March Madness is such an amazing time of year. Watching upsets, buzzer beaters, and celebrations sparks our own excitement and emotions. After the recent Duke upset, Coach Krzyzewski wisely said, “At the end of the season I want my guys to either be crying because we’ve lost or crying because we’ve just won”. The heartache and joy is so powerful to see as teams and individuals reflect on all they have done to make it to this point. What I find truly inspiring, are the teams that make it to the Sweet 16. These teams tune out the noise around them, play their style ofRead More →

Leaders can often confuse doing based leadership versus being based leadership. What we are doing is not necessarily what we are being. The InitiativeOne process forces a leader to peer within and ask the difficult questions that are a catalyst for emotional maturity and self-awareness. Self-aware and emotionally mature leaders are much more likely to make a positive impact on an organization.  And, being based leaders maintain a distinction between what they do and who they are. Buried inside every leader resides the true self. When leaders peel back the layers of self, they will be able to find that they are much more than whatRead More →

Standing in front of a group of C-Suite leaders at InitiativeOne in downtown Green Bay, Wisconsin, Fred Johnson primed the group for a lively discussion. Johnson asserted that we have experienced a significant transformation in how companies are making decisions. His opening comments opened the door for an engaging conversation about leadership and the shift toward collaborative decision making. Every transformation gives rise to serious implications, implications that affect outcomes, results and quality. A shift in decision making is no different. Traditionally, companies have made decisions with an emphasis on swift planning coupled with an expectation for resplendent execution and profitable results. The demand forRead More →

  How’s Your Team? Marcia glanced at her watch. The last ten minutes had progressed at a snail’s pace. The conference room was half empty. As usual, Marcia had arrived on time and waited. A few team members were hovering just outside the door while they finished up a conversation about the recent departure of a departmental manager. For Marcia, this was just another meeting that sucked the life out of her. She gave a quick glance at the team motto on the wall and rolled her eyes. It was her weekly dose of inconsequential reporting and a dull exchange of information. Marcia had senseRead More →

by Dr. Fred Johnson Tough Times are a Breeding Ground for Great Opportunity While attending college in the early 80s, I found myself in need of a summer job. In the midst of the Carter Administration, our economy was in a severe recession. Unemployment was high and hope was low. One day, a local pig farmer offered me a position as a temporary laborer. I soon learned this was no average pig farmer and no ordinary pig farm. At the time, it was one of the largest family-owned hog operations in Iowa, sending hundreds of pigs to market each week. The owner was a veryRead More →

Leadership Keynote Speaking

I am always amused at the sign holders that attend football games. If you have ever watched pre-game coverage, then I’m sure you understand. Hours before the kick off, commentators gather to break down the keys to success and the sign holders are there. Just when you begin to focus on the interviews your attention shifts from offense and defense to the large poster board obscuring several people and boldly declaring “I’m Single!” Sign holders jockey for position. They extend their arms and lift high their pictures, slogans and messages. Some are funny. Some are serious. All sign holders share the same goal. Get noticed.Read More →

I finally settled into Seat 7D. After a two-hour delay I managed a smile as the Captain quipped apologetically that the airline hasn’t found a way to control lightning. My quiet respite in my seat was disturbed by a disgruntled posse of travelers around me. In particular, one person was squeezing in a final call before takeoff. The flight attendant took the microphone and reminded the passengers that it was time to conclude use of cellular devices. The not-so-subtle reminder was clear. “Finish the call!” Whether it was because the announcement drew our attention to the call or the fact that the passenger was aRead More →

Recently, I was reading Richard Hallowell’s book Driven to Distraction at Work. In his Introduction, Hallowell refers to comments from Tim Armstrong of AOL regarding his mandate for scheduled “think time.” Frankly, the comments provoked some thinking of my own. First, I scoured my schedule and noticed that I did not have any white space specifically set aside for cerebral exercise. Next, I decided to make a list of benefits. What might I be missing by failing to nail down a few minutes exclusively devoted to thinking? My list of benefits came to mind quickly. Think time will help me realign my identity with whatRead More →

Recently, I was sitting in a restaurant with a group of friends. One of my friends left his reading glasses in his car. When he strained in a desperate attempt to read themenu, I smiled and offered my glasses. Apparently, his desire to save a trip to the car was sufficient motivation to give them a try. My prescription was less precise than he expected. After a little effort, he was able to make out the words and order his meal. Problem solved. There was another solution. I could have read the menu to him and offered some suggestions. After all, I could see theRead More →

Do you have a strong desire to learn? It’s hard to imagine a context in which a leader would respond negatively to such a question. With all the deluge of content aimed at lifelong learning and learning organizations, it seems to be a given. Leaders are supposed to say, “Yes” to learning. What is your current level of curiosity? The last time you were asked to identify your strengths, did curiosity make your top five? Before you answer too quickly, look up the definition of curiosity. CU·RI·OS·I·TY ˌkyo͝orēˈäsədē/ According to Merriam-Webster.com, curiosity is defined as “the desire to learn or know more about something orRead More →