Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Connecting Everything Unexpectedly

On Monday, one of my colleagues provided restaurant gift cards to be used for community affairs, business development and volunteer involvement.  Minutes after receiving the gift cards, I received a message encouraging door prizes from a supported organization. I offered gift cards for this organization to our dedicated bank representative via email with a copy to a colleague who would fulfill the request. 

Unbeknown to me, the dedicated bank representative was having difficulties understanding a new role in the merged organization. My colleague who would fulfill the request thought that my outreach was because I knew that another colleague was struggling. The unexpected opportunity to provide gift cards to deserving organizations also provided an unexpected chance to advise and encourage a valuable colleague during a substantive coaching conversation.

Some believe that there are no coincidences.  My way to categorize this reality is by sharing some of the many ways that everything's connected.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Do You Know?

Many of my "everything's connected" stories evolve when I take the chance to ask long-shot questions.  Most recently, I was seated next to a bright young man from London, who I discovered had recently graduated from Princeton.  When asked, he immediately acknowledged that he knew our niece, who graduated a year earlier than he did.  Bingo!

So often when I've asked the "do you know" question, I've only known one person with a similar affiliation, yet have often been delighted with an affirmative connection.

The more often we ask "do you know", the more frequently we'll discovered the unique ways we're connected.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Everything's Connected Even When Our Paths Diverge

It's been an emotional week as several of Sterling Bank's key contributors left today as a result of our merger with Comerica.  Though we've known their separation dates for a long time, it always seemed that our farewells and thank yous were distant.  Time flies and "then" became "now" far sooner than we hoped. 

Each of these special individuals approached their exits with optimism and appreciation for their opportunities.  "Good-byes" in banking and in life are far too limiting. We've said "so long" to each of them as we wish them continued success and as we positively  anticipate that our paths will be forever positively linked.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dread is One Letter Away from Dead

I'd never thought about the absolute negative power of "dread".  Because it's only one letter away from "dead", it made me realize again that we sometimes create our own "tomb" by thinking negatively.  When we actively engage in dreading a foregone outcome, we rob ourselves of the chance to cherish the positive moments we actually have.  And so many potentially negative outcomes never materialize.  By holding "dear" the people, moments, memories and dreams that matter, we banish things we "dread" and cherish all we hold "dear".

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Embracing Change

Many of my Sterling Bank colleagues have been engaged by Comerica as continuing employees.  Many others are in redundant positions and have found other opportunities, often with organizations that acknowledge their Sterling contributions by offering significant compensation packages.  Still others are in transition positions with Comerica and performing at high levels while waiting to find their next great position. 

Change is an inevitable in the corporate world, but also in general life.  Positively embracing change is a great way to acknowledge the present and welcome new, often better opportunities.  Until we are willing to let go of what is, we'll never be able to embrace what can be.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Why God Created The Last Minute

I've discovered that God created the "last minute" so things can get done. 

The world is full of procrastinators, "just one more bit of informationers", "we'll file it by the deadliners", "we'll handle it-ers".  Regardless of intentions and practices, many in our world create last minute opportunities to execute. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Life Support for an Ego

I met someone this week, who I described to a friend as, a life-support system for an ego.  It is clear that this individual has many skills and experiences.  Some of his words indicated that he wanted to be helpful.  However, his first words were all about him and his credentials.  Some of his language was condescending, since he was totally unaware that I shared some of his credentials. 

It is quite probable that this individual is clueless that he undermines his credibility by antagonizing those with whom he interacts.

With this harsh assessment, I must add that my friend voiced what I had already realized - this was a very insecure individual.  As with most interactions, this one was "not about me".  

When we can separate what is being said from what is actually being communicated, we go to the head of the class in strengthening relationships and adding consultative value.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Everything's Often Connected in Ways We Never Imagine

I'm continually amazed at how small our enormous world is.  Recently, I've discovered additional connections that weren't previously apparent, including two sets of cousins are who are my friends and colleagues (all four individuals don't know each other). Four very different last names masked any connections.  Chance conversations revealed these special relationships.   Each of these individuals is very accomplished at their very different responsibilities. 

This was another vivid reminder that we never know how broad, deep and varied connections are.  Thus, we never know how quickly our positive and negative communications will reach those we know, but never expected to be party to the information.

This is yet another reminder to broadly share praise for others and closely contain negative feedback to a need to know basis.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Odd Woman Out - Everything Else is Connected

Recently, at the opening of Comerica's Community Resource Center at Change Happens, a woman named Maya and I were visiting with two precious young girls who were participating in the agency's summer program.  Maya's not a common name, and amazingly our two companions also had uncommon names that rhymed with hers.  Since these grade school girls obviously had no business cards, I can't capture the spelling of their rhyming names, but they were all amazed when I pointed out their special connection.

Who would ever guess that the name Pam or Pamela was the odd woman out in a group of four?

Monday, August 8, 2011

88 Keys and Extraordinary Performance

Theresa Behenna is a remarkable motivational speaker who masterfully used 88 piano keys to encourage attendees at a recent Sterling Bank Women's Business Initiative luncheon  to strive for extraordinary performance.

She demonstrates that effectively using Passion, Attitude, Persistence, People and Attention leads to success.

Some of her Key messages include:
There is no place for mediocre skills. With 10,000 hours of study anyone can reach expert status. She began as a two finger pianist at age 5.

Cultivate great relationships with those you work with and serve. She shared the story of her urgent call to Sterling Bank 3 minutes before closing. Her banker spent 23 minutes with Theresa to ensure that her transaction was perfectly  handled. Theresa said she felt like royalty.

Fear is what we pass on the way to success.

Embrace a "Yes I Can" attitude.

Always leave people feeling good. She certainly left our appreciative audience feeling good!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Are You a Vacuum Cleaner?

Last week a friend shared her assessment that many people are like vacuum cleaners, merely sucking up everything that is said.  I laughed and said that I've encountered a number of folks who are like lawn sprinklers, freely spewing their opinions without pause.  How awesome it would be if the world was filled with people who are, instead, like interactive video games.   Dialogues are far more interesting than monologues.