Category Archives: leadership

Smart organizations analyze the way. Healthy organizations find a way.

Smart organizations are technically advanced, analytical, attuned to metrics, and are economically savvy. They know markets, trends, media, and their product really well. Smart organizations are “experts.” Healthy organizations are comprised of disciplined people committed to the organization’s core vision

Smart organizations analyze the way. Healthy organizations find a way.

Smart organizations are technically advanced, analytical, attuned to metrics, and are economically savvy. They know markets, trends, media, and their product really well. Smart organizations are “experts.” Healthy organizations are comprised of disciplined people committed to the organization’s core vision

Don’t just ask for feedback. Notice it.

Many companies and organizations have a feedback system by which people provide direct and actionable information that can be used to better the organization. The problem is that this system of feedback can atrophy one’s skill at being aware, of

Don’t just ask for feedback. Notice it.

Many companies and organizations have a feedback system by which people provide direct and actionable information that can be used to better the organization. The problem is that this system of feedback can atrophy one’s skill at being aware, of

Blame is an abdication of responsibility.

We must first distinguish between “blame” and a rational analysis of causality. Once you’ve done that, if you hear someone use blame as the rational analysis, you’re listening to someone who has given up power; the power to change, make a difference, or

Blame is an abdication of responsibility.

We must first distinguish between “blame” and a rational analysis of causality. Once you’ve done that, if you hear someone use blame as the rational analysis, you’re listening to someone who has given up power; the power to change, make a difference, or

Most problems are actually solutions to other problems. Therefore, don’t deal with problems, deal with finding better solutions.

Consider the problem of procrastination. Procrastination is not the problem. Procrastination is the solution to a bigger problem, be that fear of accomplishment, or the absence of discipline. Consider the problem of arguing with a loved one. Arguing is not the problem.

Most problems are actually solutions to other problems. Therefore, don’t deal with problems, deal with finding better solutions.

Consider the problem of procrastination. Procrastination is not the problem. Procrastination is the solution to a bigger problem, be that fear of accomplishment, or the absence of discipline. Consider the problem of arguing with a loved one. Arguing is not the problem.

Leadership is not about stating the facts. Leadership is responsible for shaping the conversation around facts.

Facts are not beliefs. Facts are merely objective data points that reflect reality. It is a common misconception that people in positions of power have a responsibility to report the facts. In reality, everyone has a responsibility to report the

Leadership is not about stating the facts. Leadership is responsible for shaping the conversation around facts.

Facts are not beliefs. Facts are merely objective data points that reflect reality. It is a common misconception that people in positions of power have a responsibility to report the facts. In reality, everyone has a responsibility to report the

The plan is less important than the planning.

A team with a plan is less effective than a team that has gone through the rigorous and involved process of putting that plan together. The process of planning is what builds knowledge, understanding, insight, and inspiration to execute. For

The plan is less important than the planning.

A team with a plan is less effective than a team that has gone through the rigorous and involved process of putting that plan together. The process of planning is what builds knowledge, understanding, insight, and inspiration to execute. For

Spend more time introducing change than implementing change.

Everybody loves and hates change. Instinctively, people know that change is good. Change means growth, development, innovation, and adventure. Change means improvement, and challenge. Emotionally, however, change is threatening. Change also means the loss of familiarity and the uncertainty of

Spend more time introducing change than implementing change.

Everybody loves and hates change. Instinctively, people know that change is good. Change means growth, development, innovation, and adventure. Change means improvement, and challenge. Emotionally, however, change is threatening. Change also means the loss of familiarity and the uncertainty of

Don’t be afraid to dig in the conflict quarry.

Many managers take issue with employees/constituents who argue. They feel it is threatening, or disrespectful. In addition, many leaders really wish they could move on from the arguments to “the real work” of making deals, or completing projects as they

Don’t be afraid to dig in the conflict quarry.

Many managers take issue with employees/constituents who argue. They feel it is threatening, or disrespectful. In addition, many leaders really wish they could move on from the arguments to “the real work” of making deals, or completing projects as they

Don’t confuse or conflate a “tactical victory” with a “strategic success.”

Tactical victories are particular battles you fight and win. Strategic successes, however, are the end results of all the battles you fight and whether or not they realize the ultimate aims, goals, and objectives of an organization. It is possible

Don’t confuse or conflate a “tactical victory” with a “strategic success.”

Tactical victories are particular battles you fight and win. Strategic successes, however, are the end results of all the battles you fight and whether or not they realize the ultimate aims, goals, and objectives of an organization. It is possible

Prioritize caring for your people and they will prioritize caring for your organization.

There is a direct relationship between how much you prioritize the care of the people in your organization with how much they prioritize the organization over their own selfish desires and ambitions. The more willing you are to prioritize your

Prioritize caring for your people and they will prioritize caring for your organization.

There is a direct relationship between how much you prioritize the care of the people in your organization with how much they prioritize the organization over their own selfish desires and ambitions. The more willing you are to prioritize your

I am not an expert.

Too many people in this world avoid personal or professional development because the unstated implication of growth and maturation is that there is some level of incompetency or immaturity that exists in your current state of understanding. This is known

I am not an expert.

Too many people in this world avoid personal or professional development because the unstated implication of growth and maturation is that there is some level of incompetency or immaturity that exists in your current state of understanding. This is known

Inspect what you expect.

Inspection, done well, communicates care, that you’re invested, and value, that the work is important. Inspection can also allow someone to “brag” and “show off” their work, instilling a sense of accomplishment or pride — a positive sense dignity and

Inspect what you expect.

Inspection, done well, communicates care, that you’re invested, and value, that the work is important. Inspection can also allow someone to “brag” and “show off” their work, instilling a sense of accomplishment or pride — a positive sense dignity and

Groupthink makes the mind stink.

Irving Janis, author of Victims of Groupthink: A Psychological Study of Foreign-Policy Decisions and Fiascoes, has defined group think as, the deterioration of mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment that results from in-group pressures. (p.9) There are several common

Groupthink makes the mind stink.

Irving Janis, author of Victims of Groupthink: A Psychological Study of Foreign-Policy Decisions and Fiascoes, has defined group think as, the deterioration of mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment that results from in-group pressures. (p.9) There are several common

Leadership is about significance, not about prominence.

The great myth of leadership is that leadership is a positional category; that it is rank, order, tier, power. Leadership is more about meaning, purpose, and significance. How one makes an impact in this world, not where one stands in

Leadership is about significance, not about prominence.

The great myth of leadership is that leadership is a positional category; that it is rank, order, tier, power. Leadership is more about meaning, purpose, and significance. How one makes an impact in this world, not where one stands in

Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Never be an expert. Always be a novice. Never be certain of a solution. Always embrace the next problem. Fail frequently. Do not run from discomfort. Run to it. This is the way of success. This is the way of

Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Never be an expert. Always be a novice. Never be certain of a solution. Always embrace the next problem. Fail frequently. Do not run from discomfort. Run to it. This is the way of success. This is the way of

Labels are a distancing phenomena. Don’t use them.

Labels can be descriptors, but never identifiers. Labels tell you what you perceive, not what is truly there. Labels don’t tell stories, and people are stories in motion. Labels halt listening, the fundamental act of humanizing our species. Let us

Labels are a distancing phenomena. Don’t use them.

Labels can be descriptors, but never identifiers. Labels tell you what you perceive, not what is truly there. Labels don’t tell stories, and people are stories in motion. Labels halt listening, the fundamental act of humanizing our species. Let us

Don’t be the smartest person in the room.

As a leader, your job is not to be the one who is most creative, most intelligent, or most important. A leader’s job is to create the environments and conditions in which the most creative, most intelligent, and most important

Don’t be the smartest person in the room.

As a leader, your job is not to be the one who is most creative, most intelligent, or most important. A leader’s job is to create the environments and conditions in which the most creative, most intelligent, and most important

Invest power, do not just wield it.

The people around a great leader are not just governed, they’re empowered. They’re made to feel larger than themselves, and integral to the organization. A great leader invests power and authority into the people that leader serves, and entrusts that

Invest power, do not just wield it.

The people around a great leader are not just governed, they’re empowered. They’re made to feel larger than themselves, and integral to the organization. A great leader invests power and authority into the people that leader serves, and entrusts that

“Abusus non tollit usum.” Misuse does not remove use.

Leadership: Just because effective leadership practices and principles are often misapplied, taken advantage of, or leveraged for one’s own selfish agenda, does not mean those leadership principles are invalid. Religion: Just because religious institutions have abused power, misappropriated theological concepts,

“Abusus non tollit usum.” Misuse does not remove use.

Leadership: Just because effective leadership practices and principles are often misapplied, taken advantage of, or leveraged for one’s own selfish agenda, does not mean those leadership principles are invalid. Religion: Just because religious institutions have abused power, misappropriated theological concepts,

The leadership desert. Everyone leads, not everyone leads well.

Principle 1. Everyone on the face of the planet is a leader. Everyone lives in some kind of organization. Everyone influences other human beings in that organization. Everyone causes life to progress or digress in one or more of an

The leadership desert. Everyone leads, not everyone leads well.

Principle 1. Everyone on the face of the planet is a leader. Everyone lives in some kind of organization. Everyone influences other human beings in that organization. Everyone causes life to progress or digress in one or more of an

Fill the communication gap with love.

Because of the inadequacies of human connection, there are a variety of ways in which communication is missed leaving a gap between you and the other. Because of the insecurities of the human spirit, most often that obscurity leads to

Fill the communication gap with love.

Because of the inadequacies of human connection, there are a variety of ways in which communication is missed leaving a gap between you and the other. Because of the insecurities of the human spirit, most often that obscurity leads to

David Foster Wallace on Leadership

It is just about impossible to talk about the really important stuff in politics without using terms that have become such awful clichés they make your eyes glaze over and are hard to even hear. One such term is “leader,”

David Foster Wallace on Leadership

It is just about impossible to talk about the really important stuff in politics without using terms that have become such awful clichés they make your eyes glaze over and are hard to even hear. One such term is “leader,”

Evaluate a leader’s character and integrity by those who see them most and know them best.

In our celebrity culture, it is almost instinctual to evaluate a leader on their “product,” the thing they offer to the world that is consumed by their patrons, and thus evaluated by the rubrics of “customer satisfaction.” This is great

Evaluate a leader’s character and integrity by those who see them most and know them best.

In our celebrity culture, it is almost instinctual to evaluate a leader on their “product,” the thing they offer to the world that is consumed by their patrons, and thus evaluated by the rubrics of “customer satisfaction.” This is great

Great leaders say, “I’m sorry.”

Too often an apology is seen as an admission of fault or an acceptance of liability. This is a low view of the word “sorry.” Leaders who only see an apology as somehow undermining their position or authority not only

Great leaders say, “I’m sorry.”

Too often an apology is seen as an admission of fault or an acceptance of liability. This is a low view of the word “sorry.” Leaders who only see an apology as somehow undermining their position or authority not only

The three occupations of an effective leader: curator, librarian, and tour guide.

While our interconnected world will always need experts, experts by definition are not people of influence but rather people of ownership, people who “possess” what they know. Leadership requires an interpretation and deployment of that expertise in ways that are

The three occupations of an effective leader: curator, librarian, and tour guide.

While our interconnected world will always need experts, experts by definition are not people of influence but rather people of ownership, people who “possess” what they know. Leadership requires an interpretation and deployment of that expertise in ways that are

When elephants fight it’s the grass that suffers.

If elephants=leaders, and grass=people under those leaders, what is most painful about this African proverb is that the elephants neither know nor care about the pain they cause to the grass. The warring elephants are too distracted with winning the

When elephants fight it’s the grass that suffers.

If elephants=leaders, and grass=people under those leaders, what is most painful about this African proverb is that the elephants neither know nor care about the pain they cause to the grass. The warring elephants are too distracted with winning the

Mentor yourself.

It is frequently asked of high profile people, “Will you be my mentor?” Why? A mentoring relationship subconsciously offers promises it may not be able to keep; the promise of climbing a corporate ladder, the promise of gaining “secret intelligence,”

Mentor yourself.

It is frequently asked of high profile people, “Will you be my mentor?” Why? A mentoring relationship subconsciously offers promises it may not be able to keep; the promise of climbing a corporate ladder, the promise of gaining “secret intelligence,”

Why it might be helpful to apologize for something that’s not your fault.

An apology for something beyond anyone’s control, such as the weather, has the effect of making others trust the apologizer. For example, when a young man approached strangers in a train station on a rainy day and said, “I’m so

Why it might be helpful to apologize for something that’s not your fault.

An apology for something beyond anyone’s control, such as the weather, has the effect of making others trust the apologizer. For example, when a young man approached strangers in a train station on a rainy day and said, “I’m so

What leaders won’t do? Endure emotional discomfort at work.

[The following is a truncated version of Patrick Lencioni’s POV (point of view) article, June 2013.] In the course of my career, I’ve always been amazed at what leaders will do for their organizations. So many founders and CEOs will

What leaders won’t do? Endure emotional discomfort at work.

[The following is a truncated version of Patrick Lencioni’s POV (point of view) article, June 2013.] In the course of my career, I’ve always been amazed at what leaders will do for their organizations. So many founders and CEOs will

The opposite of a covenant is compliance.

When you lead people, through positional or moral authority, it is easy to equate people’s level of compliance with your level of effectiveness. Compliance, however, is not about how inspired people are, or how engaged they happen to be. Compliance

The opposite of a covenant is compliance.

When you lead people, through positional or moral authority, it is easy to equate people’s level of compliance with your level of effectiveness. Compliance, however, is not about how inspired people are, or how engaged they happen to be. Compliance

The first question any consultant should ask is, “Who is my client?”

This is also the first question for any teacher, minister, and doctor; anyone with a vision or passion to do something great in this world. Perhaps another way to frame the question is “Who do I serve?” Identifying the right

The first question any consultant should ask is, “Who is my client?”

This is also the first question for any teacher, minister, and doctor; anyone with a vision or passion to do something great in this world. Perhaps another way to frame the question is “Who do I serve?” Identifying the right