Join me at the Virtual Art of Leadership at Hollyhock Oct. 25-29, 2021 

I’m thrilled to announce that my beloved friend and colleague, Michael Bell, will be co-facilitating the Art of Leadership with me at Hollyhock next month! Apply here, or read on to learn more.

Michael and I have been struck by how many of our friends and colleagues talk about wanting their lives and the world to be get back to normal or something that feels a bit more settled.  Actually, we think that our sense of peace, ease and the confidence to navigate the world lives inside of us.  Each of us must cultivate a set of practices that provide the clarity, confidence and compassion to navigate a world where change and disruption will be the water we will be swimming in for the rest of our lives and our children’s lives.  Now is the time to renew our relationship with the tools and skills that will help us lead and live with more joy, ease and clarity of purpose. Join us in a remarkable week of self-discovery and learning.  

The Art of Leadership blends deep inner transformation with immediate, useful application to everyday work priorities. Over the past decade, thousands of participants from around the world have testified that this transformative 5-day training was a game-changer in their own leadership development. Together we’ll explore purpose, power, vision, collaboration, personal ecology and more, in a rhythm of individual reflection, large group dialogue and small group discussion.

Michael and I have both worked with Robert Gass, our friend, beloved mentor and the creator of the Art of Leadership, for over twenty years. And we are thrilled that this year, Robert asked us to continue the tradition by facilitating the Art of Leadership at Hollyhock. Due to continued concerns about health and safety through this pandemic, this offering will be virtual.   

Michael and I have been co-facilitating the Art of Leadership through the Rockwood Leadership Institute, which Robert co-founded in 2000, for well over a decade each.  In 2020, we designed and led Rockwood’s inaugural virtual version, with fantastic feedback from participants, and have facilitated dozens of other virtual trainings and gatherings over the past several years.  

And as always, Michael and I bring a deep equity framework to all the work we do, from our stance as a multi-racial facilitation team, to our focus on power-awareness and connection across difference.   

Candidates are invited to complete a short application.   We will do our best to ensure our learning circle contains a diverse mix of participants, across race, gender, sector and more.  

Applications will be accepted until October 10th, 2021 but we encourage you to apply early as seats and scholarship funds are limited. Successful applicants will be contacted with a registration password. 

Here are the details:  

Dates: October 25 – October 29  
Timing: 9:00 -12:00pm Pacific Time; 1:30 – 3:30pm Pacific Time  
Tuition: $825 CAD (approximately $652 USD). Learn more here.  

Please visit this link below for more details about registration and scholarship: https://hollyhock.ca/p/4851/the-art-of-leadership-online/

Becoming an anti-racist organization

For companies and organizations wanting to get REAL about fighting racism, here are four powerful steps

Geese in formation: a dance of leading and following in turnFor companies and organizations wanting to get REAL about fighting racism, here’s a start:

  1. Gather the data you already have. It’s 99% likely your company has already surveyed/focus-grouped/committeed the HECK out of the topic for years; it’s time to turn that data into action
  2. Set goals – and make them explicit and measurable (recruitment, retention, leadership pipeline, feedback culture, procurement, partnerships, and more)
  3. Start measuring.
  4. Reward progress. And tie senior leadership’s compensation to progress against those metrics (Uber & others are doing this).

Here’s a great article: https://hbr.org/2020/06/is-your-company-actually-fighting-racism-or-just-talking-about-it?

Online course: Building Collaborative Teams for High Impact

Building Collaborative Teams_TWHow do you build a collaborative team that can work across difference, adapt to change and unleash their creative potential? I’m thrilled to be teaching “Building Collaborative Teams” as part of Simon Fraser University’s Executive Leadership program, part of Continuing Studies. In addition to the face-to-face offering each Fall, we’re now offering it as an online course starting March 11, 2019, and running for six weeks. Learn with other senior leaders from diverse sectors and organizations.  There are still a few spaces left!  Register soon to save your spot: http://at.sfu.ca/NxSWZK

Coaching for Power Intelligence

header-web-homeOnce again, Anima Leadership in Toronto is offering an outstanding line-up of trainings this Fall.  Given my own focus on power, I’m really excited about participating in one of them next month: a 3-day seminar on “Coaching for Power Intelligence”, centered on developing the effective use of power by leaders using the new Diamond Power Index, developed by Dr. Julie Diamond.  As the Anima team describes it, “this is an essential assessment tool for anybody wanting to correct  leader’s unconscious use of power including: pulling rank, gossiping, bragging, taking credit, fostering unhealthy competition, not taking responsibility, etc. This is the Myers-Briggs of our generation.”   One option is to participate in the first 1.5 days of the seminar.  The entire three-day training covers the background and research underlying the instrument, how to administer the test, how to interpret scores and reports, how to coach and train leaders and leadership teams, as well as marketing support for using it in organizations. Successful completion of the seminar will result in certification for using the assessment

Join me at the SFU Executive Leadership Certificate Program this Fall!

goldfish jumping to new bowl-iStock_000020130958XSmallI’m thrilled to be an instructor and curriculum designer for this exciting new program offered by Simon Fraser University!  It launches in the early Fall of 2017, and seats are expected to fill. The non-residential program, based out of SFU’s downtown Vancouver campus, is designed for working professionals. Over 9 months, through face to face gatherings, tele-conferences and coaching, the program offers a host of hands-on skills, frameworks and practice that will sharpen the skills of leaders from a range of industries and sectors, from business to not-for-profit. The program is also being offered as a series of individual modules, to make it more accessible.  It’s made the news, too: here’s a great article by the Georgia Strait from an interview I did two weeks ago. Click here for more information about cost, schedule and the application process for either the individual courses or the entire  9-month certificate program.

7 agreements for productive conversations during difficult times

Here’s some timely advice on working across difference. Sometimes the hardest cuts to bear are from the very people we view as being ‘on the same side’; non-profit blogger Vu Le offers some powerful medicine for prevention and healing. Source: 7 agreements for productive conversations during difficult times

“Hire Slow, Fire Fast…”

“Hire slow, fire fast” may be a well-used management cliche, but it deserves repetition. Vu Le’s excellent post today lays out why many managers avoid or delay firing under-performing staff – and why it’s almost never worth it.

Leadership Essentials: Choudhury’s Deep Diversity -Overcoming Us Vs. Them

DeDeep Diversity: Overcoming Us vs. Them is hands-down the most useful, accessible book I’ve read on strategies for achieving deep, enduring racial equity at the personal, organizational and community level. Shakil Choudhury writes with the friendly ease and accessibility of Malcolm Gladwell, mixing compelling stories with cutting edge research, ranging from neuroscience to political theory.

It is simply not possible to be an effective leader without not only emotional intelligence, but what Julie Diamond refers to as “Power Intelligence“. Choudhury sets out a clear map for getting there, and welcomes us all to take the journey.  He sets out a four-part framework (emotions; implicit bias; tribes; and power) for understanding and overcoming the devastating effects of racism and marginalization, bolstered by abundant research and his own decades of work as an international leadership trainer, teacher and consultant.

Once we have the awareness of how both unconscious bias and racism play out within ourselves and in the world (yes, racism exists, and it is everywhere; yes, all human brains are hard-wired to both see and respond to difference in ways that are unconscious and instantaneous; and yes, our emotions – not our heads – drive our actual behavior), coupled with the intention to change, Choudhury offers a set of 7 inner skills for shifting our own habits of thinking and becoming potentially powerful change-makers:

  1. Self-awareness – become aware of our own blind spots, unconscious bias, emotions, body language and body signals
  2. Mindfulness – through practice, developing our ability to witness and interrupt unhelpful habits of thinking and replace them with new habits
  3. Self-regulation – develop the inner power and skillfulness to master our own emotional responses, to return from a state of being reactive and brittle (or ‘triggered’) to one of emotional resilience
  4. Empathy – tapping into the human power of empathy to build bridges of understanding, kindness to enlarge the ‘circle of we’
  5. Self-education – actively seeking out stories, data and facts directly, blasting out of well-worn assumptions or reliance on ‘conventional wisdom’ from the dominant culture
  6. Relationship – actively enlarging that circle, personally and professionally
  7. Conflict skills – developing our skills, comfort and ease with conflict – an inevitable by-product of working across difference – so that we can lean in rather than contract or withdraw

Master these skills – and be a brilliant, compassionate and effective leader in any field – a leader that can help unleash the massive collective power and wisdom of diverse teams, organizations and communities.

‘Deep Diversity” is available at most bookstores, through the publisher, or via Amazon.

Facilitating an organizational vision: Guided Visualizations

Asian woman dreaming iStock_000015298832XSmallMany visioning processes begin with a guided visualization, where participants close their eyes and listen as they are guided by a facilitator through a series of images and questions. The key is to imagine we have arrived at a specified, fabulous point in the future – where all of our dreams have been realized. It is exactly the way we want it. It is about what we are for – not what we are against. And for most of us, our experience of being in this desired future reality is vivid and visceral. (Note: a few of us experience “visualizations” slightly differently – some of us don’t see pictures in our minds at all. Instead, we see words, or experience a set of sensations.) The experience of imagining that we have arrived at a point in the future – that we are there, right now – can unleash a whole new set of innovative, creative ideas. Click here for a list of 14 questions or elements to weave into your visualization script.

Facilitating an organizational vision: Collage

ImageSometimes words are not enough. Creative approaches such as collage can be incredibly powerful for developing compelling visions – starting with images. The words can follow. Leadership coach and facilitator Olive Dempsey offers a beautiful workshop on visioning using collage, or what she calls “visioning boards”. Sharon Livingstone, a brilliant focus group moderator based in New Hampshire, first taught me to use collage as a creative-association technique when I briefly studied with her several years ago.

The basic idea is this: provide stacks of different kinds of magazines, glue stick, scissors, and some sort of cardboard backing. Invite participants to thumb through and pick out any images that speak to them about an aspirational, fabulous future life – personal or professional or both. They may pick out words, or letters to make up words. You might add coloured pencils, watercolours, anything else to facilitate capturing a collection of images that convey a feeling AND specific outcomes or states of being. For organizational visions, this is fantastic to do in small groups or teams.

The trick to making this really work lies in the debrief afterward. Have each group present their completed collage. Ask: Why did those specific images speak to you? What’s surprising and new? What are the key themes or threads that may draw it all together? What do others see, outside of the group? What’s most resonant here for all of us?

Here’s a lovely example of several simple vision boards; these are focused on personal visions, but of course could equally apply to organizational visions.