Why express personal gender pronouns in an email signature?


Why express personal gender pronouns in an email signature?

The world changes.  The ways we learned long ago may become obsolete. Yet new ways can be odd, foreign and difficult to comprehend.  One positive change has been the onward march towards greater rights for more people.  It was over 100 years from our nation’s founding until women gained the right to vote in 1920. Another 45 years passed before the Voting Rights Act of 1965 protected the rights of minorities to vote.  Since the year 2000 public opinion about people’s right to diverse sexual orientations has become increasingly accepting.  Laws ensuring the rights of laborers, people with disabilities and others have been enacted to further human rights.

These positive changes come with much struggle and the support of fellow citizens, especially people from groups that already enjoy the privileges sought by the marginalized persons.

When I was growing up many decades ago I had never heard of a transgender person or knew such a thing was possible.  Fortunately,  I’ve been educated by friends, co-workers and others.  Today, I am friends and relatives with people who are transgender.

It takes an adjustment, and open mind and heart to accept changes to our worldview.  And it is worth it for all of us.  Some of the forward-thinking organizations with which I work encourage this practice of stating one’s pronouns. To show solidarity with our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, I have chosen to demonstrate my Personal Gender Pronouns in my email signature.  He/his/him. Perhaps you would like to do the same.

Why is it important to respect people’s pronouns?

Excerpted from University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee website

It is a privilege to not have to worry about which pronoun someone is going to use for you based on how they perceive your gender. If you have this privilege, yet fail to respect someone else’s gender identity, it is not only disrespectful and hurtful, but also oppressive.

You can’t always know what someone’s Personal Gender Pronouns (PGP) is by looking at them. Asking and correctly using someone’s personal pronoun is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their gender identity.

When someone is referred to with the wrong pronoun, it can make them feel disrespected, invalidated, dismissed, alienated, or dysphoric (or, often, all the above.)


Chronic Pain and Illness as a Wisdom Journey

Do you long for a group where you can be seen and known, where you will be inspired to ask yourself new questions and discern new pathways on your journey with chronic pain or illness? If so, this Wisdom Journey retreat may be an answer to your longing.

I have worked with both of these group leaders, Barbara Hummel and Rebecca Zambrano. They are excellent and provide a rich and supportive experience for personal growth.  If you know someone who has chronic pain or illness, I encourage you to share this information with them.  It may make all the difference.

Chronic Pain and Illness as a Wisdom Journey

Trump, Clinton, Humans, Personality and Bias

Politics is always about power, this year is no exception.

Politicians seek it, citizens are affected by it.  And, we develop strong opinions and biases about the candidates.  We hate them, we love them.  Or, in the absence of hate or love, many choose among the least of evils, or the worst thing in my opinion; withdraw or make a protest vote.  In any case, we become unable to see the good in the one we hate and unable to see the bad in the one we love.

There has been much name-calling and mudslinging (e.g. crooked, narcissist) in this fascinating presidential race (there always is). The American Psychiatric Association has explicitly asked its members (Psychiatrists) not to diagnose the candidates without a proper professional process.  But many factors influence our behavior, including our inborn personality, physical and psychological wellness and illness, the context we are in, the persona we put forth, and the skills and knowledge we have developed in our lives.

In his timely essay, personality expert Ross Reinhold objectively reveals the normal psychological roots he has inferred about these two presidential candidates, Clinton and Trump.   I’ve worked with this personality model a long time, i value it and I espouse it.  It helps us to understand and appreciate other’s perspectives, values and priorities.  I respect Ross’s credentials and skills here.  He has the theory and analysis right.

But, as I read his thoughtful analysis, I realized that I did not want to normalize the candidates and view them objectively.  I’ve already chosen and did not want to see the good in the bad, nor the bad in the good.

My mind was made up; not open to further input.  This makes me normal, maybe just like you.  Read this and see if you can see the good in the bad, and the bad in the good.



My Friend Died Today


My friend died today.

A year ago we agreed to get together to plan our retirements.

How we would enjoy our golden years.

My friend died today.

He never retired.


He was a busy man.

Helped a lot of people; supported and comforted them.

He was a very smart man, an educated man.

A family man, a community man.

And a thoughtful man, and a private man, in a sea of people.


We did not spend a lot of time together.

He was not my boss, nor my customer, nor my coworker, nor my pastor, nor my student, nor my teacher.

We were friends.

He was a year older than I.

His life is done.

I live another day.


We got together a few times.

We enjoyed rich conversations together about life and love, fathers and sons, learning and work and play, and death.

We listened and we understood.


They say he had been ill, I did not know.

I wondered when we would have coffee again.

Suddenly,  death took him away.

I should have spent more time with him when he lived,

I should be more like him,

I should do the right thing more often.



But no, he would say not that, but rather,

We do what we can in our brief moments of living.


You lived,

You loved,

You worked,

You served.

You are a light in my life.

Rest in Peace friend.

Is Emotional Intelligence Real?

Is gravity a real thing? Are wireless signals real? Most would say yes, though you cannot see them, you can see the effects from them. The same is true of Emotional Intelligence; you cannot see it, but you can see what happens with more and less of it. How persuasive you are, the quality of your relationships, and even the success of your work all depend on EQ.

Research has shown than in most jobs EQ is a better predictor of success than is IQ. These include any job which require working with other people. In fact, it is the best predictor of success.

It has been highly studied in leadership and correlates highly with successful people in business and the military. Attorneys, information technology professionals, teachers, and anyone who works as part of a team need EQ skills. Of course EQ is also important to the success of relationships in our personal lives.

There are many facets of EQ. Some EQ models have as many as 54 competencies which can be measured. A person might be skillful in one such as “Independence” might be low in another like “Impulse Control”. A person might have many EQ skills.

An interesting difference between EQ and IQ is that IQ is fixed at an early age, but EQ skills can be learned throughout a person’s lifespan.

Vision and Mission

What is the focus of Scott Savage Consulting?

My Vision
A society where business, other organizations and the human beings who work in them achieve their parallel goals. A world in which joy is maximized and suffering is reduced by enhancing ourselves, our work and our workplaces. I help create this by supporting the growth of leaders, individuals, teams and organizations.

My Mission

  1. To enhance organizations’ (business, nonprofit, government, education) productivity, profit or  surplus, and individuals’ fulfillment and satisfaction through education, development, vision and conscious choice.
  2. To support individuals, teams, leaders and organizations to be clear about their choices, to increase the range of those choices, and to stand up for them with accountability.
  3. To utilize principles of change and growth in support of performance, learning and satisfaction in the workplace.
  4. To help organizations maximize their impacts, implement their values and differentiate themselves from others.
  5. To help individuals take the driver’s seat in their work and their lives.

About People
Most people want to do good. We want to use our talents in service of something. And we are imperfect, though we may wish to be perfect. We each have talents, and we lack in other areas. We may speak loudly, but listen poorly. Or, we may listen well but share little. We may have undiscovered talents, and may not appreciate those we have.

Life and work are best when we find a place in a system which fits us.  There can be a symbiotic relationship between the person and the system;  each contributes to the others’ success.

Engage and Evade: The dangerous personality dance of Extraversion- iNtuition and Introversion-Sensing

danceNote: a basic knowledge of Psychological Type as measured by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is required to get the most from this article.

I found myself in a familiar dynamic in which I’ve danced for all of my fifty+ years. I was having an e-chat conversation with my good friend Tim about an upcoming party we were holding together.

Out of the blue, the phrase, “We’ll just have to agree to disagree” appeared on my screen. I’d heard him say this before, and agree that sometimes, it is a necessary conclusion. But, I was not even clear on what the issues were that we were either agreeing or disagreeing about, and now the discussion was over! I was shocked.

I communicated (in cryptic e-chat) my desire to explore this some more. We attempted to continue the conversation to clarify what it was that we were agreeing to disagree about. This continued for a few more minutes, with volleys back and forth through the ether. Finally we agreed that we had different values about the issue and that we could accept that. But the process left a painful lingering stain on the relationship.

I phoned my mentor, Dan, in California, looking for someone to support my point of view. He provided the opposite, telling me how my dogged pursuits of keeping this discussion open (my ‘N’ and ‘P’, you think?) showed that I was oblivious to Tim’s (ISTJ) need for closure and self-protection. And that Tim took my wanting to explore it as trying to convince him to do it my way! Thanks a load Dan, for poking me in the forehead to help me see my part in the control aspect of this dance. If only I’d learned this 30 years ago!!

While I was licking my wounds, the pattern emerged for me. I’ve seen this struggle a hundred times. I’ve seen this between my parents (ENTP and ISTP), with numerous clients (many of whom have EN or IS preferences), and with my lovely bride of ten years and myself, (ISFP and ENFP). It is the dance of those preferring Extraversion and Intuition (EN) with those who prefer Introversion and Sensing (IS)! While the other two Type dimensions are surely in play, I’m certain that this dynamic is common and significant.

How it plays out.
Take the fictitious parties of (IS) Isabel, who prefers introversion and sensing and Enrico, who prefers Extraversion and Intuition (EN).

Some issue of potential disagreement arises; it could be anything, whether to hire an applicant, how so spend some money, who should come to the party, and so on. The two briefly exchange their opinions.

In short order the facts and conclusion are crystal clear to ISabel and she seeks to end the discussion. She has had enough and sees no need for any ‘excessive bantering’ to continue. In her mind, the thing is done and there is no need to make a mountain of a molehill. She says something like, “that’s enough”, or “we’ll have to agree to disagree”. Or, ISabel says nothing at all and just proceeds to getting busy with other things.

The quick clarity and finality of the conclusion that ISabel found are not present for ENrico. Rather, he has something else in mind and is hoping to create a different, if yet unformed solution. The abrupt ending of the discussion shocks ENrico and disrespects his inborn desires to talk, explore and process. He is inflamed! He continues to engage ISabel in the discussion, pushing harder (like a pit-bull in her view) for interaction and additional ideas. She withdraws, refuses or acquiesces.

The relationship is in danger. The risks of this dance are familiar and can damage personal, work and intimate relationships. They can include irritation, hurt, anger, and false perceptions about the other person. These reactions impact trust and the tone of future communications, if not downright avoidance of them. The dynamic can even be responsible for ending the relationship.

How can we make this dance work?

Reflect on past dances we have done and consider how this may have played a part. Recognize our own biases and needs and do our best to let go of our need to prevail. Do our best to understand the needs and biases of the other and to satisfy them, rather than change them. Remember that our way is not the only way, and our answer is not the only one. Choose our battles carefully and fight them thoughtfully. Express what we need and what we want from the heart, including our fears and discomforts, so that we stimulate compassion in the other, rather than competition. Lastly, we can realize our own and the other’s strengths and limits with regard to taking steps to heal the relationship and be willing to extend the hand of invitation to rebuild it.

If we are to dance, then we should both enjoy it!

A Point of View

Just like a dozen times before, I settled down into a cozy chair in a small town library in Wisconsin. When on the road I find that libraries provide a comfortable and productive place to work, writing, emailing, attending webinars or wasting time on the internet.

As I plugged the cord of my laptop into the electrical outlet, an elderly man, probably in his seventies, muttered accusingly to me, “you are stealing. ” He pointed at my power cord plugged into the wall socket.

I was unprepared for this minor assault. Fortunately, I have learned to manage my knee-jerk response by pausing in a week-long 5 second pause. I thought several things: “What!, Why are you bothering me?”, “Get a life”. (I do not use ‘old man’ as an insult, since someone said that to me not so long ago, but that guy was a punk (haha). Then I took on the fault, “could he be right?” Seemed unlikely, but who knows? I thought of inviting him to go ask the library authorities to determine who was right; but figured he might lie about it. I considered ignoring, him, and just getting to work. But what if he was right, and the library did not want me ‘plugging in’. I know another library where a guy can bring his laptop, but is prohibited from plugging it to a power source. After all, this place with the cozy chairs is the periodical reading room, populated entirely by folks age 70 and up, getting out and catching up on the news (i.e. these folks at the reading room may not be users of the internet).

So I went to check. I asked a librarian. She said, “of course, that is not a problem”. Later, I noticed a long table in the next room, complete with power outlets for folks just like me to plug in and use the library’s free wi-fi. And free electricity. I was relieved. I returned to the cozy chair by the power outlet and I held back my feelings, saying to him only, “you are mistaken, they tell me it is fine”. He said nothing, but looked away.

As my brain rested, I wondered about this event. What was his motivation for this? Why did he affront me about this seemingly ridiculous action?

I can only makeup a story to explain what happened. Here is man, likely of limited income but perhaps significant wealth, who is accustomed to watching his money carefully. Maybe he is a local official or gadfly watching the use of tax dollars. Perhaps he sees computers, and people like me (I have a gray beard, but am still a long way from 70 years) as incomprehensible, wasteful and maybe even threatening. Maybe he is grieving and angry because his wife of a lifetime has passed away, or left him for a nicer person, or because his adult child doesn’t speak with him, or he has learned that he is dying.

I really don’t know, and I didn’t believe that he was interested in discussing it. Neither was I. So I got to work, the stress hormones gradually retuning to a normal level. The man and I had a short adventure together. And he went about his day. I wonder what he did next?

Look-it me!

I was in one of those business networking meetings recently. It was a nice event, a small group of pleasant business people going through the agenda. We were doing a focus on one fellow’s (Alex) business with the goal of increasing our understanding of what he does so we can refer business to him. For a few minutes it went well, then the disruption occurred. Another guy, let’s call him John, started to drill down . He asked more and more probing questions. And then began dispensing advise, “you ought to, here is what you can do, etc… ” Continue reading