To illustrate, when I started facilitating leadership programs, the gold standard was week-long leadership retreats. The week involved piles of different assessments, group work, and reading mountains of leadership authors. The belief was that total immersion into leadership issues was required to turn managerial technicians into leadership exemplars. (more…)
It is a chicken-and-egg conundrum: do our words produce our thoughts, or do our thoughts determine our word choice? Yes, and yes. We choose our words based on our thinking of an issue and our thinking is swayed by the words we use to describe issues.
Most of the time, I am fairly unconscious about my word choice. When the result of my communication is not as expected, I will slow down and be more intentional about how I choose to describe things. (more…)
The election is behind us and we can go back to business as usual. Sadly, my clients and colleagues tell me differently. The months and months of divisive blather has promoted an “us vs. them” mentality that has damaged cooperation and collaboration in workplaces and communities. When I visit my clients, I see an absence of chatter, people are pulled inward and show a reluctance for small talk in fear of slipping and saying something to offend the “other.” (more…)
Something in the American can-do psyche abhors an unsolved problem. Mention a problem (or the euphemistic “challenge”) in a business meeting and before you can blink an eye you will have a plethora of suggested solutions. “Try this” might be an appropriate strategy for light-weight problems but more serious, systemic issues need a thoughtful analysis before jumping to the fix. (more…)
These words set me off on a long rant about the generational stereotyping and negative profiling that permeates the workplace. The pseudo-research behind generational differences literature fails to make teams work better together as it sets one cohort against another in an “I-am-right-you-are-wrong” mentality.
I am so overwhelmed with data on a daily basis that I find it extremely difficult to pull back and see the forest from all the trees, branches, limbs, and stumps. Trend watchers help me to pull back, to knit together what seem to be disparate events and to see a bit better what is coming.
Over the years I have worked with countless business leaders, helping them navigate the murky waters of leadership. During those same years, I’ve read volumes of books and articles claiming to have the definitive answer on how to transform an individual contributor into a great leader.
Clearly, if there was a formula, a series of prescribed actions and activities that would result in the worker to leader transformation, I would have discovered it by now. What I firmly believe is that there is no one path, no single journey that results in this transformation. Every person who aspires to be a successful organizational leader has their own unique path to discover and follow. (more…)
August in the metro DC area where I live is the best month of all. Congress is in recess as our elected officials return home for their annual R&R. All of the government support businesses are virtually shut down. Vacations abound (more…)
When not in classes and workshops we all revel in the restorative effects of a week away from our regular, regulated lives. This summer I attended the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina and tried my hand at creating a story quilt. (more…)
In 1997, the vast majority of working professionals worked for others on a company salary that was safe, predictable and regular. We freelancers were considered the renegades who rejected this good life, replacing job security with employment independence. Our counterparts on the payroll questioned our sanity and often queried when we were going to get a “real job.”