WELCOME TO MY BLOG!

What you need to know.

Thanks for stopping by!

I am a business advisor and strengths coach (with 25+ years of business experience), and I’m using this blog to inspire readers to make simple, powerful changes to boost their performance and joy. Guest writers and I will primarily focus on:

1. Harvesting value from Gallup® strengths knowledge and application

2. Breaking free from imposter syndrome and “faking it” to a more authentic reality

Living authentically AND intentionally aiming your strengths daily is emancipating and powerful! This blog can help you with both.

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Pursuit of a Calling: Introducing TakeFlight

The birth of a calling can seem mysterious because God’s ways are just that. As you’re finding your calling, you don’t have the privilege of looking back and seeing how it all connects. In this ongoing series of blogs, you will get a glimpse into this process and what we’ve learned about leadership, organizational development, faith, resiliency, and life’s journey.

The original “nudge” occurred in late 2017, and it’s since evolved into what’s now a division of BONSAI. While BONSAI is our calling to help leaders, organizations, and students contribute at their highest levels in work that fulfills their purpose, TakeFlight has an even more focused direction: to launch organizations, churches, and marriages in boldly leveraging their strengths to achieve their God-given destinies.

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Flip It! Shift Your Role for an Eye-Opening Experience

How does my question make a customer feel? How do my employees receive and process my comments when I lead meetings? These are great questions to ask. But sometimes, it’s hard to get truthful answers — unless, you flip your situation.

I find that people I work with often think they know what others are feeling or thinking and, as a result, can be dismissive — especially if they score fairly low on the Gallup Empathy strength. This is the case with me, and I have to be intentional about asking how others might perceive an action or statement. The only way to really do this is to walk a mile in their shoes.

I came to this realization through an unplanned personal experience. Last quarter, I became a client of a business coach, a customer of a professional services firm, and a member of a team I wasn’t leading. These were new experiences for me. Basically, as everything flipped, it helped me see my business and leadership style through other people’s eyes. Read the Full Article

Bold by Example: 4 Leadership Insights From a Bold Leader

What are the four attributes that can help make you a bolder leader?

  • Visionary
  • Communication/relationship-building skills
  • Openness to input
  • Willingness to learn

To dig more into this (see my article in Young Upstarts for more details on these 4 attributes), I recently interviewed Valerie Zumwalt. She’s not only the founder of ShowMe Leaders and Executive Director of The John Maxwell Team, but she’s also someone who’s willing to march boldly into new territory. Read the Full Article

From the Classroom to the Office: 3 Ways to Ensure a Smooth Transition

When the phone rings, do you dread picking it up? Do you default to email and text when communicating? Does the thought of a face-to-face conversation make you nervous?

You’re not alone. Approximately 15 million adults suffer from social anxiety, but in the workplace, interacting with others is critical. It allows employees to be productive and businesses to operate at maximum efficiency. Unfortunately, workplace communication is difficult for many people. When I talk to my clients, many of them complain about new employees’ poor communication skills. It’s also a prevailing Millennial stereotype, even if it’s untrue.

The good news is you can conquer this issue, which has serious career implications, by getting outside your comfort zone, modifying your thinking, and practicing new behaviors. Grab a friend to work alongside you, and you’ll both be celebrating promotions soon enough! Why? Because you’ll stand out among your competition if you can become a good communicator.

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Help! My Manager Hates Me. Now What?

“He didn’t wish me ‘good morning.’” “He brought in Starbucks for my co-worker and not me.” “He generally scowls and grunts if I ask a question.” “The only time he comes near my desk is to go to the printer and grab some papers.”

In other words: “I think my manager hates me, and it’s only week one.”

If you relate to this, the good news is that you’ve most likely misinterpreted you manager’s actions. And with some inside perspective, I can help you understand the situation and develop strategies to work successfully with your manager.

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You’ve Graduated! Now What? How to Make the Most of Your First Job

In my work with clients and in conversations with colleagues, I hear a lot of complaints about employees, but one of the most common ones is that Millennial workers have poor work ethic, lack initiative, and struggle to communicate effectively.

And perhaps surprisingly, this frustration is often expressed by business owners and managers who are themselves Millennials. I’ve worked with and teach many Millennials — from scientists to entrepreneurs — and I can tell you that no single generation can be defined by a series of buzzwords. But unfortunately, perception is reality, and many of these stereotypes can spook potential employers.

When you consider the cost of a bad hire, it’s easy to see why. According to a CareerBuilder survey, a single dud hire can cost companies of 500 or fewer employees $11,000. And if a company has more than 500 employees, that number quickly jumps to $22,000. Hiring managers are, therefore, keen to reduce their risk and maximize their ROI through rigorous interview processes.

As a Millennial seeking gainful employment, here’s how you can stand out from the masses, dispel stereotypes, and reinforce a potential employer’s confidence in you — even before your first day on the job.

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When You Practice Vulnerability, You’ll Help Others Transform

“Vulnerability” is a polarizing word. Some people can open up to just about anyone without restraint, while others would sooner get a root canal than share their feelings.

In business, vulnerability is important, particularly among leaders. Consider this: Often, while working with clients, I discover that convictions or fears hold workers back from leading and collaborating. Overcoming these obstacles requires a fundamental shift in thinking.

As a leader, you have to help people process what’s driving their ineffective behaviors in order to correct them — and you can’t do that without some level of openness. This doesn’t mean you have to start sharing your life’s story, but it does mean you need to break free from the fears that keep you aloof. Read the Full Article

Using Powerful Questions to Fight the Negative ‘What-Ifs’

This is the second in a series on becoming more innovative. The first blog focused on the culture, and this one and the next focus on you.

While creating a culture of positive what-ifs and why-nots is crucial, the success of that transition starts with the leader being a positive role model.

If you are resistant to new ideas and are overly risk-averse, so too will be your peers and employees. People will follow the leader, for better or worse.

Let’s take a look at why it is important to not get stuck in the negative “what-ifs” and some practical things you can do to shift your mindset.

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Creating a Culture of Positive What-Ifs and Why Nots

This blog post is the first of a two-part series on getting unstuck. This post focuses on organizations, and the next will focus on individuals.

Is your organization defined by a “culture of stuck” where the conversation gets mired in all the negative what-ifs instead exclaiming “Why not? Let’s make this happen!”

I recall when I led a team at a university and we tried a video contest to increase student engagement. Back then, making videos was just becoming popular. Nothing like our idea had been done before in the college, and we were excited about a new approach using technology in a new way. We even had generous company sponsorships for winners. But there were no winners — because there were no entries. We were stunned but not daunted. We had learned what didn’t work and assessed why.

But the reaction from other departments astounded me.

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Better Questions for More Learning

It’s funny how people think that when you have your own business things slow down in December. Quite the opposite, which made a presentation by Quyen Nguyen quite impactful a few weeks ago. Her words inspired me to slow down, ask more questions and really listen. One morning, I took Quyen’s advice. I decided not to rush off at the end of a coffee meeting, and as a result, I had the most amazing conversation. I waited to hear a story that deeply touched me, and it helped me get to know someone on a much deeper level.

I am delighted to share with you Quyen’s insights from a recent interview she gave following that presentation. As background, Quyen is from Vietnam and has worked in multiple countries as a researcher. She is currently earning her doctorate in applied economics and sustainable development. Read the Full Article

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