Category: Leadership

CEO Leadership Traits: Speak Your Mind (If You Have One)

“You’re betraying your whole life if you don’t say what you think — and you don’t say it honestly and bluntly.” —Charles Krauthammer, American political columnist Not everyone is as articulate as Krauthammer. Saying what we think can get us in a bit of bother when the thinking part is ignored before the saying part. […]

CEO Leadership Traits: The Real Work of the CEO

It’s 7:30 a.m. on Monday. You’re the CEO, and you just arrived in your office. You run a rapidly growing organization with 500 employees. Your choices for the top priority to focus on that day are: (1) fixing a nagging production problem, (2) finding a new banking relationship, (3) attending a senior leadership meeting on […]

Effective Leadership: Is “Fairness” a Good Value?

I just finishing reading a book that a friend recommended, “Principles” by Ray Dalio, a wildly successful hedge fund guy who also has some interesting thoughts on leadership.  One of the things that he articulates that I agree with is the challenge of “fairness”, particularly when it intersects with generosity. For example, if you provide […]

CEO Leadership Traits: What Can We Learn From McCain and Bush?

I’ve been blogging for 14 years (and written a book, of course!), and I stick primarily to business strategy, leadership and organizational effectiveness. Those are the challenges I help CEOs with, so it makes sense! There’s a topic, however, that I’ve had numerous conversations with CEOs and other executives about that’s broader than business. With […]

Effective Leadership Skills: Focus on the Win

“I have had lots of troubles in my life, most of which never happened.” —Mark Twain If I had a dollar for every time I worried about something that never occurred, I wouldn’t have Bill Gates’ fortune, but I might have a better wine cellar.  It shouldn’t be surprising that a seasoned coach has his […]

Effective Leadership Skills: Ask Better Questions!

“I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.”  —Richard Feynman, Nobel physicist I never took a physics class—not in high school or college or grad school. Hell, I couldn’t spell “physics”! So it’s amusing that I’m drawing lessons from people who work in quantum mechanics, nuclear fission, or […]

Effective Leadership Skills: Outsmarting Your Board

The strange dance between CEOs and their governing body (in my for-profit world, typically a board of directors) is interesting. Not quite swing, not quite polka — there’s often confusion about who’s leading, causing bruised toes.  Over my many years of being on boards, working for boards as a CEO, coaching CEOs and working with […]

Effective Leadership: Folly And Chance?

…the frightful rule of folly and chance.” –Nietzsche Nietzsche wrote this phrase while arguing for human “will” rather than happenstance or divine intervention to carry the day.  Few would argue the notion that successful business requires good fortune, and many would argue that it benefits from divine intervention. I wouldn’t quarrel with either concept. One […]

Effective Leadership: Is Volatility Synonymous With Success?

Temperament in the corner office is something that deserves consideration when thinking about effective leadership. Unfortunately, volatility is sometimes correlated with success, but correlation is not causation. One of my best clients asked my thoughts on Elon Musk. “Brilliant carnival barker,” was my response. His was more articulate, but we were on the same page. […]

Leading With Joy

I’m not Catholic, but my wife is. So I’ve been an “observer” of the religion and leadership in the church for decades. In fact, my wife was in St. Peter’s Square and saw the white smoke go up when John Paul II was selected. Pretty cool experience for her! I work with CEOs and marvel […]