You Must Be Present to Win

Have you ever noticed how no matter where we are or who we’re with, we’re always worrying about what other thing we should be doing someplace else? For some reason, we find it very difficult to really be with the people around us. Having your body show up is the easy part. But to be really present with a person–whether in a time of great joy or sadness, or even during a time that might be described as routine (breakfast or dinner)–is quite another matter.

Seeing Ourselves

“O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us / To see oursels as others see us! / It wad frae mony a blunder free us, / An’ foolish notion!”  -Robert Burns

Burns’ famous quote is far better known than its source. It comes from a poem entitled “To a Louse,” in which he pillories a self-satisfied society lady with a head louse strolling across the back of her bonnet. Art often imitates life and almost certainly provides commentary on human foibles, so there is much to be appreciated in the poem.

Settling the Grounds

By Steve Baker

Your big decision could well be a better one by letting it percolate a while longer.

The 100-degree heat leapt off the sandstone walls, searing any patch of unprotected skin. At our feet, the 40-degree water of the Colorado River made ankles ache with cold. A group of strangers gathered around huge rubber rafts, getting ready to challenge the Grand Canyon.

The Course of Culture

By Art Dykstra

Judging by the invitations to read that come across my desk or computer screen, it is obvious that today much attention is being given to the matter of corporate or organizational culture. Perhaps management consultants and academics are becoming more aware of the impact culture has on organizational productivity and performance. Mindful leaders in touch with their organization have known this for a long time.

Let’s Be What We Should Be!

By Art Dykstra

Let’s be what we should be, public benefit organizations.

As the CEO of a nonprofit organization for the last fifteen years, I have spent time with corporate officers from the for-profit sector on many occasions. Frequently, they share a general misperception about how a nonprofit actually works. People don’t understand the business practices it follows, and they underestimate its employees’ skills and talents. The organization’s “cause” is better understood and appreciated than the work it performs.

Getting to Why

By Art Dykstra

Recently, I had a disconcerting conversation with a college freshman. She was telling me about her course work, the nature of her exams and the required readings. Psychology seemed to be her favorite class, so I asked her a question about the philosophical underpinnings of this field of study. Without any embarrassment or concern, she responded with the quick observation, “Oh, we had that first quarter. We don’t need to know that anymore.”

Leadership: The Management of Organizational Dilemmas

By Art Dykstra

When asked to identify the defining characteristics of leadership, most people would appropriately mention the dynamics of interaction—the drama between leader, follower and context; goal attainment—the purpose or task for which people have come together, generally expressed in appetitive or avoidance behavior; and influencing others—the ability to develop followers, i.e., the practice of utilizing positive power.