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The High Cost of “Stuff”

Sometimes going backwards is the best way to move forward. Coaching and consulting involves helping people and organizations (i.e., lots of people) deal with issues that impact their effectiveness and bottom line. More often than not, the problem is centered in people’s behaviors, their “stuff.” Think unconscious behaviors easily triggered by others that result in miscommunication.

On the recommendation of a client, I spent a week at the Personal Leadership Development Program™ developed by the Leadership Trust® in North Carolina ( The late Jim Farr and Dr. Holly Latty-Mann developed the program. Thought I was going for a general consultant CE type workshop to add some stuff for my tool bag, but boy was I off base in my understanding. Thank goodness this was more than a typical CE week.

Instead of looking at techniques to improve my practice, I spent a week looking at MY “stuff.” What transpired and is still unfolding was remarkable and humbling. The process and interactions with 7 other executives helped me clearly understand how my stuff was the major obstacle to my serving others. My lack of awareness of my behaviors and unconscious responses truly limited my effectiveness to help clients solve their issues. A humbling step backward.

The great news is that the process and especially the group dynamics in the follow up communications has quickly demonstrated the positive impact such awareness can have on organizations. The changes in several of the organizations represented as a result of behavioral changes by our group have been phenomenal. The upside on the bottom line for these companies is huge. All from one week.  A great step forward in how to better serve clients and colleagues.

Which leads me back to my title. The program wasn’t cheap. Nothing worthwhile ever is. Yet the program is really “dirt cheap” compared to the soft costs it impacts, soft costs like lack of trust, disengagement, miscommunication, stress, and turnover.  “Eighty percent of all turnover is directly related to unsatisfactory relationship with the boss”, according to the Saratoga Institute. “The disengaged workforce is costing the US economy over $300 billion a year”, Businessweek noted. That translates to 11% of your payroll.  Most of these costs usually are traceable to “stuff” running around in people’s heads, like mineJ!

So thank you Dr. Holly and my Duck Trust team members for helping me remove a bunch of unneeded “stuff” from my coaching/consultant tool bag. Less is More!

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