Ken Downer

About Ken Downer

Ken has been a leader in many capacities, from his 26 years in the Army to his 17 years in the Scouting program. He’s excited about being able to share what he has learned about leading with others who are just starting out on their leadership journey.

Leading Virtual Teams: 12 Powerful Ways to Lead a Team You Can’t See

How do you lead a team that’s not there?
It’s hard enough to be a good leader when your teammates are in the same room.  But what about when they aren’t even in the same time zone?

When you can’t look someone directly in the eye, things get much more challenging.  Yet leading virtual teams is the future.  Studies show that 25% of jobs involve teaming from distant locations.  That number is only going to grow.

If you are a leader, chances are good you may be leading some of them soon, if you aren’t already.  So today we’ll look at 12 things you can do to overcome the challenge of leading a team that’s somewhere else.


Everyday Winners – How to Build Mental Toughness One Day at a Time

How do you win the daily struggle to get out the door?
Temperatures have been dropping lately.  Now it takes more effort to get out the door for my morning run.

Yesterday I  had to analyze the weather.  Contend with warm clothing decisions.  Wrestle them all on.  Shiver through the first mile until the blood started to flow.

Part of me did not want to fight with the layers of clothing, stumble through the darkness, or brace against the chill.  Wouldn’t it be nicer to stay inside where it’s warm?

We all face struggles like this if we are in the business of trying to accomplish something.  It can be tough to get yourself out the door.

How do you build mental toughness?  How do you get past the struggle?


Building Influence – 6 Ways to Earn Respect

What’s the secret to building influence?
Becoming more influential is actually a pretty simple matter.  But simple doesn’t mean easy.  One evening not too long ago, someone gave me a brief demonstration of how to go about building influence, and showed that any of us can do it, if we are willing to make the effort.


Visionary Leadership: When Social Proof Fails

What is visionary leadership?
In 1921, an explorer and naturalist named William Beebe was trekking through the jungle in Guyana.  He came across a large colony of ants marching along a path that they had made.

Curious, he followed the little ant highway to see where they were going.

After a quarter mile of climbing over logs, skirting around trees and breaking through the underbush, he found that he was right back where he started.

The ants were marching in an enormous circle, each ant following the ants up ahead.  It was social proof.  After all, why would all those ants follow a trail if it wasn’t going somewhere?


Delegating Effectively: It’s Not Tennis

If I’m delegating effectively, why do I always seem to have the ball?
We all know that as leaders we need to delegate effectively.  As one boss even told me, “You have to delegate or die!” But sometimes it can seem like that ball keeps bouncing back into your hands.

You start to wonder, what’s the point of delegating if I still end up doing all the work?  I think it all has to do with understanding what game you are playing.


6 Powerful Ways Leaders Reflect, and how Reflection Makes Your Team Great

What is reflection for leaders?
Reflection sounds like a passive exercise you do by yourself.  It seems to involve sitting in a chair in a darkened room and journaling about the meaning of things.  Maybe that’s part of it, but I think for leaders there is much more to it than that.

Leaders reflect actively, selectively, constantly, and in public.  And through their active reflection, they build skillful, capable teams that continuously become better versions of themselves.  Here’s how they do it.


Keeping Your LeaderShip Afloat: 4 Ways to Get Your Head Above Water

Does it sometimes feel like your attempts at leading are like, oh, I don’t know, paddling a half-submerged pumpkin down a river? 
Last weekend I had the privilege of watching people attempt to do exactly that.  Join me for a video of what happened, and some thoughts about how to keep your LeaderShip afloat, even if it seems to have turned into a Great Wallowing Pumpkin.


By |October 17th, 2017|Learn Concepts, RapidStart Leadership Blog, Written Blog|Comments Off on Keeping Your LeaderShip Afloat: 4 Ways to Get Your Head Above Water

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Stop Social Loafing: 6 Ways to Get Everyone Working

How come 1+1+1 does not equal 3?
You would think that the more people on a project, the greater the output.  Sadly, that’s not always the case.  A phenomenon called Social Loafing leads some team members to do the minimum possible.  They drag down group productivity like a boat anchor.

Today we’ll look at why social loafing happens, and six ways you can be sure to get the best effort from everyone.


By |October 10th, 2017|Learn Concepts, RapidStart Leadership Blog, Written Blog|Comments Off on Stop Social Loafing: 6 Ways to Get Everyone Working

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Master the Habit Cycle and Achieve Your Goals

What if you could turn making good choices into a habit?
It’s easy to set a goal.  It’s much harder to actually achieve it.  Part of the problem is that to make progress, every day you have to choose to put in the effort.  If you don’t make that choice, failure is just around the corner.  But if you master the habit cycle, you can put your brain on auto-pilot and make the right decisions automatically.  Here’s how.


By |October 3rd, 2017|RapidStart Leadership Blog, Take Action, Videos|Comments Off on Master the Habit Cycle and Achieve Your Goals

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Secrets of Social Facilitation: Putting the Audience to Work

What happens to performance if someone is watching?
The answer might surprise you.  Performance isn’t just about the players, it’s also about the audience.  Today we’ll unlock the power of social facilitation and show you how you can use the audience to get the best out of your team.


By |September 26th, 2017|RapidStart Leadership Blog, Take Action, Written Blog|Comments Off on Secrets of Social Facilitation: Putting the Audience to Work

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