Donna Strickland Blog

Listening to Your “Wise Self”

“Opportunities for leadership are available to you every day. But putting you on the line is difficult work, for the dangers are real. Yet the work has nobility and the benefits, for you and for those around you, are beyond measure” Ronald Heifetz, Leadership on the Line

This workshop is for those who want to live more boldly. You are the first organization who must change. My hope is that you learn some practical applications, inspiration, and have some new ideas for leading, protecting yourself, and keeping your spirit alive. May you enjoy with a full heart the fruits of your labor. NASA needs you. The world needs you.

Extreme self-care means putting the quality of your life ahead of everything else: saying no to things that no longer support your true priorities; basing choices on what you want, rather than on what other’s want; and spending your time and energy on what matters.

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Posted by Donna Strickland in Dynamic Keynotes, Free Resources, Leadership and Team Development.

Create Terrific Teams

Do you need a pick-me-up, a take–care-of-our-team, nurturing, spirited, content rich, and healing experience to strengthen your relationships with one another, yourself and with your patients?   If you need to refresh, relax, reflect, and remember who you are what you are all about…then this is the program for you!!  Take a “time out” to deal with your own sore spirit, so you can SOAR!! 

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Posted by Donna Strickland in Free Resources, Leadership and Team Development.

Four Things Every Team Needs to Know

Understanding Our Big Picture, Part & Plan as it relates to Goals and Responsibilities.

  • What is the Big Picture of our Company?
  • How does our Team fit into the Big Picture? What is the Part we Play? And what is our Plan? Every member needs to know their own goals and responsibilities as it relates to the larger mission at hand, the “Big Picture” of the organization.

Work Processes.

  • Knowing the above answers are just the start. Then each team needs to understand how we are going to accomplish our work.

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Posted by Donna Strickland in Free Resources, Leadership and Team Development.

Gap Analysis Questionnaire

What behaviors, actions, and accountabilities will be necessary to support our future desired outcomes?

What kind of leadership and organizational support would help?

What specifically do we need from _____?

Are there specific things that would need to change to bring about desired outcomes? If so, what are they?

What is currently underway?

What is missing?

Is what we’re doing really addressing the important (versus the urgent) within our department?

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Posted by Donna Strickland in Free Resources, Leadership and Team Development.

Accountability Conversation

1. Find out whether the person you are working with is interested in seeing problems as learning opportunities.  If so, when a problem occurs, include other people who are also interested in the situation.  Other people’s perspectives can be helpful because often two people in conflict are actually mirroring the conflict of a larger system within the organization.

2. Create a setting that is conducive to learning. 

  • Allow plenty of time to address the issues.
  • Reaffirm with each other that the goal is to learn, not blame.
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Posted by Donna Strickland in Free Resources, Leadership and Team Development.

Appreciative Inquiry Interview Questions

1. Considering your entire time as an employee at your organization, can you recall a time when you felt most alive, most involved, or most  excited about your involvement in the organization?

  • What made it an exciting experience?  What gave it energy?
  • What was it about you — unique qualities you have – that contributed to the exchange?
  • Who were the most significant others?
  • Why were they significant?
  • In what ways did your organization contribute to the creation or support of this exchange?
  • What were the most important factors in your organization that helped to make it a meaningful experience (e.g. leadership qualities, structure, rewards, systems, skills, strategy, relationships).
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Posted by Donna Strickland in Free Resources, Leadership and Team Development.

Saving Your Career in the 21st Century

by Donna Strickland and O. C. O’Connell

This article addresses the fundamental and dramatic changes that case managers must undergo internally to keep pace with a rapidly and radically changing work environment as we move into the next millennium The work paradigm is transforming from a model of well-defined job descriptions and clearly articulated career ladders within organizations to a fluid workforce in which individuals must now view themselves as a mobile portfolio of skills responding to particular needs within organizations ‘Hence, case managers must retool their thinking, unlearn old beliefs that hinder success, and learn to manage their careers as micro-businesses within their organizations. This new model is founded on self-responsibility, entrepreneurial aptitude, vision and personal empowerment. Taking charge of one’s career and consciously directing it is a dramatic departure from the norm for most individuals.

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Posted by Donna Strickland in Articles, Free Resources.

Overcome Terminal Seriousness


This article examines physiological and psychological benefits of laughter and humor. These are essential tools that can successfully combat the stress and pressure of the preoperative environment. Used in tandem with ‘life balancing skills,’ they can enrich the work arena and help nurses rekindle passion and meaning in their lives.

Copyright © 1999 by W.B. Saunders Company

You turn a corner in the hall only to witness one of the most infamous, degrading, and most cliched scenes in the hospital: an arrogant, self-righteous surgeon is screaming at an OR nurse about something so ridiculous it would be laughable if it were not so infuriating. Your own blood pressure escalates as you walk by, but then something amazing happens. You hear the voice of your colleague, a genteel Southern woman, say in a slow Alabama drawl, “Pardon me for interrupting, doctor.” The neurosurgeon is so stunned by this audacious act that he stops screaming.

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Posted by Donna Strickland in Articles, Free Resources.

Is Humor Healing

Joseph Campbell said, “We are here to participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world.” I call my friend up on the phone. She’s been hard to get…distant…running scared. Her mother was buried three weeks ago. “Can you meet me at Dairy Queen? We could get a yogurt. You don’t have to talk. I just want to see the whites of your eyes.” Silence. A deep sigh. “Okay, I’ll meet you there,” she whispers. We meet. We stand in line for what seems like forever, with children laughing all around us. We watch them silently, old friends, Deb and I.

Our eyes glisten. It was only three months ago that the foster child she’d had since birth had been given back to the biological dad. Seems like too much to happen to one woman in such a short amount of time.

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Posted by Donna Strickland in Articles, Free Resources.

Good Grief: Beginning at the End

When your workplace is reorganized–again–take time to reevaluate your personal mission and desires and bring them to life.

By Donna Strickland, MS, RN, CS, and 0. C. O’Connell, MBA

You know that being in the health care industry is like riding a roller coaster that just won’t quit. Everyone who is connected to this business has felt her feet fly out from the safety of terra firma, has been turned upside down and sent speeding through lightning quick changes on a ride that seems to be moving too fast to get off. You barely implement new directives when a counterrevolution is led by the next team of experts. Your survival instinct tells you to hang on for the ride.

Hanging on is a good place to start, but it’s only a first step–a primitive defense mechanism designed to let you get your bearings.

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Posted by Donna Strickland in Articles, Free Resources.