Leadership Musings from the Blizzard of 2016

Did you survive last weekend’s blizzard? If you live in a large swath of the eastern seaboard of the United States, you experienced quite the storm. Of course, you may be tired of thinking about it because it dominated our lives for a few days, but I wanted to share a few leadership musings.

New York City received 26.8 inches of snow, and just missed tying the record set in February 2006 by a skimpy one tenth of an inch. I was contemplating the idea of “not quite coming in first” which triggered some thoughts about superior performers.

Superior performers strive to be the best and to come in first whenever given the opportunity. Think about what happens when your team misses achieving a revenue record by a scant amount or doesn’t get awarded an important deal.

Can You Keep a Secret?

Leaders often have confidential discussions among themselves and on occasion with their employees. It goes without saying that something told to you in confidence must be maintained as confidential.

But what about the many conversations that aren’t labeled “confidential” as such, but really are private communications?

I’ve noticed that when some leaders get caught up in a crisis or overwork or overwhelm, their guard goes down and they leak a little (or a lot) of information that really isn’t intended for a broader audience.

Should Your Employees be Embarrassed?

While I was sitting with a client, an employee delivered a piece of work that was late. My client quickly glanced at it, tossed it on to the table, then said, “He should be embarrassed to hand in this work to me.”

This employee totally ignored the importance of the assignment, handed in something sloppy and incomplete, and didn’t really care that what he delivered was unacceptable.

My client philosophized that one of the ways he defines a lack of accountability is when employees deliver work that should embarrass them.

The One Thing

As we enter this new year and stumble through resolutions ranging from overly ambitious to half-hearted, it’s a good time to simplify. Don’t overly complicate your life by overly complicating your commitments.

Try this creative brainstorming exercise. Write down everything you can think of that you’d like to do, be, or have this year. Don’t edit – just let your mind open up and allow your thoughts to pour out.

After you do this, circle the 5 words or phrases that strike you as the most important. Then ask “why” – and keep digging with “why” until you find the word or phrase that resonates the most.

Does this word evoke a positive emotion? Does it excite you? Does it make you want to dive in and do great work? Can you visualize a sensational outcome?

Enjoy Life to the Fullest

Happy New Year!

If you create New Year’s resolutions, you might be interested to know that the #1 New Year’s resolution for 2016 is “enjoying life to the fullest”, according to a survey of 5,000 people by GoBankingRates.

If this resolution appeals to you, you won’t be surprised to know that your interpretation of enjoying life to the fullest most likely differs from others. For you to be successful achieving this (or any) resolution, try to be as specific as possible: what does it look like…sound like…feel like…to you.


Resolutions are similar to goals in that the more specific and measurable they are, the more likely you can achieve them.

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