I watched The Lincoln Project’s "Mourning in America" video this morning and it left me deeply sad, with a healthy dose of determination. My public life, indeed my life, has been animated by two competing sentiments. Having grown up the son of parents who escaped Nazi Germany and found on these shores a new land, new opportunity, and new hope, the American dream was in the air I breathed at home. It wasn’t until later that I learned about the hatred that chased them from their homes and about their challenges as refuge...

March 11, 2020

There's so much coming at us about Covid-19 and it is hard to know what is legit and what's not.  Here's what I do know.  We all have to get used to living with uncertainty as our constant companion.  We don't - and can't - know if we'll get sick and, if so, how serious the illness will be and what toll it will take on us, on those around us, and on the economy.  That's scary in extremis.  And it's new.  Accommodating ourselves to this will take time.  It will take coping with, but not surrendering to, fear, and workin...

January 23, 2020

If ever there were a time to focus on better public sector leadership, this is it! Our democratic institutions and our values are being tested as never before. If Beacon Leadership Collaborative didn't already exist, this would be the moment to invent it.  We are dedicated to mobilizing a community of citizens and citizen leaders with the will and the skill to effect positive change. The intellectual framework that shapes our work helps us to understand the nature of the challenges that are all about us, and we know ho...

January 12, 2020

MAKIA – Energy flows where attention goes.

This wise, old adage is one of the keys to leadership.  Too often we spend time and energy on technical problems as a distraction from the more fundamental, underlying challenges we need to (but would rather not) address.  Learning to discern and guide your people to pay attention to these more fundamental adaptive challenges is central to effective leadership for a change.  

In this time of bitter political divisions, not to mention existential threats to our pla...

July 5, 2019

For all the Declaration of Independence’s “self-evident” truths, the Declaration was in 1776 as it is today more aspirational than descriptive.  As we continue the ongoing struggle to realize liberty and justice for all, there are three other truths – inconvenient truths – about leadership in a democracy whose importance cannot be overstated, particularly in the nation's current political environment. 

Truth #1: Politics is played on the slippery slope, not on the mountaintop of ideals.  Those in political lif...

February 9, 2019

Jocelyn Lippert Alt offers three new corollaries to John Shedd's sage warning that "a ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for." Jocelyn adds her encouragement to "set out with a worthy destination," "value your shipmates," and "enjoy the voyage."  Wise words for effective leadership.  

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