Why Are You Still Running On Your Hamster Wheel?

This month’s issue formed from the convergence of several recent events: – I read the August McKinsey Quarterly Report “The US Employment Challenge” (You may have to register, but it’s free.) – Steve Jobs resigned as Apple CEO. – I watched Jobs’ 2005 Stanford commencement address (here’s the text version as well). Here’s how they fit together: In the McKinsey Report, Kelly Services CEO, Carl Camden, writes: “So jobs aren’t…

When Can You Smack Me Upside the Head?

In this month’s post, I give you permission to smack me upside the head (metaphorically speaking, of course) if I ever make it seem or if I ever suggest that leadership is easy. If you’re like me, your inbox is full of newsletters and email articles on leadership and management.  Many I don’t read, because the author makes the mistake of suggesting that leadership is easy: “The 5 Easy Leadership Skills to…

Why SMART Goals Can Be Dumb

One of the big myths in employee development is that people are motivated by goals, or that goal setting is inherently motivating. If I’m planning a trip, my knowing the destination, knowing where I have to get to, doesn’t make the trip any more desirable or annoying. Why I’m going to wherever I’m going to, now that tends to have an impact.  Maybe it’s to see an old friend I haven’t…

Who’s More Lost: You or Your Luggage?

The man beside me at the counter was irate.  He didn’t yell, but you could see by the expression on his face and by his body language that he was incredulous. We had been promised by the gate agent in Newark that our carry-on bags, which they required us to check at the gate, would be available to us in Atlanta.  The flight out of Newark was more than 2…

Is Your Company Heading for Talent Bankruptcy?

“If businesses managed their money as carelessly as they managed their people, most would be bankrupt.” That’s how Bill Conaty and Ram Charan start their recent book “Talent Masters: Why Smart Leaders Put People Before Numbers”. And it’s hard to argue with them. Depending upon where you work, it will be true to varying degrees. But there certainly aren’t many places where it isn’t true at all. So how did…

A Prescription for Business Myopia

Dominic Barton, global managing director of McKinsey & Company and a Canadian who for 25 years has counseled business, public sector, and nonprofit leaders across the globe (he’s lived in Toronto, Sydney, Seoul, Shanghai, and now London), offers a thoughtful essay on Capitalism for the Long Term.

What’s Your Story? Why Should Anyone Care?

For many of us, 2010 did, and 2011 will, involve a change in leadership. We either did get, or we will get, a new boss. And with any change in leadership, there’s an attendant change in security. To varying degrees, the new boss is an unknown entity. Sure, we may know something about him/her. But what will it mean for me personally, as one of his/her direct reports? Am I…

Do You Lead Like a Dopey Parent?

The holidays are a great time for our humanity to play out in all its glory. There’s something about the alchemic nature of the season that turns simple family moments into complex affairs. Sometimes that’s a good thing, and sometimes…. Personally, I was surprised at the number of times over the holidays that leadership issues played out, sometimes for better, and sometimes for worse. And it’s been a great reminder…

Who is More Effective, an Extroverted or an Introverted Leader?

The US business culture practically worships an extroverted leader.  They are often viewed as the ones with the “right stuff”.  At minimum, their brand of self-confidence can provide a feeling of reassurance, albeit a false or naive one at times. The result is that introverted leaders often feel that somehow they don’t have what it takes to be effective, as if their personality was a mismatch for leading companies and…
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