Believe, Encourage, Listen and Lift


It doesn’t matter if you are age 6, 12, 25, 39, 51 or 64.  We all need to hear the ring of a bell.  We are reminded of this in Hemmingway’s famous work, For Whom the Bell Tolls  ” No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine”:

Believe.  We must firmly believe in the power of human potential.  It’s surprising how this act has great possibilities and can truly allow another person to fight through a treacherous pathway they were previously unable to pass.  It’s our ability as coaches, mentors and leaders to ensure that our staff, teams and organizations demonstrate through our actions and words those they we ‘believe’ in them.

Encourage.  This word is often over used.  It means different things to different people.  But what I’ve found surprising is that often outsiders in the circles of relationships can spark the fire within individuals in order for them to grasp onto that rope a wee bit longer in order to climb up the long  and difficult ascend to ring the bell at the top of the gym or in life.

Listen.  Take time to truly listen to people.  Allow space for your teams to share their challenges, frustrations and aspirations.  For with our ability to suspend judgment or problem solve for others, there is power in the courtesy and respect of demonstrating how we value them as individuals and what they bring to the table.  More often than not you will be surprised in what you hear if you listen close enough.

Lift upwards.  Do spend time to realize that your staff may be facing an audience of nay-sayers or reminded of their 8th grade nemesis.  They may be experiencing counterproductive thoughts but secretly want to hear the bell in order to realize greatness.    The only way we can allow our team to reach greater heights is through our generosity of time using the BELL concept.

I hope you will join me in making time every day to sound the BELL of leadership.

Creating remarkable customer experiences

 Create Remarkable

I was reminded by the CEO of Start Human recently that creating remarkable customer experiences is paramount to business success.  I was delighted that her company is focused offers training and services which allow organizations to put the customer first.

Matching your actions and words.  An important business value often overlooked when focusing on short term results.    Laudable goal, but hard to realize unless you invest in people.

From acquisition, learning and development to experience.   Our talent teams need to embody these concepts through their actions and words.  If we as leaders don’t have the courage to request fast feedback and demonstrate active listening, we may find ourselves in a conundrum.  Simply because the world now has multiple channels of interaction and networks that extend beyond what we ever imagined.  Today we must invest in our front line staff.

Sanofi could benefit to embody these concepts.  Their handling of the voluntary Avi-Q recall is being poorly communicated and managed.



Who is your mentor today? Who have your mentors been in the past?  Are they family, community members, business professionals, celebrities, athletes, politicians or historical figures?

I personally have several mentors.  Dead and Alive.  I find that I can draw knowledge and wisdom from my ancestors.  Learning about their struggles, their impacts or their sheer perseverance often helps me ‘fill my watering can’.

Why do I use that metaphor?  Well, because I believe knowledge is the lifeblood that blossoms to new growth and learning.  Either way, what I do know is that I draw strength from inspiring and impactful human beings.  They are my water, sustenance, something that’s developed into more of a need than a want. The needs to be not only inspired, but to give you drive, if I had used a different metaphor, I would say fuel to your fire. When I face difficulties in my life, perspective can be the thing that can remind me of what I have, what I lack, and what I can stand to learn and gain. We’ve all had those days; you know the ones where things are disorganized and chaotic.  Where the organizations don’t have solid design structures, lack clarity with regards to the business and division goals, and more importantly lack transparent leaders who are the embodiment of trust and integrity.  Fluffy words, I know, but often times we get into these projects and get lost in the sea of work, life and chaos.

It’s hard to find clarity in strength. Especially if you have management without experience, lean budgets, and /or egomaniacs. It can be simply unbearable.  Often times I find turning on some music (like if you were at the gym) and find an inspirational work space, alongside mentors, you can muster through.  It isn’t so bad, but if you don’t have people who are experienced or trusted advisors you can look to for ‘strength’ it can be cumbersome. This is why I encourage a myriad of sources.

Family is always good, since most of them love unconditionally.  But often times, they don’t understand your field, so you need to seek out people who understand your work culture or industry.  At the same time, you as a mentee must be willing to listen and probe. Try to better understand your shortcomings, blind spots or more importantly opportunity areas.  I also find a lot of strength in reading biographies of people who have carved or blazed their own trails in their lifetimes.  I’ve noticed, reading and art are strong fuels for my own passion.  For example, as a young woman I was introduced to Frida Kahlo, a Mexican artist who overcame several life challenges.  She suffered for many years, but took her suffering and turned it into something she could offer to others, and in turn brought her pride and personal satisfaction.  Since I admire her journey, I enjoy putting up copies of her art to be reminded of her struggle.  It often can trigger me to step back, think through my situation differently or more importantly dig deeper inside myself for new strength and renewal.

Innovation with the letter R

RenoArnold Carbone shared his thought leadership with regards to his R&D experience with Ben and Jerry’s during a recent @AIGARenoTahoe event @theBasementReno which reminded me of the behaviors we must have in order to evolve as we develop products and services.

Mentoring, market research, business plan development, etc. are all critical milestones in our business lives; this talk reminded me that as an entrepreneur or product manager, we must constantly be re-inventing our approaches. It’s no longer about the solid channel strategies and programs, but actually the talent we hire and inspire. We must have talent that innovates with the letter R.

We must have people on our ‘team bus’ who understand the importance of knowing their audience yet can flex in VUCA world to listen, advocate, influence, engage and execute. These are no small tasks. I’ve found these individuals are comfortable to constantly learn, re-invent themselves, seek out fast feedback and incorporate it into their work styles and approaches. Additionally, they have high integrity and are quick to translate the key business objectives through their day to day actions. From the tactical activities such as influencing internal stakeholders or executive sponsors.

As I sat at the Old Post Office inside an art deco building in Reno, Nevada, I was reminded that whether your customer is a high tech executive or a scoop shop owner, we must invest in building skills which start with the letter R in our future leaders if we want to continue to have products such as Phish Food in our lives.

Resourceful, Relentless, Revolutionary Innovation, Resilience and Responsibility

Danell Wilson-Perlman, Female Leader changing the limo transportation world one tread at a time


She’s a female leader in the state of Nevada who is advocating to keep free enterprise live and well in Las Vegas which is the largest limo network in the world. Las Vegas. And guess what, she’s rocking at it. She is a co-owner of Reno-Tahoe Limousine and has been working with the Pacific Legal Foundation to help advocate on behalf of all the small companies to change legislation that would allow her company to grow and thrive in the Nevada market. Up until now, she has been limited. For the full story, review the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL.

It’s hard not to be impressed by the torque of a woman who’s standing up for local businesses and changing the transportation world one tread at a time. The outside is undoubtedly shiny and ethereal, but man oh man, this woman has depth.

She is in the middle of this legislative process and remembers to thank her staff, buy a gift and attend BREKKIE (Where she continues to support and inspire other women and share hilarious anecdotes—see end of blog). She’s steadfast in her commitment, isn’t wavering, despite all the obstacles that she has been confronted with in these past few months. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to have met such a fierce woman advocating on behalf of many small business people to allow them to realize their own dreams. She wrote a story of hope, and justice. How a small company is pushing back to be permitted to increase their fleets without unfair interference from the massive limo and taxi industries that operate in Las Vegas. Might just be the next major motion picture.

A few of her business traits that make her successful women in business:

Fair, hardworking, resilient, knows when to ask for help and has a strong female vision

Oh, I almost forgot the anecdote; “When I was in typing school, I remember my teacher telling me I was awful and would just end up pouring tea for the boss. As I sipped my tea, I realized my teacher was right.”

It’s like a muscle, if you practice and flex it, it can turn into a way to live.


A tenant of success in business is relationship nurturing, building, tending and sustaining.  Yet in today’s wired world, it’s easy to spend too much time with surface level interactions.  One of the many skills that we must maintain is the skills of active listening, authentic conversations and integrity.  Easier said than done in today’s world, yet must be a core competency we focus on.

One of my secret ingredients that I share with community managers in my coaching sessions it that of an earnest commitment in your businesses, communities or lives to ensure that people are the base ingredient for your success.

In our practice of daily mantras, meditation or simply during our to do list review, I suggest you ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who will you motivate today?
  • Who will you recognize?
  • How many direct customer, partner and employee conversations can you spark?
  • How can you inspire your colleagues, team or company in a new way?
  • How can you make the mundane more ‘fun’?
  • Can you listen in the moment with your customers, partners, employees or prospects today?

Engaging the Organization – Adoption Strategies


Over 200 attendees packed the Hitachi Data Systems use case session during Jive Software end user conference in Las Vegas last week titled, “Engaging the Organization – Adoption Strategies”. 

Michelle Groff Burling and I presented following the 8am keynote with CEO Tony Zingale, CMO Elisa Steele and the popular band OK-GO.    Since energy levels were high following that kick off,  we were delighted to find a full ballroom with enthusiastic attendees with a myriad of questions and interactions throughout our presentation. 

We wanted to share with you the top five approaches that were well received:

  1. Schedule only 5 minutes with leaders (not an hour)
  2. Probe for key content with audience in mind
  3. Actively listen for key content targeting your audience
  4. Capture executives key phrases
  5. Share a short paragraph following your meeting with them within the hour

Leaders in your organization can find time for blogging, it simply may require some initial heavy lifting and ‘digital coaching’ couple with fast feedback to help them conquer their initial fear.