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


“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:

As an HR Leader, do you have emotional intelligence?

How emotionally intelligent is the job candidate? You have to find out before you hire this person.

How emotionally intelligent is the job candidate? You have to find out before you hire this person.

Do you hire for emotional intelligence?

Most HR professionals and recruiters traditionally hire for cognitive intelligence, relevant experience and education.  One aspect overlooked especially in hiring for leadership and managerial positions is to hire for emotionally intelligent leaders who can empower and motivate their teams to reach their highest potential.  Emotional intelligent managers can enable their teams to overcome barriers.  An emotionally intelligent HR leader is aware of the impact of hiring managers who are strong intellectually and emotionally.


Leaders are not always aware of their impact on others or if they are remotely aware, they usually underestimate how powerful their impact truly is.  Knowledge of Emotional Intelligence can help you find candidates who can rise to the top of their game, manage complex, difficult and unpredictable situations, and encourage their peers and co-workers to do their best.


If you are responsible for hiring, what questions could you ask to determine someone’s emotional intelligence?  In a workshop I co-facilitated with Dr. Relly Nadler for HR Professionals in San Francisco, we identified some questions that could help you determine a candidate’s emotional intelligence.   Dr. Relly Nadler in his book, Leading with Emotional Intelligence recommends behavioral dimensions correlated with the 20 emotional intelligence competencies or EQ.  Here are some of the competencies and examples of questions that you could ask job candidates:


Interview questions

  1. Initiative – Give me an example of when you had to go the extra mile for your customer. What did you do and what was the result?
  2. Self Control – When was the last time you were frustrated with your co-worker or customer?  What did you do and say?
  3. Empathy – How do you demonstrate that you are open to ideas and solutions other than you own?
  4. Building Bonds – Tell me an example of an opportunity you developed and successfully received from networking.
  5. Self Confidence – How do you get ready for a big presentation or meeting?
  6. Adaptability – Give me an example when you had to work with a difficult co-worker?

Depending on the role or position that you are hiring, you can evaluate a candidate’s knowledge of themselves, also known as self-awareness, their own self-management, understanding others and managing others – the four main components of emotional intelligence.


Emotional Intelligence is contagious.  I once had a boss who loved people.  The entire building literally brightens up when he walks into the office.  He  not only knows people by their first name, he knows their children’s names and even their dog’s names. People would do anything for him, the discretionary effort of his team was beyond limits.  He is so loved and remembered fondly, that is because he truly and sincerely cared for others. Working with him was one of the most enjoyable times in my career.


Ever wondered what impact you have on others?  It is not too late to develop your emotional intelligence.  Emotionally Intelligent people get hired, promoted and have a sustaining presence.  The good news is EQ can be learned, developed and improved with the help of a trusted coach.  What does it take to be an emotionally intelligent HR leader?  As HR professionals, we set the tone for an emotionally intelligent culture.  Are you aware of the impact your presence has on others?


Liza Sichon is the founder of Executive HR Coach. She coaches executives and their teams on how they can meet their financial goals, advance their careers and live fulfilling lives.  For more information, visit her website and

How Emotionally Intelligent are you?

women smilingI had lunch with my assistant before I left my corporate world.  She is fabulous and the best I ever had, I love her.  She smilingly asked me if I remember what I said to her when she told me a couple of months ago that she needed surgery.  I honestly did not remember what I said to her.  She helped me recall that the first thing I said was to request for the calendar.  We looked at how many days she was going to take off, when that would be and how the work can be handled while she was gone.  That was my first impulse, first thing I said!.  Of course, I cared about her, but I was more focused on the task.  To this day, I am so embarrassed about my behavior, I commit to be more sensitive to others in my relationships, but that time, I did not know how.  In hindsight, I knew that at that moment, I lacked empathy and was totally unaware.

Dr. Relly Nadler and I had a wonderful time facilitating our workshop: Leading with Emotional Intelligence for the HR Professional at the San Francisco office of SHRM (Society of Human Resources Management).   As a recovered task focused, hard charging HR refugee, I had fun teaching the concepts of Emotional Intelligence with our participants.  Here are some take-aways from the workshop:

1. One aspect of Emotional Intelligence is about being aware of your thoughts and feelings in the moment.  When you are in the midst of a debate or argument, or under a tight deadline, what do you do?  You may opt to continue to work just to get the task done.  The emotionally intelligent person will know when to take a high quality break.  Yes, the quality of the break matters. How can you best relieve your body and mind of stress that could drop your decision-making ability and IQ points?  Take a brief walk around the block, journal your thoughts and feelings or talk to a trusted friend for at least 20 minutes, then go back to the task at hand.  Sitting in the couch watching TV or reaching for that candy bar will not improve your EQ and will make you sluggish when you get back to work, dropping IQ points.

2. Honestly think about your relationship with your boss.  A Hay study found out that 50% of life satisfaction comes from your relationship with your boss and 75% of employees say that dealing with their boss is the most stressful part of their day.  If you do not have a good relationship  with your boss or if you are in denial about how bad your relationship is with your boss, you may be losing IQ and EQ points that affect your work or may be getting sick without you knowing it.  Find out what you can do to improve this relationship, if all else fails, find another job.

3. The good news about Emotional Intelligence is that it can be learned and improved, unlike IQ which is set.  It is never too late to improve your relationships at work and at home.  The first place to start is not to focus on other people’s short comings, but with yourself. Participants in the workshop took the Nadler EI self assessment and were paired with peer coaches to focus on at least two strengths to leverage and potential derailers.  The participants created an action plan to develop their EQ.

Emotions are like the flu, they are contagious.  Just watch your boss’ emotions and it travels like wildfire.  Leaders underestimate the impact they have on people. It is not just their decision-making and analytical ability that impacts the team, it is also their emotions. As a leader, how much emotional self-control, self-awareness and relationship investment capital do you have with your co-workers and team members?    How do you increase this to be at the top of your game?

Liza Sichon is an Executive Coach, Speaker and HR Consultant located in Silicon Valley.  Visit her website at






5 Interview Questions for Global Assignments

jon interview1How do you select the right leaders for global roles?  Local success does not necessarily guarantee global success. What are the red flags that could potentially lead to a global misfit?  Selecting talent who will eventually succeed in global roles is a major responsibility and can be daunting for the inexperienced global talent manager.

Here are 5 sample interview questions that could give you a broad and deep perspective of your global candidate, regardless of host country.

1. What was your most difficult or complicated problem or situation that you have handled? How did you handle it and what was the result?  This question can reveal insights to a person’s ability to handle ambiguity, complexity, surprises and differences. Effective leaders are not threatened or paralyzed by new or complex situations.  In fact, they are energized and challenged when the unexpected occurs.


2. How do you select members of your team? What do you look for and how what do you avoid?  This question leads to the leader’s ability to promote the success of their team, both with each other and with their local and cross cultural team members. Look for exceptional listening skills and openness to ideas other than their own.


3. Tell me about an incident where you had to adjust a global policy to an organizational procedure that was in conflict with local practices.   How did you handle it?  This refers to a leader’s ability to understand perspectives other than one’s own or integrate multiple viewpoints to creatively arrive at a win win solution.


4. How do you reward the members of your team?   Probe for customization vs one size fits all rewards and recognition.  A successful global leader seeks multiple points of views, anticipates differences and act in consideration to others needs.


5. How have you prepared your successor?  Successful global leaders are personally engaged in developing their people through multiple approaches.


Interested in learning more about how to successfully select, plan for and develop global talent?  Join us at the 20th Annual Leadership Development Conference of the Conference Board on June 3-5 in San Diego, CA.  For the Agenda, see Global Leaders . To register, visit the sign up page.

Assessing, Developing and Retaining Effective Global Leaders presentation to The Conference Board

May 30, 2014 San Diego, California. Executive HR Coach, LLC, is pleased to announce Managing Director, Liza Sichon will be presenting Assessing, Developing and Retaining Effective Global Leaders at the Conference Board’s Leadership Development Conference in San Diego on June 3, 2014. The presentation will benefit those who need to develop succession plans at their corporations. After attending Liza Sichon’s presentation, attendees will know:

  • How to identify, assess and develop your talent pipeline.
  • How to implement a succession plan that aligns with your organization’s growth strategy.
  • How other companies have wrestled with and implemented succession plans.

The Conference Board works within and across three main subject areas – Corporate Leadership; Economy & Business Environment; and Human Capital – to create a unique, enterprise-wide perspective that helps business leaders respond today, anticipate tomorrow, and make the right strategic decisions every day.

The Conference Board provides:

  • Objective, world-renowned economic data and analyses that help business and policy leaders make sense of their operating environments.
  • In-depth research and best practices concerning management, leadership, and corporate citizenship.
  • Public and private forums in which executives learn with and from their peers.
Liza Sichon to speak on developing effective global leaders

Liza Sichon to speak on assessing, developing and retaining effective global leaders June 3

The Conference Board’s Leadership Development Conference is occurring June 3-5, 2014 at the Coronado Island Marriott, San Diego. Interested parties can call (212) 339-0345 or visit Conference Board.

Liza Sichon is the Managing Director of Executive HR Coach, LLC, a Silicon-valley based human resource and career consultancy will speak on retaining effective global leaders. Liza is an experienced executive coach, notable speaker, and global HR consultant with over twenty years of corporate experience working for large, multi-national firms. Originally from the Philippines, and now based in Silicon Valley, California, Liza held global HR positions across the Americas, EMEA, Asia Pacific and Latin America.

Most recently, Liza served as the Vice President HR Transformation, Communications and Operations for Hewlett Packard’s global HR function, serving 2,400 HR professionals. Prior to this, Liza worked for Avaya as the Vice President HR International & Mergers and Acquisitions for various profit centers in Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America. In this role, she was responsible for HR strategy and global operations for over 30 countries outside the US. Liza also held HR leadership roles at Corning Life Sciences in New Jersey, Citibank in New York, and Anscor Corporation in the Philippines.

Liza is known for her broad business orientation and deep working knowledge of global leadership. She has extensive coaching experience and is an expert on talent management and career navigation. Additionally, her career included extensive speaking engagements to diverse global audiences as well as notable universities such as the Harvard MBA Women’s Conference. She is a sought after motivational speaker sharing her insights in the areas of career success for women, the benefits of executive coaching, HR transformation, and developing global talent. Executive HR Coach can be reached at (408) 217-9074 and

Where is your organization in the global maturity curve?

global assignment– Your company has just expanded globally

– You want to apply for a global role but you do not have the experience

– You have just been selected for a global assignment, but are unsure about your own capabilities

You may be experiencing these or similar apprehensions about being a global leader, but you do not need to be concerned.  Join a select group of leaders at the 20th Annual Leadership Development Conference of the Conference Board on June 3-5 in San Diego, CA 

The Succession Management Pre Conference will help you:

  • Learn a global assessment tool to identify and develop high potential talent
  • Understand where your company is on the global organizational maturity curve
  • Identify tools and techniques to build your succession plans

For the Agenda, see Global Leaders . To register, visit the sign up page.

We look forward to seeing you.


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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%