Celebrating Interdependence and Business as a Force for Good

When Mary Stelletello founded Vista Global Coaching & Consulting, her vision was to create a company that demonstrated her values of making a difference in the world. She knew about the B Corp certification process for businesses to measure the “triple bottom line” – social, environmental and economic impact.

In 2012, Vista Global Coaching & Consulting became Wisconsin’s first certified B Corporation. Last week, Mary attended the B Corp Champions Retreat in Toronto with more than 500 global change-makers that are running businesses as a force for good.

B Corp Champions Retreat, Toronto, Canada.  Photo credit: M. Stelletello

One of the most moving stories shared was about Roshan, the only B Corp in Afghanistan. Roshan brought telecommunications service to a country that in 2002, had only 100,000 cellular phones. By 2017 their success has been beyond anything imaginable, bringing cellular service to more than 90% of the population. However, in May 2017 their world shattered when a tanker truck explosion destroyed the Kabul offices, killing 80 staff members. The B Corp community across the globe responded to support Roshan’s rebuilding and resilience. At the closing B Inspired event in Toronto, Roshan founder, Shainoor Khoja shared this story of interdependence. They have rebuilt and there is now a fund to support the families of the employees lost in the tragedy.

Roshan Founder, Shainoor Khoja, Champions Retreat, Toronto, Canada. Photo: M. Stelletello

It was incredibly inspiring to hear the highlights of the first 10 years of the movement, including how B Corp businesses have taken up the Inclusive Economy Challenge.

The vision of an economy that is equitable and creates opportunity for all people of all backgrounds and experiences to live with dignity, to support themselves and their families and help their economies thrive.

If you are committed to being a business that is a force for good and want to learn more about B Corp certification, take the B Impact Assessment, or contact Mary today to learn about the Vista Global journey. Join the movement to create shared and durable prosperity.

Upcoming Workshop: Tools for Courageous Conversations

Do you work with someone whose conversational style is “Tell, Sell, and Yell” and sometimes struggle to feel heard? Join Mary Stelletello and the Madison chapter of the Ellevate Network on November 8, 2017, at 5:30 P.M. for a 90-minute workshop at the Stamm House in Middleton, Wisconsin.

Mary Stelletello leads a workshop at the 2016 Vista Leadership Academy retreat. Photo: M. Stelletello

Learn trust-building techniques to improve your conversational intelligence (C-IQ) and best practices heralded by Ellevate Network Founder Sallie Krawcheck. In this workshop, we will talk through the conversation styles designed to teach how to move a conversation from “Me to We” using tools like the C-IQ Conversation Dashboard.

Explore Courageous Conversations

We will also explore Krawcheck’s book “Own It: The Power of Women at Work” and concepts for having “Courageous Conversations.” Whether the conversation is about gender equity, company culture, bias around work assignments, or “man-terrupting”, Sallie believes there is an urgency for all women to engage in courageous conversations.

“We all have the power to bring about change, individually and collectively, and the way we do that is by each of us starting conversations in our own workplaces.

 

I also firmly believe that owning these conversations can also position each of us as true leaders, for taking a principled and educated stance on what is clearly “the right side of history.”

Source: Krawcheck, Sallie. Own It: The Power of Women at Work (p. 144-146). The Crown Publishing Group.

Workshop goals and learning objectives include:

  1. Gain increased awareness of your personal conversational style and its impact on others
  2. Learn techniques to engage in courageous conversations
  3. Increase ability to access empathy, foster shared decision-making, and connect with others more deeply

Interested? Get your tickets today! The workshop is $10.00 for Ellevate Network members and $15.00 for non-members.

Can’t make it to this workshop? Contact Mary to learn about a custom workshop for your team or organization.

Asking Questions For Which You Have No Answers

“Conversational rituals allow us to build common language, definitions and meanings that in turn create community. They influence our behavior at the neurochemical level.” Judith Glaser

To uncover “conversational blind spots” you have to become mindful of when you are making assumptions, interpreting incorrectly, and jumping to conclusions.

This begins with asking the right kind of open-ended questions.  Questions that open our minds to explore new avenues of thought with each other. Questions for which we have no answers.

In Conversational Intelligence, Judith Glaser explains there are three levels of conversation.  Level 1 is a basic “Tell/Ask” interaction. It is directive with no open-ended exploration.  Level 2 is more provocative and the interaction is labeled “Advocate/Inquire.”  Referred to as “Share/Discover,” Level 3 is the most dynamic and exploratory interaction.

People Sitting with Question Marks

The example below illustrates how questions from the 3 levels result in different experiences.

Level 1:

  • “Do you mind including this brochure in the donor information packet?”

You ask a question that you don’t have an answer to but it is really a statement in disguise.  This is “tell/ask” interaction to exchange information.  There isn’t much trust.  By asking the question this way, you are attempting to validate your own view of reality.

Level 2:

  • “I really love the brochure. It has all the compelling elements for donors. What do you think? Is there anything stopping you from getting on board with this?”

This exchange is dominated by “advocate/inquire” dynamics. You are advocating for what you want (not just telling). You are inquiring about the other person’s beliefs in an effort to persuade them. Trust is conditional.

Level 3:

  • “Which of these pieces of collateral do you think will be the most compelling for this donor? Are there any concerns we should talk through before making a decision?”

This conversation is marked by “share/discover” dynamics.  By asking in this way, you are sharing that you’re open to being influenced and that you care about your colleague’s thoughts. This signals to the listener that they can offer ideas and you both influence the decision that achieves greater shared success.

Learning to ask an open-ended question for which you have no answer strengthens your ability to have meaningful conversations that lead to transformational results.

Stay tuned for more C-IQ tips!  This is part of a blog series on Conversational Intelligence course by Judith E. Glaser. Check out related blogs such as “Listening to Connect” and “What We Can Learn from our Worst Conversations.”

 

Photo credit: Rawpixel.com via Shutterstock

Metrics for Success: Which Leadership Assessment is Right for You and Your Team?

There are dozens of assessment tools to choose from if you are a CEO, manager, human resources professional, board member, or community leader. As your partner, Vista Global helps you cut through the clutter and match your needs to the industry’s leading assessments.

Team Assessment Meeting

The first step when selecting the right assessment is to determine your desired outcome. Do you want to use the assessment to help leaders see their blind spots and be more successful with their teams? Do you want teams to be more effective working together? Do you want to support leaders in building more effective interpersonal skills?

Based on your desired outcome, Vista Global partners with you throughout the assessment process. Three of the most trusted assessments are detailed below.

Leadership Practices Inventory 360

Developed using the Leadership Challenge framework research by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI)® assessments help you gain clarity on your vision and purpose. These tools are designed to help you develop your skills within the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership.

The LPI 360 measures 30 specific leadership behaviors on a 10-point scale. This tool is self-administered and is completed by observers such as co-workers, managers, and the staff you manage, giving you a complete picture of your leadership strengths and areas for improvement.

The Leadership Challenge framework also offers the Student LPI, specifically designed for high school and collegiate students in leadership roles.

StrengthsFinder

The leading benchmark for understanding an individual’s talents, the Gallup StrengthsFinder assessment, provides a customized inventory of your unique talents. Based on the book by Gallup executive Tom Rath and the survey work of his grandfather at the University of Nebraska, Donald Clifton, this tool is designed to build on your strengths first and foremost.

A person’s talents – those thoughts, feelings, behaviors that come naturally – are the source of his or her true potential. Contrary to traditional professional development that focuses on fixing weaknesses, Gallup’s research proves that building on talents increases employee engagement, productivity, retention and organizational profitability.

TalentSmart Emotional Intelligence

Research shows that a leader’s emotional intelligence (or EQ) is the single greatest predictor of success. Using the TalentSmart assessment, Vista Global helps you assess your EQ and improve the interpersonal skills you need to achieve your personal and professional goals.

The most simplified individual assessment takes about 10 minutes and delivers scores on key components of your EQ such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

Are you looking to get started with a leadership development initiative? Contact Mary today to discuss what assessment is right for you.

 

 

Photo credit: Rawpixel via Shutterstock.

Avoid Blind Spots to Navigate the Conversational Highway

This is the fourth in a blog series on the course I am taking on Conversational Intelligence by Judith E. Glaser.

The fourth module called, “Navigating Conversations” provides tools to remap relationships around trust and navigate conversations successfully. When things start to go awry in conversations it is often due to conversational blind spots.  If you can become more aware of these blind spots, you can foster trust in your communications with others.

Check Your Blind Spot

Conversational Blind Spots

Blind Spot #1: Assuming everyone thinks like you (or should think like you).

When you are engrossed and attached to your point of view, you are unable to connect with others’ perspectives. Are you addicted to being right or winning a debate? During a conversation, you may subconsciously sense a lack of connectivity, and kick into persuasion mode to go for the win!  Winning a debate, whether the debate is real or perceived, triggers the neurochemical dopamine. This dopamine release makes you feel good and you may not even realize that in the process you have made others feel bad.

Blind Spot #2: Feelings change your reality.

This common blindspot refers to your failure to realize that your emotions will change how you see and interpret reality, which in turn, changes how you communicate that reality.  If you are in a state of fear or distrust, you produce cortisol which shuts down the prefrontal cortex part of your brain, the area that gives you access to empathy, strategic thinking, and innovation.  This causes you to feel threatened and move into protective behaviors which can hinder a productive conversation.

Blind Spot #3: You are too fearful to empathize.

Blind Spot #2 can easily lead to blind spot #3. If you are fearful, you are unable to consider another person’s perspective in order to build empathy and understanding.  Research done by Giacomo Rizzolatti in 1999 determined that our brains have unique neurons called mirror neurons. These neurons give us a view into what others feel, think and intend.  When you listen deeply and turn off your fear and judgment, you allow yourself to connect with others.  When you are fearful, the ability to connect is broken and your sensitivity to others recedes.

Blind Spot #4: You remember, therefore you know.

This blind spot is that you think you remember what others said when actually you remember what you THINK about what others said.  Researchers as early as 1957, published articles on the gaps in listening. People drop out of listening because the brain processes information much faster than we can talk. Instead of slowing down the brain to the rate of the spoken word, you fill those gaps with other thoughts. Your internal dialogue overrides the other person’s speech. You then remember what you think about what the other person said because it is a stronger internal process and chemical signal.

Blind Spot #5: You are listening so you think you actually know what others really mean.

The assumption that meaning resides with the speaker, when it actually resides with the listener, characterizes this blind spot.  As you listen you are trying to make meaning from the speaker’s words by drawing from your own experience vault in your limbic brain.  That is why, as a listener, what you see in your “mind’s eye” can be a completely different picture than what the speaker sees in their mind.  Meaning resides in the listener until the speaker takes the time to pause, and validate that you share the same mental picture and meaning.

All humans have blind spots. They spring from reality gaps.  Even when we are in the same room, you will come way from the experience with different impressions and a different understanding of time spent together.  That is why conversational rituals and practices outlined in C-IQ methodologies are so important.  These rituals harmonize our experiences, create a shared language, and help us bridge and connect with others more fully.

How do we make the invisible blind spots visible? Stay tuned for our next blog that explores levels of open-ended questions designed to help you better navigate the conversations.

 

 

Photo credit: OHoHO via Shutterstock.

It is Never Too Early to Develop Your Leadership Skills

There is so much literature about leadership development in the professional space, whether it is the corporate or social sector. However, leadership development begins as soon as children have the capability to experience self-awareness.  Children begin their leadership journey when they learn how to share, to communicate appreciation, and to talk about their dreams.  These experiences are all building blocks of leadership.

One of my current clients, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) believes at its core that it is never too early to develop leadership skills.  The mission of NSBE is to increase the number of culturally responsible Black Engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community.  NSBE is a student-governed national organization committed to youth leadership development for more than 40 years.

Vista Global has been working with NSBE to design and implement a comprehensive leadership development curriculum that builds students’ competencies.  Several of those competencies focus on defining and understanding yourself as a leader. The first phase of any leadership program is examining your own leadership talents and skills. You have to know yourself before you can bring out the best in others.

Vista Global relies on the field’s best methodologies and tools to help clients strengthen their leadership skills, including the framework of The Leadership Challenge by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner.  This framework is effective because it was developed by conducting thousands of interviews of ordinary managers talking about a personal best experience when they had extraordinary results. Through these interviews and surveys, the researchers arrived at Five Practices that were universally demonstrated by these leaders. The Five Practices include:

  1. Model the Way
  2. Inspire a Shared Vision
  3. Challenge the Process
  4. Enable Others to Act
  5. Encourage the Heart

This framework is one of the few resources that has a customized design for student leaders, including a 360 Student Leadership Practice Inventory  (SLPI) assessment tool.  It evaluates 30 specific behaviors (6 for each practice).  It is a clear and concise way to determine how well a leader demonstrates a Practice.  The 360 degree aspect of the assessment includes observers that have seen the leader in action and can offer their perspective on the frequency of demonstration of behaviors.

This last weekend, I met with 80 members of the NSBE Collegiate leadership to review their individual results from the SLPI and start the process of developing a leadership action plan.  Each student determined one specific behavior to work on over the next month and identified an accountability partner to provide support and encouragement.

Leadership development is a lifelong journey and the NSBE leaders have a jump start on many leaders in the work force! If you are interested in learning more about The Leadership Challenge or 360 assessments, contact Mary today.