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Welcome to my blog!

“There's not a day goes by I don't feel regret... I look back on the way I was then, a young, stupid kid…. I wanna talk to him. I wanna try to talk some sense to him -- tell him the way things are. But I can't. That kid's long gone and this old man is all that's left. I gotta live with that.” Hello and welcome to my personal blog. You may recognize that (selectively edited) quote from one of the best movies ever made, Shawshank Redemption.  It sums up the purpose of my blog. I believe each of us are born into this world with our own unique gifts. It is up to each of us to overcome our internal shortcomings and external circumstances so that our gifts can manifest and be shared with the world. Like many folks rounding the turn in life, I look back and realize that I haven’t made the most of my opportunities. But my time isn’t up. I have many years ahead of me to redeem myself. And I hope to start by reflecting on the experiences of my earlier years and sharing those

Favorite quotes

 "Your focus determines your reality."                - Qui-Gon Jinn, The Phantom Menace “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”                - Professor Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows "Every battle is won before it is fought"                - Sun Tzu, The Art of War "If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything."             - Mark Twain "When you have a problem, if you tell the truth, the problem becomes part of your past. If you lie, it becomes part of your future."                - Rick Pitino "Innovation is vital.  But execution trumps innovation everyday and twice on Sunday."                - Me

Be kind. Be coachable. Be competent.

I recently spoke to a group of students at a middle school career day. One of the things we discussed was what it takes to be successful in the profession I was representing. What’s interesting, I believe, is that the same qualities are required for pretty much any profession:  Be kind. Be coachable. Be competent. Be kind. Others have to enjoy working with you. If they don’t, the situation won’t last. I once worked once on a team of brilliant high performers that had a stated “no asshole” policy. Being kind means treating others with respect, being honest, trustworthy, dependable, of generally good character. Just be a decent human. Or as they say on Breaking Bad, DBAA. Be coachable. As the saying goes, hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. Most experienced coaches and leaders will take a hardworking individual who doesn’t make excuses and seeks to improve over a talented but lazy, egotistical or defensive individual. Everyday and twice on Sunday. Be competent. This one

Leadership basics I wish I had learned earlier - Part I

This blog on leadership has three sections.  Part I, as Simon Sinek suggests, starts with “why”; why are we talking about leadership at all?  Part II focuses on “what”; what leaders actually do for work.  And Part III focuses on the “how”; how you can develop your leadership values and most importantly habits. I can count on one hand how many leaders I’ve observed over the years who I truly aspired to emulate. There were certainly a few, and they were phenomenal.  But many others were examples of what not to be.  Unfortunately I know I’m not the only one who has had this experience. Leaders affect both businesses as well as individual people's lives.  The impact that leaders have, both the good ones and the bad, can be immeasurable.  So it’s worth asking, what makes good leaders so good, and bad leaders so bad? I spent a couple decades searching for these answers.  Of course I observed those around me.  I read books, visited websites, watched talks, etc, but most of what I found wa

Leadership basics I wish I had learned earlier - Part II

This blog on leadership has three sections.  Part I, as Simon Sinek suggests, starts with “why”; why are we talking about leadership at all?  Part II focuses on “what”; what leaders actually do for work.  And Part III focuses on the “how”; how you can develop your leadership values and most importantly habits. In this second of three articles, I want to be a little more concrete and examine what a leader’s job actually is and how that relates to the concept of servant leadership. Just like most high school students feel pressure to go to college, most young professionals often feel pressure to aspire to leadership positions.  But just like college isn’t the path for every teen, leadership positions won’t be the best path for every young professional.  How do you know what the right path is for you? Well, let’s start to answer that by looking at what people in leadership positions actually do. A leader’s job, first and foremost, is to ensure the success of their team. How you achieve th

Leadership basics I wish I had learned earlier - Part III

This blog on leadership has three sections.  Part I, as Simon Sinek suggests, starts with “why”; why are we talking about leadership at all?  Part II focuses on “what”; what leaders actually do for work.  And Part III focuses on the “how”; how you can develop your leadership values and most importantly habits. In the first two parts of this series I discussed servant leadership and expanded upon that by looking at the primary role of any leader.  Now, let's say you are interested in pursuing a leadership position someday.  How do you go about preparing for that? Best as I can tell, you’re really going to be on your own, so I do hope this blog gives you some helpful thoughts.  I will acknowledge that many corporations often have some kind of “leadership development program”.  Participants rotate through various positions over the course of a few years and gain valuable experience plying their trade, but as far as “leadership development”, these programs tend to be sorely lacking. Yo