Active Listening for Active Leading

I am the newly appointed Dean for the College of Business and Public Policy (CBPP) at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), and this past year has been one of personal firsts: It was my first appointment as a university Dean, and the first time moving my family to live in Alaska.

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The Boulder Problem

Leadership and rock climbing have striking similarities. I recently watched Free Solo, the 2019 Oscar-winning documentary about Alex Honnold’s ascent of Yosemite’s El Capitan. The climb is 3,200 feet straight-up, and free soloing is ascending without a rope. The feat had never been attempted, and for good reason: One mistake can mean paying the ultimate price. As I watched Alex… Read more »

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Reach for Diversity, Unleash Potential

The Value of Outsiders

I am a career outsider. I have never held any particular leadership position longer than two years, but that’s not uncommon in my profession. Like many of my colleagues, I am a generalist, and resist “expertise” as I see it as a potentially inhibiting label.

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The Power of Change

In 2006, after 15 years as an investment banker, I needed a change. I was in search of the ever-elusive life with “meaning and purpose.”

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Show Me Your Calendar, I’ll Tell You What’s Important

Seven years ago, I was uncomfortably stuck making fear‐based decisions, not sleeping, feeling anxious, stressed and unhappy. I was the president and CEO of a professional services firm that was growing and bringing in big revenue numbers. Everything should have been great, but personally, I was struggling.

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The Power of Seeing Ourselves from the Outside

Do you really know how you come across to others? If you’re anything like me, you have some image in your mind of how people see you. Sometimes, the image is slightly better than the reality.

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Inclusion in Action

An interesting thing happens when I ask leaders if they are inclusive. With rare exception, there is an automatic response in the affirmative. Some even take offense that I would question such a thing.

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The Rotten Truth

The fish rots from the head, or so the saying goes.

Every person working in an organization looks to their leader for the standard, and if the leader works at a fairly low bar, the organization will surely suffer.

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Pray, Bail and Shout

Leadership is a lot like fossil fuel — formed from the accumulation of some pretty rotten stuff over time with a great deal of pressure. But my best and abiding leadership lessons are those that involved the kind of immense pressure that results in diamonds.

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