With All of This Disruption, What is “Normal”?

John Bennett/ May 30, 2020/ Change, Development

In recent weeks, states and communities have started lifting restrictions on movement and business operations amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. I suspect this will be a slow process. And, as many experts forecast, we may see a return to restrictions in the coming months. As I think about my experience since mid-March and imagine what is on the horizon, I am

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Challenges of Helping

John Bennett/ May 10, 2020/ Development, Executive Coaching, Leadership, Teaching

As human beings, we often strive to be helpful. We may do this in one or more of our roles as a friend, colleague, manager, peer, coach, consultant, parent, sibling, etc. In his book, Helping, Edgar Schein (2007) wrote about the imbalance that occurs when a helping relationship emerges. This imbalance involves the person being helped as a “down” or “subordinated” position (NOTE: this is not “subordinate”). Most of us

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The Five Business Languages

John Bennett/ April 16, 2020/ Development, Leadership

On a recent business trip to Germany and Austria, I was reminded of how difficult it can be to communicate when you don’t speak the same language. Even the otherwise simple tasks of ordering a meal, asking for directions, and shopping can be complicated. This experience prompted me to think about how difficult it can be to communicate in business

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Group Dynamics in a Virtual World

John Bennett/ April 5, 2020/ Development

It’s no surprise that I’ve found myself in more virtual meetings during the COVID-19 crisis than in the past several months combined. While virtual meetings are not new, this volume is definitely different. It has prompted me to consider what I know about group and team dynamics in a physical environment, and how that applies to the virtual world. Here

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Working in an Unfamiliar Space: What Will You Do?

John Bennett/ April 5, 2020/ Change, Development

Where I was born and where and how I have lived is unimportant. It is what I have done with where I  have been that should be of interest…. – Georgia O’Keefe (1976)  I’ve been working at home and practicing social distancing for over three weeks. Like most of you, the phrase “social distancing” wasn’t even part of my vocabulary

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13 Tips to Build a Strong Network

John Bennett/ March 13, 2020/ Development, Networking

There are many benefits of networking. People have made career changes, found their life-partners, avoided personal and financial disasters, resolved conflicts, built businesses, and even met people they admire by building strong networks.

20 Questions to Start a Conversation

John Bennett/ March 6, 2020/ Development, Leadership

Recently an executive coaching client asked me how to break the ice with people who have achieved great things in life and who might be considered intimidating. Here are 20 questions to help get a conversation started and build a relationship (with just about anyone): How did you get into the work you are doing? What do you like most about the work you do?

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Networking is Friend-Making

John Bennett/ February 28, 2020/ Development, Leadership

Imagine the complexity of a highway…all of the roads that feed into it, as well as the roads that the single highway feeds. That same complexity is true for bus systems, subways, and air traffic systems. Beyond transportation, there are countless other examples of these complex systems — healthcare, food, water, electricity, information (the internet) and even diseases. Not only does each part play an important role, it is also related in one

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Thriving in a Matrix Organization

John Bennett/ February 7, 2020/ Development, Leadership

One of my favorite science fiction movies is The Matrix (1999). The movie imagines humanity that is unknowingly trapped inside a simulated reality (aka The Matrix) created by intelligent machines to distract humans while using their bodies as an energy source. A computer programmer (aka Neo, played by Keanu Reeves) uncovers the truth as he is drawn into a rebellion against the

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