“It’s What You Do, Not What You Say...

…If You’re Not Part of the Future, then Get Out of the Way.”Whenever I see these words to John Cougar Mellencamp’s song, “Peaceful World”, it reminds me that one of the biggest challenges leaders face is painting a clear picture of the intended future of their team, department, business or organization. This is the time of year where many leaders are doing just that, visualizing the intended future produced by strategic plans, budgets and resource allocations now ready to be executed in the upcoming new year. However, these documents aren't enough to dictate success as they are typically created by spreadsheets and analytics. Visions are realized through emotional engagement by members of an organization so having more than logical plans and budgets to achieve success is necessary. What is the story? ~ Before leaders share the picture of the intended future, they have to have a clear idea of the story...
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"Don't tell me...

...show me.”We define Integrity as the alignment of what you think, what we say and what we do such that they all tell the same story.  We are constantly judged on how these three dimensions align as we interact with others.  However, only two of these are visible to others and create the most common input to how others view us.  In personal settings, the misalignment between these elements may create some personal conflict.  As leaders, the misalignment between our words and our actions could ultimately destroy them!It is amazing to me the disconnect between what leaders say they will do and what they ultimately do without realizing the consequences of the disconnect!  For example, comments suggesting a leader is committed to the mission and strategy of the organization while that same leader consistently misses on meeting goals and delivering on the promise.  When it comes time to evaluate that leader’s...
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Never Stop Learning…

…because Life Never Stops Teaching.A common discussion over the past several months has been how leaders stay relevant in today’s dynamic economic and political environment.  What was relevant five years ago is passe’ today.  What is relevant today will likely be on its way to obsolescence three years from now.  What is even more surprising is how many leaders seem to believe they can stay relevant with the skills, knowledge and attitudes learned years before.  They lament the need for different outcomes for their business (for profit or non-profit) and yet spend little time actively engaging in the process of staying relevant, the process of continuous learning!  Let’s break down each of the key areas of learning with some ideas to stay relevant in each one.Learning Relevant Skills – Skills are the things you need to know how to do to be an effective leader.  Goal Planning, Effective Communications, Time Management/Priority...
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The Past is a Point of Reference…

...not a Place of Residence.“Comfortable”, “Predictable”, “Known” and “Familiar” are all terms we would like to describe our lives as leaders. Or would we? It is easy to rely on the past because it has already happened, something we have already seen and experiences making it familiar to us. The problem is that it is what was and likely not a good reflection of what will be. The question becomes how do we effectively use the past as a learning experience without allowing ourselves to get “stuck” living in it? Using the Past as a Point of Reference ~ We are all products of our past regardless of what that past looked like. It molds us into who we are due to its influence on the beliefs and attitudes that drive our daily actions. The key to learning from our past is to get beyond remembering only what happened in the...
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“What we see…

…depends mainly on what we look for.”It seems that everywhere we look in business writings these days, you will find multiple posts and articles on the importance of culture to business success. With all the expertise being distributed, you have to wonder why we haven’t figured it out by now!  The truth lies in the definition of culture combined with the accelerated speed of change we now find ourselves in as 21st Century leaders. A common definition I use with clients and my graduate students is where culture is the shared beliefs, values, attitudes, behaviors and norms that guide members of the organization. Based on this definition, we can conclude that culture exists in every organization large or small. While every organization has culture embedded in its DNA, the real question is whether the culture can support sustainable success through the vision and strategy of the business. How does a leader...
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