Free to Speak: Are your words building or dividing?

Chery Gegelman Winning Well International SymposiumPeople that work with winning well leaders...
Last week, I leveraged some extreme examples from our time in the Middle East to emphasize 6 Ways to Transform a Divisive Culture  in the Winning Well International Symposium.
 
This week, I’m sharing more of our experiences and encouraging each of you to apply some of those learning’s to your lives and leadership.

Have you ever pondered the reasons or benefits of free speech?

  • In nations?
  • Or workplaces?

The purpose of being able to speak freely

Obviously speaking freely is not allowed in many nations or workplaces.

That choice:
  • Lowers leadership accountability and potential.
  • Impacts the way two people or thousands of people work together.
  • Determines how well resources are utilized and how quickly problems are solved.
  • Limits the overall health, effectiveness, and future of their workplace or nation.

Speech was controlled in the place we lived for four years, in many ways.  Below are a few examples:

What’s your litmus test for people: Honesty or skill?

When do you fold ‘em, walk away or run?

Tell a lie once and all your truths become questionable.

Once upon a time I worked for a charismatic leader with a serious set of skills. Someone I learned from constantly and deeply admired …

  • Until I caught him in a lie.
  • And then a second one.
  • A third one.
  • A fourth one.
  • And finally a fifth one.

The crazy part was – I wasn’t hunting for lies. I literally kept tripping into them – all five in a very short amount of time after years of working together.

When I confronted for the last time. He said, “I don’t know how you keep finding these things out.” No denial. No excuses. No apology.

A short time later – I “fired him” by turning in my notice.


Titled leaders and employees can all be tempted to overlook honesty because of skill.

The Great Divide and How You Can Build a Bridge To Cross It

We’ve been back in the U.S. for nearly 6 weeks. Watching the divide we witnessed across the ocean.  Aching as it appears to be growing deeper and wider.

I know I’m not alone in my concern for our country or in my desire to be a part of the solution. Several of my leadership connections have been sharing both struggles and wisdom in their blogs.

Alli Polin, Erin Schreyer, Steve Keating and Jesse Lyn Stoner have each written important articles to help us build bridges across that divide.

  • Each of the image quotes below highlight something from their articles that I found especially powerful.
  • Each of their original articles are linked after each image through their name.

If you are struggling with the current state of our union – I encourage you to:

  • Read each one
  • Watch the Conversation Safari video at the end of this post

And then make strategic choices to be the change you want to see

The Inspiring STANDS of A Real Leader

For the business, his team and his family

The world is crying out for leaders who build up, nurture and enhance, rather than tear down, exploit & dominate.

Real leaders know that they can’t fight every battle.

But their values are crystal clear long before they are faced with critical decisions. So when a situation demands it they don’t hide, cower or flock…

This post honors the stands of a REAL LEADER that spent several years working overseas.

When the business struggled, this leader:

  • Offered solutions: By reminding peers and executives that they could SIGNIFICANTLY decrease expenses, and increase efficiency, effectiveness, customer retention and revenue by holding people accountable to policies that were already in place.
  • Spoke the hard truth: By pointing to the root cause of issues instead of agreeing with popular thinking that only treated symptoms.
  • Maximized the resources he had: By playing to his strengths and the strengths of his team and leveraging old assets he kept expensive and critical operations running for nearly an entire year without a budget.

When five rounds of layoffs came, this leader practiced:

Analyzing Kapernick’s Protest: 8 Lessons for Leading Change

+ 3 ways you can help to change the conversation from conflict to solutions

Learn to Lead Positive Change: YOU can make a difference!

Our world needs people who can lead positive change!

It requires unshakable vision, grit and character.  Recently I’ve been watching a story develop in the U.S. that is worth studying – Even if you don’t live there.

For those that aren’t aware of this story, this is a quick look at the facts:  

Colin Kapernick is a professional football player that recently decided to exercise some of the freedom our country grants everyone.

He decided to stay seated during our national anthem, as the rest of the stadium stood and honored our flag and our country.

Colin says he is protesting because, I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

His decision created a lot of heated debate with some people criticizing his patriotism, some people defending his right to protest and others applauding his reason for protesting.

It did not take long to discover that Colin chose to wear socks with pictures of pigs in police uniforms during practice, which caused more debate.

A short time later he met with a Nate Boyer, a former Green Beret Soldier and professional football player with his own passion for freeing the oppressed. Their conversation resulted in Colin’s decision to kneel; instead of sitting the next time the National Anthem was played.

Colin has also indicated that he will donate $1 Million to help those affected by police injustices.


Lessons for Change Leaders: