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Leadership

The USGA’s major blunder

Credit: John Minchillo via APDuring the final round of the U.S. Open, the wheels came off. No, not Shane Lowry's 6 over par final round or Lee Westwood's +10. In the middle of an exciting final round, the wheels came off for the entity that runs the tournament, the United States Golf Association. They made one of the worst blunders possible from a governing sports body in the middle of a major event. In case you missed it, here's a short summary:

Standing over his ball on the 5th green, Dustin Johnson gave his putter a few practice swings, like a basketball player dribbling a few times before a free throw. Right before he "addressed" the ball (lining up his putter directly behind the ball) the ball ever-so-slightly moved. If you watch the reply, it's almost impossible to decipher the move unless you slow the camera down and zoom in to the point where the image becomes grainy. Immediately, Johnson backed away from the ball and motioned for the hole's official to come over. After conferring with Johnson, the official deemed that no mistake had been made, and let Johnson play on.

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The Allure of ISIS

Credit: 3aref 6ari2o via FlickrNew York Times correspondent Rukmini Callimachi wrote a recent piece in the aftermath of the Orlando tragedy entitled "Was Orlando Shooter Really Acting for ISIS? For ISIS, It's All the Same." Within the article, she tried to tease out how ISIS operates, exploring how they no longer care as much about directly ordering attacks to happen as much as they want to also indirectly influence the actions of individuals or small groups: "Influencing distant attackers to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State and then carry out mass murder has become a core part of the group's propaganda over the past two years. It is a purposeful blurring of the line between operations that are planned and carried out by the terror group's core fighters and those carried out by its sympathizers."

What is this influence that ISIS wields so powerfully? Why is ISIS is so compelling and alluring to so many people? When we ask that question, we quickly confront an important truth about leadership: you cannot understand leadership without appreciating the power of both direct and indirect forms of leadership. Direct leadership is what is most easy to understand. These types of leaders are our bosses, managers, and elected officials. They have formal authority. Indirect leaders are more difficult to understand because they do not necessarily have formal authority. They are our heroes, our friends, our mentors.

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Leadership at Stanford and Baylor during trials

Credit: Rahim Ullah via The Stanford Daily

Baylor and Stanford have been in the news recently due to cases of sexual assault. The situations at Baylor and Stanford concern problematic cultures, while other incidents appear to be isolated. Both cases represent a disturbing trend of violence on college campuses, and school administrators across the country are scrambling to examine their own policies and procedures regarding sexual violence.

From a leadership perspective, numerous implications are emerging from both of these cases, but I want to focus on the overarching issue of how to understand complicated systemic issues. What these cases illustrate is that there are a myriad of powerful forces that need to be understood together. Being a leader is one of the most difficult tasks a person can take on, and one of the most challenging aspects is trying to figure out why a particular problem exists. A good leader is not only focused on addressing what to do about a problem in the moment, but with figuring out why it exists and how it needs to be addressed long-term.

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Google's Secret Project has Leadership Implications

Credit: Virginia Mayo via AP

Google is trying to revolutionize yet another industry. They want to change how we interact with our technology, and their answer is in a new little chip that's smaller than a quarter. The chip, codenamed under the moniker "Project Soli," allows you to interact with your technology without using anything but your hands. It's called Touchless Gesture Interaction, and while that sounds really complicated, it's actually fairly simple.

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How to maximize your internship

Internship concept with young woman (Credit: Melpomene via fotolia)Over the coming weeks, thousands of students will begin internships. In almost every industry, companies bring on these interns in a mutually beneficial relationship. The intern gains firsthand experience and knowledge of the company and the larger industry, while the company gets a chance to develop potential long-term talent. Recent research has shown that companies increasingly prefer these kinds of internship experiences over those who simply have a college degree.

The difference between a good internship and a great internship is not only about what kinds of experiences and opportunities the company can offer, it's about how deeply the intern engages with the overall experience. With that in mind, let's explore a few ways that can help anyone maximize their internship.

The overarching principle that can most dramatically alter your time as an intern is learning to engage in reflective practices. Peter Senge's book The Fifth Discipline is mainly about how organizations can improve, but within the folds of the argument are important personal habits that contribute to overall organizational success.

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