Category Archives: Uncategorized

Energize Your Leadership Book Coming April 20, 2015


Real world stories and solutions for the challenges that leaders face everyday from 16 authors from around the world.

  • Discover how to bring energy back to yourself, your team, your workplace and your future
  • Ignite your passion for making a difference in the world
  • Break through the barriers holding you down

We’ve been there and in this book we share our struggles, our stories and the lessons we learned along the way. You’ll find that we didn’t get things right every time and yet through guts, grit and determination we all found ways to move forward. Our stories are shared to inspire, encourage and give hope to others going through the same struggles.

Inside you will find 16 ways with concrete ideas and actions you can take to bring energy back to your life. All the lessons and action steps are rooted in the real life experiences that transformed our lives.

Join us on April 20th 2015 to find new ways to Energize Your Leadership.

Authors:  Susan Mazza, Terri Klass, Barry Smith, Tony Venegrove, Karin Hurt, Alli Polin, Carol Dougherty, Daniel Buhr, Lalita Raman, Dr. Hoda Maalouf, Scott Mabry, LaRae Quy, Jon Mertz,John Thurlbeck, Cynthia Bazin and Chery Gegelman

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Happy New Year

Colorful FireworksHappy New Year everyone!

Celebrate the joys and successes of 2013 and get ready for an amazing 2014!

Let’s make this the best year ever.

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Free Webinar – 3 Biggest Project Scope Myths

myth versus realityAre you struggling with:

  • All the changes that keep cropping up
  • Changes made without approvals
  • Saying NO to changes


  • When scope change is good
  • Difference between change and creep
  • How to professionally handle changes


Over the last 25+ years I’ve been part of a wide variety of projects, some went amazingly well, others were complete disasters.  Too often if the Project Manager was struggling the project struggled and even failed.  I have successfully run projects and helped turn around others.  The projects range from small continuous improvement projects to a $1.2 Billion airport expansion.  

I started with little training in project management.  I just jumped in and learned along the way.  Now, I’m sharing what I learned.

Date: October 30, 2013

Webinar Time: 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Central Standard Time

Cost: Free!

Register at3 Biggest Project Scope Myths

Bonus: All participants will receive handout materials

Post questions you’d like answered here. I’ll do my best to answer yours during the webinar.

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Is Good Enough Enough for You?

Good EnoughDo you give it your all when you tackle a task?  Is ‘good enough’ your typical effort level?  Or are you one of those folks who does just a little bit more or something unexpected?  Anyone can do just enough, not everyone will bother with giving their best.  People who go that extra mile will stand out.  Leaders look for ways to go above and beyond – that’s how you get to new opportunities.

I’m collaborating on a project with a great group of professionals who love leadership and exemplify it in everything they do.  Working with them causes me to step up my game.  I like to do something a little different than what was asked.  I often will find a new and different way to present the information we are pulling together.  This is for a several reasons:

  1. I want to make sure I add value to them each time we talk
  2. Finding new ways to share information is important to me in my work so I bring it to the group as well
  3. All of them give 100+%  to what we are doing and I won’t do less than they do
  4. I get to explore new methods in a very safe environment

Rarely does it take me much longer to provide this extra stuff and yet the team is always amazed and surprised by what I’ve done.  I think they believe I’m spending lots of extra time on it which really isn’t the case at all.  Often it’s a function of things I do well and like to share with others.

The interesting thing about this stepping up in this area is that I find I’m doing it more and more elsewhere.  When I am working on something, anything really, I am looking for ways to do just a little bit more, to make it the best I possibly can.  Does this mean extra work for me, sure but it also gives me huge satisfaction to be able to look at what I’ve done and know it’s my best work.

People will notice when you do a little bit more, go that extra step and exceed expectations.  It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture each time.  Just a little extra is unusual and much appreciated.  How do you want to be known?  As someone who does just enough or someone who does just a bit more?  You get to decide which way you are seen so choose wisely.

The group I am working with has dubbed me Wonder Woman for my efforts.  I admire each of them so much for what they do that it is very humbling for me to be seen as a superhero – to me they are all superheroes.  If you are curious about these folks – check out LeadWithGiants as they all can be found there.


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Quote for July 16th

Trust with blue markerTrust yourself so that the mistakes you make are the ones you’ve made and not something you’ve made because you were afraid to do what you wanted to do. Own your mistakes, then you can own your successes.

Jennifer Lynch


July 16, 2013 · 4:54 pm

Leading in Adversity

As a leader how do you respond to adversity?  Throughout history great leaders handled adversity with calm, strength, and daring.  They were there for the people they who looked to them for guidance.  How you respond during a crisis will determine how people will view your effectiveness overall.

To lead well during difficult times:

  1. Be calm
  2. Stand tall and take the lead
  3. Lend a hand to those who are struggling
  4. Reassure people
  5. Take decisive action
  6.  Stay with your followers

When you do these things people will see you as someone who is standing with them and helping them during the difficult times.  Finding ways to improve the situation will help them believe you are there to support them and make things better.  These things take compassion, strength and courage.  It can be easy to run away, hide behind others and to place blame.  These are all signs of weakness in a leader.

Additionally, demonstrating compassion to those who are hit hardest by the adversity will show that you do care about those around you.  This must be sincere and genuine concern and caring.  False words and assurances without action look good in the moment but do nothing in the long run.  The leader who is willing to get down alongside those who need help will end up going the furthest.  People want to be heard and to know that leadership cares about their fate.   This cannot be done from a corner office; it must be done amongst the workers.

For those who are dealing with adversity but are not formal leaders you too can make a lasting mark on those around you.  Be calm, lend a hand, avoid judging, find solutions and focus on the future.  These actions will help you and those around you to respond in a positive way to the problems at hand.  A positive attitude will be hard to sustain but it will help keep things in perspective.   It maybe that the only positive thing you can believe is that eventually it will get better.  If so, start moving that direction.  Others will follow you.

Adversity strikes all of us differently but as leaders we must respond in a way that will instill trust and faith in our team.  Be kind, be sure, be decisive and be there.  This is what your team needs right now.


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Join Me

MicrophoneI am being interviewed by Doug Dickerson on his radio show Management Moment on Friday April 19th.  We will be discussing developing future leaders.

Here is the link to the show.  Hope you can join us.

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Pull Your Team Forward – Lead by Example

leader and team2As a leader do you ask more of your team than you are willing to give?  Are you pushing people to take on new tasks, work longer hours or accept change?  If so, how are you approaching these same situations?  The best leaders will do more, go further and embrace change quicker than their team.  They lead by example.

Most of us are in a situation where things are constantly changing.  We find it uncomfortable and disconcerting.  These situations cause us to want to play it safe and stay in the familiar routines we know well, even when we hate them.  However, moving forward means going into the unknown and doing new things.  If you, as a leader, acknowledge the discomfort of change and then change anyway people will follow you.

Here are five tips for keeping your team moving forward:

  1. Acknowledge the fear and pain caused by change.
  2. Listen to concerns.
  3. Explain the reasons why change is needed and then explain again.
  4. Go first and go fearlessly.
  5. Hold people accountable for progress.

If you are willing to hear and acknowledge the concerns of your team they will be more willing to listen to the reasons why things must change.  Then when you go first and demonstrate your willingness to do more and do it differently people will follow.  It might take them a bit to get on board, but when you move and someone follows the rest will, typically, join in.  The fear of being left behind becomes greater than the fear of the unknown.  Additionally, if you show that their concerns matter they will be more likely to want to please you so they will do what you expect.  It’s hard to disappoint people who care about our success, which means when you care about them they will return the favor.

People are drawn to confidence.  When you demonstrate your confidence that the new path is the way of the future it will inspire people to join you.  Confidence doesn’t ignore risks or fears; it acknowledges them, addresses them and still moves forward.  This will help you move your team forward.  Think of it as pull a rope instead of pushing it.  People can be pulled with you, however when you push them it will create resistance and they will stop.  To pull them forward you must go first and lead by example.


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How Explicit Are You?

man on white background. Isolated 3D imageWhen you communicate with your team or your peers are you explicit? Clear communication is explicit without being rude or abusive.  If you are explicit in your direction or communication people know what you want and expect.

Keys to being explicit:

  • State what you want
  • Avoid would, could, should
  • Be specific in the results expected
  • Keep it simple
  • Leave room for options to accomplish the task
  • Give reasons why it matters
  • Acknowledge fears, issues
  • Test for understanding

By taking the time to be clear, concise and specific about your message you will be more effective in getting things done.  More time in planning what you say will reduce the amount of follow-up and reiteration of the message.   It can feel hard and harsh to be very explicit in what you say, however, people are not mind readers so if you have something specific in mind you need to state it clearly.  Your team will thank you for making sure they understand what is expected.

Benefits of being explicit:

  • Less time explaining again what is needed
  • Better results / improved quality
  • Less rework
  • Increased understanding
  • Improved productivity

If you master being explicit without dictating then you will be seen as a fantastic communicator and someone who can get things done.  This is a great career tool to have and will serve you well as you move up.  We are all too busy to have to deal with fuzzy communication that requires follow-up questions, rework and delays waiting for clarification.

Ask yourself the following questions to see if becoming clearer and more explicit will help your team produce better results.

  • How will being more explicit help your organization?
  • Are you frequently asked for additional information?
  • How frequently do you have to ask someone to rework an item?

If your answers show you that there is room for improvement then the next question is:

How can I improve to increase clarity for my team?

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Quote for Oct 11th

Cooperation is the thorough conviction that nobody can get there unless everybody gets there. 

Virginia Burden


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