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Favorite May Improvement Points

Here are my personal three choices of the Improvement Points we sent out in May: “Improvement planning, process management, teams, skill development, and the like are either constrained or boosted by our organization’s structure and support systems. If they are poorly aligned with our Context and Focus (vision, values, and purpose), strategies, and goals, performance […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmmmm….on Healthy Debates

“Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress.” Gandhi “I argue very well. Ask any of my remaining friends. I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this, and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don’t even invite me.” Dave […]

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The “new” Leader Letter

The following was originally posted in the May issue of the Leader Letter. I’m posting it here now to give some background to new subscribers. As longtime subscribers to the Leader Letter already know, one of the themes I come back to again and again is change. Change in the workplace. Change in the home. […]

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Let it go and come up for air

I love to get comments like this one from Sharon, a subscriber responding to a recent Improvement Point she received. Whether it’s in a workshop or an e-mail, comments like hers so wonderfully bring alive the point I’m trying to get across. For those of you who don’t know, Improvement Points is a free subscription […]

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Key Notes from My Key Notes:Updating “It’s OK, son, everybody does it”

I recently gave a keynote at a conference where another speaker also presented on leadership and using technology to maintain a competitive edge. During his presentation he talked about downloading music from the Internet for his personal collection. Since some services were shut down by recording companies’ legal action for copyright infringement, he discussed the […]

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Survey feedback from Growing the Distance

You may have noticed that I’ve been trying to get a lot of feedback via surveys recently. One of the surveys was for folks who own a copy of Growing the Distance. If you have the book and haven’t filled out the survey, please take a few minutes. Click here to take survey Kathryn took […]

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Building on Strengths: Coaching, Developing, and Retaining High Performers

The later part of Jeff’s e-mail provides an excellent example of coaching and career development. As Jeff reports, this is the kind of activity that high performing people find very valuable and increases their engagement with the coach and the organization he or she is leading. In his third paragraph, Jeff asks for more resources […]

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Attempting to Cut Gordian Knotted Mass of Self-Knowledge

I am not sure if I’ve cut the Gordian Knot Layton refers to in his message below. I certainly continue to appreciate his ongoing support for my work. Layton is referring to our latest survey for Growing the Distance readers and the new Growing the Distance: Self-Study System I produced to go with it. Here […]

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Building on Strengths: Coaching, Developing, and Retaining High Performers

The later part of Jeff’s e-mail provides an excellent example of coaching and career development. As Jeff reports, this is the kind of activity that high performing people find very valuable and increases their engagement with the coach and the organization he or she is leading. In his third paragraph, Jeff asks for more resources […]

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What’s the Right Organization Structure?

Here’s a note I recently received from the president of a company we’ve been working with: “I am looking for a book/information on organizational structures. However, there’s a twist. We are currently set up as most companies are, with a vertical (silo) model. I want to change this. Part of our vision is to be […]

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Outstanding Performance is Voluntary

I received an e-mail from a visitor to our web site asking for “your thoughts about leadership within volunteer organizations and what can be learned for people who provide leadership for ‘paid employees.’“ Here’s my response: I have long believed that managers who provide leadership for paid staff can learn a great deal about true […]

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Responsibility for Choices

One of the Timeless Leadership Principles in our Leadership Wheel model (view the model at timeless leadership) is Responsibility for Choices. I have come to emphasize this one more heavily than the others because so many people in my keynote speaking and workshop audiences feel so helpless and powerless. It’s so easy to get stuck […]

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Cultivating Leadership… and the Garden with Timeless Principles

I adapted an article called “Cultivating Leadership” from The Leader’s Digest for Restaurant News. It outlines the differences between management and leadership, and uses my personal gardening analogy to discuss the nurturing aspect of leadership. You can view the article here. I write a column for a local publication here in the Waterloo Region called […]

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Too Many Trips to the Zoo

I just finished delivering a highly customized two day Leading @ the Speed of Change workshop with a delightful Client at a ranch resort in the foothills of Alberta’s beautiful Rocky mountains. This was a group of 21 managers and supervisors for a mid sized family business. They were highly participative and keen to improve […]

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Spring Reading

My favorite leadership book of the nineties is Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras. I have referred to and quoted from this profound book many times since reading it in 1994. Based on extensive research of 18 “visionary companies” and 18 corresponding “comparison companies,” the authors explore […]

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Now That’s Refreshing! Newsletter Feedback Rejuvenates and Re-energizes

I invest about a day per month in writing my monthly Leader Letter. Our support staff then spend about the same amount of time fixing my mistakes, cleaning up after me, and “prettying it up.” I do get fairly frequent e-mails and comments from people I meet at various speaking engagements and workshops about how […]

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Favorite April Improvement Points

“I love the format of your articles on the Improvement Points e-mails.” Wendy Morin, VP of HR & Administration, Central One Federal Credit Union, Shrewsbury, MA Improvement Points is a free service providing a key thought or quotation from one of my articles, provided three times per week, directly to your e-mail inbox. Each complimentary […]

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What I’m Reading

Our local daily newspaper runs a feature in their book section each Saturday asking local personalities and community leaders what they’re reading. Here’s what ran in The Record on the same day as the world famous Elmira Maple Syrup Festival (the little town of Elmira, ON swells in size by ten times for this event […]

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Changing Me to Change Them and Other Lessons Learned

Each year I run a public Leading @ the Speed of Change workshop here in my hometown of Kitchener, Ontario (just 45 minutes from the Toronto airport). Since my keynotes and workshops are always private sessions tailored specifically to the organization or association I’m working for, this is one of the few opportunities most people […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmmmm….on Meeting Effectiveness

“In the last few decades much research has proven the superiority of group decision making over that of even the brightest individual in the group. There is one exception to this rule. If the group lacks harmony or the ability to cooperate, decision-making quality and speed suffer. Research at Cambridge University found that even groups […]

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