Lessons from an Ambassador


Steven Gaffney and Olexander MotsykLast night, I had the privilege of attending a dinner hosted by the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC), honoring the Ukrainian Ambassador, Olexander Motsyk. He has had the longest tenure of any ambassador from Ukraine with the US since its independence.

Olexander has encountered a lot of challenges in his tenure – he has weathered different regimes within Ukraine, as well as conflicts with Russia. Although many of the stories revolved around the ambassador’s ability to confront issues and problems head-on, I also heard people share their admiration for his gift of listening and his personable, inclusive nature. The people in the room were truly there to honor him.

So, when we look at our own lives, especially during difficult times, are we taking a page from the ambassador’s book?

  1. Do we listen, acknowledge people, and share information whenever we can?
  2. Do we uphold our passion, the way he does for his country?
  3. Do we treat all parties involved with dignity and respect?

It is important to integrate these ideas with the people in our lives, even if they have opposing points of view, and not default into avoidance mode out of fear or discomfort. The ambassador is a remarkable model as someone who didn’t pull back when the going got tough.

I’ve encountered many people who believe that, and can think of different times in my life where, avoidance seemed like the easiest choice but it is never the solution. Bringing people together, and following his example, can change our lives and the lives of others.

The Gift of Appreciation

We probably need to appreciate people more.

That is the sentiment shared in today’s video. Whether it is your personal life or your career / business, appreciation should take center stage.

Once you’ve had a chance to watch the video, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to visit our Facebook page and join in on the conversation around appreciation.


Effective Communication is Key

In the absence of data, people just make things up.

When leaders say less, the people on their team worry more and as a result, have side conversations. These side conversations can derail the original intent of the message and cause more problems than solutions.

In this video, Steven explores why we are seeing more of these problems arise and how we can utilize effective communication as a strategy in business and in life.

Once you’ve had a chance to watch the video, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to visit our Facebook page and join in on the conversation around effective communication.

Getting the Unsaid Said

One of the most important things for us to recognize is that one of the main problems in communication is not what people are saying but rather what they aren’t saying.

How often have you thought to yourself, “If they had just told me, I could have made a better decision!” or “Had they told me what was wrong, I could have fixed it.” What about those moments when you are sitting in a meeting and you think to yourself, “Should I bring up this topic for discussion… or not?”

This video explores the ways in which we stay silent and how you can get the unsaid said.

Once you’ve had a chance to watch the video, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to visit our Facebook page and join in on the conversation around speaking your truth.

Can Honesty Get You in Trouble?

We’ve all been in situations where we’ve said something to somebody and they didn’t react well. When we base our own actions on other people’s reactions, it can keep us afraid and less direct than we may need to be.

If you struggle with having direct and honest conversations, today’s video will help. It often only takes just one small tweak to really see an improvement in your communication.

Once you’ve had a chance to watch the video, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to visit our Facebook page and join in on the conversation around honest communication.

Creating Honest Communication and Reducing Fear

I have found that it is very important to arm employees with the skills needed to have honest conversations – especially in situations that might be a bit fear-inducing.

In this video, I will share the reason why promoting honest communication is so incredibly valuable for you and your organization.

By implementing this advice, you will begin to see a shift. Instead of relying on guidance from managers, your employees will become much more empowered to handle difficult situations themselves.

Once you’ve had a chance to watch the video, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to visit our Facebook page and join in on the conversation around honest communication.

Speak Your Mind: Your Life Depends on It!

993_minFebruary is Heart Health Month.

Norman Cousins said, ‘Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside of us while we live.

Experiencing loss while we live can manifest in a number of ways.

As you’ll see in my latest article, communication (or lack thereof) can contribute to stress, anxiety and poor mental health, which can lead to negative physical manifestations and poorer quality of life. Read the article for useful tips, with information from a recently published study, to improve communication and lower your stress levels.

Speak Your Mind: Your Life Depends On It!

Do you ever worry about the reaction you’ll get when you share what you feel or what you know – either at work or at home or out with your friends? Do you wonder whether you’ll be respected for saying what needs to be said?

Recently a participant in one of my seminars shared that his wife of more than 25 years told him she was unhappy and wanted a divorce. The worst part about this is that he never saw it coming. He never knew she was unhappy.

Situations like that make it easy to see that honesty is not only about not telling lies. Honesty is really about saying what needs to be said and not withholding information and ideas.

This man’s wife may not have been “lying,” but she sure wasn’t being honest, and the sad truth is that more than a marriage may have come to ruin over it. A study published in July’s Psychosomatic Medicine showed that women who usually or always keep their feelings to themselves when in conflict with their spouses have over four times the risk of dying from coronary heart disease.

The Framingham Offspring Study of more than 3,500 men and women asked the participants whether they typically vented their feelings or kept quiet in arguments with their spouse; 32 percent of the men and 23 percent of the women said that they typically bottled up their feelings during a marital conflict. Women who didn’t speak their minds were four times as likely to die during the 10-year follow-up period as women who always told their husbands how they felt.

It’s not always easy to speak the truth in a marriage, but this study demonstrates that not doing so affects more than just marriages – it affects health. When people withhold their thoughts and feelings, they unwittingly slip into unproductive patterns in their relationships. This holds true for marriages, committed relationships, friendships, and work relationships.

People self-silence because they’re afraid of the reaction they’ll get when they share what they feel or what they know. When we reduce fear, we can increase honest, open communication and improve relationships. It requires more emotional energy to keep things inside than to let things out. The key is to create an environment where people feel safe to do so. Self-silencing may not be a problem you struggle with, but other people may withhold their thoughts and feelings from you. How can you help them overcome that? What steps can you take to make the environment safe for honest communication?

That is why my company has been helping to bring honest communication to organizations and families across the world for almost 15 years. We have helped introduce the concept that it is not what people say; it is what they don’t say that is toxic to relationships, leadership, productivity, and profitability. The good news is we can do something about it.

Finally, the next time you’re working out at the gym or planning a healthy meal, remember that being honest in conflict is another way to contribute to a healthy heart.

Want Higher Performing Employees? You Need to Ask These Three Critical Questions

steven-gaffney-newsletterIn working relationships, whether as an employee or a consultant, creating an opportunity for success is key.

Everyone wants their employees to succeed and reach critical objectives but often a crucial step in the feedback process is missed. This misstep can sometimes leave the employee unsure about how to adjust their behavior and the employer unable to effectively measure said change.

In this audio interview, with Kelly Riggs of The Business LockerRoom, Steven shares the three critical questions that must be asked to get honest, practical, measurable advice.

This content is based on his newest book, “Be A Change Champion. Mastering Momentum: 10 Factor’s for Sustaining the Boom and Avoiding the Bust of Change.” It is the only book out there dedicated to sustaining the momentum, motivation, and morale of change- big and small.

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