Archives For Leadership

Topics related to leading others as well yourself.

On (a)gile Leadership

joe —  Sat 14-Jul-18
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I’m not much fun at the movies or even watching TV. For some reason I lose interest in the main plot and find myself more interested in what happened to Little Bo Peep in Toy Story 3. She was Woody’s gal for the first two movies and now no mention of her?

Same thing happened when watching this wonderful two minute video. Take a look and tell me who the hero of this story is.

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Synchronized swimmerA friend once asked, “What is the dumbest question anyone has asked you?” I didn’t have an answer then and still don’t. Though done in jest, my response of “That one?” wasn’t taken well.

Like many, I have been programmed with the mantra that there are no stupid questions. I believe that. Every question has a potential to strip a way a little varnish of ignorance that runs deep in ourselves. That doesn’t mean every question uttered was a wise one, though.

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How Matters

joe —  Fri 27-Nov-15
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Farmer in Field copyThe older I get the more I come to grips with how little I really know. Yet, the older I get the more I find others look to me for the answers. I actually had someone recently introduce me as an expert on a subject. Wow, that couldn’t be any further from the truth.

I have never liked the word expert. It goes into the pool of words like cloud, omni-channel, and platform – words that get recklessly bandied about to have lost any real meaning. Yet, rare is the week when I don’t hear someone labelling themselves as an expert at something. I am pretty sure this is why God invented the eye-roll.

I recall a friend’s breakdown of an expert.

Ex – Former
Spurt – A drip under pressure
Seems about right to me.

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The Dream Crusher

joe —  Fri 10-Apr-15
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Christmas Meets MinIt was a Monday. I don’t think I made a very good impression that day. I was only a few weeks into my new role as the head of a team that had been together for quite while. I recall the day because of the look one gentleman in particular gave me after a comment I had made. It was as if I had crushed his dream. What I said was right, but that didn’t seem to matter. I still crushed his dream. With two simple words, I also dented a number of other ambitions, as well.

The words “Meets Min,” short for “meets the minimum requirements,” is not an aspirational phrase. There aren’t any motivational posters praising the emotional excitement of doing only that which is absolutely required. Yet, that is the advice I had given Steve that threw him into a tailspin. Continue Reading…

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The Insider

joe —  Sat 22-Feb-14
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Cat PenguinThe one practice that I thought was most helpful in my early career became something that I now avoid – the insider.

An insider is a member of your team that seems to have his finger on the pulse of what others are doing, thinking, and feeling. He is a great way to test your ideas before taking them to a larger audience. He is connected to everyone and has a great capacity to help you understand what your team is thinking. Most importantly, an insider brings you insights about your team that you may not have otherwise understood. Team members often feel uncomfortable telling you something because you are the boss. An insider helps bridge that gap. He fully believes that he is helping both you and the team connect. Continue Reading…

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Because I Said So

joe —  Sat 1-Feb-14
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Luke and PopI realized that I had officially become “that” parent when I first uttered the words, “because I said so” to my kids. Growing up, I promised that I would never repeat my mother’s words. I did it anyway.

I don’t recall the event. It was probably one of the kids asking why they had to take a bath. But, I do remember the emotional tension of feeling both ultimately powerful and a total sell-out.

“Because I said so” is almost always preceded by “Why?” A person asks “why” when they are seeking meaning. They are trying to bridge what they know with something they don’t understand. It usually has an implied counterpoint. “Dad, why is it important that I take my bath right now instead of finishing My Little Pony?” As parents, we should applaud the “why” as it indicates they are seeking understanding.

Unfortunately, the question most likely comes after we have suffered the slings and arrows of work life and a brutal commute home. We know it is going to take time to explain why and in all likelihood they may not agree with our adult logic when we finish. It would be more efficient to tell them, “Because I said so.” The result is going to be the same, regardless. They will take their bath. Why not just cut to the chase?

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Unnatural Leadership

joe —  Sun 2-Jun-13
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Cat leaderOf all the questions I get from aspiring leaders, the one that I hear the most often is, “What is your definition of a leader?”

I’ve had many definitions over the years, but none of them have resonated with me. They range from the Forrest Gumpian:

“A leader is as a leader does.”

to the more circular definition:

“A person who has followers.”

(Guess what a follower is?)

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