Failing into Success

Posted on 16. Feb, 2011 by in Blog, Change Management, Servant Leadership

I’ve quoted this for so many years, almost thought it was mine:

“Are you green and growing or ripe and rotting?”

Originally stated by Ray Kroc, founder of the McDonald’s empire, the quote is reiterated by Derek Sivers in his worth viewing YouTube Clip:

When driving change and new projects, many leaders think they must have all the answers.  For some, it’s difficult to say 3 magic words:

I don’t know.

It didn’t work.

Let’s try again.

Another fantastic resource on the topic of driving lasting change and developing a growth mindset is the book, SWITCH by Chip and Dan Heath. Clear, well written, great insights – and with a sense of humor!

A Must for leaders driving change.

Authentic, Servant Leaders know the value of a growth mindset. Experimenting. Learning. Sharing.


The Romper Room Effect

Posted on 28. Jan, 2011 by in Blog, Leadership and Development

In 1952, a new “kiddie learning show” show was launchedRomper Room.  Syndicated across the country and shown in England, Ireland, Japan and Australia, the show provided a much needed ‘time out’ for weary parents as their children sat, eyes glued to the TV.  The preschoolers interacted with their televisions, audibly answering  questions when asked such as, “Did you know the horse was brown?”

Tiny squirming children would wait  patiently (or not so patiently) for the highlight of the show, the closing scene where Miss Nancy (the original host out of Baltimore)

or Miss Debbie, Miss Susan, Miss Sally, etc. would position her magic mirror in front of her face, look directly into the camera, and recite  the names of  the good boys and girls she could see that day.

Some children would jump up and down in front of the TV, attempting to get Miss Whoever’s  attention as the roll call began,

“I see Sarah, I see Bobby, I see Suzie…”  And 40 years later , “I see Michelle, I see Tiffany, I see Tyler, I see Brandy” – you get the idea.

(Nope – I never heard Denise. -Ahh the agony!)

Which, years later leads us to the Romper Room Effect in leadership.

As a leader, how many times have you had the opportunity to hold up the magic mirror?  A way to see people that are doing good things, just waiting to be noticed?

That employee wanting you to notice  he is doing a good job.  That volunteer wanting you to recognize  the hours she is putting in makes a difference.

Did you see him/her? Did you offer a thank you? A “good job” comment?

The recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report  indicates that the number of people leaving their jobs, not affected by a layoff is up by 6%.

Up in an otherwise down economy.  Why? Many cite their boss as a primary reason for exit, along with lack of opportunity for contribution, or loss of confidence in senior management.

Most reasons for leaving are concerns about how they are viewed, treated – noticed.  [note: compensation is hardly ever noted as the reason to leave.]

What about you? As a leader, do you see and value the people vying for your attention??

If not, perhaps it’s time to look in the mirror.

Would You Dance?

Posted on 12. Jan, 2011 by in Blog, Leadership and Development, Servant Leadership

Perhaps Kenny’s leadership approach of  “give them candy”  works for 10 year olds;

O.K.,  us older ones as well.  But let’s take another look at how leadership – happens,

as demonstrated in the following clip by Derek Silvers.

This clip illustrates a key principle of Servant Leadership.

As a leader, from the very beginning –

It’s not about you.

Also, a great reminder that leadership takes courage, simplicity, and a willingness to be authentic.

If you were captured dancing in this video, where would you be?

The first follower?                 The leader?               Later in the pack?

Servant-Leadership – not an Oxymoron

Posted on 14. Jun, 2010 by in Blog, Servant Leadership

This question came to me last week.

What is Servant-Leadership? Really, isn’t that an oxymoron?


Isn’t leadership – well, just leadership?

Not that I’ve seen. There are many different styles, methods, and concepts associated with the term leader.

There are plenty of folks in leadership positions. Unfortunately, not very many of them are servant-leaders.  Robert K. Greenleaf is credited as the modern day creator of the of Servant-Leadership concept.  Also, James C. Hunter has excellent reading on the topic.  You can check out the BridgeLite resources page for links to some of their books for further exploration.

The following is a quick explanation of what makes servant-leaders different and why it matters.


Focus on the people they serve more than on themselves.

It’s about the team, organization, company – not the leader. A servant-leader wants to serve the people as the primary motivation for what he or she does in leading them.  The servant-leader provides the service (not to be confused with servitude) of leadership.

They love the people they lead.

As John Wooden said, “You don’t have to like them, but you do have to love them.”  Servant-leaders want the people they lead to be their best; do their best, because it’s the best for them, individually and collectively. As a servant-leader, you may not like their behavior or choices. You may want them to do things differently, but you love them anyway.  This concept is probably the best understood by parents and pet owners.

The opposite of a servant-leader is a leader primarily motivated by wanting to be the top dog, big boss, the one in front. This leader primarily wants to lead people because of their own aspirations or ego.

Who are some examples of servant-leaders?

Although not necessarily classified as servant-leaders, the concept of this type of leadership style has deep roots in history.  Some of the more famous ones are:

Jesus Christ, Abraham Lincoln, Mother Teresa, Gandhi.

And this matters so much because?

When leading, coaching, or mobilizing people to do anything… the heart matters.

If you want to initiate a new strategic direction, influence a change in the organization, or correct a situation that has gone awry, when people are connect via heart, heads follow.  People perceive attitudes whether unspoken or spoken. They will know if the leader is primarily interested in their well being – or not.

Have you worked with a servant-leader? If so, how did it make a difference?