Archive for the ‘Facilitating Business’ Category

I feel like a proud papa. Is it time to pass out cigars?

In Coaching, Facilitating Business, Facilitating Genius, facilitation skills, leadership on April 26, 2015 at 8:43 pm
Gentlemen, the smoking light has been lit.

Gentlemen, the smoking light has been lit.

It’s been many years since the birth of my now fully grown children. But I remember those days as if they were yesterday. I was a proud papa. And, YES, I did hand out cigars to my closest family members and friends.

So what is the protocol when you feel like a proud papa because you’ve just birthed a book? Do you hand out cigars? Do you keep this news to yourself and hope that folks notice your book’s title as they go shopping to add a new title to their e-readers?

Okay, okay … Please excuse the self promotion. But …

Facilitating Genius is available now at the following on-line book stores:

eBookIt! …

It’s also available through …

  • Amazon
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Google Books
  • Kobo.

And soon to be available at …

  • Apple iBooks
  • Baker & Taylor
  • Ingram.

Yes, I feel again like a father who’s just witnessed the birth of a son or daughter. Consider this the ‘birth announcement’ for my newest book. And as they say at military formal affairs, “Gentlemen, the smoking lamp has been lit.”


An Uncertain Future

In Facilitating Business, Facilitating Genius, facilitation skills, How To, Leave Your Comfort Zone, Mid-Atlantic Facilitators Network, Open Space Technology, Tips re: Professional Development, World Cafe on January 25, 2014 at 10:46 pm
You don't need a crystal ball to facilitate a meeting about the future.

You don’t need a crystal ball to facilitate a meeting about the future.

Register for the MAFN DC workshop set for 1-31-2014 to learn more about how to facilitate decision-making meetings for an uncertain future.

For a sneak preview, you can visit SlideShare.



It may not be a license to kill (like James Bond) but my license is good thru 2017

In Cartooning, Facilitating Business, facilitation skills, leadership, teamwork on August 16, 2013 at 11:10 pm
It may not be a license to kill, but my license is good through 2017.

It may not be a license to kill, but my license is good through 2017.

Excuse me as I share with you good news and a bit of a celebration.

Today I learned of my re-certification — as a Certified Professional Facilitator — by the International Association of Facilitators. This extends my license to serve & through 2017.  Yay!

And if you’re still reading this blog, may I share with you a little secret?

I wish that anyone who needs assistance with designing and executing an important meeting, workshop, symposium, or conference would promise to only hire professional facilitators.

Why?  Because those who earn their “CPF” have demonstrated that they have the core competencies required to do the job.

For a list of these professionals do visit

Okay, I’m stepping off my soap box.  Thanks for listening.

Starbuck’s Secret

In Alignment, Communication, Facilitating Business, leadership, World Cafe on April 12, 2013 at 2:43 pm
As you enjoy your morning cup of joe, ask yourself, "what kind of leader am I?"

As you enjoy your morning cup of joe, ask yourself, “what kind of leader am I?”

On Visibility: How people know you > Who you know > What you know

In Alignment, Facilitating Business on February 19, 2013 at 4:58 pm
While doodling at a 40-Plus-DC workshop in early February, I re-discovered why visibility is so important in business.

While doodling at a 40-Plus-DC workshop in early February, I re-discovered why visibility is so important in business.

We’ve all heard the expression “It’s not what-you-know but who-you-know that’s most important in life.”

Well, I’m not yet ready to discount the knowledge, skills, and abilities (a.k.a. competencies) that anyone brings to an organization. What-you-know still is very important to future employment and career advancement.

I’m also not yet ready to say that who-you-know trumps what-you-know. Yes, it is very important that you build and maintain your network. It is very important that you know people — particularly people who can help you.

Perhaps we need to flip such questions and re-frame things a bit. Perhaps we need to ask ourselves:

  • What is it about me and my competencies that others need to know?
  • When people think of me, what is it that they remember?

Whereas, Charles Greene III suggests, “So how visible are you?” I will flip this or  paraphrase this question to now read: “How are you visible?”

  • Do you have a PR-campaign in place that will help others remember your brand, your services, or the goods you sell?
  • Have you integrated or harmonized the messages you post on the various social networks?
  • Are you consistent with your communication so that if a future employer were to GOOGLE you, they’d find a positive and consistent message?

Related questions include …

  • How are you managing your personal and professional brand?
  • How are you maintaining the many professional and personal relationships you’ve made thru-out your career?
  • And if employee referral programs are so important to finding a job or your next project or gig, then how will you find a way or make a way to exploit or leverage your connections?

On brand management

In Alignment, Cartooning, Communication, Facilitating Business, Luck, time management, Toastmasters on July 17, 2012 at 7:57 pm

Ancient History – In August 1997 FAST COMPANY published an article by Tom Peters entitled The Brand Called You.

By 1999 the Peters business publishing “machine” had cranked out The Brand You 50 as a part of Tom’s Reinventing Work series of books.  Between the pages of this small treasure were “fifty ways to transform yourself from an employee into a brand that shouts distinction, commitment, and passion.”

Roll the calendar forward and today we have a new generation of experts advising us on how we must manage our personal and professional brand via today’s social networks.  Go ahead … Open a new window and GOOGLE, for example, “managing your brand on linked in” and see if you receive at least 11,000+ hits from real and/or self-proclaimed experts.

Yes, it’s down right tough to stand out from the crowd in today’s hyper-reactive marketplace.  The world wide web and blog-o-sphere have simultaneously opened and flooded the marketplace of ideas for all who aspire to launch or expand their practice, business, or on-line store.  Today’s market is crazy.  (Period)  And it’s oh-so-easy to spend hours upon hours working on-line to manage ones identity and brand.

So at the risk of adding myself to the list of folks offering marketing advice, consider …

Spend some time thinking about not only who you are but also think about and decide who you are NOT.  Rather than add another and then another service offering to your professional website, rather than lengthening your resume and/or Linked In profile, consider a strategy based upon subtraction.

What might you eliminate from the on-line clutter or “junk” that dilutes your brand? Here’s a comic that illustrates my point.

Today’s tweet and a comic image on how you must know who you are and who you’re not while managing your personal & professional brand.

@JohnLesko57 is not a good brand for several reasons:

  • The Heinz Food Company has its “57 varieties” and has pretty much captured this brand.
  • Folks might think that I’m 57 years young and mistakenly think that as a Baby Boomer I’m over-the-hill and/or too set in my ways to IN-O-V8.
  • And a few of my friends from Toastmasters may think that I’m dwelling too long on a small bit of history from 2009-2010.

Well, @JohnLeskoDotBiz is at least consistent with my website, this blog’s URL, and my public profile on Linked In.  Inspiring your team at your next event.

Hmmmm … I wonder if the folks in Pittsburgh will be happy with this? Will they or anyone else for that matter take notice?


All tips are appreciated. Thank you.

In Active Listening, Customer Service, elbow grease, Facilitating Business, High Touch, How To on March 5, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Whoa! Check out the line in front of the local Starbucks.

 Have you ever wondered why so many people line up nearly every morning to pay what some folks claim are premium prices for a tall cup of coffee and a scone?  I know that I have nearly each time I pass by my local Starbucks. 

Have you ever wondered what exactly is in that latte?  Are these folks “nuts”?  Are they addicts?  Or is there something else to be learned from companies such as Starbucks?

Hmmmm … So if you’d like to have people queued up in front of your store front ready to open their wallets and pay you for seemingly pedestrian goods served with a friendly smile and human touch read on.  And if you’re in the professional services industry, take a tip from from me and pause to study the grounds upon which client satisfaction is built.

Because … “L.A.T.T.E.” stands for the following: 

Listen. Do you concentrate on what your clients or customers say for understanding, tune out distractions, and not interrupt?
•.Apologize. Can you express understanding and empathy for your client’s or customer’s experience or perception?
Take responsibility. Do you promise to accept ownership of your client’s or customer’s issues, and personally commit to their satisfaction?
Take action.  Do you become your client’s or customer’s advocate to address, resolve and satisfy their concerns?
Easy feedback.   How will you keep your clients or customers informed and communicate transparently?

Oh yeah … There’s no obligation to tip your facilitator-coach.  We appreciate you dropping by to read today’s blog post.  Besides, your satisfaction in my business is job one.  It’s important that you come back to visit again.  Please do comment below if you like what’s being served.

That said … A few coins or a bill slipped into the “good karma jar” are greatly appreciated by this aspiring business-best-selling-author, consultant, and part-time barista.

First Impressions – 40PlusDC

In Cartooning, Facilitating Business, Facilitating Genius, How To on February 21, 2012 at 6:25 pm


Here’s a HOW TO comic strip on meeting in OPEN SPACE

In Facilitating Business, Facilitating Genius, facilitation skills, High Touch, How To, leadership, Open Space Technology on December 18, 2011 at 8:50 pm

In between the office parties, last-minute trips to the shopping mall, and time spent on projects that absolutely must be done before the holidays; I made time to participate in the Mid-Atlantic Facilitators Network December DC workshop on OPEN SPACE TECHNOLOGY.  There are many settings where OST may be the ideal approach.  Consider for example the following:

a) You’re thrown into a quickly organized meeting of your peers or other professionals, all of whom are very good at what they do and perhaps believe they don’t need the services of a facilitator.

b) You’re asked to work in a community project where stakeholders are many and leadership roles are unclear.

c) You’re thrown together in a “crisis” situation and must come up with an ad hoc team or work group that must solve the problem directly.

We in the Washington DC area were lucky to have Paul Curci serve as our workshop leader on December 16th.  Below is a two-page HOW TO comic strip that summarizes the workshop and outlines a few of the fundamentals of Open Space Technology.

Page 1 of 2: OST How To Comic Strip

Page 2 of 2: OST How To Comic Strip

PS: If you’ve not yet experienced working in an OST-based meeting, resolve in 2012 to do so.  Consider this blog post a holiday gift.  Resolve to continue with your professional development in 2012.



A few thoughts on luck

In Cartooning, Facilitating Business on September 19, 2011 at 6:15 am