Influential Listening

Raising the Bar on Leadership Listening

Think about a conversation with someone who gives you his full attention, is genuinely interested in what you say, and doesn’t talk about himself all the time.  These conversations leave you energized and willing to do your best to help that person.Ear-Crop

Compare that to a conversation with someone who is all about his own agenda and knows you need his wisdom and stories.  Your energy and commitment to help him succeed is diminished. Continue reading Influential Listening

The Power of Informal Communication

Making Clear What’s Really Important

Paul felt his staff’s productivity was being hampered by constant disruptions giraffes-627031_640from other staff members. So he made it a standing agenda item at his weekly staff meetings to remind everyone to consider the impact on the other person before interrupting. Was the issue urgent enough to justify the disruption? He offered tips each week, like collecting non-urgent disruptions and handling them all at once instead of interrupting for each one; or using email instead of text messages if an immediate response wasn’t necessary.

After a couple of months, Paul was frustrated that he wasn’t seeing much change.
Continue reading The Power of Informal Communication

Do You Really Want to Change…?

…Or Just Wish You Wanted to Change?

The prologue to the award-winning musical, Into the Woods, starts off with the key characters reciting things they wish for, like this stanza by Jack’s mother:caterpillar-butterfly

I wish my son were not a fool.
I wish my house was not a mess.
I wish the cow was full of milk.
I wish the house was full of gold-
I wish a lot of things…

Wishing is one thing; wanting it enough to take action is something different.  Pursuing what we really want is hard because it requires us to change. Continue reading Do You Really Want to Change…?

Jack and Jill Went Up the Hill…Now What?

A Tale of Two Leaders

When Jack launched his homeless shelter he had no ideaJack-n-Jill it would grow to house over a hundred people at a time and provide meals and showers for thousands more. He didn’t expect to have a staff of eighteen people and numerous volunteers. But his passion for helping the homeless was contagious. He discovered he was good at raising support, launching creative programs, and recruiting people.

He knew he wasn’t good at the administrative stuff, so he hired people or outsourced those functions. But now he had hit a plateau that he just couldn’t get past.  Continue reading Jack and Jill Went Up the Hill…Now What?