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Basically, our organizations are groups of humans using a variety of tools and processes to produce something good in the world. We cannot escape that leaders are humans trying to help other humans in their pursuit of some goal.

We can try to augment, extend, and overcome our humanity, or we can seek to accept, enhance, leverage, and maybe even transcend our current conception of our humanity.

Humans are at once simply bags of plasma and stardust and the most powerful force for creativity and good known in the universe.

Great leaders keep alive this balance in themselves and in their teams. Great leaders meet the immediate needs of their teams well also holding them to their highest aspirations and possibilities.

How do we as leaders work with both of these realities in ourselves and in our teams?

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Creative Self Emergence and Rilke’s Poetry

If we are lucky enough to move beyond our basic needs for safety and belonging, we can begin the process of earning the esteem of ourselves and others.  A few lucky souls even get to move toward self actualization in Maslow’s model.

But, for many, leadership opportunities look like nurturing their own and other’s creative self emergence. Continue reading Creative Self Emergence and Rilke’s Poetry

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Leading With Operating Metaphors

I was scared and the team was concerned. I stood in front of fifty expectant and dubious faces–the newly combined sales and order processing team. Within a few months, we had to:

  • Eliminate a nasty conflict that divided the team
  • Move half the team to a combined space
  • Remove two order processing and tracking systems
  • Re-engineer the entire sales and order process
  • Double the size of the team

I knew the physics of change: to every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The more we tried to do the greater the resistance from the team and the organization would be. I started up my PowerPoint and hoped my unorthodox approach worked. Continue reading Leading With Operating Metaphors

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Flow: A Curious Method and An Explanation

I was not in a flow state, I was eating lunch; chewing and staring at a few words about flow I’d jotted on paper.  Chewing, chewing, waiting for inspiration.

Which would be more engaging; an article on the concept of flow or one on a method to attain flow?  Could I write this post as a dialogue?  Could I link the method and the content that emerged from the flow state? Continue reading Flow: A Curious Method and An Explanation