I’m OK … How About You?

OK - Morguefile.comThis is about you and I both being OK …

I am guest-posting today over on the Lead Change Group blog.  The LCG group is a strong collective of intrepid, articulate, and caring leadership and personal development experts.  

The contributors to the LCG blog series regularly offer thoughtful and engaging content around topics and issues about leadership and human behavior.

… Then every once in a while, they have to fill in with something from me:)  Here’s a link to my latest contribution if you want to check it out:  “Stuck In The MIddle With Me”

My post is about judging others more objectively, and not by “the imagined ‘I’” , our personal and somewhat mythical belief about who we are, our self-identity.  I make the point that we tend to look at other through a lens with a default “normal” setting being drawn from our unique self-view as the model and standard for all other’s behaviors and beliefs.  

Our personal and arbitrary standards are why some people see other people eating something prepared in a certain way and go “Ewwwww“, just because that food or that preparation was not part of their learning.  Think fried insects or squirrel meat as an entrée, Yankees …

It’s all about looking at others objectively and even accepting the differences, not have them become dividers and differentiators.

Candy - Morguefile.comAs someone has no doubt said, “It would be a very dull world if all candy were the same color.”🙂     Yes, they would all taste the same, because they are all sugary inside, but  … hey, wait a minute.  That’s like people … different on the outside, but physically the same inside.

Please take a few minutes to read my post and those of others who are trying build momentum around the idea of Character-Based Leadership.  If you are really interested, read the book, which will introduce you more fully to many of the folks who regularly contribute to this nifty band of collaborators.

Experiencing a strange early morning craving for candy in the Heartland ….


“We Are Who We Hang Out With …”

LeadershipMany groups across the virtual and physical landscapes claim to support solid leadership development … many fail to live up to their promises.

I seek alignment with others who are serious about promoting effective and authentic leadership practices.  

The communities which seem to best do this share some combination of these traits:

1)  Strong leadership is clear at the top …

The Bell Curve concept holds true, even when you collect only the best and brightest into a group.  In any group, a general distribution will occur.  The majority clump into the middle and some folks fall at either end of the continuum.  

This is not an indictment of those who rank lower, but just an observation.  After all, even the lowest ranking graduate from medical school has still earned the title “Doctor“.

Strong leadership is clearly in place, through strong and clearly articulated visions, innovative practices, commitment to inclusion, and consistent focus on doing it better next time.  Continue reading

Curiosity and Learning …


I am combing through an extremely long list right now on Goodreads

The list is of all the authors listed on this site … the list has around 4300 pages.  I am on page 43.  It’s a lot of people who have written books.

If a way exists to filter the authors by genre, I have not yet found it. 

My purpose (and yes, I do have a purpose other than idling await my Saturday morning) is to follow all the authors I have found special value through over the past few years. 

Most of these are folks who have affiliated with Weaving Influence, so are leadership or personal development related, but I also have a healthy selection of people who write in other areas, and whom I know of through other experiences.  

As I tried to categorize the people and titles that are “popping up”, I find myself noting the broad range of topics which my natural inquisitiveness has brought me … and I am pleased.

I see titles in leadership and learning, but I also see spirituality, technology, critical thinking, creative thinking, humor, and even a dash of thoughtful fiction:).

A healthy curiosity, combined with some passion around a mission, seems a strong combination.   While my authors naturally group around some general themes, they are not all of a type and the topics range magnificently from the deeply personal to the global and sweeping. 

Passions, in this sense, are those things we do for which we may or may not be paid, for which we may or may not receive recognion or appreciation, but which we feel we must engage with.

Curiosity is that nagging suspicion that something exists which you do not yet know , but want to learn about a particular thing, which motivates you to exert energy and effort in the finding and understanding of that thing.

With the above two operational definitions in mind …

What are your passions ?

How have your passions informed your curiosity?

How has your curiosity informed your passions?

Wondering just how long I will be scrolling and clicking today in the Heartland ….


A Few More Words About “Leaders Open Doors” by Bill Treasurer

Leaders Open Doors_MECH.indd

Additional comments about a book I really like, if you missed all the hoopla last week:

“Leaders are most effective when they elevate people to a higher standard of performance by opening many doors of opportunity.

Adopting an opportunity focus means viewing challenges as things to be expected, valued, and embraced.

Moving others toward opportunity, however, also mean purposefully nudging them out of comfort zones.

Opportunities are uncomfortable things, and open-door leaders help people and organizations grow to the extent that they inspire them to do the uncomfortable.” 

The above quote is just one of many that I have pulled out of Leaders Open Doors by Bill Treasurer, since it first appeared on my radar just about a year ago. He writes clearly and effectively about leadership from a distinctly open, human, and ultimately very collaborative viewpoint, which jives nicely with my thinking.

The updated version now available includes a new foreword and some stories at the end from people who have found value in this book. The stories are real and they illustrate the power of this little volume.

Two things really stand out and make me happy to suggest this book to anyone who wants to improve their ability to lead others through serving them.

First Bill really gets leadership on a very personal level.

His examples come from real life and he includes both some triumphs and some “fall on your face” failures from his own leadership journey. Read this book and you will learn some things about how to be a leader who is there for others.

No lofty discussions of strategy or corporate structure here, just a simple formula that involves being aware of the needs of those with whom you work and creating a culture where you fill those needs. Everyone wins.

… and he does all this in a highly positive manner … the guy emanates energy.

Second, Bill is one of the “Good Guys”.

The proceeds from his book sale go to help children with special needs. This is a cause near and dear to his heart and to mine. A group of us have adopted a BHAG (that’s “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” for those of you who are not fluent in bizspeak): $50, 000 raised through sales of this book in the next year. 

This is a very good thing to do and I like to support doing good things, but we need your help to make this a reality.

Frankly, I cannot think of a better combination:

Become a more effective servant leader and help children with special needs at the same time.

Buy and read this book, use this book to improve your leadership abilities, and share this book with those in your circle of influence – you will be a better person for doing so.

Continuing to enjoy the value in Leaders Open Doors in the Heartland ….



Leaders Open DoorsBill Treasurer is chief encouragement officer (CEO) of Giant Leap Consulting and the author of Courage Goes to Work, an international best-seller that introduced the new management practice of courage-building.

For over two decades Treasurer has designed leadership and succession programs for clients such as NASA, Saks Fifth Avenue, UBS Bank, CNN, Hugo Boss, the CDC, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the U.S. Veterans Administration. Prior to Giant Leap, Treasurer was an executive Accenture, a $29 billion management consulting firm. He became Accenture’s first full-time executive coach.

Treasurer is a former captain of the US High Diving Team, a cancer survivor, and the father of three children. He is a champion for the rights of people with disabilities, which includes his daughter.



Updated Disclaimer: Yes, I received a copy of this book for review.  As always, my comments represent my honest and unbiased assessment of the book’s value for others.   I continue to recommend and gift this book to those interested in becoming better leaders.

Guest Post: “Don’t Confuse Motivation With Engagement” by Susan Fowler

Spromo_02usan Fowler is the author of “Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work … and What Does:  The New Science of Leading, Energizing, and Engaging.”  In connection with the launch this week, she has provided some background thinking on an important aspect of her work:  The difference between motivation and engagement and why it matters.  

This post originally published on 9/4/2014 at www.susanfowler.com



Don’t Confuse Motivation with Engagement

There are tons of data supporting the value of having an engaged workforce. However, researchers have only recently explored how people come to be engaged. How do you improve engagement if you don’t understand the internal appraisal process individuals go through to become engaged in the first place?

share_11The appraisal process is at the heart of how employee engagement—and disengagement—is formed. Every day, people are appraising their experience in the workplace and coming to both cognitive and emotional conclusions: I feel threatened, safe, unsure, positive, frightened, fearful, optimistic, etc. When appraisals are negative over time, people end up disengaged or actively disengaged. When people have positive appraisals over time they are engaged or go beyond engagement to what is called employee work passion.

Engagement is the long-term, accumulative result of people’s persistent and positive appraisals of their workday experience. What if managers could help people manage their appraisal process? They can. But better yet, individuals can learn to manage their own appraisal process daily so they are more likely to experience employee work passion over time. How? This bold assertion is key to improving engagement over time: Motivation is a skill. People can learn to choose and create optimal motivational experiences anytime and anywhere. Optimal Motivation is experiencing the fulfillment of psychological needs while in the pursuit and achievement of meaningful goals.*

share_10Motivation is the day-to-day, moment-to-moment experience that ultimately leads to active disengagement, disengagement, engagement, or employee work passion.

Managing people’s appraisal process by understanding the true nature of human motivation and helping people shift to an optimal motivational outlook day-to-day is the key to having a positive effect on long-term engagement.

Engagement efforts have suffered as organizations mistakenly focus on creating metrics out of their survey results instead of the appraisal process that leads to the results. People have suffered from actions designed to improve engagement that actually undermine day-to-day motivation. Despite compelling research on the undermining effects of traditional carrot and stick approaches to motivation, organizations try to incentivize people to improve engagement.

Stop using carrots to bribe people to be engaged. Stop using the stick to pressure them to improve engagement scores. These traditional tactics only thwart day-to-day optimal motivation, destroying long-term engagement. Remember, the quality of a person’s engagement is the result of the quality of their day-to-day motivation.

*Optimal Motivation definition by Susan Fowler, David Facer, and Drea Zigarmi



clip_image002Susan Fowler has 30 years’ experience as a researcher, consultant, and coach in over 30 countries around the globe in the field of leadership. As an expert in the field of personal empowerment, she is the lead developer of The Ken Blanchard Company’s Optimal Motivation product line, as well as Situational Self Leadership, their best-of-class self leadership and personal empowerment program.

Susan is the bestselling co-author of three books with Ken Blanchard: Self Leadership And The One-Minute Manager, Leading At A Higher Level, and Empowerment. A catalyst for growth, Susan also authored the audio programs Overcoming Procrastination and Mentoring. She is a Senior Consulting Partner at The Ken Blanchard Companies, and a professor in the Master of Science Leadership Program at the University of San Diego.