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Blind Spots: Do you have them or do they have you?

BC Challege graphic

If you’re not working in earshot from others, try out this tongue twister – it’s a formidable intro to acquiring a crucial leadership skill: 

I slit a sheet, a sheet, I slit.
Upon a slitted sheet, I sit.

This article is indeed about leadership and not about perfect pronunciation. Let me explain. A while ago, I noticed that people around me started to develop a serious lisp. It started with family members and spread to clients and colleagues, and I almost wondered if there was something like a speech bug going around that was contagious.

I kept those puzzling observations to myself but when my husband muddled his “s”s during a dinner conversation, I couldn’t contain myself and blurted: “What is going on with everyone around me starting to lisp all of a sudden?” I earned surprised looks. “What are you talking about?” “Why is everyone slurring their s’s?” More befuddled looks around the dinner table. And denial! I asked the family to say one of my favorite tongue twisters and there! There it wath! Like thomething from a thlapthtick movie!

After much discussion, research, and a trip to a specialist, the diagnosis was confirmed: People around me did not suddenly develop speech impediments. It was me! I had lost 50% of my mid- to high-range frequency hearing in one ear, and I could no longer easily distinguish between “s” and “f” sounds.

The coach in me said “duh!!”

How unlikely was it that the rest of the world was “all wrong” and I was perfect? Why didn’t I check in with myself to see whether the issue was maybe ME? My ENT specialist explained that hearing loss usually happens gradually, and the brain does an excellent job compensating until a certain threshold is crossed and the hearing gap can no longer be closed. The hearing becomes muddled and strained. Meanwhile, the listener is trying to make sense of this new sensation, often looking for external explanations, unable and perhaps unwilling to figure out what is really going on. A perfect example of a true blind spot.

Blind spots: Do you have them or do they have you?

Blind spots in a car hide a part of the driver’s field of vision. Since any objects inside those blind spots are not visible, a driver may act as if they are not there at all, such as pulling in front of a car that was traveling in the rear blind spot. When we talk about psychological blind spots, we refer to the inability to see perspectives other than those directly apparent to us. 

Princeton University psychologist Emily Pronin created the term bias blind spot. It refers to our inability to realize our own cognitive biases and it represents our tendency to think that we are less biased than others. We think we see things in an objective and rational way, while others have a biased judgment. Our ability to recognize and adapt our way of thinking and acting is thereby limited. We typically do not have problems recognizing blindspots in others, which indicates that it is not a matter of ignorance but rather of a motivated ignorance. We choose – more or less consciously – not to know more, not to deepen, not to understand, and to protect the image that we have formed of ourselves.

A blind spot may prevent us from assessing facts appropriately, which can lead to making ill-informed decisions or taking action that clashes with what others deem to be appropriate from their perspective. 

If you find yourself having similar challenges with a range of different people, it may indicate a pattern that is worth your special attention. If the frequency of those incidents increases, or if a pattern extends to a growing number of people, consider that you may be experiencing a response loop of a blind spot behavior – yours!

What can you do when you suspect a blind spot in your life?

Become a diver! 

Scuba Diver with gear, hands making heart sign

  • Describe: What do I see in an objective, factual way?
  • Interpret: What do I think about what I have described?
  • Verify: What do others think? Is my interpretation accurate?
  • Evaluate: How do I assess what I think and others think?
  • Resolve: Explore your options and take control over your action.

 

How self-aware are YOU? How often do you pause and re-assess whether it is them or you? Who would be a valuable person to have on your blind spot detection team? 

Increase your self-awareness and your ability to reveal blind spots!

  1. Pause and see if you can think of challenges or surprising encounters that you are experiencing on a recurring basis.
  2. What is happening in those situations? What is your initial interpretation?
  3. What role do you usually play in those situations and how might you be contributing to an outcome that may not be ideal?
  4. Who can give you an objective perspective on the situation?

Go DIVE more often!

Happy ending to one of my blind spots: I am the proud wearer of a super cool hearing aid with magic powers, and I can now hear the world crystal clear!

Q4 Recalibration – Reconnect With Your Core Values

I shared with my email subscribers that I had an experience last month that jolted me back to my core values. You can read about it here. But why wait for a jolting experience to remind yourself of your core values? We are about to enter the last quarter of 2019 – a great time to recalibrate and re-engage with why you do what you do. 

In the fullness of life’s demands, your core values keep you grounded and help with focus or refocus. My core values are love and the potential for transformation into a brighter future. Those core values are what motivates and drives my own leadership journey and what fuels my work

I am currently pursuing further education and am working with some colleagues on a brand new service that I can’t wait to share with you. Deciding to dive into this new venture was risky given all the other responsibilities on my plate. With my core values serving as a compass for my business decisions, I am confident that I am on the right path. My values are the foundation of my approach to professional and personal decisions. They help me face challenges and find creative solutions. They bridge what is important to me as an individual with what is important to me as a leader. They make me a powerful thought partner and compassionate facilitator and coach.

 “Caring and compassion needs to be a value and not a program to have a positive impact in the workplace.”

~Rachel Druckenmiller

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REFLECTION & ACTION

 What values lie at the core of YOUR life?

  • How do you express them in your work/life?
  • How much room do you give them to inform your decisions?
  • How often do you pause and calibrate your actions with your values?
     

 I invite you to reconnect with your values!

  • Write down your core values on a post-it note and place it somewhere where you can see it frequently. 
  • Ask colleagues, clients and family members what their personal core values are, what makes those important to them and how they apply their values to the work they do.
  • When you get ready for an important presentation, meeting or decision, pause for a minute, connect with your values and set your intentions for a positive outcome.

Being connected with your values and taking action in harmony with those values will lead to authenticity and self-confident, congruent decision making. I can’t wait to hear how this challenge re-engages you with what you do on an every day basis as well. Find me on LinkedIn here or schedule a discovery call today to talk about your findings! 

Leading Yourself to Growth in 2019

Leading Yourself First

It’s that time of year when everyone is thinking about wrapping up the loose ends and setting goals for the New Year. It may seem like all you need is a powerful resolution, the right planner or the right time management tool and you are off to a great start – which then often fizzles out. The one thing I’ve noticed about leaders who are able to set meaningful goals and actually achieve them is their ability to self-correct and lead themselves.

As a business or organizational leader, you may feel that time spent on yourself is indulgent, or perhaps even unnecessary. However, only leaders who are willing to take a closer and honest look at themselves and change what needs changing to operate at a higher level will be able to drive growth.

In order to lead yourself well, you have to understand your intrinsic motivation, your triggers, and your leadership personality.

  • What makes you uniquely you?
  • Why do you make the choices you make?
  • Where are you operating on autopilot and what choices do you make deliberately?

If you’re serious about taking your business and professional development to the next level in 2019, you’ll have to start with yourself!

I have two excellent programs coming up in January to begin this process with leaders, who are ready to take a deep dive. Both have Early Bird pricing that expires soon – reserve your spot and get ready to SOAR in 2019!

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Monday, January 14th, 2019

8:00 am – 12:00 pm

2019 Leadership Strategies and Action Planing Workshop

  1. Identify your leadership style
  2. Define your leadership goals and vision
  3. Build a development plan for yourself and your team and deliver it in 2019

$245 per person / $195 if purchased by December 31, 2018

Sign up here

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4th Fridays, January-April, 2019

8:00 am – 12:00 pm

SOAR Leading for Growth Program

The SOAR Leading for Growth Program develops and strengthens Leadership Excellence and drives Growth at Every Level in organizations. In this program you will gain powerful tools and practices that will catalyze and accelerate the growth of your people and your organization.

$2495 per person / $1995 if purchased before December 31, 2018

*Practitioner and non-profit rates upon request, qualifies for 2 CEUs

Sign up here

Butler Communication’s SOAR Leadership Labs give you an opportunity to take a closer look at the current leadership capacity in your organization, to learn and practice new communication patterns, to experience and implement collaborative management styles and to strengthen your leadership teams at all levels in your organization.

Questions? Call me: 703-599-9079

Build Committed Relationships, Shape Engaging Culture,
Inspire Agile Action, Generate Extraordinary Results

With best wishes for bold and courageous 2019,

 

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Friderike Butler

Chief Human Potential Catalyst 
​Leadership Development & Executive Coach

Your Narrative of Your Past Impacts the Possibilities You See in the Future

Backward Forward

 

This past month I had the honor to be showcased by the talented photographer Melissa Maillett in her Women Entrepreneur Success Series. I love the results of the photo shoot. What came as a surprise were unexpected insights triggered by Melissa’s thoughtful interview questions. As I outlined my professional journey, I started to see previously unnoticed patterns: a consistent series of “firsts”, a steadily growing confidence in seeing and actively pursuing new opportunities and challenges, discovering the impact of culture and culture clashes, seeing unrealized potential in others and last but not least a long line of people, who were inspired to stretch and grow with me.

My coaching business therefore feels like a natural extension of a life-long journey. When I looked at my curated notes in response to the interview questions, I was able to clearly articulate my professional purpose: seeing the almost limitless potential in the people and opportunities I encounter, discovering possibilities with others and supporting them in designing a path to purposefully living and working, and embracing change and transformation and I was easily able to create a formula for my own definition of success that previously seemed elusive:

Activation of Growth through Transformation
rooted in
Potential + Possibility + Purpose
=> energizing and inspiring delight


HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • What patterns do you discover in your past that may boost your motivation and energize your current professional life?
  • What have been consistent behaviors in your professional journey beyond your technical skills that produced positive results?
  • What do people see in you when you are at your best? Can you leverage that when you get ready to pitch new ideas or go after new opportunities?
  • Does your internal narrative support the results you want to create?

My recent work in Narrative Coaching has opened new ways of thinking and exploring for my clients. Here is the co-created progression of a recent coaching session that provided a great framework for my client to explore her narrative:

This framework can be modified effectively for reflection on past successes in order to create desired results in the future.


Self-reflection exercise:

  • List your most memorable successes.
  • What action/s created those successes? Can you see a pattern?
  • How did you feel at the time?
  • What story supports the emotion, the action and the outcome?
  • Is there an emerging event that you can explore through a similar lense? What else is possible when you shift the underlying story?


Are you curious about the potential impact of your inner narrative in your professional life?


Narrative Coaching Discovery Sessions in June FREE for first 5 inquiries

Schedule your Appointment HERE.

With best wishes for an empowered narrative!


Ike Portrait 2018 1

Friderike Butler
Human Potential Catalyst 
​Leadership Development &
Executive Coaching

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What’s SCRUM and Agile Got to Do With Adult Learning and Leadership?

 

Agile__Scrum_Framework01 (4)

How organizations can remain focused and effective in an ever-changing, complex environment

Recently I have had the honor and privilege to assume a coaching role with several leaders in STEM-based organizations. To prepare myself and to better understand their world, I took several crash courses in Lean Management, Scrum and Agile Methodology. I half-expected to have to force myself to make sense of highly technical terminology and dry program management theory only to be pleasantly surprised to find fascinating parallels to cutting-edge leadership development theory.

In simple terms, SCRUM is a methodology that breaks complex scenarios (epics) down into small deliverable increments (stories) that can be completed in a short, defined timeframe (sprint). Each delivery cycle opens with a planning session during which the entire team decides what increments they will be able to complete during the cycle. The cycle closes with a review that includes stakeholder feedback and a retrospective during which processes are refined and subsequent increment specifications may be revised.

Rapid development of deliverables and regular, short-order feedback loops ensure nimble adaptations to external and internal requirement changes and quick detection of misalignment or errors. Accountability and self-governance of the team is built into the framework and communication breakdowns quickly become apparent.

Daily stand-up meetings enforce focus and commitment and team members rely on mutual respect, transparency and openness to new ideas to be able to operate at their best. The team continues to learn from and with each other. Doesn’t that sound like project management Nirvana?

While SCRUM focuses on the work of the product owner (similar role to project manager), the team and the interaction with stakeholders, Agile addresses enterprise design and leadership. More on that in a future post.

Of course there is much more to SCRUM and Agile. SCRUM professionals will be quick to admit that it is not easy to transform traditional project management and top-down leadership calling for long-term goals and defined milestones into an Agile workplace, especially when factoring the human element of resisting major change.

Yet there is a lot to be gained from taking the leap of faith:

  1. Fostering of creative adaptability, which is crucial for success in rapidly changing environments
  2. Engagement of all team members in the design and execution process, which has been proven to be essential for talent retention
  3. Encouraging dynamic collaboration, which always outperforms siloed, static work processes
  4. Continued shared learning, which results in innovation and boosts competitiveness

What excites me most about SCRUM is the notion that this way of learning, working, and creating in a collaborative whole can be applied outside of software development projects. It is a flexible and adult-learning supporting methodology that can be used for dynamic leadership development needs at all levels in an organization through effective, micro-learning deliverables.

You can deconstruct complex leadership epics into skill development sprints that focus on learning, practicing and internalizing new communication and behavior patterns, which ultimately will result in organizational learning, resilience and adaptability at all levels.

SCRUM and Agile Leadership can be an antidote to disengaged staff, unrealized brilliant ideas in the ranks, sluggish procedures, ineffective communication.

Are you curious to hear more? Inquire about our new program offer:

Butler Communication’s SOAR Leadership Labs give you an opportunity to take a closer look at the current leadership capacity in your organization, to learn and practice new communication patterns, to experience and implement collaborative management styles and to strengthen your leadership teams at all levels in your organization.

Curious? Call us: 703-599-9079

Build Committed Relationships, Shape Engaging Culture,
Inspire Agile Action, Generate Extraordinary Results

 

Stronger Together Into 2018

I am so very proud of the courageous women in my Women Business Owner Mastermind Group! We had a fantastic year together filled with challenges, setbacks, triumphs and successes.  We are each other’s board of directors, each other’s fiercest advocates and no-holding-back sounding boards. My business would not be as successful and well run if it wasn’t for my fellow women business owners, who have held me accountable, challenged me, supported me and provided tissues, kind words and subsequent kicks in the rear to get me back into the business arena after disappointments. I am so grateful for each of these awesome women:

Carolyn Bagdoyan – Heart Tree Yoga
Vivien Balcker – Ameriprise Financial Advisor
Martha Brettschneider – Damselwings LLC
Lisa Loggins – LeadWell Coaching Strategies
Melissa Maillett – Maillett Photography
Joann Meginley – Grassroots Fitness
Tamera Siminow – Lifeworks Consulting
Agnes Wasawski – Weichert Realtor
Emily Yahn – Tangible Designs

You rock!

For all you business owners, corporate leaders and rising change makers trying to do it completely on your own: Don’t! Find a great support group, a mentor or a coach, and feel the lift, energy, fun, and stretch that comes from shared wisdom and experience!

 

And for those of you, who are not ready yet to step into the spotlight of accountability and no-BS feedback, you can prepare yourself for a great start into 2018 by doing one of our group’s kick-start exercises on your own: Goal Map for Kick-Starting Awesomeness.

Are you or someone you know interested in learning more about how to set up or join a mastermind group to accelerate your professional and personal growth? All it takes is a phone call, email, Skype, letter, or visit to my office – I will be happy to talk with you and explore options with you.

Wishing all of you a game-changing 2018 with Health, Joy, and Success – whatever that may look like for YOU!

With Gratitude for my life and the people in it!

Friderike

First-time in a Foreign Country – From the U.S. to Taiwan and Back with Grace and Gratefulness

When you have a positive impact on a client and open new doors … best feeling!

US TaiwanIn late August, I coached a young professional in preparation for her first ever international trip – a 10-week work assignment in Taiwan. Introverted, cautious, self-declared foodie, not wanting to turn down a unique offer to support the company’s team in Taiwan for 2.5 months. We spent 8 hours together to explore communication style differences between American and Taiwanese culture, different beliefs and traditions based on the two countries’ history and social norms, sights to see, food, workplace etiquette, and the emotional stress of culture adaptation.

She just got back and sent me a long email.

Yes, she became homesick after 4 weeks as expected but the practical tools and awareness of what restores her energies and effective self-care practices enabled her to work through it and still enjoy her unfamiliar environment. She discovered new favorite foods, boosted her self-esteem with solo excursions, made new friends and thanked me for preparing her so thoroughly for the trip that showed her how beautiful and diverse the world is and that also awakened her desire to explore more now that she is back in the U.S. She feels more confident, stronger and more capable through this experience.

She was an exceptional, bright and motivated client, who was willing to stretch and step into the unknown.  I feel honored to have supported her and she is ready to think bigger and explore more!

Two missions accomplished!