by elainesuess elainesuess No Comments

Breathing As A Strategy

It sounds simple; breathing. In and out, and we’re alive and showing up.

But while most of us are fortunate enough to do this every day (and I heartily recommend it) without much fanfare, many leaders are missing an opportunity to use breathing as a tool to be more effective.


How It Works

 There is plenty of research that shows how breathing can help us be better leaders. Here are just a few examples.


  • helps us decrease stress and regulate the stress hormone cortisol (so we can access our executive brain for our best thinking)
  • increases optimism (every business outcome improves when our brains are positive…we make better decisions and are more creative etc.,)
  • strengthens our ability to regulate our emotions (important at all times, and especially in those times we are giving difficult feedback or in uncomfortable conversations)
  • reduces impulsivity (hold on to that email that may not be the best approach)
  • can actually help us change and regulate our emotions (so we can connect with others and communicate in ways that are most effective)

The Strategy

Read more

by elainesuess elainesuess No Comments

Appreciative Leadership Changes People

In the past year, it seems that gratefulness and appreciation have expanded their reach even more so into our leadership lexicon. 

With Adam Grant’s informative and research-based book Give and Take, he notes that “a single act marked by mutual trust and respect will energize both people.”

I have found that to be true.

Positively energizing employees (accent on the positive, as we have all experienced the frustrations of lackluster leaders and negative energizing) through appreciation is part of the recipe that engages them in peak organizational performance, and simply encourages them to keep showing up. Read more

by elainesuess elainesuess No Comments

What Do Values Have To Do With It!?

No, the title is not about Values and IT, as in computers, but Values and It as in work. You know — alignment, how you show up every day, what you believe, what is at your core, how your values are aligned with your work culture, and how engaged you are at work.

When was the last time you assessed your own personal values to consider the part they play in why you wake up in the morning, and how they impact your work?

When was the last time your company focused on the values demonstrated in your current culture at work, and how they align (or not) with the desired culture of the company?

“Our values reflect what is important to us. They are a shorthand way of describing our individual motivations. Together with our beliefs, they are the causal factors that drive our decision-making. Understanding our values helps us to understand why we may act or react the way we do. Living your values can make you feel in balance.”      Richard Barrett

Values and the Bottom Line

The values conversation is not just about personal values, but also about leadership, a desired culture and the bottom line. On page 12 of Deloitte’s Culture of Purpose report, it’s clear that executive and employee views of purpose as part of their business culture vary widely. Not only do they differ there, but 18% of employees say leadership does not set an example by living the organization’s purpose.

Shared values at work are not just a “nice to have,” but impact the business in important ways. In Corporate Culture and Performance, John P. Kotter and James L. Heskett show that companies with strong adaptive cultures based on shared values outperformed other companies by a significant margin.

Research by Rosabeth Moss Kanter from Harvard tells us “that companies that are innovative, profitable, and responsible hold widespread dialogues about their values.” She goes on to say as a result:

 “It is not the values themselves that make the difference.  It is the conversation” about the values.

Start the Conversation

If you’re ready to start the conversation, take the free, online assessment offered by Barrett Values. There are two exercises included in the free assessment that will help you decide on a pathway forward to live your values more fully, and align them with your work and your culture (or both!)


by elainesuess elainesuess No Comments

True Story: Moving Boulders

Yes, it’s true. The boulders have moved!

Okay. They’ve actually been moving for years, but we just haven’t been able to figure out why. And the “we” here doesn’t mean the royal we which equals “I”, but the broad we meaning other people besides me who happen to be scientists.

Before last week, I hadn’t  even heard about these boulders and the plight of the scientists, but I was fascinated to hear about them (my top character strength after all, is Curiosity) all the same.

The Death Valley

The story goes that these huge boulders in the middle of the desert, some weighing up to 600 lbs., Read more

by elainesuess elainesuess No Comments

Contagion In The Workplace

Recently, Facebook took heat for a little “experiment” they conducted at the beginning of the year. They served ads that were considered to be positive or negative to 700,000 FB members to see how it affected their postings. As my friend Mary’s mom used to say — You shouldn’t have done that (and in this case, we’ll complete the sentence with “Facebook”).

Why? Because Facebook didn’t ask permission. They just did it.

However, now that’s clear, what they learned and even published is important and supported by research that’s been done time and again. It’s also validated by experience, when we pay attention. 

Here’s what the experience part might look like: Read more