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Sunday, December 8, 2019

My Christmas Gifts to You: December 2019

James Taylor's Christmas album is playing in the background as I write this... though I will admit I'm also wearing shorts and the sun is out here in Santa Barbara. I find it a little surprising that 2019 is coming to a close and that we are about to step into 2020, which sounds meaningful somehow.

Looking back, this has been a full year of literal travel (Chicago, Boise, Orlando, Dallas, San Diego, Malibu, Pasadena, Azusa, San Jose for work; Yosemite, Seattle, Maine and Alabama for fun) and a great deal of virtual travel with clients as well, to Washington DC, Seattle, Boise, Chicago, Sarajevo, Manila and Bangkok. I frequently tell people that I never could've imagined I would be doing what I am doing right now, and I am so grateful for the opportunities that have opened up to me.

In writing my last post on this blog for 2019, I thought it would be helpful to highlight some of the resources I always have available on my Google Drive, KSLD resources. Feel free to shop around there to your heart's content. Below I will list some of the goodies I have used the most with clients this year.

7 Steps To Creating The Best Personal Task Management System With Trello. I would venture to say that the top two questions that clients have the most for me relate to either conflict resolution or project management. Especially for someone relatively new to project management, I recommend they start with the Trello tool. This article is a great intro that walks you through it step-by-step.

The Future of Leadership Development: A Global Mindset. Thanks to technology and globalization, many companies find it almost common place to work on a daily basis with employees who are distributed around the world. Two of my clients have me doing leadership development work with their staff in Thailand, Bosnia, Philippines and Peru. This article is a good baseline to start from. Another super valuable tool is the book titled The Culture Map by Erin Meyer. I cannot recommend it enough and use it regularly with these clients and others.

Share your Signature Themes Report with Someone Close to You. Ten years ago I started using Strengths Finders with churches and with student interns and it ended up opening the door to so much more of the work I do now. I gave multiple presentations in the last two weeks to a variety of clients, from higher education to accounting to manufacturing, and never fail to be surprised by what sort of conversations it is able to spark, regardless of context. This particular document is especially helpful in getting someone to go deeper into the results of the Strengths Finder assessment, especially if they've got some doubts about their report. This document creates some wonderful conversation.

What Self-Awareness Really Is (and How to Cultivate It). If I only have five seconds to explain to someone what I am doing right now, I simply tell them that I help companies cultivate soft skills with their employees. This article does a good job explaining why that is necessary. I never could've imagined that 35 years of working with people in my past roles would have led me to this point, but it has been so valuable to be so comfortable in meeting people where they are and helping them figure out what they need to move forward both personally and professionally.

Healthy vs Unhealthy Boundaries. I talk a great deal with people about what it takes to maintain healthy work/life balance, but more and more I am finding that for many people, work IS life. And the struggles they have in their home lives are the same ones they are experiencing at work. Frequently the issue of healthy boundaries comes up and this is a great resource. In addition, I recommend this one on healthy/unhealthy relationships.

14 questions to ask an underperforming employee during a one-on-one meeting. Last week I participated in a great training session with academic leaders who are trying to figure out how to best manage their teams. One of the most difficult aspects of leadership is addressing problems with performance in a way that is not discouraging, but is also clear and effective. I think this is a surprisingly useful article.

An extra: I recommend this for MUST-SEE TV. Last week I was utterly gripped by this documentary titled College Behind Bars, produced by Ken Burns and one of his favorite colleagues, Lynn Novick. Set aside four hours this month to watch this. It is a remarkable story of restoration and redemption, with tons of challenges and heartache along the way. I could not stop watching this.

Final thoughts... as you gather around tables with friends and family this month, I was moved by the challenge to ask this question:
At family dinner, don't just ask kids how the test went and whether their team won. Ask them who they helped—and who helped them. (Adam Grant)
Thanks for reading... feel free to pass this along to someone else, and please do contact me with feedback and questions at See you in 2020!

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