Leadership Endurance

I was scheduled to meet with the CEO of a billion dollar company last month when he sent me an email explaining that he had to cancel our meeting. He was overwhelmed with budget and operational issues and was not in a place where he could talk about his own leadership style. I suggested to him that he not worry about our meeting right now and that his emphasis was absolutely on the mark. After all, making sure that 2019 budgets were completed should be his highest priority. He appreciated my understanding and I know he was pleased that I affirmed the correctness of his decision. When we do get together, I want to share with him some of the Read More

The Problems of Democracy

It probably won’t surprise anyone to find out that in a recent survey by the American Psychological Association, 57% of Americans reported that they were stressed by our current political landscape. Last week must have seen that number skyrocket. If you are an involved citizen, there is no way to avoid being concerned about all that is swirling about us. It’s more than politics, however. It is about your patriotism and belief in the values of our country. After all, as John Dewey once said, “the answer to the problems of democracy is more democracy.” That probably means more stress for all of us. In the Resilience Advantage, my co-author Alan Weiss and I write that stress is unavoidable and Read More

Why Complaining is Important For Workplace Success

I was having lunch with the CEO of a mid size company last week and he was telling me how stressful the workplace is for his team. Among the many challenges they have, perhaps the greatest is meeting the financial and operational demands put upon them by their venture funders. I asked him how he addresses the stress on the team and he told me that when he brings it up, he finds that it usually transitions into “complaining”. He knows that his team’s concerns are legitimate but he doesn’t see how he would be able to address them satisfactorily while maintaining the high demands of the workplace. I suggested to him that he should actually encourage the complaining. While Read More

The Power of the Personal

Everyone views his or her own life challenges in a highly personal way. What some people may say is an incredibly difficult work situation; others may say that those kinds of demanding circumstances get them juiced. That is a function of our DNA and life experiences. Resilience is a bit like politics; it is all local, and that locality usually begins with those 4 or 5 inches of matter between our ears. I was talking to a client a few days ago who was understandably upset about a report written about his business group’s poor operational effectiveness. He disputed the findings and did his best to explain away the identified problems. When I took a look at the report, jumped Read More

The Power of the Pause

Sheila and I were on holiday this past week at The Sea Ranch, one of our favorite places to get away from it all. The Sea Ranch is located on the Northern California coast about 2 ½ hours from San Francisco. On one side of Highway 1 is a small swath of land where homes are built so as not to disturb the natural landscape of this rugged and beautiful land. While relaxing and enjoying the fog rolling in off the Pacific in the mornings and the sun breaking through and warming the beaches in the afternoon, we’ve also been doing a personal workshop with Jamie McHugh an international expert in mindfulness. Jamie’s unique approach to this work is his Read More

The Power of the Ask

My friend, Will Clower posted a brief video of his radio request to the Cunningham Draw Bridge (North Carolina) operator to open the draw bridge so that he could take his sailboat out into Pamlico Sound. The request: “Cunningham Bridge, this is the SV Amari requesting opening outbound.” Then a voice returns on the radio, “Roger that Cap’n, we’ll have one ready for you.” Then, like magic, traffic stops, the Bridge roadway goes up and Will and his crew boat on through. If only all our requests were met with such agreeableness and ease. Asking others to help us can be challenging. We don’t like to impose or inconvenience other people always thinking that is it a great imposition to Read More

Hurry Up and Wait

I was meeting with a team last week that had been charged by their company president to develop the organization’s leadership development program. The team had spent the last 9 months developing a leadership model, creating training modules, and building a coaching approach that would be state of the art for their firm. They were ready to roll out the program when the big stop sign shot up in front of them. Budget constraints, timing and the readiness of the firm to take on this new project were all impediments that were stated…along with “we’re still excited about it.” Hurry up and wait is a mainstay in today’s workplace. There is always of sense of urgency but the volume of Read More

What’s Next?

Two events happened last week that got me thinking about how success breeds success. For the past year or so a colleague and I have co-facilitated a CEO cohort group. The group meets to address common issues and concerns they face in their industries. They share best practices, problem solve issues, and support each other as they discuss their greatest challenges. They like and respect each other as well, of course. In our last session it seemed as if the trust had reached a point where the group was ready to take on something new. They began discussing how they could pool their collective energies to address an issue every company faces. Someone referred to it as a “Grand Challenge” Read More

Listen Up

I did some follow-up with participants from a workshop I conducted last week with one of my global clients. I found a consistent message from each of them as to their takeaway from the session. While they appreciated the content material I shared with them, the best part of the program was that I built in plenty of time for them to talk and listen to each other. My belief about these sessions is that the wisdom is in the group is that is what makes the program successful. The problem is that not everyone knows that and they think their wisdom is greater than everyone else’s. Fortunately, the leader of this group believes that and he demonstrated good listening, Read More

Find Your Groove

I met with a client at 7:30 AM last week and he told me he likes to get going early in the morning. While there are several reasons, his primary one is that he doesn’t have time to watch the news, which is always a downer. I liked his thinking until we started discussing his work in sales and he began explaining to me that he couldn’t hit his sales numbers because of (fill in the blank), “software not working properly,” “leads not returning calls,” “colleagues not feeding him prospects…” and the list went on. I refocused him on the strategy we laid out previously and discussed the small steps he could take this week to refocus his energy, but Read More