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Jan Byars

Jan Byars

Jan Byars is the founder and president of LeadSync, LLC. After years of study and research, she believes an organization leader’s internal state is critical to leadership ability and ultimately affects the organization’s success. The philosophy that Leadership is Being and then Doing drives LeadSync’s unique approach to leadership development which can be applied across all levels, organizations and industries.

Learn more here.

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Be the Change (Or Grow Up to Show Up)

Monday, 02 May 2016 14:11 Published in The Blog

Harvard Business Review recently posted an article about how you can’t change culture. And, from a "command and control leadership" perspective, this is true.  You can’t command a change -- any change really -- and have it be sustainable.  “Do as I say and not as I do” just doesn’t work. 

Even before the canon of leadership literature made a shift to values-based leadership, Gandhi demonstrated how to change culture.  In his case, it was the culture of India.  He summed it up beautifully:  Be the Change you wish to see in the world.

With command and control leadership, the leader acts as though he is not part of the organizational system s/he leads -- acting disembodied from the system they wish to change. 

Why doesn't that approach work? The science on how it is impossible to be outside a system has been around for more than a century, beginning with Einstein.  We are all part of the systems we lead.  Cultural change begins with internal change of its leaders’ (whether they hold formal or informal positions).

Ken Wilber talks about Waking Up, Growing Up and Showing Up -- doing the work necessary to lead a conscious business or any organization beyond the constrictive boundaries of traditional command and control.  "Waking up," is the consciousness piece -- becoming more aware of, and understanding our interconnection.  "Growing Up" is the psychological development, the essential maturity, which is critical for all leaders.  It is impossible to "Show Up" without these two processes in place. An organization’s culture aligns itself from the psycho-spiritual development of its leadership. 

Choosing and shaping the culture of your organization begins with knowing your own capacity for leadership, not your skill level, but your psycho-spiritual capacity. 

- Jan

Find LeadSync on Facebook, and drjanbyars on Twitter and Instagram.


Lisa Meece

Monday, 02 May 2016 13:53 Published in About Us

Lisa Meece has spent the last 20 years working to improve organizational performance. She’s been effective in a wide range of industries from food and customer service to rocket science and brain surgery. She has worked as a consultant both inside and outside of organizations, and in 2010 she founded the Learning Architect Group, focused on designing learning interventions for organizations.

As a learning designer, Meece focuses on shortening learning curves for her clients. Sometimes it's about interpersonal interaction, sometimes it's about simulating experiences in a safe environment, sometimes it's simply about providing performance support to improve outcomes. It's always about working with the stakeholders and making sure the approach meets the needs of the organization.


Karen Friss

Monday, 02 May 2016 13:42 Published in About Us

Before she retired, Karen devoted her 30 year career at Eli Lilly and Company (pharmaceuticals) to helping get better medicines to patients faster through assignments of increasing responsibility in finance, information technology, human resources, corporate strategy and public affairs. Her last 14 years at Lilly included leading the company’s global public policy function, providing staff support for the Lilly Board of Directors Public Policy and Compliance Committee, developing the corporate affairs strategy for Lilly Research Labs, and serving on the company’s Bioethics Committee. Karen’s non-profit Board experience includes six years on the Board of the David A. Winston Health Policy Fellowship based in Washington D.C. 

Karen has a BS in Economics, and MBA from UCLA, and a Certificate in Non-Profit Executive Leadership, Indiana University, Center on Philanthropy. She has two college age children and enjoys traveling and mentoring.


Relax and Allow

Wednesday, 20 April 2016 17:18 Published in The Blog

Stress and Conflict can shut you down. They overwhelm your nervous system and make you more reactive.  Yet, these dynamics are considered so normal at work that they’re almost considered a natural condition -- as if there’s no choice.  This stress is actually part of The Crazy that most of us live in. 

The Crazy is the onslaught of information and activity surrounding us.

But if stress and conflict are not the Truth, but only a choice that has been habitually made, how do we choose again?  How do we step out of The Crazy? 

Step one: allow and accept.  This appears counterintuitive, but you can’t step out of something that you’re resisting.  Stress and conflict are often conditions of your life, but they are not the only option.  When you stop resisting these conditions, you automatically reduce your stress.  As you continue to allow, and observe, you’ll reduce your participation in the conflict.  Both of these choices allow you to reset your autonomic nervous system and transition to a more calm state.  As you become calmer, you begin to see alternative solutions and actions that are in line with a more balanced workplace.  And in the process, the positive feedback loop continues to emerge.

So relax and allow.  Soften you position to the stress and conflict. Remember to breathe as you walk down the hall, drop your shoulders and consciously relax your muscles.

It changes your mental status, your physiology, and your capacity to lead.  So, as you find yourself walking down the hall, full of tension and stress… simply soften and allow.  This does not mean roll over. It means relax, take in a bigger picture, and allow yourself to respond from a calmer place.

It’s these tiny micropractices, small changes in your thoughts and behavior, that change your life right where you are.

- Jan

Find LeadSync on Facebook, and drjanbyars on Twitter and Instagram.


Holding the post – ‘Doing Good’ right where you are.

Monday, 29 February 2016 22:46 Published in The Blog

One of the tenets of yoga is do what you can do - show up and do your best, each day.  It is not about competition. It’s one of the few places that actively recognizes how much performance varies from day to day. I have done it long enough to see a big difference, especially in a morning class.  I am not a morning person.  But what I do know is that overall, showing up makes me stronger. When I get lost in my head about whether this is a good day or a bad day, I waste attention on something I have no control over. 

This is similar to the concept of Holding Steady discussed by Ron Heifetz. A leader has to show up, and present in the clearest manner possible.  Some days are good, some not so much.  But showing up, changes the outcome, and makes your team stronger, makes the outcome more likely. 

One of my spiritual thought leaders, Cynthia Bourgeault refers to this as Holding the Post.  Show up as clear and strong as you can each day.  Hold your intention and your attention, don’t get lost in judging each and every thing that occurs.  This changes your physiology and it strengthens habits in the direction of your intention.  It’s done quietly; it is not about making a show. 

My favorite coach, Bill Self, says it a bit differently, play fast, but don’t rush. Bring your conscious attention to your activities, be present, and act with clarity.

Conscious, mindful leadership starts right where you are. How do you bring meaning to your work? How often do you show up?

- Jan

Find LeadSync on Facebook, and drjanbyars on Twitter and Instagram.


How to stop war, Peace Is

Friday, 29 January 2016 17:10 Published in The Blog

How to stop war, Peace Is.

It's been fun to watch the growth of Benefit Corporation states and B-Certification companies --  a 20% increase in 2015. This is definitely, a clear and growing trend in business today.

Benefit Corporations/B-Certified companies place an emphasis on societal change: parity with profit. They make a commitment to do no harm to the earth and to support their communities.  One of the main intents of B-Corps is to effectively reduce greed.  More and more people are asking of their work, “Is this doing good? Is it adding value?”  Benefit Corps are on the fast track to attract and to keep the best and brightest talent.

Assessing an organization's impact is the kind of self-reflection that I am always talking about in this blog.  Aligning what you are doing with who you choose to be.

There is, however, an even deeper way to look at benefiting society -- a benefit that may not even meet the criteria for a B-Certification and it is actually more important.  It is about adding peace.  How do we do that?  By not participating in the war within your own organization -- passive-aggressive behavior, the nasty gossip and thoughtlessness. These too, are part of the greed cycle. The greed of power.

Our thoughts and behavior actually affect those around us. Think about the resources, the energy, and the attention, that could be focused on productivity if the infighting didn't exist... if the workplace was a mindful, collaborative place where we realize we are interconnected.

After all, what IS the net effect of feeding the children, when we're stabbing our co-workers in the back?

- Jan

Find LeadSync on Facebook, and drjanbyars on Twitter and Instagram.


Winter’s call: No strong branches without deep roots

Monday, 25 January 2016 19:51 Published in The Blog

Recently, I was hiking in the woods and came upon a large fallen tree.  The roots were exposed and I took a minute to really look at what it took to support such a large tree.  The roots were massive; they were at least as big as any of the branches.

It struck me, how deep and sustaining the roots really are.  How necessary for a strong tree.

In business, we tend to evaluate our success by the length of our branches and the fruit that they bear. We look for quick business cycles and fail to look at our roots. Of course, there's nothing wrong with finding the "perfect opportunity" that allows for fast growth and good profit.  However, focusing solely on this "quick fix" impairs our judgment.

Winter is historically a time to look within, to hibernate and move deeper -- to get to the "root" of things in order to strengthen your foundation and prepare for sustained growth. 

Remember: no one gets to start with the harvest. An orchard's crop begins with immense preparation: soil, seed, roots. 

What is the state of your organizations’ roots? There is an implied interconnection in our roots, a network of support. 

- Jan

Find LeadSync on Facebook, and drjanbyars on Twitter and Instagram.


Real Change is Internally Driven

Thursday, 14 January 2016 15:33 Published in The Blog

Most of us have something we’d like to change -- either as an individual or as an organization.  However, when asked about it, we tend to list all the reasons change can’t happen.  And those reasons may even be true. But, they’re not the whole truth. 

Change happens by focusing on what CAN happen. 

One of my favorite quotes addresses this beautifully: “Argue for your limitations and they are surely yours.” 

 When you argue, you place your energy and attention on obstacles rather than the goal.  I am pretty sure the Wright Brothers didn’t sit around talking about why flight was impossible. Instead, they focused on what was possible, until their ideas materialized and took flight.

If you saw the movie, “The Martian”, Mark Watney survived being marooned on Mars by focusing on what he could do, not by focusing on dying. (Oops! Spoiler Alert!)

This is the key to sustainable change, individually and organizationally.  Start from where you are.  Do what you can do. Show up again tomorrow. And the next day. And the next, etc., etc., etc. 

 There’s a quantum leap embedded in this kind of change.  A leap that is actually sustainable.  But it starts from beginning where you are and showing up, again and then again. “At the moment of commitment the entire universe conspires to assist you.” Johann von Goethe

 Where do you need to show up?  What can you do today, in line with your new direction (regardless of how small)? Do that. 

- Jan

Find LeadSync on Facebook, and drjanbyars on Twitter and Instagram.


Reflection – Rebirth

Wednesday, 30 December 2015 15:58 Published in The Blog

We like to think life is about running around ticking off items on our lists. That is actually as close to a Zoombie state as we are likely to get. It’s one of our cultural blind spots.

Recently, I met a woman who laughed at me when I told her I was working on my New Year’s resolutions. So I asked, “How do you evaluate where you are and what needs to be adjusted, changed, or grown in your life.” She responded: “I don’t need New Years to do this.”

Absolutely!” I said, “Self-reflection and evaluation can be done at any time. Tell me how you used this in your life.”

She stared blankly. She wasn’t able to think of a time.

Are resolutions cliché? Maybe, but there is a reason the term has become ubiquitous.

Have I kept every resolution? Clearly not. Now, that we really can laugh at! But without question, my life – my mental, emotional, physical and spiritual state – is better with a plan and a yearly focus. Even if I only accomplish 20%, it is better than being unconscious of where I am and what I am creating in my work and life. Sometimes, I have a year that blows up and I have to just focus on keeping it together.

We don’t realize how much power small, daily practices have in our lives.

Just doing a practice of awareness, is big.

Reflection isn't scary, it can be done at lunch: What have I accomplished this year?  What did I do very well? What didn’t go as planned? Can I see a reason for this derailment?  Can I do something to change the current trajectory?

We forget that a 1% adjustment now, means a huge change in the future. It’s like compounding interest!

Even if you are disappointed, you restabilize and start again, from right where you are. Life happens! The same happens with business. Sometimes the best plans blow up. But knowing where you are and the resources you have, makes getting your feet back underneath you faster and easier.

 This year I have been inspired by one of my mentor/though leaders, Cynthia Beaugault. I have heard her say many times, Plug the Leaks. She is referring to our energy and attention. In 2016, I will be watching and tightening up my attention. I hope to spend a bit less time spinning in my thoughts; and more time on what I want to see.

 As I get out of my head, I help remove my blocks to seeing opportunities that are already there.  Whatever I choose to do with my time and attention, I will be more fully there. Even if I am eating too many cookies!

- Jan

Find LeadSync on Facebook, and drjanbyars on Twitter and Instagram.


Whole System & Whole Self

Friday, 09 October 2015 12:13 Published in The Blog

I have the honor to present in Barcelona this coming week.  I am teaching small daily practices that change a leaders’ capacity to bring attention to the present.  Each practice can be done while walking down the hall.  It only takes seconds of attention, throughout the day, to increase energy and clarity of attention. In fact, you can begin with the time you use worrying about not having enough time. Yes, it can be that simple.  Where is your attention, do you let it drift away, dart around frantically in your head; or use it purposefully?

Plugging those leaks allows for each of us to be more integrated. A fully integrated Self creates a fully integrated System. Integration has to do with our own level of psychological development.  Yes, there are levels, and growth that go all the way to very old age.  Most of us stop growing around 30 or so.  It is our choice to be present and direct our attention and energy to grow into a more flexible, fluid person; into a more innovative, agile company.

 See you in Barcelona?

- Jan

Find LeadSync on Facebook, and drjanbyars on Twitter and Instagram.


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