Communication Skills Training for High Performance

8 minute read

My intention with this post is to illustrate how solutions to many of our organizational problems to do with leadership and human relations are embedded in the organization itself.  Employees have the solutions to most problems.  What we focus on grows is the principle addressed in this post. There are examples from the corporate world to improve communications and build cultures of ownership, as well as examples from elsewhere.

There is a key principle in the organization change methodology, Appreciative Inquiry that posits powerfully, what we focus on grows.  So when your organization offers communication skills training, what does the trainer focus on, or what is the trainer asked to focus on? As a big generalization, it's most likely the focus is on the need to fix poor communications across the organization.  Or, the lack of communications, or negative communications, or stressful communications that permeate the culture, thereby impacting relationships inside and outside the organization.  When that kind of climate infiltrates the organization, productivity is impacted, customer retention and innovation decrease, and creativity and vitality start on a downward spiral. 

Existing Paradigm “if it ain't broke don't fix it”

Unfortunately, it's often not until situations get to that low level, when the pain really starts to hurt, that there's a cry for “we need communication skills training.”   That pain signals an urgency to “fix what's wrong with a training solution.”   Such a response is the classic view of traditional management: “if it ain't broke, don't fix it.”  It takes a “burning platform” to initiate any change. I contrast that with my dear grandmother's favorite saying:  “a stitch in time saves nine.”

Let me share a few stories to illustrate how communications and more broadly organizational culture is impacted by understanding this Appreciate Inquiry principle of what you focus on grows.

CEO Steps From the Dark into the Light

The CEO of a multimillion dollar, international company was in the office building elevator one day to go down to lunch from his executive suite on level 77.  Several floors down three employees stepped into the same elevator all very engaged in a conversation. They paid no attention to him – the CEO – standing in the dark at the back of the elevator.  As the elevator door closed with its three new occupants, he quickly became aware, their conversation was a series of complaints and grievances about the company of which he was CEO and founder.

This company had become a global company through a number of recent mergers, and the three employees in the elevator were complaining about impossible workloads, their unavailable bosses, slow systems, volumes of work and unhappy customers. They were focusing on their grievances and airing them in a public place without paying attention to who else might be in the elevator with them, and possibly listening.

When the elevator reached the the ground floor, the CEO stepped out from the dark into the light, expressing concern about their conversation.  It was extremely upsetting to him to hear his employees speak this way.  He wanted to hear more about their experiences.  He asked them to reach out to his assistant and get on his calendar that afternoon.

Growth Mindset or Fixed Mindset

Before I continue, two questions:

Communication Skills Training Questions

  1. From your own world view, how do you think this story might continue?  From your own experience, if this had been you in the elevator and your CEO was standing at the back, how might this story continue in your organization?
  2. If you were the CEO and you heard your people speak about the organization in this negative way in public, what actions might you have taken?

Here’s what happened. They enter his office a few hours later.  He welcomes them to his office and serves tea.  He personally serves them tea.

  • He prides himself on being a gracious host and a fair person.
  • He says how grateful he is to hear their reality – how they're making sense of the current situation
  • He listens to their experiences, and acknowledges they are very different from what he hears is going on
  • He seeks to understand their perspectives
  • He admits shock and agrees he partly owns the problem
  • He requests their and everyone’s ownership in finding new ways to address the concerns they raise
  • He says he needs them and every member of the organization to co-create the future of the organization that he believes is possible and if everyone works together and communicates openly and honestly, it will happen

Communication Skills Training to Re-focus the Corporate Culture

He acted immediately.  The CEO took full responsibility.  It was time to re-focus and align the corporate culture.  He called in the HR Manager, requesting that communication skills training focusing on professional behaviors be sourced and made mandatory for every member of the organization at every level, from C Suite executives to mail room clerks.

I was fortunate to be hired as the change consultant by the CEO and the HR Manager to design a day long communication skills training focusing on professional behaviors and lead a team of facilitators to deliver the workshops in every department across the entire organization both nationally and internationally.

AMP - communication skills trainingWhat was different about this communication skills training from conventional training is that it was designed with the principles of Appreciative Inquiry.  This training was a highly interactive, experiential, strategically-focused workshop where the participants interviewed each other about the most positive communication experiences they had experienced in their lives – in this organization or elsewhere (a benchmarking exercise).  They identified what good communications and professional behaviors look like, sound like, feel like, smell like.  The workshop design focused at first on discovering the best of what exists in the organization already, when communications are at their best, because in the quieter corners of the organization there exists exceptionality and evidence of most effective and helpful communications.  By focusing on what works, the employees were able to co-create a new narrative around communications for high performance that came from their own world.  They did not fall into the narrative of trying to dissect the causes of poor communications and who's to blame.

It certainly wasn't training where the trainer stands at the front of the room presenting to a deck of slides, talking abstractly and theoretically about communications, contrasting bad and good communications, showing checklists of does and don'ts, and facilitating role plays.  There wasn't an “expert” at the front of the room telling them what they should do, who neglected to honor all the positive attributes that existed ready.

Taking Ownership for Implementation

After the employees had discovered best communication experiences through paired interviews, they formed small groups to share all their different stories of communications at their best, thereby identifying collective strengths, best practices and helpful resources.  Next, with all this new found data, they used their imaginations to envision their organization in the near future when all their collective strengths, capabilities and assets would be put into practice.   They were animated and excited about what they knew to be real and possible.  In the final part of the workshop, the participants self-selected into working groups to plan how to implement this vision they had co-created. They came up with specific projects and identified strategies, and goals, resources, timeframes, and resources that would result in improved communications throughout the company.  Communication skills training in this participative workshop format is sustained as the working groups continue to meet post workshop to bring the projects to fruition.

Collaborative Outcomes

What happened in that day long process and was repeated across the entire organization went beyond communication skills training.  Designing training with the Appreciative Inquiry approach, you can expect all of the following outcomes in addition to finding solutions for the “presenting problem”:

  • Highly engaged participants inspired by their own and their colleagues personal, and professional and organizational stories
  • Deepened appreciation of the collective strengths across the organization, with specific examples of golden innovations that already exist, perhaps in quiet unknown corners, or in other departments
  • Shared understanding about what more is possible and what success could and should look like in their department or organization
  • Seeds of ideas that can develop to become more widely integrated across the organization and with clients and vendors
  • A variety of initiatives and projects the participants come up with themselves during the workshop because they want them to happen and will safeguard them because they are invested
  • New knowledge networks and relationships
  • A work product that spreads the story possibly in multimedia format – video, digital, print – to communicate to those who were not physically present – to customers, vendors in newsletters or on the website
  • The potential for a truly transformational change
  • By osmosis, training in interviewing skills, listening skills, assertiveness skills, leadership, visioning, strategic planning are all experienced in one “communications skills training” workshop.
  • Based on all of the above, a sustained contagion effect that positively reinforces a culture where people can say, “we did it ourselves.”

In a nutshell, this collaborative way of communication skills training enables employees to find resources within themselves to bring to the situation.   Furthermore, when they feel supported by others, including coworkers and bosses, it leads to creating a nurturing and inviting environment where they feel safe at work resulting in greater quantity and quality of service.  Teamwork is enhanced, communication is improved, as people truly listen to one another and respect each other. They experience moments of care from others.  As a result, the focus shifts to more open conversation, where shared values get brought into the open and developing individual and organizational strengths becomes a focus which ultimately moves the organization towards resilience and a more empowered workplace.

One of my areas of specialization to is build custom training programs framed with the Appreciative Inquiry worldview.  My book, Appreciative inquiry for Collaborative Solutions, (2010) John Wiley has 21 such workshops.

What you Focus on Grows

I digress briefly to further illustrate this Appreciative Inquiry principle, what you focus on grows  with some examples not only at work, but more broadly in life, at home and at play.  communication skills training - meditating woman

Are you aware of what you enjoy focusing on?  What are the pleasures and treasures you experience when you invest your full energy – your emotions, your thoughts and actions on activities and with people that matter to you that bring you happiness AND meaning.  When you experience these meaningful and totally absorbing activities, you’re in the zone.  You’re so engrossed or absorbed that you lose track of time.  You are in the flow state that is a luscious state of feeling at one with the activity.

Musicians, writers, photographers, painters, poets and dancers know this experience, as do scientists, inventors, entrepreneurs, athletes,  students, and lovers.  In fact, we all know it.  It’s the great gift of being fully present and in the moment with the activity.  It implies you have a degree of competence or a aptitude for the activity and at the same time there’s a degree of challenge that keeps you engaged.  Because it it were too easy, you’d be bored and move on to focus on something different.  If it were too hard, you'd be stressed out and you'd feel de-energized.

How would it be if we could get into that zone more consciously?  Imagine being able to communicate with greater consciousness because you know to focus on what you want Vs what you don't want. What if you could create that sense of heightened and engaged performance in the workplace a high percentage of the time?

Celebrate What's Right

A side story to further illustrate what you focus on grows:  Dewitt Jones, a photographer and motivational speaker, formerly with the National Geographic Magazine, created a beautiful video, Celebrate with What’s Right with the World.  I use it in my Appreciative Inquiry trainings. The entire video speaks to this topic of what you focus on grows among other fabulous messages.  I’d like to highlight two specific stories in Dewitt’s video.

puff balls communication skills trainingOn one particular photo shoot, he bookmarks a scene he wants to come back to to photograph.  It’s a wide open field as far as the eye can see of yellow dandelions.  They are so densely packed it looks like a yellow blanket.  When he finally returns to it a few days later, all the yellow flowers have gone.  It now looks like a drab green field of weeds.  Dewitt chooses not to focus on the loss of the yellow flowers.  He focuses on the new image nature has provided him.  His focus turns to transparent “puff balls” that are laid out before him.  His vision of the photo he had in mind was gone.  Did he get annoyed with the scene, himself or nature?  No, he didn’t focus on what went wrong, or what lost or what had gone.  He focused on what he now had. Glorious puff balls that when the sun rays shone through them they offered him beautiful images to photograph that he had previously could not not have imagined.  He focussed on what was to be celebrated in this new situation, not on what he had lost.

Another memorable scene took place in a tiny Irish village – Dewitt was on assignment to photograph an elderly woman who was a legendary weaver.  He was in awe of her craft and her generosity in allowing him to wander around and take as many photos as he wanted on whatever subjects took his fancy.  He tells the story that he thought he’d be smart and asked her what she thought about when she was weaving.  She looked at him, and, in a very humble way replied:  “I don’t think of anything.  When I weave, I weave.”  Such a beautiful example of being graciously in the moment, in the zone and focusing on what she was best at doing.

The Craving to be Appreciated

sunflowers - communication skills trainingTalking about a field of yellow flowers, I am reminded of traveling in Tuscany in Italy and being awestruck by fields of Sunflowers.   If you’ve ever gazed across a field of sunflowers, you know how breathtaking it is.  You feel like jumping for joy.  Their big, bright yellow heads all face the same direction to form a bright yellow blanket of sunny faces. That’s what’s so special about sunflowers, They actually turn their heads to face the sun.  They follow the sun from dawn to dusk.  They  grow in the direction of light and warmth, just as we humans.  As sunflowers turn to the sun for light and energy, so too, do we humans grow and light up with great energy in a field of abundant, sunny appreciation and positivity.  We literally light up when basked with appreciation.  I am reminded of the quote by American Psychologist William James:

The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.

So if we focus on what serves us well and is energizing to us, we flourish.  With more positivity in our lives, we are likely to create a life that enables us to flourish rather than languish.

Communication Skills Training

Recently,I had the privilege to work with a very large, global corporation, who wanted to bring greater diversity and inclusion into their workplace culture. To make that a reality, we did some fabulous work to identify what topic would focus the conversations and gather the best stories of diversity and inclusion that were  already being lived out  in the organization.  Through an appreciative inquiry process,  we worked out the best topic to focus on was “Freedom to step outside of our comfort zones.”  Why?  Because what they had already found out from the conversations they’d had during the research, data gathering phase is that when people in the organization were free to be themselves, they felt included and their diversity was accepted and celebrated.  So by shining the light and focusing on the best stories of diversity and inclusion enabled acts of diversity and inclusion, which then facilitated greater acts of diversity and inclusion and it began to  grow more diversity and inclusion, because, as I mentioned earlier – this Appreciative Inquiry Principle of what you focus on grows states that the topics or subjects we choose to put our attention to, or study, are fateful in the sense that  they not only determine what we learn, but they actually create it.

Through our Appreciative Inquiry and positivity lens , we consciously seek out that which we want more of, not less—hence what we focus on are the solutions and outcomes we wish to create. There are many examples of this principle in all walks of life, from raising children, to evaluating employee performance, to attending to health and wellness.

Do we place our attention and energy on the behaviors and outcomes we want in our children, co-workers, and diet and exercise regimes in order to create that which we desire, or do we place our attention on the things we want less of?

When we place sincere effort on the attributes we want to see, and can let go of those that no longer serve or support, we have greater chance of success in achieving our desired outcomes.

Greater Harmony in Relationships

Heres’ another example: If you wanted to reduce conflict in a team, and you invested effort into inquiring about their conflicts, the causes, the situations and how often they arose, the conversation would be all about the conflicts.  The team members would be replaying scenes of conflict in their minds.  Would you be helping them to move beyond the analysis of their conflict towards envisioning the possibility of building relationships with greater harmony when conflict was absent? Unlikely.

Teamwork Communication Skills TrainingIf the focus of the inquiry were to shift to  times when the members truly listened to each other, when they were respectful and supportive of each other, when they were present to each other with compassion, their minds would replay very different scenes.  They would be reconnecting with times when they were there for each other with interest and care.

So, when you inquire into deficient situations, you learn more about the causes the deficit – in this case causes of “conflict,” and it doesn’t help anyone learn anything about what it’s like when conflict is absent. When you study someone’s conflict, what opportunity do you have to learn about their “respectful, compassionate relationships?”

Similarly, if you studied “fear,” what would you learn about “connection”?

How deeply programmed are we to focus on the problem side of life Vs the developmental side of life?  In our workplaces, how do we see our employees and our leaders? It is all embedded in the beliefs we have which are reinforced through our language. The language we use shapes our narrative and therefore our reality.

Let me leave you with a question to ponder:  what are you growing in your organization – where is your focus?

I hope I have inspired you with some ideas and strategies about how you can increase greater participation and ownership in your investment in training in  your workplace through paying attention to where you focus your attention.  The more your focus on what you want to create in the world and what you value, the more you will create it.  When we seek to look for the best in ourselves and others, we are likely to find it. Appreciative Inquiry searches for the best in people, their organizations, and the world around them.

My Gift To You:

How to Enliven Communication Skills Training

A highly participatory, interactive way to improve communications


As a result of this free training workshop template, you (and your participants) will be able to:​

  • Describe excellent communication from many different perspectives
  • Identify the behaviors that demonstrate excellent communication skills
  • Demonstrate communication skills for high performance
  • Commit to activities that will continue develop skills
  • Contribute ideas for projects to improve communications across the organization

This free communication skills training is a workshop design that establishes what communication looks like when it’s at its best by tapping into individual and collective strengths and entrusting participants with positive results. It’s a benchmarking exercise that discovers what is already working well in your organization and other organizations, and what else needs to happen (or change) to deliver high performance.

Your Positivity Is Key to Embrace Change

If you're a regular reader of my blog, I  hope by now you are as excited as I am about positivity and the science of positive emotions.  Over time and with practice, positive emotions influence your thinking and your actions. Your relationships, your productivity, creativity and health stand to improve if you work at increasing the ratio of positive emotions up to 5:1 and even higher.

I can’t stress enough that positive emotions are the nutrients that nourish you. You can change your mind for the better.  Over time you accumulate all the micro-moments of positivity to help you deal with negativity and other day-to-day set backs and even painful, life-changing events.  Positivity helps you deal with adversity more effectively as it comes up in your life.  You build your resiliency muscle.

Micro-moments of Positivity

I recommend you seek out the positive moments in your day and there are likely to be many micro moments, as they are often so fleeting and so very subtle that they can go mostly unnoticed; you take them for granted and you may not even notice them.  It could be the chuckle of your baby, or the woof of your dog, your cat rubbing up against your leg to remind you to feed her, the smell of coffee the first thing in the morning, or the taste of that first cup of tea, the glowing light of the sunrise, the color and, the scent of flowers in your vase, the good morning from the bus driver.  Just pay attention and you will begin to notice all the positive things that impact your day.

Positive emotions help you prepare for the future, they help you  become a better version on yourself. The more positive emotions you experience, they broaden your thought action repertoire, and over time, they build your positivity resources.

Positivity Resonance

Positivity resonance is about the micro-moments of positive connections and experiences.  Positivity resonates back and forth between people and the more you become aware of these micro-moments of positivity, the more embodied they become.  Here’s a chance for you to build one of the lesser known principles of Appreciative Inquiry, the Principle of Enactment as outlined in an earlier post.  It’s taking the action and doing the practice.

In terms of positivity practice, here are some more examples of actions you can share with others to spread the micro-moments of connection: – sharing a smile, enjoying laughter, performing a kind gesture, watching a sunset together, playing a game, telling an engaging story. What you are facilitating is the synching up of two brains so they can become unified and can act as one.

Positivity is Key – Practice Daily

Positivity is a practice. It’s a movement toward what you desire and aspire. You cultivate it for yourself through the language you use, the habits or behaviors you exhibit, the interactions and relationships that you have, and how you invest your time. As you bring more positivity into your life, the accumulative effect is that it slows the rhythm of your heart, opens your mind, and softens your demeanour over time. It’s a rich and broad system that makes up positivity.

Positivity Ratio

In the opening paragraph, I refer to the 5:1 positivity ratio as being a worthy daily practice – seek to experience 5 positive emotions to 1 negative emotion to strengthen your positivity ratio.  In her books, Positivity, Love 2.0 and on the website,, Professor Barbara Fredrickson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has tools to help you bring more positivity in your life. After years of research and science, there is abundant evidence that positivity is key to opening you to an expanded worldview and increasing your personal and social resources. It's most certainly a worthwhile investment to build your positivity ratio.

Fredrickson’s list of positive emotions that she invites you to monitor each day include:

feeling amused, awe, grateful, hopeful, inspired, interested, joyful, love, proud, and serene.

How are you increasing positivity in your life?  Let me know what works for you and what shifts you are seeing in yourself and your relationships.

Baby steps, Courageous Actions – The Principle of Enactment

This Principle of Enactment is one of the five emergent Principles of Appreciative Inquiry.  This is a concrete Principle because it’s about action. For those of you who like to get into action, this one will be extra satisfying for you.

Courageous Actions Comes from Baby Steps

The Principle of Enactment implies it’s fine to start change with baby steps;  to try on new behaviors and test them out to see what works and what doesn’t.  It means bringing new ideas and behaviors into your way of being and doing.  Once you start to make little changes, it's more likely you'll begin to make necessary adjustments and the change begins to get more deeply integrated into who you are; and guess what!  Your behaviors and thinking change also.

Practices of Enactment

There is inner self talk and outer enactment.   Three basic practices for you:

1. Just start!  Even if you fail and want to give up, if it’s in your vision for who you want to be, you’ll find a way. Be gentle with yourself.  Stay open to possibilities without judgement.

2. Experiment!  You have to feel it to know it!  That’s what enactment is.  It’s being in action  – you feel the energy, the results, the power, the love at a cellular level.  It washes over you in a good way.

3. Trial and error works.  Start small; and with a tiny taste of success, you’ll see it grow.  When we enact in the present that which we so desire for ourselves, and is aligned to our vision and purpose, we take risks because, you know what,  to be only safe, you’ll end up sorry!  The Principle of Enactment enables a life filled with life of courageous actions.

Personal Story of Enactment

Let me illustrate with a personal story.  It’s about my yoga and meditation practice.  I wanted to be really good at both.  They were both important to me.  Yet, for years I struggled to make them part of my life. I found yoga too slow; and meditation, as I understood it at the time, didn’t work for me because I could not “empty my mind”.  Every time I sat on the mat, my mind was racing and I’d get very agitated that I couldn’t do it and I kept “failing”.  So I stopped trying.  Years passed.  I kept up with all my high energy aerobic fitness program, biking, running kayaking etc. I’m proud to say I even completed a triathlon.

Convenience Builds Routine

One of the issues I had with starting a yoga practice is that I didn’t have a center close by and therefore couldn't start a routine practice and see any improvements. I need to see and feel results.  I had no way of embodying the practice so it could became part of who I am.  Until, I had a BFO – a blinding flash of the obvious!

Four years ago I found an app, called Yoga Studio and it changed my life.  I love this app.  I practice Yoga every second day and sometimes when my schedule or the weather doesn’t allow me to go outdoors to walk, I practice it daily.  I now enact my yoga practice, and it’s part of me.  If I miss more than two days, I’m not a happy chappy!  By following the program in this app,  I started with the basics and I worked my way through the program.  I now can do it with my eyes closed and really get into the zone.

Opening the Mind

With regard to my meditation practice, that change came earlier.  As I learnt more and more about  embracing appreciative, strength-based, positive methods of change as a professional, the biological and neurological scientific research that supported the benefits of meditation resonated strongly as I integrated those disciplines into the spiritual traditions of meditation practices.

I stopped being my own worst critic and started a beautiful meditation call Loving Kindness Mediation.  I still practice.  And being able to “empty the mind”, doesn’t stress me anymore, because I’ve learnt there is so much more to a meditation practice than “emptying the mind.”

What's your story? How does this Principle of Enactment show up for you? What's something that you started in a small way, but has led to a practice that you are now grateful for?

Why Strengths Based Coaching Helps Overcome Weaknesses

I bet a number of you have been coached.  If so, it is likely you are into your own development.  It's also likely you are aware of coaching to strengths is very beneficial.

Coaching is about improvement, going to the next level, achieving aspirations, identifying ways to  live to your fullest capacity and potential.  Yet, a dominant, and perhaps traditional model of coaching, has been to start from a place of lack, or deficient that focuses on eliminating weaknesses.  There is this strongly held view that we need to fix the problem before we can move into the areas of development.

The Energizing Force of Strengths Based Coaching

Strengths based coaching comes from the worldview that in every system (human and otherwise) there are also many things that already work right.  Starting from what one does well already – one's strengths – is a far more energizing way to improve quickly.  You actually go from strength to strength which helps to mitigate weaknesses.  It's not to say you don't address or deal with weaknesses.  I am saying that starting from what you do well, what gives you best outcomes personally, or amplifies your organizational capabilities offers greater leverage and takes less time than investing heavily in and struggling with weaknesses.  You also have greater willingness to deal with the weaknesses once you have elevated your best assets.

Strengthen Existing Talents

Strengths based coaching starts with what’s working well already and seeks to discover your natural strengths, talents, and preferences.  You recognize there are choice points and you tend to focus on what consumes you.  Said another way: “Where the attention goes, the energy flows.”

If you’re a leader, a parent, an educator, isn’t it your responsibility to encourage the development of others in life-nurturing ways to help them find the fullest and most satisfying ways possible and strengthen their existing talents?

I'd like to illustrate with a business story that illustrates how strengths based coaching is an extremely effective way of developing people.

Develop your Strengths to Mitigate your Weaknesses

A few years ago, I was brought in to a large professional services firm to coach seven young women who were deemed “high potential”. They were in their early 30s. This firm wanted to groom more young women to be promoted to director level and possibility partner. The business reason for this investment in coaching was to stop the high attrition rate of these young, talented women leaving the firm because they saw no real career path there. Most of the senior jobs continued to be given to men.

Each of the seven young women came to her first coaching session with her “report card” (360 performance review) from her manager, ready to point out what her weaknesses were and what her manager recommended she work on.

Respectfully, I listened and looked at the document. After what I thought was an appropriate amount of time, I put the document down, looked at her, and asked one very simple, straightforward question:

“Tell me what you’re best at?”

The response I got every time was: silence.

Experience Flow

It didn't take too long for the young woman’s demeanor to change with a physiological shift, a softening in the face, a change in eye focus and gaze, and then a smile, followed by a gentle, embarrassed laugh.  Together, we began to explore what gave her greatest joy and satisfaction.  She was able to identify when she experienced a sense of flow – when time was lost – when she experienced a sense of intrinsic reward even though the situation was challenging.  What she found most rewarding was to discover that when she experienced this sense of time just passing so fluidly, she experienced her work to be far more energizing and engaging.

Increase Productivity and Joy

In the six months' coaching that followed, each young woman went through a transformation. They all completed the VIA Character Strengths survey and put their strengths work.

They reported relationships that had been challenging become easier. They felt less stressed because they invested their efforts in their strengths and found ways to manage weaknesses, meaning they become more productive and experienced more joy in their work.

They were so happy that with this new knowledge they found they were also able begin to notice the strengths of their colleagues, bosses and staff who reported to them, so they could optimize their productivity as well by assigning tasks and responsibilities that best fit their strength profiles.

Believe me, when you really know your own strengths and integrate the words and behaviors, you become far more effective in all your relationships, your own productivity and life takes on a whole new meaning.

Strengths and Superpowers

Strengths and Superpowers

Strengths and Superpowers

In my conversation with Johann Gauthier, Co-CEO of Global Rockstars Community, Johann described his superpower as playfulness.  We all have superpowers.  They are are talents and strengths so that when we are working with them, we are closer to performing at our peak more than at any other time.

Aligning Strengths

The energy that pours forth when we identify and work with our strengths and talents is what facilitates peak performance.  As the late Peter Drucker said:

 “The task of leadership is to create an alignment of strengths that makes our weaknesses irrelevant.”

When I was a child my signature strengths were appreciated neither by my parents nor my bosses.  You can read those stories on my About page under “My Journey to Positivity”.  But through my personal journey and tenacity and living in my strengths, I discovered that love of learning, curiosity, desire to find new and better ways are what energize, fulfill and satisfy me.  That's when I do my best work.

Finding your superpower

Johann talks about his journey to finding his superpower and his commitment to creating the Global Rock Stars Community, where global leaders can discover and experience their own awakening and realization of peak performance.  The quote below comes from his recent blog article Unleash your Leaders to Play and Thrive : Read more

Finding Your Superpower For Peak Performance, with Johann Gauthier – PS009

Finding Your Superpower For Peak Performance – Episode Overview

A conversation around shifting traditional “workplaces” into “places of work” where, through playful reinvention,  leaders connect to their true spirit, and are energized to empower others to have their voice, to be spirited, playful and thrive.


Johann GauthierJohann Gauthier is Co-CEO of Global Rockstars Community, and blogger on Nothing But Excellence (NBE). He’s a  Talent Evangelist and a Thought Leader on Global Leadership.

We are about to find out why this experienced strategic thinker with a 16-year track-record of supporting senior officials in advancing major policy and people management issues and agendas is called to found the Global Rockstars Community.  He is totally invested and in having leaders  shift from thinking about work places as places of work where play is the modus operandi, people are empowered, and communities emerge where people play and thrive.

Heed the Call

Johann had become aware that even though he was fulfilled in his professional life, he still  felt called to an even a higher purpose. It was a need to go deeper to find out who he is.  He surrendered to an inquiry about himself and what it would take for him to feel aligned with universe.

Johann clearly loves to be around people.  People make organizations successful.  He fully appreciates what you focus on grows, so he focuses on positivity and caring and nurturing.  In October  2013, he founded the Global Rockstars Community.

Achieve your peaks in life and allow others to do the same

Johann points out a distinction between a workplace and a place of work.  The latter is about empowering leaders to play to help them achieve what their hearts call them to do.  Global Rockstar Community emulates what a great place to work looks like.  It comes down to  ‘peak human performance.’ When we achieve peaks in life, we allow others to achieve theirs.

Peak Performance

Performance is a day-to-day thing.  It’s about the small things.  If you perform playfully and allow yourself to shine, people around you will feel the excitement and enthusiasm.  Thereby, you allow the bigger energy, the love energy, the playful side to unleash.

Some of Johann’s tips to unleash peak performance:

    • Allowing energy to manifest; it can happen through social collaboration and spontaneously
    • Feeling appreciative so you can bring your values to life
    • Focusing on positivity
    • Tapping into the bigger life source energy, especially when we are thrown off balance
    • Valuing continuous learning – personal development is a gift
    • Going deeper into understanding self
    • Recognizing our the innate gifts or strengths
    • Tuning into a quantum moment – Wayne Dyer – getting clear about what I am here to do and what energy I want to exchange in the world
    • Reading and learning to engage with others
    • Life does offer us struggles, leading to spiritual growth
    • Feeling the freedom that comes from our self-awareness

Leaders are about growing and serving others

Global Rockstars Community is about modeling what we stand for.  It’s about social collaboration.  As community builders, we value the power of humanity and seek to be enablers of others to express who they are, to be transparent and make themselves vulnerable. We can be transformed daily as we hear peoples’ stories. It’s uplifting.  People care – the reciprocal nature of care.

The world is shifting.  People wish to be heard and we need to create places of work that allow that to happen and, at the same time, have the space to express freely and be spontaneous about it.  This combination will transform workplaces – the way to unleash more creative solutions is to allow people to play. We engage leaders with these kinds of discourses.

What’s unique about the Global Rockstars community is putting two unmatched conversations on a global stage:

  1. Places of work:  to shift perspectives about work today; bringing attention to  play and tribing which are at the core of what a great work place looks like.
  2. Playful reinvention:  new discourse on playful transformation so people can own who they are and express their personal power to play and to tribe

We can be our own Picasso

At the heart of this revolution is the power of stories and arts and culture.  When the heart expresses itself with a joy, and playfulness is the mindset, we unleash our own rockstar quality that is within us.

It’s time to review the process of how we have been developing leaders. The programming we have learned does not prepare us for the leap of faith we need to unleash the social collaborations that will achieve our organizational imperatives and called-for innovations.  That new call is for imagination, hope and connection, and these connections can be in person or virtual.  They enrich who we are.

There is much we can learn from simple observation of creativity through to disciplined, habitual practice.  Learning how the mind works through neuroscience and positive psychology helps us understand  the relationship between all the parts.

When we connect with our true spirit and are firmly in our our energy, we have a lot of power – firmly own your energy – be focussed and committed to that.

We also chatted about risk-taking and being crazy.  Enjoy the episode.

PS Johann is a rockstar in a variety of capacities 🙂

Links Mentioned In This Episode


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