Another versatile recognition activity

Yesterday I posted a versatile recognition activity that fits just about any size group or situation. Here’s another cool activity that my friend Brenda introduced me and is used in a great Emerging Leaders Program. Do it on your own or in a team!

What is your “ing”?

This exercise is great because it:

  • can be done quickly
  • can be done one-on-one, in small to large number groups
  • allows people to self-reflect on their strengths
  • requires little planning, set-up or materials


  • small index cards
  • pen or fine tipped markers


  1. Hand out one index card per person. On the lined side, ask people to write how they identify themselves such as how they would introduce themselves to someone at a conference (e.g., their name, business title). To save time, people could tape their business card to that side, but I prefer to see what people chose to write!
  2. Next, they are going to reflect on what really matters to them and who they really are as leaders. You can ask probing questions such as: What are you known for? How would people describe you? What makes you unique? What value do you bring to the workplace and your organization? What is most important to you?
  3. Once they have reflected, they can record these thoughts on the blank side of the index card, but here’s the catch. Each word needs to end in “ing” (e.g., caring, organizing, mentoring, planning, supporting). They will likely come up with a combination of things they do as well as what they stand for.
  4. Next, ask people to underline the 5 “ing’s” that best describe them and how they want to be known. Point out how this new type of business card allows them to acknowledge not just the role(s) they occupy but also the unique gifts and talents they bring to it.

Debriefing Questions:

  • What are your most important “ing’s” and why?
  • How do you live your “ing’s” in your current job?
  • What, if any, “ing’s” are currently dormant or less pronounced than you would like? What is the impact of this?
  • If you could live more fully into all 5 “ing’s”, what might you do?

Whether this exercise is new to you or have used a version of it before, please share your experience in the comments section!

Related posts:

A versatile recognition activity for small or large groups…

Exercise: Give ‘um a Pad on the Back

It’s easy to get caught up in our day-to-day work that we don’t stop to take stock of the specific gifts and talents that our colleagues bring to the table (beyond the passing thought “hey, she’s really good that that”), let alone take time to intentionally acknowledge these to each other. To counteract that, in this post, we talk about a cool recognition activity. Tomorrow I’ll post some additional ways you can use this exercise in everyday work settings.

This exercise is great because it:

  • can be anonymously or people can make the feedback personal
  • everyone in the group receives feedback
  • can be done quickly
  • can be done in small to large number groups


  • safety pins
  • card stock (plain or with a heading)
  • fine tipped markers (preferred but pens or pencils will do)


  1. Take your safety pin and a piece of card stock. Find someone in the room who can pin the card stock to your back. Have then pin it on yours.
  2. Taking your marker, pen or pencil with you, walk around the room, writing what you would like to acknowledge about that person. It may be something you have told them before, or maybe something you would like to recognize as a strength or skill you have never shared with him or her.
  3. Continue until time is up or you have given feedback to everyone.
  4. Have someone unpin the card stock and read the comments.
  5. Reflect on what you notice. What do your colleagues recognize as your strengths, gives and talents?

Debriefing Questions:

  • What was that like for you?
  • What surprised you about what your colleagues shared?
  • What would you like to do with this? What’s next?

Tomorrow I’ll share some adaptations to this exercise and additional ways you can incorporate what you learn from this activity in the workplace.

For more on recognition, check out the F.R.O.G. (Forever Recognize Others’ Greatness) post here.

Getting the Most from Your Vision Board Exercise


I shared my vision board with my family the night I created it, but it wasn’t until the next day when I had framed it that my 10-year-old explained “wow, mommy, I want to do one! Can I put this in my room?” Cherish this important work and frame it!

Now that you’ve created your vision board, here are some more tips and ideas to get the most from the experience:

  1. Frame it so you cherish it. Give it the care it deserves. It’s a reflection of your inner values, needs and hopes.
  2. Hang your vision board somewhere you will see it everyday or where you go for inspiration. Make it a part of your environment.
  3. Explain your board to someone you care about – your best friend, spouse, teen or colleague. This is especially important for extraverts that will better understand the important nuisances of the board by talking it though. 
  4. When you describe your board to someone else, put yourself into the future. If you’re hoping your vision comes true in 2016, envision yourself in two years time, and explain what happened between 2014 (i.e., today) and 2016 that allowed you to live into your vision. Again, reflect on what comes up as the intentions, beliefs and actions you describe in that journey.

For more on how to create a vision board, click here.


Choice Map

I am reposting the Choice Map post as I have just discovered this video of Marilee Adams explaining the Choice Map – check it out here and enjoy!

Choice Map

From the book I just recommended, the Choice Map. Google it and check it out yourself! Check out Marilee Adams’ blog:

Related post:


Great book – Change Your Questions, Change Your LIfe

Great book – Change Your Questions, Change Your LIfe

A simple book with a powerful message and a great tool – the Choice Map. Google the map and pick up the book. Key to staying focused on strengths is taking the “Learner Path”. Learn more in this great book – a must for every leader’s shelf!

I also realized Marilee has a new book out: Teaching that Changes Lives (shush…don’t tell my teacher hubby that that’ what he’s getting for his birthday…)

Related post:

Vision Board – Part 1


I practice what I preach! Check out my newest vision board!

Some cool correspondence on Twitter today with some folks about the importance of Vision Boards in making our dreams happen. How fortunate was writing a piece on it just yesterday! Here’s today’s post on how to create a vision board. Tomorrow’s I’ll share some great next steps for after you have created your vision board. Don’t forget to post your experience of creating your vision board on this blog and maybe tweet a picture of it! We’d all love to hear about your experience and I’d be happy to answer any questions.

Vision Board 101

Vision Boards are not new. I certainly didn’t come up with the concept! However as popular as they in the world of coaching, they are rarely woven into leadership on-boarding and development opportunities. I think this is a missed opportunity.

Vision Boards are a powerful tool that can help us to become grounded in what’s most important at a deeper level than conscious thought. Our values, beliefs and deepest needs can come alive when we allow instincts and emotions to take over, which is exactly what happens when we create a Vision Board. Let’s take a look at how to create one.

Materials you will need:

  • Old magazines
  • Scissors
  • Cardstock or Bristol board
  • Glue stick

Steps to follow:

  1. Grab some magazines you have lying around, and begin to flip through the pages, pulling out anything that catches your attention. This is a gut instinct thing. Don’t think too hard. Just pull out pictures that appeal to you.
  2. Review the pages you’ve selected and cut out the pictures and words that appealed to you. Again, don’t think too hard. You can sort through them further later.
  3. Begin to place the pictures and words around your cardstock or Bristol board. When you are beginning to feel satisfied with what you’re seeing, you can glue it down (some prefer to wait until they’re done arranging to glue it down).
  4. When you’re about a third of the way through, sit back and reflect on what you’re seeing. Is there a theme or pattern emerging for you?
  5. Finish gluing your pictures and words down. What does your vision board say to you? What does it say to you about you as a leader? Is there a call to action, an affirmation, an intention? What could you do to live into what your vision board is saying to you? Where do you want to place your vision board so you can see it throughout the year?
  6. Write down some of these reflections. If you journal, that’s the perfect place (or great motivator to start one!) If you set annual goals for yourself, how are your reflections from the vision board captured there and do you need to update them?

Michael Bungay Stainer’s “Do More Great Work”

Michael Bungay Stainer’s “Do More Great Work”

Have you heard of Michael Bungay Stainer’s awesome little book “Do More Great Work”? It’s full of interactive thought provoking questions and simple tools that can help you to determine what your great work is, and then make some decisions about how to reduce good or bad work so you have more time and energy for the great work. I’ve used the tools personally and in coaching, and it’s a keeper on every leader’s shelf for sure!

Check out his website at:


A book and approach to decision-making…”The Six Thinking Hats”

A book and approach to decision-making…”The Six Thinking Hats”

When making decisions, on your own or as a team, the best outcome will likely arise from leveraging a variety of perspectives. We are naturally going to be drawn to some methods of decision-making over others – facts over intuition, emotions over logic, and so on. This book helps by outlining six different ways people make decisions. 

As a leader, you will likely quickly notice what strategies you use and what strategies you do not feel are helpful. How can you find greater balance in how decisions are made? How can you support the group to value all perspectives so all approaches are used? In this book, you will see how each of the six “thinking hats” adds great value – are you demonstrating that you value them all? If you aren’t currently, I bet you will after reading this great book!