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

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What Stops People From Creating New Possibilities?

"Out of chaos, comes order?" Nietzsche

In 1983, Steve Jobs introduced the world to the iPad. However, it seems the world was not ready. It failed. Or did it? What if Jobs’ idea was the catalyst for chaos that employees and vendors wanted to avoid?

In every era, there are beliefs that are held as facts. While no one questions the facts, the belief

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Are You Failing at Your Profession?

Whether you’re the CEO or the receptionist, you’re responsible for your professional development. And, if you’re doing the same exact job one year from now, you may be failing as a professional. In no way am I implying you have to get a promotion every year. I am saying each year it is in your best interest to have greater skills and competencies. Or increase your ability to manage greater responsibilities. If you refuse, there is a chance you may be approaching obsolescence. While this may sound extreme, I ask you to consider the following.

In a global economy, we can only

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

What Stops Your Organization From Having a Winning Culture?

If the CEO is committed to creating possibilities from “nothing”, he or she cannot transform those possibilities into reality as a lone wolf. If he surrounds himself with the smartest people, it does not mean those people will be comfortable turning “nothing” into something extraordinary. Even the smartest people need to be motivated to produce astonishing results. And, without a culture to support extraordinary, high performance becomes a pipe dream. Therefore, the CEO is also responsible for creating a winning culture.

While there is no silver bullet, the solution is

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Do You Have the Mind of a CEO?

While the job of a CEO has many demands, it is his or her job to create possibilities. Possibility is abstract and requires clear thinking in the face of uncertainty. Notwithstanding, he or she declares a possibility as a future simply by saying ‘this is what the future will be’. It doesn’t matter if it’s the iPad or sending a man to the moon. The rest of the organization is responsible for transforming that possibility into reality. The challenge of declaring an abstract, uncertain future is that there is almost never

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

4 Steps to Developing a Winning Attitude

While there are many ways to develop a winning attitude, there are 4 steps that cannot be avoided. Without these four steps, you may realize accomplishment for a while. Except, eventually the imminent obstacles will derail you if you lack a winning attitude. When you take these four steps, you will discover that a winning attitude has always been part of whom you are. These steps are a matter of uncovering the part of you that has always been there waiting to be revealed.

The four steps are the following:

Train your mind to focus – While this sounds simple, the focus to which I refer is very different than what you may

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

How Do You Create a Culture for Breakthroughs?

"The problem, if you love it, is as beautiful as the sunset." – Jiddu Krishnamurti

Is it possible for a CEO to create a new future for their organization?  A big part of the CEO’s job is to do just that.  Yet, many companies don’t invent the future.  They maintain status quo.  As a result, they become casualties of the economy or worse, the competition?  Inventing the future requires one to

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Power & Paradox of Disruptive Leadership

What separates extraordinary leaders from managers?  One way to distinguish the difference is to compare the mindset of leaders and managers.  Managers are great at solving problems.  Leaders, on the other hand, exude their greatness by creating problems.

The Dilemma of Creating Problems

People who are great problem solvers are often presented with the opportunity to become a manager.  However, the keys to the

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Intentionally Creating Problems Creates an Innovative Culture

By Ted Santos and Deborah Brown

Is innovation the result of long arduous trials and errors?  Or is it a practice, which can be divided into parts and learned?  Does your company know how to effectively position its innovations and differentiation in the marketplace in order to drive sales and increase market share?

Rocking the Boat

Good managers solve problems. However, great leaders create

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Does A Corporate or Personal Identity Help Or Hurt?

Corporations can form an identity, just as individuals do. This identity can be a source of strength. It becomes the brand by which others recognize you. However, too often a strong identity can be a source of weakness. It can constrain us during periods of growth, and adhering too tightly to an idea of ourselves or of our organization can cause us to overlook opportunities.

For instance, an employee may distinguish himself as someone who

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

How Leaders Jumpstart Their Legacy

At some point in most companies, the CEO and Board of Directors have an initiative or legacy process to implement. However, many hesitate for a variety of reasons:

  • Staff will not understand
  • Staff and management are not ready
  • The initiative is too disruptive
  • It’s just not the right time

Why should a breakthrough initiative that could drive new revenue and create a competitive advantage be delayed? According to

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Why Diversity on Boards Can’t Happen

For decades, we have heard about the benefits of diversity on corporate boards. Yet, only 18% of Fortune 100 organizations include women or minorities. The argument is that 50% of the US population consists of women.  And 50% of the US population is made up of Hispanics and black Americans. Therefore, boards should have a proportionately higher percentage of women and minorities. Since we clearly are not there, why the disparity?

While it is true, women and minorities make up a significant portion of the US population, the push for diversity on boards has

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Why Leaders Should Create Disruption

When many people think of leaders, they imagine the person who brings peace and happiness to followers. In that environment, people are content with life as it is. Peace and happiness reduces the need for the kind of satisfying growth and development that uncomfortably stretches you well outside of your comfort zone. In other words, it creates complacency. Therefore, if a leader, especially a CEO, wants to build a thriving organization, he will intentionally create problems. If he isn’t doing that, the company lacks

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

How To Destroy Any Relationship

When 2 people meet, they assess one another to determine the value the other brings. They are both hoping the other will enrich their life or, in business, the corporation’s ability to fulfill its mission. The one who appears to lack value will eventually be dismissed from the relationship or fired from the company. Yet, many people spend more time setting themselves up to be dismissed because they focus on the wrong end of the relationship.

The 3 ways people destroy relationships are the result of

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Next Social Revolution Will Be Quiet and Invisible

The most rebellious generation in US history was the Founding Fathers. By declaring independence, they revolted against British rule. The second most rebellious generation would be baby boomers. They protested the system and Vietnam War. The next generation to rebel may have a greater social impact than the Founding Fathers or baby boomers. That generation would be

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Who Am I?

Who am I? is one of the longest standing questions entertained by mankind. It is so poignant that the answer to it shapes your choice of career, home, friends, spouse, etc. More importantly, it shapes your thoughts, conversations and actions. The inability to answer that question can send you on an endless journey of empty paths that may never provide fulfillment. 

Perhaps many people venture on the endless journey because they are asking the wrong question. Perhaps it is not important to know 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Top 4 Reasons Charismatic Leaders Are Not the Best Leaders

When serving as a leader, being human is important. Leaders are not directing and guiding machines. Peter F. Drucker said, "Leadership is not magnetic personality, that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not ‘making friends and influencing people,’ that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person's vision to higher sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations."

To pull the best out of people, you sometimes have to

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Getting Back to Basics: Road Rules for The Board of Directors & CEO

Much has been written about the legal responsibilities of the Board of Directors. However, the ways in which the Board can be most effective in contributing to the success of the CEO, the management team, and the enterprise never receive enough attention. It is a two-way street and some road rules do apply.

First, the role of the Board is to

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Has Change Become Too Robotic?

We spend so much time and money trying to make machines more human.  Yet, we spend an equal amount of time trying to make humans more like machines.  If you leave the human element out of change initiatives, you will usually have a lower success rate. 

In business, there is a belief that if you tell people they have to change

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What’s Wrong with Narcissism?

Narcissism is derived from Greek mythology. It is the story of a hunter named Narcissus who had renowned beauty. He was lured to a river where he saw his reflection in the water and fell in love with himself. He died staring at himself while unable to have the object of his desire.

When some people think of narcissism, they immediately think of a psychological disorder that needs to be diagnosed and medicated. While there are others who believe a good

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Paradox of Your Identity

From the day we’re born, we’re instructed on how to build an identity. We’re told our gender, race, socio economic class, religion, etc. Our identity is so important that without it some people may find it difficult to communicate with another until they can surmise it. At the same time, our identity is a

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What Does It Mean to Be a Leader?

One of the biggest challenges of leadership occurs when you try to understand what it means to be a leader. Whether you’re a manager, head of a movement or the CEO, you are bombarded with leadership principles that may or may not have merit. Those principles are categorized by time period, title, what’s good, what’s bad, gender, etc. I ask that you consider all of these categories are simply