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Collaborative Thinking
Featuring the insights of Dan Elash, one of the clearest thinkers on the planet. Through topics such as thought partnerships, savvy work, rigorous thinking, coaching and authenticity, he guides us to new levels of personal and organizational performance.
       
             
   
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Adapting Combat Readiness for Peak Performance
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

The entire military organization is structured to do what needs to be done in a way that generates and captures the highest possible potential of its members. Ensuring that the groundwork has been laid for harnessing the potential of everyone involved is articulated as combat readiness, a practice that provides the platform that's necessary for success.

Thought Partnerships Build a Company’s Thinking Skills
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

How effectively a company thinks determines how effectively it competes.  Fundamental to this ability is the requirement that the people involved think well together, not just individually.   It is no longer enough simply to field a team of bright people; the thinking skills of the company, as a whole, are where competitive advantage lies.  Yet thinking well together doesn’t just happen, it has to be nurtured in the form of thought partnerships.

Living Large
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

Each of us carries within us the abilities to write the stories of our lives. We choose, every day, whether we will make our lives small or large. It is never too late to amend the script, to craft a new ending. To do so we must own our power as the authors of “the story of us.” We can choose to live large, to seek to become our best selves regardless of our circumstances. It is the essence of your life.

Get Smart or Die
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

Weak and sloppy thinking is a threat to any organization. It is easy to slip into a rut and difficult to shake out of one. If you are to be a highly effective competitor you must nurture your one true competitive advantage; how well your people think together. Leaders must remain vigilant for the signs of weak thinking and take effective steps to build the thinking capacity of the organization as a whole. The choice is yours and it is simple, get smart or die.

Rewriting Your Life Story
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

My point, in this article, is that you have an author’s power over your story. By shifting perspectives you can shift from reactor to creator. In what follows, we will look at the ways in which you can use this insight to create a more satisfying life. Remember, the future is unwritten, the story is unfinished, and so, there is room for change and development.

Infusing Your Organization with Energy and Hope
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

Ever wonder where the creative energy goes in organizations that are staffed by bright and competent people? What happens that causes partnerships, started in hope to sour? In this article we’ll explore one of the dynamics that drains these relationships of their good energy, and we’ll offer a simple antidote that can revitalize the constructive bonds that generate goodwill and which cause people to pull together toward common goals.

You Said, “WHAT?”
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

Fortunately for most of us, most of the time, we are pretty effective communicators. Unfortunately for many us, when our communication skills tend to go downhill is when we are talking to people who matter the most to us. In this article, I want to look at the choices that are yours to make. There are tactics that you can use as well as tactics you should avoid if you want your conversations to be productive. We’ll also consider how to neutralize some of those destructive tactics when they are used on you.

The Pain of Obsolete Knowledge
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

Obsolete knowledge is more damaging than ignorance, for with ignorance we simply don’t know something and it is easier to ask questions and learn.  When we are sure of erroneous data we aren’t even motivated to look for new information, we just cruise merrily along a dead-end path.  In this paper we’ll explore how it is that we cling to obsolete ideas, how this harms us, and some strategies for evolving our beliefs about what is true and what is not.

Authenticity and Leadership
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

To create or sustain a healthy, adaptive organization a leader must be respected; be seen as authentic, reliable, and trustworthy. While the following list isn’t meant to be exhaustive, an authentic leader must engage in several activities if he or she is to be believed and followed.

Saving Your Job in Tough Economic Times
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

Downturns, layoffs, and right-sizing are words that strike fear in the hearts of many people currently employed. In work places around the country workers are rightfully preoccupied with the threat of losing their jobs. While there is no single solution that will work in any individual case, there are things that you can do to improve your situation. Let these action steps guide you toward better job security.

Excuses Inevitably Lead to Value Destruction©
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

Excuses are destructive to the efforts of people working together to generate something of value.  This is true whether regardless of the nature of the organization’s business. Here, we will look at the effects of offering or tolerating excuses on the results of such endeavors.  We’ll look at the antidotes for excuses, a culture of responsibility, and consider the requirements for creating and sustaining such a culture.

Rigorous Thinking Ensures Better Solutions
by Daniel D. Elash and Mark D. Steele

The best likelihood of a successful solution comes with rigorous thinking and methodical planning. By “rigorous thinking” we are talking about a disciplined, focused approach to adequately thinking through a problem, from the way the question is framed until an effective solution is produced. Rigorous thinking is careful. It is planned. It is thorough.

When is Enough, Enough?
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

In this article we’ll consider what happens when the need to achieve becomes pursued as an end to itself. Trying to do your best is different than having to be the best. The compulsive drive to achieve can have a dark side. We’ll also consider the price of that compulsion and describe the steps for developing a healthy balance between satisfaction and achievement.

Why Coaching Fails
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

Like any tool, coaching can be effective.  However, it is a process that is relatively easy to do badly.  Many things can impede its effectiveness. While there are many reasons why coaching can fail in an individual case, there are some broad commonalities that can indicate failure early in the process.  It is important for the stewards of the organization’s resources to understand these major themes and feel comfortable taking steps to address them.

Improve Your Company’s Ability to Execute Your Business Plan
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

All businesses have a plan for being successful.  However, most can improve the way they prepare to work the plan to best effect.  The solution is to not only build a plan but to disseminate it, discuss it for shared understanding, and then to manage individual performance against the plan.

Procrastination, Ignorance and Life-long Learning
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

Procrastination kills more than time.  At a deeper level, it kills confidence, drains energy, and squelches innovation. It’s the state of being frozen, like an insect trapped in amber, in the face of a problem which has us stumped.  It’s a symptom of a more serious malady, and unless we address it at its root cause, we’ll continue to suffer.

How to Counter Career Derailers and Personal Vulnerabilities
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

My work in coaching executives has led me to wrestle with uncovering the essential elements for supporting personal change in the business environment.  In the discussion that follows, I will lay out what I have come to believe are the sure-fire steps for achieving significant personal change.

Authentic Leadership: Reducing the Gap Between Lived and Espoused Values
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

In highly effective companies there is a commitment to aligning stated beliefs with actual choices. In this article we'll diagnose problems in the traditional planning process and recommend a positive approach that leaders can take to reduce the gap.

Developing Gifted Leaders
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

If you are not relentlessly developing leadership talent from within, then, by implication, you are content to be sub-optimized. There is no way around it. If your people aren't stepping into leadership roles as circumstances dictate, if they aren't continuously improving as leaders, and if they aren't routinely making others better, then the organization is settling for "good enough" as opposed to "impressively better." Which outcome are you shooting for?

Why Traditional Performance Management Can't Deliver Peak Performance
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

The realities of today's business environment require companies to be fast, focused and adaptable in order to thrive. Business processes that hinder these organizational capabilities, that make it more difficult for companies to reach to their optimized levels of performance, are unnecessary, if not harmful. Business leaders need to abandon cumbersome processes and, working with others in the business, improvise different, more productive ways to get the job done.

Fostering Innovation in Small and Mid-Size Companies
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

Companies that don't embrace innovation to evolve their business idea, periodically revalidate fundamental assumptions, or to outthink their competition often work under a needless handicap. Those that do can leverage their assets far beyond what their size would suggest.

When the Boss is a Bully
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

The fact of the matter is that people in positions of power come in all types and not all of them are emotionally healthy or well intentioned.

Transforming the Harried Leader into a Gifted One
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

A leader truly leading the enterprise will work to grasp the big picture, use that insight to incite the workforce to high performance, forge the organization into a thinking, adaptive enterprise, and focus on the continuous transformation of the individuals involved and the organization as a whole.

Lessons In Authentic Leadership: Embracing Reality
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

One crucial character trait that has received scant attention has been the willingness and the ability of the person in a leadership role to embrace reality. The message is clear - embrace reality; anything else starts the journey to failure.

Thought Partnerships: The Muscles For High Performance Thinking
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

How effectively a company thinks determines how effectively it competes. Fundamental to this ability is the requirement that the people involved think well together, not just individually. It is no longer enough simply to field a team of bright people; the thinking skills of the company, as a whole, are where competitive advantage lies.

Building Savvy Companies: 7 Steps Leaders Can Take To Liberate Thinking
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

Companies that are smart, resourceful, and imaginative are companies that are thinking well. While competitors can copy a product or a service offering, they can't readily duplicate a company's ability to think. Good thinking is an advantage that is hard for any competitor to negate.

Thought Killers: How Leaders Lower Their Followers' IQs and What to Do About It
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.
Have you ever looked at a company and wondered how so many seemingly bright people could make such bad decisions? The mystery usually can be understood through a close examination of the personal style of the leader.

Beyond Trendy: Using a Business Coach to Create a Competitive Edge
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.
Using a coach can be a highly effective way to compensate for the tendency to slip, inexorably, into habitual patterns. A true coach is a thought partner, someone to think with you about how you think as well as how you execute your thoughts.

Gaining An Edge: Authentic Leadership Lessons from the Estrella Insurance Group
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.
Authentic leadership is leadership that can be trusted; leadership that is, in fact, as it is represented. In the business environment, authentic leadership is a fundamental requirement for generating peak performance.

Realizing Untapped Potential
by Daniel D. Elash, PhD.

How much of your company's potential lies untapped? Although you've paid for it, are you allowing it to sit and rot? Rot may seem a harsh word, but it's accurate. Over time, untapped potential turns into complacency. By taking these steps, you will build the readiness for realizing the unused potential of your company and turn outstanding performance into the new minimum standard for your company.

CEO as Leader and Coach
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D. and James R. Long, Ph.D.

Leading in a way that draws others into the process as thought partners, rather than dependants, optimizes your organization's capabilities, and isn't that what leadership is all about? While it takes practice, these skills can be mastered.

Building Partner-Friendly Environments at Work
by James R. Long, Ph.D. and Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

Collaborative relationships create the necessary connections inside an organization needed to act effectively upon its strategic intent. The presence of trust in thought partnerships is an important catalyst in the development of a culture of trust.

Using Thought Partnerships to Build Your Brand
by Daniel D. Elash, PhD. and James R. Long, Ph.D.
Your brand is the identity of your enterprise. Ideally, your brand defines the value proposition offering to your customers. When consumers use your product or service, it's your identity that becomes linked with their positive or negative experience. This paper suggests that thought partnerships are the foundation that forms the organizational capability for achieving brand promise.

Shadowing For Leadership Development - Part 1
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D. and James R. Long, Ph.D.
Thought partnerships become the medium within organizations that facilitate effective collaboration, timely sharing of knowledge, and innovation. One leadership development technique that exemplifies thought partnering is a process we call "shadowing."

Shadowing For Leadership Development - Part 2 - Role Variations within the Shadowing Process
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D. and James R. Long, Ph.D.
Shadowing is a technique in which a person wishing to learn a skill (student) accompanies, observes and collaborates with another (mentor), while that person is employing their expertise on a value-producing assignment. Here we will explore the role variations within the shadowing process and provide examples of the shadowing leadership development technique.

Shadowing For Leadership Development - Part 3 - The Mentoring Dialogue and Facilitating the Shadowing Process
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D. and James R. Long, Ph.D.
Shadowing is a technique in which a person wishing to learn a skill (student) accompanies, observes and collaborates with another (mentor), while that person is employing their expertise on a value-producing assignment. Here we will explore the key elements of the mentoring dialogue and the opportunities to facilitate the shadowing process.

Thought Partnerships: Creating Value Through Generative Thinking
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D. and James R. Long, Ph.D.
Without a deep, cogent, and abiding understanding of your organization and the unique context in which you find yourself, the application of someone else's key principles is insufficient. It isn't gathering information that's counterproductive. It's allowing the experts to think for you rather than to think with you that's the problem.

Lessons in Authentic Leadership
by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D. and James R. Long, Ph.D.
Leadership, going forward, is not as much about telling as it is about hearing; not as much about knowing as it is about facilitating dialogue and inquiry; not as much about being in charge as it is about enabling the necessary capabilities and outcomes.

Related Topics: Creative Leadership I | II | III | Authenticity

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