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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

What Is the Almost Inescapable Trap of Success?

In another conversation with the wisest man I know, he provided an insightful view of what it has meant to be human. From childhood, we are told what it means to be human. Except, no one knows how the idea of being human was created. And we live with the belief that what we have learned about being human is the truth that has been written in stone.

In this conversation he got straight to the point. It was as though he had been waiting with abated breath to expound on his discoveries and recite them to me in a way that would disrupt what I called reality.

He said the following: People seek

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Boss’ Perspective on Being the Boss

Sometimes you hear about managers who do not communicate clearly or effectively.  They may be concerned that people know they lack knowledge about a topic.  As a result, the manager keeps thoughts to herself.  Other times, a leader may be afraid of being wrong.  So they do not allow for engaging conversations that promote disagreement.  When this happens, there is a much larger impact on the organization as a whole if the managers are not having the right conversations with employees. 

The obvious outcome is a dysfunctional organization where no one communicates clearly because leadership has set the tone.  I ask that you consider other important issues. 

As a manager, you should be thinking about

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

How to Avoid the Yes-Man Culture

The dilemma for many CEOs is that they initially moved up the ladder because of their ability to solve problems and drive solutions. They are used to having the right answers and having their expectations met. While that is a great position to be in, there is a flip side. When you learn to trust yourself and you are usually right, you expect others to follow you and the yes-man culture is born.

The yes-man culture gets its name because people become accustomed to doing things the CEO’s way. Employees assume that the CEO will always

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Do You Train for Your Profession?

A formal education is a great place to gather information. To ensure we memorize that information, we are given homework and class assignments. Then the instructor administers tests to see how much information we retained. If you pass those tests, many believe they have earned the title of being the best at their craft. What those people fail to realize is that they only know information. To be the best, takes training and practice. In most cases, that requires a specific focus on initiatives to develop mastery of skills and competencies.  

While a formal education is important, it is not necessarily the path to master one’s craft. Education provides information and information does not cause action. For example, many people have information on how to

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Are You Stuck and Don’t Know It?

I often tell people they have nothing to do with what they think, say and do. As you can imagine, the overwhelming majority refute that statement. They make the claim they have everything to do with what they think and do. In fact, they believe they have control over themselves. I say control is a myth and it’s a waste of time to focus on it. If you think about it, one cannot even stop the bedlam that occurs in one’s mind. Take it a step further – each of us has inherited that bedlam. Here’s how it starts... 

When someone claims to be in control of themselves, I ask a series of questions. The questions begin as follows:

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Is It Ahead of the Curve or High on the Curve?

On June 14th, 2011, the Wall Street Journal published an article about Miracle Gro. They said “Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. has long sold weed killer.  Now, it’s hoping to help people grow killer weed.” 

Miracle-Gro generates 64% of their revenue from home improvement stores like Home Depot. However, with people hesitant about the economy, sales are down. So the CEO of Miracle-Gro, Jim Hagedorn, says he is looking for

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

What’s Better Than Self-Actualization?

For most, constant improvement is satisfactory. It’s a way to become better over time and progress to self-actualization. For an extraordinary person, breakthroughs and world records are a source of empowerment. It is not simply about improvement. Most people explain those results away with things like luck, right place at the right time, genetics, family had money, etc. Perhaps the key that distinguishes those two groups is the very thing most people avoid. What could be so important? Yet, so discouraging?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What If We’ve Misjudged CEOs?

In the 1950s, the US was responsible for approximately 30% of international trade. Today, the US accounts for only 10%. After WWII, much of the world was in shambles. They depended on the US to supply capital, labor, services and materials. In the 21st Century, those same countries that depended on us are our competitors.

The CEOs of the 1950s had it easy compared to CEOs of the past 20 years. Business was predictable back then. Market size and customer demand grew at a steady and manageable pace. In today’s global

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

We Can’t Blame the Robber Barons

In a past article, I wrote about a conversation with the wise gentleman I know. In that conversation, he suggested people stop funding homelessness. With no surprise, many were offended. Why is that? Is it because helping the homeless has become synonymous with looking good? By that, it makes one look like an honorable person for helping needy victims. Yet, it does very little to empower society and move us forward. In fact, the homeless population continues to grow. 

In a subsequent conversation with this gentleman, he made a number of clear suggestions that would move society forward and provide a long-term solution to eradicate homelessness. It would require funding brilliant people like

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Are We Really Educating Our Children?

Once again, I sat down with the wisest person I’ve ever met. In this conversation, he and I brainstormed about the educational system. As with all of my conversations with him, I experienced the sensation of being educated about subjects I may not have considered. This dialogue was no different. As usual, he leads with questions.

He asked me if I knew the etymology of the word education. That led me to Wikipedia. There I learned that etymologically, the word "education" is derived from the Latin

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Are Good Intentions Hurting Society?

In another conversation with the wisest gentleman I’ve ever met, he expounded on a blind spot of society. This time he kind of made my head spin. And I write this post with great hesitation. He uncovered a societal motive that is intended to be in the best interest of all. However, it has done more harm than good. The challenge, he said, is to undo a wrong which is believed to be right.

He started the conversation by discussing how this mentality works in a corporation. In his example, he stated the following: in any enterprise there can be

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How Might the Wisest Man in the World Address Society?

With the proliferation of talk shows and the Internet, there are far too many resources that provide advice.  How do you distinguish what advice is appropriate for you when different gurus provide conflicting suggestions?  With that said, it’s not hard to understand why so many people are confused and continue to make poor decisions. 

Over the past decade, I’ve had the privilege of speaking with and receiving advice from a gentleman who may be considered the wisest on the planet. While he sees the greatness in all people, his advice confronts

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Is It Because of Microwaves or Marriages?

Without question, this article addresses a subject that is rarely, if ever, discussed in the context it is presented. And it is a topic that may not put a smile on the faces of many. Notwithstanding, it is a major problem and it’s time to take the covers off of an issue that may be hurting us emotionally and economically, as well as many other ways that aren’t easily detected.

When you watch the news, it becomes apparent there’s some level of dysfunction in society. Yet, it’s possible to say it’s no one’s fault. In the early 80s we gained access to microwave ovens. It allowed us to prepare or heat food in an instant. What impact did that have on society? Before that, there was the late 60s. That is when divorce laws were changed to

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What Do Organizations Fear Most?

“The things we fear most in organizations—fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances—are the primary source of creativity.” — Margaret J. Wheatley

From her quote, Margaret Wheatley understood abstract thinking. Abstract thinking is often the cause of uncertainty, disturbances and imbalances. For an organization, this may be seen as chaotic. At the same time, it can be a powerful source to induce ingenuity.

In our current social structures, chaos and uncertainty are

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

How Leaders Remove Fables from Corporate Culture

Fables are part of US culture. They can even be bedtime stories for children. As a result, we live with fables as though they are an essential part of life. To clarify, a fable is not storytelling, even though there is a story being told. It is not gossip, even though it may be the source of gossip. A fable is a false or inaccurate account of something. When you distinguish it in someone’s conversation, it becomes clear that a fable is an account of an occurrence with an addition that represents the speaker’s inaccurate interpretation of the event or encounter with another. If I say it another way, it happens when we add our version of the story. That version will almost always represent

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How Fables Destroy Corporate Culture

Leaders who make up fables in their mind can easily ruin their chances of success. At the same time, those below the leader can destroy the culture of an organization with fables. In worse case, from recent research, fables can possibly erode the health of a human being.

A fable is a false or inaccurate account of something. Yet, when we are born, we have no idea about fables. In fact, we don’t know anything about

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Why Is It So Difficult to Become a Great Leader?

"A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”English proverb

In a way, the quote above says it all. However, I would like to peel this conversation in layers, like peeling an onion. I will take this opportunity to uncover why some people are only comfortable with smooth seas or situations. And others will comfortably sail into the storm.

How we see the world will dictate the

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Why CEOs Fail

There are few who acquire the title CEO. Those who do are capable of making a huge commitment and have an abundance of talent and ambition. However, CEOs who lack effective succession plans find themselves overwhelmed and missing opportunities to build thriving enterprises.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What Has Corporate America Done for You?

My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. – John F. Kennedy
In the US, corporate America has become the enemy. It is seen as the greed machine that steals money, destroys the environment, imposes its products and services on the innocent and enslaves its workers. Yet, it is the very hand that feeds the nation through jobs, training, income, travel and many other opportunities. Are we

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Three Essentials for Effective Leadership

“If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” –Frank A. Clark

Leadership is the ability to accomplish initiatives through others. To do that, you need teams. When a team shares the same values and vision, they gel better as a group.  However, with diverse thinkers, religions and so on, there must be effective management tools to keep people aligned. Below is a brief outline of three strategies to lead diverse teams and disperse silos.

1.                  Create a new mindset.
Part of the job of leadership is to engage people in

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Why The Journey of Transformation Isn’t for Everyone

Because this article contains many earth shattering counterintuitive insights, it is most difficult to write. I have succinctly outlined a path that contains some of the greatest rewards of transformation. Yet, it is the one that is least traveled. 

“Make no mistake about it – enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the façade of the pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.” – Adyashanti

Clearly enlightenment is not for the faint of heart. Enlightenment without transformation is

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Why Disagreement Is a Very Bad Approach to Any Conversation

In our society, we are taught to have an opinion and speak our minds. What we are not taught to do is listen. We are so focused on our opinion that we often fail to hear what is being communicated to us.

Sure. We are taught to pay attention to what someone says to us, whether in a public forum or in our most intimate relationships. However, do we really consider what we are listening for?

If you notice, when we

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Do You Have a Career or Profession?

To many, the difference between being a professional or having a career is a matter of semantics. For the professional, it comes down to being able to distinguish yourself in the pack. Therefore, what it takes to have a career is not what it takes to become a professional.

To have a career, you can attend a trade school or university to acquire knowledge about a subject, like finance, carpentry, engineering, etc. You utilize this knowledge to

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What’s More Important Than Love, Sex or Money?

In an era of capitalism, there is one thing that is desired more than money. Yet, when people find it, they fight it, run from it or freeze in a panic. What could be desired so deeply and feared at the same time? If you guessed love, you are correct.

The very thing we claim to want most is the very thing we fear most. This dichotomy has perplexed psychologists, anthropologists and sociologists for generations. And perhaps the solution is

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What Makes the Best CEOs: Passion or High Commitment?

For decades, we have heard the chants: find your passion and only do what you love. Yet, if you observe, there are many people who have a new passion every week, month and year. While they are passionate, their desire to constantly change passions rarely allows them to master what they love. On the other hand, the highly committed person masters their craft and experiences the joy of being the best.

While passion has its place, the desire for passion assumes the