Roofs, motorcycles, and the Middle Ages

Back when I was in college, a group of us decided to climb up onto the roof of one of the dorms to watch the sun rise. These were old three-story stone buildings with steeply-pitched roofs. (No, we weren’t drunk!) What possessed us, I have no idea, but we did it, and we all got back down safely. Chalk it …

Cats, dogs, leadership, and learning

This is Flicker. Also known as The Flickerator. He’s an excellent trainer of humans. His specialty is Stupid Human Tricks. He’s taught me to … Open the sliding door onto the deck to let him out So he can go around the house and come up to my office window and ask to come in So I open the window …

The oriole and the window

Every spring, Baltimore orioles migrate through this area. Usually they land on the hummingbird feeder, as you can see in the photo. (Taken through a window-screen, so slightly fuzzy.) For some reason, last Friday there was a very – and I do mean very – determined female oriole who was absolutely certain that if she just tried hard enough, she could come into …

The development habit

What are your best habits? Drinking enough water? Brushing your teeth? Working out? Stopping to have fun? Playing? Getting outside? (It’s spring! Why aren’t you outside?) How about … professional development for yourself and your managers? A few weeks ago, someone commented to me that leadership development should be a regular habit like tooth-brushing. I can’t begin to say how …

Is leadership lonely?

“It’s lonely at the top.” We’ve all heard that saying, typically in reference to C-suite executives, especially CEOs. It may be true (though many CEOs have colleagues and formal mastermind groups supporting them and helping them feel less lonely). But I’d say that all leadership is lonely, whether at the top, the bottom, or somewhere in between. Especially the first-line manager …

Cookie-cutter leadership?

Cookie-cutter leadership. Leadership best practices. Leadership rules. Let’s be clear: none of that actually exists Except perhaps in people’s wishes and dreams and textbooks. Don’t get me wrong: there absolutely are foundational skills and important tools of leadership that you need to learn. But applying them in a cookie-cutter way doesn’t work, best practices are only “best” according to a …

How do managers learn leadership?

How do managers learn leadership? Any way they can. That’s not a joke, though it sort of sounds like one. Let’s start here, with the 70-20-10 model of learning and development. The 70-20-10 model tells us that 10 percent of learning comes from classroom instruction, 20 percent from observation, and 70 percent from doing. Yes, we can – and some …