An Ownership Interest

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Several years ago, my grandson cobbled together his own little video commercial extolling the virtues of a local pizza company. They were so impressed by his enterprising verve, the local manager invited him back into the kitchen to watch the whole process and make a pizza for himself. My daughter asked him if he liked it enough to want to …

A Matter of Rust

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Corrosion. It eats away – slowly, insidiously, pervasively – robbing objects of their strength, utility or appeal. We understand it in structural terms – bridges, cars, tools – but what about in business? What is the most corrosive force in business? In my experience and observation, it is the CEO who fails—for whatever reason—to deal with the bad behavior or poor performance …

Questioning Leadership

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“Why?” Great question, isn’t it? Depending upon what tone we use to speak it, it can telegraphs curiosity, ignorance, defiance, debate or (in my case as a young kid) perhaps a scheme to buy time to come up with a better idea. (There was a great Hyundai commercial last year where a precocious little boy is peppering his next-door neighbor …

Winning vs. Success

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In this season of March Madness, here’s an easy question: When it comes to championships, who’s the winningest coach in college basketball? John Wooden. Okay, that was easy, even for people like me who don’t follow the game. (I’m still trying to understand what a pick-and-roll play is, although I’m not putting a lot of effort into the inquiry.) Different …

At A Loss For Words

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“What do you think are the most important qualities for leadership?” I get that question a lot. I have my answer, drawn from my work with senior executives over many years, but most of us probably have our own as well, drawn from our own experiences. You also see plenty of lists posted on LinkedIn or business blogs, but I’m …

You Say You Want A Re-invention, well, you know…

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Built To Last.  We know that as the seminal book by Jim Collins about forming enduring organizations. However, this week’s drumbeat of TV documentaries about the 50th anniversary of the The Beatles’ inaugural appearance on the Ed Sullivan show makes a different case for endurance — in this case, creative. From the bouncy tunes during their days as the mop-topped Fab Four to the driving pulse …

Changing On Purpose

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I’m not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions. They generally don’t work. Research backs me up: According to the University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45% of Americans make some kind of New Year’s resolution. Guess how many say they made any progress on those resolutions? Eight percent. Part of that is just a cop out to the …

Our Strongest Weakness

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Twenty years ago I managed to worm my way into the dusty, cluttered woodshop of Rude Osolnick on Poverty Ridge in Berea, Kentucky. Rude was an artist in wood, renowned around the world for his graceful and delicate woodturnings. On the lathe, he had mounted a burl of maple. Scarred and pockmarked, its appearance would suggest it was better tossed …

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 …