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Leadership Lesson from Stephen Colbert: "Yes, and..."

Stephen Colbert is one of my favorite comedians.  I love watching The Colbert Report.

Colbert started his professional comedic career in Chicago's "Second City" improve group.  In the commencement speech below Colbert offers the graduating class some words of wisdom from the world of improve theatre.

What I enjoy most about this "Yes, and" approach is that it remains openended.  Improve artists who employ this strategy are able to roll with almost anything they're presented with.

What if you and your team employed the "Yes, and" approach?


Free Leadership Survey from Lance Secretan

Dr. Lance Secretan has created a free leadership survey.  Lance is an IATF Visiting Faculty Member and not only is he a brilliant guy, he is also a wonderful person.

Vector Personal Leadership Survey provides you with a unique window into the leadership styles of individuals, and the relationships between leaders and others. It will show you:

  • How you see yourself as a leader
  • How you think others see you as a leader
  • How others actually see you as a leader
  • How you compare as a leader to the rest of your leadership team

While there are numerous 360 degree surveys available, until now, very few of them asked the right questions or dig deep enough to gauge the true condition of the relationship between a leader and his or her peers, and those to whom he or she reports, as well as those who are being led.

This new, cutting-edge instrument is available for organizations that seek to ask deeper questions which uncover the secrets of strengthening relationships in organizations with COURAGE and INSPIRATION....two essential keys for building world class organizations.

CLICK HERE to access the free version of this Personal Leadership Survey.

Teamwork, Trust, and Automobile manufacturing

Logo of General Motors Corporation. Source: 20...Image via Wikipedia

Are you involved in culture change on your team or in your organization?  If yes, you'll likely find this story compelling.

In 1984, General Motors and Toyota opened NUMMI as a joint venture.

NUMMI:  New United Motor Manufacturing Inc.

Toyota was producing better cars at a lower cost than GM.  Through NUMMI, Toyota agreed to share it's car manufacturing secrets with GM.

The NUMMI plant (located in California) started to manufacture great cars after they implemented the strategies, tactics and tools shared by Toyota.

The hope was that the NUMMI processes would spread to all the GM plants.  But that didn't happen.  GM was unable to change the culture at all the other plants.  The rest is history.  GM went bankrupt and needed to be bailed out by the federal government.

Culture change requires full commitment.  GM was not fully committed to the process.

Where did they go wrong?

NPR's "This American Life" offers a fascinating hour-long program describing what happened.

CLICK HERE to listen to the audio program.

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Seth Godin: How to create change

Seth Godin is one of my favorite authors.  He's written a lot of great books and his best is TRIBES.

The video below is from Seth's presentation at the TED conference.

Towards the end of the video Seth shares the attributes that leaders have in common:

  • Leaders challenge the status quo.
  • Leaders build a culture. 
  • Leaders are curious.
  • Leaders connect people to each other.
  • Leaders commit.

To be successful in the Inspiration Economy you must be a TRIBE leader.

Leadership and a Plane Crash

Remember the US Airways Flight 1549 that crash landed in the Hudson River?  Can  you imagine what it must have been like to hear the captain say "Brace for impact."?  Ric Elias was on that flight and in this five minute video from TED Ric shares the three things he learned that day. 

I'm sharing this video with you because I want you to think about what is most important to you.

How would an experience like Ric's change the way you show up as a leader?


Virtual Teamwork Lessons Learned from Leading a Virtual Choir of 2,052

Many who lead virtual teams find the experience challenging.  Most who have difficulty working on virtual teams struggle because they are primarily operating from their head instead of their heart.

What is possible when you lead a virtual team with your heart?

Composer Eric Whitacre led a virtual choir of singers from around the world. In this TED Talk, Eric shares  the creative challenges of making music powered by YouTube, and unveils the first 2 minutes of his new work, "Sleep," with a video choir of 2,052.



Watch the entire 9 minute virsion of "Sleep" below.  This is amazing.


If you believe in yourself...

"Everybody, I know you can believe in yourself!  If you believe in yourself you will know how to ride a bike!  If you don't, you just keep practicing!"


Totally unscripted.  This boy is in the moment and his words of encouragement are a a result of his being in the moment (i.e. Be Here Now). 

Eckhart Tolle would be proud.

9 year old girl is a leader in her community

We here at the IATF are big fans of the Go-Giver principles. While speaking with my good friend Tim Sinatra today he shared the story of a 9-year-old girl who is a living example of the Go-Giver principles in action.

Tim is the exec at the Boys & Girls Club of Salem, Marion and Polk Counties (Oregon) and one of his club members is Alyssa "Lulu" Garvey.  Allysa was given $50 by her grandmother as a gift and then challenged to raise more money with it and donate that money to charity.  

Lulu Allysa got to work.  She started selling cupcakes and the money started to roll in.  Allysa converted the $50 gift into $5,600 which she donated to the Health and Dental Services Center of the Boys & Girls Club of Salem, Marion and Polk Counties.

Read the full story HERE.

Make a donation HERE to the Boys & Girls Club and help Allysa help more kids.


Turns out Allysa is a great public speaker!  Check it out!


Recorded Training Event: Trust Expert and Author Barry Rellaford on his new book "A Slice of Trust -- The Leadership Secret with the Hot & Fruity Filling"

Is trust important to you and your team? Trust_word_tiles

BASIC TRUTH:  Trust if THE foundation for all things important (on teams and in life).

How then does one TEACH trust?

How do we all get on board with what trust means?

Trust is complex.  Trust is simple.  Trust is...

Let's face it.  Trust can be difficult to teach.

Good news!  My good friends Barry Rellaford and David Hutchens have written a powerful 100 page book that will help you and your team quickly and easiily understand what trust is and learn how to establish it, grow it, and nurture it.

FREE Leadership TeleSeminar on:

Trust_a_slice_of_trust A Slice of Trust -- The Leadership Secret with the Hot & Fruity Filling

This book is written in parable format and stands well with the best of business parables,  including the all time greats like,  FISH, One Minute Manager and Who Moved my Cheese.  

A Slice of Trust: The Leadership Secret with the Hot & Fruity Filling, highlights in a memorable and meaningful way an important, career critical, management essential insight: Trust matters.

“Dazzling…and true! It took me years to discover the power of trust. With A Slice of Trust, you will understand so much more–and in only a few hours!”

-- Carlos Tavares, Chairman of Nissan Americas

A Slice of Trust teaches managers and leaders of all levels how companies that develop trust within the workplace can increase their value, efficiency, and innovation.

This delightful fable follows Simon the Pieman who isn't as simple as everyone thinks. He serves pie to  his customers along with his trust, one slice at a time. Trusting wisely and weighing the risks against the opportunities, Simon succeeds in his business, teaching an old dog, Sebastian, some new tricks along the way.

Inspired by Simon's trust, Sebastian learns a valuable lesson about the importance of extending trust, weighing out risks to exercise "smart trust," and the importance trust plays in leadership.

Barry_rellaford2 Barry Rellaford is my guest for this special live and interactive TeleSeminar.  Barry is a long time friend and an IATF Visiting Faculty Member.  Barry is the head trainer of Stephen M.R. Covey's "Speed of Trust" and travels the world teaching organizations large and small how to establish, grow and nurture trust in the workplace.  Barry has the unique ability to make the topic of "trust" come alive in a way that is approachable and human.  Barry is an exceptional and humble trainer and a wonderful person.

This TeleSeminar will be interactive - - you'll be able to talk with Barry and ask him your questions directly (or send them in as text).  It's "just in time" training and development! 


When you place a bulk order you'll receive the book at a discounted rate.  This is the perfect book to provide to everyone on your team!  To receive a bulk order discount  contact:

Kim Eddy
Inside Sales Coordinator
Gibbs Smith
Phone - 801 927-2147
[email protected]

Call Details


A Slice of Trust -- The Leadership Secret with the Hot & Fruity Filling


Thursday   June 30, 2011


Starts at 1 pm  Eastern (NY City time zone)
runs for 60- 70 minutes


Barry Rellaford, coauthor of "A Slice of Trust"

Tom Heck, President & Founder of the IATF


CLICK HERE to register. It's FREE.  Registration is closed.


Come to the call ready to participate in small group discussions, share ideas and resources, ask questions, answer quick polls, and be fully engaged as we put the newest distance learning telephone conferencing technology to use!


Get the recording for free HERE for a limited time (link to MP3 file).
This call was recorded and is now archived in the IATF Members Only Area. Not yet an IATF member?  Join HERE.