Call Dr. Stebbins today 503.957.6528

Call Dr. Stebbins today 503.957.6528


5 More Tips for Successful Leadership

6. Invest in employees as you invest in yourself

*Their development is every bit as important as yours! Doing so will yield tremendous results for you, the employees and your organization both now and in the future

7.Increase employee engagement

*This single most important cost free action will increase retention, drive innovation, solve problems and improve the bottom line!

8. Maintain balance

* Your health, which is your greatest wealth, depends on it!

9. Model transparency and learn the skills to make it happen

* The costs related to lack of transparency in organizations are staggering both in terms of human capital and product/service…..transparency=organizational well being!

10.  HAVE FUN!

* If your work is not fun, find something that is…..your followers are watching!

So….how do these 10 Tips resonate with you? Contact me and let’s talk!

5 [of 10] Tips to Successful Leadership

1. Ask good questions

♦  Demonstrating curiosity gives you information you wouldn’t otherwise have!

 ♦ The words “How” and “What”can improve your decision making.

2. Be a proactive leader of change

♦ Learning to effectively manage change is the most critical leadership skill for the 21st century.

3. Pursue self-development

♦ Deepening personal awareness will improve emotional intelligence and increase emotional capital among employees.

4. Ask for help

♦ Simply because you can’t do it all yourself!

5. Pause for self-reflection

♦ Doing so renews energy and reignites passion.

Keep watching my blog for my next 5 “Tips to Successful Leadership”!

The Time Is Now!

I came away from the recent EDCO Annual Luncheon [Economic Development of Central Oregon] feeling inspired and hopeful! Alan Beaulieu of ITR Economics gave a very positive assessment of both the Oregon and the US economy.  Here are the major points he made to the 500 + audience members:

1. Implement growth strategies.

2. Find and eliminate bottlenecks

3. Plan for higher wages

4. Plan for higher energy costs in late 2015

5. Spend more on people and processes.

While all these points are significant, the last one really caught my eye. Now is definitely the time for organizations  to expand their work forces AND invest in professional development. I am well aware that training programs and other professional development activities are not viewed as ‘revenue producing’ and thus, are eliminated during economic hard times. Rather than argue this point, I encourage organizations to use this improving economy to strategically invest in work force development. The return on this investment is crucial for long term success:

  •   Retention which means that the hidden high cost of hiring is avoided
  •   A full internal  ‘pipeline’ of employees who can fill leadership positions
  •   Increased productivity which leads to:
  •   A healthy bottom line

What about your organization?  Contact me and let’s explore how investing in professional development can help your bottom line!


Change Management: An Ethical Perspective

I was heartened when I read a recent interview with Prosci’s lead researcher, Robert Stise. When asked why change management is important to him he responded:

“Change Management is not just a field; it’s an ethic about how you treat people as individuals. Yes, it can save you money, yes, it can help you meet deadlines, but if we can create a culture where organizations recognize their employees as individuals and can do a better job of helping those individuals through times of change, I  think that’s an incredible step forward.”

This quote beautifully summarizes what I also believe to be true: organizations have an ethical responsibility to view their employees as the single most important resource they have……businesses would not be successful or even exist were it not for their employees. Thus, when initiating any kind of organizational change, does it not make sense to engage employees as much as possible in the implementation of that change?  I have found that doing so results in higher quality/quantity of implementation strategies AND less resistance to the change itself.

Contact me and let’s talk about how your organization can create a more employee engaged culture… important element for successful change management.

Difficult Conversations: Sometimes I Gotta Have ‘Em!

I was interested in a recent Harvard Business Review article [1/9/15] entitled “How to Handle Difficult Conversations at Work.”   Rebecca Knight, the author, presents 8 suggestions for conducting a difficult conversation:

  • Change your mindset
  • Breathe
  • Plan but don’t script
  • Acknowledge your counterpart’s perspective
  • Be compassionate
  • Slow down and listen
  • Give something back
  • Reflect and Learn

I totally support these ideas and believe that a specific framework for putting them into action is important. I suggest using the Confrontation Conversation Model developed by Fierce, Inc. that is based on the work of Susan Scott’s Fierce Conversations. While the title “Confrontation Conversation” may sound intimidating, I find it less so within the Fierce Conversation context. Consider the Three Transformational Ideas upon which the Confrontation Model is based:

Idea #1: “Our careers, companies,  personal relationships and our very lives succeed or fail, gradually then suddenly, one conversation at a time.”  The question is: What is the cost to us when we are unwilling or unable to have the conversations we need to have?  I know from my own experience that relationships gradually deteriorate over time.

Idea #2: “The conversation is the relationship” . This equation is simple: limiting conversations, limits relationships….whether business or personal!

Idea #3: “All conversations are with myself and sometimes they involve other people.”  It is amazing how our context or mindset frames how we interact with others….our context can work both for and against us!

So how do these ideas support you as you have those challenging conversations? Contact me for a free session on how these principles and the Fierce Confrontation Conversation Model can give you the skills for conducting those “sometimes-I-gotta-have ’em” conversations.

A Lesson on “The Present”

As I move into this new year, my focus continues to be on truly living ‘in the moment’. Recently,  I had a real ‘wake up call’ about being present that will stay with me for a long time…..

My hairdresser gives a tremendous scalp/face massage when she shampoos my hair-it is one of the reasons why I go to her. I went to my hair appointment last week with great anticipation!  She lead me to the shampoo chair and within seconds of her starting the scalp massage, my monkey mind took over…….it wasn’t until she was rinsing my hair that I realized I had m-i-s-s-e-d the entire experience…my brain went into over drive and I had deprived myself of this nurturing moment!  *Sigh*…..

The bad news is I have to wait five weeks to have another one. The good news?  I will have another opportunity and you can bet I will have an entirely different experience!

What about you? What present moments have you missed because of mental preoccupation?

Join me in enjoying the present moment: an important secret to living a fulfilling life!






Change Management: Method to the Madness!!

In my conversations with organizational clients, I have discovered that the ‘rapid change’ now the new ‘normal’ in their lives, is viewed as an amorphous thing that is difficult to define let alone manage.  Managing change can be as complex as it is necessary. Here are two approaches that may simplify the change management discussion: The “What” and the “How”.

The “What” is a specific change management framework/infrastructure that , when adopted, is integrated into every organizational change strategy. These frameworks typically have assessments,  planning steps, specific tasks related to each step and tools for measuring outcomes.

The “How” refers to the strategic communication critical for actually implementing the “What”. These advanced communication skills focus on transparency and authenticity while developing/ preserving the relationships essential for change implementation.

How important is partnering the “What” with the “How”?  Research has demonstrated that the success or failure of change initiatives is almost entirely dependent on effective communication.  My own client experience supports these findings and as a result, I will only consult with organizations that are willing to do both the What and the How!

What about your organization?  If you are ready to achieve success with managing change, let’s talk!


The Year May Be “New” And………

I respect the celebration of the New Year as it is an important opportunity to reflect and set goals…that said, I pose this question for your consideration: Does ‘new’ only happen once a year? As I observe my world, I see that ‘new’ is not an event. It is an ever evolving part of life…I need only watch a sunrise, the ocean waves coming ashore and the changing seasons to know that this is true! On a micro level, I find it easy to reflect on the past, i.e., the time I have spent that I cannot recoup. When I do, I completely forget that for every moment in the past, a new moment is occurring. So then the question is: What choices do I have for living that moment?  I have come to the conclusion that embracing the newness of every moment and knowing that how I live in each moment is a choice, is what brings joy and richness to my life and work.

As you celebrate this New Year, how will you also celebrate each new moment?

September Fierce Event in Portland

It's Time to Get Fierce Red Arrow


Join me September 4-5 for a Fierce Conversations Workshop at the Unviersity Club in Portland. Click the link above to register!


‘Project’ and ‘Change’ Management: An Evolving Marriage

Does the need for a ‘change’ result in a ‘project’? or does a ‘project’ result in ‘change’? An interesting “chicken or egg”question! Writing in The Next Evolution:Unifying Project and Change Management, Thomas Luke Jarocki says that regardless of how these questions are answered, there are three “givens” regarding these two:

1. Any ‘change’ initiative, however it is defined and regardless of its scope, requires a planned approach/structure [project management].

2. Any ‘project’ will result in ‘changes’ that will impact employees, the way the work gets done and, potentially, organizational structure.

3. Effectively managing both the ‘project’ and resulting ‘changes’ will result in long lasting organizational benefits.

Why does project management fail? Because the “people and cultural” side of change the project produces has not been addressed.  It is apparent that a sound ‘project management’ plan must include change management principles and strategies. To use an analogy, think of a car: it is the mechanical/technical piece [the ‘project’] that has been developed to move an organization forward and the human behind the wheel is the one who will determine the car’s direction… how the driver reacts to the car will dictate whether or not the car moves forward[change management focus].

Prosci Change Management methodology captures this relationship very effectively: