white typewriter keys

The Mindful Leader | Part 6

Daniel Montgomery Reality

DANIEL MONTGOMERY Founder & CEO Leadership Reality Are you a good storyteller? Whether it’s a Hollywood blockbuster or a children’s book, nothing has the power to arrest our attention like a well-told story. Successful leaders know this better than anyone: Want to capture an investor’s imagination? Tell a story. Need to motivate your employees to take action? Tell a story. Eager to sell your new product? Tell a story. PowerPoints and position papers don’t move people; stories do. Why? Because human beings are storied creatures. Like it or not, we’re all surrounded by narrative. What’s Your Story? The stories we tell ourselves can’t help but influence the stories we tell others. You can use a lot of words to describe me: Christian, husband, father, leader, Kentuckian. Each label draws out a different aspect of my personal story, even as it places me within a larger narrative: God’s story, my family, …

Mindful Leader Walking Architecture

The Mindful Leader | Part 5

Daniel Montgomery self awareness

DANIEL MONTGOMERY Founder & CEO Leadership Reality How close are you with your employees? Do you feel very connected? I once saw an episode of the Office where Michael Scott spent the entire episode trying to work his way into the “loop.” In scene after scene, he’d awkwardly insert himself into conversations and ask cringe-inducing questions like, “What’s the scuttlebutt?” Michael Scott is a farce, for sure. Still, the image of lonely manager floating around the office and trying to force a connection with his employees sends shivers down my spine. Leaders struggle to connect with their people. Half of the CEOs out there wrestle mightily with loneliness. When asked, 61% of them say it negatively impacts their job performance. What contributes to leader loneliness? Really, what doesn’t? The corner office The exalted title The pay disparity The authority barrier The generational gap Leadership is an inherently lonely enterprise. The …

The Mindful Leader Pt 3

The Mindful Leader | Part 4

Daniel Montgomery self awareness

DANIEL MONTGOMERY Founder & CEO Leadership Reality How’s your body doing right now? I’ll admit, that’s a strange question to lead with. I’m not a doctor, and you’re not my patient. This is a blog, not an exam room. Still, I’ve been amazed to see just how easy it is to get so engrossed in our work that we fail to notice what’s going on in our bodies. Do you have a headache right now? Are you clenching your jaw? How’s your lower back doing? What about your shoulders? When was the last time something on you didn’t hurt? Unless you’re on a construction site or a battlefield, leadership for you probably happens more in pixels and ink than in sweat and toil. For the office-dwellers among us, we just don’t think about our physical condition very much at all. The trouble is, our minds really do matter when it …

Strategy Meeting Blue Chairs

What is the Problem?

Daniel Montgomery Reality

LAUREN THARP COO Leadership Reality You’re sitting in a 3 p.m. meeting with a few other colleagues in the boardroom with your afternoon coffee. The team is doing a post-mortem on a recent strategic initiative, with one colleague providing their analysis and solutions, another on theirs, and the cycle goes on. Some of the back-and-forth banter almost feels like people are speaking different languages, not even addressing the same issues. As you sit there, you have this continued sense that the team is throwing dart after dart, completely missing the dartboard. At this point, you have two options. You could continue to hear the reports, make a conclusion and move on. Or you could listen to the uneasiness in your gut that’s telling you to keep pressing on. What is the problem? Defining Things Clearly One of my favorite leadership movies is Moneyball. Billy Bean, played by Brad Pitt, is …

neon sign you are here

The Mindful Leader | Part 3

Daniel Montgomery self awareness

DANIEL MONTGOMERY Founder & CEO Leadership Reality Are your employees disengaged? Would you notice if they were? According to Gallup, only a third of Americans are engaged at work. The rest are either passively skating by (50%) or actively trying to bring down the company from the inside (17%). Every year, disengaged employees cost American business billions of dollars. In combatting this epidemic, smart leaders have discovered that workers—especially millennials—need more than a parking spot and a paycheck to engage with their work. What is that more? Some call it passion. Others call it purpose. I call it place. Mapping Our Place as Leaders In simple terms, place is where you find yourself at any given point in your story. Yes, that includes space (where you are) and time (when you are). More than that, place describes the social, emotional, and cultural environments in which you live and work. For …

person meditating on a dock

Leader Archetype #9 | The Peacemaker

Daniel Montgomery self awareness

SARAH BRAUD Contributor & CEO Braud Creative Leadership Style of a Nine The Nine. The Crown of the enneagram. The Archetype that reflects all the other numbers, so much so that they have a hard time identifying themselves as Nines. Accommodating, supportive, non-judgmental, practical and hard-working, the Nine leader will sacrifice extensively for a genuine concern for those on their team, working tirelessly to promote the agenda of their organization or community. Every true Nine would cringe at any description that draws such positive attention to themselves, however, these leaders are so easy to like. The archetypal leader who is digging in the ditches alongside her people, often called The Peacemaker or The Mediator, leads by example and by reaching consensus. The Problem with a Nine Leader The leadership style of the Nine begins with gathering people together and then letting everyone else shine, often leaving their own opinion out …

black binoculars on ledge

Focus on Your “One Thing”

Daniel Montgomery Reality

JASON MYHRE Director of Marketing & Managing Partner for Eventide Asset Management “Take one day at a time Everything else you can leave behind Only one thing at a time Anything more really hurts your mind” Panda Bear (aka, Noah Lennox) in the song “Take Pills” Panda Bear’s album Person Pitch is in my pantheon of albums, and the lyrics above are from that album. The lyrics are straightforward: focus on one thing at a time. When it comes to business leadership, this sentiment can seem cute. “One thing at a time?! There are a million things on my plate!” a business leader might say. But this is no idealistic musing; it’s the key to both sanity and success. That’s the contention of the book The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, the NYTimes best seller by Gary Keller, cofounder of the real estate empire Keller Williams …

clocks on a wall

The Mindful Leader | Part 2

Daniel Montgomery Reality, self awareness

DANIEL MONTGOMERY Founder & CEO Leadership Reality Have you ever had a morning like this one? It’s 9 AM. For the past hour, you’ve tried (and failed) to start in on your to-do list. For some reason, you can’t stop stressing about that upcoming meeting with senior leadership. So, you distract yourself with a little email. 30 minutes later, you decide to get back in the saddle and make a few phone calls. As soon as you pick up the phone, you remember the call you blew yesterday. Afraid to repeat that ugly performance, you fire up Facebook instead. You’re just going to check in and make sure you didn’t miss anything important, of course. Another half hour goes by. The phone rings. There’s an emergency in production. Congratulations! You just lost the rest of your day to crisis management. So much for that to-do list. Time is on my …

headphones on table

Our Ten Favorite Podcasts This Summer

Daniel Montgomery Culture

LAUREN THARP COO Leadership Reality We are in the full swing of summer, prepping for our vacation and long-weekend drives. In a recent meeting, we began talking about our favorite podcasts right now. Why we love podcasts: They tell stories, helping us gain a new perspective. They are short and easy to listen to on your commute, in the gym, or binge-listening on a long drive. The keep us curious, giving us with new things to learn and know. Have you waded into the world of podcasts yet? Try out a few of our favorites! Give These Podcasts a Listen Innovation Ecosystem “Innovation starts with open minds. Open minds need content.” This podcast looks at innovation, change, creativity and all of the things that inspire companies and people to be better. I particularly loved the episode interview with David Pearl and his insights on the importance of story.   Outside …

male weightlifter

Leader Archetype #8 | The Challenger

Daniel Montgomery self awareness

SARAH BRAUD Contributor & CEO Braud Creative Leadership Style of an Eight The Challenger. The Protector. The Boss. All these title descriptors couldn’t encompass the larger-than-life style of the Eight leadership archetype. These assertive, confident, powerful people came out of the womb knowing what they wanted and who should get it for them. Sometimes aggressive, Eights are motivated by the desire to control their environment, for good or evil. These black & white decision makers easily fill the leadership void wherever it may be and makes up the majority of CEOs in the US as their personality is focused on strength, avoiding weakness, protection for the underdog, and moving the ball forward at any cost. While many find Eights to be intimidating, Eights are often surprised to hear that others fear them because in their core, this archetype is incredibly sensitive. They are drawn to defending the oppressed and look …