Blog Archives

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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How To Inspire Grassroots Change In Your City

Two of our recent MBA graduates, Kristin Stith and Paul Klein, gave an excellent talk at TEDxUniversityofNevada 2014 about being part of the Biggest Little City rebranding effort. This was a group of talented citizens that organized to volunteer time and effort to change the image of Reno, Nevada. The results of the rebranding and grassroots marketing campaign have been impressive.

This is also a great example of a well rehearsed TEDx talk. Kristin and Paul participated in all three of the rehearsals we organized for local speakers starting 3 months before the event. We watched as their talk went from an outline to a script and from nervous reading of lines to a confident performance. The audience loved their talk and if you take the time to watch it, I think you will too. After 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.


Mark Estee On The Value Of Relationships For Business

I want to share with you another video from one of our TEDxUniversityofNevada speakersMark Estee. In this video, Mark discusses how relationships are the key to his success. Strong relationships with suppliers, customers, employees, the community, professional advisors, and family help Mark’s business thrive.

I am a raving fan of Mark and his business, Campo Reno. Oddly enough, the first experience I had in Mark’s restaurant was not a good one. But I gave him another chance after he reached out to me personally to try to recover, and I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with Mark and his business ever since.

I hope you take the time to watch the video and hear from Mark first hand his advice for success. After doing so, please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

50 Valuable Management Blogs

The good people over at recently compiled a list of  50 Blogs That Will Make You a Better Manager.  The top blog on their list is called Better Managers Blog. I’ve never seen this one before, but I like it a lot. My favorite management blog, Bob Sutton’s Work Matters, made the number 6 spot on their list and that ranking is well deserved.  I always learn new and interesting things from Bob, and if he ever recommends a book I usually buy it right away.

My personal blog, Positive Organizational Behavior, is number 12 on the list, and I’m grateful for the recognition. A few of my other favorite blogs that made their list are Art Petty’s Management Excellence and Dan McCarthy’s Great Leadership.  A favorite of mine that was not on this list was Aspire by Mary Jo Asmus.

Check out the blogs on this list and engage the blog author in conversation by leaving a comment on a post that catches your attention.

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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Leaders Take Responsibility For Communicating

It’s possible that a good communicator can be an ineffective executive. It’s very difficult for someone with poor communication skills to be a consistently effective executive.

In his classic book entitled “The Effective Executive,” Peter Drucker asserts the importance of taking responsibility for communicating:

Effective executives make sure that both their action plans and their information needs are understood. Specifically, this means that they share their plans with and ask for comments from all their colleagues – superiors, subordinates, and peers. (p. XVIII)

Drucker goes on to state that while the information flow from subordinate to boss usually gets the most attention, effective executives pay equal attention to the information needs of everyone at all levels in their network of responsibility. Drucker reminds us of something Chester Barnard stated way back in 1938, that organizations are held together by information rather than by ownership or command.

If your idea of communicating is reminding people that you are the boss and they are not, and that they need to do what you’ve told them to do, you are shirking one of your most important responsibilities as a leader. An investment in understanding your constituents and their information needs in an investment in the success of your action plans for the organization.

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