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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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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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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3 Ways to Tackle a Challenge

Recently, my son, son-in-law, and I went for a long hike. We covered about 11 miles of fairly hilly terrain, but the real challenge came at the end. The last mile required us to ascend a steep and fairly long stone stairway. Once we reached the top, I asked about their approach to tackling the…

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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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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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