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Thrive on Turbulence by Growing for It

As I am finishing the last editing stages of my latest book, Growing @ the Speed of Change, I am running into huge number of speaking and workshop Clients wrestling with massive personal and organizational change. It’s a powerful reaffirmation of the focus and message of this book. And I don’t think it’s just me […]

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Choose Your Glasses Very Carefully

A few years ago I ran into an old acquaintance that I hadn’t seen for awhile. Our short conversation confirmed just why I hadn’t seen him in awhile – and wouldn’t see him again soon if I could help it. I started off with, “Hey Phil. How’s it going?” His response was, “Oh, you know; […]

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Leadership is Action, Not a Position

I continue to very much enjoy writing my latest book (working title is Thriving in Turbulent Times.) The book’s central model is around our choices to deal with change and adversity in our lives by leading, following, or wallowing. I’ll continue to post short excerpts like this one of my work in progress. To wallow […]

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Don’t Let the Nattering Nabobs of Negativism Get You Down

“Nattering nabobs of negativism” was a phrase originally written by speechwriter William Safire for U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew to describe the media who opposed the Nixon administration’s policies. It’s an apt phrase for the professional pessimists in the media, especially these days. What’s considered “news” or reported as “reality” is overwhelmingly what’s wrong, not […]

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Lead, Follow, or Wallow

A central theme in my decades of trying to understand, apply, and teach leadership skills is that leadership is an action, not a position. Leadership is what we do, not who we are. Who we become is determined by what we repeatedly think and do. All too many people in leadership roles don’t act like […]

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Range of Reality: Choosing the Best or the Worst of Times

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had […]

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Harness the Power of Vision – and then Get to Work

Hello, Jim. I just read the book from Anthony Robbins “Awaken the Giant Within.” I want to be CEO of computer department some day. I have eleven years experience. I believe I will be a good boss. I learn something new every day. Every day I read books on how to become great person. I’m […]

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True Leadership Values Shine Clearest in Tough Times

A web site visitor described an all too common occurrence today: Our company treats firings and layoff exactly the same. The person being laid off or fired is called to the HR department, given their pink slip, escorted back to their station with an HR person, a hand truck , and boxes. Thirty minutes later […]

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Improvement Points Balance Organizational and Personal Leadership

Here’s a an e-mail that caught me by surprise and made me sit up, take notice, and review what I’ve been sending out to subscribers of our Improvement Points service. “I enjoy your improvement points but think that you are far too hard on managers and leaders. Your articles show a distinct bias for employees […]

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Tone of Voice: It’s All in How We’re Saying It

Most people want and appreciate a boss or work colleague who is direct and to the point. But it’s about the way that’s conveyed. We’ve all found ourselves resisting someone else not because of what they are saying, but how they are saying it. They may strike us as arrogant, unfeeling, rude, or overly critical. […]

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Leading by Example: Setting Personal Goals and Priorities

Too many managers seem to operate on a variation of an old Groucho Marx routine; “I’ve got top priorities. I am going to stick to those priorities. And if you don’t like those priorities…I have others.” It’s very hard to bring the discipline of a goal setting system or planning process to a team or […]

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Reflections in Our Courage Mirror

As I continue to think and write about leadership courage, two points stand out for me. The first point is around having the courage as a leader to make it easy for people in our organization or team to speak up. Most managers dump out information (mainly through e-mail) and call it “communication.” Strong leaders […]

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A Kid Gives a Lesson in Courageous Leadership

I have known John for nearly twenty years. Our relationship started before he retired from his previous company and delivered his experience and wisdom to the larger world through consulting. He was an excellent coach and trainer with a strong internal reputation in the large Canadian bank where he worked. And his storytelling skills were […]

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Answering Our Call to Adventure in Searching for Purpose and Meaning

The search for meaning is as old as humankind itself. At the societal level, every culture has searched for meaning through religion, mythology, and related pursuits. This clearly comes from deep personal yearnings we all have to find meaning and purpose in our lives. I believe the constant and continuous search is a key part […]

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Bridging the Credibility Gap

Credibility, trust, and integrity are becoming ever larger issues with management teams at all organizational levels. People are looking for more from their leaders. As they fail to get the leadership they crave, a large credibility gap is opening up. In many cases, it’s becoming a chasm. For example, nearly fifty percent of people don’t […]

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Courage is at the Core of Leadership

I have been thinking a lot about courage. It is at the core of leadership. What is courage? Most of us recognize its opposite in this snippet from The Wizard of Oz: Cowardly Lion: Look at the circles under my eyes. I haven’t slept in weeks. Tin Woodsman: Why don’t you try counting sheep? Cowardly […]

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Change Lessons from Hermit Crabs

One of the rewards of being in my line of business is that I get to meet a wide variety of very interesting people doing this type of work. I met Donald Cooper five years ago and he’s become a very good friend. Besides being a funny and fascinating guy with lots of stories to […]

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Information versus Communication

Many managers are great at supplying information, but they’re not so good at communication. In this “information age,” our organizational lives are overflowing with e-mails, voice mails, phone calls, newsletters, books, articles, manuals, and web pages. Like the sailor marooned in a lifeboat on the high seas, we have water, water everywhere, but not a […]

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Tips and Techniques for Inspiring Through Verbal Communications

Build a repertoire of teachable stories. Collect and catalogue the best examples of your organization’s key principles in action. Circulate those stories inside and outside your organization through the media (where appropriate). Write up collections of case studies illustrating tough decisions, trade-offs, outstanding performance, dealing effectively with changes, etc. Embed the stories in training and […]

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E-mail Peeves and Protocols

Most managers are doing far too little to mitigate the destructive and wasteful effects of e-mail misuse. Like a B-movie, the e-mail monster keeps growing larger and consuming more time and resources (“E-zilla: The Insatiable Beast”). Some of the more common abuses I hear about in my workshops are: CC-ing the World” – far too […]

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