Leadership Development

Hand carrying a piece of paper of the world

Marketing and Leadership

“When you are made a leader, you aren’t given a crown; you are given the responsibility to bring out the best in others.” —Jack Welch, Former CEO of General Electric There is an old adage that leaders are born not made. That myth became popular as people observed that most leaders had personality traits such as intelligence, charisma, attractive appearance, and confidence. I believe the truth is that effective leaders are typically born AND made, Read More

Artwork by Do-Ho Suh | Photographer: Carol M. Highsmith | Source: Library of Congress

The Masses and the Margins

“And the soul is like the eye: when resting upon that on which truth and being shine, the soul perceives and understands and is radiant with intelligence; but when turned towards the twilight of becoming and perishing, then she has opinion only, and goes blinking about, and is first of one opinion and then of another, and seems to have no intelligence.” —Plato, Republic, VI, 508 I worked in inmate rehabilitation for eight years in Read More

Title: Blackbird on Mount Sinai, South Sinai, Egypt | Author: David Stanek | Source: Flickr | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Prophets and Their Purposes

The world has been blessed with powerful messages from prophets of the past. Five of these prophets have a present-day influence on billions of people: Moses, Laozi, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad. These five men were the impetus for Judaism, Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. Those religions represent almost 6 billion of the 7.6 billion people on the planet. Given those numbers, it seems appropriate to discuss who they were and what they were about. Read More

Author: Insomnia Cured Here on Flickr | License: CC BY-SA 2.0 | Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-margie/3087375315

Gauging Gurus

As Lao Tzu suggests, “when a person crowns himself as a guru, he is not.”

We should always be able to ask and answer: At what level are the people we entrust with power operating? In this post, I share my guide to evaluating leaders, gurus, and practitioners.

Credit: goldbug | License: CC0

The Rudder and the Soul

The executive function represents the highest level of mental competence. It is the ability to plan ahead, anticipate consequences, derive abstract meaning, and arrive at appropriate judgments.

Read my assessment of the various competencies necessary for strong leadership and find out how Donald Trump’s skills stack up against my criteria.

Golden Lady Justice, Bruges, Belgium

Turning 90: Like a Fox

My wife and I have been in a book group for 33 years. The co-founder is turning 90 on March 7. When we joined the group, all of us were in our 30’s, 40’s, or 50’s. Now we are in our 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. We have been through a lot together – diseases, deaths, disasters, and disagreements as well as celebrations, joys, and shared experiences. We have a deep and abiding respect for each Read More

"Bell telephone magazine" (1922) | Source: Internet Archives | License: No known copyright restrictions

Assessing Leadership Potential

We are currently in a dark period resulting from dark forces (Trump himself, Comey, Putin, racism, sexism, homophobia, white supremacy, and ignorance).

In the midst of this darkness, we all need to take responsibility for growing whatever light we can find within ourselves and in the people we love.

Photograph of Rick and Bobbitt

Three Types of Trust

I’ve been married to the same woman for 46 years, and I can say unequivocally that I totally trust her. I trust her to do the right thing, I trust her to not throw me the under the bus (even though I have given her many opportunities), and I trust her to stand up for people in need of special help. When she makes a statement, I know it is based on sound research; she Read More

Meeting Barack Obama

Thank you, thank you, thank you

Every morning in my daily meditation, I give thanks for the earth, water, the sun, air, the time I have on this planet, the knowledge I have access to, the vastness of space, the healing energy of Light, my ability to think and process, sounds that I hear, love that I feel, hope that I cling to, the senses that let me experience the world, my sexuality, and my roots. Yup, starting the day with Read More

Title: Stevie Wonder & Muhammad Ali 1963 | Credit: RV1864

Sense and Sensitivity

March, 1968. I arrive in Saigon during the Tet offensive. I’m scared shitless. Having grown up in a rural, middle-class, Midwestern, small town, I’m not exactly used to hearing bullets whistling over my head. How in hell did I get into this hell and what am I supposed to be doing here?

"Porst SP Old Plank Road 2," by Flickr user J Jakobson https://www.flickr.com/photos/30811353@N04/

Concepts and Skills

Stephen Ambrose, in his new book describing the construction of the Transcontinental railroad, Nothing Like It In the World, suggests that trains were the primary vehicle for introducing the industrial revolution. He quotes an engineer who said, “where a mule can go, I can make a locomotive go.” The poetry of engineering requires both the imagination to conceive and the skills to execute. We use concepts to frame our imagination, we use skills to build Read More

One Year Crew Returns to Earth | Credit: NASA

Reckless and Righteous

Nicholas Kristof, the New York Times columnist, is a real hero to me. He goes where few journalists dare venture to report on atrocity and abuse. He raises uncomfortable subjects we would prefer to keep hidden or out of our consciousness. He confronts his fellow progressives on our blind spots. He challenges us not to be reckless in our language or righteous in our beliefs. In a recent NYT article, Peter Baker discusses how carelessly Read More

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The Three Dimensions of Leadership Development

Everyone has an opinion on leadership. Amazon offers over 300,000 books with “leadership” in the title and about 4 new books per day are published by aspiring gurus or established academics. It seems like leadership commands as much curiosity as religion. Why is that? I think there are three reasons. First, readers are looking for different solutions for their particular needs. Some want to learn the secrets of a one-minute manager. Others want an in-depth Read More

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The Seven Dimensions of Leadership Assessment

In my work as an executive coach over the past 30 years, I have developed a useful methodology for assessing leaders. It combines the best approaches I have learned from multiple sources. When I first started in this profession, the prevailing perception was that anyone who needed a coach was in trouble. The coach was hired to fix a problem. Fortunately, that perception has evolved over the years. Now, executives without a coach are questioned Read More

Photo of yellow buildings and sky by Tim Gouw | License: CC0

Shifts and Surges

In his 2015 book, The Great Surge: The Ascent of the Developing World, Steven Radelet makes a powerful argument about sustaining global economic progress in the future. The book is a well-crafted antidote to today’s pessimistic views that the world is going in the wrong direction and heading for an inevitable catastrophe. In light of the alarming news about climate change and radical Islam, Radelet provides a refreshing perspective: not only have we seen dramatic Read More

Title: Colourlicioius | Source: FFCU

Rick’s Profiles in Leadership

There is no such thing as a generic profile for leaders. The right blend of skills, experience, knowledge, characteristics, and attitude depends on the requirements of the situation in which the leader finds herself. This post will look at several leaders who were successful in a variety of fields with totally different conditions and contexts.

Title: Sensitivity | Credit: .m.

Leadership Lexicon

Leaders sometimes wonder why no one is following them. In most cases, the reason is because the leader does not possess all three essentials of effective leadership: Character, Commitment, and Competence. Leaders must be honest and ethical at their core, or people don’t follow. Leaders must also be committed to developing themselves and others. If people are not convinced of the leader’s commitment to their growth, they will not help the leader grow—and they will Read More

Title: June 24, 2016 | Author: David Gabriel Fischer | www.thezendiary.com

Free Will . . . or not

Copernicus destroyed the myth that we are central. Darwin destroyed the myth that we are special. Now, Crick and the neuroscientists want to destroy the myth that we are conscious. They suggest that all behaviors are simply manifestations of a conditioned brain – when the brain dies, we die. They posit that we operate simply out of habit. Essentially, they conclude that we are automatons with no free choice. Quite simply, our brain sends out Read More

Photo of skyscraper (Credit: John Salzarulo)

Ethical Leadership

One more time. In 1987, Barry Cohen and I wrote the book Ethical Leadership. We published the first version of the book when greed was still in its relative infancy and millionaires (much less billionaires) were still relatively rare. It thus preceded the economic boom of the 1990s, a decade in which market values escalated to what was then outrageous levels. In finance, Black Monday refers to Monday, October 19, 1987, when stock markets around the Read More

"Bell telephone magazine" (1922) | Credit: Internet Archive Book Images

Leadership Myths and Realities

Over 25 years ago, Barry Cohen and I published a book titled Leadership Myths and Realities. Since that time we have held a variety of senior leadership positions and have continued to study the Art and Science of Leadership. This post will review the 10 myths and realities we wrote about in the late 80s, discuss their current relevance, and suggest any new myths and realities that have emerged. To be clear, myths usually contain some degree Read More