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Showing posts from June, 2012

The Leader's Choice

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Once upon a time there were three leaders. Each made choices, day in and day out, that affected their organizations . . . in every way.

The first, let’s call him F, was afraid of everything, including new ideas. "Don't kick the hornet's nest," he would say. He didn't want trouble. He did not want to upset things. "Don't rock the boat," was another favorite maxim of his.

He hated bad news. So, when he realized that his company was losing money and falling apart, his chief concern was protection, especially his own. He said to his head of HR, "Your job is to keep me out of jail."

Eventually, the company went under and many lost their jobs. Soon thereafter, F the Fearful Leader, landed like a cat in another choice executive job.

The second leader, we'll call him S, loved new ideas, especially if they came from himself. No one on his staff worked as hard as he did. No one had as many creative ideas as he did. In fact, his staff was just…

How Did You Get Started As A Consultant?

I was recently asked, "So, How did you get started as a consultant in the field of Organization Development?" As I answered the question, I noted how much I was enjoying providing the answer. I realized I was enjoying telling my story.

Questions such as "How did you get started?" ask us essentially for "our story." Each of us has a story. And most enjoy telling their story when they get a chance.

Sharing stories is a useful exercise. For the audience, each story offers something, certainly information, maybe instruction, perhaps inspiration.

Story telling also shapes the teller. For the teller, the story is an act of personal identity construction, one that job hunters for instance know quite well. Every time a hiring manager says "Tell me about yourself," a job applicant is invited to tell their story.

We tell ourselves our own story continually throughout our lives. Maybe that's why so many (including me) have gotten into genealogy. We…

New Managers: Watch Your Step

Recently, I was in conversation with a 25 year old freshly minted manager. The new manager was beaming with pride and excitement about his job with a company in the mid-Atlantic region.

When I asked him about the job and what he does, he said with all sincerity, “And now I have people under me. Now I give the orders. And they have to listen to me for a change.”

I nearly choked. Here was a fresh-faced young person, only out of college a few short years, who has already internalized the wrong image of what a manager does.

Look at the worn-out paradigm that is reflected in the words he uttered with such joy:

Under me – The old concept of manager is that of Boss where the starting point is fear. The manager has the power. And the manager distrusts people. As a result, he must control them, keep them down and under his thumb. With the workers “under” him, the Boss holds the power and “wields the stick” of authority to run the gang.

Give orders – In the old concept, managers decide what needs…