Height & Light Blog

Play by a different set of rules

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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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A Purpose Wake-up Call

Many of you probably heard about the killing of 10 NGO aid workers in Afghanistan late last week.  For most of us, this event was one more in a line of senseless deaths to which we are exposed on a regular basis. To our family, it was personal. Tom Little, the...

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Stuck on broadcast mode

I'm sitting in a hotel lobby with my back to the nearly-vacant bar. Two businessmen are talking to each other about a potential deal they'd like to make. Correction: they're not talking to each other, they're talking at each other. In nearly an hour, I have heard...

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What we can learn from pledge drives

Here's a thought: An old sales adage goes, "Always be closing." I think it's wrong and here's why. I've been listening to NPR for the last 20 years. (At the same time, I subscribe to the Wall Street Journal.) And in those two sentences, I've probably convinced both...

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