Whitnie Wiley is the founder and chief evolution officer (CEO) of Shifting Into Action (SIA), a coach, consultant, author, speaker and trainer.
Whitnie helps entrepreneurs, new and aspiring leaders build and manage careers that feed their souls, use their talents and gifts, and finance the lives of their dreams through training programs and retreats, 1-on-1 and group coaching. Additionally, she provides consulting and coaching services to organizations relating to succession management, leadership development and training, human resources and talent development.
She can be reached at: Whitnie@ShiftingIntoAction.com or 916.304.4742.
Additionally, you can find Whitnie on LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/whitniewiley and in her Facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/dreamjobcareerconnection.
I am passionate about helping people get their own aha's and moments of clarity that allow them to rise up and live the lives of their dreams, sometimes dreams they didn't even know they had. I've been doing this in one fashion or another since I became a big sister at the age of three, then working my way through school as a tutor and later as a mentor, trainer and program facilitator.
More than 100 miles
Everything is negotiable
In one of my courses, while studying for my bachelor's degree, we had a team project that required each of the team members to coach one of the other members. After completing the assignment, we were to deliver a group presentation about the project and what we learned in the course of the project. There were five groups in all. Four of the five teams delivered exciting and thought-provoking presentations. The fifth failed miserably.
It was painful to sit through their presentation as they proceeded to throw each other under the bus for one reason or another for what they individually and collectively felt went wrong with their project. What was apparent was that they learned nothing from the assignment. While the project itself may not have gone the way they envisioned and members may not have held up their end of the deal about who was responsible for what, as students of organizational behavior and leadership, there was much to be learned in the fiasco. But that point was missed by the entire team.
Not one of our classmates asked questions, and eventually, we were all put out of our misery when the professor asked an insignificant question or two. As I sat there contemplating whether to say anything and prolong the agony, I eventually decided against it. Over the next few days, it haunted me that I didn't speak up. I felt in a leadership class, and as a leader, I should have said something.
After about a week, I finally decided to reach out to all three, and two responded. As I pondered what to say and, more importantly, how to say it, I realized that leaders do the hard things. They speak up when it's uncomfortable and find a way to help others feel empowered regardless of the situation. I hoped that something I would say would help them as our cohort completed our studies. Ultimately, I discovered that being the kind of leader I wanted to be and eventually would train was about understanding the purpose of leadership, being intentional about the actions taken, and leveraging the resources available. This lesson helped me develop three of the pillars of my leadership method.
In the end, the meetings I had with my two classmates were positive, and I'm glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and encouraged them. While it didn't matter for the assignment that we'd just completed, it would make a difference about how they approached future projects with different classmates on their teams, and therefore my stepping up impacted us all.
Though I have a successful history of leading and developing staff and volunteers in organizations and creating strategic, succession, and employee development plans for organizations across the country, I was probably the most miserable employee on the planet.
I dreaded Mondays and couldn't wait for the weekend. Going to work felt like torture, and I wasn't particularly fond of some of the people for whom I worked. Unfortunately, I let their inability to lead effectively and with integrity impact my attitude and found myself hiding in my office to shut off the toxicity that permeated the culture. While in coach's training, my instructor asked why I allowed anyone to keep me from being me.
That aha moment created a curiosity as to why poor leadership existed and how to remedy it. Later in my master's program, while studying organizations and leadership, I chose to thank my bosses for the bounty of examples that formed the bases for many school papers, the articles I wrote as a leadership columnist for the Docket magazine, and about which now I speak.
All of this and more is why I now help aspiring and new leaders develop into the kinds of leaders and guide organizations into becoming places employees want and love to work. We use a process that leads to clarity and transformation that results in a leader focused on the team and becoming the kind of leader even leaders want to follow.