Ron's Material Leadership Blog

It is my sincerest hope that the stories I share are helpful to others. I have experienced first hand that many people toil in obscurity, searching for answers, ashamed to reach out and ask for help. This blog will contain experiences and wisdom that I have gained over the years that I hope will offer guidance in dealing with some of life's challenges.

Why the name material leadership? If you are curious the answer is on my website.
The link on the side bar.

Lead well


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Just a minute: Tangent!

Last week as the days to Christmas wound down I found myself yet again wondering where the time had gone. In such moments I find myself to be quite reflective of the value I place on the relationships I have throughout the world. Of course I also realize how little I have done to nurture them. So I wrote a letter to each and every person I could think of that was either a longtime friend or a new one that year. I even included a few that had unfortunately fallen out of the friend category.

My hope was that by reaching out to each one I might be able to brighten their day in some small way, encourage them, or simply say hello you matter to me.

As always when I do this I am warmly surprised by the number and heartfelt responses I receive. It is almost as if they too are sensing the season and the need to connect and my note stirs something in them.

Say Thank You Leader

Well in a leadership capacity it is important to nurture the relationships of those around you. This is not a manipulative act but rather a loving act. A leaders connection with their team, with their friends, with their relatives, with their community is certainly critical. I liken this to the question of the chicken versus egg. Which came first? Did the person nurture the relationships and subsequently become a leader or did the leader look to develop relationships with the community. Perhaps the question is moot. What is not though is the importance of ensuring those that trust you to lead understand that you know they matter. So say thank you, with them well wish them a Merry Christmas.

As a small but growing community of people who read this blog, while I do not know you all I do thank you for making my efforts worthwhile. I would sincerely like to know you.

I leave you with the note I sent my friends in hope that you too will find yourself on it next year.

All the best, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year

Lead well



I find myself sitting here reflecting on what has been a particularly interesting and full year. So much has happened in our world and lives this past twelve months. So much that is hard to take stock of all the events, milestones, successes along the way.

What I have learned and treasured most this year is the knowledge that relationships form the glue that holds together a life. In sending a holiday note, I wish to honor these relationships that we share. It is my sincere hope that each will be strengthened, clarified, rekindled enjoyed and or renewed in the coming year.

I am honored to be counted amongst your friends. I am excited for what the future may bring our way. I look forward to continuing to build a solid relationship that will stand the test of time.

I wish you all the best this holiday season, may you find rest and renewal, peace and joy, friendship and love

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Hang Tight Everyone

Hey everyone

Workin It

A quick note to say that I am working it. It has been a while since I had to coordinate interviews with busy people. This is taking a while. I am certain my persistence will pay off in some valuable insights to share with you. I have four interviews in the works currently. Two with very talented bloggers, another with a professor and the fourth with a well known author. Each of these individuals I respect greatly and am hopeful to start posting the interviews within the week.

I can envision a number of others beyond this but lets stay in the moment.

I am as constant as the northern star...

Did you see Star trek IV? This is my favorite quote from that movie. I suppose Shakespeare and Julius Cesar should also get credit for it. I love the metaphor. Every time I think of the importance of consistency in purpose, I think of this quote. Luckily I do not consider the ill fated gentlemen who uttered it . The quote gets a bad egotistical wrap. Regardless, constancy of purpose is critical to a leader.

Constancy of Purpose

As I dig in and work toward realizing these important interviews, I am reminded of some wisdom around this concept of constancy of purpose.

What's todays Vision?

I once followed a leader in a volunteer capacity who had a new vision every couple of weeks. This used to drive me nuts. Just pick one I often exclaimed in frustration. The people who want to follow you need to know where you want to go. They don't want a new constantly changing vision.

If you think about communication and how remarkably difficult leadership communication is in the first place, you will see the impossibility of this position. They have not even understood the last vision and now you are painting a new one. MAKE UP YOUR MIND! Decide upon a clear direction and immerse yourself in it.

Communicate Communicate Communicate!

Once a leader has a relatively clear sense of purpose, of vision, of process they should communicate it. They should communicate it often, repetitively and in many forms, with pictures, in stories, in metaphors, in simple understandable language. Just when you are getting sick and tired of saying it, they will start hearing and understanding.

Scope Creep

No, not weirdo in need of mouth wash, the inevitable growth of a purpose as peripheral good intentions are added onto the purpose until it is unrecognizable. A leader must stay true to their leadership purpose and learn to respectfully and empathetically say no to those things outside the scope of their purpose.

The Never Ending Story...

All good things must come to an end. Unfortunately many things just die a horrible death of neglect and guilt. The next time you lead a group to achieve a purpose, when you have achieved your desired end, celebrate the achievement and at the same time the funeral of the team that achieved it. Dignified endings are in! It is the only way out of the never ending story...

Well thats it! I am back to investing in the process, you to your own leadership purpose.

See you soon with a great interview...

Lead well


Monday, December 3, 2007

Published in NPR

Hey everyone!

A few weeks back I submitted a version of a previous post to National Public Radio for there series of essays called This I believe. The post was a leadership lesson on respecting differences and seeing the possibility in people rather than the stereotype and first impression. I am happy to share that my essay was accepted to be a part of their collection. Very cool some of my words published!

If you want to check the post out or some of the other works there check the link below out.

NPR's This I believe

Lead well


My Favorites

Thoughts on a Recent Read

The Dip by Seth Godin

This was the first of Mr. Godin’s books I have read and I must say it will not be the last. I enjoyed this book and found its message wise and on point for our age. The premise of the book is that there is a time to quit a role, project, effort and a time to stay. When we have the opportunity to be the very best and are willing to pay the price, it is time to stay. When it is clear that staying will result in mediocrity or worse yet (Mr. Godin’s term for a dead end) a cul-de-sac, it is time to move on to something where we can be our best. The dip is the place in between. The place where we face opposition, adversity and discouragement. It is here that many wrongly chose to give up when greatness is not that far away for the brave souls who persevere.

Complexity: Low

Length: Short

Compelling: Very much

Worthwhile: Definitely