A message from Executive Leader Coach Dave Kinnear.
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June 2019

Dear Friends and Colleagues

Socrates is said to have stated, "The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being." (See the Nullius In Verba column below.) That rings true with me. I tend to live my life that way much of the time. Full of curiosity. However, there is a downside to that curiosity—rabbit holes.

All the distractions from phone, e-mail, text, and social media, coupled with my curiosity, makes it extremely difficult for me to stay focused on the topic at hand. I don't have difficulty staying focused necessarily; it's a question of what I'm focused on. If in the pursuit of the task at hand, I uncover an exciting mystery, my mind tricks me into thinking I'm staying on task as I pursue the mystery.

It's quite likely that I could have let the mystery sit for a while as I stayed on task. But for me, that mystery calls as the Siren called to Odysseus. I have not found a way to consistently fill my ears with beeswax or lash myself to the mast!

Not all is lost, however. There are instances when spending some time in the rabbit warren, exploring various rabbit holes, and learning new things provides grist for the mill. There are also times when I have been so focused on a particular task that I miss other essential items. Recently, I was so intent on learning how to program a new piece of electronic equipment that I totally lost track of time and was about 45 minutes late for an appointment. Only a phone call, asking where I was, woke me up to the passage of time.

The proper balance of being curious and being focused is hard to achieve. It seems more difficult for me now than it has been in the past. I'm blaming that on technology, but it is my lack of self-restraint and being unwilling to set and stick to priorities.

The Task At Hand
Speaking of priorities, let's get on with this month's newsletter! Our first article is about how our everyday lives can be shattered by emergencies of one kind or another. I discuss how it is crucial that the team respond appropriately.

The second article explores how leaders have to balance being committed to a project or initiative with being willing to take on new information and change directions as needed.

The third article is a look at how humans are tribal animals, and so the culture is a critical thing to consider when hiring and firing employees. Our strategy doesn't stand a chance against the forces of culture.

Finally, in the Nullius In Verba column, I discuss the issue of curiosity and examining our roles as a leader when managing the culture. It all starts with the leader herself and examining beliefs.

On the Economy
In July, our friends at ITR will be hosting a seminar entitled: "The Coming Great Depression." I'm pretty sure that they are talking about the long (100 years) business cycle. In the near term, they are seeing Europe's economy on the "backside" of the short business cycle and are suggesting that here in the U.S. manufacturing will be suffering most—more than retail and finance.

I hope that we can keep cautious optimism while we prepare for the worse. It seems to me if we plan for the worse and the worse doesn't materialize; we will be much better off. Companies will be more profitable than they would be, and our financial houses will be in better order. Sounds like a winning plan to me!


Best Regards,
Dave Kinnear
Executive Leader Coach
Vistage Chair


Experience:There is a saying about sailing that goes something like this:

“Sailing is hours and hours of boredom punctuated by minutes of sheer terror.”

In my experience, that is pretty much true. Moreover, while I am familiar with sailboats, my brother is an expert on all things marine. When I asked him about his experience, he agreed that it was pretty much the same. Even with large ocean freighters, the routine can be suddenly shattered by emergencies of all kinds. How the crew responds is critical; which brings me to leadership.

[Read the full post . . .]

Stick to Your Guns?

Which Guns?

There is a misconception on some folks’ part that leaders must take a decision and stick to it. “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” I don’t think that is always appropriate or useful. I do believe it is true that a leader must show decisiveness. I also think it’s important that a leader not let the team lose focus on the intended outcome.

However, it seems to me to be quite dangerous for a leader to be unwilling to acknowledge and integrate new information or a change in circumstances. To me, the big “guns” to try and stick to are our closely held core values — not our beliefs or assumptions of how things are.

[Read the full post . . .]

Tribal Animals

Nature Rules:There is a lot of discussion about organizational culture these days. What is it? How does it contribute to or inhibit effectiveness? How do we “manage” it?

I define culture as simply “the way things get done around here.” And that means how decisions are made. That includes whether employees feel that the environment is safe for them to try new things, learn, and express their thoughts or feelings.

[Read the full post . . .]

Nullius In Verba

The Unexamined

Curiosity: In a previous post, I wrote about curiosity and its importance to leadership. I find that many of our organizational policies, procedures, and cultural norms go unexamined. I want to expand on the topic of curiosity a bit more. What drives me to do so is ruminating on my experience with classes I facilitate for veterans around the topic of values and career searches.

[Read the full post . . .]

Leaders are

Here's what's new in the reading stack!

As I mentioned last month, things will be a bit slow here. I've got some course work to do and it is eating into my reading a bit. I'm still working on the book On Grand Strategy.

Meanwhile, here's a review of The Influential Author, a book from a few months ago. Also, here's a review of The 1-Page Marketing Plan in case you missed it.

Local Events

ENP Institute

2019 Growth U Summit – Innovation to Drive Enterprise Growth: Renewed Purpose, Branding, Scaling and Revenue Generation

12:30 PM – 7:00 PM PDT

The Cove at UCI Applied Innovation
5141 California Avenue
Suite 250
Irvine, CA 92617

Who will attend – CEOs, Business Owners, Key Functional Leaders, the Investor community

Register Here

Tech & Employment

How Artificial Intelligence Affects Executive Resumes and Job Searches

You can’t open up a business publication nowadays without the talk of artificial intelligence and machine learning.  These applications affect every aspect of business, including job searches and the hiring process. 

First, what exactly is artificial intelligence?  Simply defined in the dictionary artificial intelligence is “The theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.”  Market Business News further explains it by stating, “Artificial intelligence or AI refers to software technologies that make a robot or computer act and think like a human.” 

And artificial intelligence is ever prevalent for those seeking employment.  In fact, one get-down-to-business executive asked, “Isn’t applying artificial intelligence tactics to executive resumes like hacks to get resumes through the ATS, but like AI is ATS on steroids?”  Yes and no.

Artificial intelligence in hiring focuses more on candidate’s entire online brand and communication exchanges and not solely about the keyword optimization of one document, which is what the focus of writing an ATS compliant resume is.

To be a successful candidate landing a leadership role in a modern workplace, it’s imperative that you:

[Full Article Here]


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CCE - Board
Certified Coach
Certified Veteran
Development Coach
Dave Kinnear, Executive Leader Coach
Dave Kinnear
Vistage Chair, CCE-Board Certified Coach, Certified Veteran Development Coach, and
 Executive Leader Coach
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