Archive for the ‘Leadership metaphors’ Category


July 1st, 2012 by Gallagher John 2 Comments

A big thanks to Mark Roach at Carolina Forest Community Church for his message today about Jonah.  He challenged me and made me think about some of the potential pitfalls of leadership.  Most of you know the story of Jonah and the whale from childhood Bible studies; however, as a leader, you need to be aware of this story and how could affect your career.

Here are 4 behaviors that Jonah exhibited that you must not as a leader or risk ending up in the belly of a whale, thus, losing your ability to lead:

1) Believe you are smarter than everyone else – Are you a leader that feels you have to be smarter than everyone else?  You must learn to utilize your team members in the areas of their expertise, equip them, and allow them the opportunity to thrive.  An insecure leader will not last long.

2) Hide from problems – I know the saying…”If I ignore this problem, it will go away.”.  It really should say “I am afraid to address this head on so I will jsut put my head in the sand and hope that it goes away.”

3) Play favorites – A sure way to alienate your team is to play favorites with some members.  This is a guaranteed de-motivator.  This is not to say that you don’t recognize top-performers in a different way, but be consistent.

4) Put your reputation above that of your team – Do you find yourself looking to place blame when problems occur, rather than take responsibility for your team’s actions?  Protecting yourself will eventually lead to a quick slide into the belly of the whale.  Just ask those at Penn State.

Which one of these behaviors do you struggle with the most?

I hate jogging…I love having jogged !

February 2nd, 2012 by Gallagher John 1 Comment

Recently, I was listening to an Andy Andrews podcast and the NY Times best-selling author said something close to this about writing: “I hate writing, but I love having written.” This really struck me with regards to discipline of accomplishing a goal.

In the past year, I have picked up jogging as an exercise and actually run a few 5K’s.  I call it ‘jogging’ because I would be embarrassing the sport of running if I called my Clydesdale pace  ‘running’.  I HATE jogging…, but I LOVE having jogged!  There are a few reasons:

1) The fruit – For me, to maintain a healthy weight, I must exercise.  Since I started my jogging program almost a year ago, I have lost over 20 lb

2) The accomplishment – When I am through jogging, I feel like I have accomplished something positive and that is a good thing.

3) The goal – Whether I am shooting for a personal best time for 3.1 miles, or looking to shed a few extra calories due to the dessert the night before, it helps me to get to achieve my goals!

We all have things we hate do-“ing”, but love having “done” them.  My guess is that some of my ‘Lean’ friends I work with hate following their personal standard work, but the love having followed their personal standard work!  We love having done them for various reasons.  What reasons would you add?

Finish this sentence for me:  I hate __________________-ing, but I love having _____________-ed

5K Leadership Lesson – “Go slower to go faster”

August 22nd, 2011 by Gallagher John No Comments

Last Sunday I completed my second 5K.  While I am still not ready to run a marathon, I DID improve my time to under 30:00 (29:37 to be exact!).  I have learned personal leadership ‘tips’ as a result of this new journey I have been on.  After my first 5K, I wrote to “Never Say Never”

For this 5K, my lesson learned is that sometimes you have to “go slower to go faster”.  My ‘running coach’, Adam Ward,  said this to me one day when I was telling him about my training.  He said I was running too fast during my training runs and had to go slower so that I could go faster.  I was skeptical, but he is training for an Ironman, so who better to listen to.  Sure enough, I was able to reduce my time by nearly 7% in just a 5-week span by…you guessed it…running slower!

Often as leaders, we get impatient.  We want to get to the answer/solution FASTER, and we sometimes forget that the learning process of getting there is even more valuable.  When we go too fast, we often get somewhere fast, but find that we are unable to sustain the results we achieved. 

As leaders, we need to be aware of when this is happening and slow down…so that we can go faster…and, as a result, be more ‘fit’ as a leader.

Do you remember a time you went too fast to a solution…only to find out that your results were not sustainable?  Share it with me below.

Never Say …Never

August 3rd, 2011 by Gallagher John 6 Comments

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a runner.  For as long as I can remember, I would scoff at the idea of running any distance at all.  In fact, I found myself saying often, “I will never run a 5K.”  What’s the point?

Well, recently, I completed my first 5K and learned a lot about myself in the process.  Why did I decide to run a 5K?  Many reasons, including the following:

1)      I am overweight – My current exercise/nutrition was resulting in slow progress to achieving my desired target state

2)      I was not a good example to my kids with regards to their fitness – Do as I say…not as I do!

3)      I needed a ‘target’ – My workouts were not intentional.  I found myself going to the gym without a purpose, and, as a result, not seeing improvement.

4)      I needed a ‘process’ – There are many great resources out there and the one I found was  Many thanks to Dan Foster for this suggestion.  This gave me standard work to be ready for my first 5K in 9 weeks.

5)      I had people in my life inspiring me to do ‘more’ (I will write more about them in a future post.)

  1. Adam Ward
  2. Dan Foster
  3. Stan Buck
  4. My family – Chris, Brendan and Joseph ( my mom, too, who just had her knee replaced!)

I will write more about them in a future post.

Well, I completed my first (note I say first) 5K in 32:09.  Not fast, but the key word for me is “completed”.  What’s next?  Another 5K in late August.  Shooting for a 5% reduction in time.  After that?  Who knows?  I do spend a lot of time in Boston, now…

So, what do you NEED to do that you have said “I will NEVER do that.”?

Leadership Lessons from the Airport

June 11th, 2011 by Gallagher John 2 Comments

I get to spend a good bit of time inside of an airport.  If I am paying attention, there are leadership lessons to be learned throughout the confines of the miles of concourses, moving sidewalks, and ultra-uncomfortable waiting areas:

For the past couple months, I have been experiencing a sore shoulder.  Could be dragging the suitcase around for miles, could be the too-soft pillows in the hotels, but it has been a real ‘pain’.  I found myself with a few extra minutes this week after the red-eye and decided to take advantage of the spa treatment services in the airport.  When I go to the counter, I see a choice of “Swedish” or “Deep Tissue”.  In so many words, the girl at the front desk told me that meant “wimpy”, or “something that will hurt but you will actually feel better later”.  She was also challenging me in so many words, so I chose the ‘deep tissue’ shoulder massage.  That really was 10 minutes of ‘dis-comfort’.  However, today I awoke without the shoulder pain I have been experiencing over the past couple months.  So, what is the leadership lesson?

Too often, in leadership we are presented with 2 options – 1) the easy way – “swedish massage”, or 2) the right way – “deep tissue massage”.  Choose the easy way and you will feel better for a little bit, but likely, your problem will be even bigger in the future.  My friend, Kim Chaney, has referred to this as ‘peeing in a wet suit’.  Or, we can choose the arduous path.  The one that is more painful in the beginning, but likely solves the problem so it doesn’t happen again.

I know that I sometimes choose the easy way and, as a result, feel ‘chafed’ with the solution.  Yesterday, I chose the “something that will hurt but you will actually feel better later”, and, as a result, feel better today.

How do you manage this selection process in your life?