Don’t Make Up the Story

Don't Make Up the Story


Just when you think you are on a roll, hopefully, someone puts a mirror up to your face. I took on a project to analyze leadership development principles with Allen Austin, one of the top executive search firms in the US. As I was preparing for a call with the CEO of one of the clients, I pointed out how he might respond if we said “X”. After a few minutes Rob Andrews, the managing partner, pointedly made a statement that has since had profound impact on me charting course of direction.


Don’t make up the story.


Rob followed up with the question “what are the facts that we know? After listing out current statistics, actions taken, and expected results the next step revealed itself. I’m not advocating to not prepare to answer objections or unveil prospective obstacles. Many times I’ve found myself

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Success Requires More Than Focus

Success Requires More Than Focus


I looked back over previous postings and had an epiphany. A central theme evolved centered on “focus”. Is our action goal-achieving or tension-relieving? Are we mission ready? Do we have clarity of the Next Step? Are you raising the bar?


It dawned on me that was something was missing. What wasn’t addressed head-on was

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Fake News or False Focus

Fake News


Numbers continue to flood the internet, attempting to capture our attention on the heavy burden the constriction in the market has caused.


The numbers paint a dim picture


  • 30 million unemployment claims
  • 14% unemployment


This is not fake news. Families are being affected, businesses are struggling to navigate this economic storm. For anyone caught in the economic downsizing, these numbers are harsh and real.


However, the market has

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Searching for Connection


My father, Joe, was a tremendous force in my life. As a little boy, I couldn’t wait to see the door open when he returned home from his seven-on seven-off schedule of working offshore. He would kiss Mom, then reach down and unwrap my arms from his tree-trunk legs. Bending down he would pull me close with his blue eyes looking for evidence of any recent growth.


My dad yearned for connection with me.


In my middle school years,

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Unleash the Power of And and How


I joined Steverson & Company to change the world of recruiting. Asked to start up a new division with just a desk, phone and computer sounded invigorating. After only 10 weeks I found myself blessed with a ton of job openings to fill. End of the day, Tommie Steverson (yes the same Tommie who eventually became my wife) walked by and asked how my business development calls went. Trying to mask the overwhelming frustration that was building up, the question poured out without much of a filter. “Do you want me to make calls to find new business or calls to fill the business I have?” That seemed to be a very rational response in spite of how irrational I thought her question was.


Tommie looked at me and brought forth her wonderful gift with finding just the right words to inspire and lift…




Then she turned and walked out of the room.


I was asking the wrong question. Step one was

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What Makes a Company Progressive?


The fog of war. For me scenes from Saving Private Ryan, Hacksaw Ridge, We Were Soldiers are the closest I’ve been to a battlefield. The chaos of battle blurs vision, impairing the decision-making process of both leaders and the boots on the ground. Not to be overly dramatic by comparing our current situation to what is experienced by the carnage of war, plummeting revenue streams mixed with unemployment is creating a fight of the fittest for our companies and clients.


In research I’ve been conducting on how companies have steered through previous economic recessions, I located a study conducted by Harvard Business School’s Ranjay Gulati, Nitin Nohria, and Franz Wohlgezogen. They analyzed 4700 companies across three major recessions to look for strategies and traits that actually propelled some companies through the economic downturn to returns that

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Can You Create Energy?


I made a slide for a virtual presentation I’m doing next Tuesday that keeps running around in my head. The new norm: average and normal will not create enough energy to turn the tide we are all facing. As the business marketplace experienced massive interruption, normal processes that created energy slowed. I once hired someone from a national recruiting machine to join our company that I referred to as a premium boutique company. After 4 months I watched in confusion as his productivity sputtered, never firing to the levels he claimed to have previously accomplished. What I eventually realized was missing was the monolith he worked for churned energy through the massive influx of data, the people who sought the company out, the overflow of opportunity from working with a large cross-functional team. When he joined us, he had to create his own juice every day, all day.


That’s where we are now. Each of us has to fight the

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