The Power of SLII

Watch this new video as Ingrid Backstrom, world class freeskier, and several others describe their life changing experiences with Situational Leadership II. Listen to real stories of people overcoming, succeeding and thriving.

Written by Brock Read More

Don't Just Do Something, Stand There

According to leadership author and researcher Dr. Richard Daft, “one of the most important steps a leader can take to develop effective followers is to accept and acknowledge his or her own limitations and, indeed, his or her inability to accomplish anything without the help of followers. The leader who tries to do it all alone never gets very far.” I have been a fan of Dr. Daft’s writing and that of many other great leadership authors for years. In fact developing followers is something I teach in my leadership classes, and up until 3 months ago, I thought I was pretty good at it. However, something happened in March 2015, which not only revealed a flaw in my character but also my leadership process. It forced me to self-reflect on a key question:

  1. Does my character invite developmental opportunity to those who are optimally motivated to follow or serve me towards the success of my goals?

Three months ago I was learning to play pickle ball (for a complete explanation of this odd yet “fastest growing sport in America” go to My wife Jeannie and I were being taught by a more experienced couple how to play the game. To make a long story short, in the middle of our fourth set, I experienced a full rupture of my left Achilles tendon. Being a Canadian in the United States I was anxious to receive my emergency treatment and then get home for the surgery. It was a 3-day drive from California to our home in Alberta. It was a drive I had done often, with Jeannie willingly sitting beside me (I do love to drive long distances). On this journey, however, I had to sit in the back seat with my air-cast elevated, and experience the wonderful opportunity to see my wife transform into this long distance, goal focused driving machine. I got to witness her take on a role I had willingly filled and she had willingly left up to me. What shocked me was three fold:

  1. How much she enjoyed the experience;
  2. How well she did during our overnight stops at taking full responsibility for loading all gear including road bikes and other sundries (while I watched);
  3. How aggressive a driver she became in the pursuit of getting me to my surgeon. Her focus and tenacity was like nothing I had ever seen. Twice I fell just short of having to revert back to my childhood family vacation process of peeing into a Pepsi bottle so dad could achieve his ETA.

Since then I have discovered I do not allow others to serve me well, usually demonstrated by a polite or curt “I can do it myself.”  I discovered that I do not like others doing for me what I can do for myself and I wondered how often I have communicated that to my team members in my various leadership roles, including father. More importantly, does my arrogance or EGO keep others from developing, including my family. Shamefully I think so. Over these last few months I have humbly seen so many people willingly serve me in ways I could never have imagined; Flight attendants, cab drivers, hotel staff and even my associates at the Ken Blanchard Company willingly loading crutches and scooters as they drive me to various destinations while I am visiting. Putting my ego away and allowing my wife to serve me out of love for me, has added a new and cool dynamic to our marriage.

To those for whom my EGO has gotten in the way of their development or desire to serve, I humbly apologize. I have learned that sometimes, in pursuit of being a servant leader we must not loose sight of the fact that there are others out there of great moral character whom are optimally motivated to serve us in the pursuit of our goals.  If we can put away our EGO’s and allow them the space to exercise their gifts it will energize and develop them. As the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland once said: “Don’t just do something stand there”. Sometimes that is the best way to encourage growth and development in others, although you shouldn’t wait for a cast on your leg to find out.

Written by Brock

Five Behaviours Accreditation

Brock just finished and passed his Five Bheaviors of a Cohesive TeamTM Facilitator Accreditation. He says "this is the most powerful facilitated team tool he has ever expereinced in 20 years" and he looks forward to helping our customer teams grow and succeed with help from the 5 Behaviors, based upon Patrick Lencioni's long standing work and best selling book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.



Written by Brock

New Science, new Certification and Tool

Brock has recently returned from San Diego where he had a chance to learn the science behind and the process of teaching Optimal Motivation. In addition to learning from Susan Fowler, author of the book Why Motivating People Doesn't Work and What Does and co-author of the curriculum, Brock took advantage of the oppotrunity to meet with Dr. Drea Ziagarmi, one of the founding partners of the Ken Blanchard Companies and co-reasearcher behind Optimal Motivaiton. Drea was able to assist Brock in understanding measuring the impact of Optimal Motivation through the Employee Work Passion Survey.

According to Brock, "Optimal Motivation is life changing." He quotes the authors as saying, "research shows all people are motivated, the question is why." Please feel free to go to Blanchard Optimal Motivation Video to see Brock speaking on his experience and the connection between Optimal Motivation and SL II Experience. In addition to learning from Susan and co-facilitator Judith Donin, Brock also enjoyed learning from his fellow students pictured below.

Written by Brock

A Prescription for Ethics

According to leadership author Richard Daft, “ethical values in organizations are developed and strengthened primarily through values-based leadership (VBL), a relationship between leaders and followers that is based on shared, strongly internalized values that are advocated and acted upon by the leader. Leaders influence ethical values through their personal behaviour as well as through the organization’s systems and policies” (Daft, The Leadership Experience, 2005, p. 576)

 I like how Daft refers to Values-Based Leadership as a relationship where-as so many others refer to it as a process. At the foundation of that relationship is leader modelling, which is aligned with those shared (not dictated) values. I think this must surely hold true for families as well as organizations.

 Within the context of such a culture, we must always provide tools and skills to aid our people in working through conflict and making tough decisions. Those decisions are rarely black and white or what Rushworth Kidder refers to as right vs. wrong. They are normally in the grey zone, or what Kidder refers to as right vs. right or dilemma. The challenge when people become right vs. right conflicted is that although they seem opposing, they are fighting for values which are both right. For example, some would argue that euthanasia is right because it is compassionate, yet others would argue that it is not right because it does not represent their faith or legal compliance in some jurisdictions. The values of compassion or mercy are good values, as are freedom of religion or following the law.

 According to Linda Trevino, every person when faced with an ethical decision goes through a 3 step thinking process:

  1. Moral awareness - recognizing the existence of an ethical dilemma
  2. Moral judgment - deciding what is right
  3. Ethical behaviour - taking action to do the right thing

 If such is the process that people go through in making tough decisions, one must ask, “at which of the three stages does it go sideways, when an outcome is so morally wrong?” The answer, for many, according to my research, is step 3. People realize the existence of the dilemma and know what is the right or moral thing to do, yet choose not to, because, as Michael Josephson writes, they “do not have the will to do the right thing, even thought it may cost them more than they want to pay”.

 To aid people in working through tough dilemmas, I teach a 6-Step, prescriptive, Values-Based Decision Making process. The digital version of this process can be found at, which is free of charge. The tool is designed to help a person(s) look at a dilemma through both consequential and deontological thinking and provides a number of filters through which to process options. The 6-steps are: 

  1. Stop and Think
    • Often times people will intentionally place the pressure of time on an individual to force them into making a bad decision. Sometimes this pressure is self imposed or perceived. Take time, if you can, to reflect
  2. Identify the short and long term goals that can be involved in the decision:
    • Bring clarity to your personal or corporate goals. Often times people make bad decisions by focusing only on the immediate relief of a short term goal, but the decision when discovered, puts a long term goal at risk (a supervisor chooses to take safety short cuts because the customer is pushing for better time, however, if an accident occurs or even if it does not, our corporate reputation when (not if) the decision is found out is now at risk as well as our relationship with safety conscious customers.
  3. Identify the facts:
    • This is where you must dig with the; who, what, where, when, why, how questions. Do not make assumptions, but push for fact on everything. A little time now, spent asking good questions and turning over stones can save you grief later. How, often have we heard of employee terminations based upon assumed facts that were later proven incorrect.
  4. Brain storm as many options as you can and pick the top ideas to work through.
    • It is important not to eliminate anything at the initial stage, so as not to reduce the creative thinking process. If the issue is the customer is asking for a gratuitous gift in exchange for the work (a dilemma between the value of success and integrity) write it down as a possible solution and eliminate it later. Kidder teaches us to look for the Tri-lemma option; the option that addressed both values (in this case success and integrity).
  5. With 3-5 good possible solutions (or as many as you want really), start to run each solution through your various filters to see if it passes or fails:
    1. Does it pass our corporate core values;
    2. Does it pass the compliance test? Is it legal – by statute, law, and policy or generally accepted industry practice?
    3. Does it pass the Golden Rule; Do unto others, as you would have them due unto you (Matt 7:12). Although many refer to this as a Christian based filter, please visit and you will discover why John Maxwell refers to this as the universal ethical filter which can be applied anywhere in the world. I don't agree that it is the only filter that should be used, as it is predominantly deontological in nature and does not give enough weight to consequentialism.
    4. Apply the gut check. This filter can be accessed by considering your own personal core values (if you have not defined these, go to and click on the free core values button). Another way to apply this filter is to ask yourself, would you be proud to have your decision published in the news paper for all (family, friends, supervisor, customers, shareholders) to read. I must pause a moment here and emphasize, that you must be proud of your decision, but that does not mean the decision will be liked by all. People liking your decision is not necessarily a measure of it being the right thing to do.
  6. Once you have chosen the decision(s) that pass all the filters, you must identify (plan for), how you will review to ensure the decision had the outcome you desire and if not how would you be prepared to modify them. 

Although there is room for error within this model, I have witnessed it become part of organizational process within my customer base and be the foundation of the development of an ethical culture measured through employee work-passion, customer loyalty and shareholder success.


Brown, J.B. (2014). Values-Based Decision Making: An Applied Ethics Curriculum: Integrity Consulting Services Ltd. Alberta, Canada.

Daft, R. L. (2005). The leadership experience (3rd ed.). Mason, Ohio: Thomson/South-Western.

Josephson, M. (2002). In Wes Hanson (Ed.), Making Ethical Decisions. Los Angeles CA: The Josephson Institute.

Kidder, R. M. (1996). How good people make tough choices: Resolving the dilemmas of ethical living. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Maxwell, J. (2003). The Power of One (p. 16). Atlanta GA: Maximum Impact.

Maxwell, J. (2003). There's no such thing as business ethics (p. 38-48). United States: Warner Books.

Trevino, L. K., & Nelson, K. A. (2007). Managing business ethics: Straight talk about how to do it right (4th ed., p. 259). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Written by Brock