Jumping Lettuce

As a neophyte gardener, I wanted to try lettuce this summer.  Bought my 6 small butter lettuces; planted, watered and loved them.

They grew so fast and I didn’t attend to them like I should and several of them “jumped”.  I guess it’s the lettuce version of going to seed. A fellow gardener told me they would not taste as good once they jump.  She was right.

So… to add to my Lessons from my Garden from last year…

  • We have good intentions and usually start new projects with lots of enthusiasm, care and good tools.

  • Because of the strong start, progress happens quickly...maybe more than we anticipated.

  • We get distracted by other projects and don’t pay as close attention.

  • By the time we get back to the project with our full attention, it’s still active but turned out differently than we planned.

I think this jumping lettuce is a good metaphor for both professional and personal projects.  With something brand new, we can not take our eyes off the ball no matter how good it may look on the outside.  This happens a lot with new employees. They show so much promise but are they “growing” the way you need them to?  Staying close, being watchful and letting them know you are there is what leads to a great start and proper maturation.

Want support on how to have make sure employees get off to a great start?  Let’s talk.

amari@mosaicconsultingcoach.com

408-466-0604

 

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What happens on the Vernal Equinox?

From the Farmer’s Almanac…always a wise source…
 
The vernal equinox signals new beginnings and nature’s renewal in the Northern Hemisphere. Many cultures celebrate spring festivals, like EasterPassover and Norooz.  Here are some ideas for you to take full advantage of the equinox:
 
Observe nature around you!

  • Worms begin to emerge from the earth. In fact, the March Full Moon is called “The Full Worm Moon” for this reason.
  • Notice the arc of the Sun across the sky as it shifts toward the north. Birds are migrating northward, along with the path of the Sun.
  • Speaking of birds, did you know that the increasing sunlight is what triggers birds to sing? Cool, eh? Enjoy our Bird Songs page.
  • Trees, shrubs, and flowers are sensitive to temperature and day-length, too! Since ancient days, people have used them as indicators of when the weather is right for planting. For example: Blooming crocus are your cue to plant radishesparsnips, and spinachSee more of nature’s signs.
  • Of course, the longer days bring warmer weather! Both we and the animals around us strip off our clothes and heavy coats!  
  • Ready, set, plant! March is time to start gardens and sow seeds in many regions. See the Best Planting Dates according to your local frost dates.  

Some additional ideas to make the most of this powerful time from the Chopra Center.

Want support on how to have difficult conversations that you may not want to have but need to do?  Let’s talk. amari@mosaicconsultingcoach.com (408) 466-0604

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Is it time for a big change?

You know the adage – change is hard. I have definitely found that to be true with my organizational as well as individual clients, except when you have clarity and commitment to the change. The clarity part is particularly important because we sometimes move forward with the change with only a partial idea of what it takes or means. Like when you know it’s time to change jobs, but you have not done the internal reflection work to know what is it exactly you want in a new position. You just know it’s too toxic to stay any longer.

Here are some reflection questions you may want to ask yourself:

1) What have I learned about what is important to me in my current job?
2) What are non-negotiables for the new position?
3) How do I want to feel when I am fully authentic in my new role?

My coaching practice is grounded in helping with clarity and then commitment. I would be honored to help you find that clarity with a special time-limited coaching program consisting of three hours of coaching, practical exercises and a nature-based final session. Go to the Coaching for Life and Organizational transitions section of the website for more details.

 Want information about what’s my next step? Let’s talk. amari@mosaicconsultingcoach.com (408) 466-0604

Want information about what’s my next step? Let’s talk. amari@mosaicconsultingcoach.com or     (408) 466- 0604

Leading with Intent - Board Source Report

So much of my organizational work involves Boards. They are the SUPER volunteers of any nonprofit and can add so much to the overall performance and impact. And yet – do they?
Board Source – a leader in Board Governance and best practices, released a new report recently outlining some very important trends. I wanted to share a few insights and the link to the full report.

But first a little humor… and actually an important question to ask always.

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Insight #1:

Boards are no more diverse than they were two years ago, and current recruitment priorities indicate this is unlikely to change.

Despite reporting high levels of dissatisfaction with current board demographics — particularly racial and ethnic diversity — boards are not prioritizing demographics in their recruitment practices. Nearly a fifth of all chief executives report they are not prioritizing demographics in their board recruitment strategy, despite being dissatisfied with their board’s racial and ethnic diversity.

My perspective ~ I am really surprised at this result and, yet I know when I meet with Board members, they say they are committed to diversity but struggle with how to find diverse members.

I also have had the personal experience of being the only Latina on a Board and wondered if I was there just as a token. The Board had good intentions but once a member, neither staff or Board members really sought out my unique perspective hence, I left after one term.

So…how are you throwing the net out into the community to get qualified, committed diverse new Board members? What plans do you have to retain the members you have worked so hard to recruit?

Insight #2:

Chief executives and board chairs agree that the board has an impact on organizational performance, and that two board characteristics matter most: the board’s understanding of its
roles and responsibilities, and the board’s ability to work as a collaborative team toward shared goals.

For both chief executives and board chairs, these two characteristics strongly correlate to their perceptions of the board’s overall impact on organizational performance. While there is no evidence that this relationship is causal, it does document a perceived connection between board performance and organizational performance, and may point to high-leverage opportunities for board development and growth.

My perspective ~ The Board is a team just like the staff is a team. Many Boards do not see themselves this way but more like a collection of talented advocates. So how do help your Board behave more like a team?

One of the findings that I totally agree with is creating some social time between Board members outside of just regular meetings or retreats. They need to get to know each other as people. Even starting 30 minutes before the official start time and having some snacks creates an
informality that is important for team cohesion. 

I encourage whether you are a board member or staff to read this important update to Board best practices. Here is the link again.

Want information on how to have an open and productive Board conversation about diversity and/or go into more depth on the Leading with Intent report? Let’s talk: (408) 466- 0604 or amari@mosaicconsultingcoach.com

Alaska – Native teachings for the Future

This blog is delayed a week because I wanted to share some pictures from our trip to Alaska.  

Whenever I go somewhere new I try to open myself to the wisdom and messages of the local nature, residents and serendipity moments.  I believe that the Universe is trying to communicate to us all the time but we are too busy in our mad dash world to get the messages.  When we travel, the normal distractions (like laundry, meetings, traffic) are not there and we can be more open and receptive.

So, what did Alaska have to teach me that may be helpful to you?

We are all connected.  We are all one.  No matter where we live.  This became so evident when we visited Sitka, Alaska – the home of the Tlingit Native peoples.  They have been here for thousands of years and for a few decades were scattered when the Russians invaded.

My indigenous roots come from the Mapuche tribe of Chile.  As I visited special centers and museums, I saw pictures of Tlingit that looked just like my ancestors.  What was more common is our love and commitment to family and caring for the earth. Does your family heritage and lineage have a commitment to family and the earth? I bet it does.

So how does believing that we are all one have an impact on the way we live our lives and lead our organizations?  Here are few thoughts for you.  

*If I stand strong, so can you.  If you stand peacefully, so can I.  We can learn from each other easily if we release the illusions of separateness.

*Seeing poverty in our communities can stir a desire to get involved and see what solutions we can contribute.  A hungry child is a hungry child ~ no matter the circumstances or location.

*Yes – organizations compete AND they can collaborate if they stay focused on the ultimate vision.  Working together for the common good.

The Tlingit people were kind, friendly and great dancers – just like me. : )

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Want information on how to access more authenticity for your organization or your life?  Let’s talk. amari@mosaicconsultingcoach.com 408-466-0604

The Pooh Way ~ Lessons from the Tao of Pooh

I was so excited to run across this book that I had loved reading over 30 years ago. I was just getting into my spiritual mo-jo and seeing how ancient principles could be applied to current day dilemmas. Here is a great link for all things Pooh and a nice summary of the book.

Here’s one of my favorite passages from the Tao of Pooh ~

“Just how do you do it, Pooh?”
“Do what"? asked Pooh.
“Become so Effortless.”
“I don’t do much of anything,” he said.
“But all those things of yours get done.”
“They just sort of happen,” he said.

One might think that this laissez-faire approach is not conducive to a productive life. But in the Tao one doesn’t force or interfere with things, but lets them work in their own way, to produce results naturally. Then whatever needs to be done is done.

Could going with the flow really be a key to happiness?

I think it’s worth a try. It takes really understanding the true nature of things whether it’s an individual, a family or an organization. It’s releasing need to put a square peg in a round role. Round pegs are
built for round holes. Square pegs for square holes. We know this. Be sure you know the shape that will work best to solve the problem.

I loved these posters that share some of the Pooh wisdom. I hope you enjoy them.

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Want information on how to use Tao principles for your organization or your life? Let’s talk. amari@mosaicconsultingcoach.com (408) 466- 0604

25 Things Awesome Board Members Do

I love sharing ideas and information from others, especially if there is a bit of humor and whimsy. The Nonprofit: Awesomely Fun website (www.nonprofitaf.com) is full of practical important information yet delivered lightly.

I really like a recent blog on what 25 things awesome board members do because I run across these issues with every client I have. Truly. 

It’s a quick read and lots of good ideas to discuss at your next Board meeting. Maybe turn it into a quick assessment and have all board members take as well as senior staff. See how close or away you are. Need help ~ happy to assist.

Here are a few ideas my clients wish would happen and a link to get the rest.

Promptly respond to emails. Oh please, oh please respond quickly to emails and phone calls. Awesome board members realize that sometimes we legally cannot move forward on stuff until there’s a board decision or an officer’s signature. They help us do our jobs by being accessible. Chasing down board members is one of the biggest frustrations we staff face, next to coworkers who leave dishes in the sink for days.

Fill their table at the gala. Galas are stressful enough. Awesome board members know that and work to fill their tables early. The Great Unicorn of Equity and Social Justice blesses all board members who fill their tables with minimum cajoling, haranguing, threats, and bribes.

Stay in their lane and focus on the big important stuff. Awesome board members understand the differences between their roles and the roles of the staff, and they stick to their roles. Unless the board is a working board, they do their board stuff and avoid micromanaging staff on operations and programs. They use their brain and energy on strategies and policies, not on ridiculous small things. They do not care why the toilet paper line item increased from $15 this month to $22, or argue with staff about what font to use on promotional materials.

Here is the link for the remaining 22.

Have you forgotten the lessons from an important mentor?

I wasn’t a super young professional but my time with Olga was my first non-profit Executive Director position of an organization that worked with students of color who wanted to get into the business world.  I had spent 10+ in corporate life and felt I had an inside perspective that I could share with the students.

But I would soon learn that understanding what the students cared and were worried about would be more important than any tips I had on how to navigate corporate life.  “It’s not about you mija…it’s about them”.

She also taught me the politics of the nonprofit sector and how always working under-resourced was/is the way of life in this sector.

I was used to having all sorts of resources when I worked for the corporate consulting firm or the bank. Setting priorities on where to spend limited monies was challenging. She guided me by asking…where will you have the most impact with the students?  “It’s not about you mija…it’s about them.”

At the event, I gave Olga a big heartfelt hug and felt the gratitude in my tears.  I will not lose connection with her as she is on her way to retirement and changing the world like she always has. Que bueno! (How wonderful)

Is there a forgotten mentor that you need to reach out to and say – thank you.  I bet they would be delighted to hear from you and it’s important to acknowledge and appreciate those whose shoulders we have stood on to get us where we are now.

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Are you courageous enough to own your treasures?

Tips for Creative Living from Elizabeth Gilbert and me ~

Three key concepts intrigued me when reading this book and in the context of helping my consulting and coaching clients.  The first was understanding the process of inspiration.  How do ideas come to us?  In the shower, walking in nature, maybe meditation. One thing I know ~ when I try to be creative, my mind finds all the ways to say ~ that won’t work.