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Slade & Associates

    What’s Your Best Alternative to Negotiating?

    In a failed attempt to lean in, W., an anonymous woman with a Ph.D. in philosophy, asked to negotiate better terms of employment at Nazareth College. Unfortunately, she had her  job offer unilaterally rescinded. Many bloggers have commented on why this happened, ranging from gender bias by the college to narcissism and cognitive errors by the candidate. Here’s another way to look at the situation: […]

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    The Indirect Cost of Growing Leaders

    My wife and I have cultivated a square foot garden for many years. The work is enjoyable, the produce is delicious, and we save a bit of money. Every spring, we refresh the soil and purchase flowers, tomatoes and broccoli plants. For organizations, growing leaders internally is like gardening. You invest time, energy and money upfront. […]

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    Help Leaders Keep Their Bearings with Hot Ethics Training

    Allen Slade When I was a midshipman with the U.S. Navy, it was post-sail but pre-GPS. In the middle of a training exercise, our captain turned off the LORAN system. He wanted to make sure his officers could figure out their location and destination even if the satellites failed. The U.S. military also relies on its leaders to […]

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    Why Leaders Fail

    Allen Slade Leaders face tough decisions, with competing priorities, time pressures and poor data. When their decisions blow up, the debris field of failure can hurt their career, their team, their organization and their customers. Why do leaders fail? Mary Gentile categorizes ethical lapses into three categories: Failures of Awareness – not knowing what kinds of […]

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    Images of Healthy Leadership

    Allen Slade To wrap up my series of posts on the Healthy Leader® model by Bob Rosen of Healthy Companies International, I invite you to enjoy these images of healthy leadership. The Roots of Healthy Leadership   Image courtesy of Healthy Companies Inc. Modified from an image courtesy of Healthy Companies Inc.   The Six Aspects of Leadership Health […]

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    The Branches of Healthy Leadership

    Allen Slade I like to think of leadership as a tree. For the tree to bear fruit, you need healthy roots and healthy branches. The roots of leadership are who you are as a leader. Unhealthy roots will stunt the branches and diminish the fruit. In my series of posts on The Healthy Leader® model (from Bob […]

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    The Leader’s Spiritual Health

    Allen Slade When leaders face unpleasant tasks or difficult demands, they must tap into a reservoir of motivation. Their motivation can be internal or external, but if the reservoir is dry, leaders will not be motivated to do what must be done. Early in my career, my manager would respond to complaints about workload by saying […]

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    The Leader’s Vocational Health

    Allen Slade Decades ago, I heard an old-line manager say “Managers manage and workers work. Never get the two confused.” He saw work as something beneath his pay grade. I suspect his employees felt like cogs in a machine. If so, they probably did the minimum necessary to avoid being “managed”. The reality is that your […]

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    The Leader’s Social Health

    Allen Slade Many skills can be put into action without others. We can solve math problems solo. We can read by ourselves. We can create words or visual art alone. Leadership is not a solo skill. We lead in relationship to others. Our ability to build strong relationships determines our ability to lead. Furthermore, it […]

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    The Leader’s Intellectual Health

    Allen Slade Leadership is all about plugging into the minds and of people. It is about encouraging a spirit of intellectual ferment and constructive dissent so that people are not bound by the status quo, and mavericks are given space and free play. Kumar Birla Chairman, Aditya Birla Group At Slade & Associates, we create […]

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    The Leader’s Emotional Health

    Allen Slade Have you ever worked for a toxic leader? Their very presence sets you on edge. Often, a leader’s lack of emotional health is the source of toxic sewage they spew on others. If your toxic leader had been more self-aware, more positive or more resilient to stress, they might not have triggered fear and loathing. To […]

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    The Leader’s Physical Health

    Allen Slade I think of my time as CEO as more of a marathon than a sprint. So, I’ve really been focused on how do I live healthy enough so that I can stay in this high level of energy for a long period of time. I’ve been dieting. I’ve been working out more. I’m […]

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    The Roots of Healthy Leadership

    Allen Slade For sustained leadership success, you must consider more than just what you accomplish or how you act. You must consider who you are. Bob Rosen of Healthy Companies International has been researching and writing about leadership health. He has a book coming out soon and because of the partnership between Healthy Companies and Slade & Associates, I would […]

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    Images of the Leader’s Toolbox

    Allen Slade When I joined Ford in 1990, I sketched out an approach to leadership development called the manager’s toolbox. Words did not capture my vision, so I created a rough line drawing of a toolbox. Over the next two decades, I changed the name to the leader’s toolbox and used it with MBA classes, consulting contracts […]

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    Styles & Types? Or Situations & Tools?

    Allen Slade In my experience, the leader’s toolbox is a powerful way to think about your leadership. But some people push back, especially fans of leadership styles or personality types. Styles and Types  Some leadership advice focuses on changing leaders to be the right style. Be more participative or be more communicative. Be a Theory Y leader. Be a 9,9 leader. Unless […]

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    Leadership Tools: Purpose and Passion, Feedback and Subtlety

    Allen Slade The most effective leaders adapt to the situation, but they are driven by their own purpose and passion. You can stumble by being inflexible. You can stumble if circumstances drive you.  The best leader will balance openness to feedback with constancy of purpose. How do you balance adaptability with purpose and passion? One example […]

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    Leadership Tools: Matching Meeting Demeanor

    Allen Slade Leaders need a toolbox full of tools for task leadership (budgeting, scheduling, goal setting, task execution) and relationship building(communication, decision making techniques, empathy). To use these leadership tools well, you need to diagnose the situation before you pick your tool. A coaching client asked me  “How should I act?” in an important meeting. I suggested matching […]

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    Leadership Tools: Confidence

    Allen Slade Effective leadership requires adaptability. Leaders should fill their leadership toolbox and then pick the right tool for the situation. In other words, match your behavior to the task at hand. Last week, a coaching client preparing for a one-on-one meeting asked “How should I act?” Because principles of leadership are outdated, I didn’t give […]

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    Using the Tools of Leadership

    Allen Slade As a leader, it is not enough to have the job title. At the point of action, you need to choose the right tool for the job. Leaders can’t operate on cruise control. Instead, they should will fill their leadership toolbox with a variety of tools: Task and person leadership. A variety of […]

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    The Leader’s Toolbox

    Allen Slade Before rebuilding our friends’ deck, I loaded my van with tools: 3 power saws, 4 drills, 3 measuring squares and a bucket full of hand tools. Why so many tools? Wouldn’t one saw be enough? The circular saw cuts fast and straight, but isn’t maneuverable. The sabre saw cuts straight or curved, but slow. The reciprocating […]

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    Leading on Cruise Control

    Allen Slade One of the great conveniences of driving is cruise control. You can take your foot off the gas pedal and the car maintains speed. I recently drove 400 miles in a car without cruise control – in the rain, after a long day – and I was miserable. For leaders, cruise control is […]

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    Coaching Yourself off the Performance Plateau

    Allen Slade A performance plateau occurs when you get complacent in your role. Feeling you have mastered the job, you slow down your personal development. The further you go in life, the more likely you are to find yourselve on a performance plateau.   In a post on pausing on the performance plateau, I suggested how leaders […]

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    Pausing on the Performance Plateau

    Allen Slade As you transition into a new job, sense-making takes time. Your performance suffers as you figure out the who, when, where and how of your new role. As time goes by, you adapt to the new situation. Your job becomes more predictable. As you enter the new period of stability, your sense-making lessens […]

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    Management by Objectives? Or Leading with Goals?

    Allen Slade Here is a simple recipe for a post on a leadership blog: Are you doing bad things too much? Do good things more. You and your employees will prosper. Your comments welcome below. And follow us on Facebook! Here are some leadership contrasts that fit the recipe: Bad Things:          Good Things: Managing Leading […]

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    Leading with Goals

    Allen Slade Goal setting should be one of the most useful tools in your leader’s tool box. Goals can drive intelligent dialogue about performance with your employees, leading to greater success and satisfaction for your employees and your organization. Here are some ways you can use goals to lead more effectively. Use goals to set […]

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    Leading Change for the Net Gen, PC Gen and TV Gen

    Allen Slade In a post on Digital Deception Detectors, I contrasted two views of technology: The Net generation integrates technology fully with relationship. They adopt new technology for coolness, using Facebook (or Twitter or Pinterest or whatever) because their friends do. Using a network multiplies their friends on the network. The PC generation sees technology as a tool. They master […]

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    How’s Your Digital Deception Detector?

    Allen Slade Catfishing entices a dupe to befriend a fake person, to the victim’s embarrassment. Notre Dame football player Manti Te’o used his girlfriend’s death to propel his team to the national championship game. When this girlfriend turned out to not exist, he claims to have been duped. Was Manti Te’o a victim, part of the […]

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    Images of Leadership, Change and Careers 2012

    Allen Slade A review of my 2012 posts in images. Click on any image to see the original post.                 The Power of &    

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    Coaching for the Long Hill of Change

    Allen Slade Last May, I rode my bike in a century. I had completed 50-mile rides before, but I had never ridden 100 miles in one day. I trained hard, but not hard enough. About mile 60, I boinked. My energy reserves were depleted, and my speed dropped five miles an hour. Halfway up a long hill, […]

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    Compassion and Change

    Allen Slade Your character determines your impact as a leader in the midst of change. Character is one of the four C’s you need to master for change: Commitment. Embrace the change. Jump into the next challenge. Competence. Become better at change. Grow by tackling new challenges, playing with the new system, applying the new […]

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    Integrity and Change

    Allen Slade In Faster Change is Your Only Advantage, I wrote about three C’s you need to master for change: Commitment.  Embrace the change. Look forward to change. Jump into the next challenge. Competence. Become better at change. Grow by tackling new challenges, playing with the new system, applying the new concept or talking to […]

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    Unlock Your Habits With Data

    Allen Slade Leaders are creatures of habit. We hit upon a successful approach to communication, planning, decision making or hiring and we stick with it. Habitual behavior is very sensible. What worked yesterday is likely to work today. Yet, habits can become handcuffs. Habits may be comfortable and easy, but disaster looms around the corner. […]

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    At the Gaps, Go Slow to Go Fast

    Allen Slade In organizations, faster change is your only long term advantage. But sometimes, speed prevents people from making the change successfully. By going fast, you create errors and friction, causing the change to be less successful. My sons are on a team in the FIRST Lego League robotics competition. They program a wheeled robot […]

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    Put Your Personal Brand into Action

    Allen Slade Personal brands are important for entrepreneurs, leaders and jobseekers. To maximize your impact, you need a personal brand statement like this: For [a specific person or group], I want to be known for [six adjectives] so I can deliver [valuable outcomes]. To make a difference, your brand has to move from words to […]

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    When Your Personal Brand is Your Business Brand

    Allen Slade The essence of your personal brand is simple: When you walk through the door, who shows up for the other people in the room? As a jobseeker, your personal brand captures the service you are offering to an employer.  As a leader, your personal brand is the influence you exercise in driving innovation and growth. […]

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    Change in Your Personal Leadership Brand

    Allen Slade It is essential for you to have a personal brand statement. I like this style of brand statement: For [a specific person or group], I want to be known for [six adjectives] so I can deliver [valuable outcomes]. When my clients ask what adjectives they should choose, I respond “What outcomes do you […]

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    Jobseekers, Brand Yourself as a Servant

    Allen Slade  In cover letters, resumes and interviews, jobseekers often give reasons that they want or need a job. “I am seeking a rewarding career in . . . .” “I enjoy . . . .” “I would like to apply for your opening in . . . .” “I am reentering the workforce after . […]

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    The Problem with Your Personal Brand

    Allen Slade When you walk through the door, who shows up for the other people in the room? What image do people have of you? When I walk in, I would like to think that the “real” me shows up. Unfortunately, who actually shows up is an imperfect memory of me.  Here’s a picture of the […]

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    Pivot to the Center

    Allen Slade When incumbent presidents run for re-election, they usually win. Of the last 14 reelection bids, 10 were successful. Since 1996, every president has been reelected. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s perpetual reelection led to a constitutional amendment to limit presidents to two terms. Non-incumbent politicians must capture the partisan base in the primaries. To win the general election, […]

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    The Leadership Paradox of Principled Moderation

    Allen Slade I have previously argued that principles of leadership are outdated. These old school principles of leadership – all leaders should be tall, male, Theory Y, 9/9 or whatever – do not tend to maximize your influence in the real world. I strongly believe that leadership theory has failed to come up with simple, […]

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    Principles of Leadership Are Outdated

    Allen Slade When I teach leadership to business students, I often open the first class by asking students about leaders they respect. Mahatma Gandhi, George Patton, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Steve Jobs are often mentioned. Some students talk about their athletic coach or a former boss. Then, we get to the heart of leadership. […]

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    Managing Negative Deviance vs. Leading with Appreciation

    Allen Slade In our culture, pragmatism runs deep. We see through the lens of problem solving. We look for negative deviance by measuring performance against standards and focusing on shortcomings. We identify weaknesses and we punish shortfalls. We hold others accountable to meet standards. If someone does not measure up, we take corrective action. If someone does meet […]

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    The Problem with Problem Solving

    Allen Slade “We have a problem.” If someone says that, do you get a sinking feeling? If you bring up problems with your team, do you feel the energy leave the room? Let me be clear. Problem solving is good. As a leader, you must solve problems. Your ability to find and fix flaws is essential. […]

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    Balancing Airtime in Your Meetings

    Allen Slade Some people think meetings are just a waste of time. At one level, meetings exist to share information and to make decisions. (It doesn’t always work, but that’s the plan.) At another level, leaders should see meetings as leadership development opportunities. Jim Clawson says effective leadership is “managing energy, first in yourself, then in those […]

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    Test Your Ejection Seat

    Allen Slade Felix Baumgartner’s space jump had a dramatic buildup to a truly amazing physical feat. The video of Baumgartner spinning and tumbling at 700 m.p.h. is heart wrenching. And it ended with a perfect landing. However, the “mission” was presented as a NASA-like experiment to make space jumping viable for escaping from a space […]

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    Are You Just Showing Up?

    Allen Slade You probably had at least one meeting today. Why were you in that meeting? Woody Allen said “90% of life is just showing up.” He’s wrong. Leaders go to meetings to make a difference. A meeting is like a journey: You can focus on your next step, looking to avoid a misstep. This short […]

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    Holding a Difficult Conversation

    Allen Slade You are gearing up for that difficult conversation. It may be about a broken commitment, setting a boundary to halt abusive behavior or feedback that is unexpected and unwanted. You want to navigate the emotional minefield to minimize the chance of a catastrophic explosion. Now what? How do you plan the difficult conversation for […]

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    Planning a Difficult Conversation? Start with the End

    Allen Slade  You need to have a difficult conversation. You know the conversation I mean. The conversation you keep putting off. You get butterflies just thinking about it. You know it will not be pleasant. Your difficult conversation may be confronting someone about broken promises. It may be setting a boundary with someone who tramples […]

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    Leading in Stormy Weather

    Ben Slade In the early 1980s, the Bell Telephone Company was convicted of antitrust violations and broken up into several “Baby Bells.” Frequent reorganizations, constant rumors, and a lack of job security took a toll on the workforce. Many employees were overwhelmed by the stress. They experienced physical, mental, and emotional strain at work and […]

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    A Declaration for the Center

    Allen Slade Before my first meeting with Bill Gates, I had every reason to be confident. Microsoft had recently recruited me for my specialized expertise. I had conducted similar meetings with other CEOs. I had a good team behind me, and I had practiced the presentation thoroughly. The first five minutes went well. Then, Bill asked […]

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