Will Cellphone Videos Limit Cop Promotions?

Last week I wrote about how important it is for us to know how to tell stories in less than 400 words, which, if spoken, is about four minutes. So today let me tell you an amusing 400 word story about why one older policeman might be glad we didn’t have 24/7 police video recordings in the 1970s. Policeman Thankful No Cellphones in 1970s I wonder how many of today’s police officers will never be promoted to police chief because of a publicly released cellphone video.  And I don’t mean a video of something bad they did, but rather of [...]

By | 2017-06-06T11:48:33+00:00 June 6th, 2017|Ethics, Human Behavior|

Five Tips for Writing Short Stories

I only know one Bart Simpson line, “I like Stories.” And I use this line often when someone says to me, “Do you want to hear a good story?” I bet you like good stories, too. Storytelling seems to be hot right now. Why? Because it is one communication strategy that really engages people when done effectively. Storytelling, whether spoken or written, is a skill. And it is a skill that effective leaders need to develop and continuously practice. This week I have done some reading about how to write effective stories. Here are my five tips for constructing an [...]

By | 2017-06-01T11:27:44+00:00 June 1st, 2017|Leadership Lessons|

Getting to the Point, Do You BLUF or BLAB?

Effective leaders know how to get to the point. Have you ever read a long email that never seems to get to the point? I know I have so I work very hard not to be one of those writers. Recently I read that military leaders train people to practice “BLUF” when speaking or writing. BLUF stands for “Bottom line up front”. My first reaction was that since this acronym did not fit the purpose, it would be easily forgotten. I was wrong. I can’t seem to get it out of my mind. I shared this concept with someone I [...]

By | 2017-05-23T17:31:28+00:00 May 23rd, 2017|Leadership, Leadership Lessons, Uncategorized|

Six of Your Jobs Robots Might Replace

When I got home from work the other day, Patti, my wife, was still smiling about a text she received that day. When she got out of a meeting and checked her phone for text messages and e-mails, this text jumped out at her, “Jeeves needs your immediate attention. His right front wheel is stuck.” I’m sure you are wondering who “Jeeves” is, right? If you are older you might remember that “Jeeves” was a butler or gentleman’s gentleman in author P. G. Wodehouse’s stories from the early 1900s. In our house we have no butler.  Jeeves is really what [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:46+00:00 April 27th, 2017|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

Eight Character Questions from Theo Epstein

In our organization right now our focus is on building a culture that attracts and retains team members. We are especially focused on selecting the right people – unselfish people who want to be part of a team, who put the needs of others before themselves, and who, quite frankly, we want to be around every day. Pretty simple, right? No. In one of our divisions we have found we only hire three (3) out of 100 people we start with. It is really hard to find people who match-up with the criteria we are looking for. Even more, we [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:46+00:00 April 13th, 2017|Hiring & Team Composition|

Add Originality to Your Leadership

I love baseball, so I am excited the season opens next week. Anytime I read a book that has a baseball reference, I am instantly intrigued. That happened recently when I read about how Jackie Robinson’s birth order contributed to him being the perfect person to break the color barrier in baseball - more about Robinson in a moment. The book is Originals by Adam Grant. In this book, which I found fascinating, Grant explores dozens of studies and concepts that contribute to where personal originality comes from. (Steve Tip - I first listened to the book, but then purchased [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:46+00:00 March 30th, 2017|Just Plain Interesting|

Is Your Team a Mixed-Doubles Team?

We have been talking a great deal lately about teams, especially about constructing effective teams. Our recent focus has been centered on how to choose individuals who have the right attitude and will help create positivity. Sometimes we quote Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines and say, “Hire for attitude, train for skill.” When you construct a team I think it is also useful to think about the type of team you have and remember this – not all teams are alike. A few years ago I wrote an article about how the late Peter Drucker described the three types of [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:46+00:00 March 23rd, 2017|Hiring & Team Composition, Teams & Culture|

Leading the Bullies Among Us

A few weeks ago I was at a meeting with over 200 people in the room. The last item on the agenda was for the group to agree on a future meeting site and there were three locations to choose from. As the speaker began to briefly describe the second choice a familiar voice boomed his interruption from the back of the room, “Only vote for that one if you like to watch grass grow!” There were a few chuckles and then the speaker finished his presentation and a vote was had.  As no surprise to me the second location [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:46+00:00 March 8th, 2017|Bullies & Misbehavior, Human Behavior|

Deal With Problems One-on-One, Not in Group

Last week I saw this recurring behavior, again. And, every time I see it, I recognize it as a symptom of a supervisor who is avoiding conflict. It is something all supervisors, including me, have done at some point in our careers. What was it? It was a “training” for a whole team of mostly experienced, competent people on a topic that only one person was deficient. As I looked around at the faces of the people in the group, I saw each person become more and more disengaged. It was a waste of valuable time. A few years ago [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:46+00:00 March 2nd, 2017|Bullies & Misbehavior, Conflict Resolution, Uncategorized|

Wait a Minute, What Did You Say?

One of the most common leadership weaknesses is hearing without listening, to steal a phrase from Simon and Garfunkel’s powerful song Sounds of Silence. As I meet with teams and leaders every week it is interesting how many times I watch people display poor listening skills. I actually find it very helpful to observe others because it helps me improve my own listening skills. Two of the most important times leaders need to practice good listening skills are in team meetings and when meeting one-on-one with team members. So enhancing our listening skills is an area of continuous improvement. Symptoms [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:46+00:00 February 23rd, 2017|Leadership Lessons, Uncategorized|

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