A compass with text and icons – Principles


If your firm is puzzling over conversations about business development, inclusion, mental health in the work place, succession, stability or any aspect of how to grow, consider that this might be a sign that critical areas of your organization may not be aligned.

Not that these topics aren’t challenging. Indeed, each calls for the best a leader or leadership team can bring to the table.

But if you’re having trouble addressing these challenges, the elements essential to a highly functioning organization are either missing or out of alignment. As a result, the pressure on productivity, profitability and stability is likely to intensify.

An uncertain marketplace only adds to the pressure.

Continue Reading Why Leaders Should Focus On A Set Of Guiding Principles

There is still time to give a gift that can change everything in the coming year.

The gift? A fresh start. A new beginning. A clean slate.

Give it to everyone with whom you interact — family, colleagues, team members, clients and customers. Extend it even to those from whom you expect to receive little or nothing in return.

And give it to yourself.

Continue Reading New Year. Clean Slate.


Peace on earth.
It is a message shared on seasonal greetings. Poets speak of it wistfully. When words fail it is how we express hope for all touched by sorrow, loss and tragedy.

But where are the peace makers? Not the heads of state, or treaty negotiators. Not those whose names will be associated with global prize.

Where are the makers of everyday peace — in homes, schools, city halls, and corporate boardrooms — those who inspire dialogue and collaboration; and build bridges?

Are there any among us able to question process, probe perspective and debate outcome without engendering adversarial relationship?

Where are those able to see diverse perspective, hear differing beliefs, erase ultimatums, and facilitate a dialogue that builds on shared aspirations?

I have always enjoyed vigorous debate. The exercise is healthy. The dialogue can be productive. Unless lines in the sand or litmus tests render the debate a divisive exercise. And end conversation.

Look around. Wherever meaningful dialogue is missing, progress minimal and every action polarizing, chances are there are no peace makers in the mix.

Long-term progress requires collaboration. Lasting relationship requires conversation. And a cooperative spirit rarely goes hand-in-hand with lines in the sand.

Two Keys To Makers of Everyday Peace

Anyone can be a peace maker. Each of us can be a change agent. Here are two keys.

1) Makers of everyday peace value on-going dialogue above winning a single debate. The goal is continuity — to keep the conversation going.

2) Peace makers seek to understand as much as to be understood; intentional listening becomes the baseline for communication.

Want conversation where there is none? Want to change a discussion that is going nowhere? Build dialogue around these two keys.

Progress will seem slow; but blessed are the peacemakers.

There are at least a hundred things a week that will wind up on the desk of every leader. Maybe a hundred every day.

And much of what lands in your lap really does warrant your attention…especially if you serve as both leader and manager. (A bit on this juggling act in a moment.)

But of all the items that vie for a chunk of time, one job belongs permanently pinned to the top of every leader’s priority list: the challenges associated with casting a Vision of the future. Continue Reading The One Thing A Leader Must Master


I have never been a “morning person.” Anyone who knows me knows I rely on a strong cup of coffee to help shake the cobwebs.

If you share this “condition” I’ll wager we also share an understanding that being slow to wake isn’t the same as not having a compelling reason to greet each day.

A clear vision and its inexorable link to a mission — to the drive to accomplish something — is the reason to consistently show up and bring the best you’ve got.

The more compelling the vision the more it defines our days and gives rise to intentional acts. Continue Reading What Prompts You To Show Up In The Morning?

If you’re like most professional service providers I know, the motivation behind your choice of profession had nothing to do with a desire to get into sales…never mind being required to sell in order to do what you set out to do in the first place.

The real-world result of this is a “two-hats” dilemma — requiring one hat for your role as a business builder and a second one as a service provider.

Business development feels like it requires a personality, skill set and tool kit completely different from those associated with the counsel or service you provide.

How do you find prospects? How do you manage your time and create new growth opportunities?

The good news is that there are productive business development strategies that relieve this stress and bridge the disconnect.

The key is to create an approach to business development that grows out of the way you serve your clients. Do this and building a practice becomes much more organic. 

Where To Begin Continue Reading Stressed Over Business Development? Relax, You Don’t Need More Prospects

When was the last time you were in a room where the problem was a shortage of talk?

Each of us has an experience, a perspective or an insight (or two) worth sharing. The challenge, at least as it relates to building productive relationships, is that some of us (I’m looking in the mirror, FYI) act like the insight is so grand as to warrant the lion’s share of attention in any room.

So there is almost never a shortage of talk.

Meanwhile, interactions where the objective is to listen, intent on learning, are rare.

If you’ve encountered anyone skilled at purposeful listening it might have made you a bit uncomfortable. It almost certainly made an impression. Continue Reading Is Anyone Really Listening?

Here’s why so many marketing and sales messages fail to deliver.

The average person is hit with the equivalent of more than 34 Gb (gigabytes) of information in a single day.

That’s more than enough info to max out my 64 Gb iPad in less than two days. In order to deal with this onslaught of input, the brain engages in some amazing mental gymnastics.

What messages cut through the noise? Continue Reading For Greater Return From Your BizDev, Sales and Marketing Messages, Do These Three Things

I’ve spent the last couple of decades believing the surest way for any team, tribe, enterprise or community to realize its mission is to identify and build around a set of shared values. 

The premise is simple. A group will rarely agree on everything. The identification of a set of common values provides a framework against which strategy, investments and actions can be tested.

Does a particular direction run counter to shared values? If so, it threatens the mission, and should be abandoned or reconstituted.

Shared values are the fabric of culture.

But it turns out I have been cutting the conversation short

Strong groups (of any ilk) intuitively understand that alignment around what we share is the initial hurdle to be cleared in pursuit of any goal. Shared values unite us. Continue Reading What Do We Value Most?