Learn to Live and Lead in the Present

Leaders must continually keep their eyes on the horizon and drive their business toward the future while still leading in the present. It’s a difficult balance, planning for tomorrow while still appreciating today.

However, if we constantly live in the future, we miss what’s going on now, and the “now” is what we were dreaming about in the past. It’s finally here, but you’re not. (more…)

“Later.” Procrastination’s best friend. Later I’ll…workout, eat right, read a book, work on that project, spend time with the kids, clean out my closet or study for my test.


This week we celebrate the birth of Jesus, a leader we should all strive to be like. He was loving, firm, and focused. He sacrificed for others, cast vision, believed in his mission, and was passionate about our buy in. He was patient, earned his influence, and led from the heart. He was courageous, inspirational, didn’t give in to temptation, didn’t run from difficulty, didn’t delegate his responsibilities, and took a bullet (a nail) for his team. (more…)

A leader’s ultimate responsibility is to be a steward for the company. If you are a leader within your company, then you’re responsible for stewarding four important elements: People, Vision, Money and Culture. (more…)

Change. Whether you love it or hate it, all growing companies go through plenty of it, so you might as well learn to accept it! When done right and for the right reasons, change is a very good thing.

In fact, if you look back on your life, I’m willing to bet that most of your significant growth moments were also those times when you were in the midst of a big change. And while not all changes create growth, we cannot grow without change.

Despite our best intentions, however, sometimes change fails. Over the years, I’ve observed four reasons why. (more…)

“If you forget about the big picture, you’ll be a slave to the day to day.”

A slave to the day to day. Does that sound like today? Maybe this week? We all have those times every now and then when we feel like all we do is put out fires. However, unless you’re a firefighter, spending every day in reaction mode isn’t going to get you closer to your big picture goals.

What does slavery to the day to day look like?

  • Stuck in reaction mode
  • Feeling busy but unproductive
  • Task list items always rolling over to the next day, week, month…
  • Reluctance to commit to deadlines
  • Activities-oriented instead of results-oriented

How can we stay focused on the big picture:

  • Vision and goals – Know them and know how what you do supports them.
  • Make the connection – Track your activities for the day. At the day’s end, identify the goals your activities support.
  • Prioritize – Do the most critical things early in the day. If you don’t get your entire task list accomplished, you still tackled the most important items.
  • Focus on results – Ask, “How have today’s activities moved the ball closer to the goal?”

As a leadership coach, I spend a decent amount of time talking with leaders about their disengaged employees. I’ve noticed over time that as leaders, we often say, “If he won’t step up, he’s going to have to leave.”

At the same time, our employees are saying, “My leader doesn’t appreciate me, so I’ve checked out, and I want to leave.”

Leaving, however, doesn’t have to be the solution for a disengaged worker, and I believe that individual leaders – and not organizations – are mostly responsible for creating engaged employees.

So, what are some of the most common reasons employees feel disengaged, and how can leaders address them? Here are five things that you, as a leader, can do to re-engage the people on your team. (more…)

Commitment is a trade off. In the business world, the employee will only give the amount of commitment that they first get from their leader. A traditional trade off example is the almighty paycheck. In the past, many bosses have relied solely on the paycheck to gain commitment from their employees.

Relying on money to keep people committed is a common employer mishap. Yes, it’s true that an employee will stay at their job for money, but let’s be careful not to mistake staying as commitment to the leader or to the company. Their sticking around is most likely a commitment to something else, like providing for their family. The employee’s strong commitment to their responsibility of earning income is what makes the money exchange worth it. However, paychecks can be earned most anywhere. If a leader only has a paycheck commitment from their employees, they are at risk of losing them to bigger paychecks at other companies.

As leaders our goal should be to gain commitment at a deeper and much more fulfilling level for both us and our employees. Here are five actions to help you gain commitment beyond the paycheck: (more…)

We all heard the big news last week that Steve Jobs has resigned as Apple’s CEO and that Tim Cook, their former COO, will take over as CEO.

I’m sure a million questions went through all of our heads as we heard the somewhat surprising news. However, I doubt the news was a surprise to Jobs and Apple’s board. It has been widely reported that Jobs had built a very strong bench of leaders who clearly understood his vision.

The news of Jobs’ stepping down should force many of us to think about our own succession plan. While we don’t run or maybe even work in a company as large as Apple, it doesn’t change the fact that we too should have a succession plan in place.

What’s your plan if you should suddenly be unable to lead tomorrow? (more…)

I wanted to piggyback some of my thoughts today off ML Hubbard’s post last week on Vision, Passion, and Purpose: A View From the Middle, a feature from our “Emerging Leaders” series.

This young leader expressed something that should be very important to all of us: the power of vision.

What is your company’s vision? Can you state it without looking it up in your employee handbook? Is it alive and active, or is it something that is only talked about? You see, the power of vision is at its best when it comes alive in the people of the organization.

So what can you do if you are a leader in the middle of your organization who’s trying to live out the vision of the company? Here are some suggestions. (more…)