15 Things I want my Grandkids to Know about Leadership

True, godly leadership—in any context—is inspiring another person to reach for his or her potential.

  1. Why they must forever study and work to be accomplished leaders and managers.
  2. Why Christ-like servant leadership is always best—period.
  3. How to be creative, bold, visionary.
  4. Why culture is so powerful; how to create and maintain a healthy, nourishing culture.
  5. To understand themselves, other personality types and nationalities to create teamwork.
  6. That their personal example is the most powerful way to influence others so they must demonstrate spiritual and emotional maturity, trustworthiness, and competence.
  7. About the complexities of human motivation; how to tap into their own and help others to become highly self-motivated.
  8. That, as leaders, they hold the precious potential of other people in their hands and have a sacred stewardship responsibility to detect, develop, and deploy the gifts and talents of others.
  9. That they need a variety of leadership tools and should thoughtfully choose how to act in different situations.
  10. That their leadership role should always include coaching to help others grow and succeed over the long haul (and to resolve conflict positively).
  11. How important it is to communicate (write and speak) effectively so their messages are timely, appropriate, powerful, understood, and acted upon.
  12. That humans really learn by doing so they must share opportunities and skillfully delegate to develop others.
  13. That crafting clear, measurable organizational and personal goal statements are a powerful way to ratchet up performance and invoke mature, self-accountability.
  14. They must persevere for their job will never be finished
  15. They don’t need a formal position to lead. True, godly leadership—in any context—is inspiring another person to reach for his or her potential.
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Stewardship at Work


What pops into your head when I say “Steward”? Perhaps you think of a memorable wine steward (sommelier) at a fine restaurant. Or, you might think Stewardess, the outdated term for a flight attendant. In this context, a steward is person who serves.

Stewardship goes a little further than “hold my beer and watch this.”

There is, however, a higher meaning relating to stewardship. It is caring for what someone else owns, but has entrusted to us. [···]

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Unleashing Diverse Talent while Working in Glorious Harmony: Key Elements


In the hopes of inspiring further study of a complex topic, here are some keys to engaging and motivating creative people to produce their best work—in unity:

  1. See the future. Build a grand vision and work tirelessly until it is shared.
  2. Get bold. Set crazy-hard-to-reach goals and allow for groundbreaking initiatives.
  3. Paint targets. Negotiate and agree on outcomes and how to measure results.
  4. Share the wealth. Construct and publicize reward systems (it’s not always money) that are based on personal accountability and team success.
  5. Be Radar O’Reilly. Embrace the role of supplying resources and being a resource-on-call.
  6. Party on, Wayne! Celebrate the freedom to fail and try again. If people aren’t making mistakes they’re not trying hard enough.
  7. Sit on the bench. Let the players play the game, but capitalize on the occasional teachable moment by coaching.


Learning to lead effectively is a lifelong commitment. I hope this helps you want to learn and practice more.

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Teens and Horseless Carriages

This post is for a dear friend who, although we were classmates, decided to stay young by having kids later in life. He thinks me surviving teenagers has somehow made me wiser. It has, at least, made me experienced.

His question: Is it a good idea to give a freshly licensed driver a car? Explain.

We could not afford to give our kids a new car when they turned sweet sixteen. It was probably best. Our strategy was to hang on to the old family jalopies for the kids to use. Then, when they were older teens and had matured, we helped them buy a first car. [···]

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Define irony: most jobs like a proctology exam


Define irony:

There have never been more books, blogs, articles, tweets, white papers, PDFs, posts, columns, videos, Ted talks, keynote speeches, workshops, webinars, podcasts, seminars, retreats, and courses on leadership.

Yet most people are unhappy with their job and even fewer are engaged in their work.

That’s ironic, don’t you think? So much knowledge—such poor results.

There are many fine definitions about what excellence in leadership means, but it’s a pretty safe bet common themes include unity, teamwork, high performance, and happiness or fulfillment.

My definition:

True leadership—in any context—is helping people reach their full potential while accomplishing important work together.

There, I said it.

Leadership is building great people!

So, given that 62,000 bits on leadership are published every moment, knowledge must be all that is needed to build great people. Right?


Otherwise two-thirds of the American workforce would not be going home each night with a ton of left over energy and thankful to be getting away from a job they can’t afford to lose—but either dislike or are ambivalent about. It’s how we all feel about, say—proctology exams.

That’s it. Perfect metaphor:

Nurse: “Did you find your proctology exam to be inspiring, meaningful, and personally fulfilling?”

Patient: “Well, I would say it is something I know I needed, and it was definitely personal, but in all candor—and I don’t want to hurt the Doctor’s feelings because he seemed intent on being so thorough—I would have rather been doing something else.”

THE Core Competency

Unless your business is run by robots and staffed with drones—much like the DMV (with apologies to the thirteen nice, friendly, caring, helpful DMV employees scattered across the US)—you and every other business on the planet have one thing in common—people!

No matter what else you do, if you want to be best in the world at something you better first be best in the world at building great people.

 “We build great people, who then build great products and services.” –Jack Welch

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12 Things About Great Coaches


I love Daniel Goleman’s article, Leadership That Gets Results (March-April, 2000 Harvard Business Review). You should re-read it. Goleman teaches about six leadership styles, but his take on coaching really resonates with me now.

“Although the coaching style may not scream ‘bottom-line resuts,’ it delivers them.” – Daniel Goleman

I am blessed to moderate an upcoming event sponsored by the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce about building great teams. The accomplished and highly-successful panelists are Walter Merrill, Tom Slone, and former NBA coach Del Harris. After meeting these men last week, I am very impressed with all of them, but have long been a fan of coach Harris thinking his courtside manner to be stately and dignified. (Stay tuned for more details about this event and the distinguished panel.)

Since teambuilding is on my mind, here is an excerpt from a column I wrote many years ago:

To cultivate a healthy, nourishing culture, leaders and managers have to be great coaches.

  • Great Coaches were (are) first good players.
  • Great Coaches demonstrate the correct way to do things by example.
  • Great Coaches are excellent teachers.
  • Great Coaches constantly help their players to drill, practice, and rehearse realizing it takes 25 times of doing something right to put it into “muscle memory.”
  • Great Coaches creatively craft “game-like” situations to provide relevant learning opportunities.
  • Great Coaches understand that to really develop others they have to sit on the sidelines and let the players play the game.
  • Great Coaches view mistakes as opportunities to learn—not as failure. They aren’t afraid to properly (and privately) correct their player’s mistakes on the spot.
  • Great Coaches are always looking for any sign of positive improvement and are liberal with their praise.
  • Great Coaches are master motivators and tailor their approach for each individual player and for each unique situation.
  • Great Coaches get more out of their players than the players themselves ever thought was possible.

“Admittedly, there is a paradox on coachings’ positive effect on business performance because coaching focuses primarily on personal development, not on immediate work-related tasks. Even so, coaching improves results. The reason: it requires constant dialogue, and that dialogue has a way of pushing up every driver of climate [culture].” –Goleman

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