029: Carol Sharicz: What can you lose if you take that risk?
Carol Sharicz Show Notes
When Carol Sharicz was a new professor and tasked with inviting a guest speaker for an annual conference at her college she came up with an idea to invite a high-profile local celebrity. Once she shared her idea the senior leadership she was met with negativity as to the unlikelihood of this celebrity accepting the invitation. Not permitting this negativity to stop her Carol moved forward, obtained acceptance and got over the hump.
Carol was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, a very working class kind of community and if you ever meet anyone from Dorchester to this day, the very first question they will ask is, “What parish are you from”??
So far, Carol has worked in 13 countries, including Australia, Europe, Hong Kong, India, Japan, former Soviet Union countries, and Russia. Because of these experiences, Carol has developed a real appreciation and fascination with other cultures and interacting with people from around the world. Many of these experiences have resulted in life-long friendships, too.
Carol worked at Motorola at the beginning of her career, was recruited to co-design a Master’s program at Suffolk University in Boston where she was a tenured professor.
Currently, she is a professor at UMass Boston in Dorchester where she was born so she feels like she has “come home” to her roots. She is also an author and a consultant to many different kinds or organizations…healthcare, non-profit, educational, and for-profit, focusing on leadership, emotional intelligence, and systems thinking. She is the author of a systems thinking book entitled, The Big Picture: A Systems Thinking Story for Managers that presents systems thinking in very straight-forward language with practical examples.
Carol also has twin daughters who, when they were born, were 3 months early and only weighed 2 pounds…this one life-changing experience in and of itself confirmed for her the belief in miracles!
Two adventures that Carol has particularly enjoyed was walking across England with her daughters and riding her bicycle 1,000 miles throughout Scandinavia.
Her legacy…to have been known as a kind person. Even to this day, her mom who will be 84 on Aug. 9 still mentions how important it is to be kind to others.
Carol currently lives in Quincy, Massachusetts with her husband Karl.
Tweetable Quotes and Mentions
“It is only with the heart that one can see clearly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” -Carol Sharicz Click to Tweet
“Take the time to pay attention more, to observe more and to really listen.” -Carol Sharicz Click to Tweet
“It’s important for a leader to have boundaries…and still be aware of other’s needs.” -Carol Sharicz Click to Tweet
“When you believe in something…what can you lose if you take that risk.” -Carol Sharicz Click to Tweet
“Taking the other person’s perspective is important to see what you can work with.” -Carol Sharicz Click to Tweet
“What’s really fueling you; what’s your passion?” -Carol Sharicz Click to Tweet
“If people could really feel something in their heart…go for it.” -Carol Sharicz Click to Tweet
“Sometimes I say to myself…be yourself.” -Carol Sharicz Click to Tweet
“Are we disciplined in our action; are we disciplined in our thought.” -Carol Sharicz Click to Tweet
“I would have loved to have had a trusted advisor.” -Carol Sharicz Click to Tweet
Hump to Get Over
As a new professor, Carol Sharicz was tasked with inviting a guest speaker for an annual conference at her college. Carol came up with an idea to invite a high-profile local celebrity. Once she shared her idea the senior leadership she was met with negativity as to the unlikelihood of this celebrity accepting the invitation. Not permitting this negativity to stop her Carol moved forward, obtained acceptance and got over the hump.
Advice for others
What really fueling you? What’s really your passion? If you can really feel something in your heart, go for it.
Holding her back from being an even better leader
Not knowing what my next medium should be to get my ideas out.
Best Leadership Advice Received
Be yourself. If came from my dad and several others.
Secret to Success
I read every single day and it helps me think about what’s needed in my classes or a project.
Best Resources in business or Life
I go to major books, whether they be current or not.
email: csharicz [at] comcast.net
54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.
Click to access edited transcript
Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we uncover the leadership like hat that help you to experience, break out performance faster and rocket to success. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligence practitioner, Jim Rembach.
Jim Rembach: Thanks Kimberly. Okay, Fast Leader legion, today you get an opportunity to share one of my first husband-and-wife tandem. Previously I had Karl Sharicz on the show and now I get Karl’s better half, Carol Sharicz to interview today.
Carol was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, a very working class kind of community and if you’ve ever met anyone from Dorchester to this day the very first question they will is, “What parish are you from?” So far, Carol has worked in 13 countries including Australia, Europe, Hong Kong, India, Japan the former Soviet Union countries and Russia. Because of these experiences Carol has developed a real appreciation and fascination with other cultures and interacting with people from around the world. Many of these experiences have resulted in lifelong friendships too.
Carol worked at Motorola at the beginning of her career and was recruited to design a Master’s program at Suffolk University in Boston where she was a tenure professor. Currently she is a professor at UMass Boston and Dorchester were she feels like she has come home to her roots. She’s also an author and a consultant to many different kinds of organizations, healthcare, nonprofit educational, and for profit, focusing on leadership, emotional intelligence and systems thinking.
She is the author of a systems thinking book entitled, “The Big Picture.” A system thinking story for managers that presents systems thinking in a very straightforward language with practical examples. Carol has also two twin daughters, when they were born three months early and only weigh 2 pounds, this is one of the life-changing experiences for Carol and in it itself confirmed her belief in miracles. Two adventures that Carol has particularly enjoyed was walking across the Europe with her daughters, and riding her bicycle a thousand miles to Scandinavia.
Her legacy is to have been known as a kind person. Even to this day her mother, who will be 84 in a couple weeks as the taping of this show, still mentions how important it is to be kind to others. Caroline Sharicz, are you ready to help us get over the hump?
Carol Sharicz: Yes I am, Jim. [Laugh] Thank you.
Jim Rembach: Glad to have you. So, I’ve given our guests a little bit about you, but can you tell us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you better?
Carol Sharicz: Absolutely. My current passion, Jim, is I absolutely love being with people, I’m a teacher, like you had mentioned—I’m a professor in UMass Boston, and found that has been a real threat in my life. I knew it when I was in first grade, when I went to Perkins School in Dorchester and a man asked me what I wanted to be, I wanted to be a teacher. And to this day I still hear from a lot of my students and to me that’s very heartwarming because you feel like you’re making a difference.
Jim Rembach: I often find how—as even were [2:54 inaudible ] in our own students, that we always have that one teacher maybe even a couple teachers that have made such an impact on our lives and those teachers are, like you said, very touched when some of those students come back and share with them how much of an impact they made on their lives. Is there one particular student story that you can recall that really has made an impact on you? Can you share that with us?
Carol Sharicz: Absolutely. And Jim, it’s funny you should be asking me this question because as we’re taping this on Friday, I literally just got an email, two days ago Wednesday, from a former student of mine at Suffolk University. He is a Training and Development manager at an Insurance company in Boston. And he said to me that he to this day when he does his training with his classes, he mentions me because of what an inspiration I was. But he mentioned something that took me by surprise he said in addition to how you teach, Carol, which was memorable, but you always made a connection with your students. And he says in case some point he says, here we are, who hears from their professor who is able to talk to their professors ten years later.
I literally, Jim, and just thought that two days ago, so, to me that was a, “you made my day.” [Laugh]
Jim Rembach: I can only imagine especially when I didn’t even know that, it just happen to…
Carol Sharicz: I know.
It’s pretty interesting that it was such a coincidence but I would dare to say that, especially as we age and as all of the people who we mentor and we get the opportunity to help with their advancement and development, as they get older they realize those things too, so, I would bet that you’re going to get a heck a lot more of those e-mails in the future. And hopefully the show will help make that more visible as well so people will reach out to you.
Carol Sharicz: Thank you, Jim.
Jim Rembach: There are ways that we become inspired as individuals to help others and as you know we focus on leadership quotes at the Fast Leader Show because there’s just so much depth and meaning to those. Is there a quote or two that really has special meaning for you that you can share with us?
Carol Sharicz: There’s one that came from a book and even my children will tell you this, Jim. “The Little Prince” and it was the fox who said: “It’s only with the heart that one can see clearly with essential is invisible to the eye.” And that really has always resonated with me because I think life is what’s more of the invisible and how do we pay attention to that.
Jim Rembach: So, for you—we talked previously about some of the work that you’ve been doing and you even mentioned in your bio in regards to system thinking and emotional intelligence, have you created your own personal system to get to that better understanding and clarity and the things that aren’t so clear and spoken?
Carol Sharicz: Again a great question and my answer is—I think it’s a work in progress. [Laugh] I think we haven’t really arrived and when we’re aware of it I think for me taking the time to pay attention more, to observe more, and to really listen. I know my daughters will said that I’m a good listener, but I think even more so now. I really taking the and try not to be distracted, sometimes when I really working I might said, I want to focus on my work, I had to let that go and just say, you know, somebody just came in to my office I really need to pay attention. And sometime it’s a reminder to myself to do that but I feel like it helps a lot to focus on that other person.
Jim Rembach: You bring up a good point in regards to active listening which is one of the competencies associated with emotional intelligence. For me, I’d even have to be more mindful to tell folks that, you know, I want to give you full attention and want to be able to listen to you and be able to respond to you appropriately and I can’t do that right now because I am distracted or I need to put this away or I need to finish this and just hold on a moment. Initially it may seem rude but I know for me it’s allowed me to do just that focus better.
Carol Sharicz: And you know, you bring up a good point about—in a way you didn’t use the word ‘boundary’ but it’s important for a leader to have that boundary to say, this is what I need right now, and still be aware of the needs of the other people.
Jim Rembach: Definitely. And like you say, it is a work in progress. I mean, sometimes we can come to those conclusions a little bit faster. We have to go through our own life experiences and hopefully learn in the process. But at the Fast Leader Show we also give people the opportunity to learn to the stories of others. Even myself, I’m an open book in a lot of the things, I mean, I share as much as I can so that hopefully somebody can be really helped and aided in getting over that hump faster. And so we talk about a lot of learnings, is there a story that you can share with us that helped you learn and get over the hump faster?
Carol Sharicz: I have two examples, Jim, and they both have the same theme to them. One, when I was in high school and I had all my credits for my senior year. I had this idea early one morning to go to my guidance counselor to see if I could go high school in the morning and college in the afternoon. And kind of thought for a second and he said, “Well, you know, that’s never been done, Carol.” And I said, “Well, could you ask?” and he did. To his credit which is great, and he came back and he said, “Carol they let you go.” So I went to high school in the morning and college in the afternoon.
I had another example very similar to that. This happened when I was a new professor, Jim. And myself and a colleague were task with inviting a guest speaker for our annual conference at the college, and this is a really big deal, and I came up with this idea of inviting Keith Lockhart who’s the Boston Pops Conductor, in fact, he just started after I did at this university. My senior leadership at the team said, “You’re inviting him, he’s not going to come. Who do you think you are you’re thinking of a person like that?” And I said, “Well, you know, you never know until you ask.” So, I sent out the invitation, his administrative team got it and he accepted.
So, he came to the university and gave a wonderful presentation. What I learned from both of those examples is that when you have this ideas and you want to bring them forward, and I’m not saying every idea has to be accepted I understand that, but when I think when a person really believes in something it’s worth pursuing it and not being stopped at No—it’s like, what can you lose if you take that risk.
Jim Rembach: I have been reading your bio and as you tell those stories and using that word risk, I think that’s really the underlying theme here is that, you weren’t afraid to approach folks and take those risks. And because like you said, it doesn’t hurt to ask the worst thing that could be happening would be that no response, and you’re never going to get that unless you take that first leap or the first step. Obviously, you’ve been doing that at a very early age because when talked about doing it in high school and things like that. When there was a time where you got some resistance how did you get over that hump?
Carol Sharicz: I definitely got resistance and I think that those instances like I said, I really understand too within myself that everybody has ideas not every ideas are going to be accepted but when I did get that resistance I did take a step back and revaluated it for myself to say, “Okay, why was this person not as excited as I was? What else is going on? What’s the bigger context? In a [10:53 inaudible] systems thinking like to look at that bigger context. So, it kind of made me pause, which I think is always healthy too.
Jim Rembach: So, I could absolutely see that when you got that resistance and you’ve taken that steps back and you looked at that bigger picture, that system, that you’ve often gone back and try to make yet another attempt, have you found something that seems to work better than not in regards to going back and then finally getting that acceptance or that approval?
Carol Sharicz: Absolutely, Jim. I think the one thing that I learned is that—again I might have all this great ideas and I get excited about my ideas, who doesn’t right? But I really kind of look at it from the other person’s perspective. What are their motivations? What are they looking for in the organization? And so, it wasn’t just about me it’s taking again then other perspectives as important as mine and seeing what we could work with.
Jim Rembach: I think that also is a really important point. I recently was introduced to a particular study that was completed talking about how do you defuse a heated situation? How do you essentially bring yourself back down from that ‘box’ you maybe on? Because I know for me, sometimes when I get really excited and frustrated about something it’s hard to dial it back down. And they found that one particular method isn’t necessarily putting yourself in those environments and the other person’s perspective or point of view but it’s to pretend like you’re a fly on the wall observing the interaction and the situation. And when they said that that gives people a better perspective about what’s going on and helps them back down better, and then maybe take a different approach. And I thought that was fascinating.
Carol Sharicz: I do too.
Jim Rembach: When you think about the work that you’re doing now, and I know we’ve talked about this earlier from the teaching piece, the author piece, speaking and your volunteer work, what is one thing that’s currently driving you now that just gives a lot of energy and passion?
Carol Sharicz: The one huge thing right now, Jim is, I was on a strategic planning committee for an in purpose community here in Massachusetts. We we’re tasked with—we got a small grant to help design a new academy for—and it was called, the academy for innovators and entrepreneurs. It was targeted for kids 9th grade to 12 who might be on the verge of dropping out of school. And could we really design a different curriculum, more of an international baccalaureate kind of curriculum which would really encompass having them be more reflective, critical thinkers, but a lot of the key competencies that are needed now in 21st century, and to me that project had to be one of the best projects I had ever worked on. And we really want to see this continue to become an actual academy because I think it could really make a difference in this young children’s lives and for the economy and the local community too.
Jim Rembach: I would say that—we know education has gotten so very, very bad press it’s gotten some very—I guess a heated discussion and debate in regards to a lot of the things that’s trying to be instituted and it sounds like you’re having some success with the program that you’re doing. And so, please share that with us so that other people maybe can get exposed to it that have the passion for the reengineering education, what’s the name of the organization?
Carol Sharicz: The actual school system is down in Cape Cod at the Wareham Public Schools. Like I said, it was a planning committee that we’re a part of, so we’re just laying the foundation. But to me that’s true with any project, you have to lay that foundation and to me it was also [14:50 inaudible] because of my systems lens. We we’re working with a lot of difference they call this if you will, from the Superintendent of the schools down there to the school committee. Member was represented, we brought students in to hear their voices of what kind of school could they imagine for their future. We had a parent on the committee in addition to the principal of the high school. So, to me that’s what it’s about when you’re really looking at real systemic issues. Like you said, Jim, we do have a lot of issues. One is dedication and economic and what have and the more we can bring effective people together to craft something for where we want to be in the future, where we need to be in the future, that’s exciting.
Jim Rembach: So, if you were to think about the stories you had shared earlier about being bold, about stepping back storage unit shared earlier about your being bold about your stepping back and looking at the big picture lens bringing all these different constituents together through this work that you’re doing, and this planning committee on this education program all of those things, if you had a piece of advice that you would give to our Fast Leader Legion, what would it be?
Carol Sharicz: To me how I think about this work is—and what to say to everybody is, “What’s really fueling you? What is your passion? And I know other people in your other podcast had mentioned that too. I don’t want that to sound like a [16:13 inaudible] expression, it really is. If people could feel something in their heart, and it doesn’t have to be education my example that I gave you, it could be anything, it’s go for it. And it’s not going to be easy, but to me I think it’s such a deep motivation and it’s so satisfying, it’s almost indescribable.
Jim Rembach: That intrinsic drive is an important piece we definitely have to be able to find it and then feel it. Alright, now it’s time for the rapid pace of our show and that’s the—Hump Day Hoedown. Okay Carol, the Hump Day Hoedown is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So, I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Caroline Sharicz, are you ready to hoedown?
Carol Sharicz: You bet I am, Jim.
Jim Rembach: Alright. So, what do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today?
Carol Sharicz: Not knowing what my next medium, as far as getting my new ideas out there. Shall I write another book? Do blogs? That’s what really my challenge is right now.
Jim Rembach: What is the best leadership advice you had ever received?
Carol Sharicz: Be yourself. It really is. It came from my dad, it comes from other people, even to this day and sometimes I say that to myself, “Just be yourself, Carol.”
Jim Rembach: What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?
Carol Sharicz: I don’t think this is going to be a surprise to anybody. I read every day and that helps me think about what is needed in my classes or on a project.
Jim Rembach: What do you feel is one of your best resources that helps you lead in business or life?
Carol Sharicz: I really go to major books whether they be current books. There’s one that was written by a really prominent person, Lee Kwan Yew, he just [18:08 inaudible] but he wrote a book called, “The Grand Master.” And even presidents of the United States have consulted with him. He has insights on China, the US and the world. And to me, he has some very provocative thoughts and his book about –it’s all being about discipline. Are we disciplined in our action, discipline in our thought and I think that’s a huge message too.
Jim Rembach: That’s for sure. We’re going to put a link to that book and several other resources on our show notes page which you’ll be able to find at fastleader.net/Carol Sharicz. Okay, Carol, this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question: Imagine you were given question the opportunity to go back to the age of 25 and you’ve been given the opportunity to take the knowledge and skills that you have back with you but you can’t take everything, you can only take one piece of knowledge or skill back with you, what would you take back? And why?
Carol Sharicz: I would love to have had a trusted adviser when I was 25. Somebody that I could go to and say, “Can I vouch this ideas off with you? And just share my thinking rather than always been working it out myself. I think that would have been very beneficial in a lot of instances.
Jim Rembach: And for me, when I haven’t been able to find that person and moments of time, sometimes being that person for someone else often opens that door.
Carol Sharicz: Absolutely.
Jim Rembach: Carol it was an honor to spend time with you today can you please share with the Fast Leader listeners how they can connect with you?
Carol Sharicz: Absolutely. I’m in LinkedIn, I am also in Twitter and those are probably the best ways to get in touch with me in addition to my email of course, which is email@example.com.
Jim Rembach: Carol thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom the Fast Leader legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot! Woot!
Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader show today. For recaps, links from every show, special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over the fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.
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