by Team Coaching International benchmarking:

Benchmarking reveals: High performing, top teams outperform average teams by 42%

  • Productivity measures by 39%
  • Positivity measures by 46%

Business flourishes in high performing teams. The cost of poor performance is staggering in corporate projects. In the growth mindset, teams evolve behaviors and actions that open possibilities for effectiveness. Teams dissolve factors that close them in. Organizational culture is being fine-tuned within the team.

How to lead your teams to success – A 4-Stage Team Development Methodology

What’s measured gets done!  In my experience, measuring success is the core challenge for project success: How do you connect soft skills and knowledge goals to business measures? How does your project boost the business and people bottom-line? If you provide simple team measures, the environment and people are primed for flexibility, knowledge sharing, innovation, creativity and respect. You’ll institute a framework for successful, sustainable results!  The team development methodology contains 4 stages:

1) First, measure where the team is. In less than 20 minutes, you get a team snapshot. You meet the team and experts where they are. Cuts through the mess… What’s really happening and important for success? For possibly the first time, knowledge workers think of the team as an organic entity.

2) Second, create a roadmap – including how we want to be & where we want to go…. The 14 team success factors help to determine strengths & areas of growth. Buy-in for project goals to internal needs. What’s missing?  What’s not being said?  What wants to happen?  It’s a BIG step to align expectations.

3) Third, work as a team, to get there…. With awareness, teams grow and develop as a system – a natural process for realizing, practicing and integrating new methods. With focus, teams begin to evolve and produce more sustainable results.  Generate new agreements & rules of engagement. Produce the results!

4) Fourth, see improvements with AFTER measures!  The project team gets quick feedback on changes. Concrete measures that show improvement as a team. In my experience, when team growth is paired with challenging business goals, business thrives.

How teams drive the business success formula?

July 4, 2012 1 comment

Think for a moment about your company project…  What’s missing?  What burdens or limits? Are you focused on people, but wanting faster, more measurable results? To motivate today’s knowledge workers for successful projects, a shift in focus is necessary – from individuals to growing teams.  

This Business Success Formula reveals a power shift:

  • Peak Performance (High Performing Team) = Big Challenge (High Productivity) + Space to Excel (High Positivity) + Engaged People (Thriving Knowledge Workers)

Business success is based on peak performance of knowledge workers and their team. According to Vineet Nayar’s Harvard Business Review Blog, 21 June 2012, the key is creating high performing teams with 3 factors:

  1. Big Challenge – compels the team forward to accomplish the challenge with productivity, shared vision and responsibility!
  2. A Space to Excel – teams in a supportive space where it’s OK to make a mistake – a space to experiment, innovate and create! It’s not enough to just do it….
  3. Engaged People – teams connect with great energy to reach a solution to their challenge!

When engaged people are connected, the formula is simpler: 2 dimensions measure business success, according to research by Team Coaching International: 

  1. Productivity – At its core, teams exist to produce results! Motivated by the big challenge.
  2. Positivity – Team members must also feel connected! Motivated by a positive space to excel.

From your projects, you know: motivating knowledge workers deals with both dimensions – removing obstacles for better productivity and enhancing the environment for a more collaborative, positive space. Therefore, team performance measures are an effective tool for motivating knowledge workers.  You shift from a static, rigid business-as-usual mindset into a growth mindset – from thinking “knowledge is power” to “knowledge management is empowering”.

How have you changed your project due to the team need?!

Why does the team answer key knowledge management challenges?

For strategic HR projects, you focus on “talent working together”.  You’ve already recruited the best.  You train your leadership.  Compensate and review fairly.  But what can be done about the “glue” of employee engagement, innovation and collaboration? How can you foster high-performing, sustainable teams – your #1 organization asset ….

For KM projects, you focus on “talent’s organizational knowledge”.  You capture, share, use, reuse and create knowledge. Make knowledge accessible, usable with tools and processes. Focus upon experts.  How can you focus on the right issues that will make an impact?  How can you get the buy-in?  What’s the “glue” behind the KM tools, skills and processes? It’s NOT just the individual.  It’s the relationships and operational units that make the difference. The KM context is the team – your #1 organization asset ….

How can you leverage your team in YOUR strategic HR and KM project?

What’s in YOUR garden?

April 25, 2012 Leave a comment

One of the greatest inspirations from my trip to Japan – Japanese gardens!  I’ve always used the garden metaphor in my coaching with clients. 

Some of the garden questions to explore for yourself:

  • What’s in your garden?
  • How do you want your garden to be?
  • What needs to be removed or weeded from your garden?
  • How can you cultivate and grow the garden?

By walking the gardens in Japan, I cultivated the experience and embodiment of the garden.  In the senses.  In the body.  In the mind….

What garden works best for you?!

Choose from some of the Japanese garden photos OR create one for yourself!

TIP: Counter the 4 Relationship and Team Toxins with NEW Positive Action!

March 21, 2012 Leave a comment

After my morning mini-stomach crunching class today, the atmosphere got cold and stiff. The new teacher immediately received a stream of complaints from the participants. Quite a commotion from the group! His reaction: Defensiveness…  He took the barrage personally…  Then – closed up; NO listening…

My thoughts and inputs: It’s not an attack.  It’s feedback. What’s behind the complaints is good intention.  But the atmosphere didn’t show this…

In this post, I’d like to propose some antidotes to this type of situation: where a toxic environment doesn’t meet the intention.  In previous posts, we reviewed the 4 toxins: 1) Blame/Criticism; 2) Defensiveness; 3) Contempt; 4) Stonewalling (more details in: How to Manage the 4 Relationship and Team Toxins and How to Separate the Emotions from Behavior to Strengthen Relationship).  The bottom-line: the KEY is AWARENESS first!

Lack of awareness existed in the exercise class this morning…  Intention good.  Atmosphere toxic.  Pitch of voice, intonation, agressive energy, tense communication, argumentativeness…  So no good result: Complaints turned into criticism.  Defensiveness resulted.  No openness to hear what was being said…

So what are some ways that YOU can soften toxic situtations that you find yourself in:  How can YOU take responsibility for yourself? (rather than fall into the victim role)  How can YOU turn-it-around? ACT with POSITIVE intention – rather than just react and continue with the negative flow?….


  • express what YOU feel and what YOU request;
  • focus on your complaint about a specific BEHAVIOR, but not point the finger and question character or personality traits…
  • on the receiving end – don’t take it personally!  acknowledge inputs and feedback.  look for the request BEHIND the complaint!


  • Repeat what you hear (exercise active listening) and question if you’re understanding?
  • Look for the truth and learning
  • Remain open and curious!  Show appreciation for the other…


  • Don’t take it personally!
  • Express what you feel and the specific behavior with a request: I feel….  I want….
  • Show respect (if you want it, give it…)


  • What is unsafe? How can you or others gain security?
  • Is there a fear? Or what’s making you flooded? How can you counter this?
  • Agree to take a break and set a time to talk later… (rather than not communicate at all)

It takes two! If you take care of yourself, the fire can’t continue…  The way to eliminate toxic communication is to practice, practice, practice the antidotes that work for YOU!

A Crowdsourcing Success Story: How a teen robotics team got amazing results?

March 12, 2012 6 comments

Team intelligence is the power of crowdsourcing. I’ve been priveleged to witness team intelligence (or group collective intelligence) in action over the last several months via my 16-year-old son’s high school robotics project.  Thirty 11th and 12th graders working together to solve a complex FIRST robotics project.  Only 6-weeks to get it done.  Strategy. Planning.  Hardware. Drafting. Systems. Prototypes. Software.  Then a 3-day competition!

You can see their robot in the center.  With other robots that worked together with them in the final round.  The robot shot basketballs at amazing accuracy.  Automatic program and run remotely.  It collected balls.  Passed balls between robots and balanced on a bridge cooperatively for extra points! 

How did it happen?  How can a group of teens produce such a robot?  The answer is: Crowdsourcing.  Based on a Developed Team Intelligence.

It’s NOT the teacher!  It’s the power of the group at its best.  In past years, the teacher was the ONE with the answers.  This year, a new teacher led the project.  He believed that the kids had the answer.  And the solution came from them.  The teacher had few rules for process, cleaning, procedure.  The kids worked together to collect ideas, determine the way forward and build the solution.  They worked night and day.  And they did it on their own!

What is the key to this crowdsourcing success?

  • Hear all the voices
  • Respect for others
  • Common, compelling, time-sensitive mission
  • Clear roles and leaders
  • A can-do, collaborative spirit
  • Balancing thinking and doing
  • Not afraid to make mistakes
  • Positivity & belief
  • Lots of persistance, practice and hard work!

The STEAMPUNK 1577 team did it!  Great team.  Great robot.  Great results!

Wouldn’t you love to be part of a team like that?!

Why system-oriented leadership?

What is the biggest leadership challenge today?  Flexibility. Market flux. Short development cycles. Closing the innovation gap.

How do leaders make an impact?  Results are produced by teams. Leaders make an impact via their teams and other relationships.

Picture Courtesy of Venkatesh Rao of RibbonFarm (http://www.ribbonfarm.com/2010/07/13/the-eight-metaphors-of-organization/)

Teams are the GLUE of businesses today! Like a key igniting the engine, the leader is an integral part of driving the team; like the engine, the team is the basic operational component in business. But like an organism, the engine needs to be developed to grow!  What are you losing by NOT developing your teams – your #1 asset?

Are your teams struggling?  High performing & looking for next innovative edge?  Burned out, missing deadlines, over budget? Newly forming? Part of organization in transition? M&A? Undertaking important project? Working in silos? Impacted by gossip & turf protection or other toxic behaviors?

Teams are relationship systems.  With awareness, systems grow and develop – a natural process. With focus, teams begin to produce more sustainable results.  Therefore, it’s a natural process to strive to be better and to advance with follow-up guidance.

Team intelligence or collective intelligence is at the kernel. It’s the entity that binds the team.  That can be greater than the sum of the parts.  If leaders develop team intelligence as a system, the team becomes stronger.  The team grows.  The team is robust to today’s challenges.  The team produces results.  The leader makes greater impact!