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Sunday, January 30, 2022


Organizations have always had lifespans, the inevitable cycle of growth and death. Just ask the Roman Empire, the Third Reich, Polaroid, Block Buster, Lucent, etc. if you doubt it. 

Organizational lifespan is shrinking as result of technology, information pervasiveness, and nimble competition. Organizational obsolescence -- orgsolescence -- occurs at a much quicker pace than at any time previously.

How can organizations mitigate that creep, or sprint, toward obsolescence? 

Vision and adaptability are the elixirs that stand the best chance of curing the disease of orgsolescence. Bureaucracy is the cancer that assures and hastens such orgsolescence. 

Quality leaders understand the daily discipline required to adapt and overcome. And they know that tomorrow, they/we must do it all over again -- IF we intend to survive and thrive, that is. 

Leadership ain't for the wobbly. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2022


We are the product of two powerful forces: 1) Genome and 2) Phenome.

Genome is the genetic makeup that prescribes many of our physical/cognitive traits and some of our dispositions. Genetics dictate much (but not all) of how tall we are, the texture of our hair, our skin color, the shape of our nose, etc. Much, but not all. Science now indicates that even our height is influenced (up to 30%) by that other powerful force...

Phenome is the collection of environmental factors in which we were raised, and in adult life, those we choose for ourselves. The elements of phenome include things such as family structure, socioeconomic status, our neighborhood, the beliefs and values taught to us, etc. 

Phenome and CULTURE are almost synonymous. They are mutually influential. Culture hugely impacts our phenome, and vice versa.

The science of epigenetics now informs us that our phenome determines which of our genes (our genome) get "turned on" or "turned off." 

Thus, the person we are, the person that others perceive us to be, is a mash-up of our genome and our phenome. 

As children, we had very little control of our phenome. As adults, we have most of the control over our phenome.

A compelling question emerges: Who do we CHOOSE to be? 

Because we can.

Sunday, January 23, 2022


Our effectiveness as leaders is directly proportional to our ability to influence others. 

Influence is a powerful force in getting others to voluntarily engage in our collective mission with fidelity. (Directives and coercive behaviors are not.)

Consider including (or polishing up) the following practices that accelerate our influence:

  • Empower others (rather than constrain them). Give team members permission to energetically pursue the vision of the organization by all legal and ethical means. 
  • Expend inordinate resources in developing others. Their level of learning determines their level of performance, and that of the organization. We must be the Lead Learners in this process.
  • Live, speak, and act on values first and always. Never sacrifice values in the interest of attaining success. 
  • Exude transparency and vulnerability. Both foster TRUST (the very foundation of our relationships).
  • Relentlessly demonstrate gratitude for the value others bring to the table, through both tangible and intangible expressions.
  • Talk less. Listen more. 

    Leaders without followers...................................aren't.

    Thursday, January 20, 2022


    One of the most frustrating things in the world is to be following (or tethered to) a leader who is indecisive. In leadership, making tough decisions comes with the territory.

    Consequential leadership demands sound and timely decisions of us.

    Consider the following guideposts for making those difficult decisions:

    • Take the needed time to make the tough calls. Sleep on it if you can. (But know that the best decision in the world made one second too late is useless, or worse.)
    • Get input and perspective from a wide array of stakeholders and knowledgeable experts before making the decision. DO NOT, however, imply that consensus is what you're seeking. The toughest decisions are ours to make.....and to own.
    • With initiatives or policy changes, pilot it first. Test the waters, find the bottlenecks, sniff out the trouble spots during a "reduced" effort/project before pushing the decision across the entire organization.
    • Buy-in is required. No way around it. Once made, a superb decision will fall flat unless we persistently make the case for it having been made in the first place. 
    Qualifier: In crisis situations, the deliberateness of the processes above won't work. The best leaders I know have conversations and make plans for potential crises BEFORE they arrive at the doorstep. In effect, much of those tough decisions are made ahead of time. 

    Leadership is not for wimps...

    Sunday, January 16, 2022


    I was blessed to again have opportunity to learn from/with Dr. Lindsey Gunn recently. You can find LG HERE

    Every time I get to engage with LG I take away something helpful and provocative in relation to my leadership responsibilities. 

    According to LG, we assess the efficacy of our organizations along three dimensions:

    1. Fidelity - Are we, as an organization, doing (or trying to do) what we intended? Note: The assumption here is that we actually know what we intend to do.
    2. Outcomes - Are we getting the results desired from those intentions and actions? If not, why not?
    3. Organizational "Health" - Does our organization provide an environment in which members can pursue its stated goals in self-actualizing and team-actualizing ways? Does it look/feel/smell/interact in safe and healthy ways?
    It might even be worth it to have conversations around these metrics with our teams...

    Thursday, January 13, 2022


    There is a difference in lifespan and health span. Ideally, we seek to optimize both, squeezing all we can into and out of our lives, while remaining healthy for the whole journey. 

    As leaders, we are directly responsible for the health and wellbeing of the organization - for the organization as a whole and for the members as individuals. 

    Organizations have life spans (just like humans). And they have health spans (just like humans).

    If we are not educating ourselves AND our members about how best to optimize both the lifespan and the health span of our organization, then it's a pretty sure bet that those spans WILL NOT be optimized.

    Leadership always means more learning...

    Monday, January 10, 2022


    Engagement is a word that has come into the frequently used leadership lexicon. It's a really good word, an even better concept, and an absolutely necessary skill for those of us in the business of influencing others. Some refer to it as "presence."

    The level of trust others are willing to afford us is directly proportional to our ability to engage. 

    Engagement is MUCH easier accomplished in face-to-face environments. The current digital interaction formatting practices make engagement much more difficult. Still doable, but much more difficult.

    Our ability to engage effectively has impact on the following perceptions others have of us:

    • Authentic, or not.
    • Present, or not.
    • Trustworthy, or not.
    • Caring, or not.
    • Interested, or not.

    Our ability to engage determines how others feel about us as we interface with them. We have the ability to impact those perceptions.

    Finally, authentic engagement is virtually impossible to fake. Most folks have exceptional BS meters when it comes to sniffing out an engagement imposter.

    Engaged? Or Disengaged? Our choice.

    Wednesday, January 5, 2022


    The smartest people I know don't act like it. Rather, they act like they don't know enough.

    The smartest people I know don't spout off like they have all the answers. Rather, they ask really good questions that lead everyone to good answers.

    The smartest people I know don't waste a lot time on inconsequential stuff. Rather, they purposefully dedicate their finite mental, physical, and emotional-spiritual energy toward making themselves and others better.

    The smartest people I know don't feel sorry for themselves. Rather, they roll up their sleeves and tackle problems head on.

    The smartest people I know don't put themselves in an echo chamber. Rather, they seek out and learn from many perspectives and voices different from their own.

    Think I'll buy and take some of those smart pills for myself.

    Sunday, January 2, 2022


    Our natural tendency, when feeling threatened, is to tighten, to hunker down, to narrow.

    The best leaders I know resist this temptation to "reduce" when faced with difficulties or crises. Instead, they seem to lean into the challenge (or challengers) by increasing engagement levels.

    They accomplish this sort of broadening by several means:

    • They accelerate their curiosity and ramp up their inquiry.
    • They turn up their listening ear to its top setting.
    • They slow decision making down (except in cases where safety is imperiled).
    • They invite discourse with a wide range of truth tellers.
    • They shift into hyper reflection mode.
    In effect, when the world seems to spin out of control, when the pace gets more frantic, when the pressures heighten, these folks seem to be able to slow and absorb and become more deliberate in the midst of the chaos. 

    I'm gonna try to learn to do that better. Broadening is goodening.