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Leadership and the Earbud Problem

A year ago, while attending a conference in a major city, I would either walk several blocks from my hotel to the conference or ride the subway each day.  Travelling through the city, I noticed that the majority of the people wore ear buds (small in-ear headphones) and were somewhat oblivious to what was going on around them.  People walked down the street silently, heads down, avoiding people and traffic by means of peripheral vision, never making eye contact with passers-by and never engaging those around them.

A few months back I was visiting with a company about developing a training program for their employees.  Management felt the employees needed work on communication and teamwork skills.  The leaders stated that the employees were always grumbling about various things and constantly missing deadlines; they were not being team players and did not understand the importance of the assigned tasks.

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Four Favorite Business Books

Kathy Hayes on Aug 7, 2013 7:00:00 PM

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Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.
                                                                          – Benjamin Franklin

I love books, but I never thought I would love business books. I was wrong. The right business book can be life-altering. There are gazillions of great business books out there, but here are some of my favorites.

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Assume Goodwill

Kathy Hayes on Jul 25, 2013 10:39:00 AM

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Goodwill is the only asset that competition cannot undersell or destroy.
                                                                              Marshall Field

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The Essence of Leadership

Jeff Hough on Jun 25, 2013 4:00:00 AM

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Many leadership gurus will tell you that by doing certain things you will become a better leader. To sell more books or get more speaking engagements, they develop lists to follow that help you become a better leader. While some of what they may tell you will help, I believe they miss the mark of what really helps someone become a great leader.

I have long held the belief that there are core elements of leadership that are essential and timeless and those individuals who possess these traits are the ones who really move and influence people. I am reading a book, Eleven Rings, by Phil Jackson, the most successful coach in NBA history, outlining his philosophies on leadership and the art of dealing with people. Phil Jackson is known for his ability to take a diverse group of individuals and form them into cohesive units that consistently achieve greatness. In the book, he alludes to Parables of Leadership, published by the Harvard Business Review, which attempts to “capture the unseen essence of leadership.”  Using parables based in Oriental culture, the authors examine leadership using a unique medium that encourages introspection and deep thought.

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Stop Destroying the Art

“You have everything you need to build something far bigger than yourself.” - Seth Godin

 
On a recent trip to Washington D.C., I had the privilege of wandering through the National Art Gallery for an afternoon. As I looked at the masterpieces, I couldn’t help but compare the work of these “masters” to the work done by millions of workers each day in their own art studios.

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