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Our blog has a new home! January 1, 2012

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We’ve recently done some upgrades to our website that includes moving our blog. Please visit us at www.IntegrityIntegrated.com to continue reading!

It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint December 14, 2011

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Leadership is a journey, not a destination
It is a marathon, not a sprint.
It is a process, not an outcome.

John Donahoe, president of eBay

A number of years ago I went on a 4 day white water rafting trip on the Green River in Utah.  The route was mostly level 2 and 3 rapids with an occasional level 4.  There were three rafts in our group.  I remember getting to our raft and looking at our guide—a young man who was just eighteen years old.  My mind went to judgment and my body went to fear about his potential inexperience.  Then I asked him how long he had been rafting and how he approached things.  His answer sealed the deal for me.  “I’ve been rafting on this river since I was 14 years old.  But every time I come to this river I always assume it will be different than any time before.  The river can change in an instant—and I don’t take anything for granted.”

Alrighty then, we’re going to be just fine—and we were.

But that trip is such a reminder for me that leadership is an ongoing journey—and one that can change in an instant.  And unlike the rafting trip, where we are encouraged to travel light, our leadership journey is one in which we often bring years of experience (and bad habits along with us).

Last week I heard an energizing and inspiring presentation by Chad Pregracke, Founder and President of Living Lands and Water.  While Chad had many great things to say about his journey, three things stood out for me.  First, he talked about approaching a local company to sponsor him and he asked for a large sum of money (a sum that many people would say he was crazy to ask for).  His comment, “I didn’t set out with small intentions.”

Second, Chad said that if you set out to do good things, then good things will happen to you.

And finally, Chad said he read somewhere that the earth wasn’t destroyed all at one, but piece by piece.  “And so that is how it needs to be cleaned up” one day at a time.

Those same lessons apply to our leadership journey, as was evidenced by the fact that the same day I heard Chad speak I had an email from a coaching client who is working to redirect some of her leadership efforts and overcome bad habits.  She said, “I’m working on the things we talked about.  It’s hard to change fifty-something years of bad habits…but I’m starting.”

And that is all that we can ask.  If you follow Chad’s advice, you can start something with big goals, but also recognize that you’re going to achieve those one day at a time.   And remember, that leadership development really is a marathon, not a sprint!

Update 1/1/2012: Our blog has moved to a new home on our website, please visit us at http://integrityintegrated.com/resources/blog to read more!

There are Many Communities… September 22, 2011

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A wise Ojibwa Indian elder once told me that “There are many communities out there for us.  We just have to go out and find them.”  He is indeed so very right.

I sit on the airplane flying home after almost two weeks working in Europe.  As often happens when I travel for work, I find myself feeling excitement to be home and also a sadness of having left new “friends” behind.  At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I love my work.  I get up almost every day and have the chance to teach, coach, and most importantly perhaps, continue my own learning journey.

This was a trip of leadership training for a client.  There was a four day course in England and then the following week a two day course in Germany.  In both courses, they were participants from different countries.  The first week we had a wonderful mix of English, German and French.  The second week was German and English.

I wish that I could say that I speak the languages, but I don’t.  I did however do my best to learn a few key words in German and also study some things about the cultures in the UK and Germany.  It is always important to me when I travel to a foreign country to be as respectful as possible of the local cultures, even if I don’t speak the language fluently.

One of my biggest lessons came the first week.  All of the participants spoke English, some better than others.  I tried my best to be aware of the words and phrases I used in my examples and Power Point slides.  I also looked for those times when I got the glazed over looks from some of the participants.  Gradually though, by midway through the third day of training, I noticed that people were more vocal and asking me to explain a word or phrase.  I realized how very much I appreciated them doing that.

And then it hit me that I hadn’t actually ASKED them the very first day to please feel free and ask.  I guess I just assumed that would happen.  But I learned that isn’t the nature of many of the people who were in the course.  It left me wondering how many times the first couple days I left them wondering “what the heck is she talking about.”

The good news is that I took my new found learning to heart.  The very first day of the second week of training I asked the new group of people to please feel free and ask me about anything they heard and didn’t understand.  And I’m thrilled to say they were very receptive and did indeed do so.

Days away from home:  12.

Hotels:  5.

International flights: 3.

Learning: Priceless. 

Thank you to all of my new friends in the UK, Germany and France.  A special thanks also to Alexandra and her husband Thorsten who spent a wonderful day introducing me to the Old Town of Heidelberg.

Update 1/1/2012: Our blog has moved to a new home on our website, please visit us at http://integrityintegrated.com/resources/blog to read more!

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