Monday, January 28, 2019

It’s Okay To Be Overwhelmed

I was at overnight summer camp in the early 70’s and we had just completed an all camp soccer game. My team had won the game and there I was sitting on my bunk crying my heart out.

During the game, I was the goal keeper for my team. I stopped multiple attempts on goal by numerous people. I leaped. I dove. I even raced out and snatched the ball away before someone could kick it. I was fearless.

And there I was, weeping on my bunk after the game. My counselor came in and sat next to me.

“What’s up? You won,” he asked.

“It was a good game,” I replied, “but when preventing a score in the second half, I dove and ran into my best friend. He hurt his ankle and may have to go to the doctor. I didn’t mean to hurt him but I did. I just feel awful about winning and hurting people in the process.”

There was a long pause before my summer camp counselor said, “It OK to feel the pain and to be overwhelmed. Sometimes in life this happens. It is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of feeling your way through the process. Sometimes, the heart knows more than the head.”

Routinely during executive coaching sessions, people will say to me, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to cry. I am just so overwhelmed by it all.”

And I often reply, “Tears are not a sign of weakness. They just show that you are human. Feeling overwhelmed is normal. It happens. Remember: leadership is hard work. It also can be lonely work. Having a safe place to process it can make a world of difference. Thank-you for sharing at this level with me.”

In a world where busy and fast are the new definitions of success, we rarely give ourselves permission to feel overwhelmed. We just keep pushing forward assuming we are on the right path. 

However, there are times when we need to pause and process how we are feeling. When we do this in a safe space and with safe people, the insights gleaned are powerful and important. As I learned a long time ago, “Sometimes, the heart knows more than the head.”

This week I hope you can spend some time with safe people in safe spaces, and pause to process how you are feeling, not just what you are thinking. It will give you deep insights and new perspective about how to move forward.

Geery Howe, M.A. Consultant, Executive Coach, Trainer in Leadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational Change Morning Star Associates 319 - 643 - 2257

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Why Invest In Leadership Training in 2019? - Part #4

Since September of 2018, I have been routinely writing about why we need to invest in leadership training at this time period. Now that the new year celebrations have all passed, there is one more reason why we need to create more and better leaders.

During the last 18 months, more and more for-profit organizations have chosen a strategic path of making major acquisitions of other companies. In the world of non-profits, or as I like to call them, for-purpose organizations, there also has been numerous acquisitions plus many strategic mergers. The goal behind all of these actions is the belief that through these acquisitions and/or mergers along with a combination of greater efficiencies, standardization and centralization, a profit can be made or a greater capacity can be achieved to handle the current and emerging challenges in the market place. 

However, once the deal is done, one simple problem surfaces. Where are the leaders who will run the acquired companies or oversee those who have been merged? Typically, this element is forgotten in the rush to “close the deal.”

Nevertheless, there are companies who have not forgotten this critical element to success. They remember Packard’s Law which states the following: “No company can consistently grow revenues faster than its ability to get enough of the right people to implement that growth with excellence.” Getting the right people means training key people to be the “right” people. In essence, you need to be developing leaders before you need leaders.

Also in highly effective companies, there is a deep understanding that once acquired or merged, the “new” organization needs to blend the two cultures and the two business models into one new culture and one business model. The ability of leaders to do this takes time, patience and clarity. It is not simply implementing a communication plan and hoping it all works out perfectly. Instead, it takes leaders at all levels of the company working together to make sure they are on-message in word and deed, recognizing that every beginning starts with an ending which needs to be treated with respect. 

Given these current strategic choices, the best companies are expanding their pool of leaders and preparing them to solve today’s problems and helping them be well prepared for tomorrow’s choices and opportunities.

If your organization needs to be better prepared, then now is the time to sign up your key leaders for the 2019 From Vision to Action Leadership Training. Through a challenging, interactive curriculum which blends lectures, selected readings, small and large group discussions, and how to skill-building exercises, participants in this four part leadership training gain critical knowledge and skills which improve their ability to help their people and the organization as a whole move through the process of mergers and acquisitions.

For more information about this unique training experience, please click on the following link:

For more information about the dates, location, price and how to register for the 2019 training, please click on the following link:

Now is the time to create leaders before you need them. I look forward to hearing from you in the coming days.

Geery Howe, M.A. Consultant, Executive Coach, Trainer in Leadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational Change Morning Star Associates 319 - 643 - 2257

Monday, January 21, 2019

Define People By Their Abilities, Not Their Challenges

To graduate from high school, I had to learn a foreign language. Being dyslexic, I always wanted everyone to understand that English was my foreign language. However, my choices at the time were French, German, and Russian. I tried French and failed out quickly. Therefore, I ended up in Latin class where I was overwhelmed and behind from the beginning. But, in the midst of all these difficulties, there was one person who transformed it all for me. She was my Latin teacher. 

Recognizing how much I struggled with English, this teacher we would sit down with me each day, either in study hall or after school, and she would tutor me. Upon reflection, I have come to realize that mostly we talked about Latin, language in general, and my learning difficulties. We also did some, but not much of my actual Latin homework.

In the end, she passed me out of Latin and gave me the gift of being able to graduate from high school. I remember that during one of our final conversations together she pointed out that I should not be defined by my disability as much as by my abilities. 

This all happened decades before the Gallup organization did all of their research on strengths based management and leadership. This also took place before there were numerous book published in the 90’s about supporting people’s talents and helping them minimize their weaknesses. 

As for me, this depth of clarity about how to work with people comes from the understanding that people are doing the best they can with what they have and in the environment within which they are working. If we as leaders want people to do even better, we need to place them in an environment that is safe, compassionate and supportive. Then, their problems and challenges will not be the sole definition of who they are and what they can do.

This week, be a role model for defining people by their abilities, not just their challenges.

Geery Howe, M.A. Consultant, Executive Coach, Trainer in Leadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational Change Morning Star Associates 319 - 643 - 2257

Monday, January 14, 2019

The Stones In Your Pocket

Growing up dyslexic was a challenging journey. School was a struggle from beginning to end. Reading was unbelievably difficult. I had to recognize the letters, then the words, and finally figure out what they meant. 

Furthermore, back in the day, we also wrote everything in cursive. Every day, the moving of that pencil across those lined pieces of paper was dificult. I had to go slowly and still I did not get them right. I always was struggling. Whether I was reading to myself, reading out loud to the class, or writing with paper and pencil, each lesson was a challenge and often a source of great discouragement.

The one person who heard all about this was my late mother. On the ride home from school, or over an afternoon snack at the kitchen table, I would pour out my frustrations to her about school and life. I did not know what to do or how to cope. School just kept happening. I was trying my best and many days it was clearly not making a difference.

One day, after a lot of listening to me she shared the following.

“Life is not easy, Geery. You can carry all of your problems around like they are stones in your pocket. And over time, they will just weigh you down.

Or you can learn to take these stones out of your pocket and lay them down. You need to learn to let go of them and let God help you with them.”

And with that, I had a new way of coping. I could just “let go and let God help me.” Over time, I shortened her comments to simply “let go; let God.” At times, I still struggle with my dyslexia but I do not carry it around like stones in my pocket. I have learned to lay it down and let God help. My late mother sure could put things back into perspective. And that is one of the powerful things that a good role model and mentor does for people.

This week, stop carrying your problems around like stones in your pocket. It is time to lay them down and put them into the hands of a higher power. From personal experience, I can assure you that it will make a difference.

Geery Howe, M.A. Consultant, Executive Coach, Trainer in Leadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational Change Morning Star Associates 319 - 643 - 2257

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Spring 2019 Roundtable - Early Bird Special!

Now that the New Year has passed and everyone is back at work, it is the time for us to turn our attention to the Spring 2019 Roundtable! 

On April 10 - 11, 2019, we will gather at the Courtyard by Marriott in Ankeny, Iowa for the Spring 2019 From Vision to Action Executive Roundtable. 

Here is the agenda for your review:

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

- 8:30 am - Arrival & Visiting Time

- 9:00 am - 10:15 am - What is the connection between excellence, culture and strategy?

- 10:15 am - 10:30 am - Break

- 10:30 am - 12:00 pm - How do leaders build cultural clarity and alignment?

- 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm - Lunch and Networking 

- 1:30 pm - 2:45 pm - How do leaders empower their culture?

- 2:45 pm - 3:00 pm - Break

- 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm - How do leaders deal effectively with too many initiatives at the same time?

- 4:30 pm - Adjourn

Thursday, April 11, 2019

- 9:00 am - 10:15 am -What do successful cultural leaders actually do?
- 10:15 am - 10:30 am - Break 

- 10:30 am - 12:00 pm - Integration and Application

- 12:00 pm - Adjourn

Starting today through Wednesday, January 30, I am offering an “early bird” registration price for the Spring 2019 From Vision to Action Executive Roundtable.

If you sign up during this time period, and submit payment before 2/1/19, the price will be $ 275.00 for the two days and $ 175.00 for a single day. Here is the link to the registration form:

 Please write “early bird special” on it when you send it to me by mail or fax (# 319 - 643 - 2185).

After 2/1/19, the registration price will be $ 295.00 for the two days and $ 195.00 for a single day.

I hope you will reserve April 10 - 11 on your calendar, and e-mail me today about whether or not you and your team are coming. Then, when the first early crocus and daffodils are just starting to bloom, all we will need to do is meet at the Spring 2019 From Vision to Action Executive Roundtable.

Thinking ahead, and looking forward to seeing you in April!

Geery Howe, M.A. Consultant, Executive Coach, Trainer in Leadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational Change Morning Star Associates 319 - 643 - 2257

Monday, January 7, 2019

The Importance of Being A Role Model and Mentor

Over the course of our lives, we as leaders will have numerous opportunities to be role models and mentors to many different people. We also will have the opportunity to engage with role models and mentors who will impact our life at work and at home. 

For me, there have been many teachers, friends and mentors who have impacted my life in a positive way. I consider these individuals to be valuable and important role models in my life journey. When I think of these people, I think of the many ways they have supported, encouraged and inspired me. And I am deeply grateful for all they have done to help me become the person I am today.

As we all enter this new year, each of us must realize that we can be that role model or mentor for someone else. Each day, we have the potential and the capacity to make a difference in the lives of others. Each day, we can role model as a parent, family member, coworker, or friend. We can be the one person who helps another person see a new perspective, come to a new understanding, or realize they have the potential and talent to rise to the challenges before them 

Over the course of this winter, I am going to share lessons and insights I have learned from the people who have mentored me in my life journey. Each individual was key to a new way of thinking and living. Each gave me something that I have carried forward to this day.

But this morning, I ask you to pause and realize that you could be that one person in someone else’s life. You could be the catalyst and source of support which completely transforms another person’s life. And remember, it is not always what you do but how you do it that is the foundation for this transformation. Sometimes it is just your presence, your showing up, listening and being attentive to another, that is the most powerful gift of all.

As Kevin Cashman wrote many years ago, “leaders get what they exhibit and what they tolerate.” My challenge to you is to be the role model you wish to see in the world. And my other challenge to you in this new year is to thank all those who have role modeled and mentored you to date. It is time we as leaders realize that a single person can make a profound and positive difference in the life of so many other people.

Geery Howe, M.A. Consultant, Executive Coach, Trainer in Leadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational Change Morning Star Associates 319 - 643 - 2257