Leadership – Language is Powerful!

Hola Todos!

In today’s Leadership nugget, Mr. Mike reminds us how powerful language can be.  I know it sounds funny, but the other day I got a fortune cookie with the following message:

“Only you can change your life. NO ONE can do it for you.”

While it’s easy to brush this off as “fortune cookie wisdom,” the language is very powerful.  I mean if Steve Jobs or Jack Welsh was quoted as saying this, it would be Tweeted all over the blogosphere.

Remember – the words you use at work and at home are powerful, have impact, and be just influential, as well as, devastating with those to hear them.

That’s something to think about today.

Best regards,

Dr. Dan-o



To:  The Great Leaders Who Have a Passion for Continuous Learning

An unknown author wrote:   “The language we use to communicate with one another is like a knife. In the hands of a careful and skilled surgeon, a knife can work to do great good. But in the hands of a careless or ignorant person, a knife can cause great harm.”  In the Purplefeather Company’s captivating YouTube video (click here) filmed in Royal Exchange Square in Glasgow, Scotland, we are given a beautiful reminder of the power of words.

The camera shows a man sitting quietly in the rain-drenched square with a small tin can to his side.  The sign behind the can reads: “I’m blind please help.”  As people pass by, there is an infrequent tinkle heard from the can.  A young woman approaches, passes by the man and then returns.  Standing in front of him she bends, grasps his sign and begins writing on it.  As she is doing this, the man touches her shoes as if to identify her.  She returns the sign to its place and walks away.  Now as people pass, the tinkle from the can is much more frequent and louder, and the man is busy collecting the coins from his can. After a while, the same young woman returns and stops in front on the man.  She looks into the can.  As she does this, his hands touch her shoes.  Recognizing her he looks up and says to her:  “What did you do with my sign?”  Gently touching his shoulder and kneeling, she says:  “I wrote the same… indifferent words.”  He says: “Thank you, love” as she leaves.  The camera returns us to the sign, which reads:  “It’s a beautiful day and I can’t see it.”  The scene fades and leaves the viewer a message:  “Change your words.  Change your world.”

While the content of the message on the sign remain unchanged, the words now have an emotional appeal – beyond the factual.  They now create a connection with people.   Great leaders recognize this distinction and its power.  Words need to be precise when communicating a shared understanding of goals, missions and strategies or establishing joint expectations around goals or activities.  There are other times when words need the power of emotional content: in communicating a vision, in coaching and mentoring people to grow, in moving people to tap into their innovative and creative abilities.

Use your magnificent power of words this week.  Let them inspire others to greatness, to fill them with excitement and passion so that they push their perceived boundaries.  Go beyond the casual statement of fact.  Let your words paint pictures of possibilities that can be achieved and dreams that can be realized.  Bring passion, excitement and hope to everyone you touch.  Heed the counsel of Robert Southey, English poet, with your words: “It is with words as with sunbeams, the more they are condensed, the deeper they burn.”

Have a beautiful day and an extraordinary week!!!


Contact Information:

Michael M. Reuter

Director, Center for Leadership Development

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

Tel: (Office) 973.275.2528

Email: Michael.Reuter@shu.edu


Topic Talk Tuesday – The Boston Start-up Scene and Ramen Noodles?

Hola Todos!

Today’s Topic Talk is from Nick Holt (see link), recent Suffolk Business School graduate who has interned at Hector’s Marketing Solutions, Hollister Staffing, Mills & Co., Aloft Group, Strand Marketing/TZ Tee’s, and Mechanica Branding. Nick is going to talk about the Boston start-up scene and use a “ramen noodle” metaphor!

Nick, the floor is yours…

Hello everyone,

As any good networker would do, I have been getting into the startup scene of Boston for the past year. Recently, Scott Kirsner, a well-known Boston Globe writer covering the startup world, wrote an article titled, “Is Boston spawning too many startups, and starving growth companies for talent?” (link here).  The article created a firestorm in the Boston startup world and anybody who was anybody had an opinion about the article (i.e., there are developer/engineer shortages EVERYWHERE versus the opinion that startups require a different type of person and/or skillset because of the daily interactions with newer technology).

Personally, my take on Kirsner’s unpopular article was he had good reason to publish this piece seeing as a plethora of startups in the Boston and Cambridge area that I question whether [the startup] has the capability for growth or simply a person’s hobby-turned-business. Although, it was awesome to be right out of college and have this startup world surrounding you, too many startups are considered “ramen noodle” (click here for full explination of this metaphor) startups that have a neat idea but not a viable business plan, nor are in a position to hire.

Two noteworthy quotes:
1. “You can never have too many startups, but you can have too few shutdowns.”– Dharmesh Shah (Co-Founder of HubSpot, Inc). HubSpot has a $10,000 referral fee for awesome developers.

2. “TechStars? YCombinator? Just f*%$ing make something!”
Anthony Volodkin (CEO of HypeMachine) regarding the two BIG startup-funding firms.

Something to think about today….