Leaderscapes LLC Blog

Welcome!

This blog is for leaders, managers, consultants, coaches — anyone interested in doing change better, whether personal, professional, or organizational.

Most of us, when asked, embrace the opportunity to change — but meaningful change is very hard to do. It’s hard to initiate the change, even harder to stay the course, hardest of all to make the change stick. It takes extraordinary effort to stop doing something in our comfort zone in order to start something difficult that would be good for us in the long run.

Here you'll find tips and info to help you understand, navigate and do change better.

An Open Letter to the 'Tin Man'

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"When a man's an empty kettle he should be on his mettle, and yet I'm torn apart. Just because I'm presumin' that I could be kind-a-human, if I only had a heart. I'd be tender - I'd be gentle and awful sentimental regarding love and art. I'd be friends with the sparrows ... and the boys who shoot the arrows if I only had a heart. Just to register emotion, jealousy, devotion, and really feel the part. I could stay young and chipper and I'd lock it with a zipper, If I only had a heart." - Wizard of Oz...
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Still Procrastinating?

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My first post of 2019 (A Year From Now You'll Wish You Started Today) outlined 3 steps to a more productive year. Step 1: create a one year vision; Step 2: align your identity with your vision; Step 3: take action in alignment with your new identity and vision. It's October now. And if you are like me, even though you created a vision and have taken action to achieve it, there is at least one part where you just can't seem to get traction. You may have even tried a few times, or started and stopped and started again,...
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Stop Struggling

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Those two words -- stop struggling -- are in the top 10 of all the advice I've received in my lifetime. I was at a leadership retreat in California. Mid-day, day 4, in conversation with Alan, another attendee, I was relating my frustrations with work, relationships, friendships. Everything. I kept saying it, over and over: I'm struggling with this, I'm struggling with that, I'm struggling, I'm struggling. Then Alan gestured in my direction in a way that indicated he had pressed the pause button. I stopped my rant and looked at him intently.  Then he reached out and put his...
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Change Resistance and Relationships

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We have new owners at my gym, as of September 1st. The new owners have two other locations. Those locations naturally have different cultures than ours. I say "naturally" because ours was under different leadership. The past owner started the gym three years ago. She set out to build an environment where we were all in it together -- one that wasn't intimidating, but welcoming; one where you could set self-judgment aside and focus on self-love. She knew everyone in the gym, and she knew their stories. Each person's journey was part of her journey. It's been only 9 days,...
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Embrace the Storm, part 2: Challenge & Change

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Change starts with a challenge -- when someone or something challenges the status quo. The fun really starts when the challenge is accepted. In organizations, the most senior leaders are the ones who first accept the challenge. That decision is communicated to lower-level leaders (both formal and informal leaders) who lead the work at the ground level. In bigger organizations, we "cascade" the messages from leader to leader and group to group, targeting the messages to what we think is most pertinent to each audience. We show them data, explain the rationale, and try to display conviction in the decision....
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Embrace the Storm

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The forming–storming–norming–performing model of group development was first proposed by Bruce Tuckman in 1965. Tuckman said these phases are all necessary and inevitable for a team to grow, tackle problems, find solutions and deliver results. Tuckman's ideas apply beyond teams. Individuals going through change, whether they chose change or not, also experience the four stages. We started a new 10-week session at my gym last week, and we have 3-4 new members at the class I attend at 6 am. The first week is all "getting to know you" -- learning the moves, getting into the routine, and dealing with...
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Go Old School: Knock & Talk

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I am old enough to remember a time before we had the convenience of email and text messaging. Rather than attach documents to email, we sent copies of paperwork and formal memos in re-usable envelopes through inter-office mail. If you needed something faster than the interoffice mail system allowed, then you either made a phone call or you got up from your desk and walked over for a face to face conversation. If a matter was urgent, you checked with the area secretary who handled their calendar to see where you could find them. Those days are long gone in...
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Chasing Failure

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At the gym, our instructors tell us to "chase failure" -- to go beyond fatigued to the point of muscle failure. It makes sense when it comes to working out. But what does "chasing failure" look like in other parts of life? You've heard the Thomas Edison story about the lightbulb -- how every failure led him one step closer to success. And the Wright brothers crashed a lot before they flew. A quick search on YouTube for "epic fail" and you'll find video after video of people crashing, falling and mucking things up. Are they all chasing failure? In...
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Want to improve engagement? Start Small.

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When we talk about improving employee engagement, it sounds BIG and like A LOT of work. It can be hard for leaders to see a clear path between the "engaged culture of the future" as you describe it and the "culture of the present" that they live every day. Engagement is a measure of the relationship between an organization and its employees. An “engaged employee” is one who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and so takes positive action to further the organization's reputation and interests. So, improving engagement means a change in the relationship between leaders...
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Why Self-Leadership?

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Last week's post, What are Leaders Made Of? , covered four elements that make up an effective leader: self-love, self-image, self-leadership, and formal leadership. Of the three, self-leadership is most over-looked and under-rated.  Self-leadership is the ability to set goals that are aligned with your purpose & vision, and to influence yourself to consistently achieve them. It's likely you already know how to be a leader in your own life. You've heard the words and have seen the tools before. But that doesn't mean you practice self-leadership with any consistency. It isn't hard, but it can feel like a lot...
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Time for a New Paradigm

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What is a leader? And how do you become a leader? We tend to think of a leader as someone that you follow. A simple definition is that leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal. For generations, you became a leader by working hard and waiting your turn. If you consistently demonstrated hustle, loyalty, and common sense, your effort would be recognized. You could become a leader by chance. The practice was simple and straightforward, and it worked pretty well. But the newest generations have challenged that tradition. They expect...
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Engaging Senior Leaders (Help Them Help You)

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Back in March I attended the World Lean Six Sigma Conference in San Antonio, TX. In nearly every session I attended, speakers mentioned the importance of engaging senior leaders. At lunch the second day, as we finished our salads, I asked the person seated next to me about his takeaways from the conference -- what had stuck out to him the most. He said, "After all this time, with all the case studies and success stories out there, I can't believe people are still talking about how to engage senior leaders in continuous improvement." His words stuck with me. My...
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Who Do You Think You Are?

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We behave with relentless consistency in alignment with our beliefs about ourselves and the world. In other words, we take action based on who we think we are .  The same old thinking brings the same old results. If you want different results, you have to start with how you think. If you've had difficult making a change stick, chances are your struggles have something to do with who you think you are. As a change leader trying to make a change stick, it's not only about you, but those you are leading. Everyone involved needs to shift their thinking....
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Results Not Typical

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When I was a kid, there were a few things that were considered "instant" -- like pudding, oatmeal, and rice. They were instant because they were the "fast" version, taking 2-3 minutes to make, unlike their 30+ minute versions. By contrast, today we expect more to be instant. Information is readily available -- either from Alex, Siri or the like, or on our handheld computers that are also used for phone calls. Whatever you need, you have an app for that. You can order online and have purchases delivered the same day. You can speak with a nurse or physician...
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The Human Side of Change Leadership

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As a change leader, you drive change in your organization. Everyone is watching, counting on measurable results. Mastery of the continuous improvement tools is important, but a change leader's job is more than tool implementation. Your success depends on your ability to engage, inspire, and influence people to learn and adapt today and every day -- to change how they think about themselves and the world. The tools are straightforward, logical and predictable. Math is math. People are more of a mystery -- both unique and the same, variable and predictable. If culture change is the ultimate goal, understanding the...
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3 'Back to Basics' Ways to Jump-Start Your 2019 Goals

Much like your car battery in the dead of winter (or during a polar vortex), your goals may need a jump-start this time of year. As the luster of the shiny new year wears off, our best laid plans often lose their spark, too. Fear not! Here are three 'back to basics' ways to jump-start your 2019 goals and get back on track. 1. Align your identity: Affirmations Whatever your goal requires of you, decide you are a person who does that. For example, I set a big health & fitness goal this year. It's not a new goal. I've...
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"A Year From Now You'll Wish You Started Today"

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That's a quote attributed to author Karen Lamb -- with the intent to get you started on that project you've been putting off. What if that project you've been putting off is YOU? I've been listening to podcasts and reading blogs about how to start off the new year on the right foot . A meme I found on social media suggested lifting your left foot in the air right as the clock struck midnight on New Year's Eve. Get it? Start the year on your right foot? Well, I have a less corny and more effective way to offer....
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Change is a Self-Leadership Challenge

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If you review the table of contents for most leadership courses, they focus on self-awareness, but not necessarily self-leadership. Leadership development tends to be about how well you lead others, not how well you lead yourself. Self-leadership is not easy or everyone would do it. You are never done; you always have room for improvement. There are people I look up to, people who are better at self-leadership than I am, who will tell you they have a long way to go. Self-leadership requires discipline, accountability and humility, plus courage and vulnerability. These are all qualities you'd expect in a...
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God as a Coach

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The funeral mass for my Dad was this past Monday. He experienced a massive stroke the Sunday after Thanksgiving and died 10 days later. My parents were one of the first couples to be married in the newly rebuilt St Peter's Church in Forest Lake, MN. My siblings and I all went to elementary school there. And as I sat with my family on the hardwood pew, listening to Father Ben talk about my Dad, his faith, and his relationship with God, I thought about my relationship with God. The God of my childhood was an all-powerful, all-knowing God, known...
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5 Ways 'Change' is Something to be Grateful For

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Winter is taking over where fall left off, and the Thanksgiving holiday is right around the corner. This time of year we are compelled to give thanks, to look at life from a place of gratitude. 2018 has been a year of change for me, and I suspect I am not alone. Change can be wanted or necessary, but that doesn't make it less hard or stressful. Change is a process that requires us to evolve, to allow more of ourselves to emerge. Whatever the change you've experienced this year, here are 5 ways change is something to be grateful...
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