Executive Leader Coach


June 2014

Dear Friend and Colleague,

Dave Kinnear, Executive Leader CoachLots of things are going on as I write this newsletter. The FCC has come down with their much leaked proposal for regulating the internet, and yes, all of communications - according to telecom attorney Berin Szoka. My personal belief is that the whole topic is fraught with danger. Not the least of which is that congress has once again ducked its responsibility to legislate. So now the FCC will wade into this morass and very likely generate a set of not well thought out regulations. Or perhaps well thought out by the cable guys. Consumers and entrepreneurs beware.

On the economic front, our friends at ITR maintain their stance that while there is no "recession" ahead, the last part of 2014 will be flat or perhaps slightly up. Largely it seems, based on sluggish housing starts, slow retail sales and slow job growth. However, the word from the trend guys is, "Despite slowing growth, you should remain positive over the next seven quarters. It is critical for planning that you remember we are headed for a slowdown and not a breakdown."

And, on a personal note, I'll slip in that once again I find myself training for a long run. Only this year, as promised, it's not a marathon but rather only a half marathon. I'm still finding it difficult to give up my weekends to training, but it is much easier than training for the full marathon.

Sometimes it is fun to hear or read about a new word. Recently I learned about the new word "humbition." As I explain in the first article below, Jane Harper apparently coined the word. She believes that humbition is what drives successful people. You might agree with her.

Do you have a "pet peeve?" Most of us do. Sometimes it's something lots of folks seem to do. For me, it's usually something folks say. One such issue is the "incorrect" use of the word comprise. It is "incorrect" to say something is "comprised of . . ." At least, it used to be incorrect (hence the scare quotes). I notice that it is now an accepted use of the word. However, I still insist that the proper use is the "old" use, such as - the book comprises several chapters on leadership skills. It may be composed of, but it comprises!

Here's another pet peeve that I discuss in the second article. During a meeting or a debate or a conversation, one of the participants will out with the discussion killing phrase, "The truth is . . ." Yikes! YOU have THE Truth?!?!? How clever of you. Seriously, what a conversation killer that is. It reminds me of the T-shirt my kids bought for me. It had a picture of Grumpy on it. You will recall him as one of the seven dwarfs from the world of Snow White. Beneath his picture it declared - "I'm right, You're wrong. End of debate." Cute. I wonder why they bought that particular shirt for me? Anyway, I discuss this a bit more in the second article.

And along those same lines of thought, I explore a bit about conversation and meaning. We frequently hear folks talk about how "the other person" is at least as responsible as they are in a conversation. They usually mean that it's a 50-50 deal; that is, you have half the responsibility to make sure you hear things properly. Well, what if in a conversation I declare that I am 100% responsible for what gets heard? By that same token, what if you too take 100% responsibility for what gets heard? Wouldn't we have a much better opportunity to communicate clearly?

It seems to be generally agreed in leadership and coaching circles that our organizations must shift to creating leadership at every level. Two main requirements for doing that are making sure our folks have the technical competencies required and also to make sure there is clarity of values and purposes. How can we do that if we leave half the communication "understanding" to someone else? No, instead, we as leaders must be 100% responsible for what gets heard. If we don't bother to check to be sure, then we are taking a huge chance. More on this topic in the third article.

In the Nullius in verba column, I fall on my sword and admit that I am never going to appear on Dancing with the Stars. I know. It's a bummer. You were sooo wanting to see me  on the small screen. But that's not going to happen. Even so, it didn't keep me from opining about leadership and dancing. You can read that twisted tale in this month's Nullius in verba article.

Finally, I want to point out a group which I dearly love to support and that is DifferenceMakersOC (DMOC). This is a fabulous group of professionals who gather three or four times a year to support a local OC charity that is doing good work in the community but is not well recognized. All the proceeds from the ticket sales go to the charity being highlighted at the event.

Recently, DMOC was able to put up its first website. Why not stop over and give them a quick look (link is above). Better yet, why not speak to one of us for an  invitation to attend the next event?

Late Breaking News: We were all edited and ready to schedule this newsletter when I received new information. Readers of this newsletter and the ELC blog will know that I am a huge fan of Capt. L. David Marquet, USN (Ret.) and his unparalleled leadership book, Turn the Ship Around!. Well, The Navy has added it to the Chief of Naval Operations Professional Reading Program. Quite an honor for Capt. Marquet. Congratulations Sir!


Dave Kinnear

CCE-Board Certified Coach
Vistage Chair

Back to top

Leadership: Humbition

One part humility and one part ambition

What is “Humbition?" Jane Harper, a 30-year veteran of IBM, devoted much of her professional life to helping IBM leaders change their approach to innovation, collaboration and leadership. Humbition, she explains, is a blend of humility and ambition that drives the most successful business people. She says that the term was coined by researchers at Bell Labs who were looking to describe the personal attributes of the most effective scientists and engineers.

This is an interesting and useful word – humbition.

Read full post . . .

Back to top


"The truth is . . ."

Amazing how some folks have the Truth!

I hear this phrase frequently during discussions and meetings. Someone will inevitably start a statement or counter someone else’s comment with the assertion “The truth is . . .” How can that statement be accurate? As leaders, should we let it stand? A more accurate statement might be, “A truth is . . .” or better yet, my favorite is “In my view . . . ” There are many other ways to get the point across that the person speaking sees things a bit differently. “The truth is” statement is like using “but” in a sentence. It negates all that goes before it. When someone states that a particular view is the “Truth,” it generally shuts down further conversation and dialogue. As leaders, that is usually the last thing we want.

Read the full post . . .

Back to top

Conversation and Meaning

YOU are 100% responsible for what gets heard.

A circuitous route has brought me to this blog post topic. Here’s the short version. As often happens, my wife made a statement directed to me; she gave me information. I heard and acknowledged that I had heard her. Then what she desired and expected did not happen (interpret that as doghouse time for me.) Next situation: I recently spoke at a gathering comprising Executive MBA students and a group of their mentors. The topic was networking. Many of the folks attending stopped to say they “got it,” and appreciated my shared insights. Several stopped by to chat and the results from my point of view is that through that brief chat they disclosed that they did NOT “get it.” Add to these two recent incidents that a long time ago, I was given to believe that regardless of conventional wisdom on the subject, I am 100% responsible for what gets heard in my conversations.

Read the full post . . .

Back to top

Nullius in verba

Leadership and dance

My wife will tell you that I can’t dance. Not really dance. No danger of you seeing me on Dancing With the Stars or any other such foolishness. And she’s right. I get out there and shuffle around. My feet keep time with the music, move in a predictable pattern, but there’s no real fluidity to my upper body. It’s pretty bad actually. But I still get out there even though I know it must be a bit funny looking. I enjoy the movement and the music, so I don’t mind if it’s not elegant.

Read the full post . . .

Back to top