Soderquist Blog

Winning the Right Way

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Aug 19, 2016 4:02:06 PM

Which came first - your values or your actions? Watch as Steve Reinemund, retired CEO of Pepsi Co., discusses the importance of not just stating your values, but living them out. That's how you truly "win."

Your values are not meant to just be beautifully written words that live on a page; they are to be practiced on a daily basis through the way you make decisions and lead your team. It's execution on what you say you value that gives that value meaning. 

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Topics: Leadership, Values, Personal Development

Four Things I Learned from Don Soderquist

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Aug 2, 2016 3:32:11 PM


 1. Genuinely care about others.

Don and I were scheduled to deliver a program together when my dad ended up in the hospital and I made an unexpected trip out of town. We got the session rescheduled with the customer to a later date. A couple of weeks later, I was at Greystone, our executive retreat center, with a customer group, when Don arrived for his time with them. I saw him pull up and headed down the hall to greet him.  As we met in that hallway, we said hello to each other, I got my usual hug around the shoulder, and then he repositioned himself so that he was a little farther away and looking me squarely in the eyes.  And he said, “How’s you dad?” I was amazed. Here was this very busy and very important man who had so many irons in the fire, so many demands on his time, so many people vying for his attention. And he cared about me and about my dad, whom he had never met. He listened as I told him that my dad had made a full recovery and was home doing very well.  He told me he was glad, and I knew that he really was.

 2. Be a lifelong learner.

I was in the Learning Center at Greystone one afternoon while the Milestone participants were out on the ropes course. Don arrived early for his dinner and discussion time. As was his custom, he inquired about the group and what they had been talking about. I told him we had introduced a new video into the program and the participants really liked it and had some good conversation after they watched it. He asked me how long the video was and then, of course, how long I thought it would be before the group returned from base camp. Since the timing looked promising, he sat down in a chair facing the screen and asked if I would please play the video for him.  He loved it and added a quote from it into his vast catalog of insights.

 3. Accept and use feedback so you always improve.

Given his willingness to constantly learn and to try new methods, Don changed things up on a regular basis. One change that he had made and appeared to be sticking with seemed to me not to be working as well. I debated whether or not to say anything to him. I mean, after all, this is Don Soderquist! I decided that he would want me to. So, one day when I was in his office, I cautiously asked if he would be willing to hear a piece of feedback from me. Of course, he said yes, and he listened intently. He thanked me, and I left. A few weeks later, I introduced him to a group of participants and noticed during his session that he had taken my suggestion to heart. As he was leaving, he asked me, “How was that?” Not in a flippant sort of way, but in a tone that said he really wanted my opinion. Wow, what an amazing example of humility and continuous improvement.

 4. Put action behind your concern for others.

During one particular evening session at Greystone, a participant's question caused the discussion to enter an area that was a bit sensitive for a couple of people in the group.  A few remarks that were made could easily have left those people feeling discouraged. Later that evening, I got a call from Don. “Sandy, I need to come back out and talk with [those two people]. What time does the session start in the morning? I’ll come before it. I don’t need long, and I don’t want to distract from the program. But I need to come out and encourage them.” He met with them in the Learning Center while the rest of the group finished their breakfast in the Morning Room. He could have had a relaxing breakfast at home, thinking “I hope they’re OK”. But that wasn’t Don. He was concerned, so he took action.

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Topics: Leadership, Don Soderquist

In Memory of Don Soderquist

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Jul 22, 2016 11:28:32 AM

We are deeply saddened to share that Don Soderquist passed away on Thursday morning from complications related to heart surgery.

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Is Your Team Overdependent On You?

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Jul 12, 2016 12:00:00 PM


I've been reading Michael Bungay Stanier and his perspectives on coaching and leadership. He mentions three viscious workplace cycles: overdependence, getting overwhelmed and becoming disconnected. The first one was particularly interesting to me.  

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Topics: Employee Development, Creating Culture

Are You Keeping Up With Change?

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Jul 7, 2016 3:30:00 PM

Watch as Chairman and CEO of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, discusses how leaders need to make sure the changes they are making
inside the business match the rate of change taking place outside the business.

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Topics: Leadership

Urgency Fuels Change

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Jul 5, 2016 8:00:00 AM


Rarely do we embrace change.  Even if we do conceptually, it often fails to translate into reality. This is most certainly true in our personal lives.  Recall the countless New Year’s resolutions ranging from diet to exercise to money to career that have failed to produce tangible results.

Similarly, think of change initiatives within your organization.  How many of these fizzle out or even worse turn into mediocre warm tea?  Why is change so hard to bring to completion?

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Topics: Personal Development

Are You Bringing Your (whole) Self to Work?

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Jun 30, 2016 8:00:00 AM


Work/life balance continues to be a topic that leaders everywhere are trying to figure out. There have been many attempts to help us manage the stress of keeping up with a family, a career, and if there’s any time left over, a social life.

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Topics: Leadership, Personal Development

Mythbusting Work-Life Balance

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Jun 28, 2016 8:00:00 AM


Work-Life Balance. If you could somehow get that right, it would be the magic bullet finally putting to rest all of your worries and stresses, right? Cue the “Hakuna Matata” theme song, please.

But what if I told you there was no such thing as this mythical “work-life balance.” It doesn’t exist.

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Topics: Leadership, Practical Tips & Tricks, Personal Development

Are You Valuable?

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Jun 23, 2016 3:30:00 PM


This is a challenging question.  It's a whole lot easier to answer when altered to "do you create value?" In a business context, we are used to this concept of value creation. Is creating value the requirement for being valuable? Well, certainly economically we could take such a rational stance.

What do we do with someone who is failing to create value in a role? In a career? Are these folks inherently not valuable?

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Topics: Leadership, Values & Ethics

Now You're Speaking My Language

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Jun 21, 2016 4:30:00 PM


As leaders, sometimes you have important stuff to say. That’s a fact.

Whether it is in a board meeting or simply in your home, if you want your message to resonate with the receiver, it is invaluable that what you are saying aligns with what they are seeing in your actions and gestures.

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Topics: Leadership, Practical Tips & Tricks