You owe it to your leaders to hold them accountable

Make your leadership about the substance not the steam | practice (split each time) | You owe it to your leaders to hold them accountable
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May 9, 2024
SmartBrief on Leadership
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Leading the Way
Make your leadership about the substance not the steam
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A culture of "Too Long; Didn't Read" -- or its shorthand of TL;DR -- may be a way to reclaim our time, but author Seth Godin argues "it defends us from change and from lived experience" because it takes us out of a habit of deep exploration of topics or activities. Pressure on leaders to turn out work is like a boiling pot, Godin writes, and while we may produce a lot of steam from it, there's not much lasting satisfaction for the creator or long-term positive impact on society.
Full Story: Seth Godin's Blog (5/8) 
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Put it into practice: The obsession with producing a lot of steam instead of substance is what Ted Gioia calls "The Dopamine Culture," where we get a quick hit of satisfaction but miss out on more substantive experiences that can improve ourselves and society. "The creators and consumers that have the guts to ignore the steam still have a chance to make an impact," Godin notes.
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SmartBrief on Leadership
You owe it to your leaders to hold them accountable
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Instead of putting them on a pedestal, leaders need team members who will hold them accountable by presenting their ideas, bringing up problems along with possible solutions and supporting the final decision, even if they disagree, writes John Baldoni. Good leaders, Baldoni notes, "welcome open dialogue as a means of finding the essence of an issue but also as a means of testing assumptions."
Full Story: SmartBrief/Leadership (5/8) 
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Put it into practice: As a leader, you want to be open to others and seek their advice, which makes your team feel like you value them, Baldoni writes. "Failure to find that value walls the leader off not just from critics but from the contributions of others."
Read more from John Baldoni on SmartBrief on Leadership
Smarter Communication
When presenting to an audience that may know more about your subject than you do, give them a chance to contribute to a discussion, be willing to admit any errors and thank them for any new information they may bring forward, writes professional speaker and facilitator Deborah Grayson Riegel. Remember, too, that many in the audience may know more on this particular topic, but you're still a subject-matter expert in many other areas, Grayson Riegel notes.
Full Story: Harvard Business Review (tiered subscription model) (5/8) 
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Put it into practice: If a room full of experts makes you feel your planned topic may not be strong enough to hold their interest, talk with them about whether it's still relevant and be prepared to pivot if they want you to lead a discussion on a different topic, Grayson Riegel writes. "You're no longer the subject matter expert but the expert facilitator -- which can be a career-boosting move for you, too."
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In Their Own Words
CEOs are increasingly taking stands on political and social issues and must assure the public that their companies are operating ethically, says Alison Taylor, executive director of Ethical Systems at NYU Stern School of Business, who advises leaders to be wary of releasing overly optimistic reports of their activities. Being open and honest about challenges and limitations "and where you might need action from other actors in society -- counterintuitively, that can help build more trust," Taylor says.
Full Story: McKinsey (5/7) 
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Daily Diversion
These robot snails aren't fast, but they're sticky
Chinese University of Hong Kong engineers have come up with tiny robotic snails that move on a track like a bulldozer, with metal helmet-shaped shells and retractable suction cups that allow them to climb onto each other or cling to different surfaces. Researchers say they can be used for search and rescue missions, field research or as planetary probes on space missions.
Full Story: Tech Xplore (5/7) 
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"Tin soldiers and Nixon coming" goes the lyrics to a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song. What is being referenced in that specific line?
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About The Editor
Candace Chellew
Candace Chellew

Seth Godin's piece today about the trend of producing a lot of steam but little substance in our lives and our leadership resonated with me. I used to be able to spend an entire weekend reading a book, being engrossed in a hobby, or even dedicating long periods to writing. These days, my attention is getting shorter and shorter. 

The chart from Ted Gioia on "The Dopamine Culture" that Godin presents is eye-opening and explains why we shy away from in-depth involvement in much of anything today, including learning how to play a sport, read a newspaper or send a handwritten note to someone. Those things take time and effort. Sending a short text, gambling on a sport or following a clickbait link gives us a quick hit of satisfaction.

By chasing quick dopamine hits, we're depriving ourselves of the joy of learning something deep and meaningful. As an example, I play guitar, and I have developed a habit of watching guitar lessons on YouTube ... without a guitar in my hands. I watch as someone else does what I want to learn how to do, but if I'm not playing along, what am I learning? The other day, I sat with a guitar as the video played, and while it wasn't easy, I learned some new skills. It took longer for the dopamine to hit, but I had a more profound experience that took more effort to accomplish.

Try it out for yourself. If you find yourself following a clickbait link, pick up a book you've been neglecting. If you want to communicate with someone, write out a note and send it to them. If you watch a sport, find a local league and get out there yourself and do it.

As Godin says, "a thirsty person can't subsist on steam."

If this newsletter helps you, please tell your colleagues, friends or anyone who can benefit. Forward them this email, or send this link.

What topics do you see in your daily work that I should know about? Do you have praise? Criticism? Drop me a note. And don't forget to send me photos of your pets, your office and where you spend your time off.
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