Karin’s Leadership Articles

Welcome to Mean It Madness Month on Let’s Grow Leaders. My sister, Jill Herr, works is a healthcare executive and speech pathologist, my nephew, Jared Herr (middle school) and son, Ben Evans (college), are active student leaders.

We’re all disturbed by a pattern we see across many contexts. The severe consequences of people not saying what they mean: damaged relationships, disrupted trust, missed opportunities, wasted time, frustration. So, we’ve joined forces to present Mean it Madness on Let’s Grow Leaders. We’re on a mission to encourage more sincere conversations.

Watch this less than 1 minute video to hear more about our movement, and join our Intergenerational and International Inquiry into why more people don’t say what they really mean.

Click here to tell us how a meaningful conversation has change your perspective, your relationship, or your life. We’re looking to hear your stories of when saying what you really meant, made all the difference.

How Do We Encourage More Meaningful Conversations?

Share your story on a particularly meaningful experience, where saying what you mean made all the difference. If you know people with stories or passion around this topic, please pass this along. We want to cast as broad a net as possible. If you have #meanit ideas, or see great examples of sincere leading and living, tweet it out with #meanit. If you’ve got something to say, why not send me a short video clip with your ideas?

Bloggers, another opportunity to share your views on sincerity is to contribute to the March Frontline Festival Click on the link for more information and to submit your post If you write other related posts this month, I encourage you to email them to me at [email protected] (don’t use the form for that). I’ll work to share it under our #meanit campaign.

Why Leaders Should Say What They Mean

To kick-off our Mean-It Madness, I wrote a post over at Switch and Shift:

Positioning, spin, strategic ambiguity – why do so many leaders fail to say what they mean? Leaders worry that if they say what they really mean.

  • Someone might panic
  • The truth will leak
  • Employees will make bad choices
  • They’ll become disengaged

Spinning the truth has all of those same side effects, only worse. When humans aren’t told the truth, the stories they concoct to fill in the blanks are far more dramatic than the actual scene.

I’m always surprised by how surprised employees are when they’re told the honest truth.  To continue reading click here.

In Other News

Don’t worry, we’ll return to our regular leadership programming most of the month, with occasional sprinklings of #meanit madness. Stay tuned, share your stories, and enjoy the fun.

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt helps human-centered leaders resolve workplace ambiguity and chaos, so that they can drive innovation, productivity and revenue without burning out employees. She’s the founder and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international leadership development and training firm known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. She’s the award-winning author of four books including Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul and a hosts the popular Asking For a Friend Vlog on LinkedIn. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. Karin and her husband and business partner, David Dye, are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.


  1. Eric Dingler

    Love this idea. I was encouraged to take my conversation with people the last 10%. Most people only have 90% of a conversation that needs to be had. They hold back that little bit. It’s the last 10% were true understanding and growth will really happen. Looking forward to following the #MeanIt hashtag and read the encouraging stories.

    • letsgrowleaders

      Eric, So awesome to have you back. I love that concept of taking the conversation the last 10%. That’s a wonderful way to think of it.

  2. Ali Anani (@alianani15)

    Karin- that is not mean of you to refers to words of different meanings. But it is different to use different means to obscure the intentions. I mean the arithmetic mean

  3. letsgrowleaders

    Ali, It’s all a means to the end. Namaste.

  4. LaRae Quy

    First of all, you and your sister are both beautiful…you could be twins!

    Second, I love your message and video…very cool!

    Third, we’re so inured to slick advertisements and politicians spinning the truth to either look better or be downright deceitful that we have few solid role models anymore. It’s easier to blame someone else than take responsibility…your #meanit madness has a huge audience out there 🙂

    • letsgrowleaders

      You are so sweet. I see us as the “inverse” sisters… We have a similar look, with different coloring, with deep common values, with very different application in the world. It’s so much fun.

    • letsgrowleaders

      Ali, So interesting. I’m going to need a twitter lesson from you someday 😉 Thanks for all you’re doing to support our madness and our community.

      • Ali Anani (@alianani15)

        Any time, Karin. Sorry, I should have mentioned in my previous comment tweeting #meanit.

  5. Alli Polin

    Exciting! Love the video, Karin and I also love what you’re giving all of us a push to do. Say what we mean and own what we say. When I’ve found the courage to speak up and speak my truth something shocking happens… we both take a deep breath (finally!) and realize that what we’re both thinking is finally on the table. Look forward to supporting this important campaign! #MeanIt

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