Would You Rather Be Effective or Be Right?

If you’re in a leadership role, there’s a pretty decent chance that when you were a kid, you were one of the smartest kids in class. If that wasn’t you, you probably remember who was. You know the smartest kid routine. They always had the right answer and wanted to make sure everyone else – especially the teacher – knew it. In organizational leadership, being right is less important than […]


Letting go of what you are…to be what you might become

We can limit ourselves by the stories we tell ourselves. If we’ve defined ourselves as quiet and thoughtful, we may rarely speak up in a meeting. If we’ve defined ourselves as brash, we might never make the effort to become gentler and more intentional in our communications with others. If we’ve defined ourselves as “not good with numbers” (or big ideas), we will probably never dig into the numbers or […]


Winning the ’20s: A Leadership Agenda for the Next Decade

The winners in business have shifted markedly in the last decade. When the 2010s began, the world’s ten most valuable public companies by market capitalization were based in five countries, only two of them were in the tech sector, and none was worth more than $400 billion. Today, all of the top ten are in the US and China, the majority are tech companies, and some at least temporarily have […]



Oops, did I say that out loud?

When I was in business school, they called it a “Lisa Kohn” if you were talking about someone and they were right behind you. Seriously, they did. I wish I could say that I did nothing to deserve that reputation, but I’m afraid that’s not true. I am happy to report however, that while the bad news is that my time in business school was way too many years ago, […]


The Two Cultures Aren’t Compatible

Amazon’s 2017 acquisition of Whole Foods was met with a lot of fanfare. The deal would allow Amazon to grow beyond e-commerce and sell groceries in hundreds of stores while collecting significant shopper data. Meanwhile, Whole Foods could lower its prices (organic avocados for just $1.69!) and scale up after its recent declines in sales and market share. In the words of Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, the partnership was […]


Give me a "T" for teamwork

Dysfunction is prevalent across many organizations and so management responds with an increase in training. Yet holding team-building activities when management is in flux, standards are declining and behaviors are eroding is akin to selling life insurance policies as the Titanic is sinking — meaningless. Give me a «T» for teamwork


Silent and listen have a lot in common besides six letters

Have you ever been in a meeting where it seems like everyone is shouting…and no one is listening? Have you ever tried, and tried again, to explain yourself to someone, only to feel like there is no way they’ve heard you (or cared what you’ve said)? Have you known you had an excellent point – a way to make a process stronger, a concern about an issue that everyone else […]


The Best Leaders Aren’t Afraid to Ask for Help

I think of myself as strong. I see myself as someone who can manage a lot of stress. Who can get a tremendous amount accomplished in a day. Who can work long hours and pull through in clutch moments. Who doesn’t give up in the face of problems, but works tirelessly until they are solved.   The Best Leaders Aren’t Afraid to Ask for Help


Remembering Jack Bogle and Herb Kelleher, Two Great Strategists

Within a two-week period, America lost two great business icons, Southwest Airlines co-founder Herb Kelleher (March 12, 1931 – January 3, 2019) and Vanguard founder Jack Bogle (May 8, 1929 – January 16, 2019). I never met Kelleher but admired his work from afar. Jack Bogle and I had a longstanding friendly exchange of ideas that I will miss.   Remembering Jack Bogle and Herb Kelleher, Two Great Strategists