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Archive for the ‘leadership’ Category

What does it take to re-light your fire?

In Aha!, How To, leadership on January 24, 2017 at 6:51 pm
"Come on baby, light my fire." Okay, some of you may now have an 'ear bug' that'll pleasantly haunt you for the rest of the day. But seriously now ...

“Come on baby, light my fire.” Okay, some of you may now have an ‘ear bug’ that’ll pleasantly haunt you for the rest of the day. But seriously now …

Q: What does it take to re-light your fire?

A: Some may claim that “it only takes a spark.”

Others in the know may add the caveat: so long as the kindling is dry, you’re protected from the wind, you’ve a ready source of fuel handy, and/or you know how to create that spark in the first place.

As a certified professional facilitator and leadership coach, I have opportunities to meet and assist teams and leaders from many walks of life. Luckily, many still have had experience with starting a camp fire, lighting a wood stove, or burning a log in their fireplace. Sadly, too many rely on modern conveniences that today’s “glampers” enjoy or they just flip a switch and the natural gas flows into their family room or den.

I hope by know you’ve figured out that this blog article isn’t actually about your outdoorsy skills.

Yep, it’s a metaphor. So what does it take to re-light your personal or professional fire?

What fuels your passion for excellence?

What people do you enlist to bring you kindling or more fuel?

Who’s looking out for you organizationally speaking to “block the wind” or run interference from some unforeseen “storm.”

It may only take a spark, but it’s also a good time to take stock of your fuel supply and know how.

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Remote associations include but are not limited to the following:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deB_u-to-IE ==> “Light My Fire” by The Doors
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J91ti_MpdHA ==> “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys

 

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This we’ll defend

In leadership on November 7, 2016 at 6:03 pm

… Long may she wave

 

“This we’ll defend” => https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs … Please make time to (re)read these three documents: The Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and our Bill of Rights. Then tomorrow — if you haven’t already — vote your conscience.

This we’ll defend

The Wall Banger … Where’s Harvey?!

In Active Learning, Confidence Course Facilitator, leadership, Leave Your Comfort Zone on August 6, 2016 at 5:52 pm
And the OC says, "Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce you to 'The Wall Banger'." To which one participant replies, "Where's Harvey?"

And the OC says, “Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to ‘The Wall Banger’.” To which one participant replies, “Where’s Harvey?”

Recently I had the honor and privilege of serving as the “officer-in-charge” at the Thayer Leader Development Group’s “Leader Reaction Course.” While at West Point, two groups of corporate executives were put through their paces in team-building and executive decision-making.

So what makes experiential learning so effective? There are many reasons …

a) Leadership is best picked up in an experiential, hands-on setting. You can read about the HOW TOs and you can study how others may act in situations of high stress when faced by a challenge. But there’s nothing like being faced with a challenge — in the moment — with working with others and deciding what makes for the group’s next steps.

b) Reality trumps virtual reality 99 times out of 100. How do you gain experience? You make mistakes and learn from them. “Plan-Prepare-Execute-Learn” is the cycle that can only be appreciated when you’re doing and being versus just thinking about it.

c) When navigating through a challenge course, ropes course, or reaction course — you see the results of your thinking and decisions directly and in real time. Positive and negative results are revealed within minutes if not seconds of your decision. If you’re luck to have a trained “observer-controller” or OC / coach working with you during this experience, then they can help you see and understand the good, the bad, and the ugly consequences of your actions.

As for items d) … through z), these may be the topics for future posts here or on Linked In.

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John Lesko is a certified professional facilitator and leadership coach. He’s a graduate of the school of hard knocks and an adjunct faculty member of the Thayer Leader Development Group at West Point. He also hangs with the staff at The EDGE at Mason. To learn more, comment here or send an e-mail to <John@JohnLesko.Biz>.

The 3rd Way – Redux

In Active Learning, Active Listening, Aikido, Coaching, Communication, Conflict Resolution, leadership, Toastmasters on January 31, 2016 at 12:13 am

(Thank You) x 3 … It was a pleasure to participate in District 27’s Executive Committee meeting held on January  31, 2016.

As promised …

Here’s the “soft-copy” of the one-page handout we used during our 20-minute educational session. A PDF-version can be found here –> The 3rd Way Redux

There's always more than one way to resolve conflict.

There’s always more than one way to resolve conflict.

And here are a few other references for those who wish to take a “deeper dive” into the topic of conflict resolution:

Primary Sources:
* Appreciative Inquiry … various books and authors
* Emotional Intelligence … various books and authors
* Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, et. al.
* The Skilled Facilitator by Roger Schwarz
* “Resolving Conflict.” A manual from the Excellence in Leadership Series by Toastmasters International — NOTE: The 10-slides from this manual and training program are found here for your review and use. Follow this link –> 321CD_ResolvingConflict

Secondary Sources:
* The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
* The 8th Habit by Stephen Covey
* The Abilene Paradox by Jerry Harvey
* How Come Every Time I Get Stabbed in the Back My Fingerprints Are on the Knife? (also) by Jerry Harvey
* Mastery by George Leonard
* The Secret Teachings of Aikido by Morihei Ueshiba

 

 

Find a way or make one.

In Facilitating Genius, leadership, Leave Your Comfort Zone on October 23, 2015 at 6:24 pm
Photo credit: JohnLesko.Biz LLC

Photo credit: JohnLesko.Biz LLC

A few weeks ago I had to chance to visit family in Pennsylvania and tour the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh. This museum features a number of innovations and innovators with a connection to the Steel City. One exhibit focuses on the H.J. Heinz company. The photo above caught my eye. Immediately below “Think Outside the Bottle” is etched a quote by the founder of 57 Varieties.

I will either find a way or make one.

– H.J. Heinz

Coincidentally, many will go to the cinemaplex this week to see the latest movie about Steve Jobs.  Now there have been several movies about the most famous CEO of Apple: Jobs, Pirates of Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs: Billion Dollar Hippie, Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview, and Steve Jobs: One Last Thing. Reviews are mixed with a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer pegged at 85% and an Audience Score of 81% liking it. And then there’s Walt Mossberg’s review.

Which brings me to my point. Yes, today is the perfect day for reflection, for taking stock, and then for getting off the dime and doing something important.

  • What is it that separates genius achievement from the day-to-day work of the common man?
  • Why do we call a masterpiece a work of art? What will be your masterpiece?
  • What will be your life’s work?
  • Are you moving one step closer toward your goal? Or have you become distracted by the oh-so-many mindless distractions found on-line?
  • Note to self: Resolve to never, ever again watch another YouTube video about kittens, puppies, or pandas.
  • Will you be someone who strives to make a dent in the universe? Or will you spend the rest of your life selling sugar water?

The unexamined life is not worth living.

– Socrates

And for the critics who might say, “Nice post here on Linked In, John, but where are the tools and materials I’ll need to get started on my masterpiece?” Consider these helpful links and related resources:

Kudos to Michael Bungay Stanier

Check out thegoodproject.org for ideas and tools designed to help organizations foster collaboration.

And if I might be so bold as to recommend my latest book: Facilitating Genius: Illuminating Brilliance in Your Organization.

Excellence and Equity in Education

In Active Learning, Facilitating Genius, leadership on August 14, 2015 at 5:21 pm

On August 13, 2015, I had the pleasure of presenting a workshop at the Prince William County School district’s Excellence and Equity in Education conference. This year’s theme was “providing a world-class education: reflecting, refining, and refocusing.” Patriot High School served as the venue for this professional development event.

Follow this link to download my slides –> Facilitating Genius at the Triple E Conference

Follow this link for a copy of the participants’ handout –> Facilitaing Genius Handout EEE Conference

And here are a few photos taken during this day-long event.

The Triple E Program from the 2nd largest school system in Virginia

The Triple E Program from the 2nd largest school system in Virginia

It was a thrill to lead this workshop for three "sold out" breakout sessions: A21, B28, and C1. Wow!

It was a thrill to lead this workshop for three “sold out” breakout sessions: A21, B28, and C1. Wow!

And it was perhaps ironic or symbolic that these sessions were located in Room 2015 of Albert Einstein Hall.

And it was perhaps ironic or symbolic that these sessions were located in Room 2015 of Albert Einstein Hall.

Of course the conference started with a nutritious light breakfast prepared by the cafeteria staff. After the fresh fruit, I liked the cinnamon scones.

Of course the conference started with a nutritious light breakfast prepared by the cafeteria staff. After the fresh fruit, I liked the cinnamon scones.

A round of Jeeepardy served as an excellent icebreaker and energizer.

A round of Jeeepardy served as an excellent icebreaker and energizer.

Dr. Adolph Brown entered the auditorium dressed as ... Well, he had dreadlocks, a backpack, and fatigue pants and looked like he didn't quite belong. Well done, sir. Well done!

Dr. Adolph Brown entered the auditorium dressed as … Well, he had dreadlocks, a backpack, and fatigue pants and looked like he didn’t quite belong. Well done, sir. Well done!

And by the end of his keynote, he had everyone ready to commence toward a new year and brighter future.

And by the end of his keynote, he had everyone ready to commence toward a new year and brighter future.

Most of the classrooms at Patriot HS are equipped with user-friendly audio-visual systems.

Most of the classrooms at Patriot HS are equipped with user-friendly audio-visual systems.

Here are the results of a large group exercise based on the Ben Franklin Method of decision-making.

Here are the results of a large group exercise based on the Ben Franklin Method of decision-making.

This image shows the results of the multiple intelligence self-assessment by participants from sessions A, B, and C. Naturally, in a group of teachers we see a large number of 'people smart' people.

This image shows the results of the multiple intelligence self-assessment by participants from sessions A, B, and C. Naturally, in a group of teachers we see a large number of ‘people smart’ people.

Presenter gift bags -- filled initially with a bottle of water and snacks -- made for a handy way to collect business cards. Kudos to the multiple intelligence community at the  Montclair Elementary School.

Presenter gift bags — filled initially with a bottle of water and snacks — made for a handy way to collect business cards. Kudos to the multiple intelligence community at the Montclair Elementary School.

 

Toastmasters Leadership Institute Elective: “The Natural Life Cycle of Clubs: Tips for Successful Club Mentors and Club Coaches

In Active Learning, Aha!, Coaching, leadership, Leave Your Comfort Zone, Mentoring, Toastmasters on July 26, 2015 at 9:20 pm
All clubs progress along a natural growth pattern where there are opportunities for both club mentors and club coaches to assist others in achieving their goals.

All clubs progress along a natural growth pattern where there are opportunities for both club mentors and club coaches to assist others in achieving their goals.

Key concepts from this TLI elective were captured here by graphic facilitator John Lesko.

Key concepts from this TLI elective were captured here by graphic facilitator John Lesko.

Copies of the instructor’s notes and handouts follow in PDF format.

218G New Club Mentoring Matters

218F First Class Club Coach

Tell Me About Your Genius: 40PlusDC ‘Monday Morning Speaker’ Slide Deck, June 8

In Facilitating Genius, leadership on June 6, 2015 at 12:48 am

TMAYG-40PlusDC-June 8 2015.001TMAYG-40PlusDC-June 8 2015.002TMAYG-40PlusDC-June 8 2015.005TMAYG-40PlusDC-June 8 2015.006TMAYG-40PlusDC-June 8 2015.007… There are only two other slides in my slide deck. Here’s the complete file as a PDF-document. TMAYG-40PlusDC-June 8 2015

… On June 8, I intend to give away at least one FREE copy of my book. Those who wish to purchase a copy can do so for a special workshop price of ten dollars. Those who cannot attend or who are ‘sitting on the fence,’ here’s a link to the official press release as well as ‘bread crumbs’ to my publisher, eBookIt.com and their on-line bookstore.

Hope to see you next week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Editor’s Note: This is an update to my post entitled: “Sneak Peak at my 40Plus DC ‘Monday Morning Speaker’ Slide Deck.”

Nearly every seat was filled yesterday, June 8, at this 40PlusDC event. The videographer captured my presentation. Handouts were pre-printed and ready for all who needed them. Most folks showed up early or on time. Those who arrived late were quickly ushered to the few available chairs in the back row of the meeting space.

Rand served as the emcee and welcomed first timers to stay a few minutes longer and receive an orientation to the 40Plus training program.

Rand served as the emcee and welcomed first timers to stay a few minutes longer and receive an orientation to the 40Plus training program.

And there was a 'bell ringer' at 40PlusDC ... Whenever someone finds a job after completing the training program, they ring a ship's bell and share the news with all in the room.

And there was a ‘bell ringer’ at 40PlusDC … Whenever someone finds a job after completing the training program, they ring a ship’s bell and share the news with all in the room.

This poster was used during my workshop to illustrate how Number Smart and Nature Smart geniuses view the world and/or solve vexing problems.

This poster was used during my workshop to illustrate how Number Smart and Nature Smart geniuses view the world and/or solve vexing problems.

 

Congrats to ‘Leadership Arlington’ Young Professionals, Spring 2015

In Coaching, leadership, Leave Your Comfort Zone on June 6, 2015 at 12:24 am

Tales from Leadership ArlingtonOver the past few months I served as a leadership coach to a member of the Leadership Arlington Young Professionals Program. Here’s wishing the very best to these ‘super heroes’ in all their future endeavors.

It’s Like Riding a Bike: Highlights from the MAFN DC Workshop, May 29

In Active Learning, Coaching, Confidence Course Facilitator, Facilitating Genius, facilitation skills, High Ropes Course, leadership, Leave Your Comfort Zone, Mid-Atlantic Facilitators Network, teamwork on June 2, 2015 at 4:47 pm

Here are select images from last week’s MAFN DC Workshop. Most of these images are from my slide deck. A few were taken with my iPhone camera, e.g., participants passing the hula hoop and the props carried in a MAFN backpack. For those who attended this event, please consider taking your clients outside and perhaps to a challenge course such as “The EDGE.” For those who missed out on this workshop, drop me a line and I’ll fill you in on what you missed. JL

 

 

MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.001MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.003MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.005MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.007MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.010MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.012MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.013MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.014IMG_5036 IMG_5038MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.020 MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.023 MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.029 MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.031 MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.033

All the props fit into a small backpack.

All the props fit into a small backpack.