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DECEMBER 2005 

Centerpoint for Leaders and The Points of Light Foundation's newest e-publication to give you relevant and concise information on leadership and organizational development.


Thoughts From Sandra

Congratulations to Celeste Bagley, Director of Strategic Expansion ? Volunteers of America, who earned the designation of Certified Executive Leader (CEL) for demonstrating exceptional competence for nonprofit leadership by successfully completing Centerpoint for Leaders? Online Leadership Development Program with a mentor and observers documenting the fulfillment of prescribed effective leadership behaviors and performance standards required for the CEL designation.


The newspapers are filled with the same old stuff: on page one, we have another disaster, on page two a major medical problem and on page 12, more bad news. But each of life's burdens is laden with opportunity ? one item of despair can create two or more ideas that bulge with opportunity. Here are a few ideas for your new year:

1. Stay on line a few extra minutes; surf and locate a few new sources each day. The Internet community grows by more than 1 million people a month. If you're not there, you are woefully behind. Connect with the new millennium.

2. Plan to do better next year. While it's almost impossible to be better at everything, for sure, you can be better at one thing. Commit to learn and do better in one area.

3. Update your resume continuously. Even if you've no plans to move on, keep revising your skills list. By the end of the year, you should be noticeably more marketable to your current or future employer.

4. Say thank you. I have a friend who runs a small theatre in Baltimore and he is known for his famous acronym: H.I.S.T.Y.R? He uses it all the time, says it helps him remember to be thankful every day. It stands for Have I Said Thank You Recently?

5. Enjoy yourself. Work should be enjoyable. Make laughter an assignment.

6. Are you making enough mistakes? If not, you are not pushing the envelope.

Best wishes for a solid, fruitful and refreshing new year! Oh, and thanks!

by Charles J. Palus and David M. Horth

With increasing frequency, the important work of organizations is their ability to respond to complex challenges creatively. Complex challenges are those that defy existing approaches or solutions. They are central in importance and demand decisive action. And yet because the organization, team, or individual does not know how to act ? or is prone to act as if the problem is a familiar one ? there is also a need to slow down and reflect. Here's how you know it's complex:

?   You feel "stuck," and the challenge is a source of real pain. Prior attempts at resolution have misfired.

?   The challenge seems outside current or proposed approaches. Existing formulas don't fit. You may not even be sure exactly how to talk about the challenge.

?   The challenge involves a clash of basic assumptions, worldviews, or communities. People disagree about the nature of the challenge and what should be done.

Cited and used with permission from Ivey Business Journal. To read the entire article, click here.

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by Margaret Kilvington and Will Allen

Among the items that appear on the checklist:

?   Facilitation: dealing with conflict, managing constructive debates, etc.
?   Innovation: introducing creative ideas.
?   Presentation: summarising findings to relevant audiences.
?   Networking: bring comment, feedback, etc. to team.
?   Motivation: reminding team of success.
?   Task performing: reliably doing relevant tasks.

Cited and used with permission from Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research. To review and download the entire checklist, click here.

edited by Robert B. Kaiser

The mass exodus of middle managers initiated in the 1980s by downsizing means that now there are fewer seasoned veterans available for top jobs. Most organization charts and succession maps are noteworthy for the number of blank slots five years out. And the graying and impending retirement of baby boomers coupled with steep and steady declines in skilled entrants to the workforce adds up to an even greater shortage of talent in the U.S. labor market of the early twenty-first century.

That?s why the number one task for many organizations these days is ensuring a deep supply of leadership talent that will be ready to step into more senior roles when called upon.

Enter Filling the Leadership Pipeline. The authors, all from internationally renowned consultancies and educational institutes, were asked by the editor, Robert B. Kaiser, to speak directly to senior human resources executives, organizational development and effectiveness directors, and consultants and trainers. The goal is to pass along lessons from experience. Each chapter is packed with practical advice and suggestions. At the same time, it is rigorously backed by scientific research, tested theory, and firsthand examples from Fortune 500 companies and major government organizations.

Cited and used with permission from Center for Creative Leadership. To order the book and/or read the Table of Contents click here.

by Ron Crossland

Executive presence and the ability to communicate should be directed towards what Kouzes and Posner describe in their book, The Leadership Challenge, as
enlisting others to find and focus on the very best that the culture shares in common and what that means to its members. This communion of purpose helps to bind us together.

Currently there are many men and women in executive positions who seem to have little of this dynamism, this "presence" of the leader. While many of the
programs, articles, and information concerning developing more presence are well intentioned and likely successful, I often wonder if those who have attained positional power without a sense of "presence" will be able to change.

Can training alone develop the personal authenticity and communication ability required to "lift people out of their petty preoccupations?" Can individuals who define executive success solely in terms of execution, financial success, and personal reward truly develop the type of executive presence we all really long for? How many truly "elite" candidates exist and how can training or coaching help the good candidate move into the elite category?

Cited and used with permission from Blue Point Leadership. A pdf of the entire article may be downloaded here.