Leaders Follow the Best Advice Lou Holtz Ever Heard

Recently, I had the chance to hear legendary football coach Lou Holtz deliver a keynote address. He’s best known for turning around the Notre Dame football program, and one of my favorite factoids about that process is that he removed player names from the backs of jerseys, to emphasize “team” rather than “individual hero.” As … Read more

Watch for Signs of Previous Bad Leadership

Recently, I chaperoned a large group trip for a bunch of teenagers—over 300 of them. I had to keep track of about 35 of them myself, and punctuality was the most pressing issue of the trip. If any one person was late for the bus or the meeting point, it held up all 300. While … Read more

Leaders Ask, “Is There a Middle Step?”

We all have situations where we feel stuck and think there’s no way forward. Let me give you some examples: I need to address someone’s obnoxious behavior in meetings, but I don’t know how to bring it up. I’m bothered by a team member’s disengagement, but I’m having a hard time putting into words what … Read more

An Amusing Example of Communication Failure…

Most of my programs come with a participant follow-up email series that underscores some of the points of a training. Hundreds of these emails go out in any given week, and people read them (or not), then discard. Most of the time. Sometimes, though, they respond. And some of those responses are quite amusing. One … Read more

Are You a Leader Who Nourishes or Depletes During Tough Conversations?

At the recent Professional Development Conference for the Central Iowa Chapter of the Association for Talent Development, Sarah Noll Wilson served as the opening keynote speaker, and I’d like to share my favorite takeaway from that speech, because it fits so well with previous themes. Bottom Line Up Front: In every conversation, we are on … Read more

Leaders Discover True Intentions—In Themselves.

In the December 29 Business Record, my friend Sarah Noll Wilson shared her thoughts on intentions. I’ve learned this year that sometimes we have sneaky, shadow intentions that may influence our actions and conversations without even knowing. Now when something doesn’t go quite right, I ask myself what my real intention was in this situation. If … Read more