Reflecting on 2022 

As we wind down the year, it’s often a time of reflection and assessment. I was recently asked,  “How was 2022 for you?” Stuck on the question initially, I found myself gently walking through the months: January and February, to September and October. In my experience, the past three years have been a widely swinging pendulum, moving from one extreme to the other rapidly and without much notice. Finding a balance between these polarities has been difficult, to say the least.

For the leaders we work with, many might argue that the challenges faced continue to be equal to or more significant than the early COVID years. The need for leaders who are agile, flexible, and “in flow” is increasingly important as our work environment continues to be unpredictable and uncertain. 

This month, I have delivered a lecture several times on adult growth and development. While it seems more like a psychology topic than a leadership one, the need for us to evolve ourselves and our thinking has never been more critical. We can only lead to our current level of consciousness, so it stands to reason that in these increasingly turbulent times, we must raise our consciousness if we are to be more effective leaders. 

This is not an easy task to ask leaders to perform and it is even more challenging to put into practice. Questioning everything we know and leading from a place of uncertainty is never comfortable and yet, it is exactly what is required. 

Last month, I stood in a room of leaders and watched the CEO of a large company share news that would impact (in a perceived negative way) every person in the room. They came with no answers, but with clarity about what needed to be different. One by one, everyone around the table professed both commitment to the leader and the organization. With that commitment, they brought ideas for what could be done differently to shift a nearly impossible situation (at least it felt like it at the time). 

As we enter into 2023, here is what we know to be true. 

  • Teams are desperate for connection. Regardless of work location, team members are longing to feel a bond that brings a sense of belonging, support, and value.
  • Problems are becoming too complex for one person’s solutions. It is increasingly important to involve multiple stakeholders in decision-making, not just to obtain buy-in, but more importantly, to get the right answers.
  • Solutions don’t last forever (and they might only make it to the next day). The days of putting a process, system, or structure in place that would last years are long gone. Assessing effectiveness and making rapid shifts needs to occur much more frequently. As a result, leaders and employees need to be even more agile, change-hardy, and resilient.
  • Developing “soft skills” is non-negotiable. If leaders and individuals fail to grow, they will fail… period. Change is constant, emotions run high, and we are often blind as to what lies around the corner. If we cannot manage these dynamics, we are doomed. We must deepen our own consciousness and develop ourselves and others in new ways. In support of this objective, Innovative Connections has developed a new program called Conscious Leader: Leading Organizations to assist leaders in developing skills to navigate change, manage polarity, and lead in complex environments. Learn more
  • Employees are seeking new kinds of work environments. The requirements for our workplaces are changing. Organizations must increase their ability to create values alignment, flexible work, as well as an elevated emphasis (and action) on equity and inclusion.

As we enter the New Year, we continue to be grateful for you and the trust you place in us as your partner through these changing times. In closing, I will share a renewed commitment that our team makes to YOU. 

 Our Commitment—to each other and to our clients.

At Innovative Connections, we believe every voice holds value and everyone should be empowered to bring their full and authentic self to work. We celebrate diversity and feel a deep responsibility to move organizations from good intentions to meaningful action around equity and inclusion. We approach this work with intentional awareness, curiosity, and respect. As consultants and coaches, we recognize our ability to influence individual behavior and organizational culture, and we aim to always create safe and inclusive environments that encourage our clients to learn, grow, connect, and innovate.




According to a study in Harvard Business Review, people at high-trust companies report 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, and 40% less burnout than people at low-trust companies.

A March 2021 Gallup Panel survey found that only 23% of U.S. employees strongly agree that they trust the leadership of their organization.

In the past few years, everything has changed. The way we live, the way we shop, the things we value, the way we work, and the type of work we are willing to do. This has left organizations scrambling to determine how they can continue to attract and retain high-performing talent. And, while other factors also play a role, it often comes down to trust.

It’s long been known, and research supports, that people do not leave organizations—they leave leaders. And often this is a direct result of a lack of trust and a feeling they are not respected. This, in turn, leads to decreased employee engagement and increased turnover. 

According to a Gallup survey, disengaged employees have 37% higher absenteeism, 18% lower productivity, and 15% lower profitability. If you convert these percentages to dollars, you can estimate a loss of 34% of that employee’s salary. That’s a whopping $3,400 for every $10,000 they make. And that is only one member of your staff. Now, imagine if this one disengaged employee is negatively impacting those around him/her: you could potentially end up with a team of non-engaged employees, costing your organization both productivity and profitability.

Another Gallup 2021 survey, reports: 

  • Only 36 percent of American workers are engaged at work (they love their jobs and try to make their company better every day).
  • At the other end, 15 percent of employees are actively disengaged (they are miserable in the workplace and destroy what the most engaged employees build).
  • And further, one can conclude that the remaining 49 percent of employees are not engaged or disengaged (they’re just there for the paycheck).

These figures illustrate that a shift in leadership is necessary. As The Great Resignation continues, employers are clamoring to recruit and retain qualified candidates. Building trust with your teams is a good place to start.

Trust is the measure of the quality of relationships developed between individuals, groups of people, teams, and organizations. As an individual, and as a leader, many of the issues you face and the successes you experience reflect the level of trust you have established and maintained. Leaders who encourage their teams to take smart risks, make mistakes, be candid with one another, and align with a shared purpose, benefit from a highly developed team that trusts them and one another, and feels safe in assessing many different perspectives that often result in more productive and creative innovations.

Here are 5 tips for building trust:

  • Focus on your everyday behaviors and actions. You’ve heard the saying, “actions speak louder than words.” Pay heed to this as you work to develop trust. People may hear what you say, but they will remember what you do.
  • Foster a culture of support. Create a clear structure and then allow others the autonomy to work how they work best. Encourage others to openly voice their concerns, while showing support and guiding them toward their own solutions.
  • Keep promises. If you say it, do it. Nothing erodes trust more quickly than broken promises.
  • Show genuine concern for others. When you ask questions and care about others, they respond in kind. When you show that you value them as a person and they can feel your sincerity, your relationship grows.
  • Respect different perspectives. Your ability to look beyond how you feel and consider others’ points of view and feelings opens a path for understanding, tolerance, and acceptance.
  • Extend trust. Showing vulnerability and extending trust to others is important, people feel trust when they know they can rely on and be vulnerable with you. But it is equally important to extend trust wisely. First, assess the situation, the risk, and the character of the person to determine if the risk is worth the investment. If the risk is high, you may need to continue building the relationship first.
  • Consistently demonstrate personal integrity, honesty, and sincerity. Never distort the truth or cover facts to make things easier on yourself. Who you are when you think no one is looking is every bit as important as who you are in the spotlight.

If you want to learn more about building trust with your teams, download our free Trust Conversations booklet, and call us for an obligation-free consult: 970-279-3330 or

We’d love to help you get started moving in the right direction.

More resources:

8 Employee Engagement Statistics You Need to Know in 2022

Why Trust Matters at Work

New Study Shows A Lack Of Trust Between Employees And Employers




Organizational success requires many different components to work together seamlessly, including systems, structure, leadership, people and teams, work processes, and culture. In a time where our environments are changing at a dizzying pace, this can be difficult to achieve and maintain. From the foundations of our signature program, The Conscious Leader, which focuses on self and others, we delve deeper into the intricacies and challenges of Leading Organizations.

This program is crafted to facilitate learning integration over time (typically six months). You will further enhance your learning through an in-depth action learning project that will challenge your knowledge and support an organizational initiative. You will share experiences and best practices through cohort work sessions, coaching conversations, and presentations.

Learn more

Contact us to request an obligation-free consult today: 970-279-3330 or



If you’re experiencing

  • Difficulty achieving strategic outcomes
  • Disharmony or fear among employees
  • Poor team dynamics
  • Trouble recruiting the right talent
  • Other team or organizational issues

We will help you unleash new possibilities and potential that result in sustainable change.

You need a superior workforce to reach and exceed your goals. A talent strategy is required to get you there. We’ll help you improve productivity, increase profitability, and reduce turnover by creating an employee experience that touches all parts of the employee life cycle. As a result, you’ll have a highly talented, motivated workforce who will stay with your organization for the long term.

Our typical clients include

  • C-Suite teams needing an experienced strategic partner
  • HR leaders who require specific expertise that doesn’t exist internally
  • Teams needing temporary assistance to supplement the talent on their team to meet a current need
  • Growing small to mid-sized organizations where organizational needs exceed the HR team’s capacity
  • Startup organizations without a dedicated HR function

Learn more

Contact us to request an obligation-free consult today: 970-279-3330 or



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Introducing team members who support our enhanced HR & Talent Solutions offerings:

Beth Stiner

Madeline Cashdollar

Libby Nicholson

Chelsea Brandly

Jolinda Pullen

Meet intern and content specialist: Hannah Kaiser