The Art of Human Resources: An Insider’s Guide to Influencing Your Culture


My book, The Art of Human Resources, an Insider’s Guide to Influencing Your Culture,  is finally done, it was probably one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done.  Keep an eye on it early 2017, pre-order available in January 2017 and let me know what you think.



Liza Sichon presents Leading Effectively with Emotional IntelligenceAuthor Liza Sichon is on a mission to empower HR Professionals to stay true to their strengths and achieve career fulfillment. She further challenges HR Professionals to own and embrace shaping the culture of their company to promote greater connection to their customers and achieve success for any organization. Having lived and worked in three different continents, Liza Sichon has over 25 years of global HR experience in healthcare, financial services and high tech industries. After 17 moves, empty nesters Liza and her husband Danny, call Silicon Valley, California their home.





Book Summary


Considering a career in HR or in search of a fresh way to re-energize your current professional life? Whether you are early in your career, in the middle of it, or at the top of your respective industry, The Art of Human Resources will provide you with a customized roadmap to find career satisfaction in the HR industry. Everyone’s journey is unique and special, and this book will help you enjoy a customized meaningful career plan for you, develop your team and influence your company culture.


Written in an engaging and thoughtful manner, with real life case studies, The Art of Human Resources defines an Inside Out HR Development Model to help you discover your core talents, build your team, and influence your company’s culture, which eventually trickles down to impact your customer promise. This book is packed with thought provoking questions, insights, and personal discovery to help you better understand your motivations, natural abilities and personal style. From there, you will learn which of the Nine HR Profiles and their corresponding roles are best suited for your natural talents. Liza then provides a compelling argument and a proven formula for developing your company culture.


An easy read, and written from the heart, ­­­­­­The Art of Human Resources is meant to used as a workbook and constant reference tool. Keep it in your active book shelf. You can follow the steps outlined in the Inside Out Model, or choose relevant areas that you need to develop and explore. The Art of Human Resources will help you develop your strengths, your team and your company culture.

Owning Up, Easing Perfectionism

Accepting responsibility

An HR Coach will deliver a big ROIAfter being written up for perfectionism and creating a tense and stressful atmosphere at work, Ann called me for urgent coaching.

She was angry, frustrated and hurt.  She wanted to get her center back in shape.  Her results were poor and morale was low.  She focused on getting the task done and did not spend time or effort to build relationships with her people.  She was accused of perfectionism.

After a long emotional teary weekend and a couple of hours of coaching, Ann emerged stronger. She accepted ownership of her results. While it will take her time to process and change her perfectionist automatic behaviors, she is committed to make her work environment more pleasant for her and her staff. She learned how to ease perfectionism.

Her intentions have not changed – to make her branch one of the best branches in her region.   Her behaviors to achieve these results have changed. She knows that change needs to begin with her. She now walks into the office with a more relaxed and pleasant mood. She sets the tone for everyone to do the best that they can. The tense atmosphere has now relaxed.  Her staff find her more approachable and asks her questions so they can do their job better.

She asked for professional training for her staff and continued to monitor the centers’ results.  She now asks for her staff’s opinion on how to improve their numbers instead of pointing out mistakes.

The change process is still in its initial phase and will continue to evolve.  The numbers are not where they need to be and more work needs to be done.  Ann feels that she is now on the right track.

What challenges are keeping you up at night? What first steps can you take to improve your work situation? Is your intention having the impact that you want?

– See more at:

From Click to Stick

IMG_0818Delivered From Click to Stick to our Northern California, National Speakers Association this month.  Was a great experience to help attendees get their ROI from attending a valuable session. From Click to Stick

“I thought it one of the best meetings we’ve attended; some great, practical take-aways, as well as some short, different, useful presentations.”  P. Kingsman


Transition Coaching

Are you in transition?  Listen to my interview, by Bert Martinez, on Money for Lunch on Transitions.



“We do not like Touchy Feely stuff”.


I was recently honored to be the speaker/facilitator for a team building holiday celebration of a respectable high tech company in Silicon Valley. The HR contact advised me that this group did not like touchy feely stuff.

Although I understood her intuitively, I wanted to ensure my facilitation reflected her concerns.

What is “touchy feely?” We hear this term often mentioned in a negative or pejorative way. Business people typically don’t like it and, sadly, HR work is often referred to as touchy feely work.  Touchy feely is attributed to a group exercise, activity or workshop where people share their feelings and innermost thoughts that make them vulnerable.  The formal definition in the Merriam Webster dictionary says: “touchy feely is characterized by interpersonal touching especially in the free expression of emotions; openly or excessively emotional or personal.”

Understandably, nobody wants to feel vulnerable in the workplace. No one wants to lose control, lose face in front of his or her co-workers or be uncontrollably emotional. I’ve had a successful career in HR, both in a corporate setting and as a consultant, and I have never wanted to engage in these kinds of touchy feely activities.

I covered this concern early-on with the group. I said I was cautioned not to make this session touchy feely. “Let me assure you”, I told them, “that I don’t like to be touched and I don’t like to be felt”.  I got laughter from that comment.

Seriously, while achieving results is very important, there is a personal/human side of business when we work with people, and whether we like it or not, we need to develop effective interpersonal and communication skills to develop teamwork, but it does not need to be touchy feely at all.

When we work virtually or in person, we need to use positive behaviors that bring out synergy in our teams.  Synergy, as defined by Human Synergistics, “occurs when the interactive efforts of two or more people produce or fully utilize their resources.  Synergy within groups improves the efficiency and effectiveness of individual and group decision making”.

Synergy happens when people collaboratively work on the best possible approach and solution to work problems without voting on or imposing one person’s point of view.  Even if there is disagreement, each member of the team can voice their thoughts, will feel heard and can stand behind and align with the team’s solutions.  Synergy is hard to achieve, not all teams reach synergy.

Most leaders I know wake up in the morning with the best intentions. As they go through their day, things happen that causes their behavior  to unknowingly turn negative. Sometimes our intent does not automatically create our desired impact.  It is important to remember that we have a choice in our behavior; we can use appropriate behaviors to create a work environment that is positive and supportive, and brings out the best in others.

Breaking down the necessary elements of effective team building, and achieving synergy in a fun interesting activity using language that the team can relate to, will ensure that the team building activity is not touchy feely.

Liza Sichon of is a Coach, Speaker and Consultant who helps clients transform their culture and build a positive workplace.  She can be reached at



From Click To Stick: How To Maximize your Attendance ROI


How many times have you attended an awesome conference or training/workshop, enjoyed yourself tremendously, learned a ton and became so motivated that you wanted to implement most, if not all, of the ideas and suggestions that were presented?

Then you get home and the reality of daily life presents itself; the conference  folder, notes and handouts sit somewhere in your to-do file until the next workshop. All you remember is that it was a great conference, something “clicked” and the speaker was phenomenal. You trust that everything is stored in your memory to access easily if needed…or is it?

How do you make the most of your experience, whether it is a training program, an association meeting, or a conference?  It is an investment – you invest your time, resources or money.

Here are some tips to make the most of your investment:

  1. Clarify your intent prior to the workshop. What is your motivation for being there? As the date for the meeting approaches, think about why you are attending in the first place.
    • Even if your company requires your attendance – ask yourself “How will this benefit me?” You are investing your time in this conference. What will you get in return for your investment? Ask your boss and colleagues why they think this is important for you, and ask what suggestions they have for you. Create a strategy to ensure that you will benefit from your investment.
    • Whether you are attending a free workshop or paying to attend, assess your motivation.  Visualize the meeting – how will you remember or implement what you have learned? How will you take notes? Will there be handouts or should you bring a small notebook or a computer? I personally prefer a small notebook that I can place inside my pocketbook. For longer meetings, I usually bring my computer and take notes directly on my laptop.
    • Are you interested in networking at the event? If so, how will you do it? I’ve attended conferences where I barely knew anyone. While I have no problem introducing myself to a handful of people, I tend to stay in a corner, and have a difficult time interrupting conversations in progress or “circling the room”. Some of you may be very comfortable introducing yourself to as many people as you can. Whatever you are comfortable with, be yourself and remember your intent. What did you want to get out of the event? Be specific; Did you want to meet 1, 5 or 15 people? Or did you want to cultivate a deeper relationship with 1 or 2 people who you would like to follow-up with?
  2. Arrive early and find a spot to sit where you are comfortable. Bring an extra sweater or jacket if you anticipate the room will be cold or warm. It can be very uncomfortable to sit in a room feeling flushed or freezing.
    • It’s ok to take notes as needed. Some prefer to use highlighters. Request handouts, and highlight what it important to you.
    • If something “Clicks” take note of it. Being naturally action oriented, I place the words “DO” before an idea and that will go into my priority to-do list.
    • Most workshops naturally enable you to connect and discuss in small groups. Ensure that you invest in building a relationship with those in your group. You may find some things in common with them, and they can be very insightful or generous in answering your questions.
    • During breaks – In conferences where I do not know anyone, breaks can be uncomfortable. It sometimes seems like everyone is chatting animatedly around me, except me. I’m a slight extrovert, but prefer to be an introvert when I do not know anyone. At my last association meeting, I quietly took my lunch and sat at my table by myself, hoping that someone would sit next to me. Two people did and they quickly engaged in their own private conversation. It’s a good thing I had my iPhone (always handy.) I read emails and Facebook until a friendly person sat next to me. I noticed some people had no problem sitting with groups that were already in the midst of a discussion. Good for them.
    • Business Cards – Take the initiative to give out your business card to other attendees; some attendees have them and will happily give you one. On the back of their card, write down where you met this new contact (i.e. seat mate; coffee; lunch break; group discussion, on the way out, parking lot, etc.) This will help you remember them when you connect later. Some attendees do not have a card. This is where your notebook comes in handy – ask them to write their contact info.
    • Participate – Whether in your smaller group or in the larger group, test your understanding or feel free to ask a question. Your “aha” moments “click” better when you share or test them out with others.
    • Before you leave the meeting – remember your intent. Is your intent to find a mentor? Is it to learn something in particular that you would like to apply? Is it to create a support group? Is it to find a mentee to give back to? Or is it all of the above? Make sure you connect with your prospects and discuss potential next steps before you leave the conference. My intention at Saturday’s meeting was to join or create a mastermind group with speakers of like interest. I laid my intention out to the two women seated next to me and they were both interested.
  3. As soon as you get home or back to your hotel room. This is where the true test of your intent comes through; this is where “Click to Stick” happens. Here’s what works for me:
    • As soon as I get home, I go straight to my laptop/office, have a glass of wine or cup of tea, turn on some music-and while the information is fresh, connect with my new-found colleagues. Facebook or Linked in has made it easy to connect. This only takes 10 minutes max.
    • If you have more time, send a nice note to a handful of new contacts conveying how much you enjoyed meeting them. I might  cite a topic that I enjoyed discussing, or how I found their questions insightful, or whatever will help me and them keep the network going. Whatever you do, be sincere. If you said you were going to follow-up, please keep your word.
    • Since I had the intent of creating a mastermind group, I quickly sent a brief email to my two new colleagues providing times I am available to connect and setting up our first meeting. They responded and we connected.
    • If the speaker was great,  tell them and connect with them. Send a thank-you note or connect via Facebook or Linked In. Better, let the event planner know how much you enjoyed the speaker.
    • Write your to-do list and start prioritizing the three items that you are going to do as a result of the meeting. The speaker at our last meeting, NSA (National Speakers Association) President, Ruby Newell-Ledger is awesome! She is sincere, and so generous and motivating that I was moved to blog about the meeting, write what I learned and create my to do list. I know that following up on her presentation will make a difference in my business.
    • One colleague books an extra day at the hotel to write out her learnings and insights before she goes home. It works for her.
    • At a conference I am attending in July, a mastermind group is already forming and planning to meet after the conference to summarize and crystallize the learnings. What a great idea!

Your attendance is an investment and your time to debrief the meeting is part of this investment. Your personal debrief could potentially be the most valuable time you will invest in the workshop or conference.

Feel free to comment and share what works for you. How have you maximized your attendance to a conference or workshop? How do you transition from Click to Stick?

Liza Sichon is an Executive Coach, Speaker and Consultant in Silicon Valley.  She can be reached at


The Boss Needs Training – Being Perfect Backfired

How Being Perfect Backfired

stressed womanAnn was written up by her boss for a tense atmosphere at work.  Her staff complained to HR because of her criticism of their work.  They cannot live up to her standards. The center’s results were down, customer satisfaction was down, morale was down.

Six months ago, Ann inherited a problematic center and worked to get it back in shape.  She wanted to train her staff, pointed out their errors and corrected the way they have been doing their work.

Can you see the downward spiral that Ann was in? Ann’s been called a perfectionist in the past. We worked on similar issues. When the frustration got to be too much, she looked for another job and shortly, the pattern started again.

While the perfectionistic accusations were not a surprise to both of us, this recent turn of events caught her attention. She was angry, frustrated and very hurt. The write-up was a wake up call to her.  It made her want to change the way she worked with people. For the first time in her career, she was fearful that she was going to be fired.

We used Leadership Impact, a 360-leadership assessment by Human Synergistics and she quickly saw in her desire to get the numbers back up, she was losing the hearts and minds of her staff. Completely focused on the task with her perfectionist tendencies, she did not have a relationship with her staff that made them want to hear her training.  They viewed her corrections as reprimands. Her intention to improve the office numbers had a negative impact on the staff.

Her intention did not translate to the impact that she hoped to achieve. If she was in a bad mood, the staff picked this up, fear set in and the office was tense.

Most bosses have good intentions, but the behaviors we choose can either have a constructive, passive or aggressive impact. We go on automatic response caused by stress, pressure or our learned habits.   We do not give ourselves a choice of responses.  We have a choice: a choice to create a positive, constructive and lasting change.

What can Ann do? What choices does she have to correct this situation?  She knows she needs to change and after a long emotional weekend, she was ready for coaching.

– See more at:

Achieving Perfection

Perfectionism gone too far

team conflictAnn, a former client, called me for urgent coaching. She was in tears, angry and hurt, recently written up by her boss for creating a tense atmosphere at work. She was asked to change her behaviors and she didn’t know what to do.

Ann took over a branch office in disarray over six months ago when her predecessor walked out. The results were poor, metrics were down, customer satisfaction is low and the staff did their own thing, they were not working as a team.

Being a results-oriented high achiever, with high standards and passion for what she does, she urgently and dedicatedly worked to get the office and the people back in shape. She was not aware of her perfection tendencies.  She worked long hours training her staff on the proper procedures, pushed hard to move their numbers back up and created new policies to meet compliance requirements. In her effort to urgently meet their productivity numbers, she pointed out things throughout the day that could be done better, highlighted time wasters, all in her desire to be efficient. She told the staff that they are there to do a their job and need to get the work done.  She wanted the day to be perfect and her customers satisfied.

After a couple of months, tension started to build up in the office.  The staff resisted her training and resented her corrections.  Eventually, HR was called to intervene. The staff complained that they lost the confidence to do their jobs; they were making mistakes and couldn’t possibly live up to her expectations. They said that the office atmosphere became tense when she was in the office.  They said her tone was condescending.

HR and her boss wrote her up.  They said she needed to change her approach.

Ann is in a dilemma, she knows that the results of her branch are poor, she has high standards but is puzzled on why her staff is resisting her training?  She is hurt, angry and extremely frustrated about the situation.  She is also fearful of the consequences if things do not change.  Her intention did not have her desired impact.

– See more at:

What’s on your plate? If you have too much, get rid of some things.

What is on your plate?

Life is like a buffet plate

One of the fantastic women I interviewed for my book on work life success, Kimberly Foss, told me that a professional woman’s life is similar to a buffet plate.  Everything looks good and as you go through the buffet table. You keep on piling up food.  The problem is our plate size is limited. Some things need to be removed from our plate before we can add-on more.

How many of us are living our day-to-day life with overflowing plates?  It is not only unhealthy, it is also difficult to digest.  We have work commitments, care for our spouses & children, do countless household chores, travel, manage our finances & try to keep ourselves healthy.  For women, it’s mostly our downtime and eventually our health that suffers, while we desperately try to do all things and have it all.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by trying to have it all?  Instead of living life with an overflowing and unhealthy plate, perhaps it would be good to take some time out and visualize what’s on your plate.  It is never too late to take things off your plate.  This can be done once you are clear on your priorities.  Priorities change, so it is totally fine to coach yourself to reorder them periodically as needed.

Break your life into categories

I like to visualize my full life as a full plate with the following categories which I prioritize depending on my situation.

  1. Spiritual Life or centeredness
  2. Health & Fitness
  3. Financial Management
  4. Family & Relationships
  5. Child &/or Elder Care
  6. Career or Business
  7. Fun and recreational activities
  8. Housework or maintenance work

I like to regularly assess where I am on each of these areas and adjust accordingly.  During my corporate life, most of my time was committed to work, with very little time left for fun and recreational activities.  The awareness of how unbalanced my plate looked was enough for me to make some simple changes like walking regularly.  Eventually walking was not enough and I took on a more intense cardio and flexibility workout, I discovered and eventually got hooked to hot yoga.  It was not only a healthy workout; I enjoyed what it did to my health and overall wellbeing.

When I needed to add something to my plate, something needed to be given up.  It either goes off the list, gets outsourced or delegated.   Several years ago, as my career took off and travel increased, my husband picked up managing our day-to-day budget.  It was not easy for me to give this up, but I noticed my stress levels decreased as he ramped up managing our finances.  Years later, I am glad we made this shift; he became so good at managing our budget & investments that I was able to retire from my corporate life as soon as our youngest daughter graduated from college.  As my career took an even bigger portion of my plate, finances, gardening and cooking moved over to my husband’s plate.  He’s a much better cook anyway and loves to garden.

What’s on your plate?  What can you move out?

See also LinkedIn and Emotional Intelligence


5 steps to creating a legacy

Aryae Coppersmith role modeled how to create a legacy with dignity.

What is your legacy?

Top senior influential human resources executives in Silicon Valley gathered at Juniper Networks to honor Aryae Coppersmith, the beloved founder of HR Forums ( ) which has been in existence for 15 years.  Aryae was moving on to new challenges.

As the HR leaders honored Aryae’s contribution to the growth of our profession, I couldn’t help but reflect on how he brought extremely busy senior HR leaders and their CEOs together for conversation and leave a lasting legacy. Maybe you have already figured out your legacy, maybe you haven’t.

Here are lessons learned from my friend Aryae to get you started with your legacy:

  • It was never about Aryae.  Aryae represented a cause – bringing HR leaders together informally to grow, share and support each other.  He was always the guiding force behind the movement but the spotlight was on the members, their guests and their contribution.
  • Build Community & Trust – the group fondly remembered dinners and breakfasts where top of mind issues of CHROs and key executives were discussed in confidence.  The CHRO role is a tough and lonely one to have and having an intimate group of peers who they could trust was just what they needed.
  • Ask “How I can Help?”  As networks were re-ignited and new ones built, people were sincerely interested in the other person’s life.  Aryae was always interested in others, he sincerely listened, and remembered well.  He kept in touch, even after people have moved on.
  • Emotional connection – As colleagues said goodbye to each other, I know they will never really say good-bye to Aryae.  There was a deep emotional connection in the air, a sign of a lasting legacy.
  • The bigger purpose will bind us together.  Aryae shared his inspiration for his next chapter.  Based on research, he said that in 10 years or so, there will still be poverty, homelessness and lack of education in the world for about 3B people.  He doesn’t want that to happen.  He is doing something today so our future will be so much better.  He created One World Lights,, an organization connecting people from all over the world who are doing what they can in their communities to make this world better and learn from each other. More blessings and fun on your New Act Aryae!

Whatever your life situation is,  it is not too late to think about your lasting legacy.  What would yours be about?  Please feel free to share your thoughts.

See LinkedIn and High Achieving Women

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Why Hire a coach?

Top Reasons Coaches are Engaged:

(HBR Jan 2009)

    • Develop high potentials or facilitate transition: 48%
    • Act as a sounding board: 26%
    • Address derailing behavior: 12%