Posts Tagged ‘wisdom’

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 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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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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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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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?

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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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Resilience Can Be a Verb: Just Do It!

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Resiliency has many dimensions. It is a quality, an attitude, an ability. But most importantly, it is a choice and that means it is an action – a verb, albeit a little known one.

The action of resiliency is defined by Dictionary.com as “to spring back.” In response to unexpected, adverse situations that might leave others flattened, the resilient person bounces back.

But Nietzsche was only half right when he wrote “Whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” in Twilight of the Idols. Unless you choose to use adversity to become stronger, you can be left wounded and weaker. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why I’m Thankful to Work in Business

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Before carving the turkey, I’d like to pause and appreciate. Why I’m grateful to advise business leaders:

  • There’s always something to learn. Every business is unique, facing unique challenges. Cookie-cutter solutions rarely work because they don’t celebrate uniqueness. Uniqueness always gives me opportunities to learn, grow, get better, be challenged…
  • My experience is always relevant. The other side of bullet one is that all businesses share many commonalities. Having acquired 30 years of business experience, I can always find ideas or insights that are relevant. It feels good to add value.
  • Business is a discipline for self development. It’s not like there is a border where work ends and life begins. They are completely mingled. By approaching business with the mindset of self development, it can be a marvelous yoga or meditation. Everyday it confronts me with opportunities to become a better person.
  • Business lets me serve. I enjoy my life, but that’s not enough. I want to leave this world a better place. Business is my vehicle.

Make sense?

Why are you grateful? How does business help you on your path?
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Happy Thanksgiving

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

We generally publish new posts every Monday and Wednesday. This week, we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving with family. We wish you a Thanksgiving Day filled with gratitude for the year that was, and a year of gratitude for the day that is.

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Abundance! The Power of Accepting What Is

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

One weekend last year, the kids and I decided to go to a movie, then roller skate. We were excited by the plan and chatted happily during the car ride. But the movie upset my 7-year-old, with animals killing each other for survival (G-rated! What were they thinking?), and when the skating rink turned out to be closed, she burst into tears. “I didn’t like the movie and now I can’t even skate! Now I’ll never have fun!”

I immediately was flooded with feelings. First, of course, I felt like the world’s worst dad. Read the rest of this entry »

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Can Leaders Cultivate Humility?

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Successful leaders are often an odd blend of ego and humility. Arguably, they need both – the one to move boldly and courageously, the other to stay alert for potential errors and to avoid overwhelming others. For most leaders I’ve known over the past 30 years, the hubris came easily. Their challenge was to learn to cultivate humility. Here are some tips. Read the rest of this entry »

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Violated? Not Sure How to Cope?

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Sometimes we feel violated. A colleague steals our best idea. A boss throws us under the bus. A subordinate knifes us in the back. A customer or supplier lies. What are our best coping strategies as business leaders when faced with injustice and violation?

I was robbed today. Read the rest of this entry »

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Black, White, Gray, & Something Completely Different

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

A core competency of leadership is the balancing of competing needs and constituencies. There is a right way to do this and a wrong way. To do it right, think like a painter: you need both black and white. If you do it wrong, you get a palette full of gray. There are three key skills needed to avoid gray in the quest for balance:

  • Cultivating diversity rather than  uniformity
  • Recognizing which of a range of ideas is most appropriate to the moment
  • Knowing how to build on opposing ideas to reach a superior solution

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Is Your Reality Filled with Obstacles or Opportunities?

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Right here, right now, it’s a treacherous world. Customers either don’t know what they want or are showing symptoms of impending change. Competitors huddle in secret cabals, scheming to transform the battlefield to their advantage. Suppliers miss deadlines or quality standards or pressure to accelerate your payables. Employees have morphed into free agents ready to jump for the first better offer.

How wonderful! Do you smell the opportunity?

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Wisdom and Diversity

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, the admirable Peggy Noonan wrote that the age of youthful leaders should be brought to a close, and that the world needs more leadership built on the wisdom that only age and experience can bring. She’s part right – she just doesn’t take the thought far enough.

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Marketing Yoga

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Another marketer, (@kristy3m), recently retweeted my article about The 13 Worst Marketing Mistakes, saying that my subject was “when marketers and yogi’s intersect.” I love it! It inspired me to buy domain rights to themarketingyogi.com. Maybe I’ll do something with that someday. Meanwhile, some more thoughts on a BIG topic, the yoga of marketing.

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Business and Honor: A Pledge

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

While rereading the remarkable Anatomy of Peace by The Arbinger Institute, an odd phrase popped into my mind: business with honor. Sounds kind of mafioso, doesn’t it? I tried to flick it away, another random bit of brain static, but something about it stuck. Honor and business. What’s the connection?

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