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Ed Brenegar
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
I am a Leader for Leaders, inspiring leadership initiative to create impact that makes a difference that matters.
Interests: I have a very eclectic set of interests. I am interested in the history of ideas, so I read a lot of philosophy, history, theology, social and political thought. I am interested in how leadership and management literature fit into that larger view of the history of ideas. My current passion is for the story of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. My music tastes range from bebop to cowboy/Western music, with the full range of classical throw in. I love movies. I'll watch virtually anything. I enjoy hiking, camping and travel. Our family loves to travel not to rest, but to discover new things. Our trips tend to be historically oriented. We in particular, love to travel in the Western United States.
Recent Activity
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Whether you are a small business person or a corporate executive, getting the best work out of your people is one of the most challenging aspects of leadership. It takes more than attractive compensation packages and inspirational pep talks. It takes creating a culture of trust that unites people together around a common desire to give their best. Here are five steps any leader can take to build a relationship of trust with their team. Believe in them, so they will believe in themselves Every person that works for you has something to teach you. If you are open to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2017 at Leading Questions
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Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence. Wherever a man separates from the multitude and goes his own way, there is a fork in the road, though the travelers along the highway see only a gap in the paling. Henry David Thoreau Journal, 18 October 1855 Wallace Stegner in his collection of essays, Marking The Sparrow's Fall, writes on American self-reliance. "Henry David Thoreau was a philosopher not unwilling to criticize his country and his countrymen, but when he wrote the essay entitled 'Walking' in 1862 ... He spoke America's stoutest... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2016 at Leading Questions
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"The use of horse labor used to grow along with the population and the economy. In the United States horse labor grew 6 fold from 1840 to 1900. But then it plummeted as internal combustion engines replaced horses on farms, in factories, for transportation. Does the same fate await humans, or at least some humans?" See http://www.futurepundit.com/archives/009918.html. In ten years, what do you think these young women in Glasgow will be doing to earn a living? The Bureau of Labor Statistics link in the above blog post shows that the work for people will available to those who are more... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2015 at Leading Questions
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Nez Perce National Historic Park - Spaulding, Idaho Behind every political deal in this country, the first casualties are always the ordinary people, who are barely treated as human. Ai Weiwei Chinese artist and activist The modern world is a world of large, complex institutions. These institutions replaced the social world of families and communities. Instead of relationships being at the heart of our national society, we have politics. The way politics is conducted in the modern world is to simplify the issues so that there is no longer any thing to think about, it is just about the emotion... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2015 at Leading Questions
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Your own acts tell the world who you are and what kind of society you think it should be. Ai Weiwei We are in the midst of an unprecedented transition globally. This change is historic, cutting across all segments of society, and is not happening in a predictable way. Two examples from the past year illustrate this historic moment in time. Independence referendums in Scotland and Catalunya, as well as movements in Wales and Northern Italy, show that there is strong sentiment for separation from the countries where they currently belong. As the picture above from the demonstrations in Glasgow... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2015 at Leading Questions
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Where do you find confidence? Especially, where do you find it in moments of great challenge and pressure? It comes as a gift from people who care and love us, who believe in us, and see within us something that we don't see in ourselves ... our potential for impact. If we do not have those kind of relationships, it may just be because we have not shown our confidence in other people. Imagine a work team where part of your team's discipline is the expression of both confidence and gratitude towards one another. Imagine a work environment where we... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at Leading Questions
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"It's time to stop talking about leadership, and lead." The voice in my head. One afternoon. Jackson Hole, Wyoming. July 1999. Over the past three decades I've lived and worked in the world of leadership. Part of my passion has been the desire to understand the intersection of organizational structure, culture and human nature with the phenomenon of leadership. From early on in my training and study, it was clear that my perception of leadership is different than many who write about it and the practitioners of the leader craft. Two Trends There are two trends that I see that... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2015 at Leading Questions
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Situational awareness is a skill of insight, anticipation, and respect for personal boundaries in social and organizational contexts. It is the skill of perceiving reality as it is, not as we want it to be, or how others see it, but as it is. Situational awareness is knowing how to be yourself regardless of the context you are in. People are, everyone of us, "embodied narratives." Our lives are unfolding stories that embody the values and desires that may or may not make sense to us. As a result, humans are beings who seek to make sense of the world... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2015 at Leading Questions
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In the 1960s, I remember being told not to trust anyone over 30. Now, we don't know who to trust. This article about Peter Young, "the jet-setting terrorist", is a fascinating look into the collusion that exists between the media and those who seek exposure for their ideas and causes. A quote from the article: "The unspoken conspiracy that you speak of, that exists between journalists and those seeking publicity is very real. If you have a story that provokes—real or not—they have the time. Give them the promise of traffic and a little plausible denial and you’re in. I’ve... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2015 at Leading Questions
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A bird in search of a cage So much freedom, so much choice, so many opportunities to matter. And yet, our cultural instinct is to find a place to hold us, a spot where we are safe from obligation and the opportunity to choose. Because if we choose, then we are responsible, aren't we? It's Your Turn - Seth Godin This theme of freedom is not about being without constraints or without responsibility. That is not freedom, but anarchy, which there is much too much of in our world today. No, this freedom is the willingness to step outside of... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2015 at Leading Questions
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“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don't need to escape from.” Seth Godin In the summer of 1995, our family moved to Hendersonville to start a new chapter in our lives. At that time, I started a consulting practice, Community of Leadership, LLC, that has been my principal focus of work for the past two decades. Over the past five years, it has become increasingly obvious that the consulting work that I was doing had run its course. The context of work and business had changed significantly, and, how organizations... Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2015 at Leading Questions
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"Take good care of yourself." Zach Brittle Typically, at the turn of the year I've posted some thoughts about how to approach the coming year. This year, I've decided, because of this post, to post my own resolutions. My Resolutions for 2015 Mind: Listen more. Read more novels. Read more ancient literature. Learn, not to know more, but to live better. Body: Sleep more. Be more physically active; spend more time outside than inside. Cook more. Take more cooking classes. Spirit: Pray more. Spend more time with people who have gone through trauma and hardship. Practice integrity and generosity. Say... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2014 at Leading Questions
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Situational awareness is a skill of insight, anticipation, and respect for personal boundaries in social and organizational contexts. It is the skill of perceiving reality as it is, not as we want it to be, or how others see it, but as it is. Situational awareness is knowing how to be yourself regardless of the context you are in. Here are the posts the series on Situational Awareness: Three Keys to Situational Awareness The Speed of Change The Social Space of Situational Awareness Social Conformity and Situational Awareness In the Moment of Situational Awareness The Story We Tell Ourselves Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2014 at Leading Questions
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Situational awareness is a skill of insight, anticipation, and respect for personal boundaries in social and organizational contexts. It is the skill of perceiving reality as it is, not as we want it to be, or how others see it, but as it is. Situational awareness is knowing how to be yourself regardless of the context you are in. This series on situational awareness is principally about how we learn to relate to people in situations outside of our comfort zone. To do this we need something more than tactics for making conversation. We need to be able to know... Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2014 at Leading Questions
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Situational awareness is a skill of insight, anticipation, and respect for personal boundaries in social and organizational contexts. It is the skill of perceiving reality as it is, not as we want it to be, or how others see it, but as it is. Situational awareness is knowing how to be yourself regardless of the context you are in. From this place, situational awareness enables us to discern the influences that affect us both internally and externally. From those perceptions, we gain perspective. We can because we see the distinction between external realities and inner strengths. The external realities of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2014 at Leading Questions
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Situational awareness is a skill of insight, anticipation, and respect for personal boundaries in social and organizational contexts. It is the skill of perceiving reality as it is, not as we want it to be, or how others see it, but as it is. Situational awareness is knowing how to be yourself regardless of the context you are in. One of the most challenging aspects of being situationally aware is learning how to deal with the social conformity that lies at the root of all social environments. Social Conformity and Self-knowledge Much of our socialization as children and adolescents was... Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2014 at Leading Questions
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Situational awareness is a skill of insight, anticipation, and respect for personal boundaries in social and organizational contexts. It is the skill of perceiving reality as it is, not as we want it to be, or how others see it, but as it is. Situational awareness is knowing how to be yourself regardless of the context you are in. Situational awareness functions in real time and in real places. Think of it as a relationship, as a connection, to people, places, ideas, structures, institutions and to one's self. The space is a kind of gap, a discernable distance, between me... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2014 at Leading Questions
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In 2010, I wrote a post, Change: No Lines, No Waiting, where I stated the following. Whether you are 25, 50 or 75, dealing with change isn't about who you are or what you do. It is rather about putting yourself in the position to make a difference, to make a contribution, to create impact. ... (I learned that) how I dealt with change was too abstract, logical, rational. It didn't deal with reality. I'm been thinking about the speed of change. A lot of people want to slow change down. They want time to adapt to it. I've become... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2014 at Leading Questions
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Top Leading Questions posts 2004 – 2015. I'm celebrating ten years of writing blog posts here at Leading Questions. Those posted here are ones that I find have two qualities. The first is that what I said when I first posted it is worth hearing again. The second is that these posts represent my own perspective and voice. I hope you find them helpful. Thank you for reading. 1. Leading Questions http://edbrenegar.typepad.com/leading_questions/2004/07/leading_questio.html 2. Who Stands With You http://edbrenegar.typepad.com/leading_questions/2004/07/who_stands_with.html 3. A Relationship of Confidence http://edbrenegar.typepad.com/leading_questions/2004/08/a_relationship_.html 4. Passion and Success http://edbrenegar.typepad.com/leading_questions/2004/07/passion_and_suc.html 5. Being the Leader-in-Relief – Boston Red Sox 1918 http://edbrenegar.typepad.com/leading_questions/2004/10/being_the_leade.html 6.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2014 at Leading Questions
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Recently I began to work with a group of young women who are in an addiction recovery program. I meet with them each week to work on the life skills they will need once they graduate. One of the skills we work on just about every week is situational awareness. Situational awareness is a skill of insight, anticipation, and respect for personal boundaries in social and organizational contexts. It is the skill of perceiving reality as it is, not as we want it to be, or how others see it, but as it is. Situational awareness is knowing how to... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2014 at Leading Questions
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The Edge of the Real is a boundary, a border, a threshold, a decision, action and change. It is discovered as individuals take initiative to act upon their own discernment. It is found as people decide to no longer passively adopt what is trending as their concern. It is realized in individual decisions to act passionately on those things that matter to them. The edge is a place where values move from being abstractions of absolvement of responsibility to actions of change that make a difference that transforms situations, organizations and people's lives. Each time a person takes initiative to... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2014 at Leading Questions
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Introduction The following is an updated and revised version of a set of five posts from the spring of 2008 on the topic of Values 2.0. After reading them during my 10th anniversary of blogging, I decided that they needed to be brought together into one longer, more coherent, less fragmented post. The above photo is symbolic of the values that I write about below. It is taken at the Lemhi Pass along the Lewis & Clark Heritage Trail on the Montana - Idaho border. A place of great meaning to the followers of the story, as well as to... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2014 at Leading Questions
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The First Post On July 4, 2004, I posted my first blog post here. I wrote, "...questions, questions, questions...always questions with you..." Questions lead to insight, focus, direction and action. If leaders don't ask questions, then they are going find themselves stuck doing the same old things in the same old way, and missing out on the opportunities that are right before them. What are the questions driving your work? This weblog is going to range far and wide looking at the questions leaders either are asking or should. What's on your mind today? Amazingly, I've stuck with that aim,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 4, 2014 at Leading Questions
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Our Stories, A Story of Wholeness Life is movement and change. Each day is different. Each conversation, even on the same subject, is different. Perspectives change. We change. We change jobs. Move to a different city. New relationships start, others end. We grow older, wiser. We encounter new ideas and ways of doing things. We reconnect with old friends, see our children grow into adulthood, and, for many, we see our parents diminish back into childlikeness. All this change is a part of the narrative of our lives. But it is not the whole story of our lives. Combine all... Continue reading
Posted May 27, 2014 at Leading Questions
Tod, I'm very glad to see this. Having worked with churches as a leadership consultant for two decades, I've seen the absence of spiritual formation as a core dimension of a church. I've been addressing it in a couple of ways. The first is to talk about the disconnect between what people believe and how they live. This isn't new, but it is still an urgent need. The gap is not bridged by better tactics at "applying" intellectual concepts. It is rather in addressing the lack of understanding of who we are as human persons. I take a more phenomenological approach to bridging this gap by asking what would it taste, smell, feel, hear and see for Christ to be present at all times? It isn't the theology that is the problem, but rather the anthropology. The second way that I get at this with people is to address the "story they tell themselves". Not the story they tell others, but the story they tell themselves as they are engaged in various situations. I've found that many people do not have a story about how God is present with them, as a result, that turn to someone else's story, their pastor or an inspiring writer, or the story embedded in the music of the church. Over time that story of someone else's functions as the idol of faith. The key to having one's own story that is quietly reminding us who we are and who we are call to be in our lives. I've been using this with a group of young women who are in an addiction recovery program. It has been amazingly effective in helping them gain a clearer understanding of their own perspective on who they are and God's place in their lives. I'm finding that these two strategies helping open up people to the idea of the importance of formation. I look forward to hearing how this change at Fuller progresses.