About Karen

My Motivation: Turning Frustration into Influence

When people don’t agree with you, how does that cause you to feel? Frustrated, disempowered, angry, helpless, anxious?  During my first career as an corporate engineer, I felt this way frequently! I learned first hand the importance of the people aspect of business.  Back then I wasn’t prepared for the challenges of dealing with differences and getting my ideas heard.

Now, I find it so liberating to have the skill to influence decisions in a way that honors my vision and also honors the other people involved.

The Foundations of Spiral Impact

_DSC9695With 20+ years focused on teaching “people” skills, I find balancing logic with soft skills helps people engage and problem solve.

As President of Spiral Impact, which I founded in 1992, I leverage my expertise in science, martial arts and communication to provide a distinct perspective on performance improvement for leaders and teams. My method is Spiral Impact®.  This is a simple succinct way to deal with conflict, create influence and problem solve.  You can learn more about this in my books:  Spiral Impact: The Power to Get It Done with Grace, the handbook Giving Deliberate Feedback for Leaders,  and audio program Strengthen Your Balance and Focus while Driving.

My clients find Spiral Impact is a great opener for their meetings.  After people get a very real understanding of how to “spiral,” dialogue more easily opens up, and people begin to engage in a collaborative manner!

Influenced by Engineering

Prior to establishing Spiral Impact, formerly Lifeworks, I spent ten years working as a project engineer in product development at Delco Remy, at the time a division of General Motors.  As one of the first female engineers, I was a bit of a pioneer!

I frequently get the question, “How does one make the transition from engineer to performance improvement speaker?”  My response is, “I do the same thing only now with people, improving performance by helping people do more, better with less!”

My responsibilities included product design and manufacturing resident product engineer. I earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Trine University (formally, Tri-State University).

Inspired by Martial Arts

994306_707595249254924_1395533444_nFor over two decades, I’ve been a devoted student of aikido, the Japanese art of reconciliation. I will be testing for my nidan black belt soon.  We have a vibrant club, Indianapolis Aikikai, where I study and teach occasionally.

Aikido uses position rather than force to diffuse and protect the opponent’s life as well as your own; Aikido movement is predominately spiral which creates power. Spiral Impact is grounded in the same concepts to create movement through conflict and into resolution.


Informed by Staying Involved

Originally I built my business through the Central Indiana Chapter of the American Society of Training and Development, where I also served on the board for six years, including the presidential role.  CIASTD continues to help me stay current with evolving and emerging trends in the performance improvement industry.

Working with college students is something I enjoy as an adjunct professor and Executive-in-Residence at Butler University.

My pride and joy are my two daughters.  I love being a mother!  They’ve also provided a great testing ground for conflict and communication!

Boost your Power with Grace

Transcript: Karen here.  Got a question for you.  What if your driving is a model of how you live the rest of your life? Do you get stressed out with people who break the rules? Do you speed? Do you yell at people in your...

Master Conflict. Be More Free

When you can master conflict you achieve certain degree of freedom in your life. What is mastery? Listen in and find out!

Force versus Power

How you choose between using force vs. using power impacts every interaction you have — even if you’re interacting only with yourself. Do you know what that difference is? Believe it or not, the answer is based in physics.

Watch now.

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