How Can You Create Accountability?

March 31, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Accountability comes from our leadership. They create the container in which we are empowered to hold ourselves and others accountable. When our leaders embody accountability it shows up in formal and informal ways. A formal manner in which accountability might show up is in creating structure of expectations. A due date for a project is given and it is expected that due date is honored. When the date is not honored there are expectations for repercussions that will occur. A “if this, then that,” scenario takes hold and is ingrained in the culture.  In formal ways in which we look to our leaders to hold us accountable are simply looking to see if patterns of behaviors match our words. These patterns seem to be given the least amount of attention yet influence the organization in some of the most meaningful ways.

Blaming others and poor accountability are both results of unclear roles, responsibilities and expectations within the organization. Blaming is a manner in which employees are not held accountable because they “did not know.” Most organizations or teams that encounter this did not take the time to build a solid foundation of expectations that are clearly communicated.  

The best and most empowering way to impact your career is to take responsibility for everything within your realm of influence. This does not mean you do everything, but it does mean you are in the seat of influence once you do take responsibility. It means you are now able to create a new approach in which you see the world, your life, your organization, your team, and your role. From this place you can begin to perceive things in a new way and from this new perception you allow yourself to see new solutions, possibilities and opportunities. Taking responsibility is the first step on the path to making a difference and to being a leader that people can trust, respect, and most importantly follow. When you take responsibility you are a person who is accountable. Bottom line: People follow people who can lead and make a difference.

A Personal Account Of Finding Leadership From Within

March 29, 2011 at 1:51 pm

My personal account of finding Leadership from Within By Suzanne Weinstein, MA

“Suzanne, did you bring your homework?” My professor in graduate school asked me in front of fellow masters and doctoral students. “Yes, but I didn’t do it exactly as you asked.”

Go figure. I’ve always been a little on the creative side. Some high level research says that might be due to my learning disability. Either way it doesn’t generally earn you points when you are stuck in the academia system.

As always I did a creative interpretation of what the assignment was. We, as a class, were asked to bring in a poem that we thought said a little bit about whom we were. I was excited about this project. Finally I would get to know a little bit more about these people who sat beside me.

My grades in college weren’t the strongest. Let’s just say that part of my understanding of college was the social aspect. Never in my wildest dreams would a girl like me ever go to graduate school. After all I had severe dyslexia and reading took much longer than the average. Not to mention I had a habit of creating different words as I read (a talent that I would keep to myself, until now.)My test scores, well, they were passing. As I was applying for graduate school I added, yet another creative part of my end, a letter that explained very clearly that my college transcripts did not accurately reflect my aptitude for learning. HA!  Good right? It worked. I was on my way to being the first one in my family to attend graduate school.

I interrupted the professor as the banter with the students continued. “Professor” I said. “When will we get to the poems?” The professor answered, “I am not sure it is the right time.”

Are you kidding me, I said in my head. I knew I was not going to be able to listen to the meaningless banter of the students. I had been really looking forward to hearing some poems and gaining an understanding of people around me. I couldn’t wait. Now I was being told that “the right time” wasn’t here. What? This is the time I said to myself.

Before I knew it, I was interrupting the professor again, as she was allowing the students to meander in banter (as I saw it). “Excuse me, professor.” My third time interrupting, “I can’t do this any more. This talk of this and that seems meaningless to me. There are more important things we can talk about. Can we start with the poems, please?”

The class was dead silent. I thought to myself, this is where I am found out. I wasn’t supposed to be let in here. I sat quietly, as the professor converses openly with the teacher assistants in the room. Finally they agreed that maybe we should move forward.

“Suzanne, would you come to the front of the room and read what you brought?” the professor said to me.

“Well, I wasn’t really thinking I would share mine. I was most interested in just moving forward.”

The professor motioned her arm for me to come to the front of the room in front of the class. I thought to myself, at least I have on a perfect suit and look presentable.

(Sigh) “Ok,” I said as I maneuvered around the chairs to get to the front. As I stood there in front of the class, I held my head high and kept my nerves together.

“Suzanne, I would like you to read the poem you brought.”

What? I thought in my head, read? Read out loud, in front of others? That was my biggest fear. I thought everyone would know how different I was now. They would know my weakness. I didn’t want to do this. I was now standing in front of the class and I couldn’t go back to my seat. Heck, I had already interrupted the class three times. My going back was not an option.

The day the assignment came out I knew from the beginning what I wanted to share. I knew it was an expression of me in many ways. You see my poem, which really wasn’t a poem at all but a portion of a speech that I had heard one day and had it posted in my apartment. It was given publicly by Nelson Mandela the first Black African to be named president of South Africa. A leader I have much respect for.

I took a deep breath and started my poem. I did my best to keep my nerves at bay and tried diligently to read what was actually on the paper instead of the creative mix my dyslexic mind sometimes puts in place. I thought I did pretty well and was looking forward to sitting back in my empty seat in the audience. I was finished. I had survived the reading.

My professor said I was reading too fast and that she would like for me to read the poem again. What! Really? (Sigh) ok. So I would read the poem again. This time it seemed almost fluid. I was impressed with myself, again thinking I done a pretty good job.

“That was good Suzanne. Would you be willing to read it again? This time I would like you to look at the class and read the next step as the class is ready to hear what you say.” The professor was so nice to me and gentle as she made this request. I had such respect for her. Of course, I would read it again. In that moment I had to understand quickly what it meant to “read the poem as the class was ready to hear.”

And so I read the poem again. This was the fourth time. I felt that I knew the words very well by now and was less nervous about reading correctly and more concerned with interpreting the directions correctly.

As I stood there looking at the eyes of my peers it seemed every nerve in my body was on edge. I could hear a high buzz in my head and wondered what it was. I didn’t have time for this. I needed to read with the “rhythm of the class”, as I interpreted it. I took a deep breath and began my reading. Slowly and purposefully I read each word of the poem.

As I did, the poem began to take on a new life. Each and every word was laid purposefully and eloquently as I was gifting it to each student. It was a gift from me to them. As I got to the last part of the poem I paused. My eyes welled with tears. I stood there, as I looked at these people who I thought were better then me. I took a deep breath as a tear rolled down my face and said: “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Great, now I was standing there and I was crying. This is not what l knew of leaders. They don’t cry in public. They aren’t vulnerable. They don’t share their deepest thoughts and fears as I just did and are still respected.

The class applauded, as I think we all knew, at some level we had experienced something special. Something completely unexpected and magical had just occurred inside of me. I had done it! I had faced one of my biggest fears of reading in front of people. I even shed a tear. I did it!

“Thank you Suzanne” The professor said to me. “I have something else I would like you to try if you are willing.” Without hesitation, I accepted. After all what could possibly be harder or worse than what I had just done?

The professor said to me “I would like you to sing a note, any note you choose, and sing it to the class.”

I immediately went numb. This lady is clearly out of her mind. Sing!?! I don’t even sing in the shower. Sing in public? I don’t even know what a musical note is. This is crazy.

She briefly demonstrated “AHHHHHH”. “Are you kidding me? I can’t.” I began the nervous giggles. This was a different fear and it was one I wasn’t even aware I had moments ago.

There I stood in front of my peers, just having faced one of my biggest fears, and now this? I looked at the class, I nervous giggle took over me. Soon I realized I had to just do this. I took a few deep breaths trying to calm myself. I opened my mouth wide in hopes something called a musical note would emerge.  Nothing! I tried again, “AHHH” and then it would stop. Again and again, nothing!

My final instructions were to look at the eyes of the students and when I sensed they were ready, let the note come out. These directions were clear. I was to go deep inside of me and then I would know I could sing.

The class was utterly silent. All eyes were on me. They were waiting for me to give them this musical note. I followed the directions and waited. I would look at the eyes of the students and they would look back. Holding their gaze I could see them clearly not just as people but as vibration beings.  The silence was held for a long period, I was later told it was more then ten minutes, before I sensed the class was ready for my note.

Then, as I stood front and center, a tear rolled down my cheek,  and out of the silence the note emerged from deep within me. A power surged as I released this big and bold “ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh” I held the “ah” for a prolonged period of time until I sensed that it was immersed in each student.

In hindsight it is still one of the most powerful learning experiences I have had in my life. I changed in those brief moments. I changed how I viewed people, groups, silence, sound, and most important how I viewed me. This single experience changed the course of my life.

You see often in our life we think we have to go it alone, do it ourselves, be strong, and never cry in public. I told myself a lie for many years and now I knew that it was no longer the truth for me. I learned that the true sign of a good leader is one that allows others to be who they are and yet shows them that there is another way. Leaders emerge from those silences. They emerge from deep within each of us. We become great leaders from the inside out. It is not the clothes we wear or the image we portray that makes us stand out. When we embody courage, risk, and face our fears— this allows the leader we are meant to be to come forth.

Fears are as real as we believe. They are allowed only the power that we give to them. At any point in our lives we can choose to take our power back. We are the ones who can demolish our fears by standing in front of them and walking through. When we do, the gifts are undeniable, your inner strength will shine through, and your life will flow in a way you have never imagined. When you listen from within you will Lead In Sync.

In Sync Gives Back

March 22, 2011 at 9:22 am

Giving back is a part of my 21 goals I set every year. Each time I am reminded how giving back really is a service we do for ourselves. This year I was asked to speak to a group at San Diego State University about getting their Career Stories In Sync. I really enjoyed my time speaking with the students and providing a new perspective on approach their job search.

Some simple tips you may want to consider:

1. Have fun!  Be who you are and let the interviewer see what a great person you would be to work with.

2. Go in knowing how you want to be perceived. This helps you get clear and aligned with your highest good.

3. Always have questions for your interviewer. Some examples: How do you see me fitting in with your organization? When are you looking to fill the position? What are my next steps after today?

Finally, enjoy the process. The more fun you are having the more likable and stress free you are.

I  had a great time as you can see. (don’t be fooled it wasn’t an empty space. The 30 plus students all sat by the food on one side of the room. Kudo’s for them to show on a Saturday to hear about careers!!!)

Press Release:In Sync Works With the San Diego County School to Elevate Staff Performance and Results

March 21, 2011 at 2:57 pm

In Sync Consulting Conducts Assessment at Sacred Heart Parish School of Coronado to Help Increase Staff Effectiveness

International Executive Coaching and Team Leadership Development Firm Works With the San Diego County School to Elevate Staff Performance and Results

SAN DIEGO – March 16, 2011 – In Sync Consulting, an international executive coaching and team leadership development firm founded by Suzanne Weinstein, was recently asked by Sacred Heart Parish School of Coronado to evaluate the school’s 35-member staff in hopes of creating a more motivated and enthusiastic working environment.

Principal Peter Harris, in his second year leading the Sacred Heart Parish School, recognized that while he is surrounded by an outstanding staff, he was unable to provide the guidance needed to take the teachers and other faculty members to the next level by increasing their effectiveness.

“Like Phil Mickelson fixing his golf swing, the way the teachers are working now is very good, but the way I would like them to work will be even better,” said Harris. “I want them to enthusiastically look for results through motivation. I had found limited success, but after working with Suzanne and In Sync Consulting, I expect to increase the effectiveness of my leadership and get the most out of the team.”

Working with teams is nothing new for In Sync Consulting, but this is a new approach for the Sacred Heart staff of educators. In Sync Consulting is optimistic that its processes will thrive and Sacred Heart will obtain measurable results.

“The staff reacted positively to the results, and we have a lot of momentum to build on in the future,” said Suzanne Weinstein president, In Sync Consulting.”I look forward to continuing my work with the Sacred Heart team.”

Harris felt the results of the initial assessment came out positively, and looks forward to seeing more growth from the Sacred Heart Parish School staff in future team assessments.

“In Sync Consulting is able to effect change in an organization where there are a lot of strong personalities,” explained Harris. “Suzanne’s strategies and techniques are effective, and she never loses her focus and objectives to achieve breakthroughs. This was a good, effective first step and we’re glad that she will continue as a consultant.”

In Sync Consulting leverages the Weinstein Factor process to guarantee results in 90 days. The firm’s services include speaking engagements, executive coaching, team leadership development, conflict management, holistic organizational development and time management. Results include increased productivity; profit and competitiveness; implementation of effective strategic plans; creation of a trusting, supportive work culture; improved staff performance, motivation and retention; increased staff innovation and effectiveness; establishment of a more effective work/life balance; and improved management of change and stress.

Micro Management Misconceptions

March 15, 2011 at 8:39 am

There are so many misconceptions of micro-management. In fact, when I first start with some clients its not uncommon for me to hear the excuse that they don’t manage their teams because they are concerned about being viewed as a micro-manger.

There is a big difference between the two and millions of articles are written on the topic. No sense in my trying to duplicate efforts. What I want you to know is this: Your team/employees need to know that you are an informed, educated, and responsible leader. They know this based on communication with you, their leader. If you find yourself unable to speak intelligently about your employees, their workload and are unaware of any personal circumstances that may impact their work, you are not managing your employees and are losing ROI daily.

Micro-management implies you are in too deep to the workload of your employees. It suggests you want to know all the details and be a part of the next move. It also breeds distrust, anxiety, frustration, and duplication of effort, with employees, which also means you are losing ROI daily.

Managing employees is by far the healthy way to go with your team. To find out more tools to add to your management tool belt, contact us for coaching. It’s a great addition to your professional development.

Growth vs. Investment

March 9, 2011 at 10:50 am

One thing I am pretty clear about. You cannot create growth in yourself, your team or organization if you are not spending time with your most valuable asset, your people.

Ask yourself a few questions to see were your team fits in your priorities:

Question 1: How often do you meet with your employees one on one?

Question 2:  How frequently do you meet as a team? Are your meetings productive?

Question 3: If the leader of the team cannot make the meeting, does the meeting get cancelled?

Question 4: Do you have clear and specific measure for your teams’ success?

Question 5: How does your team celebrate successes?

If you have answers to the above questions in the affirmative, CONGRATULATIONS!  You are on the track to investing in your people who will, in turn, bring your organization growth aligned with the goals.

If your answers are in the negative, your team may require help getting In Sync. Call us for a free consultation at (888) 444-9141.

How Many Hats Are You Wearing? Feeling Overwhelmed?

March 2, 2011 at 10:21 pm

I Wear Many Hats At Once, Don’t You?

How many times have you heard people tell you they wear many hats? What does that really mean? What are they telling you?

We are a multi-faceted culture. We are acutely used to being on our computers looking at spreadsheets or other projects, while watching our email in-box and maybe social media too. Let us not forget being aware of our cell phone text message and instant message communication that keeping on coming. Needless to say we are over stimulated and working multiple projects all at the same time. It’s a wonder how anything gets done.

Wearing many hats to me refers to the multiple roles we can take on throughout the day. Just to name a few: mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, son, friend, co-worker, president, participant, observer, negotiator, counselor, coach, mediator, cook, housekeeper, and more. There are so many hats (or roles) we take on during the course of a day it’s hard to keep track. Right? The feeling of being overwhelmed and the confused often occurs as a result of taking on too much. 

The simple answer is to know these two things:

 1. Know what are your priorities are.

2. Clarify expectations.

Often when we take on so many roles we don’t know if we are coming or going. Sometimes when we left we are not sure when we left if anything was accomplished. Knowing your priorities will help you identify if you are spending time in roles that are not helping you reach goals within your list of priorities.

Clarifying expectations helps you to identify to a deeper level what you are committing to, what you are going to do, and know when it is due. This heightened new awareness will help being aware of the feeling of being overwhelmed. Once you notice that feeling you can put the above practices in place and make a positive proactive change.