Tag Archives: Team


Leaders: Open Up the Kimono-Clarity #42

Vulnerability is absolutely necessary for you to be a successful leader. People want to follow someone who is open and, well, human. A common trap leaders can fall into is being transparent without truly vulnerable. Transparency is not the same as vulnerability. Bullet-proof glass is transparent, but vulnerability at its core means “open to attack.” Leaders who are vulnerable are willing to risk first. They know they do not have all the answers and are not the smartest person in the room. They ask good questions because they are willing to be shown wrong – and that is why people trust them. Picture opening up the kimono, if you will, and risking getting punched in the gut. That’s the visual of vulnerability. Trust is your team not only not making the hit, but also stepping in front of you and protecting you from other attacks. Trust is also stepping behind you to ensure no one stabs you in the back. Trust is walking beside you when you need someone to lean on. But we only trust people who are truly open with us, don’t we? It starts with you.

You Have to Go First

I am often asked the “how to’s” in building high performing teams. My answer is “it starts with you.” You have to be willing to go first in admitting mistakes, taking ownership,and risking being known for who you really are. If you want people to trust you, you have to trust yourself and you can’t trust yourself until you are honest with yourself. Honest in every way. Vulnerable with yourself, with others, with your forum mates, with your therapist, with God. Yet, I believe we can get so conditioned to our own “story” that we stop trying to find our true self, our vulnerable self and thus our leadership is always handicapped.

Dismiss Hindering Beliefs

People will follow someone they trust and you can be that person. However, look around you and see where you have stopped being vulnerable, stopped asking for help, stopped trying to live your purpose. You have settled for less because you are afraid of all that is. I challenge you to dismiss your hindering belief systems today and invite a new standard of vulnerability to take its place. There is someone who wants to be the best you, to help you fulfill your purpose, to lead you to greatness. Will you let those around you help you today? Will you be vulnerable enough to ask for help? Why not you and why not now?

Your Coach, 



P.S. Register for FEARLESS – 6th Annual LEXI Women’s Leadership Summit on May 2nd in Seattle.


The Top 3 Takeaways from An Employee Survey

Yesterday I had the joy of training 44 supervisors in a progressive company that has been around for nearly 100 years. We debriefed their employee survey results and discussed actions we could take to better support the manager and supervisors. Ironically, the top 3 results are the same in almost every company I have the privilege of coaching:  Communication, Recognition and Training.


If you are a leader then you are fully aware that communication is an ever-growing need in every organization. Communication and trust go hand in hand. If there is a communication problem you can pretty much assume there is a trust issue. Trust and Communication are always at risk of silent erosion; thus, leaders must pay special attention to these two areas on a consistent basis.


Positive recognition for the work that is getting done. The desire for more more “atta boys” and verbal recognition for what is going right. How often do you pay attention to what people are doing right?  It was a great opportunity for me to share about the Emotional Bank Account. For every negative withdrawal (or interaction) you make, it takes five positive ones to compensate. As leaders we must be overly zealous in our positive affirmations of our co-workers … and, really, everyone in our lives!


It seems with the fast pace of growth, we just need a warm body in the position and training can happen later. Unfortunately, what I often find is that the lack of training becomes a huge source of employee dissatisfaction. You can assume that whatever training you have presently is probably not sufficient. Leadership training on communication, trust building, conflict resolution, active listening, and how to lead a high performing team are just a few of things we are tackling this week. For a leadership team of seven people you will want to work on these skills bi-annually and at least bring them into the conversation evaluating how you are doing in these areas quarterly.

Whenever you run an employee survey you want to make sure you have an effective debrief session and then you must ensure you follow up on all initiatives. You will destroy trust if you do not handle the results effectively, so get help if you are not 100% certain you know what you are doing and until then work on the top three issues above and you will be on your way to great success.

I would love to hear below any other observations you have from employee surveys you have participated in.

Your Coach,



Celebrating Next Level Leader Jason Richards, President of Project Bionic

Jason’s story inspires me! Did you enjoy the video?

As you know, I love celebrating winners and Jason Richards is a man worth celebrating! Since 2007, I have watched him excel in all areas of his life. He is never satisfied with his personal growth, always pushing for more and I love it. In 2011, Jason was ready for his next challenge and accepted the position of President of Project Bionic. He is a leader of leaders and will continue to impress the world with his drive, values, and heart. He has a high ROI motivator and insist of integrity through getting results via people, systems and processes. I both admire and adore this man. You’ll enjoy him too.

Here’s Jason’s Story….

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Shandel and the True Life Coaching team for nearly five years with two separate organizations. Within that time, the personal and professional development that I’ve been able to achieve as a direct result of True Life Coaching has been nothing shy of extraordinary. Shandel’s coaching and the True Life Workshops have provided me tremendous insight into developing company culture, building effective teams, and fulfilling my life with personal vision and clarity.

Company Culture

One of the greatest hurdles for an organization to be successful is its culture. Culture is what unifies an organization around one vision and the rules by which the vision will be achieved. It removes unproductive subjectivity and allows for better, faster, and more rational decision making. Without a rock solid culture comprised of a vision, mission, and core values, a company’s ability to be efficiently and effectively productive is much more difficult.

Having helped define the culture of two organization that I’ve been a part and then providing the tools to lead to the vision by way of the core values, it is because of my experiences and coaching with Shandel that I now truly understand the power of a strong company culture.

Building Teams

One of the greatest strengths of a true leader is the ability to build teams. This is as true for business as it is for any facet of life where leadership is involved. And in the five years I’ve been a client of True Life Coaching, I’ve learned that it is much more difficult than rotating picks when selecting your kickball squad.

Building teams is about breaking down the barriers of trust and communication that prevent a group of individuals from achieving collective success. It is recognizing and optimizing the skills of the individual to most effectively contribute to the priorities of the team. It is ensuring there is an alignment of objectives and then allowing team members to self-declare accountability of the action items necessary to achieve those objectives. It is the leader’s responsibility in all of this to humbly serve your team of A-players by clearing the path so they can attain victory …even if it is to win a kickball game.

Personal Vision

One of the greatest takeaways I’ve gotten from my time with Shandel has been creating a life of clarity and vision. It has allowed for me to have alignment in my thoughts, words and actions in order to live purposefully and with integrity. I am able to more easily define what’s important, reframe the things that aren’t, and celebrate more emphatically the wins in life. Shandel has provided me with the skills to achieve greater clarity of myself as an individual which has led to stronger, more productive relationships with my family and others around me.


I frequently tell people that the time I’ve put into working with the True Life Coaching team has given me the greatest return on investment. It has helped me prioritize what’s really important, freeing up much needed bandwidth to focus on the next level of success, both professionally and personally. I often find that many people have misconception about life and business coaching. True Life is not about looking into the past and figuring out why you are who you are from some early childhood tragedies. This is about future growth; it’s about defining strategies that get results. It is learning how to truly live a life with purpose and maximizing your potential to get to the next level. There is no greater return than being able to create success for yourself and, more importantly, those around you.

- Jason Richards

Follow him on twitter @JasonSRich

MVP: The Two Minute Challenge of Honor

Make A Difference Today

For the last decade, each month I have identified and honored a person or team who inspire me because of their commitment to live intentionally. This month it is your turn to play along and make it personal.

Due to the nature of this month's challenge to think deeply about your mission and to live a life of integrity, I am inviting you to identify the person(s) in your life and take the 2 minutes it would take you to read what I usually write to write your own.

First you Identify

Here's how you do it.

Take a deep breath, get real quiet inside and clear your brain. Now listen to what name comes to your mind. 

Who has influenced your heart because they live with such integrity and model intentional living?

Now that you have identified, now it is time to honor them and it will only take 2 minutes if you follow these 6 easy steps. Continue reading