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Protective Perspective: Don’t Be a Victim of the Doomsters Divers

How’s the world doing? Are we heading in the right direction? Should we look to this new year with dread or hope? How do you answer these questions: Is morality in decline? Are people less kind, less honest, and less good? Do we need to make America/Canada/The World great again? Are rates of violent/property crimes […]

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Renewal Claus: A Year-End Pause for Your Cause

  Santa can now relax after his big night. Hope the kids in your life aced their big performance review and rated highly on his naughty-nice scale. The Holidays are a good time for the pause that refreshes — even without drinking a little glass bottle of Coca-Cola as Santa did in those old commercials […]

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Enduring Life and Leadership Lessons from Ebenezer Scrooge

One of my holiday traditions is watching various movie versions of Charles Dickens’ much-loved classic, A Christmas Carol. Last weekend when two of our grandkids had a sleepover, we watched my favorite version, The Muppet Christmas Carol. To ensure a more restful sleep for all, we skipped over a few of the scarier, ghostly parts. When Les […]

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For the L of It: Living and Leading Above the Line

Too many appointed leaders sit on the line and wait rather than taking the initiative and stepping up to make things happen. They follow someone else’s lead. Some slip down below the line and wallow in hopelessness and pessimism — which they’ll often call “being realistic.” They may be called “leaders” by their position. But […]

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Smarten Up: Hone Your EQ Edge

There’s not a lot we can do about the processing power between our ears. For the most part, we’re stuck with whatever IQ we’ve got. The good news for many of us is that our IQ is less important to success and happiness than our EQ (Emotional Quotient or Emotional Intelligence). What’s even better is […]

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Fear Factor: Hiding Mistakes, Anger/Resentment, and Not Communicating

Last of a Six-Part Series on The Tempting Ten Wallow Words (Links to previous parts below)   Most of the Wallow Words in this series have a common cause. Fear. In the depths of the Great Depression, U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt famously declared in his first inaugural address in 1933, “The only thing we […]

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More, More, More: I Can’t Get No Satisfaction

  Part Five of a Series on The Tempting Ten Wallow Words (Click to read Parts One, Two, Three, or Four)   How much land does a man need? Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy wrote a short story with this title about Pahom, a peasant farmer who was given a chance for free land. Carrying a […]

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What Moose? I Know Nothing, I See Nothing, I Say Nothing

  Part Four of a Series on The Tempting Ten Wallow Words (Click to read Parts One, Two or Three) Following is a condensed scene from Moose on the Table: A Novel Approach to Communications @ Work. The book’s central character, Pete Leonard, is a middle manager in a tech services firm. He reports to […]

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Overloaded, Overwhelmed, and Too Busy to Learn

  Part Three of a Series on The Tempting Ten Wallow Words (Click to read Parts One and Two)   Does this sound familiar… “Nowadays, people don’t ask you how you are, they say, ‘Are you busy?’ meaning, ‘Are you well?’ If someone actually does ask you how you are, the most cheerful answer, of […]

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Whine and Freeze: I Don’t Have the Authority

Part Two of a Series on The Tempting Ten Wallow Words (Click to read Part One) A central theme of my fictional story of Pete Leonard in Moose on the Table: A Novel Approach to Communications @ Work was how he gave his power away by acting as if he was powerless. He and his […]

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I am Not a Born Leader

Part One of a Series on The Tempting Ten Wallow Words Carl Sandburg, the American historian, poet, and novelist who won two Pulitzer Prizes, once said, “There is an eagle in me that wants to soar, and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud.” With today’s urgent streams of […]

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Are You a Micromanaging Snoopervisor?

  During a workshop designed to identify Moose-on-the-Table issues, Jon was surprised by the very clear and strong feedback from his organization that his management group weren’t acting as a team. They contradicted each other, waged petty turf battles, and reinforced departmental silos. Jon’s response was like threatening to cut off an infected arm rather […]

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How to Ensure Screen Time isn’t Scream Time

  A growing number of articles and studies feature debates, research, and advice on returning to the office, working from home, and many hybrids. City cores across North American report office occupancy rates far below pre-pandemic levels. Studies such as those featured in Time magazine show empty office tower escalators with the headline Return-to-Office Full […]

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True Failure is Failing to Learn from Failure

In a small pub in the highlands of Scotland, a group of fishermen gathered one afternoon to swap tales over a round of ale. One of them stretched his arms apart to show the big one that got away. At that very point, a server walked past carrying a tray of full ale glasses. The […]

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Ways to Boost Innovation and Accelerate Organizational Learning

Like the weather, many leaders talk about agility and innovation, but few managers do much about it. Unlike the weather, there’s a great deal managers can do about building agile and innovative cultures. Innovation and organization learning often falls into the same trap as strategic planning, economic forecasting, and change management. There is no orderly […]

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Fostering a Culture of Innovation and Organizational Learning

  Are your own people your biggest barrier to higher innovation and agility? That’s what research from Great Place to Work found in a study of 792 companies totaling about 500,000 employees. In their study, Innovation by All, Great Place to Work concluded organizations with high-trust cultures involve and engage many more employees than most organizations […]

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How to Use Intelligent Failure and Controlled Chaos to Strengthen Agility Ability

  In his article on “Crafting Strategy,” McGill University professor and management author, Henry Mintzberg, provides a good example of innovation and organizational learning in high-performing, agile organizations: “Out in the field, a salesman visits a customer. The product isn’t quite right, and together they work out some modifications. The salesman returns to his company […]

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Higher Hiring: Are You Trying to Teach Frogs to Fly?

Once upon a time, a manager had a frog named Fred working on his team. After returning from a strategic planning retreat, he passionately exclaimed to Fred, “We’re going to open an air courier division! I’m going to teach you to fly!” Fred responded, “I can’t fly. I am a frog, not a bird.” Disappointed […]

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Generating Keen Energy That Electrifies a Powerful Culture

Managers often hire consultants to help them solve major organizational problems. The consultant will interview key leaders and staff, run focus groups, and gather input from a variety of sources. Many ideas are sifted through, and the most relevant one presented to management along with the consultant’s recommended action plan. What’s too often a sad […]

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Powering with Passion and Teaming with Energy

  In A Tale of Two Managers: Command versus Commitment, I contrasted two leaders, Denise and Joel. Denise balances management and leadership very effectively. Joel is out of balance with a techno-management approach. He’s the poster boy for making STEMM leadership an oxymoron. Denise uses a collaborative approach to partner with people. She sees people […]

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