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Coaching & Mentoring

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My Two "Favorite" Business Buzzwords

Over three decades of management consulting, no two terms have continued to surface more, given me more business projects, occupied more of my time and yet seem utterly devoid of any actual meaning than these: leader (or leadership) and strategy. Upon hearing them from many individuals and reading about them again and again, I’m often reminded of McBeth: these words are “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” 

The buzzwords surface everywhere in business, sometimes in overwhelmingly disparate contexts. “This guy is a great leader,” “she really needs to learn to lead,” or “you need a leadership experience.” Another context can be even more career dangerous. “I’d like to promote him, but he isn’t strategic.” Or, in one of the most lucrative coaching jobs of my career: “She’s open to working with you, and she really needs to become more strategic.” Now retired, she was one of the most well-placed women in American business. In sum, these buzzwords are like love. Everyone knows they exist, but few can define them with precision. And sometimes, like failures in love, they can’t execute either.

If you’ve done your research and some thoughtful, critical analysis, you know that ...


Book Review: Courage. The backbone of leadership by Gus Lee

Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities…because it is the quality which guarantees all others.- Winston Churchill I thoroughly enjoyed reading Courage The Backbone of leadership by Gus Lee and Diane Elliott-Lee.  Using case studies from Whirlpool, Kaiser Permanente, and Worldcom among others Lee ably demonstrates why most corporate values (implicit or explicit) […]

Add a Little Hoopla to Your Culture

Guest post from Dean M. Schroeder:

Carl Holte loves Hoopla! Not hoopla as in the form of exuberant celebration, but hoopla as in the name of an improvement technique used at the Web Industries Hartford, Connecticut unit where Carl is the plant manager.

Hoopla is a simple, quick improvement technique that is used at the end of every meeting or event. Participants are asked three questions:

1)     What Went Well

2)     What Didn’t Go Well

3)     What Should We Do Differently

How to Be Strategic: The Discipline of Three

In this video, I’m sharing one BIG question and one essential tool to help you get more strategic. Along the way, I’ll introduce you to the best biscuits ever, use the “straight jacket” approach to help you get the focus …

Carol Dweck on Learning to Fulfill Your Potential

Carol Dweck's diagram contrasts the "fixed-mindset" with the "growth-mindset." Those with a “growth mindset" recognize that struggles can be overcome with “effort, strategy and good instruction.” A description of her eureka moment, the basic research, how others have grown and how you can use her insights, follows the diagram. 

     Dweck 2


Stanford’s Carol Dweck has spent her career studying failure and how people react to failure. Her research revealed that not all people react by breaking out in hives. Though most hated failure, some thrived under the challenge of failure. This was the puzzle for her.


Repurposing the Performance Conversation

Guest post by Great Leadership monthly contributor Beth Armknecht Miller:

When was the last time you had a performance conversation that went well? Or better yet, when was the last time you enjoyed having a performance conversation? Let’s face it; both parties of the conversation generally dread performance conversations, more commonly known as performance reviews.
So, why not have a different conversation? How about shifting the conversation to focus on the future and how a person can improve through personal and professional development? The conversation you should be having is the development conversation. These conversations are about supporting and empowering your team members, which will allow them to take ownership for their own personal development.

Business Taxes – Internal Revenue Service

Good Ole Tax Time … Did you know that a business out of your home is a deduction for your taxes? Don’t take my word ask your CPA. Working at home has many advantages other than being your own boss. You fall into a higher tax bracket and working for yourself is hard work that […]


30 Thoughts We All Have in Staff Meetings:

Right before the meeting:
1. Arrgh, I’m supposed to be at a meeting in 10 minutes. What the heck is it for, who’s running it, and where is it?

2. Oh no, it's the dreaded staff meeting! I’d better take a look at the agenda and make sure I wasn’t supposed do anything to prepare.
3. Dang – we’re supposed to do status updates. No problem, I’ve got 8 more minutes.

How Leaders Can Successfully Champion Change

When it comes to seeking insights on the best leadership practices, the natural inclination is to look towards successful organizations like Southwest Airlines and Zappos for inspiration and guidance. Not surprisingly, in most countries, one area we often disregard for leadership guidance is the political arena, as most politicians tend to represent examples of what […]

May I have your attention please?

In a series of three blogs Lauri Brammeier explores the insights from Focus by Daniel Goleman “A primary task of leadership is to direct attention.” So says Daniel Goleman in his latest book, Focus – The Hidden Driver of Excellence.  For leaders to be effective in directing the attention of others though, they must first […]