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One does not climb to attain enlightenment.
Rather, one climbs because
they are enlightened.
Zen Master Futomaki
Relgion, Management & Work
More than your passion or purpose, your calling is a foundation for personal thriving, conscious capitalism, and civil society! Discover steps to deeper satisfaction through your work.
Strategic Curiosity is advanced education for executives, and those transitioning to executive roles, that equips leader by sharpening self-awareness, problem-solving, systems perspectives to make wise decisions that improve performance.
Navigate swift, dramatic and complex change!
I provide resources that help leaders pivot to manage change with uncommon insights, robust frameworks, and evidence-based plans that improve performance.
Learn to leverage the talent of ALL team members to achieve the organization's. goals. Going beyond typical implicit bias and cultural competence training, which have proven insufficient, Myers provides training in more advanced approaches to inclusive leadership. Learn more...
Elevate Your Life's Work!
Calling is more than passion, purpose and the work that you do; a calling is also how you work. Through research and practice, I bridge this gap and restore vitality to your calling. Wherever you are on your path, you can take steps to more fully live your calling. Learn more...
Engineering professionals engage in a lively strategic planning retreat led by Dr. Myers.
Ethics, Inclusion and Equality interdependently influence institutions, relationships, self-perceptions, performance, and civil society. Transformational leaders and teams need insights and skills to master this entire continuum, illustrated below.
Dr. Valerie L. Myers is uniquely qualified to facilitate interdisciplinary conversations that help you integrate history, management, policy, and psychology, informed by her doctoral training in Organizational Psychology & Social Work Policy from the University of Michigan. During executive education, Myers guides you across the continuum -- from insights about history and oppressive structures to helping leaders increase self-awareness and build skills to transform systems and achieve strategic goals.
Myers has coached executives through diversity crises, educated governing boards, developed strategic plans, advised global firms, developed profitable niche market products for diverse customers, and has managed diverse teams.
Dr. Myers' expertise is derived from business, consulting and academic experience. Her methods are informed by nearly 20 years of teaching graduate courses in management and conducting research in the healthcare industry, where diversity and inclusion can be matters of life and death.
Dr. Myers is a DE&I scholar and professor with nearly 20 years of experience teaching MBA and graduate courses at the University of Michigan. She has conducted research and published insights in academic journals. More importantly, she helps leaders like you expand your knowledge and skills to achieve results. Dr. Myers consults with corporate and non-profit leaders, including healthcare. (See below)
Drawing upon her nearly two decades of experience as a highly rated Management Professor and consultant, Dr. Myers uses the latest research and innovative methods to create custom solutions for leaders and organizations across industries (e.g., manufacturing, tech, engineering, finance, healthcare, philanthropic, non-profits, government, higher education, and arts organizations).
What you will learn & do...
May your dreams be larger than mountains
and may you have the courage
to scale their summits.
One does not climb to attain enlightenment.
Rather, one climbs because
they are enlightened.
Zen Master Futomaki
Perhaps you've ascended to the C-suite; are climbing the management ranks; leading a team to new heights; or are taking steps to recalibrate your organization's strategy or your own career.
Strategic Curiosity® cultivates your emotional intelligence and positive regard while reducing implicit biases so that you can nurture thriving teams.
A Specialist with Spirit’s™ calling is comprised of 3 interdependent dimensions: destiny, duty and disposition. Incomplete shading of the circles suggests that cultivating each dimension is a "work in progress" throughout the lifespan.
The lifespan, represented by the spiral staircase, denotes highs, lows, and effort that are part of living your calling. Each step reflects new challenges and requires different skills, strengths and supports. Each step also requires recalibrating duty, destiny, disposition in order to advance.
DESTINY A sense of destiny illuminates that path ahead and inspires us to develop professional skills. But dreams change, expand and are sometimes delayed or denied. You can’t always get what you want. Destiny is both what you want from life and what life gives you.
DUTY To whom and to what standards are you committed? Why are they worthy of your devotion? Specialists with Spirit™ have a duty to principles, themselves, others and society. As employees, they have a duty to serve their work and its customers. Likewise, the organization and its leaders have obligations to employees and society. Which duties are being fulfilled? Where are the lapses that require more attention? Which duties are overwhelming or unreasonable?
DISPOSITION This is the spirit at the heart of a calling -- the spirit that Weber feared would be lost. Disposition is the character that shapes us, coping skills that shape our responses to circumstances, and the spirit that animates what we do. Everyone’s character has light and shadow aspects that, ideally, evolve with effort and experience. A Specialist with Spirit™ is aware of and manages both.
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"I’ve found that exemplary people achieve exceptional results by cultivating a core set of competencies that are portable across time, contexts and careers. Specifically, when reflection, attention, agility, integrity, and diligence are guiding principles, people 'serve the work' instead of serving themselves. They derive pleasure from striving to live those ideals -- ideals that energize excellence, inspire and support colleagues, temper raw ambition, and are a buffer and resource during adversity. Reflection...Attention...Agility...Integrity...Diligence... these broad, pure, inspiring ideals describe what I call a Specialist with Spirit.TM
Specialists with SpiritTM take reflective actions that elevate performance. They combine professional, emotional, social and ethical competence to work in ways that serve the work, benefit their organization and society, and is personally enriching. The Specialist with Spirit TM mindset and skills are invaluable in a gig economy, knowledge economy and in sustaining tacit knowledge in traditional organizations. To optimize returns on talent investments, organizations need Specialists with Spirit TM at every level to create value through human performance -- to wisely govern and strategize, ethically and effectively lead, enact humane policies, equitably manage resources, improve quality, and collaborate across boundaries.
"The transformative power of Specialists with Spirit TM is a unifying theme of my scholarly and consulting work. Both personally and professionally, I aspire to be and to cultivate Specialists with Spirit TM through my public speaking, executive coaching, teaching, consulting and service. By integrating academic rigor, practical experience and a guiding philosophy, I equip people to take reflective actions that elevate performance via my work on Strategy Formulation, Strategic Curiosity TM, Inclusive Leadership, and Calling."
What is the Specialist with Spirit™ framework?
The Specialist with Spirit™ framework is a developmental tool that recognizes the inherent tensions of living a calling and the circuitous and surprising ways that it unfolds over time. The Specialist with Spirit™ series is the product of Myers’ 15 years of research and practice. It has been implemented with business leaders, established adults and young adults from corporations, colleges and community groups.
The framework shows that a Specialist with Spirit’s™ calling is comprised of three (3) primary dimensions, denoted by primary colors: Destiny (yellow), Duty (blue) and Disposition (red). Incomplete shading of the circles suggests cultivating each dimension is always a work in progress. The three core dimensions are grounded in reflection that fosters learning, adaptation, resilience, and flourishing in a variety of circumstances. The series offers targeted exercises that are designed to help participants assess their strengths and growth opportunities, and to devise action steps to reconcile inherent tensions within and across dimensions. The spiral staircase denotes the need to cultivate and recalibrate these elements throughout one’s journey.
The Specialist with Spirit™ series provides insights and instructions about how all of these elements combine to enrich the journey to fulfill your calling, regardless of your age, occupation or status in an organization. It is an invaluable resource for individuals, leaders, teams and organizations that want to improve their results by elevating the character, climate and quality of work (and life).
DESTINY A sense of destiny illuminates that path ahead. Often, discussions about destiny focus on dreams and desires that inspire us to refine our skills. But dreams change, expand and are sometimes delayed or denied. You can’t always get what you want. Destiny is both what you want from life and what life gives you. How do you manage the circumstances that fate has handed you? What are the essential next steps on your journey? The Specialist with Spirit™ series offers tools to help you discover your strengths, make sense of your circumstances, and to establish goals to progress.
DUTY To what and whom are we willing to be ‘true blue’? Specialists with Spirit™ have a duty to themselves, others and society. As employees, they also have a duty to serve their work, the organization and its customers. Likewise, the organization and its leaders have obligations to employees and society. Which duties are being fulfilled? Where are the lapses that require more attention? Which duties are overwhelming or unreasonable? The Specialist with Spirit™ series provides a framework to examine and reconcile multiple and often competing duties that may or may not be vital to your calling.
DISPOSITION Disposition is at the heart of a calling. Disposition is the character that shapes us and coping skills that shape our responses to circumstances. The Specialists with Spirit™ framework recognizes that some character strengths are essential for everyone to live their calling, while others are needed for your particular destiny (e.g., leadership). In addition, everyone’s character has light and shadow aspects that, ideally, evolve with experience. While some shadow traits may be latent strengths, others remain silhouettes that remind us that we are human, imperfectly pursuing a worthwhile calling. So we need effective skills to cope with that and other realities. The Specialist with Spirit™ series suggests techniques to identify and develop your essential character traits, as well as tools to cope with delayed dreams, multiple duties, growth challenges and seizing new opportunities.
REFLECTION Reflection is a restful, enduring activity along the path of your calling. It entails creating quiet time to consider connections and perspectives that are influencing us (for better or worse), drawing upon inner and outer resources to adapt, and learning how to better integrate the core dimensions of our calling. Reflection also means creating space to rest, relax and just to be. The Specialist with Spirit™ series offers exercises and tools for guided reflection so that you are energized for action, can chart your course and recommit to your calling.
The winding staircase denotes the journey of highs, lows, plateaus and effort that are all a part of living your calling. Each step reflects new challenges and requires different skills, strengths and supports. Each step also necessitates reflecting upon and integrating duty, destiny, disposition in new ways so that you can live and fulfill your calling!
As a scholar-practitioner, I skillfully combine academic expertise in management and psychology with a decade of business experience to devise cognitive-behavioral change interventions for your leadership and organizational challenges. Whether through public speaking, executive education, coaching, or strategic planning,
In addition to consulting, I teach management courses in Executive Education and MBA programs at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, and have extensive experience educating healthcare leaders. Since earning a doctorate in Organizational Psychology from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) in 2003, I've led multi-site, mixed methods research projects; authored scholarly publications; spoken at national and international conferences; conducted organizational assessments, and designed talent development solutions that promote Strategic CuriosityTM and Calling.
Accomplished leaders are rarely questioned, challenged or encouraged to change and grow. At some point however, a large granite mountain appears that cannot be denied; it speaks to the core of your being and challenges you to become more. These metaphorical mountains invite you to pause and reflect upon how they hinder your effectiveness and efforts you must take to renew your skills to overcome them.
In a supportive yet challenging relationship, we use assessments, dialogue, assignments and feedback to devise a personal action plan that aids your quest toward greater insight, agility and effectiveness. Whether you are ascending to a new leadership role, preparing to launch a change initiative, developing a strategic plan, or seek to improve talent management -- success begins with recognizing and scaling massive mountains.
Emerging Leaders | Learn tools that will help you avoid typical missteps of new leaders. Develop skills and habits that facilitate a successful transition to your new role, while inspiring those that follow you.
Established Leaders | Gain a fresh perspective and revitalize your leadership skills. Give yourself permission and space to pause, think and be challenged to conquer complacence that might result from a track record of success and unchallenged power.
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting, so…
get on your way!
Strategic Curiosity® is a catalyst for creativity that stimulates imagination, design thinking, and drives innovation.
Strategic Curiosity® equips you to effectively navigate complexity and your competitive environment.
Strategic Curiosity® strengthens your capacity to monitor processes that influence quality, efficiency, reliability, safety & profits in your organization.