Why it doesn’t pay to follow the leader

Why it doesn’t pay to follow the leader

Why it doesn't pay to follow the leader


It’s fall in New England, and there are certain activities that are a must-do before the season is over.

There is funnel cake at the fair, apple picking, and a warm apple cider donut or two.  The sights and smells of fall are not limited to leaf peeping, though that’s certainly on the list as well.

One of the other treats I’ve come to enjoy, that I hadn’t experienced before moving here, is a good corn maze.  More and more farms are carving elaborate paths through their corn, with clues to help children young and old find their way.

A few weeks ago, a friend and I decided to tackle a three-part maze at Coppal House Farm in Lee, NH.

During the course of our journey, I couldn’t help but notice how we worked together and how it changed as the day went on.

Getting started

My friend and I just recently started hanging out away from work.  We’ve known each other for a while, but this was new territory.

Our budding friendship was obvious in how we got started.  Each of us wanted to engage the other in decision making.  At least at first.

We were prompted with questions about honey bees and tried to determine who had the best answer.  As we progressed, so did the debates.  Neither of us knew the answers for sure, so each of us picked a side and played devil’s advocate to reason them out.

How to Navigate the Change Leader’s Journey

How to Navigate the Change Leader’s Journey

How to Navigate the

The Hero’s Journey

Change Management is focused on transforming what is into what could be. This is very much aligned to the Hero’s journey of preparation, transformation and the return.

  • Preparation – Readying for the transformation by obtaining necessary skills, resources, and direction.
  • Transformation – Affect the change. Whether it is internal or external, slay the dragons and make the change the new normal.
  • The Return – Share learnings to help others in their preparation to easy the journey.

When given a new assignment, we may not have much time to prepare. We may be expected to hit the ground running and immediately demonstrate value.

With no time to prepare, and an uncertain path ahead to the horizon, what can a change leader do to make forward progress?

Every Hero Needs a Mentor

In every hero story, there is a mentor that helps guide the way.  In the work environment, there are likely several.

Reach out to people and create relationships. In every organization, there are people we can learn from, happy to help someone along their way. We just need to find them.

Develop Better Ideas than Tony Stark in 7 Steps

Develop Better Ideas than Tony Stark in 7 Steps


Ideas are cheap.  Before we begin investing time and resources moving forward with one, it’s free to change or refine it.  Potential is endless in the world of ideas.

While opportunities abound, not all ideas are good ones.  Just ask Tony Stark.  In the latest Avengers movie, one of his ideas nearly causes the Earth’s destruction.  Oops.

Most of our ideas don’t risk the world as we know it.  However, we could jeopardize a project, customer relationship, or business.

An effective vetting process allows us to identify and mitigate risks during ideation, before they become reality in execution.  Let’s evaluate Tony’s vetting process for the Ultron program to determine what we can do differently in our own ideation.

3 Criteria to Drive Better Prioritization

3 Criteria to Drive Better Prioritization

Remember when we had more than enough time, resources and money to accomplish everything we planned and promised?

Me neither.

Every moment of every day is spent balancing conflicting demands

The requests can be endless.  A presentation that needs to get out by 5pm.  Returning a call from the school.  The dentist appointment I keep putting off.  Uneaten lunch on my desk.  Over 100 unread emails.

Home or office, the demands keep coming.

Living Leadership – What’s Your VITAE?

Living Leadership – What’s Your VITAE?


As leaders, we each have our own approach to leadership.  An approach developed through experience, as well as a little blood, sweat and maybe a tear or two.

While we each bring our own stamp to how we lead, there are common attributes to most successful leaders:

Vulnerability (be human)

Integrity (be honest)

Transparency (show your work)

Accountability (own your outcomes)

Empowerment (grow others)

The acronym is VITAE.

Living Somewhere Between the Perfectionist and the Impostor

Living Somewhere Between the Perfectionist and the Impostor

Perfectionist and imposter
This week, I had the great fortune to attend the 2014 Mass Conference for Women.

Throughout the day, I took copious notes and tweeted more than I have in years.  There were so many moments that rang true.  So many that made me sit back and think “I KNOW this!” or “I thought I was the only one.”

In some cases, the moments were a kick in the pants, and others were like a lightbulb going off in my head or my heart.

I cannot possibly express how much energy was coming off the 10K women at the event, or how much it filled me.  If it’s any indication, this is the first time I have written in 3 months.  It was just the rejuvenation – and revelation – I needed after ignoring how low my energy levels have gotten recently.

One of the sessions that stood out for me was called “Claiming your Happiness” – a session led by Cindy Ratzlaff and Kathy Kinney, authors of Queen of your Own Life.  In the last two days, I must have shared insights from this session with at least a dozen people – hopefully this resonates with you as well.

Sometimes simple things bring the most joy. Photo of me by Arnie Zann.

Sometimes simple things bring the most joy. Photo of me by Arnie Zann.

Why this session?  While I look around my life and think that I should be happy, sometimes I’m not. There have been times in my life when I have been joyfully blissful for who I am, where I am and the life I have. Other times, I have been miserable, and unsure how to find my way back to that place of bliss.

I feel uncomfortable talking out that bad place, because from the outside in, there is no obvious reason for me to be unhappy.  I fear that it will seem like meaningless nonsense to someone else who has much greater challenges than I do.

The idea that happiness can be claimed – that I could figure it out by myself – was very appealing.