Executive Leader Coach


May 2014

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Dave Kinnear, Executive Leader CoachI was calendaring some appointments this morning and was mildly surprised to find that not only were we already in May but that I was putting in several appointments that couldn't be accommodated until June. Yikes. The year is half gone already!

And for me, now it's continue to catch up on my work while at the same time having found a new "passion" for learning more about digital photography. It's getting to be harder to concentrate! And the time passes even faster! Sigh. . . Back to business.

The economy continues to "tick along" at a sustainable rate. The April preliminary job numbers looked very good (we'll see how they get corrected) and our friends at ITR believe housing starts will grow at a slower pace in 2014. They give three reasons for slower housing growth in 2014:

  1. Negative Housing Affordability trend
  2. Negative Homes Sold ratio trend
  3. Negative net Household formations trend

They also see Retail Sales decelerating, Wholesale Trade of Durable and Nondurable goods are up, employment trending up with strong gains in Temporary Service and predict a slowdown in B2B activity. The bottom line is they are predicting slower economic growth in the second half of 2014.

On to leadership topics. In a continuing series, I discuss the topics of Courage and Initiative in the first two articles. David Marquet defines courage as; "Courage means we choose to do the right thing, even if it may be uncomfortable. It means not just doing or saying what subordinates, peers, or superiors want to hear. It means admitting mistakes, even if ugly." Leaders are, as I've said before, comfortable being uncomfortable.

Initiative is another attribute of leadership that is high on the long list of what we want to see in a leader. But even more important, in my mind, is that leaders have to develop in their people a willingness to take initiative. Today, the world is complicated and we use a lot of sophisticated information technology. We need people who think, not just follow orders or procedures. That means they also need to be willing to take initiative. Are you training them to do that? Are you providing a culture that lets them think and take action?

I admit to being backlogged on my book reviews. I've done the reading but am finding it difficult to make time to sit down and write the reviews. One small step in the right direction are the reviews of The Second Machine Age (below) and The Everything Store (on the web site). I chose to make space here for the first book because I believe the information and ideas presented will have a huge impact on how we move forward with respect to employees, productivity, communication and business structure. We are already seeing the significant effect that technology is having on employment. And there is much more to come. This is a compelling book and I hope you can make time to read it.

Finally, in Nullius in verba, I share a bit about how synchronicity shows up in my life. This is just a small example of what seems to be a weekly occurrence of reading or thinking about a topic or concern and having it show up in my life in some other way. Anyway, in this case, I was thinking that we don't really need to have humans onboard ships (especially freighters) to do the sailing and navigating. Sure enough, home from vacation and catching up on audio podcasts, the economist confirmed that we are heading in that direction. It's interesting not just from a maritime employment point of view, but extending the concept to our own lives and businesses.

For those in (or visiting) Orange County, here is an opportunity that I highly recommend. DifferenceMakersOC is an organization I am proud to support and their next event will be raising funds for The Wooden Floor. Here is more information and a way to register for this most excellent event.

Also, over at ENP, there is an excellent event on May 16th at the Employers Group Headquarters - May 16, 2014 – Individual & Leadership Team Brands That Markets and Employers Value. Use case reviews and the contributions of coaching and media experts to learn how to differentiate yourself and your organization behaviorally and visibly in today's noisy marketplace. Also, on May 30th at Taco Bell World Headquarters in Irvine, there is a must attend forum: May 30, 2014 – Next Practices & Emerging Trends in Digital Media, Communications and Publicity. What every business and community leader needs to know about capitalizing and leveraging digital media, improving branding and utilizing new internal/external communication methods. Check the events out here.

So there you have it - the "I can't believe it's already May 2014 Newsletter." Enjoy!

Dave Kinnear

CCE-Board Certified Coach
Vistage Chair

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Leadership: Courage

Mental or Moral Strength

Courage. This leadership attribute comes up in many different ways. We talk about having those fierce conversations with peers, employees and our own superiors. We talk about having the conviction to move ahead in the face of adversity. It all adds up to courage.

According to the on-line Merriam Webster Dictionary:

Read the full post . . .

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Leadership: Initiative

Command and control are out!

Although I’m not particularly fond of it, an often used visual of a “leader” shows her/him out in front of everyone, leading the way. The reason I’m not fond of that visual is that while the leader may be the one taking the initiative, she often isn’t out in front but rather has developed her team with leaders at every level taking initiative. So depending on the topic, in a truly progressive organization you may see different people out front leading change.

Take Initiative. What does it mean to “take initiative?” Here are some definitions to start with:

Read the full post . . .

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Book Review: The Second Machine Age

By Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee

I found this book to be fascinating since I’ve spent my professional life in and around technology companies. Even today while most of the business leaders I work with are not directly in the technology business, all are using and are affected by technology. So I’m still into technology up to my neck.

The second machine age discusses the trends for “Work, Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies.” The outlook is both daunting and hopeful, but there will undoubtedly be much pain along the way.

Read the full review . . .

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Nullius in verba


Its interesting what happens when I have some “downtime.” On our vacation, I had lots of downtime, meaning off the grid, on purpose. So many thoughts went through my head about a whole slew of unrelated topics. One, kind of related to our vacation, occurred to me as I was lounging on the balcony waiting to depart the Port of LA. I had the thought, “why are all those people up on the bridge of this ship?” (The picture is of the crew as we waited for departure.) Most of our airplanes pretty much fly themselves, Google is running around with cars that drive themselves, why is this ship not navigating itself? To be sure, the bridge on modern ships is nothing like “the old days.” There is a lot of automation already with lots of computer screens, joy sticks, etc.

Well, I’m back in the so-called “real” world now. So lots of those thoughts went the way of all perishable items. However, today on my run, I was listening to the Economist audio edition for the week of 3/8 through 3/14/2014 (I told you, off the grid, so I’m behind on lots of stuff!). This edition includes the Technology Quarterly and in it was an article on Marine Technology – Ghost Ships, and yes, it’s what you’d guess, it’s an in depth article on how folks are seriously looking at how to run the ship from a shore-based control room.

Read the full post . . .

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