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."