Beware… Le Saboteur!


Your company may be getting sabotaged… Think of it this way: your company is like a house. Whether big or small, it’s your dream house. You know it will be amazing and you believe, believe so strongly with all the passion in the world, that this will be something great. Whether it’s a service or a product, the world will benefit greatly and you can’t wait to get it built, maybe even add-on or sell it one day to the highest bidder.

You set out to build the house and slowly start to bring others along, but unknowingly you may be sabotaging the dream. Something doesn’t feel right. You don’t feel like you’re spending the right time in the right place and the people you’ve hired? They’re not happy either. You feel more pressure than ever because you’ve already told the world that this amazing house is being built. In fact, you’ve been working on it for five years and from the outside, everything looks perfect.

There are cracks in the foundation.

You may start to realize you need to make a change and fix what’s being built on the inside, but the question is… what do I need to do and is it too late? And to whom can I possibly confess this?

The greatest saboteur is an undefined culture.

Let’s stop there for a second… culture. Who has time for that? Isn’t that an HR program or something? Or as I heard one executive recently say, “that’s just a buzz word that companies are saying they are working on to gain attention from the street.”

Call it culture, call it whatever you like, but would you be interested in having

  • Revenues increase 4 times faster
  • Job creation rates grow 7 times higher
  • Stock prices increase12 times faster
  • Profits climb 750% higher
  • Net income grow 700%
  • Customer satisfaction-Double

Source: Professor John Kotter, Harvard and Coauther James Heskett

There are four cornerstones to every company that form the cultural blueprint… they will always be there, whether you define them or not.

So the question is… do you want to leave these critical pieces, the pieces which determine whether you are structurally sound and sustainable, up to happenchance?


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VISION:  This is your aspirational statement that informs everyone where you are dreaming and daring to go… people want to get behind something bigger than them. A paycheck is only a piece behind why people join and stay with companies.

VALUES:  This is all about behaviors. What do you value most and what will help you achieve the vision? It’s it fortitude? Integrity? Optimism? It starts with the leader. You must define your values, so that you can hire people aligned with them and fire them when they aren’t. It’s that simple.

YOU:  Hey, it’s your dream. You were the one audacious to dream this pig could fly! It’s of utmost importance that you lead with a great deal of self-awareness… where do you play best? Where are your core strengths and what skills do you need to compliment you? Where do you have blind spots or behaviors that may be limiting your ability to lead and inspire others towards the vision.

YOUR PEOPLE:  It’s critical to really determine, based on you, the vision, values and purpose… who do you need and want to join you in building your dream?  Don’t take this lightly… identify the skills, ask questions to determine values fit and organize your company so that you can be most productive.

At the center of it all? Your purpose.. Your “WHY”… if you haven’t seen this video already by Simon Sinek, I highly encourage you to watch it:

At their annual meeting this week, Starbucks executives discussed the company’s $1.4 billion profit for the fiscal year ending last September. When I started with them in 1997, there were over 1400 stores and over 25,000 employees… now there are over 20,000 stores and over 200,000 employees. My last role there was to lead a team to figure out how to hire 8 people an hour and get them to stick. I can tell you it wasn’t because they all knew how to make coffee or foam milk. But, they all resonate with the vision, they live the values, they believe in the why, they are suited for the jobs and the leaders get out of their way. It’s not the buzz of caffeine. It’s the buzz of culture.

Oh, and that company with the executive who thought culture is a “buzz word”… they just reported a 96% drop in profits. Think I’d sign up for the buzz over the saboteur…

Need that confidante to help you with one of your cornerstones or know someone that does? Please email me at for a free consultation.


Pass the Tums… I’m HAVING IT ALL!


You bet you can. Have it all.

Belly on up to the All You Can Eat, YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL Bar.

Go on. I’ll be there. Waiting for you with Tums in hand.

What does that mean ANYWAY? “Having it all?”

And before you think this just a “women’s” issue… please read on… yes, we may be discussing it more, but as my husband likes to say “If mamma ain’t happy… ain’t nobody happy.” This impacts us all. Everyone deserves to define it, no matter your gender.

There is a lot of recent buzz around the discussion of women regarding whether we really can “have it all.” From Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, Lean In to Anne Marie Slaughter’s article in The Atlantic Why Women Still Can’t Have It All, the debate has flared again and the conversation is hot.

And as I was reminded after watching The Makers on PBS this week, throughout our history there has always been a group or a person trying to represent what it should look like for women in work. BTW… if you haven’t watched this… it was amazingly well done and reminded me that it wasn’t that long ago that women didn’t have a ton of choice when it came to work. Watch here.

I think the best article in response to the debate was this one by Sarah Lacy, founder of PandoDaily:

In this corner there’s Sheryl Sandberg. In this corner there’s Anne-Marie Slaughter. And then there’s reality

The line that resonated with me most is this:

Everyone’s definition of “having it all” varies.

Damn straight, yet how often do we take someone else’s image and definition and think it must be our own?

It’s a bit like this…

I see the model for “Having it All!” She has it all figured out and man does she look satisfied. She has the house, the kids, the career, the dog, the laundry done, a planned vacation, great sex… (pan to Enjoli commercial).

Society has told me that in order to “have it all” I should follow her, do exactly as she does and wear her shoes. And if I can’t or don’t, I have FAILED.

Here is the reality… Her shoes look great. Really great. There are some aspects I think will work for me, like the supportive ankle strap or the forgiving wedge. Only problem, she’s a size 9… I’m a 7… 6 ½ on a good day with no swelling.


Wearing her shoes would make me feel:

  • Inadequate
  • Uncomfortable
  • Inauthentic
  • Unhappy
  • Sore
  • Not to mention, late to everything

I’m tired of the judgment. I’m tired of the victim voice. I’m tired of the one-size fits all when it comes to this debate.

We all have a choice and a responsibility to determine what is right for each of us. We each have our own family dynamics, financial responsibilities, and deepest desires when it comes to living our lives to the fullest and “having it all.”

For me, “having it all” means…

I get to live a peaceful life that includes laughter, love and tons of challenging thinking everyday with people that matter the most to me.

How I do that and what shoes I choose do accomplish this life in… whether I choose to have a “job” while raising children or no children or dedicate to raising children… well that’s up to me. No one else, but me.

If you haven’t sat down and given a long hard thought to what your definition of “having it all” is… stop what you are doing and do it now. Right now. This is your sacred touchstone that will always anchor you when someone tries to force his or her “having it all” shoes on you.

Once defined, put on those damn shoes. Wear them proudly and gloriously with every step you take and enjoy the perfect fit.

I’m curious, if you’re willing to share… how do you define your “having it all?”