As the story is told, in the summer of 1969 Joni Mitchell chose an appearance on the Dick Cavett Show over a trip to Max Yasgur’s farm and in so doing missed out on her piece of rock and roll history as a performer at the epic spectacle known as Woodstock. She did however manage to insert herself forever into the remembrance of that event by penning “Woodstock”, the anthem. The song was first performed by her at The Big Sur Rock Festival a month after Woodstock, and subsequently included on her 1970 “Ladies of the Canyon” album. A decidedly up-tempo version would of course be made megafamous by CSNY on their “Déjà vu” release, one of the great albums of our time. So why begin a leadership blog with a rock history lesson? [Read more…]
Advice For Aspiring Leaders: Don’t Be That Guy!
As an operations executive, consultant and lifelong student of leadership, I have counseled with many hundreds of senior level executives over the last 40 odd years. Statistically speaking, the overwhelming majority under the bell curve have been well-meaning strivers who simply lacked certain emotional, intellectual or experiential skill sets. To their credit, most were willing to look in the mirror, face their deficiencies with some degree of integrity and at least attempt to effect positive change. Some were successful; many were not. But for the vast majority it can be fairly stated, they possessed enough self-awareness and courage to delve introspectively past the ego and into that scary place we all tend to avoid…The Authentic Self! [Read more…]
Awakening to Giftedness
“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens.” ~ Carl Jung
We transition from spirit to physical existence fully imbued with a generous and purposeful bounty of gifts. Our purpose as physical beings is threefold: 1. To awaken and remember the gifts with which we have been entrusted, 2. To animate, share and bless each other with our gifts in the moment(s) for which they were purposed by Spirit, and, 3. To receive and accept with love and gratitude the gifts shared with us by others. The challenge for anyone wishing to deepen personal relationships, or aspiring to develop as an enlightened, mindful leader is to side-step ego, embrace self-awareness and fully animate the call to share his or her unique giftedness in the workplace and in the world. [Read more…]
Your “Inner Other” – Connecting to Feminine & Masculine Leadership Energy
“Now is the time to unite the soul and the world. Now is the time to see the sunlight dancing as one with the shadows.” ~Rumi
February carries along with it all the male/female baggage humanity has lugged around for millenia. The ides of February are no less portentous for the yin and yang of gender-based relationships than the ides of March were for old Julius Caesar himself. In terms of organizational leadership and the much ballyhooed discussion of the effectiveness of male and female leaders and leadership traits, I would suggest a common ground…a safe and amicable place where X and Y chromosomes can come to mingle and imbibe each other’s graces and gifts. This safe place of growth and development lies within each of us..it is our “Inner Other”. [Read more…]
Lead with Gratitude – The Genetics of Thanksgiving
About a year ago I speculated in one of my leadership blogs that Gratitude might serve as a reliable genetic marker for identifying truly enlightened, conscious leaders. The article suggested it might be useful to have a biomedical test to assay the presence or absence of Gratitude in the DNA of aspiring managers in order to weed them out or counsel their development in areas of self-awareness, mindfulness and relationship. Wishful thinking perhaps, but an amusing speculation nonetheless. [Read more…]
Vulnerable Is The New Bold
“Start Close in. Don’t take the second step, or the third. Start with the first thing, close in; the step you don’t want to take.” ~ David Whyte
All too often leadership failure is simply the predictable outcome of a “failure to lead”. At first reading this might seem an obvious truism but stated a little differently one might say the greatest leadership failures result not from ill-conceived strategies or poorly articulated visions, but rather from resigned acceptance of current state and reticence to take initiative. The real failure is not that someone has failed at the act of leading, but rather that no one has acted to lead at all. [Read more…]
How long would you keep your job if…?
In the interest of brevity and clarity I promise this essay contains no outrageously obscure words or pompous rhetorical flourishes (in which I admit I occasionally indulge). Neither will it exceed 400 words. This is going to be straightforward and fourth-grade simple. Just answer this question: “How long would you keep your job if your performance was effective, useful, productive, correct or successful a mere one-third of the time?” [Read more…]
Wisdom Was Not Solomon’s Greatest Leadership Asset
Most of us have heard the biblical tale of the infant claimed by two new mothers and the clever gambit King Solomon employed to ferret out the truth of the matter. This oft-told story from the first book of Kings forms the basis of the ages-old desire of aspiring leaders to possess and exercise the “Wisdom of Solomon”. Among those familiar with the story, especially us leadership geeks, it is widely believed that the great secret of King Solomon’s success as a leader was the unparalleled wisdom gifted him by God. And like so many other widely-held beliefs, it is not entirely correct! [Read more…]
The Indispensable “I” in “Rebirth”
Can we all agree, the extraordinarily groan-worthy cliché, “There is no “I” in Team”, has been creeping around meeting rooms way too long? So at the risk of being branded cliché-by-proximity, I would like to ask you to think about a different “I” – the indispensable “I” in Rebirth.
Pervasive, positive change invariably traces its origins to a place deep within one human heart. Spawned and nurtured by constructive death, fragile seeds of transformation germinate and feed on the decaying remains of ego, namely: Pride, Anger, Arrogance, Resentment and Greed. From the humus of hubris spring forth the delicate sprouts of intellectual progress, emotional evolution and spiritual awakening. [Read more…]
R.O.I. = Return On Inspiration
Studies continue to pour in regarding the alarming levels of disengagement in the workplace. While the exact percentages vary from study to study, it is generally accepted that only one in three employees is “engaged”; one is “passive or detached”; and the third is “actively disengaged”. Stated in capital equipment terms – Of three machines: One is running consistently and capably; one is struggling to occasionally make standard; and one stumbles along far below capability. Such performance would never be accepted by a world class company. How then can we countenance the deplorable underutilization of creativity, enthusiasm and loyalty readily available to any organization, lying latent within the workforce? Better yet, how do we instill the trust required to change the dynamic from “Coerced Compliance” to “Enthusiastic Engagement”? [Read more…]