December 21, 2014

Get Your Priorities Straight

Intentional Leadership Priority CardsDid you know…leaders are great at setting goals, but seldom set priorities.

Another way to put this is that leaders far too frequently bite off more than they, or those they lead, can chew. Lack of priorities can take several forms, such as:

  • Overwhelming their staffs with competing initiatives
  • Leading projects with “scope creep” that end up devouring time and resources way beyond what was anticipated, funded or staffed
  • Asking others to “do more with less” until, inevitably, human capacity is truly overwhelmed.

Goals are often tangible—profits, products, student learning targets, or implementation of strategies. Priorities are things such as professional development, staff relationships, accountability, autonomy, consistency in policy, and so on. And we can only concentrate on so many of them. Not setting priorities is similar to playing poker–you won’t have as much control as you like over the cards you’re dealt.

When coaching for intentional leadership, we start by asking leaders to sort their priorities. We use a set of cards, and we observe the client sorting them in order to understand the rationale behind the chosen priorities. Then we ask the client to map those priorities onto essential tasks of leadership and compare the patterns to the leader’s natural strengths and equally natural blind spots. Is there a focus on the right priorities for the situation, including the current goals?

But how do we know what those strengths and blind spots are likely to be?  An integral part of the Intentional Leadership Coaching process is to assess personality and emotional intelligence using the best available tools in the business.  Fully knowing what our natural inborn tendencies are AND understanding how well we have learned to use our “soft skills” makes for a winning combination when setting and executing our leadership priorities.

Finally, most leadership training is done in a workshop which creates energy in the moment but seldom leads to resilient change. Why is that?  We believe it’s because individual support, before and after the workshop, is the key to long term outcomes.  You need to know who you are as an individual in order to play your cards right in the leadership role. Likewise, you need to specify your goals so they address your leadership priorities in the most effective way.   ILA workshops are all-inclusive; we support your through out the whole process by providing individual coaching before and after the workshop so that you can truly be an intentional leader.

Jane Kise, Ed.D  (

Ann C. Holm, MS, ACC  (

We invite you register for the Intentional Leadership Coaching Workshop being offered at Cleary University in Howell, Michigan on May 8, 2014,  Click Here

Don’t Wait Forever

Plaster casts of famous tombs at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London

Plaster casts of famous tombs at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London

There is nothing like a brush with mortality to strike a chord of urgency in a person. What do I mean by urgency?  I mean the indisputable truth that no one lives forever so time should not be wasted.   If possible.

Last April, I was in London after attending Meddle One.  I had been enjoying some shopping at Harrods then I wandered over to the Victoria and Albert Museum.   I wanted to see the David Bowie exhibit.  The lines were long so I decided to see the other parts of the museum instead. After walking around for quite awhile, I slipped into a quiet room to check my phone and have a rest.   After making the usual rounds from email to Twitter, to Facebook, I relaxed on a nearby bench and closed my eyes for a couple of minutes.

When I opened my eyes, I realized where I was.  I was in a huge room of plaster casts of famous tombs.  There were dozens of them some dating back to people who had lived over 600 years ago.  That is a long time and the realization took my breath away.  What’s more, these are famous people.  Millions more had died and they don’t have a plaster cast of their tomb in a museum somewhere!  Talk about feeling mortal!

I can recall my first “finite time on the planet” realization.   I remember exactly where I was. I was lying on my daughter’s bed chatting with her. I was 45 years old,  and I was an enthusiastic bike rider at the time. Suddenly, I declared with great bravado that I was going to record 100,000 miles on my bicycle.  At that time, I was only riding around 2,000 miles  per year.   So to get to 100,000 miles, at that moment I figured I had to step it up considerably or ride for another 45 years!  That would make me 90 years old!  Would I even be around then? That hit me like a megawatt jolt.

I think as we get older, we come to realize that we won’t get to do everything that we ever wanted to do.  Maybe the first realization of time passing will be when you graduate from college and you realize that the time flew by. Or that your kids have grown and moved away. At some point,  it will hit you that life goes fast so you better get going!

It’s really important to get started on doing what is really important to you. Don’t get mired up in “shoulds” and miss opportunities to take the first step toward something that really resonates with who you are.  Or what your heart desires. It doesn’t have to be earth shattering it just has to be meaningful.  For you.

The point is, don’t wait forever.   And don’t wait for someone else to do any of this for you.  If you don’t know how to get started, hire a coach or attend a workshop.  Find a friend who is just as eager as you are to push the limits, even if just a little.   Ask yourself, what am I willing to do to give my life an extra squeeze?


The Nature of Introverted Feeling: A Sword Planted Firmly in the Ground

The introverted feeling function seems to be a collection of strong values and convictions rather than a soft, fluffy sort of function

The introverted feeling function seems to be a collection of strong values and convictions rather than a soft, fluffy sort of function

How does introverted feeling actually present itself?  Is it strong?  Fluffy and accommodating?  What do you think of when you imagine someone who prefers introverted feeling?

Last night, I was Skyping with my friend and colleague, Sue Blair,  about the nature of introverted feeling.  According to Jungian theory, individuals who are INFP and ISFP use introverted feeling as a dominant cognitive function and individuals who are ENFP and ESFP use it as an auxiliary function.  In all 4 of these types, introverted feeling is a big part of how they see the world and how they operate.

Sue Blair will be a keynote speaker at the 2013 Association for Psychological Type Conference in July.   One of her many contributions to the type community is creating visuals to represent the eight cognitive functions.  Recently she conducted a workshop in England that included creating these visuals.

In the workshop, one overall observation was that if the cognitive function was dominant or auxiliary for an individual, the visual representation tended to be positive.  If it was a non-preferred function, it tended to be a more negative visual.  I am not surprised by that because as an ENFP, contemplating introverted sensing reflexively brings up a picture of confusion for me, someone struggling with incomplete thoughts, almost like someone sitting in a care center at the twilight of life not being able to recall much of anything.  Since it’s a blind spot for me, my picture is one of deficiency.

Meanwhile, introverted feeling is my auxiliary function.  In the workshop, introverted feelers used the visual of a sword planted firmly in the ground.  To me, that was exactly IT.  Introverted feeling is definitely not pliable but a way to assess relevancy with conviction.  In fact, I harken back to when I was in coaching classes and someone made this remark about me:  “You are very easy going and playful until someone hits on something that really matters to you.  Your posture changes.  Your face changes.  It’s clear that you feel strongly about that issue.”

It will be interesting to see Sue’s presentation at the APTi conference in Miami on all of the type functions presented in visuals.  I suspect her presentation will spark some interesting discussion. Click  here if you want information about her talk or to access information about the conference in general.


Taking A Sledgehammer to My Printer Was Tempting….

There is nothing more infuriating than technology that won’t work, especially for someone born before the age of WiFi, as I was. angry_woman_with_computerIt seems that every time I want to add something to my home office, I find myself asking why it always has to be so difficult! In my day, the only thing you had to worry about was finding an outlet to plug the device into.  You never had to ask, “Why is this component not recognizing that component?”  Bah!!! Where is my sledgehammer?

I had wanted to purchase a printer for my cozy office nook in the living room. It is an inspiring little corner, with a soothing view, a fireplace, and English Country furniture.  It is a quiet place away from the energy of an active family, and a place where no one can disrupt the feng shui by depositing clutter into the workspace. I believe in  creating islands of perfectly flowing energy in the home even if some areas are ravaged by chaos.  To expect perfect harmony everywhere would amount to nagging but that’s a different topic.  So it was this backdrop of flawless serenity that called for a printer that could be hidden in an armoire with no cords to offend the eye.

How was I to know that setting up a cordless printer was going to be so challenging?  I figured all I had to do is unbox the device, push a button and the wireless laptop would immediately pick up the signal giving me the full office experience with the atmosphere of a retreat site.  No such luck.  As my friend and I struggled to make the appropriate adjustments (since my friend was a man, we were not allowed to read the directions), I finally suggested that we go to the Hewlett-Packard on-line “Tell Me How This Works Before I Destroy It ”  technical assistance site.  Reluctantly he agreed and an hour long help session ensued.  Basically, this was the gist of the conversation: [Read more…]