What is your relationship with “not knowing?”

For most people it’s a barrier. It means that we are stopped and can’t act where we don’t know. We wouldn’t have a person do surgery on us if they didn’t know surgery. So why would we pursue something if we don’t know, haven’t been trained in it, or have no experience with it?

This approach is prudent for standard practices, like surgery, where there are standards and people who meet them. …


People power, our ability to work with people and produce valuable outcomes together, is an essential dimension of leadership, teamwork, and human relationship. Some people seem to have it, and many don’t. How to develop this people power seems a bit mysterious in our cultural common sense.

We are going to dive a bit deeper to look at the “what” and “how” effective leaders get intended action and results from others. What is their people power, and how can we learn or strengthen it? What are we missing in our understanding of the art of people in leadership?

If we look at common interpretations of leadership they tend to focus on a leader’s actions, like “produce a vision and then give people what they need to fulfill it.” This way of articulating leadership focuses on describing the leaders actions and intended outcomes, but leaves out how they make their interactions with others effective. For example, how do you inspire people to adopt your vision? How do you motivate them to take ownership of fulfilling it? …


Why are promotions potentially dangerous for both the person being promoted and the organization promoting them? Why do great performers fail as managers?

Let me share some key learning about these issues that come from over three decades of addressing them in our teaching, consulting, and coaching. In many organizations the current top individual performer is promoted when a manager or team leader slot opens up. But many of these top performers fail.

When a great performer goes down in flames as a manager or team leader it is usually because being first violinist in the orchestra does not qualify them to be the conductor. The roles and skills are very different. By “performer” we mean someone who is qualified to make and fulfill promises as an individual. …

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