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Scott Eblin offers his take on lessons in the news and his advice on your pressing leadership questions.
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What Do You Have to Share?

The news from the devastating earthquake in Nepal this past weekend is tragic and heartrending. It’s a natural impulse at times like this to want to help. Most of us, of course, are not qualified to offer help on the ground. Fortunately, there are organizations with volunteers who are. If you want to contribute to their efforts by sharing some of your own resources, this link provided by The New York Times will provide you with the donation links for over two dozen organizations that are moving to help the people of Nepal.

Tragedies like the one in Nepal spark our desire to share what we have with those in need. On a day-to-day basis, you likely have other causes that are important enough to you that you share your time and resources with them.

As we begin another week, I’d like to encourage you to also consider what you have to share with the people you come in contact with everyday. I’m talking about the people you live with, work with and come in contact with in the normal course of life. The situations I’m thinking of aren’t particularly dramatic; they’re just little ...

What's the Difference Between Executive Presence and Leadership Presence?

The title of this post is a question I was asked yesterday during an interview for the book summary service Get Abstract. While I guess I’ve thought about the difference between executive and leadership presence over the years (I wrote a book on the latter after all), I have never had the question put to me that directly.

My answer was that, depending on the situation, executive presence can be a subset of leadership presence. As I unpacked my answer, the interviewer referred a couple of times to Don Draper of Mad Men as someone who embodies executive presence. As a fan of the show, I could see what she meant. No one wears a business suit better than Jon Hamm as Don Draper. When Don Draper is sober and in full pitch mode he embodies what the very traditional picture of executive presence looks like.

And that, in essence, is the difference between executive presence and leadership presence. The simplest distinction between the two is that executive presence is about how you look and leadership presence is about what you do. If you want to take it further, executive presence is about how you talk and leadership presence ...

Look for the Space Between the Waves

One of the great things about having old friends is that they can remind you of things that you said once but have since forgotten. That happened to me last week when I spent time with my dear friend Rae Ringel at a training program for faculty members of the Georgetown Leadership Coaching Program. In an early conversation last week, Rae told me that she still remembered what I had shared with her about “bardo” when she was a student in the program nine or 10 years ago. The blank look on my face said it all. I had totally forgotten about bardo.

Since we live in an age where no question has to go unanswered, I got out my iPhone later in the morning and looked up the word. "Bardo" is a Tibetan word that translates into English as an intermediate state. In the Tibetan spiritual tradition, bardo is the state one is in between death and rebirth. Depending on one’s level of preparation, bardo can either be a great experience or a terrible one.

Once I refreshed my memory on the concept, I remembered that I first read about bardo in an article in which the author ...

Are You Ready to Change the Way You Think About Leadership?

When you think of the word “leader” what comes to mind? For lots of people, the picture that comes to mind is the charismatic visionary that sets a direction that people want to follow. All too often, that model of leadership fails because the followers inevitably end up disappointed and disengaged when the leader is incapable of delivering everything he or she promised.

Harvard Kennedy School professor Dean Williams, my guest on this episode of The Next Level podcast, offers a different way to think about and practice leadership. In his new book, Leadership for a Fractured World: How to Cross Boundaries, Build Bridges, and Lead Change, Williams makes a compelling case that the most effective leaders are the ones who help groups identify the adaptive challenge and take on the work of change themselves.

Leaders who do this are what Williams calls “global change agents.” As he says in our conversation, it’s not that they necessarily take on global-scale challenges but rather that they look at the world and act in an integrated way. Global change agents stand in contrast to those who practice what Williams calls “the big man” model of  leadership. "Big men" and "big women ...

What Are You More Likely to Remember?

So the original plan for this past weekend was to get caught up on some work while my wife, Diane, was away at a conference in Las Vegas. To some degree, that was the plan for both of us. We have a couple of big new projects coming on line so Diane took her computer with her and planned on doing some work in the evenings as well.

And that’s pretty much how Friday night went down. She had dinner, played roulette for an hour or so and went back to her room to work on our website. Meanwhile, I was in our apartment in Los Angeles clearing out emails and other tasks while an HBO documentary on Sinatra played in the background. It was when Diane and I had a good night FaceTime call later in the evening that I knew that could not stand.

After we were done talking, I asked myself, “Do you really want to be doing this again tomorrow night when you could be hanging out in Vegas with the love of your life?” The answer was easy and obvious -- hell, no. Then the little voice inside my head countered with, “Yeah, but there ...