Can Improv Help You Coach Your Team?

Until a few weeks ago I never thought of connecting improv theater techniques, like what you might see on the show Whose Line is It Anyway? to coaching a team member.  That changed when I listened to Alan Alda read his book If I Understood You, Would I Have this Look on My Face? . In this book Alda describes how he uses improv basics to teach scientists, professors, and doctors to relate and communicate better with their audiences, investors, students, and patients. Before I share how you might progress through a coaching session, let’s look at a few improv [...]

By |2018-09-19T08:20:54+00:00September 18th, 2018|Team Leadership / Teamwork, Teams & Culture|

No More Negative Waves, Coach

I lunched this week with a senior banker friend, who I used to work with many years ago. During lunch he shared a coaching challenge he is having that is the same challenge managers from several industries have shared with me – he has a younger commercial loan officer who is “okay,” but is not “stepping-up” – not trying to find larger loan customers and not taking responsibility for some things he should. Sound familiar to you? I suspected after talking with him that my friend was not a Connector Manager-Coach, but likely one of the other types of coaches [...]

By |2018-08-30T20:26:32+00:00August 30th, 2018|Team Leadership / Teamwork, Teams & Culture|

Hey Coach, What’s in This for Me?

If you played sports, I want you to think back to the best coach or coaches you ever had. If you didn’t play sports, think about the best manager you have had or have now. I’ll wait a minute – do it, I’m serious. Now, what was “it” they did that made you remember them? My “Mad Dog’ Coach I Remember. The one coach that stands-out for me was my high school football coach in Middletown, RI, the late Joseph “Joe” Magliocco, who we players referred to affectionately as “Mad Dog.” I was a military kid and my sister and [...]

Try This One Thing in a Conflictive Conversation

It was two weeks with no hot water in our house and I was frustrated. Almost as frustrated as when I play golf. Two service techs had just left after their third visit and supposedly just diagnosed the final problem. The “on-demand” hot water unit needed an air-pressure control that, of course, they did not have in stock – it would have to be ordered from the manufacturer. And they had already put us through this process when they replaced the other part that was supposed to fix the problem. I needed to talk with a supervisor – someone who [...]

By |2018-08-02T10:38:53+00:00August 2nd, 2018|Conflict Resolution, Human Behavior|

A Short History of Manipulating You – Interested?

The recent story of Facebook and how it sells us out has been a surprise to many. What you might not know is that human “attention” has been manipulated and sold for years. And this is exactly what Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google are doing – they are watching what gets your attention and then they sell this knowledge. The buyers then work hard to manipulate your buying behavior. Tim Wu in his new book The Attention Merchants tells us the history of how businesses have studied what gets our attention and then how they sell that attention-grabbing knowledge to [...]

By |2018-06-25T21:53:24+00:00June 25th, 2018|Books, Just Plain Interesting, Uncategorized|

10 Instincts that Hold You Back

We have been helping youth at risk of success for over 20 years. We do this by connecting youth to employers, who become helpful role models. What I have learned over the years is that the generalizations we make about “at-risk” youth are almost always wrong. Take Gary, for example. Gary was a 16 year-old youth, who was court-ordered to our program after he was arrested for a felony theft. Here is Gary’s theft story. One hot summer day Gary and his friend decided it would be fun to go canoeing on the Connecticut River, but they didn’t have a [...]

By |2018-06-07T10:54:32+00:00June 7th, 2018|Books, Just Plain Interesting|

When Challenges Choose You

You can learn a great deal about leaders when you see how they react to challenges they did not choose – the challenge chooses them. A few weeks ago, I attended a large, five district Rotary Club conference at the Mt. Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, NH. While there were several good programs, I was especially moved by a keynote speaker, Travis Roy, who I’m proud to say our Portsmouth Club sponsored. Roy was a very talented, highly recruited hockey player from Maine, who, just 11 seconds into his first game at Boston University, broke his neck after a clean [...]

One Narcissist You Want Off Your Team

Over the last 16 months we have read many articles about narcissists and many of them have been inaccurate. If you are like me I’m sure you have wondered what is the difference between a “normal” narcissist (one who mostly ruins their own life) and a “dangerous” narcissist (one who ruins the lives of other people.) Finally, I found a book that helped me understand the difference. Here is the opening paragraph of the chapter on the most highly destructive personality you may encounter in life – the narcissistic, high conflict personality (HCP). “Do you know someone who thinks they’re [...]

By |2018-05-10T11:46:10+00:00May 10th, 2018|Books, Just Plain Interesting|

Do You Enjoy Your Status Anxiety?

Photo by Michael Dam on Unsplash Have you ever seen someone overcome with joy when they got their very first job? I have and it is almost indescribable. And it is special when it happens to someone with a disability because for the first time they have an answer to the question, “So, what do you do?” Have you ever noticed how often you are asked this question? In our society employment has become a big part of our identity, our self-concept, and our status. And this week I want to talk about just that, status. Everywhere I [...]

By |2018-04-25T16:16:30+00:00April 25th, 2018|Books, Just Plain Interesting, Uncategorized|

The Amazing Banana King Entrepreneur

I love bananas and plantains, which are very similar to bananas and commonly found in the Caribbean. Until a recent trip to Trinidad, however, I had never given the banana industry second thought. On this trip, however, I listened to a terrific audiobook called The Fish that Ate the Whale and my hunger to learn more about the banana industry grew. The Banana King. The Fish that Ate the Whale - The Life and Times of America’s Banana King was written by Richard Cohen. It is a biography of banana entrepreneur, Samuel Zemurray, who was born in the Russian Empire [...]

By |2018-04-05T15:09:36+00:00April 5th, 2018|Business, Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

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