ENCORE: “Help Them Grow or …” – “New” Career Development Resource


This is one of the best book titles ever:) ….

I said the following about this book exactly one year ago and it’s just as true today …

Career development is not an extra or a “nice to do”.   Career development is an essential and important function of an effective manager and leader.

Do for others to do for yourself.

The most effective career development program for someone who aspires to be a great leader and an effective manager is to develop the careers of those for whom they are responsible.

If you have employees who need or want to grow …

You have hit the gold mine.   Motivation and desire are the starting points – nurture and use employee’s interest in growing in their current positions and preparing for future roles.

If you want to develop your own leadership and management ability …

If you are a leader who cares about those for whom you are responsible, you want to help them grow and succeed.  Their triumphs are your triumphs.

If you want some very useful tips on how to do this …

The nitty-gritty of this is that we know more today about what is effective and what is not effective when it comes to helping people grow and blossom.   All we have to do is find the information, consider how to use it, and then do it … fortunately, this easy-to-read book does most of the work for you.

Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Guilioni have created “Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go” on Amazon – check out this book.   Buy it, read it, reflect on it, and then read it again.   Make the ideas and strategies your own.   Use this book:)

Making notes in the margin as I reread my already dog-eared copy in the Heartland ….


Disclaimer 1: I was provided a complimentary copy of “Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go” for review purposes.
Disclaimer 2:  I have happily purchased another copy to share with others who will benefit from this book.   I will also be happily purchasing additional copies as needed to continuing sharing this little gem.

Book Review: “The Decision Maker” by Dennis Bakke


“It’s the quality of decisions that determines the success or failure of any organization.”

Can’t argue with that …

Dennis Bakke, who many of us will remember from The Joy of Work, has a rather radical approach to improving the quality of decisions in our organizations.

Let people decide …

Sounds innocent enough, until you realize the extent to which Bakke recommends that we let go of decision-making.


I have not always enjoyed narrative style business and leadership books …

Maybe I get caught up in the story and miss the message.  Sometimes the author has great knowledge, but is not adept at telling stories, creating characters, spinning the narrative in an engaging way.

I am very happy to report that Bakke is NOT one of the above.   “The Decision Makeris a leadership fable about the journey taken by several interesting characters toward

Here’s where Bakke starts:

“ We’ve got a lot of rules, because we assume people can’t think on their own.  We’ve got managers and consequences to keep us in line, because we assume people are going to break the rules we give them … we take grown people, and we treat them like kids.  Not even like good kids.  Like kids we’re pretty sure can’t be trusted.”

As I said earlier, I normally am not a fan of narrative business fables, but this book has changed my mind.


Here’s my paraphrased perception of the gist of Bakke’s contentions about leaders and decisions:

1)  The leader’s job is to choose someone to decide.

2)  The person chosen needs to gather information from others.

3)  The person chosen decides.

It’s that last one that makes the difference between this and most other leadership decision books.  We are all familiar with the idea that the leader creates opportunities for others to experience leading through decision-making.  We know that effective decisions are based on careful consideration of data and other information that relates to the situation.

… but actually letting the person chosen decide?

Sounds great, until the decision is important or the person’s decision is not the one we would have made.

Not that Bakke is all squishy about giving away the decision-making authority: 

“It’s not really your decision if there aren’t consequences to it.”

Bakke uses the narrative form to expand on his general idea in detail, over time, in an organizational setting and with characters that most of us will easily recognize.


 “If the person who makes the decision doesn’t have any responsibility, the decision doesn’t mean anything.”

This is where our best intentions are waylaid by our strong sense for self-preservation and the perceptions outlined in the first quote about not really trusting people.

Bakke contends that this is the heart of truly effective leadership:  The ability to COMPLETELY TRUST those who you lead.

The best thing about this book is that it is based on Bakke’s experiences at several organizations where the concept of the decision-maker was implemented.  He includes the pitfalls and the cautions in parts of the story which focus on the many levels of resistance to the idea.   This story has the ring of truth.

Toward the end of the tale, one of the people who was most resistant (a co-owner of the company) describes their new reality thusly:  

“I’ve never been a part of anything like this.  A company where people get treated like people.  Where everyone’s not just the same.  Where we expect people to think and learn.  Where they get to make their own decisions.  Not just the execs and the creative types.  The guys on the line, and all the way up.”

Sounds good to me …

Spend a few dollars and a few hours with The Decision Maker and you may just experience a birth or rebirth of hope that we can all work in companies like this.

Enjoying the opportunity to read a good story and learn something of value to boot in the Heartland ….



Disclaimer:  As is often the case, I received a copy of this book for review.  This did not influence my perception of the value of this book.  IF I let a free book influence me, I’d be reviewing trashy romance novels and science fiction.


10-10-10 … Adds Up:)

10 10 10 - Suzy WelchThe concept is deceptively simple …

 In Suzy Welch’s book “10-10-10”, she lays out a clear and very useful set of frameworks through which we can assess our potential decisions and actions.  These three views use distinct, but related time frames.

Here are the basic questions and my take on them:

How will we feel about it 10 minutes from now?

We look at the immediate benefit to doing something.   This speaks to the urgency of things and our need for immediate gratification.  We often feel a great need to act on something, to do it now.  

When we act based on an immediate need, we usually do receive something in return:   we satiate our hunger, release the pressure, we may even think we have solved a problem.

Sometimes we eat a fresh, glazed doughnut, knowing we will be hungry again down the road. 

Sometimes we decide to focus on a thing and put our energy and time into it, based on our emotions and situation at the time.

Making a decision usually provides relief, if nothing else.


DoughnutsHow about 10 months from now?

This is a relatively short-term time frame, but ultimately very useful.  This range is close enough to a year to matter, but still relatively close.  If we are able to respond honestly and with some intelligence, the direction and consequences of our earlier decision become clearer. 

Now we can see the non-immediate results of our initial actions.  Did the hunger remain satiated, the pressure off, and was that problem actually solved?

Will we still carry the residual weight of that fresh, glazed doughnut around our waist?

In our current political and economic environment, 10 months can hold a fair amount of change.  Predicting change is often risky and seldom completely accurate … but trying to respond honestly and accurately to this one puts us ahead of those who do not think in more strategic terms.


How about 10 years from now?

Now we are thinking long range for most decisions, whether they be personal direction or business strategy. 

Except for a gifted few, most of us cannot imagine what our world might look like this far down the road.  However, we can use this time frame in connection with another important measurement:

How will what we decide today, in our ten minute time frame, move us closer to our overall goals?

We might feel real good about a decision at the time we make it and it may prove to be continuously positive in a year or so, but not fit within our long term goals and direction.  

Our goals should not be anchored in change which may or may not happen, but be flexible enough to respond to changing conditions, while solid enough to provide us with consistent direction through whatever happens.

The final question:   How will that fresh, glazed doughnut affect our overall health, weight, and longevity?

… of course, all this assumes that we have or develop well-thought out and articulated long-term goals in the first place … otherwise, just enjoy eating that doughnutSmile.

 For a more detailed discussion of this concept and the book, CLICK HERE.   You may find this exercise useful, with some well-formed goals.

Thinking about the consequences of eating a fresh, glazed doughnut down the road a bit in the Heartland ….


Thinking About Thought Leadership …

Looming Leader

“Thought Leadership”

This is a fascinating term, isn’t it?

Such a popular term these days.   Many want an identity as  thought leaders and some just come right out and declare themselves as such.

Let’s chat about this …


LinkedIn identifies thought leadership as one of their “Skills & Expertise” categories with this definition:

”Thought leader is business jargon for an entity that is recognized by peers for having innovative ideas. Thought leaders often publish articles and blog posts on trends and topics influencing an industry.”

Pretty cut and dried … but wait … there’s more.

Forbes provides a fascinating article about what thought leaders are and what they are notInterestingly, they apply their two-part definition (see below) to both people and firms.  This sounds way too much like the debate over whether a corporation is a person for my taste.

Here’s the full definition used by Forbes inWhat is a Thought Leader?”:

Definition—Part One

A thought leader is an individual or firm that prospects, clients, referral sources, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in its being the go-to individual or organization for said expertise.

Definition—Part Two

A thought leader is an individual or firm that significantly profits from being recognized as such.

The bottom line for Forbes is that thought leadership has to involve “monetizing” the thinking.   From a business viewpoint, that probably just makes sense.

Fast Company, however, gives us The Golden Rules of Creating  Thought Leadershipand the first two are interesting, to say the least, when compared with Forbe’s approach:

1. Don’t sell anything except ideas.

2. Always give it away.

Just for fun, here’s a link to an enjoyable discussion about thought leadership and sales around ideas from Daniel Pink‘s new book “To Sell Is Human“.

Hmmm … we seem to have some disparity here.


What makes a thought leader different from someone who is just spouting their thoughts out?

Can you really lead thought or are you just influencing thought?

Can a group be a thought leader?

BONUS QuestionCan you be a thought leader if you have to tell people you are a thought leader?

Wondering how and whether leadership applies to groups in the Heartland ….


“We Are What We Allow …”

Sleeping Beauty

A well-written employee handbook does not matter …

A well-intentioned front line leader cannot make all the difference …

Inspiring speeches by senior management are not critical …

The company logo, letterhead, advertising, and t-shirts are not your message …

All the signatures on all the compliance forms in the world are immaterial …

What makes the difference is what you support and what you do not support.

When you allow employees to consistently and continually come in late, you approve of tardiness.

When you do not confront inappropriate behavior between employees, between subordinates and superiors, between employees and customers, then you approve inappropriate behavior in the workplace.

When you do not consistently and continually engage in active support of organizational policies and goals, you are undermining them.

When you do not lead others according to the words and phrases you utter, you are wasting your breath.

Aggravated as snot that I have to still be posting about this one in the Heartland ….