Height & Light Blog

Play by a different set of rules

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What do you want in your coffee table book?

Imagine it's your last day of work. You're about to retire and someone walks up to you with a book full of notes from people you have served over the years - clients, staff, colleagues, bosses, partners. They have a personal note for you about the contribution you...

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Why are colleagues exasperating?

For all of the challenges clients create, most of what I hear from leaders tells me that relationships with colleagues cause even more persistent problems. That's often puzzled me. After all, we're on the same team with our colleagues. We have a lot in common simply...

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Dirty Word #10 – Trust

David Maister recently participated in Charles Green's Carnival of Trust and pointed us to Anne Truitt Zelenka's post on Trust, the Secret Sauce for Virtual Teams. While much of my work is with in-person teams, I agree that trust within the team is the basic...

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Who owns the problem?

What's your first reaction when the person you're coaching brings a problem or question to you? If you're like me, you want to leap from your chair and give them the answer. Why? I can't speak for you, but I like helping people and I like feeling smart. If I can give...

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Leadership is a Choice

A recent conversation with a leader at a professional firm about why great leaders do what they do got my attention. It went something like this: Me: It sounds like we agree that people in your position have a huge impact on client satisfaction and the satisfaction of...

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What if they don’t want to?

Some time ago, I was talking with a friend about a company that is heading for a cliff. The tricky part is that the leaders of this family business don't see the cliff coming. So they're driving along happily toward a crash. My friend expressed his frustration about...

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Focus on what you WANT

This weekend's U10 boy's soccer game once again provided great illustrations for how helping people get better at... whatever it is you want them to be better at. Our team was up against a tough team with a very talented striker and a screamer coach (you know the kind...

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More popular advice you shouldn’t take

I have a friend who finds himself between jobs. He's marvelously talented, has a solid track record, and is in the prime of his career. He also has three months of severance, a couple of young kids who like to eat, and a mortgage. In my work with senior leaders, I...

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Getting the momentum back

One problem that challenges every coach is the loss of momentum. Whether it's the summer vacation period, an intense work project that takes you or your colleague out of action for a period of time, or just that occasional and unavoidable scheduling blip, we all face...

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Popular advice you shouldn’t take

A recent Wall Street Journal article listed financial tips that you shouldn't take. It got me thinking about all of the trouble we can avoid by just steering clear of conventional wisdom when it's not so wise after all. If you spend enough time in the sales function,...

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Dirty Word #9 – Gratitude

I just returned from the Breast Cancer Three-Day walk in Chicago. Besides nursing blisters bigger than I had imagined possible, I'm taking away another very important thought from the experience. And that's the power of gratitude. Over the course of three days, about...

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Are you a net creator or destroyer of talent?

A recent lead article in the Wall Street Journal caught my attention. It tells of the conflicting "failure narratives" circulating through the officer corps of the US military about the campaign in Iraq. Different officers from different branches and with different...

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