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Duane Dike

Duane Dike

Duane Dike is the manager of creative production for a large entertainment company in Southern California. He has a doctorate in management and organizational leadership and an MBA in management. He is a popular guest speaker for education and management groups on subjects related to innovation, leadership and thinking.

Should we judge?

11 Apr 2017

Making assumptions about others is a risky business. We don’t know their lives. We don’t know their happiness or their loneliness. We don’t know how they confront their issues. So why not converse? Enjoy it while you can, then move on when the environment changes.

Taking time for leadership

07 Mar 2017

Reflection is an essential part of leadership. Leaders who don't pause to reflect run into trouble because off-the-cuff decisions are often irrational, people-less, system-ignorant choices. In contrast, reflection brings new alternatives, fresh perspectives and creative solutions.

The right way to brag

16 Feb 2017

When you’re a manager, bragging about others is good. But bragging about yourself is bad, especially when it involves taking the credit for things other people have done in order to get ahead.

Time for change

19 Dec 2016

Change is the basis of renewal. So even altering the way we approach some mundane task or activity can make life better and help us to think differently. A little change can make our world that much better.

So what went wrong?

01 Dec 2016

Even in the high inflation years of the early 1980s, jobs were relatively secure. Not any more. Now when things go wrong in a business, the axe almost always falls swiftly on the people who do the work, and very rarely on the executives who made bad decisions.

The accountability dilemma

17 Oct 2016

It’s all very well being held responsible and accountable as a manager, but that can only work if you’re also able to make real and meaningful decisions. Yet all too often, that decision-making lives with other people.

Feelings vs reasoning

26 Sep 2016

The older I get, the more I see that rather than ignoring people’s expressions of feeling, managers ought to welcome them as good for business and realize that results can improve when you listen and respond appropriately to them.

Learning to play together

17 Aug 2016

Even though we shared the same experiences, I think very different from my brothers. But that didn’t stop us learning to play together. So why screw up the little time we have on this earth with prejudices, hatred, and mistrust?

Focus on the positives

11 Jul 2016

Why do we feel the need to wallow in the negative? So many good things happen in our lives, but our work-world tends to drive toward the negative and the non-productive.

Truth, authenticity and leadership

13 Jun 2016

‘Authentic leadership’ is one of those phrases that gets tossed around so much that its real meaning is in danger of getting lost. So let’s take a look at ‘authentic’ in the context of leadership, music and tourism.

Names without faces

02 May 2016

'Recognition', in its most basic sense, means being able to put a name to a face. But in the business world, names without faces are all too common. And the larger a company grows, the more likely it is that bosses don’t know the names or faces of the people who do the work.

It's all about systems

19 Apr 2016

We humans operate in complicated structures called ‘systems’. And the ability to think critically about these systems is the root of all humor, creativity, drama and life.

Select your confidants carefully

07 Mar 2016

No-one operates effectively in isolation. That’s why we all need trusted compatriots to teach us how to think, help us to see things differently and to keep us out of trouble.

When evolutionary change needs a nudge

24 Feb 2016

For the most part, change is gradual and evolutionary. But sometimes it's best for us to push the evolutionary process and go for more rapid change. And that requires good, even transformational, leadership.

True leaders are human

21 Dec 2015

True leadership is the stuff of relationships. Being a leader is much more complicated than simply acting leader-like. True leadership is quality-based. Fake leadership is leader-like-sound-bites of things leaders might say.

Learning is a process, not a result

05 Oct 2015

None of us learn to read, ride a bike or pack a suitcase in a day. That's why learning, like change, is a process, not an event. And it's something leaders need to understand if they are to create learning cultures rather than environments of rote or blind faith.

Those darn performance appraisals

07 Sep 2015

Great performance is a product of happy people. And happy people are a product of good leadership, not of formal performance appraisals which treat people like children, create bad feeling and breed unproductivity.

Career planning 101: what I wish I'd known then

06 Jul 2015

The career advice I received when I was young was pretty unimaginative. What I wish I’d been told then is what I try to tell young people now. Make plans, but don’t box yourselves in. Be adventurous. Experiment. Think outwardly - and don’t be afraid take gambles.

You don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow

08 Jun 2015

As I’ve recently been reminded, life has an end and it could come any time. That realization brings with it a renewed focus on the things that matter. And few things matter more than the happiness that dwells in the things you do for others.

The three legs of leadership

21 May 2015

Every move a leader makes affects someone and something else. So leadership effectiveness depends on three things: knowledge of the job, your place in the working environment and your ability to relate to others. Remove any of these and - like a stool - you're heading for a fall.

Leadership, innovation and the future

11 Mar 2015

Leaders are critical to a climate of innovative thinking. Great ideas don't emerge from companies whose leaders try to control and micromanage. Innovation only thrives in organizations whose members are free to think and express themselves.

Leadership is a verb, not a noun

11 Feb 2015

Whichever way we look at workplace culture, critical elements such as productivity, job satisfaction and personal responsibility all boil down to one factor: boss behavior. Without knowledgeable and empathetic leaders, healthy cultures, work environments and systems can’t exist.

More from Duane

In praise of inconspicuous leadership

12 Jan 2015

Many so-called leaders have an unhealthy interest in the outward trappings of their position. But the problem with conspicuous leadership is that it’s usually only skin deep. Real leadership is inconspicuous - and it’s about far more than status or measurable achievements.

Morale: a moving target

08 Dec 2014

What we think we know about morale is probably wrong, especially the black and white notion that morale is either ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Like most human feelings, morale is a moving target, which is why being sensitive to its nuances is such a key skill for leaders.

Leadership: an evolutionary journey

10 Nov 2014

Have we learned anything new about leadership over the past few decades or are we just touting the same mantras over and over? To answer that, let’s take a journey through history.

What a difference a CEO can make!

06 Oct 2014

It might have been like something out of a TV soap opera, but the extraordinary saga of U.S. supermarket chain, Market Basket, is a powerful reminder of the difference that a CEO can make to a business and the value of mutual respect.

Education, baristas and employee turnover

08 Sep 2014

The decision by Starbucks to help employees to complete a college degree is genius on many levels. The offer alone represents hope for a way out of the no-hope fast-food job cycle. But even if employees don't take up the offer, I'd wager morale, workmanship and turnover rates will all improve, too.

Why change? Why not?

27 Aug 2014

One of the biggest mistakes business people make is executing the plan/do model. We plan, and then expect people to do. But questioning how we do things is vital, and we too easily forget about the exploration, thinking, mistaking, learning, testing and struggling that goes with change.

Does your behavior encourage happiness?

28 Jul 2014

Happiness is good for business and leadership behavior is what sets organizational mood. And nowhere is that more important than with front-line employees, who are possibly your organization’s biggest competitive advantage.

Leadership and a tourist map

23 Jun 2014

As I recently found out, relying on a free tourist map to get around an unfamiliar city is a sure-fire way to get lost. The same is true of leadership. Navigating intensely complicated human interactions is much more complicated than following a few easy steps to success.

Listening skills: what I learned from a primate

22 Apr 2014

Most of what I know about listening I learned as a kid from my adopted little sister, Rosie. That's surprising, because Rosie was a monkey. And while I never learned to speak long-tailed macaque, that never stopped us communicating.

Fiction, factions and leadership

11 Mar 2014

Much of what we think is reality is actually closer to fictional reality. In other words, we make stuff up. How we think about our world is mostly our own perception. And so disagreement is just a mental choice to not agree. And that has big implications for how we make decisions.

The timeless truths of leadership

10 Feb 2014

I recently stumbled across a piece I wrote on leadership a decade ago. It reminded me that while the fundamentals of leadership have changed little, keeping to our leadership ideals can still pose some real challenges.

Confidence, security and leadership

16 Jan 2014

The link between security and performance is too often forgotten by those at the helm of organizations. No-one can function effectively in their role if they don't feel secure. And that's as true for leader-types as it is for everyone else.