Category Archives: organizational behavior

Shila Morris’ TEDx Talk: Nepotism Is My American Dream

Shila Morris is a graduate of the University of Nevada and a current graduate student as well. She is also the president of the Squeeze In restaurants in Nevada and California. In her very well prepared and executed talk, she describes both the challenges and joys of working with your family in a small business. In addition to financial stability, the American Dream for Shila and her family is the ability to do something meaningful together and have a positive impact on their employees, customers, and community.

After you watch this talk, please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Barry Posner’s TEDx Talk: Why Credibility Is The Foundation Of Leadership

I use Barry Posner’s books in my Executive MBA course on Organizational Behavior. One of the concepts I love most from his writings is the importance of leadership credibility. Leadership credibility develops to the extent we do what we say we will do. Notice the “we” in this rather than the “me”. If we only speak and act in accordance with our own desires, we might have personal credibility, but not leadership credibility. Leaders speak and act in ways that “we” value. A leader walks the talk that represents us, not just him or herself.

After you watch Barry’s talk, please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Owen Robert’s TEDx Talk: Chances Lead To Choices Lead To Changes

In his current role as General Manager for Microsoft’s Americas Operations Center, Owen Roberts leads a team of more than 2,000 employees and contractors in operational roles that support the fulfillment and revenue processing operations of the company’s $80+billion business. In addition to developing and nurturing partner and customer relationships, Owen’s team is responsible for building, launching, and maintaining operational programs and processes, and putting the infrastructure in place for Microsoft to support the technology of tomorrow.

Owen gave a masterful talk at TEDxUniversityofNevada 2015 about how he has embraced risk taking and change in his life and career. He shows how in his own life choosing adventure and uncertainty over safety and certainty has lead to career opportunities and set him ahead of his peers. Even though this advice is not new, so few people choose to really embrace change as a habit of well-being and success.

Please take the time to watch Owen’s talk and then share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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Liz Wiseman’s TEDx Talk – Living And Working With Child-Like Wonder

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Liz Wiseman’s TEDx Talk – Living And Working With Child-Like Wonder

We were extremely pleased to have Liz Wiseman as the first speaker at TEDxUniversityofNevada 2015. Liz  teaches leadership to executives and emerging leaders around the world. She is the President of the Wiseman Group, a leadership research and development firm headquartered in Silicon Valley. She is the author of the “Rookie Smarts, Why Learning Beats Knowing In The New Game Of Work.”

In this very insightful talk, Liz describes how being inexperienced can actually help us and our teams do better and faster work because we are forced to assume a posture of learning. Living and working with rookie smarts can be accomplished with three simple choices 1) ask more questions, 2) seek novelty, and 3) treat work as play.

Please take the time to watch Liz’s talk, then share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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In The City, For The City

Harvey Turner is the senior and founding pastor of Living Stones Church in Reno, NV. His organization is often cited as among the fastest growing churches in the United States. In this talk from TEDxUniversityofNevada 2014, Harvey asserts that one of the keys to the health and growth of his organization is it’s community focus. Harvey encourages organizations to systematically find ways to for their members to be more involved in the community most proximal to their location. An integral, outward focus is good for the organization’s members, which is ultimately good for the organization.

After you watch the video, please share your thoughts in the comment section below.




Jamie Amelio Of Caring For Cambodia

In this excellent talk at TEDxUniversityofNevada 2014, Jamie Amelio, the founder of Caring for Cambodia, encourages us to get bothered and stay bothered about issues in the world we live in. Jamie tells the story of being an expatriate executive living in Singapore when she took a trip to Cambodia that forever changed her life. What she saw in Cambodia prompted her to return and eventually found 24 schools for needy children.

After you watch Jamie’s inspiring story, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.



Barry Posner: Two Truths About Leadership

I use Barry Posner’s book The Truth About Leadership in my EMBA class on Organizational Behavior. In this talk he did for TEDxUniversityofNevada 2014, Barry talks about two truths from his book – you make a difference and you can’t do it alone. It’s an excellent talk. Please share your thoughts in the comment section below after you watch Barry’s talk.


5 Mental Habits That Support Lifelong Learning

In his classic book entitled Leading Change, John P. Kotter devotes his final chapter to the importance of leadership to creating and sustaining successful organizations. Beyond the development of leadership skills, the successful executive will need to be a lifelong learner. Kotter suggests the following five mental habits that successful leaders will need to support lifelong learning (p. 183):

  1. Risk taking: willingness to push oneself out of comfort zones
  2. Humble self-reflection: honest assessment of successes and failures, especially the later
  3. Solicitation of opinions: aggressive collection of information and ideas from others
  4. Careful listening: propensity to listen to others
  5. Openness to new ideas: willingness to view life with an open mind

His observation about the relationship between listening and learning is especially insightful:

Much more than the average person, lifelong learners also listen carefully, and they do so with an open mind. They don’t assume that listening will produce big ideas or important information very often. Quite the contrary. But they know that careful listening will help give them accurate feedback on the effect of their actions. And without honest feedback, learning becomes almost impossible (p. 182).

I think the overwhelming majority of faculty that teach in the Executive MBA program at the University of Nevada meet Kotter’s criteria of lifelong learners. The program director, Dr. Kambiz Raffiee, models the way for our group. Our program development meetings are always very productive. No one ever wastes our time with arrogant pontification or tries to dominate the conversation in order to force an opinion on others. We share a common goal, and we all actively listen to each other as we consider ways we can continually improve our courses to meet the high and evolving expectations of our executive students.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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The Definition Of A Great Boss

Bob Sutton’s book Good Boss, Bad Boss, is out in paperback. If you don’t own the book yet, now would be a great time to buy it and start digesting Bob’s evidence-based advice. I reviewed the book here back in July of 2010, and Bob was gracious enough to answer a few questions I had about the book in a separate post in September of 2010. Sutton is one of my favorite management thinkers, and I highly recommend any of his books.

The paperback edition contains a new chapter at the end, an epilogue with nine lessons he has learned over the years about good and bad bosses. The first of these nine lessons is “Assume you are clueless, insensitive, and selfish – especially if you wield a lot of power or your people are performing especially well” (p. 255). The second lesson is “the definition of a great boss (or leader or manager) does not need to be reinvented” (p. 259).

Much of what we know about good leadership is not new. Contrary to the hype created by many management consultants and the books they are trying to sell, there is very little new under the sun with respect to what the evidence shows we want from our leaders. According to Sutton:

We humans still yearn to follow others who are competent enough to bring in resources, teach us new skills, and generate attention and prestige from key outsiders – who drive performance. We also want fair leaders who protect us, and how make us feel cared for and respected – who inject humanity. Although the ways bosses accomplish these things is and always has been constrained by technologies, culture, different kinds of work, and on and on, the fundamentals remain unchanged. (p. 261)…As over fifty years of research shows, treating employees with respect, encouraging them to participate and make suggestions, and listening to them are as important as ever. (p. 263).

The principles of good leadership really are that simple to understand, but they are not easy to master. For most of us, it takes a lifetime of determined learning.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Effective Executives Make Effective Decisions

Making effective decisions is one of the five essential practices that Peter Drucker believes must be developed by any executive that desires to be truly effective. Effective executives develop a system of decision making based as much on learning as on doing.

Effective executives…know that an effective decision is always a judgment based on “dissenting opinions” rather than on “consensus on the facts.” And they know that to make many decisions fast means to make the wrong decisions. What is needed are few, but fundamental, decisions. What is needed is the right strategy rather than razzle-dazzle tactics. (p. 24)

If incorporating dissenting opinions is left to chance in your decision making process, chances are it won’t happen. It’s difficult to create an environment where offering dissenting opinions is expected from the people that work for you; however, it’s absolutely essential if you want to make consistently effective decisions.

Asking people affected by a decision for input on the decision has been a “contemporary” leadership practice for over 50 years. Is it part of your systematic approach to decision making?

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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