Leadership Doesn't Change

A lot has happened over the last four years, especially in just the last 12 months, but what has really changed? In some regards what is really important has not changed much at all. The below MMM could have been written today. It was actually published four years ago on February 6, 2017. The ingredients for great leadership have not changed and are even more important today.

Leadership Today


After just one month of 2017 and two weeks into the term of a new President, we find our country to be in interesting and challenging times.  Our political and social landscape is changing, seems incredibly delicate, and is actually very contentious.  The world of social media has forever changed how information is disseminated and opinions are formed.  That is not necessarily a change for the better.  We are quick to make judgments; we fail to research facts; we condemn too quickly.  It is way too easy to be extremist and hateful from the safety of an iPhone or keyboard.  We also think it takes too much time to truly listen, educate ourselves and fully understand issues.  The issues are passionate, significant ones.  The extremely divided opinions on many of these topics is both surprising and totally understandable.  But remember, varying viewpoints, backgrounds and beliefs are what makes this country great.      

 What does all of this mean for those striving to be great leaders?  Let me suggest…

·         Be bold but thoughtful

·         Ensure that passions and convictions are well supported by facts

·         Drawing lines in the sand and jumping to conclusions are short sighted behaviors

·         There is power in being positive even in debate

·         Every thought or opinion, political or otherwise, that crosses one’s mind does not have to be posted to social media

·         Don’t believe, nor become enraged by, everything you read on the internet or social media

·         Be careful of the momentum of the bandwagon; groups with common beliefs often feed off themselves without considering differing viewpoints

·         Most importantly…  Listen, truly listen with the intent to understand.



 Momentum Breaker – Dishonesty / Momentum Maker – Character

Character is the sum of a lifetime of everyday choices.  It cannot be built overnight.  Years of proper choices create character.  However, it can be destroyed in a minute, by dishonesty.  We make choices every day which either build or destroy our character.  Many of you have heard me say before…  “Do the right thing, even when nobody is looking!”  It is a matter of integrity and it builds character.  A trustworthy leader has a much easier time generating momentum than a leader with a reputation of being manipulative and deceitful.  Great leaders know how to build positive momentum.

As we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day today, give some thought to Dr. King’s quote:

 “The time is always right to do what is right.”                                                                            – Martin Luther King, Jr.


A Time to Lead

What happened last week at the capital of the United States of America was appalling and disheartening.   The violent and lawless acts that took place there do not represent the values on which this country was built.  I felt like I was watching news coverage of a foreign country, much like I felt during the violent riots last summer.  We are all are entitled to our own opinion about the causes and political aspects of this incident.  We are also entitled to voice those opinions and peacefully demonstrate in support of them. 

As leaders, how do we respond to this?  It is critical that we lead against the divisions that are being perpetrated in this country. The national media feeds upon us being a divided people. It makes great news to depict drastically different viewpoints, develop momentum behind both sides, and exaggerate our divisions.  It is too easy to get caught up in the spin!  This just results in people jumping on one side of a polarizing topic and spewing hatred and accusations.  It is so easy to hide behind the keyboard and ride a wave created by media.  Social media content that serves no purpose other than expanding the divide is all too common.  We can control the breadth and depth of our divisions. 

As a people we are reluctant to take the time necessary to learn all sides of an issue, much less the facts.  I know that facts can be hard to find and I am not suggesting that we all sing Kumbaya together anytime soon.  I am merely suggesting that we need to be careful of letting the media drive the narrative. It is possible to maintain your own viewpoint while still respecting another’s opinion.  It is also possible to formulate an opinion without referring to, or posting on, social media.  Disagreement does not have to lead to expansive divides, accusations, or hateful behavior. As leaders we must encourage education, objectivity, and the understanding of all sides of issues.

I have a great friend whose beliefs about national politics vary greatly from my own. We respect each other’s opinions, listen to one another’s thoughts, and take the time to learn why we feel differently about political topics.  Our first response is not hatred. It is not a verbal attack via social media, and it is not a line in the sand that defines our relationship.  Our friendship has grown because of our ability to respectfully discuss our viewpoints without divisiveness, even though neither of us has changed our position. Differing opinions do not have to lead to hatred.  Listening to others’ beliefs does not have to result in name calling, accusations, and ridicule.

Leaders are purveyors of hope. I have said it before, a responsibility of leaders is to provide hope. That could not be truer than it is today.  Those we work with, those we lead and those we love, all need to be hopeful.  There are plenty of reasons for hope, but that hope must look past our media driven divisions.  That hope requires objectivity and open mindedness.  It needs great leaders.  America is still the greatest country in the world.

Wherever you are today and wherever you lead tomorrow, lead with hope, lead with objectivity, lead against divisiveness, and lead with love.


Hello 2021!

What a year was that? Unfortunately, January 1st was not like a like switch on 2020. We are still in the midst of a pandemic, but there is hope on the horizon. The vaccine distribution is well underway, and I feel like we can see a light at the end of the tunnel (You know what they say about that).

What does the new year have in store for you? What have you learned from the craziness of 2020?  How will you and your business emerge stronger?

Happy New Year! Bring it on…