Blog: Leading & Living Courageously

Never forget the power and magic of Courage

W.H. Murray, the leader of the Scottish Himalayan Expedition that pioneered the path to the top of Mt. Everest, knew something about courage. He shared his experience in a known quote, which I really love: Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: That, the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and […]

Are you having courageous conversations?

I’d like to share three true stories with you… True Story One: In a very large global financial service organization there was a strategic conflict between one of the lines of business and the regions, who were selling its products. The regions felt they were different. They knew their territory and customers best, so they wanted to control the sales process. But the business unit believed their products were meant to be sold through a consistent global program, which only they could do. Needless to say, this caused a lot of conflicts, tensions, and stress among the senior leaders. It was causing even more anxiety at the middle managers level as they felt stuck between […]

If you don’t have a clear outcome and someone who owns it, you have nothing!

I was supporting a group of senior leaders in a global technology company to create breakthrough projects in a few key areas of their business in which they wanted to elevated performance. As a kickoff, I asked each of the project teams to present their ‘Starting Point Status’. Different projects were at different stages of maturity. However, they all shared a few common mistakes. One team outlined several initiatives, but it wasn’t clear what was the overarching outcome of their project.  So beyond the individual outcome of each initiative, I couldn’t tell if the initiatives they’d taken on were the right ones for this breakthrough project. Another team outlined the outcome of their project, but […]

You can’t have your cake and eat it too…

Words are only cheap when we make them cheap. It’s no wonder concepts like “alignment” “empowerment” and “accountability” are considered faded clichés in most organizations. This is because leaders have abused these terms for so long by pronouncing them left, right and center at their convenience to present themselves as modern and enlightened leaders only to repeatedly not live up to their declarations and to the promise of these powerful leadership concepts. Many senior executives say they want to build greater trust with their team, but they are unwilling to invest the time to bring their team together in order to build that trust. Many leaders say they want to empower their people, but when […]

Take One Little Step…

One little step stands between being courageous or being a coward. Literally! The difference between being courageous and being a coward is – Action. If you are committed to an outcome or direction that is beyond your comfort level and you take action toward it, you are courageous. If you don’t – you are a coward. If you are committed to an outcome of direction that is beyond your comfort level most likely you will be afraid; you will have anxiety and/or nervousness about your ability to succeed. You will have moments of doubt, second-guessing yourself and even moments in which you will regret having committed to the direction. You will definitely be tempted to […]

What kind of leader do you want to be?

The CEO of a large global service organization was a very strong and tough leader. This enabled him to drive, almost single-handedly, significant and impressive changes in the structure, performance and market position of this organization. His leaders admired the CEO for his bold leadership and the progress that he was driving. However pretty much all of them also felt intimidated by his strong personality and assertive and decisive leadership style. The CEO stated that he wanted his leaders to be engaged and co-own and co-lead the company with him. However, in reality, he had such strong views about the business – which were often the right ones – that he infrequently actually listened or […]