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Sunday, August 28, 2022


Some titles come with the assumption of leadership skill: CEO, Director, President, Chair, etc.

Some leaders wield influence in informal, yet powerful ways. Many title-less yet impactful leaders traffic their thinking and behavior through the media of influence.

What a blessing when the influencing comes coupled with the title!

What a complete disaster when the title comes completely devoid of the ability to influence.

If no one is following (or if the following is purely the result of forced compliance) then it's NOT leading.

Leaders are wise to take a reflective and thoughtful look in the mirror each day (both to self-examine and to see if anyone is following).

Sunday, August 21, 2022


When has learning ever NOT been blended?

The "stickiest" learning occurs when the attention of the learner is directed repeatedly, over time, and via many media toward the desired learning outcome.

The best teachers figure out how to bombard the learner with that cacophony, in invitational and engaging ways (NOT through threat, coercion, and compliance).

After all, both learner and learning task creator are continually in the process of LEARNING. Another way to think of blended learning, maybe?

No end in sight.

Thursday, August 18, 2022


Leaders grapple daily with the stuff....

the What?

the Why?

the How?

the When?

The most important question stem, however, is...

the Who?

At the end of the day -- or the reporting period, or the project launch, or customer satisfaction -- it's the people in our organization that make us what we are. 

That performance and/or perception can range from Yuk to Blah to Yeah Buddy! It all comes back to the folks on our team.

A very worthy question for us to ask ourselves as leaders:  Why in the world would smart, capable, talented, creative, and innovative people CHOOSE to work with us?

Because they can. Those kinds of folks really can CHOOSE the team they play on.

Our people ARE our brand.

Sunday, August 14, 2022


A leadership analogy...

Evangelists = Pray fervently + Preach like a beast + Seek and save the lost + Bolster and teach the flock + Add more flock + Forge (fleeting) relationships + Speak truth with a sharp edge + Craft solutions to abstract problems + Receive support from the flock + Travel to the next flock + Repeat

Pastors = Pray fervently + Preach like a beast + Seek and save the lost + Bolster and teach the flock + Add more flock + Forge (lasting) relationships + Speak truth with a softer edge + Craft solutions to concrete problems + Receive support from the flock + Live with and among the flock + Share in the daily struggles of the flock + Resolve conflicts within the flock + Manage the business of the flock + Move the flock toward espoused goals + Repeat

Now replace the word Evangelists above with Consultants/External Coaches.

And replace the word Pastors with Managers/Internal Coaches.

All four leadership roles are tough and necessary. 

Living with the flock, however, is trickier.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022


Some of the pastors I've had over the years stand out prominently in my mind. The fondness of those memories have little -- or nothing -- to do with their oratory skills or deep biblical knowledge. What drew, and draws, me to them is their spirit.

What about their spirit influenced and influences me so? They were/are...

  • Kind
  • Calm
  • Caring
  • Selfless
  • Inclusive
  • Thoughtful
  • Empathetic
  • Non-judgmental
  • Service oriented
  • Powerful listeners
Neither pastors nor Christians have the market cornered on that stuff. What if we all..........

Our life IS our sermon.

Sunday, August 7, 2022


Leaders often delude ourselves into believing some things that actually work against us. Those faulty beliefs serve, rather, to hold us back. 

What kind of faulty beliefs limit our impact and effectiveness?

  • Culture is the by-product rather than the antecedent
  • Negative mindsets can be "fixed"
  • Perfection must precede deployment
  • Wisdom is isolated in an elite few
  • Control affects higher productivity
  • Transparency is too costly
  • Little things can be ignored
  • There is an endpoint to the work
  • Talk is more powerful than listening
  • "Stuff" is more important than people
Try reading each of those detrimental beliefs out loud, then pause briefly and say "NO!" (also out loud).

What are we to do, then? 

Break them chains!

Wednesday, August 3, 2022


Tackling tough tasks and challenging complex conundra is what leaders do. (The easy stuff is almost always handled down the hall or on another floor of the building.)

Consequently, our work disproportionately carries higher risk levels for failure. 

No prob! Failure is how we learn -- to improve, to adapt, to reassess, to re-engage, to re-imagine.

Some failure triggers to anticipate:

  • Information sharing among the team is sporadic, cluttered, or non-existent
  • Micromanagement and/or bureaucracy generate inertia
  • Poor onboarding processes of new team members
  • Launch or deployment time windows are too tight
  • Political protectionism
  • Resource famine

If we effectively forecast the triggers of failure, we stand a chance of interdicting or mitigating them.

Failure is rarely fatal. 

Fail Forward!

Monday, August 1, 2022


Leaders traffic in relationships. That's our jam.

We can either bolster or bruise those relationships through our actions.

Relationship bruisers include stuff like:

  • Devaluing
  • Disrespecting
  • Blame casting
  • Micromanaging

Relationship bolsterers look like this:
  • Caring, and showing it
  • Engaging -- personally, often, authentically
  • Acknowledging problems but focusing on solution crafting
  • Perseverating on the wildly important things (but keep 'em few)
  • Noticing, then acknowledging, effort and good work toward goals
  • Fostering a culture of learning by modeling what a Lead Learner looks like

We can energize others through our relationships. Or, we de-energize them.

Yep, it's our choice...