I hope your holidays were joyful and restorative and that 2023 is off to a wonderful start.
At the end of each December, I make a lengthy list of resolutions. While my intentions are noble, my follow-through is less than stellar. So, this year I made no resolutions. Instead, I asked myself two questions: What was one thing I did last year that surprised me, and what word (s) would I like to describe my work/my life this year? My word for 2023 is IMPACT.
I asked friends, family, and clients for their thoughts and their responses have been rich and varied. One 60-year-old woman surprised herself by taking a trip traveling solo for the first time; a corporate client decided to leave his well-paying job to pursue his passion to teach. To the second question, several young women said confidence, power, and owning their role. A few older men expressed the desire to be more compassionate leaders. My 100-year-old friend and vocal coach said “still learning.”
May we all continue to learn and grow in the ways that nurture us and the world.
When Nancy Pelosi won her US House seat in 1987 she exceeded all expectations throughout her tenure with her dogged drive. Regardless of party preference, most agree that she has been a remarkably effective House leader during some of the most turbulent decades in American history.
Every professional would do well to study her decisive, strategic and inclusive leadership style. A tireless advocate, working 16-20 hours a day, she listened closely to her constituents to pass legislation with a people’s first agenda.
Over the years, her strong relationship-building skills enabled her to bring together disparate voices and agendas in her own fractured party as well as across the aisle. Her laser focus and persistence are the reasons we have so many historic pieces of legislation, including the Affordable Care Act, the American Rescue Plan, which got many of us through the financial hardship of the pandemic, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and the Respect for Gay Marriage, just to name a few.
In the recent HBO MAX documentary Pelosi in the House, directed & produced by her daughter Alexandra, we have an intimate view of her persuasive style on many phone calls and backdoor meetings with lawmakers. Not only was she accessible but she was an adroit listener and willing to compromise, a rare skill in today’s political environment.
And, on January 6, she was a profile in courage and compartmentalization. After being whisked to safety, she immediately began putting together a plan with the Vice President and Congressional leaders on when they could get back into the Capitol to verify the vote for President. She was fearless and fierce in her pursuit of her duty.
There is possibly no other public figure who had to endure the vitriol, the character assassination, and the actual physical danger to her and her family’s lives. Through it all, I have been continuously awed by her grace under pressure. No one will stride across those hard stone capitol floors in four-inch heels with more style and purpose than Nancy Pelosi. Though no longer Speaker of the House, she is still UNSTOPPABLE.
WHAT IF: You know those meetings that got put off because of the holidays? Well, they’re here, and I’ve got a great way to make your meetings more effective. My wonderful colleague, David Kelso, a former client advisor at JPMorgan’s Private Bank, calls these Killer Questions because they frame your meetings to be more respectful of everyone’s time with clear direction and efficient follow-up.
REFRAME IT: Great listeners have strategic tools that include concise questions. These are easy to remember and work in almost any situation. They will get everyone talking, and talking about what they want to talk about.
Prior to each meeting, along with all of the other fabulous preparation that you do, consider including these questions at the start of your meetings:
1) What’s the most important thing to discuss today?
2) Is there anything else? (Pause… wait for it.)
3) What’s the most important thing to start with?
In a group setting, asking all of the participants for inputs lets you identify key members not chairing the meeting. The “anything else” question is especially important to hear their concerns and give them a say in how the meeting runs. But, in actuality, you remain in complete control.
It’s time to reclaim the Art of Bragging with consciousness and confidence.
To master these essential communication skills for our times, EMAIL ME.