Refracting Light Life | Kakie’s Corner

These pictures are from one of our first “free” nights in South East Asia, for the Global Business Systems Executive MBA Global Studies Course, Singaporecourse in the Executive MBA program. This evening four of us opted for dinner on the rooftop in Little India. I heard a calming sound of flapping water, came around the corner and this beautiful scenery, was what I encountered.

This week’s photo challenge asks that we show what “refraction” means to us. Refraction occurs when a ray of light is indirectly deflected by a wave of energy that passes from one medium to another, which causes the illumination to bend and become distorted. For example: water to light, air to glass etc.

I interpret “Refraction” as a metaphor for life. Read more of this post


6 Successful Ways to Influence and Lead Change

6 simple ways to get buy in and influence othersMaking 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, make a comment below. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Day 10: Turning to Community: Asking for Help in Times of Need

21 days to happiness: My story and 3 things I am thankful for: 

Why don’t we lean on one another more and ask for help? My experience as a project manager, coach, mentor and trainer has always been to get people to step outside of their comfort zones by using leadership development strategies to confirm their thoughts, feelings and actions are in congruence with principles, beliefs, values and goals. When we understand what is important to others, we can use that as a tool bring out the best in them. People have shared some of the following reasons with me about why they don’t ask for help:

  1. It will make me look too needy
  2. I am too busy to ask for help and haven’t had the time
  3. Requesting help is a sign of weakness
  4. People will assume I am not as smart as someone else because I can’t do it myself
  5. Rejection
  6. What is the cost?
Experience has taught me that the only valid reason for not asking for help above is number 6. What is the cost? Not financially, but mentally, emotionally, professionally and spiritually. The real reason for not asking for help is about one thing.
F.E.A.R (Feelings and Expectations that Aren’t Real).
Emotional competence comes when we challenge ourselves to shift our paradigms towards a new way of thinking, which uncovers an alternate perspective. I have never had one business partner say they regretted being pushed to grow. Humility is an important quality in leadership.  So are relationships and being connected. Communities exist for a reason, we need one another. Sometimes when we ask for help, we are giving a gift to someone who wants to make a difference.
So what are you waiting for? Who do you need to reach out to today?
Three things I am grateful for today:
  1. There is power when we adjust our assumption points to expand our horizons, I am growing and learning
  2. I get to rely on the community of other brilliant people around me and ask for help
  3. My experiences that helped me write this blog post. I hope it will make a difference to someone

Reviewing Why: “The World is Flat” by Thomas Friedman

I recently read the book; “The World is Flat, A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century” by Thomas Friedman, who presents the case that since 1492 we have shifted economies from countries, to companies, to people. As our ability to connect to others increases, we can do business with anyone, anywhere, which is making the world flatter. Any person can be a reporter, journalist, photographer, etc. and Friedman argues that the “American dream” is available to those who wants it because individuals and businesses can look as big or small as they want to.

If we don’t act now we will not have the time needed to get the right infrastructures in place to ensure we remain economic, professional and educational contenders. He argues that The United States of America is not ready to participate in the global playing field and if we don’t remain competitive, other countries will be in front of us for education, business and economics. Our educational system has been falling behind and his argument is convincing. It makes me wonder how that will affect the future of our kids.

I believe the most important message for future business leaders to know and understand from this book this revolution is still creating new opportunities that are evolving. We will still have opportunity to create more possibilities. But we must keep up the pace because what we learn in school is quickly being outdated.  I highly recommend the book. Below is a summary. I invite you to share your thoughts below!


Meet Tom Endersbe, Author, Three Commitments of Leadership

A few years back I had the privilege of working for Tom Endersbe, author of Three Commitments of Leadership: How Clarity, Stability, and Rhythm Create Great Leaders, a book that will guide leaders to make the Commitments which will result in a positive impact on your world and the people in it.

When I worked for Tom, he was an Executive in a Fortune 300 firm who got to that level as a result of his commitment to excellence, hard work and impeccable ability to build relationships. Prior to this role, Tom was a district manager who built a successful franchised financial planning practice that was in the top 1% of the company.

I watched him craft a team, implement a new initiative, inspire a dynamic group of people and get results. His ability to provide vision and guidance is without match. I believe a big part of this is because Tom genuinely cares about people and wants to help them be successful. If you want to create a culture of follower-ship, you need to read this book.

Recently I took some time to talk with Tom about his new book, below is a summary of our discussion.

Tell us a little more about the motivation behind writing the book and how it came about:

“I was interviewed by Jon Wortmann, one of my co-authors, for his prior book Mastering Communication at Work and he and I found some real synergy.  We started talking every week and discussing experiences we had as leaders and our thoughts about them.  A pattern emerged.  We both felt strongly that the greatest resource of any organization or team is the potential of the people to grow and contribute.  We described many situations where people just settled in and stopped growing.  It kept coming back to the environment they were in and the overwhelming feeling of complexity and uncertainty that stifled their ability and willingness to contribute to their full potential.  We identified that with a leader who was committed to Clarity, Stability, and a Rhythm that they could connect to, they began to take risk, innovate, collaborate, and grow.  That was how it began.”

What kind of challenges have you faced in the process of writing and publishing the book and how did you overcome them?

It took time.  I was driving 2 hours a couple of days a week to a new business that I had acquired and we used the drive time to share ideas.  We would talk, Jon would write-up what we discussed and we would react in writing back to each other.  We did this for many months before we looked to our agent Giles Anderson for his insight on how we were doing.  He pushed back on our writing style but supported our message.  We rewrote the content in more of a leader to leader way and it started to come together.”

How has writing the book helped you in your own growth?

Expressing your thoughts on a variety of themes in a blank page format, pushes you deeper into understanding from just awareness.  You become conscious.  In the words of the book, you gain Clarity.  That gave me a confident feeling of Stability, and Jon and I developed a Rhythm that we could follow.  We moved beyond awareness and cut new paths of thinking and Clarity.  I use the content myself every day.”

Why should people buy and read this book?

This book will provide a filter that everyone can use to sort through complexity in their lives and find the potential that exist in themselves and those around them.  I want everyone to believe that we can all be leaders and impact our world.”

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us today Tom. Is there anything else you would like to share in closing?

I encourage everyone to imagine what could be accomplished if we could unleash the talent of the people around us.  What if they became leaders too?  The Three Commitments of Leadership gives you insight into how.  By making the Commitments yourself, you can begin to model the behavior that will unleash the pent-up potential all around us.  I can’t wait to see the impact.”

Tom Endersbe is the former Head of Field Implementation and Training at Ameriprise and currently is CEO of Endersbe, Herron and Associates.

Why is Adult Learning Theory Important in Training?

I have spent years writing and delivering training across many different mediums. I also taught others how to be effective in the classroom. To be a good trainer, it is important to understand the difference between traditional vs. adult learning theory because it can make a difference in what students will take away from the experience. It looks something like this:

Traditional Learning Model (think elementary school)

  1. One way information flow
  2. Every aspect of the learning process belongs to the instructor
  3. Learning is focused on content and logic
  4. Motivation is external

Adult Learning Theory – six assumptions tell us that adults:

  1. Need to know the goal – why they should learn something prior to investing time
  2. Want to be responsible for their own learning
  3. Want to build on personal experiences in the learning process
  4. Have a strong desire for self-directed learning
  5. Are willing to put energy into things they believe will help solve a problem
  6. Are motivated internally and have a natural desire to learn

Having knowledge of the information above can make a difference in how we write and deliver training. I have learned it isn’t always about giving answers, but about asking questions so that your audience comes to the conclusions that you are seeking. It becomes their ideas and that is where the real education takes place.

How to make training more engaging:

  1. Ask what the audience knows about the topic. What do they hope to get out of the session? The value here is it allows you to tailor the presentation so everyone gets what they need
  2. Engage learners throughout the process, it ought to be a conversation, not a preaching session
  3. Ask random questions to each person to get individual experiences and insight. Sharing personal stories makes the learning relevant to learner’s personal situations and how they make connections.
  4. In the classroom, use different mediums (Writing on a board, having others tally a number or write examples down, small group activity etc.)
  5. For Web-Ex sessions: have participants write on the screen, or give them control of the session so you can talk them through how to use a new website or system. Let them write their answers on the screen. When waiting for people to answer a question, tell them to “raise their hands” when done
  6. Have fun with it, begin or end with trivia questions, the word of the day, fun facts or interesting photos.

Adult learning theory is important because as we lead people through change, it is imperative to remember that individuals process information differently. Using various blended methods to include those above will reinforce the learning, which will lead to increased end-user adoption. Reinforcement and sustaining the new change.

Please share more thoughts below! Thank you for visiting my blog, I look forward to hearing from you.

More about Kakie Fitzsimmons