Executive presence – how exceptional leaders project emotional intelligence

Executive Presence is that hard-to-define, but immediately recognizable quality that makes certain leaders stand-out – often by their mere presence. It’s far more than image. Image is one component, but not the primary one. It has little to do with content or technical knowledge, and it has everything to do with communications, leadership, authenticity and […]

The Hillary Paradox

Leadership traits, personality types, and gender perception Hillary Clinton has, for the better part of 25 years, been the subject of fairly widespread and unrelenting criticism – recently verging on demonization and, increasingly – outright hatred. She has been accused of being dishonest, unethical and even engaging in illegal actions. She has been investigated numerous […]

Do Introverts really “need to speak-up”?

“Introverts need to speak-up” was a comment in a recent discussion about why a large percentage of leaders are extroverts. Before we dive in to the ‘speak-up’ admonishment, it’s helpful to understand that introversion is different from shyness. It’s all about where you get your energy. Extroverts thrive on external stimulation, and generally become more […]

The other side of fear

” Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” – George Addair   Fear is a signal that you are venturing into new territory, taking a chance, moving out of your comfort zone. Working through the fear is the only way to get to the ‘other side’. Fear is the unnamed barrier […]

Eccentrics color outside the lines and use all the colors!

Visionary entrepreneurs and innovators [eccentrics] see possibilities and patterns that few others do. Highly intelligent, intuitive and sensitive to sensory input, they collect data and store it without always being conscious of it. New information is then connected to the stored data to form a picture that develops over time. The tendency to ‘think out […]

The way to get started…

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”            - Walt Disney  Q: What most differentiates an entrepreneur from other bright, innovative people? A: The drive to put ideas into action without undue hesitation or over-analysis. This doesn’t mean they don’t gather and analyze info or strategize […]

Blessed are the other ‘weird people’ – visionary entrepreneurs

  And blessed are the other ‘weird people’ – the visionary entrepreneurs – for they persevere against tremendous odds to teach us to ‘see their vision through our eyes.” The major challenge: Entrepreneurs are required to boil-down, simplify and communicate – - an often abstract and complex vision – - in business terms – in […]

You have to go down the chute . . .

“You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it.   You have to go down the chute.” – Tina Fey One primary attribute of entrepreneurs is the ability to ACT without hesitation. Not that entrepreneurs don’t think, analyze and run risk/benefits in their heads. But they tend not to overthink […]

Do not fear to be eccentric

“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.” – Bertrand Russell While blind faith in our intuition is risky, it’s a far greater risk to listen to the opinions of the great majority of advisers, who have been trained to look for the downside. They collect stories […]

Clear sailing to reach your goals . . .

90% of Success is Consistent Execution Think of your goals as the destination –  which is over the horizon and out of your direct line of vision. Think of your action plan as the map you use to continuously ‘tack’ and course-correct to reach your destination. You wouldn’t think of embarking on a journey into […]

Courage is to trust as trust is to _______?

“A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other.” – Simon Sinek

Leadership – nature or nurture?

Leadership potential is obvious in some early-career employees. For others, learning positive leadership behaviors is a longer – and more painful – journey. And then there are the mature leaders whose behaviors make others question just how they got there. How much does behavioral ‘wiring’ contribute to leadership potential? And how much does landing in […]

FEAR – Banish It!

Axioms for Eccentrics 1 – Banish Fear    Fear is a creeping, damp darkness that slowly strangles your optimism, passion and innovation. It paralyzes your creativity and your ability to make wise, centered decisions. It stifles your joy.   When fear rules for very long,  your business is standing on the cliff with one foot over […]

In the Spirit of the Season . . .

Dear Clients, Friends and Colleagues, In celebration of the season of giving, we proudly continue, for the 8th year, our annual tradition of a charitable contribution to fight hunger– in your honor and in lieu of individual cards or gifts. And now a shameless plug for our holiday charity of choice: If you are considering […]

12 Simple Steps to Kill Innovation

    1. Hire innovative talent 2. Expect innovators to fit into rigid rules about cultural norms 3.  Allow gossip about small perceived differences to run rampant 4. Listen to people who demonize the innovator for not fitting into the mold 5. Become annoyed that the innovator can’t seem to confirm 6. Place more emphasis […]

Entrepreneurs – sharing too many great ideas?

Innovators and entrepreneurs can generate a slate of new ideas daily! Sharing them with the team is an exhilarating experience – usually meant to energize and generate buy-in and feedback. The problem is that without a clear direction and priorities, those great ideas drift in the air like balloons. Some people interpret them as something […]

Talent Acquisition part 3 – Consistent Execution

Parts 1 and 2 of this series spoke to the strategy and business skills necessary to ace Talent Acquisition – a business process that is critical to the long-term success of every enterprise. Even with a good strategy, talent and tactics, an underlying infrastructure is necessary to support the myriad of activities that make up […]

Talent Acquisition part 2 – Business Skills

  The first article in this series – Talent Acquisition –Business Strategy – began with the premise that “Talent Acquisition is a critical business competency which needs to be prioritized and organized the same way you would organize a strategic business unit that is critical to the long-term success of the enterprise. In other words, […]

Talent Acquisition – part 1 – Business Strategy

Strategy The primary reason recruiting is still broken in many organizations is that it is rarely approached as a long-term, strategic, mission-critical endeavor. Stay with me a minute because what comes next may stretch your credulity. Talent acquisition needs to be prioritized and organized the same way you would organize a strategic business unit that […]

Adrift in a tsunami of meetings?

  In the U.S., meetings waste an estimated $37 billion dollars of productivity annually. [A healthy percentage of whatever’s left is spent on initiatives to ‘engage’ employees….many of whom may have become disengaged by a tsunami of meetings with no distinct purpose and few measurable outcomes.] In a recent Forbes survey, 85% of senior executives […]

2014 – the year of Hope!

We declare 2014 the year of Hope! No one can deny that there is much to worry about in the world and in our own microcosms – family, work, community. When we read or watch most news accounts, we surround ourselves with a toxic cloud of negative emotions – worries, fears and anxieties. Is it […]

Talent Acquisition – Recruiting ‘Through the Looking Glass’

  “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” – The Red Queen to Alice in “Through the Looking Glass” – Lewis Carroll Talent acquisition is different from […]

Blind Spot: the wall between you and the authentic leader you aspire to be

  The blind spot wall – you can’t see through it or around it until something- too often a failure or career ‘train wreck’- punches a hole in it. That something is likely to cause pain, confusion, and often anger. Many leaders with blind spots avoid this at great cost, and deny or shift the […]

Leaders are emotionally contagious

A leader’s power over the emotional climate of a team – especially in group meetings – is often underestimated. Everyone pays attention to the leader for subtle cues. If you’ve ever experienced someone anxiously asking “what’s wrong?” when you were simply deep in thought about something that had nothing to do with the person or […]

Invest more money to lose better people?

Few leaders would agree that this is sound business strategy. And yet it happens often, even in sophisticated organizations with significant resources. One example: In the midst of working on talent acquisition strategy with a leading bank, an urgent need arose to trouble-shoot recruiting and retention for the role of personal banker in hundreds of […]

Judging behavior… or judging motives?

The word ‘judge’ carries much unfair baggage. We revere good ‘judgment’ which is an essential leadership quality – while we recoil at the word judge. Those who are deficient in the ability to judge are likely to make decisions based on emotions and assumptions, ignore facts and do inadequate due diligence. They may believe their […]

Introducing: Executive Coaching Readiness Assessment

  You’re invited to be one of the first to try our new Executive Coaching Readiness Assessment – developed in response to questions about how to objectively evaluate the probability of a positive result and return-on-investment in individual coaching and development. It’s succinct – just 11 multiple choice questions, so you can complete it in minutes. […]

Leadership Skill Shortage: Straight-Talk

There’s a definite shortage of the kind of leadership straight-talk that builds trust, engagement and confidence – all essential to high-performing organizations. The best leaders know how to engage in meaningful and actionable dialogue about both successes and improvement opportunities – while preserving and enhancing relationships. Despite the common belief that people are either ‘natural’ […]

What if Your Arrogant, Angry Boss or Colleague Really Isn’t? . . . and Why Should You Care?

Stories about executives whose rage routinely ‘sets people’s hair on fire’ are common in most organizations. Based on years of leadership coaching, most executives who were referred because of disruptive behaviors had in common a combination of personality traits and ‘hot buttons’ that result in behaviors that range from aggressive fury to dismissive disinterest. The […]

Performance Feedback – or a Root Canal?

What’s the difference between performance feedback and a root canal? Answer: Anesthesia! Why would so many leaders rather have a root canal than provide performance feedback? Why do feedback recipients often experience the feedback process as a meaningless exercise, and report that that they rarely if ever get any helpful feedback that contributes to their […]

The Power of Planning

A client recently asked me why I’m such a firm believer in the power of planning. He also challenged me to tell him why planning is not a waste of time, since the increasing pace of change makes any plan obsolete in a matter of months – maybe even weeks. I’ll admit to being a […]

Are You Igniting Resistance?

The best leaders lead with both their heads and their hearts. In times of change, leaders who lead primarily with their heads often show impatience and frustration when others don’t seem to be on board, and when they don’t move forward at the expected pace. A leader who doesn’t connect with and inspire others actually […]

The Innovator – Implementer Communication Gap

Engaging entrepreneurial[i] innovators in a discussion about creative personality characteristics is fascinating and high-energy.  This is in part because at their extreme, those characteristics can be confounding to the people in their lives who are not similarly ‘wired’…frequently leading to mystified colleagues and implementation failures. Colleagues often don’t ‘get’ the innovator, and in extreme cases, […]

Abundance or Scarcity – Enough for All or Not Enough for Me?

How fulfilled you are in all aspects of your work and life may depend on which ‘camp’ you live in: Abundance or Scarcity. When you cut through the political labels, stereotypes and assumptions, most people are divided into two distinct camps: those who subscribe to the abundance theory, and those who subscribe to the scarcity […]

Leadership and Resistance to Change

Managing resistance to change is often the black hole of leadership. Is there a leadership challenge that sucks more time and energy, that creates more apprehension, animosity and disengagement – on both sides of the table? In fact, it is often ‘resistance to the resistance’ that escalates tension and creates more barriers. It’s human nature. […]

“We are what we repeatedly do”

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle Read the book “Talent is Overrated” for a scientific journey through the primary difference between top performers and average performers in any field – sports, business, the arts. It’s not intellect, physical characteristics, charisma or education. It is […]

Visionary Leadership ‘Misfires and Brushfires’™

Innovators and Entrepreneurs—can’t live with ‘em . . . The rewards of working with a visionary leader are sometimes matched by the level of frustration. Visionary leaders, including many entrepreneurs, are typically innovative and creative. Visionaries see their vision so clearly that it almost seems that they can hold it in their hands. Therefore, they […]

Containing toxic leadership damage: The courage to act

It is often only after toxic leaders/managers have exited an organization that the depth and breadth of the damage they leave behind is understood by senior leadership. There are few situations that benefit more from immediate intervention. Damage to Managers and Individuals The longer that incompetence, insincerity and narcissism are allowed to reign unchecked and […]

You can recapture your power!

No one can ‘unempower’ you without your consent. Your power and energy come from within. Empowered . . . . . unempowered. Motivated . . . . . unmotivated. Engaged . . . . . disengaged. Many leaders use these words as active verbs that can be DONE TO or GIVEN TO other people. Engage! […]

Hire and “Hug An Eccentric”® for non-creative jobs

Bret Morstad’s recent article on ceo.com “MAKE EVERY HIRE A CREATIVE-MINDED PERSON, EVEN FOR NON-CREATIVE JOBS” underscores the wisdom of Hug An Eccentric, with a couple of qualifiers. He begins with “NOT ALL JOBS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH CREATIVITY. HOWEVER, THINKING DIFFERENT–NO MATTER WHAT THE POSITION–IS CRUCIAL TO INNOVATION. ANYTHING ELSE IS A PATH TO THE […]

Deliberate practice – the path to emotional intelligence

Geoff Colvin’s advice in the book “Talent is Overrated” applies as much to the discipline of developing emotional intelligence and changing behaviors as it does to developing any other skill. It’s a must-read for anyone who is serious about developing leadership EQ. The nutshell description of Deliberate Practice: Deliberate practice is designed specifically to improve […]

Igniting Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is a passive quality until it is ignited by authenticity and courage.  Courage is the hallmark of true leadership….. …..the courage to act rather than continue to delay what is right but not comfortable …..the courage to be authentic and truthful …..the courage to advocate for values …..the courage to openly own mistakes […]

“Humans are happier when they do the right thing …

Communities that stick together and do good for others cope better with crises and are happier for it, according to a new study.

Did a lack of leadership courage push trust off a cliff?

A recent Forbes article aptly titled: “Trust in Business Falls off a Cliff”[1] summarizes the results of a national survey of over 440 companies across industries. It clearly describes a precipitous decline and record low levels of trust in management: Only 31% of respondents said their organization has effective leadership Only 27% of respondents said they have […]

GET a Life . . . or HAVE a Life?

Work, kids, social activities – the list is always longer than the day allotted to it. And ‘resting’ is yet more activity: movies, dinner with friends, tv, cable news, social networking. How many people pay someone else to mow the lawn, clean the house, walk the dog, take the kids to the park? We pay […]

The power of communications

Want better results from your business communications, in less time? Keep the ‘receiver’ in mind. When you’re communicating with colleagues at any level, everyone benefits if the receiver has enough info to easily prioritize and respond. The components of good communication are People, Process, Information and Technology. Ask colleagues you communicate with most if they […]

‘Executive Presence’: = / > ‘Charisma’?

In a recent blog, I defined executive presence as ‘that hard-to-define, but immediately recognizable quality that makes certain leaders stand-out – often by their mere presence. It’s far more than image. Image is one component, but not the primary one. It has little to do with content or technical knowledge, and it has everything to do […]

How much change could a leader change … if a leader could really change?

As a leadership coach, I frequently work with executives who don’t match the current vision of the ideal fit for the role. Often – but not always – the gap is one that can be bridged by developing new sustainable behaviors with the support of a good behavioral coach and authentic upper management. Before we […]

Executive Presence . . .

. . . How Capable Leaders Project Emotional Intelligence Executive Presence is that hard-to-define, but immediately recognizable quality that makes certain leaders stand-out – often by their mere presence. It’s far more than image. Image is one component, but not the primary one. It has little to do with content or technical knowledge, and it […]

Emotional intelligence and the leadership bubble

Studies show that EI [emotional intelligence] often outperforms IQ. Skilled knowledge workers are rarely managed; they choose to follow a leader they trust and respect – or they don’t. Many leaders seem to live in a bubble made of one-way glass. They don’t recognize or respond to the EI leadership needs of those around them, […]