When I got married I had a high ideal of honesty – we should tell each other what we’re thinking and feeling in real time as truthfully as we can. It works. 12 years later we’re still holding true to the ideal. Some modifications, though, have come to light over the years of practice. Turns out that honesty is not enough to make a strong relationship work. Timing is as critical as honesty. And, a sincere apology goes a long way. I’ve come to believe that timing is as powerful as honesty. While I can express something that’s honest and [...]


Language of Business or Tower of Babel


There are many barriers to communication, even when we speak the same language. Yesterday I presented “what your CEO needs you to know” to Learning and Development professionals at ASTD. I shared the top issues that occupy CEOs: revenues and profits, strategic focus, and key talent. More deeply though, what I believe forms the greatest gap between CEOs and their functional leaders is a language barrier. Organizations run the risk of the Tower of Babel situation – groups working on the same project with different “languages” not accomplishing their results in spite of their great competence. There is a ‘language [...]

Language of Business or Tower of Babel2019-03-28T22:44:24+00:00

Bankrupcy from Lying


My friend has hit a massive wall in his marriage. It’s not clear whether they will find a way to work it out and stay married. They just committed to see a counselor to help figure this out. Independent of the marriage making it or not is my friend’s ability to be honest. He hasn’t cheated on his wife, or stolen funds from her. He has, however, shut off parts of himself from her. It turns out you can’t shut part of yourself off and allow the rest of you to shine. What you end up with is a muted, [...]

Bankrupcy from Lying2019-03-28T22:43:15+00:00

Collaboration – 21st Century Competitive Advantage


I just have to share organizational wisdom I learned from Steve, VP of Operations at a large tech company. He consistently instills in his team three elements that makes them extremely effective at collaboration – open mindedness, trust, and enthusiasm. But before I say anything about collaboration, I want to say a word about organization. Organization comes from the word organism and organized. Whether you are a single cell organism, a complex organism – a tree, for example – or a company – a group of people working together to produce value – you are an organism because your features [...]

Collaboration – 21st Century Competitive Advantage2019-03-28T22:41:42+00:00

Vertical or Horizontal, Which Way Do You Lead?


Vic, after 22 years with his company, was just promoted to executive. Congrats, Vic, you deserve it! Vic is ambitious, empathetic, a wicked-good problem solver, long term thinker, and driven by healthy competitiveness. Vic is now VP of operations. In his previous management role he was responsible for effectively leading a team and ensuring that they consistently met and exceeded goals set by senior management. Now Vic finds himself in that rare position of being part of the executive team. In my experience of thousands of hours of executive coaching I have found that the transition to Senior executive poses [...]

Vertical or Horizontal, Which Way Do You Lead?2019-03-28T22:40:44+00:00

Uncertainty, Communication, and Full Engagment


My family and I were flying in an airplane from Denver to Sheridan, Wyoming. The previous flight aboard a Boeing 757 from San Diego to Denver was easy and smooth. Unfortunately, the flight from Denver to Sheridan was an experience of the forces of nature aboard twin prop 19-seater airplane. Flying through updrafts and thermal layers around Denver was a very bumpy ride; a white knuckled flight fueled by imagination and anxiety. Sitting in the last row of the plane only added to our troubles. There were three seats across. My wife was sitting to my right and our oldest [...]

Uncertainty, Communication, and Full Engagment2019-03-28T22:39:10+00:00

Removing Wood From the Fire of Anger


ANGER is rampant in the organizations. Why? Because people experience a gulf of difference between what they expect and want, and how things actually are. While the gulf is common, leaders should take the uncommon path to ease this anger and frustration. If you’re a leader, you can do so by expressing yourself more accurately and authentically, and being prepared to serve the greater needs of the team, vision, and community. Anger is a flag; it is an emotional signal that what you want and what you have are not the same. Anger is a primitive impulse – a burst [...]

Removing Wood From the Fire of Anger2019-03-28T22:37:27+00:00

Leader as Coach


John Wooden, the famed basketball coach, said, “Young people need models, not critics.” Leaders are most effective as coaches when they model and demonstrate their values, beliefs, and expectation. But criticism should not be overlooked. Critic comes from the Greek word Kritikos, able to discern. Leader coaches know how to discern, how to perceive and recognize qualities in their people. Leader coaches perceive the strength of team members and assign tasks and challenges to fit strengths. Marcus Buckingham in, Now, Discover Your Strengths, demonstrates in his research that coaching to strengths is more powerful than coaching to overcome weaknesses. So [...]

Leader as Coach2019-03-28T22:35:59+00:00

Can’t Believe My Eyes


Waves of rich sound were rolling from the stage. I nodded my head to the same rythm that was moving hundreds of heads up and down and undulating bodies from one foot to the other. Reggae music splashed in our ears and flowed around our feet. The band was awesome – drums, bongos, guitars, keyboards, base guitar, and singer. But my brain was stuck. The singer looked like a 20 something skater – a white kid with a baseball cap, jeans , T-shirt and Vans – but sounded like Bob Marley. His singing was terrific – pitch, accent, intensity. With [...]

Can’t Believe My Eyes2019-03-28T22:34:27+00:00

Fear of the Unknown


Few things are as paralyzing as fear of the unknown. In the face of this dark, deep, yawning chasm of perceived danger, the mind races into overdrive and creates visions of pain and loss, great or small. I’ve seen entire exec teams convince themselves the unknown is so awful that they defaulted to fighting for status quo rather than growth. I’ve struggled with my own doubt and indecision in the face of the unknown, opting at times to keep calculating odds rather than committing to an avenue and action. This moment in history is ripe with unknowns. Our fears can [...]

Fear of the Unknown2019-03-28T22:33:16+00:00

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