Category Archives: Uncategorized

Feeling disaster anxiety?

Hurricanes in Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico, earthquakes in Mexico, fires in California — so many natural disasters in the last month affecting so many people. Add the shootings in Las Vegas. So much tragedy, fear and human suffering. >

Taking apart the Ideal Team Player- Pt. III. Are you smart?

As we discussed the last 2 weeks, Patrick Lencioni believes that ideal team players are humble, hungry, and smart.

What does he mean by smart? In the context of a team, smart refers to your common sense about people: being interpersonally appropriate and aware. “Smart people tend to know what is happening in a group situation and how to deal with others in the most effective way.” >

After all these years, how do I change my name?

Like many of you, I’ve called myself one thing for all of my existence. Now, after being a Member of a Vistage group for 4 years and a Vistage Chair for over 17 years, Vistage is changing the name from a Vistage Group to a Vistage Peer Advisory Board. We shall call it a “Board” for short.

Just like young woman practicing saying “Nora Franco”, or “Nora Washington”, or “Nora Thomas”, instead of Nora Paller, I am now trying to say “Vistage Board”.

I pace around the house repeating phrases like:

Take that to your “Board.”

Our “Board” decided to have the retreat in October.

Who is on your “Board?” Some of your fellow “Board Members” did not agree with you on that issue.

Mind you, I think the new languaging more accurately represents the value the Members are getting out of the Group, oops, I mean “the Board”. It better communicates why high performing executives spend all of one day each month with their peers.

It connotes accountability and attention to results. We do all that.

I just keep going around the house mumbling phrases like “in my board meeting the other day”, my “Board Member” told me that, “Ed is a Member of my Vistage Board.”

Sigh. It will take some practice. If you are a Vistage Member, join me. Let go of your Group and embrace your Peer Advisory Board. What do you think? Doesn’t it make you just stand up a little straighter?


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What is not said with words?

Do you ever walk into a room and see someone slouching in a chair looking defeated? As a coach, that is the first thing I notice. I am there to talk with your true heart and your real soul. I look for what is not said with words.

If you think that is hard to do, turn off the sound on a movie and just watch.I bet you will get most of the plot without the words.

My guess is that we try not to tune into other people’s body language because it is often so negative. It is enough to cope with our own negativity, we don’t want any more dumped on us.

Yet, we know people we look forward to being with because they are pleasant or positive or their energy is up. They seem to have taken care of their “stuff” before we met up with them.


Here are some of the things we see them do:

Stand up straight

Look us in the eyes.

Smile encouragingly.


Here are some of the things they don’t do:

Roll their eyes and sigh,

Jump in with a smart remark before you’ve finished your sentence.

Look bored and start texting.


I think we are all tired of the quick judgments.

Watch a few people around you and observe how they are communicating. Then take a look at your own posture. You can put on your phone camera and see how you show up in a meeting. Don’t be too harsh on yourself. Just straighten up and be a little more encouraging. See if your conversations change.


Do we talk too much?

This week about 100 Vistage Chairs gathered in Boulder, Colorado for Keepers of the Flame. This is a conference for Chairs who have 10 years or more of tenure. We get together to do the deeper work we need to continuously grow ourselves and to connect with our dear comrades – the chairs who have done it with us all these years.
On the first morning, we were all given the topic Conversations with our bodies and given the task to pick a partner and walk or sit together quietly for 15-30 minutes. During that time period, each of us did a scan of the conversations we have with our bodies and the conversation they are trying to have with us.
Walking silently with someone you don’t know well is a little uncomfortable. We are socialized to make chit-chat, to reach out and try to make a connection, to get to know one another. Being told to not talk and to focus on our own internal communications was an adjustment.
Once we got into it, both my partner and I really liked it. When we finally sat down and started to talk, we had already absorbed non-verbally a lot about the other person. For example, I could see he was limping a little. I wanted to know what was up with that. We skipped all the typical small talk and went to the heart of our intended conversation about what our bodies were trying to tell us.
Feedback about not talking for 15 minutes was universally positive: it was a delight.  We had time to gather our thoughts and assess the constant non-verbal internal communication that we suppress or perhaps don’t pay attention to.
If this intrigues you, share this with a work associate. Pick a topic that you both are working on. Explain how you want to walk for 15 minutes while you both think about the topic. Then, share your reflections. In our case, we were trying to develop better listening skills. You can try that. Or, perhaps you have an opportunity you are mulling over.
Next week, more sharing about what’s said, but not with words.

Are you over-committing?

Keeping commitments is a major factor in trustworthiness and accountability. It can be described as “Doing what you said you would do.”

And then there is committing. You can do anything, but not everything. Some signs of over committing are:

-not keeping your commitments (duh);

-being grouchy or hard to be around;

-not enjoying what you are dealing with;

-neglecting important people (like family) or activities (like exercise);

-spending the whole weekend catching up on the work you couldn’t get to during the week;

-not doing the work only you can do ’cause you are doing other people’s work…..

Shall I go on?

Yes, I know in some way this is all of us, but don’t use that as an excuse. As humans, we are so tempted to justify our bad behavior by pointing at someone else we know who gets away with it. My classic whine from my childhood was “But you let Joe do it!” (my older brother). Poor Joe, I got away with a lot more than he did. Don’t feel sorry for him. He was very good at pointing this out to Mom.

Speaking of which, whining and pointing fingers just makes you look weak. Feeling sorry for yourself doesn’t get you anywhere either.

Here are some ways to address the issue:

Delegate. If you are able to, delegate everything that you aren’t good at. Especially when there  are people within your organization who are extremely good at it or need new challenges to grow.

Don’t take the monkey back. Read Who’s got the monkey?

Say no. If you don’t say no to the lower priority activities, you can’t say yes to what will bring you and your company value. Get clear on where you bring value and what brings you joy, or meets your goals. Do you know what those are? If not, start there.

Get more sleep. Take a vacation from Facebook, email, late night television and get a half hour more sleep each night.

Block out time on your calendar to spend time doing what is important and stick to it. You don”t have to be perfect; you do need to get better.


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