PMC is delighted to assist Nemanick Leadership Consulting in delivering Leadership for Achievement, a professional development program for surgeons, researchers, and others in the Department of Orthopedics at Washington University’s School of Medicine. The Department of Orthopedics is a national leader in the delivery of high-quality orthopedic care, as well as innovative clinical, basic, and translational research. Paul Paese, of PMC, will be kicking off the program this month with “Leadership Tools for Better Teamwork,” a module focusing on the unique challenges of team leadership in environments with changing technology, high stakes, and very little room for error.
Paul Paese, of PMC, had the pleasure this month of teaching “Strategies for Conflict Resolution” to leaders at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. DTRA is the only Department of Defense organization focused exclusively on countering and deterring weapons of mass destruction and emerging threats. DTRA works with the DoD, other U.S. Government partners, and international partners to preserve peace and prepare for uncertainty in a rapidly evolving, globalized threat environment. “Strategies for Conflict Resolution” is a course offered by WashU at Brookings, a partnership of the Brookings Institution and Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) Olin School of Business. Paul was honored to work with this esteemed group of leaders, and was greatly impressed by their thoughtfulness and dedication to learning.
This month we give a shout-out to the Rotary Club of Kirkwood, Missouri, which is holding its annual 5K/10K run on Saturday, September 11 after a 1-year hiatus due to covid. As a longtime member and former president of the club, Paul Paese (of PMC) holds Kirkwood Rotary near and dear to his heart. The Kirkwood club fully embraces the Rotary International motto of “service above self,” and is dedicated to helping others both locally and internationally. The Kirkwood Rotary Ramble is a race through the streets of Kirkwood to raise money for local charities. The race takes place every (non-pandemic!) year on the Saturday one week prior to the Kirkwood Greentree Festival. The club offers certified 5k and 10k courses, plus a School Challenge program for students. The theme of the race is changed every year to match that of the annual Kirkwood Greentree Festival, so participants are encouraged to dress up. So, if you’re a runner or walker interested in supporting local charities while having a fun, healthy time, please consider participating in this year’s race! Click here to register for the race.
Leaders need strength to be successful. While this obvious truth is widely recognized, opinions differ on what constitutes “strength.” In the eyes of many, strength means standing firm, winning your position, exuding confidence, and minimizing vulnerability. At PMC, our clients are often surprised to hear that we see vulnerability as a key source of leadership strength. Which is stronger, a leader who advocates a position and stands firm until others bend? Or a leader who advocates a position while remaining open to different views, even inviting challenge from others? Leaders who take the path of openness will naturally feel vulnerable. Paradoxically, this vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, but rather a clear indication of leadership strength.
Paul Paese, of PMC, is delighted to be participating this month in the 2021 Women’s Leadership Forum (WLF) at WashU Olin Business School. The WLF is a certificate program specifically designed to accelerate the development of high-potential professionals. In this program, women executives form a community of learners who come together for 6 two-day development sessions spread over five months. Participants learn from each other and the instructors, and develop relationships that continue long after the program ends. Paul will be teaching “Critical Conversations,” and he expects to learn as much as he imparts in this vital program.
We’ve noticed a consistent gap in workplace conversations. To convey understanding, most people use easy phrases like “I understand,” “I appreciate that,” or “I get it,” and often say these phrases repeatedly in an effort to show that they understand. Few go so far as to offer a brief re-cap by saying something like, “Forgive me, but let me check if I’m tracking…”, and then asking if their re-cap is on target. Why bother with the extra effort? Well, maybe you think you understand, but in reality you don’t fully grasp what the other is saying. Or maybe the other person can’t find the right words and could use your help finding them. By 1) re-capping what you think the other person is saying, 2) asking him or her if you’ve got it right, 3) repeating these first two steps if necessary, and 4) ultimately getting an affirmative response, you’re showing that you understand. This practice is particularly important when others have been talking for a while, and especially if they’ve been repeating themselves. While it may seem unnecessary to check your understanding when others have been repeating themselves, this is exactly when checking may be the most helpful. Why? Because repetition is often a signal that the other person doesn’t feel heard, or believes you’re missing their point. Paraphrasing and getting confirmation usually ends the repetition because now you’ve shown that you understand, and the other person sees that further repetition isn’t needed. So our recommendation is simple: If the conversation is important and your goal is to understand others and have them feel understood, show that you understand first. Don’t just say “I understand.”