Thinking on Purpose

Apr 09, 2019

Technology is amazing! 

Information is at the tip of our fingers at all times. Our phones are little computers.  Do you need to learn something?  Google it, and you will probably get 1.8M results.  How great is that?!? Total game changer.

There is a dark side.

I was out for a walk yesterday.  It was the first day of the year that you didn’t need a coat.  There were so many people out, but I am hard pressed to say they were enjoying the day. More than half the people I walked by were looking at their phones.

 A sadness washed over me.

I was talking to a young manager recently, and she commented: "My generation doesn't have an original thought."

More sadness.

We are so overloaded with information that we no longer give ourselves time to think. We are addicted to our cell phones.  We are always taking in information but rarely give our brains time to process it.

When was the last time you thought on purpose?

A guy at work coined the term...

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Find your Zen

Apr 02, 2019


What makes your blood boil?

We all have emotional triggers.  Identifying these triggers is essential.  

Work can be stressful.  There are deadlines, non-stop meetings, people, people’s emotions.  Sometimes you are having a bad day. Maybe you didn’t sleep well, or your child is sick.  Your team also has bad days. And while we all try to separate business from personal, it is almost impossible.

Developing your EQ (Emotional Intelligence) requires self-awareness.  It means taking the time to figure out your emotional strengths and weaknesses.  The next step is learning how to manage these emotions.

Remember you are entirely responsible for your feelings.  Nobody makes you mad, sad, scared… You need to decide how you are going to respond to the challenging behaviors of others.

Here are some options.  Think about which of these would work for you.

Keep things in perspective

It isn't the end of the world.  Up to...

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What's your EQ?

Mar 26, 2019

What’s your EQ?

If you research leadership theory, you are sure to have heard about Emotional Intelligence.  Daniel Goleman introduced this concept in his book Emotional Intelligence. Goleman defines EQ as a combination of competencies that enable a person to manage their emotions and identify and deal with the feelings of others.

Emotional Intelligence is not a fad.

It is as important, if not more important, than IQ for success as a manager. You manage human beings who have emotions.  And you are a human being with emotions.

What does emotional intelligence look like?

Here are some examples from Justin Bariso’s book, EQ Applied.

  1. You think about feelings.

Emotional intelligence begins with self-awareness — the ability to recognize emotions (and their impact) in both yourself and others.

That awareness begins with reflection. You ask questions like:

  • What are my emotional strengths? What are my weaknesses?
  • How does my current mood affect my thoughts...
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Can you hear me now?

Mar 19, 2019

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood."

~ Stephen R. Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

When we are growing up, we are taught how to speak, write and read.  In the workplace, there is a great deal of attention paid on our ability to speak effectively.  We think about the words we are going to use, our tone, and our body language.  We work on our presentation skills and how best to hook the audience.

But what about listening?

As a manager, your ability to listen is more important than your ability to speak. It doesn't receive the attention it deserves.

People want to be heard. Next, to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival – to be understood, to be affirmed, to be appreciated.

Covey states the when we are having a conversation with someone; we are usually listening at one of these four levels:

  • Ignoring – Not listening at all
  • Pretending – Acting as if you are listening, but in reality,...
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Ouch! That Hit a Nerve.

Mar 12, 2019

Last week, I wrote about giving up the need to be right.  Boy howdy! That hit a nerve or two.

I get it.

It’s hard.

For those of you who missed it, here’s a quick recap:

Brooke Castillo says entering a conversation with the intent of proving to someone that you are right, and they are wrong is indulgent behavior because it comes at the expense of the relationship. (I love this!)

So instead of going to battle, Brooke suggests:

  1. Drop the need to be right and open the conversation from a place of curiosity.  This will eliminate the need for anyone to be on defense or offense. Try to understand their point of view.  Put yourself in their shoes.
  2. Try to get to a place where you can agree – the facts.  Presenting the facts lays down an even playing field.
  3. Check your story and try to check their story.  This means to check what you are telling yourself about the situation.  "I am making the facts mean this, and they are making the facts mean...
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End the Battle

Mar 06, 2019

How many of you will go to battle just to prove you are right in a situation?  Come on, be honest.  We have all done it at some point in our lives. We are human.

“The need to be right is indulgent.” – Brooke Castillo


It is indulgent because it comes at the expense of the relationship. 

What does being right really get you?  Really think about that. Think about a recent conversation you had where you couldn’t wait to tell the other person how right you were. How productive was that conversation? What did being right really get you?

Most likely, a false sense of power. 

You probably felt better for a second and told yourself "Ha! I showed them." What about right after that thought? Do you feel like you really improved the relationship?  Most likely, the other person walked away feeling crappy.

No one wins.

Talk about a barrier to effective communication.

I challenge you to give up the need to be right. 


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Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

Feb 27, 2019

When I was a kid, I always loved the game of telephone.  You know, the one where all the kids get in a line.  The first person whispers a sentence to the person next to them, and that person passes the message onto the next and so forth.  Usually, by the time the last person receives the message, it is totally different from the original sentence. Suddenly, “The sky is blue” turns into “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.”

Hysterical, as a kid. 

Annoying as hell, as an adult.

This game is an excellent demonstration of communication and how it can go south very quickly.  I say something.  I think I am clear.  You hear something.  You interpret what you heard. Sometimes it is the same message; often, it’s not.

Communication can be so hard. 

When we think of barriers to effective communication, we may think of the obvious: phones ringing, people talking, people looking at their cell phones, etc.  However, I...

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Flex Your Style

Feb 20, 2019

Last week, I introduced the Disc assessment’s four different communication styles and their characteristics:

Dominant – Decisive, Efficient, Intense, Result-oriented, Competitive, Risk-tolerant

Influencer – Outgoing, Enthusiastic, Persuasive, Relationship-oriented, Lively, Optimistic

Steady – Cooperative, Relaxed, Patient, Support-Oriented, Friendly, Thorough

Conscientious – Systematic, Logical, Reserved, Process-oriented, Cautious, Risk-averse

Each of us has one of these categories as our primary communication style.  Unfortunately, everyone is not going to have the same manner as you so that means you must adjust your style to match the style of the person.  And yes, it is up to the person doing the communication to adapt their style.

How do you do that?

Here are some things to keep in mind as you are communicating with each of these different styles:



  •             Get...
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What's Your Style?

Feb 13, 2019

Have there been times when you find yourself in the middle of a conversation completely baffled? You think you are crystal clear, and the other person is looking at you like you have five heads.

Ah! The joy of communication!

Last week I challenged you to start paying attention to your interactions with people.  The goal was to focus on how you and your message was received solely.  No need to adjust.   Just observe. 

How did that go?

Maybe you noticed a couple of times you were busy checking your phone and not listening to the person. Perhaps you stopped and turned your attention to the conversation. I did.  Did you also notice some interactions needed more than a simple adjustment and you were unsure how to proceed?

Why is that?

Why are some people harder than others to communicate with?

Most likely, they are wired a little differently than you and as a result, communicate differently.  

To communicate effectively, you need to understand...

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“Communication is the root of every problem” – They

Feb 06, 2019

Read any book or article about leadership, and you are sure to read that effective communication is one of the most important things to focus on in the workplace.  That’s great!  Let me just add that to my to-do list: Communicate Effectively Today

If only it were that easy.

What is effective communication? That answer is pretty cut and dry.  It’s making sure everyone is on the same page. Why is effective communication important? That is pretty easy too - having every one of the same page makes work more enjoyable, effective and efficient.  The hard question is “How do I communicate effectively?  That’s a whole other story. 

Communication involves people.  People are hard.  People have their own communication style. Their past experience.  Their interpretation of events. 

When you are communicating with someone, there is so much more going on than just the words that are said.

  • It’s the tone of the...
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