“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people...

LV-Logo-v1-1024x386 How is your voice improving your effective leadership?
...but the silence over that by the good people.”I have written in this forum every month since we started RPC Leadership Associates, Inc. twelve years ago. The first post that year related directly to my military career titled, “Everyone looks like an effective leader...until the enemy shows up.” It was an expression used both in the military and in my business career to highlight the importance of effective leadership, of being an example to follow in any situation. As I reflect on more recent events, the words in the title by Martin Luther King resonated as the voices of effective leaders become more and more important in this dynamic business environment.What, then, does it mean for leaders to exercise their voice and how can they become comfortable with the associated risk? Based on my own experience, I believe there are three key foundational elements to finding one’s leadership voice.Integrity ~ effective...
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"The absence of conflict…

…does not equal the presence of trust.”Just over five years ago, I wrote these words in a blog detailing the important elements of trust. They recently came back to me as the topic surfaced as a key element of so many coaching conversations over the last several months.  There was a leader struggling to verbalize the diminished trust they had with a key associate. Or the leadership team concerned that a public proclamation of trust as a value would somehow have a negative effect (images of the sleazy salesperson who leads with “trust me” accompanied by a sly grin!) These, and other similar conversations, have me wondering why something so obviously key to effective leadership would be so difficult to verbalize. Upon reflection, I found the conversation broke down to two primary categories of trust; Ethics and Compliance, both of which we’ll explore a little deeper. Trust based on Ethics –...
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The Courage of the Samurai

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Several months ago, I was asked to read a book that was recommended to me through a source that I did not know well, something that I do not normally do.  However, after several inquiries and because the title and subject intrigued me, I agreed to read the book and provide my thoughts.  I am so very glad I did!  “The Courage of the Samurai – Seven Sword-Sharp Principles of Success.” by Lori Tsugawa Whaley is an easy to read history of the Samurai combined with how the philosophy can be applied in today’s context.  The author brings in examples from business, the military and her own personal examples to highlight lessons learned from this philosophy rich in tradition. My favorite chapters covered the principles of Integrity (Gi) in Chapter 2 and Loyalty (Chuugi) in Chapter 7.  The other five principles covered include Courage, Benevolence, Respect, Honesty and Honor.  These two...
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"Don't tell me...

Integrity1 What narrative are your words and actions telling your followers?
...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...
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ROI - Return on Integrity

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As we find ourselves in ever more challenging leadership situations across business, politics, religion and sports, I find myself looking more deeply into what effective 21st leadership really is and why it seems to so difficult to achieve.  As if he was reading my mind, John Blumberg comes along with his new book, “ROI ~ Return on Integrity, The New Definition of ROI and Why Leaders Need to Know It”.  It is unlike many leadership books in that it’s not a book of answers as much as it is a book of questions to help leaders get better answers to help them lead with integrity. My favorite chapters are Chapter 2, Discovering the Drift and Chapter 12, The Call of Every Leader.  In Chapter 2 he speaks of the drift that I have heard John speak of many times before in his speeches and keynotes.  It is a direct reminder that...
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Your ‘Yes’ means nothing…

…if you can’t say ‘No’It seems the hardest thing to do in business these days is to say ‘No’ to someone else.  We can think of plenty of times we regret saying ‘Yes’ when we knew damn well it was going to mess up our current priorities, or worse, put us in a position to be less effective than we are capable of.  Let me just put it out there now; ‘No’ is a legitimate response in any business if it is, in fact, the appropriate response for the situation.  While most would agree to this fact intellectually, the majority still struggle with actually doing so!  Why is that?As a business leader, part of the art of the profession is making effective knowledge-based decisions.  A crucial ingredient to this decision-making process is listening to insights from those who work for you; including insights that may disagree with your own thoughts on...
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To Be a Better Leader...

Integrity What will your leadership destiny be?
…Be a Better Person and Lead Naturally. I came across these words many years ago and they are one of the key influences behind the RPC Leadership Associates, Inc. Vision of “Making Leadership a Way of Life”.  Far too many people rely solely on a class, a book or a workshop to become better leaders.  What they fail to fully realize is the importance of understanding who they are as a foundation for effective leadership development. So what do we mean by being a better person as a foundation for being a better leader?  In a word, integrity!  More specifically, personal integrity defined as our beliefs, our words and our actions all telling the same story.  We all know people from our past or present who we know believe in one thing and say another, or those who say one thing and do another.  These people are "out of integrity" as there...
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Well Done Is better than Well Said

Recently we spoke of Authenticity and how we discern who we really are behind the behavior that represents what the outside world sees of us, our mask if you will. Leaders especially are faced with crucial decisions that may challenge their ability to be authentic. What they have to fall back on in tough situations is their integrity. It is a value so often thrown around like so many buzzwords and we, unfortunately, see the negative results around us in business, politics and even sports. In his 1996 book "Integrity", Yale Law Professor Stephen L. Carter writes that integrity requires three steps: "discerning what is right and what is wrong; acting on what you have discerned, even at personal cost; and saying openly that you are acting on your understanding of right from wrong.” Each of these points is crucial to being a true leader of integrity. Discerning what is right and wrong...
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It is Choice not Chance, that Determines Your Destiny

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"It is Choice not Chance, that Determines Your Destiny" ~ Jean NidetchI recently came across two separate events in the last several months promoting this month’s topic on Choice. The first was several conversations with people who were talking about how they had let chance govern their career choices and how they now were struggling to make their own choices about where their careers would go from here. The second was several graduate students caught turning in papers as their own when they had, in fact, purchased them online. The first group had the opportunity to choose, but couldn’t. The second group had the opportunity to choose and chose poorly. It had me thinking, why are these choices so difficult?Alfred Montepart once said, “Nobody ever did, or ever will, escape the consequences of his choices.” Being an effective leader in today’s global business environment requires a multitude of daily choices and every...
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