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,

Sherri's Blog

Goal Posts

Written by Sherri Rose
13 Oct 2010
In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m not a sports fan.  My attempts over the years to “talk sports” have always ended in failure.  My most embarrassing moment came when I called the San Francisco football team the Giants.  I knew that my new hometown had a team called the Giants, and my East Coat upbringing connected that name with football.  Lame, but true.

But this entry is about the one thing I do know about sports – there are often goal posts.  And managers would be well served to keep this image in mind when communicating.

Why is it helpful?

If you think about a conversation you’re about to have, especially a difficult one, it’s important to know what you want and what you do not want.  These are your goal posts.  They help you guide your conversation to its target result.

Here’s an example one of my Associates shared with me.  

A Director went into his VP to tell her that the other directors at his level were getting paid more than he was.  The VP asked, “What do you want?” The Director replied, “Well, I just wanted you to be aware of this.”  The VP responded, “Okay, I am.”

You can imagine that the Director wanted a raise, confirmation of his worth, and/or an explanation of the disparity.  And what he didn’t want was to been seen as a stating the obvious or as a complainer.  But clearly his approach only got him this result.

If he’d taken the time to think about his “goal posts” before the conversation, it might have sounded like this.

“People talk in this organization.  I’ve heard that my peers are getting paid more than I am.  If this is true, I’d like to understand why.  Money matters to me, I won’t lie, but figuring out what I need to do to improve matters just as much.  Can we talk about this?"

Focusing on what you want and don’t want gets out valuable information, doesn’t waste time, and doesn’t squander good will.  Keeping your goal posts in sight can help you – like all great athletes – be a winner.

Blaming the Boss

Written by Sherri Rose
27 Sep 2010
When I was at Apple, an Operations VP asked for my help in building his team.  The process involved interviewing his direct reports to get their opinion of his leadership.  While he certainly did some things well, for the most part they didn’t like how he was managing them or leading the team.  As a relatively new consultant, I was hooked.  Clearly this guy needed to be fixed!  And I was just the person to do it.  

As I was thinking about the project, I shared my concern for the team members' plight with a more experienced colleague and asked for her ideas on how to change the VP.  She looked at me, smiled slowly, and asked “So, Sherri, where is your empathy for him?”  I was surprised and humbled.  Clearly, I’d missed this step!

What continues to surprise me is how quickly and easily we jump to “blame the boss.”  Yes, it can be justified, but it rarely leads to change.  A more powerful tool for changing your manager’s behavior and building a stronger relationship is empathy.  What are the forces at play in her world?  What pressures is she under?  Is there a way to help her and yourself at the same time?   At least, this approach will make the boss more likely to listen to you; at most, you might find solutions to problems that are bothering both of you.

The Key to Success

Written by Sherri Rose
13 Sep 2010

On a plane ride to the East Coast, I was seated next to an engineering manager from a well-known high tech company. We started talking about what I do, and he asked me the question I dread most: What is the key to being a successful manager?

I dread this question for obvious reasons (how do I distill all I’ve learned and believe into one line?) and for marketing ones (he could be a potential client, and I wasn’t sure I could answer him).  So I thought for a moment, and it came to me:

"Be explicit and be flexible.”

This one line summarizes the heart of good management.

“Be explicit” captures the power of being clear about what you want and don’t want and being specific about what you see.  Direct reports need to know what is expected and how they are doing.

At the same time, managers need to be flexible. Start with a point of view, but be open to others.  Have a perspective on a person, but pay attention to what’s really going on and be ready to flex.  Use models and techniques that encourage openness to the individual and the situation not a rigid “one size fits all.”

Of course, this one piece of advice led us to a longer, richer conversation about management. And this kind of conversation is the real key to success!


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