Last Friday was the Masters Alliance Young Leaders episode of the Good Leadership Breakfast, presented by TCF Bank. It was the perfect example of our mantra: when good leaders, work together with good intentions, great things are possible. Looking back now on 77 of these breakfasts, I consider it a great outcome that we hosted more than 125 Young Leaders to hear the "Goodness Pays" message. It means the established leaders in our midst are paying their goodness forward.
I live and work in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area of Minnesota. It's the bold north! And while I really love raising a family and growing a business in the land of four seasons, I get kind of depressed this time of year. Mood and tone are crucial to good leadership. That's why this morning I'm creating a strategy to seize the summer - a Carpe Diem strategy before the leaves fall and the snow flies, to ensure I stay happy and positive.
The jarring headline on my morning paper yesterday was a renewed call-to-action for me: CARNAGE NUMBS NATION. The story was about two gunman who killed innocent people, apparently because they were angry at the world, and could not see a positive future. It's likely none of us who participate in this blog could have stopped either gunman in the act. But there is something we can do.
Alvin Abraham is a turn-around specialist and entrepreneur, working in the ancient and ever-changing field of education. Born in New York City to immigrant parents who left southern India, he grew up in suburban Houston, Texas. School was always important – emphasized as the pathway to prosperity. But after graduating from Texas A&M, his path was shaped by a two-year commitment to Teach for America (TFA).
My grandfather, Willis Kenneth Hunter, was a small business owner in a resort town. During the summer when life around the lake was in high-season, the town was buzzing with happy energy. At an early age I recall walking around the town with encouragement from my grandfather to meet his friends. He taught me how to offer my hand and a smile for a strong firm greeting. He called it: collecting handshakes. In every person I met, I learned something about who I wanted to be when I grew up.
Good leadership is satisfying for so many reasons. The most satisfying part for me is assembling the teams who multiply our good. As business owners, Melinda and I have a business operations team, a marketing team, and a special team that produces the Good Leadership Breakfast. But the most significant team is the team Erin Wilken manages - our coaching team. They are a special group of people visiting us in Minneapolis today for our annual summer coaching retreat. Some traveled from afar. What makes them so special?
With the 4th of July holiday now in the rear view mirror, we have officially passed the mid-year mark for any business that runs on the calendar year for business planning. Now is an excellent time to take advantage of the lazy, hazy days of summer to pause, reflect on the first half of the year, and adjust for the second half of the year. Here are three questions the coaches at Good Leadership encourage you to ask about your enterprise:
Recently, the ownership of one of our client companies changed. With the ownership change, came a core strategy change. Initially, the team was filled with excitement about having new access to working capital and new customers. The executive team knew the shift was coming - half the team was already making adjustments, but the top leader was inexplicably cautious and quiet.
We have lots of time for it, if we seize the day. Exercising or sitting at stoplights. Waiting for an Uber or an airplane. In a quiet place like a church, awake in the middle of the night, or the sanctuary of nature. All of these moments are an excellent opportunity for intentional reflection or meditation. Just as fruits and vegetables are good for your diet, quiet time alone to reflect and re-set is good for leadership. One of the most popular personal development tools we use at Good Leadership Enterprises is:
Last week, we helped a prominent national development company produce a leadership alignment retreat. The purpose was to involve the 41 members of the senior leadership team in making choices about their 2025 strategic plan. After reading the How Goodness Pays book written by Paul Hillen and myself, the CEO deliberately opened up the planning process, with the idea of improving leadership and employee engagement. The starting point for the work is the idea from the How Goodness Pays research: