Category Archives: Our Leadership Series

My Gift To The NFL – And There’s No Need To Thank Me!

An open letter to Commissioner Goodell…

Dear Commissioner,

I’d like to to help you and the NFL out of a fix you’re in… Please consider this as our gift to you…

The gift is about a standard that the rest of the sporting world has set for winners and losers alike. It is about what you say—and what you don’t say—when presenting or receiving your most prestigious trophies and awards.

It is about a standard, incidentally, that applies equally to small children, to Fortune 500 companies and to the NFL—and to everyone in between.

It is about graciousness, respect, sportsmanship and humility…

self-praise

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Decision-Making: A Story About Bushmen, Gorillas, Pumpkins And Architects

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 Prologue …

This is a story about bushmen, pumpkins and architects—and gorillas.

Incidentally, did you know that a pumpkin is a fruit? I’ve always thought it was a vegetable, but it seems I was wrong. And what, you might reasonably ask, does a pumpkin being fruit have to do with this story? Absolutely nothing!

This is about the power of making a point through a story. It’s about the importance of understanding how people view you as you tell them your story. It’s also about how you view them…

Continue reading Decision-Making: A Story About Bushmen, Gorillas, Pumpkins And Architects

Thanks, Donald – For The Gift That Keeps On Giving…

A prologue to this story:

A note of thanks to Donald for the gift that keeps on giving…

offer

Dear Donald,

I just wanted to drop you this brief note to thank you… Really!

For months now, your magical ideas have ignited our airwaves. And, for whatever reason, this reminded me of one of the most inspirational and iconic leaders ever to have graced our world. Whether or not you intended to remind me of him, it doesn’t really matter. Thanks anyway…  🙂

I do want you to know that I’m neither a liberal apparatchik nor a part of the lame-stream media. For example, I’m convinced you are neither Hitler nor Mussolini—nor are you a racist. There, I’ve said it. I hope you’ll now take my calls…

Continue reading Thanks, Donald – For The Gift That Keeps On Giving…

Yet Another Leadership Challenge: Respecting Space…

The gamblers…

I couldn’t possibly have made up the story I’m about to share with you. No, my imagination’s just not that good. Still, this story inspired yet another leadership challenge that I thought might resonate with you.

But what made me decide to share this particular true story?

I just couldn’t resist. I’d just finished my last story about my dinner with some buddies and the loves of their lives (their smart phones). I wrote about how dinner began with them totally ignoring me. They were squinting deeply into the screens of the loves of their lives. At that moment, I made a decision: No way was I going to pay for my dinner that evening. No way. Instead, I decided one of my buddies would pay for my dinner. The only question was how I could pull this off?

I knew I had one huge advantage: They were all gamblers…

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Continue reading Yet Another Leadership Challenge: Respecting Space…

A Dinner And Leadership Challenge – How Would You Do?

The dinner story I want to share with you this eve reminded me of an experience I’ve had as I’ve done business around the world…

Whether or not you’ve had the same experience, I hope my story will still resonate and grab you by the throat—if only because it really does offer a gift that’ll help you bring your ideas to life…

So, folks, this is the real deal… And knowing this, you’ve now gotta pay serious attention!

Being present

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A Fatal Flaw In The Training Of Our Business Leaders?

Does fortune REALLY favor the brave?

I think I may have come up with a foolproof way of testing that ancient adage…

This was my thinking:

What if I published a blog and a podcast that will almost certainly go down like a lead balloon with the powerful business school lobby and with every business leader who has ever proudly graduated from a business school?

Wouldn’t this be brave, I thought? And what if I received no fortune from this act of bravery? Wouldn’t this show quite conclusively that fortune DOESN’T always favor the brave?

Hmmmm….

Continue reading A Fatal Flaw In The Training Of Our Business Leaders?

Leadership And Those Beautifully Written Codes Of Ethics – And Cheating

They’re not a panacea…

I’m truly sorry to have to break the news to you, but those beautifully written Codes Of Ethics aren’t a panacea. No, sadly, they don’t cure all of our ethical ills. No, sadly, this isn’t even close…

To add insult to this injury I’ve just inflicted on you (for which I apologise), you should also know this about EVERY major corporate financial scandal in recent memory—

EACH had occurred UNDER THE UMBRELLA of a major corporation that had in place a QUITE BEAUTIFULLY CRAFTED CODE OF ETHICS…

So, what does this say about beautifully crafted Codes of Ethics? Not much…

Continue reading Leadership And Those Beautifully Written Codes Of Ethics – And Cheating

Leadership and Ethics: Is Doing Business In Los Angeles Really That Different?

My two questions…

Firstly, do my 1979 answers about doing business in Los Angeles stand the test of time? And, secondly, is doing business in Los Angeles really any different from doing business where you happen to live?

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Some background…

It was mid-1979. After spending some brief time living, working and studying in London, Zurich, Paris and Montreal, I’d just arrived in Los Angeles. If you think this sounds mildly glamorous and interesting, I’m cool with that. The truth is sadly that it was neither…

Soon after I’d joined a fancy Century City law firm, an old English client called me. He was the leader of a large international business with offices all around the world. He said he was thinking of setting up an office here in Los Angeles and that he had a question or two for me. We met and I did my best to answer his questions…

 

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Our Extraordinary Capacity For Self-Delusion…

Leaders and followers beware…

My story today falls into the “I-couldn’t-possibly-have-made-this-up” category…

This is a story about self-delusion. It is about two sides of the coin I’m offering you. On the one side of the coin, we have leaders. On the other side, we have their followers—

  • The leaders want to believe the nonsense they might be sprouting—not because its true, but rather because they’d like it to be true. Their challenge is to find someone with the courage to constructively challenge what they are saying…
  • The followers want to believe their leaders so badly that, in the face of the hubris and self-importance of their leaders, they’re happy and eager to suspend their own common sense and natural curiosity. Their choice is between their self-interest in not challenging their leaders and potentially setting back their careers, on the one hand, and acting as a team member to protect their leaders, on the other,

The question, therefore, is what we can do to protect ourselves from falling into the trap created by the leaders’  hubris and their followers’ passivity?

Continue reading Our Extraordinary Capacity For Self-Delusion…

“Advice Hiding In ‘Plane’ Sight”—About Enthusiastic Leadership…

“Enthusiasm is the greatest asset you can possess,
for it can take you further than money, power, or influence.”

Dada Vaswani

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Flying and business transitions…

Every summer, I try to make a trip across the pond. Last month, I was fortunate to return to Switzerland and hike the Engadine Valley. I love to travel, although I have to admit there are three stages of flying that I am not particularly fond of — take-offs, turbulence, and landings.

Over the years, I’ve likened these three stages of flying to transitions within an organization. For example—

  • Taking off is the stage when a newcomer to the organization comes on board to lead a team—or when a new product is introduced.
  • Turbulence represents the rockiness an organization experiences that comes with transitions and change, like the first 90 days.
  • Landing represents a moment of truth when the organization has to face whether or not it has any staying power—or whether another change may be needed.

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“Hey, You Talking To ME?” — A Negotiating Test And An Ethics Lesson…

A prologue to this story…

The story I’m telling here is a sequel to a story I told a few weeks ago. I called that story: “Hey, I’m talking to YOU!”… It was about a difficult ethical choice a client had to make.

What has always intrigued me about that story was how the client used the choice he made. He used it to make an unspoken statement about ethics—a statement about what he expected of them.  

The gift of that story was about choices. It was also about unspoken statements…

Now, the same factual backdrop offers me the opportunity to tell another story that will offer others gifts—gifts that I’ve found invaluable to this very day…

choices have consequences

Continue reading “Hey, You Talking To ME?” — A Negotiating Test And An Ethics Lesson…