Friday, April 29, 2016

The House of Shame

For every time I didn't speak up...


For every time I didn't challenge the bigot...


For every time I had that sinking feeling in my stomach but remained still...


For every time a leader crossed the line and I looked away...


For every time the group went too far...


For every time I heard my conscience question, but I didn't answer...


And for everything I've learned from failing so long ago...

thank you. I am no longer silent.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Nothing Left to Fear

"The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one."
Elbert Hubbard

Fear In Your Head

What is the worst thing that could happen if you took a risk and failed?

- embarrassment?

- loss of credibility?
- career stagnation?
- loss of your job?

Let me ask it in a slightly different way...

...what is the most likely result if you took a risk and it failed?

- reputation as a bold leader in an era of ridiculously self-absorbed wimps?

- achieve breakthrough learning that leads to innovation and progress?
- a promotion?

If you decide that the secret to success is a different view of the world, you might find that your world changes in a very profound way.

Fear In Your Heart

Once we flip the anxiety in our head to a relentless passion in our heart two very important things happen:

1 - We become more relevant in the life of our organizations.


We all know the bold leaders in our companies. 

They take risks, are constantly trying new things, aren't afraid of a misstep, and have the respect of their team members, superiors, and clients.

2 - We have a positive energy around us.


We see the world differently. 


How About You

Does each day feel like an unbelievable opportunity to go for it? 

Or, is the new day just "the grind"...another reason to moan and groan...and list the same tired excuses to why new things don't matter...why new approaches have no value...and that the world just isn't the same anymore.

Don't miss out. Change the lens that you use to see the world. Who cares if something doesn't work today. Keep pushing and learning and risking...

...and winning for your organization.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, April 25, 2016


I’m the luckiest person alive.

- I have an amazing family

- I have an incredible job working with very special people

- I have the ability to provide for those that I love

- I have many old friends that continue to “be there"

- I have so many new friends that I can’t wait to meet in real life

- I have survived despite many mistakes

- I have the ability to make a difference

- I have the privilege to speak to large groups of people about things that matter

- I can actually see the results of my work

- I have the courage to try new things

- I am no longer afraid

- I receive a huge amount of support

I’m the luckiest person alive because…

…I have you.

I bet you’re the luckiest person alive too.

I’d love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Insufferable Hustler

There is a fine line between working hard (the hustle) and promoting yourself as the second coming (the hustler.) We see them all the time across our social media channels. 

One is truly working their version of the hustle, connecting with others, sharing knowledge, and offering to help at every turn. The other feels compelled to remind us how amazing they are...making sure any snippet about their latest post, webinar, or speech is broadcast far and wide for all to "enjoy."

The Hustle
The world of work seems to have changed faster in the last few years than it has in decades. Whether it's our smartphones, apps, social media accounts, live video or an endless demand for relevant content, our world moves fast!

There is something quite interesting about those that are dedicated to the hustle. They don't need to spend all their time promoting themselves. Other people do it for them.

Think about that for a minute. 

When you are working that hard...putting out high quality no longer need to be a human bullhorn. Your network will recognize you for the value you add.

The Hustler
At the other end of the spectrum is the hustler. They are everything that a professional is not. 

Their bios are filled with language about "expertise."
Their work is life-changing (for us!)
Their self-promoting noise level is deafening.

No one respects them. Sadly, they don't even realize.

How About You
What choices have you made about how you present yourself in the digital world? Do you hustle; or, are you a hustler?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, April 18, 2016



...something that happens as a result of an action...

First Thought
When I think about "consequences" I typically jump to a negative conclusion.

"Ken is being disciplined as a consequence for his error."

It's almost as if those of us in leadership naturally assume we have not made the error. It is always someone above or below who has stumbled. 


Quick poll question:  ...all those who are perfect please raise their hand...

Anyone? Anyone at all?

It's (Almost) Always the Leader's Fault
What if we made a conscious decision in our organizations to frame every single problem in terms of how effectively the leadership team did the following:

- clearly articulated the vision and plan

- set expectations in a public setting so every team member could ask questions and understand

- reported regularly when projects (not people) were drifting from the expected outcome and had to publicly state how they were making course corrections

Our actions have a huge impact on the success or failure of our companies. Our influence is staggering, yet sometimes we forget and simply go through the excuse-filled leadership motions.

For me it is simple...the burden is on the leadership team.


How About You
Who takes the blame in your company? Does it flow downhill quickly; or, is there someone who consistently steps in and takes the fall for the team? If you have a leader like that hang on tightly to them. Otherwise, I might just recruit them away.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

It's Not Business...It's Personal

There is a never ending amount of pressure to deliver results in the world. Whether we work for a large company, a small firm, our church, coach a sports team, or have taken the plunge and work for ourselves, results are the endgame that connects us all.

I’ve seen many leaders (including me) who attempt to separate the business decisions we must make, from the feelings we have as part of that decision-making process.

Let’s call it…corporate justification for not caring about our team members.

Did that hit a little too close to home?

Business Is Important
One of my pet peeves is that leaders do not execute. I write about it a lot because I've collected so many examples of it over the years. 

"Many leaders are so afraid to fail, that they would rather focus their energies on saving their own butt, instead of making a real difference for their organizations or people."

Here's the core problem: under such pressure many leaders treat their employees with a cold indifference all in the name of "business."

Everything Is Personal
Now for a moment of self-disclosure. I put a lot of time, energy, and yes, passion into my work.

If things go poorly, I feel terrible.
If I am criticized for doing an ineffective job, I feel terrible.
If the team's work falls short of a goal, I feel terrible.

I take it all personally. 

All of it.

Newsflash! All of your employees take it personally too. They care about the work they're doing. They care about being successful. They care about getting ahead.

Newsflash #2! Your employees do not wake up each day trying to scam you. Get the hell over yourself and your pompous view of your team.

How About You
Maybe it's time we retire the phrase "it's not's business." What do you think? It seems to have worked as well as the old command and control behaviors that have destroyed the credibility of so many "leaders" our there. 

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, April 11, 2016

Hate by Design

I’ve had enough.

Something has changed in the American dialogue about faith, gender, sexual orientation, and decency. I can turn on my television any night of the week and listen to Presidential candidates discuss their passion for banning certain groups of people from entering the United States simply because of their faith or country of origin. 

I watch states like North Carolina and others legalize discrimination against our own people. I see corporations across the county that still do not recognize equal rights for all of their employees.

It makes me sick. This is not leadership…this is hate by design.

Wake Up Call
Apparently there is such a strong sense of frustration that bigotry and hate are now acceptable. The core documents that this country was founded on…that include language that all people are longer apply. 

What happened?
Here’s a little reality check for those of us who have the privilege to lead our organizations. The millions upon millions of votes that are being cast for candidates with these extremist views are coming from our employees.

How does that feel?

Golden Opportunity
There is an incredible opportunity in the madness that has descended upon our world. Sadly it is not going to be something any politician embraces. However, those of us who shoulder the burden of leadership can make a huge difference.

But only if we’re brave enough to take action. 

- It is time for policies, benefits, and resources to be marshaled to ensure every one of our employees feels like an equal and valued member of our organizations.

- It is time for us to use the power of disciplinary action in a decisive and impactful way when bigotry raises it’s ugly head in the workplace. 

- It is time to for respectable organizations to disavow public policies that would discriminate against any person, regardless of their faith, race, gender, sexual orientation, or country of origin.

It is time my friends. 

How About You
Let me close today with a quote from Martin Niemoller, who shared one of the most powerful messages in all of human history. Sadly, it still applies to America in 2016.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
I’d love to hear from you.

No Excuses. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

This Battle Chose Us

leading through change

leading through criticism

leading through risk

leading through failures

leading through setbacks

leading through growth

leading through fear

leading through breakthroughs

leading through bigotry

leading through new perspectives

leading through sadness

leading through success





We don't have a choice. 

The real leaders keep pushing, no matter what. 
That is the path chosen for us.

Are you with me?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, April 4, 2016

X-Ray Visions

There is a thin line...and I mean a really, really thin line...between confidence and arrogance. 

Consider the leadership team in your organization. Presumably they are bright, experienced, and know that they have a clear vision for how the organization should be managed going forward. (you are part of this group by the way)

Unless they're wrong.
Unless they've overlooked something.
Unless they've closed themselves off and haven't asked the team for their input.


Psychic Warfare Is Real
I've discovered...through many face plants...that I should never underestimate the impact of my influence on the workplace. 

Have I inadvertently moved my employees in a direction that was not the best for my organization?  

Has my high energy around a certain topic led us down the wrong path from time to time?

Have I waged some form of psychic warfare unknowingly?

I Know What You're Thinking
I worry that we've fallen into our own leadership trap. Is it all so clear to us at the top, that we have convinced ourselves we can actually read the minds of our teams? (That typically means we know they're wrong...because we're right.)

How did we miss that line between confidence and arrogance?

The positive impact we can have is so powerful. It can mean the difference between maintaining or growing our organization to new levels of success. 

I want to make the right choice.

How About You
How do you balance that line between winning big and falling hard? I'm afraid I've stumbled back and forth too many times over the years.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.