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A Time To Lead With Purpose And Humanity

I hope you are all remaining healthy, safe and sane.  

Highlights of this week’s missive include an array of articles and TED Talks on navigating through these unprecedented series of events, with timely and thoughtful counsel that is equally applicable to our professional and personal lives. For a diversion, there is an eclectic mix of music and art, including a beautiful virtual choir singing U2’s hit “One.” Really stunning. 

Some of you have asked in the recent weeks re: what leadership and other lessons that have sustained and informed how I/friends/clients are adapting. I took some time to reflect on what mattered and what I adhered to during my career, as well as what I gleaned from colleagues and mentors. So with that, I offer what has and continues to anchor me, in no particular order. I would love to know what does and does not resonate for you and as well other lessons specific to you.

  • Health and family first
  • Self-care and compassion- what do I need?
  • Servant leadership – we/team before I/me
  • Be serious but don’t take yourself too seriously
  • Practice humility
  • Laugh often
  • Focus on what you can control; let go of the rest
  • Focus on the highest value things and consistently and exceptionally deliver on them
  • Separate the signal(s) from the noise – what’s truly important/needed and why
  • Manage your energy and your time will flow from that
  • Work is just that – work. It need not define you.
  • Be a force for good, positive change.
  • Have a bias toward action – focus on pragmatism, iterate, rinse and repeat.
  • Perfect is the enemy of the good enough.
  • Defer to expertise / those closest to the work (or activity).
  • Communicate clearly and effectively (aka be brief, be bright and be gone). And if you don’t know, be transparent.
  • “Walk your talk”
  • Don’t be alone/withdraw; ask for help
  • Empathize (but watch for over-empathizing as that can be paralyzing)
  • Seek to understand before being understood
  • Assume best intent until data or actions dictate otherwise
  • Be curious, ask questions, don’t assume
  • When in doubt, ask
  • Live the “platinum rule” – treat others as they want to be treated
  • Be on the right side of history – honor your values and do what is right
  • Some questions to routinely check-in with yourself:
    • How will x serve me?
    • What story or narrative am I telling myself now and why?
    • What can I/need to let go of?
    • What is my service offering? How can I best be of support?
    • Am I managing my boundaries? If not, what is getting in the way?

As always, happy reading and listening! And please stay safe and look out for your families and your community. Be well.


“A Time to Lead with Purpose and Humanity. This crisis gives business leaders the opportunity to lead from the front…Leaders should be asking themselves: Are you spending enough time taking care of yourself…so that you can be the best version of yourself leading others? What actions are you taking to help the people around you? How will you measure your own performance? How do you want your leadership from this time to be remembered?” 

“It’s Your Leadership Moment. Most of us are not fully or formally in charge of a whole lot, but if we can make a difference, now is the time to step forward to do so, and to do so close to home. In good times, we can rely more on our boss or others to get things done, but that’s no longer enough. It is our own leadership moment too. We are all in charge.”

“Real Leaders Are Forged in Crisis. We — all of us — will be remembered for how we manage ourselves and others through this crisis. How will you, your team, your organization, our society connect, persevere, and progress? How will we emerge from this experience collectively stronger?” 

“You’re Not Powerless in the Face of Uncertainty…although part of our capacity to deal with the unknown is innate, a larger portion is learned. Those who develop this ‘uncertainty capability’ are more creative, more successful, and better able to turn uncertainty into possibility.” 

“5 ways to build trust when your teams are working from home indefinitely. How do remote managers know their people are working? And how can remote employees show their bosses that they’re getting stuff done? Here are some trust-building exercises to get through the transition to remote work.” 

“In Stressful Times, Make Stress Work for You. Research shows we can actually use stress to improve our health and well-being. Here’s how.”

“Adapting customer experience in the time of coronavirus. Customer experience has taken on a new definition and dimension in the overwhelming challenge of COVID-19. Customer leaders who care and innovate during this crisis and anticipate how customers will change their habits will build stronger relationships that will endure well beyond the crisis’s passing.” 

“How businesses could emerge better after COVID-19, according to B Lab. ‘This is an opportunity for us to focus on both how business and government play a role in building a more resilient economic system for the next crisis.’” 

“The real star of Andrew Cuomo’s press briefings? His PowerPoints. There’s also a clear lesson for governors, public health officials, and other politicians who will face this pandemic’s apex next: clear information design gives constituents the power to fight both.” 

“7 Ways to Recover From Too Many Online Meetings During the Day. How to bounce back quickly when virtual meetings are sapping your mental energy.” 

 TED Talks/Podcasts

“Living the Questions: At home, frustrated and stressed — is ‘just being’ worthy right now? Krista reflects on the problem with the phrase ‘just being’ — and how settling inside ourselves right now, and kindness towards ourselves, are gifts to the world we want to make beyond this crisis.” 

“How we can navigate the coronavirus pandemic with courage and hopeRabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks offers thoughts on how we can navigate the coronavirus pandemic with courage, hope and empathy. With wisdom and clarity, he speaks on leadership, fear, death, hope and how we could use this moment to build a more just world. Watch for a special, impromptu prayer about halfway through the conversation.” [His impromptu prayer is just amazing and so thoughtful.]

“How to be your best self in times of crisis. ‘Life’s beauty is inseparable from its fragility,’ says psychologist Susan David. In a special virtual conversation, she shares wisdom on how to build resilience, courage and joy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Responding to listeners’ questions from across the globe, she offers ways to talk to your children about their emotions, keep focus during the crisis and help those working on the front lines.”  

Blog Posts (excerpt below with links to the full post)

What You Truly Value. All change brings opportunity. Some change gives us the opportunity to pause and ask what we can do better. How can we better connect to what has proven to be important?… If you look for opportunities in line with your values, you will be able to see a path through the fear and uncertainty guided by the light that is hope.” 

“Now Is The Time For Heroes. We can choose to see this as a tremendous opportunity. This is a moment to be heroic. To think about others. To serve. To prepare. To keep calm. To reassure. To protect. This is a time to reevaluate our priorities. To ask ourselves what’s important and what we’re working towards.” 

“This Is The Most Fun Way To Make Your Life Awesome (Pandemic Edition). Our relationships to other people are often the key to our survival and happiness. That’s something we need to remember right now. And it’s an idea we need to spread.”  

Arts, Music & Culture Corner

Casual Choir Sofa Sessions Sings U2’s “One.” – “This is what happens when Casual Choir hosted a sofa session to keep us singing during COVID-19.”

The Police – Giants Stadium (The Meadowlands), 06/15/1986. [This a condensed set list, which was performed at the last show on the Conspiracy of Hope Tour in support of Amnesty International.]

“Breathtaking views and solitude: scenes from a Montana forest fire lookout post. Each summer, Leif Haugen travels to the Flathead National Forest in northwestern Montana to look for fires. In The Lookout, Leif explains the joys of solitude, and the wonder of independent living, in one of the most breathtaking natural landscapes in the US.”

“10 of the world’s best virtual museum and art gallery tours. The originals are out of reach for now, but you can still see world-class art – without the queues or ticket prices – with an online tour of these famous museums.” 

High Fidelity at 20: the sneakily dark edge of a comedy about bad breakups. Stephen Frears’ smart adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel of stunted growth remains as compelling as ever with one of John Cusack’s best performances.”

Kevin Jordan

Kevin Jordan is an International Coach Federation-certified executive coach who serves as a strategic advisor, mentor and facilitator to executive leadership teams and private clients to achieve peak performance and agility resulting in sustained engagement and value. Drawing upon a career as a leader and consultant, Kevin is able to work with clients on personal and professional development, relationship optimization and team and leader dynamics. He has deep expertise and experience developing and realizing strategic vision through a relentless focus on optimized business operations. He is also skilled at building sustainable culture and workforce engagement through the power of people and organizational partnership, as well as delivering results and value with high performing teams during periods of intense change.

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