Time is Right for Civility Engineering

Civility rules

I was recently invited to speak at a civil engineers’ conference about the hot topic of #Inclusive Leadership. On my way to the conference, I pondered my connection to the world of civil engineering. I realized how the results of civil engineering were all around me. I began marveling at the landmarks – signs of engineering ingenuity on my way to the conference: the viaduct, bridges, skyscrapers, ferries and even the conference center where I was going to be speaking at. I was in awe.

It occurred to me at that moment that while I’m not a civil engineer, I am a “Civility Engineer”, one who works with behavior “engineering”.  

Continue reading Time is Right for Civility Engineering

What Really Matters – the ROI of Executive Coaching

When The Seattle Times headlined a front-page story (Aug 17, 2018) about the fee per hour for #coaching the CEO of Sound Transit, it was curious that the hourly rate ($550) of the coach earned the headliner status rather than the reasons why coaching was requested in the first place.  (And despite all the litigations plentiful in this country, we have yet to see a front-page headline about the hourly rate of the top lawyers.)

A much more interesting figure would have been a calculation of the cost of doing nothing about a “brash”, “aggressive” or even abusive leader. Or the cost of lost productivity because of employees dealing with sexism and interactions laced with profane language.  Or, what if, instead of hiring a #coach, the CEO had spent about $10,000 and bought all his Continue reading What Really Matters – the ROI of Executive Coaching

Mini Coaching Sessions Offered Free at GeekWire Summit Oct. 2-3, 2018

AchieveFor the first time, the Washington State chapter of the International Coach Federation (@ICFWAState) is joining @GeekWire to offer 25-minute coaching sessions during the #GeekWireSummit in downtown Seattle, October 2-3, 2018. And I’m excited to participate!

“Coaching is entering the mainstream for people who want to advance to the next level, improve their communication skills, or reach a work/life balance that works for them,” said Sharmin Banu, current ICFWA President. Continue reading Mini Coaching Sessions Offered Free at GeekWire Summit Oct. 2-3, 2018

The Superpower of Inclusive Leadership Revealed

As a leadership consultant, I help leaders to be thoughtful and strategic about designing inclusive organizations. There is intense discussion, debate, research and experiment going on in this space. I challenged myself to identify the single most impactful lever – or a superpower – to implementing inclusive practices in organizations. I recently shared what I came to realize at the TechInclusion Conference in Seattle, and now I want to share my insight with you here.

Inclusive leadership is made out of two equally challenging parts, “inclusion” and “leadership” – so, let’s first explore some key characteristics of each of them.

Continue reading The Superpower of Inclusive Leadership Revealed

Why Do Diversity Efforts Fail?

So, you’ve read the research and know that diverse teams perform better. You diligently hire for diversity, knowing that doing so will increase the intelligence quotient of your team and thusly make your company more competitive and cutting edge…right?

Well, not necessarily. If all you’ve done is hire for diversity and then sit back and wait for the magic to happen, you will probably be disappointed. Your team will fail to meet your expectations Continue reading Why Do Diversity Efforts Fail?

A Lesson on Leadership, Or How I Got Lost in HEL

Last year I was invited to speak about organizational culture leadership at an annual convening of customer service leaders of the Worldwide Airline Customer Relations Association (WACRA) in Helsinki, Finland.

HEL
Helsinki airport

I was ecstatic about this invitation because it not only allowed me to speak about a topic I love, but it also provided an opportunity to see my family in my native Finland.

For some 27 years I’ve been an expatriate Finn who travels back to the country of my birth once or twice a year. Continue reading A Lesson on Leadership, Or How I Got Lost in HEL

If culture eats strategy for breakfast – what’s for dinner?

I recently had a wonderful opportunity to participate and present at the annual conference of the Worldwide Airline Customer Relations Association (WACRA) in Helsinki, Finland. WACRA has been convening for seventy years – with the exception of 2001 when the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened. While #WACRA16 was hosted by Finnair, the audience consisted of customer relations and service leaders from almost thirty airlines around the world; Delta, Southwest, Virgin breakfast on FinnairAmerica, Bangkok, Emirates, Qatar, Qantas and Cathay Pacific, just to name a few.

Continue reading If culture eats strategy for breakfast – what’s for dinner?

Adaptability, Creativity, and Diversity — Winning the Innovation Game

“Innovation! We need more innovation!”

I hear this call for innovation not only in my conversations with leaders in big corporations with R&D units, but in companies of all sizes, and even in established institutions like universities. People feel the pressure to produce like startups, constantly creating something new and launching it with a “bang.” Expand! Go global! The constant demand for ‘more and faster’ drives companies to seriously search ways how they can accelerate innovation. IMG_1056

As a humanist, I believe that the innovativeness of an organization is a result of the creativity, diversity of thought and adaptability of the people who work there. It’s the leader’s job to create a culture in which these three key elements of innovativeness are encouraged, expressed and exhibited both at a Continue reading Adaptability, Creativity, and Diversity — Winning the Innovation Game

Living in the time of war

It happened on a beautiful, bright autumn morning. I thought I would never be able to function again when I was living through the shock of September 11, 2001. It took a while but I did.

They happened on some ordinary days when our kids went to their schools. I thought I would not be able to recover from the anguish of the school shootings. Each time it took a while but I did.

It happened at the end of a workweek, on a Friday when I was looking forward to going out to eat and to a movie. I think I will be feeling sad and sick to my stomach for the rest of my life because of this attack on Paris. It will take a while but I know I will recover.peaceFrance Continue reading Living in the time of war