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In the topic 'Personal Growth & Continuous Improvement'


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Story Road: Charting Steps in our Journey

In his classic book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, American mythologist and writer, Joseph Campbell outlined common steps to the hero’s journey. These cut across cultures, times, and every society’s stories, fairy tales, novels, and movies. We’re all living in our own novel. We write a page each day of our own action adventure. […]

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Career Check Up and LinkedIn Profile Revisions

Erin (not her real name) is a rising high potential director now reporting to a new VP. He was hired from the outside with a mandate to revitalize their department. Erin is upset and struggling. The personal values and leadership approaches that made her so effective were seen as too soft and not results-focused enough […]

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How Coachable Are Your Leaders?

Are leaders who are resistant to, or uncomfortable with being coached less likely to succeed? Our research clearly answers that question with a resounding “Yes.” This quality of being coachable seems extremely important early in one’s career.

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How Coachable Are You and Your Leaders?

Often a “dragon investor” on the Dragon’s Den TV show or a “shark investor” on the Shark Tank show will decide not to invest in a hopeful contestant’s company because he or she feels the budding entrepreneur isn’t “coachable.” An article in Entrepreneur magazine on how to attract venture capital investors lists coachability as one […]

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Nature’s Might Law is Change

“I hate all this change. Why can’t things just stay the same?” Dirk shouted angrily at the TV news anchor. He threw a pillow at the TV screen and clicked it off with a snort. Suddenly a hissing noise arose from the corner of the room and green, shimmering mist filled the air. Dirk stood […]

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Key Leadership Lessons From Our Most Popular Workshop

Of all our custom keynotes and workshops topics, the most popular continues to be variations of Leading @ the Speed of Change. One reason for that is in today’s fast-moving world it’s easy to be overwhelmed by rapid changes and difficult problems. While we can’t control the changes, we can manage our response. It’s not […]

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Motivating Leaders to Implement Individual Development Plans

Despite extensive use of competency models and annual performance appraisals, our research shows that only 10 percent of leaders have an individual or personal development plan and are actively making progress on it. What’s going on? Most leaders are career driven and want personal and professional growth. Many want promotions, bigger opportunities, and higher levels […]

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Execution – The KEY to How Leaders Get Things Done

Execution and follow through is the key to how extraordinary leaders get things done. We need to convert leadership theory to action and strategy to implementation. It’s transforming why to how and converting what to when. Execution is the only way for a leader, team, or organization to succeed. But there’s a world of difference […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm on…Knowing versus Doing

      My last blog linked to Zenger Folkman’s May 25 webinar on Execution – The KEY to How Leaders Get Things Done with a discussion of knowing versus doing. Common sense often isn’t common practice. “With regard to excellence, it is not enough to know but we must try to have and use […]

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Webinar: Execution — The KEY to How Leaders Get Things Done

“Belling the Cat,” a tale from the ancient Greek fabulist Aesop, points to the timeless dilemma of knowing versus doing. The story describes a counsel of mice trying to figure out how to deal with “the sly and treacherous manner” that the cat sneaks up on mice and kills them. A young mouse proposed putting […]

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Build Strengths that Play to your Passions

The “dark side” of fixing weaknesses is very alluring. Last week I was facilitating our Extraordinary Leader workshop with a group of senior leaders. This was a highly experienced team who were strongly motivated to improve their organization and their own effectiveness. All participants had been through 360 feedback assessments before. Many reported feeling beat […]

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Don’t Lock the Door and Get Trapped in Old Thinking

The evening before a speaking engagement in Vancouver, I was in a hotel room on the 37th floor overlooking Stanley Park, English Bay, and The Lion’s Gate Bridge. After a pleasant dinner with a friend, I returned to my room. The sun was setting on a beautiful, warm spring evening. Wanting to enjoy the view, […]

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Why Most Personal Development Plans Fail – and How to Fix It

A sure path to marital unhappiness — if not divorce — is when a newlywed sets out to change his or her spouse. Yet how many performance management discussions are built on the same premise? Too often managers set about trying to “improve” his or her direct report by fixing weaker areas. How enthused are […]

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Learning @ the Speed of Change

In his 1973 book Reflections on the Human Condition, social philosopher, Eric Hoffer wrote, “In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.” How true that’s proven to be over the past few decades. If […]

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5 Attitudes that Define Great Leaders

Many succession planning processes involve identifying and developing high potential leaders. As with promising amateur athletes working to secure very scarce spots at the professional level of their sport, not every leader considered to have strong potential grows in their career to ever higher leadership roles. Through our evidence-based approaches to identifying key leadership skills […]

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Is the Rate of External Change Exceeding Your Rate of Internal Change?

Change happens. We can’t control much of the world changing around us. But we can control how we respond. We can choose to anticipate and make changes or resist them. Resisting change is usually like trying to push water upstream. Generally we’re quick to point to others who resist change. It’s much harder to recognize […]

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Balancing Life in the Fast Lane with Slow Country Backroads

Gandhi, the towering political and spiritual leader of India and the Indian independence movement, once observed “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” But we live in an ever accelerating world. Zenger Folkman’s research based on their “speed index” showed that extraordinary leaders are both quick and effective. Ten years ago I bought […]

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Spotlight on Feedback

Plato once observed “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when people are afraid of the light.” Ignoring or failing to understand how others see our behaviors keeps us in the dark and diminishes everyone’s perceptions of our leadership effectiveness. Those perceptions then shape […]

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Good Advice on Seeking and Giving Advice

A recent Harvard Business School newsletter summarized research from David Garvin, the C. Roland Christensen Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and Joshua Margolis, professor in the Organizational Behavior unit at Harvard Business School. They point out that effective leaders need good advice and need to give useful advice to others. “Yet business […]

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Turning Feedback Into Change

Our research shows that leadership self-assessment correlates to performance outcomes like employee engagement, turnover, safety, customer service, or profitability only half as reliably as ratings from everyone else (manager, direct reports, peers, and others). Some leaders rate themselves much higher than all the other raters. Other leaders don’t see their own strengths and assess their […]

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