Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Because of A Book with Sylvia LaFair

Joining me on the blog today is author, Sylvia LaFair.  Many thanks to her for stopping by and sharing thoughts on leadership through Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.

Sylvia Lafair, PhD, is a business leadership expert, President of CEO – Creative Energy Options, Inc., a global consulting company focused on optimizing workplace relationships and author of the award winning book, “Don’t Bring It to Work”.

She has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes.com, USA Today, Time, New York Times, many radio, and TV programs.

As an executive coach and leadership educator, she has more than 30 years of experience with all levels of management.

Her quick-witted humor, charisma, and energy are infectious and her knowledge gives substance and depth to all presentations.

Because of a Book

It’s amazing how a pudgy lady who lived in an upside down house, baked amazing cookies, and was married to a pirate can help point you in the direction of a future career.
This woman, a combination of Antie Mame, Mary Poppins, and Maria from the Sound of Music was a major influence for me to choose psychology as a major in college. I remember when my third grade teacher introduced us to Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. She told us the book was a classic. I had no idea what that meant, it just sounded important.
So we gathered on the floor and entered the fantastic world where kids learned about life without being yelled out, where they became accountable for their own behavior by experiencing what matters and what doesn’t.
The “cures” this jolly lady had for bad behavior always made sense to me. There was no lecturing, no finger pointing, and no time outs on stools in corners. Like the boy who had tons of toys and never wanted to pick them up; he didn’t have to. Sounded good to me. It also made sense that he soon had blocked his way out of his room and eventually learned, in his own time about consequences of behavior.
She took the plaintive cry of the “waddle-I-doers” and made an indoor treasure hunt the action of the afternoon. What fun! And the “don’t-want-to-go-to bedders” learned about the importance of sleep by staying up late, later and very late.
Somehow, the behavior modification and reinforcement for positive ways of responding made sense to my nine year old brain.
Here is where it gets really interesting. I have morphed my career from family therapist to leadership development expert. I now teach people that the behavior patterns they learned in their original organization, the family, are what they bring into their present work organization.
I started to relook at Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and see that she also had great lessons for high potential and emerging leaders in all types of work settings. It’s about accountability, learning to understand your own boundaries and how to be good and kind to others. And so much can be learned about solving problems as you taste the cookies that are always a part of the reward for choosing wisely and treating others with respect. That’s core to leadership, isn’t it?
I am now a grandmother and when my daughter feels like tearing out her hair when her three year old sets sassy or her five year old gets bored she has an old friend of mine to rely on.
Books that touch the human universals in all of us are truly classics. When I wrote “Don’t Bring It to Work: Breaking the Family Patterns that Limit Success”, I reread the stories from my old friend to help me stay true to what I wanted to say.
So, thank you Betty MacDonald for conjuring up Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. And thank you for all the wise “cures” that everyone on the planet can relate to.

About Mrs. Piggle Wiggle's Farm
Ms. Piggle-Wiggle's left her upside-down town house and has moved to a farm in the country. With the help of her cows and pigs and horses, she's still curing girls and boys of their bad habits. So whatever the problem-from pet forgetter-itis to fraidycat-ness-the parents all exclaim, "Better call Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle!"

Buy it at Amazon
Buy it at IndieBound
Buy it at Powells

About Don't Bring It to Work
How can you get to the bottom of workplace behaviors that simply don't work for you or your organization?
Don't Bring It to Work explores what happens when patterns originally created to cope with family conflicts are unleashed in the workplace.?This groundbreaking book draws on the success of Sylvia Lafair's PatternAware program Total Leadership Connections. Throughout the book she shows how to break the cycle of pattern repetition and offers the tools that can turn unhealthy family baggage into creative energy that will foster better workplace associations and career success.
Lafair identifies the thirteen most common patterns that correspond to characters familiar to anyone who has ever worked in an office: Super Achiever, Rebel, Persecutor, Victim, Rescuer, Clown, Martyr, Splitter, Procrastinator, Drama Queen or King, Pleaser, Denier, and Avoider. To help overcome destructive behavior problems, she maps out the three main steps for becoming aware of patterns and finding the way OUT:
  • Observe your behavior to discern underlying patterns
  • Understand and probe deeper to discover the origins of these patterns
  • Transform your behavior by taking action to change
The book includes a wealth of real-life anecdotes and practical, workbook-style exercises that clearly show how anyone can get beyond old, outmoded attempts at conflict resolution and empower themselves to make profound differences both at work and in their personal lives.

Buy it at Amazon
Buy it at IndieBound
Buy it at Powells


Sara Croft said...

I'm getting nostalgic reading your blog!!! So many of these books I recognize from when I was a kid.

Shelly B said...

Thanks Sara! That's why I started this feature. I had so many books that influenced me as a young reader; I wanted to see what influenced others.

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