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June 2017 Leadership Development Carnival

Friday, June 9th, 2017

New month, new Leadership Development Carnival.

Reproduced here for your edification and enjoyment. It’s good weekend reading.


Anne Perschel of Germane Coaching and Consulting provided Create New Organization Hero Stories to Lead Change. Anne writes, “The organization hero stories you tell as you launch your change initiative will get people on your change bus. How you tell the story is as important as the story you create.” Find Anne on Twitter at @bizshrink.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited provided 5 Ways (Some) Multitasking Can be Good for You. Beth summarizes, “Multitasking is often frowned upon, but this post helps us sort out when it might be a good approach.” Find Beth on Twitter at @bethbeutler.

Bill Treasurer of Giant Leap Consulting provided How to Manage Your Boss. Bill recaps, “Leadership isn’t always about managing your direct reports. Sometimes you have to know how to ‘manage up.’ Managing your boss is an essential part of leadership.” Find Bill on Twitter at @btreasurer.

Chris Edmonds of the Purposeful Culture Group contributed Culture Leadership Charge: Validate Effort and Results. In this post, Chris reminds us to validate the efforts of others, not just the results they get. Follow Chris on Twitter at @scedmonds.

Dan McCarthy of Great Leadership provided How to Prevent Redundant Performance Improvement Conversations. Dan recaps, “In this guest post, Karin Hurt explores the fact that performance improvement conversations aren’t enjoyable — for you or for them. ‘To make sure you don’t have to have the same uncomfortable conversation twice, take a hard look at this approach.’” Find Dan on Twitter at @greatleadership and Karin at @letsgrowleaders.

Dana Theus of InPower Coaching contributed How to Run a Meeting When You’re Not in Charge. Dana writes, “Running a meeting with your boss and her peers puts you in a tough spot. You’re being expected to ‘manage’ people superior to you. You can’t rely on your technical expertise because you’re expected to manage the interpersonal dynamics of the meeting as well, which is hard even when dealing with peers and subordinates.” Find Dana on Twitter at @DanaTheus.

David Grossman of The Grossman Group shared Leadership Communication Principles That Work. David writes, “I’m continually asked for the most important leadership communication principles. While what’s effective will vary based on the person or situation, these six tried-and-true fundamentals will make the difference between simply sharing information and communication that moves people to action (and that they feel great about).” Discover David on Twitter at @thoughtpartner

Diane Bock of Development Dimensions International (DDI) shared How to Work with People Who Aren’t You. Diane writes, “Diversity is good for business. But it doesn’t mean you will automatically have positive relationships with colleagues who are different.” Discover Diane on Twitter at @DDIWorld

Eileen McDargh of The Resiliency Group provided Five Secrets to Creative Adaptability. Eileen recaps, “In the face of continuing economic challenges, a roller coaster marketplace, Congressional stalemates, and unrelenting change, leaders in every part of an organization must develop a capacity for resiliency. A cornerstone of resiliency is adaptability. Mind you, this is not the ordinary find-another-answer but rather find MANY answers.” Find Eileen on Twitter at @macdarling.

Jesse Lyn Stoner of Seapoint Center provided How the Benefits of Team Vision Can Revitalize Your Team. Jesse summarizes, “Has your team gotten caught in ‘team drift’? Here are eight benefits of team vision and how it helps revitalize your team.” Find Jesse on Twitter at @jesselynstoner.

Jill Malleck of Epiphany at Work submitted Use Memory to Boost Self-Confidence. Jill recaps: “Confidence is different than a ‘know-it-all’ attitude: It’s more about feeling strong in your abilities. In every workplace, it’s not just about what you know that demonstrates leadership –  it’s how confidently you lead when you don’t know.” Discover Jill on Twitter at @EpiphanyAtWork.

Jim Taggart of Changing Winds provided Why Integrity Matters to Leadership. In the post, Jim explains, “New leadership approaches are needed in a globalized world. It’s about collaboration through worker self-empowerment, where calculated risk-taking is a daily endeavour and individual and collective learning is nurtured and valued.” Find Jim on Twitter at @72keys.

Joel Garfinkle of the Career Advancement Blog submitted The 4 Most Powerful Leadership Words You Can Use. Joel shares: “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Being selective in how you speak to others often determines your level of leadership. Here are four of the most powerful leadership words you can use.” Discover Joel on Twitter at @JoelGarfinkle.

John Hunter of Curious Cat submitted Improving Management with Tools and Knowledge. John recaps: “The effective integration of the principles and the tools is what separates the remarkable companies we respect (and maybe envy) from all the others that are having some success but that are also struggling in many ways.” Discover John on Twitter at @CuriousCat_Com.

Jon Mertz of Thin Difference submitted Jeff Bezos: How to Avoid Day 2. Jon shares, “This post is addresses how a leader’s approach to decision making can determine an organization’s success or failure. Too many of us get stuck in what Jeff Bezos calls a ‘Day 2 mindset.’ Here’s how to avoid that trap and make all of our decisions like it’s day 1.” Discover Jon on Twitter at @thindifference.

Jon Verbeck of  Jon Verbeck contributed Business Owner Mistakes: No Timely Review of the Numbers. In this post, Jon reminds us that no matter the size of our business, we need to look at our numbers regularly. Follow Jon on Twitter at @jonverbeck1.

Julie Winkle-Giulioni of Julie Winkle-Giulioni provided Career Development Begins with CARE. Julie recaps, “In this short animated video, Julie explores the fundamental building blocks of career development and offers a framework for leaders committed to engaging in authentic sustainable development with others.” Find Julie on Twitter at @julie_wg.

Linda Fisher Thornton of Leading in Context  shared 9 Ethical Roles: Is Your leadership Team “All In?”. Linda recaps: “Ethical roles apply not just to CEOs, but also to all senior leaders in an organization. And if front line leaders don’t carry these roles throughout the organization, there will be gaps in the culture. We should prepare leaders to take on these 9 important roles, to help them be ‘All In’ in the quest for ethical culture building.” Find Linda on Twitter at @leadingincontxt.

Lisa Kohn of Chatsworth Consulting submitted How Have You Moved Past Fear With Understanding?. In this post, Lisa shares how moving past your fears into more understanding can help you be the best leader you can be. Discover Lisa on Twitter at @thoughtfulldrs.

Marcella Bremer of Leadership and Change Magazine provided What Do You Love to Do?. Marcella recaps, “What you love to do contains your gift to the world regardless of your role. Many were taught that it’s selfish to pursue what we love. Thus, we set aside what makes us unique. While when we love what we do, we are at our best and make a difference. Withholding who we are becomes the selfish act. What do you think?” Find Marcella on Twitter at @marcellabremer.

Mary Ila Ward of Horizon Point Consulting provided A Culture Where Nothing Is Ever Good Enough and How to Fix It: An Interview with Rajeev Behera CEO of Reflektive. Mary Ila recaps, “One in four people say their jobs are the most stressful part of their lives. What is creating stress in the workplace and how can it be resolved? In this post Mary Ila interviews Rajeev Behera, CEO of Reflektive, to determine the key factors that create a fear-based work culture and how it can be changed.” Find Mary on Twitter at @maryilaward.

Mary Jo Asmus of Aspire Collaborative Services, LLC provided Reconnecting With Happiness. Mary Jo recaps, “Happy leaders make a difference! Don’t let your happiness slip away; examine your life and make decisions about what will help you get back to what matters.” Find Mary Jo on Twitter at @mjasmus.

Miki Saxon of MAPping Company Success contributed If The Shoe Fits: No Such Thing As “Self-Made”. Miki writes, “Everybody loves stories about self-made people; the ones who have climbed from nothing to the top. The stories may be fun to read, but in reality there is no such thing as ‘self-made’. Just ask Arnold Schwarzenegger.” Discover Miki on Twitter at @optionsanity.

Neal Burgis of Burgis Successful Solutions submitted It’s All About Finding People Smarter than You. Neal recaps, “Leaders know that hiring people smarter than themselves makes good leadership sense when you have great ideas and need others to create and produce breakthrough results. You shouldn’t be the smartest person in the room – yet you should hire the smartest people in the room.” Find Neal on Twitter at @exec_solutions.

Paula Kiger of Big Green Pen provided Gambling on Leadership. Paula recaps, “Is it true that people behave in leadership simulations the way they will in reality? Lessons from a ‘reality’ show.” Find Paula on Twitter at @biggreenpen.

Randy Conley of Leading With Trust shared 10 Ways to Tell If Your Boss is Trustworthy. Randy writes, “Everyone deserves to work for a trustworthy boss. Unfortunately, that seems to be the exception rather than the norm in today’s business world. This post shares ten ways you can tell if your boss is trustworthy. Be sure to take the poll to see how your boss compares with others.” Find Randy on Twitter at @randyconley.

Shelley Row of Shelley Row provided Three Steps to Resource Yourself to be Calm Instead of Testy. In the post, Shelley asks, “Do you ever feel irritated when you know you will be meeting with that person who rubs you the wrong way?” and gives us tips for being prepared to stay calm. Find Shelley on Twitter at @shelleyrow.

Susan Mazza of Random Acts of Leadership provided A Simple Way to Rise to Your Next Level of Leadership. Susan explains, “You cannot grow to the next level of leadership by reading books, taking a class, or simply thinking about getting there. You must actually take action in real life — and your everyday experiences offer clues that show you how to reach for it.” Follow Susan on Twitter at @susanmazza.

Tanveer Naseer of Tanveer Naseer provided What Happened To Trust And Integrity In Today’s Organizations?. Tanveer explains, “Trust and integrity seem to be in decline in many organizations today. Here’s a revealing look at why they remain critical to organizational success.” Follow Tanveer on Twitter at @tanveernaseer.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership provided Leadership Balance. Wally recaps, “Dynamic balance, the balance of the athlete or the dancer, lets you engage in purposeful motion and change direction quickly.” Find Wally on Twitter at @wallybock.

Ryan’s Journal: Losing The Forest For The Trees

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

https://www.flickr.com/photos/arturtula/15564944217/I was having a conversation this week about Silicon Valley companies. Some of them are doing amazing things.

When I was job hunting I would look at several and imagine myself there changing the world.

There were several though that also had great funding, great people, but I could not understand for the life of me what they did. They had a great list of customers, but I could not understand the value they brought.

There are two possible solutions to that conundrum.

One, I am just not savvy enough to understand (a very real possibility).

Two, they were full of hype and energy, but not substance. I can imagine that both statements are true when you look at the vast array of companies in the valley.

With that said, have we lost the forest for the trees? Have some companies been so hyped that people continue to pour money into them hoping for a huge payday that may never come to fruition?

Uber is in the news for a variety of reasons, some good, some bad. I recently read an article that Uber and Google are working on flying cars. While the concept of flying cars seems cool… I guess, I am more concerned with the participating companies.

Google provides value, products and that elusive quality, profit. They are well established, have multiple streams of income and could fail at this endeavor and live another day. It’s exciting to see them using their money for grand ideas, but it won’t decimate them either.

Uber provides value and services, but zero profit.

In fact, if Uber was run like a traditional company or household, they would have never even gone to market.

They operate more like a country that can print its own money. They take on debt, lose billions every year, yet keep on trucking.

Venture capital and perhaps greed are what allow this to occur. If they fail at the flying car concept what does it mean for the rest of the business?

I know there are very smart folks who are there and who are invested. I often wonder what their long game is. Do they believe they will become profitable at some point if they hang on long enough?

Another thing to consider is the economy. We have easy money right now with very low rates of interest.

For an investor it makes more sense to go with a high risk investment versus storing it in savings, because they essentially lose money due to inflation.

When the markets tighten does that mean Uber cannot seek out another round of funding?

My point is this.

Have we lost sight of the incremental steps it takes for us to achieve greatness by thinking we can accelerate the whole process with enough capital or am I the Luddite here?

I am a believer that debt can be good when there is a viable business model. I am less impressed though when a company has never turned a profit and had no projections to do so at any point soon, but can be valued so highly. What makes Uber so unique?

I say we need to keep dreaming the big dreams, but also look at the foundation.

Is it built on sand or rock?

Image credit: Artur (RUS) Potosi

The May 2017 Leadership Development Carnival

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

I’m late posting this, but, as with anything of value, better late than never.

This month’s Carnival offers insights, how-to’s, direction, and support — all just a click away.

What are you waiting for? Start clicking.

Anne Perschel of Germane Coaching and Consulting provided 8 Steps to Avoid Flipping Your Lid in Challenging Leadership Situations. Anne writes, “You’re flipping your lid because you and all other human beings are designed to do exactly that. Find out why we flip. Then discover 8 steps that will keep your lid un-flippped.” Find Anne on Twitter at @bizshrink.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited provided Make Appointments With Yourself. In the post, Beth provides a 2-minute HOPE Hint about the value of making appointments with yourself. Find Beth on Twitter at @bethbeutler.

Bill Treasurer of Giant Leap Consulting provided 5 Strategies to Address Conflict as a Manager. Bill recaps, “Conflict is inevitable, and part of being a leader is dealing with this conflict. If dealt with correctly, conflict can be an impetus for change. Here are five techniques to effectively deal with conflict.” Find Bill on Twitter at @btreasurer.

Chris Edmonds of the Purposeful Culture Group contributed Culture Leadership Change: Drive Your Desired Culture. In this post, Chris gives pointers regarding how you, as a leader, can ensure you’re paying close enough attention to the quality of your team or company’s work culture. Follow Chris on Twitter at @scedmonds.

Christopher Avery of Christopher Avery and the Leadership Gift provided Relearning How to Want. Christopher summarizes, ” Freedom, power, and choice come to us when we pursue what we truly want. Unfortunately, most of us don’t know what we truly want. This post reveals how relearning how to want drives self-leadership, and how you can achieve it.” Find Christopher on Twitter at @christopheraver.

Cy Wakeman of Reality-Based Leadership contributed How to Deal with the Toughest Resistor on Your Team. In the post, Cy explains the principle behind this thought: “Nobody does anything we don’t agree to” as it applies to the  most difficult people on our teams. Find Cy on Twitter at @cywakeman.

Dan McCarthy of Great Leadership provided Improvisational Leadership: Use Improv to Avoid Leadership Pitfalls. Dan recaps, “In this guest post from Bob Kulhan, he describes a number of bad leadership characters and habits and how to use some simple improvisational techniques to help fix them.” Find Dan on Twitter at @greatleadership.

Dana Theus of InPower Coaching contributed 3 Things My Dog Reminded Me About Employee Performance and Employee Engagement. Dana writes, “Just like I had slipped into complacency with Mike and his last minute deadlines, and with Loki’s squirrel chasing, most of us slip into accepting low performance from employees until it’s too late. We write people off as “untrainable and uncoachable” when it’s really we who need to learn how to train and coach.” Find Dana on Twitter at @DanaTheus.

David Grossman of The Grossman Group shared Kick Email to the Curb Over Spring Break. David writes, “Why don’t we not leave email at the office when we’re on vacation? Because it’s hard. But the more we set up our teams and colleagues to be successful without us, the better we become, our colleagues become empowered, and we’re able to get some necessary R&R. Get tips and strategies today to help your next vacation be email free.” Discover David on Twitter at @thoughtpartner

Eileen McDargh of The Resiliency Group provided Three-Letter Leaders Create Clarity. Eileen recaps, ” In the age of 140 character tweets and 12-minute Ted talks, much can be gained by considering what three-letter titles can do to clarify roles and responsibilities. Everyone knows the roles and responsibilities for a CEO, CFO and CTO but change the wording and a different picture emerges. Imagine, for example, a CEO tasked as the Chief Engagement Officer.” Find Eileen on Twitter at @macdarling.

Jim Taggart of Changing Winds provided “Call Me Nick!” Leadership in Running Shoes. Jim shares, “Top leaders need to connect regularly with the people who get the work done in their organizations. Putting on a pair of running shoes will keep you more nimble. Don’t believe it? Read about ‘Call me Nick’!” Find Jim on Twitter at @72keys.

Joel Garfinkle of the Career Advancement Blog submitted Six Team-Building Phrases Used by Great Leaders. Joel recaps: “To become a better leader, it’s essential to build team morale. You can achieve this by using these six team-building phrases.” Discover Joel on Twitter at @JoelGarfinkle.

Jon VerBeck of JonVerbeck.com submitted What’s the Score? . In his post, Jon takes the opportunity of spring (and the completion of March Madness) to suggest how you can know the score in your business. Discover Jon on Twitter at @jonverbeck1.

Julie Winkle-Giulioni of Julie Winkle-Giulioni provided 4 Raises That Fit Any Budget. Julie recaps, “Effective leaders understand that limits on external motivators don’t have to limit their ability to tap internal sources of employee motivation. This brief post and animated video demonstrate that while pay raises might be in short supply, there are always four ‘raises’ available to leaders… and they cost literally nothing.” Find Julie on Twitter at @julie_wg.

Karin Hurt of Let’s Grow Leaders contributed Four Questions to Keep Your Team Focused and Working on What Matters Most. In the post, Karin gives pointers about staying in tune with the MIT—the most important thing. Follow Karin on Twitter at @letsgrowleaders.

Linda Fisher Thornton of Leading in Context  shared “Great Leaders” Find Gold Within. Linda recaps: “Great leadership is often defined based on efficiency, effectiveness or profitability, but that’s no way to define a journey of character building and authenticity. There’s much more to the story that needs to be told.” Find Linda on Twitter at @leadingincontxt.

Lisa Kohn of Chatsworth Consulting submitted It’s One of the Hardest Things to Say But the Best Leaders Say It. In this post, Lisa shares three little words that can help you be the best leader you can be. Discover Lisa on Twitter at @thoughtfulldrs.

Marcella Bremer of Leadership and Change Magazine provided The Positive Mindset – to broaden your view. Marcella recaps, “In this blog post, I compare the conventional mental map and the positive mindset of possibilities. When you add the positive mindset you broaden your view and your repertory of responses. It is both/and rather than either/or. Highly recommended for all leaders: positive thinking and learning to see the positive potential of situations and people!” Find Marcella on Twitter at @marcellabremer.

Mary Ila Ward of Horizon Point Consulting provided 3 Tips for Successfully Onboarding New Hires. Mary recaps, “Whether you are a company of three or a company of 30,000, onboarding can make or break employee engagement and retention even before day one. Having an onboarding strategy that is executed well starts with a plan. In this post, Mary Ila shares 3 tips for leaders to successfully onboard new hires.” Find Mary on Twitter at @maryilaward.

Mary Jo Asmus of Aspire Collaborative Services, LLC provided When to Work With an Executive Coach. Mary Jo recaps, “Coaching takes time and energy. Consider this “Top Ten” list before committing to working with an executive coach.” Find Mary Jo on Twitter at @mjasmus.

Mike Hoban of Development Dimensions International (DDI) provided Could Siri Become Your Leadership Coach?. Mike recaps, “What if you had a personal advisor that could help you be a better leader? An advisor with great listening skills, who knows you extremely well and is available 24/7? But here’s the catch: that resource would be a machine.” Find Mike on Twitter at @ddiworld.

Miki Saxon of MAPping Company Success contributed Psychological Manipulation: The Popular New Management Tool. Miki writes, “60 years ago companies were condemned for using psychological manipulation on their customers via ads.These days it’s an accepted practice to design your products and ads to be as addictive as possible. Now psychological manipulation has moved on to the management arena, with Uber leading the rush.” Discover Miki on Twitter at @optionsanity.

Molly Page of Thin Difference contributed The Power of 3 Simple Words. Molly summarizes, “It’s been said that we don’t only learn from good examples. Recently we’ve seen several public relation debacles play out in the news, these can serve as lessons for all of us about the power of 3 simple words..” Follow Thin Difference on Twitter at @thindifference and Molly at @mollypg.

Neal Burgis of Burgis Successful Solutions submitted Connecting Your Leadership with Your Employees. Neal recaps, “The connection leaders have with their employees has been found to increase productivity and performance. If you don’t have a connection with employees they won’t feel they own the work they produce. Therefore, they won’t put a lot of effort into doing work for you.” Find Neal on Twitter at @exec_solutions.

Paula Kiger of Big Green Pen provided Lessons on Centeredness from a Missing Cardboard Tube. Paula recaps, “There is so much talk about mindfulness and staying centered these days. One of the best analogies I found came from a rather mundane source.” Find Paula on Twitter at @biggreenpen.

Randy Conley of Leading With Trust shared 4 Ways to Get Your Followers to Know You as a REAL Person. Randy writes, “Research shows that many employees don’t see their leaders as real people; they form mental images of the leader based on limited interactions and random pieces of information. Using the acronym REAL, Randy Conley provides four ways leaders can develop authentic relationships with their employees that foster trust, loyalty, and engagement.” Find Randy on Twitter at @randyconley.

Shelley Row of Shelley Row provided Three Steps to True Consensus: It’s More Than Flip Charts and Colored Dots. In the post, Shelley shares what it means to develop true consensus on your team. You will better understand what consensus truly is. Find Shelley on Twitter at @shelleyrow.

Susan Mazza of Random Acts of Leadership provided 9 Ways a Leader Can Earn Trust. Susan explains, “When it comes to earning trust as a leader, your actions speak far more loudly than your words. Here are 9 actions you can take on a daily basis to actively earn the trust of those you lead and greatly increase your chances of being trusted with the things that really matter.” Follow Susan on Twitter at @susanmazza.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership provided Beware of These Three Leadership Traps. Wally recaps, “One reason leadership traps are so dangerous is that you set them for yourself.” Find Wally on Twitter at @wallybock.

Ducks in a Row: Humble Or Charismatic

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017


Many of the actions of people such as Travis Kalanick, Donald Trump, Parker Conrad, etc., are deplored, yet they seem to have no effect on people’s opinions.

They go their merry way while thousands of far superior leaders are ignored.

When the subject does come up the usual response involves the infamous “yes, but…”

Why is that?

I finally found an answer that makes sense from Margarita Mayo, a Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at IE Business School in Madrid.

Mayo terms the first type of leader ‘humble’ and the second ‘charismatic’.

Humble leaders improve the performance of a company in the long run because they create more collaborative environments. They have a balanced view of themselves – both their virtues and shortcomings – and a strong appreciation of others’ strengths and contributions, while being open to new ideas and feedback. (…)

[Charismatic leaders], despite their grandiose view of themselves, low empathy, dominant orientation toward others, and strong sense of entitlement, their charisma proves irresistible. Followers of superheroes are enthralled by their showmanship: through their sheer magnetism, narcissistic leaders transform their environments into a competitive game in which their followers also become more self-centered, giving rise to organizational narcissism, as one study shows.

Mayo’s research and the other’s she cites (with links) provide proof of the value produced by the humble leader vs. their charismatic counterpart.

However, I think there is another problem happening in the background that is word-related.

Ask most people if they want to be remembered as ‘humble’ or ‘charismatic’ and most will choose charismatic.

Warren Buffet aside, ‘humble’ is more often associated with dorky, weak, shy, and unassuming.

Not adjectives most people would choose to describe themselves.

Thanks to Wally Bock for leading me to this article.

Image credit: Edvin J.

Golden Oldies: Discriminating Leadership and Influence, Persuasion and Manipulation

Monday, May 8th, 2017

It’s amazing to me, but looking back over more than a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written.

Golden Oldies is a collection of some of the best posts during that time.

This week is a two-fer, the first post was written in 2009, while the second is from 2015. Both contain links to other relevant posts. And both address a pet peeve of mine involving words — what else — their use, misuse and baggage.

Read other Golden Oldies here.

Discriminating Leadership

The ability to influence is not the sign of a leader; nor are visions, forceful opinions, board seats, titles or popularity. After all, if a high media profile was a sign of leadership then Britney Spears and Paris Hilton are leaders.

Millions of people are influenced and even inspired by writers and actors, but does that make them leaders? Angelina Jolie is considered a leader for her tireless charitable efforts as opposed to her screen credits; Rush Limbaugh may influence thousands, but I’ve never heard him called a leader.

It is the singular accomplishments; the unique actions that deserve the term, not the position you hold or just doing your job.

I knew a manager who thought his major accomplishment was managing his 100 person organization, but that wasn’t an accomplishment—that was his job. The accomplishment, and what qualified him as a leader, was doing it for four years with 3% turnover and every project finished on time and in budget.

Jim Stroup over at Managing Leadership (no longer available) wrote, “There is a strong and general instinct to ascribe positive values to what we have determined to be examples of leadership. In a world that so often confuses forcefulness with leadership, this can be – and frequently is, in fact, revealed to be – an exceedingly dangerous habit… There is a particularly frustrating – and increasing – tendency to characterize any practice or trait deemed “good” as “leadership.” When an executive exhibits behavior that is highly valued – or even expresses a perfectly ordinary one especially well – he or she is declared to be a “leader,” or to have demonstrated “leadership.”

Dozens of corporate chieftains who were held up for years as exemplifying visionary leadership now stand in line for bailout money—or dinner in jail.

There is no way to stop the word being used and abused, but you have the option to hear it for what it really is—a word with no baggage, no assumed meaning.

A word on which you focus your critical thinking instead of accepting it blindly, assuming that all its traits are positive or rejecting it based on nothing more than ideology.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/aafromaa/4476152633Influence, Persuasion and Manipulation

Last week I had lunch with four managers, “Larry,” “Mandy,” “Paul” and “Ashish.” At one point the conversation turned to how the ability to influence people affected the ability to lead.

It was a lively conversation, but I stayed on the sidelines; noticing my silence, Ashish asked me what I thought.

Instead of responding I asked all of them what the difference was between influence, persuasion and manipulation.

This provoked another active discussion, with the upshot that while it was acceptable to influence people it was wrong to manipulate them. This time it was Mandy who asked what I thought.

I responded that I didn’t see a lot of difference between the three.

That shocked them all, but really upset Larry.

So I explained my thinking, which formed the basis of this post in 2011.

Influence = Manipulation

Every conversation about leadership talks about ‘influence’ and how to increase yours.

In a post at Forbes, Howard Scharlatt defines influence this way,

Influence is, simply put, the power and ability to personally affect others’ actions, decisions, opinions or thinking. At one level, it is about compliance, about getting someone to go along with what you want them to do.

He goes on to describe three kinds of influencing tactics: logical, emotional and cooperative, or influencing with head, heart and hands and talks about ‘personal influence’ and its importance in persuading people when authority is lacking.

A couple of years ago I wrote The Power of Words and said, “Personally, other than socially acceptable definitions, I don’t see a lot of difference between influence and manipulation,” and I still don’t.

I realize most people consider manipulation negative and influence positive, but they are just words.

I often hear that leaders are good people, while manipulators are bad people. But as I pointed out in another post,

leaders are not by definition “good;”

they aren’t always positive role models; and

one person’s “good” leader is another person’s demon.

Everyone believes they use their influence in a positive way, but when you persuade people to do [whatever] who are you to say that both the short and long-term outcome is positive for them?

Influence, persuasion, manipulation; call it what you will, just remember that it is power and be cautious when you wield it.

In spite of the heated disagreement I saw no reason to change my thinking.

I was surprised at the end of the discussion when even Larry commented that while it made sense that the words didn’t actually signal intent he still didn’t like it and wasn’t about to use them interchangeably, which made sense to me, because language carries the meaning (and the baggage) of the time and place in which it’s used.

Image credit: Anne Adrian

April Leadership Development Carnival

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

Unbelievable. It’s already April and first quarter is over/done/gone/kaput.

That means it’s time to reconsider your 2017 to-do list in the light of reality and eliminate the ‘trys’ and hope to-s’ in favor of an honest evaluation of what you can really accomplish today, this week, this month, which, taken together, will add up to an excellent year.

And, to help you accomplish some of the work-focused things, here is this month’s carnival.

Anne Perschel of Germane Coaching and Consulting provided How Leaders Overcome Resistance – The Most Important Step. Anne writes, “While natural inclination is to choke the breath out of resistance, the real solution is counterintuitive and it’s the single most important thing you can do.” Find Anne on Twitter at @bizshrink.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited provided How to Write a Meaningful Thank You Note. Beth recaps, “Thank you notes are a lost art, but an important part of business success. Here is a formula for maximizing the impact of your thank you notes.” Find Beth on Twitter at @bethbeutler.

Chris Edmonds of the Purposeful Culture Group contributed Culture Leadership Charge: A Question of Character. In this post, Chris encourages leaders to remember that their character counts. Follow Chris on Twitter at @scedmonds.

Cy Wakeman of Reality-Based Leadership provided Redefining Accountability in the Workplace. In this post, Cy explains why accountability is a mindset, not a skillset. Find Cy on Twitter at @cywakeman.

Dan McCarthy of Great Leadership provided Were the Founding Fathers Great Leaders?. Dan recaps, “Were the Founding Fathers really the great leaders they are claimed to have been?  If so, What can we learn from them?” Gordon Leidner answers these questions in his guest post on Great Leadership!” Find Dan on Twitter at @greatleadership.

Dana Theus of InPower Coaching contributed a guest post by Jennifer V. Miller entitled The Business Case for Strategic Focus on Organizational Culture. Dana writes, “New research has identified that companies that build high-trust cultures experience stock market returns two to three times greater than the market average and turnover rates that are 50 percent lower than industry competitors.” Find Dana on Twitter at @DanaTheus and Jennifer at @jennifervmiller.

David Grossman of The Grossman Group shared How Much Time Do You Spend Communicating?. David writes, “Leaders are always communicating—even when they don’t realize they are. It’s fair to say that 80% to 90% of the average leader’s week is spent communicating. Yet, how much time is spent on planning communications for effectiveness? Discover tips on how to effectively plan your communications and how to distinguish communication from information.” Discover David on Twitter at @thoughtpartner

Jennifer McClure of Unbridled Talent provided Can Regular People Like You and Me Change the World? (Yes, We Can). Jennifer recaps, “We don’t need to get intimidated by how big or complex it may be to change our community, our organization, or our leadership in order to change the world. We just need to focus on the impact that we can have in the life of one person.” Find Jennifer on Twitter at @jennifermcclure.

Jesse Lyn Stoner of the Seapoint Center for Collaborative Leadership submitted 15 Things Leaders Can Manage (and One They Can’t). Jesse recaps, “There are many things leaders can (and should) manage. But ironically, the one thing many leaders think is the MOST important thing they’re supposed to manage is NOT on this list.” Follow Jesse on Twitter at @jesselynstoner.

Jill Malleck of Epiphany at Work contributed Manage Challenging Behaviours: The Devil’s Advocate. Jill shares, “Instead of using assessments to codify diversity in teams, leaders can learn how to notice and manage challenging workplace behaviours.” Find Jill on Twitter at @epiphanyatwork.

Jim Taggart of Changing Winds provided The Six Inner Leadership Selves. Jim shares, “Being a leader is not a one dimensional affair. There are many ways that each of us can practice leadership: at work, in our community, at home, or in an unexpected crisis situation. One thing’s clear: you don’t have to be in a management position to show leadership.” Find Jim on Twitter at @72keys.

Joel Garfinkle of the Career Advancement Blog submitted The 5 Smartest Strategies to Build Influence in the Workplace. Joel recaps: “Being a successful influencer requires building and fostering strong relationships. Follow these 5 strategies to build your influence in the workplace. ” Discover Joel on Twitter at @JoelGarfinkle.

John Hunter of the Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog shared The Degree of Interdependence. John summarizes, “Business is more interdependent than an orchestra, yet we often ignore the interdependence and seek to optimize components individually. That idea is a useful reminder that if we are not thinking about the end result of the system taken as a whole we risk optimizing component to the detriment of the whole.” Find John on Twitter at @curiouscat_com.

Jon Mertz of Thin Difference contributed Leadership Fails and Who Cares?. Jon summarizes, “What is it that isn’t working with our current leadership development strategies and why aren’t more people trying to figure out what is broken in our colleges, leadership programs, and culture? Here are a few things we can stop doing in hopes of developing better leaders.” Follow Jon on Twitter at @thindifference.

Jon VerBeck of JonVerbeck.com submitted Business Owner Mistakes: Not Keeping Company Books and Records Up-to-Date. In his post, Jon shares about the importance of keeping our financial records in order and up-to-date. Discover Jon on Twitter at @jonverbeck1.

Julie Winkle-Giulioni of Julie Winkle-Giulioni provided Who Knows What Employees Really Want?. Julie recaps, “Depending upon the study, article or thought leader one consults, there are countless different possible motivators and priorities that people bring to the workplace. How can a leader figure out which resonate for his/her employees?  It’s easy.  ASK.” Find Julie on Twitter at @julie_wg.

Karin Hurt of Let’s Grow Leaders contributed What the Best Managers Know About Disengaged Employees. In the post, Karin shares a story from her college experience that inspires the value of engaging your employees. Follow Karin on Twitter at @letsgrowleaders.

Linda Fisher Thornton of Leading in Context  shared Ethical Leadership: The “On Switch” For Adaptability Linda recaps: “Adaptability is a key challenge for leaders and organizations, and ethical leadership is a critical tool for ‘switching it on.’” Find Linda on Twitter at @leadingincontxt.

Lisa Kohn of Chatsworth Consulting submitted How Not to Get a Handful of Mud. Lisa summarizes, “This post is about how to get out of your own way and move through your fears in order to be the best leader you can be.” Discover Lisa on Twitter at @thoughtfulldrs.

Marcella Bremer of Leadership and Change Magazine provided What Goes Wrong in Your Organizational Culture?. Marcella recaps, “Learning to ‘see’ culture; group dynamics, beliefs, and behaviors is helpful. When you become aware you can contribute to developing a positive culture. There are four culture archetypes but each can turn into its shadow side. Your culture can be a permanent happy hour, a competitive sweatshop, a bureaucratic mould or creative chaos.” Find Marcella on Twitter at @marcellabremer.

Mary Jo Asmus of Aspire Collaborative Services, LLC provided The Counter-intuitive Mature of Slowing Down to Speed Up. Mary Jo recaps, “It sounds a little crazy that when a leader slows down, they can actually help things to speed up. Here are some things to consider as you do so.” Find Mary Jo on Twitter at @mjasmus.

Michael Lee Stallard of Connection Culture provided Beware the Brutally Honest Workplace. Michael recaps, “Honesty is an important element of healthy workplace cultures, but it must always be balanced with respect. This article explores the hidden dangers of ‘brutally honest’ workplaces and the type of communication that leaders should foster instead.” Find Michael on Twitter at @michaelstallard.

Miki Saxon of MAPping Company Success contributed Misogyny — Follow The Money. Miki writes, “There is a great deal of talk about the rampant misogyny in tech culture. Actually, it’s worse than in other fields, but it currently has a higher profile due to media coverage of complaints at Uber, Tesla, and several other high profile companies. 30 years ago tech was far more welcoming to women; what happened?” Discover Miki on Twitter at @optionsanity.

Neal Burgis of Burgis Successful Solutions submitted Leading with Courage and Confidence. Neal recaps, “Today leaders need to have the courage and confidence to take action on ideas that will move business forward to the next level of success. Having courage and confidence primarily means that as a leader you take responsibility for the decisions you make.” Find Neal on Twitter at @exec_solutions.

Paula Kiger of Big Green Pen provided Lessons from the Rice Chefs of Morimoto Asia. Paula recaps, “Little did I know the foundation of my fantastic evening dining experience had been laid early that morning, by people I would never see. It was an important lesson about quality and passion.” Find Paula on Twitter at @biggreenpen.

Randy Conley of Leading With Trust shared 4 Steps to Avoid a Leadership Meltdown Like Uber’s Travis Kalanik. Randy writes, “The recent missteps of Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanik, is just the latest example of a highly visible leader experiencing a very public meltdown. We are all susceptible to having a leadership meltdown, and the way to prevent it is to develop our leadership from the inside-out. In this straight-forward article, Randy Conley outlines 4 steps leaders can take to develop their leadership philosophy and approach from the inside-out.” Find Randy on Twitter at @randyconley.

Shelley Row of Shelley Row submitted It’s Not Fair! Three Ways to Combat Unfairness. In her post, Shelley shares three important ways to combat unfairness in the workplace by explaining, challenging, listening and validating. Discover Shelley on Twitter at @shelleyrow.

Susan Mazza of Random Acts of Leadership provided What Is Your Leadership Style?. Susan explains, “As a leader, are you more of a Connector, Orchestrator, Trailblazer, Stategist, Team Champion – or a combination of several? My new quiz can help you discover your leadership strengths, and the report at the end provides a good overview of the five most common leadership styles.” Follow Susan on Twitter at @susanmazza.

Tanveer Naseer of Tanveer Naseer provided Forget Passion – What Employees Need Is Purpose-Led Work. Tanveer recaps, “Discover why it takes more than passion to inspire the very best in our employees and how the key is providing purpose-led work.” Find Tanveer on Twitter at @tanveernaseer.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership provided Create a Great Working Environment for Your Team. Wally recaps, “If you’re the boss, your challenge is to create a great working environment for your team. Here’s what a great working environment looks like.” Find Wally on Twitter at @wallybock.

March Leadership Development Carnival

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

Ryan should be back next week, but in the meantime you will find plenty of good stuff in this month’s Carnival. Enjoy!

Anne Perschel of Germane Coaching and Consulting provided Wise CEOs in New Roles Follow Two Important Rules. Anne asks, “What two rules do wise CEOS follow when they’re in new roles, and what are the benefits?” Find Anne on Twitter at @bizshrink.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited provided Three Ways to Have a Less Stressful Day. Beth recaps, “Beth Beutler gives us three practical tools for reducing stress in our days.” Find Beth on Twitter at @bethbeutler.

Bill Treasurer of Giant Leap Consulting provided Reality Bites for New Leaders. Bill recaps, “Your influence can help make a positive and lasting impact on people’s careers and lives. All it takes is making the most out of your leadership kick in the ass!” Find Bill on Twitter at @btreasurer.

Chris Edmonds of the Purposeful Culture Group contributed Culture Leadership Charge: Why Leaders Do What They Do. In this post, Chris explains three powerful influences over a leader’s behavior. Follow Chris on Twitter at @scedmonds.

Chery Gegelman of Giana Consulting contributed The Inspiring STANDS of a REAL Leader. In this post, Chery asks, “As a titled leader do have the courage to take stands for the business?  …Your people?  …Your family?  What would you give to work with someone that takes stands like these?” Follow Chery on Twitter at @gianaconsulting.

Christopher Avery of Christopher Avery and the Leadership Gift contributed How I Practice Responsibility. Christopher shares, “The Responsibility Process works only when self-applied. (If you have heard this before, and I hope you have, it is always worth revisiting.) What this means is that knowledge about The Responsibility Process doesn’t change me. Only applying The Responsibility Process to my life will produce results that matter.” Follow Chris on Twitter at @christopheraver.

Cory Rieken of the Development Dimensions International (DDI) contributed What Happens When Leaders Fail to Use Key Principles?. Cory shares, “A leader’s lack of empathy and ongoing performance conversations can lead to confusion and uncertainty among employees about where they stand. Learn about the key principles leaders can use to meet others’ personal needs to be respected and involved.” Follow Cory on Twitter at @ddiworld.

Dan McCarthy of Great Leadership provided Six Ways to Make Your Presentation a Hit. Dan recaps, “Scientists say our attention spans are now shorter than a goldfish, so it’s more important than ever for leaders to make our presentations as engaging and compelling as possible. How can we do that?  One way is by taking cues from the place that can still captivate us for hours at a time: the movies. See Ted Frank’s guest post to find out how.” Find Dan on Twitter at @greatleadership.

Dan Oestreich of Oestreich Associates provided On Not Waiting for Superman. Dan recaps, “Mythologist Michael Meade’s three layer model of human interaction provides a way to think about and act on our leadership in a time of change, conflict and controversy.  I use Meade’s model in my leadership consulting work because it ably defines the quest, common to human communities, to reach a shared sense of humanity and shared values such as love, justice and peaceful co-existence.” Find Dan on Twitter at @DanOestreich.

Dana Theus of InPower Coaching contributed The Upside of Office Politics. Dana writes, ” Unpleasant as it is, office politics gives us a special gift, which is to learn to stand up for our values and grapple with forces out of our control. After all “The Universe” .” Find Dana on Twitter at @DanaTheus.

David Dye of Trailblaze submitted 4 Questions to Ask Yourself and Your Team to Stay Focused on the Most Important Thing. David summarizes, “I’ve never met a manager who has enough time to do everything they want to do. The stress that comes with being ‘too busy’ is inescapable – or is it? David shares a mindset shift and questions you can use to keep your team focused, and busy-stress at bay.” Follow David on Twitter at @davidmdye.

David Grossman of The Grossman Group shared How To Create Line of Sight For Your Employees. David writes, “Statistics and sources show that employees overall don’t understand company strategy. Said another way, they don’t get how they fit in. And that’s a missed opportunity.” Discover David on Twitter at @thoughtpartner

Jesse Lyn Stoner of the Seapoint Center for Collaborative Leadership submitted Dialogue Bridges the Divide. Jesse recaps, “Since the US election, many people have experienced tension with a close friend or family member whose views are different than theirs. My own family is no exception, and I was having particular difficulty with a close family member.  My post explains why and how I reached across the divide and provides 4 guidelines that helped make it successful. Bottomline: It’s important and possible to begin reaching across the divide.” Follow Jesse on Twitter at @jesselynstoner.

Jill Malleck of Epiphany at Work contributed Widen Your Perspective-Take Puppy Breaks. Jill shares, “Taking a short break away from work every hour or so will increase your mood and your productivity.” Find Jill on Twitter at @epiphanyatwork.

Jim Taggart of Changing Winds provided Gandhi and Mandela Would be Proud: What’s Next after the Women’s March?. Jim shares, “In this post, I use Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi as prime examples of how to motivate and focus people towards a common vision using peaceful means. The context is the January 21st Women’s March which spanned some 500 U.S. cities and dozens of countries. The participation wasn’t just the amazing thing but that the marches were done peacefully. Vision and how people collectively contribute to it is critical to this movement’s future.” Find Jim on Twitter at @72keys.

Joel Garfinkle of the Career Advancement Blog submitted Strategies to Increase Your Influence at Work. Joel recaps: “Increasing others’ perception of you and your visibility at work are vital to your career success. The next step is to increase your influence at work. Follow these 3 strategies and watch your influence increase.” Discover Joel on Twitter at @JoelGarfinkle.

John Hunter of the Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog shared Why Do People Fail to Adopt Better Methods?. John summarizes, “Sometimes better methods will be adopted but often they won’t. People can be very attached to the way things have always been done. Or they can just be uncomfortable with the prospect of trying something new.” Find John on Twitter at @curiouscat_com.

Jon Mertz of Thin Difference contributed 7 Essential Guiding Principles. Jon asks, “Who is an Upstander? A person who chooses to take positive action in the face of injustice in society or in situations where individuals need assistance. Being an Upstander is a leadership model we must embrace and these 7 principles can help.” Follow Jon on Twitter at @thindifference.

Jon VerBeck of JonVerbeck.com submitted Business Owner Mistakes: Not Understanding Their Revenue Model and Current Sales Plan. As part of his series on mistakes business owners make, Jon shares about the importance of understanding your revenue model and sales plan. Discover Jon on Twitter at @jonverbeck1.

Julie Winkle-Giulioni of Julie Winkle-Giulioni provided Lessons in Stumbling and Set-Backs… from the Big Top. Julie recaps, “Since work frequently feels like a three-ring circus anyway, there are lessons to be learned from acrobats who know how to stumble and yet resiliently go on with the show.” Find Julie on Twitter at @julie_wg.

Karin Hurt of Let’s Grow Leaders contributed How Do I Get My Team to Trust Me?. In the post, Karin shares a personal story of trust with her team, and how it wasn’t so good at first. Follow Karin on Twitter at @letsgrowleaders.

Linda Fisher Thornton of Leading in Context  shared Leader Competence: Will it Be a Multiplier or a Divider? Linda recaps: “Leader competence is either going to be a multiplier or a divider. When you have it, you multiply performance and trust, with exponential results.” Find Linda on Twitter at @leadingincontxt.

Lisa Kohn of Chatsworth Consulting submitted Why Self-respect is a Key Leadership Skill. Lisa summarizes, “While we need to be open to feedback, we also need a confident foundation in our strengths and contributions so that we can learn from the feedback, rather than be pierced by it.” Discover Lisa on Twitter at @thoughtfulldrs.

Marcella Bremer of Leadership and Change Magazine provided What If We Embodied Positive Change?. Marcella recaps, “What did you do today that’s worth repeating? We must first change ourselves to create positive change in a situation. We tend to copy what we have seen, and that’s why cultures stay the same. Every act of positive leadership and kindness counts… What have you done today that you’d like others to do, too?” Find Marcella on Twitter at @marcellabremer.

Mary Ila Ward of Horizon Point Consulting contributed The Conundrum of Incentive Pay. She recaps, “Incentive compensation is tough.  It’s why many companies avoid it all together. Leaders often find themselves coming up with incentive plans they hope will work, only to come out with frustrating results and the intent didn’t drive the desired outcome. In this post, Mary Ila shares some things that stand in order to do incentive pay well.” Discover Mary Ila on Twitter at @maryilaward.

Mary Jo Asmus of Aspire Collaborative Services shared The Benefits of Having a Team of Equals. Mary Jo summarizes, “When you treat the members of your team as equally smart and capable as you are, you’ll realize what it’s like to make better decisions, have great trusting relationships and some bottom line results.” Follow Mary Jo on Twitter at @mjasmus.

Michael Lee Stallard of Connection Culture provided A Surprising Way to Reduce Mistakes and Accidents. Michael recaps, “In industries like healthcare where the cost of mistakes and accidents is high, it’s important to provide the support employees need to do their best work. Michael Lee Stallard explains how the “connection culture” elements of value and voice play an important role in improving performance.” Find Michael on Twitter at @michaelstallard.

Miki Saxon of MAPping Company Success contributed The Necessity of Fools. Miki writes, “There are many kinds of fools and while being a fool is something people work hard to avoid there is one kind of fool that should be your greatest aspiration.” Discover Miki on Twitter at @optionsanity.

Neal Burgis of Burgis Successful Solutions submitted Leading an Empowered Creative Organization. Neal recaps, “Leaders who empower employees to use their own creative thinking skills and talent help move the organization forward. In doing so, leaders trust employees to make decisions in solving problems, challenges and difficulties regarding the work they do. Working collaboratively yields greater results.” Find Neal on Twitter at @exec_solutions.

Randy Conley of Leading With Trust shared 3 Truths About Trust. Randy writes, “Virtually everyone agrees that trust is a vital ingredient for healthy and successful relationships and organizations, yet many don’t think about trust until the worse time – when it’s been broken. In this post, three fundamental truths about trust that every leader should consider.” Find Randy on Twitter at @randyconley.

Shelley Row of Shelley Row submitted Reap the Rewards of a Checklist: Two Easy Steps. Discussing the value of a checklist, Shelley writes, ” If doctors and pilots use them regularly, it may be a good idea for other business leaders too.” Discover Shelley on Twitter at @shelleyrow.

Simon Teague of New Level Results contributed A Business is a Reflection Of …. Simon recaps, “This post discusses productivity, combined with empowerment and engagement being at an all-time high in those organisations that are using more modern and innovative methods to recognise, reward and develop their people AND build their culture at all levels.” Find Simon on Twitter at @simonteague.

Susan Mazza of Random Acts of Leadership provided Why You Should Speak Less and Listen More. Susan explains, “When it comes to leadership, there are times when it is more effective to choose silence over speaking up with your words. Only when you are able to listen well enough and long enough for people to feel heard will underlying tension will be released, and a conversation about what’s wrong turn into a conversation about how to make things better.” Follow Susan on Twitter at @susanmazza.

An Insightful Comment On Cheating

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

I received an email yesterday morning from the CEO of a well-known growth company. He wrote regarding yesterday’s post about cheating.

I asked why he wrote instead of leaving it as a comment.

He replied, I would rather avoid having it associated with me. If you want to write a post and have anonymous attribution, that’s fine. 

It’s an important observation and one that is especially applicable now. I’m sharing it with no additional comments from me.

Anything I tried to add would be superfluous and detract from its importance.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/9557815@N05/30738398861/When there are strong incentives to cheat and large negative consequences if one avoids cheating (since everyone is doing it), what should be the inducement for not cheating?

Where cheating is rewarded, truth and uprightness has potentially large negative consequences.

An organization or society built on fraud, trickery and deceit will eventually descend into chaos and anarchy.

Without leadership among both common people and the privileged, this is inexorable destiny.

Whenever there is a trend toward something, there are significant costs associated with changing the trajectory.

Who can or should be willing to bear these costs?

Image credit: Abi Skipp

If the Shoe Fits: Who Do You Ask?

Friday, February 17th, 2017

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here.

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_mHow many members of your team have been “bloodied in combat?”

How many have worked successfully through multiple economic (upturns/downturns) realities?

Who would you ask if you needed dynamic (question/discuss), as opposed to static (online postings), advice of “the been there/done that” variety to

  • land a candidate;
  • sell in a recession;
  • tweak/kill a marketing campaign;
  • beat the competition; or
  • Layoff a team member?

Don’t ask me; I’ve answered this question multiple times in varied forms.

Instead, ask millennial Tom Goodwin.

Maybe you’ll listen to him.

Image credit: HikingArtist

Ryan’s Journal: Can Culture be Defined by One Person?

Thursday, February 9th, 2017


Have you ever been a member of a group or team that is flat out terrible? I have. I have been a member of that soccer team that never won a game, the work group that wasn’t succeeding.

Did I like it? Absolutely not. Did I learn from it? I think in some ways I did.

Have you ever seen that same team or group start to succeed with different leadership? In my case I have a very real world example of where this came to pass.

I had the pleasure of serving for five years in The United States Marine Corps. During this five year time the US was involved in several conflicts and I found myself deployed to Fallujah, Iraq.

During my deployment I served with a team of 12 other Marines, together we were known as a squad. Now this is the military, but a small group of people working together can be found within any type of organization. 

Our squad was led by a leader who, while a good guy, was not well equipped to lead a group of Marines into life or death situations.

This person had some leadership challenges that ultimately led to low morale, loss of confidence and an overall lack of guidance.

To be completely clear, the group sucked. We moped around, were not excited about our purpose and lacked vision.

After some time our higher leadership realized a change should be made and they moved our leader to a role better suited for his skill set.

I will tell you right now, that was a life changer.

We had a new leader come aboard that had the experience needed, was motivated and challenged us to be better then we were the day before.

Now overall the same 13 people were on the team, but the outcome was completely different.

We worked better as a group, shared responsibilities and were proud of our accomplishments.

I look back on this one example often when I think of how one person can shape a culture. 

Now, obviously the military has a top down culture when it comes to leadership, but it also embraces servant leadership.

In this scenario our new leader embraced servanthood. He made sure we were taken care of before his needs and that reflected in our outcome.

Have you been on a team that isn’t performing to its abilities? What is holding it back?

I had a conversation the other day with my CEO and he said something that stuck with me. He said, “leadership isn’t a title, its an action”.

Isn’t that true of culture too? You and I are the ones who will set the tone.

Do I always get it right? Absolutely not! I fail more times then I succeed. I tear down when I should build, allow emotions to dictate over data and more. At the end of the day my personal culture and that of my team is dictated by my thoughts and deeds, no one else.

Who determines yours?

Image credit: David Spinks

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