‘ext Before ‘ent, Please

Posted Leave a commentPosted in We=All Who Matter, What=Compelling Focus
Reading time: 2 min.

For the sake of speed at work and home, we tend to concentrate on content: who’s doing what and how & when they are doing it. But, oh wow, does this generate resistance! People will actively or passively fight over these details. They fight mostly because they have no ways or means to agree. Our biggest mistake is trying to press harder and go faster to get past this resistance and on to performance.

The better way is to start with and frequently come back to the context. Context gives us a foundation to agree and build upon. We clarify what is true now, what we want to be true in the future, and why. A great way to kick things off is to ask, “What results will let us know we’ve done a good job here? And how will we know we’ve done a good job along the way to getting those results?” With context set, the content conversations will flow much more easily and productively.

‘ext before ‘ent, please.


In your corner,


PS: It is so much easier to find agreement or come up with creative win-win solutions at the context level than we ever can at the content level.

PPS: Another word for context is strategy. Another word for content is tactics.

PPPS: The simplest way of describing the difference: why vs. how. Next time you notice the team getting stuck, see if they’re open to setting aside the how for a moment and focusing on the why.


Today’s photo credit: Free the Image First contact. via photopin (license)

Powerful Leaders vs. Forceful Leaders

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Strategy, We=All Who Matter, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 1

We tend to confuse power with force.

Force makes things happen or makes people do what we want. Force generates and must constantly counter resistance. Force drains.

Power is clarity about and alignment of our purposes. With power, the right things get done with ease. There is no force in power. Power sustains.

We want to be powerful leaders, not forceful ones.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: Graham Cook cc


Beliefs that Kill Leadership

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Leading
Reading time: 1

Here are three common beliefs that kill leadership dead.

  1. Believing “Because I said so” is a valid move. Overvaluing the title leads to resentment, resistance, and, at best, grudging compliance.
  2. Believing “It’s just business.” There is never an excuse for judgment or disrespect. Win-win works better every time.
  3. Believing “My value is in what I know and get done.” Nope. Our value is in creating an environment where others can create sustainable and valuable results together.

In your corner,


PS: The good news is that we can resuscitate our leadership by believing in people’s potential, in the profits of win-win, and in our ability to coach to the goals.


Today’s photo credit: bntan cc


How to Know Your Edge

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 1

Our edge is the border between what we know–including what we are comfortable with and what we are competent at–and what we don’t know. All new, good things in our lives come when we expand past our edge.

How do we know we are at our edge? We feel bad. Some part of us wants move past our edge and another part of us is resisting. The resulting tension feels bad.


In your corner,


PS: Whenever we feel bad, we are stuck at our edge.

PPS: Another way to know our edge: when the new, good things aren’t arriving as desired.

PPPS: The part that wants to move past our edge already knows we will be fine. The part that is resisting is not at all convinced. (The former is right.)


Today’s photo credit: Michelle O’Connell Photography via photopin cc

Good Leaders Expose Rather Than Impose

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, Leading, We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 1

Here is the fundamental conflict in leadership. People universally resist being told what to do. We, as leaders (with or without titles), feel we are on the hook so we regularly tell people what to do.

We can try various tactics to disguise our “telling” and they will have many creative ways to resist. Regardless, as long as we are telling, we get nowhere significant.

To make real progress, seek to expose rather than impose. Expose your thinking and motivations. Expose what would make a win for you and the organization. Expose how what they do contributes. And use curious, kind inquiry to expose their ideas, motivations, what would be a win for them, how they see it working out, and what they imagine are their next steps.

Collaboration and completion usually ensue.

In your corner,



The Problem with Being Right

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Leading, Sales and Influence, We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 2 min.

Here’s something that gets in our way. We frequently think that, if only we detail things enough, explain it all just so, show them the data and the logic, or add enough energy and excitement to it then they will see, agree, and act. We want to be nice about it, of course. But, secretly, we think,”I am right and you need to hear it, believe it, and behave as I think your should.” And frequently our need to be right is bound up somehow with our value, identity, or worth. (That’s why being right is such a strong, enduring habit.)

Harsh? Yes, for all involved.

You see, no one wants to be told. Will they seek advice? Sure. Will they follow the leaders’ commands? In short bursts when it makes sense. But telling them what to think, believe, or do only generates resistance.

The good news (there’s always good news): we don’t need to be right and we can get great outcomes without all the resistance. To lead, influence, or sell, enter a dialogue. Ask questions. Let the other person’s genius show up. Listen first and long. Allow yourself to pause, to be wise. Navigate by curiosity. Be willing to be changed.

So much easier.


In your corner,


PS: Sometimes we think, “I am not right; they won’t listen; nothing will change here.” This happens whenever we have run into that resistance so much that we give up. Of course, dialogue, questions, allowing genius, and willingness are the cure for this state, too.


Today’s photo credit: Icky Pic via photopin cc;


Why We Cannot Afford to Judge

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Sales and Influence, We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 1

As leaders (with or without title), influencers, and sales people, we cannot afford to judge others. Not at all.

To judge another, we necessarily pretend that we are special, more deserving, better. Others will sense this in us and find (oh so) many ways to resist, unconsciously if not consciously. That resistance, left unchecked, kills sales, projects, companies, and nations.

It is not that we should think we are somehow unimportant, less deserving, or worse than others.  But that we are all perfectly-equally important, deserving, and good.


In your corner,


PS: When I say “judging,” I mean “judging negatively.”

PPS: Next time you catch yourself judging someone–even for the smallest thing–try seeing them instead as important, deserving, and good. Do this quietly, to yourself. You likely will be surprised by how they respond. It may be subtle at first and grow more obvious in due time.

PPPS: Though we choose not to judge another, we still will address behaviors that aren’t working well for us. Whole other kettle of fish, that.

ask them

Ask Them

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Success
Reading time: 1

Other people can be quite frustrating. Since they don’t want to be told what to do or think, how can we possibly lead,  sell, or influence people to see things or do things in a new way?

Simple. Start asking questions. Not as an interrogator, mind you. Be curious and caring. Ask them what they want for themselves in the near-, mid-, and long-term future. Ask them what they think might be their first steps. Ask them if you may share your suggestions  (e.g. “You might try taking on this new responsibility.”) and requests (“My request is that you follow through on work you said you would complete.”), too. Ask them what obstacles might get in the way and how they might clear them. Ask them how it would feel if they could achieve all this.



In your corner,


PS: If you are resisting your own good ideas, how might this approach help you to help yourself?


Today’s photo credit: otama via photopin cc

Over-communicate Your Win-Win Intent

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Leading, We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 1

When you notice another person resisting you–actively or passively–it could be because they are not convinced that you are committed to a win-win approach. They smell a “lose.”

If you recognize you are not committed to win-win, then make the commitment. If you really are committed to win-win, then over-communicate that intent to the other person. And if it’s the other person who is not committed to win-win,  then over-communicate your intent to go for win-win; you can declare win-win unilaterally.

In your corner,


Today’s Photo Credit


Make It Happen

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Leading
Reading time: 2 min.

We, as leaders (with or without title), want results. Yet we suffer when we try to make things happen. If we try to drive things, control things, or otherwise push to make things happen, we typically succeed only in generating resistance from the people involved. We see small wins that end up unsustainable, opportunities lost, and frustration growing.

Luckily for us, there’s another way to make it happen. First, we cultivate a clear, compelling, complete, and commonly understood picture of the desired result. Next, we foster within ourselves a quiet assurance of success, regardless of current evidence and paying no heed to how we might think it will happen. Then, we help the other people involved to win as we seek their support in creating our desired result. Last, we wait patiently and take only the actions and make only the decisions that seem to take and make themselves.

Yes, this approach flies in the face of what we have been led to believe is necessary to make things happen. It seems esoteric, not at all practical. We constantly wonder and worry why we aren’t “doing” anything.

Our only solace is that it works.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: Alan R. Light via photopin cc