Cultivate The Leader Mindset

Last week I wrote about Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal.  Gawande deals with what patients and doctors DON’T want to deal with . . . the inevitability of death. The denial of death often results in brutalizing treatments that make life more painful (and sometimes even shorter) than is necessary, and the denial means people make choices … Continued

Check the Wiring – Check Yourself

Last week (Bosses: Check the Wiring) I wrote about how my wife Jennifer had been asked by a group to speak about the election and, how when she asked me to be a sounding board for her as we drove to the event, I (somewhat rudely) balked.  I instead asked her to consider letting me … Continued

What if the Most Important Leadership Work You Ever Do Is…

…Totally indirect? I teach leadership to grads and undergrads at Cal. I think about leading all the time. I try to inspire, challenge, encourage them. I’m the show. But I’m just a coach. And I know some of these young people are going to do bigger things than I ever have. One’s running for Congress … Continued

Who Authorized You?

I am in the middle of an experiment in the course I am teaching to Masters in Public Policy students at Berkeley. I share this for two reasons that I hope you will find value in, and which I will explain in the 2 numbered paragraphs below. First, the experiments: I have long subscribed to … Continued

Am I Nuts – I Don’t Think So

“Vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage. To be vulnerable, to let ourselves be seen [is] incredibly, incredibly difficult.” – Brene Brown* I share with you  today what for me is a grand, wonderful and scary-as-all-get-out experiment. I see it as a petrie dish for examining authority, leadership and empowerment.  You may tell me, … Continued

The Two Most Important Words for Leaders

Someone once told me: The two most important words in the English language are “after you.” Can we reconcile this lovely thought with our rigid notion of “the leader,” a word and concept, which quite literally describes the one in front? Yes! Because in great leadership we follow others, as is appropriate to the situation. … Continued

Look Out Because the Buck Might Stop With You

The buck just might stop with you.  So, don’t pass it!!! A faulty ignition switch on a number of General Motors vehicles led to the deaths of at least 13 people.  The buck now sits with GM’s new CEO Mary Barra.  (The celebratory cakes honoring Ms. Barra, GM’s first female CEO were hardly sliced before … Continued

How to Choose a Role Model for Maximum Effect – a mini column

Friends, We got to Jack’s piano recital early last night. Scott was putting the programs on the chairs. Just an 8-1/2 x 11 sheet folded in half, with a frilly cut on the right side of the cover.  Inside: Twenty three students were listed on the left with the title of their selection on the … Continued

What You May Not Know About How Much They’re Paying Attention to You

Friends, I have been in positions for 29 of the last 31 years (exceptions: first year of law school and first year as a lawyer) when people supposedly had to pay attention to me.  I’ve run teams, coached clients, taught students and most important raised three kids.  So, they looked to me.  I’ve made lots … Continued

We Have Met the Enemy

Friends, I will go into battle at 8:00 AM, PST today, perhaps just after you have opened this.  I shall be leading a revolution.  Let me tell you the victory I seek and then the enemy(ies) I must conquer. I hope that it might help you, should you choose to lead . . . a … Continued