I Already Knew That …

Button and SignatureBill Treasurer was the keynoter at the ATD ST. Louis Conference held yesterday.  He is also the author of a powerful leadership development book: Leaders Open Doors

I already knew the stories …

I knew that Speedos would be discussed, since I know Bill’s diving background , although I was not ready for the video that reminded me of something Bill and I share:  a fear of heights. 

I hoped that he should share the story of how his son inspired the title and direction of his book and he did so.  

I expected to hear about his daughter and how her courage drives him … but I did not expect the reward of a video showing her courage and spirit, which made me mist up just a little.  

Sometimes the smallest among us are the most courageous and insightful.

I already read The Book

I knew that trust would be lifted up as an essential ingredient of positive leadership interactions.  

I knew that Bill would talk about the strongest opportunities and greatest change coming from when we are uncomfortable, as people and as leaders.

I knew that the point would be made and remade that we exist as leaders to help others survive, grow, and thrive.  He never uses the phrase “servant leadership”, but he talks it with every sentence.

Okay, I learned a little something …

I knew Bill was smart and humorous, but I did not know how enjoyable his presentation would be.   I have experienced other best-selling authors, whose delivery in person was … shall we say “restrained”.  Okay, let’s be honest and just say “boring” and on one occasion “stultifying”.

I learned that Bill understands how to create energy through sprightly pacing and interaction with his audience. He makes the time pass without effort and the learning just flows, almost without being noticed. 

What I got from hearing Bill Treasurer speak in person: 

A little blue button that says “Be Courageous”, a nice note on a page in The Book, and an abiding respect for his ability to speak from the heart, engage effectively with others, and bring real value to us.

Possibly the highest compliment I can pay Bill Treasurer is that I took few notes and tweeted only once or twice at the beginning of his presentation.  My usual mode is to busily share on various social media networks while taking copious notes of pearls of wisdom being dropped by a speaker … Bill motivated me to just stop what I was doing, listen to him, and soak it up. 

I believe I got more out of doing exactly that than my normal mode … do I detect a behavior change coming?


If you ever have the opportunity to hear Bill speak, take it in a heartbeat.  Change your schedule, break open the piggy bank, take a sick day if you have to, but do not miss the opportunity to breathe the same air and interact with him.

I guarantee you will not regret it.

Still feeling smug about a morning well spent (even with traffic) 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.

7 Reasons Leadership May Not Matter …


Pick an issue that you are deeply concerned about and I would guess that it is on this list, in one form or another.

I am somewhat biased, but I see #7 as the most critical item …

We can solve problems related to inequality, economics, culture, and nature, given good and trusted leadership.  However, without trusted leadership, we are screwed … to use the professional term.

Unfortunately, this concern about value-driven leadership dovetails with another issue often discussed in leadership development circles:  Leadership is frequently discounted as a discrete and learnable skill.    I imagine many reasons exist for this, but here are five which I know are part of the general equation:

 1)  Effective leadership often looks easy from the outside . . . 

When something looks easy, many people think it IS easy.  Leadership suffers the same image problem as does other helping professions (yes, I believe that leadership is a helping profession), where true skill comes across as almost casual action.

2)  Many people have no particular experience actually leading others . . .

Without experience, we often use superficial things, like titles or positions, to rate leaders.  If you do not know the complexity involved in influencing others positively, you may not appreciate what goes into the small part of leadership that is directly observed.

3)  Some leaders are poor, but talk a good game . . .

They snow us with charismatic personalities, so we do not think to look more objectively at what they do.  For examples, see “Politician” of any party or persuasion, now or in the past, from this country or elsewhere.  I’m sure other examples exist of poor leaders who get away with it, but this genre is just too perfect an example not to use..

4)  Some leaders are really nice people, which tends to deflect serious analysis of their abilities and performance . . .

Critical thinking is a difficult skill to use most of the time, and when someone appears to be a good person, we tend to give them more slack and benefit of our doubt.  Personality can trump achievement sometimes.

5)  Quick fixes are popular … True leadership is a slow and developmental process . . .

We as a society have little patience for long processes, but enjoy the fantasy that we can just pull something off in a heartbeat.   Leadership is not like public image, which actually can be destroyed in the amount of time it takes to post a YouTube video or a snarky photo with a catchy phrase attached.

6)  Some leaders may be in the wrong place at the wrong time for the wrong reasons . . . 

Leadership is not a “one-size-fits-all” type of ability.  One person may excel at leadership during a crisis and great upheaval, while another can keep up the steady, but lengthy process of maintenance which stabilizes an organization for the long haul.  Tools like the DiSC are of great help in beginning the discussion about different forms of leadership.

7)  Leadership models believed by some may be outdated . . .

For example, with number 2 on the Pew list, some folks at the top of a very small economic tip probably justify their relative wealth by assuming that the “Great Man” theory of leadership is working in their case.  When an increasing number struggle, while a few thrive, those few need to give some reasons why things are the way they are.  

While most serious leadership development folks believe that leadership is a learnable skill, which includes knowledge acquisition combined with mentored experience, some people find it in their own best interests to believe that destiny and birthright plays a larger role.

Tomorrow, I’m going to share some more specific thoughts around value and leadership.   All leadership is NOT created equal and our ethics do matter.

Considering the state of leadership and what needs to happen in the Heartland ….


Leadership Heartbeats …

heart-of-L-4b-preorderMark Miller has done it again …

In his fourth book, Mark continues to chip away at my aversion to narrative leadership development by using realistic scenarios, dialogue that sounds like people actually talking, and by communicating a clear message that resonates with me.

Anyone who cares about their personal leadership ability or who is responsible for the leadership development of others, will find much of value in this little fable.

The Heart of Leadership is a slender book, but one packed with thoughtful and research-based observations about the characteristics and attitudes that make someone a superlative leader. As the subtitle suggests, the best leaders have followers who are with them voluntarily and enthusiastically.

I won’t spoil the message by listing either the five core attributes or any of the many highly quotable points made by Mark as he spins a tale of a young leader who has lost his way. You can find those gems for yourself

Somewhat channeling Mitch Albom, Miller’s hero seeks guidance from an older and wiser person, who directs him to five people who each share part of what he needs to learn about being an effective leader … a leader with heart.

“Heart” may sound rather squishy, but Mark’s concept of effective leadership is anything but … this is solid and useful leadership thinking.

Perhaps the most intriguing person in the book is the hero’s father, who we never meet directly, since he dies before the start of the book. Regardless, his influence is everywhere,in every key character, and in the message of this little gem of a leadership development tool.

Buy it, read it, reflect on it, share it, discuss it … Once you crack the cover and start reading, you cannot fail to learn and grow as a leader  … promise.

Leadership development is a crowded field and many ideas and perceptions compete for our attention … Mark Miller is one of the few who should not have to.

Enjoying the book, the author, and the attitude in the Heartland ….



Mark Miller, well known business leader, best-selling author, and communicator, is excited about sharing The Heart of Leadership: Becoming a Leader People Want to Follow with those who are ready to take the next step. You can find it on Amazon and in bookstores everywhere.

Related Articles:

Vintage Leadership Thinking …

5 Leadership Posts, Circa 2009

Click the link above for some Vintage Becky Robinson before she became Weaving Influence and a major force within up close and personal leadership development

If you knew Becky’s work then, you’re in for a nice trip down Memory Lane and just maybe some new insight from revisiting her earlier thinking.

 If you are not yet familiar with Becky’s work, grab a cup of your favorite seasonal beverage, get comfy, and prepare to learn.

Either way, I Double Dog Dare you not to engage in reflective learning of the highest order, as you consider her words and images to discern their meaning in your life.

Becky writes from both her heart and her mind, with an eye for the everyday things in life which may us better leaders, regardless of position, title, or politics.

It doesn’t get much better than this if you care about leadership with a personal and very human edge to it.

Boosting Becky’s work without any hesitation in the Heartland  … and everywhere else on the planet.  


Personal Note for Becky (if she sees this):  Under 12 minutes:)

Character-Based Leadership … An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

“They” say you cannot judge a book by its cover.

I agree, with one little exception …

You can tell an incredible amount about a book from its cover when you know who wrote that book.



NEW BOOK ALERT (yes, another one):  The Character-Based Leader from the LeadChange Group

Lots of folks out there who talk about leadership and leadership development.  Some of them have very powerful reputations and sell lots of books, often speak to very large groups for a handsome fee on their special take on leadership, and bask in the glow of public adoration.

Then we have the folks who are living leadership development every single day.  The folks at LeadChange Group are some of the most capable, thoughtful, enthusiastic, and knowledge people I know.   

What’s different about this group of leaders?

I follow many groups and people who work in Leadership Development. If I had to choose just ONE group to stay connected with and continue to follow, it would be LeadChange.   Wanna know why:

“… character is the only lasting foundation for truly effective leadership”

You’ll be hearing more from me about this book.

Disclaimer:  I have not read this book yet.   I just paid money for my copy …  but I know something of the quality of those who have written it.  If it is half as good as they are, I’ll be buying more copies to share with others who believe that character counts … a lot:)

 The LeadChange Group and particularly the 21 outstanding folks who have contributed to this book know this truth and are living it.   That’s all I need to support their efforts.  

Getting ready to hunker down with a hot cup of coffee and some fine reading in the Heartland ….