Leddin Group Blog

Bad Fortune or Bad Customer Service?

By Patrick Leddin | August 11, 2022

Today’s Thought What we call manufacturing mistakes or missed project deadlines aren’t merely internal problems; they are ultimately customer service issues. My wife, our son, and our son’s girlfriend recently got together for dinner. We had ‘carry out’ food from a local Chinese restaurant. At the end of the meal, we opened our fortune cookies…

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Cornering the Farmer’s Market on Customer Service

Leadership Thought  Delighting customers starts with stepping into their world and uncovering unmet and unspoken needs. The park near my house hosts a Tuesday night farmer’s market throughout the summer. My wife, Jamie, and I make it a regular outing each week to pick up a few items and grab a bite to eat.  Going…
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Plan Like You Are Playing the Lottery

This Week’s Thought Creating a plan and checking off progress sounds simple, but simple things are often overlooked. As a result, people set big priorities and leave too much to chance. Depending on when you read this message, I may already be a wealthy man. I just purchased a ticket for the Mega Millions lottery.…
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IDK

Today’s Thought Your success is directly tied to how effectively you communicate with others. Talking in shorthand is helpful, but only to the extent that both parties understand the jargon, acronyms, or phrases. When our daughter, Alex, turned 13 years old, my wife, Jamie, and I bought her a cell phone. Getting the phone was…
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Veiled Responses

Patrick’s Weekly Leadership Tip Forget getting people to say ‘yes’ to your requests. Get them to say ‘that’s right.’ The former might be a response intended to avoid a situation. The latter is a sign of true commitment. Imagine that you are the lead negotiator handling an international hostage situation. After hours of negotiation, the…
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The 3 Types of Fun

Last week, I went on an adventure with my son, Clay. We first traveled to New Mexico, where we met up with my nephew and his girlfriend to hike Wheeler Peak. At 13,115 feet, Wheeler Peak is the highest point in the state. Clay and I then drove to Colorado, where his girlfriend joined us,…
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Value a Strong Foundation

Patrick’s Weekly Leadership Tip If you want people to live out the team’s values, don’t just state them. Give examples of what the value looks like in action. Be specific. Give multiple illustrations. The entire company occupied nine of the ten seats in the room. I entered and took the final chair. In a short…
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Leaving Good Performers in the Dark

Patrick’s Weekly Leadership Tip: Don’t fall into the negativity trap. This is when you only provide feedback to people when they make mistakes or fall short. Make it your mission to catch people doing things right.   I recently delivered a virtual presentation to an international audience. During a pre-event call two weeks before the…
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ACT to build a team of problem solvers: Authority, Clarity, and Transparency

My wife, Jamie, and I were in Indianapolis for a meeting and found ourselves with a few hours to kill before catching a flight out of town. We decided to take advantage of the time by going to the local shopping mall as Jamie was in the market for a new pair of shoes. A…
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Step by Step

Set against a backdrop of steel and glass, the chateau-inspired Fairmont Royal York Hotel is an iconic part of the Toronto skyline. Since opening in 1929, the hotel has been the temporary home to a wide range of guests, including Queen Elizabeth, President Ronald Regan, the 14th Dalai Lama, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Aniston, and the…
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Shake It Off

Klay Thompson didn’t play basketball for 941 days, but now he and his Golden State Warriors teammates are heading to the NBA finals. ESPN described his reaction when the finals were in sight, “As the clock ticked down the final seconds, Klay Thompson began dancing on the sideline before nearly being moved to tears during a celebration…
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A Peek at Dolly Parton’s Two Biggest Assets

Dolly Parton owns a compound just a few blocks from our house in Nashville. It sits among a bustling walking neighborhood of shops and restaurants. Most passersby never notice the southwest-inspired complex, which is surrounded by an eight-foot fence and an ever-closed gate across the drive. I say ever-closed to describe the gate, but that’s…
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Move People One Step Closer

As a leader, one of the biggest things you do is effect change. You help teams accomplish new goals, initiatives, projects, and results. You encourage people to achieve what they didn’t think possible and coach them along the way.   I bet you can think of a time when you effected change, delivered results, and…
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The 5 C’s of Consitency

As humans, there’s one thing that we all struggle with: consistency. You might do the right thing one day and go in a completely different direction the next day. Sometimes, especially as leaders, we get frustrated and ask ourselves: Why wasn’t I more consistent in having one-on-one conversations with my people this week? Why didn’t…
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Fan the Flames of Success

This past weekend, I went to a family wedding. During the reception dinner, my siblings and I posed for a picture. As I smiled for the photo, I saw our dad across the table, watching us take the picture. He was smiling too. I imagine that his smile stemmed from observing four of his children…
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Empty Your Mind

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have a lot on my mind. If I’m not careful, then pending deadlines, pressing issues, personal commitments, and my grocery list will take up simultaneous residence in my grey matter. When this happens, their good friends, anxiety and distraction, aren’t far behind.   I recently had the…
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Recognize and Reward Go-to People

This past Sunday, I went to the Nashville Predators hockey game against the St. Louis Blues. As a Preds fan, it was a tough game to watch. The Blues broke the game wide open when they scored seven times in the second period. That’s a lot of goals. In fact, it was the highest number…
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Relationships Matter

Last week, I had the opportunity to visit with Doug Parker, Chairman of American Airlines. Our conversation occurred only days after he finished a nine-year sting as CEO of the airline. It was a great discussion filled with numerous lessons. I took lots of notes. The next day, I sat down to review what Doug…
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Chef or Ingredients? How to Scale, Systematize, and Sustain Success

In a recent conversation with Ken Natori, President of The Natori Company, I gained a valuable insight. We were discussing growing and scaling a business when Ken shared an analogy. He said, “success can come from a chef or the ingredients.” The analogy is a helpful way to consider an entity’s success. Allow me to…
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SEIZE the Lessons

Are you too busy doing things that you never stop to take note of the lessons you’re learning along the way? I know that I can fall into this trap. I bet you can too. Impactful leaders commit to continuous growth. This commitment includes learning from daily work experiences when things go well and when they…
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4 Gets and 1 Gain from Ideation

Last week, my team and I set aside time to explore our current content development efforts and think earnestly about you, the leaders we strive to develop. You are top of mind for us daily, but this was a deliberate process. We went to Vanderbilt University’s Wond’ry, the university’s space for creativity and innovation. We…
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Turn the Page

Last week, I spoke to a group of executives in New York City. It was the first time since the onset of the COVID pandemic that these leaders had been in the same room without a mask and physical distancing mandate. Everyone seemed excited to visit with one another and dream about the next chapter…
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Unleash Your TEAM

About a month ago, my teammates and I were discussing a project to develop a new leadership offering. The project was important, but I felt that we needed to wait until Q3 to start the effort and that we would likely need to hire a contractor to complete the development work. I also assumed that…
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From Breakthrough to Boring

I recently had a conversation with a renewable energy entrepreneur about the challenge of bringing new ideas to market. Experience taught him that when his team innovates a unique solution, the key to successful user adoption is to take the offering from breakthrough to boring as quickly as possible. His point was that if the…
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Reform, Perform, or Transform

There was a time in my life when I thought that brainstorming and setting priorities was a reasonably straightforward process. Invite the team into a room, ask them to create a list of possible priorities, and then pick a few. It seemed easy enough. How hard could it be? Then, I started doing it. As…
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Right Standards for the Right Reasons

I was out for a walk the other day and I came across a scooter on the sidewalk. It was a rental scooter that a user can access via a smartphone app, ride around town, and then leave behind for someone else to rent. The last renter had finished using the scooter and decided to…
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Master Mantras to Overcome Obstacles

Whether we like it or not, we all have tapes playing in our minds. The question is: who recorded it and is the information accurate? Maybe your tape features your voice reminding you of all the fantastic things you have done and encouraging you to tackle more. Or, your own words could be holding you…
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What Author James Patterson Told Me About Disruption

I had a wonderful experience this week. Author James Patterson joined me, my co-instructor, and 30 students in our Vanderbilt University classroom to talk about his life and career. It was a rare and insightful 75-minute conversation and exchange of ideas. Odds are, you are familiar with the name James Patterson or, at the very…
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Win in the Turns

In auto racing, there’s an expression that drivers win races in the turns. Unlike straightaways, where most drivers can keep their vehicles reasonably competitive with one another, curves upset the status quo. When a driver hits a turn, that’s when the unexpected can occur, when people make mistakes, and when a racer can gain an…
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Be Present. Be Mindful. Be Selective.

This morning, I jumped in my car on my way to work, opened up a coffeeshop app on my phone to preorder a drink, and learned that I had “earned” a free cup of coffee. My attitude was great at that moment. Fast forward an hour later, and I’m getting ready for a presentation. Every…
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Brady and Gronkowski $1,000,000 Leadership Lesson

In their final game of the regular National Football League (NFL) season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers created a stir. USA TODAY reported that “Tom Brady refused to leave Buccaneers’ Week 18 game until Rob Gronkowski got his $1 million bonus.” The USA Today story continues, “…Rob Gronkowski went into this game with the possibility of…
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Mad Libs

Have you ever played Mad Libs? According to MadLibsLive, “Mad Libs are stories with words removed and replaced by blank spaces. One player acts as the “reader” and asks the other players, who haven’t seen the story, to fill in the blanks with adjectives, nouns, exclamations, colors, adjectives, and more. These words are inserted into the…
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Interview Your People

This past weekend, the calendar turned from 2021 to 2022. It’s a time to reflect on the past year and consider the opportunities yet to unfold. A collective ritual to learn about a wide range of happenings from the past year, including blockbuster movies and celebrity deaths. As 2021 closed, two such celebrity deaths captured…
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Position Yourself for Success

We all fulfill several positions in our lives. I am a business owner, a professor, a father, a husband, a dog owner, an author, a speaker. You may be an accountant, a sister, and a choir director. Throughout the year, we can take on a new position without fully understanding performance expectations or examining the…
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Leadership, Porta-Potties, and Dumpsters

On a recent neighborhood walk, I passed a home undergoing renovation. There were several telltale signs – workers milling about, a building in disrepair, and both a dumpster and porta-potty nearby. The latter items caught my eye. Why? The dumpster and the porta-potty sat side-by-side on the same carriage. It was brilliant. Someone must have…
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7 Sources of Problems

When I sat down to write this article, my mind was filled with the news of the day. The headlines tell us that we are collectively facing a great number of problems: COVID-19, a struggling economy, divisiveness at every turn, geopolitical instability, the list goes on and on. Beyond the national and international issues, I…
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How to Deliver Bad News

Did you see the video of Better CEO Vishal Garg firing 900 people over Zoom? The video and associated commentary are all over the news and social media. Here’s how CNN described it: “Better CEO Vishal Garg announced the mortgage company is laying off about 9% of its workforce on a Zoom webinar Wednesday, abruptly…
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Dam Good Leadership

I once read an article about beavers. Yes, the little furry animals. The article discussed a study in which beavers would build a dam simply when they heard the noise of running water.  The researcher put a beaver in a room with nothing but sticks and a speaker. They played a recording of running water, and…
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Assess Your Convictions

A few days ago, I served as a judge in a business pitch competition. In all likelihood, you have seen these types of competitions before on television. One by one, the various contestants step on stage to present their business idea to the judges in hopes of receiving funding or support. After the pitch, the…
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Be a Raving Fan

This past weekend, my wife, Jamie, and I went to a concert at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN. If you are familiar with the Ryman, you know it is a special place. Unlike a large stadium filled with tens of thousands of people, the Ryman is an intimate setting. It also has a long…
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Level-up Your Leadership

Have you ever watched a home remodeling show where a dilapidated house is stripped down to the studs and turned into a spectacular home? I’m always amazed by the before and after comparison shots. The contractor manages to turn a cramped bedroom into a luxurious sleeping space and an oddly configured living room into a…
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The Power of Routine

When I arrive in a hotel room on a business trip, I set a five-minute timer. The timer indicates how long I have to unpack my bag, change my clothes (if needed), and get out the door. I created this routine years ago to avoid the trap of turning on the TV and getting sucked into flipping…
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Heads-up Leadership

I once rode a bike into a parked car. It’s true. Distracted by a problem with my pedals, I rode directly into the back of a parked car. I flew over the handlebars and crashed into the back window. I then rolled off of the trunk and landed in the grass adjacent to the vehicle.…
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The Tragedy of Leadership

I once worked closely with Chris McChesney. Chris is the author of the #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller, The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals. Chris and I have remained connected over the years, and I have learned a great deal from him. He’s been a guest on my podcast and endorsed…
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Where is Your Plimsoll Line?

Business Insider recently reported that “nearly half a million shipping containers are stuck off the coast of Southern California as the ports operate below capacity.” Although many in the industry have seen problems mounting over the years, the COVID-19 global pandemic has increased product demand and caused “shortages of workers, equipment, and a lack of…
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How to Make a Dent in the Universe

I bet I can make a few assumptions about you:  You want your work to matter  You want to make a difference  You want those who work with you to be better because of your presence  You want to get better along the way   Essentially, you want to make a dent in the universe (or…
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Leading Through Trauma

I teach a class at Vanderbilt University called Leading Business Through Times of Crisis. This week we read a 2002 Harvard Business Review (HBR) article titled Leading Through Trauma. In the article, the authors argue that:   “Although the human capacity to show compassion is universal, some organizations suppress it while others create an environment in which compassion is…
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A Double Take at Leadership

Have you ever been to the eye doctor?    If so, you are likely familiar with a machine called a phoropter. While you look through the piece of equipment, the optometrist flips among different lenses in front of your eyes. The procedure is called a retinoscopy and it helps the doctor to determine your optimal lens…
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Crisis at 800 Feet

My wife, Jamie, woke me from a deep slumber with a panicked, “What happened to your neck?” Having been asleep for a few short hours and waking to a fair amount of pain, it took me a moment to respond. I quipped, “What are you talking about?” She pointed to the large bruise on the back of…
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What are you grateful for?

On Friday of last week, my book, The Five-Week Leadership Challenge: 35 Actions Steps to Become the Leader You Were Meant to Be, made the Wall Street Journal bestseller list.  I am thrilled about the book’s performance and the impact it is having. I’m also extremely grateful to:  My partners at HarperCollins Leadership for publishing the book…
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What’s in a Name?

This week, I interviewed Skot Waldron for our podcast. Skot helps companies communicate more effectively with their customers and employees to create alignment, consistency, and loyalty. In preparing for the interview, I read the backstory on the spelling of Skot’s name. Most would agree that S-K-O-T is more often spelled S-C-O-T-T. I talked to Skot…
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Lessons From Launching a Book

Today’s newsletter is going to be a little different. For the past few days, I have been traveling from event to event, promoting my new book, The Five-Week Leadership Challenge. From the first day I proposed the book to Harper Collins, to writing my first draft, to now, I have learned a lot. I’d like…
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How Did You Spend Your Summer Vacation?

Over the last two weeks, students have started to return to Vanderbilt University. I enjoy it when they arrive back on campus as they bring energy and excitement with them.    As I walked across campus today, I thought about the all-too-common question that is undoubtedly popping up in dorm rooms, dining halls, and other…
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Turning the Tables

On the Leadership Lab podcast, I’m usually the one asking the questions. This week I decided to turn the tables. On the latest Leadership Lab podcast, I brought on leadership coach and bestselling author, Eddie Turner, to interview me about my new book, The Five-Week Leadership Challenge. Now, I loved this interview for a lot…
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Embrace the White Space

In my role at Vanderbilt University, I often talk to students about their career aspirations. Most of those discussions involve a brief exchange about my experience and the decisions I’ve made throughout my career. I typically share two things about my work life. The first focuses on the information that is on my resume –…
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Leading Through a Paradigm Shift

In college, I took a class on “The Scientific Revolution”. On the first day of class, the professor walked in and said, “You all signed up for a class called The Scientific Revolution. What you will learn over the course of the semester is that historians debate every word of that title.” They argued about…
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Breaking Customer Trust

Imagine for a moment that a new coffee shop is built in your neighborhood. From your perspective, it seems perfect. You love coffee; you drive by the coffee shop’s future location nearly every day, and the new store is going to feature a drive-thru. Could it get any better? Over the next several months, you…
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Leading from Confidence or Fear

Our dog, Magnus, is great. Except when he isn’t. When I take him for a walk, he performs exceptionally well. He behaves on the leash, lets people pet him, and enjoys interacting with other dogs. You can see a pep in his step, and he moves with confidence as he walks through the park. There…
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Preparing for a Tough Conversation with Your Boss

In the last few weeks, several people have told me about their plans to have conversations with their respective bosses about raises, promotions, or changes to work arrangements. Knowing that one of the business classes I teach at Vanderbilt University is Negotiation, each person asked how I would handle these potentially tough conversations. Like any…
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What Do Your Employees Really Need from You?

I was recently talking to a CEO about how the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped employee expectations. She shared with me that team members are looking to their organization for answers on topics well beyond the company’s products, services, and policies. They want to know public policy decisions, health issues, personal safety measures, and more. They…
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Grace Under Pressure

Over the last year, you and the team you lead have shown grace under pressure. How do I know that? Because you’re still standing today. You’re still performing. You’re still working to move the organization forward. The only way that could happen is for you to deliver results during some tremendously difficult times. Times of…
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A Leadership Lesson 17 Years in the Making

Cicadas are about to make their presence known across large portions of the United States including Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee. This batch has been dormant underground for 17 years, but now they are starting to emerge as part of their standard lifecycle. Along with their emergence comes the accompanying noise visual display. As the…
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How Great Leaders Use Tools

I enjoy going to the hardware store. Roaming the aisles and looking at the tools often inspires me to tackle a project around the house. I find the rental section particularly intriguing as it offers massive power tools, wood chippers, and even jackhammers for short-term use. Occasionally, I catch myself glancing at the rental rates…
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Help Your People to See that They Are Valued

Thirty years ago, Jaime and I were married. Like many soon-to-be-wed couples, we registered for linens, dinnerware, and a range of household items that we felt would help us as we started our lives together. One gift that we received wasn’t on our registration. Nonetheless, it became one of our most treasured items. It was…
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Why Didn’t I Think of That?

Nearly every morning both my wife, Jamie, and I make small concoctions for ourselves. They are comprised of two things: water and a scoop of fruit and vegetable powder. In all honesty, it’s not something I came up with on my own. I prefer a huge latte as I roll out of bed; but Jamie convinced…
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What an Ice Storm Taught Me about Friction and Leading

Not too long ago, my neighborhood was covered in ice. The slick spots made walking a bit treacherous as there was no friction. My shoes didn’t grip the slippery surface and the only thing between me and a trip to the emergency department was dexterity and luck. Fortunately, luck was on my side each day…
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The Kind of FIT that Truly Matters to Your Culture

I enjoy a challenging puzzle. I also like a great analogy. That probably tells you a lot about me. That said, I don’t particularly enjoy the analogy that compares puzzles to teams and people to pieces. Perhaps you’ve heard this analogy. It can show up in ways like these: A person interviews for a job…
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Snow Days and Other Traditions

The United States was hit with a major snow and ice storm a couple of weeks ago. While my newsfeed filled up with stories about the weather and its aftermath, my social media populated with images of kids sledding and drinking hot chocolate. In the midst of all of it, I became a bit nostalgic…
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What is your radical idea?

I’ve had this long nagging desire to write a sitcom. Silly, right? I’m not a sitcom writer. I’m a professor and an entrepreneur. I research important topics and I consult about practical things like leadership, team building, and talent development. Nonetheless, every once in a while, I find myself noodling with this idea for a…
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Discover Your Purpose

Have you ever heard the expression, “if you want to know what someone truly values take a look at their bank account and their calendar”? The idea is that regardless of what we say we value, the true answer is revealed in how we spend our time, energy, and resources. Reading a leadership blog suggests…
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RIP Toys R Us

Toy’s R Us is dead – the last two stores have closed. As the store has gone through its multi-year descent, the debate has been underway about what killed the business: Was it poor strategy and execution? Including specific issues like store selection and website functionality…. (Business Insider) Did Private equity strip assets and saddle…
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How Reddit Changed the Game and What You Can Learn from It

Reddit gained attention for the role the platform played in GameStop’s stock price. As PCGamer put it, Reddit “messes with investors by driving GameStop stock price to record heights.” The self-proclaimed “front page of the internet” is big – very big. With over 174 million unique visitors each month, hailing from over 186 different countries,…
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Leading Your Whole Self

In today’s world, outsourcing is commonplace. To reduce costs, a company ships jobs to another country or location where labor is less expensive. This shift in management mindset coupled with advancements in technologies allows a company to establish a call center halfway around the world and enjoy the associated cost savings. The situation seems almost…
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4 Trust Building Choices that Smart Leaders Make in Uncertain Times

Leaders everywhere continue to weave their way through the dynamically changing COVID-19 situation. Perhaps you’ve experienced one of these scenarios: You email your team members the latest policy on how your organization is dealing with the coronavirus. As soon as you hit send, a message arrives from your boss adding a new requirement to the…
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7 Gifts that Great Leaders Give to Their People

Throughout the year and around the world, various occasions are marked with the giving of gifts. For many, exchanging presents is not merely tradition; it is an outward sign of one’s appreciation for another. Much time, energy, and effort are put into finding the perfect gift. The gift-giving practice often extends to the workplace where…
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Musk Heading to Texas is Just Another Boring Move

Musk announced that he is moving to Texas. Is this another Boring move? In the 1830s, Charles Pearson proposed a rather ingenious, and arguably mad idea for public transportation. Some 14 years later his boring vision began to take shape as Londoners started to bore a tunnel that over time weaved its way under the…
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Amazon Tops Advertising List as the Strategic Wolf is on the Prowl

Ad Age’s Datacenter reports that Amazon spent $11 billion on advertising in 2019 That makes it the world’s largest advertiser topping Billion-Dollar Brand Builder Proctor & Gamble that is a perennial placeholder at the top of the chart. Amazon has been a regular topic of discussion in my marketing and strategy classes at Vanderbilt University. It wasn’t…
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What Lloyd Austin Taught Me about Leading in Tough Times

Retired Four-Star General Lloyd Austin is set to become the next U.S. Secretary of Defense. Many years ago I worked for Austin and saw him lead in uncertain times. Allow me to share a story with four lessons that we can all use during the uncertain times… Many years ago, my wife, daughter, and I…
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How to Conduct Virtual Check-ins with Your Team Members

The concept of conducting one-on-one meetings isn’t new. For some of you, it has been a regular practice for years. In 2016, Harvard Business Review published an article by Rebecca Knight, entitled “How to Make Your One-on-Ones with Employees More Productive.” Knight references books and studies that have pointed to the importance of regular check-ins…
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8 Behaviors of Truly Abundant Leaders

I’ve spent considerable time thinking about and studying the concepts of scarcity and abundance. I want to understand not only how abundant leaders think but also how they behave. My efforts thus far have yielded eight behaviors of truly abundant leaders. “Most people are deeply scripted in what I call the Scarcity Mentality. They see…
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Getting Angry

This morning I read the news and found myself getting angry. I was angry about COVID, violence, and other injustices. Frankly, I felt that the world was bit terrifying, dangerous, and out of control. Guess what? It is – and it has always been that way. Every generation has faced its own terrifying, dangerous, and…
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Great Leaders Create a Culture of Quitters

You are likely familiar with the concept that employees don’t quit companies, they quit bad leaders. It is with this in mind that many organizations invest time, energy, and resources developing leaders who foster employee engagement. Yes, employees might quit an organization because of a bad leader; however, these same employees may quit their own bad behaviors…
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Finish Strong

It has no doubt been a very tough year for everyone. There’s been uncertainty around every corner. There have been obstacles in your path that you never thought possible. Many of you have lost family members and friends, saw relationships fall apart, or learned that your job was no longer available. Regardless of how challenging…
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Why You Should Revisit Your Thinking

I recently talked to Prakash Raman about how our thinking shapes us. Prakash is a leadership coach who is listed on the MG100 and recognized as a global thought leader. It was a very interesting conversation that focused on the concept of attachment and how our attachments can shape our mindset, behaviors, and results. Prakash shared…
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5 Things to Look for in a Job Candidate

Imagine that you are interviewing for a leadership role. You’ve studied the position, looked into organizational challenges and opportunities, and conducted a couple of mock interviews. You settle into the chair and I enter the room and introduce myself. During the interview, I’m looking for several things to suggest that you are a good fit…
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Communicating in Tough Times

Leading in tough times requires effective communication. This week’s leadership tool outlines 3 communication behaviors that you should embrace when moving through uncertainty: 1. Be proactive; don’t allow the story to overtake your message. 2. Be appropriately serious; don’t come across flippant. 3. Be open to feedback; don’t create an environment where people won’t speak…
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Find Your Path

The vast majority of my career has been spent being developed to lead others, leading others, or developing others to lead. Throughout much of that time, we would be led down a fairly prescriptive path. To be a leader, you’d have to have this experience, go to this course, take this job, etc. There was…
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4 Reasons That You Should Start a Business Today

Every semester, I invite entrepreneurs into my classroom at Vanderbilt University to share their stories with my students, partner with student teams to address business challenges, and receive recommendations about how to improve their businesses, drive growth, and better position themselves in the marketplace. Using these experiences as a backdrop, coupled with my own business…
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Are Great Leaders Born or Made?

If you want to be a doctor, it takes over a decade. You can’t wake up one morning and decide to do surgery. You can’t do an “accelerated track” for “high potential medical students” and get up to speed in a couple years. You need four years of undergrad, four years of medical school, and…
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How Culture Can Devour a Leader

Perhaps you are familiar with this well-known Peter Drucker quote about the power of culture. Culture eats strategy for breakfast. My experience suggests that culture has a fairly robust appetite. Not only does it have the ability to eat strategy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, sometimes, it can devour a leader as well. When this…
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True Leaders Jump First

A decade ago, Simon Sinek asked Marine Corps Lieutenant General George Flynn, “What made the Marines so great?” The general responded, “Officers eat last.” Sinek slightly modified the sentiment and used it as the title of his 2014 bestseller, Leaders Eat Last. The book focuses on the sacrifices that true leaders make for their people and a…
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3 Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

About 20 years ago, my wife, Jamie, and I started Wedgewood Consulting Group. We built the business from scratch, led it for over a decade, and then sold it. We learned mountains of lessons, many of which I’ve discussed on LinkedIn over the years, including some of the stories which form the basis of the 5…
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3 Problems Plaguing Your Productivity. Number 3 Might Be Killing You.

Today’s productivity problems go far deeper than just managing units of time. Our world has a few specific challenges that allow the time to just “go by,” and can leave us feeling unaccomplished and weary at the end of a day. Productivity Problem #1 We are making more decisions than we ever have before. Think…
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Are You Promoting the Right People?

Imagine for a moment that you just got promoted. Your first order of business? Help choose your replacement. To you, there’s really no need to interview anyone. You already know that you’ll be choosing your hotshot lead analyst who has been performing at a high level for some time. Fast forward 6 months, and things…
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What Does a Leader Do, Anyway?

Leadership is incredibly hard to define. Instead of trying to figure out what a Leader is, I find it easier at times to discern what a Leader does. I’ve whittled it down to three key jobs of a Leader. No matter what organization or industry you’re in, or what job title you have, or what…
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How COVID-19 Barriers Remind Us that Great Leaders are Barrier Busters

In recent weeks, I’ve watched as neighborhood businesses began to come back to life amid COVID-19. After last week’s article, I’ve been making an effort to (safely) get back into my old routine. In addition to asking customers to wear masks and comply to social distancing standards, restaurants and stores are installing plexiglass barriers at…
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How to Help an Employee to Quit

This week I had the pleasure of speaking with my friend, Chris Stemp. Chris hosts the Smart People Podcast and works at Nestle in Learning and Development. He has two small children and a beautiful home – he seems to have it all. But at one point, he was passed out in his boss’s office…
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JetBlue Airways Chairman Told Me Two Ways to Help Your Career to Takeoff

I recently interviewed Joel Peterson for my Leadership Lab podcast. Joel has a long history of successful growth capital investments in a variety of industries. He currently teaches at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, serves as Chairman of the Board of Overseers at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, and is engaged on numerous Boards.…
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What Atlanta Braves Player Dansby Swanson Told Me about Leadership

Major League Based (MLB) recently announced plans for the 2020 season. Needless to say, this year will be far from normal with the 162-game season reduced to 60 games, changes to roster requirements, adjustments to how extra innings will unfold, and the need to keep players and fans separated. Despite all the differences, much will…
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What Patrick Lencioni Taught Me about Leading Others for the Right Reasons

I recently had the chance to sit down and speak with bestselling author, Patrick Lencioni for my leadership podcast (listen here). Pat is a gifted consultant, speaker, and writer. His long list of bestselling books includes The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, The Ideal Team Player, The Five Temptations of a CEO, and, most recently,…
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3 Lessons that Skullcandy’s CEO Taught Me about Starting Your Career Strong

As the leader of a global brand, “at the intersection of sport, music, youth culture, art, film and fashion,” Skullcandy competes against big players like Apple, Bose, Sony, and many more. The audio marketplace is tough and it is heavily dependent on trends and emerging technologies. These can change overnight. This level of competition teaches…
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