Earlier this week, I was leading a workshop for a group of leaders in a company that’s been around for a long time. They’re at the beginning of an enterprise wide, top to bottom reimagining of the business. There’s a mix of excitement, ambiguity and uncertainty in the air. Everyone knows that big changes are […]
Being busy makes you stupid. And when I say, “you”, I mean me. Heck, I’ll just say it out loud. Being busy makes me stupid. I realized this in a conversation with my wife on Friday night. We were out for a long, relaxed “just the two of us” dinner. Of course, we had scheduled […]
About a month ago today, I was a guest on the US Coast Guard Cutter Venturous leaving their station in St. Petersburg, Florida and getting under way for a patrol in the Florida Straits. In this last of the videos from the trip that I’ll be posting on this blog, you can see what it […]
Let’s hear it for Doug Elmendorf! It’s possible that, as was the case with me until yesterday afternoon, you don’t know who Doug Elmendorf is. He runs the Congressional Budget Office and was the star witness at a hearing of the Congressional Super Committee charged with reducing the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion. I heard […]
Since my compulsion is to look at most things from a leadership angle, here are a few lessons I’ve learned so far from the practice of yoga: 1. Every day is different and is its own day. Yesterday is over. 2. Improvement comes incrementally, then suddenly. 3. Breathing can focus you. 4. Invest in your team and the results will follow.
Watching the ceremonies on TV yesterday, I was struck by the beauty of the 9/11 memorial in New York. It’s a park built around the footprints of the World Trade Center towers and waterfalls flow into the footprints. Looking at the memorial, I was reminded of the first time I saw Ground Zero after the […]
There are a lot of memories coming to the surface as the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks approaches. Of course, some of the most vivid memories are of the first responders who showed so much courage and skill in the minutes, hours and days after the attacks. Even though they had never dealt […]
Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post
This Marriage (Customer, Team, Leader) Be Saved? in which I
referenced a book called The
5 Love Languages and riffed a bit on how
those might be applied at work. A couple of days later, I got a
nice email from Dr. Paul White letting me know that he was co-authoring
a book with Dr. Gary Chapman, the author of Love
Languages, on how they could be applied in the
It’s out now and is called The
5 Languages of Appreciation in the
Workplace. I spent some
time talking with Dr. White yesterday and, with his permission, recorded
the call so you could listen in. He talks about what the research says
about motivating through appreciation and the top ways in which most
people want to be appreciated. Here’s the interview:
He was also nice enough to share his
top ten easiest ways to show appreciation to almost anyone.
You can download that here.
This stuff is easy to do and likely to make a difference, folks. Think about it:
- What kind of difference does it make for you when your boss or a co-worker expresses their appreciation?
kind of difference would it make for your team members if you expressed
your appreciation in a way that works for them (hint:
something beyond the “great job everyone” email)?
is your number one idea for anyone who wants to do a better job of
showing appreciation to others at work?
There’s lots of speculation
about what President Obama will say in his jobs creation strategy speech
to Congress on Thursday night. Will he be bold?
Will he be meek? Will he seek compromise? Will he draw a line
in the sand?
Perhaps the most important question
is will he offer a viable strategy for creating jobs and reducing the
unemployment rate? Lately, I’ve been reading a book that will help you
and me answer that last question. It’s called
Strategy Bad Strategy by UCLA business
professor Richard Rumelt. Back in December 2008, Rumelt wrote in the McKinsey
Quarterly that the great recession was
not the typical downturn, but a structural break that would require
difficult fundamental changes to get the economy back on track. Almost
three years later, it looks like he called it.
Since one of the basic jobs of leadership is to define a strategy
that can lead to success, Thursday’s speech provides an opportunity for
an evaluative case study. In Good
Strategy Bad Strategy, Rumelt says that there
are three key elements that represent the kernel of any good strategy.
Conversely, there are three signs of a bad strategy.
So, building on what Rumelt offers, here’s your
viewer’s guide to whether the President is offering a good jobs strategy
or a bad jobs strategy on Thursday night. (The guide just might help
you in your next strategy conversation as well.)
Long term readers of this blog may have
noticed that I don’t write nearly as many posts as I used to that are
based on politics. There are a couple of reasons for that. First, I try
to keep this blog in the ballpark of leadership news you can use and
there just aren’t that many good examples coming from our national
political leaders. That leads to the second reason I’m not writing about
them much anymore. What they’re doing is just flat out
So today’s post is a bit of a combo
platter. On the one hand, it’s a cry of frustration. On the other, it’s
one of those learn what to do by not doing what they’re doing
Before Congress recessed for summer
vacation and the President left for Martha’s Vineyard, the two sides
(Why is it always about the two sides anymore anyway? Ah, but I
digress.) took each other and the country to the brink by
locking horns over the debt ceiling. Historians may well look back on
that fiasco as the tipping point into complete dysfunction. I guess it
was too much to hope that as our leaders took some vacation that they
would step back, reflect on what happened and come back ready to do
things differently for the good of the country.
Yeah, that was too much to hope for apparently. In scheduling his
much anticipated speech on jobs creation (the New York Times has the
recap), the President asked for a joint session of Congress on
the same night as the first Republican debate to have all of the
current candidates in the field. Of course, the White House press office
claimed that this was a mere coincidence and that they had never
considered big footing the GOP. Not to worry, the Speaker of the House,
in a historically unprecedented move, rejected the President’s request
for a joint session. After an afternoon of naming, blaming and stare
downs, the White House relented. The joint session speech is now
scheduled for the next night, the start of the new season of the NFL.
So, what’s the leadership lesson
in all of this? There aren’t any good ones. So let’s look for the