OSU Leadership Center

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

Recent Blog Posts

By: Beth Flynn, Tuesday, July 26th, 2016
From: Dyer, W., Dyer, J.H., and Dyer, W.G. (2013).  Team building: proven strategies for improving team performance.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass


"Do you have what it takes to create an innovative team?  An organization's most valued leaders are those who lead innovative teams - teams that generate and implement valuable new product, process, and strategy ideas.
So what are the characteristics of leaders - and teams - who excel at innovating?
  • A leader with strong innovation skills who leads by example and creates a safe space for others to shine instead of dominating them
  • Team members who possess a complementary mix of innovation and execution skills, as well as complementary expertise in multiple functions and knowledge domains
  • Team processes that explicitly encourage, support, and even require team members to engage in questioning, observing, networking, experimenting, and associational thinking as they hunt for creative solutions to problems
When a team has all of these qualities, it has the capacity to become an innovation lighthouse for an organization.  To realize this role, though, requires a leader fully capable of leading an innovative team (p. 183-184)."
 
What are some ideas you have about how to be an innovative leader?

 

By: Beth Flynn, Tuesday, July 19th, 2016
From: Ellis, C.D. (2013).  What it takes: seven secrets of success from the world's greatest professional firms.  San Francisco:  Wiley.
 
"In an old story, a pilgrim came to the construction site for what would become Chartres Cathedral and asked the stonecutters what they were doing.  One tersely said, 'Squaring this stone.'  Another proudly said, 'Squaring this stone to build a strong wall for a major building.' And the third, with joy in his heart, said with a wide smile, 'Building a great cathedral to honor the glory of God!' With which stonecutter would you want to work (p.5)?"
 
With which stonecutter would you want to work?
 
Which character in this story represents you?
 
 
 

 

Posted In:
Tags: work, workers, leadership, leaders, management
Comments: 0
By: Beth Flynn, Tuesday, July 19th, 2016
From: Dyer, W., Dyer, J.H., and Dyer, W.G. (2013).  Team building: proven strategies for improving team performance.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
 

 Questioning allows innovators to challenge the status quo and consider new possibilities.

  1. Observing helps innovators detect small details in the activities of customers, suppliers, and other companies that suggest new ways of doing things.
  2. Networking permits innovators to gain radically different perspectives by talking to individuals with diverse backgrounds.
  3. Experimenting prompts innovators to try out new experiences, take things apart, and test new ideas through pilots and prototypes.
  4. Associational thinking is a cognitive skill of finding connections among questions, problems or ideas from unrelated fields.  It is triggered by new information brought in through questioning, observing, networking, and experimenting and is the catalyst for creative ideas (p. 185-186)."
  5. Associational thinking is a cognitive skill of finding connections among questions, problems or ideas from unrelated fields.  It is triggered by new information brought in through questioning, observing, networking, and experimenting and is the catalyst for creative ideas (p. 185-186)."

What other skills would you suggest for being a Disruptive Innovator?

 

 

Posted In:
Tags: innovation, innovator, skills, leaders, leadership, management
Comments: 0
By: Beth Flynn, Tuesday, July 19th, 2016
From: Richardson, T. (2015).  The responsible leader: developing a culture of responsibility in an uncertain world.  London:  Kogan Page.
 
 "Responsible leaders are open, confident yet humble.  Moreover, they have personal resilience that comes from this.  Individuals who demonstrate inner strength and personal resilience are able to draw on their personal assuredness from a clear sense of their identity.  This leads to an inner confidence.  However, when this is not balanced with sober self-assessment or mature emotional intelligence, it becomes skewed and egocentric.  It also closes people to other perspectives as these kinds of leader begin to believe their own propaganda and narrative and exclude others' perspectives. 
 
Being truly open is a mindset and orientation.  It says to others that you are approachable and receptive - receptive to the possibility of new ideas, of fresh thinking, of criticism or coaching.  The ability to work collaboratively with others sets apart responsible leaders and to do so effectively requires this orientation; for example, knowing that I will get an appreciative reception when I bring a new way of working to the boss allows me to feel confidence in the first place (p. 38-39)."
 
What ways do you demonstrate being a responsible leader?
 

 

Posted In:
Tags: Leader, leadership, management trust, collaborative
Comments: 0
By: Beth Flynn, Tuesday, June 28th, 2016
  • "Don't blame people for negative outcomes.
  • Don't compare people.
  • Focus on behaviors, not personal characteristics.
  • Attribute good performance to internal causes.
  • Recognize when a team should be praised.
  • Be specific about ways to improve performance.
  • Allow a controlled expression of feelings.
  • Increase goal clarity.
  • Challenge the recipient to do better.
  • Increase the recipient's sense of independence and self-control.
  • Encourage and reinforce a can-do attitude (p.8)."  
From:  London, M. (2014). The power of feedback.  New York: Routledge Publishers
 

 

From:  London, M. (2014). The power of feedback.  New York: Routledge Publishers

 

 

Posted In:
Tags: feedback, leaders, leadership, management, Communication
Comments: 0
By: Beth Flynn, Tuesday, June 28th, 2016
"You may have heard the saying 'Whom you know is more important than what you know.' One thing is for sure: leadership is a relationship business.  Both the quality and quantity of relationship are important aspects of your leadership story. 
 
Navigating the organizational waters and ensuring a broad audience for your leadership story requires you to have a good number of positive relationships (i.e. protagonist or antagonist) and strategic with key relationships (p. 45)."
 
From: Tobin, T. (2015).  Your leadership story: use your story to energize, inspire and motivate. Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
By: Beth Flynn, Tuesday, June 28th, 2016
"Leaders are responsible for creating a culture of forgiveness, and creating such a culture has many advantages.  To begin with, forgiveness builds loyalty and good corporate citizenship.  In organizations with a forgiveness culture, people are more likely to make an extra effort, which has important consequences for the bottom line.  If people feel that they will not be forgiven for the mistakes they make, they are not going to be at their most productive; they will not take risks and will waste energy worrying about past transgressions.  Forgiveness also helps transgressors to have a more positive outlook on the future.  People are more likely to be open, and less likely to hide mistakes, transgressions and wrongdoings when they operate in a forgiving environment.  They will be more likely to create a coaching culture, a way of interacting that will have a positive effect on the bottom line.  Forgiveness helps create authentic organizations, places of work where people feel their best.
 
To energize their people, truly effective leaders need to be at peace with themselves and past and present events in their life, which includes forgiving others for transgressions, and not bearing grudges.  When we let go of our grudges, we build collaboration reduce conflict, and release a lot of pent-up energy that can be used to move countries, institutions, organizations, teams, and individuals forward.  True forgiveness supports the retention of valued employees, allows greater creativity and innovation, leads to increased profitability, and generates greater openness to change (p. 46-47)."

 

From:  Vries, Manfred F.R. Kets de. (2014). INSEAD Business Press: Mindful Leadership Coaching: Journeys into the Interior. Basingstoke, GBR: Palgrave Macmillan.

By: Beth Flynn, Monday, June 06th, 2016
  • Identify past successes that paved the way to your current position.
  • Think about challenges you faced along the way to those successes.
  • List the specific skills and talents that allowed you to overcome past challenges.
  • Think about the resources you tapped into to learn about and get better at things you needed to succeed.
  • Think about the help you received from others as you stretched and grew.
  • Explore how your past creativity, strength, and support network could be leveraged to help you overcome your current self-doubts (p. 102)."

What are ways that you talk back to the voice of doubt in your head?

From:  Reina, D. & Reina, M. (2015).  Trust and betrayal in the workplace: building effective relationships in your organization (3rd edition).  Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

 

By: Beth Flynn, Monday, June 06th, 2016
"William 'Bill' Crawford was an unimpressive figure, one you could easily
overlook during a hectic day at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Mr. Crawford, as
most of us referred to him back in the late 1970s, was our squadron janitor.

While we cadets busied ourselves preparing for academic exams, athletic
events, Saturday morning parades, and room inspections -- or never -- ending
leadership classes-Bill quietly moved about the squadron mopping and buffing
floors, emptying trash cans, cleaning toilets, or just tidying up the mess
100 college-age kids can leave in a dormitory.

Sadly, and for many years, few of us gave him much notice, rendering little
more than a passing nod or throwing a curt, "G'morning!" in his direction as
we hurried off to our daily duties. Why? Perhaps it was because of the way
he did his job -- he always kept the squadron area spotlessly clean, even
the toilets and showers gleamed. Frankly, he did his job so well, none of us
had to notice or get involved. After all, cleaning toilets was his job, not
ours.

Maybe it was his physical appearance that made him disappear into the
background. Bill didn't move very quickly, and in fact, you could say he
even shuffled a bit, as if he suffered from some sort of injury. His gray
hair and wrinkled face made him appear ancient to a group of young cadets.
And his crooked smile, well, it looked a little funny. Face it, Bill was an
old man working in a young person's world. What did he have to offer us on a
personal level?

Maybe it was Mr. Crawford's personality that rendered him almost invisible
to the young people around him. Bill was shy, almost painfully so. He seldom
spoke to a cadet unless they addressed him first, and that didn't happen
very often. Our janitor always buried himself in his work, moving about with
stooped shoulders, a quiet gait, and an averted gaze. If he noticed the
hustle and bustle of cadet life around him, it was hard to tell. For
whatever reason, Bill blended into the woodwork and became just another
fixture around the squadron. The Academy, one of our nation's premier
leadership laboratories, kept us busy from dawn till dusk. And Mr.
Crawford... well, he was just a janitor.

That changed one fall Saturday afternoon in 1976. I was reading a book about
World War II and the tough Allied ground campaign in Italy, when I stumbled
across an incredible story.

On September 13, 1943, a Private William Crawford from Colorado, assigned to
the 36th Infantry Division, had been involved in some bloody fighting on
Hill 424 near Altavilla, Italy.
 
William Crawford's Medal of Honor Citation.
William Crawford's Medal of Honor Citation.
The words on the page leapt out at me, "in the face of intense and
overwhelming hostile fire... with no regard for personal safety.. on his
own initiative, Private Crawford single-handedly attacked fortified enemy
positions." It continued, "for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk
of life above and beyond the call of duty, the President of the United
States..."

"Holy cow," I said to my roommate, "you're not going to believe this, but I
think our janitor is a Medal of Honor recipient." We all knew Mr. Crawford
was a World War II Army vet, but that didn't keep my friend from looking at
me as if I was some sort of alien being. Nonetheless, we couldn't wait to
ask Bill about the story.

We met Mr. Crawford bright and early Monday and showed him the page in
question from the book, anticipation and doubt on our faces. He stared at it
for a few silent moments and then quietly uttered something like, "Yep,
that's me." Mouths agape, my roommate and I looked at one another, then at
the book, and quickly back at our janitor. Almost at once, we both
stuttered, "Why didn't you ever tell us about it?" He slowly replied after
some thought, "That was one day in my life and it happened a long time ago."
I guess we were all at a loss for words after that. We had to hurry off to
class and Bill, well, he had chores to attend to.

After that brief exchange, things were never again the same around our
squadron. Word spread like wildfire among the cadets that we had a hero in
our midst -- Mr. Crawford, our janitor, had been bestowed The Medal! Cadets
who had once passed by Bill with hardly a glance, now greeted him with a
smile and a respectful, "Good morning, Mr. Crawford."

Those who had before left a mess for the "janitor" to clean up, started
taking it upon themselves to put things in order. Cadets routinely stopped
to talk to Bill throughout the day and we even began inviting him to our
formal squadron functions. He'd show up dressed in a conservative dark suit
and quietly talk to those who approached him, the only sign of his heroics
being a simple blue, star-spangled lapel pin. Almost overnight, Bill went
from being a simple fixture in our squadron to one of our teammates.

Mr. Crawford changed too, but you had to look closely to notice the
difference. After that fall day in 1976, he seemed to move with more
purpose, his shoulders didn't seem to be as stooped, he met our greetings
with a direct gaze and a stronger "good morning" in return, and he flashed
his crooked smile more often. The squadron gleamed as always, but everyone
now seemed to notice it more. Bill even got to know most of us by our first
names, something that didn't happen often at the Academy. While no one ever
formally acknowledged the change, I think we became Bill's cadets and his
squadron.

As often happens in life, events sweep us away from those in our past. The
last time I saw Bill was on graduation day in June 1977. As I walked out of
the squadron for the last time, he shook my hand and simply said, "Good
luck, young man." With that, I embarked on a career that has been truly
lucky and blessed.

Mr. Crawford continued to work at the Academy and eventually retired in his
native Colorado, one of four Medal of Honor recipients who lived in the
small town of Pueblo.

A wise person once said, "It's not life that's important, but those you meet
along the way that make the difference." Bill was one who made a difference
for me. Bill Crawford, our janitor, taught me many valuable, unforgettable
leadership lessons, and I think of him often."
 
From:  homeofh@homeofheroes.com.  Reprinted with permission.
Posted In:
Tags:
Comments: 0
By: Beth Flynn, Monday, June 06th, 2016
"You are the actor, writer, and director of your leadership story.  You act in the moment, initiate ideas, provide a bigger view, and allow for ideas and creativity.  Understanding and communicating your leadership story can be quite powerful.  It provides clarity around what you stand for as a leader.  It keeps alive the people, values, and life lessons that you hold dear.  It gives you the power of influence and authenticity by allowing you to match your words and your actions.  It allows you to build trust.  Trust leads to credibility.
 
By helping you to understand what has shaped you as a leader, your leadership story can make the strong emotional connection that is necessary to inspire and motivate others.  It can also be a useful tool with which to impart knowledge and lessons to others - to help them learn from the experiences that have shaped your leadership story.  And it provides you and others with insights into what you hold important as a leader (p. 16)."
 
What is your leadership story?
 
 
From:  Tobin, T. (2015).  Your leadership story: use your story to energize, inspire and motivate. Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Pages