Archive for the ‘Reflections on Leadership’ Category
Posted by KakieF on April 9, 2014
I’ve been taking part two of a course based on a book called; “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brené Brown. Brown has spent the past 10-15 years researching topics like courage, vulnerability and authenticity. One of our first assignments was to think about the gifts that come to us as the result of our own creativity.
The book presents fascinating findings about creativity. Brown refers to vulnerability as the birthplace of innovation. She also makes the point that there is no such thing as people who are not creative. Instead, there are resourceful people who know how to tap into their ingenuity, while others don’t.
Someone recently shared with me that they were advised NOT to use the word “creativity” on a resume. The reasoning was some leaders may translate it as a negative connotation. But how can that be if we are in the midst of a global innovation crisis? Shouldn’t the trait and term “creativity” be part of our ongoing discussion at work, in government, academia and our local coffee shops? There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about creativity and innovation.
Another point Brené Brown shares in her book has to do with unused ingenuity. Not exercising creativity can can take a physical toll on our bodies because when unexplored or unexpressed, it can turn into issues like judgement, anger, sorrow, grief and disappointment. I have watched creativity change, build and transform people, economics, relationships and more and Brown’s research has proven it matters.
When I traveled to South East Asia as part of my Executive MBA program in 2012, the key message that came from government, executives, educators, etc. was about the evolving doctrine of innovation economics and the shortage of creative thinking in global systems. Many countries outside the US are working to import knowledge by outsourcing human capital.
Since the beginning of time, the evolution of knowledge has come as the result of different ideas merging together to form new thoughts, discoveries and processes. Creativity is at the core of our advancement because we can’t evolve without it.
So I want to hear from you. What are your thoughts about creativity and has this blog post changed your innovation lens?
Please share your thoughts below and thank you for visiting my blog.
Posted in Business, Reflections on Leadership, Reflections on Life | Tagged: #OLCBreneCourse, convergence of knowledge, creativity, ingeniuity, ingenuity, innovation, inspiration, knowledge creation, new knowledge, the evolution of knowledge, Thought Leadership | Leave a Comment »
Posted by KakieF on February 14, 2014
A few months back I took a six-week online class with Brené Brown based on her book; “The Gifts of Imperfection.” Early in the process we explored the meaning of courage and had a journal activity as seen in the picture. I wanted to share what Brené says about courage because I think it is profound;
“Courage, the original definition of courage when it first came into the English language – it’s from the Latin word cor, meaning heart – and the original definition was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart…
This is what I have found: to let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen; to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee — and that’s really hard, and I can tell you as a parent, that’s excruciatingly difficult — to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we’re wondering, ‘Can I love you this much? Can I believe in this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?’ just to be able to stop and, instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say, ‘I’m just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means I’m alive.’”
-Quote by Brené Brown, speaking about The Power of Vulnerability at TED
How often do we ask ourselves the question of what it means to live wholeheartedly? It starts with having enough self-compassion to explore our stories about shame and vulnerability without judgement. Brené says that shame can not survive being spoken, so after we have explored our fears and insecurities, it is important to find “your people” – those who have earned the right to hear your story. They are the individuals you know will just listen without judgement. They are the people who will not throw it back in your face at a later time. Next, say it out loud to them. That is a step towards healing and growth.
That my friends, takes courage, and is a demonstration of living with intention. Thoughts feelings and actions in alignment with our values principles and goals. I’d like to think of it as a form of servant leadership that we give as a gift to ourselves. Genuine authenticity feels good.
If there is anything you would like to share about this please feel free to comment below.
Thanks for visiting my blog and have a Happy Valentines Day!
Posted in Business, Reflections on Leadership, Reflections on Life | Tagged: #OLCBreneCourse, authenticity, Brené Brown, Courage, courageous acts, self, self compassion, Servant Leadership, The gifts of imperfections, Vulnerability, wholehearted living, wholeheartedness | 8 Comments »
Posted by KakieF on February 7, 2014
I took this picture in Rice Park at the 2014 St. Paul Winter Carnival on January 31st and the temperature was well below zero. There was a live band outside that evening complete with an ice bar and ice sculptures. We didn’t stay long, but we did get some great pictures.
The lights are so beautiful and remind me of a quote by Brené Brown from her book called “The Gifts of Imperfection.” A while back I posted one of her TED Talks videos that went viral about the power of vulnerability. In the book; The Gifts of Imperfection; Brené writes;
“I think the beauty of twinkle lights is a perfect metaphor for joy.
Joy is not a constant. It comes to us in moments – often ordinary moments. Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we’re too busy chasing down the extraordinary moments. Other times we’re so afraid of the dark that we don’t dare let ourselves enjoy the light.
A joyful life is not a floodlight of joy. That would eventually become unbearable.
I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, and inspiration.”
- Brené Brown
Beautiful isn’t it? What a great reminder that life isn’t perfect and that we don’t have to live up to some perception of how things should be. Being imperfect is okay, it is enough and is what makes us shine. I like that. The way we experience things changes and what is ideal, isn’t always real. Lessons like this help us remain closest to our authentic selves and when we are there, people are drawn to it.
Thanks for visiting my blog, if you have any comments, questions or stories, please join the conversation and share below. The Daily Prompt – Twinkle lights as widgets
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Posted in Business, Reflections on Leadership, Reflections on Life | Tagged: #OLCBreneCourse, authentic self, Brené Brown, grace, gratitude, happiness, inspiration, Joy, joyful, minnesota, positioning, re-framing, self-improvement, The Gifts of Imperfection, trust, Twinkle Lights | 3 Comments »
Posted by KakieF on January 27, 2014
Making meaningful connections is important in leadership. We easily get caught up in “do-and-move-forward” mode which gets in the way of slowing down to value the relationships we have built and continue to grow. It helps to remember that people rally around causes and values that resonate with them, especially when leading through times of change. We have been trained to continuously scan internal and external environments and there is no question it takes time to figure out how to bring others with us through the journey that is change. Our role is to anticipate resistance, lead with confidence and have empathy for and redirect individuals who may get emotional. Modeling the behavior is a given and we can’t over communicate the key messaging that is required. Below are 6 simple things we can do to lead and influence people and organizations in times of transition.
1. Reciprocate – Random acts of kindness and helping others in unexpected ways sets the tone and people will respond in return.
2. Leverage scarcity – Have conversations about opportunity and consequences of not following through.
3. Authority: Lead by example – Rituals and setting goals play important roles in bringing others along. That happens when as leaders, we engage in conversation that covers:
• The past (this is where we were, what can it teach us)
• The present (this is our current reality)
• Vision (lets create the future together)
4. Consistency in messaging – People learn in different ways using various processes. We can’t over-repeat the message
5. Practice optimism because it is contagious. Seek synergies and commonalities. What do you like about how you work well together with peers?
6. Consensus – Ask for commitment because when people make a pledge, they are more likely to follow through.
Do you have other thoughts or stories about commitments? If so, I encourage you to share below. Thanks for visiting my blog!
Posted in Business, Reflections on Leadership, Reflections on Life | Tagged: Being of service to others, closing the sale, communication, decision making, getting buy-in, leadership, leading change, Management, Personal development, personal growth, persuation, reflections on leadership | 2 Comments »
Posted by KakieF on January 22, 2014
When was the last time someone reached out to you and performed a random act of kindness? I was pleasantly surprised when a complete stranger recently did something thoughtful for me just when I needed it most. As a result of her good-hearted deed, I plan to honor her by paying it forward.
As thought leaders, we sometimes forget the view, taking a moment to acknowledge the people around us via random acts of kindness can go a long way. We get so caught up in our calendars, goals and tasks and only see the road ahead. But when we slow down a little to enjoy, pleasant surprises seem to come out of the woodwork.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, this past Monday, has been deemed a day to encourage making a difference in communities. As I wrote in a previous post called: Servant Leadership: Facts about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. King was a strong proponent of servant leadership, so whether or not you took action this week, I would like to propose a challenge.
What can you do to make a difference for someone this week? Please make the effort, then come back here and share your story below. I’d like to hear what you did, the response you got and how it made you feel. I look forward to hearing from you.
Posted in Business, Reflections on Leadership, Reflections on Life | Tagged: #OLCBreneCourse, #OWNers, appreciation, Being of service to others, change, compassion, connection, Courage, gratitude, happiness, Humanity, Personal development, Random acts of kindness, Servant Leadership, Thankfulness | Leave a Comment »
Posted by KakieF on October 18, 2013
Imagine this: Your entire community — however you define that; your hometown, neighborhood, family, colleagues — are guaranteed to read your blog tomorrow. Write the post you’d like them all to see.
If you are reading this post, that means you are part of my community. I have long held a belief that somehow, I am supposed to make differences that ripples out, affecting a lot of people, in positive ways. So hopefully something in this will resonate for you.
In Latin, the word Communitatum was a noun that meant “fellowship” and the word Unitatum meant “oneness, sameness or agreement.” From that, the word Community is derived; Fellowship in agreement, which means different things to different people.
In life we have a choice to go down many roads two of which could include judgement or compassion. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Business, Reflections on Leadership, Reflections on Life | Tagged: Being in alignment, brevity, building community, choosing what is right, community, Community Service, compassion, connection, Courage, courageous acts, facing discomfort, Judgement, practicing compassion, self-improvement, Speaking up when others wont, Thought Leadership, Thought leadership on community | 1 Comment »
Posted by KakieF on September 1, 2013
We recently experienced a hot spell here in Minnesota. It was the kind where the temperature creates a visual mirage of heat that radiates off of the roads. The humidity that accompanied it left many of us feeling weak and listless.
On this day, it was too hot to cook. So we dropped into a local restaurant and told the waitress we were extremely thirsty. Next, she brought us a pitcher of water with a straw in it and we all had a good laugh. Her gesture said a lot about her leadership style because she paid attention, heard what was said, empathized and delivered beyond expectations. The photo captured to commemorate the occasion says it all.
How often do we need to be reminded that we have the power to make a difference for one or many? Sometimes, what seems like the smallest gesture, can go a long way. Successful thought leaders understand that although it may not have come easy in the beginning, hard work and practicing these deeds are how they make it look so natural.
Has anyone gone out of their way recently, exceeding your expectations? How did it affect you?
More importantly, what gesture can you put forth on this day that will make a difference for someone?
Please comment below, I’d like to hear from you!
Posted in Business, Reflections on Leadership, Reflections on Life | Tagged: Exceeding expectations, practice new behavior, Successful leaders, Thought Leadership | Leave a Comment »
Posted by KakieF on July 16, 2013
The furthest I have ever traveled from home was in 2012 when I went to South East Asia as part of my MBA studies. What I found intriguing is how the educational, religious, leadership and social structures in Asia are made up of variables that we haven’t known in the past. These factors are still growing and creating new ways of thinking.
Much of the region is importing intellectual capital talent from the United States. I wonder what implications will come from blending Eastern educational structure and the social analytical thinking it breeds, along with existing western business in our global economy.
Cal Oltrogge is Senior Vice President of PDI, Ninth House, a Korn/Ferry company. The company is the world’s premier global leadership solutions company. Mr Oltrogge shared with us the biggest challenges faced in Asia include figuring out the key to unlocking leadership development, retaining and acquiring talent along with succession planning. Global systems are evolving and companies need to be flexible, engage in dialogue about languages, show respect for alternative ideas no matter what, and demonstrate openness about possibilities.
What I took from it was that there are a lot of unknowns and we will have to let some of it play out. Part of that process will involve failure and it will be interesting to see how the Asian culture’s fear of failure will play into that.
Please share your thoughts below. I would love to hear from you!
This post was inspired by The Daily Prompt: Tell us about the farthest you’ve ever traveled from home. Photographers, artists, poets: Show us DISTANCE
Posted in Business, Reflections on Leadership | Tagged: business leadership, Complex business systems, diversity, Eastern Education, global economics, global leadership, international business, South East Asia, talent management, Western Business | Leave a Comment »
Posted by KakieF on June 25, 2013
When I was a little girl, we had a huge willow tree in our back yard that we would climb. It was so big that sometimes there were as many as 6 kids in it at once!
At #TreeTuesday over on Google Plus there is a community I sometimes participate in, where people share photos they have taken of trees. I love being in the outdoors, and today I selected this picture as part of #TreeTuesday. I took it in 2012 while traveling to SouthEast Asia for a Global Systems Class as we walked from our hotel to the National Museum of Singapore.
The picture and the idea of #TreeTuesday made me think about being rooted in something bigger than ourselves, which for many people is a component of personal growth and faith. A few years back in some coaching sessions I had with Doug Lennick, (he was the coach), he discussed fallibility and that we often carry 2 mindsets with us. One is our ideal self, (who we want to be), and our real self (who we are).
Doug’s consistent message was always that when we ensure our morals, values, principles and beliefs, are in alignment with our thoughts feelings and actions, it makes us better people, which brings us closer to our ideal authentic selves. This has become an invaluable tool in my personal life and career for building relationships and credibility as a thought leader. Studies have indicated that the four most important characteristics for gaining credibility in leadership include:
- Being forward-looking
(Kouzes and Posner, 2010).
Alignment encompasses each of those in different ways. We all bring our experiences to the table, so how about you? Are there other traits in addition to the ones above you feel are just as important? Please share below and thanks for stopping by!
Posted in Business, Reflections on Leadership | Tagged: alignment, beliefs, Business, Credibility, emotional competence, Emotional intelligence, goals, principles, Thought Leadership, values | Leave a Comment »
Posted by KakieF on June 12, 2013
If I could enact a single law, it might read something like this:
Compassion over judgement – Act thoughtfully and approach every human being, including yourself, with loving kindness. Acknowledge your own bias and seek to understand before jumping to conclusions. Everyone has a story to tell and asking someone about theirs may be really insightful.
Love your family in word and action – Family consists of those we choose to involve in our lives. Life is short, time slips away quickly and living with regret is daunting. The good news is every person has the gift of this very moment, so step forward, make a choice and seize the day!
Let go of the anger In every life situation, have the courage to take a step back and ask;
- What is really going on here?
- How am I feeling right now?
- What is my role in this situation?
- Who or what do I need to forgive?
Practice Gratitude each day and sprinkle in a little fun.
Be kind to yourself - Cliche I know, – treat others the way you want to be treated. But how about this:
Treat yourself the way you want to be treated.
What would that look like and if you had the power to enact a single law, what would it be? Please comment below.
This post was inspired by The Daily Prompt: You have the power to enact a single law. What would it be? Photographers, artists, poets: show us RULES.
Posted in Business, Reflections on Leadership, Reflections on Life | Tagged: compassion, gratitude, personal growth, reflections on leadership, self compassion | 1 Comment »
Posted by KakieF on June 11, 2013
We hadn’t seen one another or spoken in quite a while so a year and a half ago we set up a lunch date to reconnect. When he walked into the restaurant he was noticeably thinner. But those friendly, smiling eyes were unmistakable. He was inquisitive and began by asking all about me, my life and family.
Then we shifted to him. He shared that shortly after his mother and brother passed away, he fainted at work and hence began a daunting series of paperwork, lab tests, appointments and phone calls. He had been diagnosed with stage 4 appendix cancer and chose not to pursue surgery. I remained empathetic, silent, and asked what support he needed. The response was; hope, presence, love and an ear. It’s hard to conceive the unimaginable courage to make and/or not make such a complex decision. At the end of our lunch I inquired if he was absolutely certain. I don’t recall the answer, but wondered if the question would linger with him.
I had an upcoming trip to South East Asia for an MBA class and shared I would pray for him at every mosque, temple and prayer wheel I encountered. I climbed the 272 steps to the highest temple at Batu Caves and offered intentions for my friend. The flower and medallions were given to me by a Hindi priest, one for Mike, the other for myself. Right before my traveling, he found out about a rare treatment called HIPEC, that was available and upon my return learned he was eligible. The surgery was the beginning of a valiant journey.
He was balancing tending to the needs of his 85-year-old father, while learning how to take care of himself and the test of time was not easy. He didn’t want to always talk about the cancer, or the fight, or time. He was growing weary and it was teaching us the importance of being fully present and accepting. We had so many meaningful discussions those last few months and sometimes, we just sat in comfortable silence.
When a person is not well, it seems perplexing to wonder: Why is it hard for so many individuals to ask for help? We can tell that they need and want people to step forward, yet they hesitate to solicit or allow support out of shame or fear of being a burden, appearing weak and helpless.
But I’d like to submit there is a different lens through which we should see.
We need others and asking for help is healthy, takes courage, and is a way to take care of ourselves. Showing up gives us the gift of humility and teaches the valuable lesson that its okay to be imperfect. It is human, and builds community because it brings people together. That is a beautiful thing.
Perhaps it doesn’t occur to us that asking for help is a gift to the person being asked. So why does it seem easier to give than to seek help?
My time with Mike was a treasure and we learned different life lessons from one another. I miss him, but I celebrate his life by carrying his memory in my heart because we talked about it. It is what he wanted, and that is a good thing.
So I leave you with this question and ask you to comment below. Do you know someone or have you been in a position such as this? What does it take for you to ask for help and how does that play into “taking care” of yourself? Please share.
Written in response to The Daily Prompt: Take Care “When you’re unwell, do you allow others to take care of you, or do you prefer to soldier on alone? What does it take for you to ask for help? Photographers, artists, poets: show us HELP.”
Posted in Business, Reflections on Leadership, Reflections on Life | Tagged: appendix cancer, asking for help, Being of service to others, building community, Courage, Humility, inspiration, Servant Leadership, The daily prompt, unconditional acceptance | 5 Comments »
Posted by KakieF on March 11, 2013
It feels like I have had my head down for nearly 30 months while pursuing my MBA. Graduation is just around the corner, putting me into a reflective mode of excitement and gratitude, while leaving me to wonder where my “road to awesome” is headed. Regardless of the destination, I am optimistic because my faith that there is more has never failed.
Introspection got me thinking, if I could have any job in the world, it would the one Robbie, a.k.a. “Kid President” from Soul Pancake has. He started a movement when the video “Pep Talk” (below) emerged a while back. This little man is giving motivational speeches, telling people how amazing they are, that nobody is perfect, we are all more alike than different, encouraging participation and reminding us that we are all on the same team. I love the re-enforcer that we can all make things better for one another if we just look around and recognize because it all starts with just one person. When we give, we get.
Sowing seeds of wonder and hope? Sounds pretty good to me. I told them a great campaign slogan would be: “Kid President – Restoring Wonder in the World.” I really hope they use it because we all could use a little more marvel and awe in our lives.
Enjoy the video and then come back and tell me: How will you go out and make the world more awesome? Start by just being authentic because I believe that is what makes us our very best.
Please comment below and thanks for joining the conversation.
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Posted in Business, Reflections on Leadership, Reflections on Life | Tagged: #kidpresident, #soulpancake, community, Kid President, Motivation, pep talk, self-improvement, Servant Leadership, Soul Pancake | Leave a Comment »
Posted by KakieF on February 14, 2013
There are people who will say Valentines Day is a novelty, but I think it’s an opportunity to reflect, create a memory or perform a random act of kindness, because sometimes even the smallest gesture can go a long way.
My mom never forgets a Valentines Day. Last night she came over with the tulips you see in the background of the picture, made dinner and then did some religion homework with my son.
She gave me the red heart ornament in the picture years ago on a February 14th. It says “Kakie” and on the back Love, Mom. Time has worn the ink from changing the oil in the decanter.
The faded letters on the ornament and the flowers are both signals for me. One, a gentle reminder about being present, new life, spring and what lies ahead. The other is to pause, step back, appreciate those around me and celebrate the journey. We didn’t get here alone and couldn’t have accomplished all that has been without others. Look how far we’ve come. For many of us it can seem quite remarkable.
Life puts gifts at our feet which we don’t recognize at first. Sometimes we stumble over them or we get in our own way. It’s okay because we are all flawed and I think there is beauty in that. Somehow we always manage to get back up, brush ourselves off and move ahead.
We are exactly where we are meant to be at any given moment and we have all of the tools we need. Today, give yourself permission to slow down, take a deep breath, find gratitude and share it with someone.
I would love to hear stories about small gestures that meant a great deal to you Share them below and thanks for stopping by. Happy Valentines Day.
Posted in Business, Reflections on Leadership, Reflections on Life | Tagged: gratitude, leadership and life, Life Lessons, Personal development, personal growth, Random acts of kindness, reflection, self reflection, self-improvement, The Journey, valentines day | Leave a Comment »