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Authors Posts by Shari Goldsmith

Shari Goldsmith

Columnist - After graduating from Ohio State University with a B.A. in Organizational Communications, Shari spent 10 years working in Business Operations with progressive responsibility. She was an integral part of the company’s growth from 2 to 50 store operations. After leaving this position, she worked in the fields of Education and Social Services, where she became the “go-to” person for change. Her problem-solving, leadership, and people skills enabled her to take an idea and develop it into a full-fledged program. Shari then decided to fulfill a life-long dream and received her Mental Health/Counseling Degree. In 2010, Shari created Shari Goldsmith Coaching, to support and empower professional women to define their goals, go after their dreams, and ultimately change their lives. A few years later, Shari created Workplace Resilience to give individuals and executive teams the tools to not only survive, but thrive in this fast changing marketplace. Shari is the current President of the local Ellevate Chapter, part of a global network of 34,000 professional women. Contact her at

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Our life coach columnist shares how a once healthy, flowering plant in front of her house died this year. See how this relates to many things in life and how to prevent it.

I planted three rosebushes in our front yard a couple years ago. They are right in front of the windows and have a direct view from the street. When they were first planted, I watered them daily and made sure to fertilize them so the bugs wouldn’t eat them. Last year, I got pretty lax and began to let things go. Cut to this year, where I didn’t pay much attention to the three rosebushes. However, I did notice that two were looking quite beautiful and were producing vibrant flowers.

You see, I assumed that the other one would just catch up to the beautiful one. I really didn’t spend much time thinking or worrying about it. I also didn’t spend any time watering, fertilizing or feeding them. It just seemed like too much work.

I just ignored it.

Three days ago, I was coming into the house from walking the dog. For the first time, I took a really good look at my rosebushes. The one in the middle was completely dead. There were no flowers and no leaves. It was completely, unequivocally, absolutely dead.

I went in the house shocked and thought about how that could have happened. Why didn’t I notice that there was an urgent problem with the bush? Couldn’t I see along the way that there was a problem? Why didn’t I water, feed and fertilize it while it still had a chance?

Sound familiar? You’ve probably seen this unfold in your own life at some point or another. Maybe you have a problem dealing with an employee at work or someone in your personal life and you see little signs of an issue here and there. You let things slide day after day because you don’t really want to deal with it. To be honest, you have better things to occupy your time and you believe that it’s not a priority. So you put it off and go on to the next task.

You do this because dealing with relationships can be uncomfortable. Having these types of conversations can be difficult. So you just ignore it and hope it will get better.

But guess what happens instead? Left unattended, the situation grows, expands and festers until the little issue becomes a full-blown serious problem. When you finally take a really close look, you see the reality. You wonder how you let it get to that point in the same way that I wondered how my rosebush went from growing and healthy to totally dead. It just felt like it happened overnight.

This is a hard lesson for you to learn. It takes energy and discipline to solve the little problems that crop up daily. Solving the problem might involve having an uncomfortable discussion with someone and that’s not a pleasurable experience. But hoping that it will go away just doesn’t work.

So you need to make a CHANGE in the way that you view the world. You need to recognize the tension or the uncomfortable feeling,when you have a situation that is just a bit off kilter. Deal with it NOW and don’t let yourself look the other way. Force yourself to confront the situation, no matter how small it is. You need to do this because before you know it, that small problem can grow and infect your whole family or organization.

Make the commitment to water, feed and fertilize your relationships daily.

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Do you have a fixed or growth mindset? Read on as our life coach columnist explains the difference and how it’s subconsciously navigating your course to new opportunities.

The noise from the exercise room at the gym caught my attention. Curious, I peered in to see what was going on. Someone in the group yelled to me and suggested that I join them for the new class that was about to start. I had never taken part in this new exercise and felt a little hesitant.

To be perfectly honest, my first thought was that I didn’t know what to expect. It just wasn’t what I had planned to do that morning. But then I thought about the opportunity of trying something new, and I got excited. I told myself that I’m sure that I could survive this experience, even if I didn’t know what I was doing and I just might learn something new.

Looking back, it was crazy to have any reservations. But let’s be real here, you probably do this as well. Dependent upon your beliefs, you might be willing to try and learn new things or you might feel comfortable staying within your zone where you can be sure to excel.

According to a theory created by Carol Dweck, a world renowned Psychologist at Stanford University, individuals possess fixed or growth mindsets. She has studied achievement and success for decades and has uncovered two different belief systems that exist within the population.

People with a fixed-mindset believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence and talent, is fixed and won’t change over their lifetime. They believe talent alone is what leads to success. According to the book “Mindset”, by Carole Dweck, people with a growth mindset believe that their abilities can be developed throughout their life with perseverance and hard work. Their talent and skills are just the starting point, not the end point.

What happens when you possess a fixed mindset and you fail? You are definitely not encouraged to try again because apparently, you are not working within your talents. On the other hand, what happens if you possess a growth mindset and you fail? You figure that you might need to do things a little differently, make some changes and try again. A growth mindset leads to individuals that are more resilient, willing to learn new things and more comfortable getting outside their comfort zone.

In the last two weeks, I had two client situations that best represent the need for possessing a growth-mindset in the workplace. In one situation, a team member commented to a leader that they don’t learn by training and coaching. In another situation, a team member shared with the leader that they abhor all training.

I suspect that both of these situations had more to do with individuals adhering to a fixed-mindset belief and feeling uncomfortable learning outside their rigid rules of success. If the learning involves an area where they currently don’t excel, they don’t want to take part.

They could fail.

I encourage companies to promote the growth-mindset and create a culture where learning and development is at the company’s core. That means sometimes, you will be asked to dabble outside your area of expertise and become comfortable with the process and the outcome. This is regardless of whether it’s a raving success or a complete flop.

That’s the true definition of success.

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Our life coach columnist learned an important lesson from her four-legged friends. Read on for the purrrrfect opportunity to see if your own behavior might be blocking your path to success.

I walked into my office and noticed something strange. Joey the Cat was taking a nice long nap in Miles the Pug’s bed. That was the first time that Joey ever had made any attempt to get close to the bed.

You see, Miles calls the shots in our house. Joey will always slink carefully into the room to make sure that Miles is nowhere around. Between you and me, I believe that Miles is all bark but no bite, but his actions have convinced Joey that he must stay on guard and be careful. He is clearly the alpha dog and rules the house.

For some reason, Joey had decided to make some changes in his life and took the big step to sleep in Miles’s bed. It was a gutsy move after all these years.

A couple days later, I found Joey sleeping on the chair in my bedroom. What’s unusual about this is that it’s a well-known fact that the chair with the throw belongs to Miles. I found this behavior odd and had never seen Joey attempt such a move. I chuckled about this and went about my work for the day.

The next day, I found Joey asleep in Miles’ bed again. Then it got interesting. Miles walked into the room and got ready to get in his bed. I held my breath as I waited to see what would happen next. Joey looked up and made no attempt to move a muscle. He put his head back down and went to sleep. Miles just stood still and stared, confused by this new turn of events. Eventually, he decided to go under my desk and fall asleep.

How and why did this happen? The cat and dog had spent years knowing their well-defined roles and playing them out on a regular basis. But here they were, changing things up in a big way.

Suddenly, Joey had changed his behavior, which led to a totally different and surprising outcome.

I work with many organizations where teams are having difficulty collaborating and working together. Often, certain individuals within the team will be struggling to get along. The complaints usually focus on the other person’s personality traits, negative behavior or shortcomings that they feel impede their ability to work with them successfully.

Very rarely do they see how their own behavior might be blocking their path to success. By focusing on the other’s faults, they have difficulty seeing how changing their own behavior and communication could quite possibly change the outcome. Each member is playing their defined role and will continue to play their role until something or someone changes. But it’s often so hard to see that clearly.

If this hits home with you, give some thought as to how you might be playing into this negative situation. What responsibility do you need to take to change the situation from one that is negative to positive?

Be like Joey and take a leap of faith— take the initiative to change the situation.

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Our life coach columnist talks about change, the difference between changing yourself and others, and which changes are possible to accomplish. Read on as she explains.

I was sitting in a local coffee shop with my tea trying to focus on my work. However, focus was an uphill battle for me. You see, trying to work when something is “going on” around me is quite difficult.

Let me explain.

I believe the way my mind works has a lot to do with my childhood. I have a memory of being with my parents in the car at a stoplight. My mom looks over to the couple next to us and she starts talking.

“It looks like they are not getting along. Look how he is trying to avoid her and she is trying to talk to him. I can tell she is getting very frustrated and this has probably been going on for a while. Why doesn’t he just look at her so that she’ll feel better. I can tell that she is very sad about the situation and is very upset. I bet that they’ve been married for a while and look how uncomfortable the kids look in the back. They look so unhappy. Why can’t parents just realize how it affects their kids”?

Now, I remember thinking:

1. I can’t understand why she cares about the strangers next to us.
2. When I look over there I see nothing.
3. How she can weave a whole complete story in one minute?

Now back to my story. I’m sitting in the coffee shop trying to write a proposal. This is just detail work and not my favorite part of my job. However, I am trudging through it so I can say that I’ve accomplished one more thing. Next to me is a woman and her daughter. When I sat down, I saw the woman wiping her face and for a minute, I thought she was crying.

As I work, I try not to think about her but this is very, very hard. You see, I guess my brain is just wired to pick up on other’s emotion. I try to sneak a glance and I see her wiping her face again. She is talking in hushed tones to her adult daughter. I also notice that she does most of the talking while the daughter listens. I sneak a quick glance at the daughter but I don’t catch much. I can’t really hear the words but the tone is serious.

I force myself to focus on my work and stop being my mom. I hear the words; “I helped you out of debt already.” The other words I hear during the conversation is the following, “you need to make changes in the way you live your life.” The emotion is all one-sided with daughter being stoic. The last thing I hear before they leave is Mom saying, “I think that I have done too much for you in your life.”

I thought about this for a while after they left. There are times that (to a lesser degree) I am the mother in this scenario. I catch myself wanting the companies that I work with to desperately make CHANGES more than THEY actually want the changes to happen. I find myself wanting coaching clients to make CHANGES more than they actually want to make them happen. I sometimes think that if I keep talking, that the change will happen. Maybe I can WILL it to happen.

But that’s not the way life works.

I think that we are all guilty of this at some point in life and we can waste a lot of energy worrying, persuading and trying to make these CHANGES happen. We do this because we want to control our world and a loss of control is not a good feeling. I think it’s about time for you and me to accept the fact that we have no control over others’ desire to change. We have control over just YOU and ME. We can lay it out there for others but the ball is in their court.

So, let it go.

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Actions you take in defining moments can chart a course for success or steer you further from your goals. Our life coach columnist explains how to take the wheel and control your future.

There are a number of behaviors that translate into becoming a successful leader in the workplace. However, I believe that what really separates the employees from the true leaders are the decisions that you make in those tough times. What matters are those certain behaviors that you display in the challenging times, in the face of CHANGE, when it would be easier to do what feels good in the short term instead of what’s right for you and others in the long term.  The actions you take in those defining moments either chart a course for success or steer you further from your goals.

When you need to just let it go

Maybe you’re aggravated beyond belief that your peer, who doesn’t work as hard as you, just got the promotion that you have wanted forever.  Or maybe, you have a peer that repeated some information that you told them in confidence.  It could be that you have someone you work with that didn’t support you in an office meeting (when they said that they would).  You can’t stop steaming that they did this to you and it’s always on the forefront of your mind. But here’s the thing— not letting this go is getting in the way of you putting your best foot forward NOW. You are reliving yesterday on a daily basis. It’s like lugging an extra 10 pounds around your neck every day to work. The bottom line is that focusing on the past zaps your energy and blocks your ability to focus on positive outcomes in the present.

Knowing which battles to fight

You know exactly how to solve the identified problem in the weekly meeting but your boss has other ideas.  You see how important this is to your boss and you know him well enough to predict accurately that if you speak up it will only irritate him and get him to dig in his heels even more.  It takes everything in you to keep quiet and let things unfold on their own.  Great leaders realize that not every situation deems your need to push the issue. Great leaders know that they must be strategic about when to fight the battle and when to just let things be. It’s very possible that you can have the right answer but others aren’t ready to hear it yet.

Apologizing when you know that you are right

Saying you’re sorry is hard. Actually, it’s hard enough when you really are in the wrong. However, as a leader there might be times when you have to apologize when you technically aren’t responsible and you’re actually right. This act takes strength of character and integrity. Despite the fact that you’re right, taking responsibility in certain situations enables everyone to have closure and move forward. Again, it’s about thinking strategically and realizing what is best for everyone in the long run, and not only what makes YOU feel good now.

Becoming a successful leader takes time. You are human so you are prone to making mistakes. With self-awareness, you can learn from your missteps in the workplace and tackle the tough times with confidence and grace.

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Our life coach shares why we're more frightened by fear itself rather than change. Read on for more.

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A couple of months ago, I was coaching a client that was struggling to make changes in his work and home life. He was having difficulty focusing on his responsibilities and felt miserably stuck. Everyday was another lesson in futility. From his vantage point, he had no options to change the situation.

As an exercise, I suggested that we make a list of all the choices that he had in life. He was to write down every single choice that came to mind, devoid of judgment. I was impressed by his ability to list the different choices that he had, no matter how crazy they seemed. After the list was completed, we went through the choices and took a closer look at each one of them.

One by one, we discussed the choices in detail. One by one, he would give me all the reasons why the choice would absolutely never work. I tried to help him see each choice from a fresh perspective, but no matter what I did, he had a whole list of compelling reasons why it would fail.

I looked at him for awhile and then I said calmly, “Do you notice that you’ve vehemently explained to me why none of these ideas work when you originally thought these ideas were great? Why do you think that is?”

Sometimes we are so scared of trying something new that we will stay in a horrible situation. There are a lot of uncertainties in trying something new. We don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. We aren’t sure how things are going to progress. Fear of the unknown causes us to stay exactly where we are. Fear of failure can take ahold of us and rule our life. The truth is that not making a choice and staying stuck is also failing.

Change is hard. It’s hard for people and it’s hard for organizations.

At some point in your life, you have sat in this very same chair.  You have lamented how unhappy you are, yet still aggressively fought the possibility of any change. Fighting the change ensured that you would be safe from failure. Or did it?

My suggestion is to make one change. The change doesn’t have to be huge; it just has to be one teeny tiny step that moves you in the direction of your goal. After you have done this, take another tiny step and another. This pushes you out of your paralysis stage and into an action stage.

Be honest and recognize that your reasoning for shooting down all your choices is tied up in your fear of what waits on the other side. Accept the emotion and continue to take small incremental steps.

Along the way, be sure to remind yourself that the FEAR of FEAR is far worse than the fear itself.

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Smart phones are a smart way to stay connected, but they can also be a distraction. Our life coach columnist explains how to create boundaries to be more engaged personally and professionally.

I noticed something interesting this morning when I finished my exercise class. As I walked over to grab all my stuff and go home, I took a good look at all the other people getting ready to leave. Instead of talking to each other and discussing the class and life, every single one of them was staring down at their phones. There were 5 people lined up against the wall, all engrossed in their smartphones.

This made me chuckle and think about another incident that recently got my attention.

I attended a wedding with my whole family. I was so happy to have everyone together to celebrate this joyous occasion. After eating, I pulled everyone out on the dance floor. For a good 45 minutes, we laughed and danced like crazy to the music. Suddenly, I looked over to the closest table to the dance floor. There were about 10 people at the table, all in their 20s. Every single one of them sat silently, staring at their phone.

No one engaged in conversation and no one looked up from their phone. Honestly, it was the strangest and saddest thing I had ever seen. In fact, I pointed it out to my son, who quickly snapped a picture of it on HIS phone.

There we were, engaged in the moment, celebrating this big event. However, instead of being in the “here and now,” the group of 10 were isolated with their technology.

There’s a story about a CEO of a large billion-dollar company that decided to change his policy for their weekly tactical meetings. As each member of the leadership team entered the room, the CEO motioned for them to place their phones in the box he was holding. He reported that the first meeting didn’t go too well. The team was fidgety and irritated with the change in rules. However, over time he found that the team’s conversations became more meaningful, and the team became more effective and productive. They were focused on NOW.

Do you realize how powerful it was to have all that talent in the room with no distractions?

I have definitely noticed this issue in my last couple of training presentations. When working with a small group, participants will inevitably utilize their smartphones to check email, etc. during the training. Even when I make a point to ask employees to stay off their phone, there are always a couple of offenders.

There are two reasons why this is happening. First, it is no longer seen as bad manners to interrupt what you are doing to check or be on your phone. Second, this behavior has become such a habit that we have difficulty changing this wired action. We are compelled to reach for our phones without even being aware that we are doing it.

I’m unsure how this smartphone behavior is going to manifest in the future workforce. In some ways, it helps us accelerate business, but in other ways, it’s a total distraction, a drain on our productivity and a barrier to creative problem solving. I believe what’s needed are some boundaries with smartphone usage. Leadership must role model good behavior and have expectations that there are times where usage is off limits.

Organizations want engaged, creative, productive workers and that comes with eliminating the distractions during work. The best work comes out of people that can truly focus on the task at hand.

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Our life coach columnist explains how a sales person exterminated a potential sale by talking instead of listening, and how it relates to any conversation you have - personal or professional.


I was working in my upstairs office and trying to get through my morning email. Suddenly, I heard my doorbell ring. Who could be at my front door at 3:00 in the afternoon? I was sure it had to be someone selling something. I walked out in the hall and looked down the stairs. I considered going back in my office and hiding, but ultimately decided that was probably a childish move.

With a deep sigh, I ran downstairs to get the door, hoping that this interruption would not take too much time. I had so much to do.

Yes, I was right, it was a guy trying to market his services. I smiled and said hello and asked what I could do for him. As he spoke, my mind wandered, waiting for him to get to the point of why he was standing there. He seemed nice enough, but I had things to do and didn’t have much time. He began to tell me about his exterminating company and dropped the names of a couple neighbors. I listened and interrupted him to say that he was talking to the wrong person. Yes, we have an extermination service but I don’t make decisions about it and I really don’t want to change that. I had absolutely no interest in getting involved in this arena. Between you and me, I’d like to pretend this service isn’t even warranted in my house.

I stood there as he went on and on. He went into a detailed story about how his service works, what he specifically does around each crevice of the house and the different kinds of insects that he treats. This whole explanation dragged on for what seemed like forever.

Now, if he would have looked up at my face, he could have seen that I was not interested in the least. His detailed description of his process was not going to sway me into being any more interested. In fact, he was pushing me the other way.

The reason I am telling you this story is because I believe we have something to learn from it. Maybe you’re in sales and you spend your day trying to sell a product or service. Maybe you’re a leader in your organization and you spend your days trying to sell your employees on why they should do what you want them to do. I don’t care who you are or what position you’re in, you still would benefit from learning a lesson from the Bug Man.

The point is that he continued to go on and on when I clearly had no interest. The more I said I wasn’t interested, the more he seemed to be aggressive in trying to communicate information. And therein lies the problem.

He believed that the more information that he shared, the more I would be convinced. More communication was not going to sway my decision. He doesn’t realize that instead of talking, he should be listening. He should be asking me questions. He should be trying to find out WHO is interested in bugs at my house. He should be focused on developing a relationship with me — bombarding me with as much information as possible doesn’t do that. He should be selling me on him— the Bug Man.

Often in our excitement, we think more words will command the attention of others. Selling a product, service or idea is more about listening than it is about talking. Yes, you need to do some talking, but the talking should be strategic and thoughtful.

Every day you go out into the world, hoping to win people over to your side. Here’s a little tip: talk less and listen more. I guarantee that it will pay off for you in the end.

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Our life coach columnist explains how getting a new perspective can help you see the forest through the trees and the simple solutions to success.

It was years ago, but I still remember it vividly. My husband and my son were in the backyard taking apart the very used trampoline. Full of tears, it had reached the point where it was no longer safe for the kids. There was a new one sitting in a box in the backyard. However, before they could assemble the new one, they needed to tear apart the old one. The task seemed pretty simple.

The trampoline was made up of 2-foot long curved metal tubes that you put together to form the circle shape. They were pulling the pieces off at a good pace when they hit a snag. You see, one tube refused to pull apart from the other tube. It was jammed in there and refused to budge. When I first looked out the window, I saw them working hard on that one end. They had pulled off enough tubes that they were holding about ½ of the original circle. They hammered, pulled and tried just about everything to get the tube to release from the others. Nothing worked.

The next time I looked out, 20 minutes had passed. I walked outside and saw that they were still working on the same tube, trying everything to get it unstuck. They were laser focused on solving this issue and totally engrossed in their work. I yelled to them and asked if that was still the same tube. They said yes and it was clear that I was breaking their concentration. I then asked them why they don’t just try to pull apart the tubes at the other end of the ½ circle. They looked at me with bewilderment and tried it. Each one came apart and they were left with the two they had been working on.

“You are surrounded by simple, obvious solutions that can dramatically increase your income, power, influence and success. The problem is, you just don’t see them.” – Jay Abraham

This story illustrates what happens to many people in the workplace. For a variety of reasons, we fail to see the forest for the trees. We’re so intent on solving the problem and focusing in on the details that we totally miss the whole picture. We miss the simple answer that is right in front of our eyes.

This kind of thinking can cause organizations to take a very wrong turn and make poor decisions that can lead to even poorer outcomes.

There’s a good chance that right now, you’re grappling with some decisions or problems and wondering about the solution. Here’s my suggestion; step back and take a fresh look on the whole situation. Open your mind and make a list of the many ways you could solve the problem. Take a break from the situation and do something totally different. Truly listen to others that might have a different approach than your own.

What I’m suggesting to you is to get outside your own box. You have learned to solve problems in the same manner. You need a new perspective.

Just don’t get stuck in your head without taking a step back.

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When embarking on a change in the workplace or at home, our life coach columnist shares the secret to success: understanding others.


I overheard two business owners having a conversation the other day. Since they were talking about CHANGE, my ears perked up. The one was sharing that he needed to make a behavior change within his team of employees but was confused as to how he should solve the problem. He explained the negative behavior to the other owner and laid out his frustrations in detail.

The other CEO’s face lit up with the solution. He shared that all you had to do was show your employees the “numbers.” His thought was that if you help them see through graphs and figures WHY they should change, then it will happen.

As you can imagine, I found this exchange fascinating. These two individuals were bright, successful people that ran profitable companies. They were strategic, intelligent, hard workers. However, they didn’t understand the first thing about making behavior change in the workplace — or anywhere, for that matter.

Let me backtrack a bit to explain further. Nicolas Epley, author of the book Mindwise, says the main problem is that we think we understand the minds of others, and even our own mind, better than we do. Maybe this business owner truly believes in his mind that he, personally, would be swayed to change behavior by just seeing the facts that prove the point. He then assumes that if he feels that way, everyone else feels that way as well.

However, I beg to differ. I know he thinks that he would be swayed to change if presented with facts, but I’m not sure he has a good read on his own feelings and behavior. I doubt very much that sharing any information is going to solve the problem. This change that the business owner wants to make is entrenched in habits, and reinforced in the company culture. It’s going to take a heck of a lot more than a graph on a Powerpoint to encourage his employees to make this behavior change.

And that’s the real issue here. Leadership believes that if they just keep sharing the facts over and over, employees will hop on board and easily make the change. They assume that since it makes perfect sense to them, in their own minds, it will make perfect sense to everyone else as well.

The first thing that you need to realize is that sometimes, we aren’t even aware WHY we do the things that we do. Our decisions and actions are tied up in our own values, assumptions and past experiences. At times, these can get quite complicated. Believing that just sharing facts on a Powerpoint will convince others to implement change is simplistic at best.

The second point to remember goes back to Nicolas Epley’s statement. Often, we can’t read other people’s mind half as well as we think we can. We make assumptions about how individuals are feeling and thinking that are often quite wrong. We then move on to strategic plans based on this information. This makes the whole process of implementing any CHANGE that much harder.

I ask you to come to terms with this one thought if you are embarking on any sort of CHANGE initiative in the workplace or beyond: Don’t assume others think, feel and are motivated in the same manner as you.

Work hard to get outside your own feelings, assumptions and judgments.