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Unleash the Power of your
Global Teamwith
The Possibilities Toolbox

Supercharge Team Effectiveness

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Using tools from The Possibilities Toolbox,

the energetic and engaging Kimberly Wiefling will enable your team to…

• Build Lasting Trust •
• Dramatically Improve Communications Across Cultural Barriers •
• Align Individual and Team Goals •
• Bring clarity to Shared Purpose •

Kimberly will transform your managers into leaders and ‘groups of people’ into true teams, with remarkable results, guaranteed!

The Possibilities Toolbox™

12 Keys to an Unstoppable Team and “Impossible Results”

All my professional life I’ve struggled with what are broadly referred to as “human skills”. Emotional by nature and rebellious by choice, it’s sometimes been extremely challenging for me to follow the sage advice “Be hard on the issues, but soft on the people.” Now, in perhaps one of the greatest ironies of my life, I have become the lead facilitator for a series of workshops on “human skills” for Tokyo Medical and Dental University professors. I’ve distilled the essential human skills into a “mindset toolkit” that makes these sometimes-fluffy ideas succinct and accessible.

The 12 Tools. The 12 heuristics below have helped me transform Feelings, Actions, Communication and Thinking (F.A.C.T.) in myself, my colleagues, and the thousands of people who have survived what I am now calling my “workshocks” (workshop seemed too tame a word).

Perception is NOT Reality

perception

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Like just about every young person on this planet, I grew up thinking that the view of the world my senses transmit to me is “reality”. Gradually this notion was transformed through education and experience. In my university physics classes I learned how different the reality of our universe is from my perception of it. Solid objects? They’re mostly empty space. Visible light? That’s just the part of the electromagnetic spectrum that my eyes can detect. Since then I’ve found plenty of examples of how easily our perception of reality is distorted by the way our miraculous brains work. Optical illusions provide a powerful example of this. As a result of my experiences I now understand that there are everyday situations in which I can’t accurately see, hear, count, or add. As a result I’ve developed a healthy skepticism about what my brain tells me is “reality”, a great deal more humility about what I know to be “true”, and a more open mind. Very handy!

Complex is NOT Complicated

complexity

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Although birds flying in flocks are fairly close to one another, they somehow manage to execute their aerial ballet without mid-air collisions. This is just one of many everyday phenomena that appear complicated, but are merely complex. Complexity Theory has proven that relatively simple principles can underlie apparently complicated situations. Knowing this has inspired me to look for organizing principles and patterns in tumultuous times. Even if I can’t perceive the underlying patterns, I no longer find it intimidating to face a situation that seems complicated because I know there is a possibility that a simple order lies beneath the perplexing exterior.

The BOX is only in Our Minds

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The greatest obstacles I’ve faced in my life have been self-imposed. Adult human brains seem to readily embrace negative thinking, and overcoming this tendency takes conscious awareness and discipline. Possibilities multiply when I stop thinking about the obstacles to success and start asking “What’s possible?”, “What seems impossible?”, and “What would make ‘impossible’ become possible?” Self-limiting assumptions and beliefs kill many ideas before they are even voiced. Logic and reason fail us because we can’t perceive reality or the entire catalog of possibilities. Serendipity and intuitive leaps are legitimate paths to discovering new possibilities. They’re just anxiety-inducing for those of us who prefer to know exactly what’s going to happen before we begin!

Replace Judgment with Curiosity

3d people - man, person with magnifying glass looking at Earth

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I vividly recall the day in August 1995 that I discovered that my brain was a voting machine – constantly judging whether something was good or bad, right or wrong, whether I liked it or didn’t, or whether I agreed or disagreed with a particular point of view. This polarized thinking didn’t leave any room for nuances in my thinking or graciousness in my behavior with those on the other side of an issue. Gradually I came to appreciate “shades of gray”, and the value of being curious about other people’s perspectives. I no longer imagine that my way of achieving results is the only way, and I try to help people discover what’s possible instead of leading them in a direction that I think they should go.

Collaboration Beats Competition

collaboration

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I’ve never played competitive sports, and from an early age I had an aversion to playing games that had winners and losers, especially if I was the loser. Even though my grades were excellent, I avoided comparing them to others because of something my wise mother told me: “There’s always someone better than you and there’s always someone worse than you.” Collaboration, on the other hand, has always intrigued me. When I was young I rallied the neighborhood kids to build camps in the woods near our home, and plan lengthy bicycle trips that our parents had no intention of allowing us to embark upon. Over the course of my career I’ve discovered that making the pie bigger is more profitable than arguing over who gets the biggest share of a few crumbs.

Different is NOT Deficient

Collage - one looked different. Isolated on white.

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All my life I’ve been the “different” one. When I worked at HP one of my friends gave me a book called “A Peacock in the Land of Penguins”. Reading it helped me understand why I felt so out of place. Now research has proven that diverse teams have an advantage over monolithic ones. And the most diverse business organizations deliver substantially greater business results. It’s challenging to deal with differences, but the benefits are undeniable. Imagine a baseball team with 9 great catchers – no one would expect them to win! Aside from the obvious types of diversity such as gender and ethnicity, I’ve found differences in thinking and work style even more challenging to handle – and extremely valuable in equipping a team to deliver results.

“Impossible” is Merely Difficult

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There are dozens of famous examples of everyday occurrences that were labeled “impossible” by some smarty-pants at some point in history. Before their invention, experts scoffed at the notion of airplanes, rockets, home computers, and brain surgery. Thought leaders proclaimed radios, telephones, TVs, and automobiles to be passing fads that would never achieve commercial success. Because these pundits couldn’t personally imagine HOW to achieve something, they labeled it “impossible”. But even the smartest human being doesn’t know everything. And the future often brings changes in circumstances that invalidate previous assessments of feasibility. I’ve developed a healthy disregard for anything labeled “impossible”. To me that word just means that we haven’t found a way . . . YET!

Most Failure is Avoidable

failure

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Although I’m equipped to support my clients with sophisticated leadership and team effectiveness tools, the problems they face rarely require more than the most basic models and insights. Most teams continue to fail for entirely predictable and avoidable reasons, such as the failure to build trust, the inability to communicate effectively, the absence of clear, shared goals, and a lack of agreement on priorities that must drive the allocation of scarce time, budget and other resources. A memorable example of this is the story of a whale being tracked using a transmitter attached to it’s body. It disappeared from the radar immediately upon submerging because the device wasn’t waterproof! Common knowledge and common sense aren’t common practice. It’s the discipline to DO what we know that is lacking in so many individuals, teams and organizations.

Creativity is Risky & Messy-Experiment!

A young asian girl having fun painting her hands

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Many organizations say that they want more innovative products and services, but don’t provide an environment supportive of the messiness associated with creative endeavors. The creative process is non-linear. Fifty percent progress towards the goals may not be evident when 50% of the budget is spent. First drafts often fall far short of the final requirements. An unimaginative person might struggle to keep their anxiety at bay as their team lurches unpredictably towards success, while the courageously creative shout the credo “Prototype, don’t perfect!” Teams able to rapidly integrate feedback from experiments and prototypes can achieve far better results than those who obsess over perfection in the first revision.

Make Mistakes & Fail Forward

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Risk-taking and mistake-making are a necessary part of the journey to innovation. But we usually assume that mistakes are to be avoided, and failure tends to be surrounded by blame and shame. Rather than playing the blame game, a much healthier and more empowering view is that mistakes are stepping stones towards the goal. At HP Labs, one innovative team’s guiding credo was “Build a tall junk pile!” Fail fast, fail forward, using feedback to learn and improve along the way. In order to encourage appropriate risks, I require people on my team to make at least 3 mistakes a day – new and more exciting mistakes, of course, not the same ones over and over again.

Change Feels Uncomfortable

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When something is new or different it can push us out of our comfort zone, triggering negative feelings. As a result many people avoid, or actively resist change. Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”Many times in my career I’ve faced challenges that felt overwhelming. At these times I’m filled with a mixture of anticipation and dread. Recognizing my discomfort as an indicator of an exciting challenge, instead of a warning that I should flee, has enabled me to take advantage of opportunities that others might have declined. Now I make a habit of putting a big smile on my face and shouting “Wooooooohoooooooo! I’m uncomfortable!” when that feeling strikes. It’s done wonders for my relationship with change.

You Can Lead from Any Chair

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Like many people, I once believed that leaders were found at the top of an org chart. But after decades of working with dozens of organizations I’ve seen plenty of people occupying a leader’s chair, but not leading. As a result I’ve learned that leadership isn’t a position in an org chart or a title on a business card. A leader is someone who acts like a leader, communicates like a leader, and thinks/feels like a leader – regardless of position or title. This insight carries with it a weighty responsibility. Once we realize that we have the power to make a positive difference we can no longer be content with merely complaining about upper management. In my first corporate job at HP, I pretended that this 100,000 person company was my own, and that what I did mattered. Thinking and acting like an owner gave me the courage to do and say what others only dared to think. Leadership isn’t always rewarded, but I find it much more rewarding than waiting for solutions from above while complaining about the inadequacies of the management team.

Download Kimberly’s Possibilities Toolkit Article

Why Change?

Tolstoy said “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” These 12 tools have the power to transform our teams by changing ourselves first. Don’t believe me! Do the experiment and see for yourself. I look forward to hearing about your transformational mindset adventures. – Kimberly

Partial Client List

Intuit, Symantec, Extreme Networks, P.A.R.C., Panasonic, AMD, Rockliffe, Bad Girl Swirl, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, HP, UC Santa Cruz, I-4, Kyoto University, Chiron, Entelos, Suntory, Daiichi Sankyo Pharma, Oracle, Kuraray, Mazda, Pigeon, Mizuho Securities, vmware, Yamaha, Cisco

Testimonials

The recommendation of a transformed cynic: Kimberly is a bit like a cyclone – she will turn your world upside down and blow you away. Unlike a cyclone, however, she will be sure that all of the important pieces remain; neatly reorganized and stronger than before she met you. She will also, undoubtedly, leave many gems behind for you as well – some ready to display and others for you to continue polishing throughout your life and career. You will definitely be richer for having crossed her path. With unrivaled passion, Kimberly effortlessly blends principles of transformational leadership, communication, cultural understanding and relationship building and links them directly to operational excellence with brilliant simplicity. I learned more practical skills in a 6-day program led by Kimberly than I have in nearly three decades of management education and experience. These lessons will not only allow me to foster an environment that is both enjoyable and highly productive, but will, as a result, make the company I work in stronger and more successful. Without question, Kimberly merits my highest recommendation.

— Ross McClure, Manufacturing Manager, SuperPower, Inc., a Furukawa Company

Kimberly’s Leading From Any Chair workshop is the single most powerful class I’ve attended, and the highest rated class I’ve participated in. Her teachings have fundamentally changed me as a leader, a coach, and a team member.

Lesley Kew, Intuit

Read many more testimonials…

Bio

kimberlyKimberly Wiefling helps organizations achieve what SEEMS impossible, but is merely difficult.

How? By turning managers into leaders and groups of people into real teams.

A physicist by education, Kimberly realized long ago the limits of technology devoid of human skills – the so-called “touchy feely” aspects of work so vital to success, and so frequently overlooked. She is passionate about transforming organizations, individuals and teams committed to solving the problems of Our World – profitably and thus sustainably – through practical, sensible approaches.

More details . . .

DEEP EXPERIENCE with GLOBAL COMPANIES: Kimberly has worked all over the US, Europe and Asia, and has been to Japan about 100 times to help Japanese companies globalize. Her superpower is bringing people with diverse backgrounds and cultures together, across borders and boundaries of every kind, to achieve what none could do alone.

Her first book, Scrappy Project Management, was translated into Japanese by the #1 Japanese business publisher, Nikkei Business Press.

A TECHNOLOGIST with HUMAN SKILLS: A physicist by education, she realized long ago the limits of technology devoid of human skills – the so-called “touchy feely” aspects of working in teams so vital to success, and so frequently overlooked. Kimberly’s mentor, Dr. Edgar Schein, has been a guiding influence on her work to transform business results through practical, sensible approaches.

BUSINESS RESULTS FOCUSED: Kimberly facilitates highly engaging organizational change and team effectiveness workshops based on her “Possibilities Toolbox”. Her intensive behavior-changing “learning laboratories”, which she playfully refers to as “workshocks”, directly translate into business results. Her latest book is “Inspired Business Cultures – Discover Your DNA, Engage Your People, and Design Your Future”.

SPECIALIZING in CROSS-FUNTIONAL AND CROSS CULTURAL TEAMS: Kimberly has worked globally with people from every corporate function, and from over 50 different countries. Her clients include many well-known global brands in diverse industries.

FROM STARTUPS to the FORTUNE 500: Kimberly has extensive experience working with global companies and startups, one of which was acquired by Google, and another that was bootstrapped to seven figure annual revenues.

MAKING a DIFFERENCE: Kimberly is passionate about making a meaningful difference by working with organizations, individuals and teams committed to solving the problems of Our World – profitably and thus sustainably.

Contact

Kimberly Wiefling
Wiefling Consulting, Inc.
Phone US: +1 650 867 0847
consulting@wiefling.com