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12.02.21

Leading Thoughts for December 2, 2021

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:

I.

Amelia Dunlop on elevating the human experience:

“Elevating the human experience is about acknowledging intrinsic worth as a human and nurturing growth through love. Sometimes the person we need to see most worthy of love is ourselves. Sometimes it is another person. Sometimes it is a group of people who have been unseen.”

Source: Elevating the Human Experience: Three Paths to Love and Worth at Work

II.

John Parker Stewart and Daniel J. Stewart on understanding effective leadership is something you learn as you go along:

“One of our wonderful colleagues, John Zorbini, often said that if leadership were a car, you would think it must be a classic red Ferrari with the way we traditionally talk about it—or even the way we all think to ourselves about it. We sometimes put the idea of leadership on a pedestal and speak about it reverently. It’s the idea that when you become a leader, you are blessed with instant knowledge, judgment, and prestige.

“But, Zorbini pointed out, if leadership really were a car, it would be a beat-up old truck. It would have dents and dings. Maybe the side panels would be different colors and the interior worn out, but it would have four wheels, move, and get the job done. It’s functional, but not glamourous, and the messiness of learning to lead is visible.”

Source: LEAD NOW!: A Personal Leadership Coaching Guide for Results-Driven Leaders

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 06:05 PM
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11.25.21

Leading Thoughts for November 25, 2021

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:

I.

Pastor Will Johns on seeing the world through the lens of gratitude:

“Gratitude is a lens that changes the perception of everything in your life. Your world will be transformed. You will begin to see good things you’ve never noticed before. You will begin to feel joy for things in your life you knew were good but never fully appreciated. You will be able to count your blessings even during difficult circumstances. Gratitude will affect your essential perspective of and attitude toward life. And it will bring you the happiness you have been seeking your entire life. However, it doesn’t happen naturally.”

Source: Everything is Better Than You Think: How Gratitude Can Transform Your Life

II.

Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton on how the best leaders know how people contribute and actively look for reasons to express gratitude:

“It is about seeing good things happening and then expressing heartfelt appreciation for the right behaviors. On the flip side, managers who lack gratitude suffer, first and foremost, from a problem of cognition—a failure to perceive how hard their people are trying to do good work—and, if they’re encountering problems, what they are. These ungrateful leaders suffer from information deficit.”

Source: Leading with Gratitude: Eight Leadership Practices for Extraordinary Business Results

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:41 AM
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11.18.21

Leading Thoughts for November 18, 2021

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:

I.

Liz Wiseman describes a practice of Impact Players:

“Impact Players practice a fluid model of leadership—leading on demand rather than by command. They take their cues from the situation, stepping up when needed, but when their stewardship is fulfilled, they step back and follow others with equal ease. While others wait for direction, Impact Players step up and lead.”

Source: Impact Players: How to Take the Lead, Play Bigger, and Multiply Your Impact

II.

Peter Senge on getting to the root of the issue:

“The bottom line of systems thinking is leverage—seeing where actions and changes in structures can lead to significant, enduring improvements. Often leverage follows the principle of economy of means: where the best results come not from large-scale efforts but from small well-focused actions. Our non-systematic ways of thinking are so damaging specifically because they consistently lead us to focus on low leverage changes: we focus on symptoms where the stress is greatest. We repair or ameliorate the symptoms. But such efforts only make matters better in the short run, at best, and worse in the long run.

“It's hard to disagree with the principle of leverage. But the leverage in most real-life systems, such as most organizations, is not obvious to most of the actors in those systems. They don't see the 'structures' underlying their actions.”

Source: The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 11:10 AM
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11.11.21

Leading Thoughts for November 11, 2021

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:

I.

Scientist Edward O. Wilson on the unification of knowledge:

“The ongoing fragmentation of knowledge and resulting chaos in philosophy are not reflections of the real world but artifacts of scholarship.”

Source: Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge

II.

The late professor and writer David Foster Wallace on focus:

“Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about "teaching you how to think" is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: Learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed.”

Source: This is Water

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 04:27 PM
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10.28.21

Leading Thoughts for October 28, 2021

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:

I.

John Hagel on how emotions spread and thus how this dynamic can be used for or against us:

“Emotions have an interesting network effect: Once a critical mass of people feel a certain emotion, it tends to spread exponentially, both in terms of the number of people who feel it and in terms of intensity with which it is felt. As the emotional cascade takes hold, it becomes harder and harder to resist.”

Source: The Journey Beyond Fear: Leverage the Three Pillars of Positivity to Build Your Success

II.

Thomas Sowell on the media gimmick of turning questions of fact into questions of emotion:

“Emotions neither prove nor disprove facts. There was a time when any rational adult understood this. But years of dumbed-down education and emphasis on how people feel have left too many people unable to see through this media gimmick.”

Source: The Media's Role

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 06:04 PM
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10.21.21

Leading Thoughts for October 21, 2021

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:

I.

The cellist, composer, and conductor, Pablo Casals, on being unique:

“Each second we live in a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that never was before and will never be again. And what do we teach our children in school? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all of the world there is no other child exactly like you. In the millions of years that have passed there has never been another child like you... You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is like you, a marvel? You must cherish one another. You must work—we must all work—to make this world worthy of its children.”

Source: Joys and Sorrows: Reflections

II.

Frank Partnoy on the one word of wisdom in decision making – wait:

“Life might be a race against time, but it is enriched when we rise above our instincts and stop the clock to process and understand what we are doing and why. A wise decision requires reflection, and reflection requires a pause.”

Source: Wait: The Useful Art of Procrastination

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 01:40 PM
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10.07.21

Leading Thoughts for October 7, 2021

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:

I.

Elon Musk with a counterpoint to the idea to just trust the process:

“I don’t believe in process. In fact, when I interview a potential employee and he or she says that ‘it’s all about the process,’ I see that as a bad sign. The problem is that at a lot of big companies, process becomes a substitute for thinking. You’re encouraged to behave like a little gear in a complex machine. Frankly, it allows you to keep people who aren’t that smart, who aren’t that creative.”

Source: “Elon Musk's Mission to Mars,” Wired, October 21, 2012

II.

Canadian actor and director Antoni Cimolino on the value of the arts:

“One music teacher in a school does more good for our children than a truckload of computers — mere information, and the tools for processing it, are useless to people whom no one has taught to dream; bandwidth isn’t as important as mind width, and mind depth; training technicians will advance us not one whit unless we also nurture the imagination of potential visionaries.”

Source: Speech, Artistic Institutions: The Wellsprings of Our Spiritual, Emotional, and Intellectual Well-Being

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 03:50 PM
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09.30.21

Leading Thoughts for September 30, 2021

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:

I.

Mark Sanborn on why culture matters:

“Culture is a corporate immune system that protects against variance, decline, or abandonment by identifying and combating threatening forces like toxic partners, disjointed processes, and bad decisions.”

Source: The Intention Imperative

II.

Thomas Berry on the need for a new story:

“It’s all a question of story. We are in trouble just now because we do not have a good story. We are in between stories. The Old Story — the account of how the world came to be and how we fit into it — is not functioning properly, and we have not learned the New Story.”

Source: The New Story: Comments on the Origin, Identification and Transmission of Values

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books



Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:07 AM
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09.23.21

Leading Thoughts for September 23, 2021

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:

I.

Alan Mulally on running a business in the midst of a crisis:

“Running a business is a design job. You need a point of view about the future, a really good plan to deliver that future, and then relentless implementation.

“You’ve got to trust the process. You need to trust and nurture your emotional resilience. Do you have a point of view about the future? Check. Is it still the right vision today? Check. Do you have a comprehensive plan to deliver that? Check. If you get skilled and motivated people working together through this process, you’re going to figure it out. But you’ve got to trust it.”

Source: American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company

II.

Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan on the need for leaders to create an organization that can confront reality:

“Exercising the power of realism requires an open and inquisitive mind, intense curiosity, the intellectual ability to sort out complexity, the ability to persuade others, and—undergirding it all—the courage of inner strength. People who lack these qualities can’t be considered leaders. They should look for other work.”

Source: Confronting Reality: Doing What Matters to Get Things Right

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:11 AM
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09.16.21

Leading Thoughts for September 16, 2021

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:

I.

Geoff Tuff and Steven Goldbach on the need for flexible thinking:

“We must dispel the notion that strong leaders don’t change their positions … or, dare we say, learn. Flipflopping when you have new information – flexing your thinking in an explicable way – is absolutely a hallmark of effective leadership in the face of accelerating change.

“Good leaders have an intuitive sense of things that must be true for their organizations to be successful and consistently check whether these conditions remain true in the external environment. They are on the lookout for things that could destroy the business model they have created. And if something changes that gives them pause, they aren’t afraid to make adjustments. When your business model may be at risk of implosion, it’s a very good thing that leaders changed their tune.”

Source: Provoke: How Leaders Shape the Future by Overcoming Fatal Human Flaws

II.

Historian Adrian Goldsworthy on concerns over the growth of organizations:

“It is only human nature to lose sight of the wider issues and focus on immediate concerns and personal issues.… All human institutions, from countries to businesses, risk creating a similarly short-sighted and selfish culture.

“Success produces growth and, in time, creates institutions so large that they are cushioned from mistakes and inefficiency.

“In most cases it takes a long time for serious problems or errors to be exposed. It is usually even harder to judge accurately the real competence of individuals and, in particular, their contributions to the overall purpose.

“For the vast majority of people, their work is less open to the public gaze but is similar in that the real consequences of what they do are not obvious.”

Source: How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:03 AM
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09.09.21

Leading Thoughts for September 9, 2021

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:

I.

Former vice president and corporate controller at The Boeing Company, Laurette Koellner, on our responsibility to self-empower and self-deploy:

“No one asked Amelia Earhart or Charles Lindbergh to do a solo flight across the Atlantic. No one asked Bill Boeing to build an airplane. They did these things because they wanted to. They did them because they wanted to open new frontiers. Similarly, we, as individuals, must decide how we are going to expand frontiers for ourselves — and for others who are working with us or for us. To do that, we must be prepared to do battle from time to time with the internal bureaucracy in our organizations. But even more than that, we have to be prepared to fight against our own inertia — or what one poet described as ‘mind-forges manacles.’”

Source: Speech, Managing Your Career: The Ultimate Solo Flight

II.

Author and writing teacher Julia Cameron on what it takes to improve:

“There will be many times when we won’t look good—to ourselves or anyone else. We need to stop demanding that we do. It is impossible to get better and look good at the same time.

“Give yourself permission to be a beginner. By being willing to be a bad artist, you have a chance to be an artist, and perhaps, over time, a very good one.”

Source: The Artist’s Way

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:26 AM
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09.02.21

Leading Thoughts for September 2, 2021

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:

I.

Consultant Jeff Davidson on the need for breathing space:

“When your brain is always engaged, when your neurons are always firing, when you find yourself in a continual mode of reacting and responding, instead of steering and directing, the best and brightest solutions that you are capable of producing rarely see the light of day.

“You’re firmly caught in a trap without realizing that you are. Like everyone else, you’re adopting the same survival mechanisms, galloping along on the same treadmill, and defaulting into the same operational cycles. If new insights or fresh perspectives spring forth, will you, can you, actually act upon them? Do you have any chance of thinking new thoughts, or are you simply generating permeations of all your previous thoughts?”

Source: Speech, Taking Back Control of Our Days

II.

Philip Yancy on how art can help turn us from the world’s frivolities and given us time for reflection:

“Compared to any other time in history, we moderns scream and shout at each other. Listen to the music on any Top 40 station. Visit a museum of contemporary art. The world today contains no subtlety, no silence, no spaces.

“Spaces need filling. The father of cellist Yo-Yo Ma spent World War II in Paris, where he lived alone in a garret throughout the German occupation. In order to restore sanity to his world, he would memorize violin pieces by Bach during the day, and then at night, during blackout, he would play them alone in the dark. The sounds made by the reverberating strings held out the promise of order and hope and beauty. Later his son, Yo-Yo, took up the father’s advice to play a Bach suite from memory every night before going to bed. Yo-Yo Ma says, ‘This isn’t practicing; it’s contemplating. You’re alone with your soul.’”

Source: First Things, “What Art Can—and Can’t—Do” February 2009

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:40 AM
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08.26.21

Leading Thoughts for August 26, 2021

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:

I.

French political philosopher and historian Alexis De Tocqueville on what democratic nations have to fear:

“I have no fear that they will meet with tyrants in their rulers but rather with guardians. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”

Source: Democracy in America Volume 2, Fourth Book

II.

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on the need for prudence or commonsense:

“Of the four cardinal virtues — courage, temperance, justice, and prudence — it is the last — prudence — that the ancient philosophers traditionally placed at the moral apex. They did so because they understood, quite rightly, that without that practical, seemingly rather dull, virtue none of the others could be correctly applied. You have to know when and how to be brave, or self-controlled or fair-minded, in particular situations. Prudence — or what I would prefer to call a good, hearty helping of commonsense, shows the way.”

Source: Ronald Reagan: The Greatness of His Achievements, Speech delivered to The Heritage Foundation’s 25th Aniversary, December 10, 1997

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:51 AM
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08.19.21

Leading Thoughts for August 19, 2021

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:

I.

April Rinne on how to thrive in a fast-paced world:

“In an upside-down world that coaxes, cajoles, and coerces you to run ever faster, your key to true success and growth is to do the opposite: learn how to run slower.

“The old script says we must run faster to keep up. But a world in flux has different race conditions because the finish line keeps shifting. Whether it’s business demands, home and family priorities, responsibilities to juggle, relationships to nurture, or relentless uncertainty to decipher: the faster we run, the more we run without resting or reflecting or even paying attention, the worse our results will be over time.”

Source: Flux: 8 Superpowers for Thriving in Constant Change

II.

American educational philosopher Robert Maynard Hutchins, former chancellor of the University of Chicago, with a timely comment on a return to critical thought:

“As the Renaissance could accuse the Middle Ages of being rich in principles and poor in facts, we are now entitled to inquire whether we are not rich in facts and poor in principles. Our bewilderment has resulted from our notion that salvation depends on information. The remedy may be a return to the process of rational thought.”

Source: Robert Maynard Hutchins, Convocation Address 1933

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:37 AM
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08.12.21

Leading Thoughts for August 12, 2021

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:

I.

Mark C. Thompson and Bonita S. Thompson on taking action in a crisis:

“Challenges don’t come neatly packaged the way we planned them. So when you’re taken by surprise—and you don’t have the tools or support that you’d counted on—the first thing to think about is not what you’ve lost but what tools you still have. Start where you are. Figure out what you do have and use that to your advantage. When in doubt, take stock and then take action.

“People who are able to act during a crisis—even in the slightest way—are not as likely to experience post-traumatic stress syndrome. Action is what creates healing. By the same token, if we are overwhelmed by the size or difficulty of any task, taking some action toward the solution will mellow the overwhelm. We will be better equipped to manage our emotions after even a few small actions.”

Source: Admired: 21 Ways to Double Your Value

II.

John Wooden on self-control:

“Leadership starts with self-control. Remember, control of your organization begins with control of yourself. When you lose control, you sanction the same behavior for those under your leadership—the team. There is never an excuse for violating this imperative, and when you do, your credibility and consistency as a leader diminish accordingly.”

Source: Wooden on Leadership

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:58 AM
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08.05.21

Leading Thoughts for August 5, 2021

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:

I.

John Maxwell on how adversity introduces us to ourselves:

“Adversity always gets our attention. We can’t ignore it. It causes us to stop and look at our situation. And at ourselves if we have the courage. Adversity creates an opportunity for self-discovery. As the great Egyptian leader Anwar el-Sadat said, ‘Great suffering builds up a human being and puts him within the reach of self-knowledge.’”

Source: Leading in Tough Times

II.

Retired General Ronald Yates on the American tradition of total quality leadership:

“During the American Revolution, an officer in civilian clothes rose past a group of soldiers busy repairing a small fortification of rocks and tree limbs. Their commander was shouting instructions but making no attempt to help them. When the passer-by asked the commander why he wasn’t helping, the man in charge replied with great dignity, ‘Sir, I am a corporal!’

“The stranger apologized, dismounted, and proceeded to help the exhausted soldiers himself. When the job was completed, he turned to the corporal and said,

“‘Mr. Corporal, next time you have a job like this and not enough men to do it, go to your commander in chief, and I will come and help you again.’

“Too late, the corporal recognized General George Washington. Quality leadership also recognizes one person alone doesn’t make it happen – whether you’re the boss or out on the shop floor, you’re part of a team.”

Source: Total Quality Leadership: An American Tradition, Speech delivered November 1, 1994

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:16 AM
| Comments (0) | Leading Thoughts

07.29.21

Leading Thoughts for July 29, 2021

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:

I.

Motivational speaker Les Brown on having an indomitable spirit:

“There are negatively charged people who allow events to control their lives, and there are positively charged people who remain in control of their lives no matter what life throws at them. You want to be positively charged.

Good things happen to positively charged people because they look for good things even when others see only the bad. Positively charged people are both powerful and empowering. They are leaders…. They believe in themselves and their abilities, and their enthusiasm and self-confidence affect everyone around them.”

Source: Live Your Dreams

II.

Reid Hoffman and Ben Casocha say opportunities are the result of doing something—by being motion:

“Opportunities do not float like clouds. They are firmly attached to individuals. If you’re looking for an opportunity, you’re really looking for people. If you’re evaluating an opportunity, you’re really evaluating people. If you’re trying to marshal resources to go after an opportunity, you’re really trying to enlist the support and involvement of other people.”

Source: The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:18 AM
| Comments (0) | Leading Thoughts

07.22.21

Leading Thoughts for July 22, 2021

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:

I.

Former CEO of Honeywell International, Larry Bossidy, on the behaviors a leader should look for in his or her direct reports:

“Over the years, I’ve observed that certain behaviors, on the part of both the subordinate and the boss, are conducive to productive and rewarding relationships. Indeed, I’ll favor someone who exhibits the behaviors I expect over someone who doesn’t, even if the latter’s numbers are slightly better because I know the former has the potential to contribute more to the organization over time.”

Source: Harvard Business Review, “What Your Leader Expects of You

II.

Marc and Samantha Hurwitz on the importance of followership on management performance as you move up the organizational ladder:

“There is a lot less forgiveness for poor followership at the middle-manager level because much more of the job is about building partnerships, setting an example, and working in the larger organizational context. Being technically strong is no longer enough to shine. At senior management levels, followership becomes the primary consideration. In our experience, senior executives have the highest levels of followership skill and the greatest conceptual understanding of it, and are most likely to acknowledge followership behaviors.”

Source: Leadership is Half the Story: A Fresh Look at Followership, Leadership, and Collaboration

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:38 AM
| Comments (0) | Leading Thoughts

07.15.21

Leading Thoughts for July 15, 2021

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:

I.

Journalist George Leonard on mastery:

“How long will it take me to master Aikido?” a prospective student asks. ‘How long do you expect to live?’ is the only respectable response.

“Ultimately, practice is the path of mastery. If you stay on it long enough, you’ll find it to be a vivid place, with its ups and downs, is challenges and comforts, its surprises, disappointments, and unconditional joys. You’ll take your share of bumps and bruises while traveling – bruises of the ego as well as of the body, mind and spirit – but it might well turn out to be the most reliable thing in your life. Then, too, it might eventually make you a winner in your chosen field, if that’s what you’re looking for, and then people will refer to you as a master. But that’s not really the point.

“What is mastery? At the heart of it, mastery is practice. Mastery is staying on the path.”

Source: Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment

II.

General Gordon Sullivan and Michael Harper on what to do in uncharted territory:

“The old maps, the old ways of doing business, will not work in today’s new territories. Simply improving an existing process will not solve a problem. This is the failure of the ‘R-words’—reshaping, reengineering, reinventing, and reposturing. Doing the same thing you have always done—no matter how much you improve it—will get you only what you had before. The old ways lead to the same old failures.”

Source: Hope Is Not a Method: What Business Leaders Can Learn from America's Army

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:06 AM
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07.08.21

Leading Thoughts for July 8, 2021

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:

I.

Louis L’Amour on pausing to take stock of yourself and ask: Where am I going? What am I becoming? What do I wish to do and become?

“Up to a point a man’s life is shaped by environment, heredity, and movements and changes in the world about him; then there comes a time when it lies within his grasp to shape the clay of his life into the sort of thing he wishes to be. Only the weak blame parents, their race, their times, lack of good fortune, or the quirks of fate. Everyone has it within his power to say, this I am today, that I shall be tomorrow. The wish, however, must be implemented by deeds.”

Source: The Walking Drum

II.

Peter Drucker on personal responsibility:

“It is the mark of a mature person to ask: ‘What do I want to get out of life?’—and to know that one gets out only as much as one puts in. Tomorrow it will be the mark of a free person to ask: ‘What do I want to get out of organizations?’—and to know that one gets only as much as one puts in.”

Source: The Age of Discontinuity: Guidelines to Our Changing Society

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books



Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:45 AM
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07.01.21

Leading Thoughts for July 1, 2021

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:

I.

Former Chairman and CEO of Pepsico, Indra Nooyi, on assuming positive intent:

“My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From him, I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So, assume positive intent has been a huge piece of advice for me.”

Source: Fortune, “The Best Advice I Ever Got

II.

Director, producer, and screenwriter Steven Spielberg on collaboration. In the interview he was asked, “What keeps you excited about making movies?”:

“I get that same queasy, nervous, thrilling feeling every time I go to work. That’s never worn off since I was 12 years-old with my dad’s 8-millimeter movie camera. The thrill hasn’t changed at all. In fact, as I’ve gotten older, it’s actually increased, because now I appreciate the collaboration.

When I was a kid, there was no collaboration. It’s you with a camera bossing your friends around. But as an adult, filmmaking is all about appreciating the talents of the people you surround yourself with and knowing you could never have made any of these films by yourself.

“My job was constantly to keep a movie family going. I’m blessed with the same thing that John Ford and Howard Hawks and Alfred Hitchcock were blessed with, a mini-industry very similar to the one from the golden era of Hollywood, where it was the same people making movies with you each and every time. And it makes life so much more enjoyable when you get to go home to your family and go to work with your other family. ”

Source: The New York Times, “The Adventures of Spielberg: An Interview” by Mekado Murphy, December 20, 2011

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:08 AM
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06.24.21

Leading Thoughts for June 24, 2021

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:

I.

Ron Friedman on how experience begets automaticity and automaticity stifles learning. And the need for the right kind of practice to improve and grow:

“Working on our weaknesses is unpleasant, stressful, and hard. But it’s a process that does something crucial for skill development: it breaks the spell of automaticity.

“By facing up to our shortcomings and tackling them head-on, we can’t help but pay close attention to the links between our actions and the underwhelming outcomes they produce. The discomfort we feel drives us to search for novel solutions and experiment with different paths, making performance breakthroughs more likely.

“Experts don’t achieve mastery through more repetition. They do so by targeting weaknesses, pursuing stretch goals, and relentlessly pushing the bounds of their abilities. It’s the only way to improve at a task you already perform reasonably well and elude the grasp of automaticity.”

Source: Decoding Greatness: How the Best in the World Reverse Engineer Success

II.

Former Navy Seal Brent Gleeson on the difference between planning and preparation:

“Planning is certainly part of preparation, but it’s much more than that. Preparation means you know the plan, but you also have the functionality and skill to pivot when things don’t go according to that plan.

“[The best leaders] are not coming up with better ways to plan. They’re coming up with better ways to be. They combine real-time data and transparent team feedback to make informed decisions.”

Source: TakingPoint: A Navy SEAL’s 10 Fail Safe Principles for Leading Through Change

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 01:46 PM
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06.17.21

Leading Thoughts for June 17, 2021

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:

I.

Leadership coach Ruchira Chaudhary on the difference between mentors and coaches:

“Mentors provide direction to their mentees, giving them the opportunity to become more like them. Coaches, though, don’t offer directions or even answers. A good coach instead helps the coachee come up with their own answers. As a coach and leader, you—unlike the mentor—do not provide advice from a distance. You are right there where all the action is taking place. You are observing, providing feedback, sometimes nuggets of wisdom and encouragement, sometimes nudging, sometimes directing, and often times proactively seeking them out to help them be a better version of themselves. You (ideally) lead these interactions—not your coachee. In essence, a mentor guides your (career of life) journey, whereas a coach guides your (current) practice.”

Source: Coaching: The Secret Code to Uncommon Leadership

II.

Evolutionary biologist Rebecca Heiss on how our inter-gender instincts can influence our perceptions of leadership roles:

“As soon as we are reminded that women, even powerful, responsible, qualified leaders, are mothers, our sex instinct fires up ancient associations that hold women back. But the flip side of gender bias must also be given due consideration.

“It’s not about which gender is ‘better’ in leadership roles. The reality is we need the traditional skill sets of both males and females. Leadership is a genderless domain, but recognizing how our instincts have shaped both men and women to feel threatened by a woman who is ‘taking our status’ or by a stay-at-home dad who ‘isn’t a valuable resource contributor’ is essential in intervening when our instincts might lead us down a dangerous path.

“Our sex instinct has deeply sculpted our perceptions of gender in ways that logically no longer apply today.”

Source: Instinct: Rewire Your Brain with Science-Backed Solutions to Increase Productivity and Achieve Success

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:09 AM
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06.10.21

Leading Thoughts for June 10, 2021

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:

I.

D. Michael Lindsay observed that the best leaders have shown excellent management of the transitional events in their lives:

“The challenge with life is that we have to live it moving forward, but we only really understand it looking back. Every day offers the promise of preparing us to best respond to the next hinge moment of our lives.

Change moves us out of our previous settled time; transition moves us into the next one. While changes are significant to our lives, it is the success of our transitions that will determine our satisfaction and effectiveness in the days and years to come.

The best way to prepare for an unseen transition is to keep in mind how close one could be and to develop the virtues—such as humility, courage, and self-control—we need to make good choices when the hinge moment presents itself.”

Source: Hinge Moments: Making the Most of Life's Transitions

II.

Bruce Feiler on our personal narratives:

“Each one of us carries around an unspoken set of assumptions that dictate how we expect our lives to unfold. These expectations come from all corners and influence us more than we admit. We’ve been led to believe that our lives will always ascend, for example, and are shocked to discover they oscillate instead. Our society tells us we should be basking in progress, but our experience tells us we are beset by slip-ups. Might this gap help explain the anxiety so many of us feel?”

Source: Life Is in the Transitions: Mastering Change in a Nonlinear Age

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 03:19 PM
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06.03.21

Leading Thoughts for June 3, 2021

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:

I.

Andrew and Nada Kakabadse and Linda Lee-Davies on knowing when to act as well as being in the right place at the right time:

“What makes a leader great in one situation could make them incompetent in another and the increasing pace of change in today’s business environment means then that different qualities will not only be needed at different times but also more quickly and drastically. Perhaps then, it is the ability to provide the appropriate leadership qualities and skills at the appropriate time that s secret to being great. Perhaps, it is the ability to which from the transactional needs of the business to the transformational thinking which links the followers toward the future which is key to successful timing.”

Source: Leading for Success: The Seven Sides to Great Leaders

II.

Pete Davis on a culture of infinite browsing:

“I’ve come to believe that this is the defining characteristic of my generation: keeping our options open.

The Polish philosopher Zygmunt Bauman has a great phrase for what I’m talking about: liquid modernity. We never want to commit to any one identity or place or community, Bauman explains, so we remain like liquid, in a state that can adapt to fit any future shape. And it’s not just us—the world around us remains like liquid, too. We can’t rely on any job or role, idea or cause, group or institution to stick around in the same form for long—and they can’t rely on us to do so, either. That’s liquid modernity: It’s Infinite Browsing Mode, but for everything in our lives.”

Source: Dedicated: The Case for Commitment in an Age of Infinite Browsing

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:50 AM
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05.27.21

Leading Thoughts for May 27, 2021

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:

I.

Teresa Amabile on how to kill creativity:

“Organizations routinely kill creativity with fake deadlines or impossibly tight ones. The former create distrust and the latter cause burnout. In either case, people feel overcontrolled and unfulfilled—which invariably damages motivation. Moreover, creativity often takes time. It can be slow going to explore new concepts, put together unique solutions, and wander through the maze. Managers who do not allow time for exploration or do not schedule in incubation periods are unwittingly standing in the way of the creative process.”

Source: Harvard Business Review: How to Kill Creativity

II.

Authors John Hagel, John Seely Brown, and Lang Davison say we often don’t even know what we are looking for or the questions to ask to get there, so it calls for a different approach:

“We need serendipitous encounters with people because of the importance of the ideas that these people carry with them and the connections they have. People carry tacit knowledge. … You’ve got to stand next to someone who already knows and learn by doing. Tacit knowledge exists only in people’s heads. As edges arise ever more quickly, all of us must not only find the people who carry the new knowledge but get to know them well enough (and provide them with sufficient reciprocal value) that they’re comfortable trying to share it with us.”

Source: The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:19 AM
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05.20.21

Leading Thoughts for May 20, 2021

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:

I.

Robert Heinlein on dying cultures:

“Sick cultures show a complex of symptoms such as you have named…but a dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot.”

Source: Friday (1982)

II.

Ben Horowitz on what you get is based on who you are:

“Trying to screen for ‘good people’ or screen out ‘bad people’ doesn’t necessarily get you a high-integrity culture. A person may come in with high integrity but have to compromise it to succeed in your environment. People become the culture they live in and do what the have to do to survive and thrive.”

Source: What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:34 AM
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05.13.21

Leading Thoughts for May 13, 2021

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:

I.

Joann Lublin on how parenting can make parents better leaders and bosses:

“A high proportion of younger mothers and fathers believe that parenthood makes them better leaders, another study revealed. About 55% of parents under 35 “strongly agree” that’s true—compared with 28% of ones over 45, a 2019 survey of 1,003 individuals with and without children stated.

Motherhood transforms many women into better leaders. Power Moms from all generations reported to me that they had become better bosses by raising families. Tapping skills honed as time-starved parents, they set priorities well, multitasked, and delegated effectively. They also managed with empathy. It’s a quality greatly valued by companies because they must operate in an increasingly complex and diverse global economy.”

Source: Power Moms: How Executive Mothers Navigate Work and Life

II.

Malcolm Gladwell on the birth of revolutions:

“Revolutions are invariably group activities. Rarely does someone start a revolution alone. Revolutions are birthed in conversation, argument, validation, proximity, and the look in your listener’s eye that tells you you’re on to something.”

Source: The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, a Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World War

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:38 AM
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05.06.21

Leading Thoughts for May 6, 2021

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:

I.

Susan McPherson on making a genuine connection with others:

“We’re living in a loneliness epidemic that is causing declines in physical and mental health, as well as decreased work satisfaction and performance. It’s clear that the art of connecting is lost. We’re talking, Zooming, Tweeting, and texting, but we’re not feeling a sense of connection. People have lost their sense of belonging and purpose in their careers and their lives. Why? Because we’ve come to lean too hard on our digital lives. Virtual connections are not the end; they are the means to an end—an authentic relationship with depth, be it professional or personal.”

Source: The Lost Art of Connecting: The Gather, Ask, Do Method for Building Meaningful Business Relationships

II.

To uncover your what drives you, Victoria Labalme offers the Desert Island Question:

“If you were on a deserted island dying and you knew you weren’t going to make it … that this was the end… but there was a young person with you—someone you cared about deeply … and if—before you died—you could give that young person only one piece of advice about life and how they might best live theirs … what would that one piece of advice be?”

Source: Risk Forward: Embrace the Unknow and Unlock Your Hidden Genius

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 06:14 AM
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04.29.21

Leading Thoughts for April 29, 2021

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:

I.

Phil Knight on competition:

“Emotion would be fatal. I needed to remain cool. I thought back on my running career at Oregon. I’d competed with, and against, men far better, faster, more physically gifted. Many were future Olympians. And yet, I’d trained myself to forget this unhappy fact. People reflexively assume that competition is always a good thing, that it always brings out the best in people, but that’s only true of people who can forget the competition. The art of competing, I’d learned from track, was the art of forgetting, and I now reminded myself of that fact. You must forget your limits. You must forget your doubts, your pain, your past. You must forget that internal voice screaming, begging, ‘Not one more step!’ And when it’s not possible to forget it, you must negotiate with it. I thought over all the races in which my mind wanted one thing, and my body wanted another, those laps in which I’d had to tell my body, ‘Yes, you raise some excellent points, but let’s keep going anyway…’”

Source: Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

II.

Randy Komisar on personal success:

“Considering personal risk forces us to define personal success. We may well discover that the business failure we avoid and the business success we strive for do not lead us to personal success at all. Most of us have inherited notions of "success" from someone else or have arrived at these notions by facing a seemingly endless line of hurdles extending from grade school through college and into our careers. We constantly judge ourselves against criteria that others have set and rank ourselves against others in their game. Personal goals, on the other hand, leave us on our own, without this habit of useless measurement and comparison.

Work hard, work passionately, but apply your most precious asset—time—to what is most meaningful to you. What are you willing to do for the rest of your life? does not mean, literally, what will you do for the rest of your life? That question would be absurd, given the inevitability of change. No, what the question really asks is, if your life were to end suddenly and unexpectedly tomorrow, would you be able to say you’ve been doing what you truly care about today? What would you be willing to do for the rest of your life? What would it take to do it right now?”

Source: The Monk and the Riddle: The Education of a Silicon Valley Entrepreneur

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:42 AM
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04.22.21

Leading Thoughts for April 22, 2021

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:

I.

Economist Tim Harford on the problem of using statistical metrics as a proxy to control or as a target to be improved:

“Social scientists have long understood that statistical metrics are at their most pernicious when they are being used to control the world, rather than trying to understand it. Economists tend to cite their colleague Charles Goodhart, who wrote in 1975: ‘Any observed statistical regularity will tend to collapse once pressure is placed upon it for control purposes.’ (Or, more pithily: ‘When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.’) Psychologists turn to Donald T. Campbell, who around the same time explained: ‘The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.’”

Source: The Data Detective: Ten Easy Rules to Make Sense of Statistics

II.

Jon Acuff on the things we tell ourselves—our soundtracks:

“One of the greatest mistakes you can make in life is assuming all of your thoughts are true. We tend to believe that if it’s in our head, it must be accurate. If I think it, it must be real. Despite the wild things our thoughts have told us over the years, we trust them. When you start to ask a soundtrack this question—is it true?—I promise you’ll be shocked by how many lies you have cluttering up your head.”

Source: Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 11:55 AM
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04.15.21

Leading Thoughts for April 15, 2021

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:

I.

Yale sociologist and physician Nicholas Christakis reflects on what we are likely to see as we move beyond the COVID-19 pandemic period:

“If history is a guide, it seems likely that consumption will come back with a vengeance. Periods of plague-driven austerity have often been followed by periods of liberal spending. If the Roaring Twenties following the 1918 pandemic are a guide, the increased religiosity and reflection of the immediate and intermediate pandemic periods could give way to increased expressions of risk-taking, intemperance, or joie de vivre in the post-pandemic period. The great appeal of cities will be apparent once again. People will relentlessly seek opportunities for social mixing on a larger scale in sporting events, concerts, and political rallies. And after a serious epidemic, people often feel not only a renewed sense of purpose but a renewed sense of possibility.”

Source: Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live

II.

Authors Robert Galford and Anne Drapeau on the correlation between trust and self-knowledge:

“Being a trusted leader is about knowing yourself. Knowing your strengths, your shortcomings, what gives you pleasure, what annoys the hell out of you. Knowing why you go to work, why you react as you do under pressure, what scares you, and what makes you proud. The true trusted leaders we know all have one thing in common, if nothing else: they know themselves very well. Self-knowledge is fundamental to be a rusted leader for a simple reason: trust is built on honesty.”

Source: The Trusted Leader: Bringing Out the Best in Your People and Your Company

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 03:29 PM
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04.08.21

Leading Thoughts for April 8, 2021

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:

I.

The late economic historian professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Carlo M. Cipolla on the five laws of human stupidity:

1. Everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals among us.
2. The probability that a certain person is stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.
3. A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person while deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses themselves.
4. Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals.
5. A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person.

Source: The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity

II.

Watts Wacker and Jim Taylor on vision:

“The only way to succeed in the marketplace today—the marketplace of individuals or products or services or ideas—is to know your own story and to follow it into the future. Define yourself by someone else’s benchmarks, immerse yourself in someone else’s possibilities, and you become the thing you define yourself by and immerse yourself in. Measure yourself against your own rate of change and you stay inside your own story. That way, when the other side ceases to exist, you still have a reason to go on. External and lateral competition is the distraction. Internal and vertical competition is the game. The real battle is against yourself.”

Source: The Visionary's Handbook: Ten Paradoxes That Will Shape the Future of Your Business

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 11:44 AM
| Comments (0) | Leading Thoughts

04.01.21

Leading Thoughts for April 1, 2021

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:

I.

Joseph T. Hallinan on how the tail begins to wag the dog when it comes to our perceptions of reality:

“Once we have an opinion about how something should be, that expectation often colors our perception of how that thing actually is. When we look, we look with a purpose—we don’t look at something; we look for something. We tend to see what we expect to see and to experience what we expect to experience.”

Source: Kidding Ourselves: The Hidden Power of Self-Deception

II.

Paul Zak on how fear-based leadership undermines our goals and dumbs us down:

“The science shows that fear-based management is a losing proposition because people acclimate to fear quickly. Fear-inducing leaders must ramp up threats to increase productivity, but there are only so may threats one can make.

“Fear is a fine short-term motivator but a poor long-term one. Worse than having no effect, when leaders spew out threats at work, it engenders learned helplessness in which people just give up trying to do anything.”

Source: Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performance Companies

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Leading Thoughts Trust Factor

Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:08 AM
| Comments (0) | Leading Thoughts

03.25.21

Leading Thoughts for March 25, 2021

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:

I.

Fred Kofman on what it means to be a transcendent leader:

“Transcendent leaders work to align the individual purposes of those under them into a larger collective purpose that makes each individual larger as well. They understand that if you want to make accountability and cooperation occur at the same time, you need to inspire people and create a culture of commitment and connection to a larger purpose. When this happens, people look beyond their silos and their small decision-making issues. They align their best efforts with the organization’s in natural ways that other systems can’t lead them to do. It is the difference between rowing and sailing. A boat moved by mere muscle is no match for one moved by wind. A boat propelled by the wind flows in harmony with the natural forces. An organization that moves forward by formal authority is like a rowboat. One moved by transcendent purpose is like a sailboat with the wind behind it, filling its sails.”

Source: The Meaning Revolution: The Power of Transcendent Leadership

II.

Scientist and mathematician Richard Hamming on the purpose of education:

“Teachers should prepare the student for the student’s future, not for the teacher’s past.”

Source: The Art of Doing Science and Engineering: Learning to Learn

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03.18.21

Leading Thoughts for March 18, 2021

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:

I.

Robert D. Kaplan on the dangers of peace:

“Avoiding tragedy requires a sense of it, which in turn requires a sense of history. Peace, however, leads to a preoccupation with presentness, the loss of the past and a consequent disregard of the future. That is because peace by nature is pleasurable, and pleasure is about momentary satisfaction. In an era of extended domestic peace, those who deliver up pleasures are the power brokers. Because pleasure is inseparable from convenience, convenience becomes the vital element in society.

“In an era when peace is taken for granted, the electronic media increasingly adopt the aspirations of the mob. The mob, like the television camera, has no historical memory and is entirely reductive: it considers only what is within its field of vision, not the complicating facts beyond it.”

Source: The Coming Anarchy: Shattering the Dreams of the Post Cold War

II.

American evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers on self-deception:

“Together our sensory systems are organized to give us detailed and accurate view of reality, exactly as we would expect if truth about the outside world helps us to navigate it more effectively. But once this information arrives in our brains, it is often distorted and biased to our conscious minds. We deny the truth to ourselves. We project onto others traits that are in fact true of ourselves—and then attack them! We repress painful memories, create completely false ones, rationalize immoral behavior, act repeatedly to boost positive self-opinion, and show a suite of ego-defense mechanisms.”

Source: The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life

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03.11.21

Leading Thoughts for March 11, 2021

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:

I.

Mike Hayes on delegating and an insight as to why we lead:

“We don’t need to assert the greatest amount of authority that we’re entitled to. Our organizations are better served by training the people below us to one day take our place. The more we can pass down the chain of command, the better equipped our organizations will be, with more capable leaders throughout.”

Source: Never Enough: A Navy SEAL Commander on Living a Life of Excellence, Agility, and Meaning

II.

Mark Thomson on leading transformation:

“You are not going to succeed as a CEO if you try to impose a set of ideas or a new culture Day 1. It just doesn’t work. It’s got to be owned. It’s more a question of trying to pull it out of the organization rather than push it in, and that meant trying step-by-step to encourage a deeper conversation about the future.”

Source: As quoted in The CEO Test

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03.04.21

Leading Thoughts for March 4, 2021

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:

I.

Performance psychologist Jim Loehr on motivated reasoning:

“The facts are facts, but we ignore, alter, or otherwise twist them to allow us to continue doing what we are doing. Once we learn we can get what we want by altering the logic chain, by embracing ‘facts’ that align with the outcome we want and dismissing those facts that don’t, no behavior is safe. No value, no belief is safe.”

Source: Leading with Character: 10 Minutes A Day to A Brilliant Legacy

II.

David C. Valliere on the need for entrepreneurs to think and to think differently:

“Thinking is hard work. If you tell people they are thinking, they will love you. But if you actually make them think, they will hate you. Thinking carefully and precisely is very hard work – perhaps even harder than the physical labor of digging ditches, or the emotional labor of smiling at retail customers. Chess grandmasters can burn thousands of calories as they sit there, motionless, or occasionally lifting one hand to move a small piece weighting only a few grams. Because with their minds, they are expending huge amounts of energy. Most people will go to great lengths to avoid working so hard. They look for shortcuts and simplifications. They rely on ‘common wisdom’ and shared ‘rules of thumb’ without doing the hard work of checking things out for themselves. And these are the shortcuts that sink new entrepreneurs.”

Source: Entrepreneurial Thinking: Think Different!

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02.25.21

Leading Thoughts for February 25, 2021

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:

I.

English philosopher John Stuart Mill on the pursuit of happiness:

“Those only are happy who have their minds fixed on some object other than their own happiness; on the happiness of others, on the improvement of mankind, even on some art or pursuit, followed not as a means, but as itself an ideal end. Aiming thus at something else, they find happiness by the way.

The enjoyments of life are sufficient to make it a pleasant thing, when they are taken en passant, without being made a principal object. Once make them so, and they are immediately felt to be insufficient. They will not bear a scrutinizing examination. Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so. The only chance is to treat, not happiness, but some end external to it, as the purpose of life. Let your self-consciousness, your scrutiny, your self-interrogation, exhaust themselves on that; and if otherwise fortunately circumstanced you will inhale happiness with the air you breathe, without dwelling on it or thinking about it, without either forestalling it in imagination, or putting it to flight by fatal questioning.”

Source: Autobiography

II.

Writer Jay Parini on E. L. (Edgar Lawrence) Doctorow’s contribution to our understanding of the past:

“What Doctorow knew, and demonstrated in book after book, is that the past is very much alive, but that it’s not easily accessed. We tell and retell stories, and these stories illuminate our daily lives. What ‘really’ happened – in family stories, in public tales – often eludes our grasp. And yet we need to know, or think we do, what happened, as it keeps happening again. History is never really ‘over,’ or so we discover, as we loop through the same issues again and again.

He showed us again and again that our past is our present, and that those not willing to grapple with “what happened” will be condemned to repeat its worst errors.”

Source: CNN: E.L. Doctorow’s Gift

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02.18.21

Leading Thoughts for February 18, 2021

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:

I.

British philosopher Owen Barfield giving a gentle provocation to new perspectives:

“There may be times when what is most needed is, not so much a new discovery or a new idea as a different ‘slant’; I mean a comparatively slight readjustment in our way of looking at the things and ideas on which attention is already fixed.”

Source: Saving the Appearances: A Study in Idolatry

II.

Anders Ericsson, Michael Prietula, and Edward Cokely on the making of an expert:

“The journey to truly superior performance is neither for the faint of heart nor for the impatient. The development of genuine expertise requires struggle, sacrifice, and honest, often painful self-assessment. There are no shortcuts. It will take you at least a decade to achieve expertise, and you will need to invest that time wisely, by engaging in “deliberate” practice—practice that focuses on tasks beyond your current level of competence and comfort. You will need a well-informed coach not only to guide you through deliberate practice but also to help you learn how to coach yourself. Above all, if you want to achieve top performance as a manager and a leader, you’ve got to forget the folklore about genius that makes many people think they cannot take a scientific approach to developing expertise.

Moving outside your traditional comfort zone of achievement requires substantial motivation and sacrifice, but it’s a necessary discipline.”

Source: Harvard Business Review, The Making of an Expert

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02.11.21

Leading Thoughts for February 11, 2021

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:

I.

Historians Will and Ariel Durant on the need for educated citizens:

“Democracy is the most difficult of all forms of government, since it requires the widest spread of intelligence, and we forgot to make ourselves intelligent when we made ourselves sovereign. Education has spread, but intelligence is perpetually retarded by the fertility of the simple. It may be true, as Lincoln supposed, that ‘you can’t fool all of the people all the time,’ but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country.

If equality of educational opportunity can be established, democracy will be real and justified. For this is the vital truth beneath its catchwords: that though men cannot be equal, their access to education and opportunity can be made more nearly equal. The rights of man are not right to office and power, but the rights of entry into every avenue that may nourish and test a man’s fitness for office and power.”

Source: The Lessons of History

II.

Retired professor William Kilpatrick on the importance of teaching morals and why teaching leadership is critical to leadership development

“None of us wants to go to untrained doctors, or fly with untrained pilots, or have untrained soldiers protect our country, but for some reason, we have come to believe that one can be a good person without any training in goodness. We have succumbed to a myth that claims that morality comes naturally, or at most, with the help of a little reasoning. But it seems increasingly clear that these metaphors and the models that flow from them aren’t working. The ‘natural’ thing to do in most situations is to take the easy way out. The most perfectly rational plan of action is to always put yourself first.”

Source: Why Johnny Can't Tell Right from Wrong: And What We Can Do About It

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02.04.21

Leading Thoughts for February 4, 2021

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:

I.

Professor of journalism and sociology at Columbia University Todd Gitlin, on the experience of media:

“The media are, in relation to social reality, fun-house mirrors, selective in their appetites, skewed in their imagery. The news is not in any simple way a ‘mirror’ on the world; it is a conduit for ideas and symbols, an industrial product that promotes packages of ideas and ideologies, and serves, consequently, as social ballast, though at times also a harbinger of social change. The news is a cognitive warp.”

Source: Media Unlimited: How the Torrent of Images and Sounds Overwhelms Our Lives

II.

Thomas Sowell on the media gimmick of turning questions of fact into questions of emotion:

“Emotions neither prove nor disprove facts. There was a time when any rational adult understood this. But years of dumbed-down education and emphasis on how people “feel” have left too many people unable to see through this media gimmick.”

Source: The Media’s Role

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 03:14 PM
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01.28.21

Leading Thoughts for January 28, 2021

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:

I.

Charles Sykes on victimization:

“A formula for social gridlock: the irresistible search for someone or something to blame colliding with the unmovable unwillingness to accept responsibility. Now enshrined in law and jurisprudence, victimism is reshaping the fabric of society, including employment policies, criminal justice, education, urban politics, and, in an increasingly Orwellian emphasis on ‘sensitivity’ in language. A community of interdependent citizens has been displaced by a society of resentful, competing, and self-interested individuals who have dressed their private annoyances in the garb of victimism.”

Source: Nation of Victims: The Decay of the American Character

II.

Tom Wheeler on how we are not alone in facing our challenges:

“Limiting our horizons by ignoring our history denies us an essential appreciation: that the greatness of a people comes not from a retreat into halcyon memory but from the advances they make as they respond to newly created challenges.”

Source: From Gutenberg to Google: The History of Our Future

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01.21.21

Leading Thoughts for January 21, 2021

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:

I.

Brent Gleeson on resilience:

“A growth mindset is the bedrock of resilience. With a growth mindset you know that skills and success come from hard work and dedication, and the status quo is never enough. People with this mindset are comfortable being uncomfortable. Transparent feedback is not just accepted but craved, and setbacks are just another bump in the road fueling the fire to push forward. ”

Source: Embrace the Suck: The Navy SEAL Way to an Extraordinary Life

II.

Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay on the Unread Library Effect or how to help people understand that they are relying upon borrowed knowledge and moderate their views:

“Explicitly invite explanations, ask for specifics, follow up with pointed questions that revolve around soliciting how someone knows the details, and continue to openly admit your own ignorance. In many conversations, the more ignorance you admit, the more readily your partner in the conversation will step in with an explanation to help you understand. And the more they attempt to explain, the more likely they are to realize the limits of their own knowledge. This strategy not only helps moderate strong views, it models openness, willingness to admit ignorance, and readiness to revise beliefs.”

Source: How to Have Impossible Conversations: A Very Practical Guide

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 11:49 AM
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01.14.21

Leading Thoughts for January 14, 2021

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:

I.

Elaine Kamarck on presidential responsibility:

“Despite of all the trappings of power—the big house on Pennsylvania Avenue, Camp David, Air Force One, never having to sit in a traffic jam (ever!)—the president is in charge of an entity over which he has fairly limited power. This is, of course, exactly the way the Founding Fathers wanted it. And yet, try telling that to the American public or to the world when something goes really wrong. As we have seen, large-scale governmental failure becomes presidential failure, whether the president likes it or not.”

Source: Why Presidents Fail And How They Can Succeed Again

II.

Brad Stulberg and Steve Magnes on how to be passionate:

“Mindfully living with passion starts with realizing that passion in and of itself doesn’t start off as either good or bad; it just is—a powerful emotion rooted in our biology and psychology. It’s not something we magically find, but something that we develop by following our interests and incrementally devoting more of our time and energy to them. The next step to mindfully living with passion is to become aware of its dark side. Only by understanding the pitfalls of obsessive and fear-driven passion—and taking deliberate steps to avoid them—does passion gain the potential to be productive. But avoiding pitfalls is not enough. An equal challenge is bucking current trends that favor instant gratification and instead actively adopting the mastery mind-set: maintaining drive from within; focusing on the process over results; not worrying about being the best but worrying about being the best at getting better; embracing acute failure for chronic gains; practicing patience; and paying full attention to our pursuits.”

Source: The Passion Paradox: A Guide to Going All In, Finding Success, and Discovering the Benefits of an Unbalanced Life

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01.12.21

Leading Thoughts: Pass Them On

Leading Thoughts

BRITISH statesman Benjamin Disraeli said, “The wisdom of the wise and the experience of ages may be preserved by quotation.” The ideas of others have the power to slow us down and consider perspectives beyond our own. Left alone, our thoughts become too narrow—too vulnerable to blind spots. This learning process may deepen our own thoughts, give us concepts to build on, and start great conversations. It’s also good to know that we are not alone and that others have lived through the same things that we now experience.

We share two ideas every Thursday on the Leading Blog or sign up for our newsletter.

Read them and pass them on!

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01.07.21

Leading Thoughts for January 7, 2021

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:

I.

Geoff Colvin on self-knowledge:

“The best performers observe themselves closely. They are in effect able to step outside themselves, monitor what is happening in their own minds, and ask how it’s going. Researchers call this metacognition—knowledge about your own knowledge, thinking about your own thinking. Top performers do this much more systematically than others do; it’s an established part of their routine.”

Source: Talent Is Overrated

II.

Charlie Munger on turning yourself into a learning machine:

“I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines. They go to bed every night a little wiser than when they got up and boy does that help—particularly when you have a long run ahead of you.”

Source: University of Southern California Law School Commencement Speech, May 13, 2007

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12.24.20

Leading Thoughts for December 24, 2020

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:

I.

Nobel Prize winner in Physics, Frank Wilczek on the truth of science:

“Science tells us many important things about how things are, but it does not pronounce how things should be, nor forbid us from imagining things that are not. Science contains beautiful ideas, but it does not exhaust beauty. It offers a uniquely fruitful way to understand the physical world, but it is not a complete guide to life.”

Source: Fundamentals: Ten Keys to Reality

II.

Cistercian monk Michael Casey on the need to listen:

“In the short term it is easier to interact by assuming a surface calm. Mostly we do not want to listen to pressures building up inside others; we prefer to hope they will muddle through, and (anyhow) we have enough worries on our own account. Perhaps the most necessary of all skills today is the timeless knack of being able to listen to others, allowing them to tell their story, knowing that telling it will ease their burden and help them become stronger.”

Source: Toward God: The Ancient Wisdom of Western Prayer

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Leading Thoughts Best Books of 2020



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12.17.20

Leading Thoughts for December 17, 2020

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:

I.

Margaret Heffernan on what it takes to make your predictions more thoughtful and accurate:

“Ordinary people who were open-minded, educated, prepared to change their minds, humble, and attentive could gain real insight and awareness into what might happen in the next year or so. These were people who were prepared to see multiple, not single, causes of events and who were comfortable updating or changing their initial expectations.”

Source: Uncharted: How to Navigate the Future

II.

George Schultz, who turned 100 on December 13th, on creating a learning environment:

“I always have found that if I could create an environment around me in which everybody felt they were learning, I would have a hot group. I have always tried to include people in what I was doing, to encourage them to sat what they think, to let them see the problems that were confronting us all, and to create an atmosphere in which everyone could feel at the end of the day, or the end of a week or a month, that he or she had learned something.”

Source: Turmoil and Triumph: My Years as Secretary of State

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12.10.20

Leading Thoughts for December 10, 2020

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:

I.

Morgan Housel on finding the sensible balance between optimism and pessimism:

“Optimism is usually defined as a belief that things will go well. But that’s incomplete. Sensible optimism is a belief that the odds are in your favor, and over time things will balance out to a good outcome even if what happens in between is filled with misery. And in fact you know it will be filled with misery. You can be optimistic that the long-term growth trajectory is up and to the right, but equally sure that the road between now and then is filled with landmines, and always will be. Those two things are not mutually exclusive.

“Optimism and pessimism can coexist. If you look hard enough you’ll see them next to each other in virtually every successful company and successful career. They seem like opposites, but they work together to keep everything in balance.”

Source: The Psychology of Money

II.

Arthur Jensen on what brings out genius:

“Genius requires giftedness (consisting essentially of some special aptitude or talent, such as mathematical, spatial, musical, or artistic talent). But obviously there are other antecedents that are elusive to us. Nonetheless, we do know of at least two key attributes, beyond ability, that appear to function as catalysts for the creation of that special class of behavioral products specifically indicative of genius. They are productivity and creativity.”

Source: Giftedness and Genius: Crucial Differences found in Intellectual Talent: Psychometric and Social Issues

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12.03.20

Leading Thoughts for December 3, 2020

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:

I.

Wright Thompson on doing the work:

“More and more today, we don’t want to do the work or take the chances required for greatness, and we try to fix all those shortcuts on the back end with marketing and branding—modern, fancy words than mean lie.”

Source: Pappyland: The Story of Family, Fine Bourbon, and the Things That Last

II.

Arsène Wenger on coaching:

“The coach’s role is to make the player understand everything that serves the interests of the game. To do this, he must speak to the child within each player, to the adolescent he was and the adult he is now. Too often a coach tends only to speak to the adult, issuing commands for performance, victory, reflection, to the detriment of the child who is playing for pleasure.”

Source: Wenger: My Life and Lessons in Red and White

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11.26.20

Leading Thoughts for November 26, 2020

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:

I.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer writing to his parents from prison on gratefulness:

“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich. It’s very easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements in comparison with what we owe to others.”

Source: Letters and Papers from Prison (1943)

II.

Diana Butler Bass on finding gratitude:

“Practicing gratitude calls us to better lives, and a better world. And begin before you are ready. Even when a million reasons to not feel grateful stand in your way. That is when gratitude is at its best.

“Everyday there are reasons not to feel grateful and not to practice gratitude. Terrible, distressing, painful, and awful things happen all the time. The emotions of thanks elude us, and it is easy to choose ingratitude. Yet when I watch the news and fear grips my heart about whatever comes next, when a friend is diagnosed with cancer, or when a loved one dies, that Bible verse, the one Albert Schweitzer alluded to, the one I memorized as a teenager, calls toward a better way: ‘In everything give thanks.’”

Source: Grateful: The Subversive Practice of Giving Thanks

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11.19.20

Leading Thoughts for November 19, 2020

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:

I.

Gary Burnison on anticipating what lies ahead:

“You don’t need a crysal ball to anticipate. Rather, you need to be acutely attuned to what’s happening around you and in the world at the present moment. Once you see reality clearly, then—and only then—can you make the leap to extrapolate the meaning. You move from seeing only “this is what is happening now” to the lens “what this means for the future.” In other words, based on what you know now, what are he consequences—both positive and negative?”

Source: Leadership U: Accelerating Through the Crisis Curve

II.

Ross Ellenhorn on personal accountability:

“That’s how life works for most of us most of the time: we authentically take control of our existence only sparingly, and mainly pretend we’re not in control when we actually are. All the theatrics stop, however, when we head twowaard personal change.

Change always makes you face your aloneness and accountability. That’s an unavoidable fact about change: on the road from where you are to where you want to be—no one else—putting one foot in front of the other.”

Source: How We Change (And Ten Reasons Why We Don’t)

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11.12.20

Leading Thoughts for November 12, 2020

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:

I.

Margaret Wheatley on dealing with change and developing new capacities:

“It is possible to prepare for the future without knowing what it will be. The primary way to prepare for the unknown is to attend to the quality of our relationships, to how well we know and trust one another.”

Source: “When Change Is Out of Control” in Human Resources in the 21st Century

II.

Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness on the downside of obsessive passion:

“Those who are most focused on reaching some external barometer of success are often the same people who struggle most to enjoy it. That’s because they’ll always crave more. More money. More fame. More medals. More followers.”

Source: The Passion Paradox

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books



Posted by Michael McKinney at 11:00 AM
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11.05.20

Leading Thoughts for November 5, 2020

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:

I.

Neil Postman on information overload:

“Information is dangerous when it has no place to go, when there is no theory to which it applies, no pattern in which it fits, when there is no higher purpose that it serves.”

Source: Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology

II.

Tod Bolsinger on what is leadership:

“Leadership is energizing a community of people toward their own transformation in order to accomplish a shared mission in the face of a changing world. We know we are facing a leadership challenge if it requires us to grow as leaders and as a people, to be transformed int something more than we have been—without losing our core identity—in order to accomplish the mission we have been called to.”

Source: Canoeing the Mountains

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books



Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:10 AM
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10.29.20

Leading Thoughts for October 29, 2020

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:

I.

Carl Schorske on the need to think not just about but to think with history; to employ the materials of the past and the configurations in which we organize and comprehend them to orient ourselves in the living present::

“In most fields of intellectual and artistic culture, twentieth-century Europe and America learned to think without history. The very word “modernism” has come to distinguish our lives and times from what had gone before, from history as a whole, as such. Modern architecture, modern music, modern science—all these have defined themselves not so much out of the past, indeed scarcely against the past, but detached from it in a new, autonomous cultural space, The modern mind grew indifferent to history, for history, conceived as a continuous nourishing tradition, became useless to its projects.”

Source: Thinking with History

II.

Robert D. Kaplan on the connection between past, present, and future:

“The greater the disregard of history, the greater he delusions regarding the future. The classics help counter … historical amnesia. Machiavelli writes:

…anyone wishing to see what is to be must consider what has been : all the things of this world in every era have their counterparts in ancient times … since these actions are carried out by men who have and have always had the same passions, which, of necessity, must give rise to the same results.

Confucius put it more simply:

Being fond of the truth, I am an admirer of antiquity.”

Source: Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books



Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:23 AM
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10.22.20

Leading Thoughts for October 22, 2020

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:

I.

Entrepreneur and investor Sam Altman on the importance of value:

“All companies that grow really big do so in only one way: people recommend the product or service to other people.

What this means is that if you want to be a great company some day, you have to eventually build something so good that people will recommend it to their friends—in fact, so good that they want to be the first one to recommend it to their friends for the implied good taste. No growth hack, brilliant marketing idea, or sales team can save you long term if you don't have a sufficiently good product.”

Source: The Only Way to Grow Huge

II.

East Rock Capital co-founder Graham Duncan on taking responsibility for your life:

“One great portfolio manager I know told the story of being driven somewhere by an analyst on a rainy night when a truck swerved and almost ran them off the road. ‘Why is stuff like this always happening to me?’ the analyst instinctively responded. But to the portfolio manager, that response reflected a terrible mindset, whether on the road or in the market: a sense that the world is acting on you as opposed to your acting on the world. It is a mindset that is hard to change. But from what I’ve seen, great investors don’t have it. Instead, they’ve come to understand which factors in the market they can control and which factors they cannot.”

Source: The Playing Field

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books



Posted by Michael McKinney at 10:24 AM
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10.15.20

Leading Thoughts for October 15, 2020

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:

I.

Fritjof Capra on making change in a living organization:

“A machine can be controlled; a living system, according to the systemic understanding of life, can only be disturbed. In other words, organizations cannot be controlled through direct interventions, but they can be influenced by giving impulses rather than instructions. To change the conventional style of management requires a shift of perception that is anything but easy, but it also brings great rewards. Working with the processes inherent in living systems means that we do not need to spend a lot of energy to move an organization. There is no need to push, pull, or bully it to make it change. Force or energy are not the issue; the issue is meaning. Meaningful disturbances will get the organization’s attention and will trigger structural changes.”

Source: The Hidden Connections: A Science for Sustainable Living

II.

Christina Sommers and Sally Satel on the perils of overthinking:

“[There is] the common assumption that intense reflection on troubling thoughts and emotions is rewarded by a clearer vision. What [Stanford University psychologist, Susan] Nolen-Hoeksmea and others have repeatedly shown, however, is that overthinking tends to “impose a lens that shows a distorted, narrow view of the world.” Things that are wrong, not the solutions, are what come most sharply into view. “When you are sad,” Nolen-Hoeksmea explains, “your brain has greater access to sad thoughts and memories, and you are more likely to interpret events in a sad way.” Neural connections between memories with similar emotional color are activated even when we think about depressing incidents that have no apparent relationship to those memories.

As a result, pessimism snowballs, motivation flags, concentration suffers, and it becomes harder to make a decision. Negativity drives other people away, confirming our worst fears about being unlikable or uninteresting. Problems seem overwhelming. These distortions often lead to bad decision making or verbal outbursts we later regret.”

Source: One Nation Under Therapy: How the Helping Culture Is Eroding Self-Reliance

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 05:00 PM
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10.08.20

Leading Thoughts for October 8, 2020

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:

I.

Hierarchies are not the problem, says Morris Shechtman:

“The criticism often leveled at hierarchies has nothing to do with the essential structure and function of the pyramidal model. These problems all come from one source, conflict avoidance. Hierarchies become dysfunctional when decision-makers don’t want to confront redundancy and incompetence and instead bury the problems in another organizational layer. Or they find it too painful to confront difficult but key people who use legitimate roles and functions in illegitimate, destructive ways. Hierarchies don’t do damage to businesses any more than alcohol creates problem drinking. Structures don’t create problems; people do.”

Source: Working Without a Net: How to Survive and Thrive in Today's High Risk Business World

II.

Robert Pirsig on dynamic learning or being at one with the process:

“Sometime look at a novice workman or a bad workman and compare his expression with that of a craftsman whose work you know is excellent and you’ll see the difference. The craftsman isn’t ever following a single line of instruction. He’s making decisions as he goes along. For that reason he’ll be absorbed and attentive to what he’s doing even though he doesn’t deliberately contrive this. His motions and the machine are in a kind of harmony. He isn’t following any set of written instructions because the nature of the material at hand determines his thoughts and motions, which simultaneously change the nature of the material at hand. The material and his thoughts are changing together in a progression of changes until his mind’s at rest at the same time the material’s right.”

Source: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books



Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:07 AM
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10.01.20

Leading Thoughts for October 1, 2020

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:

I.

Tasha Eurich on the two aspects of self-awarenesss:

“Put simply, self-awareness is not one truth. It’s a complex interweaving of our views and others’ views of us. Indeed, according to studies on this topic, these two different perspectives, rather than capturing redundant information, may simply capture different aspects of who we are. If we have only internal or only external self-awareness, we’re missing a huge piece of the puzzle.”

Source: Insight: The Surprising Truth About How Others See Us, How We See Ourselves, and Why the Answers Matter More Than We Think

II.

Robert Quinn on real leadership:

“Leadership is not about results. It is about commitment. The entire management literature fails to understand this. Leadership authors do not understand that leadership means “Go forth and die.” If hey did understand it, they would not be enticed to write about it—because people do not want to hear this message. Most people want to be told how to get extraordinary results with minimum risk.”

Source: Change the World: How Ordinary People Can Achieve Extraordinary Results

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books



Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:10 AM
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09.24.20

Leading Thoughts for September 24, 2020

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:

I.

Steve Farber on doing what you love in the service of people:

“It doesn’t matter whether the leaders are in the front or the rear. What matters is the way they are leading the pack. In either case, the leaders are serving other members. The leaders in the front are forging the path, providing direction, and making it easier for others to go where the pack needs to travel. The leaders in the rear are providing support. They are watching over the pack and ensuring that no one is left behind. There might even be some leaders in the middle of the pack because here’s the thing about leaders: they serve others no matter where they find themselves.”

Source: Love is Just Damn Good Business

II.

Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness on how our passion can eventually lead us astray:

“Those who are most focused on reaching some external barometer of success are often the same people who struggle most to enjoy it. That’s because they’ll always crave more. More money. More fame. More medals. More followers.

Researchers have found that regardless of the field, individuals who display obsessive passion are more likely to engage in unethical behavior and are at a higher risk for anxiety, depression, and burnout. Their relationship with their passion is likely to erode, and their overall life satisfaction is poor.

They become so obsessed, so focused on and tied to external results, that nothing else matters. It’s not that they are no longer passionate. It’s just that they are no longer passionate about baseball, or energy, or leading a company, or scientific discovery. They become passionate about results, fortune, fame, and winning.”

Source: The Passion Paradox

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 10:22 AM
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09.17.20

Leading Thoughts for September 17, 2020

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:

I.

Jay-Z on excellence:

“I think excellence is being able to perform at a higher level over and over again. You can hit a half-court shot once. That's just the luck of the draw. If you can consistently do it through eleven championships like Bill Russell, then that's excellence. Having success for a year or two—that's being hot. We call that hot. That's being in demand for a short span of time. Excellence is being able to perform at a higher level for a long period of time.”

Source: Oprah’s Master Class: The Jay-Z Podcast

II.

Philosophers Willard Van Orman Quine and J.S. Ullian on the difference between the desire to be right and the desire to have been right:

“The desire to be right and the desire to have been right are two desires, and the sooner we separate them the better off we are. The desire to be right is the thirst for truth. On all counts, both practical and theoretical, there is nothing but good to be said for it. The desire to have been right, on the other hand, is the pride that goeth before a fall. It stands in the way of our seeing we were wrong, and thus blocks the progress of our knowledge.”

Source: The Web of Belief

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books



Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:36 AM
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09.10.20

Leading Thoughts for September 10, 2020

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:

I.

King of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar, on the importance of self-leadership:

“Do not feel alone, small or inconsequential. Too often leadership is associated with one great person giving an inspiring sermon to the masses and leading them to greater heights.

Even if all of us cannot own billions or rule the world—what we can do for certain is we can touch the life of one person at a time—that is what is humanly possible and that is the great equalizer—whether you are the richest woman in the world or an ordinary man making a living you have the same power to truly touch someone with kindness, compassion, and care.

What I am saying is that in this global village, on a daily basis we are not fighting world wars or military conquest. Every single day we are fighting the consequences of simple human negligence, complacency, lack of compassion, inequality. What we need is not a Leader to lead the Masses—we need Leadership of the Self.”

Source: Convocation Address at Calcutta University, October 5, 2010

II.

Prime Minister of Albania and former basketball player, Edi Rama on teamwork:

“The other team had a superior culture, less focused on individual talent, more on team strength. Culture comes from values and from leadership. To the eternal champions the victory was everything and they were ready to accept any part they had to for the sake of winning; victory was naturally very important to us also, but less important than the performance of each individual. And that meant we were not a team. So we lost. The other team won. Because they were a team. Simple.”

Source: Winners: And How They Succeed

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books



Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:07 AM
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09.03.20

Leading Thoughts for September 3, 2020

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:

I.

How to relive stress. It’s not what you instinctively do:

“According to the American Psychological Association, the most effective stress-relief strategies are exercising or playing sports, praying or attending a religious service, reading, listening to music, spending time with friends or family, getting a massage, going outside for a walk, meditating or doing yoga, and spending time with a creative hobby. (The least effective strategies are gambling, shopping, smoking, drinking, eating, playing video games, surfing the Internet, and watching TV or movies for more than two hours.)”

Source: The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It

II.

Sleep helps to beat negativity:

“Negative stimuli get processed by the amygdala; positive or neutral memories gets processed by the hippocampus. Sleep deprivation hits the hippocampus harder than the amygdala. The result is that sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories, yet recall gloomy memories just fine.

In one experiment by Walker, sleep-deprived college students tried to memorize a list of words. They could remember 81% of the words with a negative connotation, like “cancer.” But they could remember only 31% of the words with a positive or neutral connotation, like “sunshine” or “basket.”

Source: NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books



Posted by Michael McKinney at 05:05 AM
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08.27.20

Leading Thoughts for August 27, 2020

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:

I.

On how to be happy even in a crazy, unpredictable world:

“Some one in five U.S. adults is taking at least one drug for a psychiatric problem; nearly one in four middle-aged women in the United States is taking antidepressants at any given time… You can’t escape it: when scientists test the water supply of Western countries, they always find it is laced with antidepressants, because so many of us are taking them and excreting them that they simply can’t be filtered out of the water we drink every day.

Twenty-two different studies have, in the years since, found that the more materialistic and extrinsically motivated you become, the more depressed you will be. Twelve different studies found that the more materialistic and extrinsically motivated you become, the more anxious you will be.

People who achieved their extrinsic goals didn’t experience any increase in day-to-day happiness—none. They spent a huge amount of energy chasing these goals, but when they fulfilled them, they felt the same as they had at the start…. But people who achieved their intrinsic goals did become significantly happier, and less depressed and anxious. You could track the movement. As they worked at it and felt they became (for example) a better friend—not because they wanted anything out of it but because they felt it was a good thing to do—they became more satisfied with life.”

Source: Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions

II.

On how thinking about death can lead to a good life:

“Thinking about death can actually be a good thing. An awareness of mortality can improve physical health and help us re-prioritize our goals and values, according to a new analysis of recent scientific studies. Even non-conscious thinking about death—say walking by a cemetery—could prompt positive changes and promote helping others.

Kenneth Vail of the University of Missouri says “the awareness of death can motivate increased expressions of tolerance, egalitarianism, compassion, empathy, and pacifism. One major implication of this body of work, Vail says, is that we should “turn attention and research efforts toward better understanding of how the motivations triggered by death awareness can actually improve people’s lives, rather than how it can cause malady and social strife. The dance with death can be a delicate but potentially elegant stride toward living the good life.”

Source: How Thinking About Death Can Lead to A Good Life

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 02:30 PM
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08.20.20

Leading Thoughts for August 20, 2020

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:

I.

Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay call it the Unread Library Effect. Most of us don’t know all we think we know. We rely on borrowed knowledge, ideas and beliefs. We haven’t really checked it out for ourselves. Asking people why they think something can open up their thinking to new knowledge:

“Explicitly invite explanations, ask for specifics, follow up with pointed questions that revolve around soliciting how someone knows the details, and continue to openly admit your own ignorance. In many conversations, the more ignorance you admit, the more readily your partner in the conversation will step in with an explanation to help you understand. And the more they attempt to explain, the more likely they are to realize the limits of their own knowledge. This strategy not only helps moderate strong views, it models openness, willingness to admit ignorance, and readiness to revise beliefs.”

Source: How to Have Impossible Conversations: A Very Practical Guide

II.

George Simon on how people can and do manipulate the truth:

“One of the most subtle forms of distortion is being deliberately vague. This is a favorite tactic of manipulators. They will carefully craft their stories so that you form the impression that you’ve been given information but leave out essential details that would have otherwise made it possible for you to know the larger truth.”

Source: In Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 11:32 AM
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08.13.20

Leading Thoughts for August 13, 2020

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:

I.

Tom Rath on self-absorption:

“Life is not about you. It’s about what you do for others. The faster you are able to get over yourself, the more you can do for the people who matter most. Yet external forces keep pulling you toward self-centered pursuits. From books pushing “happiness” to advertisements convincing you that consumption leads to adoration, these messages tempt you to focus inward. That is all a trap (and a load of crap).”

Source: It’s Not About You: A Brief Guide

II.

Scientist Marie Curie on the importance of self-improvement:

“You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end, each of us must work for his own improvement, and at the same time share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful.”

Source: Pierre Curie: With Autobiographical Notes

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books



Posted by Michael McKinney at 04:36 PM
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08.06.20

Leading Thoughts for August 6, 2020

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:

I.

Alan Weiss on the fact that most fears are learned as are leadership behaviors, and we have to understand the causes:

“We cannot create improved behavior contingently, that is, simply patching up leaks and putting on band-aids. We have to prevent the fearful behavior in the future by eliminating the probable causes. The therapist’s admonition to “face our fears” is really an attempt to find the cause of them.”

Source: Fearless Leadership

II.

Brian Resnick on what is reality:

“Our brains work hard to bend reality to meet our prior experiences, our emotions, and our discomfort with uncertainty. This happens with vision. But it also happens with more complicated processes, like thinking about politics, the pandemic, or the reality of climate change.”

Source: “Reality” Is Constructed By Your Brain. Here’s What That Means, And Why It Matters

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books



Posted by Michael McKinney at 06:49 PM
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07.30.20

Leading Thoughts for July 30, 2020

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:

I.

Jocko Willink on subordinating your ego, building relationships, and winning the long game:

“Ego is like reactive armor; the harder you push against it, the more it pushes back. You might be afraid that if you subordinate your ego, you will get trampled. But that normally doesn’t happen because subordinating your ego is actually the ultimate form of self-confidence. That level of confidence earns respect. So while the initial thought or feeling might be that you backed down, you have actually shown you have the strength and confidence to give the other person credit, and they will recognize and respect that confidence, either consciously or subconsciously.”

Source: Leadership Strategy and Tactics

II.

Writer Ralph Marston on the power of confident humility:

“Whatever you’re doing, a sense of superiority will make you worse at it. Humility, on the other hand, will make you better. The moment you think you’ve got it all figured out, your progress stops. Instead, continue to advance and improve by reminding yourself how much more there will always be to discover. Confidence is positive and empowering, but arrogance is deadly. Be confident, but not at the expense of your respect for others.”

Source: Blog Post Confident Humility

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 03:37 PM
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07.23.20

Leading Thoughts for July 23, 2020

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:

I.

James MacGregor Burns on the changing dynamic of political leadership:

“American leadership went into decline after the revolution. The leaders were generally the same men, many far-famed and even venerated, but they were projected now into a different situation. They had been united behind transcending goals. Now they were divided over mundane policies. They had offered a striking example of bold, collective—even transforming—leadership. Now they were expected to practice piecemeal, transactional leadership.”

Source: Fire and Light: How the Enlightenment Transformed Our World

II.

Frank Partnoy on the need for reflection:

“Life might be a race against time, but it is enriched when we rise above our instincts and stop the clock to process and understand what we are doing and why. A wise decision requires reflection, and reflection requires a pause.”

Source: Wait: The Art and Science of Delay

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Posted by Michael McKinney at 05:36 PM
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07.16.20

Leading Thoughts for July 16, 2020

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:

I.

Scientist and programmer Michael Nielsen on developing disciplined work habits:

“Effective people are proactive and take personal responsibility for the events in their lives. They form a vision of how they want their life to be, and work toward achieving that vision. They identify problems in their lives, and work toward solutions to those problems.”

Source: Principles of Effective Research

II.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on the destructive nature of the victim culture:

“It leads people to see themselves a objects, not subjects. They are done to, not doers; passive, not active. The results are anger, resentment, rage, and a burning sense of injustice. None of these, however, ever leads to freedom, since by its very logic this mindset abdicates responsibility for the current circumstances in which one finds oneself. Blaming others is the suicide of liberty.”

Source: Essays on Ethics

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books



Posted by Michael McKinney at 02:45 PM
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07.09.20

Leading Thoughts for July 9, 2020

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:

I.

Michael Fanuele on the “right-brain, left-brain” myth:

“While different regions of our brain exert motor control over specific parts of our body, thinking is a far messier process. In matters of decision-making, there is no ‘right brain’ or ‘left brain’— there is only a brain, an integrated and complex organ in which feeling informs thinking; in fact, good thinking is impossible without feeling.”

Source: Stop Making Sense: The Art of Inspiring Anybody

II.

Robert Gates on presidential decision making:

“Personalities matter hugely in decision making, even at the top. Some presidents are more manipulative than others. FDR, Nixon, Reagan, and, I suspect, Trump, knowingly foster disagreements among their senior advisors—or at least tolerated them—because such infighting actually gives the president more latitude in making decisions. Whereas a unified front among advisors tends to box in the present, divided counsel lets him pick and choose among options.”

Source: Exercise of Power: American Failures, Successes, and a New Path Forward in the Post-Cold War World

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:42 PM
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07.02.20

Leading Thoughts for July 2, 2020

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:

I.

Two signs hanging on the wall of the Burnley Football Club training facility in Burnley, Lancashire, England:

“Only the person who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat.”

“In a real team, the instinct for individual self-promotion is realized through the pursuit of the team goal.”

Source: Alastair Campbell in Winners and How They Succeed

II.

Earl Nightingale on service:

“Never before in the history of the world have human beings been so interdependent. It is as impossible to live without serving others as it would be to live if others were not constantly serving us. And this is good. The more closely knit this interdependence becomes, the greater will be human achievement. We need each other, and we literally cannot live without each other. Every time we strike a match, drink a glass of water, turn on the lights, pick up the telephone, drive our car, put on our clothes, take a bath, mow the lawn, or go fishing, we’re being served by other human beings. But remember this: Whatever you seek in the form of rewards, you must first earn in the form of service to others. All attempts to sidestep this law will end in failure, frustration, and ultimately, demoralization.”

Source: Lead the Field

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 01:13 PM
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06.25.20

Leading Thoughts for June 25, 2020

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:

I.

Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan on humility:

“The more you can contain your ego, the more realistic you are about your problems. You learn how to listen and admit that you don’t know all the answers. You exhibit the attitude that you can learn from anyone at any time. Your pride doesn’t get in the way of gathering the information you need to achieve the best results.”

Source: Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done

II.

Michael Fanuele on inspiring others and finding the balance between emotions—the fuel of inspiration—and reason—it’s speedbump:

“Use your reason and logic and the full force of your big brain in figuring out what’s right and wrong, what you want to do and what you don’t, in composing your strategy. Bu them, when it comes to moving people, to inspiring, I’m sorry, but Passion and Reason are indeed enemies. You’ll have to find the right balance between adding one and subtracting the other.”

Source: Stop Making Sense: The Art of Inspiring Anybody

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:40 AM
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06.18.20

Leading Thoughts for June 18, 2020

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:

I.

Richard Feynman on living with uncertainty:

“I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong.”

Source: The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard Feynman

II.

On the challenge shifting from solo to shared credit:

“Getting beyond blame requires a shift in thinking and culture. Getting beyond ego requires a shift in behavior and attitude. Leadership, with all its attention and perks, does attract people with aggrandized self-esteem. They mistake the collected efforts of many people for their own and expect solo credit. They are jealous of attention given to others. They are “me”—centric. Everyone has an ego—after all, it serves certain purposes—thought when overgrown, the inflated ego defies surgical extraction.”

Source: You’re It: You’re It: Crisis, Change, and How to Lead When It Matters Most

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 11:39 AM
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06.11.20

Leading Thoughts for June 11, 2020

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:

I.

Rocket scientist and law professor Ozan Varol on the need for critical thinking:

“Companies fail because they stare at the rearview mirror and keep calling the same plays from the same playbook. Instead of risking failure, they stick with the status quo. In our daily lives, we fail to exercise our critical-thinking muscles and instead leave it to others to draw conclusions. As a result, these muscles atrophy over time. Without an informed public willing to question confident claims, democracy decays and misinformation spreads. Once alternative facts are reported and retweeted, they become the truth. Pseudoscience becomes indistinguishable from real science.”

Source: Think Like a Rocket Scientist

II.

Albert Gray, a life insurance executive at Prudential, on the importance of habits:

“Every single qualification for success is acquired through habit. People form habits and habits form futures. If you do not deliberately form good habits, then unconsciously you will form bad ones. You are the kind of person you are because you have formed the habit of being that kind of person, and the only way you can change is through habit.”

Source: The Common Denominator of Success

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:24 AM
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06.04.20

Leading Thoughts for June 4, 2020

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:

I.

Consultant Robert J. Thomas on learning to think like a leader:

“If you desire to be a leader, you have to think like one. At the heart of that process is a form of deliberate practice that would look familiar to students and teachers of music, chess, or any of a number of complex, highly intentional pursuits—most emphatically in terms of approaches like the Suzuki Method. In this case, deliberate practice revolves round crafting stories that contain statements and directions that are consistent with the core ideas about interactive leadership.”

Source: Crucibles of Leadership

II.

Consultant Alain Hunkins on learning to lead:

“The idea that effective leaders can plot their progression on a straight line is a myth. Progress is messy. Sometimes it’s frustrating. Sometimes it’s painful. Sometimes it feels like failure. You need to learn to accept the messiness and all the feelings associated with it. It’s a surefire sign that you’re growing. Exceptional leaders are exceptional learners—imperfect people who take each mistake along he way and figure out what they need to learn from it. Then, they do something to get back on course and keep moving.”

Source: Cracking the Leadership Code

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 02:23 PM
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05.28.20

Leading Thoughts for May 28, 2020

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:

I.

Chief Technology Officer at Better.com, Erik Bernhardsson on ruthless prioritization:

“What I have come to believe is that: prioritization is the most value creating activity in any company. Generating ideas and executing things is of course also important! But what I've seen to set apart great teams from good is a brutal focus on prioritization. This means generating an absurd amount of ideas and throwing 99% of them out of the window, to focus on the 1% that have the highest impact.”

Source: Never Attribute to Stupidity That Which Is Adequately Explained by Opportunity Cost

II.

Alex Kantrowitz on the burden of execution:

“Drowning in execution work, today’s companies devote themselves to refinement, not invention. Their leaders might desire to run inventive cultures, but they do not have the bandwidth. So they deliver a limited set of ideas from the top, and everyone else executes and polishes.”

Source: Always Day One

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:37 PM
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05.21.20

Leading Thoughts for May 21, 2020

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:

I.

The New York Times Op-Ed columnist David Brooks, on educating yourself:

“The biggest way most colleges fail is this: They don’t plant the intellectual and moral seeds students are going to need later, when they get hit by the vicissitudes of life. If you didn’t study Jane Austen while you were here, you probably lack the capacity to think clearly about making a marriage decision. If you didn’t read George Eliot, then you missed a master class on how to judge people’s character. The wisdom of the ages is your inheritance; it can make your life easier.

My worry is that, especially now that you’re out of college, you won’t put enough really excellent stuff into your brain. I’m talking about what you might call the “theory of maximum taste.” This theory is based on the idea that exposure to genius has the power to expand your consciousness. If you spend a lot of time with genius, your mind will end up bigger and broader than if you spend your time only with run-of-the-mill stuff.

The theory of maximum taste says that each person’s mind is defined by its upper limit—the best that it habitually consumes and is capable of consuming.

In college, you get assigned hard things. You’re taught to look at paintings and think about science in challenging ways. After college, most of us resolve to keep doing this kind of thing, but we’re busy and our brains are tired at the end of the day. Months and years go by. We get caught up in stuff, settle for consuming Twitter and, frankly, journalism. Our maximum taste shrinks. Have you ever noticed that 70 percent of the people you know are more boring at 30 than they were at 20?”

Source: A Commencement Address Too Honest to Deliver in Person

II.

Management consultant and educator Gary Hamel, on seeing the future:

“Companies fail to create the future not because they fail to predict it but because they fail to imagine it. It is curiosity and creativity they lack, not perspicuity. So it is vitally important that you understand the distinction between “the future” and “the unimagined,” between knowing what’s next and imagining what’s next.”

Source: Leading the Revolution

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 04:57 PM
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05.14.20

Leading Thoughts for May 14, 2020

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:

I.

Kevin Kelly, the founder of WIRED magazine, recently turned 68 and offered 68 lessons on life. Here are six:

“Learn how to learn from those you disagree with or even offend you. See if you can find the truth in what they believe.

Being able to listen well is a superpower. While listening to someone you love, keep asking them, “Is there more?” until there is no more.’

The purpose of a habit is to remove that action from self-negotiation. You no longer expend energy deciding whether to do it. You just do it. Good habits can range from telling the truth to flossing.

Separate the processes of creation from improving. You can’t write and edit, or sculpt and polish, or make and analyze at the same time. If you do, the editor stops the creator. While you invent, don’t select. While you sketch, don’t inspect. While you write the first draft, don’t reflect. At the start, the creator mind must be unleashed from judgment.

If you are not falling down occasionally, you are just coasting.

Over the long term, the future is decided by optimists. To be an optimist, you don’t have to ignore all the many problems we create; you just have to imagine improving our capacity to solve problems.”

Source: 68 Bit of Unsolicited Advice

II.

Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour on not comparing yourself:

“You are driven by your heart, you’re driven by your talent, and you’re driven by your instinct. And if you start to question and look at what people are doing to the left of you or to the right of you, you are going to lose that clarity of thought. Listen to the information. In the end it has to come from who you are. Own your decisions and own who you are but without apology.”

Source: Anna Wintour MasterClass: Anna Wintour Teaches Creativity and Leadership

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 11:15 AM
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05.07.20

Leading Thoughts for May 7, 2020

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:

I.

Lance Secretan on doing the hard thing and playing to people’s strengths instead of complaining about their weaknesses:

“We cannot guide the brilliance of others by getting everyone to do something the same way; we guide the brilliance of others by playing to their strengths, teasing greatness from them by honoring their gifts, and making it as easy as possible for them to be brilliant at what they do. Sameness and conformity are easier to manage, but their price is mediocrity and demotivation. On the other hand, even though guiding brilliance sometimes feels like putting sock on an octopus, it is a gift to the soul—inspiration.”

Source: Inspire: What Great Leaders Do

II.

English journalist and author Clifford Longley on the purpose of life:

“Western civilization suffers from a strong sense of moral and spiritual exhaustion. Having constructed a society of unprecedented sophistication, convenience and prosperity, nobody can remember what it was supposed to be for. Just enjoying it does not seem to be enough. Indeed, enjoyment as an end in itself quickly turns to ashes in the mouth. Not only is it boringly bland, it is even more boringly purposeless. There is more to human life than comfort, entertainment, and the avoidance of suffering. Or there ought to be.”

Source: From the introduction to Faith in the Future by Jonathan Sacks

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:53 AM
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04.30.20

Leading Thoughts for April 30, 2020

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:

I.

Astronaut Chris Hadfield on the power of knowing what could go wrong:

“In order to stay calm in a high-stress, high-stakes situation, all you really need is knowledge. … Feeling ready to do something doesn’t mean feeling certain you’ll succeed, though of course that’s what you’re hoping to do. Truly being ready means understanding what could go wrong—and having a plan to deal with it. … Being forced to confront the prospect of failure head-on—to study it, dissect it, tease apart all it’s components and consequences—really works. After a few years of doing that pretty much daily, you’ve forged the strongest possible armor to defend against fear: hard-one competence.”

Source: An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything

II.

Richard P. Feynman on leaving room for doubt so that the door is open to critical thinking and learning:

“A scientist is never certain. We all know that. We know that all our statements are approximate statements with different degrees of certainty; that when a statement is made, the question is not whether it is true or false but rather how likely it is to be true or false. … Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty -- some most unsure, some nearly sure, none absolutely certain.”

Source: The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:13 AM
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04.23.20

Leading Thoughts for April 23, 2020

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:

I.

John W. Gardner on dealing with the divisions in our society:

“No society can successfully resolve its internal conflicts if its only asset is cleverness in the management of these conflicts. It must also have compelling goals that are shared by the conflicting parties; and it must have a sense of movement toward these goals. All conflicting groups must have a vision that lifts their minds and spirits above the tensions of the moment.”

Source: Excellence: Can We Be Equal and Excellent Too?

II.

In a tribute to John Foster Dulles who died on May 24, 1959, Walter Lippmann comments on the duty of public servants:

“Perhaps the highest function of a public servant in a free and democratic society is to preserve its oneness as a community while he fights the battle which divide it. John Foster Dulles never lost sight of that. He never forgot, as so many public men do, that after the issue which is up for debate is settled, those who took part in the debate must still live and work together. That is the reason way among his countrymen there is no rancor, and why the sorrow of his opponents and critics is genuine.”

Source: Dulles: A Tribute, Today and Tomorrow, May 26, 1959

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:22 AM
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04.16.20

Leading Thoughts for April 16, 2020

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:

I.

Jack Trout on the simple approach to success:

“Trying harder, believing in yourself, walking on fire, and saying, ‘yes I can’ are not steps up the ladder of success. The surprising truth is that success does not spring from anything inside yourself at all. Success is something given to you by others.

When you focus on yourself, you haveonly one ticket on he race. By expanding your horizon to include others, you greatly incree the odds in your favor. In other words, success is finding a horse to ride. And you only find tha horse when you shrug off your preoccupation with your inner self—when you open your mind to the outside world, when you search for success outside of yourself. The good news is, success is all around you.”

Source: The Power of Simplicity by Jack Trout with Steve Rivkin

II.

Jack Welch on communicating simply:

“For a large organization to be effective, it must be simple. For a large organization to be simple, its people must have self-confidence and intellectual self-assurance. Insecure managers create complexity. Frightened, nervous managers use thick, convoluted planning books and busy slides filled with everything they’ve known since childhood. Real leaders don’t need clutter. People must have the self-confidence to be clear, precise, to be sure that every person in their organization—highest to lowest—understands what the business is trying to achieve. But it’s not easy. You can’t believe how hard it is for people to be simple, how much they fear being simple. They worry that if they’re simple, people will think they’re simpleminded. In reality, of course, it’s just the reverse. Clear, tough-minded people are the most simple.”

Source: Harvard Business Review: Speed, Simpicity, Self-Confidence: An Interview with Jack Welch

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:43 AM
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04.09.20

Leading Thoughts for April 9, 2020

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:

I.

Management professor and social philosopher Charles Handy on the inevitability of paradox:

“We need a new way of thinking about our problems and our futures. My suggestion is the management of paradox, an idea which is itself a paradox, in that paradox can only be “managed” in the sense of coping with.

The more turbulent the times, the more complex the world, the more paradoxes there are. We can, and should, reduce the starkness of some of the contradictions, minimize the inconsistencies, understand the puzzles in the paradoxes, but we cannot make them disappear, or solve them completely, or escape from them. Paradox has to be accepted, coped with, and made sense of, in life, in work, in the community, and among nations.”

Source: The Age of Paradox

II.

John Silber, former President and Chancellor of Boston University, on the role of journalists:

“Like all of us, journalists are subject to the temptations of power. Power tends to corrupt them no less than it corrupts politicians. And as the fourth estate has become vastly more powerful through television, the journalists in the electronic media should be aware of their increasing vulnerability to corruption. Many journalists come to think of themselves not so much as objective reporters but as the loyal opposition. But this is not the proper function of reporters. The adversary relationship is not a relationship of objectivity. To be in opposition may be the duty of a politician or a party, but it is a violation of the responsibility of the journalist, which is to report on what happens as objectively and as dispassionately as possible.”

Source: Straight Shooting: What’s Wrong with America and How to Fix It

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 04:37 PM
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04.02.20

Leading Thoughts for April 2, 2020

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:

I.

A philosopher at Oxford University, Toby Ord explains the risks we are taking here on spaceship earth:

“We have done many things to exacerbate the risk: some that could make pandemics more likely to occur, and some that could increase their damage. Thus even “natural” pandemics should be seen as a partly anthropogenic risk. Our population now is a thousand times greater than over most of human history, so there are vastly more opportunities for new human diseases to originate. And our farming practices have created vast numbers of animals living in unhealthy conditions within close proximity to humans. This increases the risk, as many major diseases originate in animals before crossing over to humans. Examples include HIV (chimpanzees), Ebola (bats), SARS (probably bats) and influenza (usually pigs or birds). Evidence suggests that diseases are crossing over into human populations from animals at an increasing rate.

“Modern civilization may also make it much easier for a pandemic to spread. The higher density of people living together in cities increases the number of people each of us may infect. Rapid long-distance transport greatly increases the distance pathogens can spread, reducing the degrees of separation between any two people. Moreover, we are no longer divided into isolated populations as we were for most of the last 10,000 years. Together these effects suggest that we might expect more new pandemics, for them to spread more quickly, and to reach a higher percentage of the world’s people. ”

Source: The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity

II.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt on fear in a time of crisis:

“This great Nation will endure, as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life, a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.”

Source: Franklin Delano Roosevelt's First Inaugural Address on March 4, 1933

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:56 AM
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03.26.20

Leading Thoughts for March 26, 2020

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:

I.

Bill Welter and Jean Egmon on the difficulty on truly seeing the world as it is:

“Paradigms are wonderful shortcuts as we think about the world, but they are deadly if they are not attuned with reality. All of us are bombarded with increasing waves of data and sensory inputs, and whether we realize it or not, we have become increasingly resistant. It’s not so much a case of having to pay attention to the news of the world as it is a case of knowing when to change our filters so that the important stuff comes in.”

Source: The Prepared Mind of a Leader: Eight Skills Leaders Use to Innovate, Make Decisions, and Solve Problems

II.

The American entrepreneur and investor Sam Altman on persistence and luck:

“A big secret is that you can bend the world to your will a surprising percentage of the time—most people don’t even try, and just accept that things are the way that they are. People have an enormous capacity to make things happen. A combination of self-doubt, giving up too early, and not pushing hard enough prevents most people from ever reaching anywhere near their potential.

“Ask for what you want. You usually won’t get it, and often the rejection will be painful. But when this works, it works surprisingly well. Almost always, the people who say “I am going to keep going until this works, and no matter what the challenges are I’m going to figure them out”, and mean it, go on to succeed. They are persistent long enough to give themselves a chance for luck to go their way.”

Source: How To Be Successful

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 11:19 AM
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03.19.20

Leading Thoughts for March 19, 2020

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:

I.

Erik Larson commenting on Winston Churchill’s belief that leaders should make people feel “loftier, stronger, and, above all, more courageous:”

“Recognizing that confidence and fearlessness were attitudes that could be adopted and taught by example, Churchill issued a directive to all ministers to put on a strong positive front. ‘In these dark days the Prime minister would be grateful if all his colleagues in the Government, as well as high officials, would maintain a high moral in their circles; not minimizing the gravity of events, but showing confidence in our ability and inflexible resolve to continue the war till we have broken the will of the enemy to bring all Europe under his domination.’”

Source: The Splendid and the Vile

II.

Jared Diamond on dealing with a crisis:

“Typically when one is first plunged into a state of crisis, one feels overwhelmed by the sense that everything in one’s life has gone wrong. As long as one remains thus paralyzed, it’s difficult to make progress dealing with one thing at a time. Hence a therapist’s immediate goal in the first session—or else the first step if one is dealing with an acknowledgment crisis by oneself or with the help of friends—is to overcome that paralysis by means of what is termed ‘building a fence.’ That means identifying the specific things that really have gone wrong during the crisis, so that one can say, ‘Here, inside the fence, are the particular problems in my life, but everything else outside the fence is normal and OK.’ Often, a person in crisis feels relieved as soon as he or she starts to formulate the problem and to build a fence around it. The therapist can then help the client to explore alternative ways of coping with the specific problem inside the fence. The client thereby embarks on a process of selective change, which is possible, rather then remaining paralyzed by the seeming necessity of total change, which would be impossible.”

Source: Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:49 AM
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03.12.20

Leading Thoughts for March 12, 2020

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:

I.

Erich Bühler on the persistence of old mental models:

“We generally stick to old mental models until new ways of thinking appear. During the change process, however, we tend to see the new only through the old lens. When the first motorized vehicles were built in the nineteenth century, cars looked more like carriages than automobiles. This was because people imagined them as an extension of horse-drawn transport. New ideas, concepts, and words were introduced, but old ways of thinking continued to be used to analyze and solve problems.”

Source: Leading Exponential Change: Go Beyond Agile and Scrum to Run Even Better Business Transformations

II.

Betsy Myers on leadership is self-knowledge:

“Leadership is self-knowledge. Successful leaders are those who are conscious about their behavior and he impact it has on the people around them. They are willing to examine what behaviors of their own may be getting in the way. Successful leaders understand that it we don’t lead consciously, it’s easy to repeat patterns that could be keeping us from achieving the results we are hoping for. The toughest person you will ever lead is yourself. We can’t effectively lead others unless we can lead ourselves.”

Source: Take the Lead: Motivate, Inspire, and Bring Out the Best in Yourself and Everyone Around You

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 10:11 AM
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03.05.20

Leading Thoughts for March 5, 2020

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:

I.

Robert E. Quinn on the connection between changing a system and understanding it:

“Kurt Lewin argued that we cannot really begin to understand a system until we try to change it. He understood that individual as well as collective scripts would stay hidden until the normal way that the organization operates is challenged. As soon as a change agent introduces a variation to that system, he or she will quickly learn about the scripts that are holding that system together. Once the scripts are brought to the light they tell us a lot about how that system handles variations.”

Source: Change the World: How Ordinary People Can Accomplish Extraordinary Results

II.

Change consultant David Jones on the challenges to expect when initiating change:

“Once you get past the novelty of a change, you’ll find that every system in your organization is set up to reject it. You’ve got to have the resolve, the courage, and the fortitude to see change through that part of the process, because it’s the most difficult part of the transition. You’ll only accomplish that if you’re able to successfully communicate why you’re changing, how it will be measured, why it is critical, and why people need to get on board and make it successful. It’s easy to get out of touch with the emotions of the people most affected by change.”

Source: Decade of Change: Managing in Times of Uncertainty

* * *

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:21 AM
| Comments (0) | Leading Thoughts

02.27.20

Leading Thoughts for February 27, 2020

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:

I.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shares his love of learning:

“The one thing that I would say that defines me is I love to learn. I get excited about new things. I buy more books than I read or finish. I sign up for more online courses than I can actually finish. But the thing about being able to watch people do great things, learn new concepts, is something that truly excites me.”

Source: Steve Clayton, Microsoft’s chief storyteller, interviews CEO Satya Nadella. YouTube (4:44)

II.

Jon Gordon on leading with optimism, positivity, and belief:

“Ultimately, being a positive leader is all about leading with faith in a world filled with cynicism, negativity, and fear. We all face this battle between faith and fear. A leader’s job is to fill your people with faith. How we respond to our world depends on the stories we tell ourselves. When you face adversity you can tell a positive story and then work to create a positive outcome. It’s always your state of mind and your thinking that produces how you feel and respond. When you see that the world has no power over you, you will lead more powerfully in the world.”

Source: The Power of Positive Leadership

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 02:43 PM
| Comments (0) | Leading Thoughts

02.20.20

Leading Thoughts for February 20, 2020

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:

I.

Porter Moser, head coach of the Loyola University Chicago men’s basketball team, on how to find success:

“How you think is how you feel, how you feel is how you act, and how you act is what defines you. I believe completely in the progression of these three statements. If you’re thinking good thoughts, you’re going to have a bounce in your step. You’re going to act in a certain way. Likewise, if you’re thinking negative thoughts, if you have a ‘poor me’ attitude, that’s how people will perceive you.”

Source: All In: Driven by Passion, Energy, and Purpose

II.

Jeffrey Hull on being a beta leader:

“Beta is a shift in mind-set from a goal-oriented, top-down figuration to a growth-oriented, process-based one. When we live in beta, we are in flux, always improving, and always aware of the need to disrupt the status quo. Beta means being comfortable in a state of constant growth, not aspiring so much to ascend the hierarchy and dominate from above, but to lead from anywhere, anytime.”

Source: Flex: The Art and Science of Leadership in a Changing World

* * *

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:48 AM
| Comments (0) | Leading Thoughts

02.13.20

Leading Thoughts for February 13, 2020

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:

I.

Rachel Botsman discussing trust issues that revolve not just around trust and technology, but trust issues around size:

“I think so much of what we need in our lives are smaller systems, where you can really serve people’s best interests. I am a huge supporter of local news, I’m a huge supporter of community practices, all these things are very important touchpoints where people can say “that thing is really there for me” versus “this massive system in the world that I have no control of” which I think is really tied to the huge rise in anxiety that we’re seeing in the world today.”

Source: 6 Things 2020 Holds for Us According to An Expert

II.

Economist and professor John Kenneth Galbraith on how seemingly hopeless situations invite scoundrels who promise by magic to put everything right:

“Men who are desperate for a solution are easy to persuade because they wish desperately to be persuaded.”

Source: The Age of Uncertainty

* * *

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:10 AM
| Comments (0) | Leading Thoughts

02.06.20

Leading Thoughts for February 6, 2020

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:

I.

Samuel R. Chand, a leadership author and consultant, on disruption:

“A fighter pilot knows he's in the right spot when he's getting anti-aircraft fire. If you're not catching flack for your disruptive idea, you're not over your target yet. Keep flying.”

Source: New Thinking, New Future

II.

Michelle King in stressing that gender equality is not about fixing women, but fixing workplaces, says:

“Gender equality is not about raising women up at the expense of men. It is not about making men feel bad or listing all the ways than men need to change. Quite the contrary. It is about creating a workplace that values men and women equally and gives everyone the freedom to be themselves.”

Source: The Fix: Overcome the Invisible Barriers That Are Holding Women Back at Work

* * *

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:19 AM
| Comments (0) | Leading Thoughts



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