Tag: leadercast


Goodbye Old Friend – It’s Been Real

It’s hard to say goodbye. Period. It’s not easy to let go of something in which you are emotionally bound.

DSC_0001Take these Asics for example. They got me through my first half-marathon. They were with me every Sunday for those long runs – just me, my shoes, and the pavement in the early morning fog.  Hours upon hours and miles upon miles, we pushed through the summer heat in preparation for our fall race. When we crossed the finish line together, we shared a moment of accomplishment and gratitude.

That was in 2011, but yet I still hang on to them. Even take them out for a run on occasion. I know I shouldn’t. There’s no tread left. I could easily get injured running in them. They can’t support my body anymore and have far surpassed the 300-400 mile lifespan they were engineered to sustain.   

But I still can’t bring myself to throw them away – to bring a necessary ending to our relationship.

One of the speakers at this year’s Leadercast event was Dr. Henry Cloud (@DrHenryCloud), who is a leadership and organizational coach and consultant, and is the author of more than 20 books, including “Boundaries for Leaders” and“Necessary Endings”.

Cloud argues that,

The tomorrow that you desire and envision may never come to pass if you do not end some things you are doing today.

Hands are cut bush clippers

Dr. Cloud equated the process of bringing about “necessary endings” to that of pruning a shrub. It’s the best buds that need the resources of the vine. These resources will be scarce if they are being spent on sick or plateaued branches.

Now think about this from an organizational leadership perspective. Are you properly resourcing that which brings the most life to your company? Have you had the courage to prune products, strategies, processes, and even people to ensure optimal health and vitality – or do you have some clipping to do?

Just like my running shoes are no longer doing me any good and are actually now posing a threat, there may be aspects of your business that are doing the same, but you are too emotionally connected to let go.

  • Maybe it’s a product line that was the brain child of yours and your original business partner. It was once relevant to your market, but you know deep down that it’s not anymore. Clip.
  • Or maybe it’s that bright new star you handpicked and mentored. She is making the big deals but is not emulating the behaviors and values of the organization. The coaching isn’t working. She is damaging the team’s culture and levels of engagement. Clip.
  • It could be a vendor relationship you’ve had for years. You’ve always done business with them. You’ve shared many holes on the golf course and have even vacationed with each other’s families. However, your business needs have changed. They are unable to meet them. Clip.

It’s not easy to bring about these necessary endings, especially when it involves people. We get attached. But as a leader, you owe it to your entire team to facilitate the best long-term growth and health of the organization. No one said that being a leader would be easy.

Dr. Henry Cloud suggests a process to pruning. Give some thought to the following three questions:

1.  What is good but not great?

The true life of a company sometimes rests within only about 20% of its activities. It could all very well be profitable, but not great – not the best. Clip the good so that you can better resource the great.

2.  What is dead and taking up space?

This is a bit easier to identify. You will often know right off the top of your head what these activities or resources are but are just avoiding the inevitable. Stop ignoring it and take action.

3.  What is sick and won’t get well?

Someone’s or something’s season may be up. What may have once been your most flourishing asset is now a recurring expense. No matter how many more resources you pour into it, its growth is permanently stunted.

So pull out the sheers and start clipping…and watch your business thrive.

Check out more from the Leadercast series on Core Chat:


Leadercast Take 2: The Trust Formula

TrustIn line with the Simply Lead theme to this year’s Leadercast event, let me continue this series by starting this post with a simple formula:

2 is better than 1 because 2 does it better than 1. Without trust, you only have 1.

One of the speakers at Leadercast was Mike Krzyzewsk – better known as “Coach K” – who has been the head coach of Duke University’s men’s basketball program since 1980. Coach K shared the above statement when talking about his experience coaching Team USA’s Olympic Basketball team, whom he led to gold medal victories in both the Beijing and London summer games.

London Olympics Basketball Men[Memes] LeBron James Memes Team USA Basketball Olympics2008 USA Men's Olympic Basketball

As you can imagine, Coach K had some “big” personalities to lead – Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Carmelo Anthony to name a few. The best-of-the-best from all across the United States, with each potentially having their own personal agenda.

Trust was a critical factor to their success – trust in Coach K to lead well and trust in each other to give their best on the court so that the entire team, and country, would claim the Gold. Without trust, they would not have been able to benefit from their collective strengths and contributions, as demonstrated by the simple Trust Formula infographic below.

How Can You Build Trust?

As a leader, what can you do to gain the trust of your team? Here are a few simple actions you can take to get started:

1.  Make eye contact and actively listen to your team members. Just these two things alone with go a long way.

2.  Always tell the truth, expect the truth, and stay true to your word. The trust lost after just one broken promise or little white lie could take months or even years to rebuild.

3.  Be transparent. Share information consistently, openly and in a timely manner, even if you can’t expose every last detail.

4.  Spend time in the trenches. Think Undercover Boss for this one. Frontline employees sometimes feel disconnected from the bigger picture, yet they are usually your subject matter experts and have incredibly valuable insights into your customers and solutions. Acknowledge and involve them as trusted partners to the organization’s success.

5.  Empower your team members. Demonstrate the trust you have in them to take an idea and run with it, and they will likely reciprocate that same level of trust back to you. No one likes being micro-managed.

6.  Give the credit to the team. Never take sole credit for something that went well – it’s never the result of just one person. Give credit where credit is due. Read the Core Chat post on 3 Ways to Make Recognition Meaningful.

How do you build trust amongst your team? Please share your thoughts and ideas below. Because after all,

We’re not a team because we work together. We’re a team because we trust each other ~ via @ValaAfshar #tchat

Be sure to subscribe to Core Chat and continue to follow the Leadercast series as I recap some of the key take-aways from this inspirational event!

Cliff’s Notes from Leadercast: 5 Ways to Simply Lead

This post comes fresh off the heels of Leadercast 2013, which brought together 120,000 people in 750 “host” sites in 25 countries around the world for a leadership boot camp of sorts. The impressive speaker line-up included world-renowned executive coaches, sports icons, political officials, and best-selling authors, such as John C. Maxwell, Condoleezza Rice, and Jack Welch.

Did you happen to miss out? No worries – I will be running a series on Core Chat that will take a deeper dive into some of the concepts from the event. I’d love for you to subscribe, follow along, and contribute. If you did attend, please share your thoughts throughout the series as well. Let’s not let the dialogue die just because May 10th is over – let’s keep this critical conversation going!


The theme of this year’s event was Simply Lead. In the spirit of simplicity, this first post is the Cliff’s Notes version of Leadercast 2013. If you don’t continue to follow this series, at a very minimum you can start to Simply Lead just by reading and acting on the next 345 words – I have packaged up 7 hours of learning, 9 speakers’ insights, and 15 pages of notes into 5 key takeaways from the event.


Wordle: Influence

1. Understand that leadership is not a role or title. “Leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less.” ~ John C. Maxwell

Everyone reading this post has the opportunity to lead, regardless of your age, gender, occupation, or position within an organization.  How can you lead without the title? Check out the recent Harvard Business Review post on this topic here.

2. Intentionally add value to others every day.

Another great reminder from @JohnCMaxwell. Leadership is not about you.  Leaders spend their energy and resources putting their followers in positions to succeed. During Jack Welch’s tenure as CEO at GE, capital rose by $387 billion. What did his day-to-day look like? He spent 70% of his time building and developing his team…and his team took it from there.

You don’t need a team in the literal sense – add value to colleagues, clients, neighbors, family, and a “followership” will naturally occur.

medium_27045044633. Stretch yourself and those around you.

Okay, I need you to get a little physical for this one. Lieutenant Commander and Navy Seal Rorke Denver  led us through this exercise at Leadercast (don’t worry – it’s not painful):

  • Lift your arms up.
  • No really – do it.
  • Still waiting…
  • Ok, thank you.
  • Now relax your shoulders and then reach back up as high as you can.
  • Now stretch them just 1-inch higher.

Give one more inch in everything you do. Ask for opportunities.  Act on opportunities. Do things that are uncomfortable and challenging. Push yourself to GROW, and bring others along for the ride!

medium_69335229144. Get appropriately engaged.

“With growth comes complexity, and complexity is the enemy of clarity.” ~ Andy Stanley

You can’t Lead Simply without staying laser focused on what matters most and prioritizing your time appropriately. You don’t need more time, you need greater focus. As mentioned at Leadercast – Mother Theresa only had 24 hours – just sayin’.

5. Stop looking for a leader to solve a problem. Be the leader who solves the problem.

The next time you’re frantically looking around for someone to solve a problem for you, stop and ask yourself, “how would I solve this problem?” – and then go out and do it!

Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we take a deeper dive into some of these concepts and a few others from Leadercast 2013. If you attended the event, are there any other key takeaways on your Top 5 list?

Click here to read part 2 of the Leadercast series: The Trust Formula.

Click here to read part 3 of the Leadercast series: Goodbye Old Friend, It’s Been Real.

photo credit (Navy Seals): Rennett Stowe via photopin cc

photo credit (clock): Tord Mattsson via photopin cc