Blog: Leading & Living Courageously

Accountability: a privilege or burden?

Accountability: a privilege or burden?

Accountability, like Empowerment and Ownership became a management fad in the early 2000s. And, like Empowerment and Ownership, in most organizations Accountability has become a hollow and empty slogan that prompts eye-rolling and sarcastic comments. People often wave the “A” word around when they want others to get things done or more regularly when they are frustrated with others for not getting things done. However, in my thirty-plus years of working with organizations I haven’t seen either make a difference. The intention behind this concept has always been pure and noble: To create an environment that supports people to be clear and honest about what they will deliver and encourages them to do what they […]

Do you have the conditions to take your team to the next level?

Do you have the conditions to take your team to the next level?

When an organization or team wants to generate a bolder and more compelling future and strategy, and rapidly and powerfully take its game to the next level it has to address two dimensions: the “content” associated with the future or strategy, and the “context” associated with the future or strategy. The content means making sure that there is a clear, precise, robust and well-structured game plan, which for most teams is in the form of a strategy or set of objectives. The leaders must ensure that everyone on the team understands the strategy in the same way. In so many organizations and teams this seemingly simple step is not achieved in a powerful and effective […]

Are you asking for what you want?

Are you asking for what you want?

You would think that asking for what you want would be the easiest thing in the world to do. But it isn’t! I see so many people struggling with this. In my coaching work I often ask people, “So, what do you want?” or “what do you want the outcome to be?” or “what do you want to accomplish?” Many people, when confronted with this direct question, find it hard to spit out a clear answer. Some say, “I know what I want” but when they attempt to describe it they get caught up in a long-winded conceptual description that is very confusing and vague even to them. A few simple follow-up questions such as, […]

Who is creating and owning your strategy?

Who is creating and owning your strategy?

Much of management literature on leadership gives executives wrong ideas about how to generate alignment and ownership in their teams. When the leader believes his role is to be lead visionary at the company, he can take that to its logical excess: feeling responsible for coming up with all the key details of the strategy. But that often means the leader will exclude others from shaping the strategy without even noticing it. That will discourage people from embracing the strategy and produce mere compliance. Leaders often believe that too many participants in the strategy planning process will prolong the process and dilute the clarity, validity, and relevance of the work product. Therefore, they put the […]

We sentence ourselves in our sentences

We sentence ourselves in our sentences

I learned many years ago that how we think and speak about ourselves and others determines the space and mood we live in. Speaking, thinking and even feeling are really very similar in nature. They all involve having a conversation. Thinking and feeling are speaking with yourself. We wouldn’t really know how we feel if we didn’t say to our self “I am sad”, “I am scared” or “I am angry.” And speaking is verbalizing our conversations to others in an interaction. In the world of conversation, there are two types of conversations: empowering and undermining. Engaging in empowering conversations make us bigger, stronger and more energized. Engaging in undermining conversations, obviously, make us more […]

Don’t confuse Commitment with Compliance

Don’t confuse Commitment with Compliance

Many managers and leaders assume their people automatically will commit to a new direction or strategy. They believe they should not have to ask for people’s commitment. They come from a school of thought that employees are obliged to align when a boss askes for it. It’s a belief to the effect of, “We shouldn’t have to beg you to get on board. That’s what you are paid to do. This isn’t a democracy. As soon as you understand the rationale and valid business reasons for this direction or strategy, you should be fully behind it.” This assumption is incorrect and dangerous. We find that this attitude often stems from a view that compliance is […]