My Leadership Lessons as Executive Director

Berrett-Koehler Foundation Board of Directors July 2014

Today begins my last week as executive director of the Berrett-Koehler Foundation. This is the second time I’ve done this with an organization—served as executive director during the startup phase—and I’ve learned many lessons along the way.

My involvement began two years ago when Steve Piersanti, president of Berrett-Koehler Publishers, asked me to help create a new organization that would further their mission of helping to create a world that works for all in a way that went beyond what Berrett-Koehler could do as a publisher.

I began by facilitating a design team. After research and serious consideration, we determined the focus would be to support the next generation of leaders in putting into practice the systems-changing ideas and tools that authors were writing about.

. . . → Read More: My Leadership Lessons as Executive Director

An Interview with Jake Jacobs on Real Time Strategic Change

RTSC Jake Jacobs Webinar

I was delighted to catch up with Jake Jacobs, the creator of Real Time Strategic Change (RTSC), the approach that brings hundreds of people together to make collaborative decisions about their organization in real time, which I described in Try Collaborative Change for a Change.

I had an opportunity to ask Jake about how change has changed since he first developed RTSC. Jesse: Jake, you wrote the first edition of your groundbreaking book Real Time Strategic Change twenty years ago. I’ve used RTSC many times over the years and am always impressed with what happens when you bring a large slice of an organization together to discuss issues and make decisions instead of putting them in an auditorium to be talked at by the . . . → Read More: An Interview with Jake Jacobs on Real Time Strategic Change

Results Driven vs Process Driven Leadership

Results Driven vs Process Driven

During a break in the meeting, Dan pulled me aside and whispered, “No more ‘p’ words, please.”

“What are ‘p’ words?” I asked.

“You know,” he replied, “Words like process, perspective and paradigm.”

Dan is results-driven. There were way too many “p” words in this meeting for his comfort … planning … process … people … participation.

At one time or another, many of us have felt like Dan – that it is so much easier to do the work than take the time to involve others in the process of planning for the work – to just decide where you’re going and get on with it.

The problem is, when you’re a leader, you can’t just announce where you’re going and expect people . . . → Read More: Results Driven vs Process Driven Leadership

TweetChat: An Exciting New Way to Learn, Connect, and Explore Emergent Leadership

IndiaHRChat

I had the honor of being invited to guest host the India HR Twitter Chat this past week, with two of my favorite leadership experts Tanmay Vora and Tanvi Guatam. The #IndiaHRChat is attended by many experienced business leaders and HR professionals who tackle meaty issues around leadership.

The topic for this Chat was “Emergent Leadership”.

In the India HR Chat Preview, the questions that would be asked during the chat were listed and also articles for pre-reading, including First Fire All the Managers by Gary Hamel and Emergent Leadership Topples the Pyramid by Jesse Stoner.

No More Long Lectures – A Different Way to Learn

A “TweetChat” itself is a most unusual form of conversation. From the outside – and even from the inside . . . → Read More: TweetChat: An Exciting New Way to Learn, Connect, and Explore Emergent Leadership

The 4 Practices of Successful Flat Organizations

Successful Flat Organizations

As more organizations are becoming flatter, the looming question is whether it’s possible to “do more with less” or whether it’s necessary to rethink the distribution of power and control as described by Peter Drucker, Peter Block and Gary Hamel among others.

Emergent Leadership Topples the Pyramid shows what a non-hierarchical view of leadership looks like. But these four practices are needed in order to self-organize successfully and prevent spiraling into chaos.

These practices provide the vehicle to move forward, and without them, your flat organization will end up with flat tires.

1. A Shared View of the Big Picture.

Agreement on the organization’s purpose (reason for being), values (what guides people’s behavior and decisions), vision (what it looks like in action), and strategy . . . → Read More: The 4 Practices of Successful Flat Organizations

The 40 Best Leadership Quotes

Ship prow figurehead

There’s a good reason leadership quotes are popular. A few lines can pack a lot of information that teach and inspire.

In A Tweet, a Blog Post, and a Profound Teaching I shared quotes from my own writing.

These are the top leadership quotes by others. (If I missed one of your favorites, please share it in the comments.)  

  The only safe ship in a storm is leadership. Faye Wattleton, Political Activist

People are definitely a company’s greatest asset. It doesn’t make any difference whether the product is cars or cosmetics. – A company is only as good as the people it keeps. Mary Kay Ash, Entrepreneur and Business Leader

A vision is not just a picture of what could be; . . . → Read More: The 40 Best Leadership Quotes

Emergent Leadership Topples the Pyramid

Stomp the pyramid

What’s your view of leadership? If you’re like most people, you have an underlying belief that leaders should be out in front of the line, leading the way.

The Hierarchical View of Leadership

In the traditional, hierarchical view, senior leaders are at the top of the organization and ensure the organization fulfills its mission effectively.

There are differing views about how leaders should behave – the best leadership style. For example, you might think leaders should be directive or participative or both depending on the situation.

Although Steve Jobs, Hillary Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Sheryl Sandberg, and Howard Schultz have very different leadership styles, they all have one important thing in common – their role as a leader is to stand in front of their organization . . . → Read More: Emergent Leadership Topples the Pyramid

Your Greatest Source of Influence

Building Trust

Your character is your greatest source of influence, no matter what your role or position. Your character is the expression of who you are. And influential character is built on a foundation of integrity.

I have never facilitated the process of identifying values where some form of integrity didn’t end at the top of the list. Why? Because integrity sets the stage – it is the commitment to consistently act on your values.

Without integrity, none of your other values matter.

Integrity means you can be trusted to say what you mean and do what you say.

When you are a leader, everything you say and do is magnified. You raise an eyebrow and people wonder what it means. You make an off-handed . . . → Read More: Your Greatest Source of Influence

Heart Based Leadership Interview

Huffington Post Role Mode Articlel

What is one characteristic every leader should possess?

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

These are some of the interview questions I was asked.

I was honored when Lolly Daskal, a leadership expert I highly respect, asked to interview me for her Huffington Post series.

Lolly is featuring 12 leaders she believes are role models for achieving success through heart based leadership.

Please click here to read the interview -> Role Model With 20/20 Insight