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Webinar Recap – Fixing the Problem: Making Changes in how you Deal with Challenges

Please find below a transcription of the audio portion of Dr. Lynette Reed’s session, Fixing the Problem: Making Changes in how you Deal with Challenges, being provided by MPUG for the convenience of our members. You may wish to use this transcript for the purposes of self-paced learning, searching for specific information, and/or performing a quick review of webinar content. There may be exclusions, such as those steps included in product demonstrations. You may watch the live recording of this webinar at your convenience.

Kyle: Hello everyone, and welcome to today’s MPUG webinar, Fixing The Problem: Making Changes in how you Deal with Challenges. My name is Kyle and I’ll be the moderator today. And today’s session is eligible for one PMI PDU in the leadership category. And the MPUG activity code for claiming the session with PMI is on the screen now.

Kyle: Like all MPUG webinars, a recording of this session will be posted to mpug.com shortly after the live presentation ends. And all MPUG members can watch the recordings at any time and still be eligible to earn the PDU credit. All the sessions you watch on demand can be submitted to your webinar history. And the live session you attend are automatically submitted. Within your history you can print or download your transcript, as well as the certificates of completion, including the one for today. And you can access that by logging on to mpug.com, click my account, and then click on the transcript link.

Kyle: If you have any questions during today’s presentation, please feel free to chat those over at any time using the chat/question box on the GoToWebinar control panel. We do plan to answer those questions for you during the session today.

Kyle: All right. And we’ll go ahead and get started. We’re very happy to welcome back Dr. Lynette Reed today. Lynette is a writer, researcher, and advisor on human potential for personal and organizational development. She has mentored people from businesses, not-for-profits, schools, allied health agencies, chambers of commerce, government, and churches. She has taught courses on team building, leadership, ethics, world religion, and world cultures. She is also a co-founder and board member of the Institute for Soul Centered Leadership at Seton Cove. Lynette holds a doctor of ministry and spirituality, sustainability, and inner religion dialogue, and a master of science in communication sciences and disorders.

Kyle: So with that said, I’d like to welcome you back, Lynette. And at this time I’ll go ahead and hand it over to you to get us started with today’s discussion.

Kyle: Lynette, I believe you may be muted on your end. If you hit that microphone button, that should unmute your microphone. We’re not able to hear you, Lynette. I think your microphone may still be muted on your end. It doesn’t seem to be working. It says it’s self muted.

Lynette Reed: Okay. There we go. Hi. Pardon me for that. For some reason it wasn’t let me unmute myself. It was deciding that I wasn’t going to get to talk today.

Kyle: No problem. We can hear you loud and clear now.

Lynette Reed: Okay. Can everybody seen the screen okay too?

Kyle: Yep. That looks great.

Lynette Reed: Okay, great. All right. Now we’re ready. Kyle had actually asked me to talk about this topic. It’s actually from a book that I wrote many years ago. And one of the things that I’m finding, especially with COVID, is that it’s still pretty applicable today. I’ve changed a number of things with it, but the basic premise, which is what I’m going to be talking about today, is the same.

Lynette Reed: So just to give you a little background, because it does seem odd, I’m guessing, to people that are in the business world. Why would somebody with the degrees I have and the research I do be valid for business? And the way that I actually started all of this work was I was just interested in how people connected with each other. I saw a lot of situations throughout my life where people were just mean or unfriendly or very fracturing in the way that they were doing things. And I just was wondering why is it that we do that, and how is it that we can make it so that we are more able to work with each other without these fractures.

Lynette Reed: Because one of the things that research has found is that any time you have fractures in yourself, in your organization, in your team, that things don’t run as efficiently, they don’t run as effectively, people aren’t as engaged, the culture’s broken. And I’m sure many of you have seen that in your own experiences where if you’ve got even just one teammate or one boss who is difficult, then it’s going to fracture the whole system.

Lynette Reed: In fact, I’m visiting with somebody recently who has a … they love everybody at their job. They’re at a little tech startup and they love everybody in their job except for their boss has decided that they … They were moved to this situation and so they have a new boss that did not hire them. And so the boss has kind of put them off to the side a little bit as far as job. And this one situation has completely changed this person’s ability to feel connected in their job and things like that. So it just takes one little, minor change in the way that we do things in order to make it so that we can have a more connected workplace. So you’ll hear probably from me, in this, a lot about connectivity, because that’s kind of what I’m looking at, is how do we use our human potential to stay connected. And the title of the book is the title of the conversation we’re having today. So just a little bit back.

Lynette Reed: So how do we find ways to connect? We’ve got our business. We go into work. We have all of the things we have to do throughout our day. We have to make sure all of our process are in place, all the work gets done, that we’re staying on timelines, staying on structure, things like that. And all of those things make up the business end of it, the financials and all of that.

Lynette Reed: But what I find is underneath that there’s a layer of how do we behave. What do we use as the way to cement ourselves together? And the analogy I like to use a lot; so if you’ve ever heard me talk before you’ve probably heard me say this; is that a business or a person or a team is kind of like a tree. All the physical stuff you do throughout the day, your work, your processes, your timelines, all of those things are the tree with the trunks and the branches. But the thing that really holds that tree in place is the stuff you can’t see and can’t really measure as well, and that’s the roots underneath. So whenever we’re finding ways to connect, think of your behaviors and the way that you interact with people as your connections.

Lynette Reed: So what I have found is the number one thing that tends to drive people to any kind of behavior, especially ones where they feel challenged or where there’s a lot of change … Which if you’re thinking right now with COVID, this has probably increased dramatically just because there are so many external unknowns that we can’t really control. So fear. For those of you who know this, this may be just a refresher. But fight or flight is actually a physiological reaction our body has. And what it basically does is says, “Oh my gosh, something dangerous has happened. I’m going to die. And if I don’t do something right now, fight or flight, it’s going to kill me.”

Lynette Reed: And so fight or flight works really, really well if somebody’s trying to kill you or if you have to make a split-second decision, like if you’re skiing down a hill and you come to two ways to go, you have to pick which one. Well if you don’t pick, you’re going to probably hit a tree. So it’s important to be able to make that decision quickly, otherwise you’re going to fight or flight. You’re going to fall over and possibly injure yourself or you’re going to just plow through the trees.

Lynette Reed: So fight or flight can be a very good thing for that. However, sometimes our body tricks us into believing that things that really are not going to kill us are dangerous. And so our body will either fight, which you see this at work with people or even at home with people who will say, “Okay, I’m upset. I’m frustrated. I’m feeling fearful. So I’m going to yell at you instead of just talking with you calmly about it.” So fight would be yelling, hitting somebody, physical stuff like that.

Lynette Reed: And flight would be more the people who at work, and you can think of your people you know or have worked with, and you can maybe see this in some of their behaviors or maybe even in yourself. Flight would be the things that you would do, like passive-aggressive or avoidance, where we don’t want to talk about it or we don’t want to address it as a problem, instead of just figuring it out. So whenever you do those types of things, a lot of times what happens is you tend to avoid or fight, and then the situation doesn’t get resolved because you’re so busy trying to protect yourself through one of these two ways that you can’t see that you’re really not going to die from this, and there may be a solution that you don’t know. So that’s why fear, to me, plays a really big role in how we perceive situations and how we deal with things that are happening.

Lynette Reed: And if you’re in a leadership role especially, if you’re fearful about losing your job or if you’re fearful that maybe people don’t respect you, things like that, it’s really easy to fall into these fight or flight where you maybe just avoid one of your employees or one of your team members, and just don’t address the fact that there is a conflict there. So as you can guess, a lot of my work is probably in things like conflict resolution and things like that, facilitation, because that type of thing happens. So really what I’m doing is helping people manage that fight or flight reaction.

Lynette Reed: For those of you that are Star Wars fans, I do like this one because to me it’s not always like this, where it leads to suffering and all, but fear can be a path where you just say, “I’m so afraid of what’s happening that I’m going to avoid people.” And think about what happens with each of those little times that you avoid somebody, how you don’t address the issue. Or if I’m going to be a yeller, I’m going to yell at my employees. How does that make them feel? So just keep that in the back of your mind.

Lynette Reed: So to me this fight or flight falls right into binary thinking. So a lot of you, I’m guessing, are computer knowledgeable. And so to me, when you think about binary you think ones and zeroes. And I really like this analogy because with binary thinking what you’re basically saying, this is my picture of it, is that it’s an either/or situation. You are either with me or you are against me. You are either good at your job or you are bad at your job.

Lynette Reed: And whenever you get into this binary thinking way of looking at stuff, you don’t have any other place to go. And you see it a lot with politics right now. Very divisive topic. People are saying, “I don’t like what this person stands for. Therefore, if you’re not with me with this against this person, then you’re for them. And therefore we will be violent.” Once again going into the fear, fight or flight. And same thing at work. If you’ve got somebody who is thinking this person is wrong for the way they’re doing something. So therefore if they’re wrong, then I’m right and there’s no discussion about anything other than the fact that this person is wrong and I’m right. So if you’ve ever met anybody like that, that would be that binary thinking that goes on in the brain.

Lynette Reed: So opposite of binary thinking is the critical thinking. And so for me critical thinking is where you’re able to look at things from a much broader perspective. And so basically what you’re saying is that, with critical thinking there’s shades of gray between the either/or. There’s other ways that we can do things. And when you’re looking at fear in this, if you’ve got somebody who is in a fear response where they’re avoiding or they’re fighting, it’s very difficult for them to come to the point where they can say, “Hmm, maybe there’s other options here. Maybe there’s different ways to look at this. Maybe we can have a discussion about how to handle this problem and solve it together.”

Lynette Reed: I’ve talked to a number of higher ed people, people who are teaching in higher ed or who are professionals in higher ed. And one of the things that they say to me is that one of the things they’re finding is that people are coming into college with reduced critical thinking skills. So our society is possibly going from a place of critical thinking to a place of binary thinking, which is also kind of interesting considering that we are kind of in a technological/computer age. How do we maintain our critical thinking skills whenever we have so many things around us that are working binarily? And so whenever you’re thinking about work and how do we connect with each other and how do we bring cohesiveness to our team, then we have to be able to look at things other than the either/ors. We have to be able to look at those little critical elements in between.

Lynette Reed: And I think this is also a good topic of discussion since inclusion and diversity have become such an important element of the dialogue that we’re having on work. And so when you have critical thinking skills, it would fall that your ability to look at diverse people and look at diverse situations and be able to find resolutions for it that are a little bit more open to discussion than if you’re in the binary thinking of that person’s bad, that person’s right, things like that.

Lynette Reed: And so as I’m sharing the model that’s actually in the book, and it’s the one I use whenever I do training, what it basically does is, I have found over time, is help teach critical thinking skills. So as I go through the rest of this webinar just be thinking about that in terms of where you are for yourself, for your team, for your organization. Are you seeing people that it’s very either/or for them? Do you have a team where people are able to say, “Oh, hold the door a minute. There’s another way we can look at this. How do we figure this out together?”

Lynette Reed: Because that’s going to determine a little bit your team. And as a leader, it’s going to determine a little bit what your team looks like and how well they work together. If you have a team where everybody believes exactly the same thing and they’re all binary thinkers, it could be okay because they’re all thinking the same, they all believe the same, and they all have that same way of looking at it. But if you’ve got somebody who is very different in the way that they think or they way that they do things, then it could be a very different situation.

Lynette Reed: Like with human resources people, they have to decide how do we fit somebody, culturally, into a team. So this would be part of that whole system that puts people in and out of situations where they either work well together or they don’t. And as we go further along you’re going to see what I’m talking about whenever I say let’s don’t look at it as wrong or right, let’s just say we’ve got different ways we can look at it. And how are we going to pull this group of people together to make them work together? So there’s many options for that, but these do play a role in it.

Lynette Reed: All right, so as you probably have heard in my bio, my doctorate’s actually in spirituality, sustainability, and inter-religious dialogue. And it’s always been very interesting to me because for many, many years I never really talked about spirituality in the workplace because so many people looked at it as … The two I got the most were religion and crystals. And that doesn’t mean that those two things aren’t valid, important things for the people who work with them.

Lynette Reed: But to me, spirituality had a much bigger role to play. And those were the things like the tree, whenever you’re talking about the religion or the crystals or however. The spirituality part of it was how do you connect to yourself, other people, and the world. It’s the roots of the tree. So any time I’m talking about spirituality, I’m talking about that human potential that we have, and how are we going to take that human potential and either fracture or heal ourselves, fracture or heal other people, or fracture and heal the world. So now you can kind of see how it also fits in with sustainability, with diversity. All of these topics that are becoming really important in our society fall under this word. And then you can kind of build on it what you want. But for the purposes of your work and business, spirituality would fall into this.

Lynette Reed: And the way I came about this view of it is that when I first started doing research on spirituality, one of the things that I found was that the root of the word spiritual is breath. So to me, I started thinking well okay, with every breath you take you get to choose how you’re going to live your life and how you’re going to behave in the world. And you’re either going to do things that fracture, or you’re going to do things that heal or bring people together or bring situations together.

Lynette Reed: And so the other word that’s the root word of spirituality is inspire. So whenever you’re talking about spiritual practices at work, you’re talking about how do we inspire people to connect with, either themselves or other people in the world. So when I’m defining spirituality, that’s what I’m talking about. And that’s why I think that the vocabulary of human potential works so well with it, because we’re talking about the way that we decide to treat each other, the way we choose to behave, how much we allow fear to involve us in fracturing places in the world or in our team.

Lynette Reed: So whenever you’re looking at these ways of viewing your work you can think in terms of, okay this situation that’s very challenging has happened. Whether you’re struggling with remote work or you’re struggling with something else, how am I going to handle this situation so that I am doing things to make myself less fractured? How do I make it so that my team is less fractured? How do I make it so that my new business is less fractured?

Lynette Reed: And this is really a good foundational thing for people who are doing startups. If you’re doing a startup or a new business, if you make this a critical element of your business plan, then you’re not only making sure that the trunk and the branches are strong, but you’re also making sure that your roots are strong. Because the way people treat each other at work, and the way that we interact with each other, plays a dramatic role in how our customer service is, how we work together as a team, things like that. So if you’ve got a already set up plan for how you’re going to do that, and what’s the measure going to be for success, then that’s how this can help you with any kind of leadership things you’re trying to do within the company.

Lynette Reed: So, normally the starting point of anything that happens in the world that I work in is frustration, anger, intolerance, distrust, these types of things. Usually if somebody is coming in to learn this model it’s because they have these things and they want to get rid of them. They don’t like being frustrated. They don’t like the fact that their team is frustrated. They don’t like that there is intolerance in the workplace. People don’t trust each other. If any of those things apply, then the three things that I’m going to teach you during this presentation are three things that when you use them as a practice will help reduce these things in your workplace.

Lynette Reed: And it’s like any process, for those of you who have process designs that you use for business related things. This is also true for this, that it’s a process that you use in order to keep people on track and on the path that you want everybody to take to keep everything moving forward. One of the things I have found with these words, and the feelings that go with them, is if they’re at the center point of any person or group of people that things are always going to move backwards, because people are going to always be trying to find somebody to blame, they’re trying to protect themselves. Once again, going back to that fear response of fighting or flight-ing. So think in terms of people on your team who fight or flight. What fear, what are they afraid of? How do we decide if that’s important or not? Do we want their frustration to go away? Well one way to do that is to give them something that they can use as a tool so that when they start to feel afraid they have something else to replace it with.

Lynette Reed: And so that’s what this process or this model does, is it kind of helps replace the fear with another behavior that’s going to help them find that sense of peace and be able to respond to things instead of react. Okay. Now the bad news is you can’t force anybody to do this. And if you have a boss, unfortunately, if they’re in a fear mode you may not be able to help them. But it can help you to deal with it from your own level of frustration or distrust of the person. So there’s different ways you can use this, either for yourself or for others.

Lynette Reed: All right, so think for a minute about what words describe you in your workplace. Now these words normally are action words. So it can’t be a word like happy, because you really can’t make yourself happy. It has to be adjectives that are actionable, like friendly, efficient, caring, helpful. These are the core words that say, okay me as a person, if you’re doing it individually for yourself for a little professional development, or my team, or my company, my new startup company, these are the words that I want people to think of whenever they talk about our behavior.

Lynette Reed: So if you’re in a company where you want people to be friendly, well then if people are walking around frowning and yelling at people, then that’s not really a friendly place. So you want to think in terms right now of what words you’re going to use to describe what you would want it to look like. Fantasy land, everything was going well, what words would fit in there for you? And you can just kind of jot them down if you want, or just think of them in your mind, either one. And that’s going to be the starting point for you. And we’ll come back to that later.

Lynette Reed: Okay. So three parts to the process. We’ve got everything in place now. We’ve talked a little bit about all of the little components that made up this process and where it came from. And now I’m going to just go through, real quick, the three parts of it. And then if anybody has any questions, then we can go from there.

Lynette Reed: Okay, so number one. I call it a personal intentional mission statement. That’s just to say you’re going to intentionally decide these words. A minute ago I asked you, what are the action words that you want to use for yourself or your company to decide what it’s going to look like? What are the roots of our company? What are we going to use to hold everybody when there’s a storm or a tornado hits, what’s going to hold us in place very strongly with our roots? And so if you picked friendly, then that can be your word. Helpful. Whatever word it is.

Lynette Reed: And then you have to define it, because one of the things that I have found is that everybody has a very different picture of what friendly means. For some people, friendly means smiling. For some people, friendly means going out and helping people, “Hey. Can I help you? How can I help you?” So make sure that everybody has the same definition, because that way you’ve got a good starting point for how you’re going to determine if people are staying in the place that we’re trying to stay in.

Lynette Reed: And this is also helpful for human resources. Whenever you’re doing an interview with somebody you’re getting ready to hire, or if you’re somebody who’s out there looking for a job right now, ask that question. Say, “What words would you use to describe your company?” And that will give you a clue as to whether they … at least their words are friendly, helpful. What action words do they use? Or what action words do you use? Because that way you can get a feel for where their words are, and what they’re at least saying they want it to look like as they begin this process. So persona intentional mission statement’s the first thing. And this is like the anchor. You’re always going to go back to these words, especially in a crisis.

Lynette Reed: A lot of people are working remote right now, and some people are having a little bit of a struggle with it. So to me, when you’re trying to do things on Zoom or on one of the social media outlets, it’s always good to think, okay I’m going to talk to people. I’m going to do it in this way. I’m going to choose to be friendly. And so whether I’m on a audio, a video, or in person, I still am going to use this as that foundational thing. And it really helps you to keep your focus.

Lynette Reed: The second one, and this is the one I have found … If I ask people which one tells your true intent more, your words or your actions? Well 99.9% of the time people will say to me, “Actions.” And so what I find interesting is whenever I’m working with people and talking to them about their work they’ll say, “Well my boss said that I was an important part of this organization. And I just don’t understand why this boss won’t let me be in charge of these projects that he told me he wanted me to be in charge of.”

Lynette Reed: So you can already hear right there in that statement that words and actions aren’t matching. Somebody has said, “You’re important,” but they don’t let them do anything. And they tell them, “You’re in charge of this,” but then they won’t let them. So how do we figure out where is the true nature of this person that is having this discussion with them? Or how do we make those words and actions match? And you probably see it a lot in organizations where there’s a lot of cohesion, their words and actions match. And that’s how they’re able to build trust and authenticity.

Lynette Reed: In fact, I would say that this one behavior is one of the single most behaviors for building trust and authenticity in an organization in a person. If you think of a person who has matching words and actions, you’re able to know okay if I go to this person, they’re going to do what they said they were going to do. And they also are very consistent in their behavior. Because the words and actions match go not only for the things that they commit to do and the things that they say they’ll be in charge of and stuff like that, but it also has to do with how well their actions match the words that they’ve chosen for their personal intentional mission statement.

Lynette Reed: So if you’ve got a person who is calm every single time something happens, whether it’s a crisis or just a regular day, or somebody has done something really bad to destroy a process that was in place, and this person is always calm no matter what the situation, people are going to trust that that person is not going to change their behavior because something that has happened. In other words, they’re not letting external situations control how they choose to connect with other people.

Lynette Reed: And so if you’ve got somebody who is doing some kind of an activity and they say, “Okay, I’ll have this done by Friday.” And then they say, “My words are, I’m friendly.” And that’s the words they’re using for the company. And the come in and on Friday they’re running late and they say, “I can’t believe that you’re bugging me about this. I’ve got so much to do.” And they just start yelling. Well the actions have not matched on two fronts. One, it hasn’t matched on how they’re going to interact with people. And it’s also not matching on what they do with their commitment.

Lynette Reed: You can very easily, instead of reacting out of fear that way, you could say, “Look, I am running late. I am not going to get this done on time. I’m sorry that I’m running behind.” And you do it in a calm way. Then that would be words and actions matching, because what it’s saying is even when there’s a crisis, even whenever I can’t get something done that I’ve committed to, I can still be calm, or whatever word you’ve chosen, friendly, helpful, whatever. And I can make sure that I communicate that my actions are going to have to change.

Lynette Reed: We’re not saying you always have to make sure your actions are matching your words at every moment. You just have to make sure that whenever you’re making commitments, that your words and actions match in a way that shows people where you’re going with a certain action or event. And so when I’m working with people this is the number one, one. If you’re going to change anything to bring a little more cohesion, I have found this is the biggest trust builder that you can possibly have.

Lynette Reed: Okay. So here’s the third one. No judgment of good or bad, or, wrong or right. So remember at the beginning when I was talking about binary thinking? Well if you’re thinking good, bad, wrong, or right, what happens? You start deciding that if something’s good or bad, or wrong or right, it’s either for you or against you. And it becomes a value driven environment. So Bob’s good, therefore we can keep him and he’s okay for being part of our team. John did this wrong, and so therefore he’s going to be over here and we’re not going to let him do anything because he is now not part of this team because he can’t do anything right.

Lynette Reed: Now that doesn’t mean that we just let people get away with not getting their work done or we don’t have boundaries for people. But what it’s saying is that we’re going to look at each person as equal value and talk about the behavior that they didn’t do, work-wise. So in other words, an example of that would be Janice did not finish her work on time, so therefore we need to discuss how we’re going to deal with this situation that she has a chronic problem. And we’re going to do it in a way that matches our personal intentional mission statement. So that means that if somebody doesn’t get their work done, then what you do is instead of either labeling them as good or bad or wrong or right, you just say, “Okay, here’s the situation. And here’s how we have to deal with it to move it forward.”

Lynette Reed: And you can almost feel the shift in the energy a little bit when you do it. Think about saying, “Janice is bad for how she did that. She’s wrong in what she’s doing.” Where do you want to go, backwards to talk about Janice? Or do you want to go forward to figure out a solution? So one of the things I find is that whenever you start trying to put good or bad or wrong or right on a situation, what you do is you pull everybody backwards. So they’re busy trying to find somebody to blame or trying to prove that their value is higher than one person’s or another. And so if you’re in that scenario, how are you able to connect to yourself, other people in a world that doesn’t cause fracturing. Because you’re looking for something to fracture. You’re looking for something to take it away from it being your problem or you being the one that’s having an issue with it.

Lynette Reed: So this is a really good one when you’re talking about diversity and inclusion. We’re not judging a person here on how they look, what they believe, all of those things. We’re saying, “Okay, we’re all equal here. We’re starting with the value of everybody here is equal. You were hired. We have you here. You obviously have some skills that we need. So let’s see how we’re going to utilize those skills in this situation.” And then from that point you can say, “Okay, if our word is friendly or helpful.” So if those are our words we’ve chosen, or calm. Really they all kind of go the same way. I think you understand what I mean when I say we just want to pick a good, solid word that takes us in a positive forward momentum.

Lynette Reed: When we do that, then what we say is, “Okay, Janice did not do her job correctly. So what do we need to do to resolve this situation?” It’s either Janice needs training or Janice needs to go find another job or Janice is doing a good job but she’s being put in a situation by her boss that’s causing her to not be successful. Okay, so now we’ve found some things that could happen, and we’re doing it in a friendly or calm way. And then we say, “Okay, how do we resolve this? What do we need to do to change it?” And if you can hear just the difference in, “Oh, she’s wrong. Let’s talk about how bad it is,” versus, “How do we resolve this and move it forward,” you can almost feel that movement forward where nobody has to worry about whether they’re good or bad or wrong or right. They have to worry about becoming the best person that they can be, in order to make that team effective.

Lynette Reed: And sometimes it can even be something as simple as moving them to a different position within the company. Sometimes it’s just two people have very different ways of working, and all you need is to shift them out of that environment they’re in and put them in a different one, to make them effective. That can be very successful. This one actually was … When I first started it, if you read the book, it actually started as … I had a counselor friend once tell me that the further away from reality you are, the more distressed you will feel, because your beliefs are far away from reality. And so if you want to feel less distressed, your reality has to match your expectations. Which this is where my emails and all come from, because this is where it all started, was you’ve got to figure out a way to make yourself be realistic about where the reality of situations are.

Lynette Reed: And this process that I show you is a good way to measure that. Because what you’re basically trying to say is, “If I’ve got a situation, especially a really complex, difficult situation” or there’s a lot of change going on, like there is right now, “I’ve got to figure out a way to bring some cohesion to whatever the challenge is.” Whether it be a difficult employee or a change in the way we work or a loss of a job. Any of these things can really make us have to figure out a way to bring that connectivity to ourselves and other people. So you have to say, “Okay, I’m going to not judge this as good or bad or wrong or right,” whatever it is, the job, “But I need to find a solution for it.”

Lynette Reed: So first thing I have to do is remember to make my personal intentional mission statement the key way that I’m going to handle people. And if you already do this, then it’s just a way to think of it more intentionally. But a lot of people already do this. But if not, there’s a lot of people who struggle with it. How do I put the fear aside and how do I make this decision? This is a bad situation that I don’t like. Okay, now I want to change the way I word that and say, “How can I find some opportunities here that are going to help me?” I’m going to be friendly as I go through this process. Somebody fired me, I felt unfairly. Okay. I can’t control that, but I can control how I’m going to behave. I’ve got a bad employee who’s being very difficult and making it hard for me to get my work done. How can I be friendly and still move this forward in a way that’s going to go where it needs to?

Lynette Reed: And so as you’re making these choices and decisions, the thing that keeps you from going up and down, and back and forth is just remembering no good/bad, no wrong/right. Here’s my word. My word is friendly/helpful. And then as you say that to yourself you move forward into the words and actions. And if you think about that process just as you’re doing it, as I’m talking about it you can see that it really can get some synergy going there that keeps everybody on the same page. That’s kind of what you’re trying to do.

Lynette Reed: Somebody gave me a really good analogy when I was talking about this. They said … For those of you who have ever done it, when you were in a pool as a kid, or maybe as an adult, you’d run around in a circle and you’d get the water going in a tornado like effect. And even when you would stop going around in a circle, the water would keep going because you got that synergy going. And so this process is kind of like that. So if you’re trying to get some synergy going that’s going to keep this moving, then you’ve got to do it enough times and keep it going in the flow enough that it can keep things moving. And with the pool it’s the same thing. It’ll keep going as long as you keep running. Now once you stop doing it, then what happens? You’ve got a little bit of synergy going and then all of a sudden it stops.

Lynette Reed: So you can see with a company where they started out really strong, or a team where they started out really strong, and then all of a sudden they said, “Oh my gosh, what happened to our company? We’re no longer cohesive. Everybody’s fighting. It’s a problem. How do we resolve that?” So that would be that synergy you’re talking about trying to build. So personal intentional mission statement. You want to match words and actions. And then no judgment or good or bad, or, wrong or right.

Lynette Reed: The last one also is really good for … I really, really love it as a discussion about diversity/inclusion, because one of the things that I have found is people who follow this do not have to necessarily worry about diversity or inclusion within their team because it’s already there inherently. If you’re looking at people and individuals for their skills and what they bring and how they can inspire your team. Going back to talking about breath and inspire, how they’re going to inspire your team, then it really doesn’t matter what their background is, as long as they’re bringing that element into your team that’s going to inspire the work and make it connected. So I really like this one for that discussion, as that becomes more prominent in HR and in discussions in the business community.

Lynette Reed: Okay. So for many of you, or for some of you, this may be inherent in you. And if you’ve got that, then it’s jut a way to say it does work, it’s really good to see. I’ve had people who have not done it well ask me the question, where does this come from? Why don’t people teach this? Because there are a number of people who don’t do this. In fact, one of the stats that I found very interesting was that … they were talking about leaders and engagement of employees and things like that. The numbers were that 70% of leaders or managers said that engagement and culture and this kind of thing was important. But only 30% of them did something about it. And so if you’re looking at our society right now, or the way businesses run, it sounds like, if you’re looking at the numbers, that there’s a number of people who say they see the value of this but don’t do anything about it.

Lynette Reed: So what does that tell us if we’re talking about the second one of words and actions matching whenever we’re talking about which one tells the true authenticity of what the person’s core belief is, is actions. So if that’s the case, then we’ve got 30% of the population of this study, which is kind of indicative of our society, of how much we really place value on this or not. So to me that would be my goal as we’re moving forward, especially now that we are in a very fear induced environment with the pandemic and all the things that are going on with society, that we find ways as individuals and as groups of people to not let fear be the motivator for how we do things. And how we can take intentional actions, even if its small ones, to make sure that we stay connected with each other and don’t allow the fear part of it to fracture us and break us down.

Lynette Reed: So what I would encourage you to do today is, if this has been interesting to you and this is something you would like to follow up on, choose some personal intentional mission statement words that fit who you want to be as a core person, and define them. And then go out and just try to see if you can use these words to handle the challenging situations as they arise in your day.

Lynette Reed: Now I will warn you that for most people I have found who have to learn this as a skill, this is a skillset, it can take upwards of a year to learn it. I say it like it’s easy, but for people that are learning this as a skill, that it does take a little while to learn. It’s not unlike learning how to ride a bike or something like that, golfing for those of you who are golfers. You have to not only learn it, but then you have to keep practicing it to keep the skill up. So these are things that you’re doing throughout the day to practice, to get that leadership skill of connecting people. So that’s what I would encourage you to do as you go out, is to choose those words and make decisions using those words as your starting point.

Lynette Reed: All right. Kyle, do we want to take a little time to see if there’s questions?

Kyle: Sure. Yeah we do have a few questions that have come in. And just a reminder to everyone out there, you can chat questions directly to us and we’ll answer those live during the session.

Kyle: Let’s see. First question here, from Kara, asking if you have any recommendations or tools that you suggest to improve our critical thinking skills?

Lynette Reed: Yes. The model is the big one I use, because if you think about it in terms of the more open you are to not judging people, the more able you are to look at the differences in opinions, differences in beliefs. The other one, although this sounds very obscure, is reading a lot. Because to me knowledge can be a very valuable thing. So when you believe something, instead of just saying, “I believe it, therefore I’m right or wrong,” go read about it. Go learn something online or in a book about that topic so that you’re speaking of a point of knowledge as opposed to a point of belief. So that’s the big one I often recommend, because it does help you to expand and broaden your picture of whatever it is you’re believing.

Kyle: Excellent. And that leads us to the next question here, from Don. He was asking if you had any recommendations on books, blogs, podcasts? And I know this material was taken from your book, right?

Lynette Reed: Yeah, a lot of it was. A lot of it I’ve built on since then. But the main core elements are there. In fact, the book I have, you can get it on Kindle for .99. Like I said, it’s been out there a while. But it’s kind of a workbook. You go through each one and it helps walk you through. So anybody’s welcome to get on Amazon and put it on Kindle. There’s also a paperback copy, and it’s less than $10. So that’s also one you can use.

Lynette Reed: And the thing that’s so great about technology right now, is that there is so much information out there. What I always recommend people do is get on one of your internet search engines and find stuff that you’re interested in. Like if you’re saying, “Okay, I want to be better at this,” go out and find some people that you can really follow. There’s at least hundreds of podcasts. There’s hundreds of books out there. There’s organizations.

Lynette Reed: One of the ones I really like, it’s a little more academic but they do have a great PDF that you can get for free online, MIT has a thing called The Presencing Institute, by Otto Scharmer. And he’s been doing this for years. And he’s an economist, so his is kind of more the vocabulary of his, although it’s talking about the blind spot, the same thing as here. The PDF is called Theory U, theory and then the letter U. And he has an executive summary that’s free. It’s a free PDF online. So if you Google or if you use a search engine for Theory U executive summary book it will probably pop up and you can download the book. Or you can actually order it from MIT from The Presencing Institute.

Lynette Reed: So there’s a bunch of different ones out there that are doing stuff. World Economic Forum has a lot of really interesting things that they’re doing, from the sustainability perspective of it. And then of course there’s many writers out there, Daniel Pink’s one. Blink is a good book. The Sticking, Making It Stick I think was another one. So just go find something that you’re interested in, and then just start learning about it.

Kyle: Thanks, Lynette. And the title of your book for anyone that may be interested in searching for that on Amazon?

Lynette Reed: Oh, Fixing the Problem: Making Changes in How You Deal With Challenges. The title of this website.

Kyle: Right. Right.

Lynette Reed: This webinar, yeah.

Kyle: All right. We have one more question from Janette here. She was actually just asking if you could repeat the rest of that statement associated with the more distressed you are, the further away from reality.

Lynette Reed: Yeah, okay. So the more distressed … Okay, the further away from reality your beliefs are, the more distressed you will become. So for instance, if you believe that somebody is wrong and really they’re just struggling to do their job, there’s a difference there. To me, it’s a very subtle one. But just think for a minute about a person at work who drives you crazy, literally just drives you crazy. And you think, “They are so wrong in what they’re doing. I can’t believe they can actually work here, because of the way that they’re acting.” Okay, well if they keep getting to work there you’re going to start to become distressed because you believe that they really have no right to be there working because they’re so bad at their job. And you’re going to become more and more distressed about that.

Lynette Reed: However, if you’re able to say, “You know I don’t particularly care for the way this person is doing their job and it’s not the way I would do it. So therefore I need to focus on my work and try to minimize the impact this person has on me.” That’s a lot less distressful. You know what I mean? And so it’s a narrative you’re giving yourself to say, “Although I don’t like the way this is happening, it’s not good or bad or wrong or right, it’s just different. And I have to find a way to navigate the difference.” It’s like if you’ve got a boss that is bad at their job you can become very frustrated. You’ll hear those words, frustrated, angry, disengaged. Then you have to say, “Okay, I don’t care for the way this boss is treating me. And it’s not the way I would want somebody to be treated. But here’s how I’m going to manage that.” And if I’m managing it from a place of anger or distress, I’m not going to have as many choices because it’s going to be wrong or right.

Lynette Reed: So what happens if, for instance, you don’t like your boss and you believe that he is not doing a good job? Some people will just sit there and be mad for years at this boss saying, “He’s wrong. He should go. I shouldn’t have to stay.” Where some people might say, “Okay, I’ve got a boss here. We don’t communicate effectively and I need to either find a different place to go, figure out a way to talk to this boss, go talk to HR.” See you can already see you’ve given yourself three or four more options by having that critical thinking skill of what are my options than just wrong or right, he’s staying, I’m going. I’m staying, he’s going. You can kind of hear the difference in that.

Lynette Reed: So I think that’s kind of what I’m talking about when I’m talking about that aspect. And that’s how it went from expectations to reality to the good, bad, wrong, or right, because I was seeing so many times that when people were stuck in that loop of expectations being far away from reality they were having a hard time differentiating from what was reality and what was their belief. So you have to be able to navigate that.

Kyle: Thanks, Lynette. Looks like we probably have time to squeeze in one more question. And this one was suggestions on how to deal with the phrase, “Let’s agree to disagree.” So when both parties appear to be stuck in the right and wrong thinking.

Lynette Reed: Yeah. You know, all of those are really tough. That’s the big challenge with this, because any time you’re talking about stuff like this … And this kind of goes back to that discussion on critical thinking skills. When people ask, “Okay, how do you handle this?” Well there’s probably 1,000 ways you could handle it. It’s just which one is going to best fit this situation. So to me, when somebody asks me something like that, a lot of times what I’ll say is, “It’s okay to agree to disagree. But then what are you going to do about it after that?” Because to me you’ve got to be thinking from that broader perspective. If we’re going to just agree to disagree, is this going to impact the business? Is it going to impact the relationship? Is it going to impact whether something stays together or not? If you’ve got to people who are co-owners of a startup and they can’t agree on something, it may be they have to say, “Let’s agree to disagree and go our separate ways.”

Lynette Reed: Or it could be that you’re having a debate with your boss and he says, “Let’s just agree to disagree.” Then you’re going to have to think, okay the reality is he’s my boss and if he gets ultimate say, which in many cases your boss does, then your expectations have to level out to say all right, if I’ve got a boss who we agree to disagree and I don’t like that we’re having to agree to disagree. And therefore I’m going to be upset and frustrated. Well how are you going to be able to stay in your loop of synergy, of friendly, helpful, whatever words that are, that keeps everybody connected? Because what happens if you agree to disagree on something but you’re still angry about it? Then what’s going to happen with the fracturing? You’re going to keep having that fracturing.

Lynette Reed: So to me, anytime you’re talking something like agree to disagree, everybody has to really be agreeing to disagree from the perspective of, we’re still going to be friendly and helpful, we’re still going to make sure our words and actions match, we’re still going to not judge as good or bad or wrong or right. We’re just going to say, “Here’s the situation that we don’t agree on. What are we going to do with it?” And it may be you have to do something by yourself or with somebody else. Each situation is so different, there’s different ways you can handle it.

Lynette Reed: But that’s what the process does though, it helps you level out your thinking as you make the decision of how you’re going to handle it.

Kyle: Great. Thanks, Lynette. We really appreciate you taking the questions. Thanks to those of you that submitted those. That was very helpful. And perfect timing, that takes us right up to the end of the session. So before we close up, anything else, Lynette, before we wrap up today?

Lynette Reed: Nope. I think that’s it. If anybody wants to get in touch with me I did put my website. And there actually is a resource center on my website. So if somebody wants to start learning a little bit more about this model, they can actually go in. There’s a place where you put your email in and it’ll take you into the resource center. I have a number of worksheets in there that you can use to start working on your personal intentional mission statement and some things like that. And then there are some other resources. And its also got a link to order the book, or if you want to get it on Kindle. So that’s a good place to go for resources. And feel free to contact me. My email is on the website. And then also I’m on LinkedIn. Either one’s good for contacting me.

Kyle: Great. Well thanks so much, Lynette. We really appreciate your time, and sharing your insights with the MPUG community. Much appreciated. For those of you claiming the PDU, I will get that info back on the screen for you now. Today’s session is eligible for one PDU in the leadership category. And you’ll use the code to claim that with PMI. And if you missed any of today’s session or would like to go back and review anything that Lynette shared with us, the recording will be posted to mpug.com in just a few hours. And you’ll receive an email with a link to view that. MPUG members have full access to our PDU eligible library or on-demand webinars on mpug.com.

Kyle: And we also have some great sessions on the calendar. I chatted over a link where you can access those and register for these sessions. Two weeks from now we’ll return with Satya Dash on a session on Risk Management Life Cycle in the context of Project, Program, and Portfolio. And then beginning on February 3rd Ben Howard will be joining us for a three part training series. This one will cover Power BI for Business Users and Project Managers. So that’ll be three consecutive weeks where we dive into Power BI. So be sure to register for those events. And there’s quite a few others that are available as well, so we hope to see you there.

Kyle: And that does it for today. So once again, thank you Lynette.

Lynette Reed: Thank you.

Kyle: Thank you to everyone that joined us live or is watching this on-demand. We hope you have a great rest of your day. And we’ll see you back for our next live session. Thanks.


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Written by Dr. Lynette Reed

Writer, researcher and advisor on human potential for personal and organizational development, Dr. Lynette Reed has mentored people from in businesses, not-for-profits, schools, allied health agencies, chambers of commerce, government and churches. She has taught courses on team building, leadership, ethics, world religion and world cultures. Her current literary contributions include an executive summary paperback titled, Fixing the Problem: Making Changes in How You Deal with Challenges, as well as book contributions, articles, guest radio appearances and a series of children’s books with Abingdon Press. She is also a co-founder and board member of the Institute for Soul-Centered Leadership at Seton Cove. Lynette holds a Doctor of Ministry in Spirituality, Sustainability, and Inter-Religious Dialogue and a Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Contact her at expectations2reality@icloud.com.

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