I Hear You

I Hear You

As a leader who follows radical transparency in my daily interactions, I have been asked “why is this different today than it was last week”. The simple answer is that the world is complex and situations change. Adding context to information is key to understanding how it evolves from one day to the next. I believe that sharing your vision of the destination is equally essential to contextualizing information. We may be here today, and we are headed in this direction. There is an element of hope for the future. Let’s head in this hopeful direction, because together we can achieve a brighter future. Further, identifying your destination and an exemplar story of why this future is essential is “full-transparency”. Focus your messaging on these areas:

  • This is where we are today.
  • This is our destination (future).
  • Here is the destination story.

Then invite participation in a future that makes sense to your organization or team. Sustainability of the work to achieve your destination happens when the future bright, and universally adopted. Ask your team for buy-in.

  • Who is on board with achieving this destination?
    • Then do it!
  • How can you and your team help us move toward this brighter future?

Believing that we can be better and more when we collaborate and achieve a future is essential. Being clear about where you are, the work that needs to be done to achieve a brighter future, and how that future can look, are the basic elements to communicating reality and hope during changing times.

I have seen and heard messages that are dreadfully negative, which is not helpful for group morale. I have seen and heard messages that are so positive that it is clear that they are not based in reality, which results in lost credibility. And, changing messages from leaders are confusing, especially when context is not a part of the message. Saying things like “we will never…” or “we will always…” results in the possible need to change in the community, demands of the public/legislature, or devastation of resources. These are areas where leaders have limited control. When a promise is made and not kept credibility and trust are lost.

Focusing on your actions is even more essential that what you say. Once you have a destination and implement strategy to achieve that future. The future does not happen organically. It happens because we support the work and individuals going toward the brighter future and we do not support actions that jeopardize the prosperous future. It takes courage to identify and strive toward a future, wandering off on a side path is distracting and results in messaging that is confusing. Your actions are a message, in fact, what you do is a better indicator of how serious you are about leading to a brighter destination. This is not easy or comfortable – it is essential.

Therefore, I propose a more complete message with facts, context, destination, and requesting support from those that share your journey. Most importantly, I propose that your actions are your strategy and your actions stifle all verbal or written messages. Own the destination and make it happen!


Great read and reference:





Long Overdue Reflection

As I sat on the beach in front of the Del watching “Some Like it Hot”, I realized that this was an iconic moment. Marilyn Monroe on the really big screen, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon early in their careers. All black and white production, sand under my feet, the smell of popcorn and warm beach fires, a bigger than life memory. There were kids running around on the beach, food and drinks served, the serious film festival participants mingled with the locals and visitors on the beach for a production that was filmed where we sat. Amazing.

Since that evening, I have thought back to the time when the movie debuted in 1959 and the norms and culture shifts. This movie demonstrates the changes is acceptable behavior. At the time the movie came out, the idea that men were dressing as woman was controversial and was not approved by the Motion Picture Production Code. However, the touching of women by men was accepted and part of the comedy in this movie. It wasn’t startling or unexpected, the way women were portrayed and treated, the treatment was normed. If you were in an all-female band during that time you expected to be treated in a certain way and hoped to “marry” out of the condition.

In the late 1950’s women were slowly making progress in the workplace and tolerated a lot to achieve a paycheck. I visited with a school administrator from the late 50’s and 60’s and was told of stories where women were, by policy, paid less than men. Disparities and cultural norms impacting women that were accepted in the 50’s and still remain today include difference in pay, sexually inappropriate behavior, and dress expectations. Unbelievable, how many of these cultural norms are completely or partially adopted today, sixty years later.

As I reflected on cultural norms and shifts, I realized we are in the middle of a cultural reckoning. Each morning I listen as a new sexual inappropriate behavior news story is revealed. Men who have exploited their power to manipulate and misbehave with nonconsenting others (12/2/2017). The nonconsenting individual losing their career or impacted personally by a situation where their body was to be controlled by someone else. This is a norm that has been acceptable in our society. Women are asked to “perform” or not advance. Not all women, but many women have been placed in power exploitive situations. I am deeply sorry about every career that has been disrupted or annihilated because she was put in a situation that was not appropriate.

I ask myself, how many men and women who witnessed these behaviors felt disempowered to speak up and stop the victimization? Was the intimidation so strong that turning a blind-eye or seeking other employment was perceived as the only approach to avoid becoming the next victim? There is no rationale that is acceptable when victimization is part of a culture. However, sometimes those that are not directly impacted, may not see the behavior as “that big of a deal”. I am always cautious about this approach as I know that every experience is discrete. Just because I wasn’t victimized in this culture or situation, doesn’t mean someone else wasn’t treated poorly. I try to not question the feelings or experiences of others.

There are a lot of changes that need to happen. Where do we start? Treat people respectfully. Treat people like they are smart, contributing colleagues. Ask questions. Make it safe to ask questions. Support your coworkers and those you supervise to have candid discussions. It really isn’t that hard. However, it may be different. Perhaps a cultural reckoning is long overdue.

A Sparkly Wish To You!

Ron and Jeanine’s holiday review

We have enjoyed a full year in Rochester with a little travel and lots of family celebrations. Early in 2017 we vacationed in Hilton Head and had a relaxing week of bicycling and enjoying the moderate weather. Jeanine worked on her Charleston moves for Dancing for the Arts in Rochester and had a blast on stage in April. Ron has been retired for a full year now and has settled into a routine. We celebrated two weddings late this summer, Josh & Joshua in August (Jeanine’s nephew) and Annika and Jeff in September (Ron’s niece).

Highlights From Ron

¨     Enjoying retirement

¨     Volunteers at many community organizations

¨     Great conversationalist and date for events with Jeanine

¨     Expert crock pot cook

Highlights From Jeanine

I love having Ron in Rochester full time! We have been traveling and enjoying our time together. Work continues to be outstanding. A few highlights:

¨ Danced my feet off in Dancing for the Arts—so fun!

¨ Moved some of the WSU Rochester operations downtown to Broadway.

¨ Completed the build-out and signs are up in Rochester!!!

¨ Supported great colleagues to improve enrollment in Rochester/Graduate School and marketing of programs and opportunities. https://www.winona.edu/rochester/

We are looking forward to celebrating the holiday’s in Paris, touring and taking in the culture. For our friends and family members we hope you have a holiday season filled with Hallmark holiday movie binges, cookies with too much frosting and sprinkles, loud songs celebrating life and the season, and spontaneous outdoor activities befitting a person half your age! Have a sparkly December and a warmer than average January – happy new year! Enjoy – Jeanine & Ron


Birthday Cards, Sympathy Cards, and Thank You Notes

Birthday cards, sympathy cards, and thank you notes

2F57F4C3-2F82-4F4A-A626-2D67576332A5It has been that kind of week. It started out with writing a birthday card to my grandmother as she turns 99 on the 11th. She is a great inspiration and provides a living example of what it looks like to persevere through several world, country, local and personal changes. She has seen a lot. I am blessed to have her still sharing her experiences and life with me.

Halloween brought treats and loss. I lost my paternal aunt who had survived cancer for several years. Finally her body needed to rest and our family lost a great lady. She did family gatherings for our huge crew (my father had 14 siblings) and kept the activity going into the evening with fireworks. Alice knew how to feed and entertain!

Later that day my father’s brother in law died. He was out in the field tending the horses. Treats in his pocket and enjoying the life he had made for himself. He was full of ideas and recommendations and always up for a robust discussion. My uncle Glen filled a room.

This morning I decided the best way to begin my Saturday was to write thank you notes. I love this part of my day and week. I am thankful for my work, my colleagues, my friends, my family and my ROCK’N (tolerant) husband.

I was pleasantly surprised this week by two woman leaders who reached out to connect. One stopped by to say “I have been admiring you from afar and I cannot let another day go by without telling you how much I appreciate you”. Stunned, I failed to mention, the feeling was mutual – thank you MR. On Friday I met with a local leader who shared some of her history and impact on the community. I was so honored to be asked to have coffee with her and absolutely thrilled to support her work with More Women on the Move. What an inspiration.

Today I choose to be thankful. I have people in my life that are not joyful and I have learned that I cannot influence their perceptions, however, I can choose to be thankful and bring joy to my interactions. Count your blessings and thank the people who bring you joy and inspiration. Choose to be thankful.


The Day That Everything Changed

The Day That Everything Changed: Perfecting Of Skills Prior To Practicing On People

Discover Center for Simulated Learning (3)

I remember the day vividly, I was at the National Council for State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) convention as a delegate for the Minnesota Board of Nursing. The results of the national simulation survey were announced. I just sat there, stunned. The person next to me asked “what did you expect”? I remember thinking, I don’t know, but not these results. I remained siting during the questions period, few questions were asked, and we were speechless. I continued to sit. The hall emptied.

I am rarely speechless.

After a few minutes I looked around and realized the room had emptied. The presenters provided us with the supplemental journal. Not everyone was interested and left their copies behind. I collected the copies of the journals for my faculty, their world would change too. Plus, I am a notoriously resourceful leader when it comes to gifts (HA)!

I was shocked because “this study provides strong evidence supporting the use of simulation as a substitute for up to 50% of traditional clinical time and makes a substantial contribution to the literature in both nursing regulation and education” (Smiley, Alexander, Kardong-Edgren, & Jeffries, 2014, p. S36). The research design was tight with a control group, one group substituted 25% of clinical hours with simulation, and one group substituted 50% of clinical hours with simulation. Ten programs participated from across the United States with over 650 students. The groups were evaluated and compared during the educational program, at the end of the program, and six months into practice for knowledge, clinical competency, critical thinking and readiness for practice. There was no statistical difference between the groups. These results changed everything. There was great relevancy for nursing education and education in general. When done right, simulating work in a lab setting with evaluation, prepares students at the same level of competency as clinical or work setting experiences. Imagine a workforce ready graduate performing in their position when they graduate. Imagine expanding admissions because suddenly the clinical placement can be replaced by up to 50% by simulation. The way we serve students and the community has just expanded, significantly.

When I came to Rochester over two years ago and began the evaluation process of need for programming and facilities it became obvious that WSU was strong in the community and a commitment of new program relevant facilities was urgent. One area of strength and potential growth was graduate education programming. The results of the study are relevant to graduate programming and educational curricula that expect students to interact with people in their post-graduation careers.

I remember beginning a process of visiting with faculty, community members, and architects to determine next, best steps for developing a multi-discipline simulation center in Rochester. We collaborated, explored available options in the region, and found that the center was a resource that the community needed. The dream for a facility that will help WSU students serve the Rochester community for the next 100 years has launched. We believe in service. We believe in quality education. We believe that people deserve the very best care. Indeed, perfecting skills prior to working with people is key to education to work transition success.


The world of education has changed, it is time for us to address the change here.


Smiley, R. A., Alexander, M., Kardong-Edgren, S., & Jeffries, P. R. (2014). The NCSBN National Simulation Study: A Longitudinal, Randomized, Controlled Study Replacing Clinical Hours with Simulation in Prelicensure Nursing Education. Journal of Nursing Regulation 5(2), pp. S3-S66. Found at https://www.ncsbn.org/JNR_Simulation_Supplement.pdf

Unique Blessings: A Tribute to Grandmothers

Unique Blessings


Touching the image of the two of us, my grandmother put her finger on the image of my face and said “I remember being that young”. I looked at her and the nostalgia was palpable in the room. Clearly, she longed for the days of being younger – it was a time of self-determination for her, when her energy was high and her daily activities were based on her agenda.

I enjoy spending the afternoon visiting with my 98 year old (soon to be 99) maternal grandmother, talking about her health, her days on the farm, and looking at pictures. Beyond her amazing longevity genes, she still walks and engages with those who visit. As I listened to her stories and her snippets of wisdom, I recognize how fortunate and blessed I am to be granted time with this special lady. When I talk about my grandmother to those who don’t know her, people ask if she cooked or baked or did the stereotypical grandmother tasks. The answer, “no way” – she set her own path, she grew stuff. Her garden boasted some of the most impressive sunflowers and squash that I have seen in my entire life, her indoor plants are cared for with a bit of water, sunshine and serious conversation each day. She seemed serious when I was young and now more wistful. I recall collections of dishes and plants in her cozy farm home. She came from a generation that life was more fragile and taken quickly. Treasuring what you earned and what you could grow, fit with her time and her generation. She transitioned through her extensive life by growing something wonderful each year. My grandmother is unique.

My departed paternal grandmother was, on the other hand, a great cook and baker. She fed a crew of fifteen children plus cousins, spouses, grandchildren every day. She managed a busy household. The energy was high in her home. Shifts of family members milking cows, putting in or harvesting crops, managing the complex business of farming was the lived experience of everyone who engaged in this home. I recall tying quilts with my mother, sister, aunts and grandmother to maintain the needs of the family. Later, she would sew dolls and crafts. She was that grandmother, and unique for me.

Over the years I realized that grandmothers bring different gifts and skills and teach through example. My life is richer because of these experiences, and lessons. The lives of my grandmothers were different, during a similar time in history. They learned and became who they are/were based on necessity and cultivated interests. I feel blessed to have had time to visit and get to know them as individuals. My life is better because I had two distinctively unique grandmothers. Lucky me.

Remember to celebrate the unique contributions brought to us by individuals who enrich our lives.

“Go ahead and share it”

“Go ahead and share it”

A couple weeks ago I toured a brick plant to learn how bricks were made, the process for improvement, and a bit more about the industry. I was overwhelmed by the warm reception, not only the radiant heat of the kiln, but also the open nature of those working at the company. Within ten minutes of my visit the plant manager presented to me the variety of products and unique bricks that they produced. The distinctive bricks made for a special project were different than anything I had seen, I asked if I could take a picture. I understand that in some industries the product is proprietary. He responded “go ahead, we share all the time, our work is unique to the clay and building architect”.

Really, they were just willing to share?

After the visit I realized that this confidence comes with over 40 years of expertise in a field and knowing the value of giving it away. These leaders didn’t drop into brick making yesterday, they had been doing it for years, and they knew that their experience impacted their product and their worth. The confidence from everyone I met on that day, radiated with the heat of the kiln, and helped me believe in their product and process.

As I reflected on my work and my belief that transparency is key to building a strong team and organization, it became evident that confidence in my team is reflected through my willingness to share. When I begin a process, I try to outline who will be consulted, what groups and then ask for help to widen the circle. It takes time to be this transparent. I have found that when I take the time to open myself and the process to full engagement, the outcome is better. It is better vetted and more likely to be adopted. This is not a fast process, it is painstakingly slow, frustrating as hell, and ….. honestly, better. To ensure that I stay true to my core value of transparency, I just added a PS to my email messages (see below), and I LOVE the feedback.

Keep me on task friends. Be confident enough to risk transparency.

Grateful for each of you,


PS: Please forward this email to those I may have inadvertently missed. Anyone who needs this information is welcome to being in the loop. Let me know who I missed so I can add them to future correspondence. Radical transparency is a fundamental practice I choose to follow.