Sword Tips, the Exkalibur Newsletter: Jan 20, 2022


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Accountability is a word I’ve heard in virtually every coaching session I’ve had with CEOs and senior leaders. If you want to fix it, there’s only one way to start.

There are a lot of definitions of Leadership kicking around, but many of them miss the mark. Here’s my definition.

Have you ever heard of the 2 Minute Rule? Now you have. It’s a useful rule of thumb … and so is doing the opposite.

“If music be the food of love, play on”  sayeth the Bard. Love some, hate some … but two more disparate genres you won’t find.

As always, we’ve got cartoons and a few laughs scattered about to put a smile on your face.

Workplace Struggles continue. Humor is important to leadership, and YES, how about cutting our meetings in half?

Each week, we’ll ask a question to get your best idea on a particular topic. The following week we’ll share your best tips.

As promised, this week I’ve added another handful of  TV programs you can binge, most of which you’re less likely to know … but still some great ones.

If you’re a Steph Curry fan, maybe one of the greatest shooters in NBA history … or of his team, the Golden State Warriors, you’ll enjoy this article.

I’m not sure air travel has ever been worse with the pandemic, labor shortages, passengers acting out, etc. Here is a quick list of the passenger rights you need to know.

If you’re interested in what’s above us, there are a lot of great sights to behold in 2022.  And no, your eyes are not deceiving you when you notice that your TV has more grey colors than ever.

Greg Iles is a talented author hailing from one of the meccas of America novels, the great state of Mississippi. You don’t want to miss these great stories.

Sword Tips is continuing to evolve to bring you the most valuable content relating to Leadership and Life across a wide spectrum of the workplace, culture, the arts and more.

This week, we’ve refined our new Table of Contents which I hope will enrich your reading experience and make Sword Tips easy to navigate. Click the new “Return to the Table of Contents” icons along the right side to get back there.

Let me know what you think by adding your thoughts in the comment section at the end of the newsletter.

There's NO Substitute: Set Clear Expectations.

I don’t think I’ve ever sat with a CEO or senior leader when the subject of Accountability didn’t come up. Usually, as a complaint that goes something like …

“Why aren’t my people get more done and doing what I asked?”

It’s pretty easy to diagnose this problem because when I ask …

“Did you Set Clear Expectations?”

I usually get the “thousand mile stare” and when we dig a little deeper, those expectations are a lot clearer to the executive than to their direct report.

What do you think? Take a look at Accountability Starting Point: Set Clear Expectations for a 5 step approach that will get on the right path. You’ll see a remarkable improvement in Accountability across your teams or organization.

Managing or Leading? How should you think about it?

What does it mean to be an effective leader? There are a lot of ways you can think about this, but in my experience … without EFFECTIVENESS … nothing else matters.

A popular definition like “Leadership is Influence” misses the mark, because influence isn’t really achievable until and unless you’ve proven you can be EFFECTIVE.

This Monday Quote of the Week hits the target exactly.

How Long is 2 Minutes?

It’s about what it takes for a race car to get around the 2.5 mile Indy 500 track … 4 times. 

If that seems like a lot, then you’re on your way to understanding that 2 minutes may seem short, but it’s a lot longer than you think.

You’d be amazed what you can get done in that period of time?

Read about this powerful tool in Productivity: The Power of the 2 Minute Rule.

Chris Stapleton or Black Sabbath? Is that really a choice?

Christ Stapleton has sung about Whiskey, Weed, Women, Love & Heartbreak and it doesn’t get more country than that. Nothin’ but a lot of fun and great music.

He also closely follows one of my favorite mantras: “Be Yourself. Everyone else is taken.”

Check out this great 60 Minutes Interview.

In my book, this doesn’t exactly belong in the “Do This” category, but maybe the opposite, but it sure is a surprising contrast to country music. Heavy Metal is Way More Popular Than You Think.

Workplace Struggles continue. More Humor. Less Meetings.

The struggles to figure out the “NEW” Workplace will be with us for a long time following the almost two-year pandemic. Microsoft is trying to fix the hybrid model.

There’s a mistaken belief in today’s working world that leaders need to be serious all the time to be taken seriously. The research tells a different story.

Need more meetings? Couple more Zoom calls? Yeah, I didn’t think so. You should love this article then, advocating getting rid of about half of them.

What is the ONE APP they'd have to pry from your cold dead hands?

Each week, we’ll ask a question to get your best idea on a particular topic. The following week we’ll share your best tips.

This Week’s Question: In the course of a day, we all use a lot of apps and programs. If you had to give up all of them except one, which one would you keep?

Let me know in the comments what you’d keep and we’ll summarize some of those thoughts next week, no names used of course.

Another handful of TV binge opportunities ...

During the pandemic, all of us may have set a record for Diversion TV as we hunkered down at home and stayed off the streets. Last week I share with you six of my favorite “regular series” from 2021.

This week I have six more of them, although it may be less likely that you’ve heard of them. Some of them are relatively new and others are older and have finished, but with 170 episodes, you’ll get a few fresh ideas to consider.

Big Sky is an American crime drama thriller series created by David E. Kelley and based on The Highway series of books by C. J. Box

The series has a few demented characters in the plot line, but the two woman detectives are pretty badass, particularly Katheryn Winnick who got some practice in the period piece, The Vikings.

The kind of plot that has you saying after every episode … “okay, just one more ….”

SEAL Team follows the lives of an elite unit of Navy SEALs as they train, plan, and execute the most dangerous, high-stakes missions their country can ask of them. The show strives for authenticity with characters who are flawed but committed.

Startup features a desperate banker, a Haitian-American gang lord and a Cuban-American hacker who are forced to work together to unwittingly create their version of the American dream. I love the mix of characters in this show and hope that efforts to resurrect it will be successful.

In the Godfather of Harlem, Forest Whittaker plays a fearless gangster as Bumpy Johnson, who makes his way in Harlem during the 1960s. There’s no messing around here, but Whittaker along with Nigel Thatch, who plays Malcolm X so well you think it’s him … and Giancarlo Esposito playing Congressman Adam Clayton Powell … round out a compelling cast.

Halt and Catch Fire is another series I wish hadn’t ended … and like other series, is being reconsidered for resurrection given the renewed interest in binge TV during he pandemic.

In many ways, it’s a realistic portrait of the 80s technological revolution that led to the information society that exists today.

Sorry to see this one go, too.

For Life apparently didn’t get a lot of love after two seasons, and was cancelled but undeservedly so.

Nicholas Pinnock stars as Aaron Wallace, a prisoner who becomes a lawyer and fights to overturn his life sentence for a crime he didn’t commit. He is a serious man, committed to his principles and who stands up to all comers. A terrific acting performance that deserves an audience.

Steph Curry & the Warriors. Making a Comeback?

Steph Curry is considered by most knowledgeable observers as one of the greatest shooter in the history of the NBA, but indisputably, the greatest 3 Point Shooter ever.

If you’re a fan, this is an interesting article from GQ about the Warrior’s resurgence and life behind scenes.

What are you rights as a Air Travel Passenger?

Airline travel is dicier these days and for a lot of reasons. Here’s a summary of your rights as a passenger that you need to know.

Loving Outer Space but hating the grey colors on your TV?

With the launch of the James Webb telescope on Christmas, 2021, and the increased interest in civilian space travel, more attention is being paid to the skies above. In 2022, there is a lot of activity … ranging from a partial solar eclipse to a flower moon total lunar eclipse … and a lot more.

Here are the 8 must-see stargazing events to watch in 2022.

If you’re wondering why the colors on your TV screen are getting darker, there’s a new profession of “digital colorists“ manipulating the color scheme to try to create a veneer of serious business going on. There’s quite a science and attitude behind all of it.

The Penn Cage series from Greg Isles

If you’re ready to dig into a new series that will last, I think you’ll love the Penn Cage series from Greg Iles.

If you want to read the entire series, there’s about 4200 pages in the 6 novels, but you won’t be disappointed. They also stand alone, but as always I suggest starting with the first one and go from there.

Make it a Great Week. Don't Stop Leading!

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