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The Magic of Mastery

Ryan Rodgers (l) and Jamie Dawon (r) of Aspire Homes The science of transformation is rooted in discovering for yourself what you are deeply committed to and being willing to examine deeply held beliefs that shape who you wound up being. A participant in one of our...

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Being Right vs. Taking a Stand

…I struggle with being right (a position being against something) about guns vs. taking a stand (a declaration being for something). My stand is that human life is sacred and worth caring for. My liking target practice and my stand do not seem inconsistent…

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Listening Generously

I was committed to listening generously going into the meeting with the Senior Human Resources team for a large retail company. They were so glad to see us and had their chairs arranged just so, crescent-shaped so everyone could see. I was...

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Speaking to the Listening

I am in the research and gathering information process for several home projects. There are some things I wish I could do – take up the carpet in the living room and bedroom and replace it with hardwoods that would match the wood that is already in parts of the...

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Write Today

The following story appears in Nancy Dorrier's and Paul Fetters' new book, Stan Went Fishing. The 45 stories in the book, paired with Paul's photography, stem from a writing practice Nancy and Dorrier Underwood share with executives to deal with their goals and...

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The Power to Declare

Declarations come from nothing, from a future that hasn’t happened yet, It’s a future that doesn’t exist until there is someone to say it. The declaration is the source of what’s next and inspires the actions to be taken that match it. At Thanksgiving, I declared to...

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Walking in the morning

I walked today. My habit, when weather and work permits, is to walk outside. Out the door at 6:00 AM. I walk on the sidewalk, winding like a ribbon through my neighborhood, and pass each neighbor's house at a brisk pace. Watching out for cracks and uneven places in...

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Is Optimism Enough?

Leaders often confuse optimism with creating. The other day, a client asked me, “What’s the difference between the two? People tell me I am an optimist.” I said something like this: Optimism is a state of mind, a way of being that some people...

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Give and Take in Communication

I’m inquiring into a culture of give-and-take, especially as it relates to giving and receiving feedback. At Dorrier Underwood, we intentionally generate a culture of feedback out of a commitment to our big goals. After all, high performance teams need feedback in...

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Managing Time and the Power of Choice

When I was a young mother, I learned that if my son wanted attention, I could try to ignore him and spend the next hour with him talking, pulling on me, crying, and getting into things he shouldn’t, or I could give him my undivided attention for five or 10 minutes,...

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Teenage grandson: leadership guru, by Nancy Dorrier

My grandson, Phillip, 16, and I just returned from a vacation in California.      He was the last of the grandchildren to go on “a Nana trip,” and we planned the trip with the redwoods in mind. I was happy he hadn't aged out of spending time with his grandmother.    ...

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Existence, by Jane Smith

It was Saturday, my typical run-errands day. My list included groceries, a bolt, and a tube of caulk that Phil needed to move the towel holder, which is turning into quite a project. And, oh yeah, a new hair brush from Sally’s Beauty Supply, not on the list but...

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Bats in the Bedroom, by Laura Neff

It was about 11:00 p.m. when I heard my husband Robert hollar, “WOAH!!!” from the bedroom. I could tell this was a hollar that signaled, “HELP NEEDED, NOW,” versus an exclamation produced by seeing something cool on his iPad. Sure enough, as I leapt down the stairs...

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How Transformation Lasts, by Nancy Dorrier

Making transformation last or letting it go and then starting over An opening for love was present in Congress after the shooting at the baseball field where Republican Congress people and staff were practicing for their game against the Democrats.  At the Capitol and...

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Transparency, by Carol Orndorff

I often hear from people on the leadership team of one client that their boss (call him “Fred”) is not very “transparent” with them.  Lack of transparency is easy to complain about when people feel like they don’t know what’s going on or they’re concerned that they...

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Raising the Bar, by Ginny Brien

Having a big vision is a mixed blessing. For one thing, the bigger the vision, the more likely Integrity is on its way out. Growing up, I heard a lot about "doing business on a handshake," which meant honorable people kept their word to each other even without a...

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Caring as a Business Strategy, by Nancy Dorrier

Doug came out in the hall from the lunch buffet at the fancy hotel where we were leading a program and said, “I have to tell you something.”  He had tears in his eyes.  He had been tearing up already while leading this program for “Acme Manufacturing” executives. ...

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How to Move Things Forward, by Doug McVadon

Forwarding the Action means empowering others to succinctly address the matter at hand so the next thing can happen. Fundamentally, forwarding the action often means knowing when to shut up. That is a “big ask” of the average human being! I was going over a Vision...

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