Leadership Spine Poems as Reflective Practice: If Your Books Could Talk…

What does your bookshelf say about you? What if your leadership books could collaborate to support your growth? Spine Poems provide new perspective on your reading choices. The idea, take a quick look at your shelf, and use the spines to create a poem.

The exercise provides perspective your topics of choice and how they hang together. Give it a try. What are your books yearning to say?

I asked my online friends to play along. Here’s what their books are saying.

Leadership Spine Poems (Examples)

Be the Best At What Matters Most-David Dye

Create Distinction
Think Sideways
On Leadership
Make a Scene
The Mission Myth
Own the StageContinue reading

Words With Teams: A Simply Insightful Teambuilding Exercise

I’m always looking for ways to keep remote teams connected.  Remote work drives thirst for daily inspiration and touch points.  Sharing words helps.  Words uncover meaning.  Words inform.  Words create community.

I emailed my larger team,

“what’s one word that inspires your leadership?”

Powerful responses within 24 hours, over 40% of my team shared their words with their peers.  Powerful, easy, fun.

Words Provide Insights

Words offered quick insights.  Words revealed values (and therefore what they needed from me).  Joe’s word is “challenge,” I’d  better stretch him.  Sally’s word is “balance,” something may be off.

A Few Highlights

  • Persevere: An excellent leader will persevere despite frustration, exhaustion, discouragement or opposition
  • Navigation: Anyone can steer the boat, but it takes a leader to determine its course. If you know where you are going, others will come on the journey with you
  • Flexibility: It’s important to look at others points of view outside of your own,  or change course when necessary. I think we grow more as an organization and as individuals when we are open to the possibilities
  • Energy: I believe that everyone carries with them a certain “energy” that determines their way of being. It’s not what you do, but how you do it.”
  • Succinct
  • Loyalty:   I believe that loyalty should be at the core of leadership.  You cannot expect a tem to follow your vision if you don’t have loyalty or if they don’t believe their leader is loyal to them.
  • Humor: I try to keep things humorous.  A happy team is a productive team

Leadership Candy Hearts: A Valentines Day Teambuilder

Leadership grows with conversation. It’s Valentines day– How about spreading the conversation with a few candy hearts?

I still get nostalgic for the doily decorated lunch bag full of cardboard valentines in elementary school, coupled with that sickening feeling from eating too many candy hearts. Perhaps you’ve upgraded your Valentines Day to more sophisticated endeavors. Or perhaps you secretly snatch a few candy hearts from your kids.

How about a little retro-fun, making your own virtual leadership candy hearts?


Candy Hearts: A Reflective Exercise or Team Builder

You can play this game as a reflective exercise or click on the link and spread the love around (it’s fun and free).

Take a minute what message do you most need to hear today? If you gave some candy hearts to yourself. What would they say? What candy hearts would you drop on the desks of your team? What candy hearts would you give to your boss?

What Should YOUR Candy Heart Say To YOU?

In 8 characters or less, what message would you send yourself today?


Take a moment to fill in the blank _____(would love for you to share in the comments)

What Does Your Team Need to Hear?

How can you show your team a little love today? Through hearts or in some other way?

What would you say to them?


Take a moment to reflect and fill in the blank _____(would love for you to share in the comments)

Who Can You Thank?

Who is your leadership pit crew?

How do they inspire your leadership?

How can you thank them?


Take a moment to fill in the blank __ (and share who helps you lead as you do? How? Why not comment and spread the love by passing this post along to them?)

Want to create your own conversation hearts, you can make real ones. Or try this free virtual technique to make sharable ones like I did above.

Happy Valentines Day. May your day be filled with positive messages and growth.

3 Easy and Practical Team Building Activities

It’s been a rather heavy week on Let’s Grow Leaders, talking about Courage, Fear, Transparency, and Chaos. So I am going to end the week on a lighter note. I had my team in town this week, working on business strategy and plans. We also made time the day before for a few practical and easy team building activities.

These activities are not original, but they worked quite well, with little prep, and without an external facilitator. If you are looking for a good way to kick-off the year, you might find value in giving them a try.

Making it Personal

We held the team building session at my house, followed by a home cooked dinner. I am a huge believer in having my team to my home, a tradition I have done for over a decade. There is value in wearing jeans, eating together, seeing the natural habitat, and meeting my family.

I now have a National team, so including significant others in the dinner is not practical. However in years past, I have included spouses and friends in the evening activities. A few years ago, my son ended up on the shoulders of team member riding a unicycle on my deck, so you have to be prepared for surprises. 

Vision Board and One Word Double Header

I combined the “one word” exercise that so many are doing this year with a vision board exercise (see, What the Heck’s a Vision Board and How it can Change Your Life). All you need is some old magazines, poster board, and glue and a bit of creativity.

I asked each of us to identify one word that we would focus on for the entire year (across all aspects of our lives), which served as the center of the boards. We then spent the afternoon sifting through stacks of magazines, cutting out words and pictures, sharing hopes and dreams, recognizing common interests and plans, and finding humorous suggestions for one another.

My word for this year is “inspire.” What’s yours?

I’ll pause here.

Book Exchange

In lieu of holiday gifts we elected to draw names, and we each purchased a book for one member of our team. The reasons for selection made for interesting conversation, some were strategic and business focused, other’s were more personal. I chose to give How To Work for an Idiot to one of my direct reports 😉

“What I Get From This Team” Matrix

We also did an exercise designed to talk about how we were doing as a team. I can’t remember where I learned it, so I apologize for not knowing the original source.

We used a 4 quadrant matrix, and asked one another 4 questions in the context of the team. and also in the context of my leadership.

  • What I get that I want.
  • What I get that I don’t want.
  • What I want that I don’t get.
  • What I don’t get that I don’t want

That simple structure led to rich conversation. It also led us to share some of our struggles and leadership philosophy
What Are Your Team Building Favorites?