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The Learning is in The Journey

I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting lately. Even more than normal for me. With my son having been so sick with COVID, social unrest surrounding systemic racism and the pandemic, stress upcoming US election and Friday’s death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. So many of the people that I’ve spoken with are wrestling with all types of feelings. And that’s normal and okay. It’s a tough time for everyone. So I’m drawing and writing. What I do to process, reflect and relax. This is what came out today. Because in tough times it’s easy to get stuck in negative emotions, thoughts and actions. Towards ourselves and others. But although we can’t choose many of the experiences our life and world circumstances put us in, ultimately, through reflection and practice we can choose how to deal with them, feel about them, and act towards others and ourselves. So today, take some time, reflect on how you’re feeling accept those feelings, whatever they are, and work towards where you’d like them to be. The learning is in the journey, so be kind to yourself and others as we go through it!

The Kind Leader Newsletter #2

Welcome to The Kind Leader Newsletter #2!

Tip #2: Give people your undivided attention.  

As a leader, you’re probably pretty busy. It can be tempting to multi-task by checking your phone or computer while talking with people. Especially if you feel like the person is ‘taking too long to get to the point’ or if you think you have more important things to do. However, constantly looking down at your phone, your computer or smartwatch isn’t a kind way to act. Constantly checking electronics and looking away makes people feel like what they are saying, and who they are, is unimportant.

So, whether you are talking with someone one-on-one, or you’re in a meeting, please make sure to give people your full and undivided attention.

Make eye contact, lean forward into the conversation, put your phone away and shut off your computer. Even if you think that what the person is telling you isn’t most important to you. Because chances are, what they’re telling you is most important to them.

As a leader, one of the kindest ways to show people how important they are is to give them your full and undivided attention.

That’s this week’s Kind Leader newsletter!

What do you think…

How often do you check your devices while someone is talking to you or in meetings?

What can you do to remind yourself not to look at your phone, computer or watch ?

Please share your ideas in the comments!

The Kind Leader Newsletter #1

Welcome to the Kind Leader Newsletter!

As a Kind Leader Newsletter subscriber, each week you’ll receive information on the research that I’m doing and updates on interviews and insights that I’m having as I write my new book The Kind Leader: A Practical Guide to Leading with Kindness.

You’ll also get a Practical Tip to use immediately and share with others. Because everyone can start leading with kindness right now!

Tip #1: Being kind is a great stress reducer!

There’s a lot of stress going around lately. With all the changes in work from COVID-19, layoffs and job losses, worries about health of family members and friends, and anxiety about politics and elections. Tempers are frayed and it’s easy to think, speak and act unkindly.

As a leader, you can help reduce the stress of people that you lead (and your own) by speaking and acting kindly. Ask people how they and their family are doing. Then take the time to listen fully to their answer. Don’t check your phone or look at your watch. Look them in the eye and pay attention. If there is help you can offer, offer it. If there isn’t, just simply taking the time to listen is a great – and kind – way to help!

That’s this week’s Kind Leader newsletter!

What do you think…

How do you and your leaders show kindness to help reduce stress?

What do you think leaders can do to speak and act more kindly to reduce team members’ stress?

Please share your ideas in the comments!

The Kind Leader: A Practical Guide to Leading with Kindness

An exciting news today! I’ve just signed a contract for a new book and I’m writing again! The topic: Kind Leadership! Why? Because although ‘Kindness’ and ‘Leadership’ aren’t always synonymous, they need to be! Because leaders lead. And the way a leader leads – how they do what they do – influences those they lead. Today, in our increasingly fragmented, polarized and divided world, we need leaders who will bring people together, who value cooperation and collaboration, and who model ways to think kindly, speak kindly and act kindly to all. We simply need kindness to become synonymous with good leadership.

I’ll be starting a weekly newsletter called The Kind Leader where you can subscribe to receive practice tips on leading with kindness. All you need to do to receive your copy is to subscribe to my website and you’ll automatically get the newsletter!

Tough Times Require Lean – ISE July 2020

Excited that my article on how lean can help us create new and better ways to work and care for customers and team members is in the July issue of ISE Magazine! Super proud to be able to tell the story of how Noah Goellner and my friends Hennig are fulfilling their purpose by using lean and creativity to make their community successful, and to give lots of other ideas about how organizations can use lean and their creativity during these challenging times. Lean isn’t just for removing waste, reducing cycle time and solving already known problems. It’s the way to create forward to a better future. Hope you enjoy the article! I always enjoy writing for ISE Magazine!


If You Help One Person…It’s a Success!

Are you feeling discouraged that even after so much work, your organization hasn’t had a full lean transformation? And that you’re a failure if you haven’t been able to ‘make it happen’? Don’t be. Often, we get so caught up in the ‘ends’ the ‘BIG’ results we (or someone else) tells us is the only measure of ‘success’, that we lose track of the purpose: making things better. And that the way to make things better is to help people. So, instead of focusing on the ends, focus on helping people: the ‘means’. One person at a time. Single piece flow. Because when you help someone work in a more effective and efficient way, things will be better for the people they serve (their customers) and for them. And when you help one person, you’ve changed the world for the better. And that’s a huge success. So today, please focus on the process. Not on the results. Remember, ‘How we get there is as – or more important – than where we are going’. At work…and in life. Who will you help today?

A Little Gardening PDCA!

I’m not a gardener. I’ve never wanted to grow a garden, but last year I was inspired by visiting a client who had a HUGE organic garden in her back yard. So I decided to give it a try. I bought seeds and used old flower pots to plant a small container gardener on a table. (We have lots of bunnies and I want to share the space kindly with them.) Guess what? Nothing grew. I was disappointed (but not too surprised, because I’m not a gardener), so decided to try again this year with a little PDCA!
1. I’m not traveling, so I can water every day as needed!
2. I have a new table with a perforated surface so water doesn’t pool at the bottom of the pots on the table after it rains!
3. I’ve changed my attitude! Instead of thinking to myself ‘I’m not a gardener’ I’m thinking to myself ‘I’m learning by doing!’ I learned a lot by doing from last year, and I’ll learn more this year! And as I pay careful attention to the process every day, I’ll learn even more! Maybe I’ll even have some radishes, green beans and spinach to eat too!
So, if you want to do something, and you hear that little voice in your head saying “I’m not a _________ “ … stop! And tell yourself instead, “I’m learning by doing!” Then get going!

I’ll keep you posted on how my tiny garden is doing!

Always Start with Customer Needs!

I’ve had a lot of questions and discussion lately about process improvement and value stream mapping. And one thing I’ve noticed is that sometimes, in those discussions, starting from deeply understanding customer needs – what should be happening from the point of view of each of your customers – is missing! It’s easy to get caught up in internal process…what we are doing now…and what would make things easier and better for us! But if those things don’t help get your customer what they want, when they want it, right the first time – flow value to the customer – then they are missing the point! So, when starting to work on an improvement, or creating a value stream map, please first ask yourself: what should be happening for our customers? And then, if you find you don’t know (and most often we really don’t) please ask them! It’s easy to be focused on ourselves, but improving for our customers means starting with – and focusing on – them!

Why I Practice ‘Right-Sized-Pricing’ … and You Should Too!

2020 KRC “Acts of Kindness” Auction!

Would you like to win a dress that I designed and sewed myself?! I’ve had so many requests for KRC dresses, that I’ve decided to auction some of the ones that I created in 2019! The auction starts on Monday, January 6, 2020…and winners will be announced on Monday, January 27, 2020!

But the auction I’m holding isn’t a regular auction!

It’s an “Acts of Kindness” Auction!

What does that mean? It means that to ‘win’ one of the KRC dresses shown below, you won’t be ‘bidding’ with money…you’ll be committing to “Acts of Kindness” that you will be doing if you win the dress! Why aren’t I auctioning off my dresses for money? Because that would be exclusive! Those with more money would have a better chance of winning! But here’s the great thing! Kindness is a wonderful equalizer! Because it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what you believe, or what your financial situation is…there is ALWAYS something kind you can do for someone else!

So, here’s how to enter the KRC “Acts of Kindness” Auction!

For each dress that you want to bid on, comment on this post with:

  1. Your name
  2. Number and name of the dress you are bidding on
  3. What Act of Kindness will you do to win the dress? (And the ‘Act of Kindness’ needs to actually be something you will do…like set up a stand to hand out sandwiches to homeless people…or walk dogs at your local animal shelter for 6 six weekends in a row…or help a new immigrant practice the language of your country!)

You can ‘bid’ on as many dresses as you would like…each just has to have a different Act of Kindness in your entry!

All dresses are hand-made, and (just like me!) imperfect! All will fit American women’s dress sizes Medium and Large.

Dress #1: Big Heart Dress

This is the first dress I ever designed and sewed! Made of linen, it has appliqued pockets with hand-embroidery that wraps around the back of the dress! I wore this dress to speak in Vilnius, Lithuania, and to the St. Petersburg Opera in Russia! It’s made of linen and a fabulous fuzzy material for the sleeves!

Dress #2: Big Pockets Dress

The hand-appliqued panels on this dress are actually huge pockets! The applique wraps around the back of the dress! Sleeveless, this dress can be wore on it’s own, or with a short or long-sleeved shirt underneath! I wore this dress at a Creativity Lab in Brazil! It’s made of linen and also has buttons sewn onto the pockets.

Dress #3: Red and Black

This dress is double-layered, with the lining serving as the longer part of the skirt! The hand-embroidered heart applique is actually a pocket! Fun! I wore this dress to speak in Brazil and in Colombia! It’s made of linen and is the most fitted of the dresses!

Dress #4: Heart-felt Poncho (A Poncho…not really a dress!)

This poncho is made out of the left-over material I had from making the sleeves on the Big Heart dress! I don’t like to waste…so I decided to make this free-form poncho! There’s also a hand-embroidered heart applique on the back! This is perfect to wear outside on a cool day…or inside as a top over a pair of jeans! One size fits everyone!

Dress #5: It’s Reversible!

The reason that this dress (really a skirt and top) is named It’s Reversible…is because the skirt actually is totally reversible! It can be worn on either side! The pocket on the skirt is hand-embroidered, and the heart on the top is hand-printed by me! I wore this skirt in many different places and to speak in Brazil! This is made out of cotton and can be machine-washed. Hang dry please! Don’t put it into the dryer!

Dress #6: Leafy Tunic!

I made this dress out of a remnant of fabric that I fell in love with at the store! The leaves go sideways because there wasn’t enough fabric to have them go up and down! So, I pinned the fabric to the dress-form and created a dress by wrapping and pinning. I used the little excess material there was to make the neck draping! This dress is made out of some kind of upholstery fabric, so it has a very sculptural look and feel when worn! I wore it in may places…and to teach a wonderful workshop in Antwerp, Belgium!

And…guess what?!

Although that is the end of the dresses…it’s not actually the end of the Acts of Kindness auction items! My friend – and very kind person – Ronak Shah, donated three beautiful paintings to the auction! Same rules to enter and win apply!

Painting 1: Koi

This beautiful enamel piece is 8 inches x 10 inches and is finished on all sides. Perfect and ready to hang anywhere in your house or apartment!

Painting 2: LKPF 1

This fun acrylic on canvas abstract creation is 12 inches x 12 inches and has finished edges! Ready to hang and enjoy immediately!

Painting 3: LKPF 2

Fun, funky and colorful, this 12 inch x 12 inch acrylic on canvas will brighten up any space you hang it in!

So, that is it for the auction items!

I can’t wait to see what kind of Acts of Kindness all of you come up with! And remember, all of your Acts of Kindness will benefit those receiving the kindness…will make you feel fabulous…and will support my Love and Kindness Project Foundation (www.loveandkindnessproject.org).

(And…even if you don’t win a dress or a painting, you can still do your Act of Kindness…because of that will simply create a better, kinder world for every single one of us!)

With lots of love and kindness!


Karyn Ross Consulting

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