Posted: July 6th, 2017

Netflix’s Sense8 is about diversity and teamwork

I have never been a fan of science fiction, so on the surface it seems strange that I should love Netflix’s Sense8 so much.  To quote the television review site Vox, the show is “complete nonsense” about a group of eight people who have some sort of psychic connection, despite living in different corners of […]

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Posted: May 22nd, 2017

There’s always an option B

Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, Option B, is about building resilience.  I don’t think there could be a hotter topic in the world of federal agency leadership development these days.  I haven’t read the book yet, but there’s an article on Linkedin that gives a great introduction to the concept of “option B.”  […]

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Posted: June 12th, 2016

Stories make us human

After reading a great article in Fortune Magazine by Geoff Colvin last winter, I finally read Colvin’s book, Humans Are Underrated.  He makes the case for the importance of soft skills as computers continue to replace humans in most technical roles, and my favorite part is the chapter on storytelling. As Colvin points out himself, […]

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Posted: February 26th, 2016

People don’t buy what you do, they buy what you believe

Simon Sinek’s 2009 TED talk How Great Leaders Inspire Action has made lists of top leadership talks for years.  The essence of his talk is that people are inspired by the purpose of an organization rather than its value proposition.  He says, for example, that we buy Apple products not because they’re beautifully designed, but […]

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Posted: December 13th, 2015

The dangers of corporatese

I was reading a Fast Company Magazine interview with Sam Altman the other day, in which he was describing the founding of Y Combinator.  He said, “With VCs, there were all these terms that were deliberately obscuring what was going on, and I think they liked it that way.  Liquidation preferences and ratchets and anti-dilutions […]

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Posted: December 5th, 2015

What about a magnet? Lessons in leadership

The other night, I was re-watching my favorite show, Breaking Bad, and one of Jesse Pinkman’s lines struck me.  In case you’re not familiar with the show, Jesse is the young punk protege of Walter White, a 50-year old chemistry-teacher-turned-meth-cook who is slowing corrupting Jesse, his former student and now his assistant.  At one point […]

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Posted: November 28th, 2015

Let’s ditch the term “soft skills” once and for all

This is certainly not a new rant, not even for me, and certainly not for leadership consultants in general.  I’ve been writing about the misconceptions and unintended consequences of the term “soft skills” for years, especially when it comes to the dismissive notion that soft skills means being nice.  The problem is that no one […]

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Posted: October 3rd, 2015

Battling the “hysterical woman” bias

Back in the days when I volunteered for a Colorado mountain rescue team as both a rescuer and the team’s public information officer, my teammates often commented that I was “too intense.”  I was trying to transform the role I held, taking it from traditional order-taker and reporter-of-news to a more progressive, proactive maker-of-news, and […]

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Posted: September 15th, 2015

Using the SPLIT framework to manage virtual teams

Managing virtual teams is an increasingly hot topic for supervisors, as telecommuting and flex time programs become more widespread and globalization increases.  Tsedal Neeley recently published a great article on overcoming the challenges of virtual teams called Global Teams that Work.  Although his focus is on international teams, most of his key points can be […]

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Posted: August 2nd, 2015

Getting out of your comfort zone is easier said than done

In July I flew to Europe with my friend Pam to hike the famous Haute Route, which starts in Chamonix, France and finishes in Zermatt, Switzerland.  The route is beloved by trekkers not only for its fantastic scenery but also for its relative luxuries; you can carry just a day pack with no camping gear […]

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