Leadership Lessons Learned in Dallas

Do you have certain events you attend or practices you stay disciplined in regularly to ensure you are learning?  I absolutely believe that in order for each of us to grow and thrive in our leadership roles that we have to be a sponge to knowledge…constantly learning and adapting.

Every year our team attends an annual conference joined by our friends and colleagues from across the country and even around the world!   We learn about the gold-standard practices in our field and the scientific research that backs up the work we are doing. This year the conference was in Dallas/Fort Worth and I thought I would share just a few of the many gems of wisdom that might be relevant to your own daily leadership practice.


Dan Denison, PhD
Chairman and Founding Partner of Denison Consulting

Dan has advanced the field of Organizational Development and made many key contributions to the understanding of organizational culture and its relationship to bottom-line business success.  He, quite honestly, is a giant in our field.  As I sat in his session, I took notes and hung on every word – even going up for a picture with this guru afterward!  Here’s what he had to say:

1.  The organizational culture you have today is all about the lessons you have learned from the past.

2.  Where you look is where you go.  Focus and attention are the most valuable assets in a company.  Emphasize those behaviors that you want replicated in the culture.

3.  Understand that your organization is a bundle of habits and you have to identify keystone habits that are pivotal to big changes.


Michelle Nettles, JD
Chief People and Diversity Officer for Molson Coors

Michelle sets the strategy for leadership, diversity and talent development at all levels within this famous beer company with a workforce of 18,000 employees across the globe.  One of the things that struck me as I listened to Michelle’s keynote was how authentic and passionate she was about taking care of people within the organization.  Awesome words of wisdom from Michelle are:

1.  Treat people as if they are family, respect them and meet them where they are – be a courageous champion for your team.

2.  Diversity and inclusion especially within intact, functioning teams needs to go well beyond skin color, gender and age to include diversity in thinking, location, and experience.

3.  Employee well-being is going to be the next big emphasis within U.S. companies – this is already happening in other countries.


George Watts, PhD
Chairman of Top Line Talent

George is a nationally recognized author and behavioral scientist. His message was simple and timeless – for optimum success, discover your natural strengths and find the right platform to leverage them.  George and his team guided us through an exercise in which you built your own branding statement.  Here are a few key points:

1.  You have to develop an individual brand statement that is less than 7 words and clearly expresses what you do.

2.  Charisma is defined as a compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion. But charisma is an illusion – great leaders have moved beyond charisma and possess deep presence. Presence is the ability to engage fully and completely because you project empathy, not your ego.

3.  If your daily routine involves duties that are weaknesses for you it will be work, not fun.  Understanding and leveraging your core strengths (not focusing on getting better at weaknesses) will allow you to optimize your success and fulfillment.