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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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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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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