One of the most celebrated anniversaries is birthdays. This month is the 10th birthday of my monthly newsletter The Leader Letter.
I published The Leader Letter in April 2003 to coincide with and announce the publication of my fifth book, The Leader’s Digest: Timeless Principles for Team and Organization Success. I signed thousands of pre-ordered books that weekend while wearing my sweatshirt emblazoned with “So many books and so little time.” My hand was cramped for days!
In that first issue I said The Leader Letter would be a “try monthly” publication. That is, I’d try to publish it each month. I’ve managed to maintain that pace. Mostly it’s been a labor of love and quite fulfilling. Of course, there are times when meeting deadlines has made the whole effort feel like a lot of work. What’s kept me grinding through those times has been reader feedback by e-mail or at speaking engagements, retreats, and workshops.
Since the first issue I’ve written two more books (Moose on the Table: A Novel Approach to Communications @ Work and Growing @ the Speed of Change: Your Inspir-actional How-To Guide For Leading Yourself and Others through Constant Change). About five years ago I moved from writing each monthly issue all at one time to writing two blog posts per week and publishing the eight monthly posts as the next month’s Leader Letter. This allowed me to pace my writing and reduce the monthly deadline pressure. It also allows readers to enter their email address on our main blog page and receive each blog by email as soon as it’s posted each Tuesday and Thursday. Anyone connected to me on LinkedIn or following me on Twitter or Facebook is also notified.
Hundreds of past articles and blog posts are available in The Leader Letter archive. You can read them by month or 30 topic areas clustered under sections of Organization Improvement, Self Leadership, and Leading Others. You can also search the archive by key word.
The biggest shift in the focus of our business and The Leader Letter has been in the past year since we’ve become strategic partners with Zenger Folkman. The September 2012 issue introduced and gave background to this exciting new direction.
I gave months of deep thought and plenty of investigation on deciding whether to form our first partnership since founding the company in 1994. The power of ZF’s Strengths-Based Leadership Development System has far exceeded my expectations. As I wrote in Manifesto for a Leadership Development Revolution, this pioneering approach is a major breakthrough. As a concept, the research and logic of building strengths versus fixing weaknesses makes sense. The big gap has been exactly how to build strengths. Zenger Folkman’s evidence-based and rigorous methodology provides the map.
Tomorrow we publish the 10th Anniversary issue of The Leader Letter compiling my March blog posts to bring you research, insights, and how-to steps on strengths-based leadership development. Although growing, there are still a fairly small number of executives, HR, and development professionals shifting from traditional approaches to the much more effective strengths-based approach. I hope my blogs have inspired you to look deeper at this powerful new methodology. First heralded by pioneering management thinker, Peter Drucker, in the 60s we’re finally developing the science and methodologies to bring about the biggest change in leadership development of the past fifty years.
The research-based and converging fields of emotional intelligence, positive psychology, appreciative inquiry, and strengths-based leadership development are breaking traditional paradigms and taking us to whole new levels of personal, team and organization effectiveness. I can’t wait to see how far this takes us in the next ten years!