Managers, Entrepreneurs, and Leaders You Have Superpowers

Here we are for part 2 with Anese Cavanaugh, as she  continues her discussion of Intentional Energetic Presence and her book Contagious Culture.

Anese Cavanaugh, author, speaker, facilitator, coach
Anese Cavanaugh, courtesy

Anese is devoted to helping people show up and bring their best selves to the table in order to create significant positive impact in their lives. She is the creator of the IEP Method® , an advisor and thinking partner to leaders and organizations around the world, and author of Contagious Culture: Show Up, Set the Tone, and Intentionally Create an Organization That Thrives.

We’ll see you on the other side of the conversation with our round of questions.

Social Shareables – Takeaways from part two with Anese,

When addressing culture, it is an inside out approach. Leaders, look inside and then move out.

We all have superpowers and have an impact on those around us. Choose today how you will use them.

Is the way I show up

Is the way I talk to myself

Is the way I talk to other people

Is the way I take care for myself

Is the way I regard others

…helping me have the impact I want to have on the world? If, “no”, then there is beautiful work to be done there.  

Showing up for yourself means you share the idea in a meeting when you normally wouldn’t share.

Make your next meeting more productive: make it shorter and make an agreement to have no phones in the meeting.

Questions for entrepreneurs, leaders, and managers

Do you believe you have superpowers? IE, do you truly believe you impact those around you with your attitude and energy?

How can you approach your next meeting with intention that will affect the energy of you and your team?

Share your responses on the comments section below.

Remember to subscribe to the Inspired and Intentional podcast via itunes at

Join us next week as we wrapup our conversation with Anese Cavanaugh. Until then, be inspired and intentional.


Anese Cavanaugh’s website

Contagious Culture Book

Top secret resources page – http://IEP.IO

Anese’s resource kit

Anese Cavanaugh’s Busy Blog Post

Remember to sign up for email updates at

Complete Transcript/Manuscript for Episode 26:
Let’s talk about your book here. It’s called Contagious Culture. You can tell us briefly about your vision for that book.
Sure. I wanted that book to be something that was different. There’s about 50,000 books on leadership and culture out there, first I heard, I’m sure there’s more than that but that’s the number I had in my head. A lot of times when people want to address culture or leadership, they take an outside in approach, so they look at the organization and they look it over. It kind, what I spoke about earlier, you really look at the culture and what issues do they need to put in place. I really believe that it’s an inside out approach and it gets better every single individual shows up, the more inspiring that becomes and then the more contagious that becomes and then the people that they’re leading, they want to show it better and it doesn’t stop. It just continues. Contagious, I think about contagious for good or bad. We’re always having an impact, we have super powers and we can use those super powers at any moment to do good in the world and to have good impact on people or we can do it and have negative impact.
My energy, I set the tone when I walk into the room. If I bring in the best of me and I am … I call it operating in a high vibration, which is very rude but very true. If I bring in the best of me, that has a great chance of having an impact of everybody in that room. If I bring in the worst of me and I come in and I’m crossing my arms and I’m really negative and what not, that also has a huge impact. I wanted the book to take an inside out approach and really help each person who reads it, read it with laying the foundation. The first part is all about you holding your fate and what showing up actually means and helping the reader get really clear on what that means for them. Not just my definition show it, but their definition.
The second part is then building their own strong IEP foundation. That first part of the book is all about you as an individual. The third part is now taking IEP and using it with leadership skills. Now we start getting into more leadership development. Fourth part is using it in your organization with your team. Then the fifth part is actually putting into play in real life, stories and cases to help people use in their company so that it’s built.
When I start the Podcast I might go as to really talk to other business leaders that are changing their culture, or start it with great cultures like Amy’s Ice Cream, just something, and how other … Oh there, we’re speaking of ice creams. How other business people or organization leaders could adapt what they hear and help them to know that they’re not crazy and that they can run their organizations differently. It always comes down to, you’re more direct with it, but even talking to these other people it always comes down to, it’s a hot issue with the leader having to, as you say, show up and be intentional, if not so that’s the way I would have phrased it then but it’s the way it is. I don’t know what to tell leaders, it’s not going to be easy. It’s not put the foosball table in or give raises.
You know, I agree, it is. At the same time that it’s deep and complex it’s also very simple. One of the things that I noticed is that a lot of people that come to me, they’re looking for help with their leadership. They want to learn all these skills and strategies and communication, how they do feedback better and how they’re going … Even their leadership presence. They want to have a stronger leadership presence. I’m telling you, 9 times out of 10, the thing that needs the tweaking is something in their IEP, it’s something around their intention, the way they’re taking care of themselves, just their presence in terms of how present they are with other human beings.
If we can take tweak even little things, all of a sudden, all those amazing leadership skills and sales skills and whatever skills we are working on, if we can get their intention or energy and their presence lined up, those skills get amplified, and they are that much stronger, and the thing is that they are also a lot more sustainable. We can psyche ourselves up thinking that leadership is this really complex, scary big animal. In many ways yes, it is absolutely, there are super complex things that we have to deal with. At the same time we can also go back to basics which is, okay, it is about the heart, it is about showing up, it is about being intentional, it is about noticing, is the impact I’m having … It is the way I take care of myself, it is the way I talk to myself, it is the way I talk to other people and regard other people. Is that helping me have the impact that I want to have in this world? If the answer is anything but an absolute yes, then there’s some really beautiful work to be done there.
It’s not too complicated really to change the way you come in. I want to talk about on Duane Bray, I believe is the name?
Who wrote an intro to your book and said, “What’s one thing you can try in your next meeting.” For a couple of meetings at work, I thought, “Okay, I’m going to try to go in there more intentionally, and more focused and come out with a positive mojo at the end.” I was more alert going in and I felt like they did come out better. Again, I was telling a co-worker about it and I said, “I don’t know, maybe it was all about me, but that can only start with me.” I felt like the vibe was better in the meeting. What is interesting is, and I think you said this somewhere in your … I kind of lost focus of it. I wanted to go in really big, kind of intentional the whole time, but I did kind of forgot, which is fine. There were times when I kind of looked back and said, “Yeah, I wish I kind of would have reset there.”. It is easy, I did it. I read it in your book and in five minutes I did it and the two meetings I had that day did go better.
That’s great. I promise you, I promise you if you sense it was better, I’m sure it was better. Just so you know too, it’s not about going in and you staying intentional and present the entire meeting. That’s really hard to stay present for that long, so it’s about building. I think about this work is kind of like muscles, it’s building your recovery time, it’s building your muscles around being able to realize when you’ve lost presence and then coming back to it. Being able to just notice that, “Oh I kind of checked out for a second.” and then popping back in. That reboot that I was taking about earlier, you notice over and over again, “Oh, I lost presence again, I’m back.” and not giving ourselves a hard time for it, just because we don’t stay present the whole meeting. I find that really difficult.
I think that there’s also value, you know I’ll be working with a client, or a team meeting or something, and I’ll lose presence. I’ll check into, “Why is my son texting me 8 times?”, or “What’s going on with this guy over here?” “What do I need to do to get up to speed?” I’ll pop out of that total presence with the meeting, and I’ll either get right back in and recover or if I really want to build some trust with the team, I’ll say, “I’m so sorry, I just checked out, can we do a quick re-boot?” I’ll mean that I’ve lost presence, because when we are with somebody, and we’re not present with them, they usually can feel it.
Oh they know.
They know.
You’ve possibly been doing this about 15 years you are saying?
Yeah, I started my business in 2002, I had just had a baby, so it was more of a hobby and fun and super super part time. In 2007 I realized there’s something really important and sweet about this work and I want to build it more, and then in 2009, I built the model and it’s just been growing ever since.
Have you noticed in that time period, 15 years, things like cellphones added to peoples distractions or has it always been there and now we just have a way to see that they are distracted?
I think it’s the former. Personally, I feel like it’s the former. I feel like the cellphones have added … It’s really interesting because we have the ability to do more than ever, and to multitask. I love to multitask, I love to get stuff done, I love having … any given moment you’re at my house, you’ll see my phone next to my computer. I can remember the day in 2007, there’s two moments, I can remember, where I feel like my awareness around the danger of cellphones really became more obvious. One of them was, I was leading a team meeting, and my policy was to do away with my cell phone, I put my phone away. I turn it off, it’s on silent, its put it away, if I’m leading a session, or if I’m with a client, or if I’m having lunch with someone, I’ll put the phone away.
I remember in 2007, I went into a company. I asked everybody to put their phones away and I noticed halfway through the meeting, that about half the people had their phones underneath the table and we’re checking them. What was really interesting, I didn’t realize it at first because I’d just said, “Oh, we have an agreement, no phones.” I didn’t think about it and I couldn’t figure that the quality of the presence in the room was not great and we weren’t getting a lot done. All of a sudden I realized like one my one and I was like, “Wait a second, these guys are actually hiding their phones under the thing to be communicating. They’re super not present.” That was where I really realized how much an impact that can have.
Now on the flip side of that, I’ve also come to see in the last couple of years, where people are trying to get more vigilant, more diligent about putting their phones away. I feel like we went through an arc from a meeting standpoint and from a presence standpoint with human beings to human beings. We went from having them to being almost out of control, to now recently. I would say in the last 18 months/ 2 years even, I don’t see that as much. I see people putting their phones away, I see people having agreements in organizations. Laptops down, phones down when we meet so that they can be really really efficient.
Yeah. We’ve kind of gone a little bit back and forth. Now the phones are pretty easy to say no, but it’s the laptops and the iPads, because you can take notes on them and things, there’s a fine line in there, but the problem is … I’ve been taking notes on my computer for a long time, I’ve been told for a long time, “Don’t do that, looks like you are not present.” Those are the words they use, but, “I’m only taking notes.” I hear research says that you are not really engaged as well taking notes that way, as opposed to handwriting them so I don’t know …
Well, here’s the thing, even handwriting them, I think that we’re taking notes when you’re in the meeting, I actually really don’t have a problem with it. Some people that’s the way they process like I think of the team that has an agreement that, “You can do this when you’re taking notes, you’re not checking your email.” It’s an agreement around the quality of presence. That’s one way of handling that. The other thing is, even with the handwriting, I remember having a client, who he would draw, and every single meeting he would draw and finally one day the client I said, “Gosh, I feel like you’re not even here.”. The thing was that was how he processed. As he was listening, he would draw out things, he would kind of sketch and draw, even if it was just boxes or whatever. That was how his brain processed that information and at the end of the meeting or midway through, he’d say something absolutely brilliant.
What he started to do was, it was unintended impact because the people in the room, the client ,the team, would think, “Oh, you’re not really engaged.” When he started doing so at the beginning he said, “Listen, I scribe while I listen. I draw stuff and it’s not because I’m not here, I’m very much here, but this is how my brain processes information.” It became a non-issue. It’s just noticing it, I think a lot of it is just noticing it and naming it.
You’ve talked a lot about showing up. You were pretty clear about it, but I guess I would like to define a little bit more for the listeners. What do you mean by showing up?
Sure. For showing up, I mean, I look at it in two ways. I look at, how do I show up for others?, How do I show up in the world? How do I show up for you, Todd? Do I bring my best self to you? Do I bring my best self to my work? Do I bring my best self to my kids? How do I show up? What is the impact I’m having? Then again I look at how do I show up for myself? Am I nice to myself? Do I take care of myself? If I say that I want to be healthy and I want to do really really great work in the world. Am I taking care of myself in such a way, I’m I showing up for myself in such a way that it’s going to enable me to have that kind of impact and to be able to have the kind of energy that I need to have tremendous impact to the word?
Showing up is another way of creating impact. It’s how you show up, how you create impact. It’s also the difference, and I talk about this in the book a lot, it’s also the difference between, you’re sitting in that meeting and you have that brilliant idea. Everybody listening says this has happened to them. You’re staying in a meeting, you have an idea and you go, “Uh, listen, I don’t want to risk.” and then all of a sudden, five minutes later, somebody else says your idea, and you go like, “Oh that was my idea, I should have spoken up.” Everybody’s experienced that. Showing up, will be you taking the risk and showing up for yourself and saying, “Hey, here’s an idea.” It might be the worst idea in the world, but if it meant something to you, to me showing up for ourselves means please speak up. Showing up for ourselves means when we want something, we step and we ask for it or we go get it.
My current boss gave me probably some of the best advice I ever had, I wish I hadn’t been 45 when I heard it. He said, “You have good ideas, you need to share them more often.” I was like, I’m careful I’m not making excuses here, I’m an introvert, I’m the kind of guy that doodles in meetings, I take a long time to process thoughts and so oftentimes I think if something either late in the meeting where it’s kind of, “All right everybody, we’re done.” or after the fact. That’s a little bit of it, but then part of it also is the confidence of stepping in there, like you said, taking that chance where somebody will be like, “What?” I don’t want to be misunderstood or whatever. We can go into the deep part of that of the psychological issues I have, but let’s save that for another episode.
Can we talk a little bit more about the showing up thing because I think, I don’t hear people talk about this, this is to me is so important. It is actually the reason why I got into this work in the first place. My interest was more on the human being than it was on the business. If the human being was showing up really well for themselves, then they were able to show up better for each other and they were able to show up better for the business and then business results were these awesome outcome. Showing up, just so that your listeners can really look at this, when I talk about showing up for yourself, it might be something as simple as allowing yourself to take three days off and to stay in bed the whole time because you’re completely exhausted and depleted from the marathon you’ve been running for the last year.
Showing up for yourself might mean saying no to something that you don’t want to do. It might mean saying no to a relationship that doesn’t feel good to you. It might mean going for that thing that feels completely impossible, but you really really want it. I want people to really get like this showing up for yourself piece doesn’t have to be this big complicated grand scene, you see like you’re changing the world and you’re solving world hunger. It can be as little as, tonight my way of showing up for myself is to decline going out with friends and just to stay home and hang out on the couch. Staying up for myself could be buying myself flowers today. It’s just little things like how you treat yourself.
Based on all that we’re talked about, IEP, showing up, presence, and then one of the chapters in your books is launching IEP into your organization, is this what your company does?
Yeah. In part. There’s a couple of different ways that my company works with people. One is I serve as a private advisor for some companies who basically, just advise their leadership and their leadership teams basically on culture and collaboration, being able to figure out what they ‘re doing and how it should be done by showing up. That’s one way. Then IEP in the organisation was certified a couple of years ago was, it’s really helpful to help companies. For me to bring IEP into the company and for the company to have a bunch of people participate in it, and then to actually have stewardship around it. The stewards then get trained in how to bring IEP into the company, but then they get to make it more culturally sticky by the stewards living it and embodying it in the company and then paying it forward as opposed to being completely dependent on my company.
Depending on, there’s always different levels of engagement people can do. People can go full circuitry, we’ve spent over the last two years really doing that with another company where they’ve taken global launches on their locations. We’ve done launches on each site, we’ve got stewards on the ground on each site, that’s one way, which is kind of like the deep immersion. Then we’re working on online IEP scores, everybody in the company gets access to that. If they want to go deeper into different components of IEP they can do that. Then there’s a really light version, and I talked about this in that section. There’s this really light version which is just …
We just had this happen with another company last week, a couple of leaders read the book and then they get really excited about it and they buy a copy for their team, and we just had this company start a book club and they are doing around a contagious culture and they are allowing having a discussion where they’re like, “What’s one thing we want to start integrating into our culture because it’s going to feel really good?” It’s in varying degrees but it’s basically … I’m devoted to helping people bring this work into their life and into their organizations in whatever way its most congruent and sticky for them. That can work in a lot of different ways.

The inspired and Intentional podcast is copyright 2016 by its owner. The music is Funk Game Loop, Kevin MacLeod Royalty Free from Incompatech. Thank you for sharing your talent.