Kevin Eikenberry

I don’t often (OK, basically never) write about politics or the political system, except to look for lessons we can learn from what our leaders are doing (or not doing). That’s where this piece will end, but first, a bit of a rant. Why can’t our Congress and our president get along? I mean, we have serious issues facing us as a nation and they just keep kicking issues further out on the calendar like a little boy kicks a dented can down the sidewalk.

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Last week, I wrote about a dialogue disaster, and this week I want to talk more about dialogue because it is such an important way to communicate with others.

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It happens everywhere I go — and it does to you too — if you notice (and aren’t doing it yourself) … Last winter I was at my daughter’s first middle school swim meet, and I was appalled. Not by the contestants, actually I was inspired by their performances, support for each other and more, but that is for another time. I was appalled by the spectators.

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This is a blog about leadership, so I want to use recent events to help us see some truths about leadership, not take a political side or further an agenda. I see three specific and immediate things for us to learn as leaders from the launch and failures of the healthcare.gov website.

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Because you are reading these words, I am confident you are a believer in ongoing learning and development for yourself and those you lead. Precisely because this is your bias, you may find it hard to understand why your team members aren’t anxiously looking forward to attending the training you offer them or that is in some way made available to them.

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Let me get personal and direct and maybe even get in your face a bit. If you want change to happen in your organization, you’ve got to be willing to change too. More than willing; you must change.

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Perhaps the oldest conundrum of all is — which came first, the chicken or the egg? Perhaps the oldest in the minds of savvy leaders is what is more important, my Customers or my Employees?

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As we plan for the annual goal-setting process (if yours isn’t upon you yet, it will be soon), this is an important question for both your team and for you personally. I’m going to address it for you here because I believe if you want your team to set goals, you should be setting them too.

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It is almost that time of year. It’s about time to start setting your goals for next year. I know it might not be time quite yet, but chances are it is coming. My advice today may be a bit controversial or challenge your assumptions. Are you ready? Don’t set goals. Am I serious? Kinda …

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We all want to pay the mortgage, eat and live comfortably; but is money the only or most important reason we go to work? As a leader it is important to think about this question from two perspectives, so let’s do each of them now.

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