Monday, December 20, 2021

The Alignment Between Leadership, People and Culture

Over the last 12 years, thanks to social media, I have had the privilege to meet a variety of amazing marketing, leadership, employee experience, and customer experience experts. One of these experts is Siobhan O’Leary from New York. We recently had a discussion about leadership and corporate culture, and highlights follow below Siobhan’s bio.

Siobhan O'Leary is an experienced and highly regarded executive coach, leadership development professional, and people and culture strategist. In 2019, she relaunched Aubergine Partners, LLC. From 2013-2019, she served as Senior Vice President of People and Culture at Convene, an Innovative Workplace Hospitality Company. Under her leadership, Convene was recognized by Smart CEO magazine, receiving the Top Company Culture Award; 2017’s #11 Fortune Magazine Great Places to Work; and in 2018, Inc. Magazine named Convene Best Workplace. Siobhan previously spent over 25 years as a human resource executive, predominantly in the luxury hospitality field and held senior level positions with Hyatt Hotels, Four Season Hotels & Resorts and The Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel, and Rosewood Hotels and Resorts Corporate. Connect and follow on Twitter (@AubergineCOACH), on LinkedIn (, and on her website at

QUESTION: How do you explain the difference between management and leadership?

SIOBHAN O’LEARY: To achieve the high-quality organizational performance that is characteristic of high-performing organizations, it is necessary to master leadership and management simultaneously. Despite potential overlap between these roles in practice, they are different and require different skills and competencies.

Leading involves creating a vision, mobilizing people around that vision, and motivating them to actively contribute to its implementation. Management is about implementing this vision. Management provides a step-by-step approach to strategic planning and decision-making and is usually focused on the short-term. In leadership, the focus is on the long-term development of an organization and its people. It is often more concerned with motivating the organization to accomplish its goals.

The concept of management is concerned with organizing an activity from conception to completion, such as, planning, organizing, directing, etc., whereas, leadership involves a broader concept of people and their motivation to achieve goals. A leader works “in service” to the organization, protecting and driving the long-term direction of the business.

QUESTION: How do you convince your clients about the importance of having an inspiring employer brand?

SIOBHAN O’LEARY: To attract and retain talent, employers today must develop compelling employer brands in an increasingly mobile workforce.

You can make a tangible statement about your company's culture and identity with employer branding. It reflects who and what you are as an organization. Candidates' perceptions, behaviors, attitudes, and decisions are affected by the way you brand your employer image.

Prospective employees nowadays research companies and read more than just the annual report/promotional materials. The success of a company is commonly acknowledged to depend heavily on its employees. So, in order to build a talent pipeline for their businesses, employers need to leverage their employer brand as an effective and engaging first touchpoint with candidates. A positive employer brand helps to engage, motivate, and retain employees. With increased engagement and loyalty, companies increase profits. This means a win-win for the organization and employees. As a result, engaging new talent and retaining the best talent require employers to use their employer brand as a competitive advantage.

TWEET THIS: Engaging new talent and retaining the best talent require employers to use their employer brand as a competitive advantage. –@AubergineCOACH #EmployerBranding #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: Which three leaders inspire you, from business or history, and why?

SIOBHAN O’LEARY: Here are my three:

Isadore Sharp, Founder and Chairman, Four Seasons Resorts & Hotels.
Isadore Sharp was an early influence in my career. Four Seasons had only 13 hotels at the time. His constant commitment to the “Internal guest” (employees), as he insisted we were, was unfailing. He started out in Toronto, the son of a modest builder from Poland. He believed in what I call failing forward, listening “between the lines,” and truly proved the significant ROI on employee experience.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Supreme Court Justice – aka, The Notorious RBG
Clearly, I am not alone in identifying RBG as an inspiration. I suppose the characteristics that inspire me about her are synonymous with those of my mom. Prompted by their own experiences, they began to take on initiatives for the greater good. On a more personal level, the inspiration is truly how she (and my mom) connected with people individually to deeply understand, acted with humility, and never compromised doing what was right. Beyond those traits that are the obvious, is the respectful, calm approach with which she communicated, with tenacity and yet never offensive. Her ability to bring people together regardless of differences and disarm uncomfortable moments to be productive or enjoyable is something that creates more productive and empathetic conversations. Not to mention the incredible sense of humor which my mother taught me is truly a gift that creates success.

Chris Johnson, CEO Rackson Restaurants and
Chris Kelly, Co-founder and former President, Convene

These are two incredible leaders I currently work with and have worked with in the recent past, respectively. I mention them together mainly because of the commonality in their passion for building companies on a strong people philosophy; having the insight and commitment to recognize values are the cornerstone for a successful and sustainable organization; of course, providing the pallet to create a people platform, build into this philosophy and more importantly live the philosophy (bringing it to life). As with most things in life, there are no accidents.

My fantastic chapter with Chris Kelly led me to Chris Johnson. Chris Kelly insisted that our team members are the “CEO” of their households, and transparency with our business and commitment to our values will create true engagement and a sense of ownership.

Chris Johnson, similarly, leads Rackson Restaurants in service to our store managers. He believes our general managers are operating as entrepreneurs of their piece of the business and through common values and tools we create opportunities for THEIR success, ultimately, OUR success. Chris Johnson inspires me daily, reminding me that we are building a company to be part of the communities where we operate and create opportunities for people to learn and grow. Whether they continue with Rackson or move on, we (Rackson Restaurants) are a part of the learning journey.

A little clarity: I currently work at Rackson Restaurants as Chief People Officer. Therefore, I refer to Rackson Restaurants' store managers when I use the term "our store managers." By "we (Rackson Restaurants) are a part of the learning journey," I mean Rackson Restaurants remains a part of our store managers' learning journeys through their time with us regardless of whether they stay with us or not.

QUESTION: When President Obama introduced Janet Yellen as the new Federal Reserve Chair in October 2013, he said, "Janet Yellen is a proven leader who knows how to build consensus, the kind of person who makes everybody around her better." Certainly, President Biden remembered this when nominating her as the first woman Secretary of the Treasury. What three characteristics do you think are necessary to create a consensus-builder?

SIOBHAN O’LEARY: Habitual good judgement, ability to listen intuitively, and ability to admit failure and learn.

QUESTION: You shared a quote from Sheryl Sandberg on Twitter: "Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence." What does that quote mean to you?

SIOBHAN O’LEARY: Being a good leader comes from not just being powerful, but from creating significant, productive spaces for others to grow. Leadership can mean different things to different people, but at its core, it rests on one simple principle: Influence. It's about connecting with others, building strong relationships, and inspiring people to do their very best work. Effective leaders know that every word, action, or decision has a profound effect on those in their sphere of influence. These leaders use this awareness, along with key insights, on establishing values-based environments to drive behavior toward high performance. To me, Sheryl's quote underscores the importance of being aware of oneself and others. Creating a positive impact triggers a domino effect that drives everyone to success.

TWEET THIS: Leadership is about connecting with others, building strong relationships, and inspiring people to do their very best work. –@AubergineCOACH #EmployerBranding #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: One of my favorite leadership quotes is from author and consultant Mark Herbert (@NewParadigmer on Twitter): “Leadership doesn't require you to be the smartest person in the room. It requires you to block and tackle for others.” What does this quote mean to you?

SIOBHAN O’LEARY: My understanding of that quote means that the goal of leadership is to understand the nuances of each person's job, making way to create a clearer path to success for them. There will be times when you have to work with people who lack the aptitude to do the job themselves. Leadership demands that you step in and support them.

To lead, one must not simply be the smartest person in the room per se; it’s also about being on the frontlines with your team: supporting, coaching, holding them accountable, and making sure that they feel supported. Good leaders help get others to the finish line. They create trust and team spirit. Every day, they strive to help those around them succeed.

TWEET THIS: Good leaders help get others to the finish line. –@AubergineCOACH #LeadershipTip #EmployeeExperience #EmployerBranding #DebbieLaskeysBlog

TWEET THIS: Every day, leaders strive to help those around them succeed. –@AubergineCOACH #EmployerBranding #LeadershipTip #DebbieLaskeysBlog

My thanks to Siobhan for sharing her business insights and for appearing here on my Blog. Also, a shout-out to Sherry Lawal for her much appreciated assistance.

Image Credit: Jonathan Chng via Wordswag app.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Tips to Improve Employee Engagement and Create Better Leaders

Over the last 12 years, thanks to social media, I have had the privilege to meet a variety of amazing marketing, branding, employee experience, leadership, and customer experience experts. One of these experts is Liz Kislik based in New York. We recently had a discussion about leadership and employee engagement, and highlights follow below her bio.

Liz Kislik is a management consultant, executive coach, facilitator, and a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review and Forbes. Her TEDx “Why There’s So Much Conflict at Work and What You Can Do to Fix It” has received more than a quarter of a million views. She specializes in developing high performing leaders and workforces, and for 30 years, has helped family-run businesses, national nonprofits, and Fortune 500 companies like American Express, Girl Scouts, Staples, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, and Highlights for Children solve their thorniest problems. Connect and follow on Twitter (@LizKislik), on LinkedIn (, and on her website at

QUESTION: You wrote a post for Harvard Business Review entitled, "Leaders, Are You Feeling the Burden of Pandemic-Related Decisions?" What are the six ways that you recommend leaders re-channel their energy to create a better work environment during and post-Covid?

(Post referenced:

Liz Kislik: I’m going to answer this question based on things that have been happening since this piece was written in October 2020.

(1) The most important thing is to learn what your people need and to gauge how you can support them. How will they work best and be able to participate most, given their personal health requirements and home lives? Look for ways to accommodate team members’ needs as much as possible.

(2) Stay up-to-date on all the medical information and changes in direction so you can adjust inside the organization and provide the most relevant content to your team. Whatever your plans are, craft at least a Plan B and a Plan C, because things keep changing, and that’s not likely to stop.

(3) Stay in touch personally as much as you can, and encourage all the other leaders in the organization to do the same, so that both employees and other leaders feel like part of a community rather than feeling isolated in any way. This is important whether you are all on-premises, working remotely, or are in a hybrid situation.

(4) When you have to change direction or status, explain why the change has occurred. If you’ve made an error in judgment, or are adjusting based on push-back from the team, own up to it and thank whoever helped you come to your current position.

(5) Encourage team members to engage in self-care, from getting enough sleep and exercise to spending time with their families and taking rest breaks. Explain how these behaviors will help keep people fresh and that you recognize that grinding or gutting it out will create burnout or brittleness in the long term.

(6) Model the behavior you want to see. Don’t send emails after work hours, for example, or make clear that you’re not expecting responses till the next workday. Share your plans for rest and relaxation and ask team members for theirs. Acknowledge that you’re all figuring things out together.

(7) And an extra — cultivate colleagues or experts that you can consult with when you need extra information or want to talk things through. Don’t try to get through hard times alone when there are people available to help you.

QUESTION: You wrote a post for Forbes entitled, "How To Use Corporate Culture To Help Get The Results You Want." What are the six ways you think can improve an organization's culture?

(Post referenced:

Liz Kislik: The six points in this piece are based on Netflix’s culture — all of which are relevant, but here’s a bit of a restatement.

(1) Be clear about your purposes and intentions, both in terms of the goals and objectives of the organization and the kinds of behavior, interpersonal dynamics, and cultural norms you expect all to abide by.

(2) Acknowledge that people are different, and all have to find their own expression of and commitment to your organizational principles. Discuss these concepts and real-world examples frequently enough that you can feel confident that everyone on the team has bought in and knows what’s expected of them.

(3) Communicate more than you think is necessary. This means both outbound — notifying, explaining, and describing plans, changes, concerns — and inbound — soliciting employees’ input and concerns and listening, listening, listening. And taking action on what you hear.

(4) Be willing to raise uncomfortable issues kindly and with compassion, and also to hear criticisms and complaints with equanimity and open-mindedness especially when they are about your behavior or your deeply held opinions.

(5) Invest in the best candidates, tools, and other resources. In general, you get a better return when you invest up front rather than wasting time, money, and energy to repair less-than-best choices and decisions.

(6) Experiment with new approaches to increase growth and excellence. Let employees run tests and pilots and build prototypes of process improvements, training approaches, market outreach, etc. You can learn more from lots of little experiments than from big changes that may not match the realities of your organization.

QUESTION: Which three leaders inspire you, from business or history, and why?

Liz Kislik: I’m going to focus on three current leaders, for very specific reasons. I’ll start with Dolly Parton. Not only is she extraordinarily skilled at her craft, she is always on brand. She knows the world expects to see Dolly in full Dollyness, and she never disappoints. In particular, she took her masses of money and targeted child literacy and a Covid vaccine as some of the noteworthy projects she wanted to fund. She’s not looking for her own aggrandizement, she is trying to build up and protect community.

Dan Price is the founder and CEO of Gravity Payments, an online credit card processing company. He’s famous for reducing his annual pay from $1.1 million to $70,000 so he could increase all employees’ pay to at least $70,000. He speaks out consistently on topics of social inequality and social justice and right now is urging other CEOs to consider team members' needs and preferences rather than requiring that everyone return to their physical offices.

Stacey Abrams is a politician, author, lawyer, and voting rights activist. When she lost the fiercely-contested Georgia gubernatorial election in 2018 in the face of numerous accusations of voter suppression against her opponent, she did not make public complaint. She dusted herself off and doubled down on her organizing efforts.

All three of these individuals use their success and platform on behalf of others. They are resilient and dedicated, and they persist in their efforts to accomplish their goals and bring their beliefs to life.

QUESTION: How can people without impressive titles lead others?

Liz Kislik: Impressive titles are only meaningful to strangers. When you’re in a real working relationship, if you want to feel comfortable and confident about following them, it helps to see that they’re willing to understand what you care about, they’re curious about how things work and how they can be improved, and they’re willing to experiment — and to let you experiment — and will take responsibility for results whether those results are satisfactory or not. They use their political capital and personal reputation to provide cover for their colleagues when things are bad, and share credit and resources all the time. They demonstrate an ability to navigate relationships and spaces that you may not have — and they share the benefits of that experience with their colleagues rather than using them only for personal advancement.

TWEET THIS: Impressive titles are only meaningful to strangers. -@LizKislik #Leadership #EmployeeExperience #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: How can a leader inspire his/her employees to become brand ambassadors?

Liz Kislik: The first thing is that leaders have to actually love their products/services/other offerings, and what they accomplish for customers. And they have to love their customers and express that love as part of their business-talk, so employees learn to understand how important customers are, and how their company’s offerings affect people’s lives for good. Leaders’ authentic excitement goes a long way to demonstrate to employees just how important, meaningful, and valuable their company’s offerings are.

The other thing is for leaders to show that they love their employees, so that employees are happy to be associated with the company and its offerings and proud to talk about their experience with the company and with the company’s offerings.

QUESTION 6: One of my favorite leadership quotes is from author and consultant Mark Herbert (@NewParadigmer on Twitter): "Leadership doesn't require you to be the smartest person in the room. It requires you to block and tackle for others." What does that quote mean to you?

Liz Kislik: Believing that you’re the smartest person in the room could actually lead you to ignore the wonderful contributions that others can and are willing to make. The understanding and contributions of the group can be so much more powerful than that of any one individual. As the leader, it’s your job to recognize the barriers to their progress, and try to get those barriers and deterrents out of the way so your team members can all shine and be and do their best.

TWEET THIS: Believing that you’re the smartest person in the room could actually lead you to ignore the wonderful contributions that others can and are willing to make. -@LizKislik #DebbieLaskeysBlog

My thanks to Liz for sharing her inspiring insights about management, leadership, and the overall employee experience here on my Blog.

If you’d like to read Liz's free E-book, How to Resolve Interpersonal Conflicts in the Workplace, here's the link:

Image Credit: Debbie Laskey.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Leaders Should Only Give Ideas After Asking Teams for Input

Over the last 12 years, thanks to social media, I have had the privilege to meet a variety of amazing marketing, leadership, and customer experience experts. One of these experts is Victoria Hepburn from New Jersey. We recently had a discussion about leadership, career development, productivity, and more, and highlights follow below Victoria’s bio.

Victoria Hepburn, ACC is a certified business transitions coach, Amazon bestselling author, and speaker based in Hackensack, New Jersey. Her company, Hepburn Coaching, specializes in helping professionals and business teams maximize business results and personal well being using science-based brain training and career acceleration tools. Her new book, Pressure Makes Diamonds: Simple Habits for Busy Professionals to Break the Burnout Cycle, is available on her website at, as well as on Amazon and Audible.

QUESTION: What was the impetus in writing your book about burnout, and what is the single best take-away that you hope all readers have from the book?
VICTORIA HEPBURN: I wrote "Pressure Makes Diamonds: Simple Habits for Busy Professionals to Break the Burnout Cycle" after years of coaching values-driven professionals who felt frustrated or lost on their career journey. With this book, I want to offer simple actions that professionals can take to break out of the overwhelm and increase their confidence and clarity at work quickly.

Early in my career, after I was promoted to a senior chemical engineering role, I quickly realized that I wanted to make a career change. It was so hard to figure out what would make me happy and how to make a career pivot while working in an demanding role. Fast forward to today, after two amazing career pivots - engineering to corporate sales to author and certified business coach - I want to share what I've learned to help values-driven professionals make a positive impact on their lives, organizations, and ultimately, our planet.

QUESTION: One of your specialty areas is public speaking. What three recommendations can you share to help people who are fearful of public speaking?
VICTORIA HEPBURN: Public speaking is something I love because I get to share stories and techniques to help professionals increase their confidence and clarity in their lives.
Here are three key points to consider if/when people are fearful of public speaking, whether in front of a group or someone you don't know:
(1) Focus on your audience: You are sharing insights that can help someone else. Whether it's a business presentation or networking outreach to learn more about a dream company, you have unique experiences and training that may be helpful to your audience. Don't deprive them of your insight and positive energy.
(2) Don't allow your past to define who you are today: Just because you may have had a bad speaking experience in the past doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. It means you should practice. Even professionals at the top of their game mess up - pro athletes make errors that lose games, stand up comics have jokes that aren't funny. You have to keep going knowing you only fail if you stop trying to deliver your best.
(3) Use a centering practice: I've been speaking on stages since I was five years old, and my nervous system still shifts into fight or flight mode like everyone else. To manage the racing heart and shallow breathing, I have a centering practice to help me become calm quickly so I can connect with my audience. I use the Heartmath Quick Coherence technique because you can do it with your eyes open anywhere and feel the shift in your energy. Find what works for you - an affirmation, Box Breathing, a Body Scan mediation, a Power Pose. Practice often so you can rely on it when under stress. I'm a certified Heartmath Mentor/Coach and use the techniques personally and with coaching clients.

Here's a link to the Heartmath Quick Coherence Technique:

QUESTION: I once had a boss who told me to lower my expectations when it came to the employees who reported to me. How would you have responded in that situation?
VICTORIA HEPBURN: When I supervised a manufacturing team early in my career, I quickly learned that everyone has a different work ethic and capabilities. We work in organizations to leverage the collective strengths. It's the diverse talents and experiences that each person contributes to innovate and deliver results that leaders want. Leaders who are never satisfied or want things done precisely their way, inadvertently tell their team they don't trust them or value them. Studies show that teams that feel supported by leaders are more innovative and adapt quickly when crisis hits.

It's critical for leaders to communicate the mission and goals, define the minimum acceptable delivery, the timeline, and what’s at stake for the team. Then let them do the work. Trust the team to deliver as needed. Make yourself available to clear barriers and support problem solving efforts throughout the process. Just because people do things differently from how you do them doesn't make them wrong.

TWEET THIS: Studies show that teams that feel supported by leaders are more innovative and adapt quickly when crisis hits. -@v_hepburnauthor #EmployeeExperience #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: You wrote a Blog post entitled, “How Leaders Can Improve Remote Employee Engagement In Uncertain Times.” Can you briefly talk about the five ways?
VICTORIA HEPBURN: I highlighted five proven ways that leaders can secure productivity and positive business outcomes with remote workers. We have to be a bit more intentional in our communication when working remotely, and leaders have to create time and space to check in with team members to ensure that they stay engaged.

Here are the five ways:
(1) Focus on employee output and not hours worked: You hired talented adults and trust them to drive results. Clear objectives, deadlines, and two-way communication along the way will help your team feel supported as they use the flexibility to maximize productivity.
(2) Remind managers to show employees that they are trusted and valued: Activity and time tracking apps, and expectations for being responsive to email, Slack, or text at all hours undermine your productivity goals and send a clear message that you don't trust your employees to prioritize business goals.
(3) Communicate like you never have before: Leaders can build trust by affirming their commitment to doing what’s right and making decisions, business strategies, and taking action that reflects that commitment.
(4) Leaders must frequently clarify the organization’s mission and direction: This helps managers establish priorities and teams organize priorities as the business landscape changes.
(5) Implement a plan to support your managers’ well-being and work/life balance: Humans are not machines. The well being data is clear that taking time to support managers yields powerful business returns as engaged managers motivate employees and accelerate business results.

(Post referenced:

QUESTION: How can employees who work in silos (aka, different departments) come together to work collaboratively?
VICTORIA HEPBURN: As someone who has worked with cross-functional remote teams across multiple time zones, I know it can be a struggle. I offer simple tips that fall away when we get too busy and default to habitual behavior.It's easy for teams to get derailed by competing priorities and urgent tasks that reduce progress toward long term goals.

It's important for leaders and project managers to make time to build relationships beyond the transactional work check-ins. Whether you set up social meetings or build time for rapport builders in meetings like icebreakers or acknowledge incremental wins, case studies are useful to give other function areas insight into what another department is/does. In my sales career, more successful leaders had a habit of inviting other departments to present their updates so that the remote sales reps knew who did what inside the company and could ask direct questions.

QUESTION: You wrote about leading by example. Of the ten ways you mentioned, which three were your favorite, and why?
VICTORIA HEPBURN: My 3 favorite ways to lead by example are centered around personal growth actions that help strengthen the team:
#5 - Be persistent. Build up your resilience to stress and challenges by taking action. Go over, under, or around any hurdles to show that obstacles don’t define your company or team.
#6 - Create solutions. Don’t dwell on problems; instead, ask your team for solutions and give your ideas afterward.
#9 - Take care of yourself. Exercise, don’t overwork, take breaks throughout the day. A balanced team, mentally and physically, is a successful team. Model it, encourage it, and support it!

(Post referenced:

TWEET THIS: Leaders: Ask your team for solutions and give your ideas afterward. -@v_hepburnauthor #LeadershipTip #EmployeeExperience #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: Since 2020, “Many organizations have ramped up their investments in diversity, equity, and inclusion - largely in the form of anti-bias training, employee resource groups, mentoring programs, and more. But gauging the effectiveness of these measures has been a challenge...Organizations must also assess employee experience.” How do you recommend organizations implement change in these very important areas?

(Quote referenced in this post:

VICTORIA HEPBURN: Culture change starts with leaders who make investments of time and money that align with the goals and ends when front-line employees are living the new reality. Since my background is not in DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) work, I'm speaking from my experience navigating change as a former corporate professional and currently as a business owner. It's important to recognize that awareness training and changing policies is good, but what's critical is pull through at all levels and for all employees. Often the message at the top isn't reflected at middle and front-line management meetings. Also, we humans forget most of what we learn in training within days because we don't practice the new skills.

To fight this normal human tendency, there must be accountability for leaders to have tactical plans to address inequity and strengthen opportunity for all employees. That could include stronger new hire programs to get new people plugged into the corporate network quickly, have more opportunities for promotions, mentorship, sponsorship, and public recognition, all of which increase retention and engagement.

To read more about DEI, click here:

My thanks to Victoria for sharing her inspiring business insights and for appearing here on my Blog.

Where to find Victoria online:
All links on Linktree:

Amazon book page:





Image Credit: Debbie Laskey.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Comfort Zones and Leadership


Thanks to social media, over the last 13 years, I have had the privilege to meet a variety of amazing marketing, leadership, and customer experience experts. One of these experts is Melanie Benson from Los Angeles. We recently had a discussion about leadership, coaching, and comfort zones, and highlights follow below Melanie's bio.

Melanie Benson, Authority Amplifier for Expert-preneurs, shows her clients how to stand out in a crowded market and attract opportunities. She has a proven track record of accelerating results for her clients. She’s host of the Amplify Your Success Podcast, author of Rewired for Wealth, co-author of Voices of the 21st Century, and has been featured in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Woman’s Day, and Parenting. Visit her online at and connect on Twitter @melcoach.

QUESTION: You use the word AMPLIFY a great deal. What does that word mean to you and your business?
MELANIE BENSON: To spread your business message, make a greater impact, and exponentially increase your revenue is the goal -- but most people work ten times harder than necessary to accomplish this. When you amplify, you are able to grow exponentially with very little effort. When I work with entrepreneurs who are building a business around their expertise, they often have a million things to accomplish with very little time. Anything that helps them amplify their results without having to work twice as hard is a game changer. I also find that AMPLIFY is a powerful word that integrates the masculine ACTION and the feminine of CREATION, so that it feels exciting to both male and female entrepreneurs.

QUESTION: You wrote a blog post entitled, "Five Signs You Are Meant to Lead." Can you share some key highlights from that post?

(Post referenced:

MELANIE BENSON: Often, someone with a powerful message and great work that can help others feels like a best kept secret in their market. If you are meant to lead, then there is something about you, your work and your leadership style that can positively impact others.

Sometimes an entrepreneur doesn’t really feel like they are “leadership material,” and they shy away from influencing others. But the truth is, we influence others all the time! We lead our children, we direct our team members, and if we work with clients, we often inspire their actions on a daily basis. When we “own” our leadership role, we can not only have a greater impact, but we also can learn how to be a better leader.

TWEET THIS: When we “own” our leadership role, we can not only have a greater impact, but we also can learn how to be a better leader. ~@coachmel #LeadershipTip #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: What three things should a person do to get out of their comfort zone?
MELANIE BENSON: A comfort zone is where most of us like to live: a mental space where we know what to do, how to do it, and have a sense of control over our lives. As an entrepreneur who wants to make a greater impact and grow his/her/their revenue potential, a comfort zone keeps you trapped right where you are.

Three things I often coach my clients to do to get beyond their comfort zones are:
[1] Set a goal you have no idea how to pull off (and the idea of accomplishing it inspires you, so you imagine it often).

[2] Focus on what you want, not how to get there. Stop trying to figure it all out. Instead, keep your thoughts and actions on taking the next steps. Ask yourself, “Who would I have to be for this to feel easy to accomplish?”

[3] Challenge yourself to shatter limits and fears and stretch your paradigm of what you believe is possible. Do something every week that is not comfortable so that you get used to feeling “outside” of your normal approach to things.

When you decide to push through your comfort zone, it's common to have all kinds of challenges, fears, and a very logical set of reasons why it can’t work. We call it Upper Limiting. I invite you to check out an episode of my Amplify Your Success podcast where I share how to recognize and move beyond this common trap:

QUESTION: You are a passionate advocate for women in leadership roles, so on a related topic, what is your favorite RBG (Ruth Bader Ginsburg) quote, and why?

MELANIE BENSON: RBG was a powerful force for good in our world. She shattered limits and accomplished what many women didn’t believe was possible. One of her quotes that inspires me is: “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

For those who are building a business with the intention of creating positive change in the world, we often have to battle many who don’t believe in our vision, and who won’t support our efforts. To take on this challenge, we have to inspire others to take action that they may not believe in at first. Being a leader who inspires is a million times more sustainable that being someone who forces, uses fear tactics, manipulates, or hurts others to make their point. When leaders inspire others to join their efforts, they create a movement, and THAT is what creates lasting change.

TWEET THIS: When leaders inspire others to join their efforts, they create a movement. ~@coachmel #LeadershipTip #EmployeeExperience #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: You shared a tweet by Mark Twain on Twitter: "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great." What does that quote mean to you, and why is it your inspiration?
MELANIE BENSON: Two out of five of my entrepreneurial clients feel a lack of support in achieving their goals in their home or environment. Three out of five of my clients have had a mentor who shamed them or used fear tactics to try to get them to take action.

The work I do with my clients is very different from most “coaches” out there. I find the superpower inside them and help them amplify it so that they transform their wisdom into wealth. I don’t need to use fear or shaming to get people into action. I uncover what lights their fire and show them how to accomplish their goals so that they get what they really want. Sometimes I have to do some mindset recoding to help them believe in themselves again.

In my experience, a great person has a unique talent to make someone feel they are capable of accomplishing anything they want in life. That is my personal aspiration – to be that kind of force for my clients and the world.

My gratitude to Melanie for sharing her leadership and coaching insights and for appearing here on my Blog.

Image Credit: Twitter.