“Strap yourselves in…

…we’re going to jump to light speed!” I still remember the audience’s reaction to this scene in the Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977. We had never seen anything like it on the big screen until then and, of course, now it seems almost archaic! Today’s 21 st Century Business environment can feel very much like everything is moving at perpetual light speed. It is also this metaphor we use to highlight the first of five Keys to Success initially mentioned in last month’s newsletter ( click here to read ). The first Key to Success is Get Ready to Warp (another name for Light Speed). Simply stated, it is not the ability to adapt that matters as much as the speed at which the leader is able to adapt in order to stay relevant. Here are three things a 21 st Century Leader can do to stay relevant: How...
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"Are You Playing to Win...

…or playing not to lose?” This is a common question I ask all my clients at one point or another during our time working together. Whether they are a corporate leader over a business unit or division, a non-profit leader of an agency or association, an entrepreneur or small business owner or even a high school student leader, the intent of the question is always the same. Are they embracing risk or are they avoiding failure? Are they focused on the future or are they leaning too heavily on the past? The question usually comes up as the leader is struggling on some level to lead at the speed of business! In my own experience working with leaders at all levels described above, there are five keys to success when leading oneself/a team/an organization in 21 st Century business. Collectively these keys to success support a leadership mindset focused on setting...
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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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"Every Obstacle is Destroyed...

…through Rigor.” January is that time of year where many organizational and individual leaders trot out new goals to advance their businesses and themselves. Their process of setting these goals can be simplified down to basically two steps. Step one: identify the goal itself. Step two: identify the action steps to accomplish the goal. If there were a third step it would most likely look like: hope it works! Sad, but true, in far too many cases. Rarely do I ask a prospect or new client what their goals are first. What I ask first is what their goal planning process is to achieve their goals. This question, which rarely gets a confident and definitive answer, is much more foundational to success than what the actual goals are. Without a process, the goals themselves mean nothing! Because goals are top-of-mind this time of year, I would propose components of a goal...
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“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...
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