Tuesday, September 22

Turning Point

Last year, when I purchased my sailboat, Turning Point, I was stunned that her name was so appropriate for that moment in my life.  Learning to be the skipper of my own boat has brought many great people and experiences and adventures into my life.  Undertaking such a multi-dimensional challenge has made me grow in so many ways, many of them unexpected.  It has shown me how I can rely on my natural strengths while building knowledge and skills in new areas.  It has forced me to ask for help and depend on others.  It has been very humbling and, surprisingly, life-affirming.
This weekend, I faced strong gusts of wind just beyond my comfort level—which is where learning takes place.  Elvis, my dog, was not as enthusiastic, as you can see from his photo.  Every person, team, and organization needs to continually find and achieve bold new goals that build on their strengths and push them in new ways. 

Take the first step, no matter how frightening it might seem.  You will overcome barriers, expand your perspective, and build resilience.  When was the last time you did that?  What is that daring goal you’d love to achieve?  How could you move toward accomplishing it?  The reward will justify the risk and you might just find, like I did, a turning point.

Friday, September 18


I recently had the good fortune to address a group of about 100 employees of the B.F. Saul Company about my book HUM.  In the book, and often in my work with clients, I discuss the many lessons that organizational groups can learn by observing how systems work in nature.  It therefore wasn’t a surprise when one of the themes that emerged from our lively conversation was how many of us were eagerly anticipating autumn.  It seems as if we each have deeply buried in us a “back to school” outlook that leads to setting goals, getting organized, making plans, and reconnecting with those we have been away from over the summer.  The crisper air energizes us to get back into healthy routines and look at ways to improve our lives and workplaces. 

It is no coincidence, then, that fall is always a busy time for us at the Schiller Center.  Over the summer, when the pace slows down a bit, many organizational leaders have an opportunity to reflect on the wide range of issues impacting their group, their employees, their productivity, their growth, and vision.  Once fall arrives and people get back into the grind, many of these leaders are eager to implement change.  Even if they don’t know exactly how to go about tackling their most pressing issues, many of them return in the fall with the conviction that they don’t want to repeat patterns of the past.   For us, it is a time of renewed energy and enthusiasm as we welcome the many requests we get for consultations and strategic planning retreats, eager to examine the unique context of each group and help create meaningful change.

Take the opportunities autumn presents to ask yourself if your workplace is performing as smoothly as it could be.  Are all team members invested in the same shared goals?  Is each member positioned to contribute his or her strengths?  Are there gaps or overlaps that need to be addressed?  Is the culture of your team positive and productive?  You can also use this time of year to set personal goals and determine dates by which you will achieve them, as well as who can support you in their accomplishment.  Happy Fall to All!