One of the great joys I get from my work is the opportunity to connect and build relationships with some truly exceptional leaders and people. One of them is my friend, Bob Bennett, the guest writer of this piece. After seeing one of Bob’s talks two years ago, I knew this was a leader I had to connect with, and our conversations and emails since then have been inspiring, informative, and just plain fun. When you read the guest piece he’s written below, you’ll understand why.
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I am blessed to have grandchildren, because they teach me something new every day – even things like leadership and business.
One week shy of their third birthday my wife and I took two of our grandchildren, May and Tucker, to Disney World. They are twins; May is an instigator and manipulator. Tucker is ‘all boy’ and extremely active but sensitive. Both have a quest for knowledge; they can talk with you all day about habitats, inertia, paleontologists, and, as Tucker calls it, ‘gestion,’ the art of turning the food one eats into energy.
We stayed at a cabin in the Wilderness Village. We spent four full days at the separate theme parks, going on every ride that did not have a height restriction.
While packing to leave after the ‘adventure,’ my wife and I wondered which were the kids’ favorite rides. The decision: Tucker – Toy Story; May – Ariel. So, as would any grandparent, we asked them.
The first surprise for us was the speed with which they answered the question. They both answered immediately Click here to continue reading »”How We Can Develop A Culture Of Learning”
In the past week or so, there’s been much discussion and debate over the merits of disruption and with it, how we view and understand what it means to innovate.
There’s one organization that’s familiar with dealing with the unknown and consequently, upending our understanding of what’s possible and what’s not – NASA, the National Aeronautical and Space Administration. For almost 60 years, they’ve had to figure out how to do things that had never been done before, and challenge our assumptions of what we’re capable of achieving.
In this guest piece by author, documentary producer and director Rod Pyle, you’ll learn about the challenges NASA recently faced in trying to send new robotic rovers to explore to surface of the planet Mars. Even if you’re not a space enthusiast like myself, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the story and insights Rod shares in this piece, as it reminds us not only of what true innovation looks like, but of our ability to transform the seemingly impossible into our new reality.
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“EDL! EDL! EDL!” was the joyous cry that rang out across the central quad at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the night of August 5, 2012. NASA’s Curiosity rover had successfully landed on Mars, and shortly thereafter, the entire landing team spilled out of the control center to proudly shout the initials of Entry, Descent and Landing, thereby proclaiming their success, as the press looked on in amusement. It was a wonderful moment for the normally staid engineering team.
Landing on Mars is a huge engineering challenge. Everything seems to Click here to continue reading »”A Lesson In Innovation From The Red Planet”
Over the past two weeks, I’ve had the distinct honour of being recognized by two organizations for my work in the field of leadership. The first came from Inc. Magazine which recognized me as one of the Top 100 Leadership and Management Experts, putting me alongside such leadership heavyweights as Sir Richard Branson, Vineet Nayar, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Peter F. Drucker, and placing one spot below Bill Gates.
The second recognition I received came from Kelly Services in their list of the “Top 7 Blogs Every Manager Should Read”, where I found myself being included alongside such preeminent sites as the Harvard Business Review, Bloomberg Businessweek’s Management Blog, The Gallup Blog, and Seth Godin to name a few.
Naturally, I took to my various networks to share this news, both to invite others to join me in celebrating these recognitions, but also as an opportunity for me to express my appreciation for the continued support and encouragement I’ve received over the years that has helped to place me in such esteemed company.
Among the various congratulatory wishes, renowned leadership expert, best-selling author, and award-winning leadership speaker Jim Kouzes posed an interesting question to me – looking back at the journey that has lead to me such accolades and recognition, “what would you say are the 3 to 5 lessons you’ve learned along the way?”
Although my reply to Jim’s query focused on some of the lessons I’ve learned from writing this blog for the past 5 years, I realized that some of these lessons also apply to the field of leadership, in how they can guide us to become the kind of leader our employees need us to be so they can succeed and thrive.
So here now are 3 lessons I’d like to share from my own experiences to ensure that we’re not only successful in our efforts to guide and inspire those we lead, but that we’re able to achieve the underlying vision and drive that defines why we commit ourselves to serving those under our care. Click here to continue reading »”3 Personal Lessons On How To Succeed At Leadership”
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve written about how successful leaders build thriving teams, along with what necessary steps we need to take to not only encourage organizational growth in the months and years ahead, but how we can help our employees to adapt to changes we need to make to ensure we achieve our shared purpose.
As is often the case when we write about leadership, the focus tends to be on what we can do today to improve how our organization operates going forward and hopefully, achieve the kind of success we envisioned when we first took on this leadership role.
And yet, a common theme running through the past couple of pieces I’ve written here on my blog also lend themselves to the idea of looking beyond our time serving as leader and to what we’ll leave behind as the legacy of our time serving as the steward for our organization’s vision and shared purpose.
When I announced to my Governing Board team my decision to resign as chairman a few months back, the news was met with some disappointment and sadness, followed by an impromptu round of applause when I revealed my plans to run in the upcoming school board elections for school board chairman. In the time since making this announcement, there’s been a feeling of assurance among my team members about the future, with a few of them telling me that they know that the team will be fine without me.
While it might sting at first to hear that those you lead are confident that they can move along without you, it’s probably the biggest compliment we can get as leaders when the time comes for us to hand over the helm to someone else.
When we see that those we lead meet our impending departure not with trepidation or concern, but with sadness and appreciation, we know that we’ve Click here to continue reading »”What Will Your Leadership Legacy Be?”
When it comes to discussions on leadership, there are certain constants or inevitable statements that you’re likely to come across. One of the most common of these stems from the ongoing debate over whether culture is more important than strategy in terms of the organization’s long-term success and viability.
Unfortunately, the popularity of debating the merits of one tactic over the other has recently given rise to a whole new set of either/or scenarios where leaders are encouraged to adopt one approach at the expense of the other. To date, some of the either/or scenarios I’ve seen debated include:
- vision vs. strategy
- knowledge vs. action
- people vs. results
- thinking vs. doing
- managing Millennials vs. every other workplace generation
Of course, it’s understandable why there’s a growing appeal for this approach – given the increasing complexity of leading organizations in today’s interconnected global economy, it’s only natural that we want to find quick answers to help us navigate these often choppy waters.
And yet, the problem with these zero-sum models is that they not only misdirect our focus from more urgent issues, but they also create more harm than good for the following reasons:
1. It overlooks the dualistic nature of these approaches
I’ve read recently a few articles where people have argued that the fast-pace of today’s market demands less focus on knowledge and thinking and more on action and doing. Of course, it’s easy to argue for a take-charge bravado when you’re not leading an organization still suffering from risk aversion thanks to the difficulties faced over the last few years.
That’s not to say that we need to do the inverse – of waiting until we have all our ducks in a row before we release our collective efforts out into the world. Rather, it means Click here to continue reading »”Leading Through The Power Of “And””