45 Seconds on Leadership

Hire a surgeon

Would you hire a surgeon who told you two-thirds of his patients die? What about a lawyer who loses two-thirds of her cases? Do you want a pilot who says on two-thirds of his flights, something wacky happens in the cockpit? So why do we hire ourselves to lead change? Two-thirds of our change efforts […]

OUR Idea

Leadership magic happens when you turn your idea into OUR idea. When your boss tells you to do something, how excited do you usually get? How does your excitement compare to when YOU have an idea to do something? We’re usually more enthusiastic when it’s OUR idea. So as leaders, how do we—with integrity—turn our […]

Problem Solvers

You know one thing that differentiates leaders? They are great problem solvers. Our great problem-solving skills…they get us into leadership…these skills do wonders for our career. When there’s a problem or an opportunity, we naturally solve it and share this new way of doing things with everyone else. Here’s the rub. Change is a decision. […]

Muscle Memory

Are we trying to lead a change, or are we REALLY trying to overcome YEARS of muscle memory, habit, history, the way we’ve always done it? Probably the latter. When we tell our people the reason for the change, they may agree wholeheartedly. Either way, if we tell them they must change, they’ll comply. Then […]

Leader Licks Envelopes

A leader licks envelopes when that is what is important. When I was 24 and leaving the office one day, I saw the president of the firm sitting at a conference room table folding letters and stuffing envelopes…along with the administrative assistants. He’d warned us the admins were busy and it was important. You know […]

Organizations don’t change.

It’s impossible to change an organization – because organizations don’t change. Let’s say you’ve been given responsibility for changing something about your organization. But it’s actually impossible to do that, because organizations don’t change. Organizations DO NOT change. People do. The numbers don’t change for the better until people change for good. And people can’t […]

Are People Really Our Greatest Asset?

Greatest asset. Our people are our greatest asset. Even in this robotic world, we can’t do what we do without our people. So…why do we hide things from these great assets? Why do we wait until the last minute and spring announcements about changes on them? Why do we not ask these assets for their […]

Our Values Help Us Win

Our values help us support our leadership efforts. Take the healthcare company CVS. One of their key values is about being there for “every meaningful moment of health.” So, how can they sell cigarettes in their drug stores? The answer is, they don’t. Anymore. They used to sell a billion dollars a year, but it […]

We Get the Culture We Deserve

The culture we deserve. Over time, what kind of employees stay at an organization that tells them “you have to?” Is it the creative, thoughtful people who like to have freedoms? Or people who like to stay inside the lines? Those who like certainty and comfort, or those who embrace ambiguity? People who wait for […]

DO “This is Important”

“This is important!” This is exactly what do we say when we have something important to tell someone. But you know what makes something really important to people: When we “DO” this is important. I once knew a very busy CIO who was trying to lead a change to a new technology. She said it […]

Listening Has Its Benefits.

When people feel heard …they’ll do REMARKABLE things. The leaders at Pixar needed a 10% cut in costs. They had ideas. But instead they listened and got ideas from their people. Their people got engaged and offered great ideas. Their very best idea…the idea that was most popular…it wouldn’t cut costs 10%. No, it would […]