The great American humorist, Will Rogers, once made this comment: Nothing is more uncommon than common sense. Leaders know that the obvious is not always obvious. Just because something “makes sense,” to me, does not mean it “makes sense” to everyone. Leaders know when to make common sense a bit more common. -Ken Chapman, Ph.D.
 

If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs . . . You may recognize the opening line from the poem If. Kipling wrote those words in 1895, yet today we know his advice was right on target. Approximately 2/3 of the population has no real-time awareness of their emotions. If you “keep your head” you increase the chance of a constructive response. Better to offer a thoughtful response than perform damage control for an emotional reaction. ─ Deb Miller
 

 Leaders know obsessing over a mistake is nothing more than an argument with the past.  Leaders do not live in the past. They argue for and work for a better future.

─ Ken Chapman ─     
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

It is not uncommon to see a handwritten thank you card which was written weeks or months prior still displayed in an office, cubicle, or workspace. During the interim time period, the person may have received hundreds or even thousands of emails and texts which are displayed nowhere.  A leader knows finding a way to make messages of genuine gratitude stand out is important.

─ Derek Conrad Brown ─
Ken Chapman & Associates
 

Folk wisdom suggests that before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you will be a mile away and you will have their shoes. Leaders know empathy is engagement, not an attempt to escape the issue at hand.
─ Ken Chapman ─
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

In spite of the best possible plans, leaders are often faced with outcomes they couldn’t have predicted and do not desire. At those moments, they embrace flexibility and adaptability. Disappointments and setbacks are inevitable. A leader knows a bend in the road is never the end of the road unless you fail to navigate the curve.
─ Deb Miller ─
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc
 

The popular host of The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon, has a comedy skit about high school superlatives being used for current NFL players. It is a reminder that those high school year book superlatives are more humor than prophecy. However, what if your team was unanimously voted titles by the company? Would the list be "Most Likely to Bite off your Head" "Most likely to Exaggerate" or "Biggest Gossip?" Or would the list be "Most Supportive" "Greatest Team Cohesion" or "Most Compassionate and Honest Feedback?" ─ Christy Beem ─ Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

Leaders know that while we are only young once, immaturity can last a lifetime. Leaders can see maturity in the young and immaturity in the old—and understand the implications of both.
─ Ken Chapman ─
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

When we think of Italian food, it is difficult not to think of tomatoes, especially in spaghetti sauce, lasagna, etc. But the tomato is native to the Americas, not Italy. Italian food was tomato-less until many years after Christopher Columbus. Someone saw a possibility while someone else no doubt grumbled, “That's not how we do it here.” Even where tradition is prized, a wise leader actively seeks to establish a workplace culture where new ideas are welcome. - Derek Conrad Brown - Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc
 

Leaders know courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the judgment that something is more important than fear.
─ Ken Chapman ─
KC&A
 

Helen Keller (1880-1968) sums up the importance of attitude: "No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars or sailed unchartered land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit." A pessimist constantly avoids responsibility and therefore makes life unpleasant for the rest of the team.
─ Christy Beem ─
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

During the Great Depression of the 1930's, the US. Soil Conservation Service paid Southern farmers to plant a little known Japanese vine called kudzu. It was intended for erosion control. It does control erosion; it, in fact, controls everything it grows over. The runaway vine now dominates over 7 million acres of former farmland that is no longer useable for row crops or forestland. A wise leader makes decisions conscious of likely impacts, knowing effects matter far more than good intentions alone. ─ Derek Conrad Brown ─ Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc
 

Leaders know the value of connecting with their team. The more connected team members feel, the better they behave and perform. The same holds true for leaders. Leaders who are connected to their team strive to be their best selves for the team’s sake as well as their own. A ship’s captain is more effective when in the boat rather than directing it from shore.
─ Deb Miller ─
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

There is one guaranteed outcome to losing one's temper: lost respect. And nothing spreads faster than news of poor behavior. A wise leader knows the logical action to take in a maddening moment is to step away and regain composure. Logical responses trump emotional reactions.
─ Derek Conrad Brown ─
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc
 

Sometimes the most courageous thing a leader does is tell herself the truth. Humans have an uncanny ability to color the truth to avoid pain or discomfort. Continuing to say "I am my best self!" does not make it true. Looking at our behavior critically and soliciting feedback from those we trust takes courage. No matter how painful the truth, it is never as painful as a lie.
─ Christy Beem ─
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

As good as folk wisdom can be, leaders know the limits of folk wisdom. For example: We are often told we cannot change the world. The truth is the world is changing every day. The only question is who is doing the changing? Leaders are change agents—they change things for the better!
─ Ken Chapman ─ Ken Chapman and Associates, Inc.
 

Leaders know those who love to complain can always find a gripe. And, those who wish to sing can always find a song.  Leaders develop a chorus—they don’t get lost in the background noise.  
─ Ken Chapman ─    
KC&A  


 
 

Carly Fiorina, the first female to assume leadership of a Fortune 100 Company, notes personal accountability as important to her success. She quickly became an influential leader due to her belief that we are "Always on Stage." Fiorina leads by example.
─ Christy Beem ─
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

Leaders know you can stand tall without standing on someone. You can be a victor without having victims. Leaders value accountability, not casualties.
─ Ken Chapman ─
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc
 

A self-confidant leader inspires confidence in others. Be confident about what you know, but humble about what you don't. Leaders don't have all the answers; there is almost always something unknown. Employees are more comfortable when working for a confident leader, but appreciate the humility of someone who can say, "I don't know."
─ Deb Miller─
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

Industrialist Henry J. Kaiser said, “When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt.” Leaders knows when to speak up and when to keep their own counsel. If the work product doesn’t speak for itself, there’s little you can add which will make a difference.
─ Deb Miller─
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

Randy Pausch stated "Honesty is not only morally right, it’s also highly efficient." Leaders know that a safe, open environment allows employees to bring you bad news quickly. Honesty can prevent a molehill from becoming a mountain.
─ Whitney Tate─
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but where they ought to be.” Rosalynn Carter
Leaders focus on destination as well as comfort and will choose destination over comfort when given no other choice.
─ Jordan Smith ─
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

A leader will own being wrong. It is just another way of saying “I’m wiser today than I was yesterday.”
─ Ken Chapman ─
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

According to an old Venezuelan adage, “If you're going to hunt a bullfrog, don't use a shotgun.” Leaders know blowing up little issues loudly and openly can be more than just messy. The result will be big damage with little benefit. Specific, targeted aim at a problem is far better—focused, clear, logical, face to face, without an extended audience.
─ Derek Conrad Brown ─
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

Economist Thomas Sowell said "It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance." Leaders limit their ignorance by listening at least as much as they talk.
─Derek Conrad Brown─
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

Leaders know it is impact not intent that builds or damages relationships.  I may be well-intentioned, but others can only hear my words or see my actions.  They cannot know what’s in my mind or in my heart.  Leaders strive for impact which is consistent with intent and are quick to right any wrongs created by a gap between the two.  
─ Deb Miller ─   
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

Nelson Mandela is quoted as saying, "What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made in the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead." Effective leaders embody this quote. They understand that every moment of patience, every compassionate performance management conversation, every decision made for the common good is all part of a much bigger picture—investing in the lives of others! ─ Christy Beem ─ Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

During her time hiking the Pacific Crest Trail alone, Cheryl Strayed experienced moments of doubt and fear. She states, "Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me." Be bold. Evaluate whether the story you are telling yourself is working for you or against you. ─ Whitney Tate ─ Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

"Dear George- Remember no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings. - Clarence." That was the note written to the main character in the classic movie Its A Wonderful Life. Often developing lasting friendships, most of us spend at least as much or more time with our co-workers as with our family members. Leaders recognize how important friendships in the workplace are to each person's overall well-being and even to their level of performance. Leaders know that workplace lunches and social opportunities have a great deal more meaning than just the meal itself. ─ Derek Conrad Brown ─ Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

A friend recently shared a simple reminder with me. It was "The first place we lose the battle is in our own thinking. If you think it's permanent, then it's permanent. If you think you've reached your limits, then you have. If you think you'll never get well, then you won't. You have to change your thinking. You need to see everything that's holding you back, every obstacle, every limitation as only temporary." Leader's know that our thinking impacts the outcome—for good or bad. Thinking positively means we accept accountability for the outcome. ─ Christy Beem ─ Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

For untold centuries, one of the most important trees in the American food chain and in forests from Maine to Mississippi was the wild American Chestnut tree. Estimates show there were three billion Chestnut trees when the Europeans arrived. In the Appalachian Mountains, twenty-five percent of trees were American chestnut. For wildlife from deer to squirrels the chestnut seemed critical to survival. Then around 1900, some Chinese chestnut trees infected with a blight were imported to New York. The blight spread and killed almost every single American Chestnut tree from forests to front yards including ancient behemoths. Time marched on and wildlife and humankind adapted to life without them. Change is sometimes traumatic, immense, rapid, and unfathomable. In the workplace just as in nature, survivors find ways to adapt and thrive. Effective leaders spend little time fretting over uncontrollable events and much more time finding a path forward. ─ Derek Conrad Brown ─ Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc
 

Marvin Pipkin was a legendary engineer at General Electric. When he first got started at GE, a few of the other engineers decided to play a joke on him. They gave Pipkin this assignment: Figure out a way to “frost” electric light bulbs from the inside. To the other engineers, this was an impossible task. They watched with amusement as Pipkin set about trying to accomplish the task. Not knowing that the task was supposed to be impossible, Pipkin went right to work. Pipkin not only figured out a way to frost bulbs from the inside, but also came up with a way to give the bulbs added strength --- all in a single step! Leaders know the value of a “fresh set of eyes” on an old issue. ─Ken Chapman─ KC&A
 

You may recognize the letters “QWERTYUIOP.” If you think about your keyboard, you will recognize them as the sequence of the first row of letters. Because the keyboard is a product of the machine age, you would assume its letters are arranged to make typing easy. You’d be wrong. In fact, the opposite is true. The first keyboards, which appeared in the 1800s, had a different sequence. Typists were learning to type so fast that the original machines would jam up. Until the machines could be made faster, the design engineers rearranged the letters into an illogical sequence to slow the typists down. However, by the time keyboards were made more responsive, everyone had learned the new layout and did not want to change back. Leaders know the phrase “We’ve always done it that way!” is a red flag --- signaling the need to thoughtfully consider a newly proposed approach. ─Ken Chapman─ KC&A
 

Upon hearing of his reported death, Mark Twain famously commented: Rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated. Leaders’ know that “saying it’s so, don’t make it so!”  An opinion can be as unqualified as a rumor. And, an opinion can carry the gravitas of knowledge, experience and wisdom. Leaders’ know the difference.
  ─Ken Chapman ─
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

The great American humorist, Will Rogers, once commented that: Nothing is more uncommon than common sense. Leaders know that the obvious is not always obvious. Just because something “makes sense,” to me, does not mean it “makes sense” to everyone. Leaders know when to make common sense a bit more common. 
─Ken Chapman─
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

Leaders know the experienced employee is the most "at risk" employee. It is human nature that the more you do something and the more you do it well, the more likely you place it below the level of awareness. Once complacency arrives, unsafe behaviors soon follow. Leaders know safety never gets done --- it's always getting done. ─Ken Chapman ─ Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

An effective leader appreciates the value of example: “I am already doing what I ask you to do.” She understands that when her walk matches her talk, her influence with the team increases. For example, a leader who wants a health conscious team, makes healthy choices. An effective leader expects nothing of her team that she is unwilling to do herself. ─Christy Beem─ Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

Leaders embrace change because they know opportunity resides within every change.  Without change, there would be no prospect for growth, development or advancement. Leaders help others accept change and grow through it.  
─Deb Miller─
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

Life is long enough if you know what to do with it --- so said Seneca. To paraphrase: Leaders know the day is long enough if you know what to do with it. Time management is priority management. Wise leaders don’t try to do everything. They do what is particularly important on a particular day.       
─Ken Chapman─
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

Wherever people gather,  gossip is the norm ── the work place being no exception. Leaders do not talk about people. Leaders know that gossip hurts the object of the gossip and the perpetrator.           
─ Ken Chapman ─
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

Leaders value truth. They understand that the greatest courtesy they can extend to their team is to speak the truth about performance. Leaders avoid falling into the trap of misplaced compassion --- while trying to avoid hurt feelings, and thus, hurting the person by failing to be truthful. Leaders know that the human need to make sense out of things requires that they know where they stand. ─ Christy Beem ─ Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

Choosing what is clearly right earns the respect of others.  However, the decisions a leader has to make frequently have no clearly right or clearly wrong choice.  When a leader has already earned the respect of others by making the clear choices, he will be trusted when he has to work in the gray areas. 
─Deb Miller─  
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

Once upon a time I heard a good and decent man offer this advice: Make your life your argument. Among leaders it is a shared wisdom. Because leaders know that what I say and how I say it; and, what I do and how I do it will always be my most convincing argument.
─Ken Chapman ─
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

A basic principle of the language arts is that you cannot define a word by using the word. For example, you cannot define complacent by saying: Complacent means to be complacent. It is equally true that an employee will not accept ownership of a job if the boss will not tolerate ownership mistakes. Leaders know the best people make mistakes ── and “Monday morning quarterbacking” is not a motivational strategy. ─Ken Chapman ─ Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

It takes ten times longer to put yourself back together than it does to fall apart. Leaders know the wiser, more efficient, course is to keep one’s head to start with.    
─ Ken Chapman  ─
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

People can be illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Not everyone reaches for the high end of human behavior. Leaders help people reach for the high ground anyway.  
─Ken Chapman─
 Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

Saying what needs to be said, when it needs to said, in the manner in which it needs to be said, makes a leader vulnerable  ── vulnerable to the assertion of not caring about employees. Leaders know the best caring is saying what needs to be said, when it needs to be said, in the manner in which it needs to be said.    
─Ken Chapman ─
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

It’s nice to be important. It’s more important to be nice. Leaders know civility is a sign of character, not a sign of weakness.     
─ Ken Chapman ─   
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

Leaders value a post mortem, but they value a premortem more. Examining what happened after the fact can be helpful. However,  carefully thinking a decision through in advance is more helpful. A premortem ask at least two questions: What is the worst case scenario? And, if need be, can we live with it? Leaders know the best plan includes a plan for a failed plan.
─ Ken Chapman ─   
Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc.
 

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