As a teacher, author and speaker, my goal is to help managers and leaders get a better handle on what's going on, see more possibilities, and achieve the goals they care about.


Leadership, Coronavirus and Exponential Curves: Look Back to See Ahead

March 21, 2020)

                A vital element of leadership is the ability to see what's coming.  Since the future is inherently uncertain, that means you need to study what’s happening, see where current forces are taking your world, and make appropriate choices.  Across the globe, leaders are failing this test.  They keep waiting until the horses are out of the barn before closing the door.  In responding to the Covid-19 crisis, leaders keep waiting until things get bad before acting aggressively to curb the spread of disease.  On March 18, the governor of South Dakota said that there were not enough cases in her state (11 at the time) to justify closing restaurants and bars. Why would she wait until there are a lot more cases? Because exponential curves are very deceptive in the early stages if you only look at what’s happening right now.   (continue reading)

The links at the top of the page will take you in the general directions  people most often want to go.   The sidebar on the right provides a quicker way to get to specific places if you know what you're looking for.   If you don't find what you want,  click on the "Contact" button at the top of the page, and send me an email. 


Movies to Teach With

The Devil Wears Prada  Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada 

Looking for ideas on movies for use in teaching about organizations?  Click here.


Top Quotes

I got a message from Janet Cobb, a consultant who works with nonprofits on strategy, fundraising, etc. (https://jcobbconsulting.com/ ).  She wanted to check if a quote attributed to me on the internet really came from me.  It did, sort of, but it  came from co-author Terry Deal as well.  I learned from an internet search that there seems to be a convention on websites to attribute co-authored quotes only to the first author.  Seems unfair, so to set the record straight, here are a few of the more popular quotes that get attributed to me on the net that really should be attributed to a writing duo. 

From Reframing Organizations:

“A vision without a strategy remains an illusion.”

 -- Bolman, L. G. and Deal, T. E. (2017).   Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice and Leadership, 6th ed., p. 205.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 

“Managers who master the hammer and expect all problems to behave like nails find organizational life confusing and frustrating.”

 -- Bolman, L. G. and Deal, T. E. (2017).   Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice and Leadership, 6th ed., p. 15   (continue reading)


recent books:

Reframing the path to school leadership, 3rdReframing the Path to School Leadership ed., October, 2018

 If you’re a teacher or principal who wants to step up and become a better leader, we wrote this book for you. It’s intended as a portable companion, a mentor available anytime you are in need of advice or counsel. You can take it with you, look it over after hours, consult it when trouble arises, and use it to stimulate a reflective dialogue—on your own or with colleagues.   Through a series of dialogues between a novice and a master teacher, and between a new and a veteran principal, we try to show how reframing the challenges of everyday life in schools brings greater clarity, helps to anticipate problems, and leads to more powerful leadership strategies. 


Reframing Organizations, 6th ed., 2017

Reframing Organizations 6th editionThe latest and greatest sixth edition of Reframing is out.  It's available on Amazon and on Wiley's site. Still available are the online frames instrument, and a video in which Terry Deal and I talk about the 5th edition.



Engagement: transforming Difficult Relationships at work, 2016.

Bolman & Gallos, 	EngagementIf you've struggled to find more productive ways to deal with an impossible boss, infuriating coworker, puzzling subordinate, or all of the above, you're not alone. My co-author, Joan Gallos, and I know these challenges  from our own experience, from the experience of our colleagues,  clients and students, and from the extensive literature on the subject.  Our new book, Engagement: Transforming Difficult Relationships at Work, offers help.  It uses a model built around the acronym SURE to develop four rules of engagement to guide the search for better ways to solve tough people problems.  The book is now available in print and digital formats at Amazon and elsewhere.

Now online: Joan and I discuss the ideas in Engagement in a podcast with Steve Kraske of KCUR and the Kansas City Star.

What shape is your kite?

A basic message in our work on reframing is the importance of knowing yourself and the frames you use to make sense  of your world.  Your "kite" provides a visual image of your relative emphasis on structure, people, politics and culture/symbols.  For a quick and provocative look in the mirror, take the free online Leadership Orientations Inventory.  The paper and pencil version, which you can score yourself, includes a diagram that lets you chart your own kite.

How Great Leaders Think: the Art of Reframing, 2014.

Bolman and Deal's How Great Leaders Think: the Art of Reframing is available in print, digital and audio book formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc..  It has a simple message:

§  Good thinking is the starting point for good leadership.How Great Leaders Think

§  Leaders who can reframe—look at the same thing from multiple perspectives—think better. They create a lucid portrait of what’s going on around them and have a clearer vision of what’s needed to achieve desired results.

§  Leaders can see and do more when they know how to negotiate four key areas of the leadership terrain: structural, human resource, political, and symbolic.

The book answers a request we’ve often heard from readers and fans of our work  for a shorter, more applied version of Reframing Organizations. This new work is a compact overview of our ideas about reframing and our four-frame model, with a focus on leadership. Because storytelling is often the best form of teaching, we use cases and examples, many of them from iconic leaders, to provide realistic lessons about how great leaders think and act.   Harvey Schachter wrote a thoughtful review  for The Globe and Mail (click here), and Michael Sales' review provides a great overview of the key ideas and themes (click here).  A capsule review appears at leadershipandmanagementbooks.com.

A Primer on Reframing

After a conversation with Lee, Gwen Moran wrote an excellent brief article on reframing as a versatile tool for finding productive ways to rethink life's frustrations and snares. It's on Fast Company's website:  5 Ways to Think About Negative Life Events.

Great Leaders Tell Great Stories

In a delightful dialogue with Minda Zetlin, published on Inc.com, we talked about the connection between reframing and the stories leaders tell.  Read it at Great Leaders Know How to Tell a Great Story.

Leading with Soul, 3rd edition, 2011

Leading with Soul, 3rd ed.The third edition of Leading with Soul came out in August, 2012. Terry Deal and I explored the book's timeless spiritual message in the context of a different world than we lived in  when the previous edition was published  in 2001. We've updated to reflect the impact of the economic, political and technological shifts of the last decade, added new material on corporate citizenship and social responsibility,  and worked hard to make the book an even more compelling read.  You can find both the hard cover and digital editions on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. 

Reframing Academic Leadership, 2011

Bolman & Gallos, Reframing Academic LeadershipMy book with Joan Gallos, Reframing Academic Leadership  (Jossey-Bass), is available in both hardbound and digital format.  Click for Amazon, Kindle Barnes & Noble or Nookbook   Many college and university administrators have told us they found it a readable, intellectually provocative, and pragmatic guide to leadership in the academy. 








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