Above Header Navigation

Leadership LibraryI have written more than 300 articles about Leadership, about 1/3 of which have been published by the SF affiliate of the New York Times. You can focus here on specific issues including Communication, Compensation, Governance, Entrepreneurship, Performance, Planning, and Recruiting

Please check out the Featured Articles from our Leadership Library to get you started.

The Simple 7 Step Process to Build Your Reading Program

I got my hands dirty today. It’s been a long time since my fingers were almost black. It felt good, though, to get my hands back in it.

The Simple 7 Step Process to Build Your Reading Program

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body ~ Joseph Addison

If you’re wondering what I was doing, take a look at Leaders Read and Readers Lead, where I give you a 7 Point Plan help you jumpstart your reading habit and develop a more disciplined approach to reading everything you’ve decided you want to read.

Since this Sunday is National Book Day, why not use it to reignite your reading habit, books or otherwise? And, if you feel like just laying back and reading for pleasure, visit The Novels I’m Reading, a compendium of some great books in the Mystery-Thriller-Suspense genre.

“Get crackin'” … with the spine of that book you’ve been meaning to read!

Comment

Wanna Win? Make Sure These Prime Characteristics are Joined at the Hip.

The week just ended is my favorite sports week of the year.

What’s not to like?

Get in the game. Enjoy the Ride.

The week just ended is my favorite sports week of the year.

Some of you will say,

“You must have your calendar mixed up. Baseball season opened the previous week.”

Of course, I could say,

“But the home opener for the Giants was only on Monday”…

… and then you’d say,

“OK, so you’re a big Giants fan. I get it.”

I love the San Francisco Giants and all … 3 World Championships in the last 6 years … but honestly? That didn’t even occur to me as I braced for the greatest sports week of the year.

The Contrast is Extraordinary

There are a lot of reasons why I love the week that just ended.

Continue reading…

Comment

4 Simple Ground Rules to Make Sure You Reach the Mountaintop

How often have you set an ambitious goal … but failed to achieve it?

There’s a good chance that you failed to create the timelines, milestones and deadlines to go along with it.

This Article Could Be About Many Things

Today is one of those occasions when I’m going to let you decide what this article is about.

Is it about resolve, our ability to persevere, to vigorously pursue an idea, uncover its value to our business and set out to relentlessly apply it?

Or, is it about execution, our ability to follow proven processes to implement sustainable change in our business?

Didn’t Mom Teach You to Take Small Steps?

We probably didn’t realize it at the time, but our Moms … and Dads, too … laid the groundwork for this lesson many moons ago.

Keep reading to learn the 4 Simple Ground Rules to Make Sure You Reach the Mountaintop …

Comment

6 Keys to Unlock & Rock Your Company Culture

I was at the epicenter of one cultural disaster.

FFrom the first day, I was stunned that so many put up with so much. My excuse is that I was a young pup and didn’t know any better … but a lot of adults in the playroom sure should have.

A Cultural Catastrophe

Even to this day, I look back in amazement that the company was such a financial powerhouse.

It was a star performer on the NYSE … but my young, naïve bubble was burst because I figured that companies that performed great … must be great companies.

Their bank account was fat but their culture was leaner than an ostrich burger.

What YOU CAN do about it!

Keep reading to learn about the 6 Keys to Unlock Your Company Culture …

Comment

The Single Word That Dooms Every Apology

Last week, when we discussed the The 6 Powerful Benefits of Admitting Your Mistakes, we focused more on the admission than the apology.

You might think the apology is the easy part of admitting your mistakes, but it’s often more flawed than the mistake itself.

 

The Admission AND The Apology

You might think the apology portion of the equation is super simple, but haven’t we seen countless examples of apologies that were defensive and full of excuses?

How many apologies have you heard … or offered … that after the apology starts, it continues with … “but ….” and the beginning of an explanation for why it wasn’t really your fault, there were extenuating circumstances beyond your control, blah blah blah.

Do you think the offended party inhaled that as the most humble and meaningful apology they ever heard … or did they more likely walk away thinking you weren’t really that sorry?

Typically, apologies are the ideal preamble to our admission of mistakes, and there are three critical elements that must be present.

Keep reading …

Comment

The 6 Powerful Benefits of Admitting Your Mistakes

Go ahead. Raise your hand if you’ve never made a mistake

If your hand isn’t up, how willing are you to own and admit your mistakes?

What’s the Difference Between a Lie and a Mistake?

If you make a mistake and are not corrected, this is called a mistake. ~ Confucius

Before we get too far, let’s distinguish between failing to admit a mistake and actually lying.

I’m not sure of the provenance of this nugget, but it helps to make the distinction:

  • When an error is made unintentionally, it is a mistake.
  • When an error is made intentionally, it is a lie.
  • When a mistake is pointed out, but still clung to, it becomes a lie.

This is NOT about lying or covering up illicit activity, say, the example of the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal, which was a deliberate effort to cheat U.S. emissions standards. The Bernie Madoff Ponzi Scheme and the Lance Armstrong doping scandal are among the countless other events born with a deliberate lie to conceal illicit activity.

Today, I’m going to show you why admitting your mistakes … promptly and unprompted … is the only way to Become a More Effective Leader.

Comment

Monday’s Quote of the Week

If you don't have any shadows, you're not standing in the light. ~ Lady Gaga

You can interpret this in many ways … but for me, it means that it’s okay if some things don’t go well or that you make mistakes.

If you are in the Spotlight of Leadership, whether as an artist or a business leader, you will only cast a shadow if you let the light shine upon you and are willing to be authentic and imperfect.

So, get out there!

Stand under the hot lights.

Stand upright.

Face the music.

Do your best.

Belt it out … and let the shadows fall.

You can easily add your comment below, or by visiting our Facebook Page or @Exkalibur on Twitter. I visit them every day and look forward to discussing these ideas and concepts with you.

Comment

The 7 Attributes of an Olympic Class Organization

Being a winner … and staying a winner … sounds a lot easier than it is.

MMost of us who played any sport over the years has learned there’s a very fine line between victory and “almost.”

The 7 Attributes of an Olympic Class Organization

How Fast is a Flash of Time?

Most of us know that the difference among the greatest athletes in any sport is a very narrow margin.

While there is an overabundance of trophy-giving these days just for participating, we know that people will soon tire of just “participating” if they are never “winning”.

Can you identify what’s common among the items I’ve described below?

  • It lasts about 300 to 400 milliseconds.
  • It occurs about 10 to 20 times per minute.
  • Over the course of a day, excluding about 8 hours of sleep, it amounts to about an hour and 20 minutes on average, a fair chunk of time in our waking day.
  • If you consider that the universe is about 14 billion years old, it lasts about 54,000 years would pass by during any given span of those milliseconds. 

Some might argue that we can’t see anything during such a short period.

What period is that?

Simply the blink of your eye.

What’s the Difference between Victory & Defeat?

keep reading to get the Olympic Attributes Assessment Form…

Comment

The 3 Words You Never Want to Hear: “Prepare for Impact” | 5 Mission Critical Instruments To Keep Your Business Airborne

What would you do if you heard these 3 words?

More importantly, what can you do to make sure you never hear them at all?

What You Can’t See CAN Hurt You.

You probably remember the chilling three-word statement issued by Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, memorialized in the movie starting Tom Hanks which re-enacts the incredible 2009 successful emergency landing of an Airbus A320 full of passengers on the Hudson River:

Prepare For Impact

On another level, the recent movie, Jackie, which centers around the period immediately following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, reminded me of different airplane tragedy that turned out differently, claiming the life of Jackie’s beloved son, JFK Jr.

He wasn’t a professional pilot like Captain Sullenberger, and unfortunately, overreached his capability as a private pilot when he met his death in inclement weather on the way to Martha’s Vineyard with his wife and her sister in the summer of 1999.

What Could JFK, Jr. Have Done Differently?

Comment

If You’re Not Doing What Only YOU Can Do, Why Are You Here?

The last time I looked, you’re the only YOU there is.

Are you make sure you’re doing the things that ONLY YOU CAN DO?

What about … What Only YOU Can Do?

Be Yourself. Everyone Else is Taken. ~Oscar Wilde

As an experienced leadership coach leading a group of CEOs and working with other senior executives, I’m constantly reminding every leader to focus more intensely on what only YOU can do.

A.G. Lafley is the former, two-time CEO of Procter & Gamble, who has written and spoken extensively on this topic. You can find a transcript of one of his speeches here, and register to read a more extensive Harvard Business Review article. It will be well worth your time.

Whatever your leadership level, there are certain things that only you can do … and if you don’t, no one will … and it will really help you focus on this critical variable in your leadership level to take a close look at this landmark article.

There is no substitute for YOU.

Make sure you can always answer these 10 Questions

keep reading so you can nail down these 10 questions …

Comment