Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

Consultative Sales in the Next Normal

April 1, 2021
Consultative Sales in the Next Normal

Nobody knows what exactly the next normal will entail, but we do know the following:

  • The Next Normal will not be the same as what we’ve known in the past in specific ways.
  • It’s difficult to predict what will happen in the next normal.
  • Individuals and companies resilient enough to endure the inevitable changes and agile enough to embrace the differences will be the ones who thrive.

Consultative or Solution-based selling differs from more traditional transactional sales opportunities and is more suited to ‘next normal’ circumstances for the following reasons.

Being Customer-Focused When Nothing’s Normal

  1. Consultative sales is more about understanding the problem statements of the customers than it is about the vendor’s product line, business model, or quota and commission. 
  2. Consultative sales is about asking open-ended questions about current and even anticipated challenges. 
  3. The consultative sales professional is fanatically curious about the perspective and challenges of the client or prospect, regardless of whether a current conversation leads to a direct sale in the short term. 

Seeing the Forest for the Trees

  1. Consultative sales generally involves research about the prospect/customer and their needs as well as around market trends. This research is generally conducted prior to the meeting.
  2. A consultative sales approach strategically qualifies leads prior to initial conversation, to save all parties time and money. 

Navigating Troubled Waters

  1. To best work with clients to navigate uncertain and even troubled circumstances, the consultative sales professional must at times be connected to and versed enough with megatrends in the business, the economy, and the industry trends to provide relevant information to guide exploration and decision-making. 
  2. With that said, the consultative sales professional would only provide relevant background information if it benefits the client or prospect, not just because it would increase the sales volume.  
  3. Listening deeply to what is said and what is not said, and asking clarifying questions may even help consultative sales professionals to collaborate with clients to brainstorm future scenarios based on risk factors, market trends, or technology development timelines for example.

Connecting for the Long Term

  1. The consultative sales professional will work with the team to ensure a successful delivery of products and services and a deep ongoing relationship.
  2. Because of all of the above, it’s clear that the consultative sales process generally leads to broader and deeper relationships and transactions built on trust. 

And therefore, it is clear that the consultative sales model will increase the likelihood of success for professionals providing products and services in the Next Normal. 

To better support sales professionals in our network, FountainBlue will be offering a four-module workshop series for sales professionals interested in developing and improving their Consultative Selling skills. We invite your initial questions about our workshop series and consulting services.

The Best Teams: 10 Principles of Exceptional Teams

March 1, 2021

I love it when great leaders point to their teams after being acknowledged for their achievements. Here are some key principles that make teams exceptional. 

  1. Each member focuses on ‘bettering the ball‘, making the overall play better for everyone involved. This is independent of the role of the player, the goal of the game, the state of the ball, or the pressure in the moment. If everyone is able to ‘better the ball’ just a little, the entire play made by the collective team will improve immensely.
  2. Each member of the team believes in every other member of the team. This doesn’t mean that they believe everyone can do everything well, but they do believe that each person can and will do the important things well, and/or speak up if she/he can’t.
  3. When a member of a team flubs, other members provide support and help them to learn from the experience so they can get up and try again. 
  4. Each member of the team is courageous and confident enough to own up to their errors, and get support from other team members to learn from these errors, strengthening the individual member and the overall team. 
  5. Members of the team respect each other for owning up to and learning from their errors.
  6. Each member of the team gives other members the benefit of the doubt that they are working hard to help the overall team. If proven otherwise, the members work with the individual to get back on track. 
  7. Great teams take pride in the accomplishments and potential each member represents. This is especially important if any one member is taking the heat for an error made by herself/himself, or by the overall team/product/organization. 
  8. Exceptional teams will gently call out individual members to help them rise up to the standards set for each team member – whether it’s communicating transparently, delivering results, or supporting other team members.
  9. An excellent team bands together to understand and analyze how to continually improve their track record. Some teams gamify the process to invite friendly competition with the intent of generating results, which provides opportunities for self-improvement and team bonding, and improved results.
  10. When exceptional teams have conflict, they resolve to communicate directly and transparently so they can focus on the learnings and the results.

I hope that we each have the opportunity to be part of an exceptional team at some point in our career. Even if your team doesn’t currently hit all the marks above, striving toward any one principle at a time might help shift your team in that direction.

Measuring Goals

January 25, 2021
JD Dillon, CMO, Tioga Energy: Measuring to Optimize Goals

JD Dillon prepared slides for FountainBlue’s January 8 Front Line Managers Online program, and shared some thoughts on how to optimize goals based on metrics. With his permission, we are sharing top ten best practices as well as his charts.

  1. When optimizing goals, be specific on what your metrics are, and get agreement on whether what’s being measured actually reflects the goals for the product, team and organization. In the example above, JD comes from a semiconductor manufacturing background and shared metrics around cycle times and defects and %EDI.
  2. Once you’ve decided what’s being measured, consider creating three separate goals:
    • The ‘Plan’ is the formal and official commitment, one that is signed and approved and widely understood by people throughout the organization, and by partners and even potentially across the industry.
    • The ‘Model’ is the best possible result, given current resource levels. Knowing this number may help facilitate discussions on how additional people, financial or equipment resources would impact established goals.
    • The ‘Entitlement’ is the best possible result, if everything goes well. If you commit to the ‘entitlement’ goal, the odds are high that your project will fail, for by definition, you would be committing to a ‘best possible’ result.!
  3. Commit to a Planned goal, and provide regular updates on how your actual work is mapping to these goals.
  4. Negotiate for additional specific resources so that you can deliver on planned goals in specific ways.
  5. Be clear how having specific additional resources would impact goal timelines and product/service quality.
  6. In general, aim high for an attainable goal. If you miss the target, you would have more information and can realign in specific ways.
  7. If you aim high and HIT the goal, there’s much to celebrate, and you would learn so much about how to do it right.
  8. If you aim low and miss the plan, then you would totally fail altogether. If you aim low and succeed, there’s not as much appreciation, it’s not as valuable. People may consider it a ‘sandbag’, like you’re aiming low to do something which may not be as impactful.
  9. To increase the likelihood of success, work as a team to be clear on what the goals are, what the timelines are, who has what roles, what could go wrong, etc.,
  10. The bottom line is plan well, aim high, communicate regularly and clearly, and collaborate with all parties to deliver on your committed goals. Learn from each success, each failure.

On Building Trust and Influence

January 7, 2021

On Building Trust and Influence

On Building Trust and Influence

Who do you trust so you can stay safe, have fun, stay connected?

How do you get more influence, so others help you get what you want now for yourself, for others, for the future?

How are trust and influence related?

What can I do to get more people to trust me, get more influence to support my agenda?

Whether you’re on the pre-school playground or in the most elite boardroom, these thoughts rattle through your head. I get asked these questions often. So the last time I was asked these questions, I came up with a top ten list with my thoughts on how to build both trust and influence. I hope that you find it useful as you build your relationships of trust, your programs and projects of influence.

  1. Trust is of paramount importance in building relationships. There’s a direct correlation between the amount of trust in a relationship, and the stability and resiliency of that relationship.
  2. Trust can be a difficult thing to earn, and an easy thing to violate. If trust is violated in a relationship, contemplate deeply why a trust has been violated and what, if anything, can be done to repair that trust, that relationship. The learnings from this reflection will serve you well.
  3. Trust must be respected, nurtured and tended in all relationships, and never taken for granted.
  4. The more trusted relationships you nurture and grow, the easier it is to create and sustain more deep and trusted relationships. 
  5. Influence helps people get more things done. Influence becomes increasingly important in a world where we are increasingly interconnected, and no person is an island.
  6. The more influence you have, the easier it is to gain more influence.
  7. Influence in one area does not necessarily mean influence in another area. To be strategic about your influence, be clear on what you want to influence and for which target audience.
  8. It is easier to influence people who trust you. But someone doesn’t necessarily have to trust you to be influenced by you. Those with much influence are role models for many people, and should keep this in mind.
  9. When those with influence make a mistake, it does impact how influential they are. Reflection on what happened and transparent communication to others about the learnings from a mis-step will help those of influence remain influential.
  10. It is optimal to build deep relationships with people you trust, with whom you can collaborate to influence others on a common cause. Collaboratively building more synergistic relationships of trust and more impact and influence will help all parties make measurable progress toward achieving common goals.

Your comments are welcome. E-mail us at info@whenshespeaks.com.

Doing Well While Doing Right: Linda Holroyd

January 1, 2021

Doing Well While Doing Right

Featured Leader This Week:

Linda Holroyd – Something from Nothing

DoingWellDoingRight.jpg

Despite all the negatives of 2020, it has also brought so much value to each of us.

  • It helps us see what’s important to us, who’s important to us.
  • It helps us focus on the greater good, the bigger cause.
  • It helps us work on the important things in life.

To take advantage of these up-sides and benefits, FountainBlue is launching an initiative to share weekly ‘Doing Well While Doing Right’ stories from our community members, with the intent of sharing practical and inspirational real-world stories, stimulating creative and proactive thinking and problem-solving, and celebrating the successes of leaders who are making a difference as a business and a community leader. 

The Doing-Well piece is all about the Business Opportunities, the Scalable processes, the Returns on Investments, while also embracing the doing-right piece. The Doing-Right piece is about doing the right thing for other people, for the Earth, for the less fortunate, for the future, while also embracing the doing-well piece. Each story in the series will include a twenty question survey as well as a summary story based on the survey responses.

We will send these stories out weekly over e-mail, over our blog and over our LinkedIn profile and sharing it from our web site as well. It is only fitting that I launch the series with my own answers, my own interview, which will be released at noon on January 1, 2021, as part of our weekly event invitation e-mail.

About ME

1.   Tell your story about your personal and professional background.

I was born in Hong Kong, the second of four children. My mother won a debate, so we stayed together as a family with $20 between us, four children ages 2-7, no job, but a place to stay. Through perseverance and hard work, we managed to buy a house and all the kids graduated from college, got married and raised families. I worked my way through UC Davis as a preschool teacher, an office manager and a notetaker and typist. Armed with a major in psychology and a minor in education, I earned a teaching credential at San Francisco State and taught elementary school for six years.

From there, I worked in sales, marketing and leadership roles in tech start-ups for two years before launching a web consultancy alongside my husband. After growing it to 18 people and $4 million in sales, we sold the company, and I worked in the nonprofit sector before launching FountainBlue in January 2005. As a management consultancy, FountainBlue focused on my two greatest passions – Leadership and Innovation. Known mostly for the programs we’ve run monthly, we also advise start-ups, coach executives, and provide strategic, leadership and management consulting to companies large and small.

2.   What are your personal and professional goals for sharing your doing-well while doing-right story?

I wanted to launch this series in response to all that has happened to us in 2020, to profile success stories of business professionals stepping up and showing up to do well, while doing right by others. While much focus is on the negative,  it’s the positive, feel-good, practical stories that inspire others, and  provide tangible ideas and outlets for others.

3.   How has your personal upbringing helped shape your desire to do well, while doing right?

Raised with very little education and very few resources and support, I learned to be independent and create my own opportunities. Born with a strong moral compass and a sense of justice and a strong desire to do right by others, I’ve always stood more for the greater good than for my own personal well being.

4.   Tell a story about a younger version of yourself and how you were impacted by your early role models.

When I was five, we were assigned four hours of homework a night. I wanted to respectfully protest, make a stand for having less homework for all, so I convinced my uncle to do my homework, which took him 15 minutes and turned in my assignment. When I was asked by my teacher who did my homework, I told the truth and explained that I thought it was more appropriate for five-year-olds to have more play time. I was sent back to my seat without additional comment, but looked upon by the other students like a pariah.

When the teacher told my mother what happened, she just agreed that there was A LOT of homework for children so young. When my mother told my father, he made no comment, but did brag about what I did to our friends who joined us for dinner that night.

My parents taught me to think for myself, act on principle, and work for the greater good. Although they have passed many years ago, they still influence my thoughts, words and actions.

Learning how to do WELL

5. How did your education and professional experience help you to learn business basics around strategy, execution and management?

I learned how to lead and manage while in an elementary school setting as a classroom teacher and adapted my skills to a business setting working with start-ups, corporations and investors. Based on my breadth of experience in a wide range of sectors, I learned how to 1) align strategy, execution and management, 2) work with people who make you want to be better versions of yourself, 3) manage work with people who don’t bring out the best side of yourself, 4) clearly communicate with the intent of building engagement, 5) build ecosystems of partnerships focused on delivering common objectives, 6) leverage technology and science to increase the impact, 7) increase the impact and reach of products and solutions, 8) humbly reach for more, while pridefully celebrating all you are, all you do, 9) continually learn and grow as individuals, teams, and organizations, and 10) see beyond your own assumptions, so that you and those around you can continue to grow and thrive, respond proactively to an ever-changing, more-demanding world.

6.   Who were the star mentors, sponsors and coaches who helped you when things got challenging?

I’m one of those people who learn from many others. I open-mindedly adapt qualities and traits of others I admire, especially if they have skills far different than my own. I remain curious about those who are not-like-me, and truly all those who speak and act on principle, no matter how difficult that proves to be.

In transitioning from teaching to start-up advising and consulting to advising and investing, I learned to many role models how to leverage my strengths and knowledge to more strategically deliver value to a wider set of customers, to build ecosystems of partners in collaboration around common goals, and to work hard and with purpose, to do well for the company, while doing right for the people impacted.

7.   What did you do to better hone your influencing skills?

I failed often, in ways big and small. It was always the grandest failures that made me stronger and better. It was always my perseverance, strength and indomitable will and faith which made my pick myself up, brush myself off, and say ‘what’s next’. Helping others do this for themselves, inspiring others with my example is one of the greatest joys in life.

8.   What are a couple of mistakes you made in your early career which helped you be more successful in your business transactions?

Learning early about my own strengths and weaknesses helped me focus on areas of strength.

My failures teaching a classroom full of under-privileged kids taught me to align my passion (empowering others), my skills (ability to teach and inspire), may not always get me the results I seek, unless the other parties are willing and able.

My failures at small start-ups helped me see the value of principles founders, hardworking technologists, and willing customers and partners.

Learning to do RIGHT

9.   How did your early experience and upbringing help you build a desire to do right by others, by the earth, for future generations?

As a curious onlooker, I saw the short-term and long-term impact of leaders at all levels. No matter the financial and economic outcome, it always felt hollow to witness the success of a product or an organization, unless I felt like the service or product also served the greater good.

Working with entrepreneurs, investors and executives, many feel that same sort of hollowness, and many in mid career purposefully seek creating and building something that makes a difference and serves others.

10.  What are some examples of what you did as a child to do right by others?

It was always more important for me to take a stand on behalf of all of us, rather than on behalf of myself or a few of us. I wouldn’t have minded, for example, doing the assigned homework, and I would have found a way to do it faster and better. But the thought that it couldn’t be good or right for others is what motivated me to take action, even if I had to suffer the consequences.

11.  When and why did ‘doing well’ NOT be enough, so that you decided that you must also ‘do right’?

My first business experiences were around the dot com bomb, where I met and briefly served many entrepreneurs who were blatantly clear that their business model may not be sustainable, but their own possible up-sides were more important. I vowed to disengage with anyone who shares those same principles now, no matter what the financial up-sides are for myself or for their organization.

The doing-right must be part of the equation. But the doing-right isn’t enough, if the company isn’t also doing well.

12.  Who has helped you make more impact doing right by others?

The hundreds of leaders, entrepreneurs, executives, investors we’ve served over the past twenty five years have each helped me reach higher, stand taller, leap farther, and stretch beyond my own view of the world.

Overcoming Obstacles

13.   What are some of the barriers to making pronounced impact?

  • The market must be ripe for the opportunity ahead.
  • The technology must be scalable enough to efficiently bring personalized value.
  • The leaders at all levels must be principled and competent and trustworthy.
  • The ecosystem of partners must be collaborative, integrated, and coordinated.
  • Luck must be on your side.

14.   Who and what could help address these barriers?

All stakeholders have a role in delivering the above, all leaders and managers must continually coordinate a forward movement toward shared goals, building momentum, generating results, communicating and sharing progress.

Amplifying the Impact

15.   What specific do-right impact would you ideally like to achieve, and why is that the most important objective for you?

So many people are doing so much to do right by others while doing well for the business. It’s my goal to highlight the wide range of people and solutions which are Doing Well while Doing Right, so that others can learn from their success, and join in amplifying the impact.

16.   What is the core message, the core vision of the initiative?

  • Together, we are Doing Well, while Doing Right by Others.
  • Sharing our successes, we can inspire and empower others to do the same.

17.   What are you doing today to amplify the impact of doing well while doing right?

We run monthly FountainBlue events online, we curate and share weekly Doing-Well stories, we coach executives and consult to start-ups, helping them do well while doing right. We also volunteer heavily in the community and connect regularly with an ecosystem of partners for the greater good.

18.   How could we all work together to move the needle forward in specific ways?

Share your story, share our events, partner with us to spread the word.

What does success look like?

19.    What does success look and feel like?

The Doing Well While Doing Right stories will be curated and shared so that others can celebrate successes, get stimulated on what’s possible, and contribute with their own strategies and plans for doing well while doing good. The lessons will live on, the community will grow stronger, the energy will grow while we all work and live in a more connected, more purposeful world, driving to a more sustainable, more equitable future.

20.    What one thing could we each do to make this so?

Bring an open mind, an open heart and positive intentions to every interaction with a focus on building connections and generating results.

In Search of Truth

December 1, 2020
In Search of Truth

How do we know what is ‘True’?

How can we act without knowing what’s True?

What can we do to validate what’s True?

Who do we work with to honor the Truth, and take action based on the Truth?

These and other tough questions come to mind in this year of great change. So many ‘Truths’ have been questioned. What we thought we knew is not quite so. Who we thought we were, who we knew our friends to be is much more fuzzy than we could have imagined.

As we look with hope to a brighter new year, let’s contemplate what Truth is, what Truth means, how we can collaboratively act on what’s valid and True for the good of all.

  1. First validate that you’re working with the Truth. Consider the sources of information, the agenda of those who might voice something less than true. Taking that moment to make sure that you’re working with True News will save you time and energy.
  2. Question your traditions, your perceptions, your faith, your authority figures, the media, your experience, even your reasoning and your judgment as you seek the Truth. Unveiling your biases, understanding your automatic responses, knowing your background will help you introspectively identify, acknowledge and embrace the Truth.
  3. Live your North Star – your values, your purpose, your goals. Align your thoughts, words and actions to that North Star, factoring in the identified Truths.
  4. Only connect and collaborate with others with information and data which is vetted as TRUE.
  5. Connect with the right person who can embrace the Truth and strategize, plan and act toward achieving a goal which would benefit all.
  6. Connect at the right time, and focus on a common purpose.
  7. Be Constructive and Supportive of the people involved, the cause adopted – with every conversation and action.
  8. Continually consider the implications of the strategies, plans, messages and actions adopted and make adjustments as necessary.
  9. Follow through, and grow the team, initiative, purpose, cause.
  10. Learn lessons well, share and document your findings. Grow the impact. Make a difference for the betterment of all.

We’ve all taken a beating from all the shocking changes of 2020. I am thankful for all the people who have helped me be more fully myself, for the health and safety of the ones I love best, for the opportunities to continue to learn and grow, and help others to do the same.

Here’s to a Happier, Healthier and Much Improved 2021!

The Whys, Whats and Hows of Diversity

October 26, 2020
FountainBlue Survey: The Whys, Whats and Hows of Diversity whenshespeaks.com/diversity

FountainBlue leverages its two decades of experience coaching and managing leaders at all levels to provide strategic Diversity and Inclusion consulting to tech companies across Silicon Valley and beyond. 

FountainBlue created the above matrix on the Whats, the Whys and the Hows of Diversity, and compiled the summary of learnings based on interviews with dozens of HR professionals in the FountainBlue network and beyond in the month of October.

Build credibility, momentum and funding by making a business case and collaborating with business leaders.

  • Attaching diversity to a business cause and a business result exponentially increases the likelihood of adoption, funding and momentum.
  • Engagement across executives, business units, and geographies also increases the likelihood of short-term and long-term support and success.
  • Although the passion behind the diversity cause brings attention, the focus on the business imperatives brings resources and results.

Rise above the do-right, and speak to the do-well.

  • Passionate and emotional commitment is essential for success, but that passion must also focus on the business imperatives.

How you think must align with how you speak and how you act.

  • Token thoughts and words are noise. Actions without thoughts and words are random acts which can’t bring lasting change. Align how you think with how you speak with how you act.
  • Choose a culture that consistently aligns thoughts, words and actions.
  • Don’t expect perfection every time, all the time, but do commit to always learning and growing and standing by core values.

It’s always about how you make people feel.

  • Make people feel important and valued.
  • Ensure that their experiences as staff consistently reflect how important they are to the organization.
  • Sincerely invite feedback and input, but only if you intend to follow through.
  • Challenge everyone to rise above what they’re doing now, and think to what they can do in the future, how they are grow in position and value within the organization.
  • Invite open-minded thinking out of the box.
  • Invite, celebrate and reward people to be enthusiastic and engaged, performing far beyond expectations. 

It’s a journey, not a destination.

  • Be vulnerable, authentic and sincere in communicating how the team, the company can work together to build a cohesive, empowered, engaged culture, a rewarding user experience, an effective organization and brand.

Please join us in thanking our participating HR leaders for their input on this article. These findings will be integrated into our coaching and diversity consulting practice with more information available at www.whenshespeaks.com/diversity. 

We also welcome your insights and input on diversity best practices you’ve successfully implemented for your company. Meanwhile, our corporate partners will share their best practices in our upcoming programs.

An ALL-IN, ALL-ONE Mindset

September 18, 2020

Adopt an ALL-IN, ALL-ONE Mindset

Conflict. It’s a fact of life. Sometimes life is dry without it, and sometimes it’s just too much spice, too much sauce! We advocate adopting an ‘ALL-IN, ALL-ONE’ mindset to help our clients to better understand the circumstances and the motivations of all stakeholders and to better strategize and plan on how to best address a conflict. An ‘ALL-IN, ALL-ONE’ mindset:

  • Reminds everyone that they are on the same team, so it benefits Everyone when any ONE person succeeds while helping Everyone to work on a common purpose;
  • Provides us with energy and hope, so that we can be fully committed (ALL-IN) and fully trusting of the team (ALL-ONE);
  • Connects everyone to a higher purpose, a higher goal than one he/she could do on their own;
  • Helps align everyone on a common purpose, and a common plan on how to achieve that purpose;
  • Encourages respect and acceptance of people who are not-like-you;
  • Empowers everyone at all levels to express their motivations and interests so that it can be factored in with the strategy and execution;
  • Invites respectful debate when appropriate with no room for dissension when a decision has been made;
  • Increases the likelihood of receiving a more diverse range of effective options and opportunities;
  • Helps any individual member (and the team) to understand when she/he is not a good fit for the team and make plans accordingly and
  • Emboldens all of us to keep reaching for stars, in a way that’s All IN, All-ONE.

You don’t have to be ALL-IN for all things, but do adopt an ‘ALL-ONE’ mindset – choose kindness and compassion and curiosity, especially for those who are not like you.

Courage – The Great Differentiator

August 25, 2020

Courage

Courage is the great differentiator. It separates Leaders from wannabes, Managers from almost-winners. Yet we each have the opportunity to be courageous regardless of our title, our role, our history, our circumstances. This blog muses on some different kinds of courage you may experience, and invites you to accept and celebrate each opportunity to display courage.

  1. Blind Courage is the unthinking courage exhibited in emergency situations, particularly when a loved one is in danger. Generally, it’s an immediate, unthinking and urgent response to circumstances.
  2. Faith is the kind of courage which helps people persevere and have hope despite the circumstances. Having faith gives us the hope to get trying, to keep getting better, to look to a brighter future, a bigger and better outcome.
  3. Responsive Courage to an Imminent Threat involves understanding current and future circumstances and bravely taking action to address an inevitable, predictable threat.
  4. Responsive Courage to a Perceived Threat is also about preparing for a difficult event, but it’s an event which may or may not happen, but there’s dread that it *might* happen.
  5. Responsive Courage to a Future Threat is about taking courageous measures for an event which would take place in the future.
  6. Conditional Courage means that you could be courageous under specific circumstances -maybe it’s when you’re engaging in a specific sport, or maybe you’re more brave when you are working with specific others or working on specific types of projects.
  7. Qualified Courage is the type of courage you feel when you’ve earned or learned or done something which makes you feel confident enough to or qualified enough to perform a risky task which takes skill, education and talent.
  8. Authoritative Courage is the courage assigned to someone who has adopted a specific role. Sometimes there’s training involved, as for soldiers or policemen and firemen, and sometimes there isn’t much training involved, when you’re a parent for example.
  9. Situational Courage is when someone tends to be more courageous under specific circumstances. For example, as I’m both a weak skier and a weak diver, I would never volunteer to rescue anyone on the slopes or in deep waters.
  10. Integrated Courage is a blend of the types of courage listed above, and other types not mentioned. Having a courageous mindset makes you more likely to choose courage and stand out in a good way. Understanding that there are many different kinds of courage will help you be more open to accepting the courage of others, and displaying some courage yourself.

Be Bold. Be Different. Be Courageous.

The Stress Sandwich

August 1, 2020

StressSandwich

Graphic by Chanti Holroyd Mention this graphic for a 20% discount chantih@gmail.com

Stress. It’s a part of life, especially in the fast-faced tech start-ups pressured to innovate and lead faster and better.

And things are much complicated with the divisiveness and uncertainty caused by the pandemic and the resulting economic distress and civil discord.

Yet we must all carry on, and we will. Below are my secrets for managing stress, especially when times are tough. I call it a Stress Sandwich.

Morning – the bottom slice of bread

As you look into the mirror, preparing for each day, ask myself two questions:

  • What am I grateful for?
  • What will I accomplish today?

Expect the responses to vary each day. There are no right answers. Expect responses to be sometimes detailed, sometimes personal, sometimes strategic, sometimes even funny, but the questions should remain the same every day.

Daytime – the everything in the middle

Throughout the day, expect to encounter stressful situations and respond to these stressors by asking yourself some questions.

  • Is it real? 
    • We get so much information. Is the thing you’re stressed about real? How do you validate the information? 
  • Will it affect you?
    • If it does, you can respond from there.
    • If it affects others close to you, it may still be relevant but may be less urgent, less meaningful.
  • Is it important to you in the short term?
    • If so, respond appropriately, especially if it’s urgent.
    • If not, is it important in the long term?
      • Either way, respond accordingly, knowing the long-term impact.
  • Is it your problem or someone else’s problem?
    • Knowing the answer will help you respond. Solving someone else’s problem brings on more stress and doesn’t necessarily address the underlying issue, while possibly causing other issues. (This doesn’t mean that you ignore the problem if it’s someone else’s problem.)
  • If it’s confirmed as your problem:
    • What is the problem specifically?
      • How is it best immediately addressed?
      • What is the underlying cause of the problem?
      • How can you address that underlying cause?
    • How did you personally contribute to the problem, if you did indeed do so?
  • Regardless of whether it’s your problem:
    • What can you learn about yourself and about the problem?
  • How can you manage the stress around the problem?
  • How can you support others through the problem?

Evening: The top slice of bread

As you wrap up for the day, look at yourself in the mirror and do three things:

  • Tell yourself what you’ve done right today and in the past. 
  • What can you do better tomorrow?
  • Tell yourself good job. Tomorrow is another day.

I’ll close by suggesting that you treat yourself by doing 4-6 items from the list below, to help manage your own stress level.

  • Meditate
  • Exercise
  • Sing
  • Garden
  • Celebrate
  • Laugh
  • Learn something new
  • Go out in nature
  • Think/Say/Do Something Unexpected
  • Make someone laugh
  • Talk to someone who makes you laugh or cry or see/hear/feel/understand something better
  • Help and support someone

STRESS has always been a part of life, and will be more so in the next normal. I hope that these strategies help you make the best of it.

A PDF version of the graphic is available here: Stress Sandwich.