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|

Job Quitting is a Symptom of Low Resiliency

One of the problems with low-unemployment is that young workers find it too easy to quit and find another job. What they do not understand is that quality employers recognize this pattern as a symptom of low resiliency and often pass on hiring them. Photo by REUTERS/Brian Snyder At least that used to be the case. Many employers are getting so desperate today they ignore this symptom and hire candidates knowing they might be short-term solutions. And, of course, all this does is enable the low-resiliency job jumpers unless you add resiliency-building to your work culture. What Can [...]

By |2018-11-30T11:12:24-04:00November 30th, 2018|Human Behavior, Leadership Lessons, Learning Styles & Skills|

Tell Me a Story Why You Work Here

In a moment I have a connection challenge for you. Workshops on storytelling and writing narratives are very popular for leaders right now. Why? Because good stories create human connection. Better connections with team members help us inspire and retain them. Creating a connection with a candidate can make all the difference in recruitment. Our Love of Stories. Our company is in its 37th year and most of our senior team has been together for between 20 and 25 years. I believe one of our cultural threads is that we are open, we like each other, and we can laugh [...]

By |2018-11-16T09:06:18-04:00November 15th, 2018|Credibility & Inspiration, Leadership|

Honestly, Are You Trustworthy?

It seems like no one trusts anyone today. Have you recently asked yourself if you are trustworthy? This week on Halloween, my colleague, Marcia, told me how she was listening to the radio and the DJs were focused on how we should start “tricking” little kids. They recommended we suck out the peanut butter in Reese’s peanut butter cups and replace it with spicy, hot sauce. While funny to older teenagers and 20-year-olds, I’m sure, this will not build trust in little kids. Today trustworthiness seems to be a fading attribute even as everything we read about leadership and teams [...]

By |2018-11-01T16:59:08-04:00November 1st, 2018|Leadership, Leadership Lessons|

Hey Coach, What’s in This for Me?

If you played sports, I want you to think back to the best coach or coaches you ever had. If you didn’t play sports, think about the best manager you have had or have now. I’ll wait a minute – do it, I’m serious. Now, what was “it” they did that made you remember them? My “Mad Dog’ Coach I Remember. The one coach that stands-out for me was my high school football coach in Middletown, RI, the late Joseph “Joe” Magliocco, who we players referred to affectionately as “Mad Dog.” I was a military kid and my sister and [...]

When Challenges Choose You

You can learn a great deal about leaders when you see how they react to challenges they did not choose – the challenge chooses them. A few weeks ago, I attended a large, five district Rotary Club conference at the Mt. Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, NH. While there were several good programs, I was especially moved by a keynote speaker, Travis Roy, who I’m proud to say our Portsmouth Club sponsored. Roy was a very talented, highly recruited hockey player from Maine, who, just 11 seconds into his first game at Boston University, broke his neck after a clean [...]

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