Keeping Continuity

Daniel Montgomery Reality

We’re now several weeks into quarantine during the COVID-19 crisis. As we all settle into new rhythms, we’ve started to wonder about the future. How will our businesses survive? What will they look like when the dust settles? Will there be any continuity for us, or will we be left talking about the world “before COVID”? Professor Laurence Barton literally wrote the book on crisis, business continuity, and living into the future. Today, we’re taking a (literal) page out of his book (page 321, to be exact) and giving you some ways to keep it together in the coming months. While much of Barton’s work focuses on the crucial first 8 hours of a crisis, we’ve adapted a few of his lessons for the “new normal” of our present waiting game. If you and your teams–remote or not–put some thought into Barton’s Ten Pillars of Business Continuity, you’ll be far …

Being Fully Human in the Time of the Coronavirus

Daniel Montgomery Reality

Agility is part of being fully present. Agility means having the mental and emotional resources to switch gears when life takes a turn for the worse. The coronavirus pandemic is absolutely a turn for the worse. It’s long be said that crisis brings out both the worst and the best in people. I fully believe that this is a difference in the presence or absence we bring to our crises. Absorbed in our own fears and suffering, we dehumanize ourselves and others. But when we fully engage our humanity, we become forces for good in the midst of terribly uncertainty. Today, as many of you are isolating and wondering about your future, we want you to know that we stand with you. Some of you may be adjusting to remote jobs, or fearing that there will be no job for you at all on the other side of this. Or, …

Unwrecking Your Place | How to Be Present, Part 3

Daniel Montgomery self awareness

Defying Displacement In her book This is Where You Belong, Melody Warnick tells the story of Jay Leeson, a student at Asbury Theological Seminary, and his efforts to rally a community behind Leonard Fitch and his local grocery store. The store had been in the family for fifty years and served as an institution in Wilmore, Kentucky. Hit hard by the economic downturn, Fitch couldn’t keep his doors open. When Leeson heard, he organized a group of volunteers from the community to repaint and refresh the store. They called themselves “Fitch’s neighbors,” and in repainting that store, they revitalized Fitch: “New paint has given me new life!” he said. Last week, we introduced an important topic from How to Be Present in an Absent World: the difference between topos and chora. Where topos is a “mere” location, a place in space, chora names the stories and experiences that layer on …

There’s A Place For Us | How to Be Present, Part 2

Daniel Montgomery Culture, Reality

Loving Where You Live Your Life Last week, we meditated on human finitude. We get a limited time on this earth. How should we spend it? How can we use it to the fullest? In his book The Life of the Beloved, writer Henri Nouwen insists: “There is stimulation, excitement, movement and a lot to see, hear, taste and enjoy. The world is only evil when you become its slave. … I believe deeply that all the good things our world has to offer are [ours] to enjoy.” (104)  How can we experience this version of the world, when we often feel the world making us prove our worth or feel not-at-home? How do we challenge and change the structures that reject us and make us believe we don’t belong? It starts by remembering that there is a place for us. Sometimes, we need to play around in a place …

Ash Wednesday: a time to think on death and legacy

You Are Going to Die | How to Be Present, Part 1

Daniel Montgomery Reality, self awareness

Death Makes You Fully Human DANIEL MONTGOMERY Founder & CEO, Leadership Reality Lent: The Season of Death Many of my readers know about Ash Wednesday, and the familiar words, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you will return”. If you’re not a churchgoer, you may have seen people sporting smudges of dirt on their heads in the vague shape of a cross. Maybe you asked why—or maybe you assumed that person needed a shower and kept your distance.  Church-goers and church skeptics alike live in the legacy of the Liturgical year. Even if you have no idea what that is, you still likely gather with the family on Easter. You bluster through the malls when Christmas comes around. And you probably know that the season of Lent starts a week from today.  The Liturgical Calendar is as old as Christianity itself. It has less to do with worship, …

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 …