Leadership

Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys

There’s a lovely expression that I came across a few years ago, that has helped me through some difficult and challenging situations: “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” Or, in the original Polish, “Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy.” The origins of the phrase are a little uncertain, lost to the mists of time and…
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Facilitating In-Between Spaces

The space in-between where we have been and where we are going is where change and transformation occur. The challenge is that while navigating liminal spaces is challenging enough on an individual basis, it gets exponentially more difficult when we try to do this in groups. Whether planning navigating change or planning strategy, facilitating the creation of an in-between space that genuinely allows for creative exploration is a significant undertaking. Liminality provides some insight into how to make that happen.



Principles Matter

Some of our hardest questions are hard simply because the situation is complex and the possible outcomes are fuzzy and abstract. Knowing how to make a good decision, and how to sustain one, is hard. But it doesn’t have to be. There is a way to be able to sort through the fuzziness and get to the heart of what matters.



We Should Stop Using Should

Constructive criticism very often isn’t constructive. We also tend not to receive it well, even when it’s well-meaning—and sometimes even when we ask for it. Part of the problem is with our use of the word “should.” It is a word of judgement, criticism and deflection We probably shouldn’t use it quite as frequently as we do.



First, Do No Harm

We shape our own existence, and we define our own experience. While that might not be a popular sentiment, it’s no less real nor true. The biggest challenge is that we are often fundamentally aware of the underlying beliefs that create our experience. If we want to make a difference in the world, we may first need to make a difference in ourselves.



Motive and Opportunity

Trust is a big thing. A strongly related concept is motive. Our motives shape our intentions, and our perceived actions lead to some pretty significant conclusions about our motives. Getting to the heart of what we are doing, why we are doing it and what we might want to do differently is pretty essential.



Confidence vs. Competence

We have an enormous tendency to confuse confidence with competence. We want someone who can do the work, but we tend to trust the person that looks the part. Doing so is inherently dangerous, and points to some significant biases we may not even recognize.



As Authentic As I Wanna Be

We have an authenticity problem. More specifically, we have a belief that we are supposed to be exactly who we are, all the time. There is compelling evidence that suggests that perception is exactly wrong.



It Depends

The most common answer to questions that I provide is, “It depends.” Not because I’m being difficult; because it’s the truth. Yet I find I dislike this answer as much as the next person. Nonetheless, it is what opens the doorway to opportunity and possibility.



Team Building – Not Separate, Not Different, Not Optional

Many, many sins have been committed in the name of “team building.” All too often we associate team building exercises with awkward, superficial and embarrassing interactions. And much of what is done simply doesn’t work. Team building is often irrelevant, but building the team is critical.