All Posts in Mindfulness

April 12, 2017 - No Comments!

Katherine’s Story

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Perhaps you can relate. Imagine my surprise when I showed up in corporate life with a burning desire to contribute, bundles of energy to get things done, and an never-ending flow of ideas (at least some of which were even feasible), only to realize the company just wasn’t willing to let me work to my potential. It felt like I was a salmon throwing myself on the rocks time and time again trying to get the company to let me make the contribution of which I was capable!

I finally decided “This Salmon isn’t spawning this year” and moved on. When I met Sherry and came to work at SBCo, I realized this was where people would be allowed to set their bar at the high level everyone wants to achieve in their work. Their ideas would be welcomed, and there would be total integrity, with an unwavering focus on superior client service.  And not one rock in sight! How wonderful. Thank you, Sherry!

Published by: Corey Kachigan in Blog
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April 9, 2017 - No Comments!

Helping Others Drives Success

We launched our second HRoundtable this past week with the help of my long-time friend and wonderful consultant, business owner Sonya Kemp. Sonya believes in the notion that giving to others and allowing a group to learn from each other strengthens the outcome for everyone.  Adam Grant talks about this in his giving book, "Give and Take."  We have eight wonderful managers in this group from premier companies and they are already demonstrating their passion to give to each other and learn.

They are energized to be sitting at the table with their peers from other companies and industries.  The range of perspectives is broad and fascinating.  They will meet quarterly to focus on forward looking ideas in order to build their influence as new managers and strengthen their strategic points of view. hroundtable logo 3blue

The idea of a peer learning group is not new.  We have seen many models like this across the executive suite and beyond into other functional areas.  What is exciting about this group and our HRoundtable in general is that we build the notion of giving from the start and it becomes the norm for the group.  People carry it forward in their interactions and ultimately this improves the process and how they contribute overall.  The bar is raised on who fits in the group and how they will build enriched networks and collaborate too.

It dawned on me that the HRoundtable that Sonya is now leading is embracing the four attributes that contribute to being a giver.  As Adam Grant writes about this in his book he states that "givers rise to the top."  The have a unique approach that includes; networking, collaborating, evaluating and influencing.  Adam also explores  how givers, takers and matchers build networks.  It is quite different.  The taker might be described as a self promoter or self absorbed. The giver looks at the world in abundance terms and in generosity.  Givers gain.  Thank you Sonya for being a part of this newly formed group and giving your generous spirit and experiences to this team.

August 20, 2016 - No Comments!

Out on a Limb? Are you an Original?

How about rejecting the default in us? Take a chance and get on that limb.  Adam Grant, in his new book, Originals, talks about taking those chances.

Are you exploring whether there is a better option or do you default to what you know? The start is curiosity and seeing things in fresh perspectives.  I know that is hard to do.  The job market is requiring us to reject the default in us.  Taking a role that you thought might be less than what you are skilled for might be scary, or away from the main stream but could result in new perspectives and ultimately new work.  It takes being on that limb for a bit.

Many of my friends are sending their children off to college this week - I hope they seek something new for themselves, something they never expected.  It might be something you never expected as well.

It is emotional letting them fly ( I have been there) and having them try something entirely new every day.  What a great time to be in college or start a business or create a new solution in your work.  Why can't we all do this?  Go out on a limb and create a spot in your weekly staff meeting for a "go out on a limb segment."  You may be surprised how refreshing and fun this is.   Increase your tolerance for what some might call being idealistic or eccentric as Adam Grant reflects on this.

Our son went to Loyola Marymount University for his undergrad work and double majored in Fine Arts and Communication.  We did not expect the art side of the equation and as business owners we have had brief moments of "yikes, he is out on that limb."  However, it has inspired and fed his creative spirit and productivity and ours too in delightfully new ways.

Younger talent will choose to speak up, express ideas and censor themselves less.  We can learn from them, take risks and be proud.

May 25, 2016 - No Comments!

May Newsletter 2016 – Healthy Leaders

I am grateful to have worked for a few “healthy leaders” early in my career; they seem tougher to find today. There are unprecedented challenges in leadership in this chaotic world. Bob Rosen, CEO advisor and founder of Healthy Companies International, knows from his extensive research and hands-on experience that healthy leaders pave the way to healthy companies.

Bob and his Chief Knowledge Officer, Kathie Ross, are joining us for our Great Starts Breakfast Series on June 1st in Southern California to share their perspectives and challenge our assumptions about what it means to be a great leader. I talked with them about their work.

 

SB: What led you to research healthy leaders?

Bob Rosen (2)Bob Rosen: I was trained as a psychologist and was originally interested in family dynamics. As I began working with families, I was struck that fathers were not showing up for sessions, and I became intrigued with the psychology of successful businessmen and entrepreneurs. That led to working with the business roundtable and watching how larger companies manage or mismanage their human capital. It became clear that leadership was an issue.

I was fortunate to interview Max DePree in the early part of my career and he was my first image of a healthy leader. I began to meet leaders who either cast light or cast darkness. I was interested in understanding this further. The McArthur foundation called and was interested in this subject as well. Since then, we’ve interviewed 500 CEOs of large companies to really get our arms around how great leaders build great companies.

Kathie Ross
SB: Kathie, what led you to the human capital business?

Kathie Ross: Like Bob, I started with a psychology degree. I joined corporate America and found it intriguing to observe the relationships we form and how those relationships impact our effectiveness. Some bring out the best in people, and others are the opposite. After a Masters in Human Resource Management and a PhD in Organizational Behavior and years of fascinating work in HR, Bob and I were drawn to work together because he is rooted in the psychology field and I bring 25 years of experience as an executive inside organizations working to understand behavior.

 

SB: What have you learned about yourself in this journey?

BR: In my 20’s when I got my PhD in Clinical Psychology, I learned a lot about the importance of personal intelligence. When I went into the business world, and started researching CEOs, I learned about the importance of business intelligence. In my 40’s, I spent time working globally and recognized the importance of cultural intelligence. I think leaders need to connect with and cultivate all three of those intelligences inside themselves.

We operate under a paradigm that what you do defines who you are. But the best leaders have operated from an alternative paradigm that says who you are as a human being drives what you do. I’ve grown into this alternative paradigm more each year and recognize that leadership is a deeply personal act; both for you psychologically and for how you touch other people.

 

SB: Why are the best CEO’s investing in self-reflection?

BR: The outside world is changing faster than ever and leaders must turn inside to be more grounded and more conscious in terms of who they are. It is the only way to operate in an environment that is more uncertain, more competitive, more transparent, and more global than ever before. Only five percent of our beliefs, feelings, actions and decisions are conscious. Incredibly, 95% of our mind’s activity is unconscious. Lack of self-awareness, then, is the greatest obstacle to strong leadership. Increasingly, CEO’s understand that if they fail to see the reality about themselves and their leadership, then they are less likely to be successful in building their organizations. Those operating with outdated mental models are simply under pressure to change.

KR: The work we have been doing with CEO’s most recently is in how they and their teams change. We know why the world is changing so quickly, and there are many opinions about what we need to do differently to deal with this, but it’s the how. How do we accelerate transformation? What are the personal and organizational accelerators and hijackers that move us forward or hold people back and undermine their success?

 

SB: How are younger professionals learning leadership?

KR: I think that is an issue. We are in a period of transition. We make a lot of generalizations about millennials that I don’t think are very accurate because I see a lot of variations. Many millennials have grown up with leaders early in their career with the traditional mindset, and so they are struggling with this as well. It is not easy just because they are younger.

BR: We see four or five generations in the workplace today. It is time to appreciate differences and yet recognize that human beings are fundamentally the same and they want to learn. Leaders at every level want to be in touch with their purpose, values, and passion. They want to contribute. So this means it starts with the leader seeing a bigger picture, and understanding how their leadership impacts others.

 

Conclusion

Leading is courageous work. Bob and Kathie see this as a time of choice for all of us. We can focus with intention on the healthy roots of leadership and be the person we are truly meant to be, or hope to get there someday.

You can learn more about Bob and Kathie and their leadership philosophy at our June 1st, 2016 Great Starts Breakfast event where they are presenting"GROUNDED: How Leaders Stay Rooted  in an Uncertain World" at the Center Club in Costa Mesa. Visit www.greatstartsbreakfast.com for more details. 

April 20, 2016 - No Comments!

April Newsletter 2016 – Catching up with Chip Conley, Futurist for Airbnb

Chip Conley Head ShotHotel guru. Armchair psychologist. Traveling philosopher. Author. Speaker. Teacher. Student. Chip Conley has lived out more than one calling in his lifetime. Many of you know of Chip from his best-selling leadership books and TED talks. He is an inspirational entrepreneur and the founder and former CEO of Joie de Vivre hotel group. During his nearly 24 years as CEO, he grew the company to become the second largest boutique hotel company in America. After selling the company, he joined Airbnb in 2013 as Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy to share his hospitality methods with hosts in nearly 200 countries.

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to speak with Chip about leadership and what fuels his passion within Airbnb.

SB: I just read your book Emotional Equations and immediately saw the power of practical strategies for leadership. Tell me more about your view on leadership today.

CC: Leaders are the emotional thermostats for the business. Whoever is the top dog conveys mood and tone. How they talk is amplified across the organization. It is contagious and sensed by employees.

Today, anxiety is the number one emotion felt across organizations. According to Abraham Maslow’s “psycho-hygiene”, we can sense stressors in our environments. People don’t do their best work in anxious circumstances and lack of confidence impacts our work. I’ve observed that the best companies allow for vulnerability and they consciously strive to build trust.

SB: Are you seeing leaders today that are more in touch with their authentic self?

CC: Yes, and I think there are influences working in our favor. There are more women in the workplace and with that there’s a better reading of the room and emotions. Secondly, coaches have become a normal part of leader development. We also offer feedback through multi-rater tools. And the issue of diversity is now part of the Board conversation. This adds to a CEO’s understanding of the environment and ultimately themselves.

SB: What prompted you to join Airbnb after selling the largest boutique hotel group in the west?

CC: It began when the CEO asked me to be his coach. This was my first tech startup, and I found the organization so intriguing - it was a total immersion. It wasn’t what I anticipated at that stage in my life, but I found it fascinating and it was a great work-life fit for me.

SB: What have you learned at Airbnb?

CC: I am beginning to understand tech. Today we know the face of our mobile phone better than the face of an actual person. At Airbnb our workforce is intergenerational. Prior to working in strategy, I was the head of learning and development where I was teaching twenty-five year olds how to manage twenty-three year olds. I was able to help people through great emotional growth. Now I work on public policy and help our clients all over the world be the best hosts they can be. I am proud to say that our guest satisfaction is the highest it’s ever been.

SB: How do you find top talent?

CC: Success breeds success. Now Airbnb is the leading world hospitality company and our culture and values drive our decisions. We have 2,700 employees and 100 recruiters on staff. Of course it helps to have thousands wanting to work with us, but we start our talent assessment with core values - every candidate goes through a core values interview.

SB: How do you continue to disrupt your industry?

CC: We have to disrupt ourselves before we can disrupt the industry and that begins with looking beyond where we are right now. My advice would be to talk to people outside the industry you’re in and find your blind spots. Be evangelical about what you do. You don’t succeed by meeting customer expectations – you have to go beyond and imagine their unrecognized needs. Highly successful companies know how to increase the intimacy of their customer relationships, and they surprise and delight them with something unrecognized. Reinforce the emotional connection between you and your customers to help them meet their highest goals.

SB: What’s next?

CC: I am constantly curious. I was curious about tech so I joined Airbnb. In 2013, we were booking 8 million room nights a year and now it’s up to 150 million. I was drawn in by the combination of home-sharing, tech, and startup culture. I will continue to work at transformation and coaching others to find their path, always reaching for new work-life fit experiences.

 Conclusion

Many of us are working in virtual teams and organizations across the globe. Chip’s reminder is an important one: to be smart in today’s workforce means not just understanding people but to also understand ourselves. Are you investing in you and the intangible relationships inside and outside of your organization? Are you caught up in the tangibles of day-to-day? What are you curious about? Let us know what you are learning!

April 20, 2016 - No Comments!

March Newsletter 2016 – Leading From the Inside Out: Update with Jeremy Hunter

JeremyThis month we sat down with our friend and thought partner, Jeremy Hunter, to explore ways leaders develop themselves while retaining their humanity in the face of monumental change in the workplace.

Jeremy Hunter, PhD is the Founding Director of the Executive Mind Leadership Institute as well as Associate Professor of Practice at the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University.  He creates and teaches The Executive Mind, a series of demanding and transformative executive education programs. They are dedicated to Drucker’s assertion that “You cannot manage other people unless you manage yourself first.”  He also co-leads the Leading Mindfully Executive Education program at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.

Jeremy balances a full portfolio of teaching, writing, speaking and consulting with the most important role, being a new dad!  He has designed and led leadership development programs for Fortune 200 and Fortune 50 organizations in aerospace, banking, research, finance, accounting, the arts and civic non-profits.

S. Benjamins:  Jeremy, it has been some time since we caught up with you! What are you up to in 2016? 

Jeremy Hunter: It has been an exciting year so far! More leaders are realizing that to positively face all the demands and distractions coming at them, they must learn new skills. They are learning to focus better and help their teams stay focused. They are learning to better manage their reactions to all the “incoming” coming their way. Executives handle challenges and take on more work than ever while also wanting to maintain a healthy personal and family life.

As Founding Director of the new Executive Mind Leadership Institute, I am focused on the practical inner development of executives. It is the first of its kind on the West Coast and builds on the Drucker School’s leadership position of helping executives learn skills to up their game to be more productive while also enjoying greater well-being. The institute is supported by a team of Drucker faculty who believe in the power of human development for organizational success. Our goal is to cultivate the inner skills of executives and offer public and niche programs to help them thrive in an increasingly arduous environment.

 

SB:  What do you hope the Executive Mind Leadership Institute will provide? 

JH: The Executive Mind Leadership Institute is built on idea that leaders have to cultivate their minds in a different way to flourish in this turbulent environment. I have been teaching executives for 13 years and at the core of that is something called mindfulness, which is now recognized as a powerful solution for facing an unrelenting and chaotic business environment. Many talented leaders work hard but would like more tools to meet demands in this pace of change and more effectively address the contemporary business environment.

 

SB: In regards to your consulting, what do you think makes clients call you for help? 

JH: A few things come to mind. First, leaders now realize that their quality of self-awareness impacts the success of their organizations. To be effective now, they have to be more than just skilled at the technical aspects of what they do. They also want to increase their capacity to stay focused in a distracting environment, or approach challenges in fresh ways to be more competitive. They also know how important it is to create a culture that attracts and keeps talent. Managing is no longer just about the kind of work people do, but it is about the “why and how” as well.

Secondly, forward-thinking leaders see the nature of work is changing. Good work now demands the ability to connect to one another in more sophisticated ways. Better solutions arise from better connections with one another. My last client was a highly technical organization that understood through enhancing their ability to have higher-value conversations they gain a competitive advantage. The work we did improved the tenor and quality of their meetings which resulted in clearer communication and forward-moving action.

Lastly, work has become more stressful and firms want useful ways to deal with it. I hear so many people describe their work by using war metaphors. They walked in the office braced for battle and already exhausted.

 

SB: Are you seeing changes in leadership development? 

JH: Yes, and part of that is the new generation of leadership. When I first started this work 13+ years ago it was not a foregone conclusion that leaders had develop themselves internally to be effective externally. Now, we know that research supports the idea that healthy leaders who understand and manage themselves lead more effectively.

 

SB: We see in our search work that Hiring Managers want a long list of skills; however, more place equal importance on “fit”. Are your clients doing this? 

JH: Yes, it’s the “do they play well with others” question. To answer the “fit” question, you need a set of tools that give employees the opportunity to display strengths and improve weaknesses. A “diamond in the rough” candidate can survive and thrive with a strong set of tools to help them develop. Survival is about continually adapting to change, not about perfection.


I’d personally love to see companies replace their fit assessments with a real life situation. Instead of measuring someone’s ability to be flexible via an assessment, take them to lunch and have the waiter mess up their order. Then you would really see how they handle situations that require flexibility!

 

SB: Between being a new father, teaching, consulting, writing and the Institute how do you keep all the balls in the air? 

JH: I have to practice what I preach! Every morning I meditate for 40 minutes to an hour. It is a way for me to set the tone of the day and let things unfold more calmly. I also take vacations where I get to decidedly disconnect from work.

 

SB: I love that. What have you learned about yourself this past year?

JH: Beyond practicing what I preach, I have learned to take paths that challenge me. It allows me to actively practice adapting and staying in the moment with the challenge. We all go through difficulties and many of us prefer to take the path most easily traveled, but I have found taking the path outside comfort zones offers better solutions in the end.

We can thrive and have a high quality of life and performance, but it does take work. Right now we live in a world where people think the answer to productivity is technology. The root of productivity is not technology. Productivity happens because people develop capacities between and within themselves to perform better.

 

Our final considerations. . .

Just as medicine is shifting from reactive treatments to pro-active wellness, more organizations are shifting to well-being at work. Jeremy has worked with enlightened CEO’s who are now seeing that building a healthy culture starts with the leader. Those that self reflect know how to shift attention and get better results. 


The conversation at the leadership table is changing. When it is more human and honest – the research shows better results.  The human agenda is now more centered than ever on values, leadership, talent management, motivation and learning.  This is a huge sign that leading indicators for success start with leaders who understand what matters from the inside out.

 

January 10, 2016 - No Comments!

Entrepreneurs are Paranoid – A New Year View

It always happens in January.  We start a new year and budget for 2016 and even though we are in our 19th year of successful business, I remain paranoid.  In the past it was stronger for me in the first quarter than other times of the year.  My husband says I do this every year and should not worry.  Last year we had our best year since 2008.  Actually I am proud to say that my level of paranoia is quite diminished relative to other years and we did celebrate proudly at the close of the year.

As business owners it is totally natural to be suspicious or fearful of starting a new year with a steep ramp for projects and not knowing what is ahead.  What we do know is that employment is up and more jobs are being filled than expected.  We also know that these emotions feed our desire to succeed, try new things and be innovative.  Yes, that is a win win for us worry warts. So, why am I paranoid?

Aside from reading the business section today proclaiming gloom and a "bad week for stocks which dims 2016 outlook,"  which I am trying to ignore, there is still that uncertainty on how our work will play out this year.  The business climate is good, however, I see our clients managing intense amounts of work, stressed at times and resource constrained.  Then, I remember what my dear friend and respected Professor, Jeremy Hunter, at the Drucker Institute says, "manage moment to moment and with intention."  My intention this year is to enjoy the moments such as when;

  • Colleagues and friends are there for you when you have a problem or a happy moment to share
  • Laughing at myself more
  • Delighted clients with new hires say they appreciate our help or just simply when we help them by listening
  • Candidates thank us for keeping them informed (whether they get the job or not) or call to say they love their job
  • People we care about call for career game plan help
  • HRoundtable  or Great Starts Breakfast conversations transform ideas into action
  • Stephan and I are able to try out new things like Argentine Tango and cycling trips; laugh and learn something newstephand sherry2016

What do you want your meaningful moments to be this year?

Enjoy the adventure of the unknown and if you also get paranoid, don't worry, it is natural and may contribute to your success this year in entirely surprising ways.  Happy 2016.

 

Published by: admin in Recruiting, Talent Economy
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October 8, 2015 - No Comments!

Live Well & Laugh Often

What does living well mean for you?  We just returned from a trip to Vermont and the green mountains were filled with vibrant color.  I observed that "live well" for the locals meant a lifestyle and mindset that was comprised of; appreciating talents of others, blending work and personal needs, and taking time to appreciate surroundings, and family & friends.  It wasn't about building wealth, even though we suspect it is a goal for some.  It seemed more about building experience and relationships.  The locals told us that folks coming to Vermont to experience the changing leaves are called "leaf peepers."  Within 3-4 weeks the leaves change and by November they have fallen.  The shift to barren trees and arriving snow, accelerates their joy of seeing, smelling and being outdoors with their friends.  They truly cherish the change and appreciate the idyllic surroundings.

Vermont colors

I know we have city life to contend with here in OC and LA, which brings  complexity, however, what if we were to adopt one practice that brought us closer to this "live well" mindset?  Consider the following practices;

Creative collaboration - Inn Keeper, farmer and chefs collaborate in Vermont - and they have fun doing so.  Do you have a trio of strategic collaborators?

Sharing of Expertise -  On our cycling tour there were various experts to help us on trails, transport, bikes, yoga and more. It seemed everyone was generous in helping us get what we needed and find our way when we were lost! What expertise can you pay forward?

Adaptability - A variety of cycling skills, changes in weather and unexpected rain plays a big part on a "Cycling Tour" in the hills of Vermont.  It requires being flexible, adapting to what a group of newbies and experienced riders require.  How adaptable are you when what you expect changes direction?

I think our city attitudes and fast pace make us react, when reflecting and appreciating the moment is more satisfying and healthy.  There are clear trade-offs and I am not suggesting we all move to the country; however, step back and be mindful or intentional (as our friend Jeremy Hunter might say) and live well.  I am learning that laughing often, appreciating positive energy in people, moving in dance, or simply taking a walk allows me to live well. Finally, try giving more than getting which puts a genuine smile on everyone's face.  Find your own Vermont and enjoy!

 

 

June 14, 2015 - No Comments!

Manage Energy, Not Time.

Are you finding that you move from one crisis to another?  Are you racing through the day to somehow juggle it all? The digital age and all the change around us forces reactionary behavior.  I can see that in my colleagues and it concerns me. Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz in the "Power of Full Engagement," say that we have far more control over our energy than we realize.  They acknowledge that there is a fixed number of hours in the day but the quantity and quality of energy available is not.

The authors state that " Energy is our most precious resource. The more we take responsibility for the energy we bring to the world, the more empowered and productive we become. The more we blame others or external circumstances, the more negative and compromised our energy is likely to be."

I have noticed this challenge with attention, energy and engagement more and more with senior leaders.  I know that having been out of the corporate world personally, for over 15 years makes me less credible to say this, but I observe this in that many are less present than ever before.  It is really sad - they are missing a lot.  To be fully present the authors say, we must be “physically energized, emotionally connected, and mentally focused" beyond the immediate.  And what about renewal and re-energizing ourselves?

The energy you bring to yourself, your new employees and your current team matters. The employment picture is improving each day - the best talent expects leaders who are present.  They want feedback, learning opportunities and ways to engage.  We all want that.  The younger employees who are starting out their careers understand energy and revitalizing value.  Let's learn from them.  So, think about how you can start managing energy, not time.

 

 

February 28, 2015 - No Comments!

What is the Quality of Your Attention?

Dr. Jeremy Hunter, Professor at the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management at Claremont joined our HRoundtable this month to facilitate a discussion about Intention and Attention.  We were energized by his passion and practical tools that many are now using.

What is the quality of your attention and how has that changed for you in the past few years?  With data and information coming at us 24/7, it is hard to imagine leaders are mastering this ever Jeremy Hunter 2015y day.  Jeremy takes a practical approach and it is refreshing and "human."  Many of our leaders gave us feedback following the session saying, "we are using the tools and already see results."  Others said, " the energy I have to tackle the day to day has increased."

The model that Jeremy introduced starts with defining Intention, then, Attention followed by Awareness.   So, what shall I focus on?  Where do we place my attention and now, what do I know?  Next comes, "what do I see as my option" and finally, "how does that impact the choice I take and what I act on."  Jeremy teaches leaders to integrate this internal managing practice into every day life and leading.  Thank you for sharing this with us on our quest for healthy self managing. You are welcome to return any time to help us center, grow personal healthy leading practices and smile!