Evergreen Leadership Blog


Words Matter

Even 15 years later, I still recall my eye-rolling. My long sighs. My suggestion that we just move on and get some “real work” done. And the rebuke.

The setting was one of those way too long, want to pull your hair out sessions with way too many people crafting a mission statement for the team. We agreed on the big points and were divided on the finer ones – the exact choice of words, their phrasing, and even their punctuation.

Continue reading to find out what happened in this activity that helped me learn an important lesson about words.

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Three Sure to Fail Tactics for Surviving Today’s Work Environment

I don’t need to tell you that things are busy at work. You know it, feel it, live it. There is more work and fewer people to do the work. Your email box has reached its limit. You are continually asked to go faster. You are connected during work, after work, and perhaps on your vacation. You are bombarded with new information, processes, and industry breakthroughs.

No matter your industry, the story is the same. Restructuring, reorganizations, market changes, technology innovations and globalization have resulted in more work to be done by fewer people in shorter time-frames. As a result, many of us relay on three strategies to manage:


We speed up, sometimes to warp speed. We dash between meetings. We charge through our work and personal life at top speed, barely able some days to catch our breath.


We come in early. We stay late. We eat lunch at our desk. Or we skip lunch. We take work home. We continue to find time wherever we can to squeeze in one more thing.


We multi-task. We automate our inbox. We download new apps and implement new technology. We search for ways to shave minutes, and sometimes seconds, from any “to do” list.

Any of these tactics, in the short term, can work. There are days we need to speed things up a bit. There are periods of time where we just need to hunker down and get through a busy patch. And who does not love to find ways to do routine tasks quicker and easier?

Our problem is that we are in a perpetual state of change, speed, and turbulence. No matter how fast we go, we are unable to go fast enough to outrun it. We can only stretch ourselves so thin until we have nothing more to give. None of these three tactics are sustainable over time, especially when just as we speed up, our world does too. …

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Three Emails Leaders Should Never Send

As a leader, you set the tone for communication in your area. What you do and say is modeled. An email from you carries more weight than those from peers. As such, your email etiquette and behavior can either help your team be more productive or totally trip them up.

Here are three types of emails that a leader should never send. And I do mean never!

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Leadership is About Who You Are and What You Do

At times people are startled when I refer to them as a leader. “But I’m only an employee, a student, or a volunteer,” they say in protest. For they believe that leadership is defined by role, position, age or appointment. I don’t.

I believe leadership is about who you are and what you do. It is seeing a way to create a better future, stepping up to make that happen and engaging others in the pursuit of that goal.

To illustrate my point, let me tell you a story about Lilly…

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How to Cast Vision with Your Team

Hate to tell you, but if you are patiently waiting for upper management to proclaim their vision for your work and your team, it most likely is NOT going to happen. Or at least in the degree of granularity you might be hoping for.

We all want to have work with meaning – and as a leader, it is your job to help create that meaning. The good news is that each of us has the ability (and perhaps the obligation) to cast vision – for yourself and your team.

The notion of vision scares us at times. It sounds big. Pretentious. Unknown and unknowable. You might struggle with deciding what is “too big” and what is “too little”. I encourage you to acknowledge the doubts and plow ahead. I’d much rather put my effort toward a “too big” vision than none at all. And if you err by starting small, you will have at least started. Small steps are better than no steps. …

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Which is More Important – Dreaming or Doing?

Folks get tripped up in the dream/do cycle. There are two types of traps:

Doers who believe that dreaming is a waste of time. Far better to do something, anything. And oh, by the way, they are far too busy with all they are doing to take some time to pause, reflect, or allow themselves to imagine anything other than their current state of affairs.

Dreamers who believe that what they think up will magically manifest itself once they articulate the dream in some manner. They create the vision board, sit back, and wait for good things to happen.

Both are dead wrong.

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Collective Wisdom or Collective Folly: What Do you Nurture as a Leader?

I often say “we are smarter than me,”… referring to the increased capacity, deep wisdom, creativity, and solid decisions that groups of people can make – as opposed to one individual acting in isolation. No matter how smart that one person is, in general they will be “outsmarted” but a group of people. That is, of course, if that group of people can work together effectively.

Briskin, Erickson, Ott, and Callanan examine the phenomena of group decision making in their book, The Power of Collective Wisdom: And the Trap of Collective Folly. They answer how groups can come up with novel and powerful solutions to intractable problems at times – and at other times wallow in cobbled together solutions that are amazingly awful.

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Demonstrating a Commitment to Inclusion

It is clear that organizations that can create workplaces where all talent can bring forth their best, will be the best situated for success. However, I must admit that the work is long and hard – and progress is slow. But it is too important to waiver. So, I’d love to hear. What is your organization doing to tap into the potential that diversity and inclusion bring?

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Workplace Hazing

Say the word hazing and we immediately think of college fraternities and high school locker rooms. The idea that if you want to be “one of us” there is a price of admission – sometimes embarrassing, sometimes requiring great sacrifices, sometimes acts of daring, and sometimes outright danger or death.

It’s not called hazing at work. It’s called things like, “just the way we do things here,” or “our culture,” or “orientation”. None the less, many organizations have strange (and less than helpful) rituals designed to test new members before they become a part of the group.

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5 Things You Can Do to Become a More Agile Learner

Learning and learning fast is imperative today. Your ability to push past your comfort zone, acquire new skills, explore different ways of thinking – a willingness to learn from the old and move on to the new will define your success.

But how does one do that? Today I’ll share five strategies you can use to increase your learning agility.

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