Archives For Leadership

Topics related to leading others as well yourself.

What would you say you do hereAs I get older, I tend to get more and more retrospective questions. The one I get the most often is “What do you look for when you hire a leader?”

Sure, there are those things that have been enumerated countless times in countless books by countless authors. Those are table stakes (or as a friend of mine once said, “steaks on a table.”) But there are three things that I don’t see in those books that separate my best leaders from the good ones.

My Best Leaders…

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Vuja De

joe —  Sun 2-Sep-18

Don t Screw Up TodayTomorrow I start my next gig at a new company. Today, I am focused of the four words that can ruin that opportunity. I am serious, these words send a shiver down my spine when I think about how much damage they can do to someone coming into a leadership role at a new company.

As I get older I find these words creeping into conversations with my peers more often. Unfortunately, I am often the one blindly saying them. It’s only four words, a simple turn of a phrase, so how bad could it be?

Imagine you are informing your team of a challenge you are facing, when out of the corner of the room your boss chimes in with:
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Building a Mystery

joe —  Mon 13-Aug-18

What to wearI’ve always wondered what the giants of our industry were like their first day at work. Were they different from everybody else or just yet another rookie in the bullpen?

There are countless stories retelling a CEO’s rise to power, each describing situations where some critical trait of the soon-to-be giant propelled them past their challenges. If you were to sticky note (yes I made that a verb) all of these traits from all of these stories, I don’t believe there is a wall large enough to accommodate them. I do believe, however, that there is one trait every single one of them have in common.
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On (a)gile Leadership

joe —  Sat 14-Jul-18

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

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

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…