UNLEASHING POTENTIAL IN STORYCENTRIC COMMUNITIES

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Spotting Leadership Potential

Spotting Leadership Potential

The real leaders in many organizations are not obvious by their positions. Often they are hidden, but identifying them for development and future leadership is critical to the organization’s success. Based on observation in diverse organizational sectors that span the globe, here are four indicators to spot leadership potential. Identifying people for leadership roles who possess these latent abilities – even if they are still in raw form – is crucial since these characteristics are

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The Toxic Leader’s Seductive Promises

The Toxic Leader’s Seductive Promises

Following Toxic Leaders Most of us claim to be repulsed by toxic leaders, those who engage in destructive behaviors that result in serious and enduring harm to their followers. But the troubling reality is that people often follow them, and remain under their spell even when we clearly know their corruption and cruelty. Exploiting Followers What are the forces that entice followers, again and again, to accept and often favor these piranhas? In The Allure of

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Lionizing J. Edgar Hoover

Lionizing J. Edgar Hoover

J. Edgar Hoover A 2011 film featured Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI’s Director for nearly fifty years. DiCaprio aptly depicted this 20th century symbol of unbridled political power whose abusive leadership was well known. Yet presidents, the press, and ordinary citizens venerated Hoover even as he perpetrated reprehensible acts, including blackmailing politicians and railroading innocent people to protect informants. Today the FBI building in Washington, D.C. still proudly bears his name. Hoover’s

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Emotional Intelligence and Communism

Emotional Intelligence and Communism

I was teaching Emotional Intelligence (EQ) to a group of Christian executives. The attendees were gathered from various locations throughout Europe. I took my usual approach to present the topic, explaining that leaders who adjust their behavior to the needs of those they lead – self-regulation – are better at motivating others. I demonstrated through research and several true stories that this leadership behavior often generates a greater level of worker satisfaction that results in

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The Badgers Are Good For Basketball

The Badgers Are Good For Basketball

The magical ride of the Wisconsin Badgers included a national semifinal victory over the previously undefeated Kentucky Wildcats. Although their season ended in a heartbreaking loss for the national championship, the story of Wisconsin’s coach and most celebrated player is one for the record books. After Catholic prep school in Lisle, Illinois, Frank Kaminski came to the University of Wisconsin to play basketball for Coach Bo Ryan. As a freshman, Kaminski was a lackluster performer.

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Benchmarking and Vanilla Ice Cream

Benchmarking and Vanilla Ice Cream

Benchmarking is an aspect of strategic planning that has been widely accepted in recent years. It is the practice of comparing one’s organizational products or performance to others considered industry bests. Much can be said in its advocacy, but it has one potentially serious liability: benchmarking can result in vanilla ice cream. Benchmarking Best Practices The typical benchmarking process happens when management identifies “best practices” in their respective field, and compares the results and processes

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Another Dent In the Universe

Another Dent In the Universe

Steve Jobs, digital visionary and legendary founder of Apple, once said about his company, “We’re here to put a dent in the universe.” Jim Bowman, communication visionary and founder of Scriptures in Use, has put another dent in the universe. Jim was a successful advertising executive with Tucson Newspapers. His wife Carla was a tenured teacher in the Tucson school system. They retired from their careers in 1987 and went as missionaries to serve the

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What al Qaeda Can Teach the Church

What al Qaeda Can Teach the Church

A Decentralized Leadership Structure Osama bin Laden, former core leader of al Qaeda, and mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, was killed by US Navy SEALs on May 2, 2011. Yet al Qaeda has continued to advance throughout the Muslim-majority world since bin Laden’s death. Multiple reasons contribute to their persistent progress, but one key issue stands out: al Qaeda’s decentralized leadership structure. Within a few months after bin Laden’s death, it was tragically clear that national

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Hillary’s Distorted Lens

Hillary’s Distorted Lens

Hillary Clinton’s private email server “scandal” has dominated most news outlets this week. In her role as Secretary of State, all emails on that server were supposed to be a matter of public record. Her resistance to turn over some of those emails has drawn sharp criticism from both sides of the political aisle. Julie Pace, AP White House correspondent wrote, “It’s difficult for [Hillary Clinton’s] complicated explanations about allegations to compete with the simplicity

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The Leader’s Lens of Conscience

The Leader’s Lens of Conscience

Human conscience acts like a judge, alternately accusing and defending us. Leaders rely on it. If the lens of conscience is clear, its job is to tap us on the shoulder and point out whether our walk matches our talk. In a perfect world, conscience acts as a safeguard to let me know I’m on track or as an arbiter to tell me I’m off course. Unfortunately, in real time, leadership gets complex and messy. The

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Tell Stories – Build Trust

Tell Stories – Build Trust

Uncommon Bond: What is your story? I was part of an extraordinary work team during the 90s. The members were smart and talented to be sure. But what really made this team special was an uncommon bond of trust that we built by telling stories. Most members of the team were recent college grads, and were at the front end of their careers. Their generation is different from mine; they insisted that the first step

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Popping the Lid: Human potential catalyzed by encouragement

Popping the Lid: Human potential catalyzed by encouragement

Fleas can jump up to 200 times their size. Put them in a jar with a lid on it, and they are soon jumping only as high as they can without hitting the lid. One Sunday I was the guest speaker at a small church. I went to the pastor’s home for the noon meal after the service. As we sat at the table, I could tell that this lunch was different; the pastor’s wife

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