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Organizations That Exist To Do Good

29 Aug

A truly unique characteristic of the American economy is the size, number and influence of not-for-profit organizations.

At a lunch before he departed the country, an Irish ex-patriot manager shared his impressions of the United States after a five-year stay in the Midwest. His perception of America had changed 180 degrees from cynicism and dislike to “I’m going to immigrate when I retire.” When asked why, he cited two major structural reasons. The first was the opportunity our economy offers people to be upwardly mobile. America is a meritocracy. Each of us knows a story of someone, often an immigrant, who has bootstrapped themselves to a better life through hard work, skill, knowledge, courage, and honesty. Such Horatio Alger stories are part of the American experience. In the United States, an aphorism about small companies is “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.”

The second was the generosity of Americans. “As soon as Americans develop some personal wealth, they begin to give it away.” He noted that Europeans try to keep wealth in the family across generations.

This generosity is a remarkable phenomenon. Last year, Americans gave away about $300 billion, two thirds of that from individuals and families. Americans routinely make charitable contributions that exceed the combined gifts of the rest of the world.

For a more in-depth discussion of not-for-profit organizations go to:

http://www.corridorbusiness.com/consulting/organizations-that-exist-to-do-good/

 

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Technology, Conversation & Leadership

15 Aug

 

In an excellent article in the NYTimes, Sherry Turkle notes “we have substituted connection for conversation.”  She then goes on to discuss the power of conversation and its importance in our lives.

 

Both the TED video and the article are intriguing and well worth some time, if you have any.  Most troubling to me was her statement that:

“Our flight from conversation can mean diminished chances to learn skills of self-reflection.”

 

The most recent and compelling work on leadership development places self-reflection as an essential ability.  In addition much has been written about the power of conversation as a particularly valuable leadership skill.

 

The June 2012 issue of the Harvard Business Review has an article entitled Leadership is a Conversation.  There is emphasis here on the value of listening as an ingredient of conversation and leadership.  Turkle also notes that many young people may not be developing the skill of active listening.  Food for reflection.

 

There are a couple of ways that people can subscribe to this blog. Click the “+ Follow” link on the bottom right section of the site and enter your email address. This is a very easy way to receive the newest post as an email. The other way is via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. The RSS Feed link is located on the right sidebar of the site, directly above the Categories section. Click on “RSS – Posts” to receive your posts in their favorite RSS reader. The RSS reader that many prefer is Google Reader (http://reader.google.com). It is free, well organized, and easy to use.

Five Key “Knows” For Leaders

20 Jun

Recently I contributed to the Wrap-Up session of a community leadership program.  We spent some time discussing the “power of knowing.”  Wise Leaders must be well-informed, the challenge is the era of data overload is how to evaluate the data and convert into information. Take a look at A Course Load For The Game of life in the NY times.  This is a fine self-test: DO I HAVE the knowledge to filter the noise from the information in our modern communication systems?

 

 

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Feedback: Beginning Leadership

16 Nov

Last week I linked you to a fascinating and instructive article in the New Yorker about the trajectory of a woman to the top leadership role at the New York Times.  This week the link is to an interview in the NY Times that is an insightful example and a model of how a manger develops into a leader.  Interestingly she begins with learning how to use feedback and then understanding that feedback works with everyone, not just the high performers.  There are important lessons in this article and it’s well worth a couple re-reads.

There are a couple of ways that people can subscribe to this blog. Click the “+ Follow” link on the bottom right section of the site and enter your email address. This is a very easy way to receive the newest post as an email. The other way is via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. The RSS Feed link is located on the right sidebar of the site, directly above the Categories section. Click on “RSS – Posts” to receive your posts in their favorite RSS reader. The RSS reader that many prefer is Google Reader (http://reader.google.com). It is free, well organized, and easy to use.


For Our Daughters

2 Nov

Yesterday a colleague sent me Changing Times: Jill Abramson takes charge of the Gray Lady from the New Yorker magazine.

This is a very fine article about three important topics in our society:

1. The advancement of women in American business

2. A picture of one person’s journey to leadership

3. The issues of running a newspaper in our digital zeitgeist

It’s a long article but worth the time if any or all of the above topics interest you.

There are a couple of ways that people can subscribe to this blog. Click the “+ Follow” link on the bottom right section of the site and enter your email address. This is a very easy way to receive the newest post as an email. The other way is via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. The RSS Feed link is located on the right sidebar of the site, directly above the Categories section. Click on “RSS – Posts” to receive your posts in their favorite RSS reader. The RSS reader that many prefer is Google Reader (http://reader.google.com). It is free, well organized, and easy to use.

“A Crucible Is….

19 Oct

a place or set of circumstances where people are subjected to forces that test them and often make them change.” – dictionary

I hope you viewed the video of Steve Jobs at the 2005 Stanford graduation last week.  If not, please do so.  Three powerful crucibles helped shape his life.

Research on leadership shows that such crucibles are an integral part of the development of leaders.  To read an article on this goto Crucibles of Leadership.

Recently, in a leadership development retreat, individuals shared crucibles that shaped their lives.  What an extraordinary experience to hear these stories.  All were personal and powerful.

Consider:  A shy, introverted young man who met his future wife and she helped him to play from his strengths and become a better person.  A woman who was fired from a stressful job she was reluctant to leave and then moved on to find the perfect job for her.  A woman who was informed by a high school counselor “Women go to college to obtain their Mrs.” She used that insult as a source of motivation to become a successful professional and mother.  A college student preparing to drop out when his mom convinced him to stay in and succeed – and he did.  A teacher who convinced a young girl she could do anything a man could and opened up new horizons and opportunities for her.

These crucibles can be inflection points in our lives.

Food for thought.

There are a couple of ways that people can subscribe to this blog. Click the “+ Follow” link on the bottom right section of the site and enter your email address. This is a very easy way to receive the newest post as an email. The other way is via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. The RSS Feed link is located on the right sidebar of the site, directly above the Categories section. Click on “RSS – Posts” to receive your posts in their favorite RSS reader. The RSS reader that many prefer is Google Reader (http://reader.google.com). It is free, well organized, and easy to use.

 

Thank You, Steve

11 Oct

The leadership literature often speaks to the importance of ‘crucibles” in the development of leaders.  Crucibles are powerful emotional events that catalyze self-analysis and lead to important life-change.  In my own experience as a consultant I have had many opportunities to discuss such events with clients and am impressed how powerful these discussions are in the context of a change process.

Recently Newsweek had an interesting article, one of many in the press, on Steve Jobs.  Here is a quote from the article:

“The essential things to know about Jobs’s life emerged in a speech he gave in spring 2005 at Stanford University. It was a commencement address, an ungripping form, and yet Jobs’s speech was one of the wisest I have ever read. The style in which he framed the address shows that while the computer world gained a supergeek, the literary world might have lost a powerful storyteller. In fact, his life has a weirdly fictional flavor, as though he’s the embodiment of the urgent dreamer.”

To read the text of this speech, it’s pretty short but emotionally powerful, goto: http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html

For those of you who prefer video gotto:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc

Not many graduation speeches get a standing ovation.

To read the article in Newsweek goto:

http://magazine-directory.com/Newsweek.htm

Then goto SEARCH and use: “How Apple Revolutionized Our World”

There are a couple of ways that people can subscribe to this blog. Click the “+ Follow” link on the bottom right section of the site and enter your email address. This is a very easy way to receive the newest post as an email. The other way is via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. The RSS Feed link is located on the right sidebar of the site, directly above the Categories section. Click on “RSS – Posts” to receive your posts in their favorite RSS reader. The RSS reader that many prefer is Google Reader (http://reader.google.com). It is free, well organized, and easy to use.