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Lynne Eisaguirre: Leading through the Storm

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As an author, attorney, coach, consultant, facilitator, keynoter, and seminar leader (whew), Lynne Eisaguirre commands each role like a professional. She doesn’t just do something. She does it well. She’s not just an author, but the author of six books and numerous articles. Not just an attorney, but an attorney and law clerk for the U.S. Congress and federal government. Not just a speaker, but a speaker who’s presented over 5,000 times. In her own words to HR professionals, “Put yourself in situations that allow you to shine.” Eisaguirre is a master of her own advice, for shine she has.

At a young age, Eisaguirre learned the value of hard work. She put herself through college and law school by lifeguarding, teaching swimming lessons, cleaning restrooms, waiting tables, and washing dishes. She was persistent, determined. And after landing her first job out of law school, she worked her way up to becoming the only female partner in the firm.

''I began my career as an employment attorney,'' she says, ''and gradually transitioned into more consulting, workshops, and writing on HR-related topics.”

Then, wanting to venture out on her own, Eisaguirre founded her own firm. And in 1993, Workplaces That Work began. The company, which ''[focuses] on leaders in high-profile companies such as Coors, Harley-Davidson, Southwest Airlines…and many more,'' provides ''consulting services, speaking, workshops, evaluations, and investigations in HR-related subjects such as employee relations, leadership, executive and management development, diversity, and conflict,'' she explains.

Workplaces That Work’s motto? ''Leading through the storm.'' As the website says, ''While some executives work side-by-side with their people, you know a better way. You lead through the storm by soaring above it.”

Eisaguirre is no stranger to any of this. She has presented more than 5,000 times, has been on CNN Headline News, has hosted a public affairs TV show for Denver’s Fox affiliate and a series for ESPN, and has acted as a guest speaker on ABC News, Bloomberg TV, and NBC’s Dateline.

Writing also comes naturally to Eisaguirre. She has authored several books about one of her greatest areas of expertise — conflict and working with difficult people — including Stop Pissing Me Off! What to Do When People You Work with Drive You Crazy and The Power of a Good Fight: How to Embrace Conflict to Drive Productivity, Creativity, and Innovation.

''I’ve found The Power of a Good Fight to be a cost-effective way to train my managers in conflict issues,'' says Fred Kayne, chairman and CEO of Fortune Financial. ''This book is applicable across all the lines of business and is a great resource.''

These books, along with others, have been Eisaguirre’s proudest accomplishments. But her sense of pride is not solely from the books themselves; her readers’ responses also mean a great deal to her, especially ''the way people tell [her] [how] these books have helped them.''

But her writing isn’t limited to books. She’s also published articles in Entrepreneur, Working Mother, Ladies Home Journal, Cosmopolitan, Business Advisor, and many more. As her website says, ''The media looks to Lynne…as an expert on leadership, conflict, and negotiation.''

Lead through the storm, as Eisaguirre says. And through it she goes. While much of her job is enjoyable, including teaching, writing, and working with other HR professionals, there are aspects of her job that are challenging. Specifically, ''dealing with the lack of support many HR professionals have in their organizations,'' she admits. Another challenge Eisaguirre faces includes trying to persuade upper management about the value HR adds to an organization. Having seen HR’s contributions time and time again, Eisaguirre experiences frustration when trying to convince companies of HR’s worth.

Eisaguirre worked hard and it’s paid off. Her dedication and determination have boosted her to the top of her field, both as an attorney and an HR guru. However, she humbly gives credit to many speakers and writers, including Daniel Goldman, William Ury, and Edward Hollowell, for influencing her in her life and career.

So what advice, then, does this HR Star have to offer eager professionals? She asks her audience this:

''What are the basic keys of success in this field? Join SHRM, HRPS, or other HR organizations as a student. Become active in those organizations: write, speak, and volunteer.''

After all, developing those skills, like Eisaguirre did, could lead you straight to the top.

Q. What do you like to do outside of HR? Any odd hobbies/interests? Are you married? Do you have children? Can you explain a little about your personal life outside of work?
A. What life outside of work? (Joke!) I have 13-year-old twins who take up most of my time. Outside of that, I love to be outdoors: hiking, skiing, swimming. I enjoy books on philosophy and spirituality.

Q. What CD is in your CD player right now?
A. Madeline Pirioux.

Q. What is the last magazine you read?
A. The Utne Reader.

Q. What is your favorite TV show?
A. CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 report.

Q. Who is your role model?
A. The Dalai Lama.

On the net:Workplaces That Work

Society for Human Resource Management

The Power of a Good Fight: How to Embrace Conflict to Drive Productivity, Creativity, and Innovation If this article has helped you in some way, will you say thanks by sharing it through a share, like, a link, or an email to someone you think would appreciate the reference.

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