Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Coach Bill Cowher on Success

“Success doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s not just measured by what you do,” he said. “So many times, it’s not about how many times you fall down, but more about how many times you get back up that is a true measure of who you are."

“Success is about finding that thing you’re good at and can be very passionate about,” he said. “Chase a dream, and enjoy the process along the way.”

-Bill Cowher - CBS Sports analyst, Former Head Coach of the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, and 1979 NC State graduate.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Generation X & Y Myths

While there are generational differences in workers today, I find too many people claiming way more differences that there really are. Jennifer Deal has an excellent book out "Retiring the Generational GAP" that deals with many of the myths. Here are some of the core principles she shares:

  1. All Generations have similiar values: They just express them differently!
  2. Everyone wants Respect: They define it based on the context.
  3. Trust Matters to everyone!
  4. People want (expect) leaders who are credible and trustworthy (See Principle #3).
  5. No matter how old or young, organizational politics is a challenge.
  6. No one really likes change! (Yes all of us.. some of like making others change though)
  7. Loyalty depends on the context, not on the generation! "Promote me... then I'll be loyal!"
  8. If you do the right things... it is as easy to retain young employees as your old ones!
  9. Everyone wants to learn!
  10. Almost everyone wants a coach.
And one more telling fact that kills the myth of the Gen X culture:

Between the ages of 31-35.. early Xers change jobs less often than the early boomers! Between the ages of 20-25, late Xers change job about as often as boomers.. In 2o years we will know more, but the truth is there is far less to be made about the Gen X culture being less loyal or commited to work!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Those of you who have sat though one of my presentation on Social Networking where I also discuss the Art of Persuasion.. might remember me using Jimmy V's great ESPY talk to demonstrate the art of the motivating others toward a goal. Well.. It is Jimmy V week! Here is a nice reflection page on Jimmy V! And if the thought of saving lives through more cancer research moves you, make a donation!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


One of the most important obligations of leadership is to recognize that others are a part of your own success! In the USA today, we are celebrating a holiday that represents the importance of coming together with those who are important to you and saying thanks for the many blessings of life. Mahalo my friends and colleagues. I hope you can reflect on the past year as I have and realize how many of my friends and colleagues have touched my life and made it better! I hope you have a wonderful day!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The High Price of Ownership

Interesting video on the psychology of basketball ticket ownership.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Cal Ripken on Leadership

Sorry I have been such a slacker when it comes to posts.. Life had been quite busy lately and I have let things slide. Today's post captures the main points in a speech given at NCSU by Cal Ripen, the "Iron Man" of baseball! Cal's focus for the speech and his book are the secrets to perseverance; something we would all agree Cal Ripken Jr. epitomized!

The 8 keys to perseverance!I have added the questions as my contribution!

  1. You need to have The Right Approach Cal Ripken spoke on the importance of knowing your role and what your primary mission is with the organization you work for. It must be hones and clear! It is what will help you overcome the challenges each day. For Cal it was simple: "Come to the ball park ready to play and if the manager chooses me, play!" Do you have a Clear Mission of what your purpose is every day?
  2. A Strong Will to Succeed is the second key to perseverance. This is genetic, you either have it or don't. It is an internal drive to do things, desire to accomplish things. This energy has to be channeled. It can result in tantrums and negative behavior when things do not go smoothly. Cal Ripken talked about running laps or doing push ups when we was upset about something that didn't go well. How much inner drive do you have?
  3. Passion and love for what you do is also important. Cal Ripken's dad was fond of saying to him "There are too many people n this world doing things they hate!" Finding a job or task you really love to do often carries you through the tough times. It is what makes working worth the effort. How much love do you have for the job you do?
  4. There are just some people who Love to Compete. Cal Ripken shared how even as he got older, he enjoyed the competitive challenges of new young shortstops joining the team. It allowed hime to have a honest assessment of who he was. Are you resting in your current role or are you trying to increase your performance above last months?
  5. Consistency is the ability to adjust and readjust.. to perform every day. Develop many skills, solve problems and find solutions, and do more than just your primary job. Do these on a regular basis and you will be irreplaceable. Remember, and I quote Cal Ripken "In the spirit of helping a team, it is not always your main skill that you can contribute." Ever heard of a shortstop calling pitches.. well Cal Ripken did at one point in his career. What kept him in the game was more than hitting and playing shortstop. Are you reliable, consistent and doing more than just your primary job?
  6. You need to have the Conviction to carry out what your doing. Stubborn in a good way, Thick Skinned when you need to be. He was not talking about stupid stubborn like not going to the Doctor when your sick or selfish stuborn. he was talking about live your life as your values tell you to. It is about seeing things to the end. Sticking to it! Do you stand up for what you believe in?
  7. Strength is the seventh key! Both Physical and Mental strength is needed to survive. As you become older, Knowledge becomes more important, learning is the key. Too many people think they know it all by the time they graduate or get that big promotion. The truth is the big promotion should be your call to learn more and more. Are you a life-long learner?
  8. The final and maybe the most important key to perserverance is how you practice good Life Management. Achieving balance between professional (Managers & Media) and personal (family) life is not only important, but necessary. Engage your boss.. clarify expectations.. do the same for your family. It is about understanding what each needs.Transparency is the key. Even with the media, he as able to weather any and all storms. Do you clafiry mutual expectations with your boss and spouse? Your Children?
One final note.. Cal Ripken jr. was maybe the last true baseball player for lots of reasons. He played for the same team all his career, dedicated to a love the game, and through it all he showed class. There is a reason we all idolize him and it is for all the right reasons. It is a shame we have so few role models like Cal today in sports!

Monday, September 15, 2008

TEDTalks: Malcom Gladwell (2004)

Is there the perfect product? OR a perfect destiny? Gladwell challenges us to think broader than the perfect product.. to realize that the human condition creates a variety of perfect products.. each matched to our diverse human wants and needs

Do schools today kill creativity? (Ken Robinson, TEDTalks)

If you are not prepared to be wrong... you will never come up with something original!

All Children are born an artist, the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up - Picasso

Does our education system cause us to grow up and lose our originality? This is a nice TEDs closing talk.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Dr. Alex Pattakos: The Search for Meaning

A student of Frankl, Dr. Alex Pattakos helps us understand the importance of having a meaning to our life.. and to our work. It is the discovery of one's meaning or purpose that ensures full engagement in our work. Helping your direct reports discover how their work is meaningful is more important than all other motivational techniques. Meaningful to the direct report and not necessarily to the leader! It is one of the most important functions of the leader.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Oprah Winfrey's 2008 Stanford Commencement Address

Oprah Winfrey's 2008 Stanford Commencement Address stresses the importance of learning from life, to grow into being more of our selves, to be life longer learners!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Prof. Deepak Malhotra Harvard Business School

Excellent talk on Power.. negotiation and the art of the deal.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

1996 Altanta Olympics - Kerri Strug's Gold Medal Vault

Courage... to do something for your team, to do something greater than your own self!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Eddie Would Go: The Story of Eddie Aikau

One of the greatest stories of courage and self sacrifice! Eddie would go... would you?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Eddie would GO!

Eddie would Go!

A great story and a must for anyone who wants to learn the leadership lessons that intersect between Hawaii... and surfing!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Randy Pausch - Forever in our Memory

Randy Pausch
1960 to 2008

Randy was a born just a little two months after this author in the year 1960. In his short life, he did much to help all of us with technology, innovation and to view the world in a little better way. In a way, being my age - his age, created a connect with him that left me deeply engaged with his journey. After reading his book, I was taken back by the thought that in the 48 years he has danced upon the planet and soared well over what most would have thought possible.

Randy was a role model... Look at the way he showed us how to live!

Randy was a teacher... There is much we as leaders can learn from just watching him teach.

Randy was inspirational - We were all taught the grace of facing death in a way that was very inspiration.

For his courage, his honesty, his openness... My hope is that his children will always know that he will always be with us. His spirit was great! My greatest hope is that I can one day face death with as much character and courage as he did.

I will end with a Jimmy Valvano quote:

“Cancer can take away all my physical ability. It cannot touch my mind; it cannot touch my heart; and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.”

Randy Pausch.... exemplified Mind - Heart - Soul! Forever in our memory!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tom Rath's Gallop Findings

Tom Rath (2006) reported in his book Vital Friends: The People You Can't Afford to Live Without that there are eight vital roles that friends play in helping employees succeed:

  • Builders (those who motivate you to achieve more)
  • Champions (those loyalists who stand up for you)
  • Collaborators (those with similar interests)
  • Companion (those classic friends who you call
    first with your news)
  • Connectors (those who introduce you to others)
  • Energizers (those who give you a boost when
    you’re down)
  • Mind-openers (those who expand your horizons)
  • Navigators (those who you go to for advice)
In 2007, he spoke to the crowd at ASTD about the findings that each of us are more likely to stay in our jobs and with our organizations if we have more than 5 friends at work. So what does this all mean to the workplace leader. Here in the USA where our workplace culture asks us to be task oriented and not relationship oriented, to be objective or rather not subjective, to focus on return on investment and competition.. maybe we are missing a major lesson. Competition, return on investment, and being good at our tasks are critical to success, but creating a culture where employees can build and foster friendships may be the different in having a sustainable engaged workforce. Using the eight types of friends listed above, ask yourself what your are doing to create a workplace culture that encourages these types of relationships. Look at everything.. for example:

Does your system of giving raises and bonuses encourage or discourage employees to take on these roles?
Does the funding priorities set by you create opportunities for these friendships to emerge?

It is very revealing.. For example, leaders are pushing training more and more to distant mediums to save costs these days... I'm not convinced we can develop the friendships we need without some time face to face...

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Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Leadership Lesson of July 4th

On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted what we now know in the USA as the foundation of our liberty. The document, the declaration of Independence, is something each of us should at a look represents one of the most significant change management efforts in the history of the world.

There are several lessons that leaders can pull from the happenings of July 4th:

  • Courage - All change management requires courage.. imagine what it was like to sit in that hall in Philidephia as each state's representative rose to answer the vote, knowing that to say yes was to create an act of treason. They were all wealthy men, with much to lose, and yet almost all rose and voted yes.
  • Guiding Coalition - The effort required a group of "United States." It required great a deal of team building. Each member of the congress had to develop trust among their rivals. These individuals spoke a little different, lived different lives..
  • Diversity - Each of the founding fathers had strengths and weakness. Some gave great speeches, others were very good writers. It took a diversity of thought and skills to create what is maybe one of the best written documents in history.

It is a very good read... so, now that you have enjoyed the food, the family, friends and fireworks.. have a good read and remember why we celebrate this time....

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish [sic] brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Leadership in Action

Who was your best teacher growing up. Think about how much this person impacted your life. What they meant for your development and how much success you have today from what you were taught... Now, Imagine growing up with no schools, no safe place to play, and worst, no hope for a life without war. Your teacher never existed.. what would that mean for you and your life.

I want to share today a great story about leadership in action.Allie doesn't know I am doing this, but her work needs to be acknowledged. Great leaders do more than achieve success... the work to improve their community. Allie Russos, a young adult in my community, is an example of the greatness of Gen X & Y. Allie is still in the middle of developing her skills toward becoming a great health care professional, but at the same time she has managed to give of herself at Hospice, her hair at compassionate kids, take several mission trips to South America to help build homes for the poor, and in the past couple of years travel to Africa to help with health and education of some of our poorest world citizens. To top off all of this, she just formed her own non-profit with the amazing goal of building a school in northern Uganda! All this before she is much older than I was before I got a real job.. and yes.. I didn't even come close to giving to one project like she has made in helping others less deserving than her. Leadership such as her's needs to be acknowledge and thus, I have chosen to do it three ways:

  • Blog on her a bit and maybe inspire all of us to be more giving to those who have less that we do.
  • Make a small, but meaningful gift as a jesture of my support. (Done)
  • Encourage all of you to join me in supporting her cause with a small gift and by sharing her site to your friends. A jester is all that is really needed, but if enough of you read this, share this with your friends and all give small meaningful gifts.. we will help Allie to reach her dream of a school in Uganda.. and yes.. reward her through our acknowledgement.
Her Non-profit (which by the way seeks to give every dollar donated to the project) is called The Ubuntu Way. Here is their mission:

The Ubuntu Way is a non-profit organization established in October 2007. Our mission is to provide educational and medical aide to those who need it the most, who are unable to provide for themselves, regardless of race, sex, age, ethnicity, culture or religion. This will be achieved by raising awareness of current situations, purchasing life-saving medications, providing a means for children to attend school, funding and constructing schools and health clinics, providing medical and school supplies along with further educating teachers and health care providers who will work in these facilities.

You can donate at: Donate. Think of this as a great social networking project.. see if you can get as many individuals to donate $10 using their credit card this summer. I will talk with Allie and report back later this year on how successful we are in achieving the goal. And the great thing about this.. you will all feel great, and Allie will build a school for some of the world's poorest children! Thanks in advance if you choose to join me in this journey!

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Malcolm Gladwell and Robert Krulwich at the 92nd Street Y

Gladwell shares his perspective on selection vs. treatment of students. Questions to ponder....

  • What is the implication from leaders who are coaching others?
  • What factors do we use to select?
  • Do we find individuals with the right work ethic who need to be developed further?
  • Do we seek to find the perfect employee and not invest in developing them?
  • Are we under developing our people and focusing too much on finding the best employee?

The lesson is that we all need to give attention to this issue and ensure the right balance. There are factors we need in every employee to ensure they can develop.. but most employees have a huge potential when placed in the right environment.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Block, Lencioni & Tuckman

Every since Tuckman (1965) published the stages of group developmen (Forming-> Storming-> Norming-> Forming), leaders have known the path to team development and been searching for tools to help their teams become successful. I want to recommend two resources that ease the journey.

  • In 2002, Patrick Lencioni published "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" and laid out for leaders, the barriers or bumps on the Tuckman model (See my earlier post on Lencioni's work). Lencionia's work, while not significantly innovative (it is built on work that others have done) presented a simple model that framed the path to failure; and more importantly, framed the steps to avoiding failure as a leader of a team. The model is a simple "to do" list for navigating through Tuckmans Storming state and ensuring a strong norm set. The linear model is:
    1. Build Trust
    2. Create an environment of constructive conflict and debate
    3. Ensure commitment
    4. Hold each other accountable
    5. Focus on Results
  • This year, 2008, Peter Block has published what I believe will be his best book. The book, Community, The Structure of Belonging, resonates with leaders seeking to build a culture of success, but also paints a road map for leaders seeking to be high performing teams. Of most significance in the book, is Blocks careful examination of the conversations teams need to have to be successful. The series of conversations (and questions to ask the group) are a tool kit for leaders who are seeking to navigate Tuckman's team development journey. This is a must read. I will encourage you by asking a few of Block's questions:
    • What have I done to contribute to the very thing I complain about or want to change?
    • What story am I telling myself about the team? What is the payoff to me to keep holding on to this story? What is my attachment to this story costing me?
    • What has someone done on your team that has touched you or moved you or been of value to you?
Both of these resources are good starting points for leaders who are frustrated with their teams. Much of what I do now when working with teams begins with these two authors and the questions: "What does this team need to focus on?" and "What conversation do we need to have?"
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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Leading@Google: Marshall Goldsmith

If you have never heard Marshall Goldsmith, this is a must watch.

Tim Russert Memorial Service: Bruce Springsten Thunder Road

"The Joyful Duty of Honesty of Service... that's his legacy... for politicians, for journalists, and for rock musicians too.." and especially for leaders.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What to Ask the Next President

Excellent video... while dancing around the political landscape...

A exercise you should do.. what are the 5 questions you would ask to determine who will be a great leader... the next president of the USA?

Now.. what are you doing to answer these questions in your own leadership journey?

What should you be doing that your not already doing?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Randy Pausch Inspires Graduates

Randy Pausch gives the Charge to the 2008 Graduates of Carnegie Mellon University!

Apple Really Does Make You

The use of short-timed branding is something I have always been amazed at. Like the apple logo... it appears that those cute symbols do matter! Research has shown that the apple logo makes people act more creatively... what does your logo do? Or do you even have a logo..

Monday, June 2, 2008

Gladwell on Innovation

Gladwell began his presentation by discussing Art! Specifically, he talked about Cezanne and Picasso. Their greatest came about in very different in a ways and teaches about the human potential. Their are two types of innovators according to Gladwell:

Experimental Innovators - Cezanne - He had no bold ideas.. All of his mastery is done through doing and failing and redoing. He slowly worked over time to enhance his skills to become a master - we call these late bloomers. As an example, a piece done by Cezanne late in his life is worth far more than something he did early in his career.

Conceptual Innovators - Picasso - Precocious and radical thinker.. he brought radical notions on modern art to the world and made a name for himself overnight. Picasso's most valuable works are those he created early in this career.

There are other examples:
Mark Twain - Took nine years to write Huckle Berry Finn.. wrote in his 50s - Experimental
Melville - Wrote Moby Dick - 32 yrs old.. wrote in one year.. Conceptual

Orson Wells - Citizen Cane -Directed at age of 26 - Conceptual
Alfred Hitchock - Vertigo - directed at 59. Same genre over and over.. Experimental

Gladwell stressed that he fears that we have chosen to value the conceptual innovator more so than the experimental. We have fallen out of love with Cezanne! This has profound impact on us.

He uses the example the record industry to make the point. The album "Rumors" by Fleetwood Mac is one of the best album in the world.. but most people don't know that it took 10 years, 16 different band members moving in and out of the band and 14 albums before Fleetwood Mac had it right.. Rumos was their 16 album. In contrast the Eagles were a similar band but they were different.. Their very first album was a huge hit.. they had their greatest hits in the 1st three years of the band.

Consider this.. Fleetwood Mac makes their record label 10s of billions of dollars.. because their record label stayed with them despite all their doing and failing and redoing. Today, the record industry has given up on music artist.. Your first single is where they decide if your going to make it. They have turned their back on the kind of genius represented by Fleetwood Mac and Cezanne!

Gladwell finished by suggesting four things we need to do...

  • We need to have judgment! Think of the record executive who stayed with Fleetwood Mac
  • We need to be flexible - help leaders develop over time in different ways
  • We need to be patient - You have to wait until people are in their 50s & 60s.. to see their great work
  • We have to be prepared to help.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Presentation on Chevron's Leadership Program

"We will no longer be talking about the big crew change. We will have taken the steps needed to ensure that a trained, global workforce and a pipeline of future leaders are in place" -CEO Chevron
Below is an outline of Chevron's Leadership Development System:
  1. The Chevron Way - Business Strategy and Values: "To be the global energy company most admired for its People, Partnership, & Performance."
  2. Defining leadership Expectation through a competence based and defined expectations. Here are the broad areas.. But they define High Impact Behaviors under each of these.
    1. Set Clear Vision Direction
      1. Make Sound Business Decisions
      2. Build a Foundation for Future Success
    2. Engage the Team
      1. Gain Commitment
      2. Draw Out the Best in Others
    3. Drive for Superior Results
      1. Drive for High Performance
      2. Manage Performance - Your Own and Your Team's
      3. Encourage Ingenuity
  3. Aligned all systems (feedback, training, etc) around these competencies and behavioral expectations.
  4. Identified their Leadership Pipeline - Target Audience - Programs
    1. Individual Contributor - Identification of High Potentials in 1st 5 year
      • Future Leader's Forum (1 week program)
        • 45 a session
        • 3 times a year)
        • Selection made:
          • Not supervisors
          • 3-5 years employed
          • Certain pay grade
          • Not Necessarily High Potential
    2. Supervisor/Team Leader - 5-10 yrs - Transitioning to Supervising
      • Supervisor Essentials (3 day) (Supervisors 1-3 yrs)
        • Chevron Way (See expectations above)
        • Coaching Employees; Performance Improvement
        • Self Awareness
        • Diversity
        • Legal Issues
        • HR Panel
    3. Manager - 10-15 yrs
      • People Leadership I (3 day)
        • High Performance, engagement and Retention
      • People Leadership II (2 day)
        • Situational Leadership
    4. General Manager - 15-20yrs
      • Manager Essentials
      • Chevron Leadership Forum (3 day)
        • Open Enrollment targeting at a certain level
      • CHAMP (3 week Residency Leadership Program)
        • Enterprise Leader

Marshal Goldsmith -ASTD 2008 San Diego

Marshall Goldsmith, one of the world's top executive coaches, presented the today at ASTD. the following is what I captured from his excellent talk. (Excuse the errors.. I am blogging live). It is important to note that he stressed that he learned most of what he shared through coaching. Teaching is his love.. and he told us anything he does is available from this web site :

Told us we can use anything from his site. A very open-source kinda guy! I am already a fan!

He began by quoting Drucker and reminded us that it is often what we stop doing that make us a better leader, not what we start doing.

Classic issues that executives struggle with:
  • Winning too much - #1 problem of executives! 75% of his clients fail this case study.. whereas they were right on something and showed everyone they know it. Too competitive!
  • Adding too much value - when someone gives us an idea.. we always have to suggest how to improve it. We still ideas from our team. ("My suggestions become orders" - CEO of Glaxo-Cline) Before speaking.. breath.. ask yourself is it worth it?
  • Telling the world how smart we really are - You don't have to prove your smart.. It is not important for your subordinates to know you know so much.. let them be the smart one
  • Passing to much judgment - Help more, pass less judgment.
Having spoken to thousands of people, he asks them all.. "What percent of interpersonal communication is spent on:"
  • "Listening to other people talk about how smart, special, or wonderful they are (or saying it)?"
  • "Listening to other people talk about how stupid, inept, or incompetent someone else is (or saying it)?"
The answer is 65% of all interpersonal communication is spent on this!

He stressed that we have to quit the following things:
  1. Using destructive comment, about individuals?
  2. Begin sentences with "No," "but," or "however."
  3. Begin sentences with "That's great, but (however)...
One item not seen on leadership profiles... He had reviewed many instruments.. "effectively "sucks up" to higher management" We have a great problem with individuals kissing up because we created an environment.

  • How much do you think your direct reports like you?
  • How much do your direct reports resemble you?
  • What is their contribution to our company and our customers?
  • How much positive recognition do you give your direct reports?
Goldsmith charge the group to pick one behavior you are going to work on. Then he did his famous Feedforward exercise: Go to other people and tell them what you want to work on.. ask them to give you feedback (ideas) without discussing the past, you must listen without judging , learn as much as you can. Move to as many people as you can in the time allowed. After the exercise.. he asked the group to finish the sentence "This exercise was...._____________" The answers were all positive, fun and useful, because:
  • successful people love getting ideas.
  • you don't have to think... you can listen and learn.
  • no judging is allowed, so it is a very positive experience
  • you are not obligated to do the idea.
  • reciprocity.. it is two way.. both give ideas and thanks
  • you do not have to know them get help or to help them
  • you do not have to be superior to help someone
His best coaching exercise:

Think about a 95 year old person who is about to die.. what advice would they give you?

Final comments:
  • Be happy now!
  • Friends and Family are important!
  • Have a dream!
  • Take the time to help people

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Teaching Leadership with Cognitive Load in Mind

Sat through a workshop today taught by Dr. Ruth Clark, an expert on learning and cognitive load (One's ability to attend to, load, encode for further use, and then retrieve knowledge. It was a great review of some research with some very good principles to remember.

  • "Novice" learners need smaller chunks of knowledge delivered to them, whereas "Expert" learners often seen larger chunks or patterns of chunks useful.
  • "Novice" learners learn faster when they are given an example, asked to practice, given another example, then asked to practice again.. and so on.
  • "Expert" learner learn faster when they are given an example.. then give lots of practice exercises.
  • While we claim that we can multi task.. research finds that if we perform dual tasks our performance diminishes if the tasks are:
    • both auditor in nature
    • or both visual in nature
Of all the content covered in this workshop, the most interesting was that we tend to over load the learner when we use text, voice and visuals.. the research indicates, that e-learning works best when voice and visuals are use.. but text tends to distract the learner.. scare when you consider all the extra stuff people are putting on web pages.

Regardless.. it was very interesting and created quite a bit of discussion at our table. While we all agreed that contextual concerns play a role, we also agreed that their is some truth to this research and simple is really better.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Interview with Dr. Viktor Frankl part I

"Despair = Suffering without Meaning" - Victor Frankl

Colin Powell's 13 Rules of Leadership

Nice video that captures Colin Powell's leadership lessons.. could use some sound thought.. play the radio while you watch it. :)

Monday, May 26, 2008

On the 1st Memorial day

“If silence is ever golden, it must be beside the graves of fifteen-thousand men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem the music of which can never be sung.”

-James A. Garfield, General, Congressman and eventually President

Friday, May 23, 2008

What a Wonderful World by Nikolas Owen (Age 9)

In a step away from leadership.. I was touched this month by my 9 year-old's first public singing performance.. Nikolas is adopted from the country of Lebanon.. my grand parents birth country and well.. I whipped together this quick clip as a tribute to Nik and his birth country.. May we all live in Peace!

Thanks for indulging me this once as I wear the hat of Dad rather than OD Leader....

Thursday, May 22, 2008

President Ronald Reagans Speech at Point-du-Hoc, Normandy

One of the greatest speeches on the sacrifice of war! A fitting post for this weekend as we in America reflect on memorial day and on the courage of our men and women who have died in wars. For more videos, go directly to the blog and look for the videos down the right side of the blog.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Leadership Speaker Series: Geoffrey Canada

Geoffrey Canada talks about social change and how he has lead efforts to revitalize communities: Simple concept = Start from birth, Focus on parenting and building leadership among the community. Fix things one block at a time (do everything for that one block) then move on to the next!

Commencement Continuted

2008 Commencement Address by Barbara Kingsolver

The following quote comes from Barbara Kingsolver's speech, titled "How to be Hopeful," given at Duke's 2008 commencement ceremony May 11 at Wallace Wade Stadium. Barbara Kingsolver is a novelist, essayist, non-fiction and short-story writer. An audio version of her speech is available on iTunes.

"The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. The most you can do is live inside that hope, running down its hallways, touching the walls on both sides. "

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tom Kelley - Ideo

Excellent Talk about Customer-based Collaborative Innovation

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Graduation Speeches

This time of year, all the great leaders get asked to impart on young graduates their wisdom. Here are just a few lessons from two of this year's speakers:

Erskine Bowles, UNC University System President and Former Chief of Staff for President Clinton, shared five principles for success to the graduates of North Carolina State University:

  1. Don't promise more than you can deliver.
  2. Do quality work in everything you approach (i.e. if it is worth doing, do it right).
  3. Don't be afraid of change (i.e. change happens so figure out how to make it work for you).
  4. Do your part to add to the "community woodpile" (i.e. have a sense of civic responsibility).
  5. Take time for your family.

Phillip Balley of Earth, Wind, and Fire to the Berkley College of Music:
  1. Never lose your creativity.
  2. Never lose your excitement.
  3. Never lose your pure love for music.
More to come later... Send me good ones you hear as well!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Employee Engagement

This is not an endorsement of McDaniel Partners.. (cause I don't know them), but this is a nice video on employee engagement...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Generation Next -- The Workplace

Roger Terry shared this with me today.. looks like something anyone dealing with Gen X or Y should watch...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Desmond Tutu on Leadership

Excellent Message on self-less leadership!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

YOUTUBE EXCLUSIVE: Send me your stereotypes

Queen Rania: What a wonderful example of world leadership...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Randy Pausch Lecture: Time Management

Randy Pausch gives a great follow-up talk to his "Last Seminar" talk. This time at UVA, he gives what is a wonderful talk on time-management. It is a bit long, but well worth the time. Check it out and I am sure you will get consumed by his wonderful style of telling stories while imparting wisdom.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

JMAC story

The best story of 2006... Courage, Passion and a Dream! We all need a little JMac in us all!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Leading Teams - Jack Welch

If you think leading is about numbers and budgets.... take time to listen to Jack Welch... This is an must view video for anyone hoping to be successful in leading teams.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super Quote for Super Bowl Sunday

"The desire to excel is paramount. When you seek to lead a life of integrity and to make a difference in the lives of others, it's incredible what you can accomplish - and we have that opportunity every day."

Bart Starr - only quarterback to win 5 NFL championships (3 consecutive)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Charles Durning - A Meaningful Life

Charles Durning received the Life Achievement Award last night from the Actors Guild. As I watched him speak and noticed how everyone in the room seemed to find meaning in their own dreams through his life. Meaning.. real meaning in our profession is such a powerful reward. My new definition of leadership "A Leader is someone who helps you find real meaning in your work, which helps you ACHIEVE success that you would not have reached without his/her help."

Watch this video.. it is quite the measure of a great actor, but also a great man.. Congrats to Charles on a life of achievement!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Martin Luther King, Jr.: I Have a Dream

John Kotter, Guru of Change on Management

"The whole purpose of systems and structures is to help normal people who behave in normal ways to compete routine jobs successfully, day after day. It's not exciting or glamorous. But that's management."

John P. Kotter - Harvard Business Review 1990.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

NH Primary and Egonomics

Disclaimer.. I almost didn't publish this post.. but I thought it was just too good a topic for leadership development.. excuse the political examples, but they serve as an excellent source for dialog. In no way does this post seek to endorse or support anyone.. other than you in your leadership journey.

If you missed my review of the book Egonomic.. check it out! It is an excellent read related to how do we get to Level 5 Leadership. Three core principles espoused in the book were:

Humility - The Openness you create in you and others
Curiosity - How intense are you in exploring and searching for answers.. Asking questions
Veracity - How well can you handle the brutal truths?

I found myself looking at the Presidential candidates and using these three principles as a sort of measure on whether they will be successful. If we were to rank them on these three principles... how would they rank out. Based on the news coverage this past week.. here is my ranking.. subject to change.. I should note that this has nothing to do with how I might vote and is based solely on how they have acted on news shows and in debates (I ranked them on the two of the three principles on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being best; I omitted curiosity.. too hard to know) Note I have linked to some videos that I think are insightful.. if you have a better example let us know by posting a comment:

On the Republican side

McCain - Leads on Veracity (9) and humility (9)..
Paul - Veracity (10), not so humble (6),
Hukabee - Veracity (7) Not always willing to discuss things, humility (9)
Thompson - Veracity (9), humility 4
Giuliani - Veracity (6), not sure he knows humility (4),
Romney - Veracity (4) Very shifty, humility (2) flipped on woman's right.. crushing
On the Democrat side:

Obama - Veracity (9), and humility (7) I think his frankness is what is keeping him alive
Clinton - Veracity (5), but humility (7) (only because she showed real emotion this week)
Edwards - Veracty (3), and humility (5) (The haircut did him in)

Clinton was the most interesting.. I think egonomics explains why tearing up made a difference for her in NH. She struggles to be both humble/open.. seeing her be authentic made a huge difference in trust..

Course.. this is all just random thoughts.. but I wanted to show you how these three principles can impact leadership.. you may not agree with my rankings.. honestly, I kinda did them quickly and may not have them perfect.. what is true is those candidates who won or had shifts upward in votes exhibited egonomics and more specifically REAL humility.. Real Brutal Truth telling.. Might be a good formula..

One last statement.. in no way is this an endorsement of any candidate.. this blog is about leadership only. A successful President should have egonomics skills that complement a host of other competencies..

Monday, January 7, 2008

Harvard Business School Working Knowledge Newsletter

One of my favorite reads on the net is the Working Knowledge e-newsletter by Harvard Business School. Just out is their list of the most popular articles from 2007. This is necessary read for anyone who is in a leadership role and I recommend it highly. From their list, here were my favorites:

How Much of Leadership Is About Control, Delegation, or Theater?

The Key to Managing Stars? Think Team

Sharpening Your Skills: Negotiation

Podcast: The Authentic Leader

How Do You Value a "Free" Customer?

This is a very good resource. I encourage you to find your own favorites!

Dean Kirby Barrick on Reinventing Teaching

Dean Kirby Barrick of University of Florida, presenting to NCSU on Reinventing Teaching to Enhance Learning, Made several points that are important to not only educators, but also for leaders of knowledge workers. Excuse the roughness of this post.. doing it as he speaks.

Barrick recommends that the book: How People Learn - published by the National Research Council, National Academy Press in 2000, is the starting point for becoming a better educator, or in the view of this writer, becoming a better leader of knowledge workers.

  • Students (Knowledge workers) come to the classroom (workplace) with preconceptions about who the world (and organization) works. The words we use in early interactions can be interpreted many ways. If we say the world is round.. is it possible someone would visualize a pancake rather than a gum ball.
Nice principle. We all bring preconceived ideas to the work world. As leaders we have to ensure that we deal with the preconceptions in a positive way. We must build on those that are productive and find ways to help our knowledge workers identify and address those preconceptions that need to be unlearned.

  • Students (Knowledge workers) must have deep foundations in the content, they must understand the facts and ideas, and they must organize knowledge. There are exceptions.. memorizing your multiplication tables just has to be done, but most knowledge must be organized to be useful and productive.
  • Use appropriate technology appropriately. Not everyone likes powerpoint.. not everyone likes color chalk.. It is about giving students (knowledge workers) opportunities for feedback.
  • Five principles to remember:
    • Organize and structure the subject matter
    • Students (Knowledge Workers) must be motivated to learn
    • Knowledge of one's progress and performance is critical, individuals need to be rewarded and reinforcement
    • Using best practices in instruction (techniques).. moving toward direct, and active learning, toward inquiry and practice.
    • Learning is most successfully when students are forced to apply content to a real situation. We have to help them learn how to apply what they learn to their world.

  • Five factors on the relationship between teacher behavior and student achievement that were found to key (Rosenshine and Furst, 1971)
    • Clarity- Is the Teacher (Leader) clear in what they say and present.
    • Variability - Does the Teacher (Leader) use a variety of approaches, presenting tools
    • Enthusiasm - Is the teacher (Leader) enthusiastic about what they are sharing.
    • Task Oriented - To what degree does the teacher (Leader) keep us on task and achievement oriented.
    • Student Opportunity - To what degree can the student learn and keep up with the content covered in the class.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

New Year's Resolutions...

Are you seeking to make the impossible... Possible!

Or are you choosing to do what is easy

"We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to
the moon in this decade and do the other things,
not because they are easy, but because they are
hard, because that goal will serve to organize
and measure the best of our energies and skills,
because that challenge is one that we are willing
to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and
one which we intend to win, and the others, too."