Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today
Healthy Leaders • Healthy Organizations

Leadership is about people.  It’s about creating an environment where each person’s individual abilities contribute to the good of the whole. It’s sharing a vision that motivates everyone to work on the tasks that really matter the most. It’s building on trust, truth, and transparency. Leadership is not about having all the answers or controlling everything. It’s helping people reach their fullest potential so that together we can achieve a shared purpose that none of us can achieve alone.

This is the kind of leadership that enLumen Leadership Services exists to foster. We’re here to help you become this kind of leader and your organization become one that thrives under this kind of leadership.

A Plan is Nothing…

…Planning Is Everything

In a 1957 speech, President Dwight D. Eisenhower quoted a statement he had heard in the Army, ”Plans are worthless, but planning is everything”[1].  Eisenhower understood that the thought processes and collaboration involved in planning are more valuable than the document.
Some organizations are good at creating and executing strategic plans.  Others don’t see the value in planning, or at least not enough to give it the time it takes.  In between you have those who faithfully create their plans and set them on a shelf to collect dust until next year’s planning cycle. Continue reading A Plan is Nothing…

Influence Without Authority

Leadership Without a Title

It’s easy when you’re the boss. You tell people what to do and they do it. Ok, maybe it’s not always that easy.

Authority does increase the odds that people will do what you want. But it doesn’t necessarily increase the likelihood that those doing the tasks will grow while getting the tasks done. Authority is a great management tool for driving for results. And it does have its place in the leadership toolbox. But authority can be a crutch that interferes with good leadership. Continue reading Influence Without Authority

Defining Leadership Success

It’s Not About You

How do you know if you’re a successful leader? Regardless of your title, two things are true if you’re really a leader:

  1. Someone is following you. No followers, no leader. Following under compulsion (like just to get a paycheck) doesn’t count. People choose to follow true leaders.
  2. You’re going someplace. If you’re going nowhere, you’re not leading.

Leadership is inherently other-centric. You only succeed when your followers do. My followers should be more successful with me leading than if I wasn’t. My success is multiplied when my followers become leaders whose followers are becoming leaders. As a student in a recent class commented, leadership is a “pyramid scheme”. Continue reading Defining Leadership Success

Affirmative Accountability

Giving Success the Attention It Deserves

It’s a well-established fact that accountability greatly increases the likelihood of success.  Yet most of us cringe at the idea of being held accountable.  Why is it so hard to set aside our egos and welcome something that we know would help us succeed?

Rather than dive deep into the psychology of our resistance, I want to propose just one idea that might lower the barrier to accountability we find in our followers. Continue reading Affirmative Accountability

Trust and/or Transparency

A Paradoxical Relationship

Transparency is often touted as foundational to building trust.  And it can be – or not…

We live in a culture that equates our desire to know something with our right to know it.  We feel entitled to tap into the endless free-flow of information, believing that anyone who holds anything back is hiding something and can’t be trusted.  Except, of course, that we choose to keep some things private and we can be trusted. Continue reading Trust and/or Transparency

Sources of (Dis)Trust

Competence, Character, and Motivation

Building a high level of trust within an organization can seem like the search for the Holy Grail: It’s highly valued, but very elusive.

Some of us believe that trust must be earned. We’re not willing to accept the risk of betrayed trust. Some of us grant trust more freely until we have reason to withhold it. We recognize that people give their best when we expect the best out of them. Most of us start off relationships somewhere between extreme trust and extreme lack of trust.

We Don’t Need Trust Where There Is No Risk

Continue reading Sources of (Dis)Trust

The Cure for “Too Busy”

The Investment that Pays Back Big…

I’ve written before about dealing with the pervasive problem of being too busy (see http://www.enlumenls.com/say-no/, or the videos at https://youtu.be/IlqgjjR3m68). There is a way to gain significant ground against this problem. Now don’t roll your eyes at me until you’ve heard me out, but I believe the best, most lasting solution to being too busy is… Continue reading The Cure for “Too Busy”

The No-Brainer We Often Miss…

Managing Expectations

I slipped up this week. On Monday I told several people I would have something out to them by Tuesday. This was Wednesday morning. Someone else owed me the last piece I needed so I could do my part. It might come in any minute. Or maybe not. But naively thinking I would have it, I had made a commitment.

Here was my Wednesday morning thought process…
Continue reading The No-Brainer We Often Miss…

Dangerous Mission Statements

Should You Burn Yours?

I was sitting in a CEO’s office when he excused himself to take an important call.  While he was on the phone, I read through the mission, vision, and values statements hanging on his wall.  When he hung up, I asked, “How do these documents influence what happens out there in the office every day?”

All too predictably, he rolled his eyes and chuckled.  “Not much.”

My advice to him was to do one of three things:
Continue reading Dangerous Mission Statements

Making Tomorrow Easier

Paving Your Path with a Healthy Culture

It happens all the time. A client tells me about a difficult situation they’re dealing with and wants to know what to do. It’s a fair question and I’m happy to help. The sad part is that more often than not, the difficult situation could have been avoided altogether. The sadder part is that it will most likely happen again.
Continue reading Making Tomorrow Easier