Tag Archives: trust


Side-by-Side Assessments: Line Up for Better Communication!

Communication is at the root for success in every relationship — whether at work and at home. Not only that, communication skills need to be continually improved and strengthened.

Have you “arrived” and feel really good at communicating to those you work or live with? Well, it’s been my experience that whenever we get to that point, watch out. Here comes humble pie! We always need to go deeper and learn more and practice those skills continually. (Remember, you have to do something a minimum of seven times before it sticks!)

As leaders, having the tools to improve communication, resolve conflict, and increase trust is essential for us to motivate our teams to greatness. We must know each other’s strengths and compensate for weaknesses if we are to keep our eyes on the desired outcomes.

Side-by-Side Wisdom

Now, the Shandel Group is offering an incredible new tool to help you communicate better. And it’s FREE! (For most of you, anyway.).

Dr and Mrs Sutherland disc

To test this new tool, I ran the new report on my husband, John, and me. You might know already that we are exact opposites. I can tell you that the comparison charts have helped us communicate so much better! This new knowledge has allowed us to quickly resolve conflict effectively! We have laughed and had a lot of “A-HA” as we read through the report together. (Feel free to look through ours and giggle with us.)

Here are just a few ways the report is being maximized at work:

• Onboarding new employees

• Conflict resolution

• Owner and CEO communicationcompchecklist

• Owners and managers

• Executive team member collaboration

• Mentoring programs

• New orientation with manager

• CEO and Vice President of HR

• Succession planning

• Couples coaching

• Selection and development of talent

• Investment in high potential leaders

Great Offer During April

SO HERE’S THE DEAL: If you took the TTI Talent Insight or Trimetrix report after October 1, 2014, we can run this report for you for FREE! No additional cost! Just contact us with your name and the person you want to be compared with on the report.

If you took the assessment before 2014, then see us for a limited offer on retaking it for 50% off during the month of April! If you have never taken the assessments, we will offer them to you at 20% off for you and one key relationship then run the comparison report at no charge.

Remember, everything starts with WHY. Our WHY drives us out of bed in the morning and is a force that keeps us motivated all day long. When our WHY is clear, we are naturally driven to take action on our what and how.

Dr and Mrs Sutherland graphsJust as true is when our why does not align with another person’s why over a small or large issue, we will have conflict. This new report helps give clarity into the fact that conflict may be a motivational and not personal.

Invest in your relationships and take them to the next level, if not now, when?

Your Coach,



Leading By Delegating

How many times have you ended your day thinking,

“I need to clone myself. I will never to able to create a life that includes everything that matters to me – doing excellent work, having time to play, nurturing great relationships, eating well, and exercising – unless I somehow figure out how to add more hours to my day.”

Whether considering your work or your personal life, delegating is the answer. Start from the premise that your job is doing only those things that others cannot do. Delegate everything else.

I recognize how radical a thought this is, and that strictly following it will vary in each of the roles that you have in life, but embracing the premise is essential. You can create a To-Do list that includes ALL of the things that truly matter to you and have enough time to actually get them done and do them well.

But delegation is NOT shoving something off your plate onto someone else’s and breathing a sigh of relief.

Delegation is a process of granting authority to someone else for a specific task or project for which you are ultimately responsible, and holding them accountable for good work.

Leadership skill: Delegate effectively.

Step 1 – Choose to whom you will delegate by considering:

  • Who has the time or whose priorities could be adjusted to make the time?
  • Who has an interest in the task, or is closest to the issue?
  • Who is either capable of doing it or learning to do it?
  • Who has the most to gain, in either skills or experience?

Step 2 – Clearly define the desired outcome and which of five progressive levels of authority you are granting:

- Do exactly what I’ve told you; let me know when it’s done.

- Research how to accomplish the outcome and report what you find.

- Research how to accomplish the outcome, report what you find, and make recommendations.

- Research how to accomplish the outcome, go ahead and do it, and let me know when it’s done.

- Research how to accomplish the outcome, and go ahead and do it.

Step 3 – Create buy-in.

Be clear about how this task fits into the big picture of their personal goals or values, and the goals of the group. That reminds them how important they are.

Tell them why they were chosen and what specific skills they bring to the task, and involve them in designing the process to the outcome. That reminds them how valuable they are.

Step 4 – Together design a schedule of follow-up.

Establish and agree upon the structure of checkpoints before beginning the task. The frequency of check-ins will be based on the trust you have in their abilities and motivation. This realistic schedule of dates needs to include training time, progressive mini-outcomes, and completion.

Avoid micromanaging. Follow-up creates accountability and success. Micromanaging, on the other hand, looks at process, not outcomes, and expects compliance in how things are done. Everyone hates it because it strips them of their individuality.

How are you doing, 0 – 10, delegating effectively?

- Mary Beth King

This article was originally featured in Blue City Monthly


Leading by Following Up!

What follow-up — and follow-through — on your Big Idea have you practiced today? (You DO have a Big Idea, right? I know you do!)

Big ideas or small ones alike don’t become reality unless we develop and use the skills of Follow-Up and Follow-Through!

Why? Because Follow-Up and Follow-Through increase effectiveness, demonstrate reliability and show commitment to excellence. They are the next steps required to achieving your goals!

Follow-up and follow-through also build trust in relationships. And in the business world, trust translates into repeat business. Your long-term success depends on it!

Mastering the Skills

Just what are the skills of Follow-Up and Follow-Through?

If you have mastered skills associated with Follow-Up and Follow-Through, you:

  • Consistently and reliably communicate, reinforcing an intentional message.
  • Use written communication skills to manage relationships.
  • Recognize the importance of good customer service to building productive relationships with co-workers and clients.
  • Manage conflict when necessary to maintain relationships.
  • Practice long-term planning to establish logic-driven systems that achieve desired results.
  • Are goal-oriented.
  • Establish personal effectiveness by organizing work habits.
  • Demonstrate personal accountability for meeting goals by using self-management to maintain focus on next steps.
  • Take initiative to be flexible when appropriate, adapting actions to respond to changing circumstances.
  • Complete plans by evaluating the results.

How do you measure you so far? Next time we’ll look at developing and strengthening these crucial skills. Make sure and follow up with this blog to learn more!

Your Coach,



What Is Healthy Conflict??

Just say the word “conflict” and you can create conflict! Most people prefer to avoid conflict and shy away from it at any cost because it can be messy! However, relationships, both at work and at home, require conflict. And without healthy conflict, you will get neither the results nor the satisfaction you are looking for, professionally and personally.

First, Why Have Conflict?

Conflict, by definition, is created by opposing needs, values, or viewpoints. Everyone is human with shortcomings and blindspots. Thus there will always be beliefs, perceptions, opinions, and ideas that are in opposition.

Yet, any unit of people — a work team or a family — must learn how to resolve those conflicts. For a team to experience good healthy conflict, the foundation of trust must be laid. Trust is created first by understanding all the communication styles of the individual members. Then the team must implement systems and rhythms of communication within the organization.

All of that requires being able to tackle healthy conflict. If you want to be part of a high performing team, you must expect conflict to be a part of it.

I come from a family where certain members refuse to engage in conflict and have requested that I do not as well. Being outnumbered, I must pretend to be someone I am not to keep the “peace” — which is not really peace at all.

Relationships without trust, and thus conflict, are basically superficial, fear-driven and unsatisfying. Eventually, people who will not address conflict in a healthy way will find themselves inevitably engaged in unhealthy conflict: Back-biting, judging, gossiping, and controlling behavior.

Remember, conflict doesn’t go away. It comes out sideways in forms of rage, sickness, depression, and/or despondency. It destroys intimacy and ultimately all joy in life.

What Is Conflict that’s Healthy?

Patrick Lencioni shares in his book, The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, how teams that engage in healthy conflict know that the only purpose is to produce the best possible solution in the shortest period of time. They discuss and resolve issues more quickly and completely than others, and they emerge from heated debates with no residual feelings or collateral damage, but with an eagerness and readiness to take on the next important issue. (pp. 202 & 203.).

This also goes for your personal relationships as well. You can’t grow if you do not have conflict.

In my work, I use the concept of healthy conflict in two distinct ways which I will share below. Whenever I lead with the words, “I need to have healthy conflict with you,” what I am saying is, “Our relationship is important to me and I need to say some hard things that you may not agree with and that I am uncomfortable saying to you. I am taking a risk, but the end result and our working relationship is more valuable to me than the way I feel.”

Healthy Conflict in an Organization

Say you’re on a team. You were hired for your specific gifts and talents. Your bosses and teammates need to hear your thoughts and understand your viewpoint. While not everyone will have a vote, everyone should have a voice. If you don’t speak up about something, perhaps no one else will either.

On a team, healthy conflict means initiating a controversial topic or bringing attention to an issue or situation that could be seen as controversial or disagreement. It is the act of passionately with conviction bringing your unique perspective or your “story” to the table in the spirit of teamwork, organizational health, and overall alignment.

It takes a lot of courage to engage in healthy conflict. You run the risk of being wrong, or of making someone else be acknowledged as wrong. That is where trust comes in — to ensure everyone is safe in telling their “story” and bringing their unique perspective to the team. There is no wrong, when the goal is to make the team right.

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody’s not thinking.”- General George S. Patton

Healthy Conflict in Personal Relationships

Healthy conflict in personal relationships requires that you address issues that stand in the way between you and the other person.

It’s especially important to use healthy conflict when someone has done something that hurt you and you can’t get past it. Perhaps their action started out small and you logically can see why they did what they did, yet the pain is there and an obstacle.

For best results, I suggest the “24-hour rule.” The reasons are, first, to let you hot heads cool down and make sure you have thought through the issue. Second, to make sure the quiet folks do not let it fester for weeks, thinking they will get over it in time. In reality, time and trust cover over a bunch of idiosyncrasies and quarks in other people, but if you can’t get over a specific issue quickly then address it.

The Value of Healthy Conflict

When you do humbly and thoughtfully initiate healthy conflict with someone who has offended you, what you are saying is, “I care more about the relationship than I do about my own personal comfort.”  Yes, it demands that you take a risk for the sake of the betterment of the relationship and often times for the sake of the other. We all have blind spots and if we do not have people speaking truth into our lives, how will we ever become better people who are happy, engaged and satisfied?

People are messy. You are messy. A large portion of the population does not think like you do. Trust requires vulnerability and the more open we make ourselves the more inevitable conflict we will have. The art is knowing how to stay present and resolve the conflict, because real people are not perfect. In fact, the way we grow in our emotional intelligence and self-awareness is to to have conflict with trusting people who are committed to our journey to become better…not perfect but better than when we met them.

Do you have a trusted team who will point out your blind spot? If so, thank them today.

Your Coach,


worry1 (400x307)

Worry is a False Sense of Control

Everyone has fear. The courageous learn to not listen to fear. Instead they choose to take action and press through to do what’s right.

The cowardly learn to listen to fear. They choose either passivity or control to hide behind — and ultimately compromise their values resulting in a boring meaningless life.

Either way it’s a choice. Your choice.

False Sense of Control

Remember I gave up worry for Lent? Well, choosing to not worry is nothing short of a miracle every day. Yes I fail sometimes. But what I notice is that when I stop myself, whatever I am thinking about is not that urgent, rational, or even real. When I stop the thought, nothing in my life changes!

You know why? Worry is trying to control the future, which clearly cannot be done. When we are anxious it is never about the present, it always about the future — and our need to control it.

Worry is a big fat lie and a false sense of control — which is addicting if you haven’t noticed.

Today on a coaching call, I had a client share about his victory over anxiety. He shared that his “A-HA” was that he is really good at solving problems and even better when it is a crisis. He is sometimes at his best in those situations. Therefore, why worry that something might happen when, first of all, it rarely ever comes true, and secondly, when it does, he is the man for the job to solve the problem quickly and efficiently. He has his joy back.

Learn to Trust

It’s true. We have what it takes to solve most problems! We all struggle with different fears, depending on how we are wired. Your fears may not even faze me, while my fears might make you laugh.

In my fast from worry, I am learning how much I suck at trust and lean heavily on worry for a false sense of security and control. However, I am learning the great lesson of trusting in something bigger than myself for that 3% of negative that might happen, and to leave the 97% behind (or at least for tomorrow to worry about LOL).

Live Fearlessly!

I often will ask my clients, “What if the fear of ______ (name area here) did not exist in your life, then what would you do?” The answers that pour forth are so amazing and life-giving it always gives me goosebumps. Try it right now and you will see what I mean.

Dismiss worry from your life! Or at least try it out for a few weeks. Join me for the next two weeks! Do not allow yourself to worry and see what happens!

Oh and one more thing. This entire epidemic of fear is the reason our theme to the 6th Annual LEXI Women’s Leadership Summit is FEARLESS! Send your women to it! Seriously you need to invest in the women in your life in this area of being courageous and bold in all areas. It is Friday, May 2, 2014, and here is a special promotional code for my personal discount when you register: tlc2014. SEND YOUR WOMEN!

Let me know your thoughts below.

Fearlessly Your Coach,



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.


TRUST: Who’s Got ‘cher six?

Yesterday, I was with an executive team facilitating their annual strategic plan. It was thrilling to see the progress we made in 2013 by working together as a team who communicated and trusted. This piece of art was directly across from me and I confess quite a few moments were spent trying to understand the artist’s meaning and intention. I welcome you to give me yours in the comments below. However, in the spirit of team building, I humored myself with “WHO HAS YOUR SIX?” since there is no 6 in the painting.

My dad is an avid aviation fan and “got your six” is a term they use to speak of, “I’ve got your back”. When I am working with teams on the concept of trust and ask them to define trust, somehow “who has got my back” always comes out. It is part of working as a team; no matter how much that person drives you crazy, you have their back – you’ve got their six.

Today, challenge yourself to go beyond your current “feelings” and see whose back you can cover. Then ask yourself, “Who is doing that for me? Who has my back? Who do I trust to have my ‘six’?” Then reach out to them and thank them for being a trustworthy person in your life. Next, look for other people in your life that you have broken trust with and see what you can do to begin to repair that relationship and let the change begin with you.

Your Coach,


Do you trust yourself? Truly trust yourself? Clarity #30

Do you trust yourself? In week #30 of Clarity: Focusing on What Matters, asking the question today takes on an entirely new meaning.

Trust is a word that is often taken for granted. It is a very delicate “thing” because it is either growing or eroding. That is why I am continually challenging leaders to invest in their self trust, the leadership team trust, and the organization’s trust. It makes or break … EVERYTHING! Continue reading

The Perils of Miscommunication. Clarity #22

When hired business to drive profit to the bottom-line, the first step we recommend is to assess what is happening with communication. To get alignment, you first must start with how do we get work done. At TLC, we make certain all team members are assessed and on the same page with their team members.

The magic is to have each member understand their own style and gain insight into their unique talents and personal blindspots. Next is to appreciate and understand their teammates’ strengths, weaknesses, and unique style. To start anywhere else, in my opinion, is a waste of money and energy not, to mention foolish. Why?

Business is Relationships

Business is all about relationships. Think about it. Businesses fail because one or more relationships did not work out (partners, customers, vendors, investors, employees). Relationships end when trust is broken. Trust is eroded if not broken immediately – usually because of a miscommunication.

Think About It

We have all had a relationship go bad, right? What happened? Something at sometime broke your trust with that person. Now think really hard about it, see if there is a miscommunication? It may have been instant or a slow erosion over time.

Here’s an example. When I was in high school, I never had a curfew because my mom trusted me and wanted to know where I was at all times. As long as I communicated I was granted freedom. Now imagine if I said, “Hey Mom, I’m going to Scott’s house” and she assumes I meant my boyfriend Scott, but when she checks up on me, I’m not there and then calls every person in my graduating class looking for me. Come to find out, I went to “Scott’s house”, the college guy I met at a party last weekend.

In my mind, I communicated perfectly per our agreement with no hint of misleading her. However, my mom is fuming and her trust in me now has a crack in it. I think she is overreacting when she asks me a million questions the next time I want to go out and so I stop telling her every detail because I don’t trust she still has that love and respect for me. Soon we are barely speaking and the relationship is compromised.

AND it happens in the workplace the same way. We think we are communicating perfectly only to find we are getting passive/aggressive attitude from someone. What do we do?

Deal with the Small Stuff

The problem in the workplace is we rarely talk about the small things that bug us. I am not advocating we nit pick and have to vent every problem; however, if we cannot overlook it and move on…it will erode trust.

I find in the workplace, small miscommunications snowball into huge big issues if not dealt with in a professional, agreed upon manner. Knowing your communication style and the style of the others is the fastest way to trust and respect. Then have a conflict resolution process that everyone agrees to and commits to upholding. It is always the small issues that cause the cancer that destroys relationships.

Start With You

Here is a resource we offer to individuals in order to find out your own communication style. For the leader of a team, we suggest you get everyone on the same page (scroll down on our Workshops page to see our “Building the Extraordinary Team” workshop) to blaze forward into a profitable 2012. Every moment you wait to communicate you compromise results. A culture of accountability and commitment must start with communication.

Where do you struggle with communication?

Your Coach For Clarity,