Wednesday, July 27, 2016


I have been specializing in the subject of emotional intelligence for about 15 years now so we thought it would be fun to share some of the most frequently asked questions we hear from people on the topic. Just as a quick point of reference, you can learn more about the subject of EQ on this short 3-minute video.

This is a continuation of the July Performance Pointer.  To subscribe click here.

5. What is the best way to develop more EQ?

There are many ways to develop emotional intelligence, and the method that leads to the most permanent results is via coaching. Hiring an executive coach can help you identify your unique combination of strengths and weaknesses and ways to balance them to leverage the best of you to reach your professional and personal goals. There are also many self-paced resources available from books to webinars.

6. Can EQ be tested?

Yes. There are several validated instruments on the market. We provide the EQi 2.0 as a self-only online assessment tool best used for pre-employment testing, personal development or individual contributors. This comes with a personal debrief session and costs $200 each. We also offer the ESCI from the Hay Group. This is a multi-rater (360°) online assessment best used for leaders at all levels. This comes with a personal debrief session and costs $600 each.

7. Is your EQ level set at a certain age like IQ, or does it change as you mature?

Unlike IQ which is set at about 18 years old, EQ continues to develop as you mature, with a peak at about age 60.

8. Can developing EQ help me at work and at home too?

Yes, we at our firm focus on the ways to use emotional intelligence to be better professionals but there are also some significant personal benefits to increasing your EQ. Most report increased satisfaction with friendships, family and spouses. And people with high EQ are also happier.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Dave Novak's Nomadic Youth a People Magazine Exclusive

I saw Dave Novak speak at a conference a few years ago and it’s always so refreshing to find a CEO who really gets the importance of people. And he is a great example of how taking care of employees makes total business sense based on his strong record of financial success. Once I read about his back-story, it sheds more light on why he is so special. I wish him a complete recovery and hope he continues to influence business leaders in this next phase of his career. We need more like him out there!

Please click here to read People Magazine's, July 1, article on Dave Novak.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Interview with Sam Matagi

In December 2010, Sam Matagi’s life changed forever when he lost both of his hands in an electrical accident while working as a power lineman in Colorado.  More than 14,000 volts of electricity surged through his body, leaving his hands irreversibly damaged.  After losing both of his hands, Sam credits his recovery to the dedicated professionals at the University of Utah Burn Center and Rehabilitation Center.  Now Sam finds his inspiration and strength in helping others who are struggling to accept personal challenges.

Sam(right) with Penumbra team member Steve Friedlein
JS You and your brother have both experienced terrible tragedies and instead of letting it crush you, you are both thrivingWhat family trait do you think has helped you the most?

SM We have the ability to go through change because of our upbringing.  From very early on, we were used to changing the way we did things.  If a problem presented itself…we had the creativity to think of a way to do overcome it by doing things differently.  In my life now for example, taking a shower without hands could be a daunting task if I wasn’t willing to accept the result of my injury.  For all of us, progress will be halted until we’re ready to accept the new places where life leads us.  I was blessed to have experienced a lot of change growing up, and was always encouraged to find ways to solve problems.

I believe it’s true that the only thing that is constant in life is change.  If we want to thrive, we have to be able to accept the unexpected.  The longer we protest, the longer it will take us to get over it.

JS Today you volunteer and help others facing similar challenges.  In your opinion, where does resiliency come from?

SM My resiliency comes from my upbringing.  In our family, we’ve experienced a lot of tragedies, & we had to learn to turn around, get back up and get going again.  The main positive example in my life is my mother.

My mother was an orphan, and she experienced a lot of terrifying things as a child.  But, you would never know the challenges she’s faced by talking to her.  She’s always bright, smiling and positive.  Those attributes are what I think creates resiliency. 

A lot of times when something like this happens to someone…they become bitter. 
When I went to the grocery store recently, there was a cashier watching me do my thing, and it was taking me a long time. When I finished she said, “I would have helped you, but I was afraid that you’d get mad.”  I thought, this must be a learned behavior from a prior negative experience she had with someone else.  

So, when a person comes up and asks me a question about my injury, I don’t want them to go away with a negative experience.

It’s important that we’re not offended by other people’s curiosity.
Every time you have an angry reaction or when you’re disturbed by someone’s curiosity – it’s going to set you back.

You have to be willing to put yourself in a vulnerable place.  People have to put themselves into a vulnerable place to approach me and speak with me, and I have to put myself in a vulnerable place to be willing to respond and answer questions. 

JS Most people don’t prepare for hardship until it’s upon us.  What is your advice to others to be best prepared for turbulent times?

SM The advice that I’d give to help prepare anyone for future challenges, is to stay positive when bad things happen.  Regardless how big the challenge is, it will open up a window of opportunity.  When I first got hurt, I didn’t see the opportunities, and it was like walking into a dark cave – But I knew there was an end…and I just had to keep moving forward even through the setbacks. 

Even with small struggles and challenges…the way you react is going to be magnified later on when you encounter extremely traumatic circumstances. 

Be willing to change.  A lot of people get upset when they have to do things differently. First, they protest.  But, the more willing they are to accept change, the faster they’ll be able to get past any trauma regardless of how overwhelming it may seem.

Sam has his own Youtube channel called the No-Handed Bandit where he shares informational videos he's made for amputees and their families, or if you just want to be flat-out inspired!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Striving to be a Generalist: The Paradox of Leadership

I know many people are fans of the Strengths Finder concept – essentially you need to identify your strengths so you can pick jobs and careers that leverage them and not worry so much about fixing your weaknesses. Although that would be ideal, I don’t know many jobs that allow you to only do things that are strengths unless you have a very specialized role. If you want to be a leader, especially a senior leader, being a super specialist is going to be nearly impossible. Think about it, as a senior leader we need to know a little bit about the many things that are within our scope of responsibility. So the higher up you go, the more uncomfortable it gets. A lot of executives struggle with the thinking that, “I should know this piece of my business in detail,” or “I should have a handle on this,” or “I’m going to get asked a question and I won’t know the answer." And, in fairness, most people are promoted based on expertise in a specialty, but the strongest leaders actually understand the opposite is true too.
The reality is, to be a good leader you shouldn’t be involved in the nitty-gritty details of every piece of your business. It’s not practical because you create bottle necks or end up micromanaging too much; there are only so many hours in a day. You need a strong team of specialists beneath you, so you can focus on the strategic needs of your function. The last few times I had this conversation with senior leaders, they’ve looked at me and said, “Thank you.  You have no idea how much relief I feel right now to hear you say that.” Letting go of expectations that you should be omnipotent is the first step if you want to grow in a leadership capacity. Think generalist, not specialist.