Monday, June 24, 2024

The Sun is Still Out

Dearest gentle reader…in early 19th century England it was considered improper to dance during daylight hours (or at least it was according to Bridgerton.) The notion that someone would actually dance “while the sun was still out” seemed absurd! Imagine the scandal among the nobility!

Let’s fast-forward to your organization today and ask a couple of questions:

- What unwritten rules are in place in your corporate culture?

- Who sets the standards for corporate etiquette?

- What are the consequences for breaking these rules?

- Imagine the scandal among the corporate nobility when these rules are broken!

The further I go in my career, the more I take pride in a track record of doing my best to break through traditional thinking and breaking cultural norms to make leaps forward. The concept of sacrificing sacred practices in companies is not new; however, the courage to actually do so continues to be a rare sighting indeed.

As for this author, I look forward to the season when it is expected that each leader of the gentry…er…leadership team…is expected to speak up, challenge, and bring forward fresh ideas and normalize risk-taking instead of forever being locked in a world of arcane social norms that serve only those long overdue for a retirement ball.

Thanks for being here.



Tuesday, June 18, 2024

It’s How We Think That Matters Most

You may not agree with my bold title: how we think matters most. Whatever happened to “actions speak louder than words” or “her behavior speaks for itself?”

The, um…wiser I get…the more I’ve moved beyond behavior as the key element of someone’s leadership style. Where do those behaviors come from anyway? Are they not an attribute or symptom of a deeper issue at play?

I submit, yes indeed they are. It is the mind that triggers behavior. 

The way we see the world…that inner voice that speaks to us incessantly…shapes the way we interpret and act upon all of the external impulses that barrage us daily. Shifting how we interpret these messages, and candidly, being open to changing our minds (God forbid!) is a real-life game changer.

Imagine feeling confident enough in yourself that you are open to hearing different points of view, seeking out contrary opinions, and assimilating all of that new information into your head in a thoughtful way?

Impossible? I don’t think so. I’ll offer one quick example. A couple of years ago I decided to stay connected to people who didn’t necessarily share my world view on many topics. I intentionally was trying to stretch my understanding of what people value, even if it didn’t seem to fit with what I knew was really the most important thing. The result? I have a much greater appreciation for why those differing viewpoints matter so much, and why people might embrace those as the most important things to them.

Imagine how this plays out in your organizations? Is everyone so dialed in to the vision / plan / goals  that they haven’t left any room for disruptive thinking or points of view? What might be missed that could be transformational?

Just imagine.

Thanks for being here.



Monday, June 10, 2024

The Importance of Unlearning

I’ve come a long way since moving into my first formal people leadership role at age twenty-seven. I thought I knew a lot…and then quickly learned I didn’t…and then started learning in a different way. I held on tight to the learning I did for the next decade and leveraged it to steadily progress further along.

And then the learning I had done suddenly didn’t seem to fit in every situation. It’s as if someone changed the rules on me when I wasn’t looking. How could that be? I had been laser focused on my leadership style for so long, it couldn’t possibly let me down now, right?

It turns out that my approach to leadership had not necessarily needed to change…the x-factor was that I needed to do some UNlearning.

I had a certain point of view that certainly seemed crystal clear to me; yet, that lens failed me at times when I made certain assumptions about people, dynamics, or systems that didn’t exactly fit the way I had “learned to lead.”

Did my style fit? Yes. Did the way I was actually seeing and understanding some situations need to be reset? Absolutely.

Humility is a powerful thing. For those that never experience it they spend their lives lost is a sea of arrogance and jokes behind their back. For those that eat a slice of humble pie once in a while, well, we appreciate how powerful humility can be for our growth and effectiveness.

UNlearning some of the things I’ve held close for a long time has allowed me to continue to grow as a leader…even as I move to ‘vintage’ status.

Have you considered what you might need to UNlearn in your professional life?

Thanks for being here.



Monday, June 3, 2024

Extending Trust

Do your employees and young leaders need to earn your trust before it is given? Or, is developing leaders done differently through extending trust first?

Trusting first…


We have to earn everything in life, right?

A spot on the sports team.

A chance at a promotion.

A place on a high profile new project team.

A measure of respect from colleagues.

That feels like an awful lot of earning that has to happen before we are allowed any opportunities at all. Honestly, I’m not sure that message still resonates.

If I trust you and give you a chance to spread your wings a bit at work…long before the normal “earn-your-way” approach would afford…am I being reckless? 

If you “haven’t had enough time to develop the skills necessary” for certain projects, am I supposed to wait for another year to get you moving?

If I behave like an out-of-touch old-school leader will I be able to attract and retain any young talent to my organization?

Earned first before trust is given doesn’t make sense in every situation anymore.

What do you think?

Thanks for being here.