Tuesday, November 26, 2013


"In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I'm wrapping up one of the most hectic years of my professional life. The cliche that "change is constant" took on a whole new meaning for me as I experienced nothing but change after change after change. You probably did too...that seems to be the new normal. 

What strikes me at this time of year when we all seem to soften our hearts a bit and reflect; is that despite the challenges, stresses, and abundance of drama that found its way to me, I continue to be surrounded by good people who do really good work.

Quite honestly, I could only accomplish a fraction of the work that needs to get done without them. They are not distracted by the noise around them, or the crisis-of-the-moment, or any of the myriad fires that seem to pop up each day. They are steady and professional and effective.

That is a blessing few leaders ever get to experience, and I am grateful.

Another significant part of my life that has come through over and over again this year is my network that stretches far beyond the walls of my company. Having an extensive network that you never connect with in a meaningful way isn't really a network at all. 

However, when that extra step is taken to move beyond a connection or a follow and those connections become phone calls, long discussions, or face to face meetings, only then can the real power of a network be realized. My network has been steady and professional and supportive.

That is a blessing few people get to experience, and I am grateful.

How About You
As you reflect on your work life at this time of year what comes to mind? Is it your task list, or projects, or never ending Inbox? Or, is there something else that deserves your time and attention?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Culture Clash

There is an ongoing dialogue we all must manage. It's a back and forth exchange of views that at times are aligned, and at others see things very differently. In the end we play the role of moderator and ultimately decision-maker in terms of the action we are willing to take.

External Voices
Each day we are bombarded with messages, directives, rituals and corporate cultures that encourage us to behave in certain ways. We can interpret these messages as negative peer pressure, all the way to a feeling of excitement when we are part of something fresh and new, where risk-taking is encouraged to achieve breakthrough performance.

These voices are constantly at work, and it is incumbent upon us as leaders to be aware of our environment and what that environment is telling us to do.

Internal Voices
The other half of this conversation is happening inside our heads. No, I'm not talking about mental illness. The voice I'm referring to is the one that is thinking, reacting, considering our responses, and actively working all day long. (Sometimes this voice keeps us up at night too.)

This voice plays a variety of roles for us: conscience, devil's advocate, big thinker, and tactician. Ultimately, it is that inner voice that pushes us to action one way or another.

Finding Balance
In more sophisticated companies there is an intentional strategy to address corporate culture in a way that captures "how we do the work" in an open and transparent manner. 

Reconciling those two cultural voices can be difficult for many employees, and the power of clearly stating an organization's cultural norms and beliefs can go a long way in not only recruiting, but retaining good people too.

These are the people whose value systems align with the company and will ultimately create a foundation for future success.

Unfortunately, most companies still believe that a mission statement on the wall and a vision statement in the lobby are enough. The power of a culture statement never enters the strategic discussion and thus a huge opportunity is wasted. 

When culture is ignored where does that leave the individual?

How About You
What are the voices in your corporate culture telling you? Are they locked in an epic battle between what you know on the inside is the right thing to do with what you're hearing on the outside as the "preferred modus operandi?" Which voice are you listening to?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

if, then

If I had chosen a different major in college, then I would be more successful.

 If I had made different career decisions, then I would be better off.

If I had stayed at a previous job, then I would be more comfortable.

If I had listened to everyone else, then I would be just fine.

If I had played it safe, then I would not have to grow.

If I had focused on the basics, then I would not have to try new things.

If I had not moved, then my world would be the same as it always was.

If I let others walk all over me, then I will not have to stand up for myself.

Leadership has nothing to do with "if" and "then." Leadership is about stepping out of your comfort zone, taking risks, and not accepting anything less than what is right.

What if everyone tried this approach...then what? Do the right thing today.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.