First you, then your team
As a manager, you set the pace for your team. When you become the best version of yourself, others get inspired to do the same. This sequence matters. I love helping teams thrive, but, first, we start with you.
Who I partner with
My work comes mostly by referral. You’re like the leaders I love supporting if you are
- Ready to grow yourself. Humans don’t stop growing at adulthood, and society’s challenges are more complex than today’s minds can handle. That’s why you want to grow, and I want to be there by your side.
- Doing big things for the greater good. It’s immensely rewarding to lead for a cause that is greater than yourself. That’s what you’re all about.
- Decent. You have flaws like the rest of us but are at core a decent person.
The real reason you’re ready to grow
Developing into your best self is exciting but also scary. To be the leader you aspire to be tomorrow means letting go of the leader—and person—you are today. This involves painful losses like the shedding of identity.
Add to this mix the amount of practice it takes to grow, and you might wonder: Why bother?
It’s a fair question! I, too, sometimes long to keep things the way they are—to remain nestled in my habitual ways of speaking, listening, and thinking.
Again: why bother?
You know the answer. This isn’t about you. Or, more accurately, it isn’t about only you.
The game you’re playing involves a noble purpose, something larger than yourself. By this point in your career, you’ve likely been asked many times to shift from Me to We—to embrace the interests of your team, your tribe, your organization. This feels good but, let’s face it, isn’t the deep inspiration you crave. The calling you hear in quieter moments is even more expansive. To shape a future about not Us, but All of Us.
Moral philosophers call this a worldcentric vision. For you, it’s the motivation for growth.
Listen and speak as the change
Your noble purpose has practical value. It gets you out of bed in the morning, keeps you in the game when times are tough, and ignites your growth.
That is the power of a calling. You stop asking what you want from life and start wondering, “What does life want from me?”
Gandhi called this being the change you want to see in the world.
Now it’s time to take this a step further. Let’s weave this intention into the central threads of your life: your conversations.
Learn to listen as the change. Practice speaking as the change.
This is the work of your life.
Increase the odds of being your best
Every day you show up as a leader, you place a bet.
It may not be conscious, but it’s real.
Your bet is that the leadership approach you are now taking will produce the results you’ve committed to delivering. Wouldn’t it be nice to increase the odds of this bet paying off?
Let’s say you’ve taken on a big new role. What if, instead of having a 50 percent chance of earning your new team’s trust, you could increase that to 80 percent?
This would be worth something to you.
This is the promise of a customized, actionable approach to growing your leadership.
A growth path customized for your leadership DNA
There’s no shortage of advice for becoming a better leader. How can you tell what will work for you?
There’s a difference between generic advice and guidance that is customized to your unique leadership DNA. You would never accept a prescription drug for all women over 50 or all men under 6’4″, so why not treat generic advice the same way?
Your job is to become the best version of one person: you. That’s the beauty of the Enneagram system of leadership development, a cornerstone of our work together. There isn’t one way to grow yourself as a leader and human being. There are nine ways. This is true whether your focus of growth is to create team flow, improve resilience, act more strategically, build emotional intelligence, or manage your energy,
You owe it to yourself to learn the growth path that best matches your leadership DNA. This is customized leadership development. It’s what the Enneagram can offer you.
Conversation skills that are actionable
It’s fine to invest in expensive leadership instruments and complex competency models if your main goal is quantitative rigor. But don’t assume that because something’s “statistically valid” it’s more useful.
The true test of any approach is this: can you put it into action?
Here’s the benefit of conversation skills practice compared to complex competency frameworks. With competencies, you walk away with “HR-speak” language. With conversation skills practice, you focus your valuable time on the two core leadership activities: speaking and listening.
How well do you frame meeting topics so that every participant understands what you’re discussing and why? How can you get better at managing commitments so you get what you ask for and deliver what you promised? When making big decisions, which conversations do you typically have, and which do you avoid? When you’re listening, what thought patterns predictably distract you, and how can you regain presence? How skilled are you at broaching undiscussable topics, including disparate voices, and repairing trust? Each of these questions points to what I call a pivotal conversation skill.
Upgrade these (through a path customized to your DNA), and you upgrade your leadership.
Deliberately practice your best leadership
Leaders, like high performers in sports and music, are neither born nor made, but self-made. The method is long-term deliberate practice.
In leadership the footwork you practice isn’t physical but conversational. The chords you play over and over again aren’t musical but in the worlds of language and attention.
Want to grow into your best self? Practice speaking and listening as this person.
One way I’ll help you practice is on the job. We’ll deliberately prepare for pivotal conversations, select new “micro habits” you’ll bring into them, and take time afterwards to reflect and get feedback from trusted colleagues.
A second method of practice is directly with me in our session together. This is more like a tennis or piano lesson. You bring in specific conversations with particular people that you want to practice. Some just occurred. Others appear on next week’s calendar. I help you break these conversations into smaller units—customized to your leadership DNA—that are suited for repetitive practice. Focusing on such micro-habits disguises them from your critical mind, which frees you to engage in deep learning. In between reps, we pause to reflect on the experience through your heart and body, notice the degree of stretch, and make adjustments.
Over time, such practice not only builds conversation skills. It also shifts your way of being. That’s the beauty of listening and speaking as your best self. You step into that person’s shoes and lead with their brilliance, competence and, yes, idiosyncrasies. It is still you!