Executive Leader Coach


February 2014

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Dave Kinnear, Executive Leader CoachWelcome to the new year! I'm thawed out, finally, from our trip to Boston over the year end holidays. Boy was it cold! After more than 22 years in Southern California, my blood is truly thinned out! It sure is good to be back to reasonable weather - although we could use a bit of rain. It's very dry in almost all of California.

Let's get caught up a bit. Here are a couple of book reviews that have posted since our last edition. On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins and Sandra Blakeslee is a very well written book in which the authors describe a "new" model of how our human intelligence has evolved. I find it fascinating and certainly useful in leadership development. Another book, The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson is a well written and well researched book - with which I find some disagreement. Not with the findings per se, but with the choice of words and the conclusions drawn. Still, it's a good read.

One of the things I managed to squeeze in since my return was a three day seminar put on by the NeuroPower Group from Australia. Those of you who follow this newsletter know how interested I am in neuroscience, so this (and the Hawkins book above) sure fit in with my love of discovery. Sum etiamtum (see below!). And of course all of this got me thinking about how we convince ourselves that we understand reality. Do we? Well, as it turns out, not so much. I explore that a bit in the first article below. As leaders, we need to do what we can to make sure we and our team members are seeing what's so and not telling ourselves stories.

And speaking of leaders and leadership development, I'm also mindful of how many times a day I fail as a leader. Not on purpose of course, and the failure isn't what makes me, or you, a leader. I'm just acknowledging the fact that we are preoccupied a good deal of the time and fail to communicate properly, fail to see the real issues and/or fail to support team members when it would be appropriate to do so. I explore this thought a bit more in the second article.

In the third article, I take up a topic that seems to be on everyone's mind. At least, there are lots of questions and discussion in the leadership circles I frequent. That is, what are we doing to make sure we retain our good employees? It's beginning to be obvious that hiring is picking up and headhunters are contacting our people. Data seems to indicate that we are still looking to find the "right people" among the ranks of the employed rather than the unemployed. The question is, are you paying attention?

Finally, in the Nullius in verba column, I share with you the main theme I've set for myself for 2014. It too is a Latin phrase, "sum etiamtum" meaning "I'm still learning." I have much to focus on in that department. There are continuing education credits to earn for my coaching credential, advances in neuroscience to follow and a never ending amount of information on leadership development. Life sure isn't boring! As Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being." So as you look out over the business scene for 2014, what are you doing to keep your organization learning?

Don't forget to check out the events at our friends over at ENP. There is a lot of leadership development going on over there, so take a peek.


Dave Kinnear

CCE-Board Certified Coach
Vistage Chair

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Nothing ruins a good story like good research

The stories I tell myself often turn out to be less than accurate!

Either your own good research or someone else’s good research. It’s a bummer. It has to do with confirmation bias. We tend to find facts, data and anecdotes that support our hypothesis. When we “put ourselves out there” and make a definitive statement as though it is factual, and then have someone who happens to “know” spout off some valid research that totally ruins our story, it’s a real bummer.

Read full post . . .

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Leaders Fail - every day

Certainly we don't try to fail, but . . .

How do I fail thee? Let me count the ways. The number seems infinite. The possibilities for failure seems infinite. Good leaders fail, many times, every day. That’s not what makes them good leaders; it is what makes them human. They are good, maybe even great leaders despite their failures.

I miss important signals about what you’re feeling because I’m in “problem solving mode.” I may even miss the real issue because I interpret what you’re saying through my own filters and forget to ask if I understand you completely. I unwittingly say things you find demotivating because I am in a hurry and want to make my point quickly. I tune out sometimes, even when you’re speaking directly to me.

Read full post . . .

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Are you paying attention?

I know, you're busy. BUT . . .

Things are popping in your business. Customers are becoming more demanding. Orders are filling the factory and your sales team has a decent pipeline going. You’re thinking about maybe even hiring a couple of really good people. Guess what. The same is true of many of your competitors. Things are looking up in the economy and people are a bit more optimistic.

This situation is not lost on your employees. They are being contacted by headhunters and search people. They may be ready for a change. Are you taking care of them?

Read full post . . .

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Nullius in verba

Sum etiamtum

Sum etiamtum – I am still learning. That’s my theme for this New Year.

As I think about the new year I can't help but wonder a bit about what's in store for us and marvel at how technology has accelerated (and will continue to accelerate) the pace of change with which we must contend. I don’t spend a lot of time wondering about the future, it seems like a bit of a waste to me. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in planning, it’s just that I automatically assume that the plan will be revised. The future never really comes and the past is, well, it’s past. We can’t affect it. So the only thing we can effectively deal with is what’s going on right now.

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