Showing posts from August, 2013

Oprah's Beau

Last week as we took our son to Westmont College in Montecito (Santa Barbara), CA, we were having lunch at a local restaurant. Nancy (my wife) leaned over and whispered, "That's Stedman," referring to Stedman Graham, a motivational speaker/author and best known as Oprah Winfrey's significant other for nearly 30 years.  Stedman was kind enough to interrupt his fruit drink and newspaper for a quick pic. I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where we could see the leaders in kids, preteens, and teens.  Imagine being in a cafĂ© with a family or a school playground and whisper, "That one's a leader." Our ability to notice what others don't is key to drafting young leaders into formal training.  Someone once said, "Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the apples in a seed."  At KidLead, we can see the leader in certain kids and youth, long before they'll ever be CEOs or presidents.

Women Leaders

This week I Skyped with an enthusiastic pair of sisters, embarking on a new toy company, focusing on developing female leaders.  They're concerned that only 4% of CEO's are female, so their idea is to write story books and create activity figures (dolls), to help girls learn problem solving and leadership principles.  (They were thrilled to read "Bring Out the Leader in Your Child.")  When they're done prototyping their concept, we'll certainly tell you more. Compare that to Barbie, who is better known for her shopping, dating, and sense of style.  There's nothing wrong with that, but it reflects the difference between popularity and leadership, often confused, especially among children and teens.  Our work with preschoolers (KiddieLead) shows that role play is an early indicator of leadership aptitude.   I applaud these two sisters from Rhode Island who, as Apple Founder Steve Jobs said, want to make a dent in the universe. 

Friendly Fire

In the organizational behavior class I’m teaching at the Naval Postgraduate School, this week we discussed a Harvard Business Review case study called, Friendly Fire, dealing with a 1993 shooting down of two Black Hawk helicopters carrying 26 US & UN diplomats by two F-15 jets in a safe zone over Iraq.   The “Swiss Cheese” effect came into play, when numerous organizational holes align to produce a catastrophic effect. I thought of the countless number of young leaders who get shot down by their teachers, principals, coaches and parents, who do not understand how young leaders behave and who identify them as enemies, troublemakers, and belligerent adolescents.   The unfortunate result as that we hamstring our very young whom we need to lead, but are set back or turn to the “dark side” because those striving to do good don’t recognize the power of very young social influencers.   I’m sickened by the apathy re: young leader development, all the while we complain about the ca