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A leadership example to remember this Memorial Day

Thirty-five Memorial Days ago, President Ronald Reagan gave a moving speech at Arlington National Cemetery. He remarked, I have no illusions about what little I can add now to the silent testimony of those who gave their lives willingly for their country. Words are even more feeble on this Memorial Day, for the sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them.

3 ways to let your conscience be your guide

Q: Pete, one of our best long-time customers recently asked us for pricing on their next two-year contract. At the time, our backorders were high against our production capacity so I sent them a high price, assuming they would try to negotiate it down. But they shocked me by simply accepting it. Among our company’s core values are integrity and honesty, so I went to my boss for help in developing a solution. He was somewhat amused and counseled vaguely that I “let my conscience [...]

4 ways to understand real humility and avoid false humility

Around the globe, hundreds of millions have been celebrating Holy Week and Easter, a time each year that Christians commemorate the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the spirit of the season, it is fitting to explore an excellent habit exemplified by this most perfect of all leaders: humility. Real humility enables people to see real limits and accept others as their equal, or even their superior, in any given situation. Humility is needed to lead because it helps us to trust — [...]

A Five-Step Recipe For Strengthening Accountability In Your Culture

As a CEO, how many times have you scanned the room and asked, “Who is going to be accountable for this problem?” After an intense lingering silence, no one responds, and no one steps forward. Accountability means accepting responsibility for one’s choices and actions. When things go wrong, this necessary quality of teamwork is often in short supply. Strengthening accountability in an organization’s culture is like baking bread, and you are the leader — the chief baker. To get the right results, you must use the proper [...]

Commentary: How to make free trade fair again

President Trump has ignited an intense debate about the impact of trade on our nation’s health. The crux of Trump’s argument is: “I want free trade, but it's got to be fair trade.” Decades of failure by political leaders to protect the nation’s citizens from unfair competition has amplified our inequalities. Tariffs can make free trade fair again and help heal the impoverished and insecure state of many American workers. Though the January 2016 unemployment rate stood at 4.8 percent, measures such as the Employment-Population [...]

6 ways to increase the sense of urgency on your team

Q: Peter, my team lacks a sense of urgency. Even though we mutually agree on the tasks to be done and the timeline, we don’t execute on time, often taking twice as long to finish. When I challenge the team, I get excuses. What can I do to build up a sense of urgency? A: A “sense of urgency” is made up of two parts: 1) the extent to which our sense powers (like sight, sound, touch, etc.) perceive a situation or problem is important; [...]

5 lessons Dr. Seuss can teach you about sales

Q: My sales team has a poor closing ratio on the leads or prospects that we give to them. I know that there are plenty of books out there on how to improve sales, but what advice can you give me as a leader about how to improve the performance of my sales team? A: Several years ago, a senior executive I coached invited me to observe a conference for about 700 of her sales representatives. The keynote speaker was a sales guru whose name [...]

Four Ways Nurses Can Help Executives Become More Ethical and Honest

The latest Gallup poll regarding how Americans rate the honesty and ethical standard of certain professions was released in late December 2016. For the 17th consecutive time, nurses were the highest rated professionals when it came to perceptions of honesty and ethical standards. In sharp contrast to the 84% of respondents viewing nurses as having “Very high” or “High” ethical standards, only 17% of respondents viewed business executives as having high ethical standards, down from 25% in 2001. This is only marginally better than the ratings received [...]

Do your leaders and employees lack initiative? Get ‘A Message to Garcia’

Q: Pete, I assign my people tasks and I get back a hundred questions, many of which make me wonder if they can think for themselves. Other times, I get an explanation of why something can’t be done before it has even been tried. I am incredibly frustrated with this generation! A: Don’t blame millennials. Lack of initiative is not unique to our time or to the latest generation. To possess and exercise initiative, one must be not only capable to performing a given task, [...]

Five Ways Leaders Can Use The Bully Pulpit To Be More Effective Communicators

As he prepares to assume the presidency of the United States on Friday, Donald Trump formally inherits the world’s most powerful platform for communicating. No, not Twitter! It’s called the "bully pulpit," a term coined by President Theodore Roosevelt near the turn of the 20th century to mean a platform or position of influence from which to carry out an agenda. Today, however, we see many leaders using the bully pulpit to literally bully others into accepting his or her particular point of view. In Roosevelt’s time, [...]