Good Intentions

One of the key things we learn as coaches is the Socratic Method. Stay in a questioning mode and let people come to their own answers.

Most humans want to make a difference and have an impact on others. Sometimes when we want to be in service, it is tempting to tell others what they need to do. And, yet, the impact of giving advice can often have the exact opposite result.

The thing is, we all hear through our own filter. And sometimes, what we intend and what is heard are often not the same.

I have learned, and continue to learn, the hidden benefit of questioning, i.e., our filter becomes visible.

Telling is passive; I can choose to take it in or not; I can react or not.

On the other hand, when I am asked a question, the engagement is active. I am a participant, and I have the opportunity to pause and consider rather than react and respond.

No surprise that Socrates had the influence he did as a man of few words.

The Ever Elusive Search for Work-Life Balance

For many of us, the holy grail of success is achieving “Work-Life- Balance.” It is a topic of frequent discussion in my coaching sessions and is often first on the list when we start working together.

And yet, despite all the discussions, books, and articles, many of us feel this “balance” eludes us. Perhaps, it is because we see it as an either/or – choosing between work and life to achieve balance?

What if, instead, we saw it, as James Michener did, becoming masters in the art of living.

“Masters in the art of living make little distinction
between their work and their play, their
labor and their leisure, their mind and their
body, their information, and their
recreation, their love, and their religion.
They hardly know which is which.
They simply pursue their vision of excellence at
whatever they do, leaving others to
decide whether they are working or playing.
To them, they are always doing both.”

Is It Time for Something New?

Our parents taught us, and we teach our children, the importance of sticking to something, the value of not giving up, and continuing to stay the course even in the face of adversity.

But what about the flip side? What about the importance of recognizing when it is time to find something new?

  • Time for the entrepreneur, who doesn’t have traction after five years, to try the next thing. And instead, she shows up every day to try, try try, but it is not fun, perhaps never was, and the results show it.
  • Time for the founder who created something special, had fun when it was small, and is no longer working in his genius to move on. Perhaps hire a president, possibly sell, maybe even shut down. And instead of moving on, he shows up every day to try, try, try; but it is no longer fun, and the results show it.
  • Time for the young professional manager to pause and think about what she really wants from her career. Perhaps, give up managing because it’s not what she likes or move from the safe corporate job to a smaller company where she can have more of an impact. Instead, she shows up every day to try, try, try; but it is increasingly hard to do. It’s no longer fun, and the morale of her team shows it.
  • Time for the mature professional manager to retire. He long ago lost interest in his work but has no idea what he would do with his time. So instead of figuring out what else may be on the horizon and meeting with a financial planner to understand his financial options, he shows up every day to try, try, try; but it’s no longer fun, and he knows life could be more full.

Is this you? Is it time for you to find something new?

Glory Days, Don’t Let Them Pass You By…

Thank you, Bruce Springsteen, for this quote. It seems today that the chorus of “glory days” conversation has increased. Perhaps it is because of Covid-19, or larger than that, a longing for the perceived pace of the past?

My response to this is, the glory days were only golden in retrospect. Every period has had its opportunities and challenges – it is only with hindsight that we see the value of a particular period in history.

Next time you find yourself longing for glory days, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is it specifically that appeals to me about the past period?
  • What feels missing in the present?
  • What can I create today to give me the same feeling?

It’s Tough To Be A Leader At A Time Like This

II received two wonderfully inspiring leadership notes last week, and I decided I couldn’t wait until Sunday to share them. Thank you, Joan and Ozzie, for reminding us of the responsibilities we have as leaders in difficult times and how hard it is.

From, Joan Davison, a member of my Vistage Peer Advisory Board:

17 Hard Things You Have To Do To Be A Great Leader

  1. You have to make the call you are afraid to make.
  2. You have to get up earlier than you want to.
  3. You have to give more than you get in return right away.
  4. You have to care more for others than they care about you.
  5. You have to feel unsure and insecure when playing it safe seems smarter.
  6. You have to lead when no one else is following you yet.
  7. You have to invest in yourself even though no one else is.
  8. You have to grind out the details when it is easier to shrug them off.
  9. You have to deliver results when making excuses is an option.
  10. You have to search for your own explanations even when you are told to accept the “facts”.
  11. You have to make mistakes and look like an idiot.
  12. You have to try and fail and try again.
  13. You have to run faster even though you are out of breath.
  14. You have to be kind to people who have been cruel to you.
  15. You have to meet deliveries that are unreasonable and deliver results that are unparalleled.
  16. You have to be accountable for your actions even when things go wrong.
  17. You have to keep moving towards where you want to be no matter what is in front of you.

Source: Unknown

From Ozzie Gontang, a fellow Vistage Chair.

  • Business models are material, and material things die. 
  • Business propositions are ideas, and ideas are eternal.
  • How a company does what it does will and should continually change. 
  • What the company represents to its customers, properly understood, can be relevant for ages.
  • As our lives shift, it is important that our mindset shifts along with it. 
  • As leaders, our responsibility is to provide hope, support, and clarity. 


  1. What am I grateful for today?
  2. What are my three areas of focus that are in my control?
  3. How am I communicating with my Employees, Customers, and Vendors?
  4. What expectations of “Normal” am I letting go of today? How will I conduct our business in a different environment?
  5. How am I practicing self -care to keep my cup full so I can support my family, organization, and community?
  6. How can I give back to help support others this time? How can I help those who cannot go out?
  7. How will I conduct our business in a different environment (shelter in place)? Office supplies? Banking? 
  8. How do we go about preparing for the eventual “ramp up?”
  9. What will we want this company to look like when we are back up and humming? 

Question 8 carves out a portion of the leader’s attention and focuses it on establishing a process early-on to start thinking about the future (vs. just wallowing in the current mess); and, 

Question 9 accepts that we will not likely, nor should we, look and act and be exactly what we were before the storm. We must turn our attention to (at least) these two future challenges and find a way for our firm(s) to learn from and take advantage of having our noses shoved into this unexpected learning process. If we don’t, no one in the enterprise will, and that will be the real long-term cost of coronavirus. 

The Meaning of Labor Day

When the first nationally recognized Labor Day was celebrated in 1894, the day consisted of a street parade sending up a message of “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” (in the words of the AFL). We have come a long way since then. Today most employers focus on offering opportunities and benefits to attract and retain talent; as a result, the need for unions has diminished and few remain.

Yet we still celebrate the day as a national holiday. Perhaps it is simply tradition or the acknowledgment of the end of summer. Or a reminder to celebrate how far we have come as a nation of leaders and followers, where two-way communication has become much more the norm than workplace “negotiations”.

So, as you enjoy your family barbecues, or however you celebrate the day, I encourage you to pause and ask yourself:

  • As a leader, what can I do tomorrow to let each member of my team know they are valued and are essential to our success?
  • As a follower, what I can do tomorrow to add additional value to the success of our company.

Let’s work together. You can learn more about my leadership coaching and peer advisory boards here.

Who we are

Who we are

Your peer group are people with similar dreams, goals and worldviews. They are people who will push you in exchange for being pushed, who will raise the bar and tell you the truth. They’re not in your business, but they’re in your shoes.

Finding a peer group and working with them, intentionally and on a regular schedule, might be the single biggest boost your career can experience.
spacer– Seth Godin


My Vistage groups bring together top executives and business leaders for high-value interactions that make a difference to your company and your career.

View the members of the Vistage private advisory boards I chair:



What we do

What we do

Through facilitated discussions, problems become perspectives. A definitive plan of action is determined. In subsequent meetings, progress is checked and accountability ensured.

Vistage International’s Private Advisory boards include more than 18,000 CEO, business owner and executive members worldwide.

Member companies are better run and grow their revenues, on average, at more than twice the percentage growth rate after joining Vistage.

Visit Vistage Online

Our impact

Our impact

Vistage-vs-Average-US-Company-2013VISTAGE WORKS

Over 30% of Elisa’s Vistage member companies doubled in size within two years of joining. Several are members of the Inc. 5000, Crain’s Fast 50, and Crain’s Largest Privately Held.

Since 1957, Vistage has been dedicated to improving business performance by fostering peer-to-peer interaction among business leaders.  Vistage member companies are better run and grow their revenues, on average, at more than twice the percentage growth rate after joining Vistage.




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