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This isn't helpful advice

This Isn’t Helpful Advice

by | Apr 27, 2020 | By David Dye, Winning Well

A Little Leadership Wisdom

I want to give you an insightful bit of leadership or management wisdom that will help you navigate the world right now.

But my inbox is overflowing with advice. Most of it is trite. Advice that just isn’t helpful right now.

I don’t want to give you more of that.

So, here’s what I’ve got right now. It may be helpful. Maybe not. But I wanted you to know that I’m thinking about you.

We planted a garden two weeks ago. A bird pulled up a seedling. Squirrels dug up some seeds (we replanted). And late frost claimed a couple more victims. The brussels sprouts stood tall.

Today, the sugar peas sprouted. Life renews.

And a relative’s child has what appears to be COVID-toe. It’s affecting his toes in a bad way. His mom has very high-risk conditions. Despite federal protestations to the contrary, they cannot get testing and so he and his father have moved into another house.

For how long?

We do not know.

The redbuds, last of the blooming trees here in Maryland, are fading after a spectacular spring show juxtaposed against the uncertainty, anxiety, and grief of life turned upside down.

As the blossoms fade, the trees are leafing out, and life renews.

Yesterday we started another long-term leadership development program that was intended to be in-person, and now moved to live-online delivery. And everyone was awesome.

The participants are leaders, working from home, trying to support their teams–all of whom are also working from home for the first time.

I was grateful for these leaders and their sense of humor, their playful razzing of one another, and their desire to be the best leader they can be.

I was grateful for the team of people who make our work possible, quietly attending to products, design, technology, graphics and so much more. Thank you, Shelley and Beth and Amy and Brooke and Phil. I don’t say it often enough.

I am grateful for the wife, partner, co-author and friend I have in Karin. I know you know that she’s awesome, but really, you don’t know just how awesome.

And everyone is different.

Many of the people I’ve talked with recently are stir crazy and tired of being cooped up with the same people all the time. Like me, they miss their friends, family, and the small, but who-knew-how-important everyday interactions we have with other human beings.

Other people tell me that they’ve adapted marvelously well to isolation.

I can’t say that I’m one of them. Every video chat (a small miracle and immense blessing that connects me with people around the world and is a force behind so much of the commerce that continues) also drains me and reminds me of what isn’t.

And then there are my sister and sister-in-law who work in health care and don’t have the privilege to do what is driving so many of us crazy. And yet they both show up with amazing generosity for the world beyond their work and families.

Halfway across the country, last week another loved-one “ugly cried” herself to sleep.

We face a great deal of uncertainty. We still don’t understand this disease. We don’t know exactly how we’re going to move forward.

There are opportunities as so much changes. There are opportunities to address the dysfunctions in the way we do things. To fix the brokenness that makes it far more likely that some will die than others. To mobilize and do what it takes to create a better future.

We don’t know exactly how we’re going to move forward.

But we will.

And we’ll do it with you. With your leadership. Your belief in the people you serve. Your influence to bring people together and build something better.

I saw a firefly two days ago.

It was daytime, but it made me smile to know that soon they’ll be lighting up the night.

David Dye helps human-centered leaders find clarity in uncertainty, drive innovation, and achieve breakthrough results.  He’s the President of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international leadership development and training firm known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. He’s the award-winning authors 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 hosts the popular Leadership without Losing Your Soul podcast. David is a former executive and elected official. David and his wife and business partner, Karin Hurt, are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.


  1. Jeff Geloneck

    Kind of like an extended haiku – nice!
    I watched birds feeding their chicks in a nest on my porch yesterday. And comforted my daughter on the phone because her pay was cut 10% due to the chaos. I enjoyed the birds and, honestly, the call. Contributing to growth.

    • David Dye

      Thanks Jeff – what a great image.


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