Doing Good by Doing Well

By | Executive Coaching, Gender issues in work, Leadership, Management | No Comments

I am fortunate to work closely with my undergraduate alumnae association.  When I did my undergraduate work Douglass College, a division of Rutgers University, was all women, serving as the sister school to Rutgers College, then all men.  Rutgers College admitted women in1972, my sophomore year, but Douglass remained a degree-granting, single-gender school until 2007.  Now it’s been renamed as Douglass Residential College but it remains focused on programs and services dedicated to women and women’s education. I am the head of an alumnae-mentoring program (alumna to alumna) and, along with my work as an executive coach, I come in contact with many young millennial women.  I get it that my sample is skewed.  However, I am fascinated with how many…

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The Stories We Tell Ourselves About Work

By | Executive Coaching, Leadership, Management | One Comment

I have a reputation in my immediate family as a “good story teller.” When my husband and younger son describe me that way they really mean that they think I have exaggerated the tale beyond all recognition and am bordering on being an out and out liar!  My older son shares this particular skill with me and, like me, sees it as a means to keep a conversation from lagging.  But, make no mistake;  the stories I tell are absolutely true and reflect the way I look at the world.  And there lies the rub: the way I look at the world is, by definition, unique and my creation.   Mary Catherine Bateson, noted anthropologist and daughter of Margaret Mead and Gregory…

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If You Can’t Say Something Nice…Hiring, Firing and Building a Staff: Part 4

By | Executive Coaching, Leadership, Management | No Comments

I had a consulting assignment at a small company and, as part of my remit, I was available for one-on-one coaching for the senior executive team.  One day one of those senior executives asked me if I would spend some time with a new staff member.  This young man had been hired for a job for which he had no qualifications, no experience and he was loudly telling everyone what they were doing wrong. “Sure.  I think I can offer some help here.  Tell him to call me and set up an appointment.”  So began my coaching relationship with Mark (names, as always, are changed to protect the innocent).  Mark was young and very, very smart.  It was true that he…

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Good Leaders Always Have a Plan B

By | Leadership, Management | One Comment

I always thought that my role as a good CEO was to be a pessimist and surround myself with optimists.  It was my job to figure out what could go wrong – with our products, the markets, our clients, the dynamics of the industry, or the world – and my brilliant team would develop solutions that would protect, preserve and grow our business.   It mostly worked.  We had fail-safe systems within fail-safe systems.  We had telephone trees to alert each other for every power outage and blizzard at one end of the “disaster” spectrum and we had plans in place for key employees to work remotely in the event of fire, flood and – unfortunately – terrorist attack. We knew that…

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