The Leadership Lesson They Don’t Teach In Business School

I’ve always believed leadership exists to disrupt mediocrity, but I’m afraid in recent times many leaders are losing that battle. Somewhere along the way, they threw in the towel and settled for a weak-kneed, watered-down version of leadership – they have rationalized and justified themselves into an acceptance of mediocrity. The sad reality is that in many cases, the education, training and…

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Top 10 Reasons Diversity is Good for the Boardroom

I do quite a bit of work on matters of board composition, selection, and succession, and what I can tell you is this; board diversity is simply smart business. You'll never hear me recommend diversity solely for the sake of checking a box, but when diversity in the boardroom offers so many benefits to the CEO (and to the entire organization) it's nothing short of irresponsible for chief…

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What the NFL Can Learn from a Civil War Soldier

"Beware how you take away hope from another human being." — Oliver Wendell Holmes This week, the Miami Dolphins stole headlines from their NFL competitors.  Unfortunately for the league, the Dolphins, and the rest of us, the way their players talk and not the way they play invited the scrutiny. Words are unique to the human condition and the thread that connects us to this quilt of humanity.…

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The #1 Problem Every Leader Has But Isn’t Aware Of

  * This column was originally published on Forbes.com Let’s cut right to the chase – the biggest problem all leaders face is problem solving itself. The job of every leader is to avoid, minimize or altogether eliminate problems. When the inevitable problems do arise, it’s a leader’s job to turn said problems into opportunity. The issue is this; most leaders are woefully inept when it comes…

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Clear Counsel – How Sweet the Sound

By Brian Layer Chief Executive Officer, N2Growth When you want to know how your leadership is working--ask.  Years ago, I learned this lesson when I received some unsolicited advice that challenged my professionalism, served as a wakeup call, and changed the arc of my career.  The counsel came from a subordinate as I was leaving an important leadership position but it would have come earlier if…

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8 Ways To Spot Great Leadership

If you ever wonder why we’re in a crisis of leadership all you have to do is to watch and listen to those in positions of leadership. While there are clearly many aspects of leadership that must work together in harmony in order for leaders to be effective, everything breaks down when leaders don’t understand how to engage effectively. The saying "success leaves clues" couldn't be more true for…

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The Silent CEO Addiction Killing Productivity and Talent Development

Corporate America’s dependency on consulting firms is nothing short of substance abuse in the purest form. The fact is most CEOs suffer from this very dangerous addiction and they don’t even know it – they are clearly in need of an intervention. Addicts don’t often admit they have a problem. They tend to rationalize and justify their behavior as normal. Here’s the thing – normal doesn’t always…

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A Simple Lesson from the Declaration of Independence

By Brian Layer Chief Executive Officer, N2Growth Fifty-six Continental Congressmen signed the Declaration of Independence in July 1776.  With each quill stroke, the men committed treason and placed at risk their lives, fortune, and sacred honor. The act was more than symbolic; it added weight to the cause and tied their personal fate to the Revolution.  There was no denying they had skin in the…

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When in Doubt, Rehearse!

By Brian Layer Chief Executive Officer, N2Growth Lately I’ve seen several leaders trip over the unexpected outcome of a grand plan. They failed to anticipate the mistakes and mishaps that happen in all organizations.  When I see an outcome surprise a leader, I’m reminded of a lesson I learned years ago from my Dad.

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A Leadership Trait that Saved America

By Brian Layer, Chair, Organizational Development, N2Growth Today the U.S. Army celebrates its 238th birthday.  Looking back, its growth into comfortable old age seems inevitable but in its youth that outcome was far from certain. In 1783 on the Ides of March, the inseparable fates of our Army and Republic were very much in doubt; disgruntled officers of the fledgling Army were gathered in a…

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Leadership and Memorial Day

Is Memorial Day weekend just another holiday or does it mean something more to you? While this weekend simply signifies a long awaited prelude to summer for some, it is much more than that for others. As a veteran and lifelong student of leadership I have always found Memorial Day weekend to be one of the most meaningful and significant of all holidays. In the text below I’ll share  why I believe…

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Leadership and Simplicity

One of the most effective ways to order your world is to simplify everything you encounter. However the problem for many is keeping it simple often becomes very difficult when our basic human nature is to over-complicate everything we touch. In thinking about the people I respect the most, to the one, they possess the uncanny ability to take the most complicated of issues and simplify them. You…

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It’s Not Impossible – It Just Hasn’t Been Done Yet

How many times in your career have you witnessed someone say, “that’s impossible – it simply can’t be done.” Perhaps you’ve even been guilty of uttering such a phrase yourself. Here’s the thing – leaders don’t accept impossibility as a valid thesis. If you think I’ve lost my mind, or that my optimistic nature has crossed over into a state of irrational exuberance or delusion, I’d encourage you…

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Flattery and Manipulation

All leaders have blind spots, and blind spots simply pose potential areas of vulnerability. However not all blind spots are created equal. Few things create areas of risk for leaders like their own sense of pride and ego. Here's the thing -  a leader's desire to have their ego stroked makes them vulnerable to a very seductive form of manipulation - flattery. The most common form of manipulation…

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100% Of Companies Have This Problem

Process... just the mere use of the word can spread fear and panic in the workplace. This sad reality exists for a reason and 100% of companies unnecessarily suffer from a process problem. They suffer to varying degrees, but they are nonetheless suffering. The good news is bad process is one of the easiest things for leaders to remedy. By simply being willing to stop the madness and reclaim the…

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Leading In An Avalanche

The point I want you to take away from the video below and the text that follows is an avalanche need not always end in disaster. Pushing the envelope is something all leaders must get comfortable with. It's when leaders push themselves and those they lead past comfort zones that great things happen. Sometimes leaders need to cause an avalanche, and sometimes they'll need to react to one caused…

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