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My Clients Say...

  • Lifelong Lessons

    What I have learned with Sherri is not a short-term fix for a current set of issues. My learning has been deep and will last a lifetime. I really looked forward to meeting with Sherri – it was fun, interesting, and expansive.
    - Andrew Hamel, Vice President, Amazon

  • Transformational

    Sherri gave me feedback that was right on target as I was transitioning from individual contributor to leading a team.  Sherri is genuinely interested in doing what is best for her clients.  Her coaching was extremely valuable and in some cases transformational!
    - Peter Rizk, Senior Director, Technical Marketing & Solutions Architecture, Infoblox

  • Consistently Rated 'Outstanding'

    As good as she is at design, she is even better at presenting. Employees consistently rate her courses as outstanding.  I would not put together a training portfolio without one or two offerings from Sherri.
    - Terry Dyckman, Former Vice President Human Resources, Blue Coat Systems

  • Expert in Her Field

    Sherri is an expert in the field. Her deep content knowledge, direct communication, and strong ability to synthesize contribute to her success as a trainer and a coach.
    - Chantal Laurie-Below, Executive Coach, Teach For America

  • Unique Talent

    Sherri’s team building sessions and decision-making workshops at my previous company helped me form a strong team under the most challenging conditions. Sherri has a unique talent for capturing the essence of a group's dynamics and coming up with solutions to resolve issues.
    - Erik Möllerstedt, Technical Program Manager, Waymo

  • Relevant, Credible and Highly Engaging

    Sherri is an exceptional curriculum designer because she takes the time to understand the specific requirements of the project and then applies her real world experiences to ensure that the course is relevant, credible and highly engaging.
    - Terry Dyckman, Former Vice President Human Resources, Blue Coat Systems

  • Extremely Valuable Coach

    In addition to being a bright spot in my day, Sherri has been extremely valuable to me as a management coach.  She is exceptionally good at finding simple, straightforward actions I can take to make quick improvements in several areas.
    - Russ Reynolds, Senior Director, Firmware, Micron Technology

  • A Trusted Partner

    I am fortunate to have had the benefit of Sherri as a coach. She is a trusted partner who will not shy away from delivering a difficult message that will result in positive change. And she frames issues in a manner that is both personal and useful. Work with her, if you can.
    - Bennett Yang, Senior Staffing Manager, A9.com

Sherri's Blog

Better Listening Through Empathy

Written by Sherri Rose
06 May 2014
When I teach listening skills, I emphasize the importance of empathy to effective listening.  I define empathy as relating and connecting to the experiences, thoughts, and feelings of others.

Invariably, one brave soul in the class raises his hand and says:  I accept what you’re saying. I know it’s important, but I just can’t do it.

In the past, my response, which admittedly showed little empathy, was to challenge the person to just try harder or fake it till they make it.  Part of me didn’t believe the individual couldn’t feel empathy. Over the years I’ve come to realize that this is hard for many people, and the last time someone brought it up, I responded this way.

“You’re not alone.  Many people struggle with this. Here are some things that might help.  

First, consider a situation where a friend is angry about something.  While you may not have had his exact experience, you’ve been angry before in other situations.  So your empathy can come from your experience with this emotion, not necessarily from his specific situation.  

Also get curious!  Ask the individual to tell you more about what happened.  Taking the time to understand allows you, first and foremost, to connect with this person. The additional pieces of information may also spark something from your own experience.”

Really effective listeners do these things to help them to empathize – to fully “get” what the other person is trying to say.   It’s something that, if we want to, we can all try – even if it doesn’t come naturally.
 

"Just Do It" won't always do it!

Written by Sherri Rose
31 Mar 2014

I was talking to a manager recently about his style of leadership – someone had given him feedback that he wasn’t decisive enough.  He had translated this as “Stop engaging in dialogue and asking questions. Just tell your employees what you want them to do! That’s what it means to be a strong manager.”

I said that while there is a time and place for “just do it,” it isn’t a style that worked in most situations.

It reminded me of a classic leadership study done by Robert Tannenbaum and Warren Schmidt on decision-making.   They concluded: Successful managers...can be primarily characterized neither as “strong” leaders nor as “permissive” ones. Rather, they are people who maintain a high batting average in accurately assessing the forces that determine what their most appropriate behavior at any given time should be and in actually being able to behave accordingly.  They described these leaders as flexible and insightful.

In addition, an important factor in determining a manager’s decisiveness is how clear they are about the process they use to make a decision.  It’s not how quickly they make it nor, I would add, how loudly and forcefully they say it.

Therefore, when appropriate, there is plenty of room for dialogue and questions.  Couple this with clear communication about how decisions are being made and you've got the kind of strength every organization can use!

 

When Change is Coming

Written by Sherri Rose
05 Mar 2014

A friend recently shared these emails with me.  Two people on his team sent them at around the same time about the same topic.

This one came out first and produced a lot of anger and disgruntled comments.

Hello!

The Mt. Fuji conference room has been reassigned as storage.  You can no longer schedule meetings there.  Change any meetings you’ve already booked in that room.

Thank you, Ms. X

This came out second and calmed things down.

Hi all,

As we’ve grown, we’ve acquired a lot of material – created by us and purchased from others.  To keep it from overflowing into our workspace we need to use the Mt. Fuji conference room for storage.

Fortunately, we still have 5 conference rooms, so we won’t be short of meeting/collaboration space.  Within the next month, we’ll set up one of the smaller conference rooms for video conferencing since we lose this functionality by converting Mt. Fuji.

I’m sorry for the inconvenience.  I hope you’ll let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Kind regards, Mr. Y

I was struck by how Ms. X missed the mark and how skillfully Mr. Y included the key elements of change management:

  • Explain the context (“the why”)
  • Focus on what will stay the same
  • Acknowledge the inconvenience
  • Include a plan for alleviating the inconvenience
  • Encourage dialogue

While conference rooms are a minor matter in the grand scheme of things, they’re essential to the daily lives of folks on this small team.  Losing one is a change for them.

And change isn’t easy!  In the past 20 years of working with organizations, I’ve seen too many managers forget this.  So the next time you’re making a change, remember these simple change management steps – they’ll help you avoid unnecessary drama.

 

 

 

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