The Rule of Three: It’s Not Networking, It’s Building the “Right” Relationships

June 19th, 2014

Here’s what’s so cool about what I do. I meet amazing people along the way who instantaneously become friends and trusted advisors. I don’t need a million of them, just quality rather than quantity. The “Rule of 3” is in effect where ever I go. Therefore, I don’t need to meet everyone at any given event.

I certainly will not participate in what I often times call “the ram and cram” of shoving business cards into other peoples hands. Empty discussions that tip into some odd void with only a vague remembrance of a face in the days that follow. Instead, it’s more important to me to focus on seeing only those whom there is a resonance with in that moment.

Afterward, when we speak we talk about our lives and then business, which always starts with “what are you working on and how can I help?” It’s natural. Uncontrived. And most importantly, in earnest. The hour passes like magic and at the end we both feel energized and complete.

How do you know who is that person in the crowded room?
You really just have to trust your intuition. Learn discernment. And while we love to give to others, there also needs to be healthy boundaries.

In all things remember, Quality over Quantity every single time.
The people you choose on this journey will determine your enjoyment or anxiety.

#justsayin
#VolumeOfTruth

Subway Angels & The True Meaning of Happiness

June 12th, 2014

PressureIf you follow me on social media you know that I’ve been busy traversing the continent teaching and speaking over the past 8 weeks. It’s been such a profound honor and privilege to speak to literally thousands of men and women about how to create gender-intelligent leadership and teams (code for: learning how to play nice together and motivate others). It’s remarkable when people finally understand that a motivated and productive team is always made up of happy, healthy and heard individuals.

One of the stories I tell at the end of just about any platform speech given is on the importance of choosing happiness. Happiness IS a choice. Conflict, resentment and disagreements can oftentimes be overcome solely by the willingness to let go of 1 critical character flaw.

Today I’ll share that story with you.

7:15am and I’m running for the subway. The doors close behind me and I slink into my seat. Another day in the big city on my way to my job. Dressed head to toe in black – the uniform of NYC – expensive boots, matching purse and a pair of large Prada sunglasses. I don’t want to be engaged at all; I have my red Chanel lipstick on as a sign to the world: “don’t mess with me”.

As the train trundles down the tracks I spy an older couple standing in the doorway. Within minutes they melt my façade and I offer to help them get where they want to go. Quickly I realize they are hearing impaired.

She smiles at me and mouths “talk to him, he reads lips.”
His kind soft blue eyes melt my resolve to isolate, and I smile back. Something warms inside me. Satisfied with the directions I provided them, I turn and look out the window.

He taps me on the shoulder and our eyes lock again. He asks me “Where are you going?” I explain, “To work, although I wish I could stay in bed.” I laugh. He nods with concern and serves up the 20 million dollar question: “Are you happy?” I felt like I had just been hit in the stomach.

My mind flashed – yes, happy, yes. After all, I have a family that loves me, as crazy as they are, I own my own home in a great neighborhood, I have great friends and a job that many aspire to have. I make good money etc. The list ticked through my mind in rapid-fire succession. I smiled at him and said, “Yes, I am.”

He put his hand on my arm and looked deeply into my eyes; “That’s good. Because the secret to life is to always do whatever it takes to be happy.”

The pit of my stomach dropped out. I thought that I meant it. I thought that it was real. The subway doors opened, I found a seat on the platform and spontaneously burst into tears.

It took years for me to realize that I was not happy. Happiness is not external. Yes, external things bring comfort, but they do not bring happiness. There’s an important difference.

Happiness is an internal state of being eternally grateful, appreciative and generous. Happiness is the belief that one is always taken care of and that everything works out for your highest good. When you are and know these things, you will stop looking outside yourself to create your happiness because it is inside of you. It always has been.

Happiness also means giving up the need to be right all the time. Think about it.

These two sweet subway angels, as I call them, changed my life. Their message of kindness and compassion towards our selves and others can do the same for you. Remember, the key to life is to always do whatever it takes to be happy

Friday Finale: Attraversiamo…Let’s Cross Over!

April 25th, 2014

The past few weeks I’ve observed a very clear and concise theme in the world around me. Everyone I sit down and talk to tells me a story about his or her journey. In summation the crossroads they are standing upon is right here and right now. Not a cross road wrought with fear, instead full of so much joy, hope and anticipation. The energy feels so …. Huge!

I often recall the scene in the movie “Eat, Love, Pray” where Javier Bardems’ character shows Julia Roberts character the way forward in life and love saying “attraversiamo”. Which in Italian means, let’s cross over. Initially she resists and doesn’t go with him literally or figuratively. That is, until at the end of the movie. She is ready. Then it is she offering the invitation: attraversiamo – to cross over into the unknown with great excitement.

Those exchanges have always stuck with me and it’s a word I use often in my work with clients and in my personal life when a crossroad has been reached. It becomes clear that it’s time to cross over, meaning: move to the other side and take the next step on ones evolutionary path. Without fear. Without hesitation. But in full willingness to grow, change, expand and enjoy.

As we close out another spectacular spring week consider for a moment where the invitation attraversiamo has been offered to you. Will you take it this time? Are you willing to step into the next phase of the unknown or unexpected to see what possibilities lay there for you?

Just because I’m such a sap; here’s Julia’s invitation. Enjoy!

4 Faces of Greed: The Everyday Wolves of Wall Street

March 31st, 2014

Greed is sometime amplified and made popular by blockbuster movies such as “The Wolf of Wall Street.” In the film the star, Jordan Belfort, tells the audience “Was this all legal? Absolutely not” in regards to the millions of dollars he had made. Additionally, the movie “Wall Street” (1987) featured Gordon Gecko telling his young protégé “Greed is good.”

The movies may be different but the message is the same. Greed may be good, even great, while you’re compiling your treasures. But ultimately, it is a destructive source. In everyday life we may not experience the Belfort and Gecko levels of greed, but in other, more subversive ways, we do. Oftentimes it is something we may not even categorize as “greed” but by definition it is.

Greed is a practice of gluttony: to take more and more without reservation. It doesn’t matter what the “it” is. Gluttony implies that there’s just never ever going to be “enough.” This kind of behavior is one that can be embodied by anyone. It does not discriminate by race, gender or social standing in life or business.

Now before I share the Four Faces of Greed let me say this: there is nothing wrong with wanting to experience abundance or advance yourself. Not at all. However, an excess of any good thing procured in an inappropriate manner can often turn its head and nip us in the butt.

Do you see yourself?

* The Hoarder – The hoarder stockpiles what they have. They can never find enough stuff to insulate themselves with. It’s not unlike the TV show where people are dug out of their homes with a bulldozer. There’s never enough stuff to satisfy them, to allow them to feel safe and secure in the world. A hoarder at work would be someone who piles up accomplishments, bonuses, physical trophies, or has symbols of their success on display at all times and makes this a big part of their identity. The thrill is more about having all this stuff around them that props them up to show their importance and self-esteem, or false esteem.

* The Sneak – This is the person who sneaks around to get what they want. They are often stealthy in their activity. They take more than they should. Like those who cook the books, falsify documents or reporting for their own gain. Many would say that there aren’t a lot of those around except the ones we’ve seen in the news. So, let me ask you: have you ever hidden something from others on your team or from your superior to make yourself look good? Have you ever minimized facts until you could get the accolades, saving this type of reward all for yourself? Not being truthful or disclosing to others for your own personal gain is sneaky and greedy.

* The Bully – They take something no matter whether they want it or not, just so someone else can’t have it. I liken this form of greed to the playground bully. This is a power play, “You want this?” Whatever “this” is – a promotion, a recognition, a place on a special project – it doesn’t matter. They want it because you want it. It’s sport for them to take something away from another person because “they can.” This is a bully mentality that says “no one should have more than me, no one should feel good about themselves other than me, and YOU certainly cannot have more than me….ever.” You could also call this a form of self-entitlement… which may require its own category of greed!

* The Thrill Seeker. This person acquires stuff for the sheer thrill of it. Not because they feel the need to bully anyone or take from another person. It is purely because they like the thrill of the chase – but once the chase is over they are uninterested in the reward. Some will do this with rank and status in the office, in the real estate they acquire, or even the relationships they have with others. The thrill IS the chase. The mounting stuff is discarded and is rarely ever actually utilized.

Solution:
If you work with any of these greedy sorts, there’s not much you can do aside from understand the personality that goes along with it. Knowing why and what they will do can help you steer clear of any personal trouble. Your job is not to change anyone. EVER. But knowing what motivates someone, will help you communicate better with them.

If you can identify yourself in any of these 4 faces, reconsider your behavior and your motives. Adjust your perception of what is enough to satisfy you. Shift your behavior from lack to knowing there is more than enough to go around.

Think long terms gains rather than short-term instant gratification and conquest. In other words, don’t be a Jordan Belfort or Gordon Gecko.

Why We All Must Fall: An Olympic Lesson

February 19th, 2014

Skiing Slalom DownhillSkiing Slalom DownhillSkiing Slalom DownhillIt’s that time again. We watch top athletes assemble to compete in the Olympics. We watch from our TV’s cheering these spirited young people on. Along the way there have been a number of unexpected falls and spills. Some have had to side step competition due to injury and forgo the drive to the podium until the next Olympics.

It never ceases to amaze me. The power: the fortitude and persistence of these young people. They fall down. They get back up. Sometimes there are tears. Sometimes a burst of frustration emerges. Other times a pure and simple resolve. But these competitors get back up. Dust them selves off and move forward. It’s inspiring.

Often times we are judged and criticized for the normal human reaction to a fall or disappointment in our lives. It’s that span between doing and having where the bottom falls out. Emotions swell to the surface. We cry. We shout. We may even have a burst of energy leave our bodies in the form of a pillow getting punched. These are normal reactions to disappointment. They are the safety values on the pressure cooker going on inside of us.

3 Important Factors to stay focused on:

1. What is the lesson?
2. What have we learned in this stumble?
3. Avoid thinking you are being punished – this is critical!

This is not defeat. It is merely a moment of correction in our approach. That’s why we must fall (and fail) at times. How does one course correct if there isn’t a correction to be made. That would mean that we are perfect. Now, come on, that’s not reality.

So in the falling and in the correction we learn to be agile, adjust and be our own Olympian – we dust ourselves off and move forward having learned a important lessons so we can move forward stronger and potentially faster than before.

It is hard to remember this while we’re in a free fall situation.
It’s even harder to be the person watching the fall of a love one, a friend or a colleague. Judge not. Have compassion. Be constructive in a loving manner. Help them get back up and make the adjustment without feeling ashamed of themselves.

For those of you in the corporate arena – sometimes taking a conversation off line and outside the office IS the best coarse of action. You have permission to be human with others.

Friday Finale: Don’t Get Taken Off Your Game

February 14th, 2014
Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day!

It’s Valentines Day and I’m getting ready to close up shop early. Outside I can hear the love in the air as the sounds from the street below are filled with “F-bombs” and honking horns. Ah the sites and sounds of NYC. Did I just hear the local engine company come around the corner? Yes, that’s them. And that sure is their horn. “Move ya’er car buddy!”

My point is, there is a lot that can distract you and take you off your game each and every day. Life can be messy. Life can be unpredictable. But life is also colorful and there is so much good to be enjoyed. Having a human reaction to challenge doesn’t make you weak. It makes you human. Process it. Concentrate on the good and try to leave the hurt and pain on the curb.

Maybe I should tell this to the group of teamsters wreaking havoc outside at the moment. But somehow I think they’d tell me that the idiot in the mini-van blocking the street is keeping them from their…well…zen…life…and love. Well they might say that in between a few more F-bombs. Maybe that’s what we’d all say in regards to the challenges and mistakes made this week. LOL

Love yourself.
Love your love ones more than you can imagine you already do.
Have a great weekend people!

7 Steps to Mastering The Art of Listening

December 18th, 2013

“Can you hear me now?” is a masterful part of Verizon’s marketing these days.
We’ve become a generation of cell phone users, texters and emailers. (Well, aren’t the kids today telling us that email is oh so passé now?) These are allwoman great technologies for communication but….

But do we really hear each other?
Are we aware of what we are really saying to one another? Listening goes well beyond the sense of hearing – you’ll need to learn to listen with your eyes, heart and soul to be an effective influencer and leader in the world.

Sitting in her office with the senior manager on her team, Harriett looks through her glasses and begins to fiddle with her pencil.

“If we try to resolve this problem in another manner, I’m sure it would be more beneficial to everyone around us”.

Harriett begins to drift off into her thoughts of the meeting the day before where tempers had flared and she felt completely uncomfortable and out of sync with what was going on.

“If we can roll out the strategy…” the woman continues, mapping out a plan on a blank piece of paper.

Harriet’s thoughts are far away. Her mind roams to her own fear in regards to her standing in this business. She begins to wonder if she’ll ever feel like she knows what she’s doing. Moreover, will anyone realize what a great job she does? Ever? She sighs heavily, clearly off in her own thoughts.

“Harriett, are you there? Did you hear me?”
“Yes, yes….of course” she smiles at the woman “I’m listening.”

But is Harriett really listening?
Are you really listening to others around you?

Possibility, like Harriett, off in your own thoughts, fears, wants and desires and not really completely present for those that are talking to you. You may be listening with your ears but are you listening with your other senses? This is the art of listening from a much higher level.

There are 7 characteristics of a good listener;

  1. Never interrupt
  2. Create a sense of physical proximity to the person speaking to you without invading their personal space. i.e. stand or sit directly in front of them
  3. Practice empathy and avoid criticism or any tone or words that could be perceived as patronizing.
  4. Observe their body language. Notice if they are distracted, agitated or relaxed. Take notice of your own body language as well. Remain relaxed and neutral.
  5. Share your own personal experiences but not too much or too soon in the exchange.
  6. Be aware of the context of the person’s life – it will help you understand their perspective faster.
  7. Allow yourself to listen not just with your ears and mind, but with your heart and spirit (intuition). Trust your intuitive guidance in your gut.

As a leader you must be able to identify and fulfill the needs of your people and/or clients. The art of listening fulfills the need for cooperation. In cooperation a person/people need to be heard.

If you agree with what is being said or not is not the objective. The objective is to allow the individual in front of you openly express themselves, to be treated with respect in that expression and to be responded to in an appropriate manner. Even if your answer if “no”. This is one of the foundational principles in building trust with those around you.

Bio Box:
Maria Gamb is an author, speaker and mentor to emerging leaders in business. Her first book ever “Healing the Corporate World”  was launched on Amazon in 2010 broke into the Top10 Bestsellers in Business/Leadership joining the ranks of the highly influential all boys club of authors such as Jim Collins, Daniel Pink and Carmine Gallo. http://amzn.to/998R9p

Are You Guilty of Using Guilt?

September 6th, 2013

By Maria Gamb, CEO of NMS Communications and Best-Selling author of Healing the Corporate World 

When one mentions the word “guilt” they are delivered immediately to a current or past event that evokes waves of regret and queasiness.  Sometimes it’s even a hot flash through their body. Both usually result in a facial expression that is one of undeniable discomfort. The epicenter of that emotional distress is usually attached to a mistake or lapse in judgment. On a physiological level, studies have shown that the emotion of guilt releases acid in one’s body. While I am not a physician nor scientist, I do know that an acidic environment in one’s body creates a breeding ground for disease to enter the picture. So what are we doing to ourselves and others?

We grew up with guilt, didn’t we? It’s a very familiar, almost familial, mostly unconscious communication style that has trickled into the office.

For example; my grandmother, bless her soul, would use guilt to manipulate us into doing whatever she wanted by saying things like “You wanna do something good momma?” Momma was the affectionate term she used for each of her grandchildren.  It usually went something like, “You wanna do something good momma? Take this newspaper and Windex and clean the sliding glass doors.” I’m not sure if she was just someone who knew the power of guilt or if she may have been an early day NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) master. She associated the task of cleaning her windows with being good. She guilt-tripped us into doing her bidding because if we didn’t, then we risked the judgment of being considered bad kids.

In the workplace, there are almost direct examples utilizing my grandmother’s perfected guilt technique or associating “goodness” with the action she wanted us to take. However, the more common examples are to place unrealistic cause and effects on individuals. “If this project doesn’t come through on deadline and on budget you will cause everyone in this 5000 person company to lose their jobs.”

The most commonly utilized guilt technique is to punish someone who has made a mistake; to withhold from that person acceptance, forgiveness and/or inclusion no matter the remorse, apology or actions taken to correct the situation. This person will shut down or leave. Wouldn’t you?

In doing so, you’ve limited the individual; they are unable to engage in or contribute to the team and it’s an example that if they are not perfect they will be cast aside, forever. That is not to say that there should not be consequences for a lapse in judgment or a mistake. But to what end? For how long?

I have a saying I use with my clients often when it comes to a leader dealing with a team member who made a mistake and for whatever reason they cannot seem to let go of the resentment around it; “What’s the statue of limitations on this issue?” In other words; when is the debt for the mistake paid? A bit of arguing about the issue with egregious detail follows. Then I ask, “How long do you intend to punish this person?” Silence and deep thought follow before admitting it’s unfair. Guilt is often termed the punisher and destroyer. Neither or which are terribly motivating for the person on the receiving end nor the implementer.

Oftentimes the use of guilt is completely unconscious; like a reflex. Sometimes it’s a communication style we learned from someone in our past. After a while the people around you will get tired of it.  Or sick, literally, of it (and even from it).  As I mentioned earlier, the physiological manifestation of guilt can effect one’s health. On a more obvious level, guilt stricken individuals sleep less, are more jumpy, experience shame, are more likely to take sick days and often times withdraw from the situation. All of which means the productivity of your team goes down. You lose your talent, their ideas, energy and whatever else they can contribute.

What about the self-inflicted guilt we impose upon ourselves for not being perfect? Women in particular seem to be masters at this technique more so than men. We become obsessive, talk about it, rehash every detail ad nauseam and obsess some more over whatever the infraction was that took place. In some cases it verges on self-flagellation.

The remedy is to practice forgiveness. Address the issue but forgive. Let it go. By the way, that is the same remedy for self-inflicted guilt over anything, including being a leader who may have deployed guilt in the past. One of your most powerful leadership skills is this one: Forgiveness. It is what motivate people to pick themselves up and move forward because when your team knows that mistakes are human, they are more willing to take risks, be creative and think outside the box.

As a reminder to yourself, consider posting Henry Ward Beecher’s quote over your desk: I can forgive, but I cannot forget, is only another way of saying, I will not forgive.  Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note – torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one.

Link to Original Forbes article:  http://onforb.es/1aSDhNx

Short Bio for Maria Gamb:

Maria Gamb served for twenty-plus years as an executive, in businesses valued at upwards of 100 million dollars. She is founder/CEO of NMS Communications,  a consulting and training company helping executives and entrepreneurs claim their ability to lead profitable, innovative and effective businesses through balanced leadership. Maria the Amazon Top 10 best selling author of Healing the Corporate World  You can find out more about Maria and receive additional tools and tips at www.MariaGamb.com

 

A Pope, A Governor and A CEO Walk Into A Bar…

March 14th, 2013

chrisIt may sound like a common bar room joke set up, but what do Marissa Mayer, Gov. Chris Christie (R) and the Pope Emeritus have in common? There’s no real punch line, but an important example for all of us. They have all made the tough decision and made what have been perceived by many as an unpopular choice. They have abandoned the conventional norm and took the servant leadership principle of putting the needs of the whole group ahead of a few – this is one of the 4 main functions of a servant leader.

Mayer has called her remote employees back to Yahoo HQ by June. If they fail to report back, they can resign. The reasoning has been cited as a move to improve productivity and collaboration, as well as to weed out those who are dialing it in and not actually doing much. It’s a highly publicized decision berated by the media and women’s groups. Mayer has been dubbed insensitive to women who work remotely and take care of their families. She has been villainized by others for taking the workplace back into the stone ages and ruining this opportunity for others in Silicon Valley and beyond. The media has stopped short of calling for the gallows to be lifted and Mayer to be marched forward as a sacrifice.

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey was the big bold and brash republican front runner for the Republican Party’s 2016 bid for the White House, until recently. He also gave the keynote at the RNC conference during Romney’s bid in 2012. However, towards the end of the 2012 presidential campaign, the northeast was devastated by Hurricane Sandy, much of the New Jersey coastline was obliterated, bringing those community’s businesses and residential areas to their knees. Christie embraced President Obama’s help financially and in moral support during his on the ground visits. Christie praised Obama for his leadership during a press conference. Since then Christie has been ostracized by his party and frozen out of key alliances. In some circles he has been labeled a traitor.

Pope Benedict XVI made a historic choice to abdicate his position as head of the Catholic Church. No Pope has left office voluntarily since 1417, when Gregory XII stepped down. He has been criticized for his break with tradition. Some had swirled scandal and intrigue around the resignation that has been cited as a lack of strength to fulfill the duties of his office and effectively serve the people of the church. (http://www.bnowire.com/inbox/?id=1478)

Servant leadership is one that places the focus on the needs of many rather than just a few. Whether you agree with Mayer, Christie or even the Pope Emeritus or not, is not the issue. Each made decisions that they felt would be a greater benefit to others. They even jeopardized their own place within the communities they serve to put the greater vision first: the livelihood and growth of all within a company, the people they govern, and those they lead.

Mayer is focusing on improving profits and trimming the excess where needed by regrouping the human capital of her organization and the larger sum of employees.

Governor Christie was clear when he said that he was here to serve the public. That’s his job. So, party lines came down and he did what he said he would do – he did what was best for the people who elected him.

And the Pope Emeritus knew he physically could no longer be effective as a leader, as head of the Catholic Church. He stepped aside so the people would be served not with just mind, but with strength.

These are very large and very public examples of servant leadership in action. You don’t have to agree with or condone what they have done. In fact the gift, or the lesson, is that even in the face of their differing levels of criticisms they put the larger community they serve ahead of others’ expectations. We can all learn something from this. Always remember, opinions are like families, everyone’s got one.

Do what you believe is right, what is fair, and what is for the greater good of those you serve.

I’d like to hear what YOU think!

The 4 Functions of a Leader

March 6th, 2013

HCW-book-cover-small

Beyond the vision.

Beyond the plan.

There are 4 undeniable functions of a leader.  These are the guiding principles behind the emotionally intelligent and sensitive leaders emerging today.  It is a concept knows as “Servant Leadership”.

 

The 4 Functions of a Leader

 

  • Be of service. You are in this role to be of service and facilitate the cycle of nature by providing tools, which create jobs, profits, and opportunities for all.
  • Be a guardian. To be a guardian, you have to be honest with yourself about whether your thoughts and beliefs are free of the motivations of your ego self. You must be willing to keep others’ egos in check, too, so that the group’s thoughts, actions, and results are in sync with the values of the higher self and do it without judgment.
  • Give to others generously. Be a go-giver in every aspect that you can imagine. Nurture the highest good in all members of your team so they can reach their highest potential. Share you wisdom and resources with others and be supportive.
  • Consider the needs of the entire group. Do whatever you can to ensure that the rights of others are not violated in the process of building and sustaining your business.

Excerpt from “Healing the Corporate World”

www.HealingTheCorporateWorld.com or on Amazon.com