Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Big Announcement!

I’m fired up today! It’s time to announce some exciting news. Actually, I have several announcements today. In many ways I can’t believe it’s finally happening…yet here I am!

I am publishing my first book: Unstoppable Power: Leverage Energy, Risks and Relationships and Accelerate Your Leadership Career today! It is a straightforward conversation with leaders whether they are 25, 35, or 55 to help them differentiate themselves, lead effectively and move ahead faster.

Second, I am launching a leadership coaching practice. I am committed to supporting leaders who sincerely want to make a meaningful difference both in their careers and in the organizations they lead.  I have limited capacity for clients as I will continue leading the strategic planning work at IRI Consultants.

Lastly, I am also kicking off my speaking practice. I’m excited to work with a variety of organizations for their corporate meetings, as emcee for conferences or to deliver a keynote address…all events I’ve done in the past and continue to do today!

To order the book…inquire about coaching or speaking opportunities…or just to learn more please check out my new website: JAYKUHNS.COM.

Thank you all for the incredible support you have provided over the years. This new phase of my journey was a long time coming…and I’m ready to go!

Thanks for being here.


Monday, March 13, 2023

What Is It About Kindness?

I’ve been sharing a fair amount of content about kindness recently. It seems to resonate more than usual though. Sure, it’s a great topic to discuss, particularly if you’ve made a significant commitment to make kindness part of your professional, personal and volunteer lives.

But something is different lately.

The reaction is not what it once was. The level of engagement has amped up considerably. Maybe we’re experiencing a quiet return to values that put people first, instead of political or extremist agendas on the right or left?

I hope so. 

I’m a big free speech person, but it seems some leaders out there want to restrict what we are allowed to say, and read, and teach as well as how we’re allowed to run our organizations. And all sides are pretty loud as they shout about what is “best” for society. Hmmm. I’m not so sure these views make sense in a free society.

Yet, kindness seems to be winning in spite of it all.

I’m greatly encouraged that this trend has emerged. I’m hopeful that common sense is returning to leadership. Imagine that…common sense. You remember that, right?

Thanks for being here.



Monday, March 6, 2023

The One Thing

Decide now.
Execute now.
Minimize risk now.
Engage employees now.
Grow revenue now.
Develop your people now.
Attract talent now.
Lead now.

Whew. We have a lot to do….now.

So what is the modern leader supposed to focus on? Juggling so many priorities is exhausting. At least it can be for me.

Perhaps only focusing on one thing is best? But wait a minute, with such a long list of responsibilities how could we possibly narrow our focus to just one thing?

The one thing is you.

I’m not trying to be a smart-ass here. The reality is your long list of responsibilities is not going to change. You aren’t necessarily going to work smarter, faster, slower, or more efficiently to a large degree.

There is simply too much on each of your leadership plates to snap your fingers and make it all better. That is a fantasy.

However, prioritizing yourself is not.

Sure, there are plenty of posts about self-care, and finding time to stop, think, reflect, blah blah blah. I’d rather focus on three things that will help you focus on you right now.

1. Eat better. Not rocket science. You know what you put in your mouth…make better choices.

2. Try to get a bit more sleep. Most often that’s not possible, but when it is, go for it.

3. Move your body. You don’t have to go full on in the gym, but you do need to take the stairs once in a while, go for a walk, or do some push-ups. Everything counts.

That simple formula will prepare you for the avalanche of work that keeps coming at you. Plus, you’ll feel better too.

Thanks for being here.



Monday, February 27, 2023

Forge Something New

I like to think I'm a reasonably well-adjusted adult with a good perspective on the world of work after more than twenty-five years in leadership. I believe I have something to offer both my organization, and the clients I serve.

I like to think I know what to do…but I’m not entirely sure sometimes.

Maybe that feeling hits you too?


Feeling a bit stuck is not unusual for leaders at any stage of their career. Wondering if the effort, stress and pressure is worth the trouble is a common mental journey we all take from time to time. Add the anxiety of making the right decision at the right moment and you have a recipe for a leadership break down.

Having someone to connect with, to work through current challenges, and plan a path forward to advance your career is a normal, and candidly, healthy way to build your professional life.

I’ve never been more passionate about the opportunity leaders have today. Think about it…the world is in absolute turmoil…work rules have changed…employee expectations of their employers have changed…and leaders are the ones who can grab hold of all of this and forge something completely new.

Let’s connect and talk about how you are going to transform…for real…yourself and your organization.

Thanks for being here.


Monday, February 20, 2023

Belonging in an Era of Division

Divided workforces.

Divided communities.

Divided churches.

Divided families.

Yet…leaders are expected to create a place where employees not only feel they are contributing and doing meaningful work; and have that same workplace feel welcoming for everyone.


I don’t think so.

What makes the difference? Who makes these disparate elements coalesce into a productive and supportive culture?

We do.

That’s our job as leaders, right? We set the tone for everything. It might feel like a burden sometimes. Although if I’m being honest, I more often consider it a privilege. How many people in this world actually have the opportunity to set the tone for a company’s culture?

Not many.

So how does one go about turning this grandiose vision into reality? It starts with energy. Lots of sustained energy from you. Energy captures people’s attention. Energy makes others want to follow. Energy inspires and helps the team believe that something good will happen.

We have to be that energy.

It’s the first step in the process, but an all-important one nonetheless.

How do you bring energy to your leadership practice?

Thanks for being here.


Monday, February 13, 2023

These Things

I don’t know about you, but it sure feels as if 2023 is trying to make up for a a couple of lost years during the pandemic. Everything seems to be coming at me faster and with more intensity than ever before.

More pressure.

More expectations.

More people relying on me.

As I do a bit of a new year reset, I’ve identified a few things that will be important to my success this year and beyond. 

1. Think holistically about my time. Not work time vs. personal time. It’s all just…time. This now affords me the flexibility to integrate everything I’m responsible for into all sorts of non-traditional time slots. Work needs to get done…but assuming ‘normal business hours’ are when the majority of it needs to be completed makes no sense any longer.

2. Stop doing meaningless tasks that don’t move my business or life forward. My life is quite layered in 2023, and I need to be focused exclusively on high impact issues. My to-do list is so full of low impact tasks it’s embarrassing. This means as I simply drop the small stuff others might believe I’m not getting my work done, when in fact, I’m focusing on the big stuff only from now on.

3. Bring energy constantly. I’ve written about my energy level in the past, and as my new projects add up it will be that bolt of energy that makes a huge difference.

There’s a phrase about the little things mean the most, except for me, focusing on the big things is going to be the only thing. What are you focusing on this year?

Thanks for being here.



Thursday, February 9, 2023

Bound to Fail, Again

I think it’s interesting that we default human nature to negative behavior. Think about it for a minute. People take the easiest path…and it’s human nature. Employees do just enough to get by…and it’s human nature. Leaders sit back and avoid conflict because….well…it’s human nature.

And we almost expect things in life to go poorly…we’re bound to fail…it’s human nature.

I’m calling B.S. on human nature. There is a huge difference between courage (which is the human nature I prefer) and laziness. Laziness is not human nature…it’s a choice…it’s an excuse…and makes people look like fools.

Self-Confidence First

When was the last time you heard someone characterize a leader’s courageous style as their “human nature?” We all know…albeit only a few leaders…whose courage seems to come naturally. 

They have no fear when it comes to trying new strategies. They don’t worry about consequences the way we think they should. 

They are rule breakers…they don’t care about norms…they just see endless possibilities.

It’s in their nature.

Bound to Win
So how do we move from “life is horrible” to “I am so committed to helping my organization win that I’ll try anything?” What is the secret that moves us from the hapless masses that quite candidly are a waste of our time…to moving in to the rarefied air of being confident, fearless, and loaded with so much courage we scare those around us?

The answer is quite simple…but the execution is difficult for most. Corporate pressure and politics cloud our ability to think clearly. They become derailers that move us away from winning for our organizations. You must do what you are scared to do…what you think is too politically complicated…and what may compromise your position. 

Others may mock you along the way. So what?

Others may openly question if you’re doing the right things. So what?

You may even end up feeling quite alone along the path to progress.  So what?

How About You
You are NOT bound to fail. You are bound to take risks…to try new things…and make a real difference.

Do not falter.
Do not look back.
Do not rejoin the hordes of leaders stuck in 1995.
Lead. Today.

Thanks for being here.


Monday, February 6, 2023

I Will Live My Thanks

Even though the world feels like it’s completely upside down, I’ve been doing some thinking about how lucky I am. It was worth the few minutes it took to gather my thoughts. Maybe a small investment of time will help you gain some perspective too.

Personal stuff that really matters to me.


My mom and sister.

My kids.

My granddaughter.

My faith.

My church family.

My friends.

My music.

My health.

My city.

Business stuff I’m thankful for.

My job at my firm.

My current and former colleagues.

My business associates.

My career.

My opportunities ahead.

What’s on your list?

Thanks for being here.


Monday, January 30, 2023

Don’t Suffer Twice

We all go through a lot. Maybe we realize that a bit more in our post-pandemic world? I know I do. How many of us have had a friend open up to us and we think to ourselves “I had no idea what they were going through?”

Probably all of us.

With mental health becoming a topic we can discuss openly, including here on the blog, I’m reminded of a comment one of the guys in my weekly bible study said recently….


Add to this that our minds frequently spin out the worst case scenario (that often does not come true) then we are really suffering on a scale that is simply not necessary.

We suffer again and again, inside our heads and outside our heads.

There aren’t any easy answers here. There isn’t a workout routine or healthy diet to follow that magically solves this dilemma (although they certainly can help.) What I’ve found is that something extra can be powerful in these moments. Something that requires trust, discipline, and an open mind. It takes several forms, and all are effective.




Quiet time.

I’m not preaching here today. Yes, my faith has been life changing for me. Perhaps yours has been for you too? I have friends who use meditation, quiet thinking time, reflection, etc…all have served a powerful purpose. A sense of inner peace is often the outcome of integrating these practices into a daily routine.

At the very least if you are able, reach out to a friend. That has also worked for me and I’m guessing it will for you too.

How do you avoid the scourge of suffering twice? 

Thanks for being here.



Monday, January 23, 2023

Endings and Beginnings

Getting ahead. 
Taking that next promotion. 
Leading a new strategic initiative. 
Moving on from one organization to join a new one. 
Taking a career risk that works out.

Leadership is a wild ride. Just when we think we have things figured out something or someone changes the dynamic. It can be exciting, frustrating, difficult or challenging. Often, simultaneously.

It feels as if life is nothing but a series of endings and beginnings. 

Freshman year to Senior year.
First job to leadership job.
New relationship to committed exclusive partners.

How do you cope with this ever changing cycle? We all live it, yet successfully navigating these waters is tough. At least it is for me.

My lessons learned have made a huge difference in how I move through this cycle of change. At some point it became a bit of a thrill, quite honestly I want to experience the ride. Not knowing exactly how things are going to work out; yet, still diving in and going for it. 

Is that how you do it too?

Maybe I’m a career-adrenaline junkie?

Perhaps my energy levels naturally push me to go beyond my limits to see what kind of difference I can make?

Whatever it is for me, I’d love to hear how you manage…or avoid…life’s cycle of endings and beginnings.

Thanks for being here.


Monday, January 16, 2023

Not Just Today

Today is an important day. Sure, all holidays are important because we take extra time to focus, commemorate, pause, celebrate, and today, recommit to how we aspire to lead.

But sometimes when we take a few moments to acknowledge these special days there is criticism that we are either being insincere or simply celebrating because it is politically correct.

Well friends, here’s how I look at this. I’m thankful there are holidays, special days, and commemorations for all sorts of reasons…not the least of which for one of my all-time role models, Dr. King. I’ve written about him multiple times over the years, and feel compelled to do so again.

Why? Quite simply the world is a mess. Bitter divisions exist: racism, anti-semitism, extreme nationalism, and hate speech all in the name of religion and country have reared their repulsive heads.

We desperately need to remember Dr. King not just today, but everyday.

There are other influences we need as well…but today is the day we focus on one man and his incredible courage, eloquence, and sacrifice.

I hope that you celebrate Dr. King today in any way you see fit. The “how” doesn’t matter as much as long as we “do.” Talk about him. Share video clips of his speeches. Talk about his passion for all people. 

If we truly believe everyone is important, then it seems to me that today is the perfect day to live that belief, not just talk about it.

Thank you Dr. King, for everything.

Thanks for being here.


Monday, January 9, 2023

Strong Cultures…AND…

I talk with a lot of large employers across the country. We discuss their people challenges: turnover, dissatisfaction, engagement, communication, external threats, and inevitably…their ‘strong culture.’

Strong culture. I hear that phrase a lot. And I suspect that it’s mostly true.

Here’s the problem with relying on your strong culture…the world of work has turned upside down in the last couple of years. Employees not only think about work differently; they believe work is different now. Not that it’s changing, but that it has already changed. 

Most employers have not caught up to where their employees are, and the corresponding result of vacancies, employee activism, and external threats seem to have leaders baffled.

How is it possible that we’re still wondering why people “don’t want to go to work” or that “we just don’t understand what’s going on?” Seriously? We are the ones who are supposed to be leading the way, not throwing our hands up in disbelief.

I bet you believe your organization can rely on it’s strong culture too, right?

Here’s the new reality. Many organization have strong cultures…AND…their employees are thinking differently all at the same time. You can no longer rely on your corporate history to save the day. That’s like saying you want me to fax you something.

Today’s savvy leaders leverage their culture and they push themselves out of their corporate comfort zone and adopt contemporary approaches to communication, employee engagement, and digital strategies. The best of the best challenge themselves to not only think differently, but to lead differently. 

That’s a scary proposition particularly if you’ve been a successful leader for a long time. However, if you don’t pivot to blend your culture and the new world of work, you won’t have the privilege of leading much longer.

In my opinion it’s one of the most exciting times to be in a leadership role. There is no longer a business as usual rhythm to the work day. It’s wide open! New ideas, new thinking, new technologies and new behaviors will all play a role in how you drive your organization forward.

That sounds pretty awesome to me.

Thanks for being here.



Tuesday, January 3, 2023


I don’t have a ten-year study to prove it.

I don’t have a trendy article that declares this is true.

But, I’ve quoted this for years and candidly no one has challenged me yet.

95% of all organizational problems are a result of ineffective leadership.

Still with me? Believe my bold assumption?

Let’s break it down:

- leaders develop budgets

- they hire

- they fire

- they approve just about everything including vacations and staffing assignments

- they implement new strategies

- they decide on how communication will flow and which tools will be used

- and on and on…

With so much authority concentrated in a small group, wouldn’t we expect those leaders to be dynamic, engaging, savvy, and passionate about the people they are leading?

Where should we go from here? If 95% is a real thing, does that trigger a response? What does that response look like? It’s easy to say that leadership is important; however, framing true leadership as a very small group of individuals that control everything feels a bit different, right?

What about empowered employees?

What about pushing decision-making down to the frontline?

I don’t believe it’s true…that’s just double-talk in my opinion.

What do you think?

Thanks for being here.