082: Karen Guzicki and Mike Schuler—The Power of Reconciliation

 Listen now as Karen Guzicki and Mike Schuler teach us how to create harmonious teams!

As a corporate anthropologistI found my recent podcast with Karen Guzicki and Mike Schuler fascinating on many levels. As consultants in the Executive and Organizational Development space, they focus on how people’s behaviors influence their roles in work teams. (Right up my alley.) And what they’ve found after 40 years of working with team dynamics is that when a rogue player tries to highjack the group, a process of reconciliation brings harmony to the team and gets everyone back on track. Good stuff! You’ll enjoy it. 

Reconciliation: the key to enabling people to work together well

In any group of people, there are always hidden emotions and agendas. The problem is that when these take a negative turn, they can pull the team toward derailment.

For instance, say you have a group of people not being totally honest with one another because of fear. They might think to show true vulnerability would be tactically unfeasible. In this kind of situation, Karen and Mike’s goal is to help bring the team into alignment by asking questions that identify everyone’s inner strengths. Then, they can come together in harmony and work toward a common goal.  

During our conversation, Karen and Mike explain that in any relationship there is jostling for position, but if people are hiding their true intent and not presenting their authentic selves, the relationship will be misaligned from the start. This is especially true in the workplace where promotions, salaries, ownership and blame come into play. Plus, co-workers often try to cover up how they may have contributed to the misalignment.

Conversely, to achieve harmony within teams, people need to be truthful about their fears and underlying motives. Only when this happens can the team create its true identity, its pure shape, its glue.  

Karen Guzicki

Karen Guzicki has held a variety of professional roles in some amazing organizations, with the common thread being the ability to balance the needs of the employees with the needs of the business. Along the way, she became an unofficial behaviorist as she observed, tested and researched methods to find the ideal equilibrium, a place of dynamic tension that benefits both staff and the organization instead of serving one at the expense of the other.

Karen earned a BA in Human Services and a Masters of Management in Organizational Development. She also holds numerous professional certifications in Strategic Workforce Planning, Agile Performance Management and Competency Modeling. She is an adjunct faculty member for Aquinas College where she teaches Organizational Behavior. She is also a faculty member for the Human Capital Institute in the areas of Strategic Workforce Planning, Leadership Development and Succession Planning.

Mike-SchulerMike Schuler, a Detroit native, earned a B.A. in Philosophy at the University of Louisville while also swimming competitively there. After working at numerous “dirty jobs” (cleaning gutters, farming, delivering pizzas, tending bar), Mike returned to school to earn a Masters in Administration and a PhD in Organizational Development.

Now residing in Grand Rapids, MI, Mike has been involved with Leadership Grand Rapids and has served on a number of boards while working as a consultant, facilitator and administrator. Like Karen, he is an adjunct professor at Aquinas College in the Masters of Management program where he teaches Organizational Theory and Organizational Behavior. In addition, Mike is a member of the Association for Psychological Science and the American Psychological Association. 

In this podcast, Karen Guzicki and Mike Schuler and I talk about:

  • How reconciliation can save a team
  • The most common kind of dysfunction in organizations today
  • Leadership lessons learned on a dairy farm
  • Why people hold back due to fear
  • Bridging the gap between teams that need reconciliation and organizations that don’t see the pay off from that kind of investment

To learn more, check out these blogs and podcasts: 

Blog: How To Get Your Brain To Let Go Of Its Old Bad Habits

Blog: Need To Change Your Organization’s Culture? 6 Best Ways To Do It.

Podcast: Ask Andi—How to Learn Resilience

Podcast: Marcella Bremer—Build a Better Business With an Amazing, Positive Culture

Resources mentioned in this episode:

My book: On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights

Simon Associates Management Consultants website

Does your company need a culture adjustment?

At Simon Associates Management Consultants, we’re culture change experts who specialize in helping organizations change, grow and thrive amidst today’s changing times. We can help you identify what your company’s culture is today and what it needs to be to take you successfully into the future. To learn more about our approach, please contact us so we can begin to help you and your teams adapt to the fast pace of today’s business environment. 


Download the 1-page synopsis of my book, “On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights” here