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

This Goes A Long Way

We attended a local college dance recital last weekend and as I was waiting for the show to begin, I overheard a conversation a few rows ahead of me. Seems that a student was introducing herself to one of the professors sitting nearby. As he asked her about her background, she responded, “Oh, I’m just a freshman,” she said, and I loved his response. “Just a freshman,” he stated, “I consider freshman to be our most important students. They bring in fresh ideas, new excitement, and they are always teaching me about things that I didn’t know was going on in the world.” “Believe me,” he told her, “you are way more than just a freshman.” With that a big Read More

Never Choke Again

Maybe you have a big presentation coming up and you are really nervous that you might bomb. Perhaps you are coming up to a deadline for a major project and you’re scared that you won’t finish it on time. What if you are in a tennis league and you’ve made it further in the annual tournament than you ever have before and are panicky about your upcoming match? All these fears have one logical, fearful component that has you rattled. You are worried that you are going to choke at the critical moment. It may have happened to you before and that body memory is instilled and causing you all kinds of angst. Bad news all around, perhaps but this Read More

Reframing Your Worries

My friend Lynn had an unexpected family emergency and given some difficulties with airline connections, she decided to drive the 9 hours to her destination. When I saw her the day before she left, she was not particularly excited about the drive but the next afternoon, I received the following text from her. “Hey Rich, how is this for resilience; I decided that I often work a 9-hour day with only short breaks and so my job today was just to drive 500 miles. Once my brain approached it like a work day, it became very doable. Gratitude for good weather, podcasts, music and cruise control. Here safe and sound.” Lynn’s used the resilience technique of “reframing,” which entails changing Read More

Who’s Your Lover?

Our modern-day version of Valentine’s Day is all about expressing love for those closest to us as well as maybe passing around a bit more of it in the world. As you finalize tomorrow’s rituals and routines make certain that you don’t forget that very special person in your life who needs your love and attention more than anyone—Yourself. It’s easy to share love with others but maybe not so much ourselves. Our negativity bias usually finds what is wrong with us first and drives our imperfections, sometimes in a frenzy, like a Formula 1 driver doing 200 mph down a straightaway. Let’s turn that around tomorrow and while your sharing affection and friendship with others, please include yourself. Here Read More