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A Foolproof Process For Acting Courageously

Over the years I have found and seen in others that courage is easy to talk about: put into corporate “core values,” notice when someone does a courageous act, proclaim it as key to leadership. We inherently know that even the smallest acts of courage cause an enormous, positive ripple effect to ourselves, others, places ...

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I Changed, Where is Everybody Else?

Some of the best advice I got from a senior leader during a Leadership Challenge 360 feedback process was, “You’re always three meetings ahead of everybody. Where you want to go is right for the organization, but you need to bring everybody along.” I struggled with that feedback, until I actually tried “bringing others along” and ...

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3 Tips For Being More Strategic, Starting Now

In the last post about strategic thinking skills, no places have been more important for strategy than in chess and war. In those contexts, strategy intended to render opponents useless. Somehow, that made its way into corporations, where also through strategy, we wage a different battle with products and services. Just as humility, integrity and ...

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There’s Something Missing from Most Leadership Advice

I’ve probably said this before, but do a search on “leadership” books on Amazon.com and you’ll find literally millions of titles. Frequently, themes focus on leadership “behaviors” such as integrity, humility, collaboration, listening to others, creating a vision, inspiring others, taking risks, modeling good behavior and so on. But what about being strategic? I admit, ...

Top 5 Leadership Insights Learned from 8-year-olds at an Art Studio

This is another post in the “everyday leadership” category. One must follow one’s inspiration, and everyday events have surprised me lately. This time, it’s not a family reunion or hockey team helping out at church that offered leadership inspiration, but rather my daughters’ eighth birthday party at a Minneapolis open art studio, Simply Jane. It’s clear creative ...

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Are Leaders Actually Born, Not Made?

My daughters and I volunteer for a church “KidPack” program where youth groups come and pack food for local elementary school kids to take home for the weekend. This week, a middle-school aged hockey team of about 20 kids helped out. As they repeatedly made their way around the table packing bags of food, there ...

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Top 6 Tips for Being a Great Parent, I Mean, Leader

Thought for the week: consider how leadership and parenting are similar. I’m amazed that JUST when I think I have my twins figured out — what they’re passionate about, what makes them anxious, who they like and why — it changes. As a parent (and recovering control freak), I’m learning to turn off frustration with this ...

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To D or Not to D, That is the Question

Directing versus influencing: a leadership debate as old as the leadership topic itself. In today’s global workplace graced with telecommunication abundance and co-workers and customers all over the world, the pendulum of leadership advice is swinging toward favoring influencing skills: that coveted ability to collaborate, effectively negotiate the sea of changing stakeholders, reach common goals while everyone ...

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What Great Leaders and Jerry Maguire Have in Common

One of my favorite movies is Jerry Maguire. There is much of your typical “integrity and character” fodder. But, what really resonated when I saw it 15 years ago and then recently was the loneliness that can sometimes accompany true leadership or pushing change. There are many things you probably inferred, or that supervisors and mentors ...

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The Smallest Acts Have the Biggest Impact

Recently, a dear friend, former boss and mentor passed away. It was such a shock, and I spent days processing all these memories I hadn’t thought of for years: insightful perspectives she had, ways we worked together and observing her subtle, but universally respected, leadership style. I had just seen her. One particular memory stood ...

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