Wishing you the 7 C’s

To enjoy ”being” good in all your “doing” well over the next year, the team at BIG hopes your holiday stocking bulges at the seams with these 7 C gifts!

Character…You walk the talk for being good and doing well. Your ethics and integrity are above reproach because you’re authentic, honest, transparent and have a moral center. You radiate positive energy and determination. You’re self-disciplined. You treat those with and those without power the same. You invite the elephant in the room to dance. Continue reading


Sparking a leadership revolution

A new book, The Character-Based Leader: Instigating a Leadership Revolution… One Person at a Time was written by 21 members of the Lead Change Group: a virtual community of authors, business owners, thought leaders, and academics who share a passion for leadership.

Character-based leaders lead from the power of who they are, rather than from their position of authority or designated job title. People who lead with character don’t wait for others to make something right. When they see a need, they move to close the gap. The book combines current leadership thought with personal stories, providing compelling messages, tools and insights for those seeking to enrich their own leadership style.

6 thoughts on sparking a character based leadership revolution Continue reading


Conflict, character and calm

Jane is guest blogging over at Lead Change Group today!

You’d been angling to get assigned to the special project team at work for a long time. Finally your dream came true. What you weren’t expecting, however, was discovering the team facilitator rubbed you the wrong way, big-time.

Maybe it’s a case of opinions and values being worlds apart. Perhaps there’s open hostility or a personality clash. Possibly there’s…

 continue reading

Poster credit: Keep Calm and Carry On




Thrown any dead cats lately?

If it weren’t so sad, it would be funny in a sick kind of way. I’ve been wrangling with the local post office for two months over a book. I have no doubt the book was delivered somewhere; it just wasn’t delivered to me.

In my first chat with the local pooh bah, Mrs. W. promised to immediately check into the matter and call me the following day. Of course, she didn’t call. When I called her a week later, she was shocked to learn that no one in her department had contacted me with an answer. She’s been similarly shocked three more times. Continue reading


Character, Credit and Leadership Credibility

Jane is guest posting over at the Lead Change blog today (where you’ll regularly find lots of good insights)!

Don’t you smile and feel good when accolades come your way? It’s incredibly gratifying to have your work be publicly acknowledged and praised. But what happens when you don’t deserve all the applause? When that “I” you used is really a “we?”

A small group of us had labored for months on a project to improve morale, performance and slowdown turnover in a particular facility. This assignment had been layered on top of already full task lists, yet it was a labor of love for most of the leadership project team. Who can resist the lure of freedom to create whatever is needed to mend something so tattered and broken?

Several months into the project, improvements in metrics first trickled in, then surged. Employees were smiling again. Recruiters were less frenzied. The project team was – as they say in corporate America – cautiously optimistic that our mix of solutions had generated the right alchemy for a turnaround.

Then came the company management meeting. The day when “I” slammed into “we.”

In his opening remarks, the president showered rave reviews on a woman from the project team, highlighting all her great efforts in turning around a troubled facility. He read the email she had sent to him. The email was full of “I” phrases: I discovered, I researched, I thought, I did, I, I, I. There was no mention of her other four team members. (Bad on the prez for not doing more research.)

Could this be you? Have you tooted your horn yet forgotten the orchestra that accompanied you?

Credit-Taking Rules for the Road

■Using “I” is appropriate when you’ve single-handedly done the work and the end result is stupendously good, not-so-good or just plain stinks.

■Remember that you’re not alone. First there were six, now four-and-a-half degrees of separation between us in a world becoming ever more connected. You just never know when you’re going to bump into and/or need that someone you once threw under the bus.

■Consider always having to work alone. No one wants to partner up with or even help a glory-grabber. What’s the point in signing on to be invisible?

■You don’t want to write a bad story about yourself. It doesn’t get any more powerful than word-of-mouth praise…or condemnation. You’re in the driver’s seat as to what people will say about you.

■Someday the “gotcha’s” will get you. When you least expect it, your boss or some other pooh-bah will ask you – in a very public venue – for details of “your” terrific work. That’s when your career path hits a dead-end, and you won’t hear the applause the orchestra gets for playing it’s about time.

Taking and sharing credit: it’s your choice, your story, your character and you’re in control.







Use Your Gifts

This inspiring guest post is from Heather Stubbs who puts her work and life experience as a stage and concert performer to good use today as a speaker and presentation skills trainer. Here Heather describes some recent work she has done with disabled young women…what a joyful story of hope and helping!

Most people perform everyday tasks with barely a second thought. For people living with an intellectual disability, tasks such as cleaning, shopping, cooking and using a public transportation system are serious challenges. Community Living is an organization that teaches people with intellectual disabilities to meet these challenges, helping them integrate into the larger community and achieve a level of independence.

The Peterborough, Ontario, branch of Community Living plans to raise its profile and educate the public about its work. Knowing that good speaking skills are vital for getting a message across, the administrators engaged me to help prepare their “Ambassadors” for the upcoming presentations. I will spend an hour and a half with each of two very different groups over four Thursdays. The speakers will include not only the members of Community Living Peterborough’s Ambassadors (staff and Members), but also the self-advocate leaders of the “Young Women’s Group.” These are women, mostly in their twenties, with varying degrees and types of intellectual disabilities. I fell in love with them from the first moment!

Several outstanding qualities showed immediately in everyone in the group. Without exception, every woman was utterly herself. Some are shy, some are outgoing, but, unlike people with greater intellectual capacity, who sometimes try to project an image of how they want to be seen, these women are not trying to be anything but who they genuinely are. How refreshing to know that the person you are talking to is the one who’s really there! It’s lovely to watch how consistently good natured and supportive of one another these special women are. They know they all face the same challenges, and they understand the value of encouragement. Would that we all had such understanding!

Our first session centred on standing with good posture and looking people in the eye. Making direct eye contact is noticeably difficult for most people with intellectual disabilities. We worked in two groups of four, and each participant met eyes with one other member of her group and said, “Hello, my name is So-and-so.” With no input from me, the women expanded their statements to include telling something they liked. Graduating from the small groups to the full group, we did some pretending. “What would your face and body look like if you felt really sure of yourself speaking to the group? Would you smile?” Most of the women discovered they could stand tall in front of the group, smile and say their name and something they liked.

This was new territory for these people. Even though they had never done anything like this before, they were willing to expand their vision of what they were capable of. Most of them were able to gather their courage and explore the new skill of speaking to a group. Please bear in mind that some of these women have difficulty forming words at all!

For me, focusing on giving enjoyment to the audience instead of getting their approval was a huge factor in eliminating the fear of being onstage. For my second session with the Women’s Group, I wanted to go further in building their self-confidence, so I got them doing role play. The idea of giving to an audience was a bit too abstract at first, so they worked in pairs, pretending to give each other an actual gift. I emphasized that when they speak to an audience what they give is their friendliness.

The women have a tremendous sense of fun, and there was a good deal of laughing and horsing around during this session. The fun worked its magic, though. In the first session, two women were so shy they could not say their name in front of the whole group, although these were all friends they knew well. Even with encouragement, they simply would not do it. This time, one of them stood up, said her name, and said that she spoke for Community Living and the Status of Women Canada, and that Community Living helped her meet everyday challenges. The other needed the support of a friend standing beside her, but she did speak to the whole group. Not only that, but both of them enjoyed the experience so much, they each did it two more times, faces beaming, and speaking more firmly and clearly each time.

Truly, these are miracles! I feel honoured to have been present for them. We have two more sessions to go. I’m enjoying working with both groups, but it’s the members of the “Women’s Group” who fill me with joy. How thrilling it is to see their willingness to stretch themselves and explore new experiences! Their courage and openness stand as inspiration to those of us blessed with full capacities. Let us, like them, use fully whatever gifts we have been given.



7 Leadership Gifts

To fulfill the promise of using your head to manage and your heart to lead, may your holiday stocking bulge at the seams with these seven gifts!

Connection. Connect with your purpose and passions, then work them into your daily living in doses large or small. Take and make the time to connect with others.

Communicate. Engage in two-way dialogue, share freely what you know and actively listen with your head and heart to what others have to say.

Capability. Dare yourself to stretch the limits of your potential and to inspire those around you to do the same.

Celebrate. Smile, laugh, have fun – it feels good and is good for you and those around you!

Courage. Take a stand for what’s good and what’s right, even if doing so is unpopular.

Character. Choose to be a person of integrity, never afraid to be found out. Show care and compassion for all.

Commitment. Dedicate yourself to finding connection, communicating, reaching for your potential, celebrating, and being courageous, sincere, caring and authentic!




It’s all about the numbers, silly goose

My bad for getting behind in responding to my Twitter follow back messages, yet what an enlightening experience that turned out to be.

A number of people who had followed me on Twitter had unfollowed me - and a gazillion others - by the time I reached their Twitter home page to follow them. Their follower and following ratios were quite lopsided. They were following a small handful of people (normally in the two-digit range), yet had numbers in the hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of people who were following them.

Hmmm,  how interesting.

While I wonder whether or not they care enough to be interested, here’s the story their actions tell me.

  • Others are simply a means to achieve my ends. I’ll fake some interest in you by following you but all I really want is you following me to boost my numbers.
  • Don’t expect any reciprocity from me ‘cuz it’s all about me. I’m not gonna follow you, yet I know you’ll be watching your Twitter stream to see what I have to say.
  • Superficial appearances are important. My follower/following numbers tell my elite story. What else is there to say?
  • Who wants real connection anyway? It’s messy. Takes time. Might require an adult conversation from time-to-time.

I know I’m climbing the ladder of inference here, drawing conclusions that are based on my perception of reality. If you’re one of those folks I’m talking about here, do enlighten me! I’d love to know the reasons behind all the work you do to build a following and then drop them.

Lead BIG tip: be mindful of the stories your actions create in the minds and hearts of those around you. And, if you’ve created a story as I have, be mindful it’s your story: you wrote it based on your perception and view of point which might be correct…or dead wrong.


Weekly Fav Leadership Reading

Some interesting leadership reading that caught our eye this past week…please enjoy!

Empowering Women by Investing in Education (The Glass Hammer)

The Foundation for Social Change and the UN Office for Partnerships kicked off the second annual Global Conference for Social Change with a Women and Girls Education Summit. This post provides an overview of several programs across the world for educating and empowering females. Good stuff.

Six Extras that Build Power and Leadership (Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business Review blog)

Too often we think about power as being negative. Power is simply the capacity to bring about change. It is access to resources combined with the authority to decide to what end those resources will be used. It is only in how one chooses to use power that it becomes positive or negative. In this insightful piece, Kanter presents six building blocks for what the Get Your BIG Team calls win-win power: being a good colleague, connecting people, being a giver, framing issues, commitment and diplomacy.

Creating a Leadership Movement (Mike Myatt, N2Growth)

Systems tend to perpetuate themselves. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes it’s not. With the Wall Street sit-ins opposing corporate greed occurring, the times are telling us that business practices and leadership models need to change. Here Mike presents a well-thought out argument for changing leadership, saying “It’s not too difficult to make the case that leadership has devolved rather than evolved. If you pay even casual attention to the media and world events, it would appear those serving a personal agenda greatly outnumber those serving something greater than themselves.”

Creativity and Leadership Perceptions (Research Paper)

Danger, Will Robinson: there’s some serious academic-speak going on here. However, these research findings are fascinating! What’s explored here is the complex relationship between creativity and leadership. A not-so-surprising finding: that negative connotations and concerns result in organizations bypassing creative types for leaders who demonstrate a proclivity to maintain the status quo. (Perhaps another reason why Mike’s leadership movement and the character-based leadership revolution advocated by the Lead Change group are so necessary (and this group is even writing a book about it). Guess it’s no secret how the Get Your BIG On thinks!

The Truth About What It Takes to Be Successful — and Happy (Jeff Haden, BNET)

“No one has a secret success formula that applies to everyone. Success, both in business and in life, completely depends on how you define it – and on the tradeoffs you are willing not just to accept but also embrace as you pursue your definition of success. Why? You can have a lot — but you can’t have everything.”

Encouraging-you-to-fly quote of the week: “There will be a few times in your life when all your instincts will tell you to do something, something that defies logic, upsets your plans, and may seem crazy to others. When that happens, you do it. Listen to your instincts and ignore everything else. Ignore logic, ignore the odds, ignore the complications, and just go for it.” ~Judith McNaught


Dreams, magic and women supporting women

How Far by Robin Norgren

When people feel supported…magic happens. There’s newfound confidence. Opportunities burst out where obstacles had existed before. Dreams take practical forms and begin coming true.

And to make all this happen, sometimes all you need is for someone to believe in you and your dream.

Through her Walker Phenomenal Spirit Award, Doretha Walker is doing just that - believing in people, helping them make their dream come true - and supporting other women as well.

Doretha’s story about why and how she started this award is an inspiring lead BIG and give BIG message.

I am Doretha, and the Walker Phenomenal Spirit award is my dream. The fund was born because I wanted to provide a source of money for women to fulfill their dreams. At the time, I was contemplating going back to school and could not find a place to get grant money that did not require me to fit into a box. I was not unemployed, on welfare, abused, homeless, gay, a single parent, or any of the other labels that generally apply in giving money to women. When I first conceptualized this award, I did not have any money to create a fund; but when I received a bonus at work, suddenly I did it. It is as simple as that.

Also, after thinking of the legacies left behind by Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King, I wondered what my legacy would be. I decided to build it while I was alive.

I was not exactly sure what this award should look like and was even more unsure if people would accept it and support it. When I heard Oprah say that it was our duty to give back and to stop living our lives small, I knew I had to do it. I could not let my dream sit in my heart and fester. I had no excuse not to do it this time.

The poem by Langston Hughes, A Dream Deferred, sums it up nicely:

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore-And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over-like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

No dream should ever expire due to being unfilled. No dream should ever be deferred indefinitely. Dreams are what enable our souls to fly. This award is my dream and I hope to make other women’s dreams come true for many years to come.

The Walker Phenomenal Spirit Award offers a $1,000 one-time grant to a woman aged 35 years and older to help fund a project, activity or event that fulfills a heartfelt desire.