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Posts by Alan Derek Utley

Alan is a Human Resources Director, Leadership Coach, and University Instructor in Management. His passion is in helping leaders be better leaders, and in helping people achieve career success. When he’s not doing that, he is spending time with family, watching movies, attending theater, sipping wine, or playing softball. Connect with Alan at LinkedIN, his personal website, and on Twitter.

When Working Together Works


Here’s a thought: when everyone agrees, there isn’t much growth. Disagreement, to a certain extent, inspires critical thinking. That critical thinking is what brings progress. By encouraging people to get behind their ideas, and in a sense fight for them, ideas are considered more thoroughly and perspectives understood. Read more…  


1 Way to Define Your Leadership


I was recently asked to give a talk at a conference where the theme was “Define Yourself.” In preparation for outlining what I might talk about, I reflected on all the ways that one can define themselves. Two ideas immediately popped: You define yourself by the things you do or don’t do – what you » Read More


Keep Your Goals A Secret

top secret

Like most people this time of year, you have likely set some new goals for yourself, your team, or your organization. Goals come in all shapes and sizes.  They may be personal or work-related.  Financial, health and wellness, career, or people-oriented.  Short-term or long-term. Lofty or low hanging fruit.  Whatever your goals, there is one » Read More


3 Secrets of Great Leadership in 3 Seconds


I recently had the honor of participating on a graduate school alumni panel. This was my chance to give back, by sharing some advice with the incoming students of the various graduate programs offered by the business school. Standing in front of a room full of future M-somethings, I answered questions about why I pursued » Read More


Where Did You Lead in 2013?

~ Socrates

This Was a Great Year I feel proud of the things that my team accomplished this year.  Some of them were goals that we set at the outset and others were unexpected opportunities that just popped up. Now, despite the bright spots, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses.  There were some low points too.  Some » Read More


Are Good Delegators Just Lazy?


Delegate Everything Once upon a time I learned something about delegation that I liked. I read it in a book or heard it at a seminar. I don’t remember exactly where or the exact words used.  But I do remember the general idea. Keep what only you can do. Delegate everything else.  That was freeing » Read More


When Leaders Aren’t Born


Are Leaders Born Or Made? This is not an original question.  It has been debated for years in books, on line, and in both corporate and academic classrooms. But I would like to offer a fresh perspective. I had the pleasure of hearing Barry Posner, bestselling co-author of The Leadership Challenge, speak some years back.  » Read More


Being Leader-ish: When You’re Not Quite a Leader

Half-full or half-empty

  ish. This is the word we use when something is stuck between being and not being. Between is and is not. For example, we might say, “that shirt is red-ish.” Or, “I’m feeling sick-ish.” And sometimes, “the weather is a bit warm-ish.” Describing things as ish is handy, because it helps us avoid committing when » Read More


Real Leaders Sweat


Never let ‘em see you sweat.  This advice is commonly touted in a variety of high pressure situations: life, school, sports, business deals.  But does it have a place in leadership? When I facilitate workshops on leadership with students and experienced managers I invite them to share the best leadership advice they’ve ever received.   This invitation » Read More


Want a Leadership Culture? Try This.


A leader once said to me “Alan, I’m a leader in my company, but I don’t know what’s expected of me.” A closer look at that organization revealed a few things.  It had succession gaps in key leadership positions.  It had little support for new leaders and no model of leadership.  It had inconsistent training » Read More

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