Skip to main content

Being Human at Work

By Musings

Humanity in the workplace starts with YOU

You can tell if humanity is at work by looking at the quality and depth of workplace relationships.

We realized the significance of this while working with a team of thirty directors and their boss. At the end of our first day together, we led an evening exercise on vulnerability. Each person was asked to come prepared to talk about a personal quality that was both a positive and a negative, and to share something that was going on in their lives that the rest of the group might not know about. There were these two guys, both brilliant engineers, close in age and from similar cultural backgrounds. It was evident from their interactions that they were each other’s nemeses as well as each other’s biggest fans. These two men had spent long nights together trying to solve some of the biggest technology challenges facing the organization, at times even staying overnight and sleeping underneath their desks to deliver on a product deadline.

One of them, we will call him Jonah, started his story by describing his background, his marriage and the birth of his beloved daughter. He and his wife began noticing their daughter, who was four years old, had a cold that just would not go away. As he was talking, the room got quieter and quieter. His colleague, we will call him Nik, leaned in a little closer. Jonah shared that after seeing a multitude of doctors and specialists, their little girl had been diagnosed with leukemia. They did not know what the outcome would be. And that is where his story ended for that evening. As he concluded, you could have heard a pin drop in the room. Soon it was time for a break. Nik approached Jonah and hugged him, saying, “I had no idea you were dealing with this. I am so sorry.” The two left the room deep in conversation.

In that moment, the purpose of HumanityWorks—our coaching, consulting and training organization—crystalized. We saw it so clearly. Something is terribly wrong with our work relationships if people are literally sleeping on the floor next to their colleagues and have no idea what is happening for them as human beings. Think about your work relationships. What can YOU do to bring more humanity to work?

We’re Back!

By Musings

Hello! We’ve been away writing a book…

We’ve been heads down writing our book for the past 6 months and are finally emerging from the writer’s den. The act of writing for both of us has been an experience of joy, hard work, humility and energy. In our last newsletter we talked about living purposefully, and there truly has never been a time for us that has felt this purposeful. Getting our work – our trainings, beliefs, teachings, inspirations and ideas – on paper has been a labor of love and one that we are delighted to be wrapping up and getting out into the world in October! The new title of the book is Humanity Works Better: 5 Practices to Lead with Awareness, Choice and the Courage to Change.

We will keep you posted as we near the fall publication date, meanwhile we are excited to share the lessons and learnings from our research and writing in our refreshed twice a month newsletter. We’ve learned so much along this journey of writing. Our research involved many client interviews, and hearing what others had to say about how our work impacted them made us even more committed to getting our message out. Our mission to bring more humanity to the workplace has never felt more timely and important as we are all navigating the challenges of the past year.

Our hope is that as we emerge from the pandemic, we all do so with a newfound belief in the importance of relationships, of being a good human. As the work environment continues to evolve, we hope you will join us in fostering positive work cultures, converting from toxic to healthy, from competitive to collaborative, from fearful to trusting, one human at a time. That human we are talking about is you!  Thank YOU for being a part of our journey. We are excited to be back!

Being and Doing

By Musings

“Reflection without action is ultimately as unproductive as action without reflection” – Robert Kegan

It has been a busy year and we still have three months to go!  We have taken full advantage of the break in travel shelter-in-pace has created.  Time at home has allowed us to work in a focused, disciplined and methodical way on how we will bring more humanity to the workplace: website, book platform, social media presence and oh, did we mention, writing our book?  It has been fun and fulfilling and creative, and a ton of work.  As August approached so did a looming deadline to complete the second draft of Be Human, Do Better Work.  The harder we tried, the closer it got, the more we knew we weren’t going to make it.  It caused us both a lot of angst.We were tired.  We needed to rest – to step away from our computers, zoom meetings, writing, editing, coaching, clients, creating, thinking, and even each other.  The self-imposed pressure and the relentless energy we were putting into so many different areas shielded us from what our beings desperately needed: a break!

Finally, we admitted to ourselves that the August deadline was not going to happen. The book needed more time, we needed more time.  We also realized our “deadline” was artificial.  We created it, we could move it.  We could choose.  And we chose to no longer ignore what we needed most – to take a break and step away.

So, our silence in August was because we put everything down: the book, newsletters, articles, social media, interactions with most other humans.  We unplugged from our doing and spent time just being.  Kate and her husband, George, took a road trip in a cute little tear drop trailer. They hiked, canoed, enjoyed starry nights. They reconnected with nature and themselves.  Debbie and her family spent time in a beach house being lulled by the sound of waves crashing on the shore, taking long walks in the sand and spectacular boat rides on Puget Sound.  We reset our souls, the human being in each of us.  and, now we are back; rested, restored and ready to take on the rest of 2020!

It is so easy to get wrapped up in the doing of a busy life that you can forget to pause and really think about what fuels you to do what you do, and why you are doing it. It’s easy to get caught up in human doing.  We were reminded that life isn’t a scarce resource, living it purposefully is.  We hope in the craziness of this year each of you have found time to connect with the human side of your being – let if fuel and guide your doing.  If you are stuck doing and need to reset, start by playing around with these questions and see what comes up for you:

  • What on my mind?
  • What is important about that?
  • What else?

1 + 1 = Amazing

By Musings

“Collaborate with people you can learn from” – – Pharrell

When you work with others to bring something new into the world, it is challenging.  Doing something new can be scary, being outside your comfort zone can be unsettling. There is so much that you don’t know, so many new things to learn.  When you are working with others you can’t always have your way (and probably shouldn’t!). Tensions emerge; disagreements and differences of opinion flare up.  It gets hard.

Our formula for working together is 1+1 = Amazing. On your own you might be fine, but when collaborating with others you are, in fact, better. It’s a mindset. Take really different people, with different experiences, strengths, weaknesses, and perspectives. Share a passion. Envision a shared goal. Give freely without reservation. Leave your egos at the door. Remember you are not in competition with each other. Have fun together.

If working together is harder than you want it to be, find out if it is you or if it is them.  Download our free workbook, How to Work With Difficult People – The 4 Skills You Need Today

What Difference Do You Want To Make?

By Musings

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make” ~ Jane Goodall

Illuminated in very painful ways, it is clear some fundamental aspects of humanity are broken. Humanity does not come from being a human.  Humanity is an outcome, a way of being with one another. Humanity is present when all humans can trust the world is a safe place, physically and psychologically. Humanity is present when we step towards our differences, seeking to understand and appreciate the breath and expansiveness of one another.  Humanity is present when we acknowledge and accept the unique value of each human being. Humanity is present when we are conscious of the impact we create and, if it’s messy, take responsibility for cleaning it up.  Humanity is present when we dare to be vulnerable and admit we need help.  Humanity is present when we extend our hearts and hands to help those who have not been afforded our privilege. Humanity starts with you. You are part of the solution.


Small actions can make a difference. Small actions amplified can make a big difference. So, what kind of difference do you want to make?

To help you figure this out, we offer a few questions.  Questions are like flashlights that shed light into the unexplored corners of our mind.  They can challenge us into a new way of thinking and being.  These are big questions to ponder, try on and live into.
  • What are you taking a stand for?  It is important to know why you are being the way you are, not just that you are doing something.  So, dig in here.  What values are you honoring by taking a stand.
  • What are you tolerating?  Many of us have been tolerating too many things for too long.  What has been simmering underneath the surface for you? The answer may lead you to the root of action.
  • What outcome do you want to create? Get clear on what you want to be different.  Focus on that! Let the best of your emotions fuel your courage to take action and create the outcome you want.
  • What do you need to let go of? We are changing all the time.  What are some of the behaviors, actions, even beliefs that you need to let go of.  They have served you but are no longer needed.
  • What do you need to step into?  Real change happens with a conscious stepping into new action and behaviors.

While you are working to determine what difference you want to make, we are beginning a three-part series that explores how to deal with difficult behavior: incivility, micro-inequities and toxic behavior. These are all behaviors that can limit you, and can limit others.  Our series provides insights into yourself and practical skills to help you deal with challenging behaviors, and the humans that exhibit them.  You can get our articles and podcasts, along with our free download “How to Work With Difficult People” at

If working together is harder than you want it to be, find out if it is you or if it is them. Download our free workbook, How to Work With Difficult People – The 4 Skills You Need Today