Leadership in Balance

Hi, I’m Dr. Colm Foster, Senior Associate at Dynamic Results, and with my colleague Henry Evans, I co-authored Step Up, Lead In Six Moments That Matter. You can stay current with my ideas by following me on Twitter at @DrColmFoster.

When working with our clients to develop Core Competency Models, they sometimes ask us about Key Leadership Traits and whether leaders are born or made. Much has been written about this topic. We believe that leadership is a developable skill but that the personality does play a role.

Based on our work coaching and developing leaders, we believe optimism is a critical leadership trait. Holding a positive view of the future is a key part of leading teams and indeed of leading oneself. It’s also fundamental to bouncing back from setbacks; we sometimes refer to this as leadership resilience.

However, unbridled optimism can lead to unhealthy outcomes. In fact, in another blog, Henry and I talked about the value of pessimism and how to leverage it for better relationships and business outcomes.

When working with our clients we encourage them to temper their optimism with good reality testing. This means grounding your optimism with a solid grasp of the situation you are facing.

So, our definition of the ideal leader?

A person with high optimism – balanced with good reality testing.

This sounds something like: I fully understand and appreciate all of the obstacles we face and knowing all of that I remain confident that we can deliver against our strategy objectives.

Thank you for your continued interest. We look forward to bringing you additional Insights From Our Experts in future blogs.

If you or your team want to deep dive on Stepping Up, contact us for information on keynotes, workshops and custom programs meant to ignite leadership at every level of your organization. Email Ede Ericson Cardell at: [email protected], or call 214-742-1403 x 106.

Attack the Idea, Not the Person

With the successful launch of our new book, “Step Up, Lead In Six Moments That Matter” and with the global success of our best-selling book “Winning With Accountability, The Secret Language of High Performing Organizations” (now with over 100,000 in print), we are offering you some of our best insights and practices to create an Accountability Culture in, and generate leadership at every level of your organization.


Henry Evans, Managing Partner, and Dr. Colm Foster, Senior Associate at Dynamic Results, are co-authors of “Step Up, Lead In Six Moments That Matter”. They are talking today about a problem we call ‘terminal politeness’.

Follow Colm and Henry on Twitter: @DrColmFoster @HenryJEvans

We often experience and diagnose terminal politeness in client organizations we work with. What we mean is, sometimes people are avoiding critical dialogues that they would be much better served having. This could be because they don’t recognize the need to have them, they don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, they don’t want to overload someone or they might be afraid of how the other person might react. Whatever their reasons are, avoiding these critical issues can lead to a state of mediocrity. It can sometimes lead to people thinking, feeling and acting like we are okay just as we are and we have no need to improve.

While that may be and feel okay at the time, if you have a dynamic environment and/or a competitor who is willing to have these discussions real time, it can lead you and your team having to have these critical conversations when it is too late. We believe the answer is to generate constructive conflict in your organization.

Imagine a situation where I might say something that is completely stupid. How would you respond to that idea, demonstrating constructive conflict?

For instance:

We do strategic planning and leadership team offsites for clients, they take all day, I think we ought to get into the hot dog business! Our clients have to eat, why should we make money on feeding them?

Attack the Idea:

Henry, generally, I like and agree with your ideas. But, I am struggling to understand how getting into food service is going to serve our business, what might I be missing?

What did Colm just do? He expressed confidence in our relationship and in my capability. Afterward, he directly attacked my idea without me being personally attacked and perhaps more importantly, without any need to defend myself.

Here is an example when we were facilitating a meeting with clients. They were trying to solve a major cash flow problem. One of them suggests, maybe we should liquidate all of our inventory? His colleague said, hey, that’s a stupid idea. We will have nothing to sell and you will create a customer service disaster.

That executive could have expressed that same sentiment in a slightly different way. It might have sounded like this: I know that you are looking for solutions that are going to generate quick cash flow for us. I also know you are committed to maintaining a high level of customer service, but, I am really failing to see how your last suggestion is going to do that. I think it would cause serious interruption to our service levels and what I would like to know from you is how can we maintain our service levels and still generate a quick cash flow?

In short, you can avoid terminal politeness by generating appropriate, healthy conflict. One of the ways to do this is to attack the idea, not the person. You can get a deep dive on this in our new book, “Step Up, Lead In Six Moments That Matter”.

Keep in mind, the other person is the judge of whether you have done this effectively or not. If they felt attacked, you have to show up differently with them next time.

We always look forward to bringing you real life examples in our blogs. If you and your team ever want to do a deep dive on stepping up, contact us for information on keynotes, workshops and custom programs meant to ignite leadership at every level of your organization.

For more information on how to bring the method to your team or about any of the services we offer, contact Ede Ericson Cardell, Director of Operations at [email protected] or 214-742-1403 x 106.

Driving Business Results Through Accountability Reframing

Leading From Without

In celebration of our tenth year and with the global success of our best-selling book “Winning With Accountability, The Secret Language of High Performing Organizations” (now in its ninth printing) we are offering you some of our best insights and practices to create an Accountability Culture in your workplace.


Hi, I’m Henry Evans, founder of Dynamic Results and author of the best-selling business book “Winning with Accountability: The Secret Language of High Performing Organizations.” Today we’re talking about what we call, Leading From Without™.

A few days ago I was working with a $7 billion dollar client organization, specifically one of their senior leaders. He opened up to me and explained that after exceeding all targets set for them last year, as a reward, their global office had given them even more aggressive targets this year. His team didn’t see how they could hit these targets and they asked him to explain how they could. He told me that he didn’t have the answer, didn’t see the solution and didn’t know what to do.

I went in to this discussion armed with the information that he was very happy with the team he had and felt that he worked with smart and talented people.

Leaning on my emotional intelligence training, I asked him how he felt about being vulnerable? Could he tell them that while he was committed to hitting the targets, he didn’t have the answer either and wanted to hear their ideas about how working together? Could he simply ask them, “How can we do this?”

In short, that is exactly what he did. His team immediately switched from worrying about the problem to working on a solution. Our client lead with transparency, not arrogance. He lead with honesty and a request for help, rather than trying to “lead from the front” and have all the answers.

We feel that relationships are built and strengthened in moments of vulnerability like this example. We prove that when we admit to our team that we don’t see the way – while still demonstrating a commitment to finding a solution. Sometimes, you can be a leader by leading from without (having all the answers).

We encourage you to give this “leading from without” a try. This can work regardless of your position or title. If dealing with a boss who expects you to have all the answers, try saying something like “I feel confident you see how to do this, and right now, I don’t. Would you help me think it through?”

We are speaking more about leading from anywhere on the org chart in our upcoming book, “Step Up, Lead in Six Moments that Matter”. As always, we appreciate your time and attention. For additional ideas, follow me on twitter: @HenryJEvans

For more information on how to bring the method to your team or about any of the services we offer, contact Ede Ericson Cardell, Director of Operations at [email protected] or 214-742-1403 x 106.


Want to know more about creating accountable cultures? Take our free assessment and buy the book here. http://www.dynamicresults.com/book/

As always, we welcome your comments. Like us on Facebook to share your experiences or email us at [email protected].

Driving Results through our Accountability Method™ and Crystal Clear Expectations

In celebration of our tenth year and with the global success of our best-selling book “Winning With Accountability, The Secret Language of High Performing Organizations” (now in its eighth printing) we are offering you some of our best insights and practices to create an Accountability Culture in your workplace.


Hi, I’m Henry Evans, founder of Dynamic Results and author of the best-selling business book “Winning with Accountability: The Secret Language of High Performing Organizations.” Today we’re talking to you about driving results through our accountability method, and specifically on the cornerstone “how do you create clarity around the outcomes before the work is done?” We released a four-year study last year that had some pretty alarming results for those of us in the workforce. For example, only 9% of people are crystal clear about the results that they’re trying to create, and only 6% report that the projects they’ve given are delivered exactly as they wanted them done. Why is this? We’re spending all of this time in meetings and on email trying to create clearer expectations, and we constantly astound each other through our miscommunications.

Our accountability method is in use by hundreds of companies all over the world and business schools in the US, Europe, and Asia. We found some very common mistakes, regardless of what companies do, and the common thread that connects them all is that they employ people. People get their work done and experience their outcomes through the quality of their communication. So the first suggestion we have is that you get visual association created for every outcome. Don’t just tell me to get you a report—tell me you want a four-page PowerPoint deck that has a graphic meant to illustrate all the data, and no more than six words per slide, or tell me you want a twelve-point one page Microsoft Xcel spreadsheet. Something that helps us both create that visual association. Don’t tell me to do just a better job; tell me what a better job looks like and how you are going to measure it.

Now, when you’ve gotten your clear expectation established (and we say a lot more about this in the book, but you’re getting the gist of it now), get reflection. People come from different countries, they come from parents, and they come from different places of understanding. So, what you said isn’t going to drive the action on your team; what people heard will. You need to have them reflect back to you what they’ve heard. In short, our method proves that when you state and request your commitments with a visual association, and you get reflection, you’re going to get better outcomes.

So what do we want you to do? We want you to take a look at your calendar and look at an upcoming project on your calendar. And we want you to look at what kind of request might come to you, or what kind of request you’re going to have to make of others, and start to form this visual association around that request or commitment, so you can clearly communicate it and empower everybody to do a better job once they’re in the work. These steps, again, are outlined in our book in detail and our certified facilitators who are on the ground in the US, Europe and Asia, are always ready to come into your company and train you around these methods.

Next month, we’re going to talk about how you can drive results through our accountability method, and create a competitive advantage in the marketplace. I look forward to seeing you then. Thank you.

As always, we welcome your comments. Like us on Facebook to share your experiences or email us at [email protected].

For more information on how to bring the method to your team or about any of the services we offer, contact Ede Ericson Cardell at [email protected] or 214-742-1403 x 106.

Find this article useful? If so, you might enjoy our book.


Accountability BookWant to know more about creating accountable cultures? Take our free assessment and buy the book here. http://www.dynamicresults.com/book/

As always, we welcome your comments. Like us on Facebook to share your experiences or email us at [email protected].

Corporate Leadership Expert Henry Evans

Keynote Highlights: Accountability as a Competitive Advantage: Driving Results Without Being a Jerk


We have teamed up with BrightSite Group to promote Henry Evans, our Managing Partner and author of “Winning With Accountability, The Secret Language of High Performing Organizations” on the keynote circuit. Please click on the link above for our promotional video.

With the global success of our best-selling book “Winning With Accountability, The Secret Language of High Performing Organizations” (now with over 100,000 copies in print) we are changing the way teams all over the world are defining Accountability.

We have a team of certified trainers across the globe who are ready to bring the method to your teams. Our Director of Operations, Ede Ericson, is available to speak to you about Accountability or any of our Core Competencies. Please contact her anytime: [email protected] or 214-742-1403 x 106

Thank you again for your continued support of what we do!