“You rocked the house with your presentation this morning on effective communication styles! Because of your energetic yet sensible and practical approach, some very conservative people in the room showed a new side of themselves. This is a tribute to your energizing delivery about how to better communicate and more effectively lead. My hat is off to you!”

- Linda Holroyd, CEO Fountain Blue

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Wiefling Consulting Newsletter Archive

Leading From any Chair in the Organization

In the past year I’ve had the great pleasure of working with teams in places as diverse as Chicago, California, and Armenia with professions ranging from program managers to Ph.D. software developers and chip designers. Despite the wide variation in these individuals I am absolutely amazed to report that there are basically two reasons why these smart, educated, experienced professionals say that they can’t do their jobs properly: 1. They are too busy (like who’s not?), and 2. They feel the need to wait for their boss to change before they themselves step up and do what needs to be done…Read more…

Out of what appears to me to be intense frustration with the whack-a-mole fashion in which humans approach creative thinking and problem-solving, Edward de Bono created a straight-forward and elegant tool called the Six Thinking Hats®. Each hat is a different color and invites the thinker to adopt a different point of view. Wearing the various hats enables us to break out of a rut and view a situation from a number of perspectives. Here’s how it works. You take on each hat’s perspective try like heck to think about the situation from that perspective instead of your normal bias. This process works pretty well both alone and in groups.. I actually dyed 6 hats the various colors and put them on one by one to see if wearing the hats actually made a difference. I think it’s safe to say that you don’t need the hats…Read more…

Do you ever feel like a fraud in your professional realm? Do you secretly suspect that you have fooled others into thinking that you are more talented than you actually are? In spite of your achievements and successes, do you fear that one day you’ll be found out, exposed as a sham, and ridiculed for being someone who is less than capable? Studies have estimated that up to 70% of us fear being labeled as phonies. The woman who is laid off may believe that she’s just been pulling the wool over a series of bosses’ eyes, and finally the gig is up. She’ll never work again! I know one very accomplished professional woman with almost 20 years of successful corporate experience who is seriously making plans to become a bag lady…Read more…

Did you ever have opportunity conk you on the head? I mean something which initially appears to be a setback–or even a flat-out disaster–and later turns out to be extremely fortuitous? At the time, it can seem to be the worst possible luck, another sign that you are cursed, and further proof that you must have a “kick me” sign on your rear. In hindsight, however, this minor roadblock proves to be a blessing in disguise: You would have never gotten that salary raise if you hadn’t been laid off, or would have never started your own consulting practice if your company didn’t go belly up, or would have never met your significant other if you hadn’t missed your plane connection in Chicago on a wintry night…Read more…

Tackling the Impossible

Over the years I’ve accidentally become a specialist in tackling the impossible, and getting partial credit for it. It stems from being a member of the Wiefling family, a clan known for persistence in the face of ridiculous odds. Let me give you an example. Just last week my brother stopped by with some meat from a shark he’d caught with a couple of his buddies. It seems he’d been out on a 16-foot boat with two other guys and they’d managed to hook an 8-foot-long, 220-pound shark. My brother Russell insisted on pulling it aboard despite the fishing guide’s admonitions to cut it loose. Suffice it to say Russell persevered, and I will be enjoying grilled shark for quite some time…Read more…

The User Illusion

Have you ever noticed that the only time you really have trouble getting your house key in the door and unlocking it swiftly is when the phone is ringing inside? Any other time, you instinctively get the key in the hole on the first try, and in you go. But when that phone is ringing and you are “really concentrating”, you just can’t seem to get in the door without some sort of bumbling…Read more…

Why Common Sense is NOT Common Practice

If “knowing how” were enough we’d all be rich and thin. For example, everyone “knows” that it’s unhealthy to be overweight, and yet 64% of Americans are, and an amazing 30% are obese. Ref: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/overwt.htm Ask any group of reasonably intelligent adults for advice on how to shave off a few pounds and they come up with some great dieting advice like “Eat less, exercise more.” It’s common sense, right? Common sense, but NOT common practice…Read more….

Integrity and Ants Marching Around the Rim of a Glass

Here we are at the threshold of 2005. If you are anything like me (and I pray that you have NOT been cursed with TOO much of this particular blessing) you may be considering a New Year’s resolution or two for the coming year. STOP! Don’t do it! Why set yourself up for failure? After all, many of us have made these same resolutions before only to be right back where we started. Like ants marching around the rim of a glass, the territory looks hauntingly familiar, and nothing but the date has changed…Read more…

Fact or Interpretation?

FACT vs. INTERPRETATION: TRAPPED BY WHAT WE “KNOW”

Do you sometimes wonder why someone doesn’t see things your way when you are “obviously” correct? Me, too. This week I made it a practice to notice when people describe their perceptions of the world as though their perceptions were facts. It’s a fascinating experiment — I highly recommend it!…Read more…

Optimism as a Strategy

There always seems to be someone willing to tell you why an idea won’t work, or offer a negative interpretation of events. Often these well-intentioned people call this attitude being “realistic” or “practical.” Given the events of the past month, and the economic challenges of our time, I see their point. I must admit that being a pessimist this year would have stood you in good stead if you wanted to be “right.” Ben Franklin said he preferred to be a pessimist because optimists are always disappointed, but pessimists are continually delighted…Read more…

Endurance, Persistance, Triumph

If you haven’t read Endurance – Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage you might want to pick up a copy. Read it the next time you become overwhelmed with the challenges of your business, your career, or your life. Endurance is the tale of how the polar explorer Ernest Shackleton and his crew of 27 men survived for over one and a half years after their ship became icebound on an expedition to Antarctica. Captain and crew drifted with their boat locked in pack ice for 10 months, then lived in tents on the ice after their boat was crushed and sunk. When their frozen neighborhood finally drifted to within striking distance of land they were saved by their own perseverance and initiative by sending a number of the crew to fetch a rescue party. Sailing in their all-too-small life boats across some of the most treacherous seas in the world, this courageous band of sailors finally made it to land only to find that they had to climb over a snow-covered mountain range to reach civilization and bring help to their comrades…Read more…

If Your Life Were a Book

If you want to learn to appreciate life’s luxuries, take an extended business trip. This stay in Japan is 35 days, working with many spectacular clients and enjoying the rich culture of this fascinating country and her people. I really appreciate my washing machine now that I have been doing my laundry in the bath tub each night. And I do apologize to all of my colleagues who continue to see me wearing the same clothes week after week! I’ve managed to learn all of the basic colors in Japanese, so my language skills are almost up there to that of a 2 year old child. Nevertheless people here are extremely supportive and encouraging of any progress! It’s a magnificent adventure! I’m glad to be able to take some time to write this newsletter amidst travel, business and the occasional sake…Read more…

How to Get What You Really Want

I almost gave up on a dream this week. With all that has happened this year — the high-tech economy spiraling down the drain and the world heading down right after it–I thought I had lost hope. Despite everything else, to me, losing hope was the most devastating blow of all. I had hit bottom and had started to dig down from there!…Read more…

Getting Out of Your Own Way : 7 Strategies

There are plenty of challenges in our lives, however some of them are of our own making. We undermine ourselves, make assumptions about what’s possible that restrict our choices, and let our fears stop us from even trying to reach our goals and dreams. Like a fish that is unaware of the water he is swimming in, being stuck in old ways of thinking keeps us blind to the many opportunities that surround us…Read more…

The Silicon Valley Mood Disorder

Undoubtedly you know someone who has been down-sized, right-sized, excised or capsized by the economic changes sweeping Silicon Valley and beyond. I know dozens people in career transition. (I keep their names on a post note on my computer so I can send them job leads and words of encouragement.)...Read more…

Business Moxie: Hanging Tough in Tough Times

You’ve established a clear and compelling vision for your business or your life. You’ve mustered the necessary energy and courage you need to create the extraordinary results you desire. You are going full throttle when, all of a sudden, unforeseen circumstances cause you to skid or hit the wall. Ouch! THAT’S gonna leave a mark! What do you do? Give up? Immediately get into your pajamas, crawl under the kitchen table and suck your thumb in the fetal position? Actually, no. Challenges, resistance, or “setbacks” can be a sign that you are on to something worthwhile. Hang in there 5 minutes longer than you can stand it. Go ahead and spend a couple of minutes in a self-pitying haze, and then get back to work – get busy…Read more…

Negotiation: Practical Magic

Have you chosen a theme for the New Year? A theme can help you stay focused on an area that is important to you. Rather than lurching fitfully through 2004 with a patchwork of good intentions, your organizing theme will guide you in creating and interpreting the experiences of 2004…Read more…

Spontaneous Human Combustion and Other Counterintuitive Adventures

Several weeks ago I happened to tune into the Discovery Channel’s feature on “Spontaneous Human Combustion.” Now I’d never heard this term before (have I led a sheltered life?). Here were pictures of people who had been almost completely incinerated. Not even their bones or teeth remained! And yet the rooms in which they were found showed only relatively minor heat damage: Plastic appliances were melted, but wallpaper and wood furniture were left pretty much intact. Various theories were offered about how this had happened, the most fascinating of which was a theory that some yoga practices could unleash a powerful incendiary force that could burn up a person, leaving behind only their legs from the knees down…Read more…

Waiting for the Return to Normal

How many of you are waiting for the world to “return to normal?” I sometimes catch myself thinking, “Once the economy improves I can do this,” or “As soon as the terrorist threat is dealt with I will do that.” These thoughts amuse me. As a wise sage once said, “You can never dip your toe into the same river twice.” The world has been forever changed by the events of the past year. THIS is the world we live in now. It certainly will change. But it won’t change BACK…Read more…

Leaving Normal

I recently participated in a month-long program at the Esalen Institute where I worked 32 hours a week and participated in workshops and other amazing experiences available there. If you’ve never been to Esalen, you really must go there to experience this world of human possibilities on the breath-taking California coast of Big Sur. (More info at www.esalen.org) This place is anything but “normal” — so am I — which made for an interesting experience. My intention in going there was to punctuate my existence and create a foundation for the next decade of my life. (Actually I wrote down on paper all kinds of corporate-sounding goals before going, but halfway through the month I read them, laughed heartily, tore up the paper, and threw it away.)…Read more…

You Can’t Sell a Quarter for 10 Cents

Last year several friends and I had a garage sale, a “junkapalooza” of sorts. Just for fun we put a quarter out of the table with a price tag clearly marked “10 cents.” We sold only 3 all day. In fact we had to **actively** sell one of them, talking up its value and explaining what a bargain it was. I was amazed. This year when we held another sale, we tried it again. That quarter languished on the table for over 2 hours! People would pick it up, inspect it closely, and then put it back down and walk away. Finally someone stole it…Read more…

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