Category Archives: leadership

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Reasons to Smile at Work

John's reflections, leadership Leave a comment

These days, several elements seem to be conspiring to encourage me to extend our “visit” to the winery of my student years. First, my own reprocessing of this period from my past continues to yield surprises, and that has indeed been fascinating for me. Second, I am finding the lessons from this time more interesting and important to my current thinking than I had previously realized. And third, coincidentally, what I picked up on the floor of the winery relates well to some of the issues I have been reading about lately in the press, particularly with respect to self-engagement.  Of course, I had no idea back then that I was learning so much that would influence … Continue reading

Tapping into my own human spirit

leadership, Storytelling Leave a comment

When I began my meanderings into the realm of Greek mythology last week—my rumination on Sisyphus and existential philosophy, and making connections with my job as a winery worker—it was not without some hesitation. Not wanting to make my blog—or any of my writing—self-absorbed, I have often shied away from writing about myself and my personal experience. Now, I am beginning to think that such reticence is probably misguided.  My views on this are changing for a simple reason. In the past 10 days, I have received a truly inordinate number of favorable reactions from a variety of people about my last two posts. Several long-time readers commented that these were among my … Continue reading

Co-creating our difference (continued)

John's reflections, leadership Leave a comment

Since people often ask me for specifics about how to co-create, with their teams, stories of “how and why we do things differently”, this week I offer an illustrative anecdote from the Benfold.   When Captain Abrashoff took over command of the ship, he began by interviewing members of the crew in his quarters, to get to know each one of them. He asked broad questions about where they were from, why they joined the navy, and where they wanted to go in life. In addition, though, the commander wanted to know specifically what they thought were the most gratifying aspects of life on the Benfold, and the most frustrating.  From his numerous conversations, Abrashoff … Continue reading

Co-creating our difference

John's reflections, leadership Leave a comment

Several weeks ago, I wrote that I saw Captain Abrashoff’s leadership journey on the Benfold as an inspiration to all managers, especially those “stuck in the middle”.   Indeed, a ship’s commander can be seen as a middle manager in the vast system that is the US Navy. One of the elements I like most in the example of Abrashoff is that he truly took on the task of building his own culture, of making his “little 300-person piece of society” a place of excellence.  My experience working in and consulting for organizations has convinced me that managers at all hierarchical levels often have more freedom—and more influence—than they realize. In my leadership seminars and with … Continue reading

Why “we” are different

John's reflections, leadership Leave a comment

One of my favorite quotes about leadership is from Nissan and Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn. When asked what distinguishes a great leader from the good ones, Ghosn replied simply: “A good leader brings results. A great leader writes a new story.”  As one who has spent the past two decades studying the impact of story on leaders and groups, I agree wholeheartedly with Ghosn’s premise, and I even like to take it a bit further. To me, the most effective leaders co-create stories of collective identity with their followers, stories that inspire the team and infuse its work with meaning.  So, let’s go back and use the lens of organizational storytelling on our … Continue reading

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Page 1 of 27123...Last »