2009’s Greatest Hits

Posted 01.01.2010

Happy new year everyone.  Having reviewed a lot of the “year in review” retrospectives over the past couple of weeks, it looks like the votes have been counted and 2009 was not a great year.  In fact, the “aughts” are getting a lot of votes for worst decade in a long time.  So, let’s get on with 2010 and each do what we can to make it a great year.

Let’s also keep some perspective.  No year is completely bad or good.  It’s a mix.  Looking back at last year, one of the things I’m happiest about is some of the great conversations that took place on this blog and the perspectives, ideas and advice we shared with each other.  Herewith, with no scientific method used at all, are some of the Next Level blog’s “greatest hits” from 2009.  Hope you find something useful here as you look ahead to 2010. 

Five Principles for Building a Strong Network:  Probably because we all need a strong network, this was the most viewed and commented on post of the year.

Feedback Do’s and Don’ts from American Idol:  This was the post that taught me that when you use pop culture as an example,  the conversation is going to be about pop culture rather than the point you’re trying to make.

What Leaders Can Learn from Bruce Springsteen:   The exception that proves the pop culture rule above.  There are a lot of dedicated fans of the Boss who see a lot of leadership qualities in him.

Your Leadership Legacy in One Sentence:   Inspired by a Peggy Noonan column, this post was picked up by my Harvard Business blogging buddy John Baldoni and got a lot of hits throughout the year.  People seem intrigued by the exercise of summing up what you’re here to do in one sentence.

Amygdala Hijacks, Professor Gates and the Cambridge Police: The arrest of Harvard professor Skip Gates at his own home ended up being one of the stories of the summer especially after President Obama commented on it.  I thought there were some things to learn about how to handle emotionally charged situations.  (Seems like we had a lot of those in 2009!)

What Leaders Can Learn from Lab Rats – Five Tips for Beating Stress:   Research that came out last year showed that lab rats make better decisions when they’re less stressed.  Gee, who knew?  This post draws some lessons from the rats that we humans can benefit from.

Five Things Alan Mullaly is Doing to Help Ford Win:   Ford CEO Alan Mulally is rapidly emerging as one of my heroes.  Back in September, I did a little research to come up with a short list of things he’s doing at Ford that I think all leaders should do.

What Leaders Can Learn from Brett Favre About Winning Over a Skeptical Team:   Proving the point that no one is perfect (Brett Favre and me included), I wrote this one when the Vikings were 4 and 0 and before Favre started arguing with his coach about whether or not he was coming out of the game.  In any case, I think these lessons still stand up for leaders charged with winning over a bunch of skeptics.

Learning What Not to Do from the Leadership of the Washington Redskins:  I could easily turn into a sports blogger during football season.  There are just so many examples.   This post got picked up by a lot of Redskins fan sites and other blogs.  It’s the only post I’ve written where several dozen commenters all agreed with me.  It also led to an interview with DC’s Fox affiliate that you can see here.  

Six Factors That Drive Confidence in Leaders:    This is one of several posts that were picked up this year by my friends at SmartBrief on Leadership.  It recaps research conducted by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership which offers clear, common sense advice for leaders in any sector.

That’s the list!  If there’s something in here that really works for you, I’d love to hear about it.  My goal for 2010 is to stimulate more thinking, conversation and action with leadership news you can use.  Your feedback is a valuable part of that process.  Cheers and best wishes for a fantastic year.