Tag Archives: Debra Exner

The Pause That Refreshes

When Maddie and I have workshop participants take our Collaborability assessment, we frequently ask them which collaboration aspect surprised them. The most frequent answer is Pausing to allow time for reflection.

Pausing is most important when you have an instant and negative reaction to a collaborator’s suggestion.

When I notice that I have a strong negative response toward an idea, it’s a sign to me to slow down and check out what’s really going on. More often than not, I find that my reaction has more to do with me than with the idea itself.

The pause allows you to develop awareness about your own areas of resistance or automatic response.  Once you’ve paused, you can ask yourself “How could this work?” or “How is that idea connected”? If you take the time to consider the merits or opportunities of an idea, it may lead to a solution that will work well.

Debbie

Empowered Collaboration – Part 3

For our third post by this title, we present the last 4 practices that enabled Michelle Chung and Nancy Donahue to have a successful collaboration while creating the tool mPWR10.

7. Be flexible and go with the flow

While Nancy and Michelle had educated guesses and did their homework, they weren’t attached to a particular outcome and they didn’t start with the idea of creating a business together. Their ability to test and be open to others’ ideas and to allow the next steps to unfold, led them to an outcome that exceeded their original expectations.

8. Commit to regular time together

Initially Michelle and Nancy met just once a week after work, discussing what they were reading and learning. They increased the time as they began to focus exclusively on mPWR10. Their regularly scheduled time enabled them to stay flexible and responsive to the input they were receiving. Currently, with an evolving, more mature business, they talk every day to keep on track with their goals.

9. Value and leverage each other’s differences

As Michelle and Nancy learned about each other’s strengths and differences, the way they structured their work evolved. Initially they went to every client meeting together. Later, they learned to brainstorm and plan together and then divide the work. They checked in frequently, reviewed what was working and what could be improved, and learned from each other rather than do everything together.

10. Keep the target goal in line with your values

Their core value is Create the results you want. It is the guiding principle behind the mPWR10 tool and Nancy and Michelle used it to weigh their decisions. They used the mPWR10 habits to create mPWR10!
Are these the definitive practices for a great collaborator? Michelle and Nancy would say no. They need to evolve, be tested and refined with the input of many others. So, these practices are a work in progress. Join us in considering them.

What do you think?

For more information about mPWR10 see http://www.mpwr10.com
Debbie

Empowered Collaboration – Part 2

We interviewed Michelle Chung and Nancy Donahue about what practices they used to collaborate when creating the tool, mPWR10. Our previous blog post listed 3 practices. Here are 3 more.

4. Take no criticism personally – everything is fodder for learning; get egos out of the way.

When Nancy and Michelle first began to share their tools with others, they needed to work at not personalizing criticisms from those who didn’t share their enthusiasm for their “baby.” They discovered the usefulness of adopting a learning attitude, where all input is received in the spirit of expanding, broadening or refining their ideas. Learning to set aside any defensiveness or sensitivity helped the duo to continue to improve their tool.

5. Combine focus with blue sky thinking; consider new options and put some on the shelf to pull out later

Michelle and Nancy learned that they brought different strengths to their collaboration. Nancy preferred to focus and jump into action. Michelle liked to sleep on an idea and deliberate before executing. Michelle also was more of a blue sky thinker, envisioning what might be possible long-term. Nancy favored operating in the present. Along with becoming accustomed to one another’s styles, they realized the benefit of stepping back to think and being action-oriented. When Michelle started blue sky thinking, Nancy imagined how to execute those future plans.

6. Trust one another

In order for collaborations to be successful, participants need to be in synch with the vision, goals and intention for the project. The glue for this type of alignment is a high level of trust. Michelle and Nancy had many years of working together before launching the mPWR10 project. They built a sense of familiarity and uncovered common core values. Both women had each other’s best interests at heart and admired each other’s successes. Trust enabled them to work independently and then to make accelerated progress when they met for updates.

Please read the next blog post entitled, “Empowered Collaboration – Part 3”, to uncover the 4 remaining recommendations Nancy and Michelle have to contribute to your collaborations.

Maddie

Ready to Get IT Done? Collaborate!

What is IT for you? Is it a messy, disorganized office or closet? You know, the kind that slows you down every day because you have to search for things.

photo by Alan Cleaver

Or perhaps you’ve resolved, once again, to get your taxes done before April! Or you need to make sales calls or write blog posts. Most of us have an IT and whatever IT is, you’re more likely to complete it if you are accountable to others.

If you’d like to join me in this effort, set aside Friday March 18 and/or Saturday March 19 from 10 AM to 3 PM MST (or whatever portion of that time that works for you). Each hour we’ll check in by phone and announce our desired goal for the next hour as well as our progress during the previous hour. Just send an email to Coach at ExnerAssociates.com,  commit to a window of time and mark it on your calendar.

photo by Joseph Erlewein

Think you can do it on your own rather than give up a Friday or Saturday? Terrific! You have almost 3 weeks to prove it to yourself.

Either way, here’s a great article on Using Enjoyment as a Tool to Reach Goals that will help us to increase our success. I discovered LucReid.com while searching for research to correct the oft-repeated, but incorrect, claim that “it takes 21 (or 28) days to make a habit.” It would be nice but unfortunately it’s not true. Happily, I found what I was looking for along with a treasure trove of articles on self-motivation. Enjoy!

How to Write Your Book (or Next Book) Before You Retire

If you are here in Phoenix, I hope you’ll consider attending the National Speaker’s Association meeting on Saturday. Gwyn Nichols and I will be presenting on the success of me winning her services at a silent auction (see past posts Collaborating with an Expert and Life Transformations through Silent Auctions for details of how Maddie and I have worked with Gwyn)

Here’s the information about our part of the meeting:

At an NSA-Arizona Silent Auction, Debra bid on Gwyn’s donation of manuscript editing — about a week after she and her co-presenter Maddie Hunter first considered writing a book. That bold commitment and Gwyn’s consultant support moved them from thinking about a book to thoroughly researching and beginning it.

Learn how the three of them worked together to get this book moving fast. See how you can apply these perspectives and strategies to advance your own project.

Gwyn Nichols, a book editor and ghostwriter, recently founded Blue Monarch Press. Gwyn trained at an academic journal where she was known for translating articles written by PhDs into readable English. At the time, she suffered from such an incapacitating writing block of her own, she considered changing her major from English to chemistry. Eventually, Gwyn learned to write fluently any time, anywhere, and she went on to complete a master’s degree in English. She now writes poetry and fiction, and edits nonfiction, combining language expertise with healing encouragement as she works with authors or leads writing retreats.

Debra Exner helps her clients connect, communicate, and collaborate. She and her co-author, Maddie Hunter of New Jersey, first led a cancer support organization together, and then went on to research and teach effective collaboration. They lead workshops for corporations and associations, and are being invited to speak at international conferences.

In addition to speaking and training, Debra is a Professional Certified Coach and president of the Phoenix chapter of the International Coach Federation.

Come hear this outstanding program!
To register online visit http://nsa-arizona.org/meetings/mar-13/
or by email, send name, company and number of attendees to Gwen@nsa-arizona.org or call (480) 968-7443.


Register

NSA-Arizona Program March 13, 2010
Time: 9:00 a.m.; networking 8:00 a.m.
Business Building Session: 12:15 p.m.-1:30 p.m.
Location: NSA Conference Center, 1500 S. Priest Dr., Tempe, AZ
Early Registration (by 5 p.m. Wed. Mar. 10): $30/members, $45/guests
Late Registration: $40/members, $55/guests
No refunds after 5 p.m. Mar. 10, 2010.
For directions, visit Mapquest.com
Please notify us if you have any special needs for the meeting.

Debbie

Pet Agility Sport

While exploring the attribute of agility, I discovered a another doggie sport! For fun, here are a few pet-inspired videos demonstrating successful (and not so successful) collaborations. Notice that each collaborator has a different motivation.

First the fabulous performance so that you understand the goal

But, as with collaborations,  it doesn’t always go that smoothly!

Dogs are initially trained with doggie treats but cats have a different motivation:

A fun toy and a willing owner! I have to go and try that on my kitties!

What motivates you?

If you’re hooked and want more of an explanation of the sport follow these links:

http://www.vidilife.com/video_play_13549_Dog_Agility.htm

Why We Love Cats and Dogs – Video: Cat Agility Show | Nature.

Debbie

Motivations in Collaboration

We’re often asked if collaborative partners have to be motivated by the same things — or at least have the same end goal in mind for the collaboration. We think that the answer to that is No, not necessarily.

by melilab at Flickr Creative Commons

We have interviewed many people about their collaboration experiences. One question we asked is “What criteria do you use to choose a collaborator?” One person, whose job is facilitating community collaborations,  said she looks at her organization’s “ethical manner of doing business and the directives that are given to us. I usually look for alignments in collaborators mission, values and purpose. So I probably won’t collaborate with a gun association. However, I might if it were to prevent gun injuries. You have to do a balancing act. What is it that we can both wrap our arms around? Look for the points that you can all agree on.”

So even though it can be nice to share similar motivations and goals, the overall goals of each party don’t have to match. It is important that the end goals are not at cross-purposes.

Another example is when my husband brought disparate political parties together to identify and collaborate on the initiatives where they agreed.

Have you been agile enough to collaborate with people who have different motivations and end points?

Watch for our next blog post to see a fun exploration of collaborators who have different motivations.

Debbie