Wednesday, June 26

Friends and colleagues really connected last night at the launch of my new book, HUM!

Last night was one of the most memorable evenings of my life—the launch party of my new book, HUM: Using Connective Change to Lead Your Organization to Greater Purpose and Harmony.  Thanks to the many friends and colleagues who joined me at the Center’s new offices for cocktails and a lively conversation to explore some questions examined in the book:
·       What are the traits of the best (connective) and worst (disjunctive) organizations you’ve experienced?
·       If everyone can recognize and wants a healthy, connective organization, why aren’t more organizations healthy, fun, and productive?
·       What are the keys to creating and sustaining a healthy, connective organization?

People talked about how trust, respect, and clear purpose are among the traits everyone’s experienced in a healthy, connective group.  Some of them talked about how a toxic person can contaminate an entire team if not dealt with.  There was a good discussion of whether private and public organizations have different “default” cultures, and many believed that it depends on their leaders and what they model and expect of others.  Someone asked about “charismatic leaders” who are disjunctive with their own people while shining to the outside world—a topic that stirred up a lot of ideas about how to work with and around them.

Participants in last night’s soiree wrote down questions they want me to explore in future blogs.  Some promised to email additional comments and questions, which I will be sharing in my blog in coming weeks.  You can add to the conversation about healthy and unhealthy organizations by emailing me your stories, questions, or comments.

I am so grateful to the friends who have become clients over the years, trusting me with their organizations’ health.  And I’m grateful to the clients who, over the years, have become close personal friends and supporters.  I’m even grateful to those rare “difficult” clients—perhaps they taught me the most.  So many contributed to the experiences I’ve had and lessons I’ve learned that resulted in this book. A big thanks to all of you—for trusting me as your partner in connective change, and for having the courage to make the tough decisions often required to create an organization that works with greater purpose and harmony.

Tuesday, June 25

Inspiration from Mandela

For years, I have kept a file of my favorite Mandela quotes.  I use them in speeches and writing, but mostly to inspire myself to take risks and live fully.  I feel called to share some of my faves over the next few days.  For starters:

Tread softly,
Breathe peacefully,
Laugh hysterically.”
Nelson Mandela

Tuesday, June 18

Meals and Connectivity

Have you ever thought about whether you use meals as an opportunity to increase connectivity?  Sounds crazy, but think about it.  Do you stop for a moment before eating to appreciate the meal and all those who were involved in getting the food to your table?  Do you select wholesome, nutritious food that will connect and sustain you to your healthiest self?  Do you eat in a mindful manner, savoring the flavor of each bite?  Do you connect with loved ones over meals, using meals as opportunities to have pleasant conversations, deepen bonds, and build positive memories?

Even if you're busy (and who isn't?), consider how you might be able to use mealtime to build greater connectivity in your life and with those you love.  It will not only nourish your body, but feed your soul.

Tuesday, June 11

Recognizing and Celebrating Natural Connectives

In my recently released book, HUM, I describe Natural Connectives as people whose nature is to connect with other people, connect people to one another, and connect people to good ideas and resources that would be of value to them.  

I was just with my friend Magaly, who, like other Natural Connectives, creates synergy in everything she touches.  Observing how eagerly she offers connections to new ideas and friends reminded me of how valuable Natural Connectives are in the workplace as well as in one's life.  

Wise managers encourage their Natural Connectives to cross pollinate in every possible way.  They put them on multi-team task forces.  They send them to professional development sessions, knowing they'll  apply what they learned as well as freely share it with others.  Savvy managers encourage Natural Connectives to train with staff in other departments, knowing they’ll come back with fresh ideas and a greater understanding of how the whole organization functions.  And they count on Natural Connectives to help formulate new ideas and innovative yet practical solutions, understanding that Natural Connectives have a "sixth sense" for knowing what will work. Natural Connectives' DNA seems to be programmed to help groups achieve purpose and harmony.

Who are the Natural Connectives in your life and workplace?  How could you tap into their talents to benefit others?  If you lean toward being a Natural Connective yourself, observe others who have unleashed their gift to learn what they do well, then practice it yourself.  Appreciate and recognize the Natural Connectives you know, as they are not people who seek power, status, or praise.  Your acknowledgement of their contributions will mean so much to them.

Tuesday, June 4

WHAT YOU CAN'T NOT DO: Identifying Your Strengths

I have just completed interviewing the staff members of a client organization.  One of the questions I asked was about their personal strengths and how they apply their strengths at work.  I learned during this process that many people don’t easily recognize their own strengths.  People often use the words “strength or talent,” as interchangeable with “skill or competency.”  I am not talking here about skills or competencies, of which you have many and which can be learned from scratch.  In fact, a competency is often interpreted these days to mean the minimum level of acceptable performance needed. 

What then is a strength?  How can we use them if we don’t know what they are?  I like to say that a strength is something you can’t not do.  For instance, for better or worse, I can’t stop myself from decorating.  I even rearrange hotel rooms, moving furniture, collecting and hiding the various promotional materials strewn about, and adjusting the curtains or blinds before I even unpack.  I recently found the 15 year old lyrics to a song written to poke fun at me, “The Sherry Schiller Renovation Blues,”—further evidence that our strengths are part of who we are. 

If you want to find your strengths or talents, think about those things you do so naturally that you really can’t NOT do them.  These are different from skills or competencies, which you may have, but are not fundamental to your nature.  If you need help in identifying strengths, there are many great resources online to help you discover them.  One free and fascinating inventory can be found at:

There is mounting evidence that organizations HUM when their people are given the opportunity to use their strengths and innate talents in the workplace every day.  There is ample evidence that the best managers recognize the strengths of each team member, and arrange assignments so that all can contribute based on their strengths.

Over the summer, explore your strengths and talents.  If they seem vague, give them names.  Ask those around you what they see as your natural strengths and talents, and how they see you performing when you’re using them.  Find ways to use your strengths more often in your personal and work life.  Lead with them when you have the opportunity.  You’ll find you hone them the more you use them, and the teams you work and play with will benefit as well.