Leadership and Taking Leaps
with Julie Lancaster
This is an unedited transcript:
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more. You are a leader. john quincy adams. Welcome. I’m so delighted to be here with Julie Lancaster. She is the president and founder of Lancaster leadership. And she has probably, like worked with 1000s of leaders at this point. But yes, thank you. Hello. I’m so happy to be here. Yeah, yeah. So I’ll just say I was just telling Julie that I’m, I’m not very good at that official intro. I like the personal intro. So I will just say the first time that I heard about Julie, I don’t actually remember the first time but it was like a handful of times all at once was I just moved to our little town in Arizona. And everyone around me was like, do you know, Julie, do you know? And I was like, who is Julie, I have to notice. Because I interact when I introduce myself, you know, people know very quickly that I’m a coach, I lead retreats. And so of course, people were like, well, there’s this fabulous woman in town who does that same thing. And of course, we don’t actually do the same thing thing, but but it’s cool. We do. There is definitely some overlap and some shared interest and kind of some parallels in our journey, which is the author,
which is so incredible. And I yeah, so I feel like we’re kindred spirits in 1000 ways.
Yeah. Yeah, totally. Totally. So I, yeah, I’m just so happy. Thanks for taking some time to share more about your journey with everyone who’s listening.
So my pleasure, I love thinking about my journey, because sometimes I’m so future focused that I forget to look backwards. So it’s so refreshing. So thank you for the opportunity.
So how how you run your own business? Right, and you’re working with leaders, and primarily with government nonprofits? team? Yes. Any? Right, you do some you definitely work with individual. Yes, people as well. So that’s amazing, you know, to create a business like this, and all over the country and even outside of the country, right? You’ve worked with, right? How, like, how?
That is my favorite question How? Well okay, so. So there’s, there are a bunch of things that I want to share in terms of like, when I did not have this path mapped out by any stretch of the imagination. So I was about 12 years ago, or so I was the Career Services Director and professor and Dean of education at this college. And so if we’re talking about professional path, I was doing that. And I felt like there is something more out there for you. For me, I have, I have more to give. And I didn’t even know what that meant. But now I understand it because I have clients come to me all the time and start and Leto that actually just somebody yesterday started with that. They’re like, my life is fine. I don’t want fine. I want extraordinary, right. And that’s what I felt like it’s so the power of relationships, right? I went out to a lady site with four other friends. We were sitting on a patio and we still remember telling them this like, I need there’s more out there for me. I don’t know what that means Flagstaff, you know, it’s a small town like what, what are opportunities? I’ve even just been googling things like leadership, training, development jobs, helping to develop people. And my friend, Mary Ellen. She said, Well, Julie, I should introduce you to Joanne. And I was like, okay, cuz she’s like, she kind of does what you’re interested in. And then the power of the amazing, you know, networking stuff. One of the people who is at the table the next day ran into Joanne and she also knew Joanne and she said you and Julie should connect. So within a month blew it was so it was such an explosive like exciting time for me. I was quitting my job of which I had been at this college for I think eight years or so. I was going to subcontract under Joanne who Joanne worked with the Food and Drug Administration, doing leadership development and coaching with these 10 month programs. And I was just like starting this new life and I share that piece because I know like some of what we’re talking about is life. Some is some is about work, but for me that like golden piece The thread that has helped me every time is like putting an intention out there and then be being super open to opportunities. And so how that really helped me to launch. I’m forever indebted to Joanne and Mary, Ellen, and Kim, who are all the ones helping with that. But Ben for five years, two weeks a month. Essentially, I was going out to the Food and Drug Administration and, and subcontracted with Joanne and at the same time getting my own business that wasn’t subcontracting on the side. And so that that’s how I kind of got here. Yeah.
Oh, it’s amazing. That’s amazing. I just Can I just tell you that my business started with a lady brunch as well. Stop it the power of the ladies brunch the ladies time. Yeah, it is amazing. Just the enough that’s really a big intention I have with this podcast, too, is that the more I think the more we have access to connect with women who are just doing what they want, what they love, what they what lights them up, then the more we’re around that, the more we are exposed to that, you know, that’s really my, my main goal with this is beautiful. That and yeah, yours, you know, just like, let’s bring that into our lives. So love caring
and connection, right? Like, if we care about each other, then we can think about how we can connect. It’s one of many, many women strengths, right? Or that’s something that we enjoy to do. Thanks for what you do.
Yeah. My pleasure. So that’s amazing. So you were like, there’s got to be more I really want extraordinary. And then you have so you have an intention. You spoke and share that intention. Yep. your network. And they helped you connect in and, and then boom, you’re on this new path? new path? like instant new path? Amazing. Yeah. So how, like, I got a, I got a couple of questions, I’ll just throw at you and start wherever you wish. But what I’m like, what, what do you love most about it? And like, Is it still extraordinary for you? And what what do you love about it? Yes,
yes, yes. And yes. Okay. So that my first thought is, I feel like, you know, you and I could speak the same language in terms of the coaching world. And that we, I don’t even have to ask you, I’m not even going to ask, I’m going to make the assumption that we both believe in being strengths based right. Now, the blessing and the curse of being in our line of work or being around people who are like us, is we really believe in the power of growth and improvement, right. But that is us looking at our inadequacies, our weaknesses, what needs to be fixed. And so I am a firm believer, believer of like, let’s figure out how to maximize and utilize our strengths. And so, you know, there’s this personality assessment that I was introduced to when I was taking a mindfulness course through Coursera. That was through Yale. That is the personality assessment is that a via like v as in Victor VI, a character.org? And it’s what are your signature strengths? And what are your values? I took that assessment recently? Because, you know, I don’t know about you, but I am a personality assessment junkie, like, oh, let me learn more. And I was like, Yes, these top strengths that I’ve got. That’s what I get to do in my business every day. And that’s why I annoyingly love my job. There’s, there’s authenticity, right? As a coach, as a trainer, our jobs are to push the envelope say what other people won’t address the elephant in the room sometimes, right? Another strength of mine is curiosity. I’m so curious, I seek to understand I want to understand how people tick how systems work how people engage. Another one is creativity. And every time that I have a chance to create a program, it’s like there’s an outline, for sure. But then got to pay a lot of attention in terms of attention and to how things connect. later on. today. I’m working with a team who wants to improve their their connection and their relationship and right, so they come in with this overarching goal. And I have to create the lesson plan, like how are we going to get there? And also, gratitude is one of my top strengths. And I was like, yeah, this makes sense. I get to express gratitude and what I appreciate about people a lot. I feel so lucky. And I get to hear that a lot because we’re in kind of this heart space of connecting with people on a human level. And so in terms of it still feeling extraordinary, looping back to your question, right? I want to say yes, and then I get there is no stagnation. I actually held To stop myself every once in a while, I told my assistant years ago, I was like, okay, you’re part of your job, please, is to challenge my I’m doing air quotes, my brilliant ideas. Because I might try and make a great headway going in the wrong direction, just because I’m excited because I am easily excited. So ask me questions like Julie, is justice aligned with your mission? Julie, how many hours? Do you think this is gonna take? Julie, let’s map out a plan a little bit to make sure this fits in with with your goals the time you have. So yes. The law that was the long answer short answer? Yes.
A bit of it. Yeah. So it really, it’s a role that where you get to utilize all your top strength? Yeah. And it’s ever changing. Like, it’s not stagnant. Exactly.
I get to Oh, oh. And I have to share this too, because we were talking about the power of the ladies brunch, or the Ladies Night Out, right? I am. So So I try and maximize the the female strength, right. There are people out there who do gender, they study gender stuff. And granted, everybody is a unique individual. But when we look at groups like females, one of the top strengths is this idea of building relationships. And so too, for me to stay on the cutting edge. And for me to stay relevant and learning and growing and getting to creativity, I created a board, an advisory panel, right? Being an independent business, it’s not a nonprofit, we don’t need to have a board. But twice a year, I get together with him. And I say give me all the advice you can ever muster up. I’ll take some of it. I’ll leave some of it, but I want to hear all of it. So that also helps me to stay learning and growing.
Wow, that’s brilliant. So you have a board of directors, how can you say more about that? Like, what does that look like?
Okay. Okay, so what that looks like is it’s the best board to be on in my opinion, isn’t it? Because what I mean by that is I never want to be on a board that is doing a ton of emails in between meetings. That is like my number one criteria. And so this board is we meet twice a year, there are not emails in between. and the agenda is essentially, let me share successes with you. Let me share our current challenges with you. And then lay on thick all the advice you can think of. And we take copious notes and get a ton of action items based on that just as an example. One person said okay, here at Lancaster, their business is called Lancaster consulting. Your website is Lancaster leadership calm. That is confusing. And I can’t but Lancaster consulting wasn’t available as a URL. And they’re like, then change your business name. And I was like, you’re right. That sounds terrible and daunting. And you’re right. So for example, they gave that idea. And so they get give me so many ideas. I they are a combination of leaders that I respect. And know there are let me rethink they are all people I respect. But but they are from varying industries of varying organizations. I’ve worked with him in a variety of ways from one on one coaching to supporting their whole team with group coaching, to doing leadership academies to doing strategic planning, team building and that kind of thing. And so they have kind of they understand who I am and what I bring. And so they get the business and so they can give me really sage advice.
That Yeah, I I never thought of it as a board but I definitely have always I’m involved in a mastermind of some kind. Yeah, I want those other perspectives. And and then when I’m masterminding though, it’s like we’re giving each other perspective, a little, little different, but that idea of like, yeah, you really need I heard you say your assistant and your Ford, like, you know, break to bring their strengths into reality check
your plan. Yes. Reality Check. That’s it. Exactly. I need that. Bring my feet back down to the ground. Give me the reality reality check. Be real with me because the rest of the world well, they’ll say you’re fine.
Yeah, yeah, definitely. Amazing. Amazing. I’m curious about you said, you work a lot of people. They’re like, Oh, there’s got to be something more. Yeah. And that but often you’re working with people in the context of like, through their employer, right. How do you how do you kind of juggle that sometimes? If like maybe their job isn’t actually good.
That’s right. That’s right. So a few important things with that. So sometimes I get what what we might call forced coaching, meaning somebody is told, you will start coaching with Julie, in order to be successful in your job, here’s your first session. Right? So So with that, I tell the employer 1/3 of those people, what we’re going to do a lot of in our sessions is help them find another job because they’re miserable. Like, so that is just so you’re aware, when there is a forced coaching scenario, there, they are often already halfway out the door. And so just know, you might be spending money on me, for us to find them another job. So that’s just a reality. That the beauty of the groups that I work with is that they understand the relationship when I explained it to them, that when I start working with the client, one on one, and what they and I talk about is confidential, I will not be reporting back to the boss, I strongly encourage conversation between the two of them. And we do often pull the boss in depending on which kind of coaching we’re doing into the second session. So that the there could be this conversation. Hey, this client tonight, what we’ve come up together with is these are their strengths. These are the areas where they want to grow, give input. And so they’re part of the process. So that all aligns really well, in terms of the the the great part about when people say there’s something more out there for me, I want to give more, do more, be more. We start with this concept of action. Meaning that when you and I have been trained on how to do strategic planning or goal setting, there’s a very, I kind of want to call it rigid way of doing it smart goals. Is it specific? Is it measurable? Is it achievable? What is it what’s the exact timeline by which date? Will you do what, and they’re like, that would never work, right? Because there’s not this end goal that they’re looking for. So we say we’re going to scrap that methodology for now. And the methodology we’re going to use instead is this idea of having intention. And then keeping your eyes open. And it’s action, action, action, action, action action. And once you keep continuing in an intentional way, and taking action, you are then creating that thing that you love. And you’re discovering what it is. So it might start off with. Okay, let’s have you do some informational interviews with people that you’re really inspired by them and what they do. And then it might be okay, can you do just like what I did do some random job searches, like putting stuff into Google topics that you love, and the world is the limit, right? Like you can narrow later so that you can recognize that I still have a spark. I am inspired by different things. And I like to think of the analogy of when someone is a writer. Right? writers say Heck no, I’m inspired to write every day. But action first motivation. Second, write and I’ve heard studies about how I think it’s 87% of people in this country these days. They don’t know what their passion is. But we’ve got all this. I don’t know commentary in it these days about like, follow your passion. And then he’s 87% of people who are all worried, like, oh, that I don’t know what it is. So the concept there is take action. First, you’ll find your motivation or your passion second. Yeah. So that’s kind of how we start like, like, let’s just get out there. It’s kind of also the concept of failing forward or failing fast, right? Like, try it. If it doesn’t work, switch directions.
Love that. Like, I really see you as somebody that is helping people find their path to get on it. Like go down it, right.
Yeah, yeah, well, I do think, um, also, my own path has not been the strategic plan either. So it can be helpful sometimes to share that because I’m just people are like, you’re doing what you love with this Master’s design, and I want to laugh hysterically. It’s not mastered it has not been mastered design. But I woke up one day like maybe eight years ago with this epiphany like, wait a minute. Now I see how all my random seeming pieces are connected. After I was in college in Athens, Ohio, I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I studied International Studies in psychology and the first job that I got was going out west to Idlewild. California to teach rock climbing to like fifth graders seemed very disjointed and not connected. From there, then I went to the Peace Corps in southern Africa. From there, then I came back to that rock climbing place and got to then be the leader of that team being the adult education director. After I was doing that for three years, I was like, wait a minute, I’m giving feedback to teachers all day long about how to teach better, better. I’ve never studied that at all. I’m just going with the gut. So why don’t I go back to school. So then we moved to I got married there. And then my husband and I, we moved to Northern California to Santa Cruz to so I could go study education, because I was like, Okay, my thread at least is education. And it was a program studying culture, language and diversity, and 99.9% of all the other folks in the program. That’s probably an exaggeration, but I’m good at exaggerating, sometimes. They are all there to go be a classroom teacher. And I was like, No, that is not why I’m here. I’m clear on that. I did get to do student teaching. And I do love kids. Don’t get me wrong. But that wasn’t my ultimate goal. From there, then we moved to Flagstaff, and now have been here for 17 years. And that’s when I had my son. And then we I started as a at this small college, teaching a class on professional development and employment techniques, because I had hired people before. And anyway, so there was this giant path. And then like I said, about eight years ago, I woke up, I was like, Oh, my gosh, I am just teaching rock climbing these days. But without the rocks. It’s all the path. I’m like, That’s amazing. Yeah, I feel like it’s teaching vulnerability is teaching to support one another is teaching, trying new things, try and live your best life challenge, but in a safe way, like all the things Mm hmm.
Wow. Love that. Yeah, I I Really? I think that is how it is, right? Often we don’t, we don’t know, the path until we’re well down it. We’re kind of looking back like, Oh, that’s, that’s how that fit in or that that that choice? Totally made sense. You know, exactly. But I don’t know about you, but I do encounter a lot of people who have a judgment about sort of feeling like, you know that it’s really outdated. I think this idea that we just like, Okay, you go you decide your career when you’re like 12 Oh, yeah. And then you get on track. School. And he just like, the train is going right? And yes, and that’s not I don’t know if that whatever actually brought people joy, but it’s definitely not the way even an option anymore.
Absolutely. I remember I was desperately looking for this statistic. When I was teaching. I was doing Career Services stuff. And one statistic I can’t source it right now. But was that 27% of people end up working in the field in which they studied, I was like, there it is. See? You sweet young people are like, I gotta figure out which college in which major and all that because my the rest of my life depends on it.
Not so. Yeah, definitely not. Yeah, I it. Okay, here’s another low parallel. I studied, just to study. I mean, I was an art student for a while, I tried on some different majors. And then I ended up with a degree though, in Justice Studies, and almost all of my fellow students were going into law enforcement or going to law school. Yeah. And when I, you know, it’s like, I think we, we read a thing. It’s sort of like when people look at art or something where we might see something completely different. Or we might remember a moment completely. So when I was reading and enrolling in this program, it didn’t cross my mind. That people this would be used for law enforcement, even though it was like, part of the study was about law. It just seemed to current like, I all I saw was like, oh, social and economic justice, like big system justice. Like I, I want to know all about that. Because I see so much is broken, and I was community organizing around some of those things, protesting organizing events, like where we teach each other about these things. And I was like, what, you can get a degree in that. And I don’t know if that I mean, maybe there was someone else they never met, but I think I was the only one in my cohort that had that in mind.
Yes, we challenge the status quo. We don’t just do what the world thinks we’re supposed to. I don’t know the comment. impasse. Yeah,
yeah. So, and then later, I was like, I don’t know what this has to do with coaching. But now like that, you know, what does it have to do with coaching? For sure, for sure. Well, I so many things, and I will, I’ll try to keep it brief because I want to talk about you. I well, it has to do with I think what, what I bring to my work is, is this idea that just because there’s a system that’s running this way, and perhaps has for a long time, that it’s not fixed, it’s not, it’s all changeable. And so that really, you know, that shows up and in everything that I’m doing, I’m constantly questioning, you know, people’s assumption that or they’ll go, Oh, I could never, really never, never, ever, ever. Tell me more about that. Find out? What are the barriers? Like, let’s, let’s actually like, shine the light on this? Like, what are the Oh, really? Where’d that idea come from? or? Yeah, whose voice is that? Actually? Or, you know, just when obstacles come? It’s, it’s usually it comes from outside of ourselves, and we can do something about it. I love
that. It sounds like it’s so it’s so empowering with this almost like, social justice perspective of the individual. Right, like, how can we overcome all odds are examined to to really be able to create and move beyond those self limiting beliefs and and the things that hold us back?
Yeah, yeah. And I think also, I see in the coaching industry, I’ll just say one other piece of great passionate about is I see this a lot in the coaching industry, in general is this. You know, of course, we are working on mindset, we’re generally we’re working with individuals, even if you’re working with an organization, as you know, is made up of individuals, right. So we and that’s important, like how we view the world that that noticing the power that we have to make a change or to get clear to try new things. And at the same time, I think what’s often like, brushed aside, minimized and I find it I think it’s really harmful is the reality of the system that we live in. You know, we can’t just say like, well, you can just mindset your way out of racism, you know, right. Yep. That’s not real. Yeah. Right. No, right. Now, could you work on your mindset? And could it help you navigate a racist system? Yeah. Right. But it’s still a system to navigate. Yeah, absolutely.
And it’s almost I hear that almost like being one level up. It’s like, like how mindfulness is instead of just living and doing it, you’re noticing that it’s happening? Yeah,
yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Huh, what I’m doing what has been one of your favorite, like, clients or teams, or I know, you don’t want to play favorites necessarily, but and you don’t have to tell us exactly like, who they are.
This person and here’s their phone number. Just kidding. Oh, my gosh, okay. Okay. Here’s one that was recent, where it’s a governmental organization that serves all over the country, but the group I was working with was specifically about the upper half of Arizona. And so there were 30, or sub organizations within this organization. And we started group coaching. And there are three cohorts of 10 people. And I think we had, I want to say, six sessions each. And so while group coaching looks like it’s different from training, right training is skill development, skill building, here’s a tool, here’s a tool. group coaching is like, I know, I’m preaching to the choir to you, or blue. I know, you know what this is, but for the listeners, it’s like, it’s a guided conversation about a specific topic. And the conversation can be so deep and so meaningful, because, like we’re talking about setting boundaries or having political Aquaman. Or how to influence well, or how to have difficult conversations. And so people are sharing stories, and they’re connecting, and they’re bonding. But I also know that the first session, the most common feeling that people have is being a bit terrified. Like I’m not used to being vulnerable. What is this? How does this work? And I’m never in a first session. I it. It’s been almost exclusively remotely, so it was all through zoom. And I put up a poll, and it’s saying which of these skills, what skills in your life as a leader Do you want to develop and just as an aside, leader, not meaning your position, but meaning that you recognize that you have influence and you’re the leader of your own life? Is it goal setting? Is it rapport building is confidence that influences time management? Like what skills, if you were better at these would improve the quality of your life. And it just so happened
all 30 of these individuals in the three different cohorts were all women. It was not a gendered organization, it was just an organization, I guess, that tends to draw women. And I bet you could even guess, of all those topics, which topic rose to the top, because zoom is incredible in that, right, like they do the poll. And all of a sudden, here’s the results. And here’s the one that 100% of the people answered or resonated with. And there’s then below, every one of them said, they wanted to work on confidence. And it’s so interesting to me when I learned that and I see that, and I especially see that with my women clients. But I want to be careful to say it’s with all people, even high level folks who are like, I suffer from imposter syndrome every day. But it was interesting to seeing this group of women who were incredible individuals, that I kind of want to smack them and say, How dare you? How dare you not have confidence? You’re incredible, right? Like, just let’s own it. But it’s thinking about a story or a client group that that really hit me in the heart. It was that them all starting off. And then the power of that connection of them being like, no way you too, I thought you had it all together. No way you’re too, I thought, right. And then with that vulnerability, and honesty, they can start to increase their confidence together and recognize that confidence does not come from you being from a person being perfect all the time. It’s just about playing the game. And being willing to try again, I’m a firm believer that to have a coach to be a coach, you should have a coach. And so my coach Andrea, she is often talking about it’s a whole about recovery. You try something and if it doesn’t work, how like then what you don’t actually be perfect the first time so that that that conversation, that whole concept of of communication, and it collectively being something to work on and then doing that in community was an incredible experience.
Yeah. But why do you think it is that we struggle with confidence so much?
Oh, my gosh, that’s a great question. I think for the first thing is we’ve got high standards. When I say the we I’m not sure who I mean by week, what is when you said we who do you mean by we, we you and me. We women, we people?
Well, my next question was going to be Do you struggle with confidence? Ah, oh, my god. I do. I mean, we like as in everyone that is, is struggling with it. Everyone who says
I got it. That’s right. And I’m like, that’s right. Yeah. I love that. Yeah, I do think part of it is we have these high expectations of like, I gotta do it, right, I got to do it. Well, I got to write, and anything that is a strength, like, Oh, that is a strength, that’s hard working. That’s integrity. That’s accountability. And as soon as we start to over utilize that, right, then it’s a liability or a weakness, whereas then we are too hard on ourselves. And that is a conversation that comes up all the time in coaching and training, you know, where I, you know, is there a chance you might be your own worst critic? And people are like, Oh, you don’t know the half of it? Right? So those high expectations. Secondly, I really, I see this often. And I wait, you were kind of talking about societal views, or what happens in society, I think there’s this idea of, you’re allowed to be successful, but to a point. Don’t think you’re all that. Don’t think you’re so special. Let’s knock you down a peg. That’s Don’t be too big for your britches. Let’s put you in your place. And so if somebody is, and I’m not talking less, and I also want to be clear about this, I’m not talking about confidence equating with arrogance. egotistical, any of that, right. But sometimes we need to clarify that like it is okay. It’s okay to be confident. We are not talking about being out of touch and putting yourself as better than others. You’re just saying, Hmm, I can own it that I had. I have strengths and that I have a lot to give. Actually, this is funny just as as like, deep dive into my psyche, if that’s interesting, beginning when I was sharing like, this is what the Assessment said and my strengths, and these are my strengths. And this is how I get to use them. I remember being like, just hold the space, just go with it, don’t apologize, don’t qualify Don’t. Don’t be like, Well, most of the times I’m creative with that show times when I are not or whatever. Right? So just being able to own that, I think, I think it’s that which is powerful and empowering to think of it, I think, as a societal thing, because we can be the change. We can be the ones to start saying, I would love for you to tell me what your strengths are without you being apologetic. What are your strengths? Thank you for sharing those. Let’s all share those. Let’s all highlight Let’s all talk about, and then being that we are software people, how might we want to grow, but not leading with? The I’m broken, I have weaknesses. I’m full of problems. And sure I might possibly have a couple strikes like to really flip that script.
Yeah, and I know you’ve done a lot hundreds and hundreds of performance evaluation. And just hearing that word, like, when I hear that word, I know I’m sure you encounter this all the time. I’m like, whew, that I don’t have to do that. Right. But I imagine you will tell us how, how do you approach that? Oh,
that’s a great question. Well, I was recently, I recently I think I’m really funny sometimes right? If it if the rest of the world does. And recently, I was teaching, I was doing a session on creating a culture of the back. And I called it, the feedback is the F word. That was what I was making me laugh, right, because we could go off in the effort being something else. And the reason I was calling it that is that we often think of feedback as criticism. I’d like to give you some feedback like
oh, no, feedback is not intended to be the negative stuff. Sure.
constructive criticism, or whatever we might want to call it is included. But so the way I approach my performance evaluation, which is it’s a tricky construct to begin with, because it’s somebody else on the outside determining your worth. And how much weight you place on that is important, it’s important to not place 100% weight, right, the external world determines if I’m good or bad. And just as an aside from that, Marcus Buckingham, he says that 63% of a performance evaluation is actually about the evaluate tour, instead of the evaluating, right, because we are all giving feedback based on our own life experiences. So it’s good for us to take it with a grain of salt. But getting back to how do I approach performance evaluations, I really, actually, part of my life’s mission is to try and shine light on people’s strengths. Because people are too hard on themselves, and they don’t recognize how incredible they are. So to do that, and then, right, and so maybe it’s 80% at 20%. And let’s talk about where you can grow. And one of the things I like the most in terms of doing that is asking for their partnership with that. If you were being fully open, honest. And and were willing to share with me, what do you think, where do you think you need to grow? And then I can say, yeah, great, let’s, let’s focus on it. If they are a bit blind to the things that I see, then I’ll just approach it in that way, hey, I’ve got a few other things that might be blind spots for you that you’re not aware of, I think you mind if I share those with you and we can strategize together. So I really like to see it as a partnership, kind of kind of experience so that they can walk out of there feeling good if they are doing well. And if they’re not doing well, I know those are just two giant buckets well, and not well, but not well, then they walk out of there with strategies or ways to improve. And then we follow up, we follow up, we follow up, like let’s get back together in one month. And maybe we just get to give each other high five, because all these things will no longer be an issue. But if we don’t this is my soapbox ready for this. If we don’t do that circling back, what I’ve seen time and time again, and I know you have to is a leader an evaluator or performance evaluator giver gets stuck with what we call a frozen evaluation where that person could change but but the boss doesn’t notice, right if the person was late, a lot in one year or whatever. They will always be viewed as the late person but Because no new information is being observed. And so I, when I, when I’m working with leaders in the concept of performance evaluation, that’s a big thing that we talk about.
Awesome. Awesome. Yeah, it’s, it’s true that we come going back to what we’re saying about the inner critic to, like, you already know. Yeah, it’s not doing well, or what’s not working well in our lives or our work, you know. So I love that approach of just like, yeah, like, you’re really there to shine light on their strengths. Right? You can lean into that more, and then also creating a space for, okay, what was the new growth opportunity? What’s the thing you want to do better?
Yeah. And really, I could share a personal story about that one time I got feedback, and I hated every second of it, should I can I share that story? I was I was, I had a job and my supervisor was new. And she was put in the unfortunate position of having to give me my annual performance review where she had been there for very long. And she gave me low scores for positive attitude. And that, at first, I tried to on the outside, but calm, but I felt really offended judge how dare you? You don’t know me? Because it’s like, what am I taught values? I want to even do that invisible army of everybody else says that I have. Anyways, so I was able to say, Okay, thank you for this feedback. Can you please share with me what you’re talking about? Because I’m unaware. And she was a newer leader. And so she didn’t know it’s super efficient one on one performance evaluations, you better have examples to back up what you’re talking about. And she was like, I don’t know. It’s just a general sense of general feeling that I have. This is not working. Okay. Okay. Give grace give grace. And then I said, Would you mind taking a week to just kind of collect your thoughts? I don’t look back at your old emails, talk to people, I don’t know, collect some info. And then share with me. She said yes. And then we came back together. I said, Okay, I’m ready for it lay on me. She’s like, I don’t know. Julie, can you just work on your positive attitude? And at that point is when I was like, Okay, it’s time to set a boundary. Looking back. I had tons of ego going on there. Right. So I could have done this next part with ego or no ego, right? hindsight is 2020. Right. But But I did that like, Okay, well, I’m not willing to sign this. I don’t know how to change, you haven’t given me any tools. So I’m going to write an addendum saying you couldn’t explain your rationale. And I’ll sign it. I’d right that is a good boundary to set. As long as we aren’t doing it with you. Now. Two things, one, I didn’t recognize back then like, It’s okay. It’s okay. Right. A lot of this evaluation is actually about her. But also the second thing that would have been a game changer for her and her employee, me as the employee is if she would have said this. And so this is like advice for everybody who’s given performance evaluations, if she’s willing to say doing. So. I can’t give you examples right now, because unfortunately, I didn’t write them down. But it is a sense that I get from you. I want to ask you on a scale of one to 100. What’s your attitude in terms of positivity, positivity on app? You know, putting it all together? 100 is the most positive anybody’s ever been zero? Is your crow up? vindictive, backstabbing, gossiping, right? I would have given myself a number, I probably would have said 92. Right. I would have been like, it’s really high. So then if she would have said, Okay, great. So why is it two to zero? And they should have been listening. And I would have been like, I’m so positive in this way. And this way, in this way, and then she would have said, Why isn’t it 100? And it’s okay, because none of us are perfect. Just think about it for a minute. And I would have said, Oh, well, those meetings that we have that are supposed to be one hour, that are actually two hours, and don’t seem to follow an agenda. And we go off topic all the time. And I’m really annoyed by those and I really want to be efficient. I bet that might show up on my face or in my tone. Right? If she just asked me. Yeah, and I would have been I would have said it. I would have found it. Good night. Okay, I get it. So that is my story about getting feedback. unfair. What a leader could do differently how I could gain some perspective how someone can drop an ego a little bit all those pieces fact in
limit. Great. Awesome. Well, I yeah, this has been so great. We could just keep going. You and I but just kidding. I I love to ask this question. In, which is how do you define success? for yourself?
How do I define success? For what? For yourself?
Like, I know you’re helping other people count? Yes. So,
yes. How do I define success? Oh, that’s a good one, just by how much money I make Just kidding.
Ready, maybe just to myself, but okay, how I define success?
So the first part, the first thing that comes to mind for me, and I don’t know if this is the right answer, or the wrong answer, I can think of this more. But his feedback Now, again, taking with a grain of salt, just like I was saying, but I really value asking people, what works, what didn’t? what suggestions do you have? And I also like to say, and you can say anything, you can’t hurt my feelings. Meaning in that moment, I’m ready. Don’t be shy. And so it’s by the quality of that feedback. And I have to tell you, it does feel great when people say things like I got an email yesterday. That was, you’ve helped me to feel have positivity and motivation for for my future self, which I haven’t had for a long time. And unlike that is why I do what I do. So that’s part of it. And success. Also, I can I can be I can almost sound hypocritical on this just meaning, I guess what I mean is that this is a struggle for me sometimes, is having to balance productivity with joy. And that has been main a mainstay in my business that I even have as verbiage like we help work on you having a balance of productivity and joy, because I can really lean to that productivity piece. I don’t know why I’m hardwired that way. My last session with my coach, I said, Andrea, okay, sometimes we talk a lot about feelings. Sometimes we talk a lot about business strategy. And today I want to do all business strategy that are, that’s connected to feelings, because I want us to plan out my fall. Because there’s still flexibility there. For the next two months, everything is locked and loaded. But for the fall, I would like to remember that balance is something that I would like, and I feel beyond grateful that business is booming. And with that, I preach this, if you don’t take care of yourself, first, you’re gonna burn out, and then you won’t be able to get in and blah, blah, blah, right? Sharing versus doing is very different. And so it’s that, it’s that that’s how I measure success is if I feel the balance, like I’m getting to be productive. And I’m also getting to recharge I’m getting to serve. And I’m also getting to fill myself up. And in the last this month. And last month, I was a participant in two different learning experiences. One was through the landmark, landmark forum, and one was through Tony Robbins. And I was like, This is heaven. Like, this is so delicious to get to work this into my schedule. So I guess those two things, feedback and balance.
Well, I, I’ll throw in some feedback.
To me, the good, the bad and the ugly. And you can’t, I would love to hear any and all. Yeah,
yeah. Well, I, I got to take part in a group experience. And I loved how you defined it as a guided conversation absolutely was. You were an excellent facilitator. There was just there was so much dialogue. And you’re right, the first group setting everyone it was like fear in the eyes of everyone. And then by the end, no one wanted to complete. Everyone wants to keep hanging out. Right. It’s really, yeah, I think that’s telling us a really great space that you create, and, and dialogue. You know, it’s not a, like, I’m the leadership coach, I’m on high and I’m going to tell you all how to be leaders. It’s very, like cultivating, listening. It’s so good. And I know you’re doing that again. So I’m going to bridge right into that.
Thanks for that. Well, first of all, I felt so honored to have you as a participant because the presence that you brought to that group was so impactful. And that is what I that’s one thing that fills me up so much is seeing how each person influences a group. I can geek out on that stuff all day long, like watching people’s influence and and upcoming starting August 20. We have two new cohorts of a group coaching intensive that starting for the leaders of leaders with the concept Free some people sign up. And if August doesn’t work, we do it a couple times per year. But the reason people sign up is often because it’s lonely at the top. And I want community Okay, not me, not me. But someone signs up because they say I want immunity. And they then have this deep and instant community where I really feel like it’s been friendships, deep friendships for life. And so that’s one, two is because then me time is carved out, it’s scheduled. And so I show up, and I get any time, it’s calendered, instead of I have the best intentions to whatever and it doesn’t happen. And then third, it’s a time to pause and strategize collectively. Right, like, how do you do this? More recently, somebody said in the group, like, gosh, I really wish I had a mentor. You know, I’ve never really had a mentor in my life. And I’d love for somebody to help guide me and teach me And quite frankly, I can make impact to my organization. I wish we had a mentoring program, and someone else in the group said, we’ve got a great one. Let’s meet offline, I’ll teach you the whole thing. I was like, that’s what this is all about. Yeah, yeah. And so um, so also, the beauty of this kind of group coaching intensive is people from all walks of life. All different industries, all different organizations. So there’s that diversity there. Instead of getting stuck in our little bubble in our little way of thinking. It’s very expansive.
I love it. Yeah, I would say the things that keep me going generally are community, mentorship, and base to go within like to really Oh, yeah, the space to go within. Oh, that’s so good. I love that. Yeah. So I’m always thinking whenever I’m designing, you know, I love to work with everyone designing a retreat or a group coaching program. Like, those are the three elements that have to be in there. Oh, I love that. So good. Awesome. Beautiful. Well, where else can people find you in general, post some links, but it’s good
to come and find me. So now you know my story about the website name, but Lancaster leadership calm Lancaster there is no de la en CST here. And on there, you can find access to the group coaching intensives. Also coaching for intact teams. Also one on one coaching, team building, there’s even if you’re like, I want to do this, and we have no money, there is a do it yourself program on there for leadership development within your team. So lots of resources, lots of articles by incredible, everyday leaders, meaning people in our community in our communities that share about their wisdom. So they’re finally there.
Beautiful, beautiful, and we’ll put all those links on a path of growth calm as well. Thank you so much, Julie,
so much for being with me. I just love you. I love the work that you do. And I feel so honored to be here.
Thank you. Yeah. All right. We’ll pause right there, Kevin, and I think we have a little we could do like a little snippet. bonus episode. Great. about whatever you have any. Yes. Like, you’re like you wanted to say and you didn’t get to say.
Yeah. So two thoughts. No, maybe one thought is that you know how sometimes people want content in terms of like, teach me something? Yeah. So I have a piece that I could teach in terms of, like women strengths and men’s strengths and how to maximize that. That’s an idea.
Yeah, that sounds great. Yeah. Okay, great. I’ll take them. Oh, sorry. Go ahead. And we’re back with Julie Lancaster of Lancaster leadership. I’m Julie, you are such a wealth of knowledge of resources. We talked before on our full episode about kind of how you hold that space and the group dynamics and the interactions that happen so you got like you got it all going on and imagining that people there are people listening who might really love to, like actually learn a Pete like something a piece about leadership that they could put into practice. So my favorite loving Oh, good. Yeah, he does something. Right. Okay.
Okay. So so something that comes to mind for me is we talked a lot about like maximizing our own strengths, right? Instead of looking for where we’re not thriving to think about where I’m thriving, and how can I How can I supercharge that? And so what I found interesting blue is that about 70% of my clients are women. And at first, I was so confused and like trying to understand that, like, what is that? I work with men to write like, what’s what’s out there, but the people who seek me out are women. So I did a little bit of studying about what do they say about genders, I tend to balk against putting people into gender boxes, because I feel like we are individuals. And quite frankly, I think that’s what when we’re talking about gender, we’re often talking about personality style, then biology. But with that said, here’s a little bit of what I’ve learned about what they say about men, the researchers, what they say about women are the researchers and what those strengths are and how we can maximize those.
Yeah, no, I just say Juliet, around like men and women, feminine masculine, like, that’s something I’m totally fascinated. It’s part of my work, too. But one of the frames I just want to offer around this is that there is a difference in the way that we are raised when you’re raised as a girl and a woman, yes, is raised as a boy and a man that may have nothing to do with like your inherent qualities, but there, I think there’s just there’s an experience of life, like swimming through society. That is different. I’m so glad you said that, that like social cultural training. Yeah, we’re talking about the different layers, right. But like, there, but then we are individuals, and so we don’t have to be boxed in forever by that. Right. But yeah, anyway,
I love that. I love that that is so important. Because by the time we come out of the womb, wearing our pink or blue or whatever, right, our society is training us that we’re supposed to be a certain way. Yeah. So in terms of women that are or the feminine. I want to make sure I’m, I’m meaning to be all inclusive, right? They say that the two strengths that rise to the top are first seeking opportunities. And look back to my past. I’m like, Oh, that’s my recall, origin story or something, right, that I shared about with the Ladies Night, night up, seeking opportunities, I want more, but I don’t know what it is. And then I was like, That’s why 70% of my clients are women, probably, maybe, because what seeking opportunity looks like is seeking out personal growth, professional development, wanting to grow and expand, not just like, that’s what I offer. That’s what I that’s what my business is. So that’s one. The second is building relationships. And so once I heard that, I was like, Oh, that’s why I love connecting people and helping people to learn about this person. And that, and that was also part of my, my origin story. And I was talking with somebody who was saying, you know, we want to do succession planning within our organization. And this leader has 12 direct reports. And under those 12 are 60. So right, this is like a big team. And I said, Okay, well tell me who are your high performers? Who are the people that you see potential, and maybe one day being in leadership roles of those 60? And the person said, zero, none. I was like, let’s talk about this for a minute. Because that that is something to really reckon with. And so my next question was, how much energy money time do you put into developing them to give them the skills to be prepared for the next level? And that was like the lightbulb moment like, Oh, that’s why it’s not that their personalities wouldn’t fit with leadership. So that building up relationships, in terms of developing your team, that’s how that intersects there. So then, we can take both of those skills, whatever gender and say, How can I maximize those. And then for men, they say, of the top, the top two, that rise to the top are one confidence, which is like, Oh, so that makes sense. When I got that cohort of women together, those three cohorts and they’re all saying confidence was the collective goal. And that really can look like asking for what we want. And blue in commenting on when you are talking society, right? Women are often not taught to ask for what we want, or I do it in a very gentle, very soft, very around the way kind of way. Oftentimes with this, these are like the early adaptors, adopters of technology, right confidence, let me try it. Let me jump in. And this muscle needs to kind of be built over time. Right, and then success, be the get success. And for me when I was like, Okay, how can I maximize my confidence because certainly, like, there are areas that I feel really confident and others, where I am sweating down to my hips under my jacket, which I would call a lack of confidence. And I was like, Okay, how I can maximize my confidence is by using my my maximizing my relationships. That’s why I came up with that concept of may have a board, let me use yours. It’s not the right word. Let me let me utilize a team. And then the second thing for men is risk taking, which almost might sound like the same thing, confidence and risk taking. But that is like, right, going out on a limb, not having it prepared, but being ready to wing it. Not saying we should doing it all the time. But when you need to, when people are doing q&a sessions, being able to answer on the spot, being able to hold the silence for a good 15 seconds. That’s a good question. Give me a second to think. Right. And then sharing is also I think risk taking how it shows up in leadership is asking for a mentor.
Asking, many everybody knows the concept of mentorship is a good idea. When I ask in reality, who has a mentor of meaning, if I was to say, Hey, who’s your mentee, they would name you not meaning I learned a lot from them. From time to time, I asked him questions. It’s like mentorship. And so I think that’s how we can all maximize that concept of risk taking. So that’s just a little bit about what strengths are out there for people to take advantage of, or to really maximize. Once we might consider where am I under utilizing? Where am I? Where could I utilize a little bit more and just to maybe understand ourselves a little bit better, because that’s also part of the journey.
Oh, I love it. I love it. And I just want to point anyone who’s listening to metacomet Carmen, I interviewed her on a previous episode. And in her bonus little episode, she talks about kind of how we, as women are often the biggest complaint she hears from her clients. And she also works with leaders is I’m not being heard. And she addresses that, like, what are the pieces? There’s sort of four steps to being heard. And we kind of stopped them step one. And like get stalled. Because of this confidence and risk taking. I would, I would say like,
Oh my god, doo doo doo. We all see how incredible that was such a good tie in glue. I’m so impressed.
So good. So good. Julie to have you here. I think one other little nugget I want to share just on a personal note is that we’ve had people who have worked with both of us we both live in the same small town. Yeah. And I asked to this client one. Well, how is it like, What had you hire? Both of us? I mean, at separate times, but like, what, what does that like, I’m kind of curious. I can’t wait to hear this perience you know, yeah. And she said, Oh, like staff is so lucky. Because that you you bring different things. I was like, oh, what are the things and she said, Well, Julie’s like the go out there, get it, like, pump you up, like I’m excited to take the next step. You know, she said and then blue, you’re like, Okay, take a breath. become kind of regroup. You know, and like, yeah, trust yourself, you know, just like that sort of, like, bring she’s like, you know, Julie like pumps me up and you ground me? Yeah.
That’s it. I need the both of us in my life. meet you. Yeah, yeah. Thank you so much for that feedback and for just having me here.
So good, Julie. And once again, for if anyone’s just hopping into justice episode. Where can we find more Julie?
Great, go to Lancaster leadership calm, and there’s no D in it. And you’ll find lots of resources from coaching to articles to do it yourself programs.
Beautiful. And as always, we’ll have the link fun, calm. Thank you, Julie, for sharing your time and your wisdom with us. My pleasure. Thank you. Hello.