Forbes: Leaders, Dreaming Matters.

As published in Forbes. If I could impart one idea that would have the greatest potential to advance you and your future success, it would be this: Master the ability to dream. Now, I know this sounds light and fun. Perhaps even easy. It isn’t. The ability to dream is a discipline, and it is one that few of us are actually good at doing well or consistently. First, let me define what I mean by dreaming: the ability to focus your thoughts on ideas that give you energy. It is the skill of keeping your attention for an extended period of time on an outcome you want to create, often in the absence of any evidence that its realization is even possible. Dreaming is the ability to see in your mind’s eye a positive future and glimpse the realization of that future, and to experience the feeling of the dream’s realization along the way, such that the accomplishment of the dream is merely another rewarding moment in a long series of rewarding moments. Unfortunately, many of us have a hard time focusing our thoughts. Sure, we can think about an outcome that we want to occur — a successful [...]

The Real Work Required for Exceptional Communication

We often believe we must become something other than who we are in order to lead and communicate with power and presence. We do not. We need only to become fully ourselves. This sounds easy, except it isn’t. This is where the real work of leadership development exists: to know ourselves, accept ourselves, and our reason for being - our dreams, purpose and values. Then, we must have the courage to live our lives accordingly, to create the world we intend, and when challenged, criticized, or mocked, to stand firmly in our resolve (and often alone). Being fully one's Self - the best, highest version of ourselves - is power, strength and presence. And, exceptional leadership communication that engages, connects, aligns, and moves people to act, results. Here is an example

By |2022-04-15T08:23:37-07:00January 15th, 2022|Leadership, Leadership Communication, Leading Culture, Self-Mastery|

CU Insight: Real Conversations – The Five Questions Worksheet

As published in CU Insight When I ask executive audiences, “How many of you know that you need to have a conversation but you have been putting off actually having it?”, almost every hand will raise. Maybe your direct report hasn’t delivered the report when he said he would. Or perhaps you noticed how a newer team member has been a courageous voice on a challenging project. Whatever it is, we know we need to get better at addressing the real conversation, in real time, and to do so directly with the person or people involved. However, not many of us are comfortable doing so. Many prefer to avoid confrontation or any form of conflict. We are also surprisingly inept at sharing the positive impact others have upon our lives and/or the incredible contribution of their work. There are so many great things we think and feel about others that we simply do not share. For some, sharing the positive impact others have can be even more challenging than sharing the things we want them to do differently or better. After all, why provide feedback that sounds like praise? Isn’t it their job to get the work done well? We [...]

By |2020-11-06T10:08:46-08:00November 6th, 2020|Leadership Communication, Self-Mastery|

CU Management – Leadership Matters: How We Build and Break Trust

As published in CU Management. Practice these leadership fundamentals to consistently convey your intentions, competency and reliability. Although many of us have had to deal at some point with a senior manager who seemed to lack morals, empathy or sincerity, the majority of organizational leaders are not compulsive liars and cheats, out to pull one over on the rest of us. Most leaders are healthy, well-adjusted adults who have invested greatly for the opportunity to contribute to their chosen profession and industry. They are often highly educated, competent and want to do the right thing. They are you. Why, then, does a lack of trust plague so many professional relationships, teams, departments and organizations? As we work at leadership level, we might notice that we still have these kinds of thoughts: “He is so frustrating to deal with.” “I don’t like her.” “We can’t count on the sales team.” But what we are really saying is that the person or people involved have not fulfilled some necessary level of trust: “He is so frustrating to deal with because I don’t trust him to follow through.” “I don’t like her because I don’t trust that she has my best interest at [...]

FORBES – Joining The Executive Ranks? Begin with the end in mind.

As featured in Forbes. Beginning a new executive role is exciting. It can also be daunting and overwhelming, with so many people to meet and things to think about, prepare, do, and achieve. The role begins as soon as your position is announced and everything you do from that moment on communicates and has a significant impact. Your first three months are critical. Get these early days right and the positive momentum you establish can do a great deal of work for you, making everything that follows that much easier. Get distracted and fail to think through who you need to be, the relationships you need to build, the communications you must have, and the culture you must live and foster, and this important first impression opportunity is lost. If you are beginning as an executive (or simply want to be more effective in the role you currently hold), take pen to paper and answer the following questions. Then, place your answers where you can see them daily and schedule time to review your progress weekly. What kind of leader do I aspire to be? Who do I want and need to be to foster the ideal culture and to [...]

FORBES – Become A Better Communicator: One Simple Change That Changes Everything

As published in Forbes.  Listen to others speak, and one of the first things you will notice is how often people use words like “we,” “you,” “one” or “they” when they are really talking about themselves. For example: We are getting frustrated … You try to connect with millennials, but … If one hasn’t bought into the idea, then … They might not trust him … One of the smallest and most powerful changes we can make to significantly improve our communication is to replace these four words with “I”: I am getting frustrated … I try to connect with millennials, but … I have not bought into the idea, so … I don’t trust him … This one simple change changes everything, and it has a big payoff. When I speak from my own experience, my listener(s) experience me as more authentic, transparent and, often, trustworthy, all qualities we seek and expect from those we work with and through. Using “I” creates more trust because it actually is a more honest way to communicate. When I use the word “I,” I no longer get to hide behind vague identities like “one.” Instead, I immediately take ownership and accountability by [...]

By |2020-01-29T12:01:48-08:00January 29th, 2020|Leadership, Leadership Communication, Leading Culture, Self-Mastery|

FORBES: Artistic Unity – How To Radically Improve Your Leadership Communication

As published in Forbes. The human mind wanders. A lot. Almost a decade ago the Harvard Gazette reported that 47% of the time we are thinking about anything and everything other than what we are actually doing! In 2014, TIME reported that the average attention span, thanks to advances in technology, topped out a whopping eight-seconds, citing the attention-grabbing headline, You Now Have a Shorter Attention Span Than a Goldfish. However, apparently (but not surprisingly) many of us were too distracted to register these findings, as two years later they were reported again by the New York Times. Clearly, our monkey minds are alive (and not entirely well).  Mindfulness, which might be best defined as the ability to give our full attention to what it is we are doing, is now billion-dollar industry! This October, Europe hosted its first conference focused on how we can best incorporate mindfulness into our organizations, but I digress. With our minds so easily distracted and the pings from our “smart” phone only making matters worse, it is no wonder we misinterpret, misunderstand, or completely miss entire communications we ought to have received. It is also why others fail to act upon the vision, values, [...]

By |2021-08-12T14:31:36-07:00November 12th, 2018|Leadership Communication, Self-Mastery|

FORBES: More Humanity. Not Less.

As published in Forbes. Every true act of leadership has only one purpose: to make life better. As such, leadership is rooted in our humanity. It is curious then that so often we hide ourselves within a professional mask of what we think we ought to do and be, only to lose connection, both with ourselves and the people we are meant to serve. When we approach leadership, human “resources,” recruiting, coaching and professional development via mechanical methods, we generally miss the mark entirely. There are a lot of good leaders today. However, too often they lack the one quality that would make them truly great: their humanity. You see, being human is hard. Perhaps the hardest thing we ever do. After all, we seek leadership positions to fulfill our desire for power, control and authority. Yet to be human is to be weak and vulnerable, something most of us fight against our entire lives (and why we love superheroes, as they allow us, if only briefly, to escape our very limited human form). We don’t really understand the power of our humanity until life forces us to our knees, generally through challenging events like job loss, divorce, aging, illness [...]

By |2022-06-14T10:15:53-07:00December 20th, 2017|Leadership, Leadership Communication, Self-Mastery|

FORBES: Leadership. What Not To Do.

As published in Forbes. In my career, I have learned more about exceptional leadership by being on the receiving end of its opposite. Here are three fundamental things I have learned never do to others, simply because I know first-hand how damaging they can be. 1. Don’t lie. This includes blatant lies, half-truths and errors of omission. If you make a mistake, own it, clean it up, and apologize to all impacted. If you don’t know the answer, say so. Be transparent, sharing your thinking and your decision making process. Share what you can, as soon as you can, so people don’t need to make up a story. Be brave, pick up the phone and have the real (and often hard) conversation with the person you need to have it with. Live your values, as everyone is always watching. Call yourself on your own bull. This is perhaps the most important one, as few human beings handle power well. Keep your ego in check. When you need help, ask for it. Be human alongside the rest of us mortals. Remember whom you serve. Keep your promises. Be your word. Address reality. Discuss the undiscussables. Do the right thing. I repeat: [...]

By |2017-12-18T12:14:27-08:00November 18th, 2017|Leadership, Leadership Coaching, Leadership Communication|

FORBES: What Really Defines Leadership in Today’s World?

As published in Forbes. Lately, I have been thinking about what makes a leader in today’s world. Are we leaders simply because others report to us, or because we are responsible for an area of the business? Are we leaders because we have a future vision that no one else seems to be able to see just yet? Or is the answer that we are only leaders when others are following? After all, how can we call ourselves leaders if, when we turn around, no one is following us or the initiatives we need them to support? After much contemplation, I propose that a leader today is someone who sparks in us a desire to help. In our networked, matrixed, dotted-lined, ever-changing organizational structures, a leader today must be a follower tomorrow, and vice versa. Therefore, we are not leaders simply because of our titles or responsibilities, nor are we leaders because we have a vision for the future. What makes us leaders is our ability to connect with others in a way that makes them want to help us. I once received an email from a new colleague in Asia. This colleague needed information she hoped I could provide. [...]

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