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Articles By: Deb Sparrow

10,000 Hours
“If you don’t choose to do it in leadership time up front, you will do it in crisis management time down the road.” -Stephen Covey What would you do with 10,000 extra hours? That is 1250 eight-hour days (the equivalent of 250 work weeks, just under 5 years), or 416...
Freedom and Responsibility
The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. –William Arthur Ward As we speed closer to the finish line of the presidential election of 2016, are you still paying attention to the news? I admit that I don’t want to miss a...
Adventures in Leadership
Stop being a boss and start being a leader who builds cultures.—Bob Davids   While I had never heard of Bob Davids five years ago, it was about then that I stopped being a boss and started trying to be a leader who builds cultures. What an extraordinary adventure! Today I work...
The Deep End
Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.  -Desmond Tutu Thinking about the deep, dark places that we can get stuck in as humans is kind of a strange thing to be doing on a beautiful summer day, is it not? Perhaps it is proof...
Got Culture?
“If you get the culture right, most of the other stuff will just take care of itself.” -Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com   What’s the first description that comes to mind when you think about your organization’s culture? Exciting? Empowering? Enviable? Perhaps it sometimes feels like a three-ring circus or the inmates are...
Where Do You Want to Be?
Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.—George Bernard Shaw I had the pleasure of spending time with all three of my children over the recent weekend. No longer children, they are young adults making their way in the world in their own very...
Personal Best
“Personal mastery teaches us not to lower our vision, even if it seems as if the vision is impossible. Personal mastery also teaches us not to shrink back from seeing the world as it is, even if it makes us uncomfortable.” –Peter Senge, et al. Do you remember the last time...
The Law of Attraction
"The energy of the mind is the essence of life."-Aristotle      Do you ever have the sense, in your own universe filled with optimism, hope, and amazing experiences, that you just cannot do anything right? Sometimes it seems like we have both the “kick me” sign on our back and...
Taking Stock
“The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.” –from Mulan, the Walt Disney Company  What's better on a dreary mid-December day, as the year draws to a holiday-packed close, than looking back and taking stock of the previous twelve months? Like most people, I've had...
Pursuit of Happiness
 “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”- Thomas Jefferson, et al.  How well do you know your Declaration of Independence? Most people can...
How to Move an Organization
"An organization develops along with its people...no one can increase someone else's personal mastery. We can only set up conditions which encourage and support people who want to increase their own." Peter M. Senge, et al., The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook What does it take to move an organization? What would make...
Bring a Gift
"Hide not your talents, they for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade?" Benjamin Franklin Sunday evenings are an unwelcome transition for many people. The weekend is winding down, and work pressure is looming. I happen to love Sunday nights, but I haven’t always. At some point, I made...
Four Letter Words
“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” –Rudyard Kipling Words have power. They can hurt, heal, and make people laugh or cry. String them together in the right sequence and magic is created. That magic can be inspiring, devastating, gut-achingly funny, and occasionally life changing. I have...
Revisiting the Glass Ceiling
Being a role model is equal parts who you are and who people hope you will be. -Meryl Streep Does the Glass Ceiling Really Exist? A few years ago I was asked if I thought the glass ceiling was a myth. Part of me thought, "You cannot be serious." The more thoughtful,...
The Ripple Effect
I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. Mother Teresa Would you argue with Mother Teresa? Most of us think of her as someone who single-handedly changed the world as she touched the “untouchables” of Calcutta.  As one small nun...
Why Learning Organizations Will Rule
Ultimately, the most compelling reason for building a learning organization is because we want to work in one.-Peter M.Senge, et al.  Spring has officially arrived and the sun has recently made an appearance or two, so I was inspired to take a walk in my neighborhood this week for the first...
Understanding the Power Puzzle
The higher we are placed, the more humbly we should walk. Marcus Tullius Cicero What is the allure of power? After all, once you get to the pinnacle, not only are the burdens great and the thanks few, but seemingly, the only place to go from the top is... down. The draws...
People Are Talking
It takes two to speak the truth: one to speak, and another to hear.Henry David Thoreau People like to talk. We talk to people and about people. We talk about things and events. We know that people talk about us. Do you, or should you, care about what people are saying?...
The Uncivil War
Civility costs nothing and buys everything. -Mary Wortley Montagu When Franklin D. Roosevelt became president in 1933, he had been completely paralyzed from the waist down, following a bout with polio, for more than ten years. The recent PBS series "The Roosevelts: An Intimate History" explored his significant disability and how...
Sandwich Leadership
You've probably heard of the sandwich generation. It consists of those of us who are responsible for the care of two generations at the same time. We're navigating the changing relationships and increasing dependence of our aging parents while raising our children. I'm not sure there's anything more stressful, and...
Follow The Leader
Leadership is a choice, not a rank. Simon Sinek Of all of the great expectations that we have for leadership, I've found inspiration to be high on the list. According to 19th century author and thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson, "our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what...
Journey of a Thousand Miles
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Lao Tzu Have you been on any long journeys lately? I just returned from a road trip of over a thousand miles. My youngest child had narrowed her college choices down to two, neither of which was close to home....
Leading While Introverted
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. Aristotle Leading while introverted - it sounds like some sort of illegal activity or horrible affliction, doesn't it? Or perhaps a personality disorder in need of intensive therapy. In our extrovert-centered world, where the noise never seems to stop, those of us who...
Power of Connection
"When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken that light on the faces surrounding him. In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an...
The Secret of a Sustainable Sales Culture
"Make it personal and make it purposeful." Daniel H. Pink, To Sell is Human Sales culture is a term of great familiarity to anyone who has been employed by a financial institution in the past few decades. Mention "sales culture" in a room full of bankers, or former...
Conflict Sweet Conflict
"An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind." Mahatma Gandhi When's the last time you were in a really heated argument? I mean a name-calling, heritage-insulting, spit-flying kind of disagreement? For most of us, this is not a regular event. If it has ever happened...
The Meaning of Leaning
At the moment, I have the good fortune to be enjoying a few days away from the office. It just happens to be during a stretch of gorgeous August weather, amidst the handful of days per year in Maine when having a pool seems justifiable. Poolside is the best...
There is an I in Leadership
As a life-long sports fan and former athlete and coach, I'm a firm believer in the old adage "there is no I in team". I've always found that the best teams utilize the talents of all of the players for the good of the whole. Teams that work together and...

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