How to make tough decisions at work and still lead with heart

As the leader of your organization, ‘tough decisions’ are a part of your role, regardless of how well or how bad your business may be doing.

When things are good, decision making can span from – where to invest next, how to best manage resources, how many people to hire, etc.  When it’s not so great, it could be – where in the business are we falling short, do we need to re-evaluate our workforce and consider layoffs, we’ve lost a major customer – why, etc.

In the midst of ALL of these decisions, your people are always at the center of your business.  Ultimately, if they’re not taken care of, especially in the hardest of times, it eventually trickles down and impacts your customers. 

So, how do you make those ‘tough decisions’ and still lead with heart?

When I switched degrees waaayyyyy back when I was in University, I chose Human Resources for the sole fact that people were at the center of it.  I knew I cared about cultivating strong relationships and wanted to identify a career that centred around prioritizing people.

The rest really didn’t matter as I would learn what area I would thrive in and I enjoyed, yet every area really served a purpose.

I’ve carried a genuine love for this field for that reason alone, but realize it’s evolved over the years as the lines have become blurred between standing true to prioritizing people in the role of HR and running a profitable business.

As a leader, whether you’re making the calls directly or have an HR leader supporting you in making the ‘tough calls’, keep your people front and center.  Particularly, if you’re making a decision that impacts a worker directly or a whole department for that matter.

Your employees have lives, families, etc. outside of their role at your company.  Furthermore, they have feelings of their own.

In your decision making, this means tapping into your sensitivity, your emotions, your humility and remembering that everyone working for you and with you are human beings at the end of the day.

What I believe get’s in the way of being able to do this effectively are a few things:

  • Money and power
  • Mis-used ego
  • Lack of emotional intelligence
  • Lack of awareness

Running a profitable business and having to make tough decisions that impact the future of your business, let alone your people is not easy.  More importantly, being able to shift your perspective and change your behavior to a new way of leading can take time and practice.

If you’re not sure where to start or how to make these changes, consider getting the proper guidance and training from a consultant or other trained resource that can support you. 

Again, whether it’s you as the leader or your HR leader that could benefit from this, using the emotions we often leave out of the workplace can make a world of a difference to your people.  

This is how you start to lead with heart.

What’s one thing you can start doing differently in your company that allows you to use your humility, compassion or sensitivity towards your employees?  Try not to overthink this one, it doesn’t have to be anything major!

We have opportunities EVERYDAY that can make an impact. 😊

Leading with heart,

Lisa

xo

What do Bumble & your business have in common?

I was staring out the window listening to the rain tapping against the glass when a burst of inspiration and joy came over me.  This is what happens when I hear of companies flip the switch and throw out the rule book to change lives and make a difference and this is exactly what a dating app has done. ✨🙌👏

I recently saw a clip on CBS News with CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd, Founder and CEO of dating app, Bumble introducing a new initiative that further empowers women called, Moves Making Impact. 

How it works is, users, pick a cause they’re interested in – human rights, public policy, economic development then, once you make contact with a match, Bumble donates to women making a difference in their community supporting that cause.  For Whitney, she says, “it stands for everything we’ve ever stood for… it’s all about paying it forward and giving them the opportunity to be changemakers through their daily lives…” as seen on CBS News.   

This domino effect is exciting to hear and see, and the numbers demonstrating women making the ‘first move’ has done is jaw-dropping.  Nearly, 1B moves have been made by women on Bumble, with 55M + users, in 150 countries and 19M matches/week.

The lesson I took from this short clip was simple.  Where dating has long had (centuries long might I add) rules and traditional norms, it’s now changed and evolved and Bumble is demonstrating how they’ve influenced those changes since 2014.

So what can you learn from a dating app and apply to your own business?

Regardless of what business you’re in, there is always an opportunity to change the rules.  Innovation doesn’t always have to mean coming out with a product or service that is faster, smarter, more cost-effective.  Industry changes to long-standing businesses where the ways of doing things remain unchanged can always be challenged. You get to decide what that looks like.

The takeaways from Bumble’s new initiative were inspiring in a few ways:

  • There are multiple uses for this app – dating, friendship, and business
  • Users are empowered in multiple ways
  • The company is giving back and paying it forward
  • Users are making an impact simply by using the product
  • They’re making efforts in making online dating safe with creating and introducing features to protect their users

What are your thoughts? 💭

What companies or industries inspire you and are changing the game?

Keep challenging the status quo, keep pushing the boundaries and remember YOU get to decide what the rules are.

Lot’s of love ❤

Lisa xo

Timing is EVERYTHING! 💯

Do you believe that time is unlimited?

So many of us struggle with the notion that time is limited. We hold the idea that in order to do something REALLY big or important in our lives, we need to do it in a certain amount of time… or… we’ll expire?  Of course, we won’t, but it’s a limited belief many of us carry.

The truth is, life itself and the time we have on this earth IS limited.  So, the expression, “life is short”, “seize the day” or “seize the moment” is true.  But these very expressions also mean, to me, that while we DO only have this one life here on earth, shouldn’t we make the most of it with the time we have?

Time is truly a GIFT for all of us and it’s up to US with how we use it. Yet with looking at time in limited terms we allow it to impact all areas of our lives. Pursuing that big dream, getting that degree, whatever it may be for you.  In our daily lives, we hold ourselves back from doing something we want – taking that vacation, signing up for that membership, taking that class, etc. because it’s not the ‘perfect’ time.

Yes, it’s true that patience in the pursuit of your dreams is important and that in itself is a journey, but this is simply accepting that time is unlimited.  The only limits to doing anything you want to do, is YOU.

Time IS precious however it doesn’t ever discourage us from doing something that really matters to us, but rather our belief or perception of what we can do with it. Sometimes, it’s other people’s story or opinion that tells us otherwise.

The next time you find yourself doubting yourself or second-guessing whether you should do something because of ‘time’, ask yourself these questions:

  • How important is this to me?
  • What’s the motivation for delaying —–? (fill in the blank)
  • What’s the benefit from doing this in the immediate term vs. long term?
  • What’s the cost of not doing this now?
  • If time wasn’t a concern, what would the ideal scenario look like?

Use the time you DO have for your advantage vs. thinking of it as a disadvantage and cherish it like the gift it is.

How does time impact you? In your daily life and with your longer-term goals?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, leave your comments below! ⬇

p.s. it’s finally starting to feel like Spring, enjoy the sunshine!! 🌞🌻

Lisa ❤

Is fear keeping you stuck? Here are 4 questions to ask yourself

Fear in the spiritual sense is the absence of love.  In everyday life, it looks like this…

“I need to make enough money in case something happens.”

                                      Or

“I have to go to that conference, or I won’t meet any new clients.”

                                      Or

“If I ask for time off, they’ll think I’m lazy and not working hard enough.”

                                      Or

“If I don’t go to that party, they’ll judge me and won’t invite me next time.”

These are just some of the everyday thoughts and stories we tell ourselves that ultimately create a belief that tells us we HAVE to do something which in most cases goes against what we actually want to do.  We create a narrative, worrying about something that hasn’t even happened and thinking about what others will think of you before you even take action.

I’ve had my own share of fear and still do to this day, but I’ve learned to recognize it, understand where it stems from and still choose to act on the smallest of decisions to some of the most important ones in my life.

I’ve spoken about fear before because I believe so strongly that so many of us can benefit from understanding that everything we actually want is on the other side of that fear.  The biggest opportunity you have is understanding where it comes from so when/if it comes up again, you can move past it with greater ease.

A fear-based mentality inevitably finds its way in all areas of our lives and unfortunately can stop us in our tracks from taking inspired action or any action at all to something we want to do!

If you can find that place where when you know you’re being crippled by a fear-based thought, take a step back and ask yourself:

  • How do I feel about this thought?
  • What is this feeling trying to tell me?
  • Where is this thought coming from?
  • What are the thoughts and feelings that will serve me moving forward?

Remember, your fears don’t always come in the major moments or milestones in your life, they can also creep in the smallest most insignificant of experiences!  The key is to be aware of them so you can face them and move past them.

Let me know what you think, what are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.

Where has fear impacted your daily life?

Have you been able to recognize a fear you had and still move forward?

Thanks for stopping by and remember, you’re stronger than your fears, more courageous than you think and braver than you know!

Lisa xo

Team building is great, but an engaged workforce is better!

What do you think of when you think of team building?

The term has been around forever and the very nature of it, to me can be in the form of activities or team exercises that have a social element to it and help to cultivate collaboration and foster a team spirit amongst teams.

While the idea is well intended, as a company, when you’re taking care of your workforce, you don’t often have to resort to a team building activity to ‘bring people together’.  Furthermore, when you invest in them regularly, the time or $$ spent on a team building activity can simply be an outing to spend time with your people.  Why?  Because you care and you want to invest in continuously cultivating your relationship with them.

The benefits of team building I think most will agree are great and ALL companies want to see this:

  • Increased productivity
  • Improved communication
  • Improved and stronger teamwork/collaboration
  • Improved problem-solving skills
  • Increased employee engagement

Many of these benefits can be seen when you’re taking consistent measures every single day in simply investing in your workforce.  Behavior that demonstrates you care for your people and are creating a culture where social outings occur as a way to spend time with your people.  Instead of coordinating a team building activity that you do once every 6 months to help bring your ‘people together’.

In a past life time, I worked for a company where we had a social outing monthly.  We were small enough where we could afford to do that, and it did wonders for getting to know my peers and colleagues on a different level.  Not to mention, the political barriers and professional guards were down, and people were at ease being themselves.

Why does it take a social outing to create that dynamic amongst employees?

This monthly social outing came from the leader at the time who felt it was important to bring everyone together regularly and that’s where it should start.  Yes, we used those gatherings to also celebrate the wins and learn from the misses we had as a company as well.  Set the example as a leader and if you have teams below you, empower your other managers to follow suit amongst their teams as they see fit.

Corporate cultures that embrace their employees as human beings vs. the role they play at work can still generate the benefits listed above.  Team building is a great idea, however, the benefits you can reap from a team building activity can easily be fostered when you create a strong culture of engaged employees.


I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! What are your thoughts?

What are you doing now in your organization that brings your people together?

With so much appreciation,

Lisa xo

Why negotiating ALL benefits when interviewing matters!

Negotiating is a skill we all practice throughout our lives personally or professionally. 

Whether it’s negotiating what restaurant to eat at on the weekend, where to live, what movie to see, etc. as you can see, they range from the smallest of things to major choices we make in our lives.

In our careers, it’s no different and many times, it’s in our professional lives we seem to get tripped up and don’t consider ALL our options as we consider what’s important to us, especially when we’re interviewing.  With enough experience, practice and time, it’s a skill that can be nurtured especially when it comes to negotiating money.

Most candidates when they’re interviewing think of the monetary benefits they’re hoping to earn – a bump on their base salary as they consider their next move.  Salary and bonuses are usually at the top of the list amongst a number of other motivators that are important when interviewing.  Depending on what’s driving your move and desire to change, they may vary in level of importance.

So why do we get choked up when it comes to asking for money?

The truth is, most people are uncomfortable asking for what they want, especially money and more importantly, are not always prepared for the discussion or how to ask.  When I was in the very early stages of my career, I remember sitting across from a manager I had at the time who I admired and happened to be male and I flat out told him, “I hate asking for money…” and his answer to me was, “why?  You work hard, you’re performing, you should ask for what you want.”  That’s it.  Nothing complex, no long lecture, just, ask for what you want.

Of course, there’s more to it and it takes time, experience, practice, etc. to get comfortable with negotiating (and personally, I’m still working at it), but I never forgot that.

Remember, if you don’t ask, the answer will always be NO so if there’s anything you take from this post, ASK for what you want! 

When you’re interviewing and you’re lucky enough to make it to an offer stage, here are some suggestions to keep in mind:

Be open and transparent with your salary expectations – this should really be shared before you get to this stage as most companies will want to understand if they can afford you at the early stages of the interview process.  The last thing you want to do is go through a number of interviews only to reach an offer stage and learn the company just doesn’t have the budget to meet your salary expectations.  Having said that, be clear with what you’re looking for – i.e. 10% increase on my base, $10K sign on bonus to cover X, etc.

Be prepared to negotiate ALL benefits – as mentioned earlier, everyone has various motivating drivers that are important to them and salary is not always the main and only benefit of interest.  What else is important to you?  Work from home?  Vacation time?  Commute allowance?  Think about what these options are.  Also, consider discussing what the flex is around these items early in the process.  Some benefits are company-wide policies that are less flexible to be offered to new hires coming on board.  Again, be prepared to discuss openly the benefits that are important to you.

Ask a trusted colleague or friend if you’re unsure of how to deliver your message and articulate what you want – again, for the purpose of asking for what you want, if negotiating isn’t something that comes easy to you, practice ahead of time with someone you trust and know.  Ask them to role play with you and ask for feedback.  We don’t always see our own blind spots, so asking for someone else’s perspective can be helpful.

Be prepared to get a NO to what you asked for – so this is not always easy to hear and can be deflating especially if you’re trying to seal the deal with a company and new opportunity.  Going back to the above, consider other options you can negotiate, but also, consider this to be a sign that it may not be the right fit if none of your requests or asks were met.  This isn’t about giving up and walking away, however, if you’ve made every effort to explore and consider ALL your options, the one to walk away is also one to consider if you’re requirements aren’t met.

Now, I’d love to hear from you! What would you add to these suggestions? Is there a negotiation strategy you’ve used that’s been effective?

Happy negotiating!

Lisa xo

Networking to GIVE – not to receive: 4 networking tips to keep in mind

Networking is critical as a professional.  Whether you work in corporate, you run a small business or you’re in the midst of a job search, inevitably, networking will be ongoing for you through out your career.

Relationships help drive our success in all areas of our lives and many times, business relationships can develop out of nowhere and when you least expect it.

Events, conferences, workshops, you name it – they’re great for networking. They can also be intimidating if you’re attending solo and I completely get this. They are however the perfect way to put yourself out there, without having to be attached to a buddy and unintentionally limit yourself from meeting people you wouldn’t normally socialize with or meet.

I’m sure most of you have heard, “give with the intention to give and not receive” and this I wholeheartedly agree with.  When it comes to networking, some of the most organic conversations I’ve had have come out of me sharing something with someone and with no expectation of getting anything in return.  From those conversations, in some cases, the bonus has been a friendship that has developed with a few of these individuals.

I had no expectation of if they would develop into business opportunities and for me, I was interested in the long-term connection, whatever that might look like.  I’ve heard many times as well, that people need to be mindful of being prepared to offer an exchange of some sort or to be mindful of people’s time when you’re networking, and I don’t entirely agree with this.

Again – if you’re giving to give, then you’re not concerned of ‘time being wasted’ or what you can ‘get’ in return.  It’s a mindset and being open-hearted, with offering a piece of wisdom, advice, insight, etc. that can help someone else.  If you’re ‘tuned in’ and think beyond the immediate interaction, many times, you in-turn could be benefitting from the exchange, and you might not even realize it!

The experience of meeting someone new, learning something about another person you just met, perhaps an introduction to another contact of theirs are experiences in themselves that have meaning to them.  Similar to my experience, you could ultimately be making a new friend at the very least.  It may not seem like anything in the moment, however, be open to the possibility of what could come out of that interaction.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re attending your next networking event:

  1. Be OPEN – don’t be attached to WHO you’re going to meet, whether or not you have something to ‘offer’ and be yourself
  2. Give without expectations of receiving – believe it or not, you giving your time to someone is giving.  Don’t underestimate your value and what you have to offer.  Be open and genuine in giving without expectations
  3. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable – events where you don’t know a soul are the perfect opportunities to put yourself out there.  Get in the mindset of going to an event on your own – you might actually enjoy yourself! 😉
  4. You won’t connect with everyone and vice versa – it’s possible you attend an event and walk away from it not having met anyone you connected with.  That’s OK!  You may not connect with everyone you meet the first time and vice versa.  At the least, you’ve learned if that’s the type of event you would participate in again and you know for next time.

Networking doesn’t have to be an overwhelming, calculated experience when you have the right mindset towards it.  Be open and if you’re going to be open to giving your time or insights, do so without expectation of getting anything in return. 

What have been some of your favorite networking experiences? 

Happy networking!

Lisa xo

How to be a bada$$ at work and stay true to your values!

Whether you work in a corporate job or are an entrepreneur, there’s always a balancing act of how much of the real you to show.  You want to be true to who you are, yet societal rules, unspoken politics and corporate hierarchy (in some cases) dictate that only a part of you shows up, while the other parts remain hidden.

But what if something happens at your company where your values are compromised?

Recently this came up for me in my own personal experience and as much as I’d love to say it was easy to deal with and justice prevailed, sadly it didn’t, and it got me thinking. 

How often does this happen in the workplace and how do people deal with it? 

Throughout my career, time and experience have told me this is more common than you might think, and most people don’t know how to deal with it.  I’ve had countless conversations with professionals who have shared a story or an experience they’ve had where something happened that was a direct clash with their values.  In fact, in many cases, they were having a conversation with me because they chose to leave their jobs due to a misalignment with the company and their core values.

So, I got curious and thought about a few things to keep in mind if you’re faced with a situation at work that infringes on your values:

1. What’s the lesson you can learn from that experience?

When something happens where you feel your values were compromised, what’s the lesson you can walk away with?  Are you able to take a step back and consider, what is this experience trying to teach you?  Lessons sometimes come much later after an experience has occurred, but sometimes, it doesn’t take long to realize what an experience is trying to show you if you’re aware!

2. Is there an opportunity to educate your company to help them evolve?

Yes, it’s possible your efforts could fall on deaf ears and your company may not be ready to ‘hear’ or be open to receiving your message to help them evolve.  At the very least, it’s an opportunity to educate where they may be missing the mark.

3. How can you use the experience to help yourself and someone else? 

The disconnect you experienced with your company could be the very gift that you can give to not only your company or someone you know to help them evolve, but yourself.  It’s very easy to internalize and personalize an experience where you feel like you’re the only one in your organization that stands strong to holding your values close to heart.  Instead, consider this a GIFT that you’re honoring your values and recognize that they’re important enough to you to stand for.  See this for what it is and use it to help yourself assess any next steps or course of action.

It’s never easy when you’re put in a situation where your values are being compromised, especially in the workplace.  While it might be difficult to just up and leave your organization if it’s not an immediate option for you, you do always have a choice. 

Use your voice for good and speak your truth even if your voice shakes.

Have you ever faced an experience in your workplace or with a client where your values were compromised? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  I know it’s a bit of sticky topic but one I hope you see how helpful it could be to share with others how you might have dealt with this in your own experience.  If you have anything else to add to this topic, I’d love to hear it just the same!

Lot’s of love

Lisa 

Spring is around the corner! What’s your new beginning?

Have you ever thought about how the ending of something in your life or business could very well be the beginning of something new?  Most of us tend to focus on what we’re losing, giving up, sacrificing, ‘ending’, vs. what it could mean for the start or beginning of something new.  Even if we don’t know what that is yet!

For me, this time of year always marks the start of new beginnings and the obvious ending of the Winter season.  Many of us in North America LOVE this time of year as it marks the start of longer days, warmer temperatures, sunshine and patio season is in sight. 

How can we apply this same meaning of changes of the seasons to our own lives?  Embracing a new start and welcoming the new, while saying goodbye to the old and why is it so hard for us to be open to what’s to come?

The idea of something ending can often be interpreted as the ‘loss’ of something.  We take it to mean something much deeper and attach a sentimental, or a symbolic meaning to the experience.  Whether we’re expecting a specific outcome or result, associating a particular achievement to an experience, associating status or even feeling like we have to prove something to someone else.

Here are a couple of examples of what this could look like in our lives.

You’re anticipating a promotion and lose the opportunity to someone else.

  • You say, “I’m not good enough”

You interview for a position and you don’t get it.

  • You say, “I’m not smart enough”

You apply for a business loan and you don’t get it.

  • You say, “They don’t think I have what it takes”

You launch your first program/workshop/masterclass in your business and no one signs up.

  • You say, “What I have to offer isn’t valuable enough”

Nearly every one of these examples, can be chalked up to your self-worth. Not feeling good enough or not feeling worthy enough as you are, regardless of how you finish any of these sentences.  We almost instinctively internalize it to mean something about our own self-worth. 

So, what if instead you re-framed your answers and said this:

You’re anticipating a promotion and lose the opportunity to someone else.

  • You say, “There’s something bigger in store for me”

You interview for a position that you don’t get.

  • You say, “There’s a better position out there for me”

You apply for a business loan and you don’t get it.

  • You say, “Now may not be the right time, I’ll try again”

You launch your first program/workshop/masterclass in your business and no one signs up.

  • You say, “I’ll review my offering, and launch it again”

There is ALWAYS a better way to view the ‘loss’ or ‘ending’ or perceived ‘missed opportunity’, to a greater blessing up ahead or something ultimately better for you.  You may not know what that might look like, or what it might be and you may not always get what you want when you want it, but you do get what you need in the perfect time. 

Your job is simply to be open to what could be without being attached to what was lost or what’s ending.  The first shot at something also doesn’t have to be the last, so yes, try, try and try again.

What can you look at in your own life right now that you feel you didn’t get? That promotion, that new job, that big win or sale and instead, what could be the ‘new beginning’ that is waiting for you?

Let me know in the comment box below!

Spring is around the corner, can you feel it?

Lisa ❤

Gender bias and how YOU can move the conversation forward

On Friday, March 8th, we celebrated International Women’s Day where we honored and celebrated women around the globe for political, cultural and economic achievements to name a few.  While it’s recognized on this special day, I’m personally reminded daily of the brave, courageous and strong women I’m surrounded by and who I admire who are showing up and pushing the boundaries. 

I participated in Lean In Canada’s workshop on Friday where we discussed women’s bias and what we can do to help educate and change the conversation.  My commitment leaving that evening was to write about it through educating you with how you can help increase the conversation and hopefully influence change.

With that said, I’m hoping I can inspire you to be that brave soul who can be informed and offer new perspective regardless of your role in your place of work.

Gender bias is real and happens more often than you probably think.  It also comes in many forms in the workplace.  While it happens to both men and women, studies have shown women have experienced these biases far greater than men.

From receiving fewer promotions than their male counterparts to being passed up on important projects, to the biggest one that I think many of you will agree on where women are still earning less than men.  According to a study conducted in 2017, Pew Research Center showed that 42% of women in the United States say they have faced discrimination on the job because of their gender.

So, what does gender bias look like in the work place?

Some examples include:

  • Performance bias – A simple review of your organization to see if there’s an imbalance between men and women can speak volumes. 
  • Educate your leadership team that balance across gender helps the bottom line and brings different perspectives and experiences to the business.  Where is there an imbalance?  Is it across the whole company, a certain division?  Also, look at your company’s recruitment strategy to see how you’re attracting and hiring talent into your organization.
  • Wage gap – According to the Women’s Foundation of Canada, women with the same experience, socio-economic and demographic background earn approximately $7,200 less than their male counterparts per year, according to an Ontario Government report.  This was updated as of August 2018.
  • We’ve seen some progress in closing the wage gap with examples from companies like Salesforce.com. In 2018, a $6M gap would soon see to pay men and women equally across the company. But there’s definitely room for more improvement.  Where can you improve and how can you close the gap in your organization?
  • Maternal bias – women often face this when their male counterparts are being promoted to leadership roles or being overlooked for special projects upon returning from maternity leave.
  • There is often an assumption made when women leave the workforce to start a family, they won’t be able to handle the same level of work upon their return. Educating your leadership team that all opportunities that can help stretch and advance their employees should be left up to the employee to choose. Empower your employees to decide whether they can take on a new challenge.

There are many more types of biases that we can add to this list, however, I wanted to leave you with just a few common ones.  While moving the needle can take time, increasing the conversations in our organizations and creating awareness is a start. Educating what gender bias looks like, and how we can #BalanceforBetter, takes action.

You change the conversation by witnessing it when it’s happening and educating your leadership team on gender bias, followed by proposing a solution. It starts with having the conversation, bringing awareness to it and coming up with actionable solutions.

Remember, courage over fear, faith over fear and keep in mind, the smallest of efforts can often make the biggest impact. Don’t ever doubt that your words mean something.

What can you do in your organization to continue the conversation?

I’d love to hear from you and encourage you to use your voice and share your perspective!  Let me know in the comments below.

All my love, ❤

Lisa