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Awesome Journey


Building a Leadership Culture to Scale Your Business



Ed Catmull the Co-founder of Pixar said this about Scaling a Business:

“Transforming any group’s performance is hard and certainly takes longer than we expect. The most difficult step is the first – transforming ourselves. Scaling Leadership is about transforming ourselves with a conscious desire to transform our organizations”.

Question to ask yourself: What is the impact of investing in the design and development of a Leadership Culture, on the long-term growth and scalability of your business?

To notice the impact of investing in a Leadership Culture let us take a moment to define these two areas of focus:

  1. Culture
  2. Leadership

At Awesome Journey we see culture as a Network of Conversations that a group of individuals are engaged in, built on a foundation of core values that influence those same individuals, to behave in ways that drive action to a set of clear outcomes.

A healthy culture is characterized by Intentional Conversations across all levels of an organization that builds trust. The foundation of the culture is built on a set of core values, and the company’s mission statement, that influences professionals throughout an organization to behave in ways that drives action to a set of clear outcomes.


An unhealthy or low performing culture is characterized by Background Conversations that erode trust, communication, and emotional safety within an organization. This can lead to disengagement throughout the organization, resulting in deadlines being missed along with poor execution of projects.


“Leadership is anyone who can choose in the moment to be in action or coordinate action with others to make a difference to support a future possibility.”

Therefore, organizations that are serious about designing and building a Leadership Culture are committed to fostering a series of conversations, that influences their people to generate action to support the organization’s desired outcomes.

At Awesome Journey, we see that the fundamental components of a Leadership Culture, begins with everyone in an organization being accountable to Leading Self which means that they have awareness of their relationship to Action. When everyone in the organization is aware of their relationship to Action, they are also aware when they are Stuck – no Action or when they are Reacting, therefore action will be slow. Leaders that are self aware of their relationship to Action, will know how to coordinate Action with others as a way to accelerate Action.

These five components allow a leader at any level or position in your organization to co-create with others.

Click to Enlarge


Interview with Cory and Nicole, Co-CEO’s of AltaML

Why did you see the need to invest in Leadership Coaching (one-on-one and group coaching) for your Senior Leaders?

We saw a couple of reasons to invest in Leadership Coaching. First, we wanted to create a culture of accountability across the company. We identified this as a gap early on and felt it was important to address how our leaders show up for the organization.

Future – What results/impact are you seeing from building a Leadership Culture in your organization?

One of the first results we saw was the creation of a common language across the Leadership Team. This has supported our ability to coordinate action across the organization. We have also seen an increase in tough conversations with one another. We are now addressing and resolving issues in generative ways, focusing on the matter at hand, and getting to a shared commitment.

  1. The Ladder of Inference: everyone now has the tools and context to determine if they have gone up the “Ladder of Inference” vs. “Focusing on What’s so” (the data we have to support what action we need to take). We can more readily challenge each other.
  2. Being Complete: when a team member says they are incomplete with a conversation or a team member, everyone is on board to resolve it.
  3. Breakdown to Breakthrough: now when a breakdown occurs (a mistake/failure/disappointment) team members are taking responsibility and asking better questions – What so, what is missing and what is next.
  4. Accountability: we have improved our commitments to each other and everyone on the team feels confident holding their colleagues accountable. When team members are not honouring their word, they are having a conversation to address the issue and the impact.

Witnessing the growth of our team and seeing their capacity to lead both themselves and others has been remarkable.

How do you see a leadership culture impacting your Strategic Growth Plan of your organization and the Vision?

The increased level of participation and communication taking place has increased accountability, clarity and alignment of our strategic plan. As a result, we are seeing more enrollment into our vision.

As it relates to organizational agility, what are you noticing differently about your leaders now that they are engaged in leadership coaching?

The team is more aware of their individual blind spots and has a willingness and commitment to work on them. This has resulted in a noticeable shift in both workability and performance throughout the organization.

What are you noticing about your leader’s ability to be with change to support the future growth of AltaML?

The relationship to change has shifted. Individuals are asking more questions, are receptive to both giving and receiving feedback, along with asking for and being open to support. Those in the one-on-one coaching curriculum are moving even faster.

What is one experience you have gained personally from the coaching to support the organization’s success to date?

I have been able to shift how I respond to challenges and generate results through increased communication. I find that I’m dealing with issues as they arise, taking ownership and holding my team accountable to their commitments.

Any final thoughts about the importance of building a leadership culture?

Every organization is out to attract and onboard great people. That is a given. We believe the right leadership development supports team cohesion and is fundamental to building a strong culture.

The coaching program has given us the confidence that we can scale our business because we have given our team the tools, they need to achieve our strategic plan.


Notice where people are being “Self-Leaders” by their contributions that they are making to the success & growth of the organization in the following areas:

  1. Team Excellence
  2. Future Excellence
  3. Operational Excellence
  4. Financial Excellence
  5. Service Excellence


  • The Challenge of Leadership by Jeffrey D. Ford Ph.D. and Laurie W. Ford Ph.D.
  • Organizational Change As Shifting Conversations by Jeffrey D. Ford Ph.D. and Laurie W. Ford Ph.D.
  • A New Model of Leadership Performance in Health Care by Wiley Souba, MD, ScD, MBA
  • Integrity: Without It Nothing Works by Michael C. Jensen
  • Working Paper #1 – Leadership Intelligence – Awareness by Tony Zampella
  • Working Paper #2 – Leadership Intelligence – Trust by Tony Zampella
  • Working Paper #3 – Stuck to Action by Tony Zampella

Slowing Down to Acknowledge Small Wins!


The key to success is realizing that our big goals are not going to happen overnight, in the next week or maybe even the next year and that is okay. We tend to focus on the end goals, rather than the small and significant steps we take to get us to that goal.

This is why it is important to acknowledge and celebrate small wins.

Why it matters?

In the book, The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work, authors Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, discuss how even seemingly small steps forward on a project, can make huge differences in employees’ emotional and intellectual well-being.

Leadership Insights 

Acknowledging small wins over a long period of time, despite how these moments may seem insignificant to the larger goal and accepting that you only have the moment you are in, allows you to see it is the combination of moments over time that achieve big wins.

Take 15 minutes at the end of the week to identify 5 small wins, acknowledge the wins with others and notice the impact it has.

Awesome Read

Have an awesome month! 

Moving from Surviving to Thriving


The blunt reality is that even the most sought-after careers bring some stress and frustration, often daily. This may cause us to work in a “just get through today” or as we call it at Awesome Journey, a “survival mindset”. This can stop us from being the co-creators that we were meant to be.

Why it Matters?

As a leader, you are now the person that others come to when under stress and frustration. Many times, this comes in the form of a complaint which can negatively impact culture and potentially cause poor results.

Leadership Insights

We have a saying at Awesome Journey that we use with our clients: “Behind every complaint is a hidden request, can you hear it?”

When we are in a complaint, we often do not take the time to figure out what requests need to be made. It’s easier to just stay in the complaint, then to do the work to turn it around.


Next time one of your teammates comes to you with a complaint, empower them to see what request they need to make, to move out of a “survival mindset” and into a “thriving mindset”. (hint: most times it is creating a conversation that they should, but do not want to have!)

Awesome Read

The link below offers some action steps that can support you in turning a complaint into a request.

The Next Time You Want to Complain at Work, Do This Instead

Have an Awesome Month!

Overwhelm – How quickly can you see it in yourself?


Feeling overwhelmed is hardly unique to executives; yet leaders often deny, ignore, or push away the feelings. They accept it as part of their role or assume that they “should” be able to power through it.

Why it matters?

As a leader, you are the go-to person for others when the going gets tough. But what happens when the going gets tough for you, and it starts to affect how you lead?

Leadership Insights

BE MORE – Do Less!

Be more, self-aware as to the various ways, how overwhelm can manifest itself in your life like below examples:

  • Emotional volatility
  • Inability to concentrate or listen
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Feeling pervasive dread
  • Constantly irritated or annoyed
  • Numbness or withdrawal (from people or activities)
  • Physical aches and pains — headaches, back pain, digestive issues, fatigue and more

Challenge: Over the next couple of weeks, work on identifying Overwhelm in yourself. If you can “see it” then you can “take action”.

The link below offers some action steps that can support you in getting over overwhelm.

Awesome Resources:

Have an Awesome Month Leaders!

Declarations vs. Resolutions


It’s a popular tradition to set New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of the year. Since 2020 was a year unlike any other, do resolutions even deserve a place on your to-do list?

It is time to finally ditch resolutions for something more useful like making a “Declaration for Your Future!”

Why it matters?
Declarations are about taking a stand for the future you want to create. Resolutions focus on an action we want or need to take and thus fail most of the time.

Making a Declaration

  1. Take some time to determine what is important to you and what future you want to make possible. This will summarize what matters most to you. This may take several attempts but keep at it.
  2. Write them down so you can easily view them or even hang them in your office.
  3. Share your declaration for your future with the most important people in your life.
  4. Now commit to and live-in accordance to your Declaration and enjoy the impact and rewards of leading a life you deserve.

Examples of Declaration vs. Resolution:
Declaration – I will be a present, powerful leader for my Team.
Resolution – Have more quality Team Meetings in 2021.


Awesome Resources

Awesome Journey: 2021 Leadership Reading List


At Awesome Journey, we are passionate about learning to be great leaders both personally and professionally. One way we challenge ourselves to learn about leadership is by exposing ourselves to others who are passionate about leadership. Check out our 2021 Leadership Reading List recommendations hyperlinked for easy purchasing.

We would like to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and a New Year filled with happiness, prosperity, good health, and transformation!

Thank You,

The Awesome Journey Team

The Only Constant in Life is Change!


This could not be truer than in today’s VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex & Ambiguous) world. Work environments are a perfect example of recent and constant change. Now, most of the workforce is working remotely or a hybrid of remote and in-person, demanding flexible schedules and a shift in the traditional business environment.

With change comes uncertainty, and fear, influenced by the noise that is all around us. For example:

  1. The impact of the US Election
  2. COVID-19 cases on the rise
  3. Downsizing and layoffs happening
  4. Work schedules overlapping personal schedules
  5. Disrupted sleep due to the worry, stress and overwhelm

This fear and uncertainty results in background conversations. These conversations can show up as complaints, worry, resistance, vague speaking, or avoidance, as people try to figure things out alone. Background conversations are absent of action and can prohibit action from occurring in your organization.

Today’s leaders are coming to realize that; if they do not design a series of intentional conversations to support their staff with change, their people will continue to struggle to deal with change negatively impacting morale and productivity.

As leaders, are you present to the background conversations that are occurring in your organization? These background conversations damage trust, generative communication, accountability, and performance. These conversations distract action from occurring in your organization. We suggest the following steps to shift the conversations in your organization:

Step 1:

Listen for the background conversations that are occurring in your organization. Listen for complaints, worry, resistance, vague speaking, avoidance, and fear.

Step 2:

Deal with these background conversations! Acknowledge people’s concerns and create dialogue to deal with them, allowing negative emotions to be expressed in healthy ways and support generating action. Leverage your professional resources to support these conversations, i.e. your coach, HR Department, or Employee Assistance Programs.

ChallengeWhat can you as a leader do to change the narrative from “fear” to “possibilities” in your organization?

How aware are you of your leadership presence?


Presence is “the state or fact of existing, occurring, or being present in a place or thing.”

Most leaders have a general understanding of what being present means, but few can translate that understanding into reality. Every moment through the day offers the opportunity to ask what I am present to?

Inquiry holds the potential to disrupt the fast-paced automatic distractions in life, to bring you to the root of what matters. When you are present, you might notice your past, present and future revealed at once, leaving you at choice to commit to what you care about.

To be present is to live in the moment, the here and now, not in the past assertions or future declarations. It is about being alert and aware of your emotional state and its impact on how you see the world and how others see you. Presence fosters intention.

While in a “presence state” you are likely to ask yourself questions like: for the sake of what am I doing this? how does the situation at hand connect with my purpose? and how do I need to act to fulfill a deeper sense of destiny?

A leader’s presence impacts a room negatively, positively, or not at all, and can be influenced between 3 ways of displayed presence:

1. Powerful Presence

A powerful leader is self-aware of who they are being with others. They are being:

    • Collaborative – “we” vs. “I” language.
    • A deep listener from a place of support and empowerment (which has others asking questions that put them into action).
    • A generative communicator.
    • Calm under pressure.
    • Supportive of other ideas, opinions, and beliefs – which makes others feel safe in their presence.
    • Accountable for their promises and agreements with others.
    • A learner.
    • Vulnerable – willing to say, “I don’t know” and “I need your support in finding a quality solution to this issue”.
    • Trustworthy.
    • Open to feedback.
    • Responsible for their choices and decisions.
    • Strong communicators/listeners by using direct eye contact.
    • In tune with their surroundings.
    • Relationship focused as well as transaction-focused – long term thinking.

You can measure when you are being a leader with a powerful presence by your impact on others. Your impact creates sustainable action with others. People leave a conversation with you, engaged, inspired, and motivated to execute on their promises made to you. People who work with you are confident at providing feedback and information that is real to support the success of the organization.

2. Forceful Presence

A forceful leader is less self-aware of who they are in the room. They are being:

    • Accountable for their own performance and expect others to do the same.
    • A listener for others from a place of “fix, help and rescue” – which has them telling others what to do to be in action.
    • Exclusive with others which shows up as controlling of their environment, information, and decision-making power.
    • Aggressive when others challenge their decisions or ideas.
    • Less open with others when they are unsure or do not have an answer, they see vulnerability as a weakness, i.e.:” “You are paid to know and if you don’t know, go and figure it out quickly so that you can be reliable for others”.
    • Less collaborative in their communication abilities:
      1. They like to tell vs. ask others for their ideas and opinions.
      2. They speak in the first person, i.e.: “I did this, I accomplished this…”.
      3. Their feedback tends to be critical and unsafe, i.e.: “You should have known that…”.

You can measure when you are being a leader with a forceful presence by the impact you have on others. For example, you create unsustainable action with others, or people leave a conversation with you, confused, uncertain and worried about how to be in action to support the project and how they will be supported by you. Feedback is rarely given, and open-door policies are seldom used.  People who work with you learn to tell you what you want to hear vs. what you need to hear to support the success of the organization.

3. Powerless Presence

A powerless leader’s presence shows up as unwilling and inauthentic. In a conversation, they are unwilling to own their authentic voice, don’t share their ideas or make people feel like they don’t matter by saying phrases like, “sounds good, I’m sure you will make it happen, I have no comments on this topic…”.

This may leave others confused, uncertain, disempowered and lost as to how to be in action to support the issue or opportunity at hand. When a leader is not present with their team, others see you as a powerless leader because they are left in a space of uncertainty or inaction.

Practices to Support Developing A Powerful Presence:

A leader who chooses to be intentional about living a powerful presence has a set of practices that has them being self-aware of their presence (overall energy) which they bring to the moment. Here are some examples of practices:

  • Healthy lifestyle – proper food choices and balanced sleeping patterns.
  • A daily breathing, mindfulness, or meditation practice.
  • Uses slow down techniques like “Power of the Pause”.
  • Reflecting at the end of each day to support self-learning.
  • Daily exercise.
  • Journaling – putting their thoughts on paper to create new awareness and learning
  • Learning in a community.
  • Giving and receiving feedback to expand self-awareness.
  • Self-care – quality sleep, time for self, time for play/fun/laughter, time for creativity and time for quality relaxation.

Want more? Check out our resource material for this:

  1. Article on the Power of Presence – https://www.bhavanalearninggroup.com/in-the-power-of-presence/
  2. Book entitled, “Leadership Presence” by Belle Linda Halpern & Kathy Lubar – https://www.amazon.ca/Leadership-Presence-Kathy-Lubar/dp/1592400868/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1602172801&sr=8-2
  3. Article on the Power of the Pause – https://www.bhavanalearninggroup.com/3-conditions-cultivate-attention/
  4. Article on Fixing, helping & rescuing – https://www.uc.edu/content/dam/uc/honors/docs/communityengagement/HelpingFixingServing.pdf



Have you ever said to yourself?

“Oh, if only there were more hours in a day, or another day in the week, then I could get it all done?”

Let’s be honest, even if there were more hours in the day, you probably still wouldn’t get it all done. We don’t really need more time; we need to make better use of the time we have. 

More than any other word, “overwhelmed” captures the state in which most of us find ourselves. There’s simply too much to do and not enough time to get everything done. *

The Oscar-winning movie, “Crash,” aptly details how we are all so involved in our everyday lives that we really never notice – let alone care about – anyone else … unless we crash into each other. We have no time to care or to even think about having time to care. *

We are on the verge of collapse but have not found the time for that either.

Let us start by looking at the relationship we have with time.

Do we own our time or does time own us? Another way to look at is to ask ourselves are we “busy” or “productive” with our time.

People tend to work harder at getting ahead to complete their workload, ultimately creating more interactions, more timelines, more meetings and more follow up, all resulting in overwhelm. This cycle is what we a “vicious circle” at Awesome Journey, as illustrated below.

There are a few steps that we can support our leaders with, to break this vicious circle.

A big one is learning what gets in the way of a leader saying no.

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” Warren Buffett


Challenge: For the next two (2) weeks journal each night on how your relationship to time was for that day.

  1. Where did I automatically commit to tasks and experience overwhelm as a result? –
  2. Where did I say no to avoid overwhelm?

Did time own you or did you own your time?


*Courtesy of – Tony Zampella of Bhavana Learning Group.

Leading in a Hybrid World!


As we start to re-enter the workplace in person, many of our clients are asking us:

“What are other leaders doing to lead in a hybrid world?”

The phrase “hybrid world” means functioning between video platforms and live in-person interactions. Technology alone is not going to serve us, so we must shift some of the conversation to focus on the human aspects of re-entry.

Take a few minutes to self-reflect on your recent experience of operating in a hybrid world  and ponder these two questions:

1: Where do I need to upgrade my listening skills to support my team living in a hybrid world?


  • Being Fully Present for Others. One of the biggest mistakes we see leaders make is having back to back events in their calendar. Creating space between meetings supports “being fully present” for others by minimizing carry over from one meeting to the next.
  • Fixing or Supporting. As we lead ourselves and our teams in this VUCA world, we have two places where we can listen from:

A. A place of “fix & rescue” – we hear what is wrong and then we tell people what to do (or we do it ourselves)


B. A place of “support & empowerment” – we hear what is missing or emerging, then we focus on asking questions to engage others, to take ownership and action for their projects.

A great paper to support your learning journey on listening is Helping, Fixing & Serving. (10 min read)

 2: What self-care practices will you expand and include in your daily schedule to support yourself in this hybrid world?


Highly functioning leaders are disciplined in the following areas:


The 4 pillars of your physical well-being are:

  • Rest
  • Exercise
  • Water intake
  • Quality Nutrition

Ask yourself: where are you in these 4 pillars?


A key pillar of your mental well-being is the “quality of attention” that you bring to every conversation. The 2 key components are:

  1. Your ability to focus
  2. Your ability to concentration

Insight: An excellent practice to strengthen your “quality of attention” is to have a daily meditation practice. Download the Headspace or Calm app and get started today!


A key component of your emotional well-being is your awareness of your emotions. Are your emotions using you or are you using your emotions to create sustainable action with others? You become a more effective leader when you are intentional about strengthening you emotional well-being through daily practices of:

    1. Harnessing the Power of Pause. This allows you to convert a perceived threat into an opportunity through leveraging your breathing practice and asking empowering questions.
    2. Not avoiding conflict and concern when they arise, you address them by noticing it and then naming it so you can then speak to it
    3. Expressing gratitude daily. Start and end your day with expressing gratitude for the support, guidance, and love in your life.

Exercise: Pick 1 of the 3 emotional well-being practices, develop a daily practice for 7 days and measure the impact to your emotional well-being!

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