After tragedy, the birth of Healing Trees demonstrates leadership by example

Back on January 9th, I shared a story about how we all got a wakeup call when shots rang out on a sunny Saturday morning in Tucson, Arizona.  After that day, as a nation wondered, waited and prayed, a group of friends were sharing ideas on what could be done to remember the fallen, bring the community together and begin the healing process.  The result is a new collaborative project called The Healing Trees Humanitarian Program. Continue reading

Leading by Example: Intel and us

On January 26, 2011, Intel Labs announced a $100 million cash investment in U.S. university research over the next 5 years, marking a new model of collaboration for the organization. The Funding will support a number of Intel Science and Technology Centers; the first such center will be led by Stanford University and focus on next-generation visual computing. According to the Intel Labs press release, this new model of university-lead research is expected to provide U.S. researchers with up to 5 times more funding from Intel Labs compared to the previous approach, and enable engagements across a broader set of universities.Continue reading

The Success Tip: Dream then Deliver

We all dream.  Without dreams there would be no innovation, no entrepreneurs, no purpose.  From our dreams come vision, inspiration and hope.  But dreams are not enough.  To move from the world of dreams to the reality of success, you need to deliver.  Otherwise you just keep dreaming and never get to see your dreams become real.Continue reading

Why is Leadership Sooo Sexy?

Leaders.  We admire them, look up to them, wonder what it is to be them, take classes so that we can emulate them, at times we even envy them.  After all, leadership is sexy, right.  The power, the money, the prestige, the glamor, the lifestyle.  They strut in, serious and focused, each morning and end each day with a smile of success, jacket slung over their shoulder and a spring in their step.  They have the life!Continue reading

A new leadership standard – The Reliability Factor

FollowTheLeader_Woodall_WalWhen it comes to the study of leadership, you could read a new book every day for the next 181 years and still not get through the list on Amazon alone.  As a school of thought we have leadership styles, leadership strategies, leadership studies, leadership indexes, you can  even get your Ph.D. in leadership from prestigious universities. Venerable organizations espouse leadership training for children, students, teens, adults, executives, and the would be leader. This is just personal leadership.  Then we have brand leadership, corporate leadership, product leadership, innovation leadership, technological leadership, political leadership … and the list goes on and on and on.

Why a standard?

In days of old, a standard was a conspicuous object (as a banner) formerly carried at the top of a pole and used to mark a rallying point especially in battle or to serve as an emblem for the people’s leader.  Today, the more common use of the word “standard” is something established by authority, custom, or general consent as a model or example to be followed.  Either way a standard is a hallmark of leadership. 

You are only a leader when others choose to follow you.

Looking at the picture, can you identify the leader?  Is it the tall girl that the others look up to?  Or, perhaps, it is the small golden haired boy who is pulling the others forward with both hands.  Not sure?  Could it be the leader is somewhere in the middle of the line, a point of connection leading the group forward?  We’ll never know.  That is the beauty of art.  It is all about perception.  The same can be said of leadership.

Leadership is not about what you say. 

It is the result of what you do.

Whether we are talking about personal leadership, team leadership, corporate leadership or any other form.  Leadership is not about what we say.  Leadership is about the results of what we do.  Leadership is granted when others choose to follow and the key to that choice is reliability.  You see, reliability means that the result is not just visible and measurable, it is repeatable.  Those that choose to follow you, buy from your company, or adopt your technology can count on a level of consistency, quality, and reoccurring results over time. 

So if reliability is the new standard for leadership…

How can we establish ourselves as reliable leaders?  The answer is reflective of two words: evidence and experience.  In the early stages of making the choice to follow, employees, teammates, customers, or partners look for evidence that you do what you say you do on a repeated basis.  If they find evidence that you are what you say you are and this is what they are looking for then they may choose to follow for a time.  But the  true test of leadership is not how many choose to follow, or buy or adopt.  The true measure of success is how many choose to stay.  That’s where experience comes into play.  Once I am a follower, a teammate or a customer, will you as a leader continually deliver on your promise of leadership.   Will you do what you say again and again and again?  Can those that you lead depend on you to deliver?  If the answer is yes, then you are on your way to building your business or your personal leadership brand on a standard of reliability and the right people will follow.

So keep on reading those leadership books, taking those classes, and refining your skills.  They all can help in the quest for better leadership.  But at the end of the day, it all comes down on reliability.  A leader that can be counted on is a leader that others will follow and keep following.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned….

  I’ll be sharing more tips to help you get ready for 2011 throughout the month of December.

Joan Koerber-Walker

About the Author:

Koerber-Walker-056 An entrepreneur, author, speaker and corporate advisor, Joan Koerber-Walker’s journey has spanned from corporate America to entrepreneurship and non-profits, as well as into community leadership and into the halls of Washington D.C.   To learn more about leadership and reliability, you can contact her by clicking here.


The secret to building a great team – Get The Recipe

This September, as the kids head back to school,  we will be reviewing some great books for executives and entrepreneurs here at the CorePurpose Business Blog .

As we all know, building a championship team is a great way to move closer to your goals.  But how will you pull that team together and how will you lead it.  A great little book on just this subject is The Recipe: A fable for leaders and teams by Amilya Antonetti (CorePurpose Publishing, May 2010) .Continue reading

Answer or Hypothesis?

Last week, we explored the power of a simple word “WHY” and the impact it can make on decision  making, strategy and life in general. 

Continually asking the question WHY, until we can go no further, narrows the frame of reference so that you can get to and answer – or does it?

Some questions have no answers

Simple questions have answers. For instance: Is Washington D.C. the capital of the United States of America.?   The answer is Yes, it is.  The answer is one that most of us know and can be supported in many ways by looking on the Internet, at a map, or in an atlas. Questions that speak to past actions also may be answered definitively in many cases.  For instance: Was John F. Kennedy the 35th President of the United States.  The answer again, Yes, he was

But when we seek answers to forward looking questions, the answer is almost always conditional. We make assumptions, project future events, and anticipate outcomes.  But rarely do we have answers.  We plan for the future based on a hypothesis.

Merriam Webster defines the word hypothesis as follows:

1 a : an assumption or concession made for the sake of argument

    b : an interpretation of a practical situation or condition taken as the ground for action
2 : a tentative assumption made in order to draw out and test its logical or empirical consequences
3 : the antecedent clause of a conditional statement

synonyms hypothesis, theory, law mean a formula derived by inference from scientific data that explains a principle operating in nature. hypothesis implies insufficient evidence to provide more than a tentative explanation <a hypothesis explaining the extinction of the dinosaurs>. theory implies a greater range of evidence and greater likelihood of truth <the theory of evolution>. law implies a statement of order and relation in nature that has been found to be invariable under the same conditions <the law of gravitation>.

“Based on our current thinking…”

A friend of mine, Morris Callaman,  is a venture law attorney, a founder’s counsel, and a very successful angel investor. When we work together on projects, he is the usually the first to temper my enthusiasm and certainly with a very important phrase:  “Based on our current thinking…”  And he is  always correct.  While I might do a great job of structuring assumptions, modeling cash flows, forecasting consumer behavior, and laying out a strategy for the team, future events are just that, future events.  Variations in the world around us, new opportunities, and unexpected hurdles all can impact the eventual results.  The business plan is not an answer.  It is a hypothesis that is tested by the team over time.  Only at the end of our business experiment, when we measure the outcome, will we have the actual answer. 

Don’t confuse confidence with certainty

As leaders, we must inspire confidence in those we work with.  Their lives, livelihoods, and aspirations are directly affected by the direction we set along the journey.  If we can not display the confidence necessary to engender our team’s trust, they are unlikely to go the distance with us.  But long term success depends our our ability to not confuse our own confidence with a sense of certainty.  When we are CERTAIN we have an absolute answer to a complex question, we do ourselves and our teams a disservice.  Leading, innovating, and growing all hinge on change.  We can postulate, model, and plan for outcomes, but we must always take into account that outcomes will be the result of actual events and our actions, not what we modeled months before.  Our job as leaders is to continually test our hypotheses, adjust for variables, and inspire trust in our teams so that they can deliver the best possible outcomes.  For only later will we know if we actually had the right answer.

So next time you are  faced with  a question…

ask yourself, is this an answer or a hypothesis?    It might change the way you look at where you are and where you and your team are heading and the steps you will take along the way.


Thanks for stopping by.  Stay Tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker