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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 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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July 28, 2017 / Articles We Like / Stress / Work-Life Integration

On “How to Deal with a Boss Who Stresses You Out”

We’ve all had issues with a toxic boss at one point or another, but consistently dealing with a bad leader can make going to work each morning a stressful task.

In his recent Harvard Business Review article, “How to Deal with a Boss Who Stresses You Out,” Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic shares some practical coping strategies for managing your boss’s dark side. Ultimately, even Dr. Chamorro agrees that the only sure way to stay on the good side of a volatile boss is by being an indispensable and valuable resource.

What do you think of his recommendations?

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April 7, 2015 / Leadership

Ask Mariposa | Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Andrea asks: I’ve been working in my industry for about 18 years and have aspirations for advancement. I joined my current company 9 months ago in my position as a mid-level manager. I was excited to join and hit the ground running. Soon after I started, I learned that the CEO was stepping down. An interim CEO was named until a permanent replacement could be found.  Eventually the company hired an external leader, and as it turns out, I know this person from a previous development program we were in together and am not impressed. I would prefer to work in a company with a CEO I can learn from. Our new leaders are young, untested, and in my opinion, unprepared for the realities of some of the systemic challenges among the staff. I have opportunities for a lateral move with other companies but am not sure if I should leave after just one year in position. I’m also concerned that my chances for advancement will be hindered with this new leader. What advice do you have for me?

Sue Bethanis, CEO, responds:

Thanks for your question, it’s a good one, and one we hear often. It is also a hard question to respond to without a little bit more context, because it is certainly not a black and white situation.  There are many things to weigh before you would choose to leave.  Here are some questions to think about:

  1. Are you set in your opinion about the CEO? For example, are there one or two things you could learn from him/her? What are some things you could possibly learn from each other?
  2. How long has the CEO been in the position, and could you give him/her 90 days to see if he/she hits the ground running in the positive way you didn’t expect?
  3. If you do want to leave, is the leaving after one year an issue for you because it will look like you’re jumping around? Instead of worrying too much about that, try focusing on doing everything you can to ensure you are supporting the current company in its efforts to succeed and the company is supporting you.
  4. As a mid-level manager, I am assuming you aren’t reporting directly to the new CEO, and instead reporting to someone else. If this is the case, and you have a good working relationship with your manager, this is golden, and I suggest putting more weight on that.

I hope the questions I have posed are helpful to you. Happy to discuss further offline.  Good luck to you!

 

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July 3, 2014 / Coaching Skills

The Art of Receiving Feedback

Recently I wrote about the importance of giving feedback to your direct reports and others—openly, candidly and in a way that’s actionable for them. I think 50% of the feedback equation rests on the side of managers, who have to be willing and skilled in giving it.  Today I want to share a few tips on the other 50% of the equation: how to ask for and receive feedback.  How you receive feedback helps set the tone for your whole team.

  • Ask for feedback more than once a year
  • Listen to the feedback with everything you’ve got
  • Clarify the feedback
  • Say thank you

To read more, visit the Sierra Leadership blog.

 

About the Author:

Eric Nitzberg, M.T.S., is the Principal of Sierra Leadership and an Executive Leadership Coach at Mariposa Leadership, Inc. Visit his blog.

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May 30, 2014 / Coaching Skills

Saving Your Job

Sometimes I coach leaders who are afraid they are at risk of being fired.  They may have good evidence to support this. For example, they may have just been transferred to a different department or moved to a more junior position; or they may have gotten direct feedback from their boss, HR, or others that there is a problem with their performance.  They may also just “Have a feeling.”  If this sounds like you, here are a few tips:

  1. Find out what your most important stakeholders want you to do differently.
  2. Write down your goals for change.
  3. Do your very best to work on the areas your stakeholders care about.
  4. Look for other ways to shift perception.
  5. Stay positive and take care of yourself.

To read more on these tips, visit the Sierra Leadership blog.

 

About the Author:

Eric Nitzberg, M.T.S., is the Principal of Sierra Leadership and an Executive Leadership Coach at Mariposa Leadership, Inc.  Visit his blog.

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February 18, 2014 / Coaching Skills / Leadership

The Introvert CEO

Michael asks: I was just named CEO of a small software startup company. I have a fairly introverted personality and realize this new role will require me to move more out of my comfort zone. Any tips?

Therese Tong, PCC, Executive Leadership Coach, responds:

Congrats!

Let’s start with a few assumptions around how your introversion might be showing up:

  • Telling yourself you cannot handle certain situations or leadership roles as well as an extrovert
  • Wanting to say something but not finding the words in the moment
  • Feeling that you need to be more at ease with all the networking and external conversations that come with being CEO

Reasons For and Motivation
Remember the reasons that motivated you to take this role. To make a bigger impact in the company’s success? In the industry? In people’s lives? Every time you catch yourself hesitating or worrying about stepping ‘out of my comfort zone’ – shift your thinking from ‘my comfort zone’ to these motivations and to the ‘others’ involved. See your desired outcome and take the step.

What you are doing here is observing your interpretation

[thinking, head] about an action, retraining your mind to focus differently and also getting in touch with the motivation [feeling, heart] that propels action [will, body].

Use the Gifts of Introverts
As an introvert, you have insight and have thought through issues with clarity and depth. Perhaps you are not as gregarious as the extrovert in selling your idea but you care about others and have great support with close friends and colleagues. From this foundation of insight and care, give voice to your thoughts and what you believe can happen. You can also use your gift of curiosity – when struggling for something to say in a social situation, just get curious and ask a question.

Return to Now
In a room full of too many people – imagine yourself talking to one person in the room, feel the connection you have with this one person; gently and slowly include two, three, four … other people in your dialogue. If you notice any discomfort or anxiety arising, take a deep breath, wiggle your toes. Return to the here and now – your body and the one person you want to share this idea with. Returning to the sense you have in your body, for example, your breath or wiggling your toes can be practiced anytime, especially when stepping out of your comfort zone.

Set Expectations and Allow Quiet Time
As CEO you will have a schedule full of conversations, big and small. For your sanity, you will need to protect adequate quiet time to decompress and reflect. Be clear with your administrative assistant, your direct reports and/or family at home that you must carve out alone time in order to thrive.

Give the above a try and let us know how it has helped you be more courageous to step into some different actions.

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January 31, 2014 / Articles We Like

On "Customer Experience: How To Manage What You Don’t Own"

This article by Erik Long & Will Carter resonates because many businesses today rely on a complex web of external partnerships to deliver value for the customer. While external partnerships are often not within an organization’s direct control, certainly they can be influenced – and they must be – as they are part of the ecosystem delivering on the organization’s brand promise.

The CMO.com article Customer Experience: How to Manage What You Don’t Own shares insights and tips that leaders can apply across all aspects of business, from marketing to human resources, to improve the customer experience. Read it now.

What actions are you taking to identify and influence your company’s unowned touch points? What tools have you used like journey mapping? What other tools do you use to capture and understand your customers’ experience?

Comment below! Or pose a question via Ask Mariposa.

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January 29, 2014 / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / HR / Talent Management

How Design Thinking Changes the Way HR Implements Programs

Most HR professionals understand the pitfalls of implementing an HR program. To circumvent failure, HR professionals often conduct a needs assessment to inform direction, maybe conduct a pilot program, and then move to implement when given a “thumb’s up.”

A design thinking mentality shifts that. Whether designing a product, service or experience, the core principle behind the success of design thinking is “fail fast.” For HR professionals, this changes how “buttoned up” your program will be before piloting, or even before rolling it out.  The point is to test the program and via observation and feedback, gather data on an ongoing basis to continue to improve.  Why do this?  Because “customer-driven” programs are the most successful.

To innovate the way you implement HR and Talent Management programs, join us in our new Using Design Thinking in HR & Talent Management workshop

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January 2, 2014 / Book Reviews

Book Review | Solving Problems with Design Thinking: Ten Stories of What Works

solving problems w DTSolving Problems with Design Thinking:  Ten Stories of What Works
By Jeanne Liedtka, Andrew King & Kevin Bennett

Head: (5 out of 5)
Heart: (4 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (5 out of 5)

Design thinking is a creative problem solving method, which emphasizes the importance of discovery before solution using user-driven, empathetic market research approaches and real-world experiments. This method expands the boundaries of problem definition and solution generation, making it a novel approach for organizations to use for solving business problems. However, outside of the design environment, where design thinking is the norm, most leaders need an understanding of how to apply it to problems that are not product-focused.

The ten stories featured in this book showcase how design thinking works to produce innovative solutions to challenges such as internal process redesign, deepening customer engagement and addressing social issues. As a blueprint, these stories illustrate processes and tools used. The authors build on the work of Jeanne Liedtka and Tim Ogilvie’s Designing for Growth, to offer a clear path for implementation.

Leaders interested in using more innovative methods to solve sticky business problems will want to read this book. Buy it now.

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