Time is More than Money

Would you invest your money with an institution/organization that didn’t recognize the value of your deposit and that didn’t enable it to synergize with that of other depositors?  Of course you wouldn’t!  Why?  Likely you expect to have returned what you’ve put in plus interest.   In fact, you would probably choose that institution/organization that provided the highest interest. Continue reading

Hidden Lessons in Leadership #5

A recent New York Times interview with Rachel Ashwell, founder of Shabby Chic, reveals an orientation and practice that reflects often overlooked qualities and expectations of leadership.

First and foremost quality is being human.  Oh many might say, aren’t we all human!  Would this not mean that everyone provides leadership? Continue reading

People Centered Management

Each year the Top 100 Best Places to Work is generated by the Great Place to Work Institute and published by Fortune magazine.  Although there is an element of self-selection and rankings disregard the distribution of this index across companies, the list of companies do present a group of companies with a discernable difference.  This difference lies primarily with how employees of the companies are generally treated—benefits, training, autonomy, challenge.  In short, it is a list of companies that acknowledge the importance of the people they employ. Continue reading

Hidden Lessons in Leadership #4

Kip Tindell, Container Store CEO, shares important fundamentals of leadership in a New York Times Corner Office interview.  At base Kip’s underlying belief about the business of business is not the usual it’s nothing personal it’s just business but rather to the contrary, business is very personal.  The foundational principles of the Container Store reflect a belief in the non-superficial nature of the business of business.  Accordingly Kip approaches his role in business as he does his role as a fellow human being in life stating: “…most people seem to think that there’s a separate code of conduct in business from your personal life, And I always believed they should be the same.”   What this reveals is that the quality of leadership flows from the depth of the underlying philosophy about life that one holds—our very depth as a person.  Thus providing genuine leadership is not separate from you yourself being genuine.  What else could integrity mean! Continue reading

A Competing Fact

Many say competition brings out the best in us.  Is this fact or fiction?

Let’s assume it is fact.  Accordingly, since we want the best to emerge from whatever involves people we must make it a competition.  We want a winner to incite the rest (of us losers) to become winners.  No one wants to be a loser! Continue reading

Hidden Lessons in Leadership #2

Since examples can illustrate successful practice, many aspiring leaders often search for them to direct (their) action. And just as often those copying these examples fail.  Why?  Because they really don’t know what to copy! Rarely do people critically think about the examples in an effort to develop understanding of why the practice is effective.

A February 6, 2009 New York Times interview with Susan Docherty of General Motors revealed a key lesson for effective leadership.  In response to Adam Bryant’s question, how do you hire, Susan stated “…I’m looking at people for my team, it’s not just what’s on their resume—their strengths or weaknesses or what they’ve accomplished—but it’s the way they think.  I can learn twice as much, twice as quickly, if I’ve got people who think differently than I do around the table.” Continue reading

Hidden Lessons in Leadership

Since examples can illustrate successful action, many aspiring leaders often search for them to direct (their) action. And just as often those copying these examples fail.  Why?  Because they really don’t know what to copy!  There is rarely ever any critical thinking about the examples, so there is nothing learned from them.  In other words, applying examples absent of an understanding of the underlying theory teaches nothing!  Let’s illustrate as we critically think about a recent example.

In a New York Times Corner Office interview with Mark Pincus, founder and CEO of Zynga, interviewer Adam Bryant asked about leadership lessons learned.  Mark brought to light the importance of reliability, working as a team and getting everyone going in a productive direction especially when you are not physically present. Continue reading

A Wish

Looking into the clear star-lit Christmas Eve sky feelings of both amazement and wonderment of our very existence and way of being emerged.  So here we are between the infiniteness of the universe above and the finiteness of the earth below.  I can’t help but think that we humans reflect both.

During the holiday season most offer wishes of happiness and joy to both loved ones and strangers alike.  I believe this wish is a heartfelt wish.  But then, reality grabs us: Once the season passes, we go back to the work-a-day dog-eat-dog competitive ego-centered way-of-being.   Why do we do this?  I suspect the system requires us to be this way; just like the context of the holiday season allows us to be wishful of joy to one and all.

Why don’t we simply continue our heartfelt way-of-relating? After all it is not that we are not capable.  Some reacting to this question might say stop dreaming, that’s not reality!  However, I suspect most will wish it could be so.  I believe all you have to do is cease wishing and begin being responsible for the reality we create.  Let’s get real and be the difference we wish for.  Just think how wonderful life would be.

What to Look For

Today, as in the past, we anxiously await the emergence of leadership but unfortunately we are often disappointed.  Irrespective of whether leaders are selected or elected, the experience provided falls far short of the experience needed.  We seem to always get much less than what we hoped for.  Far too few of those we find in positions of authority—which erroneously we label leadership—have what it takes to facilitate the needed partnerships for progress.  In spite of our experience, we remain hopeful that the next one we get or select will be the one.  What should we look for? Continue reading

Is a Leader What We Need?

Whenever I converse with others about leadership, I am never quite sure that there is a common understanding of (exactly) what the term means—I would not be surprised if others have the same experience.  Granted it is far more entertaining to talk about something that we can’t seem to agree upon—like who is #1 at the end of the college football season—but when it comes to serious matters that impact life it is quite unproductive. Continue reading