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In Defense of Common Courtesy

May 24th, 2016

By: Karen Colligan

A lot of people are grumbling these days – some privately, some very publicly – about “political correctness.” They claim that we’ve gone overboard in our efforts not to offend, and that by doing so we are limiting the “free speech” guaranteed us by the First Amendment.  Seriously?

OK, I agree that sometimes it gets cumbersome to write him or her, him/her, she/he or the diminutive “s/he” so as not to offend one gender or the other. And I often lose track of the currently most politically correct way to convey greetings for that certain holiday in December.  But many anti-PCers are using the guise of their free speech rights to be downright rude, disrespectful, and unkind. It begs the question, “Didn’t your mother teach you any manners?”

I don’t think the framers of the constitution intended the guarantee of free speech to be an open license for bullying ..... Read More...

Communication, Kindness, Life


Feeding the Right Wolf – The Power of Positivity

May 12th, 2016

By: Karen Colligan

Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand for the past nine months or so (and who would blame you?) you’ve probably felt the effects of the big black cloud of negativity that’s looming about. I see it hovering in the buildings of the organizations I work with, reflected in the grim expressions of people on the street, and bolstered by the politicians and pundits we hear every…single…day. Even Pollyanna might have difficulty finding something to be glad about today.

So what are we to do? Give in to the negativity? No! Despite what’s going on around you, you have a choice as to how you respond to it, just like in this Native American legend.

One evening an old Cherokee was teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, ..... Read More...

Gratitude, Health, Kindness, Relationships, success


Creating a Culture of Accountability

April 21st, 2016

By: Karen Colligan

As I work with leaders in different organizations, I’m hearing a common frustration: “there’s no sense of accountability.”  When things don’t get done – phone calls returned, reports submitted on time, projects completed on time and within budget – instead of people owning the problem, they make excuses or shift the blame.

“I don’t know how it happened.”

“I think Sally is the bottleneck.”

“It’s not my job.”

“I didn’t have time to do it.”

“It’s not my fault.”

“No one else got theirs in on time.”

Sound familiar? I agree with Ben Franklin, who said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”

It’s time to ditch the excuses and create a culture of accountability. And it takes leaders, teams and individuals working together to create and maintain that culture.

Leaders:

Accountability, Leadership, Performance, Teams, Uncategorized

As I’ve been thinking about world events and the craziness on the campaign trail, it occurred to me that what we all need right now is a big ol’ TIME OUT. Just STOP. Take a minute to breathe. And then consider – and follow – the wisdom of Robert Fulghum from his book, "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten." Some may scoff at this. Kindergarten? Really? But given the behavior we’ve seen demonstrated pretty much daily from some of the POTUS hopefuls, I think the average kindergartener is a lot better behaved. With appreciation to Robert Fulghum, here are some lessons to live by.

“All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at school.

• Share everything.
• Play fair.
• Don’t hit people.
• Put thin.....

Learning, Life, People


Saying “Yes” to Just Saying “Yes”

March 21st, 2016

By: Karen Colligan

It occurred to me recently how easy it’s become for many of us to just say “No.” Of course, there are lots of good reasons to say “No” – to drugs, to abuse, to bad behavior, to more work when our plate is already overflowing...But increasingly, it seems, “No” has become an automatic response to ideas, experiences, people, and, yes, risks that might actually result in some personal development or other positive outcomes.

“No. We’ve tried that before and it didn’t work.”

“No. Thank you for the invite, but I need to…wash my hair…do laundry…” (You fill in the blank)

“No,” says the hiring manager to HR, “while the candidate has a lot of good qualities, she’s not an exact fit.”

“Risk embarrassing myself at the team karaoke event? NO!”

Shonda Rhimes, creator and producer of several hit television series, discovered the power of sayi..... Read More...

Learning, Life, Work-life balance


Just Saying “Sorry” Doesn’t Cut It

March 14th, 2016

By: Karen Colligan

Remember when you were a kid and you had a fight with one of your siblings, and then Mom or Dad would intervene with some wise words about getting along, usually ending with: “Now say you’re sorry.” And you and your sibling, avoiding even a hint of eye contact, would mumble, “Sorry.”

Fast forward to adulthood. Has anything changed? Not really. “I’m sorry,” “I apologize,” or simply, “Sorry” are pretty much the standard perceived solutions to a wide range of offenses, oversights and errors.

Well, my friends, apology not accepted. While you can’t go back and undo whatever the offense or error was, a few robo-words in response to it do not in any way compensate, nor do they make the offended party feel any better. You need to take ownership, acknowledge the impact of your error or offense, and assure the other person that it won’t happen again. In other word..... Read More...

Communication, Kindness, Relationships