Blog: Leadership Levers

Gradually, Then Suddenly

Most entrepreneurs know there is no such thing as work/life balance.   Work is an integral part of life, not separate from it.  So why do so many of us talk about feeling out of balance?    Answer: We prioritize work disproportionately over the non-work/rest of our life.  And we work in ways that are not sustainable.   We put bounds on almost every aspect of our life, except work.   We don’t bring our families to work, but we’ll be heads down in our email during our annual family reunion.  We don’t stop in the middle of a work project to…
read more →

Why Would Anyone Great Want to Work For You?

Bob had a look of shock in his eyes, one I hadn’t seen in the 18 months we’d been working together.  Bob owns a thriving landscaping business and he wanted to get my thoughts about adding someone to his office staff.  I asked several questions before serving up the one that triggered the look.  “Why would anyone great want your crappy little job?”(Did I say that out loud? I cringed after I said it.)   Bob was making the mistake that virtually every hiring manager makes: viewing his employment opportunity from only his perspective.   Bob had scoped the job narrowly…
read more →

Moving from “If” to “How”

2:00 am, pitch black but for the twinkling headlamps.  Crampons on my boots, ice axe in my hand, inexorably tethered to a team of four.  I’m scrambling up the aptly named, Disappointment Cleaver, despair creeping into my consciousness.  This is where I learned the meaning of Commitment.   Though I’d trained hard and felt great on the climb the day before, I was laboring mightily in the higher altitude.   While we charged passed other rope teams, I felt as if I was barely hanging on, I’d never been so completely spent.  (What made me think this was a good way…
read more →

Knowing When to Throw in the Towel

Terry was a serial entrepreneur with all classic, foundational attributes of her station:  tenacious, risk tolerant, resilient.  She started a services company with a truly unique approach, and she was passionately committed to both the company and the sector it served. Yet, when her young company was repeatedly losing contracts and struggling to meet payroll, she was faced with the entrepreneur’s ultimate dilemma, whether to continue the business she’d fought hard to create or to throw in the towel.   The idiom “throw in the towel” is, of course, a boxing reference to when a fighter’s manager throws a towel…
read more →

“I Feel Judged By You”

My son’s nanny had been with us about a year when we sat down for her performance review.    Betty was smart, dedicated, and had great judgment.  Great judgment both in terms of her ability to make good decisions and in terms of her propensity to cast an opinion based upon her beliefs.  The former type of judgment was a strength.  The latter, not so much.   After providing Betty with a glowing evaluation, I told her that just one thing was still niggling at me.  I wasn’t sure how to approach it, or even whether saying it would be fruitful. …
read more →

Life: By Design or By Default

A couple of years ago, I began to see a pattern that I could no longer over look.  Every time I engaged with an older female client, I experienced an internal dialogue that was critical of them.  YIKES!  That’s a big f-ing deal!  The foundation of my work as a coach is seeing the hero in everyone.  My internal disparagements were infecting my client relationships and souring their results.   Oh, I could always justify or disguise my critiques.   “She’s being a victim.”  “She’s just wanting attention.”  But when I looked at my default pattern of behavior and the results, it…
read more →

Never Ever Give Up

Never Ever Give Up.  We’ve all heard that advice dozens if not hundreds of times.  So many times, in fact, that it can seem a bit trite, as least to me.  But then I saw Diana Nyad’s talk at last month’s TEDWomen and her words gave the saying a new meaning.      What You Probably Already Know – The Results   Unless you’ve been living in a remote village in Nepal (or you are an entrepreneur working 90+ hour weeks), you know that Diana Nyad is the 64 year old woman who recently did something no other man or…
read more →

Hold My Hand

I had the most remarkable and meaningful experience yesterday...at the dentist.  That’s right!  I had a meaningful experience at the dentist.   And it was quite a surprise.   Dreaded Dental Work To me, dental work is in the same category as colonoscopy (which actually, I’ve never had, but I’ve heard of it and it sounds awful).  While I wouldn’t classify myself as clinically dental phobic, let’s just say that my dentist may need to replace his arm rests.   (And by the way, my arms were NOT resting.) Like for most things in my life that aren’t perfect, I blame my…
read more →

I Have a Dream

What’s Your Dream? Fifty years ago on August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Though it was a momentous occasion, King’s prepared speech was just a composite of speeches he had given before. Nothing new. Clarence Jones, King’s speech writer, said that the preparations for the march had been so burdensome that the speech had not been a priority. What made King’s speech one of the greatest of all time was not in what he had prepared. Off-Script and With-Heart King started his…
read more →

Leading from Your Zone of Genius

Focus on Strengths Much has been written about the benefits of focusing on our strengths.  Marcus Buckingham’s books, Now, Discover Your Strengths, Go Put Your Strengths to work and the Strength’s Finder assessment that came from that work, have enlighten us all to the idea that we’ll succeed much faster by focusing on what we do well instead of what we suck at.    The notion that we each have a Zone of Genius, a place where our innate talents meet our passions, is a familiar concept.  And yet, how much of our days are we spending in our Zone? What’s…
read more →

Accept What is AND Expect More

What happens when our reality doesn’t meet our expectation? It happens all the time, right? Maybe even every day. We want “x” to happen and we get ”y”. We expect our company to land the big contract, the employee to deliver the proposal on time, to achieve some set measure of success and it just doesn’t happen. Then what? How do we typically act/react? And where does that get us? That which We Resist, Persists When results fall short of expectations, most of us experience disappointment, perhaps frustration and maybe even anger. We concentrate on the gap between what we…
read more →

TEDxRockCreekPark: The Hero’s Journey – In Review

It has now been more than a month since TEDxRockCreekPark on 5/4 and my body has finally stopped vibrating. For me, the conference was a complete expression of purpose, a rich and fulfilling experience. TEDxRockCreekPark was based upon the belief that every person on the planet has a purpose and our deepest desire is to fully express that purpose. The Hero’s Journey theme and the intention of the conference was to invite everyone touched by it to connect with their own life’s purpose and to clarify and forward what it means to fully express it. How does that breakdown? Consider…
read more →

What Does It Mean To Be An Athlete?

I like to think of myself as an athlete, though I’m not sure that’s true.   I’ve entered many races, but I’ve never won one.   I’ve never really played a sport.  (Throughout my schooling, my mother insisted that I stay in band.  Seriously.)    You wouldn’t necessarily look at me and say, there goes an athlete. And in those precious moments when I feel like an athlete, here’s why I do. Pushing Beyond Doubt Many times during a workout or in preparation for an event, I’ll have my fair share of doubts.    I doubt my ability.  I doubt my fitness.    Like the…
read more →

Emotional Thinness

My heart ached as I sat across the desk as the stony faced CEO explained his company’s situation:  “I don’t know what’s wrong.   It just seems like any little issue can get out of hand.  My employees are quitting for what seem like minor issues to me.  And I don’t know what’s wrong with my buddy, Bill.” I had an idea of what was wrong and there wasn’t a quick fix.  I had performed an EQ assessment (a test of emotional intelligence) with the CEO, and had coached him for almost a year. It was clear that the CEO had…
read more →

Leading With Intention

I swam with my trainer this morning, a relatively new venture for me.   I’ve always been more runner than swimmer.  Why?  As far as I know, no one has ever drowned running. And you can easily run without thinking (at least I can).  Running feels natural, in a “Born To Run” kind of way.  And unless you grew up in the water, swimming doesn’t feel all that natural.  Swimming is much more about technique. Technique, at least in the beginning, is about intention. Leading can be like running: easy, natural, like being ourselves.  You just show up to work and…
read more →

Bottom Lining and the Long Talker

  “I’ve got this person in my organization.  She’s really sharp, does a great job and I like her.  The only thing is…..”  I hear this line a lot, with only the gender and the ending changing.   Most recently, I heard this from one of my CEO clients who ended it by saying that “he comes in my office and just won’t stop talking.  What do I do?” We all know these people.  I call them “Long Talkers”.  They are often social, well-meaning, happy people who tend to process out loud, and talk in stories.   While these folks are often…
read more →

“But” Elimination Therapy

Do you remember the happy School House Rock singalong song, Conjunction Junction?   According to the song, the function of “but”, a conjunction, is “hookin’ up words and phrases and clauses”.    The song made “but” seem so innocent and even helpful. Unfortunately, a serious and unnecessary cause of stress today is what I call “but-itis”.  (I’d call it conjunctivitis, if that weren’t already taken. J)  But-itis is the frequent, chronic and inflammatory use of the word “but”.  The result of but-itis is to resist or mitigate what was just said before it.  And it has unintended effect of creating unnecessary tension.…
read more →

What Makes a Great TED Talk Great?

What Makes a Great TED Talk Great? By Alison Whitmire A great TED talk can attract hundreds of thousands of views in days and millions of views over months.  Having attended the TEDActive conference for four years, attended numerous TEDx conferences and curated two TEDx conferences, I’ve developed some pretty clear opinions about what a great TED talk is and what makes it great. There are great TED videos and then there are great TED talks.  And some of the TED videos that have gotten millions of views are not great talks.  Some of the most viewed talks have a…
read more →
Follow
Get every new post delivered to your inbox!
Thank you for your time!
Powered By WPFruits.com