Archive for May, 2016

Make the Elephant in the room disappear

May 31st, 2016

Making Visible, making that Elephant in-VISIBLE


A week ago I attended a workshop that allowed speakers, moderators and coaches make their work more visual. The organization that does the training is called “Sichtbar” (, or visible in German. Not only did I come away with some tools, which I must practice, but I gained a powerful metaphor for what happened this weekend.


The experience was a compelling way of addressing that elephant in the room, of making it visible, and then in-VISIBLE.


We observed it, those of us there last weekend: the elephant in a room was made visible, and then, you know what? Like magic that elephant disappeared. POOF! In-VISIBLE!


We who saw this disappearance were at a (beautiful, fun, great) wedding this past weekend. At the ceremony there was an elephant in the room. So, in BOTH Swiss German, and in English, the pastor addressed the fact that, “some people are really at home in a church and practically live there, while others are not so at home, or are even strangers and are uncomfortable in a church.” He made the statement lightly and then said that we who were there were all welcome, made a joke or two, and we were all on our way to seeing that elephant disappear. He made the obvious, open and then it could go away. POOF!


By the reception, people were wandering around and talking to complete strangers who had become new friends. For hours this went on. That elephant never dared to show up again.


Yesterday my husband then took this communication model to heart and in his class he addressed an elephant in that classroom, after which he and his students spent 45 minutes talking about the issue, themselves, and some ways to learn better. Success! Thanks to that pastor, Mike Gray, some pretty good conversation went on that hour in school yesterday, too.


Naming the elephant doesn’t always work, though. The people have to want to change, to want to talk about it, that elephant. At the wedding in the beautiful mountains of Switzerland on that picture-perfect day last Saturday, we guests all came to support the couple and to have fun with them. We wanted to have fun with the couple, and to help make the ceremony and party a success, a happy time. It was easy for us to see and acknowledge that elephant and once she was made visible, she could go home. We didn’t want to keep her in the room.


We let her go.


The students were also willing at look at the situation and to discuss how to change, and ultimately, to make a change.


I have, once, seen a brave person address a room of listeners where people did not want to change. She specifically named “that elephant in the room” and used just that phrase. But for many people, it was to no avail. They didn’t want to let the elephant leave because it was too uncertain, too many unknowns. The speaker was not heard because the people were not willing to be open and to change, to admit their faults, their humanity, and perhaps even to laugh at themselves. It was sad, but she had no control over it in the end.


Maybe that was another key to the wedding, too. The guests laughed a lot, especially at themselves. Nobody took themselves too seriously. It wasn’t allowed.


So, name that elephant and be open to change, yourself, and let the elephant go home.


And don’t take yourself too seriously and enjoy the party!


What elephant in the room do you need to make visible so it can disappear?


Patricia Jehle


ps, I wrote about our upcoming summer yesterday, a kind of Swiss summer lament, and I will post it later this week. It’s more personal, less reflected. Stay tuned, if you wish!



Your thoughts count

May 24th, 2016

Think and Act to BE to BECOME


“Sow a thought, reap an act; sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” –Peter Kreeft




“Your beliefs become your thoughts,

Your thoughts become your words,

Your words become your actions,

Your actions become your habits,

Your habits become your values,

Your values become your destiny.” – Mahatma Gandhi


The above quotes are true on so many levels: Our hearts somehow know it is true, but recently research in neuroscience has confirmed the statement to be true – and vice versa. Our bodies and minds are so interconnected that the one affects the other.


There is even a cognitive triangle that one can work through when something happens to make sure our thoughts remain in sync with what we want. You can email me about this, if you want. The opposite is also true:


When we behave certain ways, our emotions and thoughts are affected. For this, we can look at Amy Cuddy’s research.

So, remember to think and act how you want to feel.  First, though, ask yourself some questions:

So, what do you want?

Today how are you going to do/get that?

What are you going to think and do?

What is your plan for the week?


Also, here are some pieces of advice for new CEOs (or owners), taken from a blog (and from my own ideas):


Do the work, be like the Nike commercial slogan (Act like a CEO)

Ask yourself , your employees and team, and your stakeholders great questions


  • What three things do you want me to change?
  • What three things do you want me to protect?
  • What are you worried I might do?
  • What do you want me to do?
  • What else do you want to talk about?


Know the whys – why the other ceo left, why they picked you, why you chose the job

Get to know your team on – and off- the job

The same goes for the board

Survey the employees at the beginning of your mandate and then every 6 months or so, the same goes for the board, but only once a year, starting after the second board meeting)

And finally, think and act and move your body like a ceo: dress, habits, work


Some thoughts taken from:


Remember we are what we think and act like more (even) than what we eat. It’s a chicken and egg kind of conundrum.


Fianlly here are some more things you can do, even if you are not a CEO (taken and embellished from here ):


Take your happiness from internals

It’s what you want – and you find a way to accomplish it, whether that it is a cake you baked, a room you painted, or some rocks balanced. Make sure you have control over what determines your happiness. This affects everything else.


Remember NOT to judge

Judging leads you down the wrong path. Instead ask those why questions and remember everyone is really trying their best with what they have.


Only say yes when you WANT to do it

Clear your calendar and list of things that you can say no to. Of course there are work jobs that must be done, but I mean those favors, etc. Delete the things that really drain you.



Keep to the two-one rule (two ears, one mouth)

Listening is more valuable than speaking. Questions are more valuable than advice. Just saying.


When you say something, be sure of it, or sure of your uncertainty

Say things with certainty, or offer your uncertainty in a way that says you are willing to learn. Sincerity is very essential.


Choose little victories

Those little vicotries feed into your happiness and self-assurance, making for a subtle, but noticeable change for the positive.


Keep your body healthy

We all know this. Start small and do not be too over zealous.



Don’t ask for attention

Nobody likes attention seekers. Instead:


Celebrate others and their victories. It’s FUN.

I was able to do that this past weekend- and I still am glowing with what happened—because of others!


Take risks.

When we do this the really exciting things happen! Without risks, there is no change. And…


Don’t’ be afraid of making a mistake or being wrong. We are all human.

We really do learn more from mistakes than from accidental successes, anyway.


Ask for help.

People are wired to help, and wired to need help, so ask for it. Learn from your experiences and have LOADS of fun along the way!


Have a great week full of adventures and learning!


Patricia Jehle

Should you not yet have done it, and want to, you can ask to join my Linked in group, SMEs Grow Together, here:


Also, For those of you who want to know about The Alpha Group and how that could help bring your business more value and sales, please sign up for an email here:


Connected? Really?

May 17th, 2016

Alone, and yet not alone. Connected –or not? A Controlled Distance?


“I share, therefore I am”

In the midst of the “connected virtual world”, I am thinking about relationships and businesses, and how it affects us. So are we connected or disconnected? What causes disconnect?

According to this TED talk, plugged-in lives change who we are. We use our electronic instruments to remove ourselves from relationships and self-reflection—it’s like being alone together. This is a powerful talk on who we are and who we might be turning into.


What to do?

So, what can you do to connect?


Here are some simple ideas:


Make the dining room sacred.

Don’t let the phones and tables into the rooms where you eat. Have conversations at the family dinner table.


Only check your email once (or twice) a day. Only text at certain times of the day, for example during breaks. This will give you time to be creative at work, to read your books uninterrupted, to talk with important colleagues and family/friends.


Meet people for coffee, lunch and/or dinner and turn your phone on silent, or better, GASP, off. This will give you the needed relationship interaction that we humans need.


Join a real group of business people (like my Alpha Group)- a group of people who you can relate to. In my Group we don’t text and the wi-fi key is not given out. We connect with each other.


Join a walking or other sport group. You can’t use your phones while playing volleyball. You will kill two birds with one stone: health needs and interpersonal needs.


Join a religious organization. Research says the religious are happier. Just saying.


Join a club or a writing/book club. My friend joined a book club and feels better connected these days. I joined a writers’ group and feel the same. We both love books.


Learn how to be alone, and self-reflect.

This is what the TED talk suggests- become self-aware and aware of our relationships, and I can’t agree more. Become aware of when we are becoming too insular, too afraid to move out of the text zone and into the talk zone. Finally, pay attention:


Have a great week!


Patricia Jehle


For more on this topic, look here:


ps, Here is my latest post about the benefits of The Alpha Group: AND For those of you who want to know about The Alpha Group and how that could help bring your business more value and sales, please sign up for an email here:


Creativity 101

May 10th, 2016


Yesterday I went to a meeting for the Swiss Women Business Owners group and was able to hear about a new way to get creative, at least it was new to me. The evening was a great time of learning and sharing for all.


We learned a few global rules about getting creative in the process: make sure you know what you want (to get creative about), ask good questions, ask one question at a time (or look at one issue at a time), gather ideas, use your inspirations to create what you want, and then asses. Repeat as necessary.


First you’ve got to be clear about your goal.

If you don’t know where you are going, you can’t get there. Last night we practiced on a new business – we started creating a name for it. That is a clear goal, although not a very simple one.


Then we had some great input from the owner on what the business was about: food, art, creativity and movement. So we went from those words, dividing up those ideas and writing other words that go with each topic, and it was best to work on one concept at a time. So the questions would be something like, “What do you think of when you hear the word culinary?”, for example. Then we wrote down words that we thought of, for example, aroma.


Good questions lead to great ideas. “What do you think of when you hear the word…”

Thinking about one of the issues at a time makes you more creative, too. That we found out from the activity. However, I won’t go into that at the moment.


Then we took those words that we generated and put them together and made names for the new business. All sorts of names. So we used the input and created something new from those words and it was really fun! All those names went onto post its and the participants could view them. I wonder what the new entrepreneur will call her company.


Evaluation has to happen, too

What wasn’t done was a feedback and a round where “the best ones” were chosen, etc. What could have been done is a Facebook light where people put the like sign by the ones they liked. A red, yellow, and green sicker-dot would work, too. But we ran out of time.


In a nutshell

There are so many ways to get creative- in groups, in pairs, alone. We came up with a marvelous list of ways and that list was probably just the beginning of what one can do. What we know is that as entrepreneurs and business owners, we need to be creative. It is part of the job description.


For a list of interesting articles on creativity:

Also, the meeting was called “Querdenken oder kreative Ideenfindung“

Speaker: Elena Bonanomi from Why Not Factory


Want to join my LinkedIn SME group, SMEs Grow Together? Go here:

Have a great week!


Patricia Jehle


ps, For those of you who want to know about The Alpha Group and how that could help bring your business more value and sales, please sign up for an email here:


ReInvent Yourself?

May 3rd, 2016

Re-inventing Yourself – a Myth or Reality?


I have recently read a couple of articles that said you could (or couldn’t) re-invent yourself. Well, that is a good question. Can you re-invent yourself and if yes, to what extent and how?


Yes, we all can change

Based on research, I believe every person is able to change until their life on this earth ends. So, my answer would be a qualified yes. I will tell you a story about myself that illustrates this qualified yes.


An example from my teenage years

When I was about 14 years old I was a typical shy teen: bookish, reserved, pretty good at school and pretty uninterested in (most) sports. But I wanted to be more popular, to “have more fun” in a way that I considered fun. So, for a while I observed those who I considered more popular and fun, and thought about what they did differently than I. I came to a conclusion:


They put themselves forward and volunteered more, for one thing. They offered to do things.


So, as of the day of that realization I began to volunteer to do things, starting with easy things and then gradually getting bolder so that, now at this point some five decades later, I volunteer to do the hard things. This change simply began with raising my hand and beginning to offer my opinion, my time, my voice, my energy, and my creativity. It actually began at a youth camp with my offering to organize a skit for everyone to watch and playing the “lead speaking” role in it. Each little success led to another trial of something a little bit harder.


Failure and the “qualified yes”

But not everything was easily successful. Something of those trials were, of course, failures. I remember singing a solo in front of a similar (supportive-ish) crowd. But it was a fail, and so now I sing in groups, not alone, as I do not want to hurt my more musically sensitive friends’ ears.


Those are simple examples, but I want to come back to the fact I was shy and bookish. I am still an introvert who prefers books to big parties. When I tell most people who know me socially that I am an introvert, they are surprised because I have learned to act extroverted to a certain extent, I have learned to put myself forward and the risk involved is not too hard for me to overcome anymore.


I really do enjoy parties and being with people nowadays, but I love time alone and books more. It took time to learn how to deal with the energy output, to coach myself on how to “do” these kinds of relatively unnatural activities.


The qualification

That is why I say that you can re-invent yourself with a qualified yes. We all have our general personality traits and we work from a starting point of where we are at at any given point in time. Yet, we need to challenge ourselves and not use the excuse, “I am introverted and can’t do parties or “I am extroverted and can’t work/be alone.” We are all able to do a lot of activities we don’t think we can, if we try and learn and try again, and keep trying until we make it. But those activities may very well be out of our “normal arena of comfort”. They may drain us more than other more typical to our personality activities do. That, issue, is another blog topic, however.


Re-inventing your career

Sometimes it is necessary to re-invent a career, instead of working on ones’ personality borders. Lately this topic has become more important for my friends and colleagues as the business and the economic reality of Switzerland’s landscape has been changing. Here is an excellent article from Forbes on re-inventing one’s career:

Essentially what the author, Robert DiGiacomo, is saying is that you need a good plan based on the environment, your expectations, and your abilities and boundaries. He also gives some specific advice regarding networking and using social media, which could even be helpful for those of us who are not so interested in re-inventing anything at the moment. All-in-all, this short article is well worth the few minutes to read it.


And what about your business?

Finally, sometimes you need to re-invent or re-vamp your business strategies. This kind of inventory taking for business should be done quarterly—depending on the business results from the last quarter and/or semester. One of the best TED talks I have recently see is on the balance between exploration and exploitation, which can be seen here: Two reasons companies fail — and how to avoid them



I would love to have an email (or otherwise, perhaps a Skype or coffee) dialog about this kind of re-invention. No matter what, though, when at the beginning of this process, remember to ask yourself what works for others, what has worked for you in the past, and what might work in the future. You will then be on your way to a different situation, future, and maybe even place!


Patricia Jehle           and



ps, For those of you who want to know about The Alpha Group and how that could help bring your business more value and sales, please sign up for an email here:


Also, should you be interested in joining my LinkedIn Group, SMEs Grow Together, go here: