Leadership Conversations - The 3G Networks at Work




How does a leader find the “on” button in their team members even when there is sub-optimal motivation?  How can a leader turn disengagement into engagement and self-imposed isolation into collaborative action?

One answer is to intentionally revert back to a largely discarded 3G network.  This type of network is not the digital network we were once familiar with, but rather a relational network in its’ capacity and speed.

It is made up of three key components of leadership: Grace, Graciousness, and Giftedness.  Thus, the 3G Networks.

Let’s define the components.


·      Grace – “elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action” or “a pleasing or attractive quality or endowment”


·      Graciousness – “pleasantly kind, benevolent, and courteous” or “merciful and compassionate”


·      Giftedness – “having great special talent or ability”


By systematically talking to and behaving towards others with authentic respect that is courteous, kind, and in a pleasing manner, the leader creates a culture that elicits the best behavior and attitude from others.  The boundaries are laid out and reinforced.  They serve to elevate the language, interaction, behavioral expectation, and quality of engagement. 

This creates conditions that serve to enhance the release of the 3rd G, Giftedness.  When a cultural environment is created that begins to improve the quality and expectation of authentic relationships, team members are more likely to collaborate, contribute, and share their unique gifts with others.  They feel appreciated, listened to, and valued. 

When leaders speak, model, and require valuing others they find and press the “on” buttons of those who have been overlooked, ignored, or disenfranchised.  They create a chain reaction of input that is similar to the lighting of a fuse that travels through the workplace from one individual to another.  Disengagement becomes high-level engagement.  Self-imposed isolation becomes collaboration.

In this environment, individuals are able the share their unique gifts with the team to make their contribution a part of the finished product.  How much more productive could your team be playing under these rules?

Can we help you reintroduce real 3G Networks in your workplace?






Leadership Conversations; Saying "No"

Why is it that many leaders are so uncomfortable or downright scared to say “No” to a colleague, team member, or potential future hire?  Why is it that so many leaders, inexperienced and experienced alike, fail to understand that avoiding or attempting to circumvent difficult answers serves to undermine or erode their many efforts to establish credibility?

Time and time again I have observed and experienced uncomfortable leaders give answers to challenging questions that are vague, non-committal, misleading, or untruthful.  I have also observed and experienced complete avoidance to answering the question.  What is it that causes human beings to respond so obliquely to anxiety producing questions?

Of course there are many possible reasons. Some of them are:

  • Fear of conflict
  • Fear of loss of popularity
  • Fear of taking a risk
  • Fear of being wrong
  • Fear of loss of credibility
  • Fear of disappointing others
  • Fear of loss of control
  • Fear of loss of power
  • Fear of difference of opinion

People who ask such questions are usually either very excited or motivated about their idea or in seeking clarity.  Avoiding a direct answer, even if it is to gain time to formulate a response, is quickly perceived to be insincere or downright dishonest.  Not responding communicates disrespect.  These type of answers devalue and result in reduced or destroyed credibility.

When faced with a similar challenging question, leaders could build their credibility by:

  • Admitting the question is challenging
  • Asking for a little time to formulate an opinion and/or answer
  • Responding in a fashion that recognizes the value of the person asking the question
  • Giving an honest answer based upon organizational mission, values, and strategy
  • Taking full responsibility for the answer prefacing it with “I believe” or a similar form of personal accountability.

What type of answer have you been giving to those who ask challenging questions?  Do you avoid giving a difficult answer?  Are your answers constructive or destructive?  Do your answers build or hurt others? Do your answers build or ruin your credibility?

"But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No' be 'No' ". - Matthew 5:37

Put me in coach, I'm ready to play

Does your leader equip and empower your team?

John Fogarty’s 1985 hit “Center Field” is about an enthusiastic, confidant young player who has dreams and aspirations to play like his heroes Ty Cobb, Willie Mays, and Joe Di Maggio.  If only he could have the opportunity of proving himself in a real game.  The coach of course is the as to whether that player will be begin implementing his dream, or simply sit on the sidelines.

 This song comes to mind as I watch youth baseball games and watch many but not all coaches helping kids by equipping, encouraging, and then giving them opportunity to make a difference. 

 Leaders of organizations face many of the same decisions that coaches do.  While many choose to equip, add value, and release the power of that individual on the team (and the opponent), others choose to focus on maintaining and controlling the status quo.  Often these leaders feel that it is much safer to continue to empower the individuals that they have been using all along rather than take a chance on someone new with less experience.  After all, the known is less threatening than the unknown.  This leader is playing it safe – or is he?

 Unfortunately this myopic view of a team effort is more about winning by maintaining control and power than it is about building the team by adding value to the individuals that make it up.  Adding value increases productivity, flexibility, sustainability, and long-term gain. It increases the motivation of the entire team.  Interestingly, it also increases the influence and credibility of the leader and the engagement and loyalty of the team member.

 Winning is certainly very important in baseball and the world of business.  Productivity of team members and organizational profitability are critical.  It seems to me that the leader that is able to maximize the ability and motivation of all of his human resources is destined to be the real winner.

 Do you equip and empower or do you devalue?

What question doesn't deserve an answer?


Did you ever ask a leader an important question and not receive an answer?  

Have you ever had the experience of asking someone a question on an email or text that never receives a response or an answer?

I have experienced this more than I care to admit.  What particularly troubles me is that it often happens when I pose work related questions to people in various leadership roles.

 So what is it that is upsetting about his phenomenon?

John Maxwell defines leadership as influence.  Influence is enhanced by building relationships of respect.  This implies that both individuals recognize the inherent value of the other person, even when there is disagreement and even dislike.  Because someone doesn't think like me is no reason to disrespect them by devaluing who they are as a person.

 Not responding to someone communicates disrespect.  It says, "You are not worth my time and effort to respond to you".  No one deserves this type of devaluation. Every question deserves an answer.

 I was once in negotiation with a highly respected law firm.  I posed an offer to the attorney representing that firm in question form. I received no answer.  A couple of weeks later I asked why I received no answer.  The attorney responded, "No answer was an in effect an answer".   I lost all respect for this attorney and the law firm he represented.

Leaders constantly need to work on influence building to build credibility and engagement.  Leadership is a process not a position.  Treating others with the same amount of respect that we would want to be treated with is fundamental.

Overcoming self-deception in leadership

What derails many successful leaders?

 Successful leaders are leaders who embrace the three C’s of leadership: competence, character, and credibility.  All three are necessary to sustain influence and continually provide the spark that keeps an organization headed in the right direction.

 However, upon achieving success, many leaders get derailed from the 3 C’s and begin the process of losing influence and credibility with those they lead.  What causes this erosion?

There are several factors that can lead to the reduced trust and influence of a leader.  One of the most prominent reasons is the loss of transparency.  When people follow a leader they believe the leader communicates with them in an authentic fashion.  They understand what the leader communicates, and feel that the leader is passionate about the goal.  They may or may not agree with their ideas but nonetheless believe that the leader can be trusted.

 However, as many leaders become more successful, they experience an increased sense of self-importance and power over others, which become more important than honesty and authenticity.   This is self-deception.  They begin to become comfortable with power and actively seek it.  The corrupting influence of power makes authenticity and openness difficult to maintain.  The result is the decline of transparency and along with it, the leader’s credibility.  An infamous example such a leader was Napoleon Bonaparte.

 For example, I was once a meeting with a leader who shared their vision with the group.  It was inspiring, and delivered in an authentic way.   I committed to it, as did many others.  After struggling to achieve the vision, the leader no longer believed it achievable so the vision was changed.   The group was not informed of the change or the reason for it until the change was well underway.  There was no transparency.  The result was lost credibility and influence.

 One way to prevent this self-deception in leadership and loss of transparency is to embrace humility.  Real humility is humility that comes from the heart and not the false that comes from the head.  A modest belief in one’s own rank or importance is vital to counteract the debilitating effects of accrued leadership power.