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Learning Action Learning

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

“Always learning. Always learning how to learn.” Two key personal commitments of mine.

I came across the concept of “Action Learning” over on Marshall Goldsmith’s blog. Check it out. He provides a very articulate summary of how to take what you are currently doing and turning those “actions” into learning opportunities.

At first blush it comes across pretty simple and obvious. If you think, though, about how difficult it is for many leaders to acknowledge there is anything they need to learn at all, establishing such a pattern of reflection and adjustment into your project cycle would be a near miracle. Unless, of course, you are that leader.

What kind of leader are you? In the spirit of No Excuses Leadership™, we are intent on starting any change with ourself. Here is a practical idea you can start experimenting with. Check it out.

On your side,

- Karl


Tim Ferris and The Entrepreneur’s Rollercoaster

Monday, October 6th, 2008

Insightful Link

For my fellow entrepreneurs who also swing between self-worship and self-accusation, I came across this helpful diagram over on Tim Ferris’ blog.

It comes from the work of Cameron Herold. In this post he describes four stages of an entrepreneur’s “rollercoaster.”

  1. Uninformed Optimism
  2. Informed Pessimism
  3. Crisis of Meaning
  4. Informed Optimism

It’s a valuable read. Check it out and let me know where you currently fall in your rollercoaster experience. What might be a practical next step for you?


What is “Courageous Networking?”

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Insightful Link

I came across a helpful term this morning. “Courageous networking.”

People experience networking differently. Some love making new connections. Some can’t stand it.

If you’ve just been promoted, though, and are learning to function in a new realm of expanded responsibilities, freedoms and pressures, you need as many connections as possible.

“Courageous networking” has to do with being active and systematic about finding and connecting with the sorts of people you need. Check out William Byham’s post, Just Got Promoted? Network! Network! Network!

He’s got some specific ideas for what you can do.

On your side,

– Karl


Do Others’ Perceptions Matter?

Monday, September 8th, 2008

My clients know I feel strongly about accepting personal responsibility for how others perceive you.

Check out the research that Liz Strauss shares on the impact perceptions can have on behavior.

You not only create perceptions by how you choose to behave, but your behavior choices are affected by how you think others already perceive you!

Are you inadvertently taking your cues from others? Think about it. It’s not a game or a trap. It’s an issue of self-awareness. Can you take a step back and have a look at what’s going on even while you are a participant?

On your side,

– Karl


Want a More Inventive Workplace Culture?

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

Build Invention into Your WorkplaceWe talk a lot about designing your own workplace culture.

But where are the touch points where we can actually make a difference?

Ellen Weber has an interesting post this morning on how to inject an inventive edge in your workplace culture.

Jump over and check out Build Invention into Your Workplace.

On your side,

– Karl


President McCain or Obama? Insist on Substance over Rhetoric

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

John McCainBarack ObamaWhen candidates say what they have to say in order to get elected, how can you know who you’re really voting for?

How about insisting on substantive answers to meaningful questions? Check out this list of 15 questions developed by the Center for Public Leadership and the Ken Blanchard Companies. Link to this post or directly to the Center’s blog post and get your friends and associates insisting on substance over rhetoric.

Who are You Really?

1. Values: What are your five core values and how do they shape how you lead?

2. Attributes & Competencies: What are the attributes and competencies you value most in yourself that will serve you well in the White House?

3. Weaknesses & Mistakes: Recent American history has many examples of leaders whose weaknesses brought them down. What are your tendencies that could cause your presidency to fail?

4. People I Have Learned From: What historical figure has exercised leadership in a way that you aspire to? What were their strengths? Tell us about a situation that tested their leadership.

5. Multicultural Experience/World View: What experiences have helped you deeply understand the mindset and values of other cultures?

Who Will Be at The Table With You?

6. Building a Team: Tell us about a high performing team that you’ve built. What made it high-performing?

7. Coalition Building: Can you share some examples of when you were a catalyst who brought groups with polarized opinions together so that all voices were at the table?

8. Increasing Participation: The internet and technology have flattened the political playing field, allowing for more participation and collective decision making. How will you create a more participatory democracy and give people the opportunity to influence decision making?

9. Increasing Participation: Young people have engaged in this election in greater numbers than ever before. Please give us some examples of how you have listened and responded to the next generation in your campaign. How will you keep the next generation engaged?

How Will You Decide?

10. Decision Making Style: The president’s role requires decisiveness. Please share some examples of your ability and willingness to be decisive. Can you tell us about a time when a lack of decisiveness got you into trouble. In retrospect, what would you have done differently?

11. Judgment: Tell us about a time when your judgment was tested in crisis. What do you want us to appreciate about your judgment?

How Will You Act? And What Will You Act On?

12. Leading Change: Can you give us an example of how you have overcome resistance to bring about a needed change?

13. Innovative Thinking: How will you create an environment for innovation within your leadership team?

14. Building the Confidence of Others: What are the first few things you’ll do to raise confidence at home and abroad?

15. Priorities Indicative of Values: The USA ranks 1st in incarceration and 18th in high school graduation. What leadership skills and values do you bring to the challenge of reversing these numbers? Can you point to three things in your past that will help us understand that you care about this challenge?


Should I Be Firing Myself?

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

Insightful LinkIn the best spirit of No Excuses Leadership™, I’m delighted to find Lisa Haneberg over at Management Craft suggesting that leaders might recognize for themselves when it’s time to move on.

My favorite Question of the Week for leaders to ask themselves is: “How might you be a part of the problem that won’t go away?” I like it so much because it points to the heart of leadership effectiveness, which is self-awareness. Knowing how you show up at work and the impact your presence, actions and words have on others.

“Be WITH the team, or change teams,” Lisa exhorts. So many of us make the mistake of making our own vantage point our sole frame of reference for evaluating the big picture. But a vantage point is just that… one point among many. Is it because we have more power that we get to let ourselves off the hook and blame the team for missed goals, petty in-fighting, or poor customer service?

I think not. The leader is always ultimately responsible for what happens on the ground. No excuses.

If we haven’t talked recently about the challenges you are currently facing, let’s do so. Give a call or shoot me an email. Your contribution is too important to ignore.

On your side,

– Karl


Reach Your Goals by Not Reaching Them

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Insightful LinkSometimes an insight doesn’t sink in until stated backwards or upside-down or in the negative.

Check out Ian McKenzie’s 10 Rules to Ensure You Don’t Reach Your Goals. I think you’ll find them practical, simple and insightful.

Most challenging to me was #3: “Spend time with people who are not reaching their goals. Stay away from anyone who has clear goals and a plan to reach them.” The implications to several current relationships will take some serious thought!

If you haven’t registered for our free online Goals Journal, start keeping track of your most important goals today! View a sample Goals Journal here.

On your side,

– Karl


Lessons from Eliot Spitzer

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

You have to read this post from Ellen Weber on how our own choices can sabotage our efforts. Even if the fall-out from our choices isn’t as dramatic as Eliot Spitzer’s, we all find ourselves doing things that work against our goals.

Click over to her Brain-Based Business site and check out her insightful list of ten ways we shoot ourselves in the foot. These include: avoiding risk, dodging reflection, procrastinating, and choosing insincerity among others.

While not exactly thrilled to see some of my choices on the list, understanding the how and why behind how those choices affect (read damage) my capacity to choose as I’d like in the future, was a real eye-opener. I gained a new motivation to choose differently.

Who’s side are you on? Not always your own, it seems.

I say we change that today.


Are You Blogging… Yet?

Monday, March 10th, 2008

“Yet” being the key word, because in one form or another, we are all developing content,
holding conversations, sharing ideas, and collaborating all of the time already.

It is now becoming easier, faster and cheaper on an exponential scale. Check out Chris Cree’s comparison to the revolution (I would say cultural transformation) caused by the Gutenberg Press. His insights on speed, price, distribution and participation are cause for pause.

More than a fashionable trend or a badge of technological prowess, online interaction is transforming content, communication, community, and collaboration.

Watch for coming announcements at Bold Enterprises.com expanding your online learning and collaborating options! (Do you have a Goals Journal yet?)

On your side,

– Karl