Leadership and Life Lessons

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 26, 2017 7:00:00 AM / by Dale Allen posted in Conflict, Confidence, Leadership, Relationships

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There is no refund on time—once you’ve spent it, it’s gone.


Using your time more consciously, will give you the edge you need to achieve more in your world…


Have you ever had those days when things just don’t go according to plan? You find yourself going from meeting to meeting instead of leading, learning and delivering. You are conflicted, because you don’t want to miss a meeting, but going to meetings prevents you from getting stuff done.


During university, I had a summer job working at Hostess Potato Chip Factory in my hometown. I had never worked in a factory before and was truly excited to learn how things were made. The enormity of the factory was impressive: everything was new to me including working nights, the great money, the assembly lines, the smell of tons and tons of potatoes, and the complexity of the machines. It all wowed me. My job was to pack bags of chips into boxes and put the filled boxes on a palette.


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Conscious Ways to Experience Better Use of Time

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 19, 2017 7:00:00 AM / by Trevor Stevenson posted in Conflict, Influence, Relationships

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I have taken time management courses and taught productivity courses for years, yet I still watch myself and others struggle with time's elusive ways, leaving us stranded with more work at the end of a day. Like many of you, I do all the right stuff: I have memorized the 4-hour work week, prioritized, said "no," delegated, used a timer and I can't seem to get it all done. It's stressful, frustrating—a little bit like running a race without a finish line. So, what is up?! How do we end the stressful race?


While you cannot “manage time,” the nature of your thoughts will change how you CHOOSE to use your time.


Conscious communication is more than just a way of speaking, it is a conscious practice that requires you to notice:

  • The thinking that precedes your CHOICES
  • which lead toy your ACTIONS
  • and the RESULTS that you experience


Ever get the sense that you are 'chasing the clock'? Do you ever have feelings of stress, guilt and fear? Have you ever found that when you are trying to keep up, get things done and negotiate daily living, you leave little time for conscious, healthy, presencing experiences?


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7 Ways to Use Conscious Communication to Minimize Conflict

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 21, 2017 7:00:00 AM / by Trevor Stevenson posted in Conflict, Relationships

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What are you REALLY saying?

All day long you compose emails, send texts, lead meetings, contribute on conference calls, debate with your colleagues, connect with clients or other departments…the list goes on.

We can spend the majority of our day communicating. Whenever two or more people are in communication, there is the opportunity for conflict i.e. differences of perspective, opinions or ideas, to bloom. We have been taught that conflict is bad. Yet I have had a different experience. I realize that when there is tension/conflict of thought, their is an opportunity for new ideas to be created. How do we be with the tension that arises in recurring conflict long enough to let new ideas flourish and thus improve our productivity?


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Conversation (not Discussion): Building Trust Through Talk

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 8, 2017 7:00:00 AM / by Trevor Stevenson posted in Conflict, Leadership, Relationships

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In a recent Group Coaching Call, we discussed “motivating higher performance through conversation”. The choice of the word conversation was intentional, and the leaders on the call agreed that performance, engagement, and relationships in the workplace could benefit from more conversation and less of other types of interactions that we label “discussion,” “feedback sessions,” and “performance reviews.”  Semantics, you may say, but the focus is really on the intention inspiring the interaction.  Not corrective, rather creative!

The leaders identified how thinking about an interaction (for example with a colleague or staff member) as a conversation changes the focus and allows for a more authentic and vulnerable interaction to occur—one that is more likely to inspire and engage than traditional modes of interaction often used in the workplace. As one call participant, a facilitator, said:


With Conversation, You're Both There...


“Employees and managers have lives outside of work and that whole person shows up at work. 'Conversation' implies informal, two-way give and take, authentic exploration, a level playing field. It also implies shared responsibility, not just one up, one down. In a conversation, you’re both there as the whole person. I think people are afraid of what 'conversation’ implies because we have conversations socially, but at work we have ‘discussions’ and ‘reviews’ and ‘sessions.’ Shifting to ‘conversation’ can move us forward so much.”


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The Importance of Non-Violent Communication in Leadership Coaching

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 18, 2017 7:00:00 AM / by Dale Allen posted in Conflict, Leadership

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“Sticks & stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.” That's horse apples. Do you remember hearing this as a child? Adults continue to say something along thoses lines when a child is upset over being called names, but it's completely untrue. Words can and do cause wounds that run deep. 


Research has shown that certain words and phrases, certain questions, and certain tones of voice can all cause the same neural reactions as a perceived physical threat. Yes, you read that right, I said perceived physical threat. Our perception is messing with our reality and when this happens, thank your amygdala—the “flight or fight” mechanism telling you that someone's tone, smirk, or micromanaging is threatening your happy place causing you to make like Usain and bolt OR get in the ring and box.  


Obviously, we have developed the capacity for feeling (via the limbic system) and for rational thought (in the prefrontal cortex). We’re just not all that good at expressing feelings and empathy, because we're easily trapped by the seductive trance of the amygdala's threat signals. That’s why words can hurt us. That’s why we can hurt others with our words. Often, we don’t even realize that we're doing it.


Left untrained, unaware and unpracticed, our brains will default to old school, hardwired pathways that keep us blind to the true power (healthy or unhealthy) of our words. To become a truly engaging communicator and leader, it's time to raise our consciousness. 

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The Real Risk of Executive Burnout in the Public Service of Canada

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 11, 2017 7:00:00 AM / by Dale Allen posted in Conflict, Leadership

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You are loyal, your work ethic is high and so are job expectations. You are in the zone! You’re learning, challenged, feel connected and the profile is awesome. You come in early, stay late and even work weekends.

Then the workmares start. You know those nightmares about work where you find yourself dreaming up what went wrong, what you missed, what they missed, blaming you, blaming them. Yeah, those. Work-life balance is a foreign concept. Your smile and positivity become a distant memory. Your energy is draining and you are not performing at your best. Have you have gone from bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to burnt out?

The Association for Professional Executives (APEX) of the Public Service of Canada regularly surveys the health of its executives. This survey, taken every five years since 1997, paints a worrisome picture of Canada’s federal executives. The work habits adopted by a significant portion of our public service are actually putting their health at risk.

When our clients first come to us, they want to perform at their bestand that cocktail of job pressures, drive to succeed and mounting expectations can lead to job fatigue and mental and physical exhaustion.

We have summarized some of the results of the APEX survey that people speak about the most:


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Leadership Principles: Keeping a Cool Head

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 14, 2016 2:00:00 PM / by Dale Allen posted in Conflict, Leadership, Relationships

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Emotions can cloud our judgement and impede our leadership abilities. Keeping our emotions in check – or keeping a cool head – is a vital skill for managers and business executives.

There’s no escaping that our emotions can get the better of us from time to time. Colleagues are going to upset us, bosses are going to make decisions that seem unfair, and clients are going to push our buttons. The conscious leader knows when to step back from an issue. Sometimes a little emotional downtime is just what is needed to make the most of a difficult situation. But emotional downtime is still downtime, so it’s important to know the most effective way to cool off.


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Getting Through Transition with the PRISE Model

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 12, 2016 2:00:00 PM / by Dale Allen posted in Conflict, Leadership, Influence, Relationships

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“The relationship with one’s immediate supervisor is revealing itself to be one of the top drivers of employee engagement.” – Conference Board of Canada


All organizations go through periods of transition. Enduring transition is the mark of a successful organization and has a lot to do with the approach you take to the transition process.

We use what we call our PRISE model when addressing organizational transition. The PRISE model is a checklist of considerations aimed at supporting your team through times of change. Here’s a quick breakdown of how you can apply the PRISE model to add support and alleviate frustration within your organization.


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