Learning about asking
This December the Leadership Menomonee Falls class of 2012 will have the opportunity to hear Maureen Kolb share on her newly released book.
Stop Telling And Start Asking
How to Develop The People Around You By Asking The Right Questions
Maureen Kolb’s published book Stop Telling And Start Asking: How to Develop The People Around You By Asking The Right Questions isn’t just another business book. It’s a powerful leadership tool that you can use everyday and with every member of your organization!
What People Are Saying ...
“Maureen Kolb hears what others don’t hear and sees what others don’t see. Stop Telling Start Asking pulls you into that purely objective mindset and creates a powerful leadership tool. Learning to ask the right questions opens up your team to a new dimension of possibilities. It won’t always be easy, but you will always learn from it and benefit for years to come.”
— Kimberly Kadlec
Worldwide VP, Global Marketing
Johnson and Johnson
Posted by Ruth Graczkowski at 08:08 PM.
You make a difference
Often during this time of year I ask my clients and students what they are thankful for. The usual answers come forth…. Family, friends, health, their job (especially in this economy). I too am thankful for those things. However, as leaders I believe we are challenged with a bigger purpose. We need to see those people who are making a difference in our organizations, our families,
and our communities.
That is why this last week the Leadership Menomonee Falls class of 2012 was given a bit of homework. To go and recognize someone in their life; share how they make a difference and then ask them to share with another person. If everyone in LMF does their
homework, and all those people do their homework- we will have touched a minimum of 60 people. You would think this is easy. It is not. It is often difficult and uncomfortable. And that is exactly why as leaders we must do it. We must do it till it is no longer hard or difficult.
So, you have read the blog. Now I challenge you. Go out and share with someone how they make a difference and ask them to do the same. If you would like to share your results with me you can email me at or call me at 414 803 9538.
Posted by Ruth Graczkowski at 08:02 PM.
Healthcare joint session
Happy New Year from all of us at Leadership Menomonee Falls. We have an awesome session planned this month. It is a joint meeting with the Germantown Leadership Program. There will be over 40 amazing leaders coming together to learn more about our healthcare system and to network to serve others more effectively.
We will be meeting at Community Memorial Hospital – which is such a fitting location for our first meeting of the year. A location that inspirational with the level of commitment to the service to others.
We will have the opportunity to meet physicians, nurses, department managers and administrators; to learn more about the workings of the hospital and the effect of healthcare on our community.
Our participants will also participate in networking and teamwork building. We will be challenging our leaders from two communities to come together and work for a common goal.
At Leadership Menomonee Falls we like to challenge our participants, by giving them opportunities to go outside their comfort zone. We do that by group activities and great discussion.
My challenge to you this month is to find someone who could benefit from the Leadership Program and invite them to submit an application. We start accepting applications as of the first of the year. If you would like to meet with myself or a board member to discuss the program in more detail feel free to call Toni at the Chamber (262) 251-2430.
Posted by Ruth Graczkowski at 01:28 PM.
December is a time for appreciation
My mother always told me that December was a time of contemplation for all that we had been given; a time to think about giving back to those who have been a part of our lives over the years. It seems to me that great leaders make this a practice of their daily routine. Not just a once a year activity.
My mother knew this. She was a leader at Community Memorial Hospital for over 25 years. She never missed an opportunity to thank those people around her for their help, their contribution, and their ability to show up and participate in the face of life. She was able to recognize people not just in word, but in deeds and in her amazing ability to listen.
I know that my mother always felt she could have been a better leader. She strived to do what was right. I am sure that she was amazed as she looked down from her place in heaven during her funeral at all the people that came to honor her.
Here are just a few of the comments I remember:
“Your Mom hired me 20 years ago and gave me a chance.”
“Your Mom was my Father’s nurse 25 years ago in the ICU and I will never forget her kindness to him and my family.”
“Your Mom helped me – when no one else would.”
“Your Mom believed in me before I could believe in myself.”
“Your Mom was an amazing woman.”
“Your Mom was always there to help.”
“Your Mom was the one that I knew I could turn to for advice.”
“Your Mom showed me what it meant to be a nurse.”
I could go on. Connie Weber was an amazing leader just by being a person who recognized others.
So I challenge all of us this December to recognize something great in the people we come in contact with. To first seek appreciation for who they are, and let them know you see them, you hear them and you are there for them.
Posted by Ruth Graczkowski at 12:00 PM.
Final 2010 Class
April 21st…our final class for the 2010 program participants! We will review and discuss how to apply the many skills we learned in the past 9 months to our every day lives. Leading and serving others.
This is also our Talk Back Session. We will be discussing the successes of the program. The speaker and topics we loved and, yes, even the topics that stretched our minds and helped us step out of our comfort zone. The take always from the year long program will be discuss and reviewed. This is a great opportunity to listen and chat first hand with the members of the class of 2010.
You are welcome to join us and see first hand the impact Leadership Menomonee Falls has in made in this year’s participants!
Call Toni at the Community Chamber to reserve your spot. Toni 262-251-2430.
Posted by Ruth Graczkowski at 12:00 PM.
Leadership…is it luck?
Leadership…is it by luck that you are a good leader?
We will be meeting on Tuesday, March 16th, the day before St. Patrick’s Day! It is often said that you are lucky if you can be a good leader. I would suggest that luck has very little to do with it. Sure some people may claim to be born leaders; however, if you lead and no one follows are you a leader?
We will be discussing the qualities of great leaders and why and how we should be carrying those traits into our daily lives. We will define when and where we should be leaders and how to walk through the fear many us often have regarding leadership.
One of the tools we will learn is how to have a Crucial Conversation*. Patrice McGuire from McGuire Business Partners will walk us through the art and techniques of having a Crucial Conversation as outlined in the book of the same title.
It is not so much luck that creates great leaders, but desire, passion, determination and hard work. Becoming a great leader is one of the toughest jobs there is. To learn more, join us for our March session. To reserve a spot call Toni Yates at the Community Chamber 262 251 2430.
* Crucial Conversations; Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillian, Al Switzler
Posted by Ruth Graczkowski at 09:51 PM.
Leadership and Teamwork
We (LMF Participants) will be gathering on Wednesday February, 17th to once again focus our time and energy on the topic of leadership and what that means. We will be focusing on three main topics this month.
First, we will have Beth Harwood from Communications at Work coming in to talk about listening…. Yes, you heard it right, listening. So often we speak about communication and how to effectively get our message across and not enough about how to take in the information.
Secondly, we will be hearing from Kris Wickline of the CUNA Mutual Group. Kris will be speaking on the effects of generational differences in the work place. Have you ever wondered why the new guy is always on his cell phone, why some people find time off so important, or what has happened to the work ethic? Well those are some of the insights we will be gaining from Kris’ experience as the Consumer Program Manager for Generation Y at CUNA Mutual Group.
Finally, or I should say throughout the day, we will be focusing on teamwork. How do we truly work with other people to achieve a common goal? What are the areas that you personally have to help the team, and what do you do to pull from the team’s efforts.
If you would like to join us, please call Toni at the Community Chamber 262-251-2430.
Posted by Ruth Graczkowski at 04:08 PM.
Your Community and Business
The December Session of Leadership Menomonee Falls is very enlightening. How often do we drive by a business and wonder- what do they do, who are they, why don’t they, how come they? This is the session that we get to meet some of our community business leaders. We will discuss economic development and the effects our villages make to create a vibrant and vital business community.
In addition to economic discussion, we will be discussing Emotional Intelligence. For many years, it was thought that a person’s intelligence (IQ or intelligence quotient) determined how people succeeded in life. Schools used IQ tests to choose children for gifted programs and some companies even used IQ scores when hiring. In the last ten years, researchers have found that IQ isn’t the only predictor of a person’s success. They are now looking at emotional intelligence (EQ) as another determinant of a person’s success in life.
“Emotional intelligence is a different way of being smart. It includes knowing what your feelings are and using your feelings to make good decisions in life. It’s being able to manage distressing moods well and control impulses. It’s being motivated and remaining hopeful and optimistic when you have setbacks in working toward goals. It’s empathy; knowing what the people around you are feeling. And it’s social skill—getting along well with other people, managing emotions in relationships, being able to persuade or lead others,” (O’Neil, 1996, p. 6).
You are invited to attend this session or a portion of there of at no charge. Just call or email at the Menomonee Falls Chamber to reserve your attendance. 262) 251-2430 or email: .
Note: For security reasons, you will be unable to attend without a reservation. Thank you for your cooperation.
When: Wednesday, December 16th, 2009 - 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Where: Wells Fargo, 100 Heritage Reserve, Menomonee Falls, WI 53051
Posted by Ruth Graczkowski at 08:37 PM.
Passion is a driver
Have you ever done a really tough job, to the best of your ability, with all the best of intentions, taking all the factors you have into consideration and still- it was not enough? After working so hard, other people have opinions of how you did, many negative. This is often what happens to people who choose to live a life of service to others. This could happen to the politician, the doctor, the nurse, the policeman, the volunteer baseball coach, the teacher, the co worker, the parent, the child, the neighbor, and often to those whose head is above the crowd. So why do it? Why even bother?
The answer is Passion.
We all have a passion that drives us to be and do more then we think possible. Great leaders are the people who can find that passion in themselves and bring it out in other people. When you have that passion your desire to serve is greater than the negative. You believe to the core that you must pursue your passion regardless of what others may say.
In the October Session of Leadership Menomonee Falls we will be focusing on Education. We will have the opportunity to talk to both district and class room leaders. We will discuss some of the successes as well as the challenges they face navigating education today. Everyone you meet has an opinion of the school system. It does not matter what community you live in. The opinions are many. However, during the 5 years I have been facilitator of Leadership Menomonee Falls the one thing that has rang true, in every session on education, is the level of passion of the people committed to our children. It is a great example of people willing to follow their passion and serve others regardless of what others might say.
What are you that passionate about?
Posted by Ruth Graczkowski at 09:31 AM.
Group dynamics is a process
The September session of Leadership Menomonee Falls will talk about history and group dynamics. When you think about it; these topics go well together. As long as people have been gathering to work, play or live together, they have had to deal with the dynamics of other people.
In the history session we will learn how our village was formed, what trials we endured, what successes we created together and most of all where we came from.
The group dynamics portion of our day will be spent discussing the types of people who make up groups as well has the stages that groups go through in becoming high performing teams and team members.
Here is a little story:
My daughter Katie had an awesome opportunity to intern for a company in Australia over the summer. This was probably the opportunity of a lifetime. She wanted it to be perfect. However, she was going to be the newest, least educated and only American on her team.
She arrived at the office on the first day, nervous, excited, and afraid I am sure. She called me at lunch to tell me they were nice, BUT, they all seemed to know what to do and how everything worked. She didn’t feel like she fit in. My advice of course-hang in there for a few days it will get better once you are not so new to the team.
And of course it got better. Katie started to learn the expectations of her and the group, she started to understand some of the unspoken rules, and she learned who the go-to people were. She found out what their normal was. She called all excited to tell me it was going to be just fine. My words that time were “Okay honey”.
I knew those things would change-- and of course they did. The next phone call I received was a panic filled call about a deadline, a miscommunication, having to work late, and no one caring about what she thought. This I told her was the opportunity. The opportunity all team members face…the opportunity to “storm” to the challenge. This is the time you will define yourself as part of the team or you will choose to stay on the outside. The choice was up to her.
She chose well. She worked late and completed the project. The next day she spoke to the team leader and discussed how it could work better the next time, and how she was glad to be a part of the process. She was in--she worked through the challenge and she earned the right to be a part of the team.
After that day there were more challenges but none that were as scary, as they had worked through many challenges already. Katie and the team worked as a high performing team to achieve great success for the company, the client, and each other.
This little story is just a microcosm of what we all face on a daily basis in dealing with other people. Just knowing it is a process that must be gone through is sometimes all we need to know.
Posted by Ruth Graczkowski at 08:35 AM.
Welcome to LMF
Much has been written about Leadership. What it means, how to do it, how not to do it, who can do it, types of leadership and so on and so forth.
By definition the concept is quite clear. –
Leadership - lead⋅er⋅ship
1. the position or function of a leader
2. ability to lead
3. an act or instance of leading; guidance; direction
4. the leaders of a group
This is a definition we all could probably agree with. So why is it that if the definition is easy, living it is not?
That is the question that we begin to answer for every participant of Leadership Menomonee Falls. Leadership is tough; it requires that we give of ourselves for the benefit of others. To become a good leader is like becoming an Olympic athlete or a concert pianist, you must practice, you must sacrifice, and you must endure for a bigger purpose.
During the nine months we are together in the Leadership Menomonee Falls program, we challenge ourselves to become the best leaders we can be.
If you have wanted to lead, to be a leader, to know what true leadership is then LMF is for you.
Posted by Ruth Graczkowski at 08:00 AM.