In 2014 I will be…

As we start a new year I find myself immersed in a myriad of resolutions, New Year quizzes, and sharing of strategic and self-improvement goals for the budding year. One of these in particular had an interesting effect on me. The challenge posed by Jennifer McClure at Unbridled Talent was to find your focus for the year and summarize in one word what your main focus was going to be in 2014. I must admit that my initial reaction was skeptical, and that the first one word construction that came out of my mouth was “Cheesy!” But a couple of days after, the challenge was still lingering in my mind.

OK, I thought, let’s look at what responses there are so far. I was impressed with the far reaching and inspirational pronouncements that had been logged so far. “Significance”, “Strategic”, “Inspirational”, “Peaceful”, all leading the way for the triumphant entrance of “Transcend”. My mind started rushing in a tsunami-like effort of one-upmanship; in all honesty I caught myself trying to come up with a much more intellectual proclamation that would set me apart from all other atop a pedestal of strategic intent and unbridled leadership force. Thankfully logic prevailed (or my son invited me to play catch) and I abandoned the effort once again.

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Great Food, Great Beer, Great Leadership (Part 2)

Great Food, Great Beer, Great Leadership – Part 2

or, Great Product + Transparency + Values + Shared Ownership = Great Business!

After a post of great leadership principles from gastronomic AND leadership guru Ari Weinzweig, I’d wager there is no better way to follow up than with a chaser that talks about leadership and beer.

New Belgium Brewing ( began commercial operations in 1991. The journey was started by an electrical engineer and Belgian Beer fanatic, Jeff Lesbesch and his wife, Kim Jordan (now CEO of NBB). The business started in Jeff’s and Kim’s house, and the first beers were sold with labels that depicted watercolors crafted by their neighbor. Today New Belgium is the third largest craft beer producer in the United States, and Fat Tire, their flagship beer, has developed a cult-like following. Continue reading

Great Food, Great Beer, Great Leadership (Part 1)

Today I write so that we may explore an alternate role model for leadership in business. I am deeply concerned that we, at a macroeconomic level, may be focused on revering many an icon of business that has as an ultimate goal stock market based profit and ongoing growth for the sake only of growth. Could there be a better, more sustainable model? Could a different approach create not only more sustainable business models but also a more engaged and purpose driven work force?

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HELP, HELP, I am a Leader!!

In the Fortune 500 world that dominates the business section of the Wall Street Journal, when asked to think of exemplary leaders, many will tend to elicit the image of the sea-weathered captain looming over the bow of the ship fearlessly taking on the raging storm to lead her/his crew to novel shores. The larger than life pictures of Whitman, Iacocca, Welch, Rometty, and Jobs flash on the cover of the Harvard Business Review.

It is safe to say that a clamor for help is not Continue reading

Six Great Questions We Must Ask

My good friend and colleague, Zach Snyder was nice enough to transcribe these six questions from an Andy Stanley podcast.  Click here to listen or download the podcast.  Having a standard game plan for evaluating the success of meetings is so key.  We are in the midst of a meeting heavy time right now and our folks are at the breaking point.  We as leaders cannot afford to ask people to give up time for something where there is no solid growth, momentum or Continue reading

The Power of a Book Study

Reading a book as a leadership group is a transformative experience… it just is.

The leadership team here at Western Excelsior has been reading Simple Excellence by Zak and Waddell.  Each week a different member leads the discussion around pizza or ribs as we cover the content of one or two chapters.

We work hard to keep the discussion focused on the text.  Its not a surprise to hear someone clear their throat and call out “What do we think about when they said, ‘___________’ here on page ____?” to politely redirect a conversation careening down a rat-trail.

There is something liberating about Continue reading