Height & Light Blog

Play by a different set of rules

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Dirty Word(s) #28 – Bad News

Most of us hate delivering bad news and go to great lengths to avoid those conversations.  We think that bad news damages relationships.  A recent conversation with a very successful business leader challenged that assumption. The leader in question is chairman of a...

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Should I send that email?

Some of you may have heard the stir about Virginia Thomas' recent voicemail to Anita Hill.  (If you're too young to know who these people are, I'm going to hate you for three seconds.  There. I'm good now.) I'll leave the political commentary on that situation to...

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Go ahead, be rare

I love Seth Godin's blog (thanks, Jeff McKay for turning me on to it).  His posts often whack me on the side of the head and inspire me to take action instead of hanging back in the shadows.  And often I agree with him. Except today. In today's post, Seth talks about...

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Turning Points

In the wake of the dramatic rescue of the miners in Chile, many of those involved are drawing lessons from the experience.  Here's a sampling: Chile's president has vowed to review mine safety standards in the country.  He sees it as a turning point in working...

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When questions are better than answers

Many leaders think that the answers they give (or the statements they make) are the most important thing they contribute to a conversation. I think they're wrong and here's why. Some time ago, I was in a conference room loaded with experienced, talented people trying...

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Sometimes being human is enough

A few weeks ago, before giving a talk on how to get your organization obsessed with customers, I talked with another presenter about how hard it can be to increase customer focus.  She mentioned a column by Peggy Noonan (Ronald Reagan's former speechwriter), written...

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Streaks

Momentum is a funny thing.  Leaders spend a lot of time and energy trying to create positive momentum.  Whether they're doing strategic planning, reviewing progress of key initiatives, or coaching a key staff member, they're putting things in motion.  It's what they...

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Dirty Word #27 – Dumb Phones

I have a smartphone.  You probably do too. Here's the problem: sometimes they're really dumb. (And no, I'm not talking about texting while driving - a habit I'm currently trying to break.) Yes, this is dumb. But wait, there's more! I had a client a while ago whose...

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Please don’t ask this question

Some time ago, I saw a presentation from a very well-known IT consulting group that advocated going out and asking internal stakeholders a question: "What can we do to help?" I couldn't disagree strongly enough. No, I haven't suddenly given up wanting to help people....

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The Most Important Promise

We're all in the promise business. If you're a marketing leader, your brand makes a promise that the rest of the organization must keep.  If you're an executive, you're making promises to your people that your fellow leaders and your HR team must keep. If you're in...

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Velcro or Teflon?

Much has been written about making your message sticky.   Here's a different perspective on the stickiness question: Is your organization velcro or teflon? Let me explain. When we work with clients who are trying to bring their vision to life, they inevitably come to...

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Dirty Word #26 – Enough!

One of the joys of having a DVR is that I generally watch commercials at warp speed.  Admit it, you do too. But I was in a hotel last week and thus without my friendly DVR so I noticed an ad that quickly had me wondering if it was real or an ornate spoof. Ladies and...

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