Monday, July 9, 2018

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Friday, July 6, 2018

leadership dot #2212: grass

In addition to hosting baseball, Yankee Stadium is also the home field for the New York City Football Club (soccer) even though the seasons overlap. As a result, the grounds crew at the stadium needs to convert the playing field from baseball to soccer and back as frequently as for one match.

On the day we were there, the crew was out laying new turf to cover the infield dirt and anchoring the soccer goal stands in the outfield. Later the pitcher’s mound will be leveled and the field restriped – all for one soccer meet before the Yankees return to baseball. This seems like the kind of transition that many would label as either impossible or not worth it, but obviously, the Yankees’ ownership feels that it is economically viable to do on a regular basis.

Are you limiting yourself or your organization too much by seeing yourself as only a single-service provider? If the stadium can make regular accommodations from one sport to another, perhaps you can expand your reach by exhibiting the same flexibility toward being a two-option organization. The grass could be greener if you adapt to where you place it.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

leadership dot #2211: storied history

One of my stops while in New York was a tour of Yankee Stadium, a place that is filled to the brim with history and legacy. Everywhere you go there is a reference to the 27 World Champions that the franchise has won – clearly impressive since second place is St. Louis which has only won 11.

I noticed that the last trophy that the Yankees brought home was in 2009, which made me wonder when their championship dynasty occurred. What I learned was that since 2000, 12 different teams have won the World Series, with the Yankees only winning twice in those 18 years. The Boston Red Sox and the San Francisco Giants have won three each in that time. The Yankees’ tour conveniently glosses over when the winning took place and instead focuses on the fact that it did.

For the Yankees, the enormity of their total championships clearly outweighs the recent gap in winning one. They do a great job of associating “Yankees” with “winners” in the public’s mind, even if the recent history would say otherwise.

There are many versions of any story and your job is to determine which chapter of your story to read aloud. In the Bronx, there is no doubt which pages those are.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

leadership dot #2210: rekindle

On this Independence Day, not only do we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, but it also marks the anniversary of the passing of President John Adams and President Thomas Jefferson. They died within five hours of each other on this date in 1826, the 50thyear of the country they helped to found.

Adams and Jefferson were key patriots in the revolutionary effort and both contributed immensely to establish the democracy we have today. But after years of collaboration, the two differed significantly on how to run the country and they became bitter adversaries…

…until they chose to focus more on their commonalities than disagreements. Soon after Jefferson’s presidency, the two rekindled their friendship and became regular correspondents for the 14 years until their death.

I’m sure it was difficult for Adams to pen the initial letter to Jefferson offering an olive branch of reconciliation, but both men benefitted because he did. This Fourth of July, take a lesson from two of our country’s Founding Fathers and take the first step to find the higher ground in one of your relationships.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

leadership dot #2209: districts

One of the things that make Manhattan great is how the city is characterized by its districts: the financial district, meatpacking district, the jewelry district, etc. While I was there we stayed in the garment district, and while I am neither a sewer or fashion aficionado, the retail this area attracts was fascinating.

Blocks of stores carried the most unique fabric patterns, furs, laces, feathers and leathers. Entire buildings were dedicated to nothing but embellishments and garment accessories. If you wanted the exact button or closure, the Garment District is your place.

Having specialty districts, instead of just an aisle or individual store, also highlights the depth of the category and makes it apparent how little novices know or use compared to experts in the field.

Mood Designer Fabricsalone sells alpaca, boucle, cashmere, French terry, neoprene, stretch velvet, vinyl, beaded lace, brocade, spandex, and stretch mesh in addition to the usual cotton, denim and knits in every nuanced shade under the sun. They sell thread and trim, as all fabric stores do, but Mood has an entire floor dedicated to accessories. For those who work in the theater or fashion industries, having a centralized access point for the obscure and exclusive materials is essential. For the rest of us, a place like Mood is just a visual feast.

The districts of Manhattan have been established for generations but consider whether you could take a step toward creating a neighborhood or district of your own. Even if it is a loose allegiance, could you locate similar resources in relative proximity: a health food district, child-friendly entertainment district, or a pet services district? Depth attracts greater depth and expertise that makes it even more powerful.

Monday, July 2, 2018


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leadership dot #2208: lifestyle

I just returned from a fantastic trip to New York City, a place that could not be much more different from where I live. Everything about Manhattan screams energy and a frenetic pace – quite the contrast from life in small town Iowa.

When was in the Big Apple, I felt transported to another world not just a different city. “New York is a great place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there,” I said to my sister. It reminded me of the corollary that is often said about our state: “Iowa is a great place to live but I wouldn’t want to visit.” There is truth to both statements.

It is difficult to describe the environment and sensory stimulation that occurs in much of central NYC just as it is challenging to articulate what makes life on the banks of the Mississippi so amenable to those who live there. Both are their own cultures and different people will be more comfortable in each of them.

Your job is to as accurately and thoroughly as possible describe your organization’s culture to anyone who may aspire to work with you. Are you a New York, an Iowa or someplace entirely different? If you’re asking people to make it their workplace home, it needs to be a long-term lifestyle fit not just a short-term vacation adventure.