The High-Potential Leader

By Ram Charan

The Urgent Need for High-Potential Leaders

The biggest concern I hear among senior leaders today is, How can we stay relevant in this increasingly complex and fast-moving world? The truth is, some can’t. They’re not equipped to help their companies reinvent themselves for the new game. Nor are the leaders next in line, who’ve been groomed to fit the same obsolete mold.

Companies big and small are coming to realize that it will take leaders with a different way of thinking and different skills to reinvent the business. They are having to redefine the very notion of what a successful leader looks like. Now the race is on to find those with high potential to lead the company onto new paths in a world of constant change.

You’ve heard it before—the changes being wrought by things like digitization, algorithms, and data analytics will be as radical as the Industrial Revolution. We’ve already seen companies such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon cause revolutions in consumer behavior and reach the stratosphere in market value in record time. More of these are yet to come, led by people with the capacity to conceive and grow them. In a decade, the $72 trillion global economy is on a trajectory to be 50 percent greater than it is today. Products and services not yet invented will give consumers entirely different experiences and make some companies obsolete.

This is a time for leaders who can thrive in the face of relentless change, complexity, and uncertainty. Many companies have such leaders buried at lower levels. They need to find them, develop them, and find ways to use them to help the company adapt. And they need to move fast on this. “Born digital” companies are on the prowl and will gladly poach whatever high-potential talent traditional companies overlook.

High-potential leaders themselves shouldn’t just sit back and wait to be discovered. They should decide for themselves whether they have what it takes to someday take a large team, business unit, function, or the whole corporation to new heights and make a plan to ready themselves to create the future.

Continue reading The High-Potential Leader

Were the Founding Fathers Great Leaders?

By Gordon Leidner

Alexander Hamilton and the Founding Fathers have made a splash in the news recently, thanks to Broadway’s sensational production “Hamilton.” The modern hip-hop and R&B musical highlights the leadership of Hamilton, Washington, and other Founders during our country’s revolutionary beginnings.  This brings to mind two questions: “Were the Founding Fathers really the great leaders they are claimed to have been?”  If so, “What can we learn from them?” Let’s look at the facts:

Facing the opposition of King George III, leader of the most powerful nation on earth, the Founders declared American independence and defeated the king’s formidable armies with a military force that general George Washington described as “half-starved and always in rags.”

In a world where the rights of a monarch or a privileged few were all that mattered, the Founders resolved to establish a new nation based on the proposition that “all men are created equal.”  They fearlessly accepted the risk of being hanged for treason and signed their names to the Declaration of Independence.

In spite of the fact that every previous democracy had failed, the Founders created the world’s first surviving democratic republic which effectively balanced power between thirteen independent states and all three branches of their new federal government.

Continue reading Were the Founding Fathers Great Leaders?

Richard Branson’s Top 65 Books to Read in a Lifetime

By Richard Branson

Today is World Book Day, a wonderful opportunity to address this #ChallengeRichard sent in by Mike Gonzalez of New Jersey: Make a list of your top 65 books to read in a lifetime.

Here’s my top 65 books to read in a lifetime:

1.            Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak

2.            Tales of the Unexpected – Roald Dahl

3.            George’s Marvellous Medicine – Roald Dahl

4.            The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain

5.            Oh, The Place You’ll Go – Dr Seuss

6.            Peter Pan – J. M. Barrie

7.            The Jungle Book – Rudyard Kipling

8.            The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain

9.            Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome

10.          The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams

Continue reading Richard Branson’s Top 65 Books to Read in a Lifetime

Ego Free Leadership

By Leading Blog

EGO IS A CONSTANT preoccupation with our self-worth.

Each of us has beliefs and fears about our value, and they cause defensive and/or self-promotional behaviors when under stress. Whether in a meeting, a presentation, or a relationship, part of our attention—sometimes all of it—is preoccupied by our view of our self. Are we competent? Respected? Intelligent? Liked? Attractive? Included? Each of us has a set of criteria we unconsciously judge ourselves against. When we measure up, we feel pride, even superiority. When we don’t, we feel uncomfortable, stressed, often afraid.

Ego Free Leadership is co-written by executive coach Shayne Hughes, president of Learning as Leadership and Brandon Black the retired CEO of Encore Capital Group. The book tracks Black’s journey from acknowledging to changing the destructive elements of his ego. Once he committed to change, the transformation began in his team and throughout the culture of the Encore organization. Quite effectively, Hughes and Black go back and forth sharing their perspectives on the unfolding transformation. Naturally, it’s not a step-by-step prescription, but it is instructive to see the process because we all share similar issues and thinking.

They begin by debunking the “ego is good” myth. Our egos limit us as we try to protect it in various ways. “Our ego can’t stand failure, incompetence, or weakness, so it avoids what is truly challenging us.

Continue reading Ego Free Leadership

Grit – Rethinking Simple Explanations for Complicated Problems

By Todd B. Kashdan Ph.D.

Why do some people accomplish more than others of equal intelligence? Dr. Angela Duckworth asked the question and provided a singular answer: grit. Her TED talk on grit has been viewed over 10 million times. Grit, her New York Times best-selling book, has quickly become gospel in classrooms and boardrooms around the globe. In her seminal introduction to the Grit Scale, she offered this definition:

Grit entails working strenuously toward challenges, maintaining effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress. The gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon; his or her advantage is stamina. Whereas disappointment or boredom signals to others that it is time to change trajectory and cut losses, the gritty individual stays the course.

If you want to uncover something about your own personality, consider which of the following seven statements are true in describing you. Continue reading Grit – Rethinking Simple Explanations for Complicated Problems

Transform Your Words in 4 Steps

By Tony Robbins


“Extraordinary ways and the way we choose to do so can improve the neural functioning of the brain. In fact, a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress. If we do not continually exercise the brain’s language centers, we cripple our neurological ability to deal with the problems we encounter with each other.”

– Dr. Andrew Newberg, Words Can Change Your Brain

In a previous blog post, Change your words, change your life, we talked about how our habitual emotional vocabulary shapes and controls much of our emotional experiences in life – how the labels we put upon our experience become our experience.

Today, let’s take a look at how you can transform the quality of your entire life simply by becoming conscious of what habitual vocabulary you use for negative emotions, and shifting them with words that break your patterns and provide you with new and better emotional choices.

Your assignment is very simple: Below you’ll see my 10-day challenge. I call it “Watch Your TV,” watch your “Transformational Vocabulary.” The labels you attach to your experience can transform the way you feel. Again, it’s not hard to realize that if you habitually take any intense emotion and say it’s “depressing,” it’s going to feel very different than if you say you’re feeling a little “down.” Being enraged by somebody’s reaction is very different than being a bit frustrated by their response. Saying to yourself they utterly rejected you, is quite different than they didn’t agree with your suggestion.

The real secret to transforming your life is to wake up and become conscious of the patterns that are currently unconscious and shaping the way you feel. Continue reading Transform Your Words in 4 Steps

Compared to What?

By Seth Godin

A quick look at Yelp reviews will show you that NY restaurants are not quite as good as those in some suburbs.

This, of course, makes no sense. New York is insanely competitive, with a ton of turnover and a very demanding audience. A fast casual restaurant in Shaker Heights can coast for a long time, because… it’s better than the alternatives.

Thanks to marketing, the media and our culture, we spend a lot of our time comparing before we decide whether or not we’re happy.

Turn back the clock just 60 years. If you lived in 1957, how would your life compare to the one you live right now? Well, you have access to lifesaving medicines, often in pill form. You can choose from an infinite amount of entertainment, you can connect with humans all over the Earth, for free, at the click of a button. You have access to the sum total of human knowledge. You have control over your reproductive cycle. You can eat sushi (you’ve even heard of sushi). You can express yourself in a thousand ways that were forbidden then…

That’s in one lifetime.

But we don’t compare our lives to this imaginary juxtaposition. Instead, we hear two things from the media we choose to engage with: Other people have it better, way better. And, it’s going to get worse. Add to that the idea that marketers want us to believe that what we have now isn’t that good, but if we merely choose to go into a bit of debt, we can buy our way to a better outcome…

Comparison leads to frustration which sometimes leads to innovation.

More often than not, though, frustration doesn’t make us happy. It only makes us frustrated.

If a comparison isn’t helping you get to where you’re going, it’s okay to ignore it.

Humanity: Quotes collected by Tom Peters

By Tom Peters

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”—Mary Oliver

“If you ask me what I have come to do in this world, I who am an artist, I will reply: I am here to live my life out loud.”—Émile Zola

(Get the PDF)

“[The novel] traced the very ordinary life of a very ordinary woman—a life with few moments of high drama, but which was also remarkable. The extraordinary in the ordinary. It was a theme I often discussed with my students—how we can never consider anybody’s life ‘ordinary,’ how every human existence is a novel with its own compelling narrative. Even if, on the surface, it seems prosaic, the fact remains that each individual life is charged with contradictions and complexities. And no matter much we wish to keep things simple and uneventful, we cannot help but collide with mess. It is our destiny—because mess, the drama we create for ourselves, is an intrinsic part of being alive.”
—Hannah, from State of the Union by Douglas Kennedy

“Make each day a Masterpiece!”—John Wooden

“Make your life itself a creative work of art.”—Mike Ray, The Highest Goal

“Nobody can prevent you from choosing to be exceptional.”—Mark Sanborn, The Fred Factor

“The only thing you have power over is to get good at what you do. That’s all there is; there ain’t no more!”
—Sally Field Continue reading Humanity: Quotes collected by Tom Peters

The 9 Behaviors of Great Leaders

By Leading Blog

EASY PROBLEMS can often be solved by guessing. And we solve hundreds of these kinds of problems as we go throughout our week. The problem arises when we rely on our experience to guess at what might be wrong to try to solve hard problems—problems where the solution is obscured. The odds are against solving hard problems by guessing. And because we don’t apply the right approach to these problems they remain unsolved costing us time, money, and emotional wellbeing.

Naturally we like simple solutions. But a simple guess is not the same thing as a simple solution. A simple solution is easy to implement. But a simple guess that doesn’t get to the real issues is difficult, expensive, and wasteful to implement.

We need to stop guessing. “Every unsolved problem is bottlenecked by not understanding the root cause at a fundamental level.” In Stop Guessing, Nat Greene explains 9 behaviors that great problem-solvers use to solve hard problems. Here are his behavior summaries:

1. Stop Guessing
It’s natural for us to guess. The first thing you must do to start solving problems or keep from making them worse is to stop guessing.

2. Smell the Problem
Get out and walk around using your natural senses and tools available to you to develop a strong pattern of failure. Ask relevant, thought-provoking questions about the specific problem to guide you to collect information and look for very specific patterns, rather than shotgunning and looking at everything in the system.

3. Embrace You Ignorance
It’s what you don’t know that lies between you and the solution. Great problem-solvers not only admit their ignorance but also embrace it and ask questions others might find “stupid,” to shatter old assumptions about the problem.

4. Know What Problem you’re Solving
Often, people work on the wrong problem entirely by making some implicit assumption about what’s causing it. Great problem-solvers invest time upfront to make sure the problem they’re working on is well defined, measureable as a variable, and represents precisely what is wrong with the system or process.

5. Dig into the Fundamentals
This means learning how the process works, both by understanding the process itself and by understanding some of the fundamental science behind it. By focusing on what controls a problem, you’ll be able to limit your digging to the parts of the process and the science that are relevant, rather than trying to wrap your arms around the entire thing at once.

6. Don’t Rely on Experts
Utilizing subject-matter experts is crucial to understanding a complex system and its underlying functionality and science. Unfortunately, most people delegate responsibility for solving the problem to those subject-matter experts, rather than driving the problem-solving process themselves. Great problem-solvers always view experts as collaborators rather than saviors.

7. Believe in a Simple Solution
When confronting complex problems, it can be comforting to believe that the solution will be complex as well. But by not believing in a simple solution, people often give up long before they’ve gone through the rigor required to find the simple solution that lies at the root cause, to great cost and detriment. Great problem-solvers will have the belief and tenacity to keep solving until they’ve found the root cause.

8. Make Fact-Based Decisions
Avoid making opinion-based decisions: anything that relies on a vote, on authority, or on some subjective ranking system of what decision to make is one of these opinion-based decisions, and it leads problem-solvers astray.

9. Stay on Target
When problem-solvers dive deep into a problem, they too frequently seek to expand the number of possible root causes, so they can test them. Great problem-solvers measure the drivers that most immediately control the problem in order to determine whether those subvariables are in control, and in doing so are able to quickly eliminate most possible root causes and avenues of inquiry without having to dive deeper into them.

Greene digs deeper in to each of these in separate chapters. Strong problem-solving methods will discourage guessing, provide lots of structure to develop a pattern of failure, and guide you to understand how the process works. Begin problem solving and not solution-guessing.

Read the original article HERE


14 Leadership Lessons From The Life Of Jesus


Even reasonable atheists must admit Jesus Christ is the greatest leader who ever lived.  No other person has been more talked about, more worshipped, had more songs and books written about their life, inspired more artwork, created a more successful lasting organization called the local church, and literally has history measured by when He lived on the Earth.  Jesus Christ is the greatest leader who ever lived.

I feel so strongly about this statement I previously wrote a post entitled Just 10 Of The Reasons Why Jesus Is The Greatest Leader Ever.  Portions of this post were even included in my book The 10 Indispensable Practices Of The 2-Minute Leader.

To further demonstrate the unmatched leadership of Jesus, I want to refer you to Matthew 20:29-34 where we find the account of when He gave two blind men their sight.

The following are just 14 of the Leadership Lessons From The Life Of Jesus we find in this passage.  First is the text followed by leadership principles we can all follow and implement.

  1. Great Leaders Have Followers – v. 29 “a great multitude followed Him.”  As John Maxwell famously said, “He who thinks he is a leader but has no one following is merely taking a walk.”
  2. Great Leaders Model Great Leadership – Still building off the previous text, as people followed in the “dust of their Rabbi”, Jesus modeled what transformational leadership looked like.  People do what people see.
  3. Great Leaders Have Developed A Great Reputation – v. 30 “when they heard that Jesus was passing by”.  When you pass by those you lead, what is the response?  Is it excitement?  Anticipation?  Hope?  Or is the response fear and anxiety?
  4. Great Leaders Show Great Mercy – v. 30 (the blind men) “cried out, saying, ‘Have mercy on us’”.  As Christian leaders, if we received what we deserved it would be death and hell.  It is only through Jesus we can stand blameless before God.  Therefore, the extension of mercy is part of our leadership DNA as well.  Who do you need to extend mercy today?
  5. Great Leaders Provide Great Solutions – v. 30 “O Lord, Son of David!”  This is a Messianic term.  The Messiah had arrived to deliver them from their sin.  When you walk into a room, do people feel burdens have been lifted and solutions are coming?
  6. Great Leaders Face Great Opposition – v. 31 “the multitude warned them they should be quiet”.  My pastor Crawford Loritts says, “Jesus’s popularity was always problematic.”  Successful leaders plan for opposition, challenges, and unforeseen obstacles.
  7. Great Leaders Have Great Persistence – v. 31 “but they cried out all the more”.  All leaders will experience failure.  We have all been knocked down.  Successful leaders stand back up, persevere and keep moving forward.  For more on this topic, read 11 Leadership Lessons I Have Learned From Failure
  8. Great Leaders Are Great Communicators – v. 32 “So Jesus stood and called them”.  Jeff Henderson says, “Leadership comes with a microphone.”  For more lessons on communication, read 26 Tips For Pastors And Business Leaders On Becoming A Better Vision Caster.
  9. Great Leaders Have Great Demands Placed Upon Them – v. 32 “What do you want Me to do for you?”  People are constantly asking things of leaders?  It seems as though everyone wants something.  How a leader handles requests effects the level of their influence.
  10. Great Leaders Bring Great Clarity – v. 33 “Lord, that our eyes may be opened.”  Many times plans fail due to misinterpretation or lack of clarity.  Simple, straightforward instructions are necessary for success.
  11. Great Leaders Have Great Compassion – v. 34 “So Jesus had compassion”.  Lasting leaders have a sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.
  12. Great Leaders Connect With People – v. 34 “and touched their eyes.”  The only appreciable asset any organization has is its people.  Making an emotional and practical investment in their development is critical to becoming a lasting organization.
  13. Great Leaders Deliver Results – v. 34 “And immediately their eyes received sight”.  Because leadership does come with a microphone, many leaders can talk a great game.  However, one of the characteristics of great leaders is they deliver results.
  14. Great Leaders Are Great Servants – v. 34: “and they followed Him.”  Saved people serve people.  And served people become saved people.

Read the original article HERE

Empowering Leaders to Lead