Enlisting volunteers

Large-scale change occurs when a sizeable body of people gets behind an opportunity and acts on critical initiatives linked to a shared strategy.  Kotter International estimates that companies with highly-engaged employees average 147 per cent higher earnings per share. Dr. John Kotter states that, “… history has demonstrated that it is possible to find many...

Forming a strategic vision

High in the Arctic, the Inuksuk is a timeless cultural symbol of the human journey. The Inuit stack rough stones in human form, traditionally as communal landmarks, cairns, or commemorations. They mark their way in a desolate territory without natural landmarks. Far from Canada’s North, the world is teetering on the brink of dystopia. The...

Creating a sense of urgency

Time is of the essence for Alice’s White Rabbit. In business, time is money. In government, the call to timely action is now. In management, timing is everything. Time is a scarce, diminishing resource that needs to be managed with care and urgency. Having a sense of urgency avoids lost opportunities and opportunity costs. Leaders...

Spanning boundaries … Globalization

To boldly go where no one has gone before STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION (1987-94) Globalization has changed everything forever for everybody everywhere. Like Hobbits, we in Middle-Earth are called to span boundaries in search of an elusive peace in our time. And like Trekkies, our Enterprise is emboldened by a mission of universal harmony...

Building a Legacy

What we do in life echoes in eternity (GLADIATOR (2000) An allegory is a poem, story, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden moral or political meaning. For example, Pilgrim’s Progress is an allegory of the spiritual journey. We find allegories in storied lives everywhere — legends without ending, just a place...

At the Speed of Thought…Middle Managers and Digitization

When Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase “the medium is the message” in 1964, personal computers, mobile phones, and the Internet did not exist. We appreciate today his foresight in predicting how thinking is influenced in this fast-paced, complex digital era. Nicholas Carr wrote in The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains: “[Media]...

The Burden of Proof: Accountability

“The secret to happiness is to put the burden of proof on unhappiness.” Robert Brault When public administration students insist upon a working definition of accountability, textbooks rarely satisfy. They are puzzled when accountability is equated with responsibility, liability, or answerability. Whatever interpretation is assumed gets probed and debated for the rest of the course....

A Duty of Care: Risk Management

The world is fraught with uncertainty and risk, making life difficult and worthwhile. What, for example, are the chances of getting hit by a bus? The odds are estimated to be one in 500,000 very low indeed, catastrophic for the one, slightly worse than 1:700,000 of being struck by lightning, but scary compared with 1:11,500,000...

Bridging the credibility gap

By: John Wilkins A leader’s credibility begins with personal success. It ends with helping others achieve personal success. – John Maxwell In 1966, U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy made an influential visit to South Africa. He offered words of hope to opponents of apartheid in his famous “Ripple of Hope” speech at the University of Cape...

Leader as Hero: The Power of Commitment

When times get tough, we turn to leaders for courage. Yet rarely is courage found in the competency profile of any leadership position. Selection systems cannot abide responding to queries from rejected candidates with “You were not found to be courageous enough for the job.” No one wants to be rejected on the basis of...