Kristin Kaufman, PCC, CLC
Kristin Kaufman, PCC, CLC
Kristin is the founder of Alignment, Inc. ® a unique leadership coaching consultancy formed in 2007 to help individuals, corporations, board of directors and other similar groups find alignment within themselves and their organizations. She’s brought this expertise to hundreds of people since establishing Alignment, Inc®. Some of her clients include Baylor Scott & White Healthcare System, Accenture, Hewlett-Packard, Smith & Nephew, Frito-Lay, John Peter Smith Health Network, Amazon Web Services, IDEA Public Schools, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Bon Secours Mercy Health, and many others.
Kristin brings over 25 years of corporate experience to bear, including executive positions at Hewlett-Packard, Vignette Corporation, and United Health Group. At HP, Kristin was the General Manager of the channels and partner program that supported Hewlett-Packard’s largest corporate accounts. This business represented a $3 billion revenue stream for Hewlett- Packard. Serving as Worldwide Channels Vice-President on the Executive Committee of Vignette Corporation, a $250 million publicly traded software company, her team built the global infrastructure for multi-channels of distribution for their software solution.
In her first departure from traditional ‘corporate America’, Kristin was asked to join the NYC Leadership Academy effort, which was the centerpiece of the New York City Children First reform agenda. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein sponsored this agenda, led by CEO Robert E. Knowling, Jr. The goal of this reform was to create a system of outstanding schools where every child and teacher has access to effective teaching and learning. Kristin was chosen as one of two private sector business executives, to teach, train, and coach the 1,200 principals of the NYC public school system and the top 100 executives on the Chancellor’s staff.
This three-year experience was the initial catalyst for Kristin forming Alignment, Inc. ®
Her last executive position in corporate America was as Group Vice President of United Health Group. This appointment leveraged her strong knowledge of the technology business and how to leverage multiple channels to market in the increasingly complicated world of healthcare and healthcare insurance. Kristin provided expertise for its go-to-market strategies, defined, and created alternative channels to improve organic growth, and implemented sales effectiveness methodologies across all segments within United Health Group.
A prolific writer, Kristin’s first book, Is This Seat Taken? Random Encounters That Change Your Life, was released in 2011 to national acclaim, and endorsed by Stephen Covey and John Maxwell, among others. Her second book in the series, entitled Is This Seat Taken? It’s Never
Too Late to Find the Right Seat was released in 2015. It has been endorsed by notables such as Marshall Goldsmith, Sean Covey, and Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines. This book shines the light on late in life reinvention and encore ‘second half’s’ of diverse individuals. The individuals are in some cases widely known and others are somewhat anonymous to the mass public. The common thread is their ‘post-50’ resurgence in life and in some cases their ‘fork in the road’ is quite serendipitous. Kristin’s third book, in the ‘Is This Seat Taken?’ trilogy was released in 2019 and made the best seller list in the first week of publication.
A brief synopsis of Kristin’s educational and certification background: Georgetown University Leadership Coaching Masters Certificate; PCC International Coach Federation (ICF); BBA, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Executive Education at University of Michigan, Duke University, Southern Methodist University. Selected certifications: Voices, Lominger Assessment Certified, MBTI Meyers Briggs Certified. The Leadership Circle Certified. Thomas Killman Certified. DISC certified. Polarity certified. Extensive work with Adult Development – MAP and Integral Coaching (Susanne Cook-Greuter, etc.). Pat Lencioni Five Dysfunctions of a Team, etc.
Opportunity from Change
We have all heard the adage ‘The only constant is change.’ Yes…how true this is. Change and progress are inevitable. They are vital. They are necessary. Many individuals and organizations resist change. Changes can be perceived as disruptive, a ‘hassle’ and frankly…scary. What are a few things we can do to support a positive response to change?
We need to CHANGE the way we are looking at the experience…aka: CHANGE THE FRAME.
For example, when professionals are being faced with a change in their job or position, why not CHANGE the way they look at it? It helps us to remember and realize that we are NOT defined by the job or position we hold. Often, we can get completely absorbed in our job or company. In fact, many senior executives believe their identity is the company for which they work. I ‘get’ this concept and lived it at one time in my career. Most of us can relate to this, especially as we climb the ranks in Corporate. And this becomes even more palpable when we leave one fabulous successful stint in a company and wonder if we will ever have that again. We wonder if we will ever be able to recreate that level of success again.
Yet, what would happen if we STOPPED comparing this new chapter with the old chapter – good or bad?!
We know intellectually that there really are no comparisons. We know we are a compilation of all our experiences, and this new chapter will be a completely new experience in many ways. How liberating it can be when we allow ourselves, and encourage our employees, to embrace this concept and this new way of looking at the OPPORTUNITY of change.
What would happen if we embraced PROGRESS not PERFECTION as it pertains to our career progression, our life’s professional journey and all the changes with which we are faced?
My suggestion is to keep forward momentum. Keep exploring. Stay open. Be receptive to even what may appear to be an opportunity which is out of your wheelhouse or may even be an approach with which you disagree. “Lean In” to quote Sheryl Sandberg. Our intuition and inner voice do not lie. Ever. So, listen to them. Change can in fact be an amazingly liberating experience IF we change the frame on how we welcome and grow into the change.
And remember nothing is permanent. Many of us may be facing hard, relatively large, changes in our personal and professional lives. Let’s be real, there are no pat answers on how to embrace change – and our approach will differ for each one of us. Yet, I want to offer one simple dose of reality and a formula which has benefited me over the years:
D x V x F > R
This is one of the simplest, yet most powerful change models I have ever used. (This is Beckhard’s Change Equation, attributed to change/leadership guru Richard Beckhard).
It is simply this – Change (and the healthy embrace of change) will only happen when:
(D) Dissatisfaction with the status quo coupled with our
(V) Vision of what is possible (and this must be more than just the absence of pain in the current situation) coupled with our
(F) First Steps in the direction of that Vision is GREATER THAN our
(R) Resistance to Change, and the inertia to stay where we are.
So, when things get bad enough, or are simply not as effective as they could be OR a decision (and a CHANGE) has been made and thrust upon us – then we must identify the overall direction of where we want to go and take that first step.
Then, we are on our way to embracing change. If any of these components are missing, not clear, or compelling, then we will stay where we are – stuck! We resist the change. We fight the change. We are fighting the flow – and we all know how hard it is to swim upstream.
I want to close with wisdom from my parents. Our ABC’s matter. I was reared with this non-negotiable directive from my parents, that we control only ourselves.
We only have real control over 3 things: Our Attitudes, Our Behaviors, and Our Choices.
We do not control anyone else’s. Yet, we can adjust OUR ABC’s to embrace what life presents to us. We play the hand we have been dealt – and yes, we can ‘win the game’ with a pair of deuces, if that is all we have.
We, individually, collectively, and organizationally, must deliberately make the decision to embrace the change. This may be simply altering the nature of
our current situation through attitude, approach, and simply changing the frame of how we view our current role.
Bottom line: embracing change is up to us any way you slice it.
And there is OPPORTUNITY with CHANGE.