Monthly Archives: August 2015

Leadership! The Magic Sauce of a Successful Enterprise…

JBBurton

JB Burton Accomplished Defense Executive / Leadership Development /Operations / Strategy / Homeland Security/ CBRNE / CWMD

J B Burton, Essential Elements of Leadership  Reference link.

Taking the queue from the common sense and motivational article by J. B. Burton on leadership, following are the same critical talking points from his perspective, but offered from my own experience and education…  You can contrast and compare, but will find much agreement from many seasoned leaders who thrive on empowerment, entrepreneurship, innovation, and transparency.

IntegrityIndividual and Collective.  Leadership is earned by building a culture of trust and kindred spirits.  From the very beginning of my long career in many roles as a manager and executive, especially in relationships with customers, I took a personal oath to never sell my soul, or to compromise the higher goals and aspirations of the team or each individual in my circle of care and influence.  Power is not swinging your weight around and dictating to others, it is as a facilitator, helping others achieve their personal and career goals…and to have fun doing it.

Inspiration–Leaders are community builders of success.  We know that it takes a team to win.  We know that individual performance counts and must be celebrated.  Leaders behave as coaches, inspiring and teaching others to be the best of the best.  Leaders also learn from team members and love constructive dialog and actions that take the team to a higher level of performance and reward.  Leaders set the tone for ownership of goals and objectives, and never fail to be on hand to help the team as a whole to win, or spend quality time with each team member to inspire a higher level of performance.

Mentorship and Coaching:  Leaders know that organizational and individual accountability are critical success factors in any enterprise.  Working with team members and stakeholders to achieve buy-in for the larger vision, goals, and objectives is crucial to excellence in meeting targets both long and short term.  Just as important is consistent communications on the status of quantifiable objectives and in identifying what is required to fix short falls in meeting targets and expectations. Give and take interpersonal communications and trust are at the center of a consistently improving and high achieving enterprise.  The little things count and add up to winning the big game!

Learning:  Leaders are great listeners and learners.  We do not pretend to have all the answers.  We rely on collective impact and build a culture of learning and innovation. 

Discipline:  Effective leaders practice doing the right things, the right way, and at the right time.  There must be a quality assurance expectation of self and others.  Leaders model discipline in working each task as a critical step in achieving higher goals.  We practice preventative maintenance every step of the way, and promote a look back at lessons learned.

Dialogue–Internally and Externally.  One of the best ways to find out how your organization is perceived from the outside looking in, is ask a customer or a stakeholder.  It is easy to become self absorbed and complacent from the inside.  Build your outreach strategies and programs based on external input and from stakeholders, and from those around you on the inside.  Consistently revisit the question, “how are we doing?”  Look at how your competition does business and learn best practices.

Empowerment–Allow your team members the freedom to make mistakes and learn.  Coach your team and individual contributors to take ownership along the way.  Show them how to manage upward.  Never wait for the phone to ring!  Each member of your team should be a leader in bringing solutions to problems, ideas, and success stories to the top for optimum visibility, to reinforce others, and to inspire.  Confidence as a team and as an individual is critical to success.

Measures of Effectiveness and Accountability— Leaders must be very good at quantifying and measuring results and overall effectiveness.  We must look at symptomatic conditions that either lead to success or sometimes failure.  Fix the larger problem, do not put a patch on a symptom of a larger problem.  Measuring effectiveness should be a natural inclination of any successful enterprise.  I call it the culture of ownership!  We leaders are constantly looking at getting better just about every minute of the day…

I am often asked about the “magic sauce” of a highly successful team that seems to thrive consistently, even under tough circumstances.  It is in the hearts and minds of kindred spirits that make an enterprise the best it can be.  It is in the above points on the elements of effective leadership that represent the custom development of a specific recipe for your brand of “magic sauce.”

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 1 & 2… Click on the highlighted text for my author page…

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, and Community Leader

 

Does Mindfulness-Based Therapy Help Trauma Sufferers Live in the Moment?

MindfulnessPTSD

“Veterans with PTSD who received mindfulness-based therapy reported greater (though modest) improvement in symptom severity than veterans in another form of therapy.”

Mindfulness…”Living in the Moment.”  Quote from this link…

“Mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy teaches people to pay attention to the present moment in an accepting way. Past studies have shown it can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, but could it also provide relief for those who suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? A new study finds veterans with PTSD who received mindfulness-based therapy reported greater improvement in symptom severity than veterans in group therapy sessions focused on current problems. Their overall improvement, though, was modest.  PTSD affects nearly a quarter — 23 percent — of all veterans who have returned from deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. Left untreated, this condition poses unique dangers to veterans and their families.”

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It is a true story that living in the moment doing the things you are passionate about, including making a difference for others, offers a way to keep the pain of past traumatic experiences at a safer distance and mitigates anxiety about the future.  Some will argue that these healthy distractions achieved through mindfulness-based therapy can keep a person in denial of addressing the root causes of post trauma symptoms.  I say doing both in a balanced way can be effective.  I would rather practice mindfulness therapy than use prescription drugs or alcohol as self medication for the long term.  I also need to revisit and reconcile my own life trauma circumstances as an on-going process to keep a healthy perspective of those early child and young adult years that were so painful living in a highly stressful and sometimes violent home.

In my most recent book, My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 2, Chapter 4…Teaching Kids Empathy & Compassion…Avoid the dangers of emotional numbness and denial, explores my own experience and resources in helping parents, teachers, and children understand how mindfulness-based therapy can work effectively.  Following is an excerpt from Chapter 4…

As vice chair of Neighbors for Kids, I have the privilege and opportunity to work closely with our staff and the children as part of my role as a board member for this amazing after-school program in Depoe Bay, Oregon.  Our program is growing with many new kids enjoying a very popular summer camp and registering for the start of the new school year.  Our kids become very excited and busy with recreation and academic programs centered in a core learning curriculum known as “STEAM,”  A Framework for Teaching across the Disciplines.   We are also an after-school site for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers project in collaboration with the Lincoln County School District (LCSD).

Our teachers and volunteers take a few minutes before each class to help students relax and refocus…a mindfulness exercise.  The exercise is as simple as staying quiet for 3 minutes with some deep breathing and positive thoughts.  Often children are distracted because of the challenges of socializing and sometimes from sad thoughts.  I could easily see that taking a little time for meditation with the kids helps them get ready for a new learning experience.  The short break between programs also helps us adults do a better job of mentoring and teaching kids as well. 

I have written often about the topic of “mindfulness”  (click highlighted text for video clip) in the context of life after trauma for adults.  But the practice and benefits of meditation or mindfulness therapy definitely apply broadly as a way to relax for people of all ages.  Children in particular get stressed out the same as adults.  We all need a mindfulness timeout a few times a day to stay calm and focused on the joy of living, learning, and growing.”

Take a look at my author page, and download “My Journey Part 2” and other books and resources to explore mindfulness-based therapy.  I have enjoyed far more peace of mind in these later years by becoming highly aware of my own post traumatic stress symptoms, and engaging in a balanced treatment strategy that works.  Each individual must find their own way, or in the case of children, show them the way by practicing living in the moment techniques.

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 1 & 2…  Click the highlighted text for my author page…

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Author, at Sunriver, Oregon in May 2015.

 

 

For Immediate Release… My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 2…Press Release!

Press Release–My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 2… “Saving your children, family, and loved ones from inter-generational post traumatic stress (PTS).”

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Author, Depoe Bay, Oregon

 

DIGITAL_BOOK_THUMBNAIL

“Saving your children, family, and loved ones from inter-generational post traumatic stress (PTS).”

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 14, 2015 | Author Steve Sparks |

 

My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 2, will be released on Friday August 14, 2015.  The nonfiction narrative represents four years of outreach and research captured from the author’s blog, Children and Families in Life after Trauma. Selected topics are organized into eight chapters focused on trauma affected family circumstances and positive outcomes.

This third book release is about Steve’s personal journey of healing.  He writes as a survivor of childhood and early adult trauma growing up in a toxic military family torn apart by WWII and Korean War.  Steve’s blog, Children and Families in Life after Trauma, provides rich content as an e-book.  The narrative carries the reader on a story of inspiration, passion, and discovery of the roots of trauma-affected children and provides strategies for parents, teachers, and loved ones to help mitigate the suffering.

Steve’s story addresses the broader circumstances of children and families living with traumatic experiences, including military families, 1st responders, kids growing up with domestic violence, and in troubled neighborhoods affected by gangs, drugs, and severe crime. Sparks carves out a path of healing and peace of mind that has brought joy to his life and far better relationships with family and friends, including far less stressful and more rewarding professional experiences. The book truly shows an inspirational and motivational journey that has its roots in making a difference for others. Steve lives with his wife and soul mate Judy in Depoe Bay, Oregon. Judy has been a critical partner in supporting his work, including writing the Foreword for this latest release. Circe Olson Woessner, executive director, Museum of the American Military Family (MAMF) writes an excellent Prologue to show the impact of post-traumatic stress (PTS) on the military family as a whole. One complete chapter of Steve’s book is dedicated to MAMF.

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 1 & 2… Click highlighted text for my author page for ordering or downloading eBooks.

Healing Traumatized Kids…My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 2…August 14th…70th Anniversary End of WWII

Training Teachers and Mentors to be Trauma Informed…video clip

Critt_HeadStart_EntityRotatorUPDATE

Helping Children Affected by Trauma Circumstances…at Crittenton Children’s Center

Crittenton Children’s Center, Saint Luke’s Health System

Crittenton Children’s Center has excelled for more than a century at effectively treating the mental and behavioral health care needs of children, adolescents, and their families. Our facility offers a child and adolescent psychiatric hospital, foster care and adoption case management, intensive in-home services, school-based intervention, and more.

Crittenton Children’s Center:

  • Provides more actively practicing board-certified psychiatrists than any other similar facility in the region
  • Uses multiple evidence-based therapy interventions to ensure the best outcomes for patients
  • Is licensed as a psychiatric hospital by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
  • Is licensed as a Child Placing Agency and Residential Child Care Agency by the Missouri Department of Social Services-Children’s Division
  • Trauma Smart program is a highly successful early childhood trauma intervention program designed to help heal children 3-5 years of age

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DIGITAL_BOOK_THUMBNAIL

Saving your children, family, and loved ones from inter-generational post-traumatic stress (PTS)…

My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 2, will be released on Friday August 14, 2015.  The non-fiction narrative represents 4 years of outreach and research captured in my blog, Children and Families in Life after Trauma. Selected topics are organized in 8 chapters focused on trauma affected family circumstances and positive outcomes.

This 3rd book release is about my personal journey of healing.  I write as a survivor of childhood and early adult trauma  growing up in a toxic military family torn apart by WWII and Korean War.  My blog, Children and Families in Life after Trauma provides rich content for this e-book.  The narrative carries the reader on a story of inspiration, passion, and discovery of the roots of trauma-affected children and provides strategies for parents, teachers, and loved ones to help mitigate the suffering.

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 1 & 2… Click highlighted text for my author page.