effectiveness, Leadership, media, politics, Reflection, reporting, workplace



When you are a reporter for the New York Times, BuzzFeed News, CNN, The Los Angeles Times, Politico, the BBC and The Huffington Post and find yourself excluded from a White House Press conference this past Friday, you need help with bullying when it happens again.  So I looked online to find some advice:

 Act with Awareness, Calm, Respect, and Confidence

Projecting a positive, assertive attitude means holding your head high, keeping your back straight, walking briskly, looking around, and having a peaceful face and body. Staying aware also helps you to notice so that you can deal with it sooner rather than later.

Leave in a positive powerful way

 Leave in an assertive way, saying something neutral in a normal tone of voice like “See you later!” or “Have a nice day!”

Set Boundaries About Disrespectful or Unsafe Behavior

Your values are to have a welcoming and safe environment for everyone – and that being cruel or hurtful is wrong whether it happens in person, via social media, by texting, online or in any other way.

Use Your Voice

Leave and go to an adult to report what happened and get help as soon as possible.

Protect Your Feelings from Name-Calling and Hurtful Behavior

The reality is that, no matter how committed we are to safety and respect, not all places have the same commitment – and even when they do, people will still make mistakes. . . . saying, writing, emailing, or texting in ways that are hurtful to anyone makes problems bigger, not better.

Speak Up for Positive Inclusion

Being left out for reasons that have nothing to do with behavior is a major form of bullying

Be Persistent in Getting Help From Busy Adults

Learning how to have polite firm words, body language and tone of voice even under pressure and to not give up when asking for help is a life-long skill.

Use Physical Self-Defense as a Last Resort

Help for the kid in us all:  Excerpted verbatim  from https://www.kidpower.org


Creating, Reflection, workplace

Deconstruction and Construction

Sent this one to MEDIUM TODAY

Workplace diary


collage2On June 27

I work from home — that is, I do stuff that is work even though it is voluntary and done for love rather than money. I was awakened that morning by the sound of something falling nearby with loud plops. A look out the apartment window revealed a large yellow tube leading from the fifth floor of the building next door to a large red dumpster. What was falling through it was a mix of drywall and now unnecessary debris from the company’s former executive suite. Its head office had recently vacated, the building had been sold; and rumour has it that it is to be converted to a condo.

The noise wasn’t so oppressive — but watching the lone worker on the ground moving waste matter around was a contrast to my ieisurely start and enjoyment of my morning coffee. We seldom get so up close and personal to the variety of work that is part of the modern world. Sitting in front of screens and reading about CEO annual increases of millions doesn’t quite jibe with this man’s day — living among modern waste in more ways than one.


On July 4

The plops continue. We are now on the fourth large container and the contents have changed from plaster and insulation to metal strips. For six days four or five men have laboured and it will be interesting to see whether the entire fifth floor has been completed. Clouds of dust from falling plaster have given way to cleaner debris — for which I am thankful. At least I can leave windows on my side of the building open rather than watch the dresser beside the window become covered with white dust.

No one else in the apartment building seems much interested in this deconstruction phenomena — but I received word this morning that my next door neighbour next door is reading my blog posts about this. It used to be that people actually talked about local happenings in person rather than reading about them online. C’est la vie. But what about the participants in this deconstruction? Do they have time to ponder the meaning of life in the process?


On July 18

I shared the news of deconstruction with two grandsons who were visiting for the weekend. “Don’t be surprised if you are awakened with a big bang in the morning”, I commented. But they hardly skipped a beat as they constructed new buildings of their own while playing Minecraft online on the Ipad and PC for several hours — just surfacing once to ask for a new Skin Editor. As an old style grandmother who thought kids should go outside, I called for a break. We tried a walk in the park and a Frisbee toss, but the heat soon drove us to the ice cream store and a very hot walk home.

Taking a cue from Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist, I encouraged the kids to go Analog for a while, giving each a large sheet of paper and encouraging them to use the whole page by fill it with anything they liked, using a variety of my art supplies. The older one started on a really good drawing of a dinosaur. The younger tried his own version, seemed dissatisfied with it and retreated to return shortly to show me his own version of how to complete the use of the entire page.

On August 1


It’s now been more than a month of daily deconstruction. My life has changed. I go to bed much earlier to avoid being awakened by a daily dumpster crash outside my window at 6:45 am. Four full dumpsters leave most days. During these comings and goings I have filed reports for one of my volunteer organizations, prepared agendas and chaired meetings, planned a fall campaign, worked on a wonderful community day where we hoped to draw 100 and got 200, designed a quick website for a project that is just about to happen, — in other words, dumped a whole bunch of activities into my own calendar dumpster. But I have also realized that all this busyness has replaced some of the other things that I actually intended to do this summer — like writing. And I haven’t added the time spent in feckless pursuits like online crosswords, or surfing Facebook to find the odd interesting thing that wasn’t cat related.

Dumpsters, when it comes right down to it, are just containers. They are kind of like my Gmail inbox which I have trained myself to keep quite lean and to clear out as often as possible. The easiest thing to do is to transfer everything read to specific folders and one of my volunteer ones has over a thousand threads of items that are basically dumped. In counting I note that I have 23 active folders full of suchconversations. Most of these can head for deconstruction.

But returning to thinking about deconstruction/construction — the best things of the month have reallycome from going analog — hanging out with family, friends, and colleagues, reading books rather than reading stuff online, trying new recipes, sitting and just thinking — and even watching dumpsters. The huge orange box next door will disappear eventually — and probably be replaced by daily deliveries of stuff for reconstruction — just like my Gmail Inbox. The big challenge will be sorting what comes in and becoming less distracted by stuff that deserves throwing out from the get-go.


effectiveness, HBDI, HBDI Assessments, Leadership, Learning, Reflection, teams, Teamwork, Thinking Styles, workplace

A Way out of Mind-Full

Here’s what Herrmann International says about the modern workplace and an opportunity to learn how to work better in it  Timely in a new year.  I continue to provide HBDI Assessment and training in Toronto.

effectiveness, purpose, workplace

Charisma or Consensus

In trying to sort through a governance issue on something that I have been working on, I was reminded of the writings of Edwin Friedman and his recently republished From Generation to Generation. Looking at leadership through the eyes of a Jewish Rabbi may not seem the usual route, but Friedman, who was also a psychiatrist, had some very good insights in the way people and organizations work. He based his own work on the family systems theory originated by Murray Bowen and put his own spin on it.

In the situation I have been pondering, both charisma and consensus have been in play. Friedman sees these as two poles that leaders and followers move between and sees both positives and negatives in both. Perhaps the strongest insight is that leadership really relates to position organically. There are heads and there are bodies. The role ebbs and flows. It’s never totally straight forward, because the leader in one situation (CEO) may have to be a follower when he meets his or her shareholders. The real role of the leader is to stay with the vision that placed him or her in the position in the first place and work primarily on self.

I had the pleasure of being part of one of the best task forces ever in 2009 and was given the assignment of reviewing modern concepts of leadership. It’s time to revisit those in the coming weeks – so I’m starting backwards from this one. The Charisma Consensus continuum may also help with this model.

Benjamin Zander, effectiveness, presenting, purpose, Reflection, teams, Teamwork, workplace

Leading from Any Chair

Chairs The above chairs probably aren’t the kind that Ben Zander has in mind. (They are a welcome spot to sit on my city balcony). Ben is an orchestra conductor and the chairs that he is talking about might be occupied by violinists, trumpeters, or clarinet players. There is a lovely moment in a video of one of his concerts, where he gives the baton to a young musician and joins the cellists as a player in their row.

Leading is really about interdependence. He says that he conducted for 20 years before it came home to him that he was the only one on the stage who didn’t make a sound. His was a comment about real leadership – that the role of the leader is to enable others to do their best – not to be a star or primadonna. When he changed his perspective he realized that the results of his conducting results were much superior. It is a lesson for us all. to learn.

effectiveness, Innovation, planning, remembering, teams, workplace

Who manages the leader?

In a volunteer project that I spend a lot of time on, we have been frustrated waiting for a reply for months from a funding body who promised to support a position financially. While a commitment was made by the leader, nothing has happened since the end of March. We have a potential employee waiting in the wings who would like an answer and so would we. The leader in the case has many commitments, local, national and international. So it not surprising that things slip through the cracks. A large and undoubtedly overworked staff work in silos that don't always communicate.

It wasn't supposed to be like this when we could copy a number of people on any e-mail transmittal – and we do. One even asked to be taken out of the loop. No one up to now seemed to want to take any initiative. So it was really welcome when someone stuck his neck out yesterday and actually did something to move the item along the line.

But it is the exception not the rule.

Creating, Creativity, Innovation, Reflection, teams, Teamwork, Thinking Styles, workplace

When Ideas have Sex

Author Matt Ridley used this rather provocative title recently to forward further ideas of a collective brain that is emerging. In spite of horror stories that populate our daily newspapers there are some amazing statistics about the state of human lives that re worthy of reflection. Our world does not rely on individual intelligence but on collective knowledge and skills that are interdependent on networks.

Matt spoke recently on TED talks and you can hear what he has to say here