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Stories

During this leadership development course one of the instructors quoted one of his previous mentors saying that leaders should have stories ready about: mission, discipline, loyalty, and safety This is in line with what one of my former mentors told me more briefly, “you need stories”. Ok - I thought, but stories about what? I have stories… I can tell a story… Typically I’m coming up with something appropriate on the spot.…

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Military Feedback

It will be a continuing struggle to stay on top of how the Air Force is changing in the feedback system, and the systems they add over the years. https://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2490030/air-force-announces-airmen-leadership-qualities/ Here’s a new one I need to stay on top of - a new additional feedback form. It looks fantastic - the “Airmen Leadership Qualities”. During the Leadership Development Course communication section, the Chief said: Great leaders help people understand their “now”, then help people understand the future…

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Dear White Colonel

This is an interesting article shared as part of this leadership class I’m in right now: Dear White Colonel … we must address our blind spots around race What I liked about this article is that by describing instances where the topic got steered wrong, and the author’s feedback about what got missed when that happened, the article provides a roadmap to steer conversations back in the right direction. I feel like these examples really resonate with me - as if I’ve been a part of conversations like this.…

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Applying Personality Quiz Results

I’m finding this course pretty interesting. They asked us to reflect on some of our results from a personality quiz - the one at 16personalities.com. I got an INFJ, but normally I’m INTJ and think I probably still am, really. How will we apply what we know about our personalities to our interactions with our teams? I’ll try to be more conscious about how I react to “perceiving” teammates.…

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Managing Culture

This video discusses organizational culture - I don’t love it because it’s too cheesy-motivational to me. https://youtu.be/neDFJlUCXR8 One think I do like about the video is that it provides some solid ways to change organizational culture. By providing a solid definition (even if it’s not the one I’d choose), the video is able to specify how to move the needle against that decision: clarify embody celebrate Determine what behaviors will be rewarded or corrected in your organization, and clarify that to the entire team.…

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Commander's Attention

I’m sitting in the Leader Development Course from Air University - distance learning. One of the stories I heard this morning has the crux - the commander needs to walk a line between being too involved and not being involved. The story involved the former commander trying to show he cared by being there when new members arrived, by sitting with folks as they did work, and by visiting them when they were out in the field.…

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Comparative Advantage

This morning I finished Planet Money’s Episode 963: 13,000 Economists. 1 Question.. These fine folks make one of my favorite podcasts - each week is a different look at something weird from a weird perspective. It sounds like it’s very market/economy focused, but it’s really focused on everything economics. In the past decades economics has branched out to look at nearly every field of human endeavor with a mathematical eye. It’s not always very successful, but the economist perspective does make me look at things differently.…

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Pitching Success - CO-STAR

Idaho National Labs has a program right now called “CO-STAR”. Their researchers do great work, but as with any research group they are constantly advocating for funding, and researchers are constantly advocating among themselves for time. Everybody spends time advocating for something. “Pitching” something. You want your boss to consider a smarter way of working, one that you’ve come up with? You pitch it to her. You want someone to use an open-source project you’ve created?…

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Meet Differently

A recent episode of the Freakonomics podcast covered meetings. Two or more people gathering to accomplish the business of business, as they defined it. It gave me some things I hope I remember the next time I’m organizing a recurring staff meeting… Organize an agenda around questions-to-answer Hold smaller meetings Keep track and time Meetings need agendas, just about every book I’ve read which touches on meetings agrees on this point.…

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Consider How Well-Defined a Problem is When Building Teams

To improve innovation on a team, consider building a team differently based on the problem you’re facing. There are many ways of categorizing a problem your team must solve, but one is along the axis of well-definedness. Well-defined problems – here, you know what you’re trying to solve, you know what end-state your audience will find acceptable, maybe you’ve seen similar problems solved elsewhere or you even know some current acceptable solutions.…

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