Category Archives: leadership

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How Leaders Use Personal Stories to Make a Tangible Difference

leadership, Storytelling 1 Comment

The forthcoming book that I referred to in the last post—about how individuals use their personal stories of identity to influence those around them—opens with an example from the career of Barak Obama, a tale that demonstrates how telling his personal stories propelled him to prominence on the US political stage.  My co-author and I thought long and hard about whether or not we should use such a powerful world leader as our initial vignette. On the one hand, we want to emphasize that this is not a book about politicians, or even about people who lead from positions of authority. Our goal was always to write a book for everyone who wants to … Continue reading

A quandary about my next book

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Other than a hectic travel schedule and my recent philosophical ramblings—on Albert Camus, Sisyphus, Marcel Proust, and the like—a matter on my mind these past weeks has been what to do with my latest book, on storytelling and influence. As many of you know, this is not a new project, but rather something I have been working on for more than five years.   The draft of this book was ready to show to publishers more than six months ago. However, the manuscript stayed on the proverbial “back burner” for a good while, as I was extremely busy with travel and some absorbing new client work. Recently, though, I began … Continue reading

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

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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)

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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

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Page 1 of 27123...Last »