Leadership

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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|

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|

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|

Yes, Real Leaders Can Say “I’m Sorry”

I did not hear any of our political leaders apologize to the 800,000 federal workers they used as poker chips during the record government shutdown. As I thought about it, I couldn’t remember many other apologies for past political decisions either. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) This made me wonder why more leaders don’t apologize and if they did, what made the apologies effective or not. Why Do Most of Us Willingly Say, “I’m sorry?” If you have any level of empathy, it is naturally human to feel badly when your actions hurt someone else. Beginning at a very young [...]

By |2019-02-08T18:25:20-04:00February 8th, 2019|Credibility & Inspiration|

What Were You Thinking?

Maybe it's just me, but lately I’ve been baffled by some decisions people make. Quite often I say to myself, “What Were You Thinking?” Dogs making bad decisions, like getting a head stuck in a cat door, now that’s understandable. But managers and leaders have something dogs don’t have, the “ability to reason.” At least that’s what I learned in biology class. A few weeks ago I watched Jamie Dimon’s interview on C-SPAN after Joe Leddy recommended it to me. Dimon is the CEO of JP Morgan Chase and is a great example of a competent leader. Given how most [...]

By |2019-01-24T14:38:36-04:00January 24th, 2019|Leadership Lessons, Uncategorized|

Holiday Wonder – Ugly Sweater or Food?

Why is it we can order an ugly holiday sweater on-line and have it delivered tomorrow, and at the same time throw away 40 percent of our food while 40 million Americans don’t have enough to eat? This is one question I am curious about this holiday season. Ultimately the food problem is a distribution challenge in need of leadership and there is one leadership story on the food front I’ll share in a moment. Package Delivery Innovation. This week I happened to spot this 1931 picture of a New York City post office flooded with packages at Christmas. Since [...]

By |2018-12-20T09:02:07-04:00December 19th, 2018|Change Leadership, Leadership Lessons|

Five Leadership Gifts from George H.W. Bush

Author Steve Wood on far right Last week many Americans paid their final respects to George H.W. Bush, our 41st President. I had a very high regard for President Bush, as many people here in the seacoast of New Hampshire and Maine did. Thousands of we locals met him, as I did four times including when I played one hole of golf with him a few decades ago. Our daughter, Alie, has fond memories of serving he and Mrs. Bush when working at Foster’s Downeast Clambake, a Maine business owned by our friend Kevin Tacy, who did a [...]

By |2018-12-20T09:03:56-04:00December 13th, 2018|Credibility & Inspiration, Leadership, Uncategorized|