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Communication and Conflict Resolution

Posted By Editor, Laurie, Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Contributed by Bruce Calvin, JD, President, Calvin Associates Inc.


Creating and Building Effective Organizational Partnerships
March 8th. 9a.m.

After spending over 35 years in the human resources profession honing my craft in the “art” of how to address and keep communication lines open between human beings, a very obvious phenomena has clearly emerged. Over the last several years, it has become more and more evident that communication, our ability to express ourselves in verbal, visional and/or non-verbal form with other human beings is being redefined. 

If there is a potential conflict brewing and/or a misunderstanding has surfaced, it appears the safest and fastest way to respond is by text or emailing the other party. It’s not that this is a bad way of communicating, it just needs to be used in its proper context when there isn’t a potential or perceived issue. In those situations when potential misunderstandings and/or issues begin to arise, so many times a short face to face conversation has allowed misunderstandings to be cleared up. If the conversation is only by text or email, by the third text or email, the real issue is buried and emotional levels are heightened to a pitch. 

Yes it’s easier to just text or email, but unfortunately text and email are, as we know, cold and clinical and usually can and will be taken out of context and/or just taken the wrong way and the flurry begins between the parties. Usually conversation stops between the parties, sides start being taken and you have a communication shutdown. Another challenge occurs when someone inside tries to get the parties to resolve the communication challenge and it usually turns out worse. It’s not because the person trying to fix the issue can’t do it, it’s because they’re just too close to the issue, that’s all. Until, as I call them, an outside neutral “parent/adult” party is brought in and helps get communication lines open in a non-emotional way it cannot get better. 

An experienced outside neutral party will use one or more of the following, either individual counseling, conflict resolution or mediation. When allegations are raised, an investigation may be initiated. Since 2015 I have been focusing on how to help individuals and teams understand that yes, text and email are a critical and time saving method of communicating today. To fully be effective in the art of communicating is the ability to communicate to other human beings on a physical one-on-one basis. It’s not so much the actual communication but more the how we initiate and ensure communication lines stay both open and focused on an equitable resolution. 

By focusing on the issue and not the person, we ensure a better chance of working through to an equitable compromised solution. This provides the opportunity to improve morale, initiate partnerships and is often noticed in a positive light by upper management. I recently had the opportunity to share with the I-680 Commercial Information Exchange the subject of “Communication and Conflict Resolution.” 

I covered the basics of understanding the why we act and respond the way we do and individual tools we can use to effectively open and maintain better lines of communication. In addition, how to use conflict resolution tools and an understanding of the connectivity each of our own individual cultural diversity can contribute to team and organizational success.

Have questions, facing similar challenges? Let’s connect!

I'll be speaking at HR West 2017 on March 8th. 
Creating and Building Effective Organizational Partnerships
9:00am  -  10:15am
Are you attending?  
Register for #HRWest17 with Spkr100 to receive $100 off.


Tags:  Bruce Calvin  Communication Training  HR Coaching  HR Management  HR Training  HR West 2017 

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7 Ways Women Leaders Can Excel at Being Their Authentic Selves

Posted By Editor, Laurie, Thursday, February 2, 2017
Updated: Thursday, February 2, 2017

7 Ways Women Leaders Can Excel at Being Their Authentic Selves

Originally published by Entrepreneur Magazine
Contributed by Thuy Sindell
Sindell will present Genderless Leadership: Creating Balanced Leaders in Your Organization
March 6, 10:45 a.m.

Register today

As women rise in the ranks they often receive a lot of bad advice to act like somebody besides who they really are. 

Women in leadership positions are often told to behave in ways that are viewed as more masculine to be successful. But it’s not that simple. Because when women act like men, their peers and employees tend to think that one thing -- that they’re bossy.

In fact, research conducted by our company, Skyline Group International, Inc., found a significantly lower perception of effectiveness when women express the masculine behavior in 57 percent of the 28 leadership competencies studied. What’s more, women were the toughest critics of female leaders. The more detailed, directive and structured women are, the more negatively other women view them.

So, what are women in leadership positions to do? How can they be effective leaders without creating the perception that they are trying too hard and are seen as “bossy”? Here’s a look at seven characteristics employees see as bossy in female leaders and alternative ways for women to be effective:

1. Coaching and mentoring.

The bossy way: Creating a development plan for employees may seem like the most direct way to coach employees, but our research shows that professionals see this as bossy among women in leadership positions.

The better way: Instead of laying out exactly what employees need to work on and setting a specific plan for them to do it, include them in the conversation. Employees react better to women in leadership who approach development through exploration and challenging assumptions.

In other words, don’t just tell employees what they need to do and how to do it. Bring them into the conversation about what they think they need to work on and why. Ask them about their long-term goals, the skills they want to learn and improve and then set a plan together.

2. Executive presence.

The bossy way: Women in leadership are aware that the deck is stacked against them -- they have to work harder and do more to be seen as effective. So to compensate, they adopt an overly-formal presence and they command respect. But this persona doesn’t sit well with employees.

The better way: Women in leadership should be themselves with employees and present themselves with poise and authenticity. Leaders can still be professional without being cold and distant. Earn the respect of employees by being dependable, trustworthy, and honest.

3. Entrepreneurship.

The bossy way: Men in leadership tend to take big risks to hopefully win big. But women in leadership who follow this risk and reward model are seen as less effective.

The better way: Instead of charging forward with the riskiest option, take the time to plan out different scenarios. Don’t bet it all for a big reward. Choose a plan with multiple chances for success.

4. Service.

The bossy way: Helping employees is a huge part of effective leadership. But women in leadership who help their team just to meet an immediate goal are viewed as bossy, not helpful. Employees think the leader is stepping in to put out a fire and micromanage the situation rather than being genuinely helpful.

The better way: Stepping in to help employees meet a deadline or win over clients is a good thing, but leaders should help employees because it’s the right thing for the organization as a whole -- not just because it will get the team through the day.           

Think about long-term goals and help employees to achieve them. Assist employees in developing their overall skills, not just finishing project and checking off to-do lists. Improving the skills of employees helps to advance the organization and prepares them to solve future problems.

5. Planning and organizing.

The bossy way: When making decisions, taking an analytical approach may seem like the best option. Men in leadership tend to take this approach, making many small decisions to yield a larger plan. But women in leadership who do the same are seen as less effective and bossy.

The better way: Instead of dictating a firm plan, be more flexible in the planning process. Involve everyone in the process and consider new ideas before finalizing the plan. Be open to changing plans if new information and feedback are received.

6. Monitoring performance.

The bossy way: More leaders are realizing that employees need feedback more regularly than a yearly performance review, but using systems like dashboards to check on employee progress every day is overkill.

The better way: While numbers and details are important, performance reviews shouldn’t be a competition and leaders, especially women in leadership, shouldn’t put constant pressure on employees.

Instead of looking over employees’ shoulders, check in with them on a regular basis, looking at their progress in the context of the big picture. Are they moving toward end-state goals and milestones? What else can they do to improve or progress faster? 

7. Thoroughness.

The bossy way: While leaders should set high expectations for employees, when women in leadership focus on getting things right the first time, employees don’t take it well.

The better way: Don’t focus on what employees get wrong -- focus on how to help them improve. Instead of optimizing work processes to eliminate mistakes, optimize them for continuous improvement. When employees make mistakes, use it as a teaching moment and explain what they can do better next time.

Discover more...










Tags:  HR West 2017  Leadership  Leadership Qualities  Leadership Strategy  Women Entrepreneurs  Women Leaders 

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How a Vision Statement Shapes an Engaging Customer and Employee Experience

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Contributed by Dianna Wilusz, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, CEO, The Pendolino Group
Presenting: Leveraging Core Values to Accelerate Your Business Strategy
Wednesday, March 8th 9a.m.  
Register today

One Photograph = One Powerful Business Future:

Do I really need a vision statement for my business?


Absolutely! A vision statement is essential to the success and sustainability of your company: this vital component combines physical, emotional and logistical elements to give your business shape and direction towards attaining future achievements.

“When initially describing someone as a “great business leader,” the knee-jerk reaction is often to cite something about his or her strategic ability or vision. We often hear stories of exalted CEOs and their strategic prowess. The downfall of many a failed CEO has also been attributed to his or her lack of vision.” Tony Mayo, Harvard Business Review

“beginning with the end,” a vision statement at once guides the strategic planning process; it also inspires employees and clients alike to mindfully orient themselves with the long term goals of your business.

The most successful organizations and companies rely on their vision statements to direct their work:

“Our Vision is to be Earth's most customer centric company, to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” (


"PepsiCo's responsibility is to continually improve all aspects of the world in which we operate - environment, social, economic - creating a better tomorrow than today. Our vision is put into action through programs and a focus on environmental stewardship, activities to benefit society, and a commitment to build shareholder value by making PepsiCo a truly sustainable company."
(Pepsi Co.)


Similar to these Fortune 500 companies, The Pendolino Group’s vision statement draws on concise, inspirational language to create a vision of exceptional client and employee experiences:

“We exist to create the world's best client-partner relationships to enable the dynamic exchange of knowledge, ideas, and leadership wisdom.”

How do I efficiently create my Vision Statement?

Crafting your vision statement is as simple as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Reflect on the origins of your business: what do you exist to do?

  2. Now ask yourself: for what purpose? Who–or what–benefits from your business's existence?

  3. Use Guided Inquiry to flesh out these two fundamental questions!
    Remember, developing this statement is an
    iterative process so do not hesitate to ask yourself these questions 8-10 times until you are completely satisfied with your ideas. With Guided Inquiry, quantity is quality!

By repeatedly asking yourself the enduring purpose of your business, you will produce an abundance of more dynamic, complex elements of your vision.  You now have the ability to continuously refine the aspects of your vision until you have crafted a succinct, inspirational photograph of your business’s future.

Begin with the end in mind–why?

The vision statement of your business inspires focus and clarity amongst employees through underscoring the long term impacts that your work accomplishes. This piece is integral in highlighting how the existence of a business extends beyond the short term, tangible outcomes of its production, inspiring its employees to work with confidence knowing that their dedication and hard work improves their communities on a macro level.

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” (Plato)

The vision statement embodies how the whole (i.e. your business) is greater than the sum of its parts (i.e. the various roles of your employees) when the sum of its parts is oriented towards a common goal. The whole of your business will achieve success and sustainability through a unified, inspirational vision of the future.

Beginning with the end in mind promotes a collective commitment to that end goal.

Want to learn how to harness the power of the vision statement to ensure your business’ success?
Call us at (888) 726-1414 or send us an email at for more information about our One Page Strategic Plan

Tags:  business sustainability  Dianna Wilusz  HR leadership  HR Management  HR West 2017  strategic planning  vision statement 

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All the Way to Wellness: Filling in the Gaps

Posted By Editor, Laurie, Thursday, January 26, 2017
Updated: Thursday, January 26, 2017
Contributed by Janice Litvinaward-winning keynote and motivational speaker, fitness expert, wellness speaker and workshop leader and writer.  
 All the Way to Wellness: Filling in the Gaps


March, 6  2017 10:45a.m.


As the corporate wellness industry comes of age several innovations are taking place.

Workplace wellness no longer simply means offering generic fitness challenges and nutrition classes, with some mindful meditation mixed in.

These programs are garnering an engagement rate of about 40%.

Workplace wellness has morphed into its own niche called Well-Being, with the notion that each and every
who works for a company has a variety of wellness needs, not simply nutrition and fitness:

  1. Maybe they are stressed about finances.
  2. Maybe they are having trouble with a co-worker or boss.
  3. Maybe they've lost their passion for the job they've been doing for five years. 
  4. Maybe they have a new manger who isn't really savvy about handling difficult situations. 
  5. Maybe they are overweight and are pre-diabetic, causing them to miss work.

Whatever the case may be, in order for a person to be productive, they have to be healthy and happy. And in order for them to be healthy and happy, they have to be "well."

And in order to get them well, they have to be engaged in wellness. Their boss has to be engaged in wellness, and upper management has to be engaged in wellness too.

So wellness has taken on a whole new meaning, a whole new shape and a whole new purpose: the whole person.  Hence, the cultural shift from wellness to well-being.

Step 1.  Create a culture of wellness.  Creating a culture of wellness takes patience, planning and support from the top. 

Note: The C-suite must also be on board for this culture shift to happen!

Step 2.  Customize the offering. It is not enough to offer generic nutrition education with a one-size-fits-all weight loss program. 
When people are trying to make major life changes, like the way they eat, they need support, especially at the beginning. 
Furthermore, the programs have to be innovative and fun.

Step 3. The inspiration for change does not come about from a simple rewards program! That is not to say that rewards programs don't have a place in the puzzle.
Rewards programs do work, but these programs simply get people in the door. Motivation has to become intrinsic for the changes to stick. 

I will be discussing the latest wellness trends at HR West 17, March 6th - 8th at the Oakland Convention Center!
Learn how to get buy-in from the top and then how to strategize an engaging well-being program on Monday, March 6th at 10:45 am at my breakout entitled, "All the Way to Wellness: Filling in the Gaps." 

Tags:  employee health and wellness  Employee retention  employee wellness  healthcare expenditures  HR West 2017  Janice Litvin  workplace wellness 

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Do you know how to bring out the best in others?

Posted By Editor, Laurie, Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, January 25, 2017

By Carolyn Godfrey, President of Evolve Consulting
Presenting Connect, Then Lead
March 8th 12:05p.m.

 Register Today


Mentoring is on the Rise

Successful companies, large and small, use mentoring to tackle complex human resource challenges, such as increasing employee retention, creating new leaders and improving workforce productivity. Corporate mentoring is on the rise: 71% of Fortune 500 companies offer mentoring programs to their employees.

Mentoring is most often defined as a professional relationship where an experienced person (the mentor) supports another less experienced person (the mentee) in developing specific skills and knowledge that enhances the person’s professional and personal growth.

A Tribute to a Special Mentor

I am lucky to have had many brilliant mentors throughout my career. When I founded Evolve Consulting fourteen years ago, I was fortunate to have worked with Angeles Arrien, a gifted teacher and mentor. Sadly, she died a few months ago at a mere 74 years of age. She mentored me on my personal leadership for seven years.

I could always rely on her to acknowledge my strengths and tell me the truth about my weaknesses.

My personal leadership development was focused on what she called “weak heartedness,” specifically not allowing the fears of other’s opinions prevent me from speaking
my truth. She quickly got to the heart of every problem. Although often hard to hear, she had a disarming way of speaking her truth yet not softening the message.

I am grateful to her mentoring and role modeling as it has paid off in all aspects of my life, especially in my work as an executive coach. Today, when I am working with leaders
I often hear her words coming through me as part of her legacy.

Bringing out the Best in Others

The timeless wisdom of Angeles Arrien supported the personal and collective leadership development of many people. Among her many gifts, she was able to bring out the
best in others through the power of positive sponsorship. Cultivating positive sponsorship is important for a mentor, leader, manager, coach or even parent.

Four traits for expressing positive sponsorship are:

  1. The compassion to express genuine understanding, concern, patience and tolerance for others.
  2. The strength to deal with problems in effective ways, to give appropriate and honest feedback when necessary, maintain boundaries and make requests.
  3. The quality of playfulness allows learning to be easier and more enjoyable. By looking at the humor of our situations and using a lighter touch we can expand
    beyond our limitations.
  4. Being centered in order to stay balanced, flexible and open.

No matter what stage you are in your career, most likely you have received some mentoring either formally or informally from someone.

Who would you like to thank for supporting your growth? How did their support change you or your life? Where is your opportunity to be a mentor?

Meet up with Carolyn Godfrey at HR West 2017!

    Tags:  Carolyn Godfrey  HR Management  HR West 2017  leadership  mentoring  Mentorship 

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