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Credible Leaders Repel Parasites

It is rather odd how leadership lessons bump into me. Just last week when I was helping with a mussel restoration project at our lake, two leadership lessons converged in my mind. More about those lessons in a moment. Mussel Restoration Project. Our lake, which my family has been on since the late 1800’s, is located in western New Hampshire. By all measures our lake is one of the cleanest in the state. However, in recent years we have noticed a modest reduction in clarity and an increase in algae growth. And, until last week, we had no freshwater mussels. [...]

By |2019-08-16T10:32:17-04:00August 15th, 2019|Leadership, Leadership Lessons, Uncategorized|

Is Work Culture Just a Plumage Word Used to Recruit?

We live in a world where each of us creates our own subjective reality. In doing this we are susceptible to believing misinformation that fits our reality. My daughter, Alie, gave me this cute Father’s Day card last month, which reminded me of how we fathers might be the worst offenders of spreading misinformation. Last week at the end of an interview with a young management candidate, she asked, “How would you describe your culture?” Several of us answered her, and, understanding that “culture” is really a myth and perhaps an example of misinformation, I said something like, “Our culture [...]

By |2019-08-01T20:54:00-04:00July 31st, 2019|Leadership, Leadership Lessons|

Moon Landing – Lesson in Why Manual Skills Matter

Even if you are not interested in Space exploration, I trust you are enjoying some of the reflections this week about the first Moon landing 50 years ago this Saturday. I have been fascinated with not just the wonderful reflections, but in learning more about the skillful, manual maneuvering by the astronauts, especially Neal Armstrong, in those days when automation and computer glitches failed them and created messy situations. I’ll come back to a few lessons about manual skills in messy situations in a moment. If you are over 55, where did you watch the moon landing? Over the summer [...]

By |2019-07-18T11:21:41-04:00July 18th, 2019|Leadership, Leadership Lessons|

July 4th – A Leadership Holiday

Every year on the 4th of July I think about leadership. This year as I look around at all the leadership chaos around us, I am even more amazed at what happened on that Thursday 243 years ago. Two books help me understand the leadership lessons of 1776:  Revolutionary Summer by Joseph Ellis and Washington, A Life by Ron Chernow. Here are three leadership lessons that stand out: Senior leaders who set a clear overarching goal and stay focused on it will achieve great things. Smart and tactical leadership, in this case political, helps inspire the formation of front-line troops [...]

By |2019-07-01T09:09:48-04:00July 1st, 2019|Credibility & Inspiration, Leadership|

Entitled Leaders May Help Homo Sapiens Go Extinct

Photo of Referee Scott Foster by Isaiah J. Downing It has always bothered me how the very leaders who refer to government programs as “entitlements” behave entitled themselves. By entitled I mean they act as if the laws, rules, and ethics they talk about apply to everyone else, not them. And entitled people hate referees, but more about that in a moment. What concerns me today is how our younger generation is being impacted by the increasingly visible entitlement behavior displayed by their parents, politicians, celebrities, wealthy business leaders, and professional athletes. I ask myself, “If we do [...]

By |2019-05-30T12:06:02-04:00May 30th, 2019|Bullies & Misbehavior, Human Behavior, Uncategorized|

Yes, a Feedback Face Slap is Bad, Try This

(Photo by Andrew Le) One of my colleagues told me that not long ago she saw a woman CEO of a large company slap her Vice President of Human Resources in the face in front of others because she didn’t like what she said. Yes, that is a bad feedback method and the worst kind of leadership. And, of course, we know that. What I didn’t know is that many of the feedback methods I have been using, and I suspect many of you, too, may not be helpful in helping our people excel. The Feedback Fallacy. In [...]

By |2019-05-09T09:43:29-04:00May 9th, 2019|Leadership, Leadership Lessons|

A Billion Dollar Russian Spy Who Colluded with America

Most of us like a good spy story – one filled with suspense and intrigue. Of course, we know there is no way a real spy could survive most of the antics the fictional spies encounter. Thanks to a book referral by my colleague, David, I just finished reading a non-fiction spy story that is intriguing, inspiring and sad. Adolf Tolkachev. The book is called The Billion Dollar Spy and was written by David Hoffman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, national intelligence expert, and Washington Post reporter. The spy was a Russian citizen named Adolf Tolkachev. Tolkachev was an electrical engineer [...]

By |2019-04-18T17:34:52-04:00April 18th, 2019|Books, Just Plain Interesting|

Yikes, Why Can’t Everyone at Work Just Get Along

One of the toughest challenges leaders face is how to deal with two team members who aren’t getting along. It is especially problematic when each person on their own is a positive contributor, but the conflict between them is disrupting the team. If you don’t care about your work culture, you could do what one manager did – rent inflatable Sumo wrestling suits and have the two parties fight it out in front of their teammates. If you prefer a more peaceful approach I recommend you do what I do – listen to Judy Ringer. Judy is an expert in [...]

By |2019-03-28T11:06:01-04:00March 28th, 2019|Books, Just Plain Interesting|

Can Our Dysfunctional Politics Industry be Fixed?

If you visit Mt. Vernon, Virginia or Quincy, Massachusetts at night these days you might hear some strange thumping sounds. President George Washington in his farewell address in 1796 talked about the dangers of partisanship and the formation of strong parties. John Adams, concerned with the Constitution’s limitations, said, “There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the Republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader and concerting measures in opposition to each other.” So, the sounds you might hear in Mt. Vernon and Quincy are Washington and Adams flipping in their graves because [...]

By |2019-03-14T12:59:00-04:00March 14th, 2019|Change Leadership, Leadership|

When Doing Good was Simple

(Photo by Toa Heftiba) If you are in business or work as a police officer, it is hard to do good today. Between social media and what seems to be lots of angry people and lawyers, no good deed goes unpunished. That is why this cool story from 1959 caught my eye. It happened in the eastern Maine community of Calais, which is right on the Canadian border. The story was shared by Al Churchill, a local attorney there and writer of a Calais historical blog we enjoy and often published at the St. Croix Historical Society website. [...]

By |2019-02-24T10:09:47-04:00February 24th, 2019|Ethics, Human Behavior|