Category Archives: Coaching

When Efficiency Is The Wrong Answer

Several weeks ago, we took our kids to LEGOLAND. As we were leaving the park one afternoon, we stopped into one of the many retail stores and purchased a LEGO set for Luke and a few gifts for friends.


It was a hot, busy day at the park and I felt sorry for the employees. I have family in the retail industry and I’ve seen how grueling retail work can be, especially in less than ideal conditions. When I got to the front of the line, a college aged man greeted me:

“How is your visit at LEGOLAND today?” he asked with a warm smile.

Brené Brown, Vulnerability, Empathy and Leadership

Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston’s Graduate School of Social Work, and she’s dedicated her career to the study of such topics as vulnerability, empathy, courage and shame. Her 2010 TEDxHouston talk on The Power of Vulnerability has over 16 million views as of this writing, and even though I’ve seen it myself nearly a dozen times I continue to find it inspiring and insightful.

While Brown’s message resonates with such a large audience because of the universality of her themes, she talks about vulnerability and empathy in a way that I believe has specific relevance for leaders, which is why I often make use of her work with my coaching clients and MBA students at Stanford. Here’s the key passage in Brown’s 2010 talk, in which she describes findings from her research on the extent to which different people feel love and belonging in their lives:

Can You Change Your Roar?

In the middle of the 20th century, Swiss theologian Karl Barth gradually published a series of book volumes that became celebrated works in his field. Since these came later in life, he occasionally referred to his earlier writings.

Lion roar

In one notable passage, he quotes one of his prior works and then invokes a line from Demetrius in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

How To Be Efficient With Organizational Change

When I was a kid, I was never satisfied with the performance of my Fisher-Price walkie-talkies. In my early teens, I finally made the case to my parents that I needed something more powerful.

AA batteries

I saved up and purchased two Radio Shack TRC–219 citizens band walkie-talkies. Five full watts of transmitting power meant I could theoretically reach people on the other side of town.

It also resulted in my constant search for 10 AA batteries (yes, 10) that each radio needed to run. I was constantly digging around for batteries in the junk drawer in my parents’ house.

Startup Communication

On Friday I facilitated a workshop on Startup Communication aimed at helping an early-stage company’s employees work together more effectively.

I feel privileged to work with all my clients, but in this case it’s fair to say that it was particularly rewarding to work with a company whose mission I hold in such high regard.

148: The Four Stories Leaders Need For Influence [PODCAST]

Leaders often hear about influence through storytelling, but don’t know where to start. Here are four stories to tell and how to get started.

David Hutchens

Guest: David Hutchens
Author of the Upcoming Book: Circle of the 9 Muses: A Storytelling Field Guide for Innovators

Storytelling is utilized for influence

146: Three Things To Stop Doing In Leadership [PODCAST]

Perspective from Steve Richardson, author of Become a Better Leader in 30 Days (affiliate), on what to stop doing in leadership.

Steve Richardson

Guest: Steve Richardson
Author, Become A Better Leader in 30 Days