How to Become World’s Best Leader in 1000 Steps or Less

I’ve cracked the code. I know there are a ton of experts out there who think they have the perfect program or book to make you the ultimate leader. You know, the 3-steps to becoming a super hero in your industry?

Well, I’ve cracked the code. It’s not a book. It’s not a new method, process, tool or framework. Are you ready to learn the secret? The magic? The silver bullet?

Before I reveal the secret, let me back up here a minute and give you some background.

At the beginning of this year, I decided that my “eat only beige, drink only red diet” from the fall had to come to a sad end. It was the right decision and a good one. With that, I knew I also needed to change my habit of not taxing my poor body with additional movement (translate: exercise). So, this year, I have slowly shifted my diet and have begun a regular routine of exercise.

You know when you start eating better and exercising, you find yourself talking to others about what they are doing to look and feel so great? I was on a mission and went into sleuth mode. I asked questions. Some were on special diets, some crazy boot camp routines, and then there’s my friend Dena, who basically just eats right and exercises. Nah, too boring. That can’t work, can it?

“Try Zumba. I really like it,” she told me. Was this it? The secret bullet to exercising without really feeling like it?

I’ve never liked group exercise. Probably due to some traumatic outfit mal-function in the 80s involving a headband and a leg warmer.

However, the gym I joined had a Zumba class. I thought, well, Dena is right about most things when it comes to health. She’s reasonable and fun. She wouldn’t steer me wrong.

And so it happened.

NO, I didn’t go and fall madly, deeply in love. What happened is that I completely and utterly got my ass kicked (pardon my language, but that’s really what happened). In sooooo many ways.

When class began I thought, oh, Latin inspired music mixed with Ice, Ice, Baby. I can do this. My A-type took a grip.  Let me take you through my internal dialogue:

Oh, I see, it’s like dance with peppy, re-mixed Latin songs. I can so do this!

I get to swirl my hands like the girls swirling their skirts on the stage at Fiesta de Santa Fe when I was a kid. I can so do this!

Wait, I don’t follow that. Say what? Wait, slow down. Holy cow, I just got the last step, now you want me to what?

I don’t know if my hips move that way normally. Okay, I’ll try.

Focus. Focus. Focus. You can do it. You can do it. You will OWN this.

Be resilient. Be the Zumba. Love the Zumba. This is good for you. 

Hate the Zumba. Not loving the Zumba. Feeling awkward doing the Zumba.

Hey, look at that guy. He has ZERO self-awareness, following 80% of the moves, and he’s LOVING it… almost in an Elaine from Seinfeld dance trance. Did he just yelp? Was that a “woo, hoo?” I’m sort of impressed. Or am I just jealous?

Yeah, well he may be having fun, but I’m gonna get this RIGHT.

Seriously? Only 20 minutes have gone by? I feel like I’m in a war zone here.

S-o-m-e-o-n-e    h-e-l-p   m-e………..

I think you get the picture. It was a total crash course: 1000 steps of practicing all the strengths that the greatest leaders exercise:

  • Audacity
  • Resiliency
  • Focus

While being challenged by the Blind Spots that can often derail us:

  • Comparing ourselves to others
  • Negative self-talk
  • A-Type drive for perfection and expecting to get it right the first time!

I began to wonder if Zumba is just an intense hour demonstrating what my clients experience throughout the growth of their businesses. I know it is. I’ve seen them sweat.

That Zumba leader plays the role I do with my clients… re-enforcing the strengths, uncovering the blind spots, and cheering them along the whole way.

As a people strategist, I’m right there with you, shoulder to shoulder, with a towel, some water, and encouragement. Until the 1000th step when I say, I think you’ve got this. This is doable and you will succeed.

I’m not your silver bullet, but I’ll help you crack your code to leading responsibly. It takes some healthy eating and some exercise. And it is completely achievable. I know it from my results.

Want your own people strategist to help you successfully Zumba through growth? Email me at Linda@GlassTalent.com

BTW… The sad truth… I believe I was in the seniors’ class. The happy truth, there were some seriously badass seniors schooling me in Zumba. Love that.


Glass in the Raw

RUBEN

 

I’ve been back from an assignment in London for three months now. WOW. Time has flown.

In that time, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to reengage with clients, pick up my executive coaching and join some amazing conversations. I am about to lead a CEO Peer Advisory Group for the Austin Chamber of Commerce (this ain’t your mom and pop’s chamber… super progressive and really involved in responsible growth in Austin). I also was just asked to be a mentor for the amazing CPG accelerator, the Incubation Station. What an great group of people. I am so inspired by the entrepreneurs in the current track and humbled by their courage.

As I’ve been going through this time of growth, I knew I would start to experience what many of my clients do… some growing pains. So often my clients reveal their fears and together we undercover the blind spots that get in their way. These can create really unhealthy soundtracks in our minds. If they get on a continuous loop, watch out.

Last week, we had a health scare with one of our sons and while it was fleeting, it took me out of commission all week. (He’s 100% fine by the way. I blamed it on the Monster Moon that all the astrologists were fearing.)

Coming off a week of zero sleep and poor eating, I found my own inner soundtrack kicking in… My super shield of courage was really weakened. Gone were the “this is amazing!” “you can do it” and in slipped the “are you kidding me?” “who do you think you are?”

So I started writing it all down in the black notebook I’ve been using for brainstorming. I started writing down all my fears. All of them. I listed every single self doubt and ugly statement I’ve ever made about myself. It was a full on purge.

While I didn’t have full relief, I knew that getting these fears out and deciding whether I wanted them to be my truth would be an important exercise and give me some calm. I knew this was a safe way to explore my vulnerability as a leader.

Until it happened… the black notebook went MISSING. That’s right MISSING. In the midst of waking back up this week I inadvertently left the black notebook SOMEWHERE. Where was it?!?!

The real purging began. I felt sick. Sick to my stomach. It was one thing to be fully vulnerable with myself, it was another to know that pages of my vulnerability were laying around somewhere for someone, anyone, to read.

The next day, I had a full day of meetings and I couldn’t even begin to look for the notebook until 4 pm. I checked a couple of spots and I found it. I picked it up silently from the nice folks who collected it for me and my mind started racing.

The notebook was filled with a lot of benign musings on business development, branding, etc. That was fine. However, I had conveniently tabbed the “you suck” page of vulnerabilities with a blue sticky. It’s like I put a neon sign pointing to the page, screaming out … hey you! Read here! This is some juicy stuff! Linda Glass in the raw!

I didn’t ask if it was read. I just thanked them profusely and went on my way.

Did they read it? Raced through my head. I have no way of knowing unless I ask. And if they did, I began to wonder… what would it matter? Would they read the statements and one by one confirm them. Check! Check! Check!

I decided to use one of my lifelines and called my dear friend Stephanie. She said, “Linda they’re human and have those same fears and feelings. If they did read it, they probably appreciate knowing you are human too.” And to quote my favorite line from When Harry Met Sally… “You’re right. You’re right. I know you’re right.”

She is right.

It’s important for people that I work with and that I coach to know that I, too, am human. I have fears and vulnerabilities. And through that, I can truly sympathize and offer the right guidance and support.

I remember a meeting once at Starbucks when the president at the time said to our team, “I’m afraid I’ll be found out. Do I have what it takes to do this job? Do I really deserve this position?” It was empowering for all of us. He let us in… we connected around the fact that we all have fears. In the end, we all felt we could be open about our challenges and insecurities. We were tighter as a team.

So, while I’m not quite brave enough to publish the whole list… I will tell you that sometimes, even the experienced coach has fears… I fear I’m not enough. I fear I might fail. I fear I might be judged.

And today, I’m choosing to not let those fears take over my soundtrack. Today, my soundtrack might be sung to my fears by Gloria Gaynor…

Go on now, go, walk out the door, just turn around now

‘Cause you’re not welcome anymore

Weren’t you the one, who tried to hurt me with goodbye?

Did you think I’d crumble? Did you think I’d lay down and die?
Oh, no, not I, I will survive!

 

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Beware… Le Saboteur!

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?

THE FOUR CORNERSTONES:

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 10.15.01 AM

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: http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.html

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 Linda@GlassTalent.com for a free consultation.


Manamana…. do, do, do, do, do…. Manamana… do, do, do, do…

Kermit4

It was not just your regular rainbow and unicorn morning.

This morning I went to a performance at the kids’ school. Truth be told, my son was dreading it and I can sort of get why… two repeat performances of mouthing his handmade puppet to Muppet oldies isn’t really his gig. He muscled through it.

I, on the other hand, immediately started to think what my puppet would have looked like, how I would have arranged the first piece differently to infuse more energy, and wondered if each puppet somehow psychology represented the state of this tween gathering. My poor kid.

The line up:

First…  puppets mouthing “Manamama… do, do, do, do…” to a recording

Second… Well, escapes my memory already, just an hour later

Third… all children singing THE RAINBOW CONNECTION (feel free to pause and watch the original)

As soon as the first notes to The Rainbow Connection began, I started to well up. Seriously?!? Well up? You’re at your kid’s performance… a kid who doesn’t even want to be there btw.

What gives? Was it the nostalgia of it all? Remembering when I was a kid? It was a Billboard Hot 100 in November 1979, when I was just 10 (go ahead, do the math). I was in that special tween time too.

I felt a rush of crazy talk inside my head… what’s wrong with you Linda? Get a grip before one of the normal parents sees you and wonders if you took your meds today.

To divert my emotion, I turned to really listening to the lyrics. I’m not sure I had really paid attention to the lyrics before, besides the chorus…

Why are there so many songs about rainbows
and what’s on the other side?
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions,
and rainbows have nothing to hide.
So we’ve been told and some choose to believe it.
I know they’re wrong, wait and see.
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

Who said that every wish would be heard
and answered when wished on the morning star?
Somebody thought of that and someone believed it.
Look what it’s done so far.
What’s so amazing that keeps us stargazing
and what do we think we might see?
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

All of us under its spell. We know that it’s probably magic.

Have you been half asleep and have you heard voices?
I’ve heard them calling my name.
Is this the sweet sound that called the young sailors.
The voice might be one and the same.
I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it.
It’s something that I’m supposed to be.
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

My gift for the morning was embedded in the lyrics.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, my business is going through a time of transformation. I realized this morning that it’s really ME that’s going through the transformation.

It’s time to listen to the voice of what I’m truly meant to be and stop listening to the voice of what everyone else thinks I should be. I’VE HEARD IT TOO MANY TIMES TO IGNORE IT. IT’S SOMETHING I’M SUPPOSED TO BE.

It won’t be a huge departure. No, you won’t see me on Project Runway or fulfilling my life long dream of being a professional gymnast.

It will be authentically me. My voice. My contribution.

Until I’m ready to reveal… you can find me with the lovers and dreamers.

FUN FACTOID: Did you know that the Rainbow Connection received a nomination for the 52nd Academy Awards? However, the song lost the Oscar to “It Goes Like It Goes” from Norma Rae, a win that some critics decried. I kinda like the visual… a little Kermit mixed with Norma Rae… suits my style just fine.

 


Are you coaching a Smart Ass or a Genius? Or both?

I love me some good problem solving.

Throw me at it. How do we do this? What’s the best solution? How creative can we be? Let’s do this!

This morning, I was stumped. Yeah, stumped. Impressed, yet mildly disturbed.

I found this next to the coffee machine left for me by my 11-year-old. Yes, there is water in those glasses turned upside down.

photo-1

What happened? He used to be such a sweet, charming little boy. Actually, if I’m honest with myself, he’s always been a bit clever, a bit conniving, and a bit out to get me. And I love him dearly.

So, not able to immediately draw a conclusion, I pasted to the world of Facebook for a solution. I could have stared at it for a while, but why when I know there is a dearth of talent in the people with whom I keep company?

Here are some of the comments:

  1. Surround with sponges and lift
  2. Make him clean it up when he gets home and if he spills any, ground him, or make him write a poem about water.
  3. Drag the glasses to the edge of the counter, put a pan next to the counter and slide glasses off quickly.
  4. Drag them over plastic wrap!!!
  5. He created it. He can clean it up and maybe even lose an evening’s privilege or have to clean out the cat box. Some sort of consequence.
  6. Love it.
  7. I would write “funny” on the same paper and leave it for him to clean up
  8. Clever boy.

I gotta say, this kid has a lot of consequences for things that are real issues… like beating the life out of his brother. Should I really punish the kid or applaud his ingenuity?

I mean, what if I really did give birth to a genius? And what it the next ingenious thing he puts on the counter is a solution to world hunger, albeit it in a mocking “I got you” sort of way?

Would the way I handle this impact his future contributions?

Is it possible to separate out the feedback on being a smartass with positive feedback on his cleverness?

People we live with or work with do things all the time that might irritate us. We REACT and don’t step back. Are we throwing out the next best idea or great work because of the irritating delivery? Can we applaud one while coaching on the other? What do you think?

I think I’ll work with him on the solution and save the feedback for the next issue. And be thankful I’m not the kid of some of my FB friends… I’d be in perpetual time out!

Ultimately, though, I have to agree with my FB friend #6… I kinda love it.


Leading with Laughter! Ha!

Mom Jungle Gym

Having recently moved, I ran across this picture. This is my mom, Alice. On top of my jungle gym. Behind the family truck and farmhouse. My mom. The monkey.

Several emotions have come to mind when I have seen this picture in the past. One is of sheer embarrassment. This very picture was in our Christmas letter one year for Pete’s sake. How could she do that to a 7-year-old? What would my public think?

But this time, I had one emotion only… Hell Yeah Mom! My mom was silly. She loved to laugh. Her humor was exceptional.  And now I realize how critical that was to her as a mother and how critical it is to me as both a mother and a business owner.

I’m embarking on a new chapter for my business as I hit my 5-year anniversary. Call it Glass Talent 2.0. I’ll continue to work with my great clients as their supportive and challenging Executive Business Coach. And I’ll be looking at ways to evolve my practice as a Talent Strategist.

In imagining what is next, I’ve put together a vision board to collect my ideas and thoughts of what I want my working journey to look and feel like. It must involve CONNECTING. COLLABORATION. CREATIVITY. LEARNING. WRITING. COACHING. SERVING.

In seeing this picture again, I am reminded that I am missing a very important word from my board… HUMOR.

Humor brings me bliss, joy, relief and solace. Humor helps me keep things in perspective and keeps me humble. Humor helps me manage through the valleys and the peaks. Humor makes me happy.

So, here’s to adding a big fat piece of HUMOR to the heart of my Vision Board and leading with laughter.

Vision Board

I wish I had the picture of my mom playing the role of “the man at the bar” from the Santa Fe Melodrama. I don’t. You’ll just have to imagine it and laugh along with me.

If you’re not laughing, you’re not learning… Email me at Linda@GlassTalent.com to learn more about my coaching (or at least send a good joke!)


One of these things is not like the other…

BoysPhoto

Stay calm. Stay still. Stay calm. Stay still. Do as I’m asked. Quietly enjoy the moment. 

Check it out! Check me out! Wow look at that! Go! Go! Go!

Click on the photo above to view a clip from a recent vacation, which encapsulates these two personalities to a tee. Two children. Same family. So different in so many ways.

As a parent I’m always amazed at how different two kids can be. I recognized it in my own family growing up. Four sisters. Same family. So different in so many ways.

It’s confusing. What works for one, doesn’t always work for another. And even when something does work for a while, life changes and the parenting approach stops working. I have to lead in a different way. Different child, different day, new challenge.

It’s the same with any type of leadership. It’s not a one size fits all world, yet we hope and pray everyday that we can tackle the challenges of leading others with one good solution and approach.

There are so many books out there to help us with our leadership…

” 3 Surefire Ways to Motivate Employees”

“Make ‘em Happy in 5 Steps or Less!”

“Just do this!”

We read through them frantically for the silver bullet… the secret to how to motivate Bob, Jane, Jim and Sally all at the same time using the exact same approach and steps. These books may provide some great frameworks, but it’s what you do for each individual within that framework that makes the greatest impact.

But seriously, we have so much on our plates as it is as leaders. The strategic plan, the investors, the final report… do we really have time to cater to every individual? It takes so much time.

Yes, yes it does. And yes, it is the most valuable and highest return investment you can make in your business.

Sorry, Bob, Jane, Jim and Sally are four different people. Same Company. So different in so many ways. Get to know your people as individuals. Get to know them as people. Stay close to them as they ebb and flow through life’s challenges.  Individualize your leadership approach and enjoy the returns.

For more discussion with Linda about the best approach for your leadership, contact her at Linda@GlassTalent.com.