Leadership

2020-spring-pumpkin-pie

What a Slice of Pumpkin Pie Taught me About the importance of mastering your craft.

Inspiration is everywhere if you are open to it. Sometimes, it may visit you when you least expect it. It happened to me recently at a lunch meeting at a restaurant in King of Prussia, PA, called J. Al-exanders. I was meeting with Mr. Ed Harris, the Chief Marketing Officer of The Valley Forge Convention […]

Inspiration is everywhere if you are open to it. Sometimes, it may visit you when you least expect it. It happened to me recently at a lunch meeting at a restaurant in King of Prussia, PA, called J. Al-exanders. I was meeting with Mr. Ed Harris, the Chief Marketing Officer of The Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau, and an adjunct professor of marketing strategy at Saint Joseph’s University. After we finished eating, Ed remarked to me that I might want to try the pumpkin pie.

Not wanting to disappoint Ed, I agreed. Before the pie arrived, Ed warned me that it would be the best pumpkin pie I would ever eat. A bold statement, to be sure. I mean, I trusted his judgment, but the best ever? Well, I found out how correct that statement was after I took the first bite. I immedi-ately realized that this was no ordinary pumpkin pie.

I gently put the fork down while attempting to maintain my composure. Ed looked over at me with a satisfied look, and asked, “Well, what do you think?” I had to admit, that was indeed the best pumpkin pie I have ever tasted, and I only needed one bite to realize it. Now, I believe that most people, given the proper ingredients, could probably make a decent pumpkin pie. I’m just not sure everyone could make a life-changing one. Or at least one that could make me contemplate the meaning of mastery and craft and how some of us function at levels of greatness that few ever reach.

Whoever made the pumpkin pie that day was no ordinary baker. They created something remarka-ble and so delicious that I couldn’t stop thinking about it for months afterward. It made me think about what separates the ordinary from the extraordinary? What are the essential ingredients of success? I found a compelling answer in poet Reyna Biddy, who said this, “Trust in your craft enough to admire it, study it, perfect it, breathe it. Never stop getting better at whatever it is that you love to do.”

I don’t think it matters if you’re flipping burgers, writing screenplays, conducting orchestras, teach-ing high school science, roasting coffee, or painting houses. We all should be following Biddy’s advice. Far too many of us are content with the status quo, and I find that unfortunate. Mastery does not reside anywhere near mediocrity. Yes, you can earn a good living being average. But why would you want to? Seriously. Nobody should ever be content with average. While I can appreci-ate that not everyone is prepared to do whatever it takes to master their craft, I believe that mastery is attainable for those who work hard at it.

There is a myriad of factors that are involved in an individual’s journey to mastery, but there is one essential that is the fuel you’ll need to get you to the Promised Land. Passion! Without it, you won’t be able to sustain the energy and drive required for the road ahead. The ability to find your passion is really about finding your authentic self. You will also have to add in some resolve, a heaping amount of determination, equal parts optimism, and top it off with some love and bake it for 30 years.

Harris knows how mastery plays a role in both education and marketing. “As educators, we should never stop learning. In fact, the power of knowledge will continue to be a key ingredient for suc-cess. Students need to remember that learning doesn’t end when you receive a diploma. Whether you’re marketing experiences, apparel, or even food, the best companies understand that consumers seek value and quality. When you have quality products that are unique in some way compared to the competition, it makes our job as marketers easier to craft a memorable story that connects with an audience.”

I will always be grateful to those who consistently show up every day willing to put the time in, who are always

looking for ways to improve their skills, and who are profoundly invested in the outcome of the service they provide or a product they make. Those who take the status quo and turn it into status whoa! They never settle for good enough, and they are always looking for ways to improve both themselves and the people they work around. If it weren’t for them, the world would be a pretty average place. In that world, I would never have had the opportunity to experience how amazing a slice of pumpkin pie could taste when it’s baked with mastery.

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2020-spring-I-see-you-you-matter

I See You. You Matter.

My friend recently told me about meeting his company’s new CEO. He spoke excitedly as he described how this gentleman walked slowly through the office for the better part of a day, stopping at each team member’s cubicle to engage them individually and learn what they were working on. Each of the more than 200 […]

My friend recently told me about meeting his company’s new CEO. He spoke excitedly as he described how this gentleman walked slowly through the office for the better part of a day, stopping at each team member’s cubicle to engage them individually and learn what they were working on. Each of the more than 200 employees got some one-on-one time with their Chief Executive that day, something that none of them had experienced before, as evidenced by the buzz around the office afterward.

Like the sports coach that has a customized handshake for each player, strong leaders know that every team member is a unique human being with their own set of strengths, motivations, and perspectives. To lead them in their uniqueness, you must first see them in their uniqueness.

My friend’s CEO could have introduced himself to the entire team at once, which would have been easier and taken less time. But he chose instead to take the slow way.

He chose instead to say to each person, “I see you. You matter.”

Who was your most impactful schoolteacher? What made him or her so special? Was it their teaching expertise, or was it something else?

I once asked this question of one of our mastermind participants. Without hesitation, she told us about a high school math teacher that had a huge impact on her.

What made the teacher so impactful? Was it her in-depth knowledge of mathematics? No, the impact was created because the teacher had taken the time and energy to value her student and to learn about her ambitions, motivations, and fears.

Through her actions, this teacher was saying, “I see you. You matter.”

It has been said that people may not remember what you said. They may not remember what you did. But they WILL remember how you made them feel.

The Law of Connection

Leadership expert and author John Maxwell teaches The Law of Connection, which says that Leaders Touch a Heart Before They Ask for a Hand.

In order to effectively lead others, we must first connect with their hearts. Their heads will always follow. The way to lead a team is to lead a collection of individuals, each of whom provides an opportunity to connect.

General Norman Schwartzkopf understood this when he said the following:

“I have seen competent leaders who stood in front of a platoon, and all they saw was a platoon. But great leaders stand in front of a platoon and see it as forty-four individuals, each of whom has aspirations, each of whom wants to live, each of whom wants to do good.”

In his autobiography It Doesn’t Take a Hero, General Schwartzkopf tells of a time that he implemented The Law of Connection during the Persian Gulf War. He spent Christmas Day in 1990 with the men and women he was leading.

“I shook hands with everyone in the line, went behind the serving counter to greet the cooks and helpers, and worked my way through the mess hall, hitting every table, wishing everyone Merry Christmas. Then I went into the second and third dining facilities and did the same thing. I came back to the first mess tent and repeated the exercise because, by this time, there was an entirely new set of faces. Then I sat down with some of the troops and had my dinner. In the course of four hours, I must have shaken four thousand hands.”

General Schwartzkopf was saying, “I see you. You matter.”

You’ve Got This

In many ways, leadership is simple but hard. It always requires valuing people, and it always requires a heart connection with those you lead.

My friend’s CEO and General Schwartzkopf both modeled some powerful leadership principles:

  • Leaders Go First. Take the initiative to connect.
  • Leaders Go to Their People. Get up and meet them where they are.
  • Leaders Make It About Others. Learn who they are, what they are working on, their strengths, their motivations, and their fears.

And always tell them, “I see you. You matter.”

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2020-spring-small-mistakes

Small Mistakes, Big Consequences: The Power of Assumption

For this inaugural installment of Small Mistakes, Big Consequences, my goal is to take on and raise awareness of behavior that keeps each of us from being the best possible version of ourselves. Each and every day, we interact with others with the goal of achieving something. From simple social interaction to sales or influence, […]

For this inaugural installment of Small Mistakes, Big Consequences, my goal is to take on and raise awareness of behavior that keeps each of us from being the best possible version of ourselves. Each and every day, we interact with others with the goal of achieving something. From simple social interaction to sales or influence, our interactions generally have a purpose, and many subtle behaviors and actions keep us from executing at our highest level. This series is designed to raise awareness of these behaviors while providing tips and solutions on how to overcome and work around these self-induced barriers.

Let’s start with assumption…not assumption in the biblical sense but making assumptions or assuming something and using that assumption as a basis of fact in the decision-making process.

Here’s the definition, according to Dictionary.com:
Noun

a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof

The end of that definition epitomizes why assumptions are dangerous and why they regularly become barriers to success. When we assume something, we don’t have proof that it is TRUE! It is based upon rumor, conjecture, gossip, our own personal opinion, and many other factors, but it leaves verification of the truth out of the exercise. And, each and every one of us do it every day – often to our detriment.

How often do you fail to act because you assume the outcome? How often do you fail to ask a question because you assume the answer? My gut feeling tells me that the answer to both of those questions is, often, very often!

So, what do we do to overcome this natural tendency?

  1. As Ronald Reagan once said, “Trust, but verify” – if you think something is true and accurate; take the time to verify that it is so! Ask the actual person who can give you a reliable answer, the person about which you are making an assumption!
  2. Challenge your team members when they share a collective assumption by asking: did we actually ask this person or audience this question? I have often been in meetings where we are assuming the opinion of a group of people. Yet, we haven’t actually asked them their opinion in order to verify the assumption. One thing that we all learned by asking this question of each other is that many of our assumptions were actually based on our own internal assumptions that we shared with each other, and most had a longstanding foothold in our culture, so we were making decisions based on old information. Once we broke ourselves of this habit, and actually verified the real facts, we were able to make much better and more accurate decisions. And we were able to do so in a timely manner because we had opened up the conversation, and information flowed more quickly and smoothly.
  3. When someone brings an issue to your attention, and they are looking for advice on how to deal with an issue, first ask if they heard or experienced the information firsthand or if they heard it from another source. If the information came from another source, it is critical to direct the person to the source that has the information to determine the real facts. Every time you receive information from another source, remember that the information is delivered to you based upon the biases of that individual’s perception of the facts. It is natural for people to “spin” their perception of a conversation based on what’s important to them, and by relying solely on opinion, you run the risk of missing facts that could completely change the situation.
  4. Monitor yourself! Are you making decisions and forming opinions based on fact, or rumor and assumptions? What are you assuming without verifying? This is especially important in situations of conflict. Have the difficult conversation with the person who has the facts – be courageous and find out if there’s simply a misunderstanding based on assumption or if there is truly an issue to resolve. You may find that many times it’s the former, rather than the latter, and having the conversation to clarify only makes your relationship stronger!
  5. Assumption is a powerful enemy in our decision making. Yet, it is one that can be reduced and even eliminated by raising your awareness and the awareness of your team on the topic. Search for the truth, get the facts, have the difficult conversations, and you will be amazed at the success that will follow!

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2020-spring-healthy-leader

The Healthy Leader

There are two things that I absolutely love. Health & Leadership. I started out in the health club industry as a certified personal trainer over 20 years ago. Then over time, I became an executive for a national health club chain and oversaw up to 25 full-service health clubs. So, it’s safe to say that […]

There are two things that I absolutely love. Health & Leadership. I started out in the health club industry as a certified personal trainer over 20 years ago. Then over time, I became an executive for a national health club chain and oversaw up to 25 full-service health clubs. So, it’s safe to say that I am extremely knowledgeable and passionate about these two topics and, more importantly, would like you to understand how they both work synergistically together.

Being healthy should be a priority to everyone, not just leaders. However, I’ve seen leaders struggle with health time and time again.

Because of their busy work schedules, leaders frequently fail to take care of their health. Their focus has been on taking care of business and running it successfully. This leaves little time to look at their health.

And yet being healthy is crucial to being a great leader. Your health impacts all areas of your life. Unhealthy lifestyle choices bring down the quality of your life and hurts your ability to lead.

When you’re unhealthy, there is a ripple effect of things that will affect your ability to lead in a negative way. You might lack the energy to get through the day. Your mental clarity becomes clouded, and you struggle to focus on critical tasks. The length of your life could be shortened. This will impact your ability to leave a lasting legacy. Those you lead may not be willing to follow you because you have been unable to take care of yourself.

These are but a few of the effects of being unhealthy. Being unhealthy simply makes it a struggle to get the job done at an optimum level.
Leaders are especially vulnerable to stress. Often leaders put others first and sacrifice their own wellbeing in the process. That’s not a recipe for long-term success and often results in failure.

Leadership is fundamentally about being able to set a vision and persist over the long run as you lead yourself and others to take on big challenges and work toward the finish line, so it seems like making health a priority would be a no-brainer, right? I mean, it’s pretty obvious that taking care of ourselves affects our energy levels and stamina in the long run.

However, in my 20 plus years of being in the health club industry, this is the one aspect of personal excellence that so many leaders are most likely to struggle with—and this is true across industries, types of organizations, and roles. As the work piles up, self-care often takes a back seat to other more “pressing” priorities, which almost never leads to good outcomes in the long run.

More often than not, leaders who don’t prioritize their health either become unbearable to work with because they’re dehydrated, or tired, or stressed, or “hangry”—or they start to get sick. I’ve worked with people who’ve developed diabetes, pre-diabetes, and even heart disease because they’ve put work ahead of their health. I’ve also known people who’ve gained or lost too much weight because of work and even someone who eventually had an aneurism. I’m not saying that there weren’t other factors that played a role in some of these cases, but all of these examples are of people who put work ahead of self-care, and I think they (and their teams and organizations) suffered for it.

After seeing this pattern of behavior and outcomes over and over again, it became clear to me that managing your health is a key component of being an effective human being and a successful leader.

Leadership today requires a 24/7 commitment, which requires a great deal of physical stamina and energy. It also calls for more: An understanding of the intricate relationship between mind and body and how they work together. To keep going, you need a smart, tailored health and wellness program that allows you to maintain your stamina and lead a balanced life.

I hope I was able to connect the dots on the importance of a leader’s health and the direct connection of their ability to be an effective leader.
Leadership is influence. So, influence yourself to take action and start living a healthy life, so you can have a greater impact as a leader.

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Dressing for as Many Jobs as You Want

After a typical-yet-stressful day of lunch packing, bus catching, a contested hearing, client meetings, and parent pick up, I raced back to my office for a trick or treating event that my kids did not want to miss.  After dressing them in their costumes, my son looked at me and said, “You look like you’re […]

After a typical-yet-stressful day of lunch packing, bus catching, a contested hearing, client meetings, and parent pick up, I raced back to my office for a trick or treating event that my kids did not want to miss.  After dressing them in their costumes, my son looked at me and said, “You look like you’re dressed as a lawyer for Halloween.”  I laughed and replied, “I suppose you’re right,” though, as it turns out, I dress like a lawyer most days.  I also dress like a mom.  And a wife.  And a friend.  And a daughter. And a volunteer.  And the list goes on and on…  The problem is, I can only wear one outfit at a time.

I know I am not alone in the struggle the find the perfect balance to be all things to the people who rely on me and to be a success in my career, well-rounded, happy, and content.  (That’s not too much to ask for, right?)  I also know I am not the only one who feels like I am constantly coming up short.  In fact, as I write this article, I am home with my children on a would-be snow day that ended up being a bust.  Being here with them means I am not in my office.  Not being in the office means potentially missing an important phone call, losing out on a new assignment, and definitely getting behind in billable hours.   It also means another bout of fighting the never-ending perception that I cannot be totally present as a lawyer because I am a mom.  Mostly, it means feeling guilty that I am not focusing on my career.

Yet, here I am, working at my kitchen table while my kids play games and watch tv.  I am billing some hours, but not enough.  I am snuggling on the couch while checking emails and dictating letters.  So, am I really with them?  It feels more like I am in between work and home, and lawyer and mom.  A purgatory – and sense of guilt – I am all too used to.

I do not know the answer to the ultimate work-life balance question.  I have been dressing up for these competing and not too often complementing roles for so long now that I have come to the determination that there really is no answer.  I do know this, though – I am doing it.  I might not be able to convince everyone that I can lawyer and mom, but I don’t have to – my accomplishments speak for themselves.  In fact, the constant pressures exerted upon me from all sources of my life have molded me into a supremely efficient multi-tasker.  I can meet the deadlines and bake the cookies and attend the events.  I can do it all in my heels.  But I also know this – I cannot do it alone.

As a working mom, I have concluded that my personal, professional, and familial network is more valuable than even the biggest book of business.  My network includes bosses who are understanding and flexible and who will help me fight the negative perception that often looms large over lawyer-moms.  It means family who help with the children and do not judge when the dishes have not been done.  It means a husband who recognizes my desire to be a good mom and a good lawyer, and who is constant and present.  It means children who will grow up knowing their mom sacrificed time with them to work hard but also sacrificed her career to be there for every concert and ball game.

But mostly, my network includes a group of strong, independent, multi-talented, and supportive women.   They listen when I complain, celebrate my successes, and lift me up when I am down.  I find that I turn to these women more than any other group because they understand.  They know what it feels like to have professionals judge them for being away from the office and, at the same time, other parents judge them for being away from their kids.  In response, they work harder and longer and mix and match until they find the perfect way to dress as both a professional and a mother.  In the age of the working mother, I count myself lucky to be surrounded by so many of them.

When I look back at this time in my life, I will not recall it being easy.  I will, however, recall feeling supported, well-rounded, happy, and content regardless of how I was dressed.  I guess it isn’t too much to ask for after all.

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2020-winter-interviewing-hiring

Interviewing & Hiring: Should We be Surprised at Reality TV’s Bad Advice?

America just loves Reality TV. So much so that even respected business publications are succumbing to celebrity infallibility in place of good advice. Now you may be thinking, “Who in their right mind would take business advice from a reality TV personality?” The answer might surprise you. An article in Inc. magazine recently highlighted the […]

America just loves Reality TV. So much so that even respected business publications are succumbing to celebrity infallibility in place of good advice. Now you may be thinking, “Who in their right mind would take business advice from a reality TV personality?” The answer might surprise you.

An article in Inc. magazine recently highlighted the one interview question which Shark Tank star and accomplished businesswoman Barbara Corcoran swears by. As a former head of recruiting for Johnson & Johnson, and now a consultant teaching interviewing and hiring, this is the type of article I live for. With the show’s popularity, especially amongst businesspeople, this sort of information can provide engaging anecdotes when impressing on hiring managers the paramount importance of a sound interviewing and hiring process and practice. The article, however, centered on a question which, if applied, could result in a legal battle with the interviewer being unquestionably in the wrong. That’s right, Inc. magazine published an article with Barbara Corcoran sharing an illegal interview question. The question? “Tell me about your family.”

That question is so far out of bounds today that debating its merits, or illegality, is mute. The bigger issue is the fact that a publication such as Inc. actually published it! While Inc. would probably call to the disclaimer that states, “The opinion expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com,” the fact remains that many readers certainly would double-down on its validity.

Avoiding illegal questions is only one of the key success factors for today’s hiring managers. If your organization isn’t properly trained on interviewing and hiring practices and guidelines, or worse, your organization doesn’t have a process at all; you are going to flounder in what is possibly the most competitive job market ever. Although there are many things to consider when attempting to find and hire the best talent, there are three pieces of advice I typically share, and none of them will put you in jeopardy:

Identifying Passive Job Seekers

We’ve always known that passive job seekers, those that are not actively seeking another opportunity, are often the most desirable. These candidates are typically the most successful in their roles, and the companies that employ them know it and work to keep them. This is why managers should always be recruiting, specifically when they do not have an opening. The best managers I have seen at this are constantly identifying top performers from other companies, building relationships with them, and (most importantly) selling them on the merits and value of their company. It’s constantly puzzling to their peers when these managers are able to fill an opening with a superstar quickly. It shouldn’t be.

Interviewing and Hiring for Culture

The cost of a bad hire is significant. While some estimates put the cost of onboarding and training a new employee at $240,000, the true cost of a bad hire goes even further when you consider the loss in productivity, morale, etc.. With the war for talent, and the shifting demographics of employees to newer generations, the importance of matching an employee to the company’s culture has become critical in identifying and keeping them. The Lehigh Valley enjoys tremendous access to many talented individuals who would gladly trade their long commutes for a great culture and opportunity closer to home. As a consultant, working with organizations to define their culture and then training managers to interview for it has become one of the most important factors for hiring success.

A Positive Experience

A candidate’s opinion of your organization will be formed during the interview process. Glassdoor.com estimates that 72% of job seekers that have a bad experience will share that feedback online. How the candidate is treated during the process can mean the difference between hiring and losing the best candidates. To ensure a positive experience, the process should be timely and include frequent and positive communication that keeps the candidate excited about the organization and the opportunity. Also, timely and professional communication with candidates that are not selected is just as important. These same individuals may fit another role in the future, or recommend the company to others, and leaving them with a positive opinion will pay dividends.

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Leading The Way: The Benefits Of Civic Leadership And Community Involvement

If you missed the presentation, so sorry.  It was worth your time to hear from a panel of experienced professionals on this topic, not to mention the networking and delicious snacks as well as CLE and CPE for the attorneys and accountants in attendance.  On Monday, October 28th, Lori Molloy, Madlen Miller, and I discussed […]

If you missed the presentation, so sorry.  It was worth your time to hear from a panel of experienced professionals on this topic, not to mention the networking and delicious snacks as well as CLE and CPE for the attorneys and accountants in attendance.  On Monday, October 28th, Lori Molloy, Madlen Miller, and I discussed the importance of being involved in the community, in particular, being part of a Board of Directors for a non-profit organization. The presentation focused on Leadership by Leading the Way.  Although it was geared to emerging professionals, information was shared that benefited all professional levels in our community.  As members of society, it is our responsibility to build up our communities and see that they thrive, putting our talents to good use.  Part of this responsibility rests with volunteer work – whether giving legal advice, dishing out food at a soup kitchen, delivering meals to the elderly, or building homes.

In addition to being an attorney, Lori Molloy is the Executive Director of North Penn Legal Services.  She shared her thoughts on what she looks for when choosing a Board member.  In particular, for her organization, the person must be an attorney, so her pool of candidates is much smaller than that of a typical search where the Board would include professionals from diverse backgrounds to enhance the skills and vision of the organization.

Lori addressed such topics as Duty of Care and Duty of Loyalty – both fiduciary responsibilities of a non-profit Board of directors.  Duty of Care means that Board directors must give the same care and concern to their Board responsibilities as any prudent and ordinary person would – they must actively participate in board meetings.  Duty of Loyalty requires Board directors to place the interests of the organization ahead of their own interest at all times and not use Board service as a means for personal gain.  An annual retreat allows Board members to develop a strategic plan and goals for the future.  It also builds camaraderie among the Board members, oftentimes allowing them to get to know each other on a more personal level.

Madlen Miller is the Director of Marketing and Analytics at Morton Brown Family Wealth and has years of experience coaching new members of firms by assisting them in growing their talents and strengths.  She shared tips on how to juggle work, voluntary, and personal time.  Maddy suggested to start, you should discover your passion, so volunteering will be enjoyable as opposed to a chore.  As a stepping stone, you may want to become part of the Board, which will further enhance your appreciation of the organization.  She explained that employers must be on-board with allowing their employees to give back to the community through their time and talent on company time.  Many firms allot time for this to take place.  The benefits for both employer and employee are endless.  The community sees first-hand through the employee how the employer is involved, and that in-turn, promotes their business.

I am a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Fraud Examiner.  I shared my thoughts on the importance of the fiduciary responsibilities – paying attention in Board meetings and keeping a watchful eye on the spending of the organization to remain fiscally responsible.  All too often, we hear what happens to small non-profits because no one was watching – someone walks away with the money.  The Board must be fully involved to prevent this from happening.  Although the name, non-profit, connotates no profit, income as a result of activities is used to cover expenses and can show a positive bank balance. In fact, this income can be essential to an organization’s survival.

Our emerging professionals are the next generation of Leaders in our community.  In their professional role, they are looked to for sound advice and guidance, their voice is impactful to the community, and they are considered trusted advisors in their field.  A transition to Board Leadership is something that will round out their life experiences and help them grow as a person.  As quoted by John Quincy Adams, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

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Coaching for Success: Finding a Thought Partner to Help You Unlock Your Potential

It seems like each time my peers ask about my job, it makes a little more sense to them than the last time. They finally asked me to write an article explaining what I do! There are so many different kinds of coaches, the title can be confusing, so I’ll start by describing what coaching […]

It seems like each time my peers ask about my job, it makes a little more sense to them than the last time. They finally asked me to write an article explaining what I do! There are so many different kinds of coaches, the title can be confusing, so I’ll start by describing what coaching is and isn’t – to me. There are other types of coaches, and they are free to use the term as they wish. I’ll describe my own definition below. Then I’ll give you tips on finding the right coach for you.

What coaching is not:

It’s not therapy. Therapy for past trauma, childhood issues, and severe anxiety (to name but a few topics) are necessary. The coaching I do does not claim to take the place of psychological therapy or counseling.

It’s not mentoring. Mentoring is a process of training, advising, and passing down wisdom to a younger or less-experienced colleague. I do this for aspiring coaches in Heidrick & Struggles’ Leadership Coaching for Organizational Performance (LCOP) program, a post-grad certificate offered at Rutgers and American U. Although I use some coaching skills in that role, my function there is more that of a mentor than a coach.

It’s not a consultancy. A consultant is an adviser with expertise in their field, which they will use to help you problem-solve or strategize.

What coaching is:

Coaching is neutral. My background is in Communications, Business, HR, and Leadership, but in a coaching session, my knowledge is on the back burner. The reason is that research shows advice rarely works. People are more likely to change if they make their own discoveries. I’m trained and practiced at actively listening without getting attached to a certain outcome or action I’d like you to take. If you’ve ever been annoyed by unasked-for advice (and who hasn’t?), you’ll understand how powerful my active listening (without trying to control the outcome) really is.

Coaching is powerful! A good coach is specifically trained in how to ask questions in a way that opens your eyes to answers you just wouldn’t discover on your own. And thinking out loud with someone who knows what to ask and how to ask it is totally, shockingly different from sharing your thoughts with a friend or loved one. I often get client comments about the “magic” that seems to happen when our conversation leads to crystal clarity about exactly what to do next.

Coaching is a codiscovery process. What interests me is what you may discover about yourself. If this sounds too airy-fairy to you, hang on: usually, the barrier between you and the success you want is something you could change if you only could identify and face up to it. It’s like the proverbial monster under the bed. It’s a lot less scary when someone comes in and shines a light under there. By the same token, during our sessions, I help you gain insights about yourself that help you pull down the barriers that stand in your way.

What to look for if you’d like a coach as described above:

ICF qualification. Whether you’re looking for an executive coach or a life coach, make sure they are accredited and qualified through the International Coach Federation (ICF). Look for ICF ACC or PCC on their website or card.

Accessibility. Make sure your coach is local enough to easily meet with you face to face or has experience with virtual sessions. Research shows that telephone (audio-only) coaching is as good as or better than video-conferencing. But the coach should have the training and/or experience in virtual coaching to be effective. And of course, face-to-face is still golden.

A good rapport. You need to feel comfortable with your coach. If you feel intimidated or self-conscious with your coach, this will hinder your journey to peak performance. If your would-be coach doesn’t put you at your ease, you may simply not be a good match for each other. Any good coach will be plugged into the coaching community and more than happy to recommend others you could try.

A trial session. Some coaches offer a no-obligation 20-minute laser-coaching session for you to experience what coaching is like. You simply need to be prepared with a decision or challenge you’re facing that you’d like to take action on. The coach will take it from there. I offer this because I want to spread the word about what ICF executive coaching is like. Call me with questions, or text me to book your complimentary 20-minute laser-coaching call!

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Great Fruit X Great Wine = Boos-Rock Wine! | From Basement to Today!

Once upon a time, there was a guy named Bryon, and even though he had a full-time job running one of the country’s largest paint production plants here in the Lehigh Valley, he exhausted all of his spare time following his passion and making wine in his family basement. All with the dream of maybe […]

Once upon a time, there was a guy named Bryon, and even though he had a full-time job running one of the country’s largest paint production plants here in the Lehigh Valley, he exhausted all of his spare time following his passion and making wine in his family basement. All with the dream of maybe someday owning his own winery. He invited neighbors and friends to come to his home weekly to make and drink wine in his basement. One could argue the level of quality of that wine, but it was good enough, and it made everyone happy who made and drank it. Unbeknownst to Bryon, his neighbor David (who had many businesses of his own) was a huge wine connoisseur.  David had a great love for the best California Cabernets. He had also always dreamed of one day owning a winery and maybe even moving to Napa Valley. Every October, large refrigerator trucks carrying grapes would come to Bryon’s house to be made into wine.  Right on cue, all of his friends and neighbors would show up, and the winemaking and celebrating would ensue into the late hours of the night. On one evening, David looked over at his neighbor’s house to see all the happiness & laughter & hijinks and decided to find out for himself what the heck was going on over there…

When Bryon told David, “it’s cool we’re just here making and drinking wine.” David said, “I love wine, let’s try some.” As folklore has it, David was not impressed.  He suggested instead that we make some really great wine together with only the best grapes from California and use Oak barrels. They started in Bryon’s basement with one American Oak barrel and some real quality grapes from California. At the first tasting of this new elixir they had created, after six months of fermentation, they danced in glee in Bryon’s basement to celebrate what they had done. It was so good that they invited their friends and neighbors over to taste it too.  When it became time to bottle it 1  ears later, there was only  f a barrel left. They decided they needed to produce more and get even higher quality grapes and barrels. They then decided to go to a wine show in Lancaster. When they went to the registration table to sign in, the guy at the counter said: “Well, what’s your winery name”? They looked at each other said,” we don’t have one yet.” The guy at the registration booth looked at their names and took half of each of their names – Boos & Rothrock and said, “well, your name today is BOOS-ROCK Winery.” They looked at each other and claimed “BRILLIANT” and the name stuck!  Next up, where are we going to make this great wine as it was time to move out of the basement.

As luck would have it, David’s family owned a 6-acre parcel of land out in Breinigsville (complete with a spring-fed pond). It was a perfect fit for a winery and a vineyard. They started off in 2012 with one room and 14 brand new French Oak Barrels along with amazing grapes from Napa Valley. The grapes were picked right off the vines and shipped across the country in refrigerated tractor-trailers. Once they arrived, they were destemmed and fermented with the best nutrients until the brix levels were just right.  At that point, they were pressed and fermented in the French Oak Barrels. They were then racked every 4 months.  After 2-years in the Oak barrels, the wine was put into stainless steel fermenters to settle down for 6 more months. Then the wine was bottled and left to rest for 6-months and later released to the public. The results and feedback from everyone were fantastic! The wine was amazing! So many people loved the wine that they started to come up and volunteer on weekends, and the winery continued to grow. First, it was 14 new French Oak Barrels, then 30, then 50, then 70, and now 100. They also continued to expand into different grapes and wines like Merlot, Cab Franc, Super Tuscan Blend, Chardonnay, and even superior sweet wines like Pink Catawba & Red Raspberry. But their passion was California Cabernet Sauvignon. So, they set out to make the best Cabernet possible east of Napa Valley. They were able to start purchasing their grapes from some of the finest vineyards in Napa, Lake County, and Mendocino, California. They were also ready to begin purchasing from some of the top growers, including the grower considered the best in California, Andy Beckstoffer.  Today, Boos-Rock Winery is producing some fantastic Cabernets from all different regions in California as they continue to perfect the process and use the best grapes, nutrients, and Oak Barrels available. They are now open for sales, private tastings, and private events for Club Members. A new Wine Club is coming with over 30,000 bottles available. Their wine is also now being sold in local Restaurants and Country Clubs in the Lehigh Valley.

Not bad for a couple of guys in a basement 8 short years ago with a vision and passion for great wine. Great fruit * Great Wine = BOOS-ROCK Wine! For more information, please contact Doreen Carl, Director of Operations at 484-223-0625 or email at doreen@boosrock.com.

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2020-winter-boscovs

Today, Boscov’s is America’s largest family-owned department store. But like all family businesses, its beginning was small and humble.

At only 18, Solomon Boscov left his family in Russia and immigrated to the United States in 1914. He settled in Reading, PA, where the Yiddish he spoke at home was similar to the German spoken by the Pennsylvania Dutch farmers throughout Berks and Lancaster County. With a pack on his back and with the […]

At only 18, Solomon Boscov left his family in Russia and immigrated to the United States in 1914. He settled in Reading, PA, where the Yiddish he spoke at home was similar to the German spoken by the Pennsylvania Dutch farmers throughout Berks and Lancaster County. With a pack on his back and with the few dollars he had, he began peddling household goods to the farm families in the surrounding area. He developed a reputation for fairness and honesty. As his business and reputation grew, he was able to buy the dry goods store that had provided the merchandise he peddled, and the first Boscov’s Department Store was established. It was a true neighborhood store providing honest pricing and quality merchandise to the community in good times and through the bad times of the depression.

The core principles established by Solomon continue to be the keys to success today.

A Vast Selection of Quality Merchandise Including Your Favorite Brands

Unlike other “department stores” that only carry apparel, we offer a full range of departments, including toys, candy, and small appliances. Within each department, we offer a broader assortment of products at a wider range of prices than you’re likely to find elsewhere. That means that if you’re shopping for coffee makers, you’ll find twenty-five models at prices to satisfy the gourmet coffee connoisseur as well as the bargain hunter. The same holds true whether you’re buying outerwear or a dress – a larger selection at prices to please everyone.

Incredible Pricing

We believe that it’s about how much you sell and not the margin you make on each item. If you sell enough, profitability takes care of itself. We know our pricing is good because we do so much business in Texas and California – but we don’t have stores in Texas or California. Here’s what happens – online shoppers search for an item on a competitive shopping tool, and Boscov’s comes out on top. They place the order; we ship it to them – even in areas that don’t know what a Boscov’s is.

Knowledgeable and friendly coworkers provide the kind of customer service that’s hard to find anymore

Don’t tell the competition but having helpful coworkers on the sales floor is an asset. There’s nothing more frustrating than having an item you’re ready to purchases and having to look for a salesperson to ring it up. Buying from a real person who is knowledgeable and empowered to help is a better experience than buying from Alexa.

Commitment to Community Involvement

We’re your neighborhood family store. We live here, we work here, and we play here. It’s only natural that we should be a part of the community. Our store openings reflect our commitment to the community. Grand openings include a day devoted to raising money for the community non-profits. And that’s just the beginning. We have an ongoing partnership that brings these organizations into the store for meetings, fashion shows, and classes throughout the year. For example, we recently held a family health and wellness event for young families that brought in eighteen different organizations offering information and demonstrations on things from mommy and baby yoga to financial planning for college.

We know that shopping is social. People like to shop with a friend and family. While some commodities can certainly be bought online, if you’re shopping for a dress, it’s important to see how it moves when you walk and how the color goes with your complexion.

We believe that what happens on the sales floor is more important than what happens in an office. The customer tells us what we need to do. As a result, all of our executives spend lots of time visiting stores and listening to our customers and coworkers

We open one store a year, and we hire about 300 new coworkers in the process. In addition, we ask over one hundred of our seasoned coworkers to spend time both before the new store opens and after the store opens, working side by side with new members of the team. We believe you teach the culture of a company by example, not from a handbook.

As a privately-owned family business, we have the luxury of being able to make smart decisions for the long-term health of the company. Working for the customer and not for the market gives us added flexibility and allows us to make decisions that are right for the customers and ultimately better for the business.

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