Lead Like a Skinny Cow

Recently my organization underwent a grueling boot camp style, dramatic and innovative healthcare system process redesign. It was a rip the band-aid off fast approach, and two weeks of asking people to quickly change many of the ingrained daily processes they had known for many years. Set-up for organizational failure?

Nope. I was impressed by the speed at which we were able to accomplish much, while never losing a soul. One of the reasons it worked out so well was due to our Sherpa’s. In the Tibetan region of the Himalayas, Sherpa’s are guides that are highly regarded as elite mountaineers and experts in their local terrain. Our assigned “Sherpa’s” commanded leadership to get out of the way, sought positive opportunities for change at the front lines, and guided staff in doing what they needed to do. As leaders our sole role was to get behind them, coach them, and support them. It worked well.

Read the rest of the story, and the thoughtful wisdom of many others the 2014 International Leadership Blogathon: http://www.toddnielsen.com/international-leadership-blogathon/lead-skinny-cow/

Everything I Know About Leadership I Learned at the Gym

This is a blog from more than a year ago but the principles hold true for me today! Everything I know about leadership, I learned at the gym. Okay, maybe not everything, but I’ve learned an awful lot. I’ve learned that there are quite a few fitness habits that if used as a catalyst in the office, would condition us and provide a strategic training plan and template for success. It’s a way of leading that creates big gains and gets results and the lasting outcomes we seek, without the need for strong-arm tactics. Just as in fitness some leaders are naturally born, but conditioned leaders are built. Walk into any fitness center, pick out any conditioned gym rat and I would bet my hamstrings you are looking at a conditioned leader. Remember now, I said to pick out any “conditioned” gym rat. I am not talking about the muscle-bound, weight dropping, grunting gym rat. Nor am I talking about the perky little bleach blonde cutie that adorns the Smith machine like a Nordstrom accessory. That is the picture of our current employees that pretend to be leaders, that we keep trying to turn into leaders and wondering why we fail. No, by conditioned leaders I’m talking about mind, body, heart, and spirit conditioned leaders. I am talking about the disciplined individual that balances cardio and weights with good nutrition and sleep.

The influence of what I’ve learned by hanging out at the gym and competing has in my own leadership conditioning principles reinvented how and who I lead. I stopped trying to lead those that have no desire to put in the work it takes to be in shape. The discipline and confidence that I have gained in my fitness journey reverberates into what I do as a leader everyday. The discipline and confidence that I have gained in my fitness journey has an impact on who and what I teach. Here are the top ten leadership conditioning principles I’ve adopted at the gym that shape the leader I am today.

• You must show up every day with a meaningful vision, start with a strategic plan, and have a goal.

Be Innovative-Nothing changes if nothing changes! To create a new you, you must
recreate you. Be creative with your thinking, think bigger!

• You must be PASSIONATE about it!-Put your whole heart into it!

• Excuses, excuses, excuses….You can’t train a head that’s not in the game. Get in the game.

• Want to be fiscally fit?-Before you even think about getting lean you have to build
your foundation.

Balance and symmetry-Spend as much time on your weakness’s as you do your strengths.

Persevere! If you want to see sustained results you have to apply a focused and
consistent effort.
• It’s totally fine to let them see you sweat! Transparency wins big!

• Learn to collaborate. Collaborative teams create synergy, synergy creates energy. It will be your greatest motivator.

• Lastly-Give it enough time and treat it like there is no off season!

Conditioned leaders know hard work, accountability, and sacrifice. Just as in the gym, true leaders look for results! They understand the value of the journey!

Celebrate Smart- Be the Nerd

When I came across this the other day I had to smile. I love this quote. I haven’t been here much lately because, well frankly, I’ve been off celebrating being smart. About a year ago I delved into my Masters studies, not because I want to drive a BMW….okay maybe I do. I went back […]

[Continue reading...]

Booty Poppin’ Sunrise Shepherd Pie

This recipe looks complicated but it’s really not. Its organic, good protein, low-carb, and gluten free if you are sure to get gluten free cheese, most cheese is. The two spices that may be tricky to find are Aleppo Pepper and Canella. I found them both at Dean and DeLuca in Napa- one of my […]

[Continue reading...]

Entering a Global Market

Many entrepreneurs enter the global market for a variety of reasons. Why is it important for entrepreneurs to learn to think globally? What are the advantages and disadvantages of entrepreneurial ventures to move into the global marketplace? What must entrepreneurs consider when entering the global market? From the research a global entrepreneur is an individual, […]

[Continue reading...]

Estranged Relationships

The five stages of grief and loss

There is a little talked about, silent epidemic that is growing among families-parental estrangement from adult children. No matter the reasons or how it initially happened one thing is clear, it is the child’s reality and nothing you can do or say will convince them otherwise. Dr. Joshua Coleman has done much work on the […]

[Continue reading...]

The Melding of Personal and Professional Technology

Can you think of examples in your life where your personal and professional technology are intertwined? This is a topic near and dear to me. As technology moves forward we must take care to guard the blurring of lines that comes with it. In an article on technology and innovation by John Havens (2013) in […]

[Continue reading...]

Organizational Change

Change is hard, ask anyone. As Daniel Goleman points out in “Primal Leadership” (Goleman, D. 2002, Pg 116), one only needs to think back on our previous successes as well as our failed attempts at change. Let our annual pilgrimage to aspiring New Year’s resolutions serve as ample evidence of this. Successful change is based […]

[Continue reading...]

Juicing-It Isn’t All About the Fruit

This is a healing smoothie with some great anti-aging properties!

I had a comment last week about juicing and blood sugar spikes for those with pre-diabetes and diabetes; rightly so, especially if you have already been diagnosed with the disorder. This recipe for my healing detox smoothie is not only okay for those concerned with blood sugar spikes, but it can actually help to cure […]

[Continue reading...]

Life through the Eyes of Another

Hospital Window

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. […]

[Continue reading...]

8-Steps to Personal Transformation


Change is hard, ask anyone. As Daniel Goleman points out in “Primal Leadership” one only needs to think back on our previous successes, as well as our failed attempts at change to see it. Our annual pilgrimage to aspiring New Year’s resolutions serves as ample evidence of this. Effectively changing our lives requires us to reverse […]

[Continue reading...]

Name the Day!


Maybe today is the day! What will be your intention today? What will you name the day? Will it be Service? Will it be Growth? Maybe you might choose Inspiration and Find Your Voice. Then where will you send the intentions? To your marriage, your work, your children? What ever it be, make it yours, […]

[Continue reading...]

Obesity in the Workplace

How healthy is your workforce?

Obesity is always a touchy subject, and with the new cautions on obesity and discrimination in the workplace, most won’t touch the subject with a ten foot pole. The evidence shows we’ve got to, and I’m happy to! Obesity does not define who someone is, it is a condition. An unhealthy condition than can be […]

[Continue reading...]

Organizational Artifacts: Blurred lines or Precious Gems?

Blurred lines

At the heart of all organizations lie the observable artifacts, and we as leaders influence them. Observable artifacts are all of the things we notice; the things we see, hear, and feel when we engage in a new group setting in an unfamiliar culture. Observable artifacts are all of the visible parts of a group’s […]

[Continue reading...]

Rise and Shine!

Rise and Shine

Every new week, every new day is a new opportunity to choose what we will do to shape our lives and our selves. What will you choose today?

[Continue reading...]

When They Simply Go Away: Love and Loss


The past seven days in our house have been spent in wonder and in worry; and in searching for Scout. Scout is our friend, our aging friend that brings us so much joy. Scout is 12 years old and has diabetes. Scout is blind and on insulin. Twice a day I say “It’s Insulin time!” […]

[Continue reading...]

Goethe and Growth and Change


Although to some it seems like a no brainer, the most up to date research tells us that when we fail to change, we fail to grow. It is not so much that we grow old, it is that we grow stagnant. Without a renewable source of energy that encourages change and renewal in which […]

[Continue reading...]

Conflict and Clarity: 7 Elements to Address Both

Conflict 2

Conflict is a necessary part of leadership. With opportunity and growth comes change. Change potentiates conflict. A common conflict situation I have experienced in the workplace occurs when there is a lack of clarity in the direction desired or agreed upon roles and duties for all members of a team. This can create negative results […]

[Continue reading...]

Making Change


In order to grow we must change. It doesn’t happen overnight. Change happens on a day in, day out basis, whether we like it or not. You either ignore change, resist change, or make change. If you want to make change you must check-in with yourself on a daily basis. If you want to grow […]

[Continue reading...]

A Dose of MO!


Getting in a dose of healthy MO this morning. My Morning Omega’s! My focus this week has been in slowing things down a bit and this morning is no different. I love to spend Saturday mornings catching my breath, taking my time, and enjoying all I am blessed with. It’s all quiet in my kitchen […]

[Continue reading...]



In the quest for success and excellence the victor is most often the gladiator that learns to overcome their obstacles. Learning to not only be good at, but to love obstacles, is a way of life and an attitude. An obstacle is nothing more than a problem that has not yet been solved. When we […]

[Continue reading...]

Building a Personal and Professional Infrastructure


Conditioned leaders have a mind, body, heart, and spirit that gets its sustenance out of addressing the gaps in our personal and professional infrastructure. I have just spent two wonderful days at an IHI conference, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. I devoured two days of amazing training from the best of the best experts when […]

[Continue reading...]

Calculated Moves


Leading well is an artful craft that requires calculated moves. Living well is much the same, an artful craft that requires calculated moves. It is rare I do anything that is not calculated. Forgive me, it’s the process improvement geek in me. If I can’t improve upon it, it does not warrant my time, AND […]

[Continue reading...]

Leading Change in Healthcare

Healthcare leaders today are tasked with creating robust and complex changing organizations that are well equipped to navigate through newer patient-centered models of care. For our healthcare workforce this means that leaders must learn to apply positive psychology and a relationship-centered model of care. Steps that healthcare leaders can take to increase their effectiveness in […]

[Continue reading...]

When Your Dead

Mark Miller

This post was originally published on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at http://www.greatleadersserve.org WHEN YOU’RE DEAD… I went to a funeral today. When’s the last time you went to one? How did it affect you? Do you ever leave a funeral service with questions? I do. One of my recurring questions is… Did the people who […]

[Continue reading...]

Goals and Gratitude

Gratitude is an emotion we feel when we perceive that we have received an intentional benefit from another person or higher being. Psychosocial science has long held the belief that gratitude is one of the most import of human experiences. In a recent study out of the National University of Singapore, researchers sought to tie […]

[Continue reading...]

Stress and Burnout in Primary Care

Studies show that workplace stress and worker burnout in primary care is on the rise. There is a growing body of evidence showing increasing amounts of recognized stress and burnout. This stress is creating a negative impact on our personal lives, as well as our health. Some medical model researchers believe that this is just […]

[Continue reading...]



Originally posted on Live Love Learn Laugh Lead:
In the quest for success and excellence the victor is most often the gladiator that learns to overcome their obstacles. Learning to not only be good at, but to love obstacles, is a way of life and an attitude. An obstacle is nothing more than a problem…

[Continue reading...]

Hopes and Dreams

There is a quote that has always struck me….” As long as we think dugout canoes are the only possibility-all that is real or can be real- we will never see the ship, we will never feel the wind blow.”~ Sonia Johnson. How many of us go through life, so busy in all of the […]

[Continue reading...]

Does your company have Culture Ambassadors?

I am a professed culture geek. Culture is everything to me. It is the payoff and the reward for listening to your customers, where everybody is a customer! Being a Culture Ambassador brings great rewards and fulfillment! There are employees that would love to be the ‘Culture Ambassador’ of the week. Culture doesn’t eat strategy, […]

[Continue reading...]

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,621 other followers

%d bloggers like this: