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April 11, 2008

Staff Therapy/HR Intervention: Saving your business from its leadership.

Staff therapy, courtesy Alisa Yablonski.

(Back when I had a staff, struggled with HR)

The other day, we (including yours truly) had had just about enough of my temper tantrums, stress, sensitivity and negativity.

Even Redford, my golden dappled mutt pooch, was like, “I know I’m not supposed make so much noise with my bone, but you don’t have to get so mad about it.” Apparently, putting out an 116-page ecopaper magazine with a ton of ads and editorial but no magazine-experienced staff was stressing me out, and I was stressing everyone else out.

So I called in the big guns: Al Baldocchi (a mover/shaker behind Noodles and Chipotle success) and Dave Rogers (Onion & Crowdfunder.com) from elephant’s advisory board, and Mathew Gerson and Pippa Sorley of econsciousmarket.com…and our buddy Alisa Yablonski, a professional business consultant.

We met at our downtown green office, a little Victorian, all huddled into my office.

Alisa moderated and led the meeting (“Alisa designs, plans and facilitates Strategic Meetings using the “Meeting Architecture” framework to help organizations think creatively, collaborate efficiently and communicate effectively to build a sustainable future.”)

As Heather Mueller, our amazing editor put it in a thank-you email to Alisa after the meeting: “… a quick thanks for taking the time out of your schedule to facilitate our elephant meeting yesterday. Everything seems to be back on track and moving along, though I’m sure we’ll have lots to talk about in the months ahead! It’s easy to get caught up in the little world we have going here—we’re all so focused on our mission and the word we have to do—so it was helpful to have an outside perspective, especially from someone experienced in dealing with business communication. We hope to see you again soon, perhaps at a future elevision!”

Now, I’m not one for therapy, for talking about emotions…but when Alisa pulled out a drawing of a tree showing that actions and accomplishments (leaves) came out of thoughts (trunk) came out of mission and beliefs (roots) I understood the importance of digging deep, together. So 16 of us elephants—Samara, our longtime steady-as-a-rock accountant; Ty Hammes, our eco soap entrepreneur/Brazil/musician webby; Erin Needham, our director of elevision, our weekly talk show; Heather Mueller, our brilliant editor; Abbey Smith, our climbing star/longtime sweet loyal yet just-departing ad sales manager and ecofashion curator; Caroline Treadway, our climber/ad sales/photographer with heart of gold heart-of-gold and others—crammed together in my office (our shared meeting room was…grrrr…booked) and Alisa led us through a refreshingly non-cheesy, direct and obstacle-clearing process that has (miracles happen) resulted in us all getting along, remembering our mission, coming together and even liking our boss for 24 hours straight. And that includes yours true.

Experiencing difficulty leading your team to victory, or working within one with empowerment, initiative and satisfaction? Contact Alisa or find a kindly expert in your area.

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