Executive Letters

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  • No Leader is an Island

    Organizations where top leaders are often aloof and fiercely cling to their independence are not much different than people who are aloof from their neighbors, friends and often spouses. They are so invested in their independence, they fail to see “the other.” Often, they don’t realize what is lost until it is gone.

  • ​The Beauty of Executive Failure

    The mantle of failure is a heavy burden. We may disappoint many people if we fail, but generally speaking the greatest pain is the pain that we absorb. We often react to failure by taking out the blame on ourselves. It is understandable, of course, but it can often be unfair.

  • ​Why Don’t Many Leaders Persevere Anymore?

    We are certainly in an age of pushing and pulling. Executive leaders are pulled in a hundred directions and for many of us, stress is a major problem. Our digital age certainly doesn’t help, though we are constantly being told how much our devices assist us in simplifying life. We dance with every pressure that comes along, and our workplaces demand a faster and faster dance. It is amazingly easy to stray off the paths of our tasks as new “priorities” replace the old.

  • ​“Going It Alone” Can Be A Good Thing

    ​“Going It Alone” Can Be A Good Thing

    I knew a marketing executive who was working for a company that was involved (to keep this as broad and non-specific as possible) in an aspect of healthcare. The executive was a highly moral and decent person, who had worked very hard to become a top marketing professional in the field. However, the executive knew some things that were increasingly agitating and troubling.

  • ​Don’t Bother the Boss, After the Loss!

    ​Don’t Bother the Boss, After the Loss!

    Apparently, her boss’ office was not only festooned with a large football team flag, a signed helmet in a case and several photos of the boss posed next to players and coaches. He had four season’s seats near the 50-yard line and was always inviting his managers to attend games with him. To placate her boss, one frigid December day, she and three other executives attended a game. She kept a brave face as her boss and other executives downed several adult beverages. Though nothing untoward occurred, she was miserable and questioned why she allowed herself to be talked into attending.

  • Recycling the Executive Leader

    Recycling the Executive Leader

    She was a “mature” executive, more positioned for retirement than for launching any kind of career. As she sat across from me, it was impossible to not admire her. In fact, she was an inspiring model I often cited in my coaching at VIM Executive Coaching. She entered the engineering field, the male-dominated engineering field, long before it was commonly accepted to see women in middle management, let alone upper or “C – level” management.

  • ​The Company Built on Glue

    ​The Company Built on Glue

    His story is sad, or redemptive, depending upon the way you want to look at it. Long ago, he was a senior manager for a major accounting firm. He had a great salary, benefits and the respect of his clients and peers. Through absolutely no fault of his own, people in power above him engaged in what I shall term, “unethical activities.” The executive leaders above him, and indeed the company itself, got into legal trouble and with it the company collapsed.

  • ​The Workplace, and the Battery Acid of Political Anger

    ​The Workplace, and the Battery Acid of Political Anger

    We take the two managers with us on our walk along the beach. Close your own eyes and imagine who they might be. We tell the employees they are only allowed to talk about one thing: the beach. Not politics, not work, not sports, not music or race or religion or gender issues, just the beach.

  • ​The Executive Who Liked to Do Nothing

    ​The Executive Who Liked to Do Nothing

    Another perception is that an executive who meditates is sitting there doing nothing. The perception is wrong and right. The person who is meditating is stilling the mind and centering oneself. It is deceptive in its simplicity and in its practice because in these stressful times, it is so hard to create an island of stillness. In the practice of meditation, one learns to be more open, more authentic and even more compassionate. Yes, the person is “sitting there,” but I would debate the “doing nothing” part.

  • ​Leading with Gratitude in Bad Times

    ​Leading with Gratitude in Bad Times

    The gratitude of the woman that I coached directly stemmed from her authenticity. When she was going through her cancer treatments, she was neither “playing martyr,” nor was she bitter or manipulative by using her disease. If she was having a bad day, she would simply say she wasn’t feeling well or she was “under the weather,” and then let it go. In turn, those around her admired her inner strength and the dignity with which she dealt honestly and openly with her situation.

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