Thursday, August 13, 2009

Free Books to Help Solve My Blogger's Block

Readers, fellow-bloggers, I need your HELP!!

I am having a serious case of summertime, post-vacation, stuck-in-a-rut, blogger's block.

I usually keep a running list of ideas on leadership and leadership development and up until now I've never had a problem pumping out posts. Right now it's a scarce list.

I've started a few drafts, but can't seem to finish them.

Is is a lack of motivation? Inspiration? Or is it just too too nice outside?

Regis, I'd like to use my "Ask the audience" lifeline!

Readers, please leave a comment or send me an email on something you'd like me to write about. Anything leadership development, leadership, management, talent management, supervision, or any workplace, HR, or career issue. Most of my posts tend to be of the "how to" nature - and if I don't already know how, I'll research it. Heck, I'll at least make up a good answer. (-:

But I'm open to anything. Maybe I'm stuck in a format rut?

To make it worth you're while, I'll even give away a of couple leadership books for the first two ideas I end up using: Think Again; Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions and The Practice of Adaptive Leadership.
Thanks for your help!!

21 comments:

Jussi Ruokomäki said...

- Leadership and management of an e-commerce division/company
- Importance of ethics in leadership
- How to break a summertime leader's block ;-)

Adi @ The Management Blog said...

I get a lot of inspiration from current affairs and subscribe to a lot of blogs to help get that inspiration.

Art Petty said...

Dan, I know what it feels like to spend a few too many sessions staring at a blank screen hoping for some leadership inspiration! Here are a few of my thoughts on overcoming this bloggers dilemma. And remember, advice is always worth what you paid for it, and this is free!

-Pick up something outside of the leadership realm for inspiration...the latest issue of Fast Company or National Geographic...anything that helps fire some other neurons.

-Grab an unread biography off of the shelf and go at it. Even if you are reading the 6th different Lincoln biography in as many years, I always learn something new and fascinating.

-Push away from the desk and go for a run, swim, bike ride, walk. I generate more ideas while biking or hiking than almost anywhere else.

-Turn off the computer and pick up the phone and reach out to some colleagues and friends in other organizations. Ask them how it's going and listen. My network colleagues are a great source of ideas...especially because they describe so many vexing problems in their lives. I will often ask permission mid-stream to blog on a concept...of course, with my commitment to mask the source.

-I work with a non-profit in the community. Talk about dedicated, passionate leaders doing their best with very little!

-Teach a class. OK, this isn't a quick fix, but it is amazing the ideas that will pop up.

-Look for leadership experiences in our daily lives. How are you greeted at the store, by the cashier? Did someone do something extraordinary? How does that example translate to the workforce.

OK, I'm preaching to the master here, so I'll be quiet and hope that inspiration strikes, so I can keep getting my own inspiration from Great Leadership!!

Thanks as always for your great and thought-provoking content, Dan. Happy writing. -Art

Mary Jo Asmus, President, Aspire Collaborative Services LLC said...

Hi Dan,

How about the following:

What are the best ways to choose "high potential" employees to participate in a leadership development program?

What qualififications should Leadership Development program managers look for when choosing executive coaches to contract with for their organizations?

Can you describe the balance between when it makes sense to do leadership development programs "in house", using internal facilitators vs. going outside and hiring consultants?

Tafe said...

I think something on overtly managing the tensions that exist in the workplace between stated strategies, stated values, stated priorities. How can a leader acknowledge the inherent tensions and provide more comfort and understanding about what might otherwise seem like "mixed messages." E.g., being customer responsive but also carving out time to work on improving internal processes, striving for continuous improvement and professional development in a startup where everyone is overworked, grow organically but snap up talent when you find it even if they were not in the plan.

Eugenio M said...

Hi Dan,
Just stick to the techniques (how to). Usually for each "good lesson" there are many useful mistakes.
Anyway, thanks for your work,
Eugenio

Kye Swenson said...

How about advice on creating events and activities to get your employees better acquainted with each other and strenghten your corporate culture? Also, backing this up with a case study or real world example would be great. I love reading case studies--even if you just copy and paste the article.

Angie Chaplin said...

Great leadership can't happen without great followership, and leaders are followers too. Thought on what makes exemplary followers would expand the thoughts and actions of great leaders.

Wally Bock said...

Hi Dan. You've gotten good advice so far. Art's suggestions for ways to get inspired were especially good. I'll try not to duplicate what others have said.

For me you have two great strengths. You are superb at writing about whole programs, good ones, bad ones, serious ones, dumb ones, whatever. So recommendations or best practices on something like development programs for high potentials or first line supervisors or mid-career managers or left-handed immigrant Martians – anything with a whole program seems like it's in your sweet spot.

You have a good eye for the absurd and you know the HR and leadership development world well. What have you observed lately that makes you laugh, or shake your head, or gasp with astonishment?

If none of that works, try critiquing an article or blog post by someone else. My guess is you could do great things with any number of articles on Workforce Management or from the Wall Street Journal or NY Times.

Mike Henry said...

Dan, You've gotten a bunch of good suggestions already. I don't think of myself as having enough experience, but I did think of one thing that didn't seem to be directly mentioned. A slight twist on what Wally said, you might critique a book chapter or write a book review, maybe on something I read a while back. It helps me sometimes to think through and review a book to help me remember topics I'm passionate about.

Good luck and best regards.

Murali said...

Hi Dan...
We keep reading, seeing and realizing that giving feedback (more specifically, bad or corrective feedback) to successful leaders or if we can say performers is very difficult... As Marshall Goldsmith observes, a) they don't want to hear and b) we don't want to give it to them...!
You could tell us how to give feedback to leaders?!
Thanks, Best Regards
Murali

Dan McCarthy said...

Jussi-
Thanks, I like 'em. Hhmmm, wonder what "leader's block" might look like...

Adi-
Thanks! How about Dilbert? (-:

Art -
Thanks! These ideas look like a good way to get better at anything, including leadership!

Mary Jo -
Thanks, three good ones. i'm already writing them in my head. Might even be good for a free book....

Tafe -
Very interesting, something I have not given much thought to. I will now- thanks!

Egenio -
Good idea - I've sure made a enough of those to fill a page.

Kye -
Thanks! I've done a lot of that.

Angie -
Good idea - what makes a "Great Follower"?

Wally -
Excellant! Thanks for sharing a few of your secrets!

Mike -
Thanks! I have a stack sitting here that I could go to.

Murali -
I've written a lot on feedback already, but your idea may be a new twist. Thanks!

Chris Kidd said...

How about

Dealing with conflict in your team
Being a middle manager
Managing your manager

Chris

Anonymous said...

I want to know where I stand with my manager and what I need to do to grow in a company very different from the one I was laid off from three years ago. He's a very savvy manager - I really admire him - but feedback just isn't his thing. For the last two years, when it's come to evaluation time, he's said "other employees don't need to discuss it." So I can't "ask for feedback." If the question strikes your fancy, can you give me some tips for coaxing him into it without making it as repellent a task as he imagines?

Paul B. Thornton said...

Dan,
Slideshare is currently running a contest for "best presentation." How about a contest focused on one of the following:
1. best leadership presentation
2. best new definition of leadership
3. best TV show or movie or song that illustrates a leadership concept.

Winner get a BIG prize. Bottom line---get us involved.
Paul B. Thornton

Dan McCarthy said...

Anon -
I like it - it's a new twist on feedback - how to coax it out of a relucktant manager. Thanks!

Paul -
Thanks. I've run a lot of contest before, with mixed results, but they are fun. Good ideas.

Anonymous said...

Take a look back at earlier work and compare to where you are now.
Consider the "Reformation" approach, for which my current working definition is:
"Reformation: Identifying and removing error, and returning to a rightful course." Why look back? Recapitulation involves overcoming ennui, momentum, recidivism, progressivism, reactionary and enthusiast over-corrections into new error.

Then, you can monitor navigation to and on the "rightful course"!

A "mouthful", but may break loose the log jam!

All the best!

Randy

Dan McCarthy said...

Randy -
Thanks for that advice!

Rebecca said...

Good Morning Dan, how about a take on the statement in this blog post:
"Is is a lack of motivation? Inspiration?" Take us through the difference between the two and how leaders can use each, in different ways, to help teams drive for performance?

Rebecca

Dan McCarthy said...

Rebecca -
Thanks, I think I can do something with that!

To all:
You people are awesome! Not only do I have lot's of ideas, I can't wait to write about them.
It's a good lesson for me - I'm a natural introvert, so I tend to try to think things through on my own. With social networking, you can just toss a question out there and get unstuck in a matter of hours!

Anne-Lise said...

Hi Dan,
I am also very interested by the first topic mentionned by Mary Jo: the identification criteria for high potentials. I just joined a new (non-profit) organization (in Europe. We are starting talent review meetings next month and trying to develop such criteria, to identify high performers and high potentials during these meetings. The review will be based on the performance appraisal reports from the employees. Several managers will participate and we will review staff members at similar grades and levels and identify the high-performers and the high potentials in each group. We developped some criteria (such as learning agility, performance in current role, advancement history, advancement desire, advancement potential, leadership skills..), but it is very difficult to make the process objective. The assessments will be made by the managers, we unfortunately do not have 360 assessments at this point. We are initiating these talent review meetings as a pilot project. Do you have any good advice on how to make such identification criteria as objective as possible or good advice for talent review meetings? Thank you veyr much for your help.