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Leadership Recognition

I am having such a great time watching the responses come in from the Wall Street Journal article. The best part is the back story: I wasn’t even looking!   Last month I received an email from Sue Shellenbarger saying she would like to do an article that would include “Don’t Bring It to Work“. Needless to say, I was pleased, well, okay, delighted, well, okay, amazingly overwhelmed.   Next she commented about the number of books that go across her desk every day and how she found my book to have substance, not just another leadership cook book or motivational list of to do’s.   I was honored.   Funny, I thought to myself this morning when I read the super well done article, my name is in the Wall Street Journal. Not bad for a kid who grew up in a family business and didn’t like what she saw.   I want to thank Sue for hearing the call of that little girl in me who really wants everyone in the business world to learn and grow. It is that little girl whose father came home from work sad and depressed from all the arguing that seemed to take up so much of the work day.   I see the book as an insurance policy to help people find their ingrained behavior patterns, the ones they learned from the original organization, the family and learn how to transform them.   Work is so much more than a job. It is where we learn about ourselves and how to get along with others and how to tackle workplace...

The Compass of Leadership

What happens when as leaders we get stuck in our own stuff, when we have lost our own way? Where do we turn? How do we ask for help? After all leaders lead, they don’t follow!   The best time for growth is when we find ourselves in a pile of manure, and I agree with that concept. Actually growth and change do seem to come more effectively when we have been put in difficult situations more than when we are relaxing at the pool with a cool tropical drink in hand.   In our Total Leadership Connections  program we use film clips to underline the issues encountered while in leadership positions. One came to my mind while doing executive coaching with a brilliant woman who was so burned out she could not, literally could not remember how to get to her best client’s office.   Needless to say, that scared her to the point of going home, getting in bed and deciding between calling a physician for medication and calling me for clarification.   I was the first responder. I listened to the specifics of the situation while tracking her underlying fear that had less to do with work and more to do with some personal turmoil that had been going on for many, many months.   I suggested she watch an old film, “Mr. Holland’s Opus”. The back story has to do with a music teacher whose son is born deaf. Talk about trauma and tragedy.  The scene I specifically hoped my client would relate to is when the school principal tells Mr. Holland she is worried...

Leadership Strategies: “Dan the Crying Man”

Dan came into my office, slumped in the chair across from me and started to cry. Yup, this big strong 200 pound, 6’3” man sat there with tears sliding down his cheeks and accepted the tissues I handed him.   My first thought, as I waited for him to compose himself was, “He never cries”. My next thought was, “Has there been a death in the family”? Then I did what I do when someone is in emotional distress and needs my help; I started to breathe deeply and slowly from my diaphragm, and do the best I could to empty my personal thoughts and judgments.   So, there I was with Dan. Normally we do phone sessions, yet, he had flown from Texas for what I have dubbed, the “roto-rooter” method of coaching. A day and a half of sessions sprinkled with time to rest and walk in the beautiful natural surroundings of our retreat center, The Country Place.   He was finally able to speak, at least in short, staccato sentences. Here is the essence of what he said: “I gave him away….I hate myself….I wish this never happened…..I hope she is finally happy……I miss him…..it’s not right…..it’s not fair……my life is a mess…..it’s my fault……it’s her fault……..he was so loving.”    I teach over and over that it is an illusion to think we can or should be separate people at home and at work. This is one of the most deadly illusions of our work world. It is impossible! We take the same brain to work that we have with us at home. Triggers of...

Coca-Cola Faces Anger

Coca-Cola Faces Anger From Shareholders About Use of BPA in Cans [UPDATE] BY Dan Nosowitz Today Bisphenol-A, commonly called BPA, is a chemical used in many plastics that in recent years has been found capable of leaching into liquids when used in liquid containers like plastic bottles. It has also been the subject of large-scale recalls, since the FDA discovered it could cause all sorts of medical problems, including cardiovascular disease, liver disease, and diabetes. Many organizations have recalled products using BPA, including Nalgene, Whole Foods, and Eden Organics, but one in particular has not: Coca-Cola.   Oddly enough, Coke eliminated the chemical from their plastic bottles, but as it turns out, the plastic used to line aluminum cans still contains BPA. The shareholders aren’t happy about the level of disclosure Coke has provided so far, saying the company has “failed to provide investors or consumers with sufficient evidence that it is taking steps to address these public health concerns.” In response, they’ve scheduled a vote for tomorrow on a proposal that will demand the company fully disclose all measures they’ve taken so far.   They’re right to be concerned; BPA has proven not just a health threat but a downright disaster for a company’s public image–Nalgene in particular has suffered a huge loss in trust. Hopefully this pressure from the shareholders will force Coke to phase BPA out of their products entirely.   UPDATE:The shareholder resolution received a 22% vote. Michael Passoff, senior program director of the corporate social responsibility program at As You Sow (a co-filer of the anti-BPA resolution), says: “Overall, it is a great first year...

Can Commom Sense be Learned?

Fascinating article on “Can Common Sense be Learned?” It brings to mind that nature vs. nurture argument, or the one that questions if we are born as a clean slate vs. we come into the world already formed.   I so wish that common sense was as common as we would like. If it were I don’t believe Tiger Woods would have behaved as he did, or Eliot Spitzer, or son of actor Michael Douglas’ who was just sent to prison for five years for selling drugs, or the Enron crew.   Until we all accept that becoming self aware takes some hard work to get to the hidden, invisible, unconscious behaviors that drive most of our actions we are at the effect of behaviors that truly do lie, like the depths of an iceberg, under the surface. These behaviors show up no matter how much we want to use sound and prudent judgment. The way OUT as I see it is to OBSERVE our behavior patterns so positive change can happen, UNDERSTAND where the behavior started for deeper and longer lasting change, and TRANSFORM behavior to its positive opposite to become leaders who inspire and model right behavior and what we call common...