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Lila-Mae White, MBA, CHE, PMP


Think Again

Posted 8/12/2021

“Mental horsepower doesn’t guarantee mental dexterity. No matter how much brain power you have, if you lack the motivation to change your mind, you’ll miss many occasions to think again.”,

Adam Grant, Think Again

In a world where the only constant is change, the ability to rethink is a super-power. Skills to promote mental dexterity should be a fundamental component of school curriculum.

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Consumed by the pandemic - almost

Posted 7/5/2021

It has been 17 months since I posted as Tree Toad. That is unbelievable to me – that time flew past while at the same time creeping forward. As you have guessed by the title of this post the pandemic is to blame for sideline my side hustle… well sort of. Thankfully, I have not been ill through the pandemic but rather, my day job became all about pandemic planning, response, and immunization.

The COVID-19 ride in healthcare these last 18 months has been fast and furious. There have been long days and sleepless nights. I am not in direct patient care. I cannot imagine how exponentially more difficult that has been for my colleagues and friends.

My work through the pandemic has had a few different focuses but the speed, volume, and fluidity of the work left very little room (or energy) for thinking, writing or mining for new opportunities. I am still completely immersed in pandemic work and now we have the added complexity of wildfire response, but I am hopeful that I can start to carve some space and time for Tree Toad work.

Thank you to Tree Toad’s regular clients who remained stable and consistent through the last 17 months and allowed me flexibility with deadlines as I shifted to meet everchanging needs.

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New Post Title

"If you don't want to burn out, stop living like you're on fire."

Posted 11/19/2020

This was advice given to Brene Brown early in her career...... today it was a message I needed to hear.

What about you?

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Keep It Simple

Posted 11/12/2020

"Take a simple idea and take it seriously." —Charlie Munger

The are aisles of books about leadership at the bookstore or library. Many have headlines like – “How to be a Great leader in 5 Easy Steps” or “Leadership is as Easy as 1-2-3!” Of course, leadership is rarely easy and is not a destination but rather a journey with you, your teams and your context all playing into the leadership outcomes.

What if you did focus on one simple change in your leadership and took it seriously? What simple improvement idea would you look to – active listening, recognition/praise, or taking a coaching approach? What if for 10 days you diligently utilized this one simple idea? Approach this leadership experiment like a scientist – form a hypothesis of the outcome, be curious and study the impacts. After the 10 days evaluate the results. Maybe even try a second experiment to build on the first – see what happens – what have you got to lose?

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Looking in the Value Mirror

Posted 11/5/2020

I believe I am clear about my values, someone who has pulled out and examined issues and my position on them. However, having an old-soul-near-teen has altered that perception of myself.



Of course, there are the run of the mill everyday opportunities to articulate your values:

  • why it is important to be on time
  • how we choose to spend or save money
  • why we live into commitments we make

Add a provincial election:

  • What does each party stand for?
  • Do you vote for the party or the local representative?

And of course, the events in the US:

  • What women’s rights are at stake?
  • How do you discern fact from fiction in politics?
  • How does a political agenda and technology shape the narrative and what you see in your news feed?

Having these deep and meaningful conversations with the Toad are really special moments – ones which shape us both.

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A noun and a verb

Posted 10/29/2020

“Plans alone are nothing; planning is everything.”     Nirmal Kandel

In all honesty I have never stopped to consider the difference between plans and planning. In my day job my focus is on pandemic response. In that realm the distinction between the two is paramount and is the difference between a binder collecting dust on the shelf and the execution of complex operational changes/adjustments to meet needs on short notice.

By nature I lean towards lists, organization and plans but I have recently learned that I only gravitate this way if I know this work is useful and makes a difference. If I get a sense the plan is only being completed as a checkmark on a to do list, then I disengage quickly. If I get a sense that the plan I am working on is going to be read, studied, used as it continues morphing as a living document then I am all in.

I am very grateful my current role has both plans and planning in it.


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Grief and Mourning

Posted 10/22/2020

Grief is what you feel – mourning is what you do.

I came across this passage in a book I was reading recently, and it really resonated. When you are unable to mourn in the way you need to, grief has no where to go and no way to release you.

There are many reasons for and layers of grief – it is not just about death but rather about loss. Loss can sometimes be a frequent visitor.

In our current COVID reality it seems there are many reasons to feel grief, but far fewer ways to mourn.

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Crazy Busy

Posted 10/15/2020

In her May 2020 TED Talk, Dr. Darria Long gave a caution against using the frame of “crazy busy” to describe your life. She outlined the perspective of an ER doctor to create new habits and a new narrative on how you manage through challenging moments in life. Her lens offers three areas to change the narrative around “crazy busy”.

  1. Triage relentlessly – just like an ER physician you need to cultivate the habit of being clear on what are the most important things to tackle. She also shared that sometimes you have to make the determination that commitments/tasks on your list need to be jettisoned off in order to effectively manage the remaining critical items.
  2. Expect and design for the busiest times – reduce the number of decisions you need to make each day, look for ways to co-locate items or automate processes and remove temptations to take the easy way by doing the planning ahead of time.
  3. Get out of your own head – take action, focus on someone else, and stop listening to the narrative in your head which is talking smack about your situation or your ability to handle it.

We all juggle, we all over commit, we all wear multiple hats – we need to stop making busy a currency to trade for attention, sympathy, or adoration. We need to change the narrative about busy – internally and externally.

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Talent or Skill

Posted 10/8/2020

I recently subscribed to the Career Pivot podcast by Marc Miller. In a blog post he wrote about taking the time to create an inventory of your talents ( something you are good at, that  seems natural or comes easy to you)  and your skills (something  you have learned, practiced and are now good at).

This distinction gave me pause but very quickly I recognized that my talent would be organization and time management. These are things I do innately in all realms of my life. They are also something I find hard to describe or teach to others.

Miller says that after decades in the workforce you likely have acquired a long list of skills. I had to think a bit more about my skills. I spent some time reflecting on my facilitation skills. I did put in time learning different techniques and now have a toolkit of approaches and processes for almost any group. There was a time I needed time to think through group dynamics and look through files and books to prepare my facilitation. This skill now flows more naturally such that I can step into a group or meeting and facilitate more fluidly than early in my career.

What are your talents and your skills?


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