Welcome to YOU Make a Difference.  Stories...observations and reflection on our Leadership Journey!


How important is a sense of belonging and “home” to YOU in not only your personal life but also in your career? I just finished my first year with HP Financial Services and I can tell you…thanks to wonderful coworkers…leadership…an incredible partnership with HP Inc. and the culture of both organizations…. I feel I have found a home.

I have to admit (and maybe I am alone in this thinking) that one of the things that has helped to ground me over the years....in all aspects of my life.... is a sense of “home”. I believe that I have the ability to create a strong affinity, sense of belonging, sense of security and calm no matter where I am (including changing countries…as well as changing jobs). I always joke with my kids that “home is where your underwear is”. My point is – home is where ever you are and who you are with. I know a lot of people are taken up with their home as brick and mortar. What the physical structure is can be very important to them as well as the stuff in it. What we have tried to do as a family is create an environment that the people around us create that sense of home and only YOU can create the sense of belonging, security and calm that comes from that happy feeling of knowing you are finally home. I would argue that it has nothing to do with a physical location or building.

I am more and more feeling “at home” with Arizona and with my life in general. What is interesting to me is that the sense of home comes from the relationships that I have built. It goes back to people…connection… and vulnerability. In fact, I wish I could help other’s create that sense of home as I believe it instills confidence, happiness and serenity that ground us as we make our way through all the madness this world throws at us.

Why does this “sense of home” form the basis of my leadership thoughts this week? I saw a quote recently that said

“Happiness does not mean that we have the best of everything, Happiness is making the best of everything that we have”

A Story…

When I was working for Keane Consulting earlier in my career, I developed a friendship with a colleague named Sean Bishop. I can now say 11 years into our relationship – that Sean and his family are OUR family. We care for each other and our respective families as if we were blood relations. We built this sense of caring based on early years of some really tough client engagements where he and his family moved to Toronto to support a tough spot Keane was in and I was the client executive responsible for the account. When I took the assignment for Honeywell a year later, Sean, Heidi and their 4 kids moved to Arizona too as Sean took on the Best Western Account. We are each other’s only family here and we are a long way from “home”. 

One of Sean and Heidi’s girls has heart issues a few years ago and was facing her second open heart surgery. At the time…we rallied and I took time off to support them as best I could. The procedure was in Minnesota (as that was where the leading surgeon in the country was) and one particular weekend they went for an orientation tour of the hospital. We took their two boys for a few days while they travelled and we all fell into place to make it feel like “home” for them as much as we could. We hugged them, told them we loved them, and I spent time in the heat of summer supporting one of the boys at his baseball practice as if I was his mom. I took video of his triumphs and told him how proud I was of him when he came off the field. It meant my Saturday was devoted to other things than my routine – but I was lifted knowing it was for all the right reasons.

Our Leadership Journey….

As we talk about our leadership journey – and we go through each day and week – there are things that happen both personally and professionally that we all need to take in stride. Creating a sense of home for our teammates without it becoming totally dependent on one or two people where the house/business either stays together or falls apart based on specific leaders or teammates is critical to our success. It is just like the example with the boys. We were able to seamlessly create a sense of home for them even though critical “leaders” (their parents) were missing. They managed to feel a sense of belonging, security and happiness even without them there. I know they would prefer if their parents had been there – but they found a way to go on. Same goes for when our leaders or teammates transition in and out of the business. Others step in to create a sense of home and belonging – we go forward. How we react…how we work together to make the best of everything we have may not always feel right at first (change is hard) but creating the new normal and sense of home is critical…not only for us as leaders…but for those around us as well.

So….I’ll end where I began…

1)      I believe creating a sense of home in our personal and business lives is critical. 

2)      This sense of home is one which we have a choice over (Choose your attitude)

3)      We can choose to work with those around us… and above us to create the sense of security…calm…and belonging which results in the sense of home

4)      When we DON’T feel at home it has a direct impact on the whole “household” (business)

5)      We have to look ourselves in the mirror and make the changes we need to coach ourselves up or out so we can find the place that WE belong

Leadership Questions of the week for YOU: Can you relate to the “sense of Home” and think of some events or times recently where this came to the forefront? How important is a sense of home as a leader or as a teammate? Do you agree or disagree that a sense of home comes from within rather than a place or being tied to specific individuals?  Like parents, how do we create a sense of home for our teammates for as long as they are in “our care”?

Thanks for reading and remember....YOU make a difference!

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