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Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.

Learn from a Leader: Chaotic Decision-making

Choosing not to make a decision is still a decision. 

Even if you made that decision because you were waiting for more information to make the "real" decision. 

Waiting for more information isn't always the best course of action, especially when dealing with the uncertainty caused by a pandemic. The best leaders take action and create options and flexibility. That's as true now as it was when the pandemic started. 

I think it's great advice, but I'm a little biased since it comes from my dad. He knows what he's talking about a number of years in the C-suite. 

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Practicing Leadership: How do you Talk to Yourself?

“Are you talking to yourself again?”

I’ve lost track of the number of times my husband has asked that question during quarantine.

It’s something I do when problem-solving or trying to remember something. I usually ignore him because there’s no pretending I’m not carrying on a full-blown conversation with myself.

But there is something I won’t ignore anymore the use of certain phrases that should be canned from how we describe what’s happening right now – unprecedented and new normal.

My background as a TV producer leads to me believe emails have been sent from executive producers to writers and producers across the country telling them not to use those words or phrases. (That happens occasionally when words get overused and lose their meaning or aren’t providing an actual description of anything.)

Let’s be honest, by this point we recognize we have all experienced something unexpected that will reshape the way we do...

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Learn from a Leader: High School Student Athletes on Leadership in Uncertainty

Outcomes determine winners.

In sports, it's the final score or the fastest time that indicates a win. But what happens in the absence of outcomes, during a time of uncertainty? 

Winning looks different. 

For high school seniors unable to finish out their sports careers, winning can't be defined by games, races or matches. "Winning" becomes about their leadership skills in a time of uncertainty, their willingness to continue showing up for teammates and their  ability to show gratitude for coaches, teachers and parents. 

I recently spoke to a group of high school seniors from Bellevue Christian School to learn how they've been affected by COVID-19 and how it's helped them develop leadership skills. 

Each one talked about the sports lesson they've leaned into during a time of uncertainty and serves as reminder that sports is more than outcomes. It's an opportunity to lead and provides a blueprint for overcoming challenges and challenging times. 

Key...

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Learn from a Leader: Steve Singh on creating All In Seattle

covid-19 leadership Apr 28, 2020

A quick scan of Steve Singh’s biography tells you all you really need to know about the Managing Director at Madrona Venture Group. It’s not his experience or expertise that jumps out. It’s this phrase: “the only legacy we leave behind is positively changing the trajectory of life for others.” 

Here’s what else you need to know about Singh, he’s a driving force behind All In Seattle, a coalition of concerned Seattleites and community members who banded together to help neighbors through the COVID-19 crisis. The initiative ties into his personal belief around impacting the lives of others.

“No matter how amazing any one human being may be, we can only move the needle a little bit,” Singh told me during a recent conversation. “So, the legacy that we get behind is ensuring that everyone gets a chance to move the needle.”

As Singh says in the video below, “leaders can be anybody."

All In Seattle partners...

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Learn from a Leader: Leading in Times of Crisis

What happens if you don't have any answers as a leader? 

What happens if there's no playbook that outlines the next right steps?

What do you if you find yourself leading during a crisis?

Many leaders are grappling with those questions right now as they deal with the uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic. Everything seems to be uncertain. Everyone seems to be making best-guess decisions while filtering through the latest information. 

When crisis strikes, leaders lead. It doesn't matter if there's a playbook or if they have the answers. The best thing they can do is understand their response helps shape the reaction of their team.

The response of a leader helps shape the reaction of their team. 

It's a lesson Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner has learned during his career and one that applies for every leader in times of crisis and uncertainty. 

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Practicing Leadership: Communicating With Remote Teams + What Talk Sporty to Me Is Doing

leadership Mar 24, 2020

“The greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.” George Bernard Shaw

I couldn’t say it any better George.

I know exactly what he’s talking about. You probably do to. There’s also a good chance you’re starting to feel the strain or tension around communicating with remote teams – especially if this is a new dynamic for you or your team.

We get caught in a push-pull. Wanting to make sure we stay in communication leads to sending more emails, lengthier memos and scheduling more meetings. We start believing more words or more interactions lead to better communication. In reality it’s ensuring we are overwhelmed by emails and meeting requests and creating the illusion communication has been accomplished.  

As businesses, managers and employees across the country adjust to a new work dynamic here are few things to keep in mind.

  • Working remotely doesn’t change the fact the average attention...
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Storytelling in Leadership Starts with These Questions

Sports fans inherently know the importance of storytelling. Unless they’re the type who look at the score or the outcome… and nothing else. No highlights. No recaps. No interviews. No social media. No conversations with other fans.

And let’s face, that’s not the way fans consume information.

It’s also not the way you or your colleagues consume information. Even data driven people with a thirst for stats know there’s a story behind the numbers that influences or affects decisions.

Storytelling is hugely important for conveying messages, providing context and influencing people – things all leaders should do.

But there’s a catch.

Storytelling is subjective.

A good story isn’t universal. What resonates with one person might not land with another.

Yet it’s universally accepted the most influential and effective leaders are great storytellers. It’s a requirement that seemingly comes with a moving target unless you start...

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4 Ways Leadership Skills Show Up When Learning New Things

Leaders never stop learning.

I’ve always looked at the scholastic or philosophical side of that statement more than the technical or the tactical. 

Reading articles, books, or studying the habits of other leaders is what came to mind most often, and then I was forced to learn a new website platform.

I’ve spent countless hours over the last three weeks trying to figure out how to use all the features, adapt what I had been doing to what’s now available and cursing under my breath in frustration because it just shouldn’t be that difficult.

It’s called learning.

And I don’t have as much patience for it as I thought.


You can know something without it being a learned behavior or habit. For that to happen, you need to actually do the thing. 


The whole experience reminded me that I can read all the articles I want and study other leaders but unless I put myself in position to practice a new skill it won’t actually be something I learn.

...
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Telling YOUR Story as a Leader: 5 Things you should know

People follow people, not plans.

Projections, plans, implementation strategies are all necessary and important for informing the people you lead, but don’t overlook the importance of providing insight on who they’re following.

That doesn’t happen by handing out your resume or talking about past success. It happens when you tell your story.

I’ll admit I’m not great at this. I’ve never felt it was important or even necessary to tell my story. What’s the point of hearing me ramble when you have your own stories and experiences to draw from?

And then after talking to a number of female leaders I realized I was looking at this the wrong way. Telling my story isn’t about me. It’s about giving others context for their stories and experiences. In other words, it’s a way of showing people they’re not alone.

Great leaders aren’t afraid to pull back the curtain and share personal stories.

And yet selling is sometimes...

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Goal Setting Like an Athlete - 4 Things You Need to Do

There’s no shortage of advice for making goals or how to reach them. They could be S.M.A.R.T. goals, or maybe you prefer the HARD method or the WOOP approach, but it wouldn’t hurt to include an athlete’s approach, too.

Whether you’re setting new goals for the year, refining New Year’s resolutions or establishing a quarterly revenue goal these strategies will help you stay on track in reaching your goals.

 

4 Steps to Goal Setting Like an Athlete

 1. Determine your impact number. Yes, I know there are a lot of factors that go into success but pick one. Just ONE. Every successful team has one metric that becomes the cornerstone of their philosophy and is specific to the strengths of their personnel. That number is not points or wins. It’s more specific and it’s a stat proven to a be a catalyst for success. For example; turnover differential, on-base percentage or three-point attempts in a game. Prioritizing one stat gives teams...

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