Category Archives: leadership

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Following my curiosity

John's reflections, leadership, Leadership training Leave a comment

Steve Jobs’ story about his Reed College calligraphy class and “connecting the dots” got me thinking about whether I had ever experienced anything similar. In other words, was there a time in my life when I explored something I was simply curious about, not knowing where it would lead, and only discovered years later how valuable the learning was? As Jobs states, it is impossible to connect the dots looking forward; we can only connect them looking backward.  When I was a masters degree student at Middlebury College, one of the most colorful characters I encountered was Bernard Uzan, a young professor of theatre. Bernard was a well-known actor in France … Continue reading

Steve Jobs was truly about connecting things

John's reflections, leadership, Leadership in the news Leave a comment

The past two posts, and perhaps the next few, take their inspiration from the (relatively) new movie “Jobs”, which I managed to see on one of my long airplane journeys. I say “inspiration” because this film made me curious again about some of its characters and stories; that curiosity led me to re-read Isaacson’s fascinating biography, and to do a bit of research on the Internet. It turns out that some of the people portrayed on the screen, the ones whose interviews I was able to find on YouTube, are not in complete agreement with Hollywood’s somewhat fictionalized version of the events, but that is not the issue I wish … Continue reading

Speaking about “intercultural management”

John's events, leadership 1 Comment

This past Saturday, I spent the day in Aix-les-Bains, a beautiful resort town near Lyon. The event was the annual conference for the officers of the region’s Rotary Club. I was invited as an outside speaker to talk about management across the world’s cultures. About 500 people attended, and the lively audience was a pleasure to interact with. This was my initial contact with Rotary, and I was indeed impressed with the members, and with the day’s three other speakers. In addition, I enjoyed learning about Rotary, an organization about which I knew very little prior to this event. As a matter of fact, my knowledge of this organization was limited … Continue reading

Leadership moments in the events of everyday life

authenticity, leadership, Leadership in the news, Leadership training, Storytelling Leave a comment

In my teaching and coaching for the past two decades, I have often emphasized the concept that leadership begins with a willingness to stand for what one believes. And, leadership is not only about the “big” moments we study in history classes and in business schools. In fact, we all have opportunities to take a stand about the things that matter to us in the course of everyday events. Leadership begins with self-knowledge. Effective leaders influence their worlds by being in close touch with their most important values and convictions. What is important enough to me that I will be willing to speak out for what I believe? Each of … Continue reading

The recent Swiss immigration referendum as a study in storytelling

authenticity, leadership Leave a comment

Though discussion of political issues has often left me cold and bored in recent times, I watched the latest debate about immigration in Switzerland with considerable interest. As a foreigner and property owner living in this country, it is a matter that could potentially have a direct impact on me and some of the people close to me. Beyond my personal situation, though, I found this incident to be a fascinating case study in storytelling. As I often tell my audiences, I am somewhat dismayed by the uses of storytelling I see in modern politics. Far too often, the narratives crafted by candidates and public officials, aided by their consultants … Continue reading

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