Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Daily Read

Leading Blog Henry Ford on Leadership  I did not know that today’s Ford Motor Co was Henry Ford’s THIRD car company.  He learned a lot by trial and error and has a lot to say about teamwork, personal responsibility and failure.  I think the one quote that stuck with me the most was “Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice.”  Keep on keeping on.  

Harvard Business Review What Job Candidates Really Want: Meaningful Work Wow.  This one really hit home.  How many cubicle dwellers are sitting there living Thoreau’s life of quiet desperation while searching for that nugget of purpose?  I know I’m one of them.  I could never fully identify which desk was his, but all of a sudden one day, Dilbert moved into my office.  The individual purpose that created high flying and high performing people (and a high flying company) was replaced by mind numbing repetition.  Which segues into…

Leadership Freak Looking Down on Young Leaders “The hope for dying organizations isn’t found in old leaders who don’t have the guts to say they created the problem.”  If you’re a young leader just starting out, this is great advice on how to work your way up to the big table for power lunch.  It’s also great advice for the people at the big table to create more space for the next generation.  “Not all elders are dead and not all youth are the solution.”


The Daily Read

Seth Godin Gardens, Not Buildings We have all had the project from hell where we can’t wait until it’s over or we’re reassigned.  Clients, sponsors, and other team members feel the same way too.  It’s a bad bad situation when everyone on the team wants to be anywhere else but here.  So be a *steward* not a manager.  The best projects I’ve worked on included personal phone calls outside of the regular teleconferences, transparent behavior, and accountability.  

Let’s Grow Leaders Real Leadership: Defining Your Personal Leadership Paradigm Dovetailing nicely with Seth Godin is Karin Hurt.  “Dickering over competency models?  Now I’m pragmatic. ”  Just like those dates in your teen years where you tried to figure out who you were and who you’re looking for, your adult leadership style needs that good and bad experience to find the real you.  Where are you in that journey?

Leadership Freak How to Walk a Crooked Line to Success One of my favorite quotes is Lyndon Johnson’s take on geometry: “The shortest distance between two points is a tunnel”.  In politics this is usually the case, and in management, it’s a certainty.  It’s how you walk that crooked line that defines success.  Dan Rockwell shows that while it does feel like a bit of a failure strategy celebrating weakness and confusion, it can be managed to everyone’s benefit.


“Kneeling over a trickling mountain stream and pumping every ounce of water you use though a filter can really change your perception of turning on a faucet.”  Eric Voorhis

Once the extraordinary becomes commonplace, it’s hard to remember all the work that went into it to make it commonplace.  That’s the job of a manager–to make the extraordinary into commonplace.  

That doesn’t happen without the team effort to put it all into place.  There’s a lot of moving parts and unintended consequences to account for, but the outcome is well worth it.  Imagine standing at the old film camera processing kiosk in 1993 and telling someone dropping off their film for processing that 20 years from now, your cell phone would provide instant photos.  Instant disbelief would be the response of most.  It’s good to remember all the work that went into where you are now.

Acknowledging that you stand on the shoulders of those who went before you  goes hand in hand with how you lead your team today.  Do you share the disbelief of most, or do you have the vision that will move everyone forward?  And do you have the right stuff that will allow you to be the shoulders to stand on for the next generation of leaders?

The Daily Read

Let’s Grow Leaders Christmas In July This is also my wife’s birthday and Christmas in July is a recurrent theme here at home.  Bringing the same lesson to the workplace is much less common.  Leadership magic, just like family magic, leads to memorable and teachable moments that last a professional lifetime.

Great Leadership Silly Putty Leadership  Do you know how to Bounce, Stretch and Transform?  Go ahead…buy an eggfull of Sully Putty for the first time in years.  Play with it and let it remind you of those three characteristics.  And then keep the egg in a place where it can remind you daily to embrace those characteristics in your professional life.

Seth Godin Your Permanent Record Do you remember those chilling words from your school days?  In the NSA/Facebook era, everything we do is recorded and on your permanent record.  None of us is perfect.  So how do you get over that error you made or someone else made?  With another triplet of leadership: be generous, know what’s important and be human.

The Daily Read

Seth’s Blog The Future is Messy… Oh boy is it!  Hindsight is 20/20 and the best laid plans go astray.  Why do psychics never hit the lottery?  

Lou Adler 12 Ways to Spot a High Achiever You know who those people are.  They get all the breaks.  Keep in mind that they were probably working their butts off while you were resting.  Leadership isn’t for the lazy or the indifferent.  Number 12 was the biggest to me:  They were mentored and mentored others.  Sharing the wealth, both as the one receiving the guidance, and as the one providing the guidance, makes you and your success immortal.

Linked 2 Leadership The Seven Pillars of Transparent Leadership How many times have you felt your boss just wasn’t there for you and the team?  They only show up in a crisis to micromanage and critique.  Real bosses are there a lot more than that, in both the good times and the bad.  That means being real with your team, consistently and openly, authentically and sincerely.



“Please know that I am aware of the hazards. I want to do it because I want to do it.” Amelia Earhart

How many times have you heard “What would you do if you knew you could not ever fail?”  There’s a lot of people who have produced amazing results by moving ahead and succeeding in the face of all the naysayers.  That’s definitely the attitude that you should greet your tasks with.

Risk analysis is also an integral part of any undertaking.  Blindly rushing in is a an immense opportunity for unscripted results.  So you look at what *could* go wrong and what *will* go wrong to remediate where you can and make educated decisions.

But in those rare cases, maybe you need to go on your gut feeling.  I’m going to do it because I want to sounds like a childish tantrum, but sometimes it’s what you need to do.  Do the due diligence and risk analysis, mitigate where you can, and act prudently.  But keep that restless questing adventurer spirit in your back pocket. You never know when you’ll need it.


“I am never afraid of what I know.” Anna Sewell

Back in the day, the only way to get from there to here was with a map. It was printed on paper, folded in a neat rectangle that eventually turned into a mess in the glove compartment.  Now of course, the paper map has been replaced by GPS, but the action is the same.  It’s holding your hand as you travel to the unknown.  Your progress is tentative.

Your job doesn’t have to be like that.  Make sure your people know their jobs and how to do them.  As the manager, it’s your job to give them as many opportunities to be successful as possible.  It’s up to the team members to latch onto that training, gain the confidence they need, and then shine on their own merits.  Their success is personally gratifying to them, but it’s also your success and your team’s success.

And make sure you train a successor too!  Managers of successful teams tend to move up the ladder pretty quickly.