A Case For Authentic Leadership

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I watch the History Channel. Yes, those droll, stretched-out-like-taffy documentaries that strain to make a whole hour of drama out of four faded photographs. But I have to confess that most of what I watch on that channel — my oblique approach to scholarly inquiry – is Pawn Stars, the eccentric, quirky family and friends that run a Las Vegas pawn …

Deciding To Decide

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It was Decision Time. I’ve had this nice direct-drive turntable for years, nestled in a box in my basement, right next to my carefully preserved museum of vinyl record albums. It was time to get rid of the turntable, maybe sell it on eBay or craigslist to some gray-haired audiophile who believes (as many do) that music on vinyl sounds warmer and …

Why “50” Matters

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We all knew this date was coming – November 22. It has come 49 other times since it came on that street corner in Dealey Plaza, a permanent marker, a searing scar on the calendars of a generation. Why is this one so important? More broadly, what is it about turning “50” that takes on such weight, that causes us …

Change The World

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Can you change the world? Do you even want to? The whole notion of having that kind of impact – whatever your definitions of “change” and “world” might be – can to some be inspiring, to others daunting, to still others an audacity bordering on hubris. Some lean back and admire those who have done it (especially or even only …

The Last To Know

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One of my good friends was promoted to CEO a few years ago. I called him to offer my congratulations. “Thanks,” he said, “but I have to admit it’s a mixed feeling.” “Why’s that?” “Well, unless I really work to overcome it, as of today I will probably know less about what is really going on in this company than I ever …

A Shared Grace

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This week’s blog may not be for all. Perhaps it is just for me, and thank you if you take the time to listen in.  But in doing so, I hope you might consider it may have to say to you as well. I lost a friend today. He did not know my name. I am only blessed to call …

Inside Work

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It may be the most legendary back-up vocal in rock music history — the searing wail of Merry Clayton in Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones. For those who heard it for the first time in 1969 or its reprises over the years, what makes your head snap back is the splintering crack of her voice in two places, eliciting an admiring “Whoa!” from Mick Jagger in …

Leadership In The Passing Moment

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It was my first senior manager job, serving as communications director for the North Carolina-based regional office of a major telecom company. I was—no doubt—a little rough around the edges. Payton, a quintessential Southern gentleman who served as president of the region, took me under wing. It might have been because he saw some promise in me; humility reminds me …

The Language of a Leader

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I was in a convenience store a while back when I saw a sign at the register: No Checks Excepted. Yielding to the impish impulse to engage in some semantic sport, I asked the clerk, “Oh, so you will take my check? Any check?” Forgoing the detail of the resulting verbal parrying, let’s just say the exchange ended when she …

Trust and Credibility

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Trust and Credibility. If you search the use of those two words over the last two weeks, you will be overwhelmed by how they have infused, informed and inflamed the conversations about the Syrian chemical weapons conundrum. While debating current affairs and the politics of same used to be a hallmark of a refined culture, doing so today seems to …