Monday, December 27, 2010

One Resolution - I'm Not A Control Freak!

As is the annual ritual, I've been considering a number of resolutions for the coming year.  I developed a "professional" list, and a "personal" list.  And then I threw them away.  Seriously.  They're gone.


Several years ago I was expanding the number of health clubs that offered discounts to our employees.  As I met with the owners of the various clubs a theme quickly emerged. 

Every club not only loved resolutions, they actually generated 40% of their annual revenue from the well-intended souls who join in January (and are never seen again after Valentine's Day.) Each owner smiled at this point in their story.  I need a resolution that will stick past February!

2011 is the year I will have only one resolution.  Yes I'll have goals to achieve professionally, and I'll have a few items that get more attention in my personal life as well.  But as far as resolutions go, only one is making the list.

Be more organized.

Sounds simple.  What you don't know is that I am pretty organized already.  I have a clean desk, am learning how to use e-tools whenever possible (trying to use my Droid for everything!) and constantly try to be more efficient.  But I want to be better.  I want to eliminate the paper (seriously) and be freakishly organized.  My competitive side is pushing me to try and control it all.  

Uh-oh.  Control.  That's really what I'm after.  I want to control everything. Alas, I may be chasing the unattainable.

What is your plan for next year?  Do you have a competitive side that says "I'm going to rule the world;" or, have you found that elusive balance between what you can control, and what you need to let go?  

As for me, I have to scan and shred some documents before I head to the gym...

I'd love to hear from you.

Happy New Year...No Excuses.

pic courtesy of

Thursday, December 23, 2010


I am fired up today!  The end of 2010 is upon me, holiday time off is looming, and I have a resolution for next year that I am sorting through in my head.  But I don't want to wait.  So, today I'm going for it.  Fast pace, pump out the work, and head into Christmas feeling like I'm on top of my game.  I don't want to make any of the tired excuses for not keeping up simply because "it's the holidays."  Time to Bring It!

How About You

Are you going to be unstoppable and finish the year strong?  Or, has the sugar crash already hit and you're hoping for a mid-morning nap?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Power Post - Are You Thankful...Ahead of Time

A good friend of mine once gave a presentation on being thankful.  As presenters go, he did an effective job of addressing the regular issues related to the topic:  remaining humble, maintaining a positive attitude, and keeping your chin up.  It was solid throughout, until he turned the whole message, and how I now view the world, upside down.

He told me I should be thankful ahead of time.  Yes, that's right.  Ahead of time.


Now I'm all for staying positive.  In fact I think it's absolutely essential.  However, being thankful after good things happen (read here -> reach my goals) suddenly seems a bit self-centered.  Isn't my success built on the accomplishments of the team I work with?  Isn't my job as a leader to create an environment that allows that team to flourish?  So, being thankful after the fact isn't really being thankful at all.  It's being relieved.  That's not thankful.


Do you realize you are surrounded by the talent, creativity, and diversity of background and thought in your organization to make you successful?  Are you thankful before the work gets done; or, do you fall into the trap of simply feeling relief?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Confrontation - No Hyperventilating Allowed

Allow me a moment of self-disclosure.  I love confrontation.  I don't just like it, or accept it, or work through it when I have to.  I love it.  I don't know if that is good or bad, but if I'm going to be honest with myself, I need to admit that I love it.  But isn't that something we all are supposed to love to some degree or another, particularly in HR leadership roles?  Who else is going to be strong and guide others through difficult times?


I am stunned at the sheer volume of advice, training courses, and expert pundents who try desperately to help us avoid confrontation and it's "ill effects."  Really?  Whatever happened to actually having your blood pressure go up a bit because you had to deal with something important?  Why is it wrong to feel nervous when you know you're going into a tense meeting?  We're supposed to get fired up!  Where is the passion for our work?  Have we become so fearful of failure that we are no longer willing to step up?  I pray that is not true.


I certainly appreciate the impact stress can have on us in the workplace, and discussed it here previously. However, I submit that the next step for leaders is not to program ourselves to avoid confrontation and the stress it may bring; but rather, to embrace it.  That's right.  Take advantage of the opportunity to grow in your leadership practice and stop avoiding those moments when you know confrontation is required.


Merriam-Webster offers a quick and unexpected operational definition of confrontation - a face-to-face meeting.  Wow.  That doesn't sound painful at all, does it?  The good news about confronting others is that you won't die, and neither will they.  So it's time for us to get on with it and lead.  

Remember, the other employees are watching very closely.  Are we able to handle the difficult moments as well as the smooth ones?  Or, are we flustered, breathing deeply into a paper bag, and hoping the issue will just "go away?"


Just because I love confrontation, doesn't mean it's easy.  In fact, it's one of the most challenging issues I deal with in my work.  But I have to do it, and I have to do it well.  How do you deal with confrontation?  Are you charging ahead, or do you reach for the stash of paper bags under your desk?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of

Friday, December 17, 2010

Unexpected Moments - Will You Be Ready?

We face them all the time.  Sometimes dramatic, sometimes not.  One thing we can guarantee though, is that unexpected moments are something we should "expect."  So how do we react to these moments?  Just as importantly, how do we prepare to react?


I never seem to get used to the idea that I am viewed differently by many employees.  Partly out of respect or partly out of fear - (good grief I hope not the latter!) - they see me differently.  Which means they are watching me (Me = Us).  They are watching how I react to the various issues I must address every day.

Am I consistent?  Am I fair?  Do they realize why the phrase burden of leadership is so incredibly accurate sometimes?  The answer to these questions is simple - it doesn't matter.  We are expected to handle ourselves well.  Period. 

Whether we like it or not, as Charles Wallace wrote recently, with the privilege of leadership comes responsibility.


The path to readiness for these unexpected moments is not a difficult one.  It actually comes down to a decision, a commitment, to do the right thing in the moment.  Handling situations well that we know are coming and that we've had time to prepare for, afford us the opportunity to smoothly roll out our plans.  That is not a true test of our leadership.  Yes, those situations are important, and need to be handled well.  However, the true test always comes in those unexpected moments that catch us off-guard.

That is when we can make a huge difference.  Right at that precise moment.


How do you react when your world turns upside down in an instant?  What do your employees see?  Are you calm, focused, and leading the way; or, in that split-second do you show the team that perhaps you don't deserve their respect just yet?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Guest Power Post from Jake Poore! - We MUST Take Action!

I am pleased to present Jake Poore, Founder and President of Integrated Loyalty Systems (ILS) as guest blogger.  In his nearly thirty years of work in customer service, Jake has consulted with more than 100 top companies and given hundreds of presentations on service excellence, leadership development and strategic planning. 

Prior to launching ILS, he spent 18 years with the Disney Company, ultimately serving as the driving force behind the development of the Disney Institute's consulting practice.  A nationally recognized and sought after speaker, Jake shares a brief insight on his advice for Human Resources leaders in today's business environment.

We MUST Take Action!

President Abraham Lincoln, an incredible communicator, was known during the Civil War to attend a church not far from the White House on Wednesday nights. The preacher, Dr. Gurley, allowed the President to sit in the pastor’s study with the door open to the chancel so he could listen to the sermon without having to interact with the crowd. 

One Wednesday evening as Lincoln and a companion walked back to the White House after the sermon, the President’s companion asked, “What did you think of tonight’s sermon?”

“Well,” Lincoln responded, “it was brilliantly conceived, biblical, relevant, and well presented.”

“So, it was a great sermon?”

“No,” Lincoln replied. “It failed. It failed because our leader did not ask us to do something great.”

Inspiring communicators always expect a lot from their listeners. CHALLENGE THEM TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENTLY or NEW!


Jake reminds us that it's not enough for us to "just" do a good job.  If we are going to be a driving force in our organizations, we must challenge others to do great things! When was the last time you challenged your colleagues to be world-class?  What happened next?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pics courtesy of and

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Can we discuss something privately?  I'd rather not have this get out, but I have an issue that keeps getting in my way.  You see, as a hands-on HR practitioner, I've had the opportunity to work with many types of people at all levels of the organizations I've served.  I can honestly say that I've enjoyed interacting with almost all of them.  Almost all.


I know the collective stereotype outside of Human Resources is that we are masters of the company picnic and group hugs, but are we really expected to be everyone's pal?  Aren't we the ones who deal with some of the most complicated and challenging issues in the workplace?  Don't we have to dive head first in to these problems when other leaders look like deer in the headlights - sexual harassment, racial discrimination, diversity and inclusion, and other performance failures?  

But what happens when we (read here -> me) don't like the ones we are supposed to serve? 


No.  We don't have to like every single person we ever work with.  However, we must absolutely serve every single one as if we did like them.  A brief example brought this point home to me years ago and helps me (try!) to stay grounded.

An employee had been utilizing the resources of my team to work through a challenge with her supervisor.  To complicate matters, her performance had deteriorated in the weeks leading up to her accessing HR.  The situation eventually required me to meet with the employee, then her manager, and then the employee...again.  Candidly, this case was starting to get annoying. 

As I prepared for the second round with the employee, I knew I would have to "be firm" and "hold her accountable" for her weak performance.  Then the meeting started, I followed my plan, and then something happened. 

After hearing her update and my responses, this stern and always composed woman unexpectedly showed a hint of emotion; and with tears in her eyes thanked me for helping her.  She said I had such a "compassionate way" in dealing with her.

Are tears anything new in HR?  No.  Am I any different than the thousands of other committed HR leaders?  No way.  In fact, I would submit I still have much to learn from their example.  However, the takeaway for me in this encounter was simple.  I must serve every single person as if I believed they had value, could contribute to my organization's success, and be a real difference-maker.  To do anything else would be a total failure.  My failure.


How do you deal with those individuals who are not on your "favorites" list?  Have you figured out how to create an environment that ensures everyone knows they can reach out to you?  It's hard for me to do, what about you?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of

Monday, December 13, 2010

If I Could Change One Thing About HR

Today I have the privilege to participate in the guest blogger series at XpertHR.  Many thanks to Michael Carty for the opportunity!  Please take a look.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Power Post - Mr. Fezziwig - A Modern Leader

One of my favorite holiday movies is Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.  This year I decided to read the original unabridged version (on the Kindle app for my Droid.)  As I was working my way through the language of 1843 England, I came upon the section that describes Ebenezer Scrooge's first boss, Mr. Fezziwig.  It struck me that Fezziwig is the epitome of what the modern leader should be.  Listen as Scrooge describes Fezziwigg to the Ghost of Christmas Past:

"He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil.  Say that his power lies in words and looks: in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count 'em up:  what then?  The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune."

It seems to me not a whole lot has changed over the last 150 years.  Treat your people well.  Treat each other well.  It's just that simple.

What do you think?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of

Sunday, December 5, 2010


At one time or another I suspect we have all felt this way - stuck.  Our career seems to be on an extended "pause" and we can not figure out why.  Our efforts to change the culture within our teams have hit a permanent plateau.  Now we're starting that familiar self-doubt talk that creeps in when life isn't going according to plan.  Indecision rules the day.


Samuel Beckett's play Waiting for Godot still speaks to us many years after it was first introduced in Paris.  Estragon and Vladimir spent the entire play in front of a tree waiting for the mysterious Godot to arrive, and presumably, change their lives for them.  Neither one took any action, despite their desire for good things to happen.

Could it be that our inaction is an excuse?  Is it easier to simply "wait and see" if things turn around?  I submit that although it is a popular strategy, it is also a most ineffective one.


In order to move past the proverbial rut we find ourselves in from time-to-time it seems necessary that we take two important steps to move forward.

Step 1 - Believe you can move forward.  Believe you can move beyond the doldrums you find yourself in at the moment.  If you do not believe you can do it, I guarantee you won't.

Step 2 - Take action.  Do something.  Anything.  Even if you take one small step.  It's a start.  You do not have to solve your problems all at once, but you do need to start addressing them.

For the record, I have struggled with Steps 1 and 2 on a consistent basis since...well...since forever.


Do you recognize that being stuck is not a terminal condition?  Are you willing to believe in yourself, and take just one step forward to get back on track?  Or, are you the third member of the play sitting quietly with Estragon and Vladimir waiting for Godot?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

cartoon courtesy of

Thursday, December 2, 2010


How many times have you seen it - a test of wills between employees, managers, even executives?  Someone is going to "win" if it kills them.  God forbid we show any sign of weakness!  We will lose credibility...our people will not believe in us...we have to be right, don't we?  For competitive people like me, this is a challenge every day.

What if there was another option?  What if we could honestly take a more strategic view, and realize that if we Choose To Lose the small battles we may actually end up winning the war?  What if we moved outside our own egos (brutally difficult for me!); and took a moment to realize the other person could really use a "win" much more than we could?  In those heated moments, can we step up and show our leadership and concern for our peers, our employees, our families?  

Can we Choose To Lose?

It's so hard for me to do.  What about you?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of

Monday, November 29, 2010


We have the answers.  Employees, Managers, Executives, and even our CEOs come to us to talk strategy on complex matters.  We must be good.  No, we must be great.  Why else would so many people seek us out to solve the most frustrating issues in the workplace?


As if the flood of those seeking advice isn't enough, we are also empowered to take action.  Action that can result in a legal quagmire.  Wow, we must not only be great, but important too!  With so much attention focused on us, (read here -> on me), it is easy to become arrogant in our leadership.  Could there be a risk?  Could we become so full of ourselves that we cross the line from experienced professional to arrogant know-it-all?  Do we all need to stop and look over our shoulder to see if that line is now behind us?


This is a difficult question to answer.  Why?  Because we get paid to make judgements about others decisions and behaviors.  Doesn't that almost guarantee we will have some degree of arrogance?  Perhaps taking Gary Ray's quiz from his recent blog post will help us sort through our own failings.  Or, perhaps we won't recognize where we come up short and need to take a long look in the mirror (read here -> me again.)

Jeffrey Pfeffer's piece in the Washington Post on The Arrogance of Power offers a glimmer of hope.  He speaks of the sheltered world many leaders find themselves in as they rise through the ranks of their organizations.  The problem is that they become too far removed from their employees, their customers, their organizations.  The solution is not anything we don't already know - get out of your office and connect with real people.  Get away from those "yes-men and women" in your life and get back to basics.

Be visible.  Be humble.  Hold yourself accountable to be better everyday.


Do you think you have ever crossed the "arrogance line?"  Or, did you not even notice that "line" as you raced on by with the "right" answer.  For me, it's a daily struggle.  What about for you?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


"Thank you."  "Great job."  "Thanks for the effort."  All too often I find myself using these phrases believing that I'm recognizing members of my team, or those that do great work in my organization.  But, wait a minute.  Is telling someone "good job" truly recognizing them?  Am I insulting them by assuming they have only done one task?

As I uttered these words again this week, I realized I had become lazy and was no longer using three basic steps that ensure effective recognition:

1.  Be Specific

Tell the people you want to recognize exactly what you are talking about.

2.  Be Timely

There is nothing worse that making the effort to praise someone for a job well done and suddenly realizing they finished that project weeks ago.

3.  Make it Personal

It can actually be a poignant moment when you look someone in the eye and tell them how important it was to you personally that they did such good work.  When you are sincere it shows in a very powerful way.

Who do you need to recognize today?  What have they done that has made a difference not only for your organization, but for you as a leader?  When you follow through, make sure you get the desired effect, and follow these basic steps.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Deeper Look at Half Full v Half Empty

We  go to great lengths to remain positive in most every situation, right?  That doesn't necessarily mean we pull it off, but by nature we intentionally try a positive approach on the first pass.  The classic challenge of whether or not the glass is half full or half empty is automatically a "half full" answer for us in leadership.  At least it should be. 

Terry Starbucker's recent post on appreciation eloquently speaks to the "half full" phenomenon, and how powerful appreciation can be when integrated into our leadership.  But is there something beyond the half full/half empty question that we've missed?


Taking a closer look at this question goes beyond whether or not there is any water in there, and speaks to whether or not we are happy with our "glass" at all.  Having a positive attitude is a great perspective to take as we travel through life; but if we truly are not happy, it will be extremely difficult to maintain a positive approach.  That can be downright lethal for us in leadership.

Does it really matter if there is any water in the glass anyway?


So now what?  Clearly the question is about life, not a silly metaphor for plastering a smile on our face during times of crisis.  In his June blog post, Dr. John Mandrola reflected on the power of a positive attitude and what it can mean not only in his work as a cardiologist, but for the patients he serves as well.  The task at hand is to first critically examine our own lives.  What's working, what's not, and most importantly what choices are we going to make to effect change?  This isn't easy for any of us, particularly me. 


How have you reconciled the half full/half empty question?  Are you satisfied with where you are on the life journey; or, is it time to reevaluate and develop a new plan for the coming year? 

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pics courtesy of and

Friday, November 19, 2010

Power Post - I'M GUILTY, ARE YOU?

I recently received a LinkedIn invitation from a colleague I have not worked with for more than ten years.  In her request, she thanked me for the help I provided with her issue.  That's right, her single issue from ten years ago.  Wow.  Her words stopped me dead in my tracks.  Initially I was flattered that I had made a difference in her professional life, albeit in a small way.  But as I considered her note more, I realized there have been many people along my journey that have helped me too.  Have I reached out to them lately to say thank you?  GUILTY!

How about you?  Have you taken the time to reach back one, five, or ten years to send someone a note to say thank you?  I know it's on my task list for today.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

3 Reasons To Forget About Employee Wellness

Every day we go to work and give of ourselves to help the employees in our organizations.  We wrack our brains to figure out how we can support them using a never-ending list of strategies:

- blood pressure screenings
- employee health programs
- healthy food choices in the cafeteria and vending machines
- employee assistance programs
- walking clubs
- inservice education
- oh yes, and designing meaningful benefit plans to support them and their families

In addition to these steps, we also provide countless hours of employee relations support on issues ranging from absenteeism to sexual harassment.  Quite honestly, HR can be exhausting!  However, the perils of not managing the stress that comes with our jobs can, as Linda Wasmer Andrews wrote, lead to burnout for HR professionals.


By our very nature, we are called to help others.  While there is certainly a range of perspectives on the role of an effective HR leader, the reality is we are here to support the employees of our organizations.  Our ability to execute on that expectation can be severely compromised if we do not take care of ourselves.  We may even feel guilty that we are doing something for ourselves v. constantly being on-call "just in case."  This is a treacherous path to follow however, since you are putting yourself at risk.  Who will do your job if you do not take care of yourself and you're out of work?


Stop.  Just stop with this, the mother-of-all-excuses!  Of course you have time to take care of yourself, you simply choose not to.  Plain and simple.  You don't do it.  So instead of excuses, start focusing on three key areas that will change your life, and quite honestly, your ability to perform better at work.

1.  Eat Well

This is not rocket science, but it does require commitment.  Leverage the passion you have for your job, and apply it to a renewed passion for your health.  It's not easy, nothing worthwhile is easy.

2.  Learn About and Manage Stress

You can not effectively cope with the stress in your life, if you do not understand why it's happening, what your personal triggers are, and how you can develop a realistic plan to move forward.  Invest the time to educate yourself, just like you do when a challenging issue presents itself in your work.

3.  Exercise

We all struggle with this issue.  Get over it.  There are no magic pills, there are no magic thigh machines, and there are no shortcuts to fitness. 

Start slow.  Do more.  Get healthy.  By the way, one of the greatest benefits of regular exercise is that you will feel terrific at work! 


Do you take any time to care for yourself; or, are have you elevated yourself to martyr status for the employees and do not have time?  Are you going to make an excuse as to why you can't start tonight after work; or is it another night on the couch with a bowl of ice cream?  It's your decision, but your employees and families are counting on you to make the right one.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.
pics courtesy of and

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


The term role model is usually positive and is defined as someone who can be emulated by others.  I think of the leaders in my personal and professional life who have shaped my development, and for whom I now attempt to emulate.  A lofty goal, but one I am comfortable striving to achieve.


I often use the term when referring to expectations I have of leaders in the organizations I've worked, of world leaders, and of myself as a Human Resources executive, father, and youth hockey coach.  But what about the role models that transcend our understanding of leadership?  How do we reconcile in our minds that some leaders go far beyond the quick wit and Type A personalities we may have, and lead in ways we can not fathom, let alone dare to emulate?


DB-Kopf-gerade.jpgMy father "introduced" me to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, pictured on the left, when I was a child.  I had no way of comprehending the magnitude of his leadership, and sacrifice, until much later in life.  Now that I can better understand what it means to sacrifice, challenge, be accepting of others, to lead - I realize more than ever how ill-equipped I am to emulate him.

Quite honestly I hope I never have to wrestle with the choice he finally made.  Although safe in the United States, he returned to Nazi Germany, he took action, because that was the only way he knew how to lead.  His decision cost him his life when the Nazis murdered him.  Emulate Dietrich?  Impossible, right?


Some times when we are confronted with an example on an epic scale, such as Dietrich's, we dismiss our potential connection, and failings, before we even take the time to consider our options.  What possible options might we have?  Simple.  We can choose to take action even when we know it is going to be much more difficult than doing nothing.  Action.  It's a great word.  Have you ever heard anyone say, "I wish I hadn't tried to make a difference?"  Rarely, if ever.  It is always better to try and do the right thing.


No, weren't not.  It's not fair to us, or for that matter, to Dietrich.  He was an extraordinary man living in the most horrific of situations.  Most of us are working in environments that do not come close to the dangers he faced.  But we can still decide to make a difference.  We can still decide to take action.  We can still lead.


Who are the role models in your life?  Who is that special person that stands out above all others?  Who do you try to emulate?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Pic of Dietrich Bonhoeffer courtesy of

Monday, November 8, 2010

There's No "I" In Team, But There Is In "Fired"

I have been blessed over the years to work with some brilliant minds.  Leaders who are far more accomplished and insightful than I can ever wish to be.  As I’ve (hopefully) grown in my leadership style, I’ve become painfully aware that without those bright people around me, helping me, guiding me, and often times working for me, my success is in jeopardy.


Getting to this realization is a painful journey.  As leaders, don’t we feel powerful, and start to believe our own self-talk that “our way is the best way?”  After all, I’m the boss, right?  A risky perspective at best.  Why is it that over and over again I see leaders who fail to use the talents of the people around them?  It seems to me they are insecure.  Dr. John Maxwell effectively describes the risks of being an insecure leader and how that approach could be their downfall.


Far too often we see leaders that are allowed to stay on; or worse, a revolving door of employees who feel they don’t have a voice and walk out the door.  None of us can afford to lose good staff.  Ever.  More and more we see organizations breaking through the traditional barriers of complacency and holding leaders, even senior leaders accountable.  Isn’t that our job as HR professionals anyway?  Aren’t we supposed to drive the accountability agenda?

When we step-up and make bold moves to remove failing leaders, we send a powerful message to our colleagues, employees and customers that those behaviors are simply not acceptable.


How have you dealt with the leaders who believe they are the smartest person in the room?  Have you been able to support them through executive coaching, constructive feedback, or formal discipline?  Or, are they sitting in the office next to yours, wondering why your organization is full of imbeciles?

I’d love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Some of us have developed personal mantras that have a powerful, albeit private meaning.  These mantras can prove to be very useful in times of frustration, stress, or quite frankly, when we’re sick and tired of hearing another complaint.  Sometimes we can fall into a trap and get…well…LOUD.  That is easy for me to do.


I’ve always found it curious that effective interpersonal skills are often called soft skills.  Odd really, when you think about it.  For those of us that have been exposed to extremely difficult leaders who consider an abrasive leadership style a strength, soft is about the last word that comes to mind.  So, why when these moments are handled well does the term “soft” come in to play?


One of the things I find fascinating when emotions are running high is the apparent correlation between the level of stress in a person and the tone of their voice.  The more frantic they are, the higher the voice.  This is where the first half of my mantra comes in to play – LOW.  I need to maintain a low tone of voice.  That is hard for me to do.


A companion to the shrill that comes with emotionally charged exchanges is what appears to be a gene that triggers our rate of speech when we’re upset.  The more intense the encounter, the faster we speak.  As if getting our position out first means we win! Crazy, I know.  Enter the second half of my little mantra – SLOW.  I need to maintain a slow rate of speech.  If you speak slowly, you-control-the-pace-of-the-conversation.  That is hard for me to do too.


Sounds simple doesn’t it?  For me, it has been a life long struggle to maintain Low and Slow.  In these intense moments the hockey coach in me wants to come out; and, I allow myself on the inside to check the other person into the boards.  

But on the outside, it HAS to be Low and Slow. 



How do you get through those moments when you would prefer to commit a felony rather than work through the real issues on the table?  How do you keep yourself in check so you don’t lose the respect of those around you?  What is your mantra?

I’d love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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