Archive for the ‘coaching & resilience’ Category

Getting Out of Your Own Way

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

What he had taught me was…that if I let myself go, did not slow myself down by thinking so much beforehand, I could achieve many things I would never have dreamed possible.

Per Petterson, Out Stealing Horses

Recently, a successful CEO client told me, “I’m not good at decisions. I get caught up in possibilities.” Later that day, I ran across the above quote in Petterson’s remarkable novel, and I thought, “How often do we make ourselves our own biggest obstacle?”

Petterson’s character is talking about learning as a boy to become reckless, but his learning equally applies to becoming creative, decisive, empathetic, more communicative, a better listener – all the skills related to Leadership. Read the rest of this entry »

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What Makes a Great Organization?

Monday, April 18th, 2011

My friend Dan Rockwell writes a terrific blog, LeadershipFreak, which regularly challenges me to better define my thoughts about key leadership issues. A recent post titled “Six Steps to Organizational Excellence” based on work by Dr. Muriel Asher provoked me to come up with my own list. Here are my Six Drivers of Organizational Excellence: Read the rest of this entry »

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360′s: The Right Way and Wrong Way

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Strong leaders have an odd blend of self-confident self-sufficiency and insatiable curiosity. They have the self awareness to recognize their strengths and weaknesses, yet also know that what they think about themselves is less important than what the people they serve – customers, vendors, employees, shareholders – think about them. They regularly seek feedback on their performance. Think of former NY Mayor Ed Koch who would continuously ask, “How am I doing?”

Many organizations have institutionalized the practice of periodically requesting 360 degree feedback as part of their review and development processes. There are many ways to do this. Some work better than others. Some are dangerous. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Change Is So Hard

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

I have a business coaching client – a highly competent manager who has never found the success he desires – who has struggled with clinical depression since his early teens. Over the years he tried many different therapies and medications. Nothing worked. His condition continued to destroy his relationships and career, and, he feared, threaten his life.

I suggested that while we often cannot choose the conditions of our lives, we can choose how we relate to our conditions.

“That’s facile,” he replied. “How does that apply to me?”

“Have you ever considered,” I asked, “what you get from your depression?” Read the rest of this entry »

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Two Questions that Lead to Growth – for Everyone

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Are you creating the opportunities you’ll need for a highly successful career? In Insights for the Journey, John Lucht suggests asking yourself two questions in order to stay on a growth path:

  • “How can I re-distribute my work in order to provide a more richly developmental experience for each subordinate?”
  • “What can I offer to take over from my boss that will give him or her helpful support and, at the same time, give me needed stimulation and growth?”

Why are these two questions critical? Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Doesn’t Leadership Training Work?

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

While listening recently to an excellent audiobook by James Hunter (The Servant Leadership Training Course), I was not surprised to learn that on average only 10% of corporate leadership training attendees implement sustained behavioral change. This factoid confirmed what I have observed over the past 30 years: that training programs often get people’s heads nodding about the need for personal change, but then fail to drive change.

Now I find a fine article by Marshall and Kelly Goldsmith that argues that the problem is not with the training, but with attendee’s level of caring and commitment. Read the rest of this entry »

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What Great Leaders Have in Common

Monday, March 28th, 2011

There is a pretty clear consensus among writers and researchers on Leadership that great leaders do not come in one flavor. Still, there do seem to be important qualities that most have. Importantly, these qualities can be learned and developed. That means that anyone can learn leadership. Read the rest of this entry »

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Get Better Results by Adapting Your Style

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Leaders have an arsenal of useful tools to help them better understand themselves, ranging from Meyers-Briggs (which suggests our personalities are pretty much hardwired through life) to DiSC (which suggests who we are at any given moment depends on the situation). In between there are models such as Big 5, Birkman, CRG, and many others. Each one lets you look at yourself from a different perspective.

What they all have in common, however, is the assertion that when we are aware of our dominant behavioral style, we can choose to adapt to the situation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Engaged, or Merely Checked-In?

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

[reprint of previous post, and once again I am in the same situation]

Today is the last day of a lovely vacation. I am well tanned, well fed, and emotionally, well, chaotic. This is how I get during transitions: swirling. Half distraught about leaving the beach so soon, half delighted about the coming challenges. Today I am the putty pulled between these two poles.

I know this territory. I’ve visited it often over the decades. And I’ve learned that how I feel over the next week or two has everything to do with how I manage my energy on Monday morning.

When I assess a new client’s – or my own – well-being, relational energy is a major KPI. We have only four ways of relating to our challenges. We can be:

  • Checked-out
  • Checked-in
  • Engaged
  • Obsessed

Read the rest of this entry »

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Leadership, Learning, and Maturity

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am an advocate of other-orientation, or service, as the foundation of effective leadership, also known as the Servant Leadership school of thought (expounded by Greenleaf, Covey, Senge, Blanchard, et al.). This week I’ve been listening to an audiobook by James Hunter called The Servant Leadership Training Course, and have learned a number of powerful concepts.

Hunter examines the implications of the following facts: Read the rest of this entry »

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From Bud to Boss: Kevin Eikenberry’s Book for New Leaders

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Recently, we published part one of an interview with Kevin Eikenberry of the Kevin Eikenberry Group, whose new book, From Bud to Boss (co-authored with Guy Harris) is launching this week. Following is Part 2 of the interview. Read the rest of this entry »

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Humility? I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Humility!

Monday, February 7th, 2011

The brilliant Julio Olalla recently told me a story  about the connection between language and experience.

He said to imagine you go to an art museum filled with several Gaugins. You stroll through. You notice the vibrant colors, the tropical scenes, the curious eyes of the Polynesian women. Then, as you leave, you run into the world’s greatest Gaugin scholar. She invites you to walk through the exhibit again, this time with her as your guide. Perhaps you think, “But I just saw it all!” But in the end, you go back through with her.

Do you really believe your second experience would be remotely like your first? Read the rest of this entry »

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Tweets, Books, and Learning

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Keeping informed by tweets is like nourishment from fast food: at best limited, at worst hazardous. Learning comes from in-depth experience, like submersing in a book.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Numbers & Business: Whose Reality Is Reliable?

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Organizations mix “facts” into a tasty Kool-Aid that everyone drinks. How reliable is fact-based decision making? What is really real, and which reality should we believe?

Read the rest of this entry »

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The Power of Doing Nothing

Monday, January 17th, 2011

I spent the holidays doing nothing. Well, not exactly nothing. I read the kind of mindless novels I never make time for. I skied for the first time in 16 years. I went to parties and watched football and planned outrageous surprises for the kids and conspired with them on outrageous surprises for their mom. Made playlists. Exercised.

But I didn’t read business books or blogs. I unplugged from Twitter. I didn’t write. Cancelled client meetings. Closed for business.

I felt borderline depressed for the first week. I didn’t know who I was. Then one day I woke exhilarated. Read the rest of this entry »

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Vision: Finding Your Sweet Spot

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

If you could create your perfect career or company, where would you begin? If you had to choose, would you pick something that makes a lot of money over something you care about? How about something that you excel at?

Why choose? In fact, Jim Collins argued in Good to Great that the great companies don’t choose. They insist on having it all.

Regular readers know I am a big fan of Jim Collins. However, I have never been completely comfortable with the language he uses when discussing his Hedgehog Concept and the “sweet spot” where excellent companies take germinate and grow.

Here is how I explain it to clients. Read the rest of this entry »

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How to Know If You Are Resilient

Monday, January 10th, 2011

If you are curious about how resilient you are, Dr. Al Siebert offers a 2 page self-administered quiz in his fine book, The Resiliency Advantage (pg. 16-17). If you’re feeling fragile and any good at test taking, the “correct” answers will be obvious, and you will be able to reassure yourself that you are indeed good a bouncing back.

The fun part comes a couple pages later, where he offers five extra credit questions: Read the rest of this entry »

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The Tyranny of Connectivity

Monday, December 27th, 2010

[I've posted this before, but it seems an appropriate gift for readers during this holiday season]

Recently I decided to take a snow day. I had just completed a major project, and the prospect of going out did not entice. Over coffee, watching the blizzard, I happily made mental lists of books to read and articles to write.

Eight hours later I gave up.

In between, I rode the never ending wave of email, tweets, news feeds, text messages, etc. I was busy. I felt productive. But it was delusion. I kept up, but went nowhere. Read the rest of this entry »

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Entrepreneurs, Where Can You Find Help?

Monday, December 20th, 2010

It’s a big bad world out there. Anyone who says they never need help is either lying or in denial. But when it’s your company, it is often difficult to know where to turn. Here is a brief list of thought-starters. Read the rest of this entry »

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Unique Employees Need Unique Development Plans

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Unique Employees Need Unique Development Plans

So here’s a radical idea: people are different and therefore need different professional development plans.

To which you say, “Duh!”

But have you considered the implications? If the cookie-cutter approach is wrong, what is right? Read the rest of this entry »

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