Old School

April 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

“Old school” is correct when referring to basketball shorts that were uncomfortably short back in the day. Or appeals for money in a letter that contains more than two paragraphs (pssst, no one reads your letter, they don’t have time and, worse, don’t care about something so obviously impersonal. They do, however, throw it in the nearest trash can.)

Do you say “I” or “We”?

April 14, 2015 § Leave a comment

Do you say “I” to take responsibility of a mistake, as in “I am sorry. It’s my fault, I should have not assumed…”?

Do you say “We” as in “We have turned this around” “We have grown our department” “We have hired smart, gifted people”?

Here’s the difference: “I” takes responsibility. “We” shares in the ownership of success.

Don’t confuse the two.

The Human Voice

April 7, 2015 § Leave a comment

Iconic oral historian and author, the late Studs Terkel, was a story-teller, master-interviewer, and observer of working-class Chicagoans and those who were pushed to the edges of society.

Some of his best known books, Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do, Race: What Blacks and Whites Think And Feel About The American Obsession, and American Dreams: Lost and Found, stand as masterworks.

Use this link to view a 2:30 video from StoryCorp featuring Studs.

http://storycorps.org/animation/the-human-voice/

As a leader, how might you increase your presence with people, eye-to-eye, with your human voice?

Get out there with people, come from behind your desks, and have a conversation. It’s the most important thing you could do. And will tell you far more than written reports ever could.

Not possible

March 31, 2015 § Leave a comment

I’m afraid the word “authenticity” has become well, yawn.

Somehow it has become ubiquitous. Seemingly, everyone is labeled “authentic.”

What was at one time, a word saved for people who are truly authentic, those who do what they say, live what they say, those who share vulnerably, and carry themselves with the requisite confidence that comes with authenticity, has become watered-down, vanilla, over-used, and thus rendered meaningless.

I hereby take back the word authenticity and want to return it to its proper space.

The truth? It’s a rare trait, not universal. Precisely because it’s rare that gives it real meaning in someone.

Use sparingly.

Reject the Ho-Hum

November 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Think for a minute about all of the experiences you have that can be drab, ordinary, truly awful and unremarkable.

Things like air travel, a cab ride,  grocery store checkout, and think about the ways in which those things could be transformed into remarkable experiences. You just might change entire industries.

Even better, shine the light on yourself now and ask what are the things you have control over, things you can transform into the remarkable.

The design of a meeting agenda, presenting ideas, language, your office, meeting room configuration, serving an unusual type of food, following-up with someone, keeping a promise, telling the truth, earning trust.

Just to name a few.

Take a step into the scary wilderness.

November 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

Yellowstone National Park contains some of the world’s most jaw-dropping scenery, wildlife, and unique wonders found nowhere else in the world.

Annually, over 3 million people visit Yellowstone National Park.

And yet…

Less than 1/10 of 1% get more than 100 yards from pavement.

Why?

We are afraid. Afraid of the grizzly bear that might be watching us. Afraid of the wolf  that might be hungry. Wolve(s). Maybe there is more than one out there. Perhaps a charging buffalo. Or an exploding geyser underneath our feet.

We crave safety. The safety of the car nearby in case “something happens”. The safety of the predictable. The safety of metrics. The safety of forecasting. The safety of due diligence. The safety of best practices done elsewhere.

By not stepping into the unknown, we rob ourselves of true adventure, the adventure of speaking up when no one else will, the adventure of truly and passionately sharing what is on your heart, the adventure of telling a group of people that you are convinced that this organization, ministry, company can be so much more than it is.

Go. Be part of the 1/10 of 1%.

Show, but let others do the telling.

November 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

No need to tell others about the great things people say about you. It always rings hollow. Always.

And, it makes others immediately suspect as to why you have the need to talk about yourself.

So, don’t talk about yourself.  If you are truly exceptional, others will talk to others about you; they will find out on their own, which is the very best thing to have happen.

It will come out naturally.

Don’t be your own billboard.

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