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Three Historical Leaders Whose Accountability Equaled Personal Responsibility

During a recent leadership team meeting that I was facilitating, the subject of “accountability” was a major topic of conversation. Group members saw it as a critical value, one they needed to demonstrate in words as well as actions. Subsequently they began to grapple with how to establish a social contract (i.e. rules of engagement) around frequent and consistent accountability to the organization and to one another. This effort was not for the faint of heart!   At the...
Posted by bnrapaport@comcast.net at 7:59 AM | 0 comments

My Gift to You this Holiday Season: The “24-Hour Think”

At this time of year, many of us pause to engage in some kind of personal reflection. What came to mind for me was a practice I developed during my corporate career at Steelcase. I named it my “24-Hour Think.” I initiated this practice when I recognized that, more often than not, my emotions got in the way of my business perspective and I needed to take a step back before reacting subjectively rather than objectively. I didn’t know it then, but it actually was a practice for...
Posted by bnrapaport@comcast.net at 8:49 AM | 1 comments

Five Things I've Learned from my Most Trusted Colleagues (Who are also my Friends!)

This time of year, it's easy to let stress and anxiety build in your work life and your personal life. Here are five "mantras" to help get you through, from my colleagues and friends. " Be as compassionate to yourself as you are to others.” Organizational Development Consultant “Just because something feels a certain way, doesn’t mean it is that way.” Principal of a Marketing Communications Firm “When good things happen at work and you’re...
Posted by bnrapaport@comcast.net at 2:10 PM | 0 comments

The Bittersweet Nature of "Letting Go"

Years ago, when I worked for Steelcase, Inc., I had the privilege of attending a conference where the keynote speaker was General Normal Schwarzkopf, leader of the coalition forces in the 1990 Gulf War. That night he told many stories about how he came to understand what it meant to lead. The key takeaways from one of those stories have stayed with me and I reference them quite frequently in my leadership development programs. His message (paraphrased) was, “when in command take...
Posted by bnrapaport@comcast.net at 12:00 AM | 5 comments

How to be Authentic when Seeking a Promotion

When you’re looking to get that coveted promotion, don’t underestimate the value of extensive prep for the conversation. If you’re fully prepared, you’ll have the confidence to represent your authentic self. Some people make the mistake of thinking that because they’re more outgoing and find it easy to relate in social situations, their personality and charisma will carry them through. Don’t take the risk! Tip #1: Review. Look back at your most recent...
Posted by bnrapaport@comcast.net at 2:11 PM | 0 comments

A Look Back...

I've had four careers (so far). My first was in college administration; my second in health care marketing. Both of those careers preceded a 20-year engagement with a Fortune 500 Company (Steelcase). My fourth and current career is as an executive coach and organizational consultant, with a focus on transformative leadership development. Each career transition, to some degree, was a reinvention of my “self.”  And, one year ago – on September 17, 2015, to be exact...
Posted by bnrapaport@comcast.net at 9:17 AM | 0 comments

Interview Questions, What's Asked & Why

If you’re a New York Times - Sunday Edition fan like me, you’ve read the Sunday Business section. Each week, The Corner Office  offers conversations about leadership and management between Adam Bryant and a wide variety of organizational leaders. Often, they’ll talk about the interview process. As an interviewee, this is incredible insight into the logic behind what is asked in an interview. As an interviewer, you may also benefit from taking note of these questions -...
Posted by bnrapaport@comcast.net at 2:25 PM | 0 comments

Offered an Opportunity? How to Decide if it's Right for You.

Recently I was asked to serve as a coach to participants in a clinical research trial, an opportunity that would lead to being recognized in a research paper which ultimately would be published in a prestigious professional journal. My initial response was, “How exciting!” and I subsequently acted on that excitement by making a snap decision to participate, before I had all the facts .  Later, after letting the idea begin to settle in, I recognized that my feelings...
Posted by bnrapaport@comcast.net at 8:26 AM | 0 comments

Millennials Making it Happen: Q&A with Tyler Nickerson

As part of Real-time Perspectives’ ongoing blog series focusing on millennials, we sat down with Tyler Nickerson, Director of Investments and State Strategy with The Solutions Project  in Washington D.C.  RTP: What do you spend your days at work “doing”? TN: My job is to oversee the grantmaking and policy strategy for The Solutions Project. In many ways it’s a reflection of my career, which has been braiding together skills and communications and...
Posted by bnrapaport@comcast.net at 3:49 PM | 0 comments

Millennials Making it Happen: Q&A with Holly Anderson

As part of Real-time Perspectives’ ongoing blog series focusing on millennials, we sat down with Grand Rapidian Holly Anderson, 29, Program Manager of the Community Food Club of Greater Grand Rapids .  RTP: What do you spend your days at work “doing”? Holly: I would say on a daily basis my days are spent being ready for just about anything. I don’t even know how to put it in a nutshell. I oversee the daily operations of the Community Food Club, working...
Posted by bnrapaport@comcast.net at 2:09 PM | 1 comments

My philosophy: More like Glinda the Good Witch, Less like a Fairy Godmother or Your Boss

As an executive coach, I love the work I’ve been doing for over a decade. And part of what I love the most is the fresh challenge of helping people break down barriers and achieve their goals, no matter how diverse and complex those people and goals may be.  But this is work that can look confusing or intimidating from the outside, so I get a lot of questions about my process and philosophy. I’m frequently asked whether or not I’m disappointed when my clients...
Posted by bnrapaport@comcast.net at 10:20 AM | 0 comments

Millennials Making it Happen: Q&A with Emily Richett

As part of Real-time Perspectives’ ongoing blog series focusing on millennials, we sat down with Grand Rapidian Emily Richett, owner of Richett Media , entrepreneur at EmilyRichett.com , and mom. RTP: What do you spend your days at work “doing”? Emily: I like to tell people I run a small but mighty PR firm acting as a publicist, creating memorable media campaigns, putting a spotlight on our clients. Then I also coach entrepreneurs – doing media training for...
Posted by bnrapaport@comcast.net at 12:08 PM | 0 comments

The Benefits of Group Coaching

I'm excited to share my recognition in an article recently published in The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science ! The article shares results of research conducted at a West Michigan company where I worked with approximately 75 supervisors over a 2-month period of time.  The results indicate that there is tremendous benefit for organizations to consider "group coaching" around discovering hidden barriers that impede leadership effectiveness. For those of you who...
Posted by bnrapaport@comcast.net at 8:57 AM | 0 comments

Stuck in a Rut? How to Reflect, Reframe, and Get Better Results.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been struck by how many of my new, younger clients have benefitted from a tool I’ve had in my toolkit for years. These clients have all been up front about wanting to get out of a pattern of behavior they recognize as less than productive. It seems you millennials are becoming more introspective as you get older (wink) – and perhaps you’re becoming more aware of your limiting beliefs and want to be free of them.  In any case,...
Posted by bnrapaport@comcast.net at 9:35 AM | 0 comments

How To Be Yourself At Work

You’re trying. You really are. You get up every weekday morning and head to work, believing it’s truly possible to be authentic and professional, to work hard and make time for relationships, to function effectively within the culture and find opportunities to change it. But if you’re like many of my millennial clients, you’re feeling frustrated by derogatory remarks about your less rigid work hours, collaborative style of leadership, impatience to be...
Posted by bnrapaport@comcast.net at 9:59 AM | 0 comments

Feeling Bullied At Work? Here's What To Do.

Feeling bullied at work? Here’s what to do. Whether you’re seven or 77, it’s likely you have experienced bullying to some degree. And while the type of bully you deal with as an adult in a workplace is probably quite different from the playground menace you may have faced as a second-grader, you’re never too old to change your perception of—and reaction to—a bully.  Last month we tackled the topic of workplace conflict, acknowledging that...
Posted by bnrapaport@comcast.net at 10:30 AM | 0 comments

Dealing with Difficult Coworkers: Is It You Or Is It Them?

In my work as an executive coach, one issue that pops up over and over for my clients is how to manage difficult coworkers. That’s no surprise, because all workplaces, no matter how functional, are filled with a wide variety of individuals, each embodying a wide variety of quirks, priorities, communication styles, and habits. Someone is bound to rub you the wrong way! Whose fault is it, anyway? When a client gives me the scoop on a certain, conflict-ridden situation, and asks,...
Posted by bnrapaport@comcast.net at 9:11 AM | 0 comments

Millennials Making it Happen: Q&A with Anna Bullis

As part of Real-time Perspectives’ ongoing blog series focusing on millennials, we sat down with Grand Rapidian Anna Bullis, 30, director of operations for Brightly . RTP: What do you spend your days at work “doing”? Anna: I lead our project management efforts, accounts, sales coordination … so I ensure that we have a sound customer experience. I also work internally on our finances so I’m responsible for keeping tabs on our accounting and internal...
Posted by bnrapaport@comcast.net at 12:14 PM | 0 comments

Resolutions already faltering? Do this instead.

Raise your hand if you spent a little time at the end of 2015 thoughtfully considering the changes you wanted to make in your life, made a sincere resolution about it, and now, half a month in, can’t quite figure out why you’re faltering.  First of all, you’re not alone: Studies show that a quarter of us have already thrown in the towel, and only eight percent of resolvers will actually follow through on their resolutions successfully. So what do we do with the...
Posted by bnrapaport@comcast.net at 3:06 PM | 1 comments

Millennials Making it Happen: Q&A with Michael Lomonaco

As part of Real-time Perspectives’ ongoing blog series focusing on millennials, we sat down with Michael Lomonaco, director of marketing and communications at Grand Rapids-based tech firm OST . At 35, he’s right on the cusp between Generation X and Y, but we think his perspective as a young executive is valuable. Read on for his thoughts on vulnerability, collaboration, and finding joy in the ride. Real-time Perspectives: What do you spend your days at work...
Posted by bnrapaport@comcast.net at 2:05 PM | 0 comments

Ask, and You Shall Receive: Coaching for the Holidays

In response to my last blog post, where I encouraged you to stay sane by setting healthy boundaries at the holidays and asked for your dilemmas, a client wrote this: Dear Barbara,  My holiday challenge is this: I’ve had some recent health problems, and I’ve just learned I’ll need to schedule surgery for the week right before Christmas. Though it’s stressful enough to be dealing with this health concern, it’s not the surgery itself that’s making...
Posted by bnrapaport@comcast.net at 9:27 AM | 0 comments

My gift to you at the holidays: Accumulated wisdom for staying sane and authentic amid the chaos

The holiday season is officially upon us! So cheers, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Festivus, and Happy New Year, whatever you’ll be celebrating.  This last month of the year brings a barrage of holiday office parties, a flurry of end-of-year gift-buying, and all sorts of family traditions. If you’re feeling pulled in a million different directions, you’re not alone. It’s easy to get so caught up in pleasing others, so swept along in meeting their...
Posted by bnrapaport@comcast.net at 9:26 AM | 0 comments

Millennials Making it Happen: Q&A with Melissa Malburg

As part of Real-time Perspectives’ ongoing blog series focusing on millennials, we sat down with Grand Rapidian Melissa Malburg, 33, senior interior designer at Progressive AE. RTP: What do you spend your days at work “doing”? Melissa: Well, I’m an interior designer and one thing I like about my job is every day is a different day. There’s no typical day in my work life. I spend a lot of time working with clients directly and understanding their goals,...
Posted by bnrapaport@comcast.net at 12:03 PM | 0 comments

This Thanksgiving, be Grateful for the Challenges...Along with the Cranberry Sauce

I think we can all agree “there’s no place like home for the holidays” – though whether or not we sing that phrase with anticipation and joy or mutter it with suspicion and resignation can largely depend on who and what we’re heading home to experience. No matter which camp you fall into, I have a tip for you to tuck into your back pocket before you tuck into the turkey this month. It’s called reframing, and it – plus perhaps a glass of good Pinot...
Posted by bnrapaport@comcast.net at 1:20 PM | 0 comments

Millennials Making it Happen: Q & A with Shannon Cunningham

As part of Real-time Perspectives’ ongoing blog series focusing on millennials, we sat down with Shannon Cunningham, 30, director of marketing and business development at Grand Rapids law firm Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge, and Eastown resident. RTP: What do you spend your days at work “doing”? Shannon: It’s difficult to explain. I would say the majority of my day is spent navigating various pathways with the end goal of connecting our firm to...
Posted by bnrapaport@comcast.net at 10:14 AM | 0 comments

My Top 5 Leadership Lessons

My Top 5 Leadership Lessons Prior to beginning my executive and leadership coaching practice a decade ago, I held leadership positions in college administration, health care marketing, and Fortune 500 management.  As a result, I was exposed to a wide array of leadership lessons. Here’s the short list that comes specifically from my stint with the Fortune 500 manufacturing company. For me, these particular lessons have stood the test of time because they build on a commitment to...
Posted by bnrapaport@comcast.net at 9:46 AM | 0 comments

Real-time Perspectives 10 Year Anniversary

Happy birthday to Real-time Perspectives! This year, which is the tenth year of my executive and leadership coaching practice, I’m taking on a new challenge. I am offering an affordable, virtual coaching experience that is aimed solely at Gen Y leaders! There are two reasons for this. Up until now, I’ve worked primarily with executives, middle managers, and first-time supervisors in ways that help them unleash their leadership potential on an accelerated basis. Consequently,...
Posted by bnrapaport@comcast.net at 11:46 AM | 1 comments
Client Testimonial

Hello West Michigan was half way through a three-year strategic plan when we connected with Barbara. Our organization is growing. Barbara took all that was pulling at us, assessed the situation and guided us into creating a user-friendly process that we continue to use today. It allowed us to refocus our energy on our core work and enhance our existing program. I appreciate Barbara’s insight as she assisted in this process. We are a better organization because of the time spent with Barbara.

Cindy Brown, Executive Director - Hello West Michigan
Grand Rapids, MI
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