The Value of Conversation

“These people are just making it so difficult” said my friend. We met for coffee last week just to catch up and as she was telling me about some challenges she was facing at work. “Everyone wants a voice, everyone wants to be involved, everyone wants to be “in the know” so we have meeting after meeting and nothing seems to get done”.   Continue reading

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The Extraordinary Ordinary

In the documentary, The Man on the Radio in the Red Shoes, Garrison Keillor describes the experience of first seeing his newborn daughter by saying he was “stunned by the fact that what he had seen was so utterly ordinary.” In so doing he poignantly points out that while the experience was extraordinary for him, it was an ordinary everyday experience that occurs thousands if not millions of times a day.

The extraordinary ordinary has a way of humbling you, of bringing into focus the events that define us as human beings. Continue reading

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Loyalty to the Ladder of Success

In the 50s, 60s, and at least the early 70s the concept of finding a good job with a good company and having a career in which you worked your way up the corporate ladder was a mainstay of the image of American business. Throughout my childhood most of the fathers (mothers mostly still stayed at home) of my friends worked for the same company their entire career. Jokes, TV sit-coms, and popular movies alluded to the 25 year career followed by retirement with a gold watch and a pension. Continue reading

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Leadership Development – Mission Possible

I remember as a child the excitement of waiting for Sunday night television. The sadness about the end of the weekend and another school week about to begin was softened by the start of a tape recorder and the words, “Good afternoon, Mr. Phelps.” It was the opening signature of Mission Impossible. Continue reading

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Just Say No to New Year’s Resolutions!

We love New Year’s Resolutions, making them, breaking them, and making fun of them (it’s the number one subject of the first Sunday comic section of the New Year). Anything but keeping them! Research suggests that about 45% of people in the United States make New Year’s resolutions and 75% of them keep them going through the first week of January (that would get you a C in school!) 46% make it six months, which is pretty impressive given that first week failure rate, but only 8% last the whole year. Not a very good showing. Continue reading

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Gary Dreams of Meaning and Satisfaction

When I was quite young I had the usual answers to that oft asked question, “What are you going to be when you grow up.”  Since my father was a physician, I often as not answered “Doctor” rather than “Fireman” or “Policeman”. My first stated career path was “mad scientist” as I planned with my best friend down the street how to create a laboratory complete with sparking Van de Graaff generators and bubbling Erlenmeyer flasks. However, beyond those images I had little idea of the job description for “mad scientist”. It just sounded like a lot of fun, and as a bonus it created surprise and discomfort in the inquiring adults. Continue reading

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Leadership Development – Followers Are Not Clones

During my consulting career in corporate America, one of the services I frequently provided was the creation of a Position Portrait. This document contained a list of the behavioral skills that a person needed to be able to perform to be successful in the employment position described. Continue reading

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Entrepreneurs – What Happens When You Plan Poorly

I have a small parcel of undeveloped land, about 90 acres, in the middle of the Texas Hill Country. It is within easy driving distance of the Eckert James River Bat cave which is one of the largest bat nurseries in the country. During the height of the season, sometime between mid-June and mid-July 4 to 5 million female Mexican Free-tailed bats give birth doubling the population. Seeing them swirl out of the cave like smoke is a sight worth seeing. Continue reading

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Forget Scheduling Success

I just finished reading the book What Alice Forgot by Laine Moriarty. It is a very good read and I recommend it to you all. This is the second book I have read by Ms. Moriarty (The Husband’s Secret), and she is a first rate writer with depth and surprise, i.e., the stories don’t end the way you think they will. Continue reading

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Awareness of Limitations – A Key Leadership Skill

Effective leaders are aware of their limitations and seek input from people with perspectives different from their own.

I have been coaching personal and leadership development for over 30 years and have found that most people like to hear about themselves and what they do well. While all the common skills of leaders are challenging, the first, having your strengths identified and validated is a whole lot easier than facing that there are things at which you are not particularly gifted. In the glow of hearing all about one’s strengths and the power of natural skills, limitations are easily ignored or minimized. It is, however, equally important for those who would lead to face that there are more skills for which they have little or no natural aptitude than there are skills for which they do. Continue reading

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