Leap to Lead

I write this in remembrance of my friend John Hammell.  He was my debate partner for two years in high school and combined brilliance with an extraordinary work ethic. Although he earned a bachelor’s and master’s in 4 years at Northwestern and graduated with honors from Harvard Law School, he wasn’t a silk stocking guy. … Continued

My Son, My Fear, My Friend

  Friends, Almost every leader’s biggest challenge is unleashing initiative.  If it’s not getting people to initiate and generate, then it’s getting people to initiate work with others.  Parents, bosses, presidents, principals? They’re all trying to light fires and increase people’s capacity to work together and work out problems. What’s THE biggest obstacle to people … Continued

It’s Okay to Leave it Blank

Friends, I was with a friend of mine this week who is a lifelong educator.  He was working with his fourth grader on her homework, and his daughter was getting frustrated and nervous that she couldn’t figure out a couple of problems.  His advice to his daughter took me off guard. “It’s okay to leave … Continued

I Dare You to Tell Me This Isn’t The Biggest Leadership Challenge!

Friends, Isn’t it superb that leadership is a life long process?!! And guess what’s likely the single most important passage in that process of leadership development? I’m 100% behind Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner when they write: “Only challenge produces the opportunity for greatness.” (See the full, marvelous quotation in the first footnote below.) But … Continued

You're a Stick Figure – or Two

You’re a Stick Figure – or Two Friends, “Lead with your best self” is the way I close my RFL columns, and I thought in the next few weeks I’d share some of the seeds at the core of that expression.  Fundamental to this exhortation is  the notion that you can present to yourself and … Continued

The Human Freedom to Plot a Path to Somewhere Great

It has often struck me that one of the major ways we differ from other animals is our ability to see a longer term vision and plot a course to get there.  Unlike squirrels or dogs we do much more than react on-the-spot.  As artists, we can envision a finished painting, song, or book, and … Continued

At the Boarding Counter – Panic and Abundance

Friends, Imagine it’s February 1, and you are sitting at the gate, waiting for your already-delayed flight to leave for Orlando and a long-awaited break.  You’re reading a cheap novel, when you start to overhear people at the counter.  “I’ve already been bumped once.  You can’t do this to me!” says one angry soul.  “Sir, … Continued