January 15, 2013 / HR / Talent Management / News / Strategy / Wise Talk

The Passion Behind Your Business Strategy


There are several key factors that go into a winning business – a great idea, a great team, great passion, and great leadership. All are important, but great passion can be the fire that helps fuel the success. Consequently, it can also destroy the business when it is misguided.

Like all fires, passion can spark other flames and become contagious, igniting the passion of investors, business partners, and customers, as well as employees. If left uncontrolled, passion can consume, destroy, and leave a business with an empty dream. However, when controlled, directed, and focused, it can boost a business’ chance for success.

Here at Mariposa, we’re fired up about strategy! It being our leadership theme for 2013, we’re excited to start off this year by peeking into one of the more popular classes at Harvard Business School, a strategy course taught by professor Cynthia Montgomery. This class is also the basis of Montgomery’s book, The Strategist: Be the Leader Your Business Needs. In it, Montgomery identifies that an effective purpose and the passion behind it are what initiate value creation and capture.

Join us Thursday, January 24th at 1pm PT, on Wise Talk as Mariposa Leadership, Inc. CEO Sue Bethanis talks with HBS professor Cynthia Montgomery on how to transform sparks into strategic fire!

Topics for the interactive discussion will include:

• What’s your definition of a strategist?

• How do strategists keep a competitive edge?

• What is a common mistake you have seen executives make when it comes to strategy?

We welcome you to join Wise Talk, our free monthly teleconference and submit your own questions for discussion. Sign up and be entered to win a copy of this month’s leadership resource, The Strategist: Be the Leader Your Business Needs.
One winning listener will be announced at the end of the talk!

December 18, 2012 / Articles We Like / HR / Talent Management / News

Sue's Top Three Reads of 2012

pearl of leadership wisdom

Happy Holidays everyone!

I thought you’d be interested in my Top Three Reads of 2012 – the leadership content that has been the most compelling for me this year: Designing for Growth; “The Power of Small Wins”; and “Why Men Fail”.

I scour Twitter every morning and love retweeting interesting articles and emailing colleagues, clients, and friends the latest-and-greatest resources.

So why these three?  Here are some strands of “interestingness”:

1) Designing for Growth: book by November WiseTalk guest, Jeanne Liedtka  (@DesignAtDarden)

  • I delved into much of the design thinking world this year to complement my own work and by offering a variety of authors, professors and consultants on WiseTalk. I think Jeanne’s approach and her book are simply the most practical of any I have come across. She translates her four questions (What is? What if? What wows? What works?) into 10 ready-made tools. I especially like the Journey Mapping tool!

2) “The Power of Small Wins”: HBR article by February WiseTalk guest, Teresa Amabile (@TeresaAmabile)

  • Teresa’s research approach is simply unparalleled. It’s easy to say that mood affects performance, and even the smallest of rewards and/or incentives leads to more productivity. The way she demonstrated this in her study is awesome. You’ll want to check this out!

3) “Why Men Fail”: New York Times column by David Brooks (@nytdavidbrooks)

  • Before you get ruffled under the collar about the title, David Brooks’ column is not about men. It’s about “being strangers in a strange land.” Whether you’re in a different country or a new company, we must be more agile and flexible.

As always, I welcome your comments and questions!

– Sue

Sue Bethanis is the Founder and CEO of Mariposa Leadership, Inc., a 15-person San Francisco based firm, which provides leadership coaching and consulting to the high-tech, bio-tech, and financial services industries. For more on Sue, view her complete bio.

September 13, 2012 / Coaching Skills / HR / Talent Management / News

ITM Coaching™ in Action

What, When, and How to Coach in Interrupt-Driven Cultures

“Work” is people having conversations with one another to get things done. Conversations drive innovation, change, and results. And coaching conversations, in particular, sustain the results leaders want. Mariposa Leadership, Inc. has worked in high-tech and financial services organizations for the past 16 years. In that time, we have developed and taught ITM (In-The-Moment) Coaching™ — a practical model that helps leaders sustain change and make results stick in fast-paced, interrupt-driven companies. People get interrupted frequently in the course of a day. This is the norm. ITM Coaching™ works because managers leverage the learning opportunities that present themselves and interrupt people to give feedback. Managers are leveraging a system that already exists. An effective leader looks for opportunities to coach “anytime, anywhere.” This perspective flies in the face of the typical manager who says, “I just don’t have enough time to coach.”

ITM Coaching™ is a simple, yet powerful approach. The skills associated with the approach form a user-friendly acronym: RAR.

Rapport – Get into behavioral rapport quickly

Assess – Understand the situation

Re-frame – Help others solve the problem with a new insight or action

As simple as these three steps may sound, usually one of the steps is left out. Here are three examples of the same scenario in which one of the crucial steps of RAR is missing. Also included is the impact to the situation and possible remedies using RAR.

Scenario: An individual is in the middle of a crisis situation and runs to his/her boss to get coached on how to solve the issue.

Situation missing “Rapport”: Despite the explicit contract the boss has to coach the individual on business issues, it does not appear on the surface that the boss cares about the issue because he is distracted by his email. Remedy: Relationships are built over time; behavioral rapport must take place at any given moment and in every conversation. The boss needs to not only make eye contact, he needs to match the direct report’s body language. For example, if the direct report is sitting down and leaning back in his chair, then the coach should do the same. This will signal to the direct report that the coach is truly “with” him/her.

Situation missing “Assess”: The boss doesn’t fully understand the situation and jumps in immediately to tell the individual what to do and is off target on a couple of attempts. Remedy: To effectively assess, the coach must slow down to listen and ask relevant questions. Once the coach fully understands the situation, then it’s appropriate to offer a relevant response.

Situation missing “Re-frame”: The boss asks lots of questions but doesn’t close the conversation and allow the opportunity for the direct report to take a next action step. And, in the end, the conversation takes longer than necessary. Remedy: It is important to get to the “gem” that is going to help the direct report re-frame the problem. A “re-frame” is a new way of thinking about an issue that leads a direct report to a new action, behavior, or perspective about the situation. The direct report must walk away with a “distinction” — something tangible that they can do differently.

With the hectic and fast-paced nature of organizations, we find the simplicity of the ITM Coaching™ model something that managers can easily refer to and practice. Leaving out any one of the 3 crucial steps will significantly minimize the investment already made in having the conversation in the first place. By remembering to incorporate all three practices, you are increasing the likelihood of success and return on your time and energy invested.

For more information about ITM Coaching™ and to register for our October workshop, visit our website.

August 20, 2012 / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / News / Wise Talk

Wise Talk Announcement: Today with Josh Linkner

Join us on our next Wise Talk on Monday, August 20 from 1-2pm PT (TODAY) as Sue talks with tech entrepreneur and bestselling author Josh Linkner on how to drive breakthrough creativity in business and individual success.

Josh Linkner is a successful four-time tech entrepreneur and the founder, chairman and former CEO of the largest interactive promotion agency in the world, ePrize. He is a New York Times bestselling author of two books, with his most recent book, Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity, named one of the top 10 business books of 2011.

Recently, Josh launched his fifth company, the venture capital firm Detroit Venture Partners. Josh is also Adjunct Professor of Applied Creativity at the University of Michigan. He has been honored as the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, the Detroit News Michiganian of the Year, and is a President Barack Obama Champion of Change award recipient. Josh is a regular columnist for Fast Company and Inc. Magazine, and his work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, and The New York Times. Josh earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Advertising from the University of Florida. He is an accomplished and well-respected jazz musician, regularly performing in jazz clubs throughout the United States and Canada.

Please RSVP asap to allison@mariposaleadership.com to reserve your spot.

July 20, 2012 / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / HR / Talent Management / News

The Breakthrough! Model Explained

breakthrough model

What wicked problem do you want to solve?  An operational efficiency? A new iteration of an old product?  A totally different offering that will hit home with your customers? How about a new revenues stream? These sometimes intractable problems need a breakthrough approach to be solved. Breakthrough! is a model and program designed by Mariposa Leadership’s own CEO, Sue Bethanis, to incorporate the latest most cutting-edge thinking.

Breakthrough! is a fresh model for fostering creativity, empathy, brainstorming, and problem solving in a corporate environment. The Breakthrough! model provides a specific method which can help leaders address customer needs and issues in a more efficient and creative way. Leaders will not only understand the customer more deeply, but will also have an arsenal of tools to use by which to expand upon that newfound understanding.

The key to applying the Breakthrough! model is to let go of the traditional incremental mindset that may stifle creativity. Through Breakthrough! (Empathy –> Brainstorm –> Prototype –> Test –> Implement), corporate leaders learn to balance and combine analytic thinking with intuitive, creative thinking so to maximize innovation and problem solving.

The aim of the Breakthrough! model is to provide the knowledge to create a starting point from which true innovation can grow and flourish to benefit any company in terms of problem solving, strategy, and idea generation.

Post your thoughts and questions in the comments section below!

July 18, 2012 / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / News / Wise Talk

Wise Talk 7/25/12 with Javy Galindo

Hello Friends!

Please join creativity speaker and author Javy Galindo and Mariposa Founder and CEO Sue Bethanis on Wise Talk next Wednesday, July 25th, from 4-5 pm PT.  Listen in as Sue talks with Javy about the process of thinking differently and how to develop skills to bring your idea to reality.

Please RSVP asap to allison@mariposaleadership.com to reserve your spot. We are expecting a full house!


Allison Adams
Business Operations

/ Articles We Like / HR / Talent Management / News / Stress / Work-Life Integration

Follow Up Exchange: Why Women Still Can't Have It All

Read this exchange on Twitter between Anne-Marie Slaughter, author of the controversial article, Why Women Still Can’t Have It All, and Mariposa Leadership’s CEO and founder, Sue Bethanis, for a thought provoking discussion and article.

Newly appointed CEO of Yahoo!, Marissa Mayer, acts as the focal point of the discussion to tackle the question of if women really can have it all.

Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below, and don’t forget to follow both @suebethanis, and @SlaughterAM.

July 12, 2012 / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / HR / Talent Management / News

Design Thinking for the Perceptive Corporation



You feel: a sense of constant nagging that your corporation has fallen behind, that product and services are somewhat out of sync, and that your team and general corporate environment are becoming a bit stagnant.

The lack of creativity and innovation within your company has become more and more apparent. The way you design is not consistent or constant, or it may be unclear to everyone. But, what is the best way to problem solve for optimal operations, products, or services?

Well, we can tell you what it is not – it is not to find one solution that will make these problems disappear, because in general that is neither sustainable nor productive in the long run.

A sustainable approach is finding a path that will lead to a well of many solutions (versus one big one) and many small failures. This will inspire new and fresh idea generation.

This path is called design thinking, which includes a deep understanding of (internal and external) customers, frenetic brainstorming, and rapid prototyping.

Stay tuned: our next blog post goes into applications of Breakthrough!  — Mariposa’s design thinking model.

June 22, 2012 / News

We Are Mariposa

Mariposa Leadership intends for this blog to be a dynamic resource for our current and extended community of coaches, clients, and business professionals, as well as anyone else who feels they will benefit from the topics shared in this blog. Through this blog we are seeking to both widen our audience and stay connected to our community by sharing our knowledge, thoughts, and resources. Different authors will contribute on a number of subjects and we hope because of this you will find something exciting, informative, and relevant to you within these posts. Those who have worked with Mariposa know that beyond anything we value creativity and thoughtfulness, and we will only be able to foster these themes in our blog with your help. Do not be shy about expressing your opinion, musings, or challenges on these posts through comments. We hope to make this blog the ultimate learning resource, not only for you, but for ourselves as well.

Refer to the categories section on the sidebar to assist you in your browsing of the blog, and feel free to hit the “follow” button under the Twitter feed to stay informed in real time of Mariposa’s day-to-day news and developments. Send any questions or concerns to allison@mariposaleadership.com.

June 22nd, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |