by Laurie Sudbrink on January 16th, 2018

Focus, Motivation and Discipline | Laurie Sudbrink #leadingwithGRIT #leadershipdevelopment
​We’re not all naturally self-motivated. And even the people who are self-motivated, are not that way all the time. (Netflix binge, anyone?) So when we’re in that “I just don’t want to!!” slump, we’ve got to think about how we can motivate ourselves - and others - to get the job done.

To stay accountable to your goals, it takes a combination of focus, motivation and disciple. And it’s very important to know yourself.

Know what’s important to you and stay focused on it. Do you have a 5- or 10-year vision? Are you clear on your purpose, your why? Write it down. Keep it close. Affirm it every day by writing it again. Feel the gratitude as if you’re already there. This tricks your brain into sending signals that you are already there, so the actions you take are easier. You’re not resisting the activities that it takes to get there.

Last week we wrote about GRIT and how important it is to know yourself, your strengths, your limitations, your passions, your motivators, your stressors. Are you more social and like to collaborate, or do you prefer to go it alone? DiSC® is a great tool to understand yourself a bit more and will provide you some of that insight that will help you stay focused and motivated.

Here are some of the ways our team finds focus and motivation:
We recommend an Accountabilibuddy! Not the kind coined in Southpark, “the name for a buddy you love so much, that you hold yourself accountable for his well-being.” Almost opposite. Find someone to hold you accountable. Having someone to work with, talk with, and show up for can be a great motivator. Find someone that you trust, someone that will be candid with you and has your best interest at heart.  My best accountability partners have been people who hold me accountable and I do the same for them.

Know where your own motivation comes from. Your motivation comes either from inside of you (intrinsic) or outside of you (extrinsic). For example, if I exercise to feel more energized and happy, that’s intrinsic. If I exercise only to look better, that’s extrinsic. Don’t get me wrong, extrinsic motivation has its value. It’s important to have a bit of both. In my experience, those who are more intrinsically motivated are more likely to stay on course and reach their goals and feel more fulfilled.

This is why it’s important to have a purpose. Intrinsic motivation is very closely tied to your values and your self-worth. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t have to be, and can actually ruin intrinsic motivation at times. You may have heard the story of the man who was irritated by the kids who played in the empty lot next door. He decided to think of a way to get them to not play there. So he paid them to play. He asked them if they’d like $5 each for playing there. They all thought he was crazy, but of course, said yes. So for a few days, he paid them each $5. Then he told them he was really sorry, but he only could pay them $1 each. They grumbled a little but said ok, and still showed up to play. After a few days, the man told them he was very sorry but he couldn’t pay them anymore. The kids were upset and said they didn’t want to play in the stinkin’ lot anymore. Ironically sometimes we can lose sight of our internal motivation due to something external!
And sometimes we’re just not going to feel motivated, right? There are times that we just need some good old-fashioned discipline. Discipline is doing it even when you don’t feel like it. It’s making that tough choice to get up early and exercise rather than caving and going out late with your friends. It’s being accountable to what we really want for ourselves, long term.

If we build habits, it makes it easier to stay disciplined when we just can’t seem to muster up that motivation. The dictionary defines a habit as a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up. And it goes on to use it in the context of a bad habit. But think about it. If you take regular and consistent action, your brain and body will be trained and it will be hard to give up.

A good system can keep your goals and activities top of mind. If we write down our long-term vision and we know our purpose, we can look at this to remind ourselves of why we are doing this to begin with. We can consider what habits are going to be important to form, and maybe we’ll need to break some too. Aligning each morning and evening with your calendar, list, spreadsheet and/or task system keeps you on track.

​Know yourself and what works best for you.

In my next webinar, we’re talking about How to NAIL Your Goals - With GRIT. I’ll address the challenges faced when working toward your goals (like that Netflix binge we mentioned) and how you can use the GRIT model to overcome them. We answer questions LIVE in that webinar, so if you’ve got a particular roadblock ahead of you with your goals, hit me with your challenge and we’ll work together to help you overcome it!

Click here to register for the free live webinar, How to NAIL Your Goals - With GRIT on February 1, 2018 at 2pm EST.

#LaurieSudbrink #leadingwithGRIT
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by Laurie Sudbrink on January 9th, 2018

Use GRIT to Make Your Goals Come True  - Laurie Sudbrink on #GRIT and #goalsetting
‘Tis the season for New Year’s Resolutions.  Everyone’s talking about them, but here’s what they’re not talking about - Have you ever set a goal and accomplished it (yay!), but then you immediately felt empty, just not quite satisfied.

I’ve been there.

I would reach a goal, but almost immediately I would feel let down. I came to later understand that my goals weren’t really aligned to me. I was either doing things to please others or trying to show the world what I could do. And I was just moving way too fast to even think about any of it.

​Then - it hit me. I was a hamster on a wheel!

So I took a step back. I thought about what was REALLY important to me. I aligned to that vision and respect I had for myself. And that’s when I was able to reach goals, and feel good about it. And, not coincidentally, that’s when my true gift came out.

I discovered a few things that we tend to do when setting goals that can really backfire:
  • Goals for the sake of goal-setting: First of all, we set a goal that may not be aligned to who we really are and what we really want. Asking yourself why the goal is important to you is a good place to start. You might discover it’s feeding your ego or impressing your friends or family (looking externally for some sort of approval or acceptance).
  • Just going along for the ride:  Secondly, we’re setting ourselves up to not enjoy the journey, to only be happy when we reach the goal. We push push push to reach those goals, yet internally, often without awareness, we resist those very goals we set ourselves! The definition of stress is resisting! We ‘suffer’ through just to reach the goal.
  • #Overboard: Third, we often end up over-doing in one area and then another area suffers.
I’ll give you another personal example from my life. I worked SO HARD to earn magna cum laude in college. I was a non-traditional student, with a full-time job and a child to raise. At the end of each semester, I was sick. I had depleted myself in order to obtain this goal. I’m sure other areas were suffering as well!

​So here’s where GRIT comes in and saves the day. GRIT is about aligning to and respecting yourself so that you can live happily and productively. It is about tenacity and perseverance, courage and passion, and it’s also about knowing and accepting yourself so you can give your gift to the world.

Hold on. Did you give that paragraph the attention it deserves? Let’s back up and re-read that because it’s important! 

​The key point there is: GRIT allows you to give your gift to the world.

You have a gift that you are here to give (probably more than one, but let’s just focus on one for now). Using the GRIT roadmap, in order to be authentically Generous, we need to Respect ourselves and others, and align to ourselves with Integrity. 
Use GRIT to Make Your Goals Come True  - Laurie Sudbrink on #GRIT and #goalsetting
You have a gift that you are here to give (probably more than one, but let’s just focus on one for now). Using the GRIT roadmap, in order to be authentically Generous, we need to Respect ourselves and others, and align to ourselves with Integrity.

The only way to do this is to first know and accept our own Truth, so we start with Truth and work our way back to Generosity:


  • Explore who you are, what makes you happy, why you get up in the morning, what’s most important to you and why.
  • Accept where you are right now. Appreciate your journey, everything you’ve learned along the way.
  • Consider what you’d like to change, how you’d like to feel, what you’d like to give to others that aligns with you?


  • Think about the activities you need to do to realize what you want. We call these High Value Activities. Stay tuned for our webinar this month to learn more about HVAs!
  • To get in the habit of performing these activities, write them down each night before bed and read them each morning. This will train your brain.
  • If you’re stuck, not moving, one of my favorite methods is Mel Robbins 5 Second Rule (and no, it’s not the one about picking up what you dropped on the floor and it’s ok to eat it lol - but it is about taking fast action!). Take a look at how Mel suggests we get out of procrastination mode!  


  • Appreciate yourself. Feel gratitude for the things you have. Even feeling gratitude for the things you desire, your future state, helps you accept these things into your life.
  • Respect what you need to be healthy, creative, productive, loving, and generous. Be mindful of all the areas of your life that need attention.
  • Respect others. There’s an entire planet of us with our own truths!


  • Give yourself what you need.
  • When you align yourself to what’s most important to you, stay true to yourself with integrity and respect, you will naturally give back to others.
  • You’ll feel abundance rather than scarcity. You’ll want to give, rather than feeling like you have to. Generosity becomes effortless and enjoyable.

​With GRIT, goal setting becomes fun and you create a lifestyle around it, rather than a short-term system that you resist.

So... I want to hear from you! In my next webinar, we’re talking about How to NAIL Your Goals - With GRIT. I’ll address the challenges faced when working toward your goals and how you can use the GRIT model to overcome them. We answer questions LIVE in that webinar, so if you’ve got a particular roadblock ahead of you with your goals, hit me with your challenge and we’ll work together to help you overcome it!

Click here to register for the free live webinar, How to NAIL Your Goals - With GRIT on February 1, 2018 at 2pm EST.



by Laurie Sudbrink on December 18th, 2017

What is a leader
​That famous acronym - Together Everyone Achieves More - is not always true, as anyone who’s been a part of a dysfunctional team can attest.

​A team takes energy and commitment to work on the real issues that get in the way of reaching the collective goal.

It requires attention and regular maintenance to function properly.

A leader’s role is critical in ensuring the team is a success, by clearing roadblocks; communicating clearly, directly, and positively; and building trust and a culture of accountability.  In order to do this, the leader has to go first. The leader must set the example of communication, collaboration and accountability.

​Once a leader has established trust with the team through these actions, the team will be ready and willing to receive coaching.

Join us today at 2pm when we share a few tips to help leaders communicate and coach more effectively. We’ll be discussing:
  • How to talk like a leader so your team listens.
  • Is it one or many? How to know when a particular team member needs coaching vs. when an entire team needs coaching.
  • Is it working? How to tell if your coaching is making changes for your team.
  • The one simple shift in your communication that changes everything.

Take 30 minutes out of your day today and learn some leadership skills to foster communication and engagement as well as the one simple shift that changes everything!  Completely free to you - absolutely no catch!

by Laurie Sudbrink on December 12th, 2017

When you see a great team, you probably realize that their chemistry didn’t happen by accident. Just like getting a ship safely to harbor, there are a few things going on behind the scenes that make this possible.
  • It starts with a great leader at the helm. Someone who is intentional about the way they lead and manage will unite the team, keep them aligned, and help them create fantastic results.
  • The right people on the boat. The right skill sets and attitudes are crucial to a well-functioning team. Hiring according to values and attitude, and getting the ship cleaned up might mean moving seats around and/or removing someone that isn’t a good fit.
  • A compelling vision and goal to strive toward, with clarity around roles, responsibilities and individual developmental needs. We’ve all got to be rowing in the same direction.
  • Team rewards in addition to the typical individual rewards. When we only provide individual rewards, it’s difficult for the team to focus on a collective goal.
  • Diversity. Making sure we have a good mix of different perspectives. It’s easy to fall into the trap of hiring people who are just like you. We need to be mindful of the value of diversity and make sure we create a team that is well rounded.
  • Arguments. Yes, you read that right. Good debates, where people don’t hold back when they disagree on things. Behind the scenes of great teams are people who are duking it out for the good of the greater goal.
  • The right environment - open, trusting, positive, and not a lot of unnecessary obstacles.
  • Good values, like generosity, respect, integrity, and truth. (Yep, there’s GRIT(R) behind the scenes of great teams!)
  • Meaningful policies and procedures, that make it easier for people to get their jobs done, not harder.
  • Debriefs to help the team see what went well, what didn’t go so well, and how to change course if necessary.
  • Celebration. Taking the time to appreciate the hard work, getting through the rough waters, and reaching shore!
You can find more leadership tips in Captain Michael Abrashoff’s book It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy.  

​What else do you see behind the scenes of great teams?

Does your team have some behind the scenes things going on that are making it run well (or not so well?) Join us next week for our FREE webinar on One Simple Leadership Activity to Transform Your Employees into a Team (Dec 19 at 2pm EST) reserve your seat now!



by Laurie Sudbrink on December 5th, 2017

One of the biggest responsibilities of leadership is to get a group of people to a desired outcome. That involves individuals working together as a team. With the interesting human dynamics that come into play, leading a team can often feel like herding cats.

​It takes very intentional leadership to develop a well-functioning and cohesive team.  Understanding the obstacles will help managers prepare to lead their teams.

These 15 obstacles were gathered over the last 20 years from thousands of people in our classes, and from business owners, executives and all levels of employees who participated in leadership 360s and training needs assessments:
  • A manager who doesn’t know how to empower the team: This manager most likely gets frustrated and does most things herself. Or she may rule with an iron fist, using her position and authority to force people. In most cases, people do not feel empowered either way.
  • Lack of awareness and/or appreciation of various personality styles: When we don’t realize that different styles are valuable to a team, we tend to be annoyed by them rather than use them to the team’s advantage.
  • Not having a unified direction: There needs to be a common goal that people can rally behind. Without it, people will tend to focus on what they think is important, with little if any regard to anything else. This leads to another obstacle - silos and competing priorities.
  • A lack of trust in each other and/or in the team leader: Trust is the foundation to any relationship. Without it, we have hidden agendas, people holding onto information, and wasted time worrying about things rather than talking about them.
  • Fear of making mistakes, being wrong, or being criticized: This shuts people down. They will not be open to sharing or offering ideas and suggestions. They will not want to step up or speak up.  
  • Lack of respect: It’s very hard to get people to trust and commit if there is a lack of respect. John C. Maxwell said this best “People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.”
  • Not enough clarity on roles, expectations and responsibilities: With ambiguity, people are less likely to commit and follow through. They show up at the next meeting confused with what was supposed to happen and who was supposed to do it.
  • Individuals focused on their own goals at the expense of the group goal: Most of us are conditioned to focus on our individual goals in a silo, without thinking of how it impacts the bigger picture. Teams fall short when this competes with the group goal.
  • Not bonded together as a team: The group didn’t spend enough time forming and bonding as a team. There is a lack of emotional connection.
  • Wrong carrot: Rewards are given for individual achievement rather than group achievement.
  • Not feeling a purpose or connection to the vision of the team: When the vision lacks meaning, or it doesn’t inspire or help people feel connected, people will lack motivation.
  • No structure for accountability: When we don’t have a system or structure for follow through and accountability, people tend to fall short of expectations.
  • No role model for holding people accountable: If the leader doesn’t hold people accountable, then the people on the team are not going to. Ironically, if the leader does hold people accountable in a respectable way, and creates an environment where it is safe for others to do so, the leader will not have to hold people accountable because team members will step into that role.
  • Fear of disagreeing/fear of conflict: When people refrain from disagreeing, good ideas are left behind, creativity and growth opportunities are stifled, and potential errors are ignored causing more problems to occur later.
  • Individual egos and insecurities: We all have them. It can be difficult to be aware and not let our egos and insecurities get in the way of the health of the team.
  • A manager who doesn’t remove the person who is not contributing as a team member: Otherwise known as a wuss, when the manager isn’t willing to take care of things, this demotivates other team members.

​A manager’s job leading a team is no easy task. But it is critical to the success of the organization and can be the most rewarding role for a leader.

Last week, I shared a client story about Bob who inherited a team that needed quite a bit of help. Bob faced quite a few of the obstacles above, so before he could get the team functioning well, he had to identify what to focus on.

Take some time to reflect on your leadership and discover where you might be facing obstacles with your team. Are there any obstacles missing from this list? Please share with us so other people will benefit as well.  

In next week’s blog, we’ll be pulling the curtain back to look at what’s behind the scenes of every great team.

If you haven’t registered for our FREE webinar on One Simple Leadership Activity to Transform Your Employees into a Team (Dec 19 at 2pm EST), reserve your seat now! Grab your lunch and spend 30 minutes investing in you.



by Laurie Sudbrink on November 28th, 2017

​How to Transform Your Employees into a Team - Part I

​When I listened to his voicemail, I could tell Bob was frustrated with his team he had recently inherited. He literally said “I know teams are important, but I’m starting to think it might be a whole lot easier to let them all work alone at home!” Although his tone was facetious, his frustration was easy to decipher.
​​Anyone who has led a team knows that to get people working cohesively, it takes more than a group of people working in the same department. 

But if we don’t really understand and value why we need a team approach, the effort we put into building the team will drain our energy.

Bob had been leading the senior team at Golden Years Senior Living Center for just 3 months. In an assisted living center, teamwork is associated not only with an enjoyable living space for residents, but also with increased safety. Bob was asked to lead this team to increase safety, which had been at an all time low. He was expected to show progress in 6 to 9 months.

When I returned Bob’s call, we chatted a bit about what was happening with members of the team. Then we discussed how critical it is to have individuals bond as a team for the success of his safety initiatives.

Once Bob connected why teams were so critical to this initiative, I could instantly hear the stress leave his voice. He even joked and said, “there really might be something to that TEAM acronym Together Everyone Achieves More!”  

​It takes very intentional leadership to develop a well-functioning and cohesive team. 

 Here are the top 5 reasons why teams are critical:
  1. Better ideas. Teams draw on different minds to tackle the same problem.
  2. More efficient and effective work. A strong team has synergy –they accomplish more than individuals can do alone.
  3. More skill sets to draw from. This can make it easier to delegate, and most people appreciate working with their strengths as much as possible.
  4. Provides a variety of personality styles. Having multiple styles helps accomplish a variety of competing priorities, some of which include ensuring quality and timeliness; engaging in healthy dialogue and being clear and to the point; aiming for something much grander and being realistic and completing the goal.
  5. Creates trust and bonding. When team members bond, they support each other. They don’t hesitate to back each other up. Human beings need connection. A cohesive team can provide camaraderie and enjoyment at work (which in turn enhances productivity).
We have a few tools that can help with teaming.  One is the Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team based on Patrick Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Participants learn how they score on the key components of trust, conflict, commitment, accountability, and results.

Another great tool is the Everything DiSC Work of Leaders assessment. Using the framework of Vision, Alignment, and Execution, Work of Leaders encourages leaders to understand their own leadership behaviors and how they impact their team’s effectiveness.

We also invite you to join our next free live webinar on December 19, 2017 at 2pm EST on the One Simple Leadership Activity to Transform Your Employees into a Team where you'll learn to talk like a leader so your team listens, how to know when a particular team member needs coaching vs. when an entire team needs help, and how to tell if your coaching is making changes for your team. PLUS, the one simple shift in your communication that changes everything. We hope you’ll join us!


by Laurie Sudbrink on November 22nd, 2017

​I love Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday. And it’s a great time to remind ourselves of all the things we’re grateful for… family, friends, our good health, delicious food, the abundance of love and laughter we have, the great country we live in… There are many things that we can be grateful for.


Have you thought about being grateful before you even receive any of those things?

You might be wondering how in the world would you do that? How can you be grateful for something that’s not even there? And why would you want to anyway?

Feeling gratitude before you receive what you want allows you to be open to receiving.
When you imagine how you’ll feel once you receive what you desire, and you actually feel gratitude for this future possibility - -  well, you’re kind of tricking your brain. I like to call it positive brain washing.

Your brain receives that information. You begin to change your own thoughts and beliefs toward abundance rather than scarcity. Then you act in ways that will attract what you want into your life.

I’ve seen many people successful in doing this, and I’ve done this many times myself (and yes, I’ve worried and stressed and done the opposite as well - so I know this stuff works!)

It’s actually pretty simple. It’s just a matter of believing in it, and doing it.

Start by imagining the kind of life you want. Maybe it’s more freedom and less stress. Perhaps it’s to have more good friends in your life? For some, it might be to achieve a career or financial goal, or get healthier, or feel happier.

Picture yourself there, smile and feel the gratitude for it.

We talked about this a little in last week’s live webinar in terms of visualizing yourself in the role you aspire to within your organization and how that can help you get there. If you missed it, you can see the replay in my free Resource Library!

Do this every evening before you go to bed, and every morning before you get up. Writing this is even more powerful!

Then start with some attainable goals and tasks to support your belief. For example, if I am focusing on health, I’m picturing myself feeling energized, flexible, and fit, and I’m so grateful for this. Every morning and evening, I’ll write “I am so grateful for being happy and healthy, being flexible and fit, with lots of positive energy.” I’ll feel the gratitude while I’m writing it. Then I’ll begin with some small steps towards it. I’ll stretch before I get out of bed. I’ll add one green drink a day, or something else that’s healthy to my diet. I’ll walk 10,000 steps. (By the way, I change it up to keep it fresh and new, because I get bored doing the same ‘ole thing.)  

Before I started this ‘feeling gratitude before I receive’ routine, it always felt so forced, so difficult to complete the tasks I knew were important to my goals. I resented the healthy food. I groaned about the exercise. I didn’t want to stretch each morning. Now it just flows. There’s not a resistant to it. And when you think about it, it’s pretty logical. We’re training our brains to accept our activities, rather than our brains working against us.

So whatever it is you desire, just think, you can have a much more enjoyable journey getting there if you feel gratitude before you receive!

Happy Thanksgiving!



by Laurie Sudbrink on November 14th, 2017

Moving up in management can seem downright impossible at times. But there are steps you can take to increase your odds!
We’ll be discussing a few things that are really important to climbing that ladder:
  • How to handle the biggest obstacles to moving up in management
  • What core competencies most managers need to develop
  • How to identify the RIGHT developmental steps to take you from middle manager to the c-suite.

​And, there’s one trick that really works well.

​It’s so simple, but it’s not always easy.

Anyone can do it, but most of us don’t.

Join us today and find out what this trick is, why it’s so important, and how you can do it! We’ll also include “How to Convince My Boss to Send me to Training!” for all attendees!



​PS - Check out our free Resource Library, and stop back frequently - we’ll be adding value-packed items on a regular basis!

by Laurie Sudbrink on November 7th, 2017

Leading people isn’t easy, but it can be very rewarding. Having good tools to work with makes it that much easier.  

We are so excited to announce the launch of our Resource Library this week!

During leadership training, when I’m coaching, and in everyday conversations, I love to give people resources. It got me thinking “why not create a library for everyone to access when they want?”  

Please check out our new Resource Library here. Anyone on our lucky list of email subscribers received the top secret password this morning! Don’t see that in your email? Make sure you’re signed up for my weekly emails!

I’ve added a few things to start and will consistently be adding more. Don’t hesitate to let me know what other resources you’d like to see added!


by Laurie Sudbrink on October 30th, 2017

​How do you know if you’re ready to move up in management?

Too often I meet people who think they want to be promoted but they really don’t know what management is all about. They’ve been very successful individual contributors - great work ethic, very skilled at their job, and most of the time they get a lot accomplished. To make more money and/or to get recognition and status, they look to this one path - managing. They think this is the way to have a little more control and autonomy, make more money and to gain more status.

But most have no idea what they’re in for when they sign up to manage a team:
  • Working way longer hours with a lot more stress
  • Constantly dealing with people issues that seem ridiculous
  • They get blamed by upper management for everything
  • They feel forced to stay positive and give recognition to people even when they don’t feel it
  • It’s lonely because they have no one to vent to
  • There is excessive time spent communicating without enough action
These are almost verbatim statements from supervisors, managers and directors I’ve spoken with over the years who were promoted with no formal training or understanding of the role. Most were flattered when offered the position and were excited to get recognized for their hard work. And then reality set in!

​The good news is, it doesn’t have to be this stark. Leadership can be a very rewarding experience. When we’re prepared.

Last week I shared Susan’s story of changing her thoughts and beliefs about taking the time to really connect with her team. This awareness helped her ease right into the behaviors of being present and connected. Similarly, we need to change our thoughts about our management role.

It’s very helpful and inspiring to understand the role and purpose of management. As leaders, we are tasked with moving a group of people to a desired outcome. Along that journey, we need to help people see the big picture, relate and communicate more effectively as a team, lead them through change, build trust, have courageous conversations, help each other stay on track, have their backs, coach and mentor them, contribute to their development and just simply be there for them. When done effectively, a whole lot more gets accomplished through your team than could ever have happened individually. Best of all, along that journey, we have an opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives.

If that sounds inspiring to you, then you’re probably ready to move up in management. And as with any new adventure, it is helpful to have a map to get there. Most of us need to hone skills that we haven’t had to use before. Leadership isn’t something we’re either born with or not. Very very few people lead naturally with no formal training and/or years of learning through trial and error.

If you’re ready to move up in management, to take it to the next level wherever you currently are, join us on Nov 15th at 2pm EST for “The Secret to Moving up in Management.” I’ll talk about how to handle the biggest obstacles to moving up in management, what core competencies most managers need to develop and how to identify the RIGHT developmental steps to take you from middle manager to the C-Suite.  Register here!



by Laurie Sudbrink on October 24th, 2017

​It’s hard enough to change our behaviors, but even when we change them, people often still see us the way we used to be.

​So once we’ve put in the work to change ourselves, how do we let other people know that we’ve changed?

Have you ever tried to change something in your life only to find people reminding you of who you used to be? Take Susan as an example. She and I worked on developing her interpersonal skills so she would more effectively connect with her team.

She changed her behavior almost instantly because she believed that it was important. She began making eye contact, not multitasking while listening, nodding her head, raising her eyebrows, and even sitting on the same side of the table with people for their one on one meetings.

Susan’s manager acknowledged the changes when they did their 2-month review. He was impressed at how fast she did change! But at the 3-month 360 progress review, her peers and direct team reported very little change. We knew we had a perception issue.

I admit, to some degree, I do think that it’s none of my business what other people think of me. But - when we’re trying to change, and we’re dependent on other people’s perceptions in order to be successful, well, that’s just a reality of the situation. So we may need to make it our business and manage those perceptions.

​The good news is you really can influence other people’s perceptions of you. But it takes a little focus and effort.

How can we influence other people’s perceptions?

Before we start focusing on their perceptions, we need to manage our own thoughts and beliefs, as Susan did. Susan believed it was important to connect with her team. The energy we exude based on what we believe and what we are thinking comes through in our actions.

Change your thoughts and beliefs about yourself and watch your actions change and your confidence increase. Susan experienced this first-hand. This is paramount to managing others’ perceptions of us and it has to happen first. Then we can start managing others’ perceptions of us.

A few tips on what you can do to influence perceptions:
  • Remember, this change is happening within you and you’re highly aware of it, but others may not be. We have a lot more information about ourselves than others do, so be a little patient.  
  • Respect the fact that it’s really difficult to not see someone as they used to be. After all, this is the reputation you built. It’s not going to change overnight.
  • We need to make sure we are being transparent about the behaviors we are changing. Be proactive about admitting things. For example, if Susan gets distracted during a meeting, as soon as she realizes it, she will apologize and share that she is working on improving this.
  • Help others to see the new you. Susan could further point out that she used to think she was being productive by multi-tasking but she’s learned she is much more effective when she stays focused, and it’s more respectful to do so.
  • Solicit feedback, and don’t get defensive. If someone points something out to you, consider that feedback a gift. Often we’re not aware when we slip back into old habits. We need others to help us be aware.
  • Don’t correct other people about their perception. It’s their perception. It’s our duty to help change the perception by changing OUR behavior and helping them see the new you.
On Wednesday, November 15 at 2:00 p.m. EST, we will be talking about The Secret to Moving up in Management, and this topic of how other people perceive you is a big part of your career growth. I’ll talk about how to handle the biggest obstacles to moving up in management, what core competencies most managers need to develop and how to identify the RIGHT developmental steps to take you from middle manager to the C-Suite.  Register here!

Are there tips in here in this blog post that you plan to use to help others see the work you’ve put in on your personal development? I’d love to know which ones hit home for you.

by Laurie Sudbrink on October 17th, 2017

​From the time I started working at 18 years old in a restaurant, I was constantly looking at how I could move up; my first promotion was to assistant manager. Sure it was for more money, but deeper and more importantly, it was for more challenges, more responsibilities, being able to be more creative. It was a bit later in my career that I realized it was also about making a bigger difference. I remember getting only 25 cents more an hour for that assistant manager position, but the work I was doing was much more engaging to me.

​Many people are looking to move up, but they rarely question why.

​Especially in a management position, before you can begin to discover what’s really holding you back, it might benefit you to dig into your why. When money is your first answer, dig a little deeper. Money is just symbolic. When it’s about ego and position, dig a little deeper and find out what that really means for you.

​Our why is our intent.

It is the life force that moves us. It is what motivates us. It is where our energy comes from. When we are clear about our purpose, some of our roadblocks will simply disappear. But don’t think they all will - there will always be challenges. Real challenges we have to deal with.

To illustrate this I’ll share a story of a coaching client I’ll call “Jane” to protect this person’s privacy.  Jane had been in mid-management for 12 years, her most recent position at a VP level for 3 years. She had 12 direct reports. Jane’s performance reviews were always good. She was looking to move into a C-suite position. It was her next career move. She was sure it was her boss who was holding her back, most likely threatened by her. Until she started to explore her why.

Jane initially just thought moving into the C-suite was the next obvious step in her career. With a little reflection, she discovered that she wanted to be recognized as accomplishing something great, and moving into a C-suite position was the perfect thing for her.

When she started to dig into that, she realized she wanted to get to a position where she could make a difference; make some real positive changes that would affect the lives of other people.

When we met 2 weeks later, Jane was much more clear on what was holding her back. It was her boss! But it was Jane that was making it about her boss. She was using him as an excuse to not step into the behaviors of a C-suite executive. (While Jane was ‘digging in deeper’ it also came out that she had some hidden fears that maybe she wasn’t C-suite material.)  

​Over the next couple of months, Jane reported back that her energy had completely shifted.

​She was focused on making real positive changes and gaining allies to help. She noticed her stress level went down, her communication flowed more easily and she was actually enjoying work again. She still had some real challenges with her boss, but it was clear to her what issues were his and what she could do differently to interact more effectively. This took some real work, and it paid off 9 months later when she landed her C-suite position. Jane has made incredible contributions to the organization and to the lives of many.

As you begin to identify your upper management speed bumps, think of it as your journey.
We can all attest that some of the best learning and development we’ve had was from mistakes and challenges we’ve had to overcome. Just learn to look at these challenges as critical learning and growth opportunities.

If you want more on this topic, register for our free webinar on The Secret to Moving Up In Management! Please take the anonymous poll and share what you think is holding you back from moving up in management. And stay tuned over the next few weeks. We’ll be sharing a lot more on this topic!



by Laurie Sudbrink on October 12th, 2017

​Self-reflection isn’t enough. (In fact, if done improperly, it can be more damaging than beneficial!)

I was recently working with a group of managers within a health facility in the upstate NY area. We were delving into the GRIT model (generosity, respect, integrity and truth). While looking at truth, we had a great conversation about ‘not only being aware of our truth, but completely and unconditionally accepting our truth.’ It was a powerful moment for the group and a lot of light bulbs went off.

Most of the managers shared that through their years of going through development programs such as the one I was there for that week, they felt like they could identify and accept what needed improving. And in some cases admittedly it was tough to hear, like when it was a blind spot in a Leadership 360 assessment . A few of them had even developed the habit of taking time to reflect. But what they realized they had not mastered was the ability to look at themselves and really be ok with these development areas. To accept where they are right now and still think highly of themselves was not even on their radar.

​When we do take the time to look inside, we humans have a tendency to self-criticize rather than self-reflect.

Of course, there’s always the exception to the rule, and there are those that over appreciate themselves rather than objectively looking inside. But we’ll focus on the majority - the self-criticizers.

You know who you are. While you’re receiving feedback, you silently beat yourself up that you should have done better, known better, shown others better. You debrief a project and all you can focus on is what you could have done better, and you silently judge yourself for it. You’re asked about your strengths and you can only think of those ‘opportunity areas.’

While it’s very beneficial to look at what we need to improve, if we dwell on it in an ‘I’m not good enough’ kind of way, it’s self-defeating. Focusing on a thing can have the tendency to make it escalate. At the very least, it’s inefficient, because the energy wasted on those thoughts and beliefs could have been spent moving on more quickly. In fact, if we accept where we are, and then even appreciate where we are, it will catapult our improvement efforts.

It’s similar to goal setting and always striving to get there, pushing yourself, focusing on the things you don’t have yet, rather than taking the time to appreciate the journey and even visualizing yourself feeling gratitude after reaching your goal. Just reading that sentence you can feel it drain your energy in the beginning of the sentence, and you can feel it energize you in the second part. There’s something that propels us when we lighten up, let go of the forcing and pushing and criticizing. We work with a more positive energy.

So while it’s important to look at what you need to improve, it’s much more effective to take a moment and feel gratitude for where you are right now. And then feel gratitude for where you’ll be when you begin working on your opportunity areas.

Give it a try - you really don’t have anything to lose, do you?


by Laurie Sudbrink on October 4th, 2017

Some people resist change - there’s no doubt about that. But what are we doing that might be preventing people from getting on board with changes we're making within our organization?

Consider this list of top mistakes managers make when implementing change and see if you can identify with any of these:
  • Being too reactive to stop and plan for the change
  • Being too task oriented and not realizing that people need to buy-in emotionally
  • Not being aware of how much personal change people might be dealing with
  • Not knowledgeable or respectful of the change process
  • Forgetting that you have been aware of the change for a while, while others are just learning of it and need time to process and buy-in  
  • Not explaining the “why” behind the change
  • Not allowing people time to ask questions
  • Not knowing or respecting DiSC styles and how each person reacts to change
  • Misunderstanding the underlying reason people are resisting the change
  • Neglecting to build good relationships so people can trust in you and the change you are requesting
  • Thinking you told people once and they should get it
  • Expecting everyone to have the same gung-ho attitude that you have about making things happen

Are there any I’ve forgotten that you think may be holding you back?

Join us today for a FREE webinar at 2pm EST on How to Intentionally Lead People Through Change, and get in on the discussion. Participants can type in confidential comments and questions for Laurie to answer live!

Hope to see you there!

by Laurie Sudbrink on September 26th, 2017

​“Everyone thinks of changing the world,
but no one thinks of changing himself.”


​Taking care of ourselves has a direct impact on our ability to lead others.

The other day I was meditating and doing some movement activities to help with some stress I was dealing with. It occurred to me how less creative, patient and productive I am when I’m stressed.
Just like parenting, or athletics, leading people takes being in our best mental, emotional and physical health. While it’s difficult to control all the stress that happens in our lives, we can do our best to manage ourselves through it.
These five things help me alleviate stress and help me stay focused and more patient so I’m able to lead effectively:
1.  Awareness of the stress. This can be difficult at times because I’ve learned to stuff it down and keep going. In the last year, in particular, I’ve been working on awareness, especially in my body. Waking up in the night and not getting back to sleep easily; tightness in neck, shoulders, back, and hips. Lack of focus and memory.

2.  Meditate in the morning and at night. When I wake in the middle of the night and cannot get back to sleep, I listen to a guided meditation. My favorites are Deepak Chopra, Kris Carr and FMTV has some really great stuff. One night I did this for almost 3 hours because I couldn’t sleep. Even though I was awake, I relaxed and I felt much more renewed than when I lie there awake thinking for 3 hours.

3.  Move. Stretch. Swim. Walk. Dance. Especially first thing in the morning I find that I sleep better and am less stressed. 5  minutes every hour helps me destress and stay more positive as well.

4.  Breathe. I set my intention the night before, in the morning and throughout the day. It’s so important to shift our own thoughts and beliefs so our actions align. A friend recently sent me this saying: Breath in possibilities and breath out expectations. Our breathing can tell us a lot about our stress. The more shallow the more stressed. Taking time throughout the day to breathe in slowly, hold it, breathe out slowly and hold it helps me level set and gets important oxygen flowing.

5.  Great music, sunshine and laughter with friends and family. Take time to let loose, have fun, laugh and enjoy the people you love.

And there’s one more thing I do when the stress is something I can’t seem to get control of:
6.  I get a massage, go to the chiropractor, get acupuncture and/or get energy work to shift the stress I’m holding in my body.

When we consider the fact that everyone is coming into work with their own issues and stressors, it’s that much more important to manage our own. In doing so, we can be the best leaders we can be, not only for ourselves but for those we are empowering to get results.

On October 4 at 2pm EST, we’re hosting a free live webinar on How Managers Can Intentionally Lead People Through Change. Getting people from point A to point B is what managing people is all about. And like we wrote about in this blog post, sometimes that means managing yourself! We’d love for you to join us. And because we know how valuable your time is, just for attending, you’ll receive a free Managing Change Checklist you can use with your team.

Register here: 
I want to learn how managers can intentionally lead people through change.

​What do you do to take care of yourself so that you can be at your best?  Share it in the comments!


by Laurie Sudbrink on September 19th, 2017

As George unfolded his story, I could definitely relate. George was getting strong resistance from a couple of people. It seemed ridiculous to him because the project made perfect sense. Why couldn’t they see it and just get on board?

George is a mid-level IT Director in a large company. He’s responsible for a very important project that will impact the entire organization. He has been working with the executive team and an outside consultant for the past six months. They’ve done all the due diligence. They’ve selected the right software. How could people not trust him to make the best decision? George was stuck on “Why couldn’t they see it and just get on board?”  

​It’s one thing to embrace change for yourself - it’s quite another to get everyone else to buy in!

When we’re faced with a change, the initial reaction, whether we’re aware of it or not, is typically to think “what’s in it for me.”  This isn’t necessarily negative - it’s actually quite normal. We want to understand the “why” behind the change and how it impacts us.

In some cases, if we’ve had too much change at once, our threshold for change may be about to break. That’s when people skip right over the “what’s in it for me” and go immediately to resisting the change.

And then there’s the possibility that egos are in play and because people weren’t involved in the decision, and the change feels like it was thrust upon them, they can’t even see the project for what it really is.

While there are other reasons for resistance to change, most boil down to the lack of acceptance from an emotional perspective. The biggest mistake managers make when implementing change is being so focused on the quality of the change initiative that they forget about the people side.

​The question becomes, then, how do we get our people to embrace change?

George was completely immersed in the project much earlier than anyone else even knew about it. There was no doubt to him and the executive team that they had selected the best solution. The quality of the change initiative was not the issue. George, the executive team, and the consultant neglected to consider the change process.

They didn’t think about the time it might take for others to understand and embrace it.
They didn’t consider the other changes people might be going through, at work and in their personal lives. They didn’t respect the interpersonal dynamics of relationships and egos. Just imagine how much more efficiently and effectively this project could have been implemented!

We'll be wrapping up this series with a FREE webinar on October 4th, 2017 at 2pm: How Managers Can Intentionally Lead People Through Change. There will be time for a live FAQ at the end - come prepared!

And stay tuned next week for further discussion on managing change.



by Laurie Sudbrink on September 12th, 2017

​Have you noticed the amount of change seems to be compounding? The only way to sustain the change we’re attempting to make, and to save time and money in the long run, is to intentionally lead people through that change.

​We need to carve out time, attention and resources to prevent the fallout from people resisting change.

10 tips to get started:
  1. Take a good look at all the major change that is happening in your organization.  How many new projects or products, IT system changes, reorganizations, new employees, etc.
  2. Do you have a clear vision for each major change initiative?  Are you helping people understand it and get engaged around it?
  3. Proactively provide as much information as possible.
  4. Respect that people progress from the current state to the future state differently.
  5. Understand DiSC styles and how they impact your change initiatives.
  6. Knowing and caring about each person will help you be aware if they have a lot of personal change happening that might be compounding their amount of transition. Divorces, marriages, moves, babies, breakups, family member issues, hurricanes and other natural disasters… these all add to the change threshold.
  7. Be realistic about the time it will take to make change happen.
  8. Be mindful of your desired culture and don’t sacrifice it for short term gains.
  9. Measure people’s engagement levels. The method you use will depend on your company size.
  10. Provide training and development in change management, leadership, emotional intelligence, and effective meetings.
It’s true, the only thing that’s constant is change. Yet we seem to spend the least amount of time on intentionally managing and leading change. Many managers are not truly respecting the change process, whether they’re unaware, impatient or unrealistic.

I’d love to hear your management challenges with getting people to embrace change. Which step is most difficult (1-Awareness; 2-Desire; 3-Knowledge; 4-Action; 5-Perseverance) from The Five Steps of Change?  (If you aren’t using this model yet, you can access it in Chapter 6 of Leading With GRIT, available in Kindle and hard copy).

Join us October 4th, 2017 at 2pm for a FREE webinar on How Managers Can Intentionally Lead People Through Change!

Stay tuned next week for more discussion on managing change!



by Laurie Sudbrink on September 5th, 2017

​​If you want to increase employee engagement levels at your company, the smartest place to focus is on emotional intelligence.

​Emotional intelligence, or EQ, has a direct and positive impact on employee engagement.

In the last 10 years, employee engagement levels have remained static, even though companies throw millions of dollars at this issue.

Why? Because they’re working on making the environment more fun, spending lots of money on things like free food and slides and bean bag chairs, rather than working on the obvious and most impactful issue of emotional intelligence.

Having strong emotional intelligence is the key to success for leaders. It builds trust and a sense of genuine connection and caring. This results in loyalty and higher output.

Join us today, September 6th, for a FREE webinar and learn more about emotional intelligence and how it applies to your own leadership practices.

Learn how optimism and perseverance (aka GRIT) have a direct impact on your teams:
  • Avoid politics and power struggles
  • Connect and relate better to your co-workers
  • Develop loyalty and increase productivity
Leaders with a high EQ are happier in their work and home relationships AND are more likely to be promoted!

Is there a situation you find yourself neck deep in?

Save your spot today and join live to participate in our Q&A after the presentation.



by Laurie Sudbrink on August 30th, 2017

If you’re looking to move up the management ladder, there’s one area that you absolutely have to master.

Emotional intelligence.

We’ve been writing about it for the last few weeks, and I’m hosting a live webinar next Wednesday on the topic. (Register here!) Wondering what all the buzz is about? It starts with your brain and your heart.

Our brains are amazing. Without conscious thought, our brain circuitry is processing emotions and it almost automatically impacts our actions. We’re not even aware of this happening - How are my feelings affecting myself and others and the behavior I choose in this moment?

Our hearts play a big role as well. Recent research by HeartMath has uncovered that our heart really does communicate chemically to our bodies: “In short, we found that the pattern of the heart’s activity was a valid physiological indicator of emotional experience…(p20)”   “It is important to emphasize, however, that the heart’s rhythmic beating patterns not only reflect the individual’s emotional state, but they also play a direct role in determining emotional experience.” (p38)

If we’re not mindful of this, we can end up reacting too emotionally. With awareness, we have more freedom in controlling our reactions by blending emotions with rational thought.
But that can be easier said than done, as we’ve all experienced ‘losing it’ in reaction to something someone says or does.

Like we saw with Jeff last week, we can be so consumed with our own emotional state that we don’t even consider someone else’s emotions and how we are affecting them.

Once we become more aware and practice processing our emotions, we can genuinely focus on helping others.

We should always keep in mind that it’s not our responsibility or in our control to change other people. But especially in a leadership role, we do have a responsibility to positively influence, build confidence and self-esteem, and help shape thoughts and beliefs of the people we are leading.

​In relationships, whether it’s a boss/employee, a husband/wife, friends, siblings, parent/child - emotional intelligence plays a critical role.

It’s how we feel about that other person. Is there give and take? (Check out Adam Grant’s book, Give and Take!). Is there trust? Compassion? Is it genuine, or manipulative? Of course, not all relationships are going to be improved. Some need to be abandoned, because they are abusive.

If it’s a relationship you’ve decided is worth improving, focusing on emotional intelligence is the best place to start.

Begin by thinking of someone you admire who has good interpersonal skills and relates really well to others. The Dalai Lama pops into my mind! He is so humble yet has such a huge impact. He’s not judgmental nor egotistical. He’s not self-serving. I also recall a manager I had who listened really well and helped me to see how my emotions were affecting my judgment at times. I felt like he truly cared about me and he wasn’t doing it just to help himself (although I’m sure it did)!

Think about how you might interact with this person differently in order to better connect, relate and communicate.

The lack of emotional intelligence has been found to be one of the biggest deterrents to a manager’s success and her opportunity to be promoted. Join us next Wednesday, September 6 at 2pm EST to discover more about emotional intelligence and how we can improve relationships and success, on the job and at home!


by Laurie Sudbrink on August 22nd, 2017

Jeff shared his frustration about one of his supervisors in a recent coaching session. He has 6 supervisors that report to him, and Veronica constantly tests his patience. When I asked what Veronica was feeling, Jeff immediately responded: “how would I know what she’s feeling?”

Some of us don’t naturally think about other people’s emotional states. In fact, it can be hard enough to be aware of your own feelings.

While we shouldn’t assume that we know what someone else is feeling, it is important to be aware of their emotional state, and it’s imperative to effective leadership (take a look at this previous article with 9 Practical Reasons Why Managers Need Emotional Intelligence). It starts with knowing ourselves and knowing why emotional intelligence is important.

Consider these 4 parts that make up emotional intelligence:
  1. Self-awareness (and motivation)
  2. Self management
  3. Social awareness
  4. Relationship management

Last week we shared daily practices we can put in place that help us with self-management. This is the second piece to emotional intelligence and a necessary step before leaders can be effective with their teams.

Social awareness is all about connecting with others by being aware of their emotions.

You might be wondering, how did Jeff make out? Jeff realized rather quickly that he hadn’t even thought about Veronica’s feelings because he was consumed with being frustrated with her. After only a couple of weeks working on some self-management techniques, Jeff began practicing these techniques for being aware of other people’s emotional states:
  1. Slow down and think about the other person.
  2. When things aren’t going well, take personal responsibility.
  3. Set the expectation that you’ll be checking in with how they are doing from time to time.
  4. Practice watching non-verbals, listening to tone, pitch and volume, and checking in. For Jeff and Veronica, Jeff practiced saying “You ok with this?” or “How are you feeling about this?”
  5. Listen, Acknowledge and Follow up (you can remember this easily by using the acronym LAF with your staff).
  6. Be available.
  7. Have a system for providing feedback.

Is there anything you do to practice social awareness? Share it here so everyone can benefit!



​How Emotional Intelligence Impacts Leadership
In this free 20-minute webinar, Laurie Sudbrink explains how leaders can improve their emotional intelligence (EQ)! Do you have questions for Laurie? She'll answer questions LIVE at the end.
As always, Laurie has some special offers saved just for webinar attendees. Interested?

Lead with GRIT Workshop
Lead with GRIT Workshop March 2018
Forbes Coaches Council Member
Forbes Coaches Council Member