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Great Leaders Develop People Intentionally

Triple crown leaders—ones who build excellent, ethical, and enduring organizations or teams—focus not just on recruiting great people but also developing them intentionally. They focus on developing people systematically and continually. Unfortunately, many leaders fail miserably when it comes to developing people. Most organizations leave development mostly up to individuals, acting on their own initiative, in their “spare time.” What a waste. Such a passive approach is likely to yield little. According to “The State of Talent Management,” a study of 700 senior leaders, most organizations hold their executives and managers accountable for achieving business results, but only 10 percent

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Penguins lining up for interviews

How Great Leaders Recruit People with Heart

“Acquiring and keeping good people is a leader’s most important task.” –John Maxwell, leadership author How much scrutiny do you use in assessing people for your team? What do you look for? And how? Triple crown leaders—ones who build organizations that are excellent, ethical, and enduring—systematically recruit people with specific characteristics. They invest their precious time and energy to get it right. They are always on the lookout for good people and staying in touch with candidates. The worst time to start the hiring process is when someone has left a position vacant. Smart leaders are always searching for talent,

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head and heart

The Importance of Heart in Leadership

In “triple crown leadership,” our framework for how to build organizations that are excellent, ethical, and enduring, both head and heart are required for exceptional leadership. In most workplaces, it’s almost all head power. We need much more heart power in leadership. The way most leaders go about identifying and developing talent is utterly insufficient for what is needed to create a triple crown organization. They focus mostly on the head and neglect the heart. They focus almost exclusively on hard skills and capabilities like knowledge, skills, expertise, and other conventional indicators. Of course, those factors are critical. Sometimes raw

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What We Can Learn from the Olympics about Life and Leadership

With the Olympics underway­­­—with all the competition, drama, and intrigue—what can we learn from them not only about excellence and teamwork but also about life and leadership? Sure we admire the grueling physical feats and the mental preparation. The years of punishing practices, discipline, focus, and skill-building that go into the nine-second sprint, the epic overtime soccer match, or the attempt to shatter records. Part of what’s great about the Olympics is the quest for excellence—and the occasional flash of it that electrifies the world. “Excellent” is one of the three components of our “triple crown leadership” model (the others

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Tribute to General Jack Chain—An Extraordinary Leader

A great leader and our dear family friend, Four-Star Air Force General John T. (Jack) Chain died peacefully in his sleep this month at the age of 86. All who knew Jack mourn his loss and are grateful for the time he had with us. Jack and his dear wife Judie were neighbors of Bob and June not long ago in the Vail Valley of Colorado. We shared many wonderful hours with them at dinners, parties, and on the golf courses and ski slopes. Once Gregg and Bob learned about Jack’s extraordinary leadership in the U.S. Air Force, we interviewed

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Leadership for the Long Haul—The Endurance Imperative

It’s one thing for an organization to achieve outstanding results. It’s another thing to do so ethically. And it’s another thing altogether to get outstanding results ethically and to sustain it over time. Leadership for the long haul. “Enduring” is the third imperative of what we call “triple crown leadership” (excellent, ethical, and enduring). By “enduring,” we mean standing the test of time and operating sustainably. Some organizations accomplish impressive feats by pulling out all the stops, sacrificing the long term for the short term. They cut corners for temporary advantage. Big mistake. Eventually, they face a rude awakening. They

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Leadership and the Ethics Imperative

It’s one thing to achieve outstanding results. It’s another thing to do so ethically, especially when others are cutting corners. Operating ethically is the second imperative of what we call “triple crown leadership” (excellent, ethical, and enduring). To us, “ethical” means acting in accordance with accepted principles of right and wrong: acting with integrity. Leaders must pay attention to how results are achieved. Triple crown leaders insist on doing the right thing, even when it’s costly or hard. All leaders confront ethical challenges and dilemmas. Many people take ethical leadership for granted. While they have sophisticated financial spreadsheets and multifaceted

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Leadership and the Excellence Imperative

Getting results is one of the preeminent tasks of leadership. What we call “triple crown leadership” (from our book of the same name) seeks not just any results, but excellent results—exceptional outcomes. It strives for the pinnacle of performance. (Our “triple crown leadership” model has three aims: excellent, ethical, and enduring. Leaders should begin with this question: What kind of leadership does it take to build an organization that is excellent, ethical, and enduring?) Without strong results, you’re unlikely to remain a leader for long.   Beacons of Excellence In different fields, there are beacons of excellence. For advanced military

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What’s Your Leadership Quest?

It’s time to raise your leadership game. What’s your leadership quest? What are you seeking to do through your leadership, and where do you want to take your team or organization? What kind of leadership does it take to build excellent, ethical, and enduring organizations? How can we lead ventures for both high performance and positive impact on all stakeholders? How can we avoid breakdowns? We know it’s possible, because we’ve seen it in action and been part of it. Most people want to be successful, maintain their integrity, and have a positive impact. These aspirations are powerful, but they’re

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Back to Normal? Not So Fast

In fortunate parts of the world, there’s a palpable sense of relief and celebration as life begins to get back to normal after a brutal pandemic year. In some quarters, there’s jubilation—and rightly so after so many shocks to so many for so long. And of course the pandemic rages on, with so many people suffering, struggling, recovering, mourning, and more. But back to normal? Not so fast. We sense, beneath the surface, that this is an opportunity to revisit and reinvent. Surely there are some things we just want to bring back—things we missed. But we should be wary

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Tips for New Graduates on Life, Work, and Making Big Decisions

With graduation season upon us, new graduates have much to celebrate after navigating a brutal year. Now they face a big transition from school to work (or further school, or gap year, or other pursuits). Here are my tips for new graduates to help them craft their life and work–and make big decisions that will serve them well.   Your work now is to find your work Don’t commit prematurely to the first path you walk. Don’t over-invest in or over-identify with a professional area without having pressure-tested the reality of it against your initial conception of it. Don’t satisfice.

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The Comparison Trap

We all fall into traps in life. One of the most common is the comparison trap: constantly comparing ourselves to others and judging our worth by how we stack up—mostly on things that are superficial and unimportant: Where do I live? What do I drive? How much do I make? Where do I fall in the social hierarchy? According to researchers, this kind of comparative thinking is common: “…the urge to make comparisons is strong. Our research has found that more than 10% of daily thoughts involved making a comparison of some kind.” -Dr. Amy Summerville, “Is Comparison Really the

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The Urgency of Sustainable Leadership—and the Promise of Social Entrepreneurship

On this Earth Day, we honor our planet and recognize the importance of climate action and environmental stewardship. We acknowledge our interdependence—and the gravity of the stakes if we fail to meet the moment. What is the role of business in this epic challenge of sustainable leadership? Of leaders and entrepreneurs? Of all of us?   The Role of Business in Sustainable Leadership Business leaders of course must address cash, profits, and growth as they manage their venture’s financial health amidst market pressures. Thankfully, there are not just costs associated with environmental stewardship but real opportunities. “For far-sighted companies, the environment

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Are You Drifting through Life?

“Let us consider the way in which we spend our lives.” -Henry David Thoreau How did I get here? Is this what I wanted for my life? Is this what I chose? Or am I drifting through life? Life can be messy. Many of us go long stretches of our lives on autopilot. We sleepwalk through our days. “It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten-track for ourselves.” -Henry David Thoreau One of the common traps of living is drifting through life: getting carried along by the current of outside influences, without

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