leadership – Perspectives & Possibilities

Tag: leadership

Title: Ghost Cell / Antoine Delacharlery (FR) | Author: Antoine Delacharlery | Source: Ars Electronica | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Care, Connect, Contribute

In 1938, Sir Nicholas Winton started rescuing children from certain death in the Nazi concentration camps. He singlehandedly brought 669 children from Czechoslovakia to Britain and connected them with families there. Most of their families perished in Auschwitz. He never told a soul about his efforts and kept it a secret for 50 years until his wife found a notebook with the names and pictures of all the children he had saved. Sir Winton cared Read More

(Left: Title: Shoes taken off of the Jews-Holocaust Museum | Author: rpavich | Source: rpavich | License: CC BY 2.0) (Right: Berlin Holocaust Memorial)

The Menace of Mendacity

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters. —Albert Einstein There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting. —Buddha Truth is not a trivial thing. Words matter. Being accurate requires curiosity, diligence, and rigor. I know that everyone has a different idea about what is truth. Much of the debate started when Pontius Pilate asked Read More

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

Photos by Mike Wilson and Ky0n Cheng

Inspiration and Aspiration

“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.”  —Khalil Gibran, The Madman I once worked for a company that aspired to be a $10B corporation. I said to the executives at that time, “That may be a good goal but it surely isn’t a compelling vision, and it does nothing to inspire me.” I left the company after two years. Part 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

Title: Nulle chose ne peut être détruite | Author: Bruno Malfondet | License: CC0

Disruption, Destruction, and Distraction

Independence Day 2017 “Power can be very addictive, and it can be corrosive. And it’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power, whether it be here or elsewhere.” —George W. Bush, 2017 Disruption can be for better for worse. Luckily for me, the two major disruptions in my life turned out for the better. In 1968, at age 23, I was sent to Vietnam as a soldier in Military Read More

Image Credit: Eleanor Caves and Claire Spottiswoode | Source: African Cuckoos

Shams and Shame

In the book, Mark Twain and the Art of the Tall Tale, Henry Wonham quotes Twain as saying, “the moral responsibility of the American humorist is ‘the deriding of shams, the exposure of pretentious falsities,’ and ‘the laughing of stupid superstitions out of existence.’” Thus, he said, “the humorist is the natural enemy of royalties, nobilities, privileges, and all kindred swindles, and is the natural friend of human rights and liberties.” Twain offered high praise Read More

Title: Naturalization Ceremony September 7, 2016 | Author: Yellowstone National Park / yellowstoneps | Source: Flickr | License: CC0

Reciprocity

Are the facts you think you know about immigration in the U.S. actually myths?–and what does the psychological concept of reciprocity have to do with the concept of being an American?

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.

Credt: David Gabriel Fischer | www.thezendiary.com | License: CC BY-NC-ND

The Sacred and the Significant

“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.” —Joseph Campbell

In her role as a Pretend Princess dressed in her frilly yellow gown complete with a crown on her head, my 5 year old granddaughter imperiously issued a solemn proclamation to her constituency: “Be kind, be truthful, and stay alive.”

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.

line dancing

2020 World Culture Vision

The TV show “Downton Abbey” demonstrates as well as anything I have ever read or seen how an all-pervasive cultural code can produce strange and incomprehensible behaviors in people. People will do abnormal things to look “normal” by complying with the unwritten rules of the game.

Just as financial reports need to be audited, so also do the norms and values of the culture.

"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.

Animal Locomotion; Eadweard J. Muybridge (American, born England, 1830 - 1904); 1887; Collotype; 17.8 x 39.4 cm (7 x 15 1/2 in.); 84.XM.628.49. Courtesy of The Getty Museum

Thinking about Thinking

My wife often asks me, “What were you thinking?!!!” My response is usually, “I have no idea!”

But thinking about the way we think is a crucial part of making our lives, and the world around us, better.

"014b," by Elton Eerkens, www.eltoneerkens.tumblr.com

P and E Trump I and S

When I was a kid growing up in the 50s, my whole life revolved around kickball, basketball, running, climbing and hanging out with a neighborhood full of friends. My community consisted entirely of white, Christian, straight (as far as I knew) people. My world was physical and emotional. I measured success by goals scored and games won, and by how many friends I had in the In-Group.

[ C ] Chuck Close - Dalai Lama (2005) | Credit: cea+

Helping or Hurting

It’s Day One after the election of 2016. I feel sick and scared. Who better to suggest a remedy for our spiritual malaise and existential crisis than the Dalai Lama? In a recent article in the New York Times (November 4, 2016), the Dalai Lama and Arthur Brooks co-authored a column: “Behind our Anxiety, the Fear of Being Unneeded.” It seems like an odd couple to me, but their message is profound. They point out Read More

Author: Nizomi / Shane Koh

Motivation and Meaning

Buried in the noise of the latest Trump shock story are larger questions: 1) What motivates people to say and do reprehensible things?; and 2) Where do we find meaning in swirling negativity of this campaign? Please help me. I’m really trying to understand the reasons people would vote for Trump. I’m sick of listening to pundits blabbing endlessly about their particular issues. It seems more like empty speculation reflecting personal biases instead of a Read More

"Pinwheel tesselation, version 2, backlit," by Eric Gjerde

Vision and Values

As an executive coach I often facilitate life-line and development planning workshops. The life-line exercise encourages people to share the significant events and important people in their life and how those people and events helped to shape their values. I challenge participants to be as open and transparent as they can be, and I ask them to risk sharing what may be outside their comfort zone. In spite of these guidelines, most people stay in Read More

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

Health, Helping and Healing

As I get older, I realize that most problems and opportunities are multi-dimensional. There are many sides to every issue and many layers to every person. Things seem more complex, nuanced, and grey these days…

Fear and Freedom

“The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear.” —Aung San Suu Kui Raising children and having grandchildren gave me an intimate understanding of fear and freedom. I wanted my kids to have the freedom to explore the external world and to discover who they were, but I lived in constant fear of lurking dangers. I always leaned toward freeing them, but tried to establish boundaries that would keep Read More

Credit: annajasinski on Flickr | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Thinking and Believing

Believe me—Daniel Kahneman got it right: we are more likely to find stories that support our beliefs than seek out evidence in the pursuit of truth. Kahneman is a professor emeritus at Princeton University who wrote the best selling book, Thinking, Fast and Slow. His work is focused on the psychology of judgment and decision-making for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. His findings challenge the assumption of human rationality. Clearly, 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

"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