Brenda's Blog

All articles from the 'News and Press' Category

I don’t see the world falling apart…

“The world is falling apart!” someone told me recently. I respectfully disagreed, pointing out that I actually see us coming together:

  • Companies are donating resources to help create and deliver vital PPE and medical supplies to places that need it most.
  • People are proactively social distancing and staying home to do their part to prevent spreading this virus.
  • Families are spending more time together: indeed, some executive coaching clients tell me they are eating three meals a day with their children and spouse, for the first time in years.
  • Through posts on social media, people are spreading positive notes to lift spirits.

What other unifying actions are you seeing and experiencing? I’d love to hear!

COVID-19 challenge: How to lead remotely, maintain productivity, and avoid “social isolation”

Corporate clients across the world are working from home due to quarantine or as a part of their company’s Business Continuity Plans. Without the conveniences of a “real” office and having no in-person interactions with colleagues, working from home can present leadership challenges and take a hit on productivity. It can also leave you feeling a bit “isolated.”

Below are some actions Executive Coaching clients are taking to successfully lead organizations from remote locations.

I’d love to hear additional suggestions you have for this list. Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

  • Honor your regular work rhythm: Establish work hours at home as per your norm.
  • Clarify up front with key colleagues and team members how you will communicate while working remotely. Which medium works best based on what you are trying to accomplish? Phone, video, WhatsApp/texting, emails…?
  • If you do choose to email team members, send a few points in one note, rather than sending an email each time something comes to mind.
  • Avoid “complete” isolation—stay as connected as you can by liaising with at least two people per day via phone or video.
  • Designate a specific space in your living quarters where you will work.
  • Have open, honest conversations with household members to establish “new rules of the game,” asking their help to honor your workspace and allow you to have focus time while you are there.
  • Thank your family/household members at the end of each day for having given you that focus time and for respecting boundaries. (*If you want to learn more about the importance of thanking and acknowledging others, read fellow coaches Chester Elton’s and Adrian Gostick’s new book called Leading with Gratitude.)
  • To keep things personal, set up a rotating “virtual coffee meeting”: you and a colleague each grab a coffee in your respective locations, then get on a video call together. Rotate your virtual coffee buddies regularly, inviting one or two key team members per day. Make sure to talk about things outside of work, too.
  • Build a sense of “we’re in this together.” Take advantage of today’s great video chat capabilities (Zoom, Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp, etc.) and host a full-team meeting once every 2-3 days.
  • Ask team members to share photos of their at-home work environments, and provide tips and tricks to make each other’s home work spaces better. This helps to build bridges and improve engagement (and have a bit of fun) when everyone is working from different locations.

Exciting news to share!

Wow, February sure is off to an exciting start! Not only did I find out that I have been ranked in the Top 10 of two GlobalGurus’ lists—both for Coaching and for Branding—but I was also able to mark Palindrome day (02-02-2020) by turning in the final manuscript of my 11th book, The Forgotten Choice. (If February keeps this up, March will have a tough act to follow!) In all seriousness, a sincere and heartfelt THANK YOU to all of my blog buddies for your support – I am extremely grateful!

How well do YOU™ score on this inspiring leadership quiz?

I recently attending a showing of the hit musical Hamilton, in which there is a scene where the lead character (Alexander Hamilton), Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison are all in a private room, having a secret dinner meeting. Out of that meeting came the decision for the capital city of the United States to be situated on the Potomac River – clearly an important and historic moment.

The musical dramatizes the event with a song called “The Room Where It Happens” which highlights how important it was to have been in that room, since those leaders were the only three people who knew exactly what  occurred. This has spurred a new phrase used today: You must “be in the room” in order to be in the know.

In mid-November, I was myself fortunate enough to “be in the room where it happened” – a room of a different kind. I attended the Thinkers50 event in London, a biennial event which honors the best leadership and management thinkers in the world. I was honored and humbled to be recognized as a World Leader in Coaching, along with some of the best and brightest minds in this professional. It was truly an inspiring time.

At the Thinkers50 event speaking with New York Times bestselling author Subir Chowdhury

Even though I was in the room where it happened, I don’t want to keep anything I learned “secret!” I want to share with you my key learnings from the event, which I am doing, below. For fun, I have turned my key takeaways into a “quiz” of sorts – hopefully an engaging way for you to gain some potentially eye-opening information related to today’s leadership and management practices. Have fun!

How well do YOU™ score on this inspiring leadership quiz?

Here are some of my key takeaways from the Thinkers50 2019 event, in quiz form.  (Scroll to the bottom for answers.)

People Leadership

1. Only ____% of people make natural managers, according to Gallup.

A. 10%

B. 20%

C. 30%

D. 40%

2. What percentage of people in the UK say that they would accept less pay to get a new boss?

A. 23%

B. 30%

C. 48%

D. 54%

3. What do people want most on the job?

A. A friendly work environment

B. The ability to work independently

C. A good salary

D. A deep sense of purpose in their work

Organizational Transformation

4. What percentage of transformation intentions fail?

A. 25%

B. 40%

C. 65%

D. 70%

5. What is the single biggest obstacle to transformation?

A. Employees must embrace the change.

B. Leadership of the organization

C. Lack of expertise

D. The cost involved in transformation

6. Unless ______ transforms, the organization won’t transform.

A. The workforce

B. The culture

C. Top leadership

D. The hiring process

Senior Leadership Findings

7. The higher up in the organization you are, the more ____________ you are.

A. Unhappy and deluded

B. Stressed and deluded

C. Optimistically deluded

D. Overworked and deluded

8. Ask yourself as a senior leader: True or False? “My thinking has been challenged in the last five working days.” (If not, there is a likelihood that you are not creating an open enough environment for employees to raise up issues and allow change to take place.)

9. What is the “Superiority Illusion?”

A. When you believe you are superior to other employees

B. When you are promoted to lead an organization

C. When you think you are better at something than others think you are

D. When you believe you can outperform your colleagues

A few additional comments made / learnings gained from Thinkers50 that I feel are worth sharing: 

  • At work, organizations try to “fix” employees who are quiet. Instead, try fixing the system so that quiet employees are heard.
  • The act of speaking up is relational-you will speak up when you feel you have a relationship that supports speaking up.

From the CEO of Haier (Zhang Ruimin):

  • Shareholders cannot create value, only employees can. So put employees first – focus your leadership attention there.
  • Compliments about your product are in fact compliments about the “experience” of your product.
  • What is the best way to avoid losing your job to artificial intelligence? Be a good human being.

Answers to the Inspiring Leadership Quiz

1.A 2.C 3.D 4.D 5.A 6.C 7.C 8.(It depends on you, as a leader.) 9.C

A message of gratitude

Having lived overseas for the past 25 years, I believe that one of the greatest American exports is its Thanksgiving holiday. Gratitude is a universal language, so I enjoy seeing this tradition enjoyed all across the world. It’s a wonderful time to acknowledge friends, family, clients, and work colleagues. This Thanksgiving, I am particularly grateful to my husband, Daniel, for his ongoing support. (He joined me last week at the Thinkers50 gathering in London, where I received an award as a World Leader in Coaching).

I am happy to share that I received a Thinkers50 World Leader in Coaching award from Marshall Goldsmith

Yesterday, I am happy to share that I received a Thinkers50 World Leader in Coaching award from Marshall Goldsmith, for whom this award is named. I am honored to have spent a wonderful, thought-provoking day in London with fellow recipients as well as with the #mg100, sharing ideas around the future of coaching. A fantastic, inspiring opportunity to connect with so many great influencers within the coaching field.

May I ask for your vote?

May I ask for your vote? I’m excited to have been nominated again this year as both a Top 30 Global Coaching Guru and a Top 30 Global Branding Guru! A portion of the final ranking is determined by votes, so I would be incredibly grateful for yours. I appreciate your support! Here’s the voting process:

1) Visit https://globalgurus.org

2) In the menu at the top of the home page, click on “VOTE HERE.”

3) In the drop-down menu, you will see the various voting categories. Please select “COACHING.” [You can return and choose BRAND to vote a second time, if you would like – thank you in advance!]

4) Login via Facebook, Google, YouTube, or LinkedIn [this step is a requirement to make sure the voting stays honest].

5) Scroll down, find my photo and name, then click on the button next to my photo.

6) Scroll down further (near the bottom of the page), and select either Inspirational, Exceptional, Great, Very Good, or Good.

7) Once you have made your selection, click the “VOTE” button to confirm.

As I mentioned, the steps are the same to vote in the Brand category, except for step #3, select “BRAND” from the drop-down menu. Once again, I sincerely appreciate your support. Thank you again, and all the best!

Honored to be one of Thinkers50 World Leaders in Coaching!

I’m excited to share that I have been selected as one of the inaugural Thinkers50 World Leaders in Coaching! This award is named in honor of Marshall Goldsmith, to recognize his extensive contribution to the world of Executive Coaching.

This award will be celebrated in London at the bi-annual Thinkers50 gathering, which recognizes extraordinary management and business thinking.

The picture below was taken at a coaching conference a few years ago where Marshall and I were both keynote speakers. (It was so nice to be able to share with Marshall a copy of one of my books that he had endorsed.)

Are you doing enough of “this” to build your inspiring leadership brand?

This year marks 25 years since I moved overseas. It was 1994, and although I was still fairly young in my career, my employer Procter & Gamble (“P&G”) had asked me to move to Warsaw, Poland where my mission was to help establish and grow leadership brands for the company in the newly opened Central European region. The Berlin wall had fallen only a few years before, so all eyes were focused on that critical part of the world.

I had been warned that living in Central Europe back then was going to be challenging (for perspective, part of my expat package was flying to Frankfurt so that I could buy canned goods, clothes, etc.). But I had no idea of the difficulties of one particular aspect of living there: How problematic – and expensive – it would be to connect with others. A phone call to my family in the U.S. cost me $4.50 USD per minute, and there was no spontaneity to business calls – they had to be scheduled days in advance so that the line could be put through by an operator.

Fast forward to 2019 and, as a human race, we are more connected today than ever in the history of the world. We live on a truly hyper-linked planet and, thanks to modern technology, those connections actually cost very little, or even nothing at all.

So, we are connected, for sure… But are we really connecting? And what is the impact of that on your brand as a leader? More importantly, what can you do about it? That’s the subject we’ll explore in this blog post.

One additional point worth sharing on the topic of connecting:  Read below “A fascinating new way to connect with others at a much deeper level” for a surprising approach to relate to people. I only learned about this in the past 2+ years, and I’ve found it to be a true game-changer in terms of better understanding colleagues, bosses, direct reports, clients, and loved ones, too.  I hope you will find it as amazing and impactful as I have. 

Finally, I want to stay connected with you! In addition to remaining in touch via this newsletter, here are some ways we can connect via social media:

______________________________________________________________________________

Are you doing enough of “this” to build your inspiring leadership brand?

We are living in unprecedented times. We are more connected now than ever in the history of the world. In the last 20 years alone, our ability to link to people around the globe has exploded. 

  • Through the internet, we can text/chat, join groups, or email anyone in the world.
  • Cellphones allow us to talk to anybody anywhere, no matter where we are.
  • Social media allows us to stay completely up to date with what is happening with friends, family, college pals, and colleagues.
  • Not only can I stay in touch, but where I used to pay $4.50 USD per minute to make a phone call from Poland back to my native U.S., smartphones now make it simple and accessible to connect with anyone – even for free – and use video while I’m at it. That would have been unimaginable not all that long ago.

So, it really is miraculous how modern technology allows us to be connected, isn’t it? But, in the process of all this … how much are we really connecting?

I was shadowing a meeting at a client site a few months ago. Seated at the back of the conference room, I couldn’t help but notice that, when participants of the meeting showed up early, instead of using a few minutes to talk with their colleagues, everyone was checking emails on their phone or texting – no one spoke to each other directly. I see this in our personal lives, too. Recently while out at dinner, there was a family of four (mother, father, son and daughter) sitting at a table not too far away. The parents were both scrolling through their phones and the two children were playing games on their iPads. Not a word was being said to each other.

I’m not judging here – I’m simply observing – and honestly, I’ve found myself doing this on occasion, as well. (Maybe you, too?) As a result, when clients ask me for advice on how to build a more inspiring leadership brand for themselves, I encourage them to return to the fundamentals and focus on making authentic connections with others.

To bring this topic to light, I developed a series of videos sharing some powerful coaching tools to help YOU™ connect better and become a more inspiring leader – whether you are leading yourself or others. I’ll be adding more videos to this series over time but, for now, the first few videos cover the topics of:

A fascinating new way to connect with others at a much deeper level

There is one tool in particular that I share in this series that deserves a special shout-out. I only discovered this myself a little over two years ago, but it has helped me to build instant and more authentic connections. It’s surprising, unusual, yet incredibly powerful – and it’s written on your face.

To find out more, watch this video:

Click here to find out more about The Power of Face Reading

The rest of the story…

To cap off my experience of working in Poland, I ended up living there five years in total, and to say I gained a lot during that time would be a major understatement (I also met my husband there, a fellow American who was also working in Warsaw at that time.) But one of the key learnings I took away was the importance of staying connected – truly, genuinely, authentically connected. It’s a message that applies to our world today and that will likely continue to apply to our world in the future as well.

What will you do in the coming month to foster deeper connections? I look forward to hearing about it.

Why we’re so excited – a note from Brenda’s team

We are excited to share that Brenda Bence has once again been nominated as a Top 30 Global Coaching Guru and a Top 30 Global Brand Guru!

resolutions

Thanks to you, last year we were thrilled that Brenda was ranked in the Top 10 for both categories. This year, we would again be very grateful for your help in voting for Brenda (see below on how to do that).

As members of Brenda’s team, we know first-hand the amazing amount of care and hard work that she puts into everything she does, helping people all around the world grow as leaders.  We are very proud of Brenda, so we thought we would share just a few of the reasons why we would appreciate your vote:

  • After many years of leading billion-dollar global businesses as a Fortune 100 senior executive, Brenda then started her own company 16 years ago, which is now called Brenda Bence International.
  • Focused on helping companies and leaders achieve greater success through building strong brands for themselves, Brenda does this through executive coaching, keynote/motivational speaking, and delivering corporate learning programs all across the globe.
  • The proof is in the numbers! Brenda is trusted by dozens of the world’s most recognized companies, and she has a 97% customer repeat and referral rate.
  • Brenda’s clients refer to her as the “Executive Whisperer” for her down-to-earth, pragmatic ability to inspire long-lasting transformational change in her clients – all dished out with a high level of engagement and a good dose of humor.
  • Brenda is also the author of 10 award-winning books on leadership branding which have been sold into and translated for several countries around the world. Through her speaking, coaching, on-and off-line learning programs and books, she has impacted hundreds of thousands of leaders worldwide.

Those are just a few of the reasons that we think make Brenda a great choice for the Global Gurus list!  You can also read many of Brenda’s popular articles on her LinkedIn page and her Professional Facebook page.  You can also connect with Brenda there, to get a sense of her unique approach to leadership branding.

HOW TO VOTE – WE APPRECIATE YOUR HELP!

A portion of the final ranking by Global Gurus takes into account votes from Brenda’s clients, colleagues, and community. So, we would appreciate your support this year by visiting this website below and casting your vote for Brenda in both the Coaching and Branding categories!

Here’s How to Vote:

resolutions
  • Go to https://globalgurus.org
  • In the menu at the top of the home page, click on “VOTE HERE.”
  • You will then see the various voting categories in a drop-down menu. Select “COACHING.” [You can come back and choose BRANDING for a second vote, if you would like – thank you!]
  • Login via Facebook, Google, or LinkedIn [this step is required to keep the voting honest].
  • Scroll down to until you find my photo and name, then click on my photo.
  • Scroll down a bit more, and then select either Inspirational, Exceptional, Great, Very Good, or Good.
  • Once you have made your selection, click the blue “VOTE” button to confirm.

As mentioned above, the process is the same to vote in the Brand category, except at step #3, select “BRAND” from the drop-down menu.

Voting continues until December 30th, 2018. On behalf of Brenda and the rest of the Brenda Bence International team, we thank you again for your ongoing support!

Best regards,

Daniel Jackman, Director

Jagdish Kaur Gill

Karen Shively

Rachel Leslie

Swas Siripong

Tony Tyner

Eric Myhr