October 2014

Daniel Goleman, the psychologist who revolutionized leadership thinking with his work on emotional intelligence, got folks talking last week.

He disseminated an essay by Ernest R. Anderson Jr, MS, RPH titled Is Connectivity Causing a Poverty of Attention?

You know the message. Our focus on technological gadgets is stunting our ability to focus on the present moment.

I agree.

Focus is the burning hot new leadership currency.

How we focus outward is just one part of the equation.

In some ways it’s the easy one.

Yes, it behooves us to know how to focus on others. Filter the overload of stimulation.

It is equally vital that we know how to DRAW FOCUS.

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Gabriel made a simple commitment.

I will give 3 heartfelt compliments a day, he said to me.

Gabriel is a fast-rising corporate star. A brilliant alpha-leader, with all the assets and potential dark sides that come with alpha-energy.

I belong to the alpha tribe. I know.

Heartfelt. I like this choice of wording. Gabriel snuck it into his commitment statement. A wonderfully aspirational phrase.

Wonderful. And not easy.

I believe in switches.

Heartfelt requires a switch.

From alpha-energy to really-notice-energy.

From in-your-head to in-your-heart.

It’s a fine place to lead from.

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Exhibit  # 1: An Afternoon in Rome

My first memory of being in the presence of someone with presence.

I am 21 years old and hanging out in Rome. Like many first-time visitors to this intoxicating city, I am entranced by its history. It seems to seep out of the pores of every building I pass. The moment I am about to describe is like a cliché from a Fellini movie – except that it really happened. As I am strolling up the Via Veneto, Ursula Andress, the original and archetypal James Bond girl, is descending toward me.

Even before I see her I notice people ahead of me step aside. It’s as if I am witnessing the proverbial parting of the seas. Ms. Andress is strolling down the Via with a strong, firm gait, her head held high, her posture erect, her celebrated bosom thrust forward with an easy confidence.

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I like smart.

And your business needs smart people. The world does.

It doesn’t need people who are too smart for their own good.

Here are some common smart variations.

Cocky smart. Impatient smart. Clever smart. Devious smart. Precious smart. Smarter-than-you smart.

The too-smart-for-your-own-good kind.

Smart will only get you so far.

We’re impressed. And then, very quickly, we’re tired of being impressed.

Yes, it’s a bitch. If you don’t share your smart you diminish your gifts and short-change your place of employment. If you go on smart-overdrive, you quickly hit the too-smart-for-your-own-good zone.

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I just spent 4 days with a group that knew how to swing.

From silly laughter to penetrating seriousness. From keen questions to irreverent banter. This group knew how catch a mood. Swing with it.

I cherished the group.

Relished the mood swings.

We were gathered at a learning event outside of Frankfurt, Germany. A mash-up of individual and Euro-cultural sensibilities. Collectively, these sensibilities traveled a wide expressive range. And they knew how to swing to the ends of the road.

I consider them my Euro-swinger-friends.

Sometimes we get lucky.

We’re with folks who catch the collective swing.

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