I recently visited Lisbon with my wife and a few close friends. It was a wonderful trip; I enjoyed the history, culture, art and architecture, and of course, the food and wine. Those who know me know that no trip would be complete without some time spent on culture and the lessons we can draw from history – especially as it relates to leadership and success. Here, I saw a great example of a powerful lesson: cacophony requires clarity.
Why start with the mind for effective leadership? The video below captures the essence of Joe Caruso’s work, in less than 5 minutes.
Joe explains why he focuses on the mind at the beginning of the relationship when he approaches problems with clients. “When I hear how the individual and collective mind is processing what this problem means, I am able to bring an objective perspective to an understanding of the problem.”
Before New Year’s Resolutions, Ask Yourself, Who Do I Want to Be?
In this time of year when we attend parties and meet new people, one of the first questions people often ask is,
“What do you do?”
This reminds me that there is a much more important question to be asked – one that not enough people ask themselves. And now is a great time of year to ask (or re-ask) the question of yourself:
“Realize that you are always in a negotiation, if not with others, then with yourself.” – Joe Caruso
It’s not a question of whether or not you negotiate, it’s how good you are when you do. There is an inherent danger of being in the midst of a negotiation and not recognizing it as such. Virtually all of your communication with other people is a form of negotiation.
You are the only one who can know exactly what you want and what you need. You are the only one who has the bottom-line responsibility of making sure you get it. It is not about taking advantage of people to get what you want in life. It’s about win-win negotiation.
There are five basic characteristics of a successful, win-win negotiation:
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In our personal and professional lives, we are creatures of habit. As we mature we tend to hold onto old habits or approaches that are no longer relevant to our needs.
If you are guilty of this natural human phenomenon like most of us are, I urge you to reevaluate your processes from time to time to see if they pass what I call the “relevance” test.
Consider this story:
A loving mother was teaching her newly engaged daughter how to cook a roast “just like Grandma’s.”
“First,” the mother said, “you have to cut two inches from each end.”
Corporations spend billions of dollars each year on books, seminars and consultants in order to advise senior level managers on how to guide their company through critical times. In a 2014 study by Bersin by Deloitte, researchers found that corporate training grew by the highest percent in seven years (15%) to over $70 billion in the US and $130 billion worldwide.*
*Source: The Corporate Learning Factbook 2014: Benchmarks, Trends, and Analysis of the U.S. Training Market, Karen O’Leonard, January 2014. Available at http://www.bersin.com
Principles for Profit #40: If the horse is dead, get off.
Do you anticipate change, or try to bury it, deny it, or ignore it?
If you’ve ever watched a surfer—or been one yourself—you’ll know that your only chance to ride the curl rather than end up sucking the sand is to anticipate the changes in those waves and make the constant adjustments that are necessary if you’re to maintain your balance. You know you have no control over the water, but you do have the power to respond to its ever-changing patterns in ways that will allow you to continue riding high.
Is it a game-changer, or something to roll with?
Do I tweak my plan, or is it time for a radical transformation?
Part of the challenge of leadership is taking decisive action, or making the right move at the right time. This is challenging to do alone. Leaders, how will you know if, or what, to change?
A trusted advisor can be that objective sound board you need to make a more informed, more objective, and more confident decision. What if CEOs looked at advisors like Tiger Woods looked at his swing coach?
Turning point (noun) – a point at which a decisive change takes place; critical point; crisis. 
There is a critical moment for any individual trying to establish leadership when they either gain or lose followers. I call it the leadership turning point. And I’ve coached many people through their leadership turning points.
This is true for any type of leader, whether it’s a CEO, an elected official, a teacher, or the acknowledged leader of the free world. This turning point is generally palpable for everyone present when the moment happens, whether it is vocalized or only evidenced through the behavior that follows that critical moment.
I want to share two examples of critical turning points to drive home the importance of this turning point for leaders. One example is pulled from current events while the other is from the anecdotal history of yours truly.
When Narratives Collide—Nations (and Businesses) Falter
It’s not just the politicians in Washington who can’t seem to agree on anything. Americans have lost their single-mindedness when it comes to core, basic values. This polarizing atmosphere is the topic of a recent letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal by Michael Barone titled “America is Partisan – Get Used to It” (October 17, 2013).
Barone gives three key reasons for this change, and notes that it’s not going to get any better any time soon, as evidenced by the government shutdown. I’ve summarized the points he argues (and it’s the last point that I want to focus on in this blog):