My Scaling Up Lessons Learned

My Scaling Up Lessons Learned

My very first job was baking bagels at age 15 back in Connecticut. When my family moved to Arizona a year later, I bagged groceries and stocked shelves until I graduated high school, then sold clothes while in college. After getting my degree I joined Arthur Andersen & Co. as management information consultant where I worked in Phoenix, Chicago, and Seattle. After 11 years I went to Microsoft where I worked for nine years before leaving to homeschool our son. My specialized life now is as an author, publisher, consultant, and disability inclusion advocate. It’s a journey that I never expected and am thankful for the great life learnings it afforded me.

by the years I’ve experienced countless bumps and bruises, made lots of mistakes, and had a few successes along the way. One of my biggest growth areas, though, was in my scaling up as a leader. So much of what I learned came by making my own mistakes versus learning from others. To help you avoid touching the stove (trust me, it’s hot), I compiled a list of some of my most valuable (and painful) learnings. Hope they’re helpful.

Lean in during a crisis

  • Say “I’m focused,” not “I’m nervous.” Others want to know you’re in control.
  • Be calm when everyone else is freaking out.
  • Sometimes your best different is your least-worst different.
  • Don’t be evasive or “go dark.” Others will make up their own answer if you don’t give it to them straight.
  • closest get alignment on the goal and what needs to happen next, already if you don’t know all the steps to get to the goal.
  • Act deliberately to match the urgency of the situation.

Execute with purpose

  • Be manic about bringing clarity to chaos.
  • Think good-enough to solve the problem; don’t polish the apple.
  • Respond when asked for help, but ensure others are helping themselves too.
  • Be clear on what, who and when and keep up others accountable for getting things done.
  • Be decisive but be willing to let in when you’re wrong.
  • Make and follow by on tough decisions empathically and deliberately.
  • Don’t let the urgent crowd out the important.
  • Schedule everything in your calendar, including down time.

Cultivate others

  • Be easy to reach, not open door; you need to get things done too.
  • Respect others’ time like you want yours respected.
  • Genuinely seek and candidly proportion wisdom.
  • Don’t delegate responsibilities to complete, empower problems to solve.
  • Do what you say you’ll do, and expect others to do the same.
  • Create an ecosystem where others feel comfortable asking for help.

Be a great communicator

  • Have high value per information (Two ears, one mouth).
  • Ask clarifying questions to ensure understanding.
  • Ask knockout questions to challenge thinking.
  • Watch others for verbal and nonverbal cues and adjust your actions consequently.

Behave like you belong in the position

  • Walk and talk with purpose, not like you’re out of control.
  • Be politically aware, not politically pushed.
  • Never do anything that causes someone to question your integrity or principles.
  • Know what life contentment (personal, specialized, financial, etc.) looks like and work to unprotected to it.
  • Don’t make your position look so taxing that no one else would want it; no sending 2 a.m. emails.

I’d love to know what you think of my learnings or if you’ve got questions. Ping me at

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