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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Celebrate Collaborator Differences


Celebrate Collaborator Differences

Collaboration can be combustible!
There is a magical thing that happens when you pair yourself with others, but how to find the right teammates? It's tempting to want to work with someone similar to you, but why not look for someone with a different skill set than yours?

I have been working with two amazing collaborators in different companies this month – both hold internal roles and both have skills that are very different from mine. One of them comes from a Lean background so she is super tactical and routinized. Who knew that would be a perfect match for my ideation and strategy skills? The other is a natural innovator, but doesn’t often get the opportunity to unleash her creative genius. 
Both of these collaborations required a little fancy footwork to get our dance steps in sync, but clarifying our team norms (how we wanted to work together) helped make it possible for us to end up dancing with the stars ;-)
Here are some norms that helped us:
1.  Mutual Respect
When you start from a place of respect and curiosity about your teammates’ skill set, you reap the benefits from it. Ask your partner to tell you about a perfect past collaboration and how it helped them to fine tune their dynamic delivery for winning results.
2.  Clear Communication
Sometimes you can brainstorm a bazillion ideas, but if they aren’t fully understood they get easily rejected, or dismissed too early. That can lead to one or the other of you feeling undervalued and creates a kind of unnecessary tension between you. By upping your curiosity and asking a few more questions, you can find some common ground and then begin to choose which of the ideas will work for your desired outcomes.
3.  Make it Fun
The best collaborations are fun. So why not start with fun as your main objective. Bring in a few props to kick it off, ask people to do things they wouldn’t normally do, and celebrate small wins with coffee runs, sun breaks and weird toys for rewards.
Verbally appreciate your collaborators – this helps keep it fun.
We spend such an amazing amount of time working with other people. How we work with them is completely up to how we form those relationship. This week, why not focus on appreciating the differences in the people around you and leveraging each of your strengths to make the experience more amazing? Celebrate the Creative Geniuses around you!

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Take a Second Look

First impressions can be way off - everything is worth a second look ;)
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Change Genie

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Ever find yourself reaching for a cup of coffee when #CreativeGeniusYOU starts to falter?

We love coffee so much that we created the perfect #CreativeGenius blend. This dark roast combination will put some activator essentials in your day!
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Thursday, March 2, 2017

How to Make a New Friend

How to make a new friend
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How to make a new Friend

This week I had to get picked up at the airport for an event that was about two hours away. I admit I was a little worried about being in a car with a driver I didn’t know for two hours – would he be talkative? Would she be quiet?  It would be rush hour when we left the airport, was this person going to be bugged by the traffic? I caught myself going wacky in my head and took that ball of worries and threw them out the window. Then I decided in advance I was about to have the most amazing experience.
Then of course I did.

My driver Tony wasn’t ruffled by the traffic, and I found out he and I shared a passion for cooking and food. We swapped recipes and favorite meals, then we moved on to share secret vacation spots and stories of jobs we’d had. And we got down into some nitty gritty stuff too – wonderment over human kindness or lack thereof. He confessed he had Googled me before picking me up and watched my Draw Your Future video, then he softly shared his dream for his own life.
 It was lovely. AND it was the shortest two-hour drive I have ever experienced. That’s how amazing the world is and all it asked of me was to be open. To rid myself of my worry or preconceived notions and just show up - fully present.
In exchange I got a contact for vacation homes in a beach city I’d never been to. I learned a new way to make lasagna that I am definitely going to try.  And I got to hear someone’s story – how he had immigrated to the USA from Brazil and started off working as a dishwasher, desperately trying to learn English. Not too long afterwards, he had worked his way into knowing anything and everything about the kitchen and became the main support for the restaurant’s  head chef.
When we parted company he looked me right in the eyes and said, “It’s been a pleasure.” I agreed.
While I may never see Tony again, in our “chance” (hah!) meeting, I made a new friend. We may or may not connect later on Facebook or swap food photos on Instagram, but we connected on our drive together and I know I left that experience better for it. 
This week, look for opportunities in your interactions, be present and be open to making a new friend of your own. Your conversation might not go very deep (in fact, it really doesn't need to be!), but you too may enjoy that feeling of the world getting that little bit smaller.  Go out, look for the good and let yourself be surprised by who and what you find out there, CreativeGeniusYOU.

Tip of the Week

 

Stick your toes in the water

If you want to #makechange, you gotta put your toes in the water and get your feet wet (Even if it's uncomfortable!)
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#CreativeGenius Fuel

Ever find yourself reaching for a cup of coffee when #CreativeGeniusYOU starts to falter?

We love coffee so much that we created the perfect #CreativeGenius blend. This dark roast combination will put some activator essentials in your day!
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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Stay Involved: The Next 100 Days

Stay Involved: The Next 100 Days
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What to Do in the Next 100 Days
So many people showed up to march on January 21stin cities around the world! (3.3 million in the US alone!)

In our city, and in many other, it was the biggest march in history. Wow. What a powerful day. I admit I recorded the televised section of the march in DC so I could go back and watch it again and again. (Especially the Alicia Keys performance!)

WE ARE ON FIRE.
It was a great reminder to all of us of how powerful our voice can be. When we are at work, or in relationship, or in our communities, we sometimes forget that our voice matters.
I was talking to one of my collaborators at a big company here in PDX yesterday. She’s internal and I’m coming in to help with a change initiative. We discussed what happens to people in massive organizations like this, how easy it is to stop hearing and sharing the voice of your creative genius. She said, “Their ideas get beat down so much that they aren’t willing to put it out there anymore.”  Embittered, they shut down and just do the work.
Fear is a great catalyst for silence. Governments and employers have all kinds of tactics to help you lose your voice.

A recent article in Fast Company looked into whether it was better to try to stand out or fit in.  Research shows that success comes with a little but of both - being a part of the culture, but not getting lost in that network. Being connected but remaining strong and innovative are the best tactics.

Women are relators. We are wired to work together, but we know this strategy doesn’t always create movement for ourselves. Sometimes we need to stand apart. We need to stand up for our ideas or leave some of our work environments.  The number of small businesses by women and particularly women of color is growing at an astounding rate. These women are not afraid to be independent, but also understand the importance of being connected. It's a fine line, but if anyone can tread it, we can.

Let's be a part of one another's cultures, whether they be female, LGTB, Muslim, African American or other. Let's hold one another up because we are #strongertogether. Let's not get swayed by rhetoric, fear, and misinformation. Let's not allow our ideas to be beaten down. Let's remain curious, critical and innovative. Let's stand apart but remain open, cooperative and kind.
Whether your work happens in the office, the great outdoors, or with your babes at home, your voice matters. So don’t let it stop with the march.

The organizers of the women's march are still organizing. They've come up with a list of 10 actions for the next 100 days. Check out the link, and get involved. Make it fun! Some friends of mine are hosting parties for each action. See what you can do to get people working together in your community.
The world needs Creative Genius You, so stay involved and I’ll be standing right beside you!

P.S If you're finding this week to be too draining, check out this awesome article on some self-care actions you can take to avoid burnout.

Tip of the Week

Get involved

If ever there was a time to get active, it's now! Get out there, make your voice heard, and stand in solidarity with your brothers and sisters who need your support.

#CreativeGenius Fuel

Ever find yourself reaching for a cup of coffee when #CreativeGeniusYOU starts to falter?

We love coffee so much that we teamed up with coffee expert, Dawn Pinaud to create the perfect #CreativeGenius blend.
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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Charging Your Connections

Charging Your Connections

I read an interesting study recently about a factor that contribute to our sense of belonging: people.

I know, I know. You're like "Duh." And yes, we've known for a long time that our social circles influence our happiness and sense of belonging massively, but this wasn't talking about friends and family. It wasn't even talking about colleagues and teammates.

It was talking about that fleeting "Hello" when you pass a distant neighbor, and that "Have a nice day" at your local store. It was talking about the vacation stories you swap with your hairdresser, or the smile you give your regular barista. Turns out, all those seemingly superficial relationships can be really important. Together, they contribute to our shared sense of community, and a strong sense of belonging. Barista Joan won't come in the middle of the night and help you out of a pickle, but her smile of recognition in the mornings is a comfortable reminder that you belong here.

So this Holiday Season, don't take those superficial relationships for granted. Give your barista an extra tip, help your grocer pack the bags, give that distant neighbor an extra big smile and a wave. Charge those connections and set your intention on building your community in 2017.

You belong here, Patti.

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Find Your Match

I found my match this week. Now go find yours!

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