Author Archives: Distinct Solutions

EPIC Leadership

Turning Chaos into Order during Difficult Transitions…Team by Team


As I reflect on more than two decades of experience as a Change & Leadership Consultant, I have found that Intact Team Building is the most effective change leadership method…now more than ever.

Known as the guru of high-stakes, emotionally-charged, politically-sensitive situations, I am frequently called upon to “intervene” when some other consultants prefer to back away. And this normally occurs in organizations that are “unfreezing” and are in transition. Unfreezing involves the reduction of the status quo and a dismantling of current mindsets. While it is necessary for effective change, it often creates a period of uncertainty, stress, confusion, and conflict.


Leaders in organizations have for years engaged in management training and development. It has become commonplace for managers to go away to various training programs in hopes they will return with new insights and skills that will improve their own and others’ effectiveness. Unfortunately, results have shown that this is not the case. It has been noted that when a manager returns to the work setting, the department to which he or she belongs continues in the old behavior and, eventually, the pressures and influences of the back-home situation erase the effect of the training.

Effective team building suggests that the department in need of training or change is NOT the individual manager(s) but the whole working group. It’s systemic.

A CASE IN POINT: The ABC Manufacturing Plant

Frustrated and politically pressured to “turn the plant around,” a newly-appointed Director of a manufacturing plant in the Southwest called upon me to help her “pull together” a group of managers who were critical to the success of the plant. The members had alienated their leader and stated: “We refuse to work for this guy.” What do you do when the boss is the major problem?

I instantly went to work by engaging each member of the group, customizing a two-day experience unique to my diagnosis and findings, and bringing the Leader and Team Members together to roll up their sleeves, attack the problem, and leave with the problem solved. At the end of two days, here’s the result:

Each member embraced the leader and stated: “The way you showed up for us over the past two days, we’ll work for you any day.”


Among others, one of the greatest benefits of using this team building approach is to:

Bring Order out of Chaos & Conflict…quickly!


For the Strong Women Leaders Out There!

“A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult.” 

— Melinda Gates

To unleash your fullest potential, you must build on your leadership strengths yet not lose your identity as beautiful, feminine women. This is the steady, yet delicate “balance beam” you must walk. It takes a lot of energy, faith and effort! It’s not always easy but it CAN be done and it’s well worth it!

Don’t give up on your dreams, your goals, and your passion. Like the Eagle:

  • Use Your Natural Intuitive Leadership Abilities to DEVELOP INSIGHT AND KEEN VISION.
  • SPREAD YOUR WINGS and Soar to Your Highest Potential.

Find your voice! Unleash the power within you…your Stiletto Power!


A Personal, Contemplative Perspective

In his research, Dr. George Land provides a model for understanding change and its various dimensions. Change is a necessary part of life. Everyone experiences change. Dr. Land states that there is no such thing as status quo. There is either growth and development (change) or the opposite holds true (stagnation). During my journey, I’ve found this to be true.

In my coaching practice, I remember a particular conversation I had with a man whose wife had divorced him for another man. “I just can’t get over it!” he said with great emotion. “How do I get over it?” As he talked, I had a picture of his wife leaving him as a high wall that blocked his path, a wall that he was struggling to climb over. That is the way change often feels in our lives—like a barrier across our path, a disruption of our plans, a big hole that’s opened up at our feet. Instinctively, we look for a way to “get over it.” And so often our way of “getting over it” is to enter another relationship and attach the same hopes, fears, dreams and beliefs to that one, and end up right back where we started.

The key is to not merely “get over it” but to “transcend” it.

To “transcend it” you must let go of the inner connections you had to the way things were. The key is to yield to a journey through transition. Transition is not just a nice way to say change. It is the inner process through which people come to terms with a change, as they let go of the way things used to be and come to reorient themselves to the way things are now. Transition represents a path to follow.

To shift your attention away from the change (the wall) toward transition (the path), you need to ask yourself “What is it time for me to let go of?” If your change was the loss of a job, what might you have to let go of? Let’s see: a regular income, a group of colleagues and friends, a regular place to go every morning, a way to use your talents, a way to structure your time. You’d also lose an identity—or at least an answer to the question, “What do you do?” Those are the things that losing your job would force you to do without. So rather than holding on to “the way things used to be” use your talents or structure your time in different but meaningful, productive ways.

What is it time for you to let go of?

In some areas of your life you are probably in transition right now. I know I am and I’ve always found that asking that question opens up the path I have to follow. It’s often a path I’d prefer not to have to follow, but given the change, I don’t have much choice. Fortunately, it is also a path that often leads to my personal growth.

On second thought, I do have a choice: to grow or remain “stuck.” What I am saying is that, since change is a wall and transition the gate in the wall, it’s there for you to go through it. Choose to go through the gate, choose to shift and grow!

I made that choice and I’m glad I did.


A Critical Part of an Organization’s Success


As I reflect on three decades of experience as an Organizational Development (OD) Consultant, I’ve noticed one constant in the challenge organizations face. And that is the need to:

Develop and deliver products and services better and faster

to maintain their competitive advantage.

Is this you?

You spend thousands of dollars and hours on sophisticated, carefully planned strategies (Sales, Marketing, R&D, etc.) and yet sometimes you do not get the return on your investment you were looking for.

So what could be the problem?

The “human system” defines the culture. Too often a company’s strategies, imposed from above, are at odds with the ingrained practices and attitudes of its culture. Executives may underestimate how much a strategy’s effectiveness depends on cultural alignment.

A strategy

that is at odds with a company’s culture is doomed.

Culture trumps strategy every time.

This Was Me!

During my tenure in a Fortune 500 company, I became increasingly frustrated with “open enrollment” team building and leadership development programs aimed at personal awareness and job skills development. While there was some measure of success with these types of programs, there were two major problems: a) they did not change the culture at all or b) they did not change it quickly enough. Individual contributors would go back into their respective organizations and were left to their own devices to effect change.

So I took action. I decided to use my OD expertise and change the way I serviced my clients. And the end results were amazing!

Unlike the traditional team and leadership development programs, I employed a process of change aimed at organizational transformation through systematic diagnosis and customized, planned interventions with a focus on intact work teams.

Like my clients, here are some of the benefits that you could experience:

  • Save time and money
  • Bring employee productivity and business results back in line with your goals
  • Turn ineffective, ingrained leadership styles and practices into ones that meet the needs of the business
  • Energize and engage your most resistant leaders and team members
  • End the anxiety of covert power struggles, conflict, and divergent goals
  • Avoid the number one reason organizations do not gain or sustain their competitive advantage

So what challenges are you facing today? Does some facet of your organization need a few critical shifts in behavior? Where do you start? First observe the behavior prevalent in your organization now, and imagine how it would be If your people’s behavior totally supported your business objectives. And then ask yourself, “If my company had the kind of culture we aspire to, in pursuit of the strategies we have chosen, what kinds of new behaviors would be common? And what ingrained behaviors would be gone?”

Cultural intervention can and should be an early priority—a way to clarify what your organization is capable of. Targeted and integrated team-based interventions, designed around changing critical behaviors, will make your organization more attractive to both your employees and your customers.

Let me help you to make a shift in your organization and leave a legacy that will be felt and remembered.



Email:     [email protected]

Phone:     908-295-7513



Where Does Your Organization Stand?

As we look at the sheer velocity of uncertainty in the 21st century, we see that the landscape of doing business is altering dramatically. When the familiar signposts and landmarks aren’t there for them anymore, your senior leaders, team leaders and teams go through a period of change and transition.

When change disrupts your organization, and you are in transition, sometimes it can be difficult for leaders and teams to: Continue reading

Bouncing Back

“The significant problems we face cannot be solved

at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”

Albert Einstein

As you know, Einstein was known to be a genius, so I don’t take lightly anything he had to say. Think a moment about this profound truth. What could have prompted Einstein to make such a statement?

Perhaps, despite his impressive accomplishments, he had experienced some setbacks that thrust his life into a state of flux.

Perhaps he had moments of indecision and/or temporary failures in life that caused him to “think about his thinking”. Continue reading