Entries by Christopher Kolenda

Analyzing the Downstream and Upstream Actions of Secret Service Agents in Protecting Trump

Secret Service breakdown at Trump rally shows the importance of upstream thinking. I’m appalled by the assassination attempt on former President Trump, and I cannot help but think the violent rhetoric that’s entered our political discourse played a role. I hope people think more carefully before characterizing their opponents in existential terms. As we get […]

Leading with Dignity: Mandela’s Lesson for Biden and Us All

Mandela’s leadership was about choosing dignity over power I spent the past two weeks in South Africa, our final stop being the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg on June 27th. Mandela’s wisdom and grace inspired me. He negotiated a peaceful transfer of power from the delegitimized apartheid government to one that represented all South Africans and […]

What Surgery Taught Me About Rule-Breaking

How often does rule-breaking occur in your business? Probably more than you’d care to admit. Americans are avid rule-breakers. I think it’s in our DNA or the water or both. Many people came to America because they didn’t like their home country’s rules. Americans defy scolding self-appointed elites. Don’t tread on me. We brought the […]

The Problem with “Servant Leadership”

There are many reasons for increased manager burnout. I want to call attention to a particularly pernicious problem: servant leadership. Like many people, especially in the military, I regarded “servant” as the highest form of leadership [selfless service is one of the Army’s values.].  After all, leading includes service to a higher purpose, the organization, […]

Your Culture Doesn’t Eat Anything for Breakfast

The saying, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” attributed to Peter Drucker, suggests culture is your top priority.  You know culture is important to cultivate, but where should it rank among your priorities in leading your organization and strengthening its purpose and direction?  I love taking on popular nonsense, and this one needs addressing.  Culture doesn’t […]

A D-Day Special: Encouraging Initiative Through History

Celebrating D-Day’s 80th anniversary “Everyone waits for me to tell them what to do,” Jane told me. “How do I get people to take initiative?” “Freelancing has burned us before, so I keep people on a tight leash,” Henry said. “We’re making fewer mistakes but too slow to recognize and seize opportunities.” Jane and Henry […]

The FDIC scandal shows that you promote what you permit in your work environment

How consciously do you assess your culture?  Sometimes, leaders assume that what they say leads to the implementation they want, but they don’t have a sound process for checking. This fire-and-forget method of conveying expectations can create significant gaps in what you believe is happening versus what’s actually happening. Other leaders lack awareness of how […]