Monkeys, Duct Tape & Other Assorted Thoughts on Leadership

Leaders doing good, getting creative, and managing monkeys were just a few of the leadership posts that snagged the attention of the team at BIG this past week. Enjoy…because it isn’t every day one sees the words “duct tape” in a piece about leadership!

10 Creativity Tips From The World’s Greatest Scientists (The Bacharach Blog)

Creativity was cited as the single most important leadership quality Continue reading


Catch Up on Your Leadership Reading

The BIG team enjoyed these posts this past week and hope you do, too!

Why Smart People Deny Climate Change (David Berreby on BigThink)

An article about climate change in a list of leadership reading…hmmm, you might be thinking. There are a couple behavioral nuggets in the research cited here with direct application to leadership and how we get all mired in thinking we’re right and that those who don’t agree with us are wrong. “We needn’t accept every damn fool argument that comes down the road, but we do need to accept that we’re all inclined to protect damn fool arguments that are associated with our identities.”

Managing Authenticity: The Great Paradox of Leadership (Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones, Harvard Business Review December 2005)

The BIG team is on tear about leaders who believe being authentic is a license to be rude and who think being tactful is being manipulative. If you’re struggling to build and maintain authenticity, you’ll enjoy the three steps the authors outline as a place to get started: get to know yourself and your origins better, get to know others better, and better connect to the organizational context.

Stuckness is the Heart of Change (Dan Oestreich on Unfolding Leadership)

If you lead a team that’s stuck in passive-aggressive behavior, you’ll benefit from Dan’s suggestions for moving the situation off-center to regain direction, momentum and focus.

Stereotyping: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Steve Petermann on Telic Thoughts)

This intriguing post addresses the stereotype that all stereotypes are bad. Some fascinating stuff here.

12 Most Destructive Management Behaviors (Shawn Murphy on Teamster)

Do a self-audit: if you’re guilty of doing any of the 12 behaviors Shawn lists here, get thee to a coach, a friend, someone who will guide and assist you in getting your leadership actions back on track.

Revisit what you might be taking for granted. “The sun shines and warms and lights us and we have no curiosity to know why this is so; but we ask the reason of all evil, of pain, and hunger, and mosquitoes and silly people.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Here’s to a week of inspiring 7C performance at the intersection of the art of leadership and the science of business!

Image from Dave Jenson on Leadership



Weekly Leadership Reading

The BIG team sees lots of interesting material while doing our work (what a delightful perk!), so we share the highlights via our weekly leadership favs. Enjoy our short-cut to information you may not have the time to look up but find interesting!

The Power of Introverts (Susan Cain, Huff Post Women)

Are you an introvert who feels like you must masquerade as an extrovert because that’s the more socially acceptable way to be? If so, you’ll like how Susan challenges mainstream “go with the flow” thinking.

Trend Watch: Redefining Leadership (Center for Creative Leadership, may require free sign-up)

Some very stimulating concepts from Nick Petrie, former Harvard professor and now with CCL. “Individual competencies still matter. However, something more significant may be happening — the end of an era, dominated by individual leaders, and the beginning of another, which embraces networks of leadership.”

Best and Worst Jobs of 2012 (Wall Street Journal)

Several clients were intrigued with this list of preferred/not preferred jobs, looking at the contents from turnover, engagement and strategic planning purposes. Some interesting business and cultural value statements here.

Leading Change in the 21st Century: 4 Myths About Cultural Change (Aad Boot, Leadershipwatch)

If your senior leadership team is saying we need to change the culture around here, have them read Aad’s post. Then follow up with some long and thoughtful discussions about what will or won’t work for your organization.

A Perfect System of Misunderstanding (Dan Oestreich, Unfolding Leadership)

“We seem to thrive on caricatures and stereotypes and all too habitually see problems rather than possibilities in the unknown regions beyond our own preferred stories,” writes Dan in this thoughtful post. Great tips that encourage leaders to be open and vulnerable (however tricky and unnerving that will be) as they deal with conflict and misunderstanding, particularly of one another.

When Goals Become Limits (Patrick Love, Unconventional Leadership)

Some good insights to challenge your thought processes about whether or not SMART goals curb what we’re capable of achieving.

A quote we liked best. “For the great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie - deliberate, contrived, and dishonest - but the myth - persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.” ~John F. Kennedy

Here’s to using your head to manage and your heart to lead!

Photo from Quick Flash Games




Fav Leadership Reading

Lots of good material and insights for your holiday reading…enjoy!

Grit: Perseverance and Passion for Long-Term Goals (Angela Duckworth, Christopher Peterson, Michael D. Matthews, Dennis R. Kelly)

There are those who dream dreams and those whose dreams become reality. Into which group might you fit? According to this report, how much grit you possess is a key factor. The authors define grit as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Grit entails working strenuously toward challenges, maintaining effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress.” Interesting stuff.

Why Discomfort Is Good for You (Michael Hyatt, Intentional Leadership)

Before you know it, your comfort zone becomes so comfy you really stray beyond its borders. Yet it is beyond those borders where your growth and development lies. Michael offers three good reasons why we should seek discomfort.

No one ever bought anything in an elevator (Seth Godin)

Seth is the master of bright, brief and pointed posts. If you’re struggling with understanding the purpose of an elevator speech, this 75-word post defines it beautifully.

Are You Too Nice to Lead? (Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach)

To effectively lead and manage, one must master being both tough and tender. Too tough…and no one wants to work with or for you. Too tender…and you’re doomed to fail. Personal and professional success balances on knowing when to be both, and Kate offers up some good food for thought here.

On Personal Power (Dan Oestreich, Unfolding Leadership)

Power is simply the capacity to bring about change. It’s only in how one chooses to use power that it becomes positive or negative. Unfortunately, all together too many people shy away from thinking of themselves as being personally powerful. Dan makes a number of compelling arguments about why you need to embrace, not avoid or ignore, your personal power.

A dose of inspiration: For all those who said I couldn’t do it, for all those who said I shouldn’t do it, for all those who said it’s impossible, I’ll see you at the finish line. ~Christopher Reeve

Here’s to using your head to manage and your heart to lead!