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Graceful Giving — and Receiving

Conflict brings to mind so many emotions, most of them negative. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Changing the way you look at conflict will change the outcome, which was a point captured by an astute group I recently had the pleasure of working with. 

The incredible team leading The Sustainability Project

In a workshop this past weekend with The Sustainability Project, their Board and key volunteers were exploring ways to further develop their team. You may recall that TSP was one of the two winners I announced for the Graceful Giving program and I’ve been excited for this day since my very first call with them. Their mission resonates deeply with me and their commitment to it is evident.

The Sustainability Project was founded in March of 2000. They are a nonprofit educational organization that promotes a love of nature, environmental stewardship, caring communities and ways of living that deepen our understanding of the interconnected web of life.

The physical heart of The Sustainability Project (TSP) can be found at the Emerson Brook Forest Outdoor Education Center in Gilsum, NH. The center functions as a learning laboratory for edible forest gardening, permaculture design and sustainable community practices. The list of programming that TSP supports is long and diverse.

In their Graceful Giving application, TSP expressed a desire to strengthen their communication and organizational skills during a time of renewal and expansion. The Graceful Giving prize was a workshop built on the program called “Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team.” The goal of the program is to explore how each of the five behaviors currently plays out on a team and identify what could change to help the team work at a higher level. Mastering these behaviors will absolutely improve communication and organizational skills and TSP moved the needle in just one day!

These impressive folks were thoughtful and supportive of each other. They openly offered candid feedback about their own strengths and development areas (we all have them!!). As we progressed through discussion of the five behaviors, they acknowledged how challenging it can be to address conflict, in large part because of their close-knit relationships. Conflict is one of the behaviors that Lencioni says is necessary for a high performing team and it is something that many people struggle with.

At The Sustainability Project, everyone on the team truly likes each other, indeed they are a family tied together whether actually related or not. So bringing up an issue feels unkind and uncomfortable to them. But even when we have very close, meaningful relationships, we are going to have conflict. The magic happens when we figure out to work through it productively.

Avoiding or discounting the opportunity to address conflict doesn’t make it go away. As we explored the ramifications of not addressing an issue, even something small, they came to a new realization. Rather than feeling like conflict could harm, they now saw it as a way for growth.

By giving someone honest feedback, for example, conflict allows a person to improve, develop, and/or become more aware of what is needed. This brings out the best–for the person and the organization. One participant spontaneously captured the essence perfectly when she remarked, “It’s Graceful Giving and Receiving.”

The Graceful Giving workshop had lived up to its name, and more! We accomplished a lot that day as we worked through each of the five behaviors needed for strong teams. They have already reported back and are putting into practice the action items they identified as important to them.

I want to thank the extraordinary people leading The Sustainability Project for our inspiring time together. They are exemplary role models, dedicated to the art of giving and receiving in many ways, and they do it gracefully!

You will find the real gifts of the season here!

Happy Holidays!

‘Tis the season to be jolly and thankful for all we have. That includes our homes, our health, our family and friends. During this holiday season, there is something else very important to recognize and appreciate, something that we sometimes forget or don’t acknowledge. Grace helps me remember and I hope hearing her story will help you, too.

When Grace came to live with me, nearly 14 years ago, it was challenging for me to understand her. When she was fearful around others, I wanted her to be friendly and trusting. When she pulled back from those who wanted to say hello, I wanted her to accept their affection. She persisted with signs and signals that communicated HER needs and I grew to appreciate and learn from those. Expecting her to behave in the manner I wanted, even for her own best interests, wasn’t productive.  It didn't respect her or her needs nor did it allow her to shine with who she really was.

This holiday, take time to recognize your own needs and stand up for them like Grace did. And be aware of how you can honor the needs of others even if, and especially when, they may differ from your own approach.

Sometimes the best gifts we receive aren’t wrapped and placed under the tree. They are found within each of us as long as we can see them. Grace and I send you warmest holiday greetings as you look inside yourself and within those around you to realize the best treasures, this season and all year long!

Graceful Giving winners announced for 2018

I’m so pleased to announce the winners of my annual Graceful Giving celebration! And not just one winner – but TWO special New Hampshire non-profit organizations who have earned the opportunity to participate in a day-long team building program called “Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team.”

There were numerous applicants from impressive non-profits and I was delighted with the response to this year’s Graceful Giving celebration. The two selected are indicative of the vast talent and commitment of individuals and organizations in New Hampshire. It will be an honor to work alongside them to support their team-building initiatives.

Without further ado, let me introduce you to the 2018 winners of Graceful Giving! 

Adaptive Sports Partners of the North Country, based in Franconia, NH, enriches the quality of life for people with disabilities through year-round sport, recreation and wellness opportunities. They are in the midst of the first leadership transition in the organization’s 10 years of operation, making the timing of the team-building program ideal. Their lean staff of four members works in tandem with a few volunteer Team Leaders, who help orchestrate the efforts of more than 140 contributing volunteers each year.

The new Executive Director, Thomas Shovlin, remarked, “I feel that this training opportunity could not come at a better time and will be pivotal in our leadership transition. I would like to see us maximize this opportunity and build a strong relationship as a high-functioning team to ensure the future success of this organization that means so much to so many people.”

The Sustainability Project was founded in March of 2000. They are a nonprofit educational organization that promotes a love of nature, environmental stewardship, caring communities and ways of living that deepen our understanding of the interconnected web of life.

The physical heart of The Sustainability Project (TSP) can be found at the Emerson Brook Forest Outdoor Education Center in Gilsum, NH. The center functions as a learning laboratory for edible forest gardening, permaculture design and sustainable community practices. The list of programming that TSP supports is long and diverse.

The Sustainability Project is ready for focused, intentional organizational development and are eager to move to a new level of functioning. They have a growing Board, a reinvigorated strategic plan, and a commitment to the 2019 program offerings.

In speaking with their leadership team, they said, “We believe that participating in the Graceful Giving workshop will enable our organization to increase capacity for mission-driven activities. We’re excited about strengthening our communication and organizational skills during this time of renewal and expansion and will make great use of this multifaceted resource.”

Congratulations to both these organizations and many thanks to all who participated in Graceful Giving in some way. I couldn’t be more excited to work with these two teams! Their workshops are scheduled for January and February, so watch for more updates soon.

To learn more about the “Five Behaviors” training and how it helps foster cohesive teams here.

FREE Webinar: Find Your Authentic Career in 2019

Are you doing the work you love? We hope you are. But if you’re not, why not take the next step to discover how you can make important changes in your professional direction in 2019?

Arriving at your destination comes more easily and more quickly when you know where you are headed and you have identified the right path to get there.

Start the new year by creating a career path plan. Join Nancy Bishop and Robin Eichert for a short, but information-packed webinar to get a fresh perspective on career transitions and tips for maneuvering on the path to finding your authentic career.

You should attend if you’re curious to discover answers to any of these questions:

  • Are you considering a career change?
  • Are you struggling to find your life’s purpose?
  • Feeling uncertain and confused about your options?
  • Wondering how to get unstuck and move forward?
  • Interested to discover your strengths in an objective manner?
  • Looking to uncover your gifts, talents, and passions?

Who can attend?
This FREE webinar is open to anyone contemplating a career change. It is also valuable for anyone currently unemployed and wondering “what’s next?” You only need to pre-register to reserve your space.

What will you cover? How will this help? 

We’ll cover the following topics:

  • Transitions – the natural stages and opportunities
  • Moving Forward – maneuvering through blocks, obstacles and challenges on the path
  • Discovery – finding your direction, learning where to look for signs and clues

During the webinar, you will have the opportunity to volunteer for sample laser-coaching; a focused technique that can quickly unblock you from feeling stuck. Nancy will provide on-the-spot coaching to one person selected to help clarify their next step in finding their authentic career path. Whether you are participating or observing, you’ll gain valuable insight into how career coaching can assist you in moving easily and skillfully in your career transition.

How can I participate? 
It’s simple. Registration is easy, just click on the link below, and you will receive a confirmation email with log-in details for the session.

REGISTER HERE: Tuesday evening, Jan 15, 2019 at 7:00 pm – 7:45 pm ET

That time not good for you?  No problem. Registered attendees who are unable to attend will receive the recorded version following the session.

Come participate and learn with us. Bring your open mind and willingness to explore new perspectives and you will benefit.

Register NOW! We look forward to having you join us. 

PeopleSense is a Sustainability Slam Finalist!

I am delighted to announce that PeopleSense Consulting has been named a finalist at the New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility Sustainability Slam, being held on November 1!

I’m in great company with the many other inspirational companies in New Hampshire selected. The Slam recognizes the sometimes unnoticed, but significant efforts of local companies and nonprofits to make a positive difference in our world. PeopleSense is in the small business category for workplace.

The annual Sustainability Slam creates a platform where the most creative and innovative solutions to our environmental and social challenges are brought to life in dynamic 90-second story sound bites.

The final line up of 2018’s Slam presenters have been chosen by an independent panel of judges based on the impact and scalability of their stories in our communities, workplaces, and environment. At the Slam, finalists compete with another company or organization in their category for a winning spot and the designation of “Best of the Best.”

You can click this link to read the full press release: JOT 2018 Finalists

Watch for these clear signals to tell if your employee is open to growth

I’ve been delivering assessment results for years. I feel fortunate to be a part of so many milestone moments in a person’s development, whether it’s early in their career or someone who is a consummate learner. I have oodles of goose-bumps stories that I’ve witnessed through these experiences. This week I enjoyed another of those moments.

A new job offers opportunity for learning

A long-time employee, let’s call her Emily, was moving into a new role within the same organization. Her manager, Carl (also not a real name), called me suggesting that she take the PXT Select™ assessment. He wanted to figure out ways to help her.

We moved ahead, Emily completed the assessment and we scheduled a phone review with the three of us. Throughout the entire process, it was easy to tell that she was truly open to her own growth. 

Signs that an employee is open to growth

There were several signals that indicated her openness. Looking for these signs will help you identify the folks on your team who are eager to learn.

When an employee hears that a manager wants to “help them improve,” or “provide resources for development,” they can understandably feel concerned. They can start to think, “Something must be really wrong if I need help!” It’s easy to see how the employee might feel insecure or threatened. Even a simple conversation about “performance” can be intimidating. It’s like bringing out the magnifying glass to expose those hidden warts. Some people get defensive or shut down. Not Emily.

Carl had let Emily dip her toe into the waters of this new sales position, giving her a certain number of hours each week to devote to the role. That had been going on for a few months and the outcomes were mixed. In this new sales position, Emily had brought in one new client. It was a step in the right direction but the manager had expected more within this time frame.

Emily and Carl got together and Carl explained that he needed to see better results in order to feel good about offering this position to her full-time. After all, he didn’t want Emily to fall short and be disappointed or out of her current job, which she did exceedingly well.

Employees demonstrate their openness with actions they take

When Emily heard about the opportunity to take the assessment, she completed right away, the first sign that she was open to learning and growth. There was no resisting, no worry about what the results would say. She was eager to discuss.

We had scheduled an hour but it was clear from the beginning of the call that we would need more time. She was actively asking questions, truly interested in how she could improve her outcomes. Another sign. She wasn’t going through the motions, or trying to get out this discussion at the earliest moment.

In this discussion between Emily, Carl, and myself, the dialogue was candid. Carl offered examples of things that hadn’t gone so well. It’s hard to hear those things about yourself, especially in front of your manager and an outside consultant. Emily never flinched. She understood that the intent was for her well-being, not to criticize or ridicule.

The discussion did spill over into a second session and Emily had already tried out some of the ideas we discussed in the previous call and came prepared with more questions. Someone who is committed to a plan will take action, enthusiastically!

Signs can be subtle but are visible

In a very short span of time, Emily had exhibited several obvious signs of her desire to grow:

  • No resistance, hesitation, or defensiveness
  • Wanted more time than what was allocated
  • Fully engaged in conversation, not just going through the motions
  • Actively asking questions
  • Recognized the time and effort was for her best interest
  • Took action without any prodding

Emily’s mindset will ultimately create success for her and her organization. If your team members are not motivated to learn and grow, it stifles them and others. Lucky for me, I find that most people do want to enhance their effectiveness. They recognize by building skills they feel better and are less stressed.

Working with Emily and Carl — and many people with those same qualities — are the reason I love my work so much. It is incredibly inspiring to be around people who are open and driven to constantly seek better ways to work. We can all be better. And it is a pleasure to be reminded of that in my interactions with so many of you.

What have you done lately that signals your willingness to grow?