Blog

Even the change you want can involve loss

By |October 31st, 2019|

Sometimes new is easy.

Sometimes it’s hard.

Think of all the variables. Does it take hard work or does it fall into your lap? Is it something you want? Does it belong to you alone or is it shared with others? If shared, is it a pleasant union? Did it open a new door? Close an old […]

Transformational teamwork

By |September 17th, 2019|

This story of transformational teamwork begins three weeks ago when I was the only person standing between a roomful of professionals and the start of their Labor Day weekend. We were at the Oregon coast for a team retreat, tackling five distinct topics.

Under the circumstances I was impressed to see nobody drag their heels. Nor […]

Invisibly lead a room

By |July 29th, 2019|

Can a facilitator be effective if they’re invisible? I don’t mean literally, of course. But in the sense that their touch is so light you barely know they’re there.

It depends.
When less is more
I recently led a meeting in a beautiful conference room at Mill City Museum in Minneapolis. A 12-person council gathered to kick off […]

Who’s doing your thinking?

By |May 31st, 2019|

Who’s doing your thinking? You think you are. True enough, it’s your neurons firing off. But first, consider the way that other people’s thinking led you to where you are today. All your studies in school. All the norms you picked up from family and society. Then, start noticing how other people’s thinking literally shapes […]

Are you a fixer or creator?

By |March 29th, 2019|

Professionally speaking I’m not a content expert. It’s the process of creating that interests me. For example, the way a board of directors defines strategic direction. How existing teams accomplish new things together. The motivation behind big collaborations chipping away together at gnarly social challenges.

I get called to fix things. But at heart, I’m a […]

Collaborative leaders shine

By |February 12th, 2019|

Observing what makes collaborative leaders effective when they step forward in a group never ceases to amaze me. Are they the ones with big job titles? Often not. Emotional intelligence in collaborative undertakings matters more than authority.

A collaborative leader, with a single gesture, can resolve inadvertent voids created by others on the team. Sometimes it […]

Nine traits of collaborators

By |January 22nd, 2019|

Before defining collaborator traits that can make any group’s effort much less effortful, an obvious truth is worth naming. No one has to collaborate. It’s not a mandatory part of life. Collaboration is a choice, an act of free will. An individual’s motivation usually ties to their personal or professional goals. I want to get […]

Breakthrough via collaboration

By |December 26th, 2018|

Throughout history people have been motivated to band together. To build villages, trade and barter, rebel against injustice. And, create. Today there’s debate about whether collaboration is wearing out ambitious professionals in matrixed organizations. Fair enough. Coordinating with others can take longer than making decisions on your own, and an excess of meetings, especially if […]

Mental Fortitude

By |September 18th, 2018|

Imagine you’re 20 years old again. You’re competing at peak levels of tennis and for the first time in your rapidly-accelerating career you are on center court at the U.S. Open finals. Over the next two hours you’ll be dueling with an all-time great, Serena Williams, who’s intimating and still has a lot to prove. […]

Ask beautiful questions

By |May 25th, 2018|

Solutions are nice. Questions are better. The quality of our questions shapes not only the answers available to us, but our entire life. Asking great questions will change a person’s trajectory.

If you want to get to the root of any tough situation, you’ll ask hard questions, the ones you’d rather avoid because you instinctively know […]