Archives For Leadership

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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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 Insider

joe —  Sat 22-Feb-14

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…

Because I Said So

joe —  Sat 1-Feb-14

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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