VIDEO: Re-Charge Yourself

Every good leader must make time for him or herself. Part of such time for self can be used to recharge and reinvigorate yourself.

Rejuvenation is essential, and in the video below are some ways to integrate it into your own life. There is something else that comes with rejuvenation — more energy. You feel better about yourself and often energized by the experience. Being energized is essential to the growth process but also to being able to try new things, even in your old job.

First posted on Smart Briefs 10.16.15

 

2105: Three Great Films for Leaders

I am not a movie critic, but I can pretend to be one for the length of time it takes you to read this quasi-review.

There are three films I have seen in 2015 which are must-watches for anyone interested in leadership. Each of the three films illuminate the human condition in ways that leaders must know intuitively and for that reason anyone concerned with what it makes to stand on principle and lead should go see.

First is Bridge of Spies. Starring Tom Hanks as James Donovan, an insurance lawyer drafted into defending a Soviet spy. Three years late he is asked by the CIA to go to East Berlin, just as the Wall is being constructed to liberate U2 pilot Gary Francis Powers. Not only must Donovan battle the Soviets and East Germans, he’s given scant support by the CIA who barely acknowledge him. Furthermore, his white shoe law firm turns its back on him for “helping the enemy.” Donovan was a righteous man and stood tall for what he believed and in the process served our nation well.

Read more:

First posted on Forbes.com 12.26.16

VIDEO: Banish Fear and Improve Learning

One of the big reasons change initiatives fail is because people do not like to be pushed out of their comfort zones.

That is only the surface emotion; a deeper reason is that people are uncomfortable with learning. It will mean absorbing new information, processing it and acting upon it.

Learning is intrinsic to change, and here is where leaders can exert their influence.

  • Embrace the process. The top leaders need to do it before everyone else and serve as the role models.
  • Teach what you know. Share your knowledge.
  • Be humble. Be open to new ideas and new learnings.

None of these techniques are new. In fact they are modeled after action-learning principles used in education in schools and professions worldwide.

The operative word for leaders is to engage; get involved in the learning process as student and teacher, and watch good things happen.

First posted on 10/30/15 on SmartBriefs 10/30/15

How to Win Your Next Argument

Passion may hurt you more than help you in your next argument.

That’s a conclusion of new research into persuasion by a pair of university academics and reported by Shankar Vedantam of NPR. Passion, often highly prized by leaders, may actually work against that leader if he or she is trying to reach out to someone who may not agree with them. Passion works when communicating people who share your point of view but it actually does the opposite to those with whom you disagree. Anyone who has argued politics – or the merits of Star Trekover Star Wars (or vice versa) — can attest. [More on Trek vs. the Force in a moment.]

Read more:

First posted on Forbes.com 12/19/15

VIDEO: Think and Act Positively

How do you motivate yourself?

That’s a question I sometimes get and when I do I like to give a three-word answer: Accentuate the positive! It’s the title of a Harold Arlen-Johnny Mercer tune from the 1940s.

Also consider the maxim that legendary basketball coach John Wooden used to preach: “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

That simple statement offers such clarity. So often we sabotage ourselves by thinking negatively. We may posit a lofty intention and then we de-loft it when we weigh the obstacles in our path.

Indeed the biggest obstacle may not be a boss or a circumstance — it is ourselves. And so we kill our motivational motor just as it begins to turn over.

Instead, learn to “accentuate the positive.”

First posted on Smartbrief 11.13.15

When You Present, Don’t Preach

Without a trace of irony, the CEO looks straight at the young Ph.D. analyst and says, “Speak as you might to a young child, or a golden retriever. It wasn’t brains that got me here, I assure you.”

That memorable line is from the movie Margin Call, the fictionalized story of the collapse of a Wall Street investment company. The CEO (played by Jeremy Irons) is not being facetious; his tone and manner (seen here on YouTube) reflects exactly what many senior executives want: simple explanations, not in the weeds details. Sadly too many rising executives fail to understand their bosses’ desire quick explanations. And so when they present to their higher ups they believe it is their duty or even their obligation to go on long, too long.

This disconnect arises for one or more of the following reasons: one, they believe they need to show what they know and prove it to everyone; two, they fail to realize that senior managers do not want to know how the sausage is made only that is available; and three, they believe in the law of plenty – if one fact is good; three are better.

You can sum up these failings with a simple statement: when presenting to a senior executive your job is to inform not educate. Executives want information so they can make up their own minds; they don’t need explanations that will be perceived as extraneous and irrelevant. And, very important, they do not want interpretation.

Continue reading here…

First posted on Forbes.com 12.05.15

VIDEO: Truth Will Set You (and Your) People Free

Governance is the challenge that faces every leader. The ability to get things done is management’s role.

The ability to inspire people to get those things done right is a leader’s responsibility. Trust is vital to inspiration.

Mark Twain opined, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”

This is good advice for anyone seeking to provide backbone to governance and substance to actions that benefit individuals as well as organizations.

First posted on SmartBrief 12.04.2015