Values In Today's Marketplace

The sentiment expressed by Vince Lombardi, the legendary former coach of the Green Bay Packers, has reached manifesto status — “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.”

At the other end of the spectrum is the antiquated idea derived from the Grantland Rice poem ‘Alumnus Football’ (1908) — “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.”

Though I’m usually up for a spirited debate, let’s stipulate that it is one thing to believe that winning is the point when we’re talking about our favorite competition.

But an almost blind obsession with finishing on top is far more ubiquitous than just in the games we play

The question is — when competitive juices drive the pursuit of a win at all costs no matter the arena, what is revealed about what we value most?

Surely there are important encounters where winning is decidedly not the only thing.

Continue Reading With deference to Lombardi, Winning is NOT the only thing

When was the last time you heard (or uttered) this phrase in a moment of consequence?

Reflecting, I’m fairly certain I’ve said “I’m sorry.” But that is not the same thing.

Sadly, I don’t remember backing away from a position, strategy or action, and thoughtfully acknowledging having been flat wrong…though there have been plenty of times when it would have been the most appropriate response. 

This blind spot comes with serious consequences.

Continue Reading I Was Wrong

Here are three things to say when your goal is to stifle creativity and bring any conversation about change to a screeching halt.

  • “That {problem / issue / challenge} will always be present.”
  • “You’ll never {gain consensus / get the support necessary} to change that…”
  • “It is what it is.”

There are scores of variations on the theme. But the thesis is the same: discussion is pointless — things will never change / improve — the dye is case.

There is no more poignant indicator of an absence of leadership.

Continue Reading Leaders Pursue Solutions, Relentlessly

There is still time to give a gift that can change everything in the coming year.

The gift? A fresh start. A new beginning. A clean slate.

Give it to everyone with whom you interact — family, colleagues, team members, clients and customers. Extend it even to those from whom you expect to receive little or nothing in return.

And give it to yourself.

Continue Reading New Year. Clean Slate.


I have never been a “morning person.” Anyone who knows me knows I rely on a strong cup of coffee to help shake the cobwebs.

If you share this “condition” I’ll wager we also share an understanding that being slow to wake isn’t the same as not having a compelling reason to greet each day.

A clear vision and its inexorable link to a mission — to the drive to accomplish something — is the reason to consistently show up and bring the best you’ve got.

The more compelling the vision the more it defines our days and gives rise to intentional acts.
Continue Reading What Prompts You To Show Up In The Morning?

When was the last time you were in a room where the problem was a shortage of talk?

Each of us has an experience, a perspective or an insight (or two) worth sharing. The challenge, at least as it relates to building productive relationships, is that some of us (I’m looking in the mirror, FYI) act like the insight is so grand as to warrant the lion’s share of attention in any room.

So there is almost never a shortage of talk.

Meanwhile, interactions where the objective is to listen, intent on learning, are rare.

If you’ve encountered anyone skilled at purposeful listening it might have made you a bit uncomfortable. It almost certainly made an impression.
Continue Reading Is Anyone Really Listening?

I’ve spent the last couple of decades believing the surest way for any team, tribe, enterprise or community to realize its mission is to identify and build around a set of shared values. 

The premise is simple. A group will rarely agree on everything. The identification of a set of common values provides a framework against which strategy, investments and actions can be tested.

Does a particular direction run counter to shared values? If so, it threatens the mission, and should be abandoned or reconstituted.

Shared values are the fabric of culture.

But it turns out I have been cutting the conversation short

Strong groups (of any ilk) intuitively understand that alignment around what we share is the initial hurdle to be cleared in pursuit of any goal. Shared values unite us.
Continue Reading What Do We Value Most?