Blog

Cognitive biases: how the mind skews reality

By |May 14th, 2020|

Decades ago scientists didn’t know that the brain’s neural pathways can keep growing. Now they understand neural networks play a key role in lifelong learning. Meanwhile, behavioral researchers have been studying how the human mind approaches decision-making, with findings that cast light on the cognitive biases that are nearly hard wired.

The upshot of these discoveries?

We […]

Great leaders think about how they think

By |May 4th, 2020|

Now that you’ve stabilized your organization, what next?

Yes, it’s hard to know. There are countless losses stemming from the pandemic; certainty is one of them.  All the knowns and unknowns of this new Covid-19 era compel us to reach beyond the usual limitations of our thinking.

There’s plenty of open source content on scenario planning, and […]

Three reasons to ditch strategy reports

By |February 27th, 2020|

Strategic planning without reams of strategy reports? Sounds like heresy.

What would people do without documented research, colorful graphs, proof of deep and thoughtful dialog and a detailed plan to move forward?

Well, what do you do with it? (Hint: file it, toss it, circulate it or extract sections to help make a point.)

In reality, most strategy […]

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 […]