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Igniting a Campaign for Civility

October 27th, 2016

By: Karen Colligan

Is it just me, or have you also noticed that people seem to be increasingly cranky, rude and self-absorbed these days? Certainly the polarizing rhetoric of this election campaign doesn’t help. And it’s reflected in our everyday communications and behaviors.

“Please” and “thank you” have all but disappeared. And the immediacy and fervor of social media seem to have unleashed a flood of negative and nasty comments that years ago would have kept Proctor & Gamble soap distributors in business.

Enough already.

It’s time for us to pause and consider, “The Young George Washington’s Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour in Company and in Conversation.”

Apparently this is not the first time our society has suffered from a lack of kindness, civility and manners. Originally from a list made by French Jesuits in 1595, Washington wrote out the rules as ..... Read More...

Communication, Gratitude, Kindness, Life, Relationships

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Don’t Avoid that Difficult Conversation

October 17th, 2016

By: Karen Colligan

If you’ve got a difficult conversation brewing and you keep putting it off, you are not alone.  According to a survey conducted by VitalSmarts, who studies this sort of thing, 70% of employees are currently facing (and avoiding) a difficult conversation with their boss, coworker or direct report.  Topics of these conversations range from performance issues to bad behavior to conflicting ideas to communication issues to “I’m leaving” notices. What I find really stunning is that 25% of survey respondents said they have put off having a difficult conversation for more than a year.  Really? Well, my friends, unlike wine, bad news and difficult conversations do NOT improve with age. So stop stalling and just Plan, Prepare and Proceed.

Plan. The longer you wait the harder the conversation will be. You may think that the issue will eventually go away – and it ma..... Read More...

Communication, conflict resolution, Life, Relationships


Achieving Clarity and Focus as a Leader

October 3rd, 2016

By: Karen Colligan

One of my goals in the Leadership Workshops I facilitate is to help participants achieve clarity around who they are as a leader, and how that impacts their people and the world around them.

The leadership model I use – Lumina Leader – looks at four domains of leadership: Leading with Vision, Leading with Drive, Leading to Deliver, and Leading through People. As leaders, we should develop competency in each of these domains, yet we tend to operate most frequently in one or two of them.  Here’s a brief description of each. Where do you see yourself?

Leading with Vision - focuses on strategy, innovation and inspiring the team.

Leading with Drive - provides the team with very clear direction and is focused on achieving excellence.

Leading to Deliver - strength lies in planning, follow-t..... Read More...

Behavioral assessments, Leadership, Learning, Professional development

6 Ways to Tell Whether You Are Managing or Leading

September 7th, 2016

By: Karen Colligan

One of my roles as an executive coach is to help people become very clear about what it means to be a leader. In our fast and frenzied corporate environments, many people in leadership roles – even those who have held them for a long time - have never had the opportunity to pause and assess who they are, how they lead, and the difference between managing and leading.

Warren Bennis famously said, “Managers are people who do things right. Leaders are people who do the right thing.” Think for a moment about what you do and how you behave in your leadership role. Are you managing or leading? Here are 6 ways to tell.

Role definition. Managers base their power on authority. Leaders base their power on personal influence.

Goal setting. Managers focus on goals that relate to continuity and optimization of resources. They prefer stability, and like..... Read More...

Leadership, Management, Professional development

We Can All Use a Little Grit

August 29th, 2016

By: Karen Colligan

If you’re like most of us, you’ve been glued over the past couple of weeks (at least for short periods) to the televised coverage of the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Those athletes were amazing. Such focus. Such dedication. Such grit.

Speaking of grit, I recently read Angela Duckworth’s best-selling book, Grit – The Power of Passion and Perseverance, and I was thinking about it a lot as I heard different athletes share their journey to Olympic competition.  “Sacrifices,” “hard work,” “perseverance,” “goals.”  Those words were common threads in the conversation. Along the way…they fell down, they got up. They lost a competition, they worked harder for the next one.  They got injured, they healed, and got right back in the game. So much of what I heard and observed resonated with what Duckworth describes as “grit.”  ..... Read More...

Development, Learning, Life


If Only I Knew Then What I Know Now

August 15th, 2016

By: Karen Colligan

If you’ve been following my advice about taking some “ME” time this summer, you may have had an opportunity to reflect on your life so far. What have you learned that you wish you’d known 20 years ago? What did you NOT do that you wish you’d done (there’s still time!) And what advice would you give your younger self if you could? We posed this last question to our followers and networks a while back and got some really insightful answers. In case you missed it (or would like a second look) I’m sharing it again. I’d love to hear from you if you have something to add; please comment.

The majority of the responses fell into three major categories. All good advice!


-It’s all about attitude. Have a great attitude, show up with it and leave with it every day.

-Don’t tell people what you think they want to hear. Be yourself and..... Read More...

Learning, Life, wellness

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