HCLU 004: Accountability & Adaptation with Lauren Pipher

A lot of times, we don’t have a positive adaptation of accountability. Based on our experiences and the experiences others have had, we get defensive when we hear it and when we receive it, so it must be given with respect. Accountability can be a positive thing, and it’s important in terms of helping us get to where we want to be in leadership or life.

Accountability is an answer to trust. It’s a way of getting better, getting clarity and knowing what you’re going to measure. It’s not about making someone feel bad. It’s taking the initiative to be solutions-oriented and looking ahead to the future.

Guest Links


Links Mentioned in this Episode

[email protected]

Dr. Henry Cloud’s 5 Buckets of Leadership

QBQ! The Questions Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability in Work and in Life by John Miller

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide for Personal Freedom

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life 

The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

The Knockoff: A Novel

The Story of O 


Takeaways from this Episode

Take a minute to breathe. Look at what you can control and what you can’t control. Take a step back. Before your thoughts get away with you, make an effort to clear your mind and slow it down before you respond. 

Ask for help from those around you. It takes trust. Know what your team’s strengths and weaknesses are so you can make cohesive decision for the best result.

Respect yourself and respect others. Consider the priorities. Is there something that is important to someone that we have not yet touched upon? Or is there something bothering someone that’s lying underneath this issue that’s causing a roadblock that hasn’t been considered?

Accept failure. Failure is part of it. Accept it. Own it. Apologize when you need to and do the right thing when something goes. The most telling thing about a person is how they respond when something goes wrong.


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Every Tuesday we release an this podcast as an entertaining and informative way of sharing practical advice about the fundamental and most needed competencies that every leader must develop. Think of this podcast as an easy way to move a few steps further down the path to realizing your leadership goals.

Join Dr. Henry Cloud and an exciting new guest expert each week by subscribing to iTunes or checking us out on Sound Cloud

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Investing in Others Always Pays Off

Invest in others

William Glasser, the psychiatrist who founded Reality Therapy, said that the best way to retain anything is to teach it. His research showed that the highest memory of material occurred when someone had to teach that material to others. Teaching and sharing is a growth experience.

What I find about those who grow in their own lives is that they are also always investing in the growth of others. They not only subject themselves to mentors and people further down the road than they are, but they are also the ones further down the road for someone else. They give away what they possess and invest in others becoming more.

I have a partner who was part of the management group that bought Coldwell Banker Residential. At the time he first went there, it was owned by Sears and was losing a lot of money. His task was to turn it around. One of the first things that he surmised was that it needed to grow its people and its leaders. That is where he put his focus, even more than on the “nuts and bolts of the business.” It began to turn around. Then, Sears decided to get rid of it, and so confident that he could grow it, he and four managers partnered and bought it with outside investment and debt totaling $ 150 million. Being oriented toward growth himself, one of his primary focuses continued to be to grow the leaders. They invested in helping others develop. They had established Coldwell Banker University for leadership training, seeing the development of their people as the best thing that they could do to grow the company.

Now here is the magic. One year later, they paid the $100 million back that they had borrowed and, three years later, sold the company for $650 million. It was a great turnaround story, but one in large part fueled by the investment in the growth and development of their people. Where did this come from? From a business-strategy book?

It came from the character of the principals. The one who drove it was just executing the pattern that he has always executed as part of his makeup. Beginning as a mentor of youth in high school and college, he continued to see helping others develop as just another part of being alive. Along the way, it turned into hundreds of millions in profit, but that was not the reason it was there. It was there as an aspect of his character.

Now, ten years later, you can find him doing the same thing. He gathers young businesspeople under his wing who he thinks are doing interesting and helpful things that have social value and mentors them in how to do whatever they are doing better. His two guiding questions are always “Why are you doing what you are doing?” and “How can you do it better?” Growth is motivated by the right “whys” and by growing into someone who can do that better. But, for him, business strategy was not what led him into growth. Growth led his business strategy. It was an expression of character. He must build into other people growing as well as himself. It is just a part of who he is.

Have you invested in others? Start today and learn how to effectively with Henry's podcast shaping and growing leaders. Listen Now!

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HCLU 003: Executing a Plan with Chris McChesney

Executing a plan is such a big part of leadership. It’s one thing to have a great strategy, but you have to have a way to execute it. You just can’t have a vision in your head without a strategy to move forward. It has to create real results that show you how you can get from Point A to Point B. That’s what leadership is. 

There are ways you can lead that tap into how the brain is designed to work. If you have too many goals and too many plans, people are going to be confused. Once you clarify what you want to achieve, you can think about how the execution of your plan drives results.

Guest Links

The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals 

Links Mentioned in this Episode

[email protected]

Boundaries for Leaders

The Power of the Other

Stephen Covey

Jim Huling

The Three Signs of a Miserable Job: A Fable for Managers (And Their Employees)

Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies

Takeaways from this Episode

1. Focus on the wildly important. Narrow the focus and define the finish line. There’s an immediate return when this principle is understood.

2. Create leverage around lead measures. Identify what’s predictive of goal outcome, but also look at what can be influenced by the team or individual.

3. Create a compelling scoreboard. You don’t have to call it a game, but it needs to feel like one.

4. Create a cadence of accountability. These are the weekly commitments that drive the lead measures.

Subscribe to The Leadership University Podcast

Every Tuesday we release an this podcast as an entertaining and informative way of sharing practical advice about the fundamental and most needed competencies that every leader must develop. Think of this podcast as an easy way to move a few steps further down the path to realizing your leadership goals.

Join Dr. Henry Cloud and an exciting new guest expert each week by subscribing to iTunes or checking us out on Sound Cloud

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How to Keep Your Ego in Check?

Look at yourself through the looking glass

We have seen the value of getting reality feedback from others in order to get a clear picture of ourselves. That is essential. Another feedback mechanism that we need is feedback about ourselves from ourselves. This is our ability to monitor our own thoughts, behaviors, attitudes, feelings, abilities, choices, values, desires, talents, and the like. It is one thing to drive safely when you look in the rearview mirror and there is a policeman. That is external feedback. It is another thing to drive safely when you are out on the road by yourself. That is maturity.

There are a lot of terms for this aspect of human makeup, but psychologists refer to it as the observing ego. Ego means “I,” and observing means to “watch over” or “be attuned to” or “notice.” So, it is the part of me that is watching me. And successful characters who leave the best wakes have a lot of this. They tend to see themselves as they are, and to observe their behavior as it is happening.

I left a strategic-planning retreat recently with a group that I am doing a publishing project with. At the end of the meeting things got a little sour. The problem was that the president of the company who was leading the meeting ran off in his own direction and agenda and left others behind, somewhat pushing his plan through and then talking as if it were everyone’s. I could feel the atmosphere change and had some strong feelings myself about what had happened. Upon leaving, I wanted some time to think about how I was going to respond to what had occurred before talking to him. This was somewhat of a pattern with him, and I wanted to address the bigger picture. He was a good guy and someone I like working with, so resolving it in a good way mattered to me.

But before I got back to him, I received an e-mail that apologized for what had occurred, and that he was aware that he had “thrown cold water” on the meeting, as he put it. We later talked, and he shared his awareness of his tendency to do what he had done that day, and he said he wanted to talk further about it. He saw what he had done before it was mentioned to him. My hope for it not happening again went up. Character that sees itself is usually able to self-correct.

Not only did this incident give me more confidence about our future, it also said something about why this man has risen to the ranks of CEO of a public company and been successful for so many years.

We all have issues, and our weird moments. But we do best when we are able to see them ourselves and correct them.The ability to ask oneself “What am I doing here?” is a compass that will keep things on the right track.

Have you channeled in to your inner leader lately? If not, now is the time to start with Henry's podcast on leadership where you will have the opportunity to discover the best leader you can be. Listen Today!

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The Best Way to Solve a Problem


How to solve a problem!

Confronting and solving problems is a hallmark of the successful character. But, your character has an equally important function regarding problems as well. In fact, it is the best way to solve a problem: The best way to solve a problem is not to have it to begin with.

Your character is like a great immune system against getting into bad situations. It senses them early on, and if something smells wrong, or not good enough, it just says no. It do not agree to things that do not fit its criteria, values or purposes. This is the other side of that quality: after the due diligence is done, and something is found lacking, one has the character ability to say, “No!”

I have a friend who once gave me some sage advice. He said that he finally got to a point in his life where he doesn’t do anything that involves the “cringe factor.” He said that he will not go forward in any deal or work with any person having a cringe factor. I did not know what that meant, so I asked him.

“That is the big gulp you would have to take to go forward,” he explained. “My rule is this: anytime I have to cringe or take a big gulp to agree to do anything substantial with anyone, whether to hire him, work with him, or anything significant, I don’t do it. I won’t go forward as long as the cringe factor is there. Period.”

Instantaneously I remembered times I had ignored the cringe factor. There were so many situations that I could recall where I had gone forward ignoring problem areas about a person or a deal, but took the big gulp only to have the big throw-up later. I had to learn that lesson the hard way, as most “optimists” do. We can get ourselves into messes that could have been avoided if we had paid attention to the writing on the wall and not taken the step where there was a cringe.

Here is a list of things that you might be telling yourself when a “cringe factor” arises:

  • This doesn’t feel quite right.
  • I really don’t feel comfortable doing this or agreeing to this.
  • This is not what I really want.
  • I don’t like what I am agreeing to, or part of me doesn’t.
  • This violates an important value.
  • I am going to resent this later.
  • I am going to resent this for a long time.
  • I resent this now.
  • I wish this were not happening.
  • This feels the same as the last time.

 This is like the immune system for the character. It is about boundaries. It is like your skin. Your entire being is designed not to allow toxins into your system, body, or otherwise. Your skin keeps bad things out, unless a cut allows infection in. Your immune system keeps germs out by immediately dealing with them and saying, in effect, “no deal.” The germ is not allowed to become part of the body, but is destroyed and eliminated. And your character has to have the same functions as well, serving as the immune system for the things you agree to do or not do.

The best way to solve a problem is to not have it in the first place. When your immune system tells you something isn’t right, have the courage to say no.

Do you have boundaries? Maybe you have them,but don't know where to start.Well friends, Henry has you covered on how to discover and define your boundaries with his leadership podcast. Listen Now!

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One Quality Every Leader Needs

Showing Empathy


Have you ever experienced a leader who wasn’t able to connect with their team? What were they lacking? In a word, empathy.

Empathy is the ability to enter into another person's experience and connect with it in such a way that you actually experience to some degree what the other person is experiencing. It is as if you are that other person, at least for a moment. Empathy comes from the Greek word meaning “in” and “feeling.” It is as if you are “in the feeling” of the other.

Empathy requires a few character components.

First, there is the ability to feel and be what is referred to as softhearted. If people are cut off from their emotions to begin with, then they usually have little ability to feel what someone else is feeling. To be an empathetic person means that you have to overcome character detachment. It means that first of all, you are not detached from your own emotions. It means that you are truly in touch with your real feelings capacities. People who are out of touch with their own feelings are limited in their ability to empathize with others.

Second, it means that you have good boundaries. That means that when you feel what someone else is feeling, you also realize that it is their experience and not yours. Boundaries are the component of character whereby we realize our separateness from another person. People who lose themselves in what another person is feeling are usually not helpful. They over identify and then do goofy things. But, conversely, if their boundaries are too strong and they can't reach over the wall and empathize, then connection is lost. It is a balance.

Third, it is the ability to listen in a way that communicates understanding. When we listen, we hear.. And it may be that we understand. But if we cannot communicate our listening in a way that lets other people know we have truly understood, empathy has not occurred. There is no connection. True listening and understanding occurs only when the other person understands that you understand

These three things only happen when your character is connecting enough to get out of your own experience and into the experience of the other. To do that requires a makeup that is not detached, or self-focused.

They talk...you experience them...you share what you have heard and experienced about their experience...then they experience you have as having heard them. They then know you are “with them.”

When it is communicated to them like that, then not only did you hear and understand, but the other person understands that you understand, and the connection has occurred. It does not occur, and the other person's heart has not joined you, until that loop has happened. That takes an open and caring heart on your part.


 Are you using empathy with your team?Learn how to give empathy to help your team trust and believe in you with Henry's podcast. Listen and learn TODAY!

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HCLU 002: Vision and Engaging Talent – SUCCESS Magazine

Vision and engaging talent are intrinsically connected to one another. 

They’re almost the same because without vision, you don’t get full engagement, and engagement really means that someone is all in with their heart, mind, soul and strength. It’s the essence of how they feel, how they think and how they communicate. 

To keep talent engaged, you need to clarify your vision. And when your vision is communicated well, your team will be committed to giving themselves to a higher purpose, because everyone wants to be part of something bigger than themselves. 

In this episode, Shelby Skrhak and Josh Ellis of SUCCESS Magazine talk to us about how a well-defined vision contributes to thriving digital marketing strategies.

Guest Links

Success Magazine

Shelby Skrhak 

Josh Ellis 

Links Mentioned in This Episode

Takeaways from this Episode

  1. Produce good social media is content. The worst thing you want to see is someone trying to promote themselves or sell something. People want to connect with others and get information. 
  1. Be yourself on social media. Something that brands tend to do, especially leaders, is that they rely on their brand or company to run their social media accounts. People can tell when it’s a brand versus you contributing to it. Be transparent and offer authenticity.
  1. Understand the power of your brand. When we identify our biggest fans and learn how we can serve them and what they want, we can deliver our best.


Quotes from Josh and Shelby

Vision is the navigation of where you’re going, and when you’re going somewhere new, you’re going to need driving directions. You need that navigation to get there. 

– Shelby Skrhak

Successful people exhibit genuine interest in helping people, and improving communities and the world around them. They really care about a product because they believe it’s going to help people. Adding value to people is something that will make you successful over and over again.

– Josh Ellis

The most successful people are avid readers. They’re definitely constantly learning. They want to study new things. They want to challenge themselves to new skills and concepts they can open their minds to and get their hands on. 

– Shelby Skrhak


Subscribe to The Leadership University Podcast

Every Tuesday we release an this podcast as an entertaining and informative way of sharing practical advice about the fundamental and most needed competencies that every leader must develop. Think of this podcast as an easy way to move a few steps further down the path to realizing your leadership goals.

Join Dr. Henry Cloud and an exciting new guest expert each week by subscribing to iTunes or checking us out on Sound Cloud

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The Results You Leave Behind Matter


Results in you!

There is a leadership concept that I call the wake. One of my favorite things to do is to sit on the aft deck of a boat going across the ocean and just watch the wake. It is such a beautiful, ever-changing creation as the ship continues on its path. You can tell a lot about a ship as you look at its wake.

If it is in a straight line, you get a feeling that the boat is steadily on course, and that the captain is not dozing at the wheel, or that an engine or a shaft is not somehow out of whack. But if it is wavering, you begin to wonder. Also, if it is smooth and flat, you know something about the speed of the boat, and if it is steep, you can tell something about its drag. In other words, what the wake looks like can tell you a lot about the boat itself.

With people, the same thing is true. As a person goes through a company, he or she leaves a wake behind as well. And just as with a boat, there are always two sides to the wake that a leader or someone else leaves when moving through our lives or the life of an organization. The two sides of the wake are:

  1. The task
  2. The relationships

When a person travels through a few years with an organization, or with a partnership, or any other kind of working association, he leaves a “wake” behind in these two areas, task and relationship: What did he accomplish and how did he deal with people? And we can tell a lot about that person from the nature of the wake.

In terms of the task, what does the wake look like? Is it a wake of goals being reached? Profits being made? New ways of doing things being introduced and perfected? A stronger brand? A stronger reputation for the work and company? Better systems and processes?

Or, is it a different kind of wake? Unreached goals and projections? Misfires? Resources and money lost?

From the wake, which is the real performance and results, we can tell a lot about the person. Results matter. They are the stuff from which we are evaluated and for which we strive to bring our dreams and plans into reality. When we look at results, the wake, we are really looking at ourselves and learning something about our character in the same way that the wake of a ship tells us a lot about the ship.

On the other side of the wake are the relationships. Just as we leave the effects of our work behind in results, we leave the effects of our interactions with people behind in their hearts, minds, and souls. We leave a wake of people behind us as we move through their lives and their organizations. So, we must look out over the transom and ask ourselves, “What does that wake look like?”

 On the people side, just as in the task side, there are results. Are they more trusting after working with us? Are they more fulfilled as people? Have they grown as a result of being associated with you? Did they learn from you and feel lifted up and encouraged? Did your relationship cause them to produce more?

Or, are they wounded? Less trusting? Feeling put down, cheated, or manipulated? Disappointed, let down, or lied to? Are they angry and just waiting for a chance to get even? Do they feel inferior? 

Which wake period are you in? Find out, today by listening to Dr. Cloud's podcast

At the end of the day, we must look back at the wake of our work. The wake is the results we leave behind. And the wake doesn’t lie and it doesn’t care about excuses. It is what it is. No matter what we try to do to explain why, or to justify what the wake is, it still remains. It is what we leave behind that is our record.


 What wake period are you in? Find out by listening to Henry's podcast where he discusses how to grow and learn as a leader. Listen Today!

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3 Problems You Might Have at Work (and How to Fix Them)

Dr. Henry Cloud 3 Problems You Might Have at Work (and How to Fix Them)

A lack of boundaries creates problems in the workplace. In consulting for major corporations, I have seen a lack of boundaries as the major problem in many management squabbles If people took responsibility for their own work and set clear limits, most of the problems for which I get consulted would not exist.

Here are three ways applying boundaries can solve some common problems in the workplace.

Problem #1: Getting Saddled with Another Person’s Responsibilities.

Many over-responsible people who works next to under-responsible people bear the consequences for their coworkers. Always covering for them, or bailing them out, they are not enjoying their work or their relationships with these people. Their lack of boundaries is hurting them, as well as keeping the other person from growing. If you are one of these people, you need to learn to set boundaries.


If you are being saddled with another person’s responsibilities and feel resentful, you need to take responsibility for your feelings, and realize that your unhappiness is not your coworker’s fault, but your own. This is as in any other boundary conflict, you first must take responsibility for yourself.


Then you must act with responsibility to your coworker. Explain your situation to them. When they ask you to do something that is not your responsibility, say no. Do not fall into the trap of justifying why you can’t do the work for them. You owe no one an explanation about why you will not do something that is not your responsibility.


Note: Sometimes a coworker will genuinely need some extra help. It is perfectly legitimate to bail out a responsible coworker or a colleague who needs time to get well. This is love, and good companies operate lovingly.


Problem #2: Working Too Much Overtime

Many employees take responsibility for their bosses lack of planning and never set limits. If you are in a situation in which you’re doing lots of extra work because you are afraid of being let go, you have a problem.


As hard as it sounds, you need to take responsibility for yourself and and take steps to change your situation. You first need to set boundaries by deciding how much overtime you are willing to do. Next, review your job description if one exists. Then, make a list of the tasks you need to complete each month. Assign each task a priority, and indicate which tasks fall outside of your job description.


Lastly, make an appointment to see your boss to discuss your job overload. Review your list of tasks together and have your boss prioritize them. Be honest if you cannot complete the tasks in the amount of time you’re willing to give.


Problem #3: Misplaced Priorities

Effective workers do two things: they strive to do excellent work, and they spend their time on the most important things.

Work will grow to fill the time you have set aside for it. If a meeting does not have an agenda with time limits, discussion could be endless. Allot time for certain things, and then keep your limits. You will work smarter and like your work more.

Listen to Henry talk about boundaries in the workplace and much more on his brand-new podcast, The Leadership University Podcast. Listen now!

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3 Powerful Ways to Prevent Conflict at Work

Henry Cloud Leadership Blog 3 Ways to Prevent Conflict at Work

If you’re like most people, you spend a lot of your life at work. Work is a place with many possibilities for stress, conflict, risk, and loss.

It is a place where you put in the best of who you are. You are serving, and at times sacrificing, trying to please, and also establishing friendships on the teams with whom you work. So it naturally follows that you can experience some emotionally trying times there.

In addition, you have a job to do. Sometimes, in the course of doing your job, conflict arises. They may be between your colleagues or people you manage and supervise or your supervisors and bosses. Much rides on your ability to handle confrontation well. It may make a difference not only in how you feel on the job, but also whether your company or department performs well.

One of the best ways for a leader to manage conflict is to stop it before it turns into something big. Conflict will still happen, but the following three tips will help you lay the groundwork to prevent it.

1. Find Out What the Reality Is

Find out what the reality is regarding talking about things that come up. Once you find that out, you know better where you stand and have more freedom to proceed.

Usually these realities fall into a few categories. The first one is formal structure. Some things fall out of the realm of talking to your co-worker; they require a formal procedure. Your HR department or supervisor will be able to help you there. The second is a less formal structure is to ask your supervisor or co-worker how they would like to address issues together. Simply say, “I want to have the best working relationship that we can. How do you want us to talk about things when issues arise between us?”

Finding out what the rules are and how issues are faced give you more freedom within which to operate.

2. If You Supervise, Do It Along the Way

One of the toughest things a manager or supervisor has to do is bring up issues about someone’s performance. But this can also be one of the best parts about working together. People improve with feedback. Yet, sadly, managers often do not bring things up as they happen and then they have to confront in a big way later.

3. Share Your Feelings

What do you do when someone at work hurts you? I know what I wish people do with me: Let me know. That is the ideal way for things to happen—for people to talk to each other.
In the spirit of doing better work and accomplishing goals and tasks, resolve the issues that are making work difficult for you, such as things that are so hurtful you find it hard to do your job, or people’s performance and work styles. Along with your bosses and coworkers, make sure that your culture and workplace is one that builds people up and helps them do a better job together.

To get a job done, we have to solve problems and “face” things. To get along well, we have to work out relational issues with each other through facing things as well. So the entire arena of work requires good confrontation skills to work well. Confront well, and you will work better also.


This article was adapted from Dr. Henry Cloud's How to Have the Difficult Conversations You’ve Been Avoiding. Find the book that's right for you now.

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