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March 23, 2020 / Blog / Mariposa Articles

Six Keys to Leading in Crisis

by Barbara Baill, Executive Coach, barbara@mariposaleadership.com

Leaders have an increased responsibility to lead during times of crisis and this current COVID-19 crisis is certainly one of those times. We have identified 6 C’s as keys to demonstrate your leadership today.

Calm

In any crisis, we look to our leaders for signals that we can either, get through this, or on the other hand, that it’s time to panic (the boat is going down). It’s important, as leaders, that we project a sense of CALM – that we can get through this. This can have a huge positive impact on our teams as we focus on addressing the challenges we will face whether they are personal (how do I make working from home work for me) or business (how do we continue to produce, generate revenue, keep our business alive) in this time of crisis.

Connect

Connecting to your team is more critical than ever! Ensure that you are increasing both the frequency and amount of information you communicate to your team. Here are some ideas:

  • 5 minute daily huddles to check in with everyone
  • Virtual lunches
  • Slack or text channels that are focused on ideas for working at home with children, surviving social isolation, funny things that happen while WFH
  • Increase 1:1s, even for short check-ins at the beginning and end of each week
  • Increase overall business updates, new strategies, redirection of projects, etc.

It’s also critical that you are connecting with your peers and maintaining important relationships across the organization. We are all in this together. Reach out to your peers and colleagues to support them, share ideas for managing in this new environment, for creative ways to socialize where being isolated.

Clarify

Ensure that you take this opportunity to clarify the goals for each of your people. Are they clear on what needs to be accomplished by when? What, if anything, has changed in terms of what they are expected to delivery by when? It’s also an opportunity for you to take the time and space to reflect on your team’s mission and priorities. How might they need to change in this crisis? Is there an opportunity to refocus and/or reprioritize to increase your team’s impact?

Create

Crises are a time for creativity and redesign. Look for opportunities to be creative with your team. Hold a Zoom meeting with the team and use the Chat function to brainstorm ideas, whether about current projects or coping with the “shelter-in-place” challenges. Here is our Design Thinking approach to guide you (all practices can be adapted to videoconferencing formats).

Coach

It’s important to coach your directs, but during a crisis, it is even more imperative. Use this opportunity to reach out and coach your people. We have developed In-the-Moment Coaching that is highlighted by the RAR Model (Rapport, Assess, Reframe). Giving feedback and problem-solving with your team is a daily practice, and it’s also a great time to help each member of your team learn and develop.

Care

Most importantly, it is THE moment to show that you CARE personally about each member of the team. In your 1:1s, ask how they are coping with the crisis, what is most challenging for them, what are their concerns/worries. You don’t have to have all the answers, you just need to listen and ask if there is anything they need from you. This demonstrates that you care about them personally. As the crisis continues, we all need support. Reaching out proactively to your team, your colleagues, your customers is a key leadership role for you now. This is about leading with your heart, not leading with your head. Heart-based leadership breeds loyalty and commitment and is one of the most powerful leadership tools we all possess.

Finally, it’s also important that you practice SELF-CARE. As a leader, the demands on you escalate in crisis. You have your own worries, challenges and concerns. Ensure that you are taking time to rest, regenerate, and exercise. Find a friend, colleague, family member to co-support each other. You can only be your best leader if you are taking care of yourself.

To download a PDF of this article, click here.

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March 16, 2020 / Blog / Mariposa Articles

The New Normal: We Ain’t Going Back Now

by Sue Bethanis, CEO/Founder of Mariposa, sueb@mariposaleadership.com, @suebethanis

Whoa, last week was the strangest week I have experienced. Ever.

How are you holding up? Perhaps stop for a minute, and check in with yourself: How AM I actually holding up? You probably haven’t had a chance to catch your breath from the horror of last week, and the ongoingness of the weekend. And, well, today, has unfolded with the biggest stock market drop ever, and a Bay Area “Shelter-in-Place” Order.

In the last week, you probably went to the store(s) and stocked up; you probably have your (tiny) workspace set up in your home; your kids are now out of school and you’re getting them set up in their (really tiny) workspaces; and I am hearing from some of you, you’re already starting to feel isolated (and it’s only been a week!)

You are not alone, for sure. The collective “we are all in this together” feeling might help ease some of the anxiety. That’s the good news. The not so good news — what I am also hearing and sensing — is that many work colleagues and clients believe this is a three-week thing; we can tolerate this for three weeks, can’t we? My guess is this is more likely a three-month thing, which would look like: kids out of the school the rest of the semester, which means they go back in September; WFH will be extended as mandatory by most, if not all, businesses or local government until the end of May; and we continue to be plagued with: when is this going to end?

What if it doesn’t end, per se? What if we reframe the situation we are now all facing to create routines that will help us get through this transition period that will also help us on the other side? I think it behooves us to seek opportunity and to prepare for the New Normal.

What is that new stuff? Things you can start now, that you will be doing more of in the New Normal. The transition might be three weeks, but the New Normal is here to stay.

Here are some ideas:

Birdwatch, mostly alone. The Bay Area “Shelter-in-Place” Order, under the special cases questions section, actually encourages people to get outside — take a walk or run, go to a park — to avoid being cooped up which may amplify your anxiety. It’s good for well being, the notes say, with the very important caveat to practice social distancing — stay 6 feet away from others. And, by the way, don’t forget to watch and listen for the birds.

Exercise at home. You have created your workspace already; please add a (tiny) place to exercise, and to get in some resistance work. Have Amazon send you two 15 or 20 pound weights, along with some resistance bands. Even 10-15 minutes a day of resistance will help. Remember, you’re moving a lot less than normal. And creating specific time for exercise is important for burning calories and lowering stress.

Meditate. I have talked about the importance of meditation in my last two posts here and here. Being mindful of your anxiety and stress level is key to getting through this transition period and in the New Normal.

Set boundaries. For those of us who have been doing WFH for years, the single most important practice is setting boundaries — for when you work and when you don’t, and for how much you and your other family members are on technology. I suggest setting guidelines or rules together and sticking to them as a family.

Socialize. Isolation is already setting in. Consider scheduling a video conference or FT call with a different friend every day (i.e., it’s Tuesday, so I get to chat with my friend Elizabeth today). Start a group video conference chat with several buddies. I am starting a Zoom poker and Scotch group with my friends. Who’s in?

To download a PDF of this article, click here.

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March 9, 2020 / Blog / Mariposa Articles

Working from Home: The Opportunity

by Sue Bethanis, CEO/Founder of Mariposa, sueb@mariposaleadership.com, @suebethanis

If you’re a knowledge worker living in the Bay Area and are not already working from home (WFH) by choice or by company policy, my guess is you soon will be. I suspect we will be following Seattle’s lead this week or next.

I have been working from home for 24 years as an Executive Coach, and I work with tech leaders who have made the transition to WFH in the past. Am working from home today, in fact, keeping tabs on my sick teen (he’s without-a-fever, but keeping him home for public health reasons).

Last Tuesday, I “penned” an article on “How to Be Leaderly in Utter Uncertainty.” Today, I am addressing WHAT AN INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNITY WE HAVE TO BE ABLE TO WORK FROM HOME. The Economist addresses the business opportunity of WFH here. The WSJ addresses the practical things of WFH, like your tech set up, here.

I am looking at a different opportunity: what you can do with that hour (or two) you just got back from no commuting and not having to sprint from meeting to meeting. And you’re not traveling, so you’re getting that time back, too. So, you really do have more time on your hands. I imagine you’re spending time getting set up and getting used to the idea that you’re using your dining room table or old card table as your workstation.

Once you have your set up, what are you going to do with that extra hour?

Three Ideas: Self-care, Family, Strategic Thinking

Self-care: meditation and exercise

If there is ever a time to practice meditation, now is the time. There is no question our collective anxiety is heightened because of COVID-19, the economy, uncertainty; and our individual anxiety is increased as well. Meditation and mindful breathing can calm us. Perhaps you have let your meditation practice go; if so, start it up again with 10 minutes in the morning. If you have never had a meditation practice, perhaps it’s time to start one up. One way to start is through repeating a mantra. I have used this practice for 30 years; it has never gotten old.

Sit in a quiet place with your feet on the floor.

Focus on your breath so that you can feel it go in and out of your nose.

Repeat this mantra:

  • May I be happy,
  • May I be safe,
  • May I be healthy,
  • May I live with ease,
  • May I be free.

Next, choose a person you’re closely connected with. Say his/her name in your mantra. You may want to choose a different person each day or repeat the mantra a couple of times in a day with various people:

  • May (name) be happy,
  • May ____ be safe,
  • May ____ be healthy,
  • May ____ live with ease,
  • May ____ be free.

Family: walking and connecting

You can create a “two-fer” opportunity if you walk with one of your family members or friends in the morning or as a break in the late afternoon. What an incredible opportunity we have that we get to see our family members more. Yes, I know – especially if you have kids – you’re going to have to create some boundaries for your work space and time; however, use this opportunity to put attention on your family members that you haven’t been able to do the past year, 5 years, 10 years…you know what I am talking about. Connect with them in a way you haven’t been able to in the past.

Strategy/Design: (Yes, you have been putting this off)

Once you get into your daily routine of WFH, think about that hour you have because you’re not sitting in your car. You have been putting off doing strategy work. And whatever strategic or vision documents you do have, they might need to be revised based on the new normal – the business climate took a huge detour last week, and today, March 9th, the DOW dropped 2000 points.

Re-looking at your business proposition, product, or market(s) might make some sense! So, what new scenario planning should you do? What approach could you take? For the past 10 years, I have used a Design Thinking approach with my company, Mariposa Leadership, and have worked with many execs and their teams using this approach. This requires looking at the market in a different way and bringing in your customers to solve problems WITH you. This Design Thinking method is outlined here. Typically, these types of journeys are done in person. Now, you have the time to do these types of brainstorming meetings via videoconferencing. What a cool opportunity!

To download a PDF of this article, click here.

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March 3, 2020 / Mariposa Articles

How to Be Leaderly in Utter Uncertainty (and what behaviors to focus on in this current coronavirus situation)

by Sue Bethanis, CEO/Founder of Mariposa, sueb@mariposaleadership.com, @suebethanis

Like you, I have been flooded the last three days with news and emails about coronavirus precautions. To allay my own anxiety, I spent much of this last weekend reading, and today, I am writing because I want to help reduce anxiety and be practical about how we can act as leaders of our organizations. As a leadership coach, it follows that I am focusing on leadership behaviors.

We have an obligation to protect and care for those we work with. It’s on us, and we can’t rely on politicians. There are potentially two pandemics here – wide-spread Covid-19 and wide-spread panic. Whether either becomes a pandemic in the US depends a lot on the actions we take.

What are our primary goals as leaders in this situation?

  • Plan for uncertainty
  • Overcommunicate with empathy and clarity
  • Model diligent healthy behaviors to limit spread

First, planning for uncertainty means planning for the worst-case scenario. If you have not developed a revised travel policy, remote working policy, and sick/leave policy, it’s time to do so now. I also suggest sharing your plans and learnings with colleagues in other organizations. Coinbase, for example, has open-sourced their plans. Check out how HR leaders and Coinbase are on top of this here and how a seven-point plan from McKinsey covers business practices here.

Frankly, I think developing these policies is the easy part; it is tedious, but you can borrow from and benchmark with others on this. The harder part is putting these policies into action and having to make decisions in the moment when you don’t have all the information you need. How do you plan for that?

This is the time to uplevel your flexibility skills and mindfulness. Planning for uncertainty also means expecting the unexpected and priming yourself for surprises. Go into your day thinking that there will be something that happens that you have never dealt with before. This will help you be calmer in a crisis because the surprise doesn’t cause as much of a stress (fight-or-flight) response in you. Your calmness will help others be calm and will lead to less anxiety and overall panic.

This is also the time to re-engage in a meditation/breathing practice if you have let it slip lately. Doing even 5-10 minutes of meditation to start your day will help you through the rest of your day.

Second, practice overcommunicating with empathy and clarity. Here are some examples:

  • Set up regular communication practices via all channels to get the word out about revised policies and ongoing revisions. It’s important that employees get into the habit of checking @all for the latest info.
  • If someone wants to stay home because they are sick, potentially sick, or has been in contact with someone sick, grant it without hesitation. But don’t stop there: have a conversation with them and go out of your way to ask about your team members’ concerns and what support they need. These simple words can go a long way to quell fear and anxiety. That’s your job always, but it’s especially your job now: support, support, support.
  • On the other side of that situation is this: a sick employee or co-worker who insists on coming into work because they have an important meeting with clients/customers or internal colleagues. Gently insist they don’t come in, and work through who else can cover for them. Further, if there has ever been a time to have back up to the backups, now is the time. Look at your team, chat with your team, and think about the importance of supporting each other. Who can back up whom? What does each member of your team need to get up to speed on to be able to cover for each other?
  • No doubt we are going to be doing more videoconferencing because many employees will be working from home. Be sure to communicate regularly about how working from home can be potentially isolating for you/your team. Give peeps a chance to voice their concerns about this and ways to overcome this.

(Click here for a handy infographic on “overcommunicating” practices.)

Third, it’s vital as leaders that we model healthy behaviors with diligence! This will limit the spread of the virus. Based on what I have read in the last three days, this is a good list for leaders to model:

  • Wash your hands for at least 15-20 secs, including the top of hands and in between fingers. Good idea to use (and provide) hand lotion as well because our hands are dry from all this washing.
  • Use hand sanitizer every time you enter a new place and every time you leave; have a personal size bottle with you at all times. Organizations should also have them in every room; and employees should use it at the beginning and end of every meeting. Also ensure to wipe down all touched surfaces with disinfectant anti-bacterial routinely.
  • Don’t touch your face! The best article I have read is on hand-to-face transmission; read here.
  • Do not hug, shake hands, or fist bump. Elbow bumping is now in vogue.
  • If you have not had a flu shot, get one now! It won’t stop the coronavirus, but it will aid in stopping other flus. From a public health perspective, this will have less impact on hospitals and clinics. In the U.S., 32 million people got the flu last year; 310,000 people were hospitalized; 18,000 people died. In Japan, the “regular” flu rate has gone down in the last 2 months because people are hand washing more often. Fascinating article on this here.
  • If you are sick, do not go into work and expose people (this should be the case for any type of sickness). It will also make it less awkward for everyone. When you have to cough or sneeze, do it into tissues or your sleeve at all times.
  • Stop buying face masks because they are ineffective for those without symptoms of the coronavirus. These purchases deplete the supplies needed for medical professionals.
  • Get better at video conferencing! If you don’t already do it on a regular basis, start practicing. Here are a few things to know:
    • We at Mariposa have been using Zoom, a video conference software for 3 years and it does take practice. Plan a time with your team to work remotely and start teaching them the protocols. Zoom also offers free webinars and live training guides on how to use their services.
    • Get the right technology tools in place NOW and help keep your team connected when they aren’t in the same physical location. Think about what specific tools and devices will be needed, i.e., online file sharing tools, laptops, webcams, smartphones, etc.

(Click here for a handy infographic on “healthy behaviors.”)

If you would like to chat more about how to lead in this time of uncertainty, ping me. Happy to help anytime. 4152653142, sueb@mariposaleadership.com

Finally, here are some more excellent resources in addition to ones hyperlinked above.

To download a PDF of this article, click here.

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April 2, 2015 / Leadership / Mariposa Articles

The Communication Toolbox

We all grow up with our own unique communication style. Some people by nature are very direct. They come right to the point. They tell it like it is. They don’t mince words. Other people are more diplomatic, more indirect, more subtle in their communication. Indeed, there are a variety of communication styles—quiet, loud, forceful, caring, showy, authentic, and many more.

One metaphor I have found helpful in working with leaders to develop their communication skills is what I call “The Communication Toolbox.” The idea is that we each have a communication style that is most natural and comfortable for us.  Usually, it’s a style we began to develop early in our lives or careers, and that somehow has served us well.  But no one communication style is going to be right for all situations, and leaders encounter a tremendous diversity of people and contexts.  Part of being a well-rounded leader means having more than just one tool.  The further up you go in an organization, the more important it is to have a broader set of tools in your communication toolbox.To read the entire article, visit the Sierra Leadership blog.

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August 1, 2013 / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / Mariposa Articles

Leader as Designer

Learn how to utilize Design Thinking in your role as a leader.  This essay, Leader as Designer, by Mariposa Leadership CEO Sue Bethanis, opens up Design Thinking to different applications and audiences that goes beyond product development. She offers a clear 4 step process to easily move from idea-to-innovation. The results: successful services,  new experiences, and novel solutions to old problems.

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October 27, 2011 / Coaching Skills / HR / Talent Management / Mariposa Articles

ITM Coaching in Action: What, When, and How to Coach in Interrupt-Driven Organizations

How can you coach others in interrupt-driven environments? The ITM Coaching™ model is available to support learning and change. In this article, by Mariposa Leadership, Inc. CEO Susan Bethanis and COO Tawny Lees, the model is broken down into a simple three-step framework with numerous examples to illustrate the concepts in practice.

To download the full article, click here.

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August 29, 2011 / Articles We Like / Coaching Skills / HR / Talent Management / Mariposa Articles

The Brain – Friendly Organization: What Leadership Needs to Know for Intelligence to Flourish

brain2Advances in human neuroscience are giving us a window into why people behave as they do and how we can manage our environments and behaviors with others to maximize results. These new scientific findings challenge old assumptions of what it means to lead. While intelligence is our greatest strategic asset, our way of life has become profoundly out of sync with our neurology. We can fight biology or leverage it. As we understand more about human neuroscience, true leadership may become defined as the art of creating brain-friendly organizations.

Find out how advances in neuroscience and our understanding of the human brain are revolutionizing what it means to lead effectively by downloading the full article here.

About the Author:

Janet Crawford, M.A., has over 15 years of experience working with executives in Fortune 500 companies and high potential start-ups.  As Principal of Cascadance, Janet primes leaders and organizations for productivity, innovation and collaboration in the 21st Century. Her approach combines traditional leadership development and coaching with cutting-edge insights from neuroscience.

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December 27, 2010 / HR / Talent Management / Mariposa Articles

GIANTs Lessons for Corporate Leaders

Those of you who know me well know that I live in the heart of San Francisco and that I am a passionate Giants fan! A few of you have encouraged me to write about the Giants’ recent World Series victory, particularly, what lessons from the Giants’ World Series run can be applied to corporate leadership?

To download the full article, click here.

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December 27th, 2010|Categories: HR / Talent Management, Mariposa Articles|Tags: |
October 2, 2010 / HR / Talent Management / Mariposa Articles

Stay Curious Amid Uncertainty

“Stay curious, my friends!” is my new favorite slogan, what I envision the “most-interesting-man-in-the-world” saying if he wasn’t selling beer. I sure love those Dos Equis’ ads, even though I am not a big beer drinker. Perhaps it is because I secretly want to be the “most-interesting-woman-in-the-world.” Or maybe it is because when I hear the latest version of these ads, I literally laugh out loud –- even though I am alone in my car. Dos Equis’ ad agency deserves an award for their creativity; and I appreciate that they are putting a magnifier on curiosity!

Curiosity is free! Curiosity is a mindset! And curiosity is the antidote to the unrelenting uncertainty that has become the norm in business today. Curiosity increases our ability to be empathetic in a variety of situations and open to others’ ideas. Think of being a stranger in a foreign country. Our ability to flex, adapt, and see things differently in a foreign country is analogous to dealing with uncertain times in this new strange world of business.

To download the full article, click here.

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