The 5 Glitches

I was listening to an interview that Krista Tippit (from the podcast and radio show On Being) did with Sylvia Boorstein, who is a Buddhist teacher and psychotherapist living in Detroit. She talked about Buddhism’s five “genetic fallback glitches,” which are biological explanations for how we behave when we are challenged. These are: Fretting or worrying (anxiety) Anger Discouragement Self-blame Seek out comfort (“where’s the chocolate?”) Her point, which we’ve seen validated in our work with leaders and in organizations, is that under stress we usually default to a particular set of behaviors that seem to be hardwired into us. She points out that these are not moral flaws, worthy of additional flagellation, but instead to be thought of as Read More

Going Beyond

Last week the hottest IPO of the year came on the stock market. Beyond Meat (symbol sticker BYND) was priced at $25/share but opened at $46 a share and closed the week at $66.79, up a whopping 163%. Are you ready for your next soy based “Beyond Burger,” now available at TGIFridays, Del Taco and your neighborhood Safeway? The push to plant-based foods has its origins in many places. Of course, healthier eating is usually cited first and foremost, but environmentalists like to point out that 25% of all greenhouse gases are contributed by livestock flatulence and decomposing poop. Cattle housed in close quarters are fed low doses of antibiotics raising concerns about antibiotic resistant germs and finally animal welfare Read More

Settling Down

In the movie “The Right Stuff,” actor Ed Harris, playing John Glenn starts humming “Battle Hymn of the Republic” during re-entry from his first orbital flight. His fellow astronauts on the ground remind everyone that this is how Glenn deals with stress and of course, he makes it back, cool as a cucumber from that fiery ordeal. Wouldn’t it be nice if we call could just settle ourselves down even in the most challenging of situations? Guess what, we can. All we need is to do a little self-soothing, just like Astronaut Glenn. I’ve been reading a lot about self-soothing recently and seeing ways that it is a powerful tool for mitigating stress. The notion of self-soothing, is that we Read More

Our Search for Heroes

I’ve always been a fan of Tiger Woods and most probably, so have you. As a golfer, I’m in awe of his shot making prowess, determined focus and theatrical understanding that professional sports are all about entertainment. His success as an African American golfer has broken barriers for young boys and girls of color who previously saw this sport as inaccessible. He sacrificed much of his life in pursuit of his goals and his success shined such a bright light on him that there was probably a weigh station that was in his path to greatness. He found that in 2009. Tiger lost his way that Thanksgiving weekend and, along with those salacious stories, we all lost a bit of Read More

Turn Up The Heat

In our new book, Retooling Leadership Development, Michael Couch and I write about the importance of leaders taking on hard challenges as a way to learn and grow. The challenges must have what we call “developmental heat.” They can’t be easy, and they have to create some adversity that forces the leader to think about things differently and to try out new behaviors. Recently I was working with a newly promoted division leader who was focused on being the lead on a key project implementation. He had all the plans and team members aligned but then found out that there was a core disagreement at the between 2 C-Suite leaders about the best way to proceed on the project…or to Read More

Running the Family Business

My first foray into a family run business happened early in my life when I use to help out my mom and dad at their small retail paint store. I greeted customers, helped them find the right kind of paint and even got to work with the paint shaking machine, which was the most fun. There was something satisfying but challenging about running a family business, but it was obviously not in my parent’s genes as they gave it up for successful corporate careers. I’ve been working with a number of family businesses lately and while they face the challenges of every business, being a family concern adds an additional layer of complexity and enjoyment. There is no leaving work Read More

The Skill of Letting Go

Leaders must be good at self-management. It is one of the themes my colleague Mike Couch and I discuss in our upcoming book, Retooling Leadership Development. One area of the “self-management” refrain related to how leaders deal with the daily tsunami of emails that come across their desk. We find that some leaders try to stay on top of them on “as they come in basis,” some on a “3X a day basis,” and some on a “whenever they can get to them basis.” I was working with a leader last week who told me that he had over 5000 emails going back several years and was not sure what to do about them. He frequently obsessed about them, sometimes Read More

Retooling Leadership Development: Our New Book

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal discussed a seismic shift in how people view their jobs. According to surveys completed by the Gallup Organization, the vast majority of workers now state that having a great life comes from having a great job. The article goes on to say that the best way to have a great job is to have a great boss who knows what she or he is doing. This leads, of course, to engaged employees who put discretionary energy into getting more done in the workplace. Creating great managers is a theme of our new book, co-written with my good friend and colleague, Michael Couch. Just this past week, Mike and I signed a contract Read More

Don’t Make Boeing’s Mistake Your Mistake

It’s been just about a week since Boeing 737 Max airplanes were grounded around the world. We’ve heard from politicians, safety experts and airline passengers but surprisingly little from Boeing itself. They’ve posted a half-hearted statement on their website indicating their support of the action taken but no large scale communication initiative has been undertaken by the company. There are 2 types of actions an organization can take to address critical issues. The first is preventive, where a known problem can be mitigated before it occurs. It seems as if this opportunity may have come to Boeing even before the Lion Air plane crash. Recent reports suggest that safety training for pilots may have been compromised to help save money Read More

Strike A Pose

Last Friday was International Women’s Day and I loved seeing all the social media posts of strong women. Like the “Fearless Girl” bronze statue that stands proudly at Bowling Green down in the Financial District of Wall Street, women from all over the world were expressing how they are standing up for their beliefs and actions. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy’s 2012 TED talk on “power posing” has garnered over 50 million views. Her message was simple. Our body language affects our thinking and by striking a mighty position we create a mental mindset of personal power that translates into how we think which then creates a loop of personal empowerment. Cuddy’s work came under intense scrutiny due to other researcher’s Read More