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TMCA Articles


The following articles are available for download in PDF format.


Dancing with Uncertainty

Change is the future’s way of creeping into our lives.  Rabbi Kula writes, “The yearning for certainty—to grasp our future, to shape our destinies—is so powerful and so noble.  We yearn to know that things will work out…but the uncertain times stand out because they are so uncomfortable.”  In this article, Duane explores four different ways we respond to any change in our lives—intellectually, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. The larger changes in our lives require time and exploration, and we finally have to surrender to uncertainty.




The Power of Dialogue

Dale Higginbotham, VP Fossil Engineering and Support, recently completed the first year of Servant Leadership Development, which includes extensive training in dialogue. Each leader was encouraged to practice these skills at home, at work, and in the community. The following story is a powerful example of how one person by shifting into dialogue can change the collective intelligence and spirit of collaboration of the whole group.


Am I Too Busy to Lead?

Steve Parker was Director of Sandow Generation, a lignite plant in south central Texas, a part of Luminant Fossil Generation.  Sandow has an operating capacity of 1,137 MW, enough to power about 570,000 homes in normal conditions.  Steve has been on a journey of leadership development and shares the benefits of finding times for intentional leadership with his people at the plant in this letter to Ann.


Servant Leadership… Staying the Course

Our Partner (and President) Duane Trammell does a great job reminding us how we can remain focused and continue our Servant Leadership Journey by renewing ourselves constantly; or as Marcel Proust says: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”


Accountability in a JUST CULTURE

As we share servant leadership principles, some misinterpret the model of servant leadership as being “soft” in the tools of accountability. We dialogue with Mike Blevins, former COO of Luminant (the power generation subsidiary of Energy Future Holdings), about the need for an understanding of how managerial oversight tools are essential to the servant leadership model. In this series of three articles, Mike shows how discipline and accountability are seamlessly woven into a “just” or servant-led culture.


Just Discipline

In the second of a three-part series, Mike Blevins, Consulting Partner for Senior Executive Coaching and Development & former COO of Luminant, discusses the misconceptions about discipline in this article and how discipline is an integral part of creating a Just Culture. Discipline is often associated with punishment, and Mike explains why this leads to performance and people problems.


If You Have To Hold People Accountable

In the last of a three-part series, Mike Blevins discusses the final element of a successful culture—accountability and its relationship to a Just Culture and Discipline. His explanation offers a new way of looking at a word that has been overused and misused by many managers/leaders, and it just may eradicate the phrase “holding people accountable” from your lexicon.


Unleashing Talent Through Discretionary Performance

What happens in a servant-led culture when top-down communication is eliminated and the hearts and minds of employees are engaged through mutual trust and assuming goodwill? Employees begin to produce EXTRAordinary results through work they enjoy doing and are excited to do! In this article, Consulting Partner and Former COO Luminant energy, Mike Blevins describes this as discretionary performance and explores what this means, how to achieve it in your own organization, and how to maintain it through a culture of servant leadership.


The Power of Peer Feedback: Servant Leadership in Action

It’s not unusual to receive feedback or coaching from a supervisor and we often hear horror stories about unsuccessful performance reviews. But have you ever considered offering constructive feedback to a colleague or received coaching from a peer that really helped improve your performance? This takes great courage but when done effectively can be powerful. In this article you will read the stories of three different Clients and how peer feedback has impacted their work in remarkable ways.


Three Elusive Insights of More Effective Servant Leadership

Robert K. Greenleaf transformed Ann McGee-Cooper’s life through his writings, his mentoring, and role model.  Ann was pleased to share in this article the profound impact of this amazing thought-leader.  This is the keynote from the 2010 Greenleaf International Conference held in Atlanta, Georgia.


History of Research on Genius

Since 1950, Ann McGee-Cooper has been fascinated by the capacity of genius.  What is it?  If each of us has unique gifts, how can we uncover this kaleidoscopic, growing, changing, resource and fully explore it? In this article, Ann gives a very intimate look into her life and how events came together to deepen her understanding of the genius that is within each of us.


Dialogue: The Power of Understanding

Do you ever find yourself unable to get someone else to understand your point of view? Have you ever attended meetings that just turned into arguments and nothing was resolved? This article explores the technique of dialogue and gives three tools for facilitating meaningful discussions followed by eight practical suggestions for handling heated, polarizing interactions.


Tribalism: Finding Someone to Hate

Turf wars and schisms exist within organizations when we retreat to our insecurities and lesser behaviors. At our worst, we can take sides and always find a new “enemy.” Whether it is field against office, “long termers” against newcomers, rainmakers against support services, or management and union at odds…we can find someone new to blame as a way to avoid our own accountability. This article explores how Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines hit the problem head on, how another global company experienced it, and how we can find root causes and turn this into opportunities to focus on mutual goals as one unified team.


Servant Leadership: A Powerful Tool for Fast Change

With the rate of change and increasing demands on each of us, it is tempting to take the “expedient” route when it comes to leading people. Just tell people what to do and press forward to the next thing. But to have a great place to work and be profitable in this decade, it takes capturing both the minds and the hearts of Employees. This article explores the defining qualities of a servant-leader and gives examples from one of TMCA, Inc.’s long-term Partners, TDIndustries.


Lessons on Layoffs: Managing in Good Times to Prepare for the Bad Times

It seems we are never safe from tough business cycles that create downturns in the economy. We can feel numb and shaky on our career footing when the word “layoff” is uttered. This article explores the role of servant leadership in responding to changes in staffing with examples from Southwest Airlines and TDIndustries. A contrasting list is offered of servants vs. non-servants in the different steps of layoffs, including alternatives, who sacrifices, announcements, transition, and adjustment.


Nothing Much Happens Without A Dream

Do you dare to dream bold dreams for your own life? Have dreams gotten lost in the demands of working overtime, paying bills, caring for aging parents, or fixing leaky gutters? This article gives tips on how to rekindle passion, find a purpose for living, and make a difference. Learn how to create a magic “Ten” list to make bold personal dreams come true.


Brain Engineering: Changing Your Self-Talk

Do certain parts of your job really drain your energy? How can you get yourself to do them without losing energy or wasting time putting them off? This article explains how your brain has two voices, like two different people giving you two opposing messages. The trick is to get both voices in agreement. By consciously changing your self-talk before, during, and after a task you are dreading, you can expect to experience a positive change in performance, attitude, and energy.


Gossip as a Corporate Sport

With the increasing speed of change, increasing uncertainty in the job market, and good ol’ human nature, one way that we can temporarily ease our fears and have a little fun is to feed on some juicy “Hey, have you heard…” talk at the water cooler. The rumor mill can cause havoc in organizations and turn an already demanding workplace into a dysfunctional one…very quickly. This article suggests three common causes of gossip and gives five tips for untangling the grapevine and the mess it causes.


Hurry Sickness: An Epidemic in Our Workplace

Do you ever have the overwhelming feeling of hopelessness that the more you work, the more responsibilities are added? Most people are experiencing the acceleration brought about by newer technologies to get more done with less help. We are connected 24/7. This article explores the traps of speed and how we sometimes rush as a habit when we don’t actually have to and perhaps to our detriment. The reading ends with six suggestions of how to renew your spirit and enrich the quality of your life, work, purpose and joy by learning to slow down appropriately.


What’s Right with Your Messy Desk and Other So-Called Bad Habits

Have you ever had days when you thought it would be easier to quit your job and start over elsewhere than to have to go through the mountains of paperwork stacked on your desk? This article explores the thinking preference of divergent processors who are attuned to visual/spatial memory. In addition to relieving a ton of guilt, the article explains why a different system of organizing is needed for right-brain-preference thinkers.


Are Your Taillights Flashing? Discovering the Shadow of Each HBDI® Quadrant

As we begin to explore our HBDI® quadrant thinking preferences, it is exhilarating to learn the source of our best contributions, our best thinking, and our best over-all work. But when overplayed, our preferences can emerge with some negative qualities…thinking that is not productive and which has unintended consequences! This article explores “the shadow side” of the strengths of each of the HBDI® quadrants.


Accountability as Covenant: The Taproot of Servant Leadership

Why do we monitor rather than mentor people? Why does accountability end up last rather than first in our priorities? In this article, we explore a new paradigm of accountability called “Covenant” that is the goal of servant-leaders. Four principles are suggested that create a new model of commitment with workplace examples from Jeff Lamb, EVP for People of Southwest Airlines and Matt Kosek, former Lieutenant of the Carrollton Police Department.


Learning to Enjoy Abundant Energy…How It All Fits Together

Why is it almost impossible to be an effective servant-leader when we are in burnout? How do predictable behaviors sneak up on us and suck us into burnout? This article suggests four key concepts work in tandem to create a system that can either drain or build energy. Three tips are offered to intervene into the negative cycle of energy loss, transforming negative thoughts and habits into those which generate consistent, abundant energy.


The High Cost of Negative Humor

Having fun is essential for a meaningful and enjoyable life and our sense of humor is a big part of that equation. But some humor delivers a hidden, negative message that can humiliate, discount, ridicule and offend others. In our individualistic and competitive society, the “put down” reigns supreme! This article calls into question the wisdom and unintended consequences of using negative humor and how to transform it into humor that uplifts, grows trust, brings people together and builds spirit.


Dialoguing from the Four HBDI® Quadrants

In our consulting practice, dialogue is a fundamental skill that is a foundation of our leadership development programs. But why is it that some people love it and some people hate it? We believe it has everything to do with thinking preferences. In this article, we explain how a person with any of the four classic thinking dominances can use their preference to get the most out of any dialogue session.


Finding Your Calling: Confessions of an A/B

In our work in servant leadership, we often explore the subject of “calling” or feeling a sense of purpose in our career. Depending on the person, we either relate to this topic with enthusiasm, or we get really nervous and want to move onto the next subject. In this article, we explore how HBDI® thinking preferences affect how we understand our career choices and what we see as our life purpose.


Applying the HBDI® (Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument) to Servant Leadership

Two areas of our work that receive the most positive feedback are HBDI® (thinking preferences based on brain research) and servant leadership. While servant leadership does not fall into one specific brain quadrant, how we choose to use each quadrant can make a big difference in our abilities as servant-leaders. This article explores the traits of each quadrant and what servant leadership looks like in each of the four quadrants.


Understanding and Applying My HBDI® (Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument): What Parts Are Native and What Are Acquired?

After many years of interpreting HBDI®s with thousands of Clients, a curious situation frequently came up. Sometimes an individual’s profile would show strong preferences in a quadrant, but they would feel more grounded in an opposite quadrant or thinking style. This article explores the concept of acquired preferences vs. native preferences. The importance of knowing this links to personal energy, identifying and recruiting a balancing opposite as a learning partner, and how we can even choose to grow preferences in lean quadrants.


Servant Leadership, Creative Thinking, and the HBDI® (Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument)

How many times have you heard someone say, “I’m just not creative” or “we should leave that one to the creative types”? Creativity is a whole-brained process that has room for all to contribute, regardless of thinking preferences. This article explores the role that each of the four thinking quadrants bring to the creative process.


Strengths and Genius in VSLLC® (Virtual Servant Leadership Learning Community®): Stories from Ann McGee-Cooper

From Ann McGee-Cooper’s early work researching genius, Deborah Welch created this article for the Virtual Servant Leadership Learning Community® which explores the role of growing our genius to deepen our ability to be become better servant-leaders. Deborah interviews Ann and identifies six specific skills in nurturing our own growth and the significant growth of others.


Imaging: What You See Is What You Get

Does holding a vivid picture of possibility in your mind actually create reality? Through examples from science, sports, and even medicine, this article explores evidence that imaging produces positive results. By tying expectations to actions, the article suggests four steps to practicing Imaging and improving performance in many areas of our lives.


A Great Place to Work®: It Starts with Me

The Great Place to Work® conference in Dallas drew companies from far and wide who are committed to building their success on a foundation of trust. This “global shift in businesses”, as the Great Place to Work organization identifies it, is in perfect harmony with the principles and goals of servant leadership. Attendees walked away with a wealth of knowledge, but equally important, felt reassured and inspired by the swelling of a movement, the strength of fellow hands working to change the norms of business and lives of people.


Trammell McGee-Cooper and Associates

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