The Cutting Edge of Authenticity and Building Relationships

By David Ryback, Ph.D.

We have to dig deep to nurture those skills that makes us more relevant and even indispensable to the organization for which we work. But how do we accomplish this? First, we must pay more attention to the subtext of what’s being communicated, to become more aware within the business context, and second, we must build the best of what makes us unique so that we can’t easily be replaced. Personal authenticity is a major component.

Authenticity has been integral to improved communication and leadership in world of business for the past decade. The path to authenticity is guided by good intentions – truly caring about the welfare of those with whom you work on a daily basis, being aware of their feelings, and communicating your own with honesty and integrity. It’s all about relationships – being sensible about the people around you and knowing the feelings that underlie the communications necessary to keep a successful operation flowing smoothly.

The range of benefits of this type of awareness is broad – from engaging others with authenticity to making rapid business decisions from the gut and brain rather than losing opportunities by spending time overanalyzing without using the benefit of fast-acting emotions. Business interactions, whether they be in the areas of management, sales, production, or negotiations – in other words, any person-to-person communication – are best when done with a sense of authenticity. This natural stance says to the associate, customer, even line worker: “I speak from my heart, with passion. What I say is worth your time because I share with you what really matters to me, and it will matter to you too.”

Ice Cream Social Leadership (part 2)

By Rick Forbus, Ph.D.

In the coaching session with the executive leader is where the title for this article came to be.

He said that a few weeks ago while he was traveling the Fun Circle Coordinator sent him an email just to inform him that Friday they were having an ice cream social! My client had this childlike grin on his face as he told me. He said the coordinator did not ask permission to have the ice cream social; the coordinator was just informing him. The total expense for the ice cream delivered to the office was less than $200. Yet, it created a fun buzz at the end of a hard week where business had flourished and the account managers had given a lot of energy and hours. So what? The energy and enthusiasm, the honesty and openness to inquiry, divergent push back and the right to be different is not only felt at this company but is seen in their profitability.

That is where the ice cream social leadership concept emerged in my mind. The results for this company group are not just about $200 worth of ice cream. It is never that simple or company execs would go out immediately after reading this article and purchase large amounts of ice cream. The executive at this location, in spite of a corporate culture worldwide that is not aware of his style and specifically why his team keeps achieving exceptional results, is true to himself. That’s right; he is relational and strong relational skills are easy for him. He is far more than just likable, however. This executive is insightful, discerning, fearless, engaging, strategically gifted and a good listener. He is not perfect, but he is willing to build his large group’s successes first and foremost within each team member. As the team has become engaging, enthusiastic and as they take ownership of overall successes of the company, so goes the interaction with the customers. They are thinking beyond the closing of deals into the overall outcomes of the company because they have been invited into the inner culture of the organization through these circles. This allows them to service the customers’ needs, rather than, pushing for a closed deal. They are emotionally invested and have the freedom to let their personalities blossom making the customer experience great for the customer and the account manager.  Learn More »

Getting a Raise Using the Prep Planner

By Mark Jankowski

In today’s economic environment, it is harder than ever to get a raise at work. On the other hand, people who have not had raises in several years may be in a great position to get that raise. When we talk about effective preparation, it is important to have precedents to establish the justification of the salary you will request. There are several precedents you can use:

Find out what other similar jobs pay (you can find them at and

Use prior percentages of increases that you have received in the past to justify that percentage again.

Uncover possible examples of ‘bonus for performance’ opportunities that have been given by your company.

Look for ancillary economic benefits provided to others in the organization such as company cars, additional vacation days, or opportunities to work from home.

While precedents are important to establish, the other elements of the preparation planner, such as you alternatives (and theirs), interests (what can you do to help the business make/save money), and walk away (your willingness to leave if you do not get the raise you want).

While asking for a raise in these challenging times is difficult, it is often said: “much is lost for the want of asking…”

Don’t Make a Monkey Out of Yourself

By Pamela A. Scott

This morning Mark and I were talking about the generation of folks coming out of college and in their 20s. I mentioned some young engineers I talked with at the ACEC/GA conference in June. I was just amazed at their enthusiasm and eagerness to get involved.

Mark repeated what he has said before: We hire them and beat the leadership and enthusiasm out of them over time. We wear them down until they look and act like us.

I would hate to see that happen to the folks I talked with. I would hate to see that happen to ACEC/GA Future Leaders program participants that I get to work with each year.

Our conversation reminded me of this tale.

Subject: Company Policy

Start with a cage containing five monkeys. Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it. Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the other monkeys with cold water. After a while, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result – all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon, when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it. Learn More »

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