The Leading Blog


Leading Thoughts for June 1, 2023

Leading Thoughts

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:


T.D. Jakes on disruptive thinking:

“Every period of chaos brings with it a gift—an opportunity to disrupt the chaos by providing a solution rather than joining the debate. Disruptive thinking isn’t about picking a side in the argument; it’s about stepping past the argument toward a solution.”

Source: Disruptive Thinking: A Daring Strategy to Change How We Live, Lead, and Love


Retired Navy SEAL commander Rich Diviney on dynamic subordination:

“In a high-performance team, leadership shifts to wherever, and whomever, the leader needs to be at any given moment. Those teams understand that information, challenges, and obstacles can come from any angle at any time. And they’re effective because the teammate closest to the problem is able to step up and lead, while the rest of the group defers to that temporary leader.”

Source: The Attributes: 25 Hidden Drivers of Optimal Performance

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

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First Look: Leadership Books for June 2023

First Look Books

HERE'S A LOOK at some of the best leadership books to be released in June 2023 curated just for you. Be sure to check out the other great titles being offered this month.

9788886450484Leading with Significance: How to Create a Magnetic, People-First Culture by Joey Havens

Can a magnetic culture elevate you to unparalleled performance? Absolutely! And your journey to a magnetic culture starts by recognizing that good culture simply isn't enough to drive top performance. With uncertainty swirling around every corner in the world today, team members are reevaluating their workplaces and walking out as they look past hollow promises and perks that are a mere temporary bandage. People are searching for teams with purpose, a compelling vision, and a sense of belonging where they can pursue their full potential and live their lives to the fullest. In Leading with Significance, Joey Havens breaks through the limiting barriers of common culture theory and shows, with great transparency, the real human emotions that elevate a culture to one that is genuine, enduring, and magnetic.

9780593542699The Experience Mindset: Changing the Way You Think About Growth by Tiffani Bova

In the war for customer acquisition, businesses invest millions of dollars to improve customer experience. They deliver packages faster, churn out new products, and endlessly revamp their UI, often putting greater strain on employees for diminishing returns. According to Tiffani Bova, this siloed focus on customer experience – without considering the impact on your staff – actually hinders growth in the long run. The most successful companies adopt an Experience Mindset that strengthens both employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX) at the same time.

9781774582886Positive Chaos: Transform Crisis into Clarity and Advantage by Dan Thurmon

In Positive Chaos, Dan Thurmon helps you better understand the true nature of chaos, including the positive aspects that you can harness to learn, grow, and excel. Using illuminating findings from a first-of-its-kind study, 2022 State of Chaos in the Workplace, Thurmon reveals the current impact of chaos experienced by the workforce and shares effective strategies and leadership attributes for succeeding in chaotic times. From discovering how credibility stems from vulnerability, to why being honest about what you don’t yet know can empower others to feel more confident and capable of contributing, you will learn how to improve yourself while becoming a better leader. Chaos does not have to be confusing or debilitating. Positive Chaos will help you to learn to understand and embrace chaos, rise above the noise, and be truly proactive, helpful, and fulfilled.

9780306830273The Choice Point: The Scientifically Proven Method to Push Past Mental Walls and Achieve Your Goals by Joanna Grover and Jonathan Rhodes

When we choose to go to the gym at 6am, keep running that marathon, or stay up late to study, we are making conscious, value-based decisions that help us fulfill our goals. But even though we know that daily good choices add up to healthy routines and strong results, these days it’s just too easy to surrender to negative thoughts and old habits. How can we not? Enter Functional Imagery Training (FIT). Grounded in science, FIT helps us lengthen our Choice Point: that moment when we say to ourselves, “Am I going to make the healthy decision, or am I going to choose to take an action that I know will undermine my success?” Merging mindfulness, motivational interviewing, and cognitive behavioral therapy into a user-friendly model—the first non-academic book of its kind—The Choice Point grants us control of the decisions that define us.

9781394207114Rewired: The McKinsey Guide to Outcompeting in the Age of Digital and AI by Eric Lamarre, Kate Smaje and Rodney Zemmel

In Rewired, the world’s most influential management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, delivers a road-tested, how-to manual their own consultants use to help companies build the capabilities to outcompete in the age of digital and AI. Many companies are stuck with digital transformations that are not moving the needle. There are no quick fixes but there is a playbook. The answer is in rewiring your business so hundreds, thousands, of teams can harness technology to continuously create great customer experiences, lower unit costs, and generate value. It’s the capabilities of the organization that win the race.

9781774582657How to Work with (Almost) Anyone: Five Questions for Building the Best Possible Relationships by Michael Bungay Stanier

Have you ever had the experience of working with someone and they just didn't “get” you? They do all the things that wind you up, put you off and drive you nuts. And have you ever worked with someone and you just didn't “get” them? You couldn't figure out what made them tick, and you know you were underwhelming as a manager and leader for them. Of course, you have. We all have. Why do those experiences keep happening? Particularly when we’ve also experienced the opposite: great working relationships that soar. In How To Work with (Almost) Anyone, Michael Bungay Stanier shares a tested process that sets up working relationships for the best possible success. It shows you how to communicate about who you are and what brings out the best and the worst in you. It gives you the tools to talk with your colleagues about how you operate, and to set a social contract for how you’ll work together (not just what you’ll be working on). It teaches you how to keep relationships strong and healthy, clear and clean.

More Titles

9781119757351 9781639090105 9781657351241 9781639080328

For bulk orders call 1-626-441-2024

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“... a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”
— George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

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Whats New in Leadership Books Best Books of 2022

Posted by Michael McKinney at 06:48 AM
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LeadershipNow 140: May 2023 Compilation

LeadershipNow Twitter

twitter Here are a selection of tweets from May 2023 that you will want to check out:

See more on twitter Twitter.

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Real-Time Leadership An Ordinary Man

Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:47 AM
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Thriving When You Are Out of Your Comfort Zone

Thriving When You Are Out of Your Comfort Zone

IN MY thirty-plus years as a business coach, I have seen thousands of brilliant, charismatic, and driven thinkers make it to their dream positions in high leadership and thrive there. While they all had wildly different career paths, they all agreed on one thing: The road to success leads out of your comfort zone.

At one point in their career, all the top-level executives I have coached had to take a risk and accept an assignment, team, or job they didn’t feel entirely comfortable with. Their career risk paid off – but it doesn’t always. So, when you take your own leap of faith, how can you make sure you stick the landing? Here’s what I have learned.

Imagined Inadequacy: Dealing with Imposter Syndrome

As you move out of your comfort zone and into a position where you lead a larger group of people with a variety of skills and responsibilities, you won’t be able to solve every problem with your technical expertise alone. And when you’re out of your depth, it’s easy to feel like an imposter at times.

Imposter syndrome means feeling inadequate and unqualified, and simply not good enough. It’s often paired with a sense of irrational dread and the constant worry that everyone will one day find out that you are a phony and really not as competent as you pretend to be. This feeling can stifle your potential as a leader, impair your ability to see a problem objectively, and lead to stress at work – and yet, it’s a common issue: Between 70 and 90 percent of adults experience imposter syndrome when they push themselves out of their comfort zone.

What can be done to combat it? First, recognize that the feeling is normal. If you don’t feel a little bit insecure from time to time, you might be getting overly confident or even arrogant – and that’s a much more dangerous path to be going down.

Secondly, make use of the resources around you to gather more expertise. Ask yourself: “Who do I know who has a piece of the information I need?” Take advice from peers whose expertise you can trust and adjust your own perspective accordingly. While you should never dismiss your own experience and gut feelings, don’t be afraid to bring someone on board who might know more than you about a specific topic.

Pinpointing Contributions: Your Unique Value-Add

There is a third, even more powerful antidote to imposter syndrome which involves understanding what you uniquely bring to the table. Once you know your primary value-add, you can worry less about what you don’t know and focus more on what you do know.

Even when you are doing something completely new, you’re never starting completely from scratch. Some of your knowledge and experience will be applicable and transferrable to this new domain.

And no one expects you to know it all. There are many other ways of adding value: Think about people you have worked for in the past whose leadership you admired. Consider the way they influenced you – the words they said that you found inspiring and motivating, the time they took to hear you out, the ways in which they gave you advice and coached you. What made you appreciate them?

Great leaders that span across multiple functions and areas are not hired to be an expert in every single field. They are valued for their ability to see the big picture, to connect across domains, and to inspire others to get their best work done. Your job is not to know everything, your job is to enable everyone to make their best contribution.

Nurturing Networks: The Power of Relationships

Your ability to tap people in your network and beyond, to inspire them and to entice them to join you are the essential components of how you’re going to manage the risk you have taken on. To succeed you will need to have the right kind of conversations with many different people.

You’ve probably heard this piece of advice in the past, but it’s the hardest one to get right. There’s a reason why it’s called the art of leading people and not the science.

Why are people following you now that your content knowledge is no longer your defining quality? It could be that they will want to interact with you because they sense you believe in what you are doing. They may follow you because they like you. They may respect you as a person and appreciate how you treat people. And they may follow you because they are excited about the team that you’ve brought together and look forward to working within this group of people.

In addition, people will want to work with you because they’re confident about their own ability to help articulate the future, define the problem, come up with the solutions, and chart the course. That lets you off the hook from having to know all the answers. Your skill now is in bringing that group of people together, encouraging them to have ownership, and finding the best in each of them.

Inspiring Climates: Taking Your Team to the Top

In your new position, you still own the decision about direction. You still own the outcome. But that doesn’t mean you will succeed by dictating the steps to get there. Your ability to bring people together will come from your understanding of each person on your team and how their individual goals and strengths align with the interests of the company.

What do the people on your team care about? What are they individually motivated by? Where are they at their best? Where are they at their worst? You will bring your team members to a new level by creating the conditions that let them realize their aspirations and allow them to be their best.

Entering a New Comfort Zone

When you move out of your comfort zone, you enter an uncharted territory full of possibility, but also full of unfamiliar roadblocks. In order to once again feel comfortable and thrive in your position, you’ll need to combat your own feelings of insecurity and understand the new kind of value you bring to the table. In addition, your success will be dependent on how well you can bring people together who are excited to discover the path to a better future with you.

That’s the secret to getting out of your comfort zone.

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Leading Forum
Dr. Wanda T. Wallace, managing partner of Leadership Forum, coaches, facilitates, and speaks on improving leadership through better conversations. She hosts the weekly radio show and podcast “Out of the Comfort Zone” and is the author of You Can’t Know It All: Leading in the Age of Deep Expertise. Learn more at,,

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Outside Our Comfort Zone Imposter Syndrome

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Leading Thoughts for May 25, 2023

Leading Thoughts

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:


Schoolteacher Alice Moore Hubbard, on how to teach:

“Teaching is successful only as it causes people to think for themselves. What the teacher thinks matters little; what he makes the child think matters much.”

Source: Life Lessons: Truths Concerning People Who Have Lived


Ray Bradbury on the lost art of contemplation and real connection:

“Across the street and down the way the other houses stood with their flat fronts. What was it Clarisse had said one afternoon? ‘No front porches. My uncle says there used to be front porches. And people sat there sometimes at night, talking when they wanted to talk, rocking, and not talking when they didn’t want to talk. Sometimes they just sat there and thought about things, turning things over. My uncle says the architects got rid of the front porches because they didn't look well. But my uncle says that was merely rationalizing it; the real reason, hidden underneath, might be they didn't want people sitting like that, doing nothing, rocking, talking; that was the wrong kind of social life. People talked too much. And they had time to think. So they ran off with the porches. And the gardens, too. Not many gardens any more to sit around in. And look at the furniture. No rocking chairs anymore. They're too comfortable. Get people up and running around.’”

Source: Fahrenheit 451

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 01:22 PM
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Leading Thoughts for May 18, 2023

Leading Thoughts

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:


Daphne Jones on looking beyond the distractions:

“Focus on the outcomes. You need to be like a football team that is focused on getting that ball in the end zone. You can’t be distracted by the people who seem to be ‘coming after you.’ Even though you will be aware of the naysayers, the haters, those who will try to drag you down, don’t focus on them, but merely calculate how you will go around them or through them to get to your outcome and goal.”

Source: Win When They Say You Won't: Break Through Barriers and Keep Leveling Up Your Success


William Dawson on the value of limitations:

“The thing that is least perceived about wealth is that all pleasure in money ends at the point where economy becomes unnecessary. The man who can buy anything he covets values nothing that he buys. There is a subtle pleasure in the extravagance that contests with prudence; in the anxious debates which we hold with ourselves whether we can or cannot afford a certain thing; in our attempts to justify our wisdom; in the risk and recklessness of our operations; in the long deferred and final joy of our possession; but this is a kind of pleasure which the man of boundless means never knows.”

Source: The Quest of the Simple Life

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

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7 Tips to Build Trust in Your Negotiations

Build Trust in Your Negotiations

TRUST is a cornerstone of effective negotiations. From trusting yourself to building trust with the other party, trust itself improves long-term outcomes, relationships, and buy-in. Yet we often don’t give it the attention it deserves.

We rarely include intentional trust-building as part of our preparation work for negotiations, and this is a mistake. Failing to build trust adversely impacts your ability to influence and persuade other people. In other words, it undermines your effectiveness as a negotiator.

What is trust, exactly?

For a long time, experts couldn’t agree on how to define trust, let alone how to build it. There were widely divergent opinions across multiple disciplines on the causes of trust, its nature, and its impact. Everyone agreed it was important, but nobody agreed on why or how.

A 1995 Academy of Management Review journal article, “An Integrative Model of Organizational Trust,” is often cited for its breakdown of the factors of trustworthiness. It suggests three factors determine whether we find someone trustworthy:

Ability: Do I believe the person has the ability to deliver on their promises?
Benevolence: Is the person inclined or motivated to do right by me?
Integrity: Does the person share values and principles that are acceptable to me?

Drawing on this model over a decade later, Stephen M. R. Covey broke the concept of trust into two components: character and competence. Character reflects integrity and intent. Competence draws on capabilities and results.

Would you pass the “trust test” based on these qualities? It’s worth asking yourself this question in advance of every negotiation.

Women Have a Trust Advantage

Surprisingly, women have an edge on the trust front. Justified or not, people tend to trust women more. But why?

Perhaps it’s because women aren’t regarded as threats, given their smaller stature and historical lack of power in business and politics. Perhaps it’s because women are more open with their emotions, which is perceived as transparency and candor. Or maybe it’s the perception that women are more likely to ensure everyone’s voice is heard. Someone suggested to me recently that it’s because women are thought of first as mothers and nurturers.

Whatever the rationale, it translates to increased innate trust, a definite asset in negotiations.

Tips For Building Trust

In our fast-paced world, decisions are made quickly. Our speedy determinations are often based on knee-jerk check-ins about whether we trust the other party—or not.

So, what can you do to establish this trust?

1. Trust yourself

Your first and most important negotiation tool is your own mindset. Building trust with others is hard if you don’t trust yourself. You need to respect yourself to attract the respect of others.

Where should you start? Explore the limiting beliefs that have held you back, challenge your inner critic, seek internal versus external validation, be honest with yourself, and celebrate your value.

2. Maintain your reputation

Losing trust is easier than building it, and it can take a considerable investment to regain trust once it’s lost. Managing your reputation is key. Being known as someone who is untrustworthy can be the kiss of death in negotiations. So always guard your reputation.

3. Give respect

Respect and trust are closely connected. Always treat people with dignity and respect if you expect the same. Doing so builds trust.

4. Bring empathy to the table

Be sure to practice active listening. Seek to truly understand the position and needs of the other party. This will lower their defenses and increase their trust.

5. Speak clearly

When I say, “Speak clearly,” I’m not talking about diction (although that doesn’t hurt) but rather about being clear about your meaning. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Be transparent and open when possible.

Also, speak the “language’” of the other party, using terminology that speaks to them. As an attorney, I learned long ago to master the specialized lingo of my clients. Imagine representing the trucking industry as an attorney without knowing the difference between a truck tractor and a flatbed. You’d lose the client’s trust instantly. The same applies in every sector and industry.

6. Seek mutual gains

Approach negotiations with the goal of finding the highest good for all. Don’t just seek to have your needs met; actively look for creative opportunities to find mutually beneficial solutions and outcomes.

As you do, be prepared to make concessions as a stepping stone to building trust. But don’t randomly offer up items as a compromise. Instead, be intentional about it. Strategize in advance so you can offer up concessions that will be of value to the other side but are easy gives for you. Name your concessions as you give them. Don’t expect the other party to recognize the concession you’ve made or its value.

7. Be clear about your expectations

When identifying your needs in a negotiation—which comes after listening to the other party’s demands—don’t be vague or clever. Be clear. Be prepared to explain your needs.

It’s surprising how often we misperceive and attribute false motivations to the other party. You can avoid this problem by offering your explanations in advance to assist in their understanding of your perspective. Communication builds trust.

Trust Is a Process

Once we master trusting ourselves, trust involves a willingness to rely on someone else. There’s a vulnerability inherent in the giving of it, and our past hurts often make this challenging. Exploring how to give trust allows us to become more trustworthy. It takes intentional practice—and it’s worth it.

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Leading Forum
Cindy Watson is the founder of Women on Purpose, a TEDx international speaker, and the award-winning author of the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller The Art of Feminine Negotiation: How to Get What You Want from the Boardroom to the Bedroom. Learn more at

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Trust And Inspire Yoshida Negotiating

Posted by Michael McKinney at 06:59 AM
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Real-Time Leadership: Creating the Space Between Stimulus and Response to Make Wise Choices

Real-Time Leadership

MAKING the most of every moment requires that we slow down and create some space between the challenges that are thrown at us and how we react. When faced with high-stakes challenges, we too often rely on our instincts and pattern recognition that we have developed through years of experience and plow ahead. When the challenge or opportunity is new, relying on our instincts can take us in the wrong direction.

To master pivotal moments in real-time, David Noble and Carol Kauffman offer the M.O.V.E. framework in Real-Time Leadership: Find Your Winning Move When the Stakes Are High. Handling high-stakes, high-risk leadership challenges requires preparation and practice.

The M.O.V.E. framework helps you to find, open, and use the space you create between the challenge and your response. The framework is described briefly this way:

M: Be Mindfully Alert

“Mindful Alertness in high-stakes situations means being exquisitely aware of what is needed from you as a leader at this exact moment, so you can lead in real time.” It means being “precise about and flexible with where you put your attention.” To be mindfully alert is about overcoming your instincts. If you automatically turn to your standard playbook you are not being mindfully alert. Being mindfully alert allows you to create space in real time.

Every challenge you will face as a leader will involve all or some of what they call the Three Dimensions of Leadership: First is the External Dimension that refers to high-stakes that you want and need to achieve that come from your own aspirations or those that are handed to you. Next is the Internal Dimension is about your character, emotional regulation, values, and who you need to become as a leader to meet those external challenges, goals, and priorities. Finally, there is the Interpersonal Dimension is about how “to lead in the way others need, not how to lead in the way that you’d personally prefer. In any interaction, a leader must have multiple ways to respond to unlock the potential of others.”

O: Generate Options

Before we move into action, we increase our chance of success if we consider all of our options first. Those options revolve around four basic stances: Lean In (take an active stance), Lean Back (take an analytical stance), Lean With (collaborate with others), and Don’t Lean (be still and take in all that is around and within you to that creative wisdom can surface). The authors call it moving from willpower to waypower—generating at least four options to achieve each of your external priorities and rank them. The stance you employ needs to match the needs of the people you are with.

V: Validate Your Vantage Point

We need to understand our perception of the situation. Am I right? Or have I gotten it wrong? Am I seeing clearly or is my perception distorted by my own biases or by some other factor? Do I see things from other people’s perspective? Is the stance I am taking the right one? What if I used a different approach?

We need to also consider if our vantage point is too high-def (fine-grained detail) or the other extreme, too grainy (just the basic details). Sometimes the situation calls for a wide view especially where creativity is called for. At other times we need to take a narrow focus. These considerations help to determine how best to spend our time.

E: Engage and Effect Change

Begin by communicating your intent. Boost your signals by doing only what you can do and leave the rest to others. Most leaders will find that their job is not to be the specialist, but the generalist.

The authors also address the Real-time challenges of stepping into a new role. The key, they say, is changing your vantage point. Once you have gained clarity on your new vantage point, you can then begin to apply the rest of the MOVE framework. Adjust your behavior to the new relationship dynamics required by your new role. Let people get to know you as much as you can. Remember, too, “You must identify with the whole organization, not just the parts you’re comfortable or familiar with.”

Depending on your situation (and time), you may not need to apply the MOVE framework in order. Think of the four elements as a checklist and when one area doesn’t check out, start there. For example, ask yourself, “Do I feel that I have several options I can call on to achieve my priorities, and not just depend on my default approach?” If not, start working there to broaden your options.

Great leaders “create a space between stimulus and response and exploit that space—whether it’s seconds, hours, or longer—to make wise choices. The most extraordinary leaders live in that space.” They are centered. It takes practice and commitment to get there.

When a group of monks were frustrated because they felt their powers of concentration and mindfulness had plateaued, even though they practiced nonstop, they approached the Dali Lama for advice. The Dali Lama paused for a moment before playfully replying, “I can say that over the past forty years of practice, I have noticed … some improvement.”

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Consider Leading Minds on Reflection

Posted by Michael McKinney at 06:31 AM
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Books to Read

Best Books of 2022


Leadership Books
How to Do Your Start-Up Right

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Leadership Books
Grow Your Leadership Skills

Leadership Minute
Leadership Minute

Leadership Classics
Classic Leadership Books

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