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Leadership Insights - September 2020

"May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please, but the opportunity to do what is right." Reverend Peter Marshall Chaplain of the US Senate 1903-1949

Technology Five Years Later

Every year the World Economic Forum invites a group of technology leaders to look ahead at how their work will impact the future. These "Technology Pioneers" provide a five year look ahead at how their work will alter your world by 2025.

These visionaries and entrepreneurs each contributed a paragraph that summarizes how their area of expertise will create our futures. These "17 ways technology could change the world by 2025" deserve your attention because most, if not all, will affect you.

The Sage at 90

And a Happy 90th to the "Sage of Omaha", Warren Buffett.

Mr. Buffett turned 90 this month and may well be the most successful equity investor in the history of business, to say nothing of being enormously popular.

Forbes published an article in honor of Mr. Buffett 90th year that appropriately features a number of 90 second videos of the nonagenarian's golden advice over the years on life and business. Take time this weekend for "Private Wisdom from the Oracle-Delivered in 90 seconds flat." (My thanks to Justin Woodard of CE 175 for sharing this).

Seven Deadly Zoom Background Sins

We're all living on Zoom and our viewers see two things: us.... and whatever is behind us. Most of try to look our best for the camera, but are you mindful of what your viewers can see that you do not?

This short Forbes article from a branding expert looks at how many of us manage our Zoom backgrounds and has identified common, major background mistakes (virtual or real) that are easily rectified. Check out The 7 Worst Backgrounds For Your Zoom meetings.

Toxic Positivity

Every organization can point to nay-sayers, drama kings and queens, game players and others who suck energy out of your culture. Bad as they are, there's another form of toxicity that leaders themselves may unintentionally inflict on their teams: being TOO positive, which occurs when"people are forced to seem or be positive in situations where it's not natural." This recent article in Inc Magazine (with some links for additional reading)summarizes the dangers of 'toxic positivity'. "But its most important takeaway in the middle of a pandemic is simply a reminder that excessive cheerfulness can be toxic too, and it's worth considering whether your well-intentioned pep talks and reassurances might actually be backfiring."

If you need additional convincing of the risks of 'toxic positivity', you may recall from Jim Collins' "Good to Great" the phenomenon known as the "Stockdale Paradox" based on Admiral James Stockdale's experiences as a prisoner of war during the Viet Nam war. Stockdale urged leaders to remember that optimism needs to be tempered with realism. Collins' seven minute video, Stockdale Paradox: A Message for Uncertain Times, was recorded by the author early in the current pandemic, and as we may have a ways to go on the road back to normal, it deserves to be revisited.


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