Blog Archives

Managing Change and Preparing Your Team for a New Year

Posted by on December 13, 2022

As I look forward to the new year, I first look back on the one that has passed. 

The only thing that stays the same is change. 

Last month, I participated as a keynote speaker for the 2022 NASPA Region 1 SSAO Institute

It was my first foray back into the world of student affairs at a regional level since the pandemic. It was exciting to see old friends and former colleagues and engage with participants about this idea of change readiness. 

Given all that has gone on in the last few years, leaders in organizations are finding themselves stuck in ‘react’ and ‘response’ modes. To move toward a healthier state of change readiness, we need to understand better where we have been, where we want to go, and how we want to truly “be” together. 

Creating a better understanding of where we have been and where we want to go, and what must change to get there.

Change readiness is a mindset, a culture shift, and an empathetic way of going about leading and managing change. It pays attention to the human or people side of change and recognizes that we all interact, understand, and show up for change in different ways. 

Readiness takes into account that our past experiences impact our current behavior when it comes to change. It allows us to be both in the moment and ready for the future. 

Preparing ourselves and our teams for change, whether planned or unplanned, can lead to more successful outcomes when it comes to changes in our organizations and our lives. 

So, I ask the questions here as I did at the institute: 

  • How do you know when you are ready for change? 
  • How does your team know if they are ready for change? 
  • What mechanisms do you have in place for understanding the capacity of those around you in leading and managing the change? 
  • What do you know about the emotional impact of the change so that it can be successful and sustainable? 

The new year is a great time to consider readiness for you and your team. 

Taking time to be intentional and reflecting on the questions above can help determine your own level of preparedness for change as you consider the readiness of those around you. 

Showing Up

Posted by on November 9, 2022

It’s been a long day, a busy season, a crazy year. I have heard a hundred excuses that can get in the way of how we are present for our clients and our team. 

I had the opportunity to show up with attendees at the first-ever Build & Balance: A BOSSY Inclusive retreat. 

Gerry Valentine says, “Executive presence is about your ability to inspire confidence — inspiring confidence in your subordinates that you’re the leader they want to follow, inspiring confidence among peers that you’re capable and reliable and, most importantly, inspiring confidence among senior leaders that you have the potential for great achievements.”

I believe executive presence is also about how you’re showing up for your clients, your team and your customers, and that the most important thing is really how you are showing up for yourself. 

Sharing my twist on the concept of executive presence. 

BOSSY ROC is a networking group uniting women business owners from the greater Rochester, New York region They provide in-person & virtual networking events, educational workshops, and a private forum offering support, advice & resources.

My session at the Build & Balance retreat was an opportunity to reflect with Rochester business owners about how we “show up.”  I shared resources and thoughts about the idea of executive presence and introduced my twist on the concept: showing up for ourselves.

Being intentional about your presence is the first step to understanding how your impact can resonate with others. 

In the rush of the daily needs of others, to-do lists, and the sometimes constant state of urgency at which we find ourselves, it’s important to pause. 

Take a few minutes to ask yourself: 

  • How do I want to show up for this experience? 
  • What do I want those around me to feel like by my presence? 

Pausing allows us to look forward and begin with our desired end result in mind. You can have a greater impact on those around you when you’re intentional about how you show up to the interaction. 

One of the main themes of executive presence is, as Maya Angelou famously said, that people will always remember how you made them feel.

“They may not remember what you said. They may not remember what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel.”

– Maya Angelou

In discussion with the women of BOSSY ROC, we acknowledged the truth of Angelou’s statement. We discussed the actions that would lead to an effective executive presence, one that helps the people around us feel safe and seen. 

My twist on the concept of executive presence, showing up for ourselves and the importance of self-awareness resonated with the group.  

It’s a question I pose to you – how do you want to show up? For your team? Your clients? Yourself? Explore that twist to the concept and let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear your insights and experiences.

Look Up for Leadership Lessons

Posted by on January 8, 2021

The sky is gray a lot where I live, the grayness is sometimes buffered or amplified depending on the weather and temperature. Some days you can hear things from above before you can see them. In the last few weeks there have been large numbers of geese flying overhead. Their honk, cackle, bark, “cheering” or whatever you choose to call it can often be heard from a distance before they can be seen overhead. Their seemingly graceful formation and synchronized honking has reminded me of an old leadership thought; especially this week.

The parable of geese in formation has been used a lot in leadership, management and organizations.

When I taught an introductory college level leadership class, we would often end our semester with sharing of the poem and a version of it framed for all the students to take with them as a symbol of the leadership lessons they hopefully learned.

As we embark on a new year with likely unexpected outcomes, and unfortunately, more tumultuous occurrences that rock our foundations, take a moment and turn your head slightly. Twist your perspective for a moment, you never know what you may see and how it may impact your mindset, inspiration or mood. While we may not be able to be together to truly benefit from each others lift or shift from our position when we get tired, lessons we can learn from geese may be able to help us take a beat and consider how we may be able to support each other, our teams and their leaders as we manage our own and the fatigue of others. The uncertainty of what’s next in our path and needing support is greater now more than ever and we must remember to rely on each other if we are to get through this challenging time. #twistyourparadigm

Twisting the Paradigm

Posted by on September 9, 2020

It’s that time of year again, the air is cooler in the morning and in the evening and the days are getting shorter; school supply commercials are reigning inboxes and TVs; apple and pumpkin spice flavors, decorations and scents clog the store aisles and drive through coffee dealers. But wait… this year is different for sure. While all of this seems to be happening earlier, it all has a very different angst about it. Instead of the excitement and emotion that going back to school brings, this year is filled with all that and then some. The world is twisted and the unknown prevails. Leaders are attempting to be agile while remaining optimistic. College students are being asked to live by more rules and sign agreements they know they can’t keep; parents are still shopping and loading up on supplies which now include masks, anti bacterial wipes, gel, spray and thermometers; while coordinated bedding, ramen and mini fridges still prevail, because being prepared with all the things one needs is half the battle. K – 12 will look, feel and be different and diverse as some return to school physically, others virtually and still others attempt a hybrid model. WFH is a new acronym added to our vocabulary and will likely remain there for the foreseeable future. 

While all this is going on, our nation is a mess, riddled with issues at our borders, in our communities and between us. Fear and anxiety are the top scents as we engage in this change of season. We are looking for answers and those are changing as fast as the days are getting shorter; we are looking for leadership where it would seem like it is obvious to exist, but doesn’t. We are searching for direction to and from whatever the next few weeks and months will bring and that keeps changing too. In this time of constant change I think it’s important to take some time to keep it simple. I know, easy to say… hard to do. Here are few examples of where a twist in a paradigm is a little more achievable than a shift or a pivot. A twist is more slight, and can be incredibly effective. Think about some of the joys of summer: a twist ice cream cone which blends the flavors perfectly; twisting corn on the cob to get to the next row; twisting your view to see the rainbow after the storm; twisting your hand or foot to change the trajectory of a golf ball. Why pivot or shift abruptly and sharply when a little twist will do? Who needs a quick thank you or a virtual pat on the back? Who are the unsung heroes in your organization behind the scenes that could use a little love? A small twist in perspective, in thinking and in action can make a huge difference. Take a small twist instead of a big leap, shift or pivot and see what happens. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how a little twist in perspective, in tone and in action can create a larger shift in your current paradigm.