Four Contrarian Takes from ...


PR, storytelling, business communications, Hoffman Agency

It’s been almost a year since I attended a leadership training session at an offsite for our Asia Pacific management team.

The Center for Creative Leadership headed up the conference, and I kept a journal throughout the session. I refer to its content frequently.

Given that I’m still thinking about the lessons, I thought a few points were worth sharing:

1. The Golden rule is BS.

Don’t treat people as you would like to be treated. Treat people as each individual prefers to be treated.

2. A person’s direct manager largely shapes his/her experience in a company.

People don’t leave organizations. They leave bosses.

3. Feedback shouldn’t be advice.

Instead, be a mirror that helps the person trying to solve the problem. The more specific the feedback, the more likely action will be taken.

Note: I might add that the more specific the feedback, the more painful it tends to be for the recipient.

4. Take the time to communicate internally.

We assume people can see what we can see. Not true.

By writing these words, I hope they become further ingrained in my own style.

Reflecting, there’s definitely plenty of room for improvement when it comes to internal communications.

P.S. Jenny Chan, the GM for our Hong Kong operation, pointed me to a Harvard Business Review article some time ago that captured 13 truths of leadership. I particularly liked this one:

“I have a flawed and incomplete understanding of what it feels like to work for me.”

Ain’t that the truth.

P.P.S. Here’s another photo showing the environment for the training.

PR, storytelling, Business communications, Hoffman Agency


  • Michael Wendelin

    Excellent points. Especially 2.



  • hoffman

    Mr. Wendelin,

    Good of you to parachute in (how’s that for a insider’s pun).

    I agree with you on #2. I suspect we’re not the only company that could benefit by spending more time and training on the people management side.

    Hope all is well brother.


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