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Vision Driven: Creating Healthy Workplaces One Lesson at a Time

Vision Driven: Creating Healthy Workplaces One Lesson at a Time

MALLARY TYTEL living and working on the road

MALLARY TYTEL is president and founder of Healthy Workplaces, a national consulting practice that focuses on human systems dynamics, coaching, diversity and culture, women in the workplace, and sustainability. Her work is based upon complexity science, systems thinking and models of adaptive action.

She is the former CEO of an international non-profit corporation; served as a key advisor to senior-level civilian and military personnel within the U.S. Department of Defense; and created and delivered an innovative leadership training program in over 40 communities worldwide. An expert source, Mallary is often quoted in the media, has appeared on CNBC and ABC World News This Morning, and has presented at conferences throughout the U.S. and Canada. She is also a regular contributor to

Mallary has a Ph.D. in Public Health Promotion and Organizational Systems from the Union Institute and University, an M.B.A. from the University of Connecticut, and is a certified executive coach and mediator. In her spare time she writes and mentors budding women entrepreneurs. She is the author of Vision Driven: Lessons Learned from the Small Business C-Suite (Gold Canyon Press, 2009), and Simple Rules: A Radical Inquiry into Self, (2011).


How do managers motivate and engage employees, and encourage productivity, while navigating often-treacherous organizational waters? How do they surpass lofty expectations and deliver impressive results with pitfalls lurking around every corner? Vision Driven: Lessons Learned from the Small Business C-Suite offers the secrets behind winning strategies for taking charge of small organizations and/or nonprofits. From accountability, to developing your leadership team, to squashing the rumor mill, this incisive collection of vignettes offers do’s, don’ts and don’t even think about it’s to help leaders take their organizations to the next level.

Why you wrote this book:

I wrote this book implicitly for women, but explicitly for all experienced and newly minted managers alike. Every day is on-the-job-training so beware the tricks and traps; it is often the little things that undo you in your role. Be sure to take the time to do your own due diligence and look before you leap into any situation, no matter how attractive. Then, as this book suggests, dive right in!

Why you should buy this book and what you will get:

Enjoy a down-to-earth glimpse into the everyday workings of managing small businesses. Being in charge is often a larger-than-life position, filled with questions that aren’t answered in an MBA education. Discover experiences common to all enterprises; along with succinct tips, traps, and strategic questions integrated throughout the book.


Monthly Column: The Big Picture :


Twitter: @mallarytytel

Like many others, my career has taken a rather eclectic and unpredictable path. The predominant pattern is my having worked in and supported the public and non-profit sectors in myriad roles. My position now is president and founder of Healthy Workplaces, a national consulting practice, in operation for over 9 years. Healthy Workplaces focuses on human systems dynamics, coaching, diversity and culture, and corporate sustainability. For example, I have coached senior-level Fortune 100 executives; developed long-term strategic workforce development plans for public service companies; facilitated mergers and acquisitions from the human capital side; helped start-ups create triple bottom line report cards; assisted practice managers prepare for healthcare reform; and mediated negotiations between small business partners. My mission in business is to create a workplace culture, which promotes employee and organizational productivity and sustainability.

Vision Driven: Creating Healthy Workplaces One Lesson at a TimeAll of my work is based upon complexity science, systems thinking and models of adaptive action. What this means is: we all live in a diverse, complex world, made up of individuals who act in both predictable and unpredictable ways, and whose actions are interconnected. Our actions and behaviors create patterns and by seeing and understanding those patterns, we are able to adapt to the world as it changes around us, and thereby influence what happens. At HW, our approach to working with individual and corporate clients is based upon this premise. I also practice what I preach: rather than concentrating on maintaining control – which is an illusion at best – I focus on influencing the whole, the part and the greater whole.

Of course there have been challenges, though they might seem mundane compared with the challenges we are all facing in this uncertain economy. I will focus, however, on the two most significant.

First, the challenge was simply about taking the plunge. Did I know what I wanted? Would I succeed? Would there be any business or clients? Did I need an infrastructure to operate? Would I be able to pay the bills? What were the tradeoffs and were they acceptable? Would I be any good at it? Would working from a home office work for me? Would I be successful financially and still be able to support those things I believed in? (There’s one question I still get from some people after nine years in business: When are you going to get a real job?!)

Married to a serial entrepreneur gave me the confidence and experience I needed to answer most of those questions. As for the others, I just dived in and did it. Inherent challenges still include working from home and the road as necessary; juggling priorities; managing without that regular paycheck; health insurance; working 24/7 (if I don’t do it who will?); the very nature of coaching and consulting work; and being able to pursue interests, opportunities, and my passions as they arise.

The second significant challenge came three years later when my husband and I decided to become fulltime RVers. We sold our home and literally sold or gave away just about everything else, taking to life on the road. I admit it took awhile getting used to living and working in approximately 400 square feet, but there is a lot to be said for simplifying one’s life. And with minimum planning, I had everything I needed to run my business: a cell phone; a laptop with wireless; and access to a decent airport. Six years later, I am still in business and still on the road.

My business model is to maintain one fulltime regular employee, and that is me. This was a strategic decision that has worked. I am the point of contact for all business and provide project oversight for all of our assignments. I also have a cadre of exceptional and experienced professionals – about 35 affiliates and associates – that I work with under contract as a particular assignment requires. I definitely enjoy working with other colleagues and I like the camaraderie and being able to think out loud with others. This is also something I often miss. So I will look for collaborative work that allows for that whenever possible.

I believe in public relations and I believe in working with a public relations expert. I’ve had the pleasure of working with a wonderful individual who has become a long-time friend. When she decided to take her career in another direction, I took over marketing and PR tasks.

I really enjoy speaking at conferences and events and do that several times a year for public and private sector groups and associations. Topics in the past have included Simple Rules for a Changing World, for the National Collegiate Leadership Conference; Adaptive Coaching for military service members returning home and their families; Interpreting Conflict for the Society of Federal Labor and Employee Relations Professionals; Exploring Cultural Assumptions in a Complex World for a California educators association; and Self-Coaching: Strengthening Ourselves and Others for women in business. I particularly welcome the opportunity to work with and support other women in business, as well as organizations promoting women’s leadership development, culture change, and sustainability.

In my spare time I write – two books, articles, book chapters, occasional pieces for – and a monthly column on creating healthy workplaces. Column topics include managing performance management, rules for office romances, taming office gossip and rumors, maintaining workplace rituals, and civility on the job. The article is posted on our website – – and promoted via linkedIn, and twitter; and it is distributed through our in-house mailing list and used in corporate newsletters.

I also mentor budding women entrepreneurs.

Though admittedly 100% biased, I am a strong advocate of coaching. Having been on both sides of the coaching relationship, I recommend it for any manager or boss who is serious about results. Coaching can help you make more effective decisions, enhance relationships, improve communication, maintain accountability, increase enthusiasm for what you do, and gain greater personal and professional fulfillment and satisfaction. A coach will ask powerful, tough questions, provide you with unconditional encouragement, holding you accountable, and always tell you the truth. We rarely see ourselves as others do, and a coach can be an excellent objective partner. Your development is the first and only priority. Besides, it really can be lonely at the top.

I’ve included here some of my essential lessons learned, both personal and professional. Maybe there’s a tip here you can use, too.

– Never burn bridges – it’s a small world.

– Remember the path you have taken: the good, the bad and the ugly. This keeps you grounded and centered.

– Always say Thank You. Good manners are never wrong and people appreciate it.

– Help someone when you can. It’s the right thing and may pay off when you least expect it.

– Manage 360 degrees. It’s smart to pay attention to your boss, direct reports and peers/colleagues. You never know who can help or hurt you.

– Learn anything and everything you can. Information is valuable and helps you make better decisions.

– Develop, maintain and be responsible for your own personal and professional development. No one else will look out for you if you do not.

– Take care of yourself. Do not neglect your own needs.

– Take notes. Sometimes you do not know what may turn out to be important. Besides, can you always depend upon your memory?

– Surround yourself with great people. It is not just about ‘the company you keep,’ but also they will keep you on your toes and real.

– Abide by the golden rule: people always remember how you treat them.

– Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I believe this is the greatest sign of strength, rather than weakness.


As for life on the road, I have simple rules for that.

– Home is where you park it.

– Everything in its place.

– Be where you’re going before dark.

– Respect the Community.

– Give something back.


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