Impact – November 2022


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



What every company should learn from Shell’s exemplary CEO succession strategy

By the Numbers

No confidence is no good: How you lead matters









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

IMPACT – September 2022



Innovating our human relationships:
Where do we go from here? 

As fall approaches, many of us are experiencing changes to our circadian rhythms. The sun sets sooner and rises later, we are finding ourselves slowing (even if it doesn’t feel like it) in predictable, seasonal ways. If we choose not to slow, our bodies remind us that time is shifting and requirements for how we show need to be altered.

It’s been almost 30 years since I originally registered our company name; Innovative Connections. After nearly 15 years as an active consulting organization supporting you, our clients, to create new futures, I find myself reflecting on the POWER OF A NAME. The need for “innovative connections” is becoming stronger as our world changes. Many have expressed a struggle the past few years finding and maintaining connections amidst an ever-increasing virtual environment. While we crave “in-person” ways of being together, we know we must be more innovative in how we build relationships if we are to succeed in an environment that promises continued disruption.

We often consider Innovation in the realm of technology and science, but Innovation is really about how we solve problems in all aspects of our life (business and personal) by bringing in new ideas, methods, and ways of thinking and being. When we seek to innovate, we must also shift our mindsets around people and our teams. The future of work is changing, and so must our mental models.

There is no doubt that disruption in our world is increasing, but too often, we are merely resorting to innovations of the past and getting better and better at delivering models or practices that no one really wants. Our inability to innovate with people and relationships is keeping us trapped in a status quo that existed three years ago but is becoming less and less relevant today. Harvard Business Review reported that our personal and professional networks have shrunk 16% (more than 200 people) over the course of the pandemic.

In an attempt to cover up our unknowing about how to proceed in this new world, we instead run the risk of leaning more and more into control. In this cycle, we abandon our own needs and those of others due to a lack of innovation in our connections with each other. Our personal stories are unfolding into the collective and leading forward will require leaders to exhibit a greater ability for agility, emotional dexterity, and flow. It will require an ability to embrace a new reality and bring forth a new way of being into what seems like familiar situations.

Leaning into the future can feel like you are blowing in the wind or are a leaf on the surface of a river. You are not sure where the current will take you; sometimes it is calm and other times rough, but you know you must move with the flow to arrive at your destination. In this month’s newsletter, we offer some tools to support your journey in developing relationships at a new level. We too are uncovering the innovation in connections and will continue to partner with you to bring forth the collective wisdom we are gaining.




The pandemic has changed everything for organizations.

Internally, it has changed everything from the way people do the work, to the work people are willing to do, to the geography of where they can and are willing to work. People want to do work on their own terms, and this means that organizations that adapt agilely and with innovation are the ones that will succeed.

Externally, it has changed everything from the goods and services we seek to the way we physically buy our products.

During the lockdown, we were required to think differently—both personally, and professionally. Our homes became our epicenter, where we lived, ate, worked, shopped, connected with others, and recreated. We couldn’t get out to do things, as usual, so, we developed new ways of doing things.

This has left employers scrambling to accommodate an ever-changing workforce while struggling to maintain the status quo, much less an edge over their competitors. With this new landscape, leaders have had to dig deep to come up with innovative solutions on the fly. And now, even “post-pandemic” the expectation is that they continue to innovate, both for their staff internally, as well as to stay relevant in the marketplace.

So how can leaders juggle it all?

Here are some tips:

For your staff

  • Offer professional skill development
  • Develop and maintain effective hybrid workplaces
  • Make your purpose and your employees’ value known
  • Communicate often and transparently
  • Provide a safe space for employees to try new things, understanding that failure may come before success
  • Know that your employees are your greatest asset, they are the greatest ambassadors for your brand, make sure to show them you value them as much as your customers

For your organization

  • Set and communicate clear goals
  • Make innovation everyone’s responsibility
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of digital technology in your sales strategies
  • Understand the value of professional networking sites and social media to build the brand as well as recruit talent
  • Promote cross-functional teamwork
  • Make decisions quickly
  • Reward team success

Leaders and their teams will be required to continually innovate as the fabric of our workplaces continues to change at a blistering pace. Learning to embrace ambiguity and to believe in and rely on the innovations your team develops will help move your organization towards future success.



Employers are experiencing rapid environmental changes and workplace dynamics that have never been seen before. As a result, they have had to create innovative solutions on the fly. Leaders must be committed to understanding their employee’s needs to ensure they build a sustainable talented, motivated, high-performing team of individuals who will stay with their organization for the long term.
A team assessment provides needed information to do just that.
  • Meets your team where they are and helps you determine a successful path forward
  • Improves communication and collaboration between co-workers and management
  • Elevates employee engagement as individuals find value and meaning in their work
  • Creates a support network for cooperation and project completion
  • Allows individuals to share diverse perspectives and work out the best solutions Encourages creativity, innovation, and productivity

Contact us today to learn more: 970-279-3330 or




People who work in an environment of psychological safety are generally happier in their jobs, more creative, and work more effectively in teams. This provides the employee with job satisfaction and the employer with a more productive workforce.
Watch Video





Paradox Leadership

Innovation = Competitive Advantage

Innovation — Ideas or Action?

Check Your Bias










Now that we’ve introduced you to our newest team members, we’ll take a step back and reintroduce you to some other members of our team:

Mystie Johnson Foote, MD

Reta Coburn


IMPACT – July 2022



Psychological Safety

There is a lot to fear in our world. Media headlines scream crisis everywhere and ensure we are well aware of all the potential catastrophes that could befall us. We have created cultures and environments where problems are magnified, wounds are prolific and our intimacy with one another is often centered around a collective injury that is both real and self-induced. Consider your most recent, common conversations. Do they bring out hope, possibility, and awe or do they continue to reinforce the narrative of crisis, drama, and devastation?

As a leader, you are asked to be the producer of outcomes, a psychologist and relationship guru, a communication expert, and the ultimate deliverer of all things for the function which you lead. You are tasked with what likely feels impossible.

And, in the process of being all things to all people, we have compromised, in some way, our humanity and that of others. The very humanity that ultimately lays a foundation for all the above. I find myself in the same position regularly. In working with leaders, there is always a balance between the business needs and the human needs; the outcomes we seek, and the health of the people who get us to the finish line.

What if we could embrace the paradox of our times; live with the internal conflict and react from a new center? The consequences when we embrace fear, either actively or unconsciously, are costly. When we choose fear, we minimize courage, we drive out trust and we eliminate safety. However, starting from a new center involves looking inward, becoming more self-aware, working to build trusting relationships, communicating transparently, and encouraging engagement in a different way. By doing these things, we can change the outlook and the outcome for our colleagues and our organizations.

This month’s newsletter offers some excellent tools for creating psychological safety in the workplace. For the past year, we have watched “The Great Resignation” take hold. Our employees have become more aware of the role work plays (or does not play) in their lives. The pandemic has allowed for new awareness, even if it’s unconscious, to enter about what contributes to our sense of identity, what we are willing to tolerate and sacrifice in our work and how we might live and work in new ways that are more rewarding.

Leaders have come to discover the critical importance of work and its need to connect to people’s values. Productivity has been redefined, employee engagement is starting to mean something different, and psychological safety is even more critical as a leadership skill. As you explore the resources in this month’s newsletter, start with yourself. All awareness begins with you and how you want to be different in this ever-changing world we live in.



Teams that trust deeply share something in common, psychological safety, which is an environment where each individual is unafraid to speak up, share thoughts and opinions, or make mistakes without fear of criticism or reprisal.  Why is psychological safety so important? Research has shown that employees that have psychological safety have higher job satisfaction, are more committed to the organization, and are less likely to seek employment elsewhere. Additionally, according to a study completed by Ecsell Institute, psychological safety also appears to impact a company’s bottom line. Managers whose skills are rated higher in areas like psych safety lead teams who average $4.3 million more in revenue per year. So how do you create a culture of psychological safety? The first step is to evaluate your current culture. Consider the following list. Do you exhibit these behaviors? Even minor reactions such as the following can limit psychological safety in the workplace. Do you:

  • Raise your voice during situations of conflict or disagreement
  • Engage in sarcastic tones and words
  • Disregard others even in seemingly small ways
  • Withhold information from certain individuals
  • Nitpick the work of others
  • Avoid eye contact
  • Talk to employees about each other
  • Postpone crucial conversations

We would love to provide you with the full assessment, please reach out to If you want to promote psychological safety, you and the other leaders in your organization must make it a priority to:

  • Build trusting relationships
  • Communicate often and with transparency
  • Create a safe space for people to express their opinions
  • Make mistakes part of the learning process
  • Solicit and embrace differing perspectives
  • Encourage creativity and innovation

Changing the culture of an entire organization is a daunting task; however, if leadership is committed to making this shift, it can be done. Engaging help from a company that specializes in Organizational and Culture Development can be integral to ensuring a successful outcome. Please contact us for a free consultation if you feel we can be of service.


Realize Your Potential

The Leadership Circle Profile (LCP) provides valuable insights to help transform your leadership skills and improve your career path. This is a 360-degree assessment that collects feedback from your most important stakeholders, including your boss, peers, and employees. It provides critical information in a dynamic visual, illustrating how you are using leadership competencies in relationships, influence, and balance, and evaluates overall leadership effectiveness, all to support stronger performance. The profile measures both creative leadership competencies and reactive leadership competencies.

Creative leadership competencies contribute to a leader’s effectiveness. They measure key leadership behaviors and internal assumptions that lead to high fulfillment and high achievement, including:


  • Relating
  • Self-Awareness
  • Authenticity
  • Systems Awareness
  • Achieving

Reactive Leadership Competencies reflect inner beliefs and assumptions that limit effectiveness, authentic expression, and empowering leadership. They include:

  • Complying
  • Protecting
  • Controlling

Becoming aware of underlying thinking patterns that influence their actions and behavior, leaders gain insight into how they can change these patterns to make new choices and open new possibilities.

If you’re interested in learning more, contact us at We’d love to discuss how this assessment can help you realize your goals and achieve success in both your personal and professional lives.



6 Ways Administrators Can Address Teacher Burnout in Their Schools

The high-functioning leader’s new favorite four-letter word













We’re excited to introduce the newest member of our staff:

Carla Hamby


IMPACT – April 2022



Grow Hope!

Hope is defined in the research as believing something positive could materialize despite fearing the worst.

When hopeful, we yearn for something better and put energy towards manifesting it. Hope is foundational to the efforts of positive psychologists and us, as organizational consultants, as we seek to support leaders and organizations in finding creative possibilities for our most challenging situations.

As leaders, we know that outcomes change for the better when our employees and teams embrace hopeful and optimistic perspectives. Our job is to create a work environment where hope can flourish. This requires three things:


As people, we need goals. Sometimes these are concrete goals like production numbers or achieving completion dates on an implementation. More often, however, these are less tangible goals, like feeling valued in your work or having a team that has your back. Goals are often unconscious, and we make decisions based on them, whether they are conscious or not.


Hope requires us to be able to see the good despite the bad. We must be able to locate alternatives, seek new ways of doing things, and find the learning in everything.


Agency encompasses control and mastery. Our situations can feel hopeless because we believe we have neither of these two things. As leaders, we must help others build a sense of control, no matter how small, over the things that matter to them. We also need to ensure they have mastery, the ability, and competence to tackle the challenges.

There is much attention right now on mental health challenges, high burnout rates, and increased stress levels, but the aspects of hope are powerful tools to regenerate a workforce that is rapidly evolving post-COVID.

So, if you want to encourage innovation, engagement, retention, and results:





While you know that having hope is essential in our everyday lives to help us keep our heads up so we can face our everyday challenges. But did you know that according to psychologists, hope is not a luxury? Instead, they say for mental health, hope is a necessity.

For more information about why hope is so important, check out the following articles. These articles were written in 2020 as the pandemic was just getting started. It’s possible that the information within is even more relevant given that the duration of the uncertainty and chaos we all experienced have lasted longer than anyone could have predicted.

Articles for more information:

Why It’s So Important To Hope

Hope and Optimism as an Opportunity to Improve the “Positive Mental Health” Demand


Revive Energy and Joy After Burnout and Fatigue

As you and your teams attempt to navigate the impact of the pandemic, your surge capacity has likely been maxed out, you may be tired and worn down. This series of interactive sessions is intended to help pump energy and resilience back into you, so you can do the same for your teams.

During each session, your coach will introduce a topic with a brief teaching, and then engage you and your colleagues in a conversation about it, providing coaching insights as appropriate. This is a highly interactive team-building experience where you will share observations, situations, and best practices. The session concludes with self-reflection and a self-care strategy you can implement to help you refocus so you can effectively respond to chaotic situations with strength, resilience, and creativity.

We can customize these interactive virtual coaching sessions to meet your specific needs. Cohorts up to 20 participants.
• Compassion Fatigue/Burnout
• Grief and Resilience
• Belonging in the Workplace
• Boundaries

Call us today to learn more: 970-279-3330



Fulfilling Your Sense of Purpose

What Would It Take To Make You Feel Hopeful Today?










Now that we’ve introduced you to our newest team members, we’ll take a step back and reintroduce you to our CEO and some of our long-time staff:

Laurie Cure
Gail Gumminger
Holly LeMaster

IMPACT – March 2022



What does leadership look like? It can be confusing to break down leadership. Let’s face it, we do not always have the best examples. One minute we see a leader worth emulating and the next, we discover their deep and unforgiving faults.

Our topic for this month is COURAGE. While we chose this focus before recent events in our world unfolded, it obviously stands as a righteous virtue in what we are experiencing today.  The tears we have shed over the past weeks as we watch “leadership” play out in various forms has been heartbreaking. Our lessons are right in front of us— teaching us first-hand how we do and do not want to lead.

Over the past month, I am struck by how our current events have changed our urgency around what is important, how we feel, and what we value. There is a quote I have seen surface in numerous blogs over the past week by William Faulkner who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1949. He states, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

Some say the deeds of the past continue to shape the present. Every moment we create, every event that shapes us, and every action that impacts our society is a brick that paves the way to a new present and a reconstructed future. At any point, a moment, decision, or choice is creating who we are individually and collectively. At any point, we can change our trajectory; making every step we choose critical to both our present and future.

As leaders, we walk these paths daily. The hope is our courage brings us closer to the “right” things, people, conversations, and decisions. The hope is that we can step forward with clarity amongst the chaos and lead our teams and organizations to a better future.

The past years have challenged us on countless levels. Despite our collective desire to move forward, recapture what used to be, and gain a better sense of control over our lives and circumstances, what we have come to learn is that we cannot force human behavior or beliefs. Yet, despite the difficulties we have endured as individuals and as a society, we also learned we are more resilient than we thought, we have a greater capacity for clarity and action, and we are more deeply connected than we may have believed.

We have COURAGE beyond what we even knew was possible.





Don’t Stop Talking to Your Team Members Even When It’s Tough

It’s clear that we are living in a difficult time. The last two years have accentuated what has likely been building in our social environments for decades and it has left leaders wondering how to communicate with their team members and employees about such difficult political and cultural issues— driven from deep emotion. The recent events (inflation, COVID, invasion of Ukraine, supply chain issues) have placed an ever-increasing stress load on employees with 87% of Americans reporting that the last two years have brought a constant stream of crisis. With the intense role work plays in our lives, more employees are desiring these conversations and too often, leaders, while they want to support their employees, are ill-equipped to navigate the intense emotions these discussions can bring.

So how are you keeping your team connected in today’s new work environments?

According to CMS Wire, 97% of employees believe communication impacts their task efficacy on a daily basis. It would seem this information is accurate as a McKinsey report shows a 20-25% increase in productivity for teams that are well-connected. Pumble workplace communication statistics, 2021

Good communication has always been key to the success of an organization, with 97% of employees believing that communication impacts their task efficacy. But when the pandemic began, it caused an unprecedented need not only for communication but relational communication. While staff members and leaders alike began experiencing many of the same emotions and challenges, leaders were also tasked with caring for and leading their teams through the uncertainty even while not having any answers themselves. Many leaders who previously only provided communication through one-way mediums, such as newsletters and mass emails, found it was imperative that they also learn how to communicate interpersonally, with empathy, compassion, and vulnerability.

And the fact is, relational communication is here to stay. As people have re-evaluated what they do and where they work, they have also reassessed the type of organization they are willing to work for. Those organizations that transparently communicate with their employees, and share the same values are the ones that have been able to retain their workforce.

As we move forward, our work landscape looks vastly different, while some people are returning to their offices, others have remained completely remote, and yet others have developed a hybrid of the two. We know that communication remains key to the success of our organizations, so how do we ensure we continue having relational conversations and communication in these new worlds? Here are some things we have learned about communication through the pandemic that we should weave into the fabric of our work lives for the future:

  • People want to talk with co-workers and leaders, not be talked at by them. This brings forward the understanding that empathy is essential to fully connect with others. As people are still processing many different experiences from the past two years, offering authentic compassion and empathy for their situations helps them work through their circumstances so they can move on.
  • Everyone has a need to feel included and informed. Remote and hybrid offices have brought a new dynamic to the complexities of communicating in the workplace. While you may feel you are overcommunicating, those employees who are not bumping into you in the hallway do not always have the benefit of those informal conversations as those who are present on a daily basis. To ensure all employees feel included, having a plan for providing clear and consistent information, even for the small stuff to keep all staff up to date can ward off miscommunications and feelings of being less important.
  • People communicate best in various ways. Social media and digital communication options have never been so abundant. While they will never be able to replace face-to-face communication in the relational communication realm, it has made it easier to stay in contact with each other even across state lines and throughout the world. With options for texting, emailing, video calling, or voice mailing, it is important to learn your employees’ preferred way to communicate and then ensure you are offering options to keep them connected.
  • Ensure everyone is included in team training or retreats. There will be times when you will need your entire staff together, whether for team training, or company retreats. Scheduling well in advance to ensure remote staff is also available to attend is a great way to ensure everyone has an opportunity to participate.

As you work to increase your relational communication, think COURAGE:

C- Communicate Personally. Leaders must use their communication to deepen relationships. This is when we see the greatest wellness and engagement benefits.

O- Own your emotions. Leaders are also amongst the 97% of employees who desire more communication. These are emotional times of high stress, and we cannot ignore or dismiss the way our emotions surface. Take steps to ensure you not only own your emotions but also own the impact of them.

U- Understand. Give yourself permission to understand your own viewpoint, that of others, and where you might have biases or opinions that are shaped by false narratives. Can you listen to understand and allow the conversation to support your team? Can you be non-judgmental and hold space for whatever needs to surface?

R- Really Listen. Much of the time, our team members only need to be heard; to have a venue to express their fears, anxieties, guilt, or frustrations. These conversations can help us get to a place of optimism but require someone who can really listen. Creating the right places and structures for the listening will ensure the best discussions occur.

A- Ask Powerful Questions. Too often, leaders want to fix the situation. Our current environment is too complex to “fix”. Use powerful questions in your conversations to deepen thoughts, help team members arrive at new perspectives, or release anxieties that are holding them hostage. Consider: What are the greatest fears keeping you stuck right now? What support do you need to better cope? What is within your control or outside of your control? How might you release those things outside of your control?

G- Give Space for Uncertainty. We do not have the power to address all these issues, nor do we always know the right thing to do. Allow yourself to not have the answers.

E- Evoke Courage. These times require us to bring forward a level of courage that we are not accustomed to accessing.


 Reignite Your Passion with Spot Coaching 

As you navigate the impact of the pandemic, your energy reserves have likely been tapped out, you may be tired and worn down. You need an opportunity for an engaging conversation with someone who is impartial and unbiased towards your organizational situation. Simply being able to talk through the difficulties and challenges of the past two years authentically and freely can help you release the past and move toward the present. It can empower you with the knowledge and confidence to do the same for your team.

Option 1: One Hour Coaching Session $299

Includes a one-on-one conversation with one of our professional coaches who will be your sounding board as you clarify your goals, gain self-awareness, and re-invigorate your resilience for your current circumstances and future endeavors.

Option 2: One Hour Coaching Session + Hogan Assessment $699

Includes everything in the one-hour coaching session + a Hogan assessment and a 30-minute debriefing session with one of our certified Hogan specialists. Hogan is an assessment tool that offers profound insights into who you are, what you value, and how you “derail” under stress. A detailed discussion with a coach following your assessment will help you gain a deep understanding of your results and how you can enhance your effectiveness.



Listen to our new video to learn helpful tips about how to achieve and maintain balance in both your work and personal lives. Watch






Best Practices for Improving DEI Recruitment in 2022

CEO Departures: Planning for the Inevitable








We’re excited to introduce you to our awesome team, beginning with our most recent additions:

Alisa Bennett

Kailey Bowser

Elyse McDonald



A Message From Our CEO, Laurie Cure

We are well on our way into the New Year, which often brings a new attitude and commitment to ourselves and others. This year feels different for many. A continued pandemic that never seems to end, a Great Resignation that has upended leaders both personally and professionally, and environmental tragedies from fires to tornadoes have rocked us from our center. Yet, despite the fact that we are operating in many emotional spaces, hope remains strong as we enter 2022.

One of my first sessions of the season was leading our Conscious Coach cohort through a refresh workshop. Being present to their joy and suffering left me reminded of the importance of the work we do in the world. More than anything, our role as leaders is to ensure the health and wellness of ourselves and our teams. Not an easy task right now and still more important than ever before.

As you proceed into this New Year, which promises to bring learning and growth, I encourage you to take a moment to reconnect to yourself and your own humanity. Kahlil Gibran wrote, “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding”.

May 2022 be the year where we create a deeper understanding resulting from the pain of the past few years. May we have the strength to discard the self that no longer serves us, and may we awaken to who we are in this moment and the moments to come. May we allow ourselves to surrender and be in flow, like the river that must cut through the rock. May we be in connection with those who want the best for us and can help us weather the storm.

In our work, we see you and the various places you sit on the continuum—from exhausted, resigned, and burned-out to revitalized, curious and willing. We might find ourselves in any number of places and we hope you continue to rely on us to support you (at the exact place you are), walk with you and hold the light at the end of the tunnel. Making sense of our experience doesn’t happen alone—we need friends, colleagues, and experts along the journey.


As the pandemic continues, many of your employees are actively seeking to leave you. A recent PwC survey indicated that 88% of executives are seeing higher turnover and 65% of employees are looking for a new job. The Great Resignation is upon us. How will you retain your workforce and keep them engaged? We have seen this headline before, and I may have even written it a time or two. 24 months into the covid-19 pandemic, there is still no finish line in sight-and perhaps there will be none. The future of employee engagement and of work is starting to look like a game of chess. After the first move in chess, there are only 400 ways the game can go. However, only 2 moves later, over 121 million possibilities can unfold. In every game, a scenario that has never occurred before slowly reveals itself. As leaders, we have been advised to ebb and flow, maintain agility, and ride the wave, but what exactly does that mean and how do we do it?

1. Shift your thinking. According to McKinsey Global Institute, the pandemic has accelerated existing trends in remote work, e-commerce, and automation with up to 25 percent more workers than previously estimated needing to switch occupations. Our evolving environment is causing a shift in the mix of occupations and requirements needed in the labor market. If we continue believing that we are moving back to normal, things will be the same again soon, or we can operate as we have been, we are fooling ourselves. It was Einstein who said, “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them”. Unfortunately, if we knew how to think differently, we would. Shifting your thinking requires you to evaluate your mental models, learn new ways of assessing both problems and solutions and, most importantly, evoke a possibility mindset to expand your options. Coaching can be a critical support strategy to assist you in this area and guided team sessions can aid your department in transformative thinking. Shifting your thinking requires a psychological transformation in your way of being and this rarely happens without some help along the way.

2. Expand your knowledge around employee engagement. There was a time when research informed us that leaders held the sole responsibility for engagement and turnover. We were told that employees leave leaders, not the organization. While that may hold true in some respect and we know that a leader’s role is still vitally important, new research confirms that team and organizational variables may be equally, if not more important. Evolving research shows that work environment and team/co-worker relationships have the greatest influence on employee engagement. Leadership must then focus on these aspects of the workplace if they are to successfully retain highly engaged team members.

The following graphic from research by Saks (2019) shows the complexity of employee engagement.

If we are unable, as a leader and organization, to positively impact the antecedents in a way that drives a fulfilling workplace, we risk the consequences of turnover, decrease satisfaction and organizational commitment, and burnout.

3. Don’t waste the opportunity. It’s not always bad that employees leave and transition. While we know the financial costs and the negative implications of employee turnover, we also know that there is a greater exodus occurring in our work environments with a momentum that cannot be stopped. Business, and leadership, are changing. Our teams and organizations are requiring new structures, skills, and team composition. Attrition allows us to rearrange the chess pieces so we can be more effective in hit future. Do not return to the same old same old. As transition occurs, use this opportunity to build your organization and your team differently, in a way that better aligns to emerging environments and changes.

It can be tempting to try and figure this all out on your own, but our new world is too complex to go it alone. Reaching out to other colleagues or mentors in your industry, establishing professional think tanks, or accessing consulting expertise can be a lifeline in this ever-changing world we find ourselves in.



THE CONSCIOUS COACH Creating a coaching culture within your organization requires leaders who can build teams, establish strong relationships, and achieve results in a new way. By developing key coaching competencies such as awareness, presence, listening, trust-building, and managing goals and accountability, your leaders can transform engagement and performance.

The Conscious Coach is designed to:

  • Develop skilled coaches within your organization who can be deployed to support existing and emerging leaders
  • Provide an avenue for individual coaches to develop their skills and seek ICF certification if they choose to pursue this option

Whether you are an organizational coach or an independent coach, the skills you develop in this program will enable you to help organizations achieve extraordinary business results, experience unexpected transformation, and unlock potential. The Conscious Coach program, based on the principles of emotional intelligence (the ability to perceive, control and express one’s emotions and to handle interpersonal relationships wisely and empathetically) applied to coaching, is highly experiential. It blends pre-work assessments with learning about coaching competencies, course discussions, self-reflection, small group exploration, and real-time coaching practice in a safe and enjoyable environment. Throughout this course, you will deepen your coaching skills and build a foundation for a successful coaching practice, either inside an organization or independently. Learn, Explore, and Practice

  • Emotional intelligence applied to coaching
    • Self-awareness and emotional regulation
    • Social awareness and intuition
    • Relational awareness and communication
    • Mental models and unconscious bias
    • Resilience, self-care, optimism, and gratitude
  • ICF core coaching competencies
    • Establishing agreements with the coachee
    • Creating a trusting, safe coaching container
    • Presence and active listening
    • Curiosity and powerful questions
  • Coaching ethics and best practices
  • Team dynamics and coaching
  • “Fishbowl” live practice coaching sessions

Program Format

  • Orientation video conference, program pre-work, and assessments
  • Series of live interactive group workshops either online, in person, or a combination
  • Accountability partnership
  • Final coaching capstone presentation
  • Real-life application of learning over time
  • Mentor coaching
  • Guidance and orientation to apply for ICF’s Associate Certified Coach credential through the Portfolio Path


Beating Burnout and Compassion Fatigue in the New Year

How to Handle Negativity Without Being Annoyingly Positive

Leveraging the Strengths of a Multicultural Team During an Ongoing Pandemic







We’re excited to introduce you to our awesome team, beginning with our most recent additions:

Jacqueline Wong

Susan Davis