The Genesis Model of Creative Leadership

God and Adam

Creative leaders draw the best thinking out of the individual team members before calling a general brainstorming session.

This is the assertion in Chapter 1 of Tom Harper’s book, Leading from the Lion’s Den.  In his book he presents leadership lessons from every book of the Bible.  Consider this one from Genesis:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” – Gen 1:1

Many organizations today foster creative teamwork through collaborative instant messaging, chat windows, discussion boards, and project groups.  My company uses a myriad of technology tools as well as recently construction an entire corporate campus to foster collaboration.

Though today’s online cooperation might appear to be a new kind of brainstorming, it is actually based on a tried and true model of creativity. The old standard concept is simple: the best creative thinking is done when individuals have a chance to think before they collaborate.

Not everyone thinks well in groups. The rapid-fire atmosphere of some brainstorming methodologies can be very disconcerting to some otherwise highly creative members of your team. Continue reading “The Genesis Model of Creative Leadership”

Overlooking “Capability”  for “Like-ability” 

Capable - Likeable

One of the biggest problem that I see in many organizations is our willingness to overlook “capability” for “like-ability.”

What does that mean?

It means that many times we are more interested in whether or not our leader is “like-able” and less interested in whether or not they are actually capable of exhibiting and demonstrating leadership.  This can have tragic affects

This phenomenon is not as common in the commercial world.  The business world often cares much more about whether or not you can do the job than whether or not you can be a leader.  There is not often much thought given to how the rest of the employees “feel” about the boss or the leader.

Here is where we see leaders who have progressed through the ranks of an organization and have reached a leadership level through hard work, dedication and a proven track record of success.  They have been mentored by other leaders who have proven track records of success.  They sometimes just aren’t that like-able.  And they often don’t particularly care if they are liked.

To back that premise up, research shows that average Emotional Intelligence scores plummet higher up the corporate ladder beyond the supervisor level. The theory is that people get promoted based upon results, even if their people skills are lacking. As leadership coaches, folks like me are working desperately to change that. But the phenomenon remains.

And I suppose all of this begs a few questions:

  1. Would a leader rather be liked or trusted?
  2. Would a leader rather be popular or right?
  3. Would a leader rather be successful or loved?
  4. Is “like-ability” even something that a leader should be concerned about?

There are so many angles that this thought process could take.

What if . . .

Continue reading “Overlooking “Capability”  for “Like-ability” “

Strategic Leadership’s Distinct Roles

Distinct Roles

I have spent a great deal of time in my last few articles camping out on the subject of strategic leadership.  We have examined the ancient roots of it.  We have also looked at the circle of leadership.

In this article I want to bring the topic to a close and look at some of the distinctive roles that strategic leaders must fulfill.  Consider if you will these seven distinct roles for strategic leaders.

Providing Direction — The word “leadership” derives from an Anglo-Saxon word, laed, which means “road, path, track or the course of a ship at sea.” Leaders provide the directional guidance for their followers.  Further, they ensure that everyone is moving the the proper direction.  Just moving is not enough.  We must be moving in the right direction.

Thinking and Planning — Strategic leaders decide the direction through strategic thinking and planning. They go on to develop the best strategy to guide your processes, and then they implement it. Thinking and planning without an ability to execute is ultimately worthless. Continue reading “Strategic Leadership’s Distinct Roles”

Is Self-Esteem Affecting Your Leadership?


Leadership is as much about emotions as it is about skills. You can easily gain a working knowledge of leadership and all the “actions” necessary to make you an effective leader by taking courses and by reading books.

However, knowing them and applying them are two different things.

Often, our personal leadership is affected, not so much by what we don’t know how to do, but by what we are unwilling to do. And being unwilling to do the hard things required of a leader is often caused by fear and lack of self-esteem.

Self-esteem has two components: It is made up largely of how we see ourselves and how we see others.

First, let’s look at how we see ourselves. – By definition, self-esteem is about how we esteem ourselves.  In other words, it is about how we see ourselves and feel about ourselves when we look in the mirror every morning.

Second, it is about how we see others. – But even that is really a reflection of how we see ourselves.  If we envision everyone around us as being smarter or better qualified than we are, then that is perhaps not a reflection of their skills being greater as much as viewing our own skills as being lesser.  Size is a relative thing.  And if we don’t feel we measure up, everyone tends to look bigger in our own eyes.

Self-esteem has an impact upon how we think, how we feel, how we perform, and our results. It is not a stretch to then say that if the results you are getting from your team do not match your expectations, then possibly the problem may not be with your team.  The problem may involve your self-image, your view, and your approach to leadership.

A strong leader must take a good look at their self-image and be introspective enough to consider how our behaviors impact our team.

The following behaviors just may be a signal that your self-esteem is preventing you from effectively leading.

Continue reading “Is Self-Esteem Affecting Your Leadership?”

Three Circles of Leadership

Three Circles

A few weeks ago I took a look at the ancient roots of strategic leadership.  In case you missed that article, click here and you can get up to speed with my stream of thought that leads us to today’s article.

Socrates observed similarities between businesspeople and generals. Socrates was convinced that a meaningful parallel existed in a businessperson’s focus on profit and loss and the military general’s focus on victory and defeat.

In order be successful as a strategic leader, you must first understand your responsibilities as a strategic leader.  Picture, if you will,  three interlocking circles: “Task, Team and Person.” Each circle represents an “area of need” that you must master, and each skill contains proficiencies that overlap with the others.  Consider these three: Continue reading “Three Circles of Leadership”

Livin’ for the moment . . .

Living for the moment

I’m just livin’ for the moment . . .

How many times have you heard that? How many times have you said that?

One of the definitions that I found for this phrase is as follows:

“To live or act without worrying about the future.”

So, I could say that I am living for the moment[.] – Period. Full stop.

To live in the moment, or to live in the now, means being conscious, aware and in the present with all of your senses. It means not dwelling on the past, nor being anxious or worrying about the future.

When we concentrate our attention on the present we focus on the task at hand. We give our full attention to what we are doing and we let go of outcomes.

Seizing each moment in life allows us to prolong its value and make it more meaningful. Rather than seeking quantity of time, when we live in the moment we enjoy and savor every minute. We don’t sacrifice quality for quantity.

I am fully onboard with the sentiment expressed in these thoughts. As long as we don’t overdo them with psychobabble that no one really understands. In fact, I can embrace the sentiment. Living in the moment allows me to focus on what is before me. My wife, my children, my grandchildren. The thrust of this is to put away the distractions and focus on what is present and not what has happened or may happen.

Or, I could say that I am living for the moment [. . . ] – Ellipsis. To show an unfinished thought. Continue reading “Livin’ for the moment . . .”

Spring Break Ideas for Dad

Spring Break Ideas for Dad

According to recent magazine article, a Swiss company will take the ashes of a dead relative and turn them into a synthetic diamond that you can wear for less than $10,000. That is a little creepy.  But that’s one way to be remembered, I suppose.

I know many of us can’t take off all week and be with our children.  But Spring Break is upon us and this is a great week to make memories with your kids that will last a lifetime.  And you can do it without the “break” in Spring Break be the breaking of the bank!  In fact, some of the ideas won’t cost you a dime!

Spring Break week ends on Friday the 13th here in Humble, TX. So, here are 13 memory-making things to do with your kids this week: Continue reading “Spring Break Ideas for Dad”

Ancient Observations on Leadership


Although strategic leadership focuses on the future, it is, in fact, an ancient concept. The word “Strategy” (strategia in Greek) originally referred exclusively to leadership in a military context. Five hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ, a “strategos” was a Greek senior, experienced, and successful military commander.  It is the equivalent of a modern-day Army general or Navy admiral.

The Greek philosopher Socrates apparently thought often about the subject of strategic leadership. He believed that just as craftsmen learn their skills, so too can ordinary people learn to become capable, even exemplary, leaders.

Xenophon, who became a strategos of great fame, was a member of Socrates’s inner circle. According to Xenophon, Socrates believed that soldiers would follow leaders who demonstrated both competency and knowledge. Xenophon wrote of what high standards Socrates had for any strategos: “He must be Continue reading “Ancient Observations on Leadership”

Buzzword Bingo and Real Leadership

Buzzword Bingo

How many times have you been tempted to play “Buzzword Bingo” in a business meeting?

What?  You don’t know how to play Buzzword Bingo?  Well, let me explain it quickly.

Buzzword Bingo, also known as something a little more “earthy”, is a bingo-style game where participants prepare bingo cards with certain buzzwords that they are likely to hear at a meeting or event.  They mark them off their game card when they are uttered during an event, such as a meeting or speech. The goal of the game is to mark off a predetermined number of words in a row and then yell “Bingo!” It is generally played in situations where audience members feel that the speaker, in an effort to mask a lack of actual knowledge, is relying too heavily on buzzwords rather than providing relevant details.

An important element of the game is having the courage to actually yell “Bingo!” once you have collected enough marks on your card. In order to avoid the repercussions that could result from doing that in a public setting, participants may resort to looking at one another and silently mouthing the word “Bingo”. An alternate variation requires the person who has achieved bingo to raise his or her hand and use the word “Bingo” within the context of a comment or question.

Consider if you would a couple of thoughts regarding the differences between buzzwords and real leadership.

Buzzwords are a poor substitute for the real content.  In fact, that is the key reason that some leaders tend to rely on buzzwords so much.  They really don’t have anything of real substance to offer.

Real leadership, on the other hand, offers a vocabulary of meaningful dialog.  A leader does not have to have the vocabulary of a Mensa member.  But real leaders use words of real substance and they encourage meaningful words of dialog in return. Continue reading “Buzzword Bingo and Real Leadership”