Testimonial – Kelley Kurtzman
What makes Kellye a conscious leader? Its her ability to expand her sense of self beyond the protection, beyond the greed, beyond the fear and to really include her people's needs and dreams, her team's safety, and an actionable care for all life. And why does she work with Eric Kaufmann as her coach? Let her tell you in her own words.
Podcast – Conscious Leadership in Action
In this Conscious Leadership in Action conversation between Paul Ward and guest Eric Kaufmann we talked about his new book, Leadership Breakdown: How to break the vicious cycle, release the struggle, and succeed with conscious leadership. Eric has made awakening and expanding the consciousness of leaders his mission in life. Eric says that what makes a conscious leader is not just waking up, opening your eyes and saying [...]
How to say “I’m Sorry”
I, like you, judge myself by my intent. Period. But you, like everyone else, you judge me by my impact. So even when I’m well intended, I can be hurtful or upsetting. It’s just inevitable that I’m gonna upset someone, you’ll upset someone, we all upset someone. And because we’re prone to upset and offend someone we’re in relationship with, we’ve collectively invented THE APOLOGY – "I’m sorry!" Since leadership [...]
Culture Never Sleeps
We’ll never have to wonder if one leader can affect culture. Just six days after inauguration, the culture of the White House is different. This is a leadership perspective; I’m not baiting any political debate. Culture change is visible. And you too, the leader in your space, are affecting the culture around you, whether or not you’re paying attention to it. And I’m encouraging you to pay attention. Culture never [...]
You Will Disappoint!
"Sheila is pissed at me," he said. "She wants me to intervene on her behalf, but I'm not going there. She has to figure out how to fight this fight without me hand holding her." Then he went on, "But I tell you, it's bothering me that she's disappointed and pissed at me!" You can relate, right? He hates being perceived as unfair. It reminds me (for a second time in [...]
Pandemic, Paralysis, & Productivity
!! Stop productivity porn !! It’s still too soon for bravado about productivity. We're in week three of isolation, and getting more comfortable with the weirdness. But we're not quite there yet. You're probably working from home, and if you have kids then they're home and you're a full-time professional and teacher, and your normal productivity routines are disrupted. Yes, yes, I know, opportunity and crisis go hand in hand. [...]
Fear is Normal! So is Courage!
FEAR is an appropriate response right now. Fear is our reaction to threat, and we are threatened in ways we can’t control. Fear sharpens the senses, cuts noise away from signal, and provides a boost of energy for action. Unless you’re sedated, feeling fear is normal. And feel it you must. I’ll come back to that. Panic, over worrying, deep anxiety, incessant fretting, though, is unnecessary. Panic is a selfish impulse [...]
Podcast: Conscious Leadership in Action
Conscious Leadership in Action podcast with Host Dr Paul Ward. We're talking about Eric's new book, Leadership Breakdown: How to break the vicious cycle, release the struggle, and succeed with conscious leadership.
The Blueprint to Conscious Leadership
By Eric Kaufmann, President of Sagatica Matt Lehrer, CEO of Teamwork Athletic Apparel, made it a practice to give low- interest loans to his employees — more than 500 loans over 15 years. To get a loan, employees had to create a household budget and share their goals for the loan. But Matt turned down a loan request from a single mother of three who wanted the money to help [...]
Meetings That Shine
Nine Practices for a Conscious Leader of Meetings Your meetings are the manifest expression of your culture.Whoa, slow down. Really take this in. This is important.Your. Meetings. Are. The. Manifest. Expression. Of. Your. Culture. Every time you call a meeting, you know, “gather around people,” around a table, a phone or a video call, you put your values, norms, priorities, and leadership on display. A meeting isn’t just a [...]
Deliberate Practice and the Power of Elearning
What is deliberate practice? Do you recall learning to ride a bike? At first, you wobbled and fell and wanted to quit. Most likely, someone taught you how to ride – your dad or mom, older sibling, cousin, or neighbor, perhaps. I first learned to ride with training wheels attached to the rear wheel, and as my confidence and competence grew, the wheels came off. Fortunately, my dad believed [...]
Leadership Lessons from Tug-Of-War
“What am I creating?” is a critical leadership question you must ask yourself every day. The answer shapes your personal productivity, choices and actions. The answer to this question also orients your team’s choices—it creates alignment. The primary reason for organizations to exist is to harness the collective power of the group. WE can accomplish more than I; our collective efforts are most impressive when they surge forward in unison. Alignment produces [...]
The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Coaching
How to stop minimizing your coaching work You are expected to coach. Coaching, however, is not the end-all-and-be-all of talent development. And, the value of coaching is often diminished due to seven deadly mistakes. These mistakes are common, costly, and (typically) invisible to the coach. You can immediately improve your work, and bring out potential in people and teams, when you know when and how to avoid these deadly [...]
From Training Room to the Boardroom
“How do I become an influential leader?” is a question every life science trainer asks, and one that I’ve been investigating for the past 15 as a coach and trainer. Part of the answer is revealed in the two mindsets and three focal areas that follow. First mindset is to base every decision on improving patient outcomes. Put patients first, next consider clinical practitioners, and then the right thing [...]
Motivation – A Drug for Lazy Leaders
We’re hardly shocked anymore when we discover that a star baseball player DID take steroids. We’re disappointed, but not shocked. The use of performance enhancing drugs is a cat and mouse game between players and coaches who want ever-increasing power, and regulators who are desperately attempting to maintain a level playing field. In corporations, that performance enhancing drug of choice is motivation. Leaders and managers believe that if their [...]
Four Virtues of Leadership as a Hero’s Journey
Focus: Focus answers the question, “What am I creating?” We are always creating, either intentionally or unintentionally. As a leader you are to be intentional, purposeful about what you, your team, and your organization focus on. Your thoughts and beliefs and, by extension, the beliefs and thoughts of your team and organization, are reflected in your creation and behavior. This power of focus is what draws you and your [...]
Why is Commitment a Big Deal?
A good friend of mine is single. He’s such a catch and I often wonder how he’s not married, especially given his stated intent to be married. We got to talking about marriage and the conversation went to commitment. He said he’s a committed man – his business is successful, his circle of friends is rich, his lifestyle is full of athletics and travel – he commits to many [...]
What am I Creating? The Manifestation Cycle
The question, “What am I creating?” is perpetually answered by our outcome-directed minds. We have no choice but to comply with the inquiry. We do have choice in what we focus on as the answer. Your vision, your mental model, is a response to the question, “What am I creating?” Environment, opportunity, luck, and circumstances are forces and elements that shape and influence us. But we are not merely [...]
Does Customer Service Reflect Leadership?
I checked in with my wife and kids in Atlanta for our flight to San Diego. As the ticket agent was taking our suitcase, I knew in my heart I will not be seeing that suitcase anytime soon. I just knew it. Have you ever had that unshakable certainty, even as you wished mightily to be wrong?? The gate agent was flustered, disinterested, and showed no signs of service [...]
Hard to believe
My daughter came sobbing into the house. She is usually pretty tough, so when she cries in pain, I know to pay attention. She was swinging in the hammock with her friend and they tipped the hammock. My daughter landed on the ground and her friend, on top of her. I saw no bruises or cuts. I prescribed the usual, ice the arm and take it easy for a [...]
What EXACTLY is coaching?
While executive and leadership coaching share many features with the coaching that managers provide for their employees, there is at least one critical difference. As a manager, you are responsible and accountable for the outcome of what your employee does or does not do. As an executive coach, I’m responsible and accountable for the improvement of the executive, but not for their total work output. While responsibility for the [...]
The ABC of Change
I was interviewed about helping leaders make positive changes through executive coaching. One of the questions really captured my attention, “What do you believe causes change?” Through 12 years of coaching intelligent and mature executives, and over my own lifetime of effort, I know that behavior change is difficult. As a facilitator, coach, and trainer I’ve observed a pattern among those who deliberately and successfully alter their behavior; a [...]
How to Develop Courage for Leading
During a hiking trip in a remote mountain range, a narrow but deep canyon cut my trail. I hiked northwards along the canyon lip, but found no passage. An hour later, having retraced my steps and gone further south, I found a lightning-felled Ponderosa pine that spanned the canyon. It was sixty feet long, thick and strong, and anchored in place by its remaining roots. The first ten feet [...]
We are often told that compromise is a mature sign of negotiation. We are told that marriages are all about compromise. We are told that it’s better to give a little and keep the peace. We are told that compromise is a win-win… I don’t believe any of this! King Solomon is considered to be one of the wisest men of history. His wisdom was dearly tested when two [...]
Do Managers Who Coach Improve Profitability?
Good news per Gallup is that 29% of employees are truly “engaged.” The concerning news is that 54% of poll respondents are “disengaged.” But the scary part is that 17% of employees are “actively disengaged.” By making organizations flat (fewer layers of management) we have significantly increased the busyness of managers, and equally decreased the time and attention that managers and team members share; a fact that has escalated [...]
Corporations are NOT a Democracy
A senior VP in an organization asked me if I would coach one of his Directors. The Director has spent five years in her position and now is being offered coaching as a way to improve her leadership skills. In over a decade of coaching I have learned to sniff out good coaching candidates, and everything in me signaled this is not a strong candidate. This Director is bright [...]
Strategy and Communication – The Art of Alignment
When you stand at the top of your organization or team, you have a perspective that no one else has. And yet you depend on subordinate’s input to inform the overall strategy and mission. And for the input to have value, everyone has to understand and focus on the strategy. I witness many a senior leader who comes up with the great strategy, but fails to help the organization [...]
The Folly of Fearlessness
What a terrible mistake it is to aspire to be fearless. Adam Bryant in his book – The Corner Office – shares five habits of highly effective CEOs. There is great material in the book, insights which align with my observations in coaching CEOs and facilitating executive development programs. However, I strongly disagree with the title of his last habit, not with the content. He claims that great leaders [...]
Success and Leadership Maturity – a Powerful Connection
“It is human to have a long childhood; it is civilized to have an even longer childhood. Long childhood makes a technical and mental virtuoso out of man, but it also leaves a life-long residue of emotional immaturity in him.”— Erik Erikson (1902-1994) Eight months ago Myra was promoted from Controller to CFO. I was introduced to her by her CEO when their conversation turned to helping Myra develop [...]
The essential question of trust
John Maxwell wrote that “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” We, the followers of leaders, want to know that we are safe as we travel down a new path or toward creating a new vision or goal. Because a journey of creation always involves some risk, we want to have some measure of faith and are constantly concerned for our safety. [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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, [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 Pain of Making Decisions
Manny looked physically hurt. His eyes were sunken, his posture was stooped, and his normally taut skin was grayish. He had been under great stress over the past three weeks. He was making one of the biggest decisions of his career as a leader. He was showing the toll of a difficult decision. Manny was physically hurting! The pain we feel in the midst of intense stress is real; [...]
Pruning the Mind Garden
Unfounded insecurity and anxiety about incompetence visit themselves upon me once in a while. I used to become anxious at their mere presence, now I’m mostly at peace with them. Like vines they creep into the garden of my mind and weave themselves into the foliage of my thinking. Sometimes I know exactly what fertilizer quickened their growth – a less than stellar client engagement, a rejected proposal or [...]
Ten Insights for Conquering Fear
I don’t believe there is real “fear of the unknown.” Over the past decade, as I’ve asked people what about the UNKNOWN frightens them, they have always listed KNOWN fears such as pain, loss, embarrassment, death, rejection, etc. The Unknown acts as a blank screen onto which we project our Known fears. What we’re afraid of is the Uncertain. More accurately, we are afraid that what we want to [...]
360 Degree Feedback Unites Leadership for An International Manufacturer
How assessments helped an international manufacturer refine their leadership development process. SituationAn Midwest based International manufacturing and sales organization was growing globally, and execs were seeing uneven leadership capability around the world. Functions were executing differently, and with different levels of savvy from office to office. NeedThe Executive team was committed developing leaders across the globe. They wanted a meaningful solution, and realized that diagnosis precedes prognosis – you have [...]
Executive Coaching Accelerates Results for Fortune 1000 Life Science Company VP
How Executive Coaching for a smart, mature and competent VP improved his team leadership and retention. SituationJeff was recently promoted to VP at a Fortune 1000 Life Science Company. His staff of 135 was responsible for an operating budget north of $230 Million. Jeff showed promise early in his career. He was tagged as a high performer over the eleven years he spent rising through the ranks. His accomplishments were [...]
Team Genius 2.0 Builds a Common Culture for a Growing Biotechnology Firm
How newly merged senior leaders moved toward trust, teamwork, and collaboration. Situation Rick, the CEO of a biotechnology firm that was growing through acquisition, was frustrated as he failed to get the “horsepower” out of his leadership team. The team hailed from different companies and were experiencing a “tower of Babel” syndrome: poor integration due to different ages and generations, differing levels of experience, and multiple cultures of origin. While [...]
Leadership Development Strategy Nurtures Talent at Fortune 500 Pharmaceutical Company
How we guided a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company to transform an ad hoc training and development approach into a strategic leadership development pathway. Situation Dana, the VP of Learning and Development, was adding content to her Leadership Program and was looking for a two day coaching skills training. Dana was busy and felt confident in our style and content. We didn’t spend the requisite time to understand her company’s culture, [...]
Neuro Targets – 8 Steps to Achieving Your Goals
Race-car drivers know that what they fixate on, they race towards; they learn early on to focus on the road, not on the wall around the track. When you speed around the bend at 200mph and focus on the wall, you’ll drive right into it. If, instead, you focus on the road, you’ll follow the track. That’s the essential secret of goals – direct your attention to what you’re creating, [...]
The Power of Expectations
From elementary through high school my grades were below average. I wasn’t challenged, didn’t connect with my teachers, and just wanted to get by. My teachers were continuously perplexed as I had the ingredients for high grades—intelligence, self-direction, and lots of energy. But my self-concept was that I was lazy. I expected little of myself academically, and followed through on that expectation. Our self-concept (expectations) drives us. Fortunately, our self-concept [...]
Psychoelasticity – How to Cultivate Curiosity and Leadership
I was a real rebel as a young man; I questioned authority and cast off my parents conventions. I challenged everything with “why,” and “who decided that this is the right way?” Have I changed now that I’m an adult with a mortgage, a father of teenagers, and a business owner? Sure, but I maintain a deep respect for rebellion, and I’ll tell you why. Admittedly, at its lowest [...]
Critic Or Coach? Which Are You?
How you give feedback is all wrong; probably because you were taught the old sandwich technique. You know the one, open with a positive statement followed by constructive criticism, then close with a positive statement. Quite frankly, it’s a crappy sandwich. It’s the antithesis of John Wooden’s, the famed basketball coach, comment that “Young people need models, not critics.” As a leader, you have to give – and your [...]
The Unknown – Fear or Power?
A transformative leader plants a tree under whose shade she might never sit. Transformative Leadership is service to the future; it is anticipatory. Nowhere does anticipation—mental projection into the future—wreak more havoc on us than when we are faced with the great unknown. Confronted with The Void, the mind is apt to create visions of pain and loss, great or small. I’ve been with executives so convinced of an awful [...]
CEOs Can’t Make a Suggestion!
If you’re a CEO you may have noticed that thinking out loud actually generates new projects! What gives?? Well, people listen to the CEO for directions, and suggestions are merely new directions. Sorry ;-( Watch this brief video for tips on how to deal with this inevitable reality.
Podcast: Leadership, habits, and a well-lived life
In this engaging interview, Martin Grunburg and Eric Kaufmann discuss the philosophy that underlies much of Eric’s thinking and writing these days—particularly the four virtues as outlined in his book. Eric has identified common themes and patterns that underlie what he’s identified as “Leadership as a Hero’s Journey.” The essential four virtues that he’s written extensively about are Focus, Courage, Grit, and Faith.
Comfort Zone or cul-de-sac?
I crave physical and mental comfort – no pain, maximum delight, effortless patterns, and easy decision making. In fact, all my colleagues, clients, family, friends and strangers crave comfort, and consumer companies promise us comfort through food, drugs, home furnishings, cars, travel, you name it. Who doesn’t want to be comfortable? But what is the price of the comfort zone? What do you give up in order to [...]
Self-Confident or Cocky – Which Are You?
“Al is always late to our meetings,” Sandra shared in frustration, “and when he finally arrives he interrupts with his commentary. And, when someone disagrees with his comments he aggressively fights to prove why he’s right and that he’s better than us.” Then she said, “he’s so cocky, he drives me mad!” Confidence is definitely a must-have leadership quality – you need it to stop into the comfort zone, make [...]
Four Virtues in Relationship
A down to earth conversation between Eric Kaufmann and Shana James, and an easy way to absorb, as Shana says, “brilliant and deeply impactful ideas and tools.”
Mindfulness, Courage, and the Unknown
The election of Donald Trump is socially and spiritually bruising to enlightenment minded people, who are actually quite varied in their political orientation – from fiscal conservatives and religious idealists to social progressives. And in the presence of a president that is undermining my leadership teachings, writing, and coaching I wonder how will we practice our mindful principles, not fall into fear-based reactivity, and continue to promote the best of [...]
What a year in an isolated cabin taught me about leadership
Two big factors kicked in when I was 30 – I reached eleven years of intense meditation practice and I was intensely called to dive into an overtly spiritual exploration. I started meditating at 19 as a survival strategy because I was kicked out of college and had to get my head screwed on right. So at 30 I left a great management job, shaved my head, sold my stuff, [...]
How to Lead in Uncertainty
Last year my family and I flew from Denver to Sheridan on a frightfully memorable flight. We just transferred off a large commercial Jet from San Diego and enjoyed an easy flight through the grand sky. But the flight out of Denver was aboard a little twin-prop plane that turned into an 80 minute white-knuckled ride, bumping and jumping through updrafts and cross winds. As the small plane bucked through [...]
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