Soderquist Blog

Opening a Window: Growing Your Influence

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Feb 3, 2016 8:00:00 PM


Many of us in leadership positions can recall the time when we first got an office with a window. For some like me, it was a move from the inner cubicle maze to the outer perimeter where the weather outside was no longer a mystery. The pane of glass was a window to the outside world. Few would consider the fact that the window worked both ways, simultaneously providing a view from the outside in. 

I was recently introduced to the Johari Window. This model was introduced 60 years ago by American psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingram. It’s a simple quadrant model that represents what is known and unknown by both a person and others. This window is all about the inside view others have of leaders from the outside.


In summary, the Open or Public Arena is the easy spot for most leaders. It’s what we know about ourselves AND what others know about us. From there, it gets more complicated – the things that we keep Private or Hidden; the Blind Spots we don’t know exist; and the great Unknown. For leaders, the challenge we all face and should lean into is opening up the Public Arena. It’s about gaining more ground in this quadrant. 

One way we can do this is by asking for and acting on feedback to deal with Blind Spots. Another way to do this is through self-disclosure of what have to-date kept Private. By opening up our “window” in both directions, it draws those we lead into deeper and more mature relationships, such that leadership influence can begin to grow. While the intersection into the Unknown is about the courage required to discover new things that help us and those around us, we shouldn’t miss that courage is also necessary to seek feedback and for self-disclosure as well.

Ultimately, this is all about leadership effectiveness with a direct correlation to the size and substance of our own Public Arena. It’s the motivation we have at Soderquist Leadership to equip leaders through experiences, tools, and resources. I urge you to exercise courage in seeking to open up your window.

For more leadership resources, check out our latest eBook 4 Critical Skills for Leaders.

Download Your Free eBook

Written by Chuck Hyde
CEO of Soderquist Leadership

Read More

Topics: Leadership

When Winning Isn't Everything

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Jan 26, 2016 12:00:00 PM


The Cleveland Cavaliers, an NBA basketball franchise, fired their head coach David Blatt this past Friday.  Coaches get fired all the time.  So what makes this interesting? Well, the Cavaliers record at that this point in the season was good enough for first place in the Eastern Conference.  In addition, in his first season in the NBA last year, Blatt guided the Cavaliers to a NBA Finals appearance which they lost to the Golden State Warriors.  Lastly, Blatt has a record setting resume from his decades of coaching in Europe.  So, what gives?

I think it comes back to something so fundamental: the ability to lead others and establish a culture.  General Manager of the Cavaliers, David Griffen, said "What I see is that we need to build a collective spirit, a strength of spirit, a collective will.  Elite teams always have that, and you see it everywhere. To be truly elite, we have to buy into a set of values and principles that we believe in. That becomes our identity."  Sounds a lot like culture.  Sounds a lot like the soft stuff of leadership.

Leadership is not just about winning.  Sure you need a drive for results.  You need to be able to achieve goals and meet objectives.  That's not enough.  You have to be able to connect with others; bring others along.  You have to understand your values and principles, your team's values and principles and the culture of the organization itself.  Leaders are leaders because folks choose to follow them.  Winners are all about the record, the scoreboard.  Leaders are all about the people and the culture.  The winning follows.

I certainly don't know the specifics around David Blatt's dismissal.  But I have known folks who thought that winning made them a leader.  It doesn't.  People want more than just to achieve great results.  They want to be part of something meaningful.  To be part of that "collective spirit".  Are you a winner only?  Or are you a leader first and foremost?

Want more insights on what makes a good leader? Check out this video discussion kit featuring Don Soderquist and David Glass, retired COO and CEO (respectively) of Walmart, as they talk about the ingredients of good leadership.

Download the FREE Leadership Video Kit,

Written by Jeremiah A. Palmer
Guest Contributor for Soderquist Blog

Jeremiah is a leadership coach, adjunct professor, and brand manager, and is committed to helping others grow and develop into the best leaders they can be. Check out Jeremiah's Blog here.

Read More

Topics: Leadership

Why Meetings Might Be A Good Thing

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Jan 20, 2016 3:30:00 PM











Yes, I said it.  Meetings, the anathema of business people worldwide, might actually be useful; even crucial in a complex world.  "How so?", you ask with prodigious skepticism.

A meeting, if done well, should simply be a conversation.  Conversation builds empathy.  Empathy opens up our ability to be curious and seek multiple perspectives.  Being curious and taking multiple perspectives is fundamental to grappling successfully with complexity - situations where cause and effect are not clear and where there are no right answers.  And much of the work we do as leaders today is complex.

It can be really enticing to leverage all of the technology at our disposal - email, text, instant messaging to name a few - in order to communicate in a business setting.  Those tools and more all have a place but to assume they can replace conversation is a wrongheaded assumption.  While there are more mediums than just the meeting as a means to engage in rich dialogue, the meeting has tremendous potential for learning from multiple perspectives.

So what gets in the way?  Well, we all know those barriers too well: meetings that have no agenda, include the wrong folks, are more about sharing information than learning from one another.  If instead we committed to making meetings a place where dialogue burgeoned, we might start to view meetings as the most rewarding times of our day.  Try a small experiment at the next meeting you facilitate.  Aim to ask curious questions, to seek out the diverse perspectives around the table, and most importantly think about what you might learn about the topic at hand, your team, and yourself.

For more helpful leadership resources, check out this video discussion kit featuring John Pepper, retired CEO of P&G, as he shares about advice he gave to a young leader to help develop her.

Download Video Kit  

Written by Jeremiah A. Palmer
Guest Contributor for Soderquist Blog

Jeremiah is a leadership coach, adjunct professor, and brand manager, and is committed to helping others grow and develop into the best leaders they can be. Check out Jeremiah's Blog here.

Read More

Topics: Leadership, Practical Tips & Tricks

Free Up Time and Energy by Creating New Habits

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Jan 14, 2016 9:29:43 AM


The other day we were in our weekly staff meeting and our CEO asked about who had made New Year’s resolutions. I, somewhat shamefully, raised my hand. I have no idea why there’s a strange embarrassment about making New Year’s resolutions. I plan to do things on many other days

Read More

Topics: Leadership

Focus on the Outcome

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Jan 12, 2016 12:39:01 PM


Yesterday afternoon I experienced a common scenario in my life. A smart aleck remark entered my head, and I paused long enough before letting it come out of my mouth to decide if I really wanted to say it out loud or not. In this case, I decided to keep it to myself. The key to this decision was a very brief analysis of a simple question: What is my hopeful outcome?

This is a question I am determined to keep at the forefront of my mind as I venture into this new year. Too often I fail to consider that question, and I end up behaving in ways that are not helpful. So, I am working to develop the practice of being intentional with my words and actions so that I choose those that have a higher probability of positive outcomes, especially with regard to those with whom I am interacting.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not suggesting an overly cautious approach to life that eliminates those important moments of levity and humor. A well timed flippant remark can be a welcome break in an otherwise serious and heavy day.

But, as we dive into 2016, I encourage you to join me in frequently asking, “What is my hopeful outcome?” What do I hope to accomplish by sending this email that I have typed in? How do I hope the person I am speaking with will feel if I say what I am thinking? Is my intent to build up someone’s feelings of self-worth and dignity or tear them down? Will my communication increase the trust between us or diminish it? Maybe I need to rethink what I’m about to say or do.

For more leadership resources, check out our latest eBook 4 Critical Skills for Leaders

Download Your Free eBook

Read More

Topics: Leadership

5 Tips On How to Keep Your Resolutions This Year

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Jan 9, 2016 12:00:00 PM


Research suggests that only 8% of people who make a New Year’s resolution actually accomplish their resolutions. Here are a few practical steps you can take to help you keep yours this year.

  1. Set tangible goals. When I am working with a client I sometimes ask the question “how will you know that you improved in this area by this time next year?” For example; if you say you want to be more physically fit this time next year, you could take a Body Mass Index, Resting Heart Rate, Blood Pressure and then take them again in 12 months and see how you did. Did you improve? The important thing is that you can measure progress, and can celebrate even slight gains.

Read More

Topics: Leadership, Practical Tips & Tricks

How Much Growth Are You Forecasting For The Year?

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Jan 5, 2016 3:30:00 PM



As a manager of a business, I hear this question a lot, especially as we gear up for a new fiscal year. Organizations are obsessed with growing the top and bottom line.  So each year we build a plan of initiatives aimed to deliver target numbers.  If we find ourselves off target, we employ a variety of tools to get us back on track.  We report on the growth to target each month, compare that to key competitors, and even forecast again if necessary.

So what is keeping us from taking the same vigilant approach to our personal growth?  

Read More

Topics: Leadership

Top 5 Blog Posts of 2015

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Dec 31, 2015 3:30:00 PM




As 2015 comes to a close and we gear up for a new year, we wanted to take a look back and share with you our top blog posts from this past year.

Enjoy the Soderquist Top 5 of '15.

Read More

Topics: Leadership, Practical Tips & Tricks

Why Aren't We Developing Others?

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Dec 4, 2015 2:52:00 PM


I’ve noticed something disturbing in workplaces.  Employees at large are not being developed.  It isn’t, in most cases at least, for lack of desire on their part.  Rather, it appears that managers of people are not investing in their report’s development.  It’s a bit of a head scratcher.  After all, we hear about the importance of developing and retaining talent all the time.  One of my former employers even created a program aimed at celebrating great manager behaviors.  So what gives?

Read More

Topics: Leadership

It's Lonely At The Top

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Oct 29, 2015 3:30:00 PM


One of the resources we direct leaders to concerning career transitions is The Leadership PipelineThis book is widely recognized for describing the transitions leaders make at different stages of their career and how expectations and focus progressively change along the way.

It has caused me to reflect on my own career and the transitions I’ve had to make.

Read More

Topics: Leadership

Blog Subscribe

Or copy and paste this URL into your RSS Reader:

Free Leadership Video Kit