Following the EndGame

First, thank you to everyone that has been following me for the last 18 months or so. I really appreciate your thoughtful comments and interest. I know I have been a little slow online the last few months, but your encouragement has made me rethink my blog and the purpose it serves. I have been using my time during these last months for writing and working on a new project.

My goal now is that I want to keep 5,000,000 businesses from failing.

As a step towards that goal, I am launching a new Website called EndGame Leadership.

The early goals of this blog has been for me to capture and articulate my thoughts on a variety of topics that are interesting to me.

One of my pet projects since my EMBA Program has been a personal appraisal of my experience of 35+ years of leadership training, both as a student and teacher. Through that analysis, I have been developing a leadership model that I believe really cuts away all the nonsense of leadership we think we know and presents what is really effective.

I am calling the end result “EndGame Leadership“. There are a many ways people grow as leaders and it is usually a bottom-up, solitary, personal process. They develop their skills on an ad hoc basis and when experience slaps them in the face.

I have taken a fresh approach and researched why have businesses failed? I can’t control anything if a business fails because of market issues or problems with the economy. But, when the research shows that 25% of all businesses in the US fail because of leadership issues, now we have a starting point. When those failures can be traced back to root problems, we know what to fix. My approach was to create a leadership model that is engineered to avoid the root causes that lead to failure.

I would appreciate it if you will check out the new site. Let’s find a way to work together. I can’t save 5,000,000 companies by myself.  (

There is a preview available of my first book called “6 Rabbit Holes of Leadership”. The book is an attempt to help the novice leader avoid the pitfalls that bogus advice gives though that advice seems often compelling. For more experienced leaders, I hope the book helps you to realize that you were not alone on your journey and I hope the pages give you the framework to help those who look to you for advice.

The preview I am including is the first four chapters out of nine chapters. Please sign-in and take a look.

This site isn’t closing, I have occasional items I’d like to discuss, but this blog will be more personal and, at times, whimsical. If, however, your focus is leadership, please head to the new site and follow me from there. Many of the previous resources are there, but the focus is on leadership.

Thank you for your previous and future support!


Suncoast Business Leaders Leadership Panel

This is just a quick note to thank Laurie MacDonald from MacDonaldConsultants for hosting a wonderful leadership panel on 18 May at the Centre Club Tampa sponsored by The Suncoast Business Leaders organization.

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How to Screw-up Leadership Development

microphone (1) graphic pen

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Are you out there?  Anybody?

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Is this thing on?

I really want to be that motivator guy.  You know, the guy that runs around and pumps everyone up.  I want to throw those pithy motivational quotes that seem deep and meaningful, but also contradict each other.  I’d sound really wise and clever.  I wouldn’t give actionable advice, but that’s OK since I couldn’t be held accountable.


I can’t be that guy, at least not this time.  Stick with the evidence because the numbers don’t lie.

I hate to do it, but I have to throw statistics at you…

  • In 2012 US companies spent $14 billion on leadership development.
  • In a 2014 benchmark study from Development Dimensions International, corporate leaders and HR professionals were asked to judge the overall quality of their organization’s leadership.
    • 40% of leaders judged the quality as high.
    • 25% of HR judged the quality as high.

If you accept the judgement of the people responsible, then between 60% and 70% of $14 billion is wasted.

In my opinion… you C-suite people are the problem. Continue reading

I was Interview by Jonathan Pritchard (ALWD)

ALWD 008: Leadership Interview with Ken Wrede

I had a podcast interview with Jonathan Pritchard over at A Life Well Designed. Jonathan uses design principles to analyze challenges in life and business, then applies design techniques to find elegant, effective solutions.
(For some reason I had a tough time enunciating, but I hope the messages were clear.)

I enjoyed the interview immensely, thanks Jonathan!


Kenneth Wrede


Why are We Assessing Leadership Roles and Styles?

Personality (0)What is the point of all of it?

Millions of dollars are spent each year on personality assessment tests.  But, nobody can express a clear reason why.

“Two and a half million Americans a year take the Myers-Briggs. Eighty-nine companies out of the US Fortune 100 make use of it, for recruitment and selection or to help employees understand themselves or their co-workers.”[1]

Almost 90% of Fortune 100 companies perform these tests.  This is amazing to me.

I have taken these assessments.  After receiving my results, my first thought always is: interesting, but so what?

I see a lot of commentary and articles on how to assess leadership styles and roles.

  • Are you a democratic leader, authoritarian, or somewhere in between (here)?
  • What is your personality type (FIRO-B, MBTI)?
  • What is your role as a team member (Belbin)?

Are these useful tools?  Can we use them to predict behaviors or successes? Continue reading

Managing the Power Game

Power game chess (0)We cannot avoid the influences and effect of power in daily life.  It is a dynamic, complicated byproduct of social interaction and constantly changes even in a single relationship between two people.

How often has the phrase “where do you want to eat?” come up and how often was that decision based on your desire to eat a favorite food versus your lack of interest in making a simple decision?

“I dunno, where do you want to eat?…”

Knowing that power games translate into office politics, leaders need to be able manage the powers to the benefit of the group.  A business cannot be “Lord of the Flies”.  It didn’t go well in the book, it won’t go well in the office. Continue reading

No, You’re Not a Leader

Leader - a - ManagerSitting in a chair does not make you a leader.

(Not even if it is a really nice chair).

I struggled for a long time over the difference between being a leader and being a manager.  I knew there was an important way to parse the two, but it took me a while to figure it out.

It is a fundamental discussion point for everyone to realize because it is the first step in leadership development.  It is the demarcation point when you invest in your future leaders and potential succession pool.

The nuance leads to planning for responsibilities and expectations.  Some people believe that a place and position is enough and leadership is automatic.  Many people would equate the occupancy of a supervisory position as being a leader.  Leadership is not automatic, but a mindful application of communications, developing relationship, and influence.

The two words are often used as synonyms, but in my mind they are not the same concept.  I’ve always felt that management referred to resources and leadership implied a component of motivation.

If you have a job and you manage time, money, materials, or personnel, you are not a leader.  You are a manager.

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