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Is It 1933 Again?

Note: This article was written right after Trump had the park in front of the White House cleared of protestors with violence by the military, so he could have a photo op with a Bible. Troops in hoods were lined up on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. But then it happened again in Portland, Oregon, and Kenosha, Wisconsin, followed …

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A Call for Sanity: 7 Key Distinctions Between 20th and 21st Century Leadership

We are living and trying to survive in the 21st Century Digital Age. And yet we are still using 20th Century Industrial Age leadership. This is insane. We can’t address the wide range of complex and systemic challenges facing our society and organizations today by using leadership values, structures, and processes that got us into this mess, and expect different …

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American Ubuntu: Individualism vs. Collective Responsibility

“None of us is safe until all of us are safe.” –UN Secretary-General António Guterres— As Covid-19 continues to spiral out of control, it is revealing a cultural and ethical chasm in our society: Will each of us do what is necessary to protect each other, or is it everyone for themselves? Is it “Me” or “We”? In South African …

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Collaborative Leadership: Is the View Worth the Climb?

The quest for leadership is first an inner question to discover who you are. But there are no freeways to the future…. There’s only wilderness. To step out into the unknown …we…discover that the most critical knowledge…turns out to be self-knowledge. –James M. Kouzes & Barry Z. Posner– The collaborative leadership journey is an inside-out process. It usually starts with …

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It Only Takes One

As states reopen, and we give the virus more fuel, all bets are off. I understand the reasons for reopening the economy, but I’ve said before, if you don’t solve the biology, the economy won’t recover. –Dr. Erin Bromage, Infectious Disease Expert, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth[1] A business leader was overheard saying, “I have this office building I’m paying for, …

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This is Just a Dress Rehearsal for What is Next

We are the first generation to feel the impacts of climate change, the last with the chance to do something about it…we only have one planet…there is no Plan B. —President Barack Obama, August 3, 2015– We are living in extraordinary times that require extraordinary collaboration and global leadership to address the most serious existential threat ever to face the …

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Leadership’s 4th Evolution: Collaboration

What got you here won’t get you there –Marshall Goldsmith– In terms of leadership paradigms, we have been wandering in the wilderness since 1960. Many leaders still use the leadership practices of the 20th Century Industrial Age, hierarchy, to run their 21st Century Digital Age companies. Some are more benevolent and realize that people do the work of their organizations, …

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It’s the People Who Need to Own Organizational Change

“It’s the People!” –Soylent Green, 1973– The sausage line at Johnsonville Sausage ran right by CEO Ralph Stayer’s office on the second floor of the plant. Every day at noon, he would come out to taste the sausage, while all the workers below stopped to see if it passed Ralph’s quality test. It’s emblematic of Ralph’s command-and-control leadership style at …

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The Secret to Successful Change: Your People

Nothing so undermines organizational change as the failure to think through the losses people face. –William Bridges, Managing Transitions— The Executive Team was pondering how they were going to meet a disruptive technology challenge from a competitor. They were going to have to make some significant changes. The CEO said “If we expect to beat our competition, we’re going to …

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8 Reasons Why Collaborative Teams Excel

Just you call it a team doesn’t make it one. Since 1965, the prevailing model for team development has been Tuckman’s 5 stages known as “forming-storming-norming-performing-adjourning”, which was basically a theory about how teams should work. In reality, however, companies found this model broke down fairly quickly, turning into “starting-storming-storming-non-performing”. Why waste your time and join a team that is …

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Why True Consensus Matters

The 9 member senior leadership team was making a strategic decision about the vendor for installing a new supply chain software system costing millions of dollars. Two members disagreed vehemently with the choice of the vendor. They debated for about 2 hours before the CEO got fed up and called the question. The team voted 7-2 for the vendor. 18 …

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Preserving Our Humanity in an AI World

It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity. –Albert Einstein– There has always been a “tug of war” between technological innovation and the ability of human beings, and organizations, to absorb it. 4 key technological trends need to be considered: Job Replacement: Kai Fu Lee, an artificial intelligence expert, recently predicted that 40% of the world’s …

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How to Motivate a Workforce at Risk

Collaboration will be the critical business competency of the Internet age.It won’t be the ability to compete…. –James M. Kouzes & Barry Z. Posner, The Leadership Challenge— How do you motivate a workforce in the Digital Age when their future appears to be at risk? We live and work in an era where there is the largest gap in wealth …

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We Need 21st Century Leadership Education

What got you here won’t get you there.–Marshall Goldsmith– It seems trite to say, but sometimes we need to be reminded that this is the 21st Century—not the 20th. We are no longer living in the Industrial Age—it is the Digital Age. We are living in a time of existential threats to the survival of the planet: global warming and …

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Workplaces Free From Fear

Trust and fear cannot co-exist in the same place. People who pretend they can co-exist are afraid to admit what their body knows: managerial fear overpowers trust every time* –Liz Ryan, “Ten Unmistakable Signs Of A Fear-Based Workplace” Forbes, March 7, 2017– Sexual harassment, discrimination on the basis of race, gender or sexual orientation, cyberbullying, in-workplace bullying, and fear of …

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Ethics! Ethics! Ethics!

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.  –Warren Buffett– Wealthy parents get caught bribing prestigious universities to get their kids admission; Boeing’s 737 Max 8 jets kill over 300 people in Indonesia and Ethiopia due to “optional” safety equipment; Purdue Pharma settles with Oklahoma …

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Being Honorable With Accountability

I would prefer even to fail with honor than win by cheating.    –Sophocles– It seems to start early in life. My wife’s second grade class has seen dishonorable behavior show up when a student lies to save face, or manipulates to gain the favor of others. I see it among graduate students who plagiarize an article for a better grade or …

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Honoring Your Workforce

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence   –Martin Luther King– The shutdown of the US government impacted millions of Americans—not only 800,000 workers, but also their families, government contractors, small businesses, farmers, air traffic controllers, and the public all across the country. By the time you read this, we may very well …

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Empowering Our Best Selves

Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind  looks at what happens     —-Kahlil Gibran It’s a new year with new possibilities, if we choose to see it that way. We can choose hope over …

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Honor & Accountability

I would prefer even to fail with honor than win by cheating. Sophocles At the end of the day, there is always an accounting for what we have done, for good or ill. Anonymous If we have learned anything in the past year from our national politics or the world of business, it is the critical importance of honor and accountability for …

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