Blog: Leading & Living Courageously

Why is excellence so hard to come by?

How many times have you been blown away by the supreme excellence of an interaction or service experience, in the last week or month? OK, if blown away is too high of a bar, how about being impressed by an interaction or service or feeling that it was truly beyond your expectations? I think that if you were honest, you would probably admit that these unforgettable experiences of excellence are far apart. It’s not that they don’t exist. They do! But they are rare. For the most part, we have lowered our expectations and standards to accept mediocracy in most interactions and services. If you go online and read the mission statement or values of […]

Are you making THE difference?

People genuinely want to work together in a more authentic, courageous and effective way. However, even good, well-meaning people often find it challenging to do the right things and behave and act in ways that promote a productive environment. They know what works and what doesn’t work, but knowing and doing are two different things. For example: People know that gossiping doesn’t work; ‘trashing’ coworkers and ‘throwing them under the bus’ is hurtful and it undermines trust and productivity, but they still do it. People know that paying lip service to commitments doesn’t work, but they still do it. People know that blaming other teams and people doesn’t fix the problem, in fact, it makes […]

The Power of Starting

Many years ago, I played the classical guitar. At the time I was even half-decent at it, and it brought me great pleasure. I stopped playing about 26 years ago, but about a year ago I picked it up again and I have been playing ever since. To be honest, it took a while between the time that I decided to start and the actual time that I started. I kept procrastinating the starting point because every time I intended to start playing negative thoughts came up about the challenge of starting again from scratch. Starting again as a beginner felt daunting, so I convinced myself to start another day, and this happened a few […]

Are you promoting ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking?

Most leaders and teams don’t seem to be good at thinking outside the box; thinking in new and different ways from the way they are accustomed to. Even when teams are engaged in conversations about improvement and change these conversations frequently have their roots in, “What have we done to date?” “What are our current resources and capabilities?” and “How do we measure up against others?”. The end game so often seems defined by some rearrangement of the same familiar stuff. As the saying goes: “Rearranging the deck seats on the Titanic” Even though the benchmark mania has somewhat passed in corporate America, for many companies the bar seems to still be set by other […]

Move your orientation from Activities to Outcomes, then Breakthroughs

I was participating in a performance review meeting with a successful division of a global technology company. In this meeting, the team members responsible for leading the key strategic initiatives were updating the entire management team on the status and progress of their initiatives. With slight variations, pretty much every presenter jumped almost immediately into the details of the metrics they are tracking, the status of these metrics and the activities their initiative team is involved with. None of the presenters provided any higher level context on the purpose and objectives of their initiative, or where they aim to take it. Based on these updates you could tell how efficient the team was at tracking […]

Why are leaders so afraid of facing issues?

I am all about empowering people and I do everything I can to ensure people always leave any work I do with them feeling more empowered, hopeful, enabled and energized than they came in. The dictionary defines empower as: Make someone stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights. It takes different approaches, methods and conversations at different times to empower different people. Sometimes you have to reinforce what people are naturally strong at and what they are doing well in order to empower them. Sometimes, this means reminding them of how great they are. However, at other times you may need to shake people up and help them confront […]