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Courageous Leadership: What Are You Waiting For?

In Samuel Beckett’s play, “Waiting for Godot,” two tramps are waiting by a sickly-looking tree for the arrival of M. Godot. We never learn who Godot is or why he’s important. The tramps quarrel, make up, contemplate suicide, try to sleep, eat a carrot, and gnaw on some chicken bones. Two other characters appear: a […]

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Exposing and Expressing Fear is Key to Reducing It

Years ago, I was captivated by Yann Martel’s novel, Life of Pi. When I finished reading it, I immediately went back to page one and read it again. The story centers on “Pi” an Indian Tamil boy who, after a shipwreck, survives 227 days drifting on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean. With him in […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmm on…Fear

“Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.” Robert Albert Bloch, American screenwriter, “Psycho,” “Psycho II”   “We usually learn faster from pain than from pleasure. Strong dislikes are acquired faster than strong likes. In relationships, trust is easy […]

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The Fear Factor: Do You Speak Up or Shut Up?

What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Overcoming fear has been a major theme in our work. Fear is appealing food for moose in the workplace. It attracts and nourishes them. Moose-on-the-Table is where everyone in a meeting knows there is an issue or problem, but no one is talking about it. It’s like […]

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The Fear Factor: Visualization’s Dark Side

The last series of blog posts discussed visualization as “The Force” that can pull us forward. But it also has a dark side that can energize our fears. Fear and pessimism can be even more powerful. This Dark Force too often overshadows positive possibilities. Neuroscience shows we’re wired to focus on what’s wrong and picture […]

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Use the Force and Foretell Your Future

Visualization sparked my career and energized my life. When I was just starting out, someone recommended I read Claude Bristol’s book, TNT: The Power Within You. The book sparked such an intensity of energy and profound new awareness that I couldn’t get a good night’s sleep for almost a week. Even now, as I thumb […]

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5 Ways to Keep Growing and Energizing Your Dreams

I’ve been studying and applying the power of positive pictures for most of my life. These skills, habits, and techniques are often called visioning, imagery, and visualization. They have a power for change, improvement, and energy creation that we’re only beginning to understand It’s hard to picture a positive, hopeful future if we’re not positive […]

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Tips and Techniques to Harness the Power of Visualization

Visualization energizes our dreams. The more vivid our visualization, the higher our energy and magnetic attraction. Neuroscience shows we’re hardwired to look for what’s wrong. If our ancient ancestors missed catching lunch, they’d keep trying for dinner. If they missed that rustling in the bush, they became lunch. We have a natural ability to imagine […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm on…Visualization

That we are drawn by the future rather than just driven by the past is extremely important and directly contrary to the heritage of social science and the history of psychology. It is, nevertheless, a basic and implicit premise of positive psychology. Martin Seligman, Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being  When I […]

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See It to Be It: Visualizing Your Ideal Future

Decades of research has proven the power of visualization in athletics, health, and personal, team, or organizational effectiveness. We become what we think about. The following is an exercise I’ve used personally, with my wife, Heather, and many groups. Recently I led a group of high potential leaders through this guided imagery process as part […]

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Culture Change: Avoid These Credibility Gaps and Traps

How big is your organization’s aspire/live gap? Does your rhetoric match reality? Is your audio synced with your video? Research and advisory company, Gartner, recently surveyed 7,500 employees and nearly 200 HR leaders of global companies and had in-depth interviews with 100 HR leaders. They found “on average, 69% of employees don’t believe in the […]

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Poor Customer Service: The Writing is on the Wall

Imagine sitting in an overcrowded medical clinic waiting room and spotting this sign on the wall, “When your number comes up, please have your symptoms ready.” You won’t likely ever see that sign. It’s too honest. But there’s a high chance you’ll encounter that attitude. Too many organizations are inside out rather than outside in. […]

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End Meeting Madness: Decide How to Decide

In a senior leadership team retreat last week, decision-making and meeting effectiveness emerged as a barrier during our moose hunting exercise. Meetings are more important than ever in our complex and interconnected world. Research clearly shows that when run effectively, groups make better decisions than individuals do. Effective meetings involve and engage participants in problem-solving […]

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How to Avoid Being Blindsided by Change

In 2004, Bill Gates told a group at the World Economic Forum “two years from now, spam will be solved.” Right. Like cockroaches, spam could survive a nuclear holocaust. This is one in an incredibly long list of expert forecasts that are ludicrously wrong. In 1995 co-inventor of the Ethernet, Robert Metcalfe, told us the […]

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Are You Managing Human Capital or Leading People?

Is your organization staffed by human capital? Do you talk about head count? Do managers talk about “their people?” Phrases like “head count,” “human capital,” and “my people,” dehumanize and objectify. We could push this further and make the same argument for “human resources.” Managers who see others as an “it” or property, might make […]

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Magnetic Attraction: Building a Culture that Attracts, Engages, and Retains Top People

Is your team or organization experiencing: High “snicker factor” about values Diminishing discretionary effort Rising absenteeism Turnover of top people Declining customer service Resistance to change Lower trust and teamwork Slipping quality levels Reduced health and safety These are symptoms of the cultural malaise or dysfunction many teams and organizations are experiencing today. How many […]

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This is Critical to Building an Agile, Change Adaptive Organization

“Workers are more adaptive and optimistic about the future than their leaders recognize.” That’s a key conclusion of a major study by Harvard Business School’s Project on Managing the Future of Work and the Boston Consulting Group’s Henderson Institute. The study encompassed 11,000 lower income and middle-skill workers and 6,500 business leaders in 11 countries. […]

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Are You Being Poisoned by a Toxic Culture?

During a retreat with the leadership team of a large healthcare organization, we were running a little behind schedule so I said we’d move fairly quickly through the Responsibility for Choices principle in our leadership discussion. Fortunately, an astute participant piped up with, “Jim, I think we need to talk about our ‘blaming and disclaiming’ […]

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Moose Mess: Boeing’s Culture May Have Caused Those Tragic Crashes

In the wake of two fatal crashes of Boeing’s new 737 Max jets, Harvard Business School professor and author of a new book on creating psychological safety in the workplace, Amy Edmondson, published an article on Boeing and the Importance of Encouraging Employees to Speak Up. She writes, “The accidents and the resulting media attention […]

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Is Your Culture Powering or Souring Your Brand?

Imagine trying to cool your house in the middle of a tropical heat wave when you’ve left all the windows and door wide open. That’s brand management in many companies. Companies spend big dollars on research, marketing, and promotions to attract customers. But poor service experiences don’t match the brand promise. So customers drift away […]

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