Archive for 2011

Challenges are Ripe for Learning

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Growing up, one of my favorite NFL coaches was Tom Landry.  I loved the quiet, calm reserve he demonstrated; seemingly never frustrated or elated.  I remember watching in amazement for his non-reaction whenever they would score.  Of course, I thought his trademark fedora was cool too! 

Landry has been criticized for his demeanor by his critics and players alike; claiming nobody seemed to really know him.  That was a disappointment to learn about my favorite coach, but I still admire him anyway. He was a revolutionary giant of the game of football with a winning record that still stands. 

Coach Landry once said, “I’ve learned that something constructive comes from every defeat.”  I believe, essentially, the same thing.  We learn more from life’s challenges, than we do from our successes.  (more…)

The Courage of Conviction

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I recently read Tony Dungy’s book called Quiet Strength.  I always liked Tony Dungy even before reading his book.  But now, I have an immense respect for him as a leader and a person.  The reason why, in a word, is conviction. 

 Coach Dungy stayed true to his convictions, his beliefs, through good times and in bad.  His courage of conviction inspired success!  In his book he wrote, “I think people look more closely at our actions in rough times, when the emotions are raw and our guard is down.  That’s when our true character shows and we find out if our faith is real.”  This is most certainly true of those in positions of leadership.  (more…)

Trust and Control

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Whether in the leadership role or a parental role, letting go is hard.  Whether delegating an important task to an employee, or releasing your adult child from your support, letting go is not easy.  Here’s the reason:  trust and control.  (more…)

Connecting with your Employee: Be Authentic

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Who are you?  Stop whatever you are doing and really think about that question.  Who are you?

 I’d been asked that question many times over the years, but until it was asked in the right context, I had never really given it much consideration.  But when I did, wow!  I couldn’t answer the question. 

I believe the reason I couldn’t answer the question is because for so many years I had simply defined myself by my professional title, VP of HR.  Who I  am is far deeper than simply a job title. 

 So how does this relate to employee connection and being authentic?  (more…)

Visibility Matters

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I recently heard this about the social media world:  If you are not there, no one will miss you.  With all the noise out there in the clouds, I have no doubt that is true.  However, that sentiment does not apply to leadership.  On the contrary, if you are not there, your employees will miss you. 

Whether you realize this or not your employees notice everything you do.  For instance, when you march into the office every morning, go straight to your office and close the door, they notice.  When you come out of your office and make a bee line to a meeting, to the break room or to your car at the end of the day, they notice.  What they notice is that you did not notice them! (more…)

Because Mom, We’re a Team!

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I am often humbled by the wisdom of my 13 year old son, a boy who came out of the womb with a football in one hand and a baseball glove on the other.  Since the age of 4 he’s been throwing, catching, hitting or kicking a ball with other kids – on and off the formal field of play.  He gets what team work is all about.

  (more…)

The Power of Positive Thinking

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A popular subject, I know.  But, please, endulge me a little and consider my own personal story on the power of the positive. 

Almost 3 months ago, I was diagnosed with a life threatening disease.  I could have let the news take me down and render me useless to myself, my family, my friends and colleagues or anyone around me.  But I didn’t!  (more…)

Intentional and Continual Learning

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Nothing energizes me more than an executive (or anyone in a leadership role, for that matter) who recognizes that they don’t know it all and still have room to grow.  I thoroughly enjoy observing the “aha” moments, helping my client develop actions plans for progress and hearing about the successful execution of something we’ve discussed or planned together. 

One of the most common “aha” moments I get to experience with my clients is when they make the breakthrough on building a truly effective connection with their peeps.  (more…)

Leading with a critical eye – Catch them doing something right!

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Our society has trained us to look at everyone and everything with a critical eye.  Nothing is ever good enough.  We have all become quality control inspector #13.  In just about any situation we might find ourselves being overly critical; thinking things like, “I wouldn’t have done it that way,” or “they could have done it this way for better results”.   If a project was completed as planned, instead of taking a moment to celebrate the accomplishment, we immediately jump to conducting a post mortem to see how we can do it better next time.  

As a leader it’s your job to be on the lookout for continuous improvement opportunities with a critical eye.  After all, you are responsible for the results.  But that’s just half the value of leading with a critical eye. 

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Don’t Forget Where You Came From!

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At my son’s Little League All Star game a few weeks ago I engaged in a conversation with the home plate umpire before the game started.  I asked him how long he had been umping little league games.  He said it had been 18 years.  He then proceeded to tell me about a conversation he had the night before with another long time umpire who had advanced to umping college ball.  In a nutshell it was a story about leadership and giving back, so it resonated with me and I want to share it with you.  This is how the conversation went: (more…)