Looking Back at Respect in 2010

Personal leadership Respect


Today I want to highlight four of my top blogs focusing  on the RESPECT element of the Character Triangle in 2010. Many readers have told me these are having an impact. Comment on this blog and let me know which of these Top 4 would get your vote as the RESPECT blog of 2010. (And, if you haven’t already voted for your favorite Accountability blog please do so.)

It’s About Who You KNOW, not WHO You Know

Will You Have a Crucial Conversation Today?

We Are Carriers at Work. How Do You Infect Others?

Be Present …that Person Could be Playing a Stradivarius

Thank you for giving your most precious commodity of time in helping develop the Character Triangle.

Wishing you a wonderful 2011 in the Triangle,


Looking Back at Accountability in 2010

Accountability Personal leadership


Today I want to highlight four of my top blogs focusing  on the ACCOUTABILITY element of the Character Triangle in 2010. Many readers have told me these are having an impact. Comment on this blog and let me know which of these Top 4 would get your vote as the ACCOUTABILITY blog of 2010.

Success is About Your Mind Set.  What’s Yours?

Procrastination & the Planning Myth:  Enemies of Self Accountability

The Foolish Seduction of Free Fall Complaining

Kindness is Free

Thank you for giving your most precious commodity of time in helping develop the Character Triangle.

Wishing you a wonderful 2011 in the Triangle,


My Ego Gets Bruised & I Get Upset When…?

Accountability Growth mindset Well-being


Practice listening to your inner wisdom and master your ego. How do we do that?

I am really working on being calmer and more emotionally even when under pressure. When one is the CEO or on the front line there seems to be ample opportunity to get the pulse racing in a way that may distract us from our best thinking and behavior.

Over the last year I’ve made progress but I’ve got lots more work to do on this:  the ability to achieve inner and outer calm in the face of pressure. I know that when I get upset or angry it is because my ego is doing the talking. If I’m really aware, I will realize that the flushness in the face, stomach tightening, and in extreme cases, the grinding of my teeth, is driven by fear. I have to keep asking what I’m afraid of at least 5 times.  Each time I ask getting one layer deeper and closer to the root of my fear. My ability to recognize the signals in my body gives me the opportunity to pause and listen. If I can take a deep breath and put myself in the other person’s shoes, I can ask better questions. This often leads to inside out calmness, which in turn usually leads to higher quality decisions and principle based actions. In fact very strong actions often come from a peaceful mind. This behavior, what some define as equanimity, also brings a greater sense of calmness and confidence in stake holders. People want leadership that is grace under fire. At the same time inner peace make lots of room for purpose-driven passion. Passion and inner calmness can fit nicely together.

  • Action: as we go into a new year I encourage you to join me in the journey to be better aware of our inner self and to find that peaceful mind more than before. This requires purposeful practice in recognizing the signals and knowing what to do.

We live in an intense and often conflict-riddled work environment. Being able to be master that ego and achieve that inside out level of calm will reinforce the elements of the Character Triangle.

Live inside-out peace in the Triangle,

Happy New Year,


Free Yourself from “Prison” Now!

Abundance Accountability Authenticity


Forgive that person and you can slam the cell door shut behind you for good.

Forgiveness is an exercise of consciously freeing ourselves from resentment and anger. It is often difficult to begin the process of forgiveness, but the result is usually freeing and enormously gratifying. Do you and I have a process for engaging in real forgiveness?

Most of us feel that we have been hurt or wronged by someone. Often that person is in our workplace. After all, most of us spend most of our time in the work environment.

ACTION: Do the following modified version of the 9-Step Exercise recommended by the Stanford Forgiveness Project. Do it now; here are the steps:

  • 1. Make a list of all the people you feel have wronged you in some way; write down what each one did and why it’s not OK.
  • 2. Acknowledge that those things did happen, and that they did hurt you.
  • 3. Make a commitment to yourself to do what you need to do in order to feel better.
  • 4. Recognize that your distress is coming not from what happened, but from the thoughts that you have about what happened. Your thoughts are within your control.
  • 5. When you feel yourself getting upset over what happened, practice stress reduction techniques to calm your body’s fight or flight response.
  • 6. Another thing you can try when you start getting upset about a past experience is to ask yourself, “What am I thankful for?” Ask this repeatedly until you feel better.
  • 7. Put your energy into looking for ways to achieve your goals, instead of wasting your energy by continuously reliving the negative experiences in your mind.
  • 8. Know that the best revenge is a life well lived. Forgiveness is about taking back your power.
  • 9. Amend your grievance story to include how you moved on.

Marelisa Fabrega has a superb blog entitled Abundance Blog at Marelisa on-line. She recently posted a blog on forgiveness that is very comprehensive.     I strongly urge you to read this entire blog. Much of this blog is a subset of her thorough work. She notes, and I really agree with her,

“One of the things you and I should consider doing is forgiving those who have wronged us—whether we’ve experienced rejection, ridicule, deception, or abuse– and clearing out the mental clutter that comes from holding on to grudges and resentments. After all, the person that we hurt the most by holding on to resentment and anger is ourselves. Forgiving someone who has mistreated or wronged us is hard, isn’t it? So, how do we forgive someone who has hurt us.”

Marelisa focuses on five ways to embark upon the journey of forgiveness in order to release ourselves from past hurts and rid ourselves of any emotional baggage which may be weighing us down and holding us back. The areas include:

  • 1. Rethink Your Definition of Forgiveness
  • 2. If This Hadn’t Happened, Would My Life Would Be Perfect?
  • 3. What if You Don’t Want to Forgive?
  • 4. Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Forgive
  • 5. Nine-Step Forgiveness Exercise

I know of so many people at work (and of course in life outside of work) who have been dragging resentment and hostility towards one or more people. If I could give them a gift this holiday season, it would be the act of forgiveness. Perhaps this blog, along with Marelisa’s excellent work, and the resources she provides will provide an inspiration and process for doing so.

ACTION:  start the process of forgiveness with at least one person now. Actively commit to it!

Forgive in the Triangle to better Live in the Triangle,


My Butt and Holiday Gift Giving

Abundance Contribution


I think people struggle with the concept of gift giving overall. Dan Ariely, the brilliant social economist who I often refer to in my blogs, recently gave this advice based on research related to gift giving:

“The best advice on gift-giving, therefore, is to get something that someone really wants but would feel guilty buying otherwise.”

This is really a quick and dirty summary of somewhat more advanced thinking on gift giving and frankly I think it applies more directly to personal gifting. But what about people and organizations we want to gift in the work place? Now I must admit I really like chocolate, candy, nuts, and booze. But seriously, do I or my company colleagues really need them from others at work? I’m not even sure how to share these kind of gifts with the company. As an example, if I put consumable gifts in a public place any where near the sales organization, they will be consumed by the quota-driven in minutes. Poor accounting doesn’t have a chance. And, taking them home for my own consumption I think is wrong. If I do quietly consume most of this stuff at my desk, you will get my drift on the impact to my chair-ridden butt. So how about, when we feel compelled to acknowledge other companies or people at work, we consider gifting the following organizations on their behalf: Note:  these are taken directly from Nicholas Kristoff”s December 18, 2010 NYT times article The Gifts Of Hope.
There are of course many great charitable organizations beyond these, but because Kristoff devotes his life to understanding the world of those at risk or destitute, I thought you might appreciate the reference:

Arzu employs women in Afghanistan to make carpets for export. The women get decent wages, but their families must commit to sending children to school and to allowing women to attend literacy and health classes and receive medical help in childbirth. Rugs start at $250 and bracelets at $10, or a $20 donation pays for a water filter for a worker’s family.

First Book addresses a basic problem facing poor kids in America: They don’t have books. One study found that in low-income neighborhoods, there is only one age-appropriate book for every 300 children. So First Book supports antipoverty organizations with children’s books — and above all, gets kids reading. A $100 gift will supply 50 books for a mentor to tutor a child in reading for a year. And $20 will get 10 books in the hands of kids to help discover the joys of reading.

Fonkoze is a terrific poverty-fighting organization if Haiti is on your mind, nearly a year after the earthquake. A $20 gift will send a rural Haitian child to elementary school for a year, while $50 will buy a family a pregnant goat. Or $100 supports a family for 13 weeks while it starts a business.

Another terrific Haiti-focused organization is Partners in Health, founded by Dr. Paul Farmer, the Harvard Medical School professor. A $100 donation pays for enough therapeutic food (a bit like peanut butter) to treat a severely malnourished child for one month. Or $50 provides seeds, agricultural implements and training for a family to grow more food for itself.

Panzi Hospital treats victims of sexual violence in eastern Congo, rape capital of the world. It’s run by Dr. Denis Mukwege, who should be a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. A $10 donation pays for transport to the hospital for a rape survivor; $100 pays for counseling and literacy and skill training for a survivor for a month.

Camfed, short for the Campaign for Female Education, sends girls to school in Africa and provides a broad support system for them. A $300 donation pays for a girl to attend middle school for a year in rural Zambia, and $25 sends a girl to elementary school.

The Nurse-Family Partnership program is a stellar organization in the United States that works with first-time mothers to try to break the cycle of poverty. It sends nurses to at-risk women who are pregnant for the first time, continuing the visits until the child turns 2. The result seems to be less alcohol and drug abuse during pregnancy, and better child-rearing afterward, so that the children are less likely to tangle with the law even years later. A $150 gift provides periodic coaching and support for a young nurse by a senior nurse for a month.

Edna Hospital is a dazzling maternity hospital in Somaliland, an area with one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Edna Adan Ismail, a Somali nurse- midwife who rose in the ranks of the World Health Organization and also served as Somaliland’s foreign minister, founded the hospital with her life’s savings and supports it with her United Nations pension. A $50 gift pays for a woman to get four prenatal visits, a hospital delivery, and one postnatal visit. Or $150 pays for a lifesaving C-section for a woman in obstructed labor.

The Somaly Mam Foundation fights sex slavery in Cambodia and around the world. It is run by Somaly Mam, who was sold into Cambodian brothels as a young girl before escaping years later. For $50, you can buy a lovely silk scarf made by a trafficking survivor; $25 buys a necklace made by a survivor.

This year as CEO of Ryzex and on behalf of all team Ryzex we gave our customers and other partners a donation to Charity:Water.

  • ACTION: Give a gift in the workplace to someone or a group by donating to others (on their behalf) who connect with your meaning and purpose in life. Perhaps a twist on Ariely’s thinking is to gift something to someone who does not have the very basics you and I have. Twenty dollars makes a difference and the butt impact minimal.

Live the Triangle and give the gift of hope.


We Are Carriers at Work. How Do You Infect Others?

Books Contribution Respect


Learn about the ripple effect and the concept of emotional contagion in this blog.

John Cacioppo,  a Tiffany & Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor and Director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at The University of Chicago, is investigating how societal influences and personal relationships affect people.  He has great insight on the ripple effect and concept of “emotional contagion.” In their great new book the Dragonfly Effect  the authors Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith refer to the power of this concept. Aaker noted in a recent interview:

“Basically, that small actions lead to big results. Research shows that ripple effects result from small actions that have a positive significant impact on others over time. When the action at the epicenter of the ripple effect is based on deep meaning (or something that you believe will make you happy), a multiplier effect can occur. Others around you feel the emotion that you’re feeling, and can therefore become more strongly mobilized. This phenomenon is emotional contagion, the tendency to feel emotions similar to and influenced by those of others. The fact that your feelings of happiness or meaning can actually infect others helps explain why some initiatives work and others don’t. It also underscores the importance of cultivating social good, which is often most resonant with happiness and meaning.”

So here’s the deal. The way you and I act at work has one heck of a ripple effect. We sometimes can get trapped thinking that we live in a bubble and what we do doesn’t impact others. If we chose to be cranky and mean spirited …it impacts and ripples.

  • ACTION: If we chose to be constructive and respectful  …it impacts and ripples. I think we know that intuitively but it helps to remind ourselves that from time to time.

We’re “carriers.” How we behave, regardless of our position really matters. As our Dragonfly friends so aptly emphasize: small actions lead to big results!

Live the Triangle and ripple well!


Listen to the authors describe The Dragon Fly effect: