Leadership Transitions: What’s Ahead?

Leadership transitions happen often. Some are forced and others are voluntarily pursued. Authentic leaders know when to make certain transitions in their careers, the way they lead, and the changes they need to champion. They do this because they are attuned to their own inner voice along with what their markets, community, and colleagues are saying. With this said, the key question will be for our December Authentic Leadership Dallas is: What transitions are you planning in 2015? What signal is leading you toward this transition?

Please RSVP on our Meetup page. Although the details are there, the quick information is:

  • December 16, 11:45 am to 1:00 pm
  • Renaissance Dallas Richardson Hotel
  • 900 E. Lookout Drive, Richardson, TX

On a topic relating to transitions, the last part of our meeting will discuss next steps for Authentic Leadership Dallas. We have an engaging group that gathers each month, and the conversations are real and helpful. As we move forward, Tal Shnall, one of our active members, will be leading and facilitating this Meetup going forward. I will continue to participate, but time and other commitments will keep me from putting in the effort to take this group to the next level. As this transition happens, we want to hear your opinions as Tal moves the community forward.

Thank you for reading and, most importantly, thank you for engaging to become better leaders!

Lead well,



Leadership Reviews: How Should Leaders Be Evaluated Annually

Annual performance reviews have been used for decades. The effectiveness of annual reviews have been questioned and may be just a time marker to adjust salary more than to evaluate performance. In reading Assessing the Performance of Senior Leaders, it raises a different perspective. How do we evaluate senior leaders? What dimensions should be used? Is an annual review appropriate for current or future senior leaders?

Reviews can be used to do two things:

  1. Assign accountability for overall behaviors, actions, and results
  2. Set the stage for expectations for a refreshed year ahead

Beyond performance and expectations though, time may be better spent on understanding a leader’s philosophy and values and how these have changed during a year. Annual review of senior leaders may be more about how they lead than what they specifically accomplished. Don’t get me wrong. Performance is still required but how one leads may be a better indicator of long-term performance.

Now apply this to future senior leaders. What would be the value of encouraging and guiding a future leader to develop their leadership philosophy? I would venture to say the value would be extremely high, yet how often do we do this? If not often, why not?

The stage is set for our next Authentic Leadership Dallas meeting on November 25, 11:45 am to 1:00 pm at the Renaissance Dallas Richardson Hotel. To RSVP and find more information, please visit our Meetup page.

Our agenda will be:

  • Quick introductions (Name and answer this question: What lesson did you learn from your last annual review?) – 15 minutes
  • What are your lessons learned in delivering and receiving an annual review? What works best for you and the future leaders you are developing? (25 minutes)
  • What role will annual reviews play in the future? Are they here to stay? What will change if they remain? Where should the focus of annual reviews lie? (20 minutes)
  • Wrap-up

We look forward to another engaging leadership conversation! Join us.

Character: What Is the Impact, and How Do You Improve?

The October Authentic Leadership Dallas lunch meeting will focus your leadership journey. We will meet on October 28, 11:45 am to 1:00 pm, at the Renaissance Dallas Richardson Hotel. Please RSVP on our Meetup page; you can find directions and details there. We meet in the restaurant. The Meetup facilitator is Robert Hunt.

Leadership Character by Robert Hunt

Character, or the lack thereof, has a greater effect on your business than you imagine. Things that we often over-look, or consider a lack of professionalism or skills, are actually a weakness in character. A weakness that affects and influences your team, the work they produce and the culture of your company.

People are more likely to be let go from a job because of a lack of character than a lack of skill. Although character can be taught, it is much harder to do adopted than a procedure or skill. (Read “Can Character be Taught?”)

Character can be learned but most leaders do know understand the proper way to teach what it is and how it is modeled. It does no good for a person to tell another person to “have more character.” Character must be defined by the qualities that represent it. Once they are defined, we can then move to understanding the qualities by teaching how they are best displayed.

It is not uncommon to find people who WANT to be a person of character but they do not understand certain qualities that determine character. This is especially true of young adults who may have had poor teaching or poor role models. Some character qualities that can be taught on the job include:

Alertness, Boldness, Decisiveness, Deference, Dependability, Endurance, Enthusiasm, Flexibility, Gratefulness, Humility, Initiative, Loyalty, Orderliness, Patience, Persuasiveness, Responsibility, Self-Control, Thoroughness, Tolerance.

Character List

Imagine how character, if continually taught and recognized, could change people, teams, companies, communities, and the world. Our agenda will focus on the following questions:

  • What character flaws have you seen have the worst effect at your company?
  • Does your company work to address qualities of character they desire from their employees?
  • What character can you improve on today that will make you a better leader?

 Join us for this engaging leadership conversation!

About Robert Hunt

Robert J. HuntRobert Hunt is the Forum Leader and Business Partner for Renaissance Executive Forums Dallas. His role is to find the best members for CEO Peer Groups, then lead each meeting so members become Raving Fans. You can connect with me on LinkedIn,  Google+Twitter, and Facebook.

Leadership Gold: Your Leadership Journey

The September Authentic Leadership Dallas lunch meeting will focus your leadership journey. We will meet on September 23, 11:45 am to 1:00 pm, at the Renaissance Dallas Richardson Hotel. Please RSVP on our Meetup page; you can find directions and details there. We meet in the restaurant. The Meetup facilitator is Tal Shnall.

Your Leadership Journey by Tal Shnall

For most of us, leadership is a lifelong journey that we strive to be an influential leader at home, work and community.  We want to leave a legacy for generations to come with our families, co-workers and friends.

When you began your first leadership role, you began to take the initial steps toward impacting the lives of others. You may have not known that at the time, but the people who worked with you or followed you did in one way or another.

Throughout my leadership journey, whether it was work, home or a community, I learned very valuable lessons that shaped my leadership philosophy and continue to inspire me to be a better leader. I would like to share with you some of my leadership lessons that span about 15 years in different leadership capacities at work, home and communities.

Leadership must begin with you

You can’t give what you don’t have, and leadership is a lot more about giving than receiving in every area of our life. What does that mean? It means that I have to be 100% responsible for my personal growth and development before I can lead others. We know the cliché that we can’t lead others unless we are ready to lead ourselves, but it holds true in every situation. It means that I have to put knowledge, experiences, and relationships as a valuable resource to become a better leader.

Leadership is not a position but a behavior

When I began my leadership journey in the mid-1990s, leadership was still defined by the position you held in the company. Managers and Executives were highly regarded because of their resumes and their title in the organization. People respected the boss and the authority the person had. That view began to change as I noticed people in hourly positons willing to lead from where they are and make a positive difference for external and internal customers.

The only effective way to lead is by the example of the leader

Leadership by example is the best form of leadership that I personally learned working for different leaders and industry executives. People will not remember what you said, but will remember what you did. On the flip side, people will see if your words and behaviors are congruent with what you initially expected and communicated on a day to day. I have learned that people are willing to follow someone that can walk the talk. When you lead by example, you would be able to ask people for their help because you are not asking them for something you have not done personally yourself.

The buck stops with me

Throughout the years, I have learned to take responsibility for the results I produce. I learned that if I am not willing to be accountable and accept responsibility for my leadership, than I am not willing to learn and grow from my mistakes. Excuses and evading responsibility will not take you very far. Our leadership journey is far from perfect, but as long as we are able to reflect and hold ourselves to a higher standard, we will be on the right path. People will trust someone only to the extent of where the leader can be trustworthy and credible by the responsibility they share.

Celebrate small wins

As an hourly employee, I was always very grateful to celebrate team and personal milestones. As a leader, early on I took recognition and celebration for granted without realizing its impact. Today, even small wins matter. They keep the people around you excited and motivated to keep going for the gold.


Our meeting agenda will focus on the following questions:

  1. What are your Leadership Golds?
  2. What piece of advice would you pass on to your younger self?
  3. What are you still working on to become even better?

Join us for this engaging leadership conversation!

About Tal Shnall

TAlTal Shnall is a leadership and customer relations advisor. His background consists of customer service training in the hotel industry for almost 18 years. Tal has put together award winning service programs by working with brands such as Marriott, Hilton and Starwood hotels. Tal is passionate about leadership development and making a positive difference in the lives of others.

Connect with Tal on Twitter @tshnall and his leadership/customer service blog.


What Is Your Purpose?

Did you see the Secret Life of Walter Mitty with Ben Stiller? It was a great movie that made me think about my life and the purpose behind our CEO Peer Groups with Renaissance Executive Forums Dallas.

mitty purposeIn the movie, there is a scene where we see the Purpose Statement of Life Magazine on the wall and later we see that Walter Mitty was able to recite it with a passion;

“To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of life.”

As the leader of your company, you have the opportunity and responsibility to set a clear purpose that others can follow. The following questions may arise as you consider the role of purpose in your leadership, organization, and life:

  • Is there a value in having a purpose?
  • Do you have a purpose?
  • Does your leadership model your purpose?
  • Do your customers experience your purpose?
  • Does your team understand your purpose?

To dig deeper into each of these questions, read some of my additional thoughts on the topic of What Is Your Purpose?

About Robert Hunt

Robert J. HuntRobert Hunt is the Forum Leader and Business Partner for Renaissance Executive Forums Dallas. His role is to find the best members for CEO Peer Groups, then lead each meeting so members become Raving Fans. You can connect with me on LinkedIn,  Google+Twitter, and Facebook.

Roadblocks: Leading Through, Around, Over

Inevitably, you hit a roadblock. Organizations are filled with them. Human nature may create them, and a leadership nature is required to lead through, around, or over them. The conversation in our July meeting will be centered on experiences on how we successfully and unsuccessfully navigated organizational roadblocks. We learn a lot from both!

Join us! We continue our conversation on change, leadership, and how the two mix.

The July Authentic Leadership Dallas lunch meeting will focus on leadership lessons learned from leading when organizational roadblocks appear and persist. We will meet on July 22, 11:45 am to 1:00 pm, at the Renaissance Dallas Richardson Hotel. Please RSVP on our Meetup page; you can find directions and details there. We meet in the restaurant.

Background Reading

Overcome Roadblocks to Change. Key quote: “Adaptive problems, on the other hand, are difficult to identify. They generally affect many areas of an organization, and they have complex solutions. In fact, employees often must solve these problems themselves, and the solutions tend to require changes in perspectives, approaches, and roles. As a result, employees may resist solving adaptive problems; they may even refuse to acknowledge that a problem exists. A good example of adaptive problems: encouraging employees to question and even challenge confusing orders.”

6 Roadblocks to an Exceptional Workplace. Key quote: “You may have set your sights on becoming an exceptional workplace.  But it won’t happen on its own. Like running a marathon, you can’t just decide one day you want to run and go out the next day and do it.  You need to prepare and train.”

Top 10 Toxic Business Phrases – Organizational Roadblocks. What phrases create roadblocks in your organization – past or current? (See infographic below.)

Rid Yourself of Monkeys. Key quote: “Awareness and self-awareness are the prerequisites for all change. Without these qualities, the foundation for transformation isn’t solid, and managers end up repeatedly missing opportunities for implementation. But many managers have some level of self-awareness yet are still ineffective at making behavioral changes. Why? Because competing beliefs and values rival the desired change. For real change to occur, one’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors must be in alignment.”


Our meeting agenda is:

  • Thirty second introduction: Name, organization, and answering a quick question. (10 minutes)
  • Question 1:  What is the biggest organizational roadblock you encountered? Did you lead through, around, or over it? What leadership lesson did you learn? (20 minutes)
  • Question 2:  How do you lead team members who build organizational roadblocks? Do you have any “monkey” principles of leading? (20 minutes)
  • Wrap-up: Summer break and next steps forward….

Looking forward to another engaging leadership conversation!

Top 10 toxic business phrases – organizational roadblocks

Top 10 toxic business phrases - organizational roadblocks

Ready to Make Waves?

Patti JohnsonFor our June lunch meeting, we are excited to have Patti Johnson, CEO of People Results and author of Make Waves, as our guest speaker and facilitator. During our leadership conversations, we will be exploring the topics of change, organizational culture, and the attributes of a Wave Maker.

Our June 24th Authentic Leadership Dallas lunch meeting, 11:45 am to 1:00 pm, will be hosted in the Prelude room, to the right of the restaurant at the Renaissance Dallas Richardson Hotel. Please RSVP on our Meetup page; you can find directions and details there.

Make Waves

If you have time, highlighted below are several articles by Patti Johnson. No required reading to engage in the conversation but feel free to explore to change and how you can Make Waves.

Resistance: Is No News Really Good News? “Understand the root cause. Consider why the resistance is there, so that you know what to do with it. Is it the topic, the way it was shared, or the person who shared it? Explore why the resistance exists.” (Patti B. Johnson blog)

DNA of Wave Makers™: The 4 Leadership Molecules that Everyone Wants. “Wave Makers generally start from an intention of positivity and trust. They have a bias for transparency and authenticity in how they work with others. They aren’t driven by ego as much as by a desire to work together toward a shared goal.” (Switch and Shift blog)

10 Easy Ways to Start Something Great. “Create an options matrix. On the left column list out all of your ‘must haves’. Across the top row write out all of the viable options you have developed for getting started. Rate each option against your ‘must haves’. While this won’t give you the answer, it will help you compare one against the other and rule out choices that just don’t get you where you want to go. Pick the one that is the best place to start and begin.” (SUCCESS blog)

10 Trends Change Leaders Can’t Ignore in 2014. “Meaning and purpose build a lasting commitment to change—not just compliance or reaching a metric. Meaning is defined as a commitment to something bigger than self. Today there is a growing emphasis on ‘what’s in it for us’ more than just ‘what’s in it for me’ which can have a very short shelf life.” (Switch and Shift blog)

To learn more about Make Waves, resources are available at the Patti B. Johnson website.


Our meeting agenda is:

  1. Opening remarks from Patti Johnson to frame our conversation and set the stage for change, culture, and Wave Makers. (20 minutes)
  2. Facilitated conversation to exchange experiences and perspectives on leadership and organizational change. (30 minutes)
  3. Wrap-up…. closing thoughts. (5 minutes)

We look forward to another engaging leadership conversation!