Archive for the ‘Reflections on Leadership’ Category
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.
We have all seen people who have chosen one over the other or perhaps one that led to the another. I’m no expert, but I am always on the road to becoming more of who I am and living my best life and have learned there are countless times the act of compassion can open doors to new ways of thinking. Sometimes people seem to create chaos and/or condemnation, which could lead us to wonder if it is a pattern that has continued to show up in their lives. But then we realize to err is human.
Curiosity about the way people process information has always been interesting to me. How often have we forgotten the amount of courage it takes to keep showing up for those who have been the target of judgement? Better yet, what about the courage it takes for those who have witnessed injustice to speak up?
It was Desmond Tutu who said: “ I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. ” Another quote from him includes: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.“
We all have experienced a challenging series of events that have felt isolating. I recall a time when someone followed their intuition by reaching out to a colleague who seemed distant and disconnected. As it turned out, the intuition was spot on. By taking a first step and being proactive, this individual demonstrated the character of a true leader because he/she sought to understand the bigger picture by sharing their perspective and asking questions.
That act was brave, authentic and one of the most kindhearted things I had ever seen. It validated some truths that were unspoken and took the term “compassion” to another level. It helped to give me the vision of the kind of leader I strive to be. It was redeeming and restored my faith in the human spirit.
Tied to judgement and compassion, are just two emotions, which set the premise for much of how we live in our communities.
Judgement is often the result of some unresolved fear, while compassion is borne out of love. So whenever you see something unjust, or whenever you are struggling yourself, speak up and remember the significance of community. We never get anywhere without the fellowship of others. That is exactly what has brought us to this moment. Community will continue to sustain us, so don’t forget that it takes just one person to make a choice resulting in huge impacts for others. And it takes just one person to make a difference.
When I choose love, compassion and forgiveness, I know my thoughts feelings and actions are in alignment with my values, principles and goals. That is the kind of person I want to be and nothing can ever replace that.
So how about you? What will you choose today?
Look around; who do you know that could use a little compassion? Do me and yourself a favor, #PayitForward and reach out to them.
Furthermore, share your thoughts below. Have you ever had a similar experience? I’d love for you to join the conversation. Thanks for reading my blog.
This post was inspired by #TheDailyPrompt - Photographers, artists, poets: show us COMMUNITY.
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 | 4 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.
Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
Posted by KakieF on February 4, 2013
February is Black History month and each year as a family, we look for historical documentaries to watch and seek out biographies of people who have played important roles in our evolution as a country. When I was young, information was limited and we didn’t learn much about it in school. I want to be sure we honor those who went before us because it is OUR history.
A few years back, instead of viewing the Super Bowl, we watched the movie “Boycott,” which is about the events which occurred in Montgomery Alabama after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in the “Whites Only” section of the bus. Black Americans pulled together to demonstrate their economic power by refusing to use public transportation. The program is good and sends a compelling message about the impact peace and non-violence can have.
In the movie, there is a scene where the fire department sits across the street and watches the home of an African-American man burn to the ground. My son, who was eight years old, looked at me with puzzled eyes. He asked why the firemen were not helping put out the flames. I explained what life for black and white people in America was like during that time. Then, he turned to me and asked;
“Mom, am I black?” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Reflections on Leadership, Reflections on Life | Tagged: African American history, black americans, black history month, Civil Rights, culture, differences, discussing race and tolerance in families, diversity, honoring history, Montgomery Alabama, race, rosa parks, tolerance | Leave a Comment »
Posted by KakieF on January 23, 2013
“Leadership should be born out of understanding the needs of those who would be affected by it.”
- Marian Anderson
In my roles as senior project manager, consultant, leader, coach and mentor, I use something called andragogy (adult learning theory) to manage and lead because I have seen its effectiveness. I thought it would be a great blog topic, so please, read on!
Throughout my professional life I spent time designing various formats of training about topics that included marketing, identifying and adapting to social styles, emotional intelligence, client service modeling, referrals, business and marketing planning, new customer acquisition, retention, social media and more.
The process of designing training modules was about working to ensure the content was engaging and adding value for the intended audience. When classes are written and created, the approaches depend on whether it is e-learning, classroom or live web-ex conferencing.
The andragogy method leverages problem solving and collaboration and levels the playing field between learners and trainers. The six principles of adult learning theory asserts that adults are:
- Internally motivated and self-directed
- Experienced and bring our knowledge to the learning platform
- Engaged when the information is relevant to our background
- Goal oriented – motivated by intrinsic and extrinsic factors
- Practical and need to know why they are learning the content
- Learners who place value on being respected
For years I consulted and coached franchised business owners to help them put structure, repeatable and predictable processes into their businesses. Through the leadership development process, my clients learned about knowledge transfer through application. Learn, unlearn, rethink, relearn, innovate and survive.
Success means we practice new behaviors until they feel normal. Sounds simple, right?
That is a frightening concept for people because it means embracing uncertainty as a way to look fear in the eye and push forward. Some of the greatest victories I have seen came when people chose to take a little risk that resulted in success.
There is diversity in learning, we all discover and grab onto ideas and concepts differently.
Everyone learns differently and when we learn about that diversity, then apply adragogy (adult learning theory), the results might just amaze. It works.
What do you think about using and applying this process into your leadership style? Please share below!
This infographic was created by Nicole Legault, who has a blog called “Flirting with e-learning.“
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Business, Reflections on Leadership | Tagged: adult learning theory, communications, diversity in learning, effective leadership, Leadership and learning, Leadership development, learning, learning styles, reflections on leadership, Training, Training design | Leave a Comment »
Posted by KakieF on January 16, 2013
Servant leadership is the philosophy and practice that encourages us to participate for the good of society by being of service to others. Many would say it is functional, ethical, meaningful and has the power to change cultures.
As leaders, it is my hope is that we take some time this holiday to reflect on the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,all that he
stood for, and then use our words and actions to carry his message forward. Do something: Volunteer, pay for someone’s coffee, seek out a person who is lonely or family in need, hold a door open and more. Imag
ine the difference we can make.
Interesting facts about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Reflections on Leadership, Reflections on Life | Tagged: Being of service to others, Day of service, Facts about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Historical facts about Dr. King, national day of servce, Servant Leadership, volunteerism | Leave a Comment »
Posted by KakieF on December 30, 2012
My Question for you: Is that place between wondering what to do and making the decision a safe place? It could be for many people. Making a decision is easy, but I say deciding to decide is where it gets complicated. We’ve all been there feeling frozen with indecision, wondering why and trying to figure out how to get unstuck, seeking the balance between risk and reward.
I had this fabulous professor during studies for my Executive MBA at St. Thomas. His name is Tom Ressler and he helped me think, about the way I think. The class was called “Executive Decision Making.” But it was so much more. We discussed the idea that we are all unique beings and that both our values and our thinking are random variables that breed infinite possibilities. We also had dialogue regarding how learning, is about changing. It seems to me that creates a ton of potential events in our universe.
As part of our course, we read the book: “Rational Choice in an Uncertain World: The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making,” by Robin Dawes. His first co-authored book was called “Mathematical Psychology”, and then he wrote his first book, “Fundamentals of Attitude Measurement (Foundations of Social Psychology).”
Robin Dawes became the founder of the Behavioral Decision Research Field. Dawes argues that our minds drive us toward flawed and illogical assumptions because we fall into auto pilot or “automatic thinking.” He and came up with the following conclusions:
8 factors leading to poor decision-making (based on our experiences)
1. Generalizing based on a few select experiences
2. Assuming patterns of history will always repeat
3. Vision-ing our future can bias our experiences and then can become self-fulfilling prophecies
4. Reflecting on our past experiences produces flawed memories, we can’t replay choices we never followed
5. Some of what we go through involves randomness and luck
6. We can’t re-experience what we have already been through
7. Association/Correlation Does Not Prove Causation. In other words, just because two things are related doesn’t mean one caused the other.
8. Research demonstrates our recall is biased. Our Life Events Take on “NEW” Meaning Over Time
Dawes suggests that to improve rational thinking, we should strive for systematic external representation of the judgment or decision that we face. I am still sorting out what it all means and thinking through different ways to do that. To think about things in ways that are distributional, Visual, Symbolical and Technological.
I have been waiting to find the right time to publish this post. Then this morning I began thinking about our decision process and wondering if there was more. In his book; “The New Earth,” author Eckart Tolle defines Ego as; ”an illusory sense of self” based on one’s memories and thoughts. He goes on to indicate that our own insecurities change how we interact with other people and when that occurs we are not coming from a place of authentic being. Ironically reading it made me realize there should be a #9 onto the list of factors that lead to poor decision making above. Ego.
That was enlightening for me. It’s all a process. I would love to hear your thoughts below. Thanks for visiting my blog.
Posted in Business, Reflections on Leadership, Reflections on Life | Tagged: 8 factors that lead to poor decision making, bad decisions, deciding to decide, decision making, Ego, possibilities, random variables, rational choice, thinking about thinking, why people make bad decisions, why we make poor decisions | Leave a Comment »
Posted by KakieF on December 14, 2012
By Audra Jones
When I was younger, I belonged to a club that did community service work. There was one specific event that was memorable for me. We spent three or four hours handing out warm dinner to the homeless out in the streets. After that we went to a homeless shelter not far from the Bay Bridge.
I was in high school and at the time and my sister was too young to participate. She wanted to help, so she made four or five dozen chocolate chip cookies for us to take and hand out to people. When we got to the homeless shelter we passed out the remaining meals we had left. Next, we began making sandwiches and pairing them with other goodies and shared them with the crowd. I had the tins with my sister’s cookies in them and began to walk around, offering them to anyone near me.
I approached this older gentleman and said “Sir, would you like a cookie?” He stopped and turned around, looked me right in the eyes and said, “What did you say? Did you call me sir?” And I told him I had, and his eyes watered a little bit and he said, “No one has ever called me sir. Never.” He was completely taken back.
It struck me to my core.
I explained I had been raised that regardless of anything, color, creed, social status, everyone deserved respect It saddened me to think that just because he was homeless, no one afforded him the honor to which every human being should be entitled. It broke my heart, and I couldn’t help but cry. I just didn’t understand why no one ever called him sir? Just because he didn’t have money or a place to live…did that really give anyone any right to be disrespectful to him? I had never thought that anyone was below me because I wasn’t raised that way. Every single person deserves to be treated with dignity and I never realized how ignorant some people can be. Years later, I still carry that memory and the lessons it taught me. Sometimes, what we take for granted as simple gestures can really make a difference in someone’s life.
A note from Kakie: I often say when we give, we get. Everyone deserves to be treated with honor and dignity. Everyone deserves compassion. At the core, we all have the need to be acknowledged. Whether it is through our words or being of service to others, there is so much power when we look another human being in the eye and say; “You Matter.”
Please, share information about a time you have experienced something similar or witnessed a person who made a difference. How have you seen the action of others impact an individual, a community, the world? If you feel moved by this story, pass it along. Every good deed counts. I am grateful you are here and look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for visiting.
Posted in Reflections on Leadership, Reflections on Life | Tagged: acknowledgement, Being of service to others, community, gratitude, honor, human dignity, Humanitarianism, respect, seeing the invisible, volunteerism | Leave a Comment »
Posted by KakieF on November 22, 2012
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. - Melody Beattie
Want to know benefits to living thankfully?
A Psychology Today article called; “The Benefits of Being Thankful,” explains focusing on gratitude promotes well-being, motivating pro-social and moral behavior.
Psychologists asked a group of people to spend just a few minutes a day for 13 days in a row thinking about and listing the things for which they were thankful. Compared to other control participants, these gratitude-focused folks experienced:
- Higher optimism
- Increased positive mood
- Greater feelings of belonging
- Less physical illness
- Lower levels of negativity
- Higher likelihood to be of service to others in need
- More likely to exercise (Suggesting gratitude promotes healthy living.)
- Improved and better quality sleep
The list above doesn’t even cover how gratefulness improves relationships, enriches the emotional climate of family life, makes us more valued within the workplace and lays the foundation for a life well lived. Isn’t that exciting? Are you looking for ways to be more grateful? Below are a few things to take into consideration.
Posted in Reflections on Leadership, Reflections on Life | Tagged: being present for self and others, gratitude, leadership, optimism, positive self talk, self compassion, self-improvement, Thankfulness | Leave a Comment »