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On Duty: The Meaning of Leadership in a Risk-Filled World

She is a jet pilot, Ph.D., federal agent, and Amazon best-selling author.  And she is a leader.

L.B. Johnson assumed her duties as a law enforcement agent at about the same time the Twin Towers were falling in New York.  In a world often dominated by the male of the species, she was not just on the team; she was in charge.  She still is.

I asked her if she would be willing to share her perspective on what it means to be a leader and she was quick to say yes.

Embedded in the rich prose she shared, I think you will find something captivating, deeply considered, and very revealing about the true duties of a leader in a risk-filled world, regardless of your gender.


Don’t Fear the Elephants

Nobody said he was a great mathematician.  But he may be the greatest general you never heard of.  His actions over 2,000 years ago are a great example of how you can influence your future by the way you react to what’s coming at you.


3 Leadership Lessons My Dad Taught Me Without Saying a Word

His dream was crushed, and then they sent him to Texas to do something he had no interest in doing.

Yet to me, he was a success.  How he overcame the setback was one of three huge lessons my father taught me about good leadership.  Today we’ll share those lessons, which can help all of us become better leaders in our own right.


Waiting for the Light to Change

Are you waiting for permission to proceed?
Traffic signals organize and coordinate the flow of traffic. They keep things safe and orderly. We wait for the green light to proceed.

Organizations have managers and supervisors. They direct the traffic too. Most people wait to be told what to do, then do it.

But leaders don’t wait.


Anatomy of a Fall

Saturday.  A mountainous trail half-marathon.  Mile 11.5.  Rocky down-slope.  Running.

Legs are tired.  They feel like clumsy chunks of solid rubber with hamburger for feet.

Left foot finds an unseen rock, and stops short.  Then the right foot joins the mutiny.

Suddenly anchored, everything rotates earthward.  Not in slow motion, either – it happens fast, unexpectedly.  I twist at the last moment […]

Goal Failure: Mission (Almost) Accomplished

What happens when you set a goal and fail to achieve it?
In January of this year I set a personal goal.  Made it public on this web site.  Tweeted about it almost daily.  Posted weekly updates on Facebook.  I worked at it just about every day – hours of exertion, sweat, even a little actual blood.

The day of reckoning came last Saturday, and in the end, I was not equal to the test.  I failed.  But does goal failure make us failures?


Climbing Solo

When I hear of the exploits of amateur climbers who somehow manage to summit Mount Everest, it makes me wonder – how many more times has his guide been to the top?

When I watch amazing footage of wild life experts and extreme sports, I wonder, “If it was hard for the person on screen, how much more challenging was […]

Is Your Team Due for a Spring Cleaning?

There’s something about “new.”  Somehow the idea of new gives energy, enthusiasm, focus.  Yet so often we find ourselves stuck in “old.”  Same job, same house, same routine.

Just as winter transitions to spring and the world outside renews itself, maybe it’s time to look at your leadership and your team and take a moment to renew, too.  Today we’ll look at four ways to do a team spring cleaning to renew, energize, and help you recapture that sense of “new.”


Spotlight the Support

Spotlight the Support

My daughter is a big fan of Lin Manuel Miranda, the creator of Hamilton.  She was home on spring break recently, so we took her to see an earlier production of hisIn the Heights.

Our seats were good, the actors were talented, the lyrics were clever, and at the end the crowd gave the actors a standing ovation.  They came on stage one or two at a time and took their bows.

But I couldn’t help thinking:  Would they have been so successful if the spotlight hadn’t come on in the right place?

Would they have sung so well if the orchestra was out of tune?

Would the story have been as convincing if the set was cheap and flimsy?

The stars get the attention, but in reality, they are only a part of the entire production.

Think about your team.  Are you applauding only the star?

If your intent is to develop teamwork, it’s not enough.

Think about who your supporting crew and cast are.

Take the time to recognize them for their contributions, and for how they make the team a success.

When they feel their efforts are appreciated, you make the whole team stronger.

If you want to build a team, spotlight the support. Click To Tweet

And at show time, if you are doing it right, you won’t be concerned about the placement of lights, tuning of the music, quality of the set, or even ability of the actors.

You can lose yourself in the story.

Lead on!

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How to Build Team Culture From the Ground Up

Every team will develop its own distinctive culture.  A good culture can be positive, supporting, and contribute to greater productivity, employee engagement, and satisfaction.  A bad one can have the opposite effect.

The thing is, you don’t have to leave it to chance to see which way your team culture will go.  If you want to build team culture that will move you in a positive direction, here are over a dozen ways to help you build yours from the ground up.