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The Most Crucial Skills Necessary For Tomorrow’s Leaders

This video will answer the question: What is the single most important skill that leaders of the future will need?

7 Signs You May Be Working For A Justifying Leader

justifyThere are many different types of leaders out there. Many are leaders in title and position only, as their style and process is anything but leadership. One of those leader/position types is something I refer to as “The Justifying Leader.”

Justify [juhs-tuh-fahy] verb jus·ti·fied, jus·ti·fy·ing: to show (an act, claim, statement, etc.) to be just or right. to defend or uphold as warranted or well-grounded: to declare innocent or guiltless; absolve; acquit. to show a satisfactory reason or excuse for something done.

The Justifying Leader tends to justify many aspects of their leadership lack of leadership.

7 Signs You May Be Working For A Justifying Leader

  • 1. They fire twice as many people as they grow and develop.
  • 2. They always have excuses for failures, challenges, shortcomings… and they rarely offer solutions for success.
  • 3. They will quickly deflect, blame and point fingers and they rarely look in the mirror admit they are wrong and embrace the fact that everything rises and falls with their leadership.
  • 4. They are quick to defend team members who have worn out their welcome to defend.
  • 5. They justify the culture of turnover with the thought process that those leaving, “Didn’t have what it takes and they couldn’t hang.”
  • 6. They consistently overlook negative and inappropriate behavior instead of confronting it head on.
  • 7. They act totally different and get their “Chameleon” on when the big bosses show up. After all this would help them to look guiltless, good, innocent, awesome, warranted… (see definition above)

These are just some signs that you may be working for a Justifying leader, the sad thing is that Justifying Leader mays just be you.

How Football And Faith Helped A Group Of Troubled Youth See The World Differently

Life Changing story Of Football Fans Cheering for the other team. Enjoy!

Seth Godin On Organizational Fear, Brainwashing and Entrepreneurship

Short video, great thoughts.

Top 5 Ways Leaders Destroy Their Teams

Often times with leadership we hear the warm and fuzzies or the great success stories. There are so many great books and tools at the disposal of leaders that growth and competency should be inevitable.  The challenge with that theory is it’s rendered “not always true” because of the simple fact that leadership deals with human beings.  Anytime you are dealing with people things are never that simplistic.

A key understanding to leadership placement and roles is this: people hire people, who hire people, who hire people. Somewhere within those three generations, there are people placed in roles of leadership that they are not capable of.  In my tenure working as a Deputy Prison Warden, before being promoted to Warden, I worked for a leader that definitely should not have been in her role.  She literally destroyed her staff and destroyed her team.  Not only did she destroy them, she didn’t have the self-awareness to make the necessary adjustments.

Unfortunately the “Leadership Destroyers” were not isolated to my experience, if you live long enough and work for enough people, there is a good chance that you will work for one of these destroyers.  To help identify how these leaders or managers destroy their teams, I have identified 5 ways.

5 Ways Leaders Destroy Their Teams

  • 1. My Way Or The Highway (MWOH):  Everyone has an opinion and often times people have thoughts, ideas and suggestions that can be helpful to those that are in charge.  MWOH is fueled by the insecurity of the Leadership Destroyer.  MWOH can create an environment of control, but not an environment of healthy success.  Listen to your team, involve your team, learn from your team and embrace the reality that the collective sum is much better than the Big-Headed MWOH Leader.
  • 2. All About The Numbers: The numbers do matter, the bottom line is important and if it doesn’t make dolla$ it doesn’t make sense.  In business, ministry or non-profit work, it’s important to measure things as it’s a great barometer for success.  Where numbers become a problem is when the Leadership Destroyer focuses on the numbers, bottom line and measurables so much that they forget about their team of people who are making those numbers happen.  They lose sight of the “how” because they are so focused on the “what.”  Number matter, but people matter more.  Focus on creating a healthy team and healthy numbers will be a natural bi-product.
  • 3. Talk But Don’t Listen: No one can get a word in or have an opinion because the Leadership Destroyer is always talking.  Not only are they always talking, they never listen. If people are not heard, they will cease to say the things that matter.  Shh (be quiet) Listen!
  • 4. Change Things For The Sake Of Changing Things: Change is good and sometimes necessary to create forward momentum.  The Leadership Destroyer takes this to another level by changing things just to let you know that they’re the boss.  They are unwilling to receive feedback or go back to what worked, even if their change isn’t working.  I heard a great thought from OSU Football Coach Mike Gundy from his press conference this week.  OSU is ranked #2 and they are rolling like a well-oiled machine.  Mike Gundy said, (paraphrasing) “I try to change things up a bit, just to justify my existence.  My team will come to me and say I think we need to stick to XYZ and this is why.  Often times what they are saying makes perfect sense and I change it back.” It’s important to survey the impact, timing and necessity of change.
  • 5. They Just Don’t Care:  The quickest way to destroy a team is to not care about the players on the team.  Team members know the difference between the fake stuff and the genuine care and concern for the individual players and the collective team.  Leadership Destroyers care more about their title, role, corner office and the fact that they have arrived than they do their team.  One of the things that the inmates used to say when I was a Warden in regards to leadership and life is this, “It’s All About Missouri!”  In other words, Missouri is the Show-Me State.  I’ll close with the words of John Maxwell, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
What Do You Think?  Share your thoughts and experiences with either of these 5 Ways.

Organizations Need To Let Leaders Run Their Race

secretariat 2I am consistently having conversations with friends, colleagues and clients where the topic of discussion will often times be around “the inability to lead.” The inability isn’t always due to a lack of leadership, but more often than not it’s the lack of freedom to lead. I just recently had a conversation with a Senior Leader of a very large organization about this very problem. This guy is a strong, gifted, visionary leader who is being hamstrung by his leadership oversight team. Not only is the this crippling him, it’s setting their organization back years.

Just like the famous triple crown horse Secretariat needed to be freed up to run, not only run, but run the race that only he could run. That’s the same situation for leaders being held back in organizations around the country. Leaders want to be free, they want to run and they want to lead.

Organizations and organizational leaders have an opportunity and responsibility to free up their race horses to run and to lead. These races must be within the boundaries of the established organization; however it should be encouraged that they push those boundaries to the limit.

The potential for greatness exists at all levels throughout most organizations and a major hindrance is control and an unwillingness to let the horses run their race. Leaders are looking for a License To Lead.

The famous quote from the movie Secretariat that speaks to this subject is this, “Let him run his race.”

If you want your organization to thrive, get rid of the donkeys and let your horses and stallions run their race.

Explore, Dream, Discover

travelAt this moment I’m cruising at an altitude of about 36,000 feet on my way to Tampa, Florida. For those of you that follow me on Twitter, you know that I find myself at 36,000 feet quite often. Traveling is a process, a process in exploring, dreaming, thinking, going, seeing, discovering, arriving and making things happen.

As I travel today, I was reminded of a quote from Mark Twain about travel… May this be motivation for your day. Remember, life is a journey.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~Mark Twain

When Organizations Create Robots


One of the ultimate overlooked pitfalls of organizations is when they develop a culture of creating robots. Over my 20 years of organizational leadership I have been a part of and had various clients who have struggled with creating these robotic cultures. In order to further track with what I’m saying, lets start by defining robot:

ro·bot [roh-buht, – bot] noun

1. a machine that resembles a human and does mechanical, routine tasks on command.

2. a person who acts and responds in a mechanical, routine manner, usually subject to another’s will; automaton.

3. any machine or mechanical device that operates automatically with humanlike skill. adjective

4. operating automatically:

With these clear definitions, it’s easy to see how organizations can fall into the category of developing a culture where people act and respond in a mechanical, routine and expected manner. They become a robot that resembles a human. They are expected to do this and do this in this manner (period the end). Anything outside of “this and this manner” is taboo, frowned upon and ultimately not part of the robotic expectation.

I remember having a conversation with a professional athlete that over their career had the opportunity to play under a number of different organizations. According to him, each organization had a different culture, style and expectation. One particular culture was, “very robotic… you were expected to do this and do it this way… period the end.” Ultimately this didn’t allow the freedom to create and make things happen and therefore limited the success of many players. As players began to transition to other organizations over the years, players began to find their grooves in environments where they could create, play and lead. Some people prefer to punch the clock and simply be robots, others are stiffed by robotic cultures and need the freedom to create.

If an organization wants to have ultimate success they must focus on setting clear expectations rather than programming robots. When a culture removes the opportunity to think, challenge, process, push and get outside of the box, the culture is programming robots and not developing leaders. A leader is the antithesis of a robot, if you’re creating a culture of robots, you’re not creating a culture of leaders.

The Most Important Piece Of A Winning Puzzle

winWhen people talk about success and winning, you often hear them talk about the importance of having a will and a desire to win. Although have a will to win is important, it’s not the most important ingredient in a winning recipe. Winning is more about having a will to prepare, a will to learn, a will to work and then oh yes a will to win. It’s easy to have a will to win; however a will to prepare and work hard getting there is another story.

There are a lot of stories of talented people who had a will to win, that never took the time to prepare, to work, to learn and therefore their winning never reached a level of significance. If you want to win, learn to couple your will to win, with your will to prepare.

“It’s not the will to win that matters—everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.” ~Paul “Bear” Bryant

The “will to prepare” is the most important piece of a winning puzzle.

The Importance Of A Change Of Scenery

change sceneryI’ve seen it time and time again; where a leader, a coach, an athlete, a pastor, a teacher, a couple… move from one situation to another and their productivity and level of success increases. I was reminded of this while watching the NFL this weekend; specifically watching the Kansas City Chiefs. Chiefs 1st year head coach Andy Reid was fired last season after 14 years with the Philadelphia Eagles. In his debut coaching season with the Chiefs, Andy Reid has led the Chiefs to a 7-0 record and remain the only undefeated team left in the NFL. Did I mention that the Chiefs only won a total of 2 games the entire last season.

It wasn’t that Andy Reid was a bad coach or an incapable leader, it was the mere fact that he had been in Philly for 14 years and had possibly become comfortable and complacent. It’s an easy trap to fall into and it happens to the best of them. Andy Reid is just one example of thousands upon thousands of leaders and individuals who increased their capacity and raised their level of success simply by changing their scenery.

A change of scenery can heighten your senses, make you appreciate what you had and make you go back to the basics that contributed to your success. Great leaders generally look to change their scenery throughout the course of their leadership career. A change of scenery can be: a change of job, a change of duties, a change of team members around you, a change of venue, a change of approach… whatever it takes to change your view.

Sometimes that change of scenery is forced upon you due to being fired, laid off, being in an uncomfortable situation etc. It doesn’t matter how you get to that change of scenery, what’s important is the fact that you get there. Remember what may appear to be a set-back is actually a set-up for you to change your scenery.

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