About Erika Andersen

Over the past 30 years, Erika has developed a reputation for creating approaches to learning and business-building that are custom tailored to her clients’ challenges, goals, and culture.

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Archive for November, 2011


In Praise of Men

I love to feel grateful – it’s one of my favorite emotions.  Which is why, I believe, I’m so very fond of Thanksgiving.  The food is delicious, and I like the family effort required to prepare it – but I really do take this time of year primarily as a chance to focus on all the things in my life for which I’m grateful.

Earlier this week, I was working with a guy who mentioned that his wife is quite suspicious of men as a group (though she likes and loves him, fortunately). Generally when she meets men, he told me, she pretty quickly decides – based on her ‘intuition’ and a few observed words or interactions – that they’re not good people: arrogant, disrespectful toward women, unaware of their impact on others, not socially conscious.

I know there are men like that – I’ve certainly met some in my time.  However, even as he was telling me this, I found myself feeling grateful for the men in my life.  The three who came first to mind were my husband, my business partner, and my assistant.  Even though they’re very different in some ways – different ages and stages of life; different styles and leisure pursuits; different upbringing and backgrounds – they have core common traits that make them great.  All three are honest and honorable men; all three love, admire and respect their wives; all are doing their best to do good work in their lives.  In addition, all three of them are tremendously supportive of me; I quite literally would not be able to do what I do without them.

Patrick, my husband, is the love of my life and my deepest ally and forever partner; he is the haven and nest from which I fly. No matter what’s happening around us, good or bad, his love and appreciation for me, and mine for him, are a constant joy and comfort.

Jeff, my Proteus partner, is the engine that grows the company; he takes the things I invent and makes them work on a larger scale.  He is invariably honest with me, and cares about me, and stretches me to be more and better.  I’m glad every day that we’re in this together.

Dan, my assistant, is a daily treat to work with – so smart, sensible, and interpersonally fluent and flexible. And he has teaming in his bones; it’s how he’s wired. He makes it possible for me to focus on the things that most need my attention day-to-day.

And that’s just the beginning.  I feel surrounded by excellent men: my son, my son-in-law and son-in-law-to-be; my brothers; my nephews; the rest of the wonderful Proteus guys; my men friends.  And so many great male clients – including six of the twelve “exemplar” leaders I’ve profiled in my new book.

So, even though I know that my client’s wife’s skepticism may be largely justified, I feel tremendously grateful for and appreciative of the men in my life.

And Dad, where ever you may be, first and always among the men in my life, I am grateful for you.


What Organizations Are Thinking About…

Just had a great interview last week with a guy named Bill Ringle, a business strategist and coach, and founder of MQ4B – “My Quest for the Best,” an internet-based interview show.

Bill asked great questions, not only about Proteus and how we work with clients (I believe it’s the only interview I’ve ever done that’s focused on topics from all three of my books), but about what we’re seeing in organizations these days.  We talked about what leaders are doing to support organizational success – and what organizations are doing to support leaders’ success.

If these are things you’ve been thinking about, you may want to give it a listen..and if you have thoughts to share on these topics, I’d love to hear them.


Book #3!

It’s been longer than usual since my last post – but I have a number of good excuses.  Since last I posted here, I’ve conducted three vision and strategy sessions, made two trips to LA, and (drum roll, please) finished my new book!

I’m very excited – I finished it at 1:11am on 11/11/11 (really – no fooling), and sent it off to Jim, my wonderful agent.  Then I sent it to Patrick, and then Jeff.  I’ll keep you posted about what happens next, but as with my previous books, my hope is that this one will be truly useful and enjoyable to all those who buy and read it.

Now I need to sleep for a few days….


Emotions in the Workplace: It’s Always Personal

Yesterday I sent out my twice-monthly Insider List newsletter, taking advantage of the Halloween timing to talk about fear.  I neglected to reference my sister-in-law Anne Kreamer’s wonderful book, It’s Always Personal, which focuses on emotions in the workplace and how to manage them constructively, while still being true to your authentic feelings.

I love Anne’s writing – it’s both lucid and engaging – and she approaches her topic in a way that seamlessly combines research, reporting and personal insight.  She worked with Walter J. Thompson on the research, and they created a great Weep (Workplace Emotion Evaluation Profile) Profile to provide insight into the four basic work-personality types.  These types describe how different people operate emotionally in the workplace. (There’s a ‘mini-survey’ you can take on the website to find out your own profile – it turns out my first style is “Solver,” and my second is “Believer,” which were eerily accurate.)

And the book is so timely – in an uncertain era like this, people are even more emotional, and having practical tools for understanding and managing those emotions is invaluable.  I often recommend the book to young women in Leadership Development sessions; getting more emotionally ‘fluent’ at work is key to their success, and I want them to have every good tool at their disposal.

So now I’m recommending it to you. If you’ve ever felt an emotion at work that you weren’t sure how to handle, or if someone who works for or with you has been in that situation – It’s Always Personal will be a great resource for you.