Saturday, September 27, 2008

News & Events

Harvard Business School Alumni Association of Boston

Career Track Event
Deciphering the Language of Leadership

Leaders and managers in business often talk about "leadership" and "management" as though they are the same. We have been asked to lead a discussion exploring the distinctions between the two and the overlaps.

Date: Monday, October 27th, 2008
Time: 6:00 P.M.
Place: HBS Hawes 101

Click here for additional information and to register for the event.


Interview with Jim Blasingame on
The Small Business Advocate Show

How many brains do you have? Listen to our recent interview on the The Small Business Advocate Show with Jim Blasingame discussing what experts describe as our five brains and how to know when to listen to the right one at the right time.


Creating WE Institute - Workplace Negativity

The Center for Sustainable Leadership together with The Creating WE Institute are offering a 4-hour workshop titled Workplace Negativity - Performance Inhibitor or Business Accelerator?

Workplace negativity has been blamed for everything from stagnate productivity to declining morale. Management gurus routinely offer advice on how to "overcome" negativity and several bestselling books have been published on the topic. But what if negativity was not necessarily a bad thing? What if, instead of being something to be overcome, negativity could be harnessed as a source of heightened productivity and breakthrough innovation? Learn how companies like Capital One, IBM and Motorola are using this new understanding of negativity to enhance leadership effectiveness and improve teamwork.

In this 4-hour program, you will:
  • Learn why traditional approaches to managing negativity "leave money on the table"
  • Learn about a radical new understanding regarding the nature of negativity and how, when properly interpreted, negative emotions can become a source of penetrating insight, heartfelt compassion and breakthrough creativity
  • Learn a 5-step method for transforming negative emotions into prudent action and apply this method to an emotionally-charged situation at work
  • Leave with a Workbook and Job Aid to support you in applying these principles in your day-to-day interactions.
Click here to learn more about this workshop.

Judith E. Glaser is the Author of two best selling business books:

Creating WE: Change I-Thinking to We-Thinking & Build a Healthy Thriving Organization - winner of the Bronze Award in the Leadership Category of the 2008 Axiom Business Book Awards, and The DNA of Leadership; and the DVD and Workshop titled The Leadership Secret of Gregory Goose

Contact: 212-307-4386



Vital Conversations - Deciphering the Language of Leadership

The brain is like a black box, which has always been a mystery to human beings since the beginning of time. Every generation tests the brain with different forms of "drugs" and "chemicals" to try to see what the impact will be, making us better from illness, giving us highs, helping us see the world in a positive way if we are depressed; all forms of substances that test the brain's capacity to be changed. When we impact the brain chemically, we impact our state of "being" - we impact what it means to be a human being.

Language evolved only 6,000 years ago. Its function is yet to be fully understood. My premise is that language is the "new and natural medicine" with the capacity to trigger states of being as powerful as do drugs. That is why we are seeing a rebirth in psychiatric counseling in the treatment of psychoses and a big movement in the business world toward Appreciative Inquiry and Positive Psychology.

Historically, the medical model has been about fixing what is broken. However if we adopt this new thesis about the power of language, and we focus on the facilitative role language has in evolving the brain's capacity to expand perspectives, and create a "feel good" experience, then leaders can shape the workplace in profound ways.

Business Case for Mindfulness

We now have a business reason for understanding the power of this new linguistic framework for leaders. In the past decade, neuroscientists have corroborated that there are two types of genes. Those that are fixed - called template genes, and those that are impacted by the environment - called transcription genes.

We now know that children who are raised by parents who understand how to positively shape a child's environment with appreciative and value based conversations, will shape the child to become more optimistic about life, and more confident about themselves. Those children who grow up in punitive and judgmental environments will tend to be less positive about themselves, and more judgmental about others - passing along the "gene" for judgment to others with whom they interact.

We have a strong belief now that many of the "illnesses" we see today can be reduced by focusing on the "feel" of the conversational environment that we create both for our children and for our employees. To take this a step further, this suggests that mentally healthy people will have a strengthened immune system, affording them increased protection against disease. Studies of those who grew up in families where they were loved, where they learned to discover their strengths, and where they were challenged in positive ways, tend to be very healthy of mind, body and spirit. They will lead healthier lives.

Truth Be Told

What is exciting is that the field of genetics is proving that this premise of the power of language is actually true. There are many, many scientists working on deepening our understanding of genetics and neurobiological changes and they apply to human development and human behavior. One scientist, Dr. David Haig from Harvard University has spent 30 years studying life in the womb and the birthing process. He has shown that genes are turned on and off in utero and that they continue to be turned on and off during life based on the impact of conversations and the environment at large. These genetic changes, some permanent and some temporal, have a profound impact on our well-being.

Bruce Lipton, Ph.D. believes that every cell in our body is part of our body-language system talking continuously to ensure we are in a state of optimum health. Language is an environment in the same way that food is an environment, or unhealthy water is an environment, or toxic waste is an environment. Language impacts our state of being, and through that impacts our evolution as human beings.

We are Social Beings

No human being can function in a healthy way alone. When we are alone our brains shrivel up and we die earlier. Feral children, children experiencing no human contact, are unable to function in society simply because their FOXp2 gene is not activated during their development.

We need each other to grow and develop - and that development continues from our birth to our death. The notion of independence is false. We are interdependent and thrive through conversation. Conversations drive our social evolution - and raise all of our intelligences. Conversations shape our future.

Creating WE Institute's focus is to help leaders understand the power of language to trigger health and create positive growth. In genetic terms, it's to create positive epigenetic changes. What is pivotal to our work is that through language we connect with others and how we connect has a huge impact on us all, not just on a personal level, but on the future of the world.

Judith E. Glaser is the Author of two best selling business books:

Creating WE: Change I-Thinking to We-Thinking & Build a Healthy Thriving Organization - winner of the Bronze Award in the Leadership Category of the 2008 Axiom Business Book Awards, and The DNA of Leadership; and the DVD and Workshop titled The Leadership Secret of Gregory Goose

Contact: 212-307-4386



Monday, September 8, 2008

Three Vital Principles for Creating WE

Learning to manage the three critical dynamics for creating a WE-centric workplace is the key to success. First, you learn to manage your own reactions; second, you put your ego behind you; and third, you focus on the challenges facing the organization and build healthy, mutually beneficial relationships with others. Your ability to lead will increase exponentially, and you will enhance your ability to create inspiring environments where people work together for mutual gain, growth, and understanding.


Rather than finding yourself tangled up in conversations about blame and fear and frustrations about what is not happening at work, you establish a positive context for transformation by engaging people in ongoing and iterative conversations about what has, can, and will work to create a transformation. In doing so, you focus on what needs to happen to address the challenges facing the organization and, with that focus and commitment, you develop into the best company possible, as a WE. Rather than trying to fix the past, you focus on creating the future with others. It is an experience at once exhilarating, engaging, and profound.

When colleagues work in concert, they learn from each other and are more apt to develop the higher-level skills and wisdom needed to meet the organization's performance goals. When we connect, we learn how to turn breakdowns into breakthroughs-we become high performing. When leaders turn to others for advice, suggestions, feedback, and points of view, and value them, they create a community of colleagues that look forward to coming to work every day.

Dissolve Cultural Boundaries

Even though our communication technologies enable us to dissolve boundaries of space and time and interconnect us in exciting new ways, we are still faced with the same old human challenge: to dissolve cultural and psychological boundaries among colleagues to build trust and to access the powerful people-resources we bring into our businesses.

WE-centric leaders know how to lift people out of fear, frustration, and anger, which cause people to disengage from each other. They know how to create a culture that enables colleagues to be connected, engaged, and involved in creating and living the values and vision of the company.

WE-centric leaders know that people become reactive when they feel disconnected. They understand that when people feel out of the loop, they project their anxiety onto others, create more fear, and blame others for what is missing in their lives. When we are rejected, we reject back and disengage.

Healthy Generative Culture

I-Centric Universe - I am the center of the universe - creates:
  • Territoriality and conflict
  • Lack of sensitivity
  • Indirect communication
WE-Centric Universe - WE are the center of the universe - creates:
  • Creativity and growth
  • Sensitivity and mutual support
  • Feedback rich, vital conversations

Hardwiring the DNA of Organizational Life

As a leader, you have the ability to shape and craft the experiences people have at work by understanding how to reduce fear and inner focus and create environments that facilitate enhanced sensitivity, mutual support, vital communication, and engagement in the business strategy.

When we live in toxic fear-based environments, we can become unhealthy in mind and spirit. We can react like cancer cells-like cells that stop communicating with the immune system that is designed to protect the whole body, cells that start to grow all over because they have lost their sensitivity to other cells, and cells that create roots and lock themselves in isolation, drawing nourishment from the body and weakening it. The parallel is striking.

When we live in fear, we withdraw, build our Ladder of Conclusions (make assumptions and interpretations based on fear), imagine others are out to get us, and react accordingly. We stop turning to others for help, and we stop taking feedback and advice from others. What happens at the cellular level happens at the organizational level.

Universal Fears and Universal Desires

Universal Fears:
  • Being excluded . . . so we create "old-boy networks" and exclude others first.
  • Being rejected . . . so we learn how to reject first.
  • Being judged unfairly . . . so we criticize and blame others.
  • Failing . . . so we avoid taking risks and making mistakes.
  • Losing power . . . so we intimidate others to get power.
  • Feeling stupid . . . so we either don't speak up or speak too much.
  • Looking bad in front of others . . . so we save face.
Universal Desires:
  • Be included on a winning team.
  • Be appreciated and valued.
  • Be successful.
  • Learn, grow, and explore.
  • Be creative and contribute.
  • Have a leadership voice.
  • Have meaning and purpose.
When we perceive the world through a lens of fear, our egos drive us into habit patterns of protection and, without realizing it, we learn over time to incorporate defensive behavior patterns into our daily routines. Too often, we turn away from others when we are coming from protective behaviors, rather than turning to others for help in making vital changes in our lives.

Judith E. Glaser is the Author of two best selling business books:

Creating WE: Change I-Thinking to We-Thinking & Build a Healthy Thriving Organization - winner of the Bronze Award in the Leadership Category of the 2008 Axiom Business Book Awards, and The DNA of Leadership; and the DVD and Workshop titled The Leadership Secret of Gregory Goose

Contact: 212-307-4386



Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Vital Instincts at Work

We are human beings - we need to grow and develop throughout our lifetime to reach our potential. Each of us has a unique set of DNA that unfolds through our interactions with others to shape our destiny.

Vital Conversations

When we join an organization we believe we have been chosen among other candidates because we are "the best fit for the job." And when we join, we create expectations and personal visions of success that we bring to work everyday. Through these beliefs we interact with our colleagues, customers, bosses and friends as we seek to fulfill our dreams and aspirations. We seek recognition and satisfaction at work.

When we achieve our goals and aspirations, we feel good - even great at work. When our goals and aspirations are not met, we can become disenchanted. We live between highs and lows - winning and loosing - feeling valued and undervalued. Sometimes sure, and other times not sure we are the right track for success.

When we join a company, join a team, participate on a project, or accept a new assignment, it is usually because we want to make a contribution. Human beings actually desire to be a part of creating something bigger than they can create alone. It's an instinct, a Vital Instinct.

When our expectations have not been met, some people simply move on, while others remain, sometimes feeling stuck, blocked, frustrated or even angry. Those who have the courage to leave get a chance to begin again; for those who stay, life at work can be a devastating experience. As my colleague Barbara Annis says, "Many people quit and stay."

Those who quit and stay, bring less spirit and commitment to work. Others launch into an inner dialogue of self-destructive beliefs that ultimately lead back to, "the problem must be you, not me." Others lose themselves in less productive pursuits-gossiping, beating up on people, telling tales, or bringing personal stuff to work.

Mirror Images

We uncovered a pattern we call Mirror Images. There are seven primary need-drivers that make people feel great about work - and in fact - feel great anywhere. When these drivers are satisfied in a new job, we are fully satisfied at work. These needs are not always conscious like a ready check list, yet they are encoded into our DNA as something that we seek out when making our career and job choices.

Needs for:
  • Being Included
  • Being Appreciated
  • Being Successful
  • Bring Trusted
  • Being Smart
  • Being Powerful
  • Being with Purpose
These seven needs explain why we take a job and also explain why we leave. They explain what gives us satisfaction, why we feel we want to contribute. When they are met we feel we are achieving our goals and ambitions, contributing creatively, playing a leadership role, and finding work purposeful and meaningful. When these needs are not met, we feel we are missing something important - our reason for being - and our ability to feel good at work dramatically diminishes.

Heroes and Heroines

While we are reaching for the stars, innovating and pioneering, we may, without awareness, step on people's toes, exclude those who need including, and limit the possibility for the advancement and growth of others without fully realizing we are doing so. We become territorial without realizing it and cause each other to mover into "I-centric" protective behavior. We are human beings and when threat to our ego occurs we move to protect ourselves from harm.

In relationships, when we believe we're being taken advantage of, we fight back. So the challenge to every leader is to understand what human nature is all about, and how to create environments that reduce threat and alienation, and provide the context for collaboration, sharing and support. These nutrients feed the human brain's evolution from I to WE, and enable us to co-create with others realizing our most awesome potential.

Try This: Become mindful of what triggers you and others at work. Ask yourself these questions everyday:
  • What causes us to feel stressful work?
  • What causes us to feel conflict with others?
  • What challenges are we facing and how are we dealing with them - alone, or with others?
  • What causes us to become emotional, reactive, angry, aggressive or desiring retreat?
  • And how can we transform our breakdowns into break throughs?

 Judith E. Glaser is the Author of two best selling business books:

Creating WE: Change I-Thinking to We-Thinking & Build a Healthy Thriving Organization - winner of the Bronze Award in the Leadership Category of the 2008 Axiom Business Book Awards, and The DNA of Leadership; and the DVD and Workshop titled The Leadership Secret of Gregory Goose

Contact: 212-307-4386


Upcoming Speaking Engagements

Below are details on two forums I will be participating in this Fall. I hope to meet you there.

New York Women's Forum - Second Colloquium

We have been invited to participate as part of a panel of thought leaders in science, business, education and the media at the New York Women's Forum Second Colloquium: Visions for the Future: What Will It Mean to Be Human?

Date: September 11, 2008
Time: 3:30 - 6:30 pm - Panel Discussions
6:30 - 7:30 pm - Reception Place: The Graduate Center/CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street
Proshansky Auditorium, Concourse Level
RSVP: Rita B. Crotty, Executive Director
New York Women's Forum
212-447-9107 or

Click here for additional details and to register.

Alternatively, copy the address below and paste in your browser:


The Future of Business & Strategy Summit

Developing the capacity as a leader to anticipate future trends and manage change is the key skill to your survival in business.

Date: Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Time: 8:00 am - 3:30 pm
Place: Asia Society
725 Park Avenue
(at 70th Street )
New York, NY 10021
Phone: 212-546-4625

Early Registration Fee: $749
After September 16th: $849

Click here for additional details and to register.

Enter code "Glaser" at registration to receive a 10% discount!

Alternatively, copy the address below and paste in your browser: