The Power of Story

I was with some friends the other day and we started talking about story telling. Now some of you know that one of my creative practices is called Interplay that is an improvisational art form that uses storytelling, movement and singing to promote innovation and new ideas for individuals and groups. As part of our weekly practice we work on telling stories and strengthening the“bones” of our story telling skills. As we were going around the room and working on our stories, one of the members mentioned that she uses storytelling as a way to help her team at work to “replay the tapes” of how they interact with customers and clients following sales and marketing meetings. When she first Read More

Are You Linking?

A couple of weeks ago, I received an invite from someone on Linkedin who I did not know. It wasn’t that I didn’t know him, but I had no idea of who he was. So I checked out his profile (the little of it I was able to see) and determined that I was a random hit for him and decided to opt out (what if he was actually a serial killer?) Now I have to admit that I like and use Linkedin. It helps me build my email list, provides me access to certain groups where I can exchange information with others and keeps me up to date with colleagues who are busy building their professional network. I often Read More

John Wooden’s Promises to Himself

John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach for the UCLA Bruins was called the Wizard of Westwood. He is the most successful collegiate basketball coach in history winning 10 national championships. Perhaps more importantly, he was recognized by everyone as a leader who understood people and how to get the most out of them while helping them to become great people. According to his biography, from the age of 12, Coach Wooden carried around his credo for success that included 9 promises by which he tried to live his life: Promise yourself that you will talk health, happiness, and prosperity as often as possible. Promise yourself to make all your friends know there is something in them that is special that Read More


Good leaders must be precise and accurate in their language. People follow what leaders say and a single misspoken word here or there determine understanding misunderstanding for your audience. Listening to a radio show yesterday about the financial markets this week reminded me of my top three misspoken phrases: But: I think most of us know that “but” is a negation. Whatever was said ahead of the word is discounted by what is said afterwards. “Susan, I like your thinking about how we can address that problem, but I think there is a fatal flaw to your idea”. Instead use the word “and” which creates a more inclusive aspect to your message and does not trash the first half of Read More

May I Have this Dance?

A story in this Sunday’s New York Times was about the CEO of Kinetic Concepts, a biotech company that specializes in wound care. The story about Catherine Burzik tells of how she exceeded her college dreams of becoming a teacher to become a key member of the Kodak corporation before discovering her calling to use technology in health care which led to a new career with J&J before moving onto her current company. But what I loved about her story is that she and her husband Frank are ball room dancers and use dancing as a metaphor for how important it is for a leader to be connected to your staff, colleagues and customers. She describes how she has to Read More

9/11 Evidence—We’re More Resilient Than They Thought We Were

A report due out next month by the American Psychological Association will show that people are far more resilient that first thought. The research is based on finding of New Yorkers who experienced the events associated with 9/11. Psychologists who are experts on crisis events estimated that up to 35% of the people who directly experienced the events that Tuesday morning would suffer from post-traumatic stress. Studies done later on indicated that rates were closer to 10% with rates for kids being a bit higher. The other interesting finding was that the traditional approach to dealing with crisis events—to have people talk about and re-experience the events don’t work for many people and can be harmful to others by prolonging Read More

Do Leaders Need Strategy?

I was following a forum thread recently that was discussing strategy. The question that was posed was “What makes a good strategy?” “How often should it be updated?” and “How has it changed over the past several years?” The usual response of answers provided a good framework for discussion including That it is a practicable plan that helps achieve a major objective. Should focus on what you are good at. Should be reviewed as often as necessary And that you should add the “why” question to the “what” (strategy) and “how”( tactic) question. The why question helps answer “why the heck are we doing this after all?” A more interesting point was raised about whether individuals should have a strategy Read More