Leadership Purpose: Why Should Anyone
Be Led by You?

Leadership-PurposeLet me ask you this: Have you identified your leadership purpose, and are you expressing it in every moment? Don’t worry if you haven’t, only about 20% of leaders say they have.

From what I see when I’m coaching leaders in organizations, there is a deepening disenchantment with traditional-style management. People are increasingly suspicious of the skilled and charismatic boss who echoes corporate mission statements and jargon. The search for authenticity in those who lead us has never been more pressing. Read More »

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How to Speak Up about Values in Business

Values-vs-Profits From what I see, many of us fail to take appropriate action when we see questionable values in business. In my previous posts on values and ethics in business, I’ve shared thoughts from Giving Voice to Values: How to Speak Your Mind When You Know What’s Right (Yale University Press, 2010), by management expert Mary C. Gentile, PhD. She asserts that most of us don’t take appropriate values-based actions when we see risky practices.

The author suggests we consider the following when seeking alternative solutions to questionable decisions: Read More »

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Leadership Challenge: How Should You Speak Up about Values?

Leadership-Challenge-ValuesA sensitive leadership challenge I’ve seen in organizations involves ethical decisions. Leaders are in a position to object to policies when they foresee problems, but often don’t. You may be aware of questionable practices and choose to not say anything. Little by little, this creates a slippery slope resulting in ethical mistakes, sometimes much bigger than when they started out.

In Giving Voice to Values: How to Speak Your Mind When You Know What’s Right (Yale University Press, 2010), management expert Mary C. Gentile, PhD, asserts that being aware of ethical issues and analyzing one’s options may be insufficient in today’s complex work environment. Most of us fail to take appropriate values-based actions: Read More »

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Leadership Success and the Search for Meaning

Core-ValuesI’ll say it again. Success is NOT a destination. If I had a dollar every time someone calls me and says, “Look, I’ve achieved all my goals, now what?” — I’d be rich. Leadership success is not about achieving your goals, it only appears to be so. We spend so much time and effort to acquire new goals and habits, sometimes we forget the goal isn’t the point.

Meaning and purpose are the point.  Victor Frankl, Austrian psychiatrist, in Man’s Search for Meaning, tells about his fellow prisoners at Auschwitz. According to Frankl, the way a prisoner imagined the future affected his longevity. Those who lived longest were the ones who had meaning and a purpose to live. They refused to give up. Read More »

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7 Steps to Career Success with Waypoints

Career-Success-StepsI’ve never met a successful leader who didn’t have a plan for his or her career success. The plan may have changed over the years, but there is a plan with waypoints.

It’s never to late to plan out the rest of your career. You may find like I did, that you’re in a different place from where you thought you’d be twenty years ago. Life is like that. It happens. It’s a trip. Read More »

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Leadership Waypoints: 7 Steps to Plan for Success

Step To SuccessSuccessful executives establish leadership waypoints along their career path. I’ve been writing about how people who want leadership success need to be strategic and practical. In my last post I explained what waypoints are and how any leader can formulate their own WAYPOINTS statement. This helps you identify the smaller steps along the road to success. Then, work your WAYPOINTS through the seven planning steps: Time, Treasure, Talent, Manpower, Machinery, Providence and Stupidity.

(NOTE: I was going to put all seven of these good planning steps into one post, but quite frankly, when you look at a wall of words suggesting you do seven things – if you’re like me and most people – you’ll pick one or two that look easy and forget the rest. So I’m breaking this list into two blog posts. The second half will be published in my next post!)

1. Time

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What Are Leadership Waypoints?

Leadership-WaypointsSuccessful executives establish leadership waypoints along their career path. I’ve been writing about how people who want leadership success need to be strategic and practical. It helps to define the key actions and small wins along the way. Success isn’t built over night, and neither can you develop your leadership skills in big steps. There are many baby steps along a lifetime journey. It helps to use a navigation tool like a leadership waypoint statement.

It’s like having a GPS for leadership success. A WAYPOINT statement defines your leadership goals and can be based on the eight letters of the word W-A-Y-P-O-I-N-T-S: Read More »

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Leadership Success Is Not a Destination

3D Direction SignWhat is leadership success? Success can be defined as many things. It could be good health, great relationships, a solid marriage, happy kids, and financial security to name a few. One of the things that all of these definitions have in common is that they are not end points. There is no finish line that you cross.

For instance, you don’t one day have a solid marriage, check the box and forget about it. The bar is continually being raised, and what is satisfactory today may not be tomorrow. From the time you are born to your last day, it’s a continuum. It’s especially relevant when it comes to leadership success.

That’s where “waypoints” come in. A waypoint in navigation is quite simply a point that you reach that sends you in a new direction.  When flying from New York to LA, a plane does not fly a direct route. Air Traffic Control may have the plane fly over Columbus, Memphis, Little Rock, Oklahoma City, Phoenix and finally into LA. Those intermediary points are waypoints. The GPS in your car doesn’t talk about waypoints, but every turn you make is actually a waypoint. Read More »

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Leadership Success: Some Thoughts on Work, Life, Music, Distractions and Choice

Leadership-SuccessWhat would it take for you to experience leadership success? Let’s face it: there never really is a perfect work life balance. It’s a moving target. Just when we think we’re ahead of the game, life gets in the way.

In many ways, life is like a symphony orchestra. There are 110 instruments in an orchestra. Sometimes all we hear are the violins, but the other instruments must be there to provide necessary support and background. Then maybe it’s the piano in the foreground. Each section has it’s part to play, and none can be ignored. I once met a musician who played the cymbol. Sometimes he only had one note to play in the entire symphony. But it was often the most significant note of the performance. He couldn’t afford to miss it.

Sometimes, work takes the lead in the symphony of life. Other times, it’s the kids. Or even the dog. There’s crunch time in the office, and there are birthdays, wedding, funerals and illness at home. There’s no way anyone can control either life or work. All we can try to do is live a good life, give it our best, and know how to respond to the octopus of time pulling us in eight directions all at once. Read More »

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Leaders, How Exactly Are You
Going to Manage Priorities?

Manage-PrioritiesI’ve often said to my stressed out coaching clients that trying to manage time is like golfing with a tennis racquet. Wrong tool for the job. You can really only manage priorities.

Yet most of us don’t do a very good job of that. The thing is, to manage your priorities, you have to know what they are.  I read in HBR that 20% of executives don’t have a strong sense of what their leadership purpose is and fewer still have a clear plan for translating purpose into action. Leaders, to be effective, to be excellent, must manage all of life’s priorities.

How can you know what your priorities are? The way to manage priorities (and consequently, your time) is to be really clear and brutally honest about what they are. Most of us have adopted time management tools to get it done, and know how to distinguish the important from the urgent, as well as how to group the A, B, C, and D tasks according to importance. We know about the 3 D’s: Do it, Delegate it, or Dump it. Read More »

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