Preface: Workplace Undercover is a regular feature of this blog. The scenario below was written by Eillen Bui, our research associate. Responding to this scenario is Stephanie Foy, Project Manager for Leading Consciously and Principal of Foy and Associates.
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The scenario: Kathy was running a little late for her first annual review. She hurriedly pushed the door open to the meeting room and smiled apologetically to her manager.

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About a month ago, I took the Silva workshop on intuition which I had been wanting to do for years.

The workshop was excellent, but that’s not what I am writing about now.

It was a small group, so at the end of the workshop, the trainer asked each us to say something about ourselves.  When it was my turn, I said that my book had just been published and my coauthor and I were developing our website and figuring out how we would spread our message about how to lead consciously and reframing change.  My next task, I said, was to learn more about social media marketing.

Virtually the next person to speak was a woman named Aleksandra Harper.  She said that her expertise was in social media and she was writing a book on the subject because most people did not know how to do it effectively.

We stared at each in amazement because she provided the very service I was looking for.To cap it off, we met at a workshop on intuition.  Talk about serendipity!

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Stereotyping: Is it okay to label people?

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine spoke passionately about his opposition to labeling people. We had been talking about differences between Republican and Democratic philosophies, and he objected to the whole concept.

Focusing on these differences was, in his mind, “labeling”, and he thought we all should move beyond labels and simply view people as individuals. He certainly didn’t want to be labeled, he said, nor would he label others.

I also have friends who think that racial/ethnic designations are offensive, unnecessary in this day and age, and potentially stigmatizing.

On the other hand, I have friends who proudly identify themselves as “Republican” or “Democrat” or “progressive” or “conservative.” And, of course, I know many people who proudly wear the label of “African American” or “Black.”

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Throughout Reframing Change, Jean Ramsey and I emphasize the importance of maintaining integrity. One of the ways many people, myself included, will go out of integrity is by how we manage time

— or more precisely, mismanage it. We promise others or ourselves that we surely will do this or that and then we end up not doing it. We then rationalize our lapse by saying that “time slipped away”, as though time was the culprit and not ourselves. In so doing, we fail to recognize our power or use it responsibly (Reframing Change, Chapter 6).

Managing time has been one of my major challenges most of my life. I’m much better than I used to be, as my friends and colleagues will happily attest, but nowhere near where I want to be. For that reason, I periodically seek out new sources of information about managing time and space.

I feel fortunate to have come across an excellent video about time management on YouTube by an credible source: Randy Pausch, then a professor at Carnegie Mellon who at the time he gave the speech knew he had lost his battle with pancreatic cancer and had only a few months to live. He passed on less than a year after giving this lecture.

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Preface:  Workplace Undercover will be a recurring segment of this blog, featuring a workplace scenario and a response by a guest consultant.  The scenario below was written by Eillen Bui, our research associate.  Mary Harlan of Harlan Consulting is guest consultant for this scenario.

The scenario: Thomas just began working at XYZ Corporation and still had not met everyone who worked there.  Today he decided to eat in the cafeteria instead of bringing his own lunch and sitting alone in his office.  He spotted Michelle, someone that he had spoken to briefly the other day and decided to go over to say hi.  Michelle was sitting with a group of her friends and they seemed to be in a deep conversation. As soon as he got near though, the group at the table suddenly became quiet and no one would even look up at him.

Thomas felt uncomfortable so he passed by the table without even acknowledging Michelle. At first he felt saddened by the fact that his new coworkers were being unfriendly to him but then he became angry.  “Why are all Asian girls so stuck up and rude?” he thought.

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How to achieve your goals despite yourself

How to achieve your goals despite yourself

What keeps us from being the positive change we want to see? If you’re like me, here’s what happens. I start out full of resolve and commitment to actually accomplish things that I really want to do, but just can’t get up the gumption to do them: go to the health club, eat more vegetables, work on a proposal, or make that dreaded phone call.

Or, I might do things that I know aren’t good for me: eating high fat foods or too many sweets, procrastinating on things that would take me only a few minutes if I would just do them, or saying things that I know are inappropriate.

Either way, I find myself doing what I’ve decided not to do or I stop myself from doing what I really want to do. What causes these internal conflicts?

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