ADHD and Evernote

Can a tool like Evernote really help?

ADHD and Evernote

One of the things that is becoming more and more clear to me as I get busier and busier with my “day job” and the growth of Leadership Voices is the need to become more and more organized. I have always been a fan and an aficionado of organizational tools throughout my entire adult life. Because great organizational ability is needed for great leadership success.

I was an ADD/ADHD kid. When I was in school we didn’t get medication for ADHD, we got sent to the principal’s office and we often got paddled. So, I learned at a very early age to curb the “H” piece of that little 4 letter acronym. But the “AD” piece and the inability to focus on tasks in an orderly and organized fashion has plagued me my entire life.

When Organization Doesn’t Come Easily

I will never be the neat freak and have a spotless desk with every scrap of paper tucked away some place neatly at the end of each day. But that doesn’t mean that I cannot be an organized person. It just takes more effort for me than for most.

The key for me has always been “writing it down”. I have seen many systems. I have used Day-Timer, Day Runner, Franklin Planner, and I have even tried developing my own custom organizational system. I have had the greatest success when my paper system was somehow related to my electronic system.

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7 Questions To Answer To Move Beyond Good Intentions

Does Effort = Performance?

7 Questions - v1

Are good intentions enough? At some point, it is reasonable to be evaluated based on our performance and not just our intentions.

So much of what is mainstream thought today seems to indicate that as long as you try really, really hard, then you have accomplished something. That may or may not be accurate. You have indeed expended effort. And maybe you have expended a lot of effort. But is effort the same thing as performance? Have you actually accomplished anything of value or significance?

Is effort alone enough when it comes to leadership?

Or, in other words, are good intentions enough? Or at some point, do our followers and the community around us have a right to expect some results?

I cross multiple worlds in my own personal experience. Much of my time is dominated by a secular environment where results are pretty important. So much so that compensation and career advancement are dependent upon identified and verified performance and value generated as the result of expected accomplishments. While the rest of my time is spent in a variety of volunteer, ministry, and non-profit endeavors.

Each world views this topic very differently. But does that necessarily need to be? Is it reasonable to have some measurable performance indicators outside of the business world that are not just appreciated because of their level of effort?

Regardless of whether you are a leader in a for profit or not for profit organization, we must have some understanding of, and answers to, the following questions:

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Be Genuine

Leadership Basics

Be Genuine

One of the buzzwords bandied about these days is “genuine.”  You will also see that used almost synonymously with the words “authentic” and “real.” But what does that mean?

Almost every definition indicates that to be genuine, authentic, or real is to be the same on the inside as you are on the outside when it used to describe a leader. It may be defined well by stating what it is not — It is not FAKE.

It is also not an excuse to be a jerk! Many times I have seen it used as nothing more than an excuse for one’s own bad behaviors or to excuse poor interpersonal skills. I have seen it used as an excuse to let a baser set of reactions govern our lives and coarser language dominate our speech when we need to be striving to elevate our behaviors and our words.

What does it look like to be genuine?

Consider with me for a moment 5 things that will help us recognize a leader who is genuine.

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Who Are Your Cohorts?

Cohort? What’s a “cohort”?

Who Are Your Cohorts?

Leadership can be a lonely endeavor. As recent as January 8th of last year I wrote an article entitled Loneliness in All Aspects of Leadership. In that article I dealt with the sense of loneliness we can experience when we lead with a strong sense of conviction that may be at odds with popular sentiments.

What Can Be Done About Loneliness in Leadership?

Leaders many times feel lonely because there are often not enough peers in their immediate circle of influence who have a common understanding and sense of what they are experiencing. That is merely a restatement of the problem. But, what can we do about it?

Recognizing a problem is always a first step in solving a problem. Leaders must recognize their loneliness and sense of isolation. They must then move on with confidence that loneliness and isolation are not signs of weakness in a leader. They just go along with the territory.

Now That We Recognize It, What is Next? 

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Help Others Get What They Want

Is that the best way to get what we want?

Help Others Get What They Want

“Your function in life may not feel like it has anything to do with sales, but when we deal with others it matters to remember that the best way to get the outcome we want is to help others get the outcome they want.”

This was a statement that I made about a photo meme that I posted on Facebook. It sparked a brief dialog with a close friend and one of the driving forces behind LeadershipVoices.com. And it has caused me to share some more thoughts that further develop my original post.  But first, here is the question that prompted my additional thoughts.

The Question

How do I do that when our wants are sometimes at cross-purposes? Or, what if what they want is detrimental to the health of the organization?

The Answers

There are some problems in life we can’t solve.

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Vision Alone Is Not Enough

Are you too focused on the vision?

Vision Alone Is Not Enough

Are you too focused on the vision? Wait a minute! I am the leader. Isn’t vision one of the main things that I need to provide to my organization? — Yes! Vision is vital to the future of any organization. But just having a vision is not enough.

To be clear, most organizations do not die for lack of vision. In fact, vision and goals abound in many organizations today. Consider with me for a few moments about what to do with a vision and what your role is in moving beyond having a worthy and lofty vision.

What more is there than just having a vision?

Here are the rest of the things that we need to do with a vision all along the path for our organization once we get a sense of what that vision looks like. Consider this as the “total lifecycle” of vision for you and for your organization.

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Be Accountable

Leadership Basics

Be Accountable

What do you do when something goes bad? Where are you when there is a failure or when a major deadline or deliverable is missed? Real leaders that folks want to follow understand that the “buck” really does stop with them.

Failure is inevitable. And failure does not have to be fatal to your leadership or your career. I recall working for a CIO many years ago. His mantra was; “If you aren’t failing, then you aren’t attempting big things.” Now, he wanted us to be calculating in our risks. But he wanted us to be taking risks. So often the greatest rewards come from the greatest risks. But you must still be accountable.

One of my greatest failures came from managing a project to restack most of the floors in a high-rise tower. We were reorganizing to increase our efficiency and foster greater collaboration among the business units. One of the major phases of the project was creating a call center on one of the floors. All of the construction work was done and the call center furniture was in place. All that was left was for my team to re-install all of the IT and communications equipment over the weekend. We finished about 2AM on the Monday morning that the call center was to “go live.” And we all went home for a few precious hours of sleep before coming back to work later in the morning.

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Don’t Confuse Loving With Following

Just because I love and admire you, doesn’t mean I will follow you.

Don't Confuse Loving With Following

Feelings and emotions will deceive us. This is especially true when it comes to “love.” And it can be dangerous when it comes to how we view our leaders. What a shame. Especially when they can be so strong and so certain at the time. Emotions, such as the ones we experience in a loving relationship, that are unbridled can cause us to make some very poor decisions. Emotions are not bad. In fact, just look at some studies in the area of Emotional Intelligence and you will quickly see that emotions play a significant role in our personal and professional lives.

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Love is a wonderful thing. And love is a great filter through which we need to view the world. However, love can cause us to overlook or make excuses for failures and shortcomings when it comes to our leaders.

Many organizations have leaders who are beloved. I have witnessed this over the years many times. And it is very common in the non-profit world where I do a lot of coaching. In the nonprofit world, you will find leaders who are often in leadership roles for which they are not particularly suited or gifted.

These leaders are frequently appointed or even elected to their positions. As followers, we do this as a way of showing how much we love this particular person. What can possibly go wrong with that?

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Building It By Hand

What a Railroad Can Teach You About Leadership

Building It By Hand


I fondly remember the experience of constructing a rail line with a group of social cast-offs during two summer vacations. And in this concluding segment, I want to share with you a few final thoughts and the leadership lessons that I learned constructing a small rail system by hand.

I learned from the design and implementation of the activity. I learned from observation of the completed project when I visited the area. I learned from hearing the appreciation of tourists who commented on the opportunity to take a steam train ride in this rural community.

The project married a passion for trains (the historical society members provided this) and good old fashion muscle (the youth provided this). It has been said that strong backs created strong tracks on this project. Even today when I observe tourists riding the rails, a sense of accomplishment and pride in the work still results. Little is known about the workers who did this project, but the tourists do not seem to care.

A Change in Perspective and Practice

The experience impacted my perspective on business leadership in profound ways. The activity changed my practice and view of leadership in significant ways. Over time I became a more effective leader as a result of this project.

The most important result of this experience was

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