Beth Ruske, Co-Founder of Tiara International – a leadership development consultancy – is an innovative strategic thinker who embodies a win/win approach in every situation. In this episode she shares with us practical, anyone-can-apply guidance and a specific tool we can use to improve our outlook and increase our influence. Get pen and paper ready, you’re going to want to take some notes!
About the Guest:
Elizabeth “Beth” Ruske, Co-Founder of Tiara International – a leadership development consultancy – brings all aspects of her background and expertise to her work. This includes marketing, sales, business development, client services, strategic partnering, coaching, consulting and leadership development. She is known as a creative strategic thinker who embodies a win-win approach in every situation.
Beth’s commitment to challenge and guide clients around the world to become the leaders they were meant to be is in perfect alignment with her skills, passion and business interests. Over the span of a 30-year professional career, Beth has held various leadership positions for large companies like TRW (Experian), Ceridian, and Acxiom, as well as being involved in smaller start-ups and entrepreneurial firms.
Beth has extensive experience with coaching high performing leaders. She brings her practical real-world experiences to the table to keep things relevant to the situations at hand. She is direct yet caring and is known for her wit and humor to help address conflict in just about any situation. Beth believes in the philosophy that leadership is not a title but rather a role we all play because we are all the leaders of our own lives. True leaders are powered by an internal source of inspiration, have a deep sense of self-awareness, are confident in their ability to produce results and use their influence for a positive ripple effect on their communities.
About the Host:
Amy L. Riley is an internationally renowned speaker, author and consultant. She has over 2 decades of experience developing leaders at all levels. Her clients include Cisco Systems, Deloitte and Barclays.
As a trusted leadership coach and consultant, Amy has worked with hundreds of leaders one-on-one, and thousands more as part of a group, to fully step into their leadership, create amazing teams and achieve extraordinary results.
Amy’s most popular keynote speeches are:
- The Courage of a Leader: The Power of a Leadership Legacy
- The Courage of a Leader: Create a Competitive
- Advantage with Sustainable, Results-Producing Cross-System Collaboration
- The Courage of a Leader: Accelerate Trust with Your Team, Customers and Community
- The Courage of a Leader: How to Build a Happy and Successful Hybrid Team
Her new book is a #1 international best-seller and is entitled, The Courage of a Leader: How to Inspire, Engage and Get Extraordinary Results.
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Use the 3-column tool in an area where you’re stuck and see new possibilities!
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Teaser for next episode
Tune in next for “The Courage to Be an Inclusive Leader” with Ellen Burton. Ellen is an international speaker on business issues which include workplace culture, diversity, equity and inclusive leadership. She speaks about a nuanced topic in a clear, understandable, and accessible way.
Beth Ruskie, co founder of Tiara International, a leadership development consultancy, is an innovative strategic thinker who embodies a win win approach in every situation. In this episode, Beth shares with us practical, anyone can apply guidance, and a specific tool we can use to improve our outlook and increase our influence. Get pen and paper ready, you're gonna wanna take some notesAmy Riley:
Welcome to The Courage of a Leader podcast. This is where you hear real life stories of top leaders achieving extraordinary results. And you get practical advice and techniques, you can immediately apply for your own success. This is where you will get inspired. And take bold, courageous action. I'm so glad you can join us. I'm your host, Amy Riley. Now, are you ready to step into the full power of your leadership and achieve the results you care about most? Let's ignite the courage of a leader.Amy Riley:
Beth, we don't have to look very far these days to see issues supply chain issues, concerns with retention divide in our world, it can be easy to be cynical, to feel overwhelmed, to feel helpless to feel like oh, I can't even begin to make a difference here. Yet, I know that you are committed to having leaders tap into their inspiration, and to use their influence in the ways that we can. So when we see all these problems around us, how can we take on that can do attitude and use our influence?Beth Ruske:
There's there's so many ways to unpack that question. Go back to years and years and years ago, I don't know where this phrase came from, you know, do you view the glass half full, half empty? Right. So yeah, a lot of them is taking personal responsibility for how you see things. Right. And, and it's hard when we're being bombarded. That's a great word you use with so many things, whether it's the economy or the health, you know, issues that people have to deal with, or politics, that doesn't matter what country you're in, you know, or climate. I mean, there are so many big things that we're all being, you know, bombarded with on a daily basis. Yeah, and you're used a couple other good phrases, you know, words in there, you know, overwhelm, or you just feel like, you're just spinning and you can't make any traction. You know, all these things kind of come together to some type of a crescendo for people, like, you know, there's there's a moment where you have to choose how you're going to either respond or react in the moment. And a lot of times, that's really unconscious, for most of us, we're just surviving, or just getting through to the next. And that's okay. Like, I don't want anyone to hear that. It's like, Oh, you shouldn't do that. I mean, no, we have to survive, we have to figure it out. We also have to give ourselves the space to be intentional. And how do I want to respond? How do I want it to go? How do I want to incorporate these things? How do I want to feel like I actually do influence, as opposed to these are just so big, I can't even I'm not even gonna make a dent. Yet, if we start to go down that slope. It's a very slippery slope, because then we kind of give up. Yeah, just give up. Yeah. And then we're not going to have any influence. We're going to just kind of ride the wave.Amy Riley:
You've said so many great things already. Beth, just in the way that you started to respond to that question. What I was experiencing was acknowledgement. While you further acknowledged what is happening in our world and what people might be grappling with, concerned about, seeing and feeling in their heart, right, that that that acknowledgement of what so and then the choosing personal responsibility, how am I going to intentionally choose to think and act given what soUnknown:
and that is one of the concepts that we in Tiara, leadership talk about all the time. is that, you know, people hear this word leadership and they think, Oh, well, that's a role. That's a job. That's something on a job chart. Yeah, that's not how you approach it, every one of us is a leader because we have the opportunity to lead our own lives. And, and that's, that doesn't matter if you're showing up as a people leader, or if you're just a project leader, or you're just you know, an individual contributor on the team, you still have leadership qualities, and we want you to show up and embody those as a leader. And one of those things that you just said, is taking personal responsibility for how you choose to interact with your surroundings. And it's okay to be to feel the overwhelm, because it's a lot. It's there. Yep. And then you want more, and what am I going to do about that? Yeah. And that's where kind of the rubber hits the road, if you will, like, that's where you your intentionality takes place. And you have to feel like, you know, you're inspired you want to, and you have to feel as possible. Now, then you have some creativity, and really, it's how do we expand? You know, to get to that point where we do feel we have influence, even if we're not in charge of it. Even if we're a problem? How can I influence?Amy Riley:
Lovely, really great, I want to talk more about how we do that expansion to feel that we have and can exercise influence. First I want to tell all of our listeners about who we're talking to today. This is Elizabeth Ruske. Call her Beth is a founder of Tiara International which is a leadership development company. Beth has experience in marketing sales, business development, Client Services, strategic partnering, coaching, consulting and of course leadership development. She's known as an innovative strategic thinker who embodies a win win approach in every situation. over a span of an over 30 year professional career. Beth has held various leadership positions for large companies like TRW now Experian, Ceridian, and axiom as well as being involved in startups and entrepreneurial firms that knows and believes true leaders are powered by an internal source of inspiration. They have a deep sense of self awareness and are competent in their ability to produce results, and use their influence for a positive ripple effect on their communities. We are talking about that today. Beth, Tiara International is a long term powerful, treasured business partner of mine, I'm so glad to be chatting with you today of us.Beth Ruske:
Me to Amy and I love that you know, long term treasured partner, because you are as well, you know, our business names might be different, but our philosophies and our approach to business and how we interact has been a true gift over the years. And I think it can be modeled. So anyone who's listening to this, you know, figure out how to partner with really smart, great people, it works. Yes,Amy Riley:
yes. Well, partnering can be one of those accesses to expanding and growing our influence. Right? find others who are aligned like minded, right, are working towards the same things you are, let's come back to this. How do we get to a spot bath where we see possibilities, right, where we're, we feel able to tap into some creativity, so that we can put our influence to work.Beth Ruske:
A lot of it does start, you know, everyone has different tolerance levels for how much you really, you know, can take whether it's chaos or uncertainty, or even just challenge. So you know, this is not a one size fits all approach. So I want to be clear on that. Because some people will need to get to, you know, tools like we're going to talk about sooner, others will have more capacity and then get to it. So the question I always like to start with is, are you feeling that stress and overwhelm? Because when and how you feel might be different from when I'm on how I get to that threshold? Right? Okay. So, normally the time when people kind of pull their head up, and they're like, oh, wait, I'm kind of like in a pattern here. Yeah. And it's not working really well or I'm working really hard. I'm not getting as much traction as I needed or I feel like nothing I do matters or when you hear yourself saying those types of things and Maybe you're only seeing them to yourself. Maybe you're not even saying them out loud, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah. But when you're here and you're start to get present to that, that's usually a great time to just hit the pause button and tune in to what's going on around you. Okay? And what? Maybe what's the source of it? Now, what we like to do is, we talk about this circle of influence. And it's really based on work by Stephen Covey. And when you get to that point where you're feeling that stress or that overwhelm, we'd like to do something that's so simple, three little columns, right? Mm hmm. The first, the first column is, what are you worried about? Like, what is like swirling in your head? Where are you putting, you know, what is it that you know, is causing you angst or concern time and just start jotting it down. And it could be so many things, it could be about a parent's health, it could be about your kid getting into college, it could be about the project at work, it could be about am I going to get the job I'm up for, like, all these things can be either small or big. Or it could be things like, you know, I'm concerned about the politics in my country, I'm concerned about how things are looking economically, any of those things. They take up energy, they take your energy, and they take part of your thought process on a daily basis.Amy Riley:
Yeah, so you're saying get it and get it all out on paper, column one, column one,Beth Ruske:
okay, data dump, worry dump. We're gonna go. Yeah, the word top, it's a good one. The worry dump, like it is there's something very cleansing, it just kind of getting it all out, when is in your heads getting like that. It has immense power, and it feels so huge. So the first step is really just put it down. And then then the next two columns take a little bit of work. Okay, you know, this whole concept of circle of influences, we have, we have a comfort zone, right? All of us do. Some are, some are small, doesn't matter, right. So normally, inside our comfort zone, we, you know, we're not all that worried about things, and we're very confident. And when things are things expand, when we get outside of our comfort zone, we get to a Learning Zone, we start to get a little less confident and things become more concerning the circle of influence and concern are a lot like that, too. Because the circle of influence is constricted by how big we let our concerns grow. So if we just keep spinning and spinning and spinning about all the problems and all the issues that are wrong, we are continuing to put our focus on the concern. And our influence shrinks. And our concern, our circle of concern, just consumes itAmy Riley:
grows. Yeah.Beth Ruske:
So we feel less powerful. We're not able to be as creative. We don't think of solutions that, you know, on a good day when we're feeling you know, lighten. Wow, I was right with the world. Well, where'd that come from? What a bright, what a brilliant idea. That's not possible when we're in that constricted energy of concern. Yeah. And so it's okay to talk about the concern. And when we go to that second column, which is all the things that are in the area of concern, we can pick one area of concern here, right? What are all those things that are outside of our control? Okay. So it becomes a control conversation. Well, guess what? I cannot truly control how the US Senate votes. I can't control whether or not Twitter lays off 50% of its staff. Yeah, those are things I can't control. I can't control the economy. Yep. Right. So many things. I can't control how other people think you're just putting it. I'm from a big family. I can't control how my you know, Mr. B, siblings? Yeah. You can't, there's so many things that are outside of your control. And when you can list the things that are outside of your control it again, it's another step in that process of, okay, I'm worrying about something that I don't have a ton of real influence over. Yeah. Now, there, yeah. But if you stop there, you have not really gotten to the good use, you know, it's like ah, more, right. So, please don't stop if you're following our exercise. Don't stop here.Amy Riley:
There's a third column.Beth Ruske:
The third column is what is within my control? Yeah. So with the area I'm looking at or any area Follow them if I wanted. Yeah, what is with? Well, I can't control the economy, but I can control how I'm spending my money. Yeah, I can control what I'm saving. I can control my getting, you know, the best interest rates. I, you know, so many ittle things, right. Even in area politics, I can't control the way maybe Congress votes on something. But I could educate myself. What's the real issues behind? What's the headlines? Because the headlines never tell the whole story anyway, right now. So why would I be concerned about this? Well, why wouldn't I not right. So there's an education piece I could that's within my control. I can talk to knowledgeable people, I can talk to friends who really are researchers who do more research than I do. Like, why do you think this?Amy Riley:
Yeah, that's a here's the possibilities. Right? Yeah, you've arrived here.Beth Ruske:
You're just making a list. You're not committing to doing anything? Yeah, you're just list. And Amy, I will tell you 100% of the time. And I know that's a bold statement. But 100% of the time when our clients do this exercise, yeah, they realize things like, then they say comments like, okay, so I thought everything was out of my control. And I'm realizing that the second thing we always hear is, there's a heck of a lot more things in my control, than are out of my control. Yeah. And then you're at a very informed, intentional choice. Yes. Okay. Well, they see all this. What do I want to do? What am I inspired to actually take on or not take on? Yeah, and you get to choose, you get to chooseAmy Riley:
the first year getting it all out on paper. I love that.Beth Ruske:
It takes the stress and the overwhelm. I mean, and that's the that's one of the trigger words that I use with clients all the time. Or for myself, if I am using the word overwhelm, I know this tool is phenomenal. Like, yeah, overwhelm will circle of influence for me.Amy Riley:
Yes, yes, I know, any, anytime I have sat down and done this work, like you just said, I see possibilities. I see. I feel relief, I feel different. Well, let me let me recap for listeners. Beth, first thing you talked about is awareness, realizing I'm in the space of overwhelm, or stress or anxiety, however you would language it, maybe you feel it in your body somewhere, right? The tension in the shoulders is when you know or when you're not sleeping. Well. Yeah, like what? What are the triggers? To bring it to the forefront of your awareness? So then we've got that awareness. Yeah.Beth Ruske:
I mean, it's your first thing, and it may also be like, you hear yourself complaining about something along. Happens. Want to recognize this a lot.Amy Riley:
I caught myself sighing last week, right? Sighing I'm like, What is all of that sighing about? Okay. Right, so we become aware. And then we have the opportunity to take the pause. Right, take the pause. We're naming it, we're considering the sources. And then we get out our three columns, which again are what am I worried about? What's concerning me What's Anke giving me angst. Second column, what's outside of my control, just listing it all. third column, what's within my control? My ability to influence and again, making that list first, without committing? Right? And then I'm hearing we can look at what's on the paper and then choose, where do we go from here?Beth Ruske:
What action? I want to go back to the LM about what's in your control. Yeah. And one other thing that is always always in your control is your attitude, and how you're choosing to deal with the circumstances. And remember, early in this conversation, we said is your glass half full, half empty? Well, another way of saying that is are you looking at it from a problem orientation? Yeah. Or are you looking at it with a solution orientation? And as leaders in organizations, no organization doesn't have problems? no people, no person doesn't have a problem, right? Yeah, we always have problems. But how are you approaching it? And how are you tea? Teaching your people to approach problems. So if you're a leader and you're hearing a constant complaint within your department, this is a great tool to use with your team is to actually, whether you're doing it one on one or in a group, like what's within our control what's out of our control, and challenging people and yourself to really take responsibility for your attitude. If I could, if I could kind of go off script a little bit hearing he. There was a book that was written it was co authored with Nelson Mandela and a journalist and I don't remember the journalist name, apologies. At one point, the journalist asked Nelson Mandela, what did it like? What did it feel like to be a prisoner for all those years? I looked at the looked at the journalists and said, I don't know what you're talking about. And in my mind, I'm thinking at this point, the journalist is like, Oh, I'm in trouble. Because this guy's like, not remembering things. Right. Forgotten decade. Yeah. A whole decade of his life in a prison. Yeah. What his last was extraordinary. Nelson Mandela said, Oh, I understand what you're asking. Yes, they put me in a box, they put me in a 10 by 10 cell. But I woke up every day a free man. And I took every breath as a free man. And when you put things in perspective, that is a man who chose to be in control of his attitude, and how he approached his life, whether he had a lot of his control or not. And what's the inspiration we all need to find in whatever circumstances we're in? Because that's what's gonna drive us to an action? Because we're connected to something that is just deeply inspirational to each of us.Amy Riley:
Yes, yes. And when we start at the level of attitude or belief that it's so impacts what actions we see as possible, or how powerfully we take those actions. Right? Yeah. And if if we can be in a can do or exploration of what's possible. I feel like we're either spiraling up or spiraling down, right, from our, from our attitude and our beliefs, and we can we can choose to put ourselves on the spiral up path.Beth Ruske:
Yeah, yeah. And that doesn't mean don't have compassion for yourself, or don't give yourself space. You know, I mean, there's a lot of heavenly things. There's depth and things like that, you know, we're not talking about Pollyanna, and yeah, who do it, we're talking about really having gracious accountability with yourself, but knowing who you are, and yeah, getting to the source of inspiration so that you can take actions to expand your influence in your life. AndAmy Riley:
just in the way that you're talking about it, that I think there's placing an importance on not rushing this, right, like allowing there to be that acknowledgement, right. This is, you know, this is tough, right? Like, of course, I'm tired at the end of the day, right? I'm processing all of these things. I'm caring about the impact on all these people in my work in my, in my world. And then in doing the acknowledgement of, here's what I'm concerned about, right, because these things are important to me, or they have impacts on projects, work, coworkers, family, loved ones. Right and taking that time to acknowledge. Love this idea of using it with the team.Beth Ruske:
Yeah, you know, at the end of the day, all businesses is a is a network of people. And if you are someone who produces results with people, and we all do, nobody produces rippled results in a vacuum, but you get the importance of relationships and producing results. That's huge. It's no longer a you and I see this, Amy, it's no longer where companies can just produce results and do it on the back of their people. I mean, they have we have to really prioritize relationships with results. And when we do our influence expanse, no matter what role you're in. Yeah,Amy Riley:
I want to come back to the question. We've already answered this somewhat. If I am a team leader, and I've got somebody who's seeing the glass half full, right and And you know, is seeing all the obstacles, seeing all the issues with a solution or a business model or a path we've chosen to go forward. I mean, I'm hearing, build a relationship with that person, right, understand who they are, what makes them tick. What's important to them are, the more that we understand about that, the more that we can speak into what's important to them. I'm also hearing we can use a tool, like the three columns that we've been speaking to, what else would you offer? When when we've got that? Ha, that person with the negative talk right in front of us?Beth Ruske:
Yeah, a couple of things as the leader, you have to create the space that they can actually speak and feel heard. Okay. I know for me, that's really challenging, because I'm immediately going to fix a problem a solution. I don't want to hear all the reasons why it can't work. And I have a tendency to shut people down on thatAmy Riley:
possibility, seer, right. So your money, then you can go there. Yeah.Beth Ruske:
Right. So I've had to actually teach myself over the course of my career that by me jumping in and forcing that frame too soon, it actually shuts people down. And so then they're not speaking up candidly, then they're not bringing, yeah, for them, they have to see all the problems. They have to feel heard. And then they then they have to be helped. We have to teach them how to then get to the other side. Someone said to me, how do you how do you see possibility all the time, Beth? And I'm like, actually, I don't know. I mean, I, one of those things where it's kind of like you, I just do it. And I wish I didn't know how, because I could teach that. But because I don't know how I do it. I don't know how to teach it sometimes. So I can't demand somebody else have that. It's an innate skill. Right. But it can be taught. And part of it is their innate skill is to actually be very thorough and understand the situation. Yes. Right. And I have to appreciate that as their leader, very valuable. So yeah, yeah. So timebox it you know, if I know this person is going to give me 15 reasons why it can't be done. I'm going to say to them, Look, Amy, we have 20 minutes. Tell me in the first five minutes, all the reasons why you think this won't work. Okay, go give it to me. All right, I hear all that which of all those things are the two most critical. Nice, okay, those two, because it's not the laundry list anymore, we got it, we're not going to talk tackle them all.Amy Riley:
Give me the top to prioritize.Unknown:
So now we're going to discussion on the priority of the top issues. That's half of our 20 minutes. Now I'm going to say, Okay, do you think I've heard you, you feel heard in this because I actually see this, I appreciate you taking me to this issue. We can't solve everything, we're going to focus on these two. Now let's flip the switch. Let's talk about how could we mitigate these issues? How could we overcome these obstacles? What's possible that we haven't thought of yet? Now we're into my space, which is my strength. But I had to really honor theirs, so that they can get into that final phase down if I shut them down? Or here we go again, you know, yeah, it's, it's, it's going to create more problem, and they're not going to get on board with the solution. And that's what it's all about. So I'm back to, it's about the relationship. And the result, I could solve that problem now that they laid it on my desk. But that doesn't serve me them or the business.Amy Riley:
Love that bath and love as you talked through that you are overt with us. And it sounds like you're often overt in the conversation with the other person about our process. Right? This is our vent part. Get it all out. I want to hear everything. Okay, now we're gonna prioritize. Now we're going to choose the top. And then you even said flip the switch right now we're getting now we're going to shift and now we're forward focused. How do we solve? Yep, what action? What action do we want to take?Beth Ruske:
And that's what I that's the teaching part as a leader like to teach them. You know, a lot of people want a checklist. They want you to mechanize everything. It's like, well, how do you recognize creativity? I guess you can on some levels, but if you can give people the process and help them understand, they can go with you. Are they going to be the best innovative thinker? Probably not. But they're they're vital in the process. So they have to feel that. And I can't come up with ideas on my own. That's not a solution. And they can't prevent everything from being, you know, solved. So, yes, how do we get to middle ground? And that win win?Amy Riley:
Yeah, great point, I was thinking of it from the aspect of we are overt about our process, because that lets the other person know our intentions, why we're asking what we're doing, you know, like, like how this is going to work. Also a teaching of the process, the approach, if you will, yeah. All bath, you have said so many great things. Today, I want to underscore some key points. Every one of us is a leader. In our lives, we can bring awareness to what's going on in our heads and our hearts and our bodies. And we can intentionally choose personal responsibility of our attitude, and therefore our actions. And you took us through a tool, a process that can help us with that the three columns, what am I worried about what's outside of my control what is inside of my control, building the relationships along with producing results, most powerful when they're coming together, hand in hand. Anything else you want to underscore about our conversation today? Beth?Beth Ruske:
Just a little mutual admiration here. Because Amy, you embody all those things, which is why you are such a great partner with us. And that's what we strive to really bring and teach, you know, all of our clients is it you can have influence, you know, you can use your power for your your influencing all the time. It's a question of whether or not you're doing it intentionally. And whether or not you're doing it by choice. Yeah.Amy Riley:
And it does take that courage to look and see what's so about how we think believe interact with what's going on around us. Right, and and how and can we be bold, right in the actions that we take to influence in the ways that we most want to bad Bye, I love this conversation it has gone by so quickly. Thank you for sharing these terrific insights with us is fully my intention that our listeners can take and apply what you've shared right away.Beth Ruske:
Wonderful. Well, thanks for having us. Thanks for having me. And, you know, thanks for sharing the concepts because it's everyone taking charge of their own life. We all did that. Now. That is influence.Amy Riley:
That is powerful. Thank you bad.Beth Ruske:
Thank you, Amy.