Over Managed and Under Led?

The dichotomy between leader and manager has been analyzed ad nauseam, but there is a relevant question you should ask when it comes to organizations and businesses. Is your organization over managed and under led?

The discussion defining leadership and management can launch in multiple directions. Organizations need both. Simply defining leadership seems a challenge. Webster’s Dictionary defines leadership as, “the action of leading a group of people or an organization.” Business News Daily published an article that listed 33 definitions of leadership. Here’s my leadership definition: “The ability to influence people in a direction you need them to go.” Continue Reading

Cam Newton, Leadership, Failure and You

Cam Newton, the extremely talented quarterback of the North Carolina Panthers, has figuratively been hung, drawn and quartered by media and everyone with a Facebook account over his post-Super Bowl 50 press conference. Justified? Maybe, maybe not, but how well would you have handled it?

The text Sometimes You WIN Sometimes You LEARN, appearing behind torn brown paper. Motivational quote.

Newton obviously has some maturing to do (don’t we all?), but think through the lives of history’s great leaders. Adversity shaped their ability to lead. Many wilted, but so many of them recovered to accomplish great things. Success without adversity does nothing (or very little) to shape character, so maybe Newton needed Sunday’s defeat more than he needed a Super Bowl win. Continue Reading

Is Your Marketing Strategy Content Chum?

Just because you have a boat, a pole and a tackle box full of lures doesn’t mean you know how to fish. Likewise, just because your are cranking out content and calling it content marketing, doesn’t mean you’re actually catching customers. When it comes your content marketing strategy, ask yourself, “Am I customer fishing or just ‘content chumming?'”


People who actually catch fish know that fishing is more science than luck. Fisherman know how to find fish, which baits to use, and are agile enough to shift strategies when necessary. They know it isn’t enough to drive out, toss a line in the water and expect success.

However, that is how a lot of businesses approach content marketing strategies. They throw some content into the marketplace expecting to catch success but find their content marketing strategy is little more than “content chum,” a bunch of content bits floating in the vast marketplace. The organization may be attracting attention but not actually catching anyone. The goal of a focuses content marketing strategy is to actually land customers and establish or reinforce your organization’s brand.  Continue Reading

Brand Influence Begins with ‘V’…Three of Them

Organizational vision statements are great, but every “corporate vision” begs the question: Are the actions of the organization and the responses of the organization’s stakeholders harmoniously working together to reach the brand vision for everyone’s benefit?


It’s a question few organizations consider and one that has everything to do with brand image. According to Businessdictionary.com, a vision statement is, “an aspirational description of what an organization would like to achieve or accomplish…and is intended to serve as a clear guide for choosing current and future courses of action.” However, no organization operates in a vacuum, especially non-profits, and needs its stakeholders to embrace the vision if the organization is going to “achieve or accomplish” its goals. In an age of corporate suspicion, organizations can’t assume buy-in or brand loyalty. If your organization wants to share ownership of its vision with its stakeholders and create brand loyalty, it has to embrace the  “3Vs” that culminate in brand influence. Continue Reading

Deflategate: A Crisis Communications Disaster (and What You Can Learn From It)

It is an understatement to say that the reputations of NFL quarterback Tom Brady and his New England Patriots football team are taking hits that would make an all-pro linebacker proud. Both Brady and the Patriots are iconic brands that now find themselves in a crisis communications disaster. Unfortunately, like many brands, they brought the disaster upon themselves.

Deflate-Gate. NFL football deflated on the field

Brady has been at the center of, “Deflategate,” the name given to the scandal that began during last year’s NFL playoffs. He allegedly directed equipment managers to deflate footballs ever so slightly to improve his grip in the colder weather. The Indianapolis Colts filed a grievance with the league, an investigation ensued and the drama began. It has intensified this week in the wake of an extremely harsh penalty handed down by the league against Brady and the Patriots. In the end, both Brady and the Patriots have severely damaged their respective brand images. Continue Reading

Is your organization social media rich but strategy poor?

There is the perception that if your organization is not fully engaged in social media then you are losing ground to competitors, losing touch with supporters and falling woefully behind the times. To some extent that’s true. However, too many organizational leaders put the Twitter before the proverbial horse.


We do live in an age where social media is the way individuals communicate and digest news and information. On the business side there is an urgency to employ social media – and often social media experts – to drive the organization’s social engine. Many leaders know social media is important, but frankly I believe weight it too heavily in the grand scheme of things. When that happens, your organization may find itself social media rich and strategically poor from a marketing communications perspective. Continue Reading

Dear Younger Professional Me…

Have you ever thought about what you’d write to your younger professional self about your vocational journey? After 25 years in the communications field, there are dozens of things I’d pass on, but here are 10 I feel are most important.


This exercise was prompted by a young friend of mine who is transitioning from his first job out of college to his second with a different company. He’s talented, a team player, productive and meets deadlines. A good steal for his new company, and provided the job fulfills expectations, it will be a good move for him. Here’s what I’d tell him and definitely what I would tell my younger me. Continue Reading

Shooting Organizational Air Balls That Create Crises

As long as there are humans, there will be crises. And as long as humans work for organizations, there will be organizational crises. Yes, that sounds like a Captain Obvious statement, but is your organization about to shoot an air ball and find itself on the national news because of an obvious crisis?


That’s what’s happened with two Middle Tennessee high schools. In a pathetic show of sportsmanship, two very strong girls’ basketball teams tried to lose a pivotal game to one another to avoid receiving a higher seed in the upcoming regional tournament. The reason to avoid the higher seed was to keep from playing a nationally ranked powerhouse which both teams lost to earlier in the season. The result was that both teams were rightfully suspended for the remainder of the season and both schools will pay a $1,500 fine. Continue Reading

You’ll Come Up Big if You’ll Kill the Writing Clichés

Question: How many times does it take before something becomes a cliché? Answer: The second time something is written. When it comes to writing, good writers recognize the curse of the cliché and swear a vow of originality.



Being a former sports writer, I hate to “throw my own under the bus.” But sports writers too often try to “give 110 percent” and “come up empty” in the cliché department instead of “coming up big” with fresh ideas. They need to “relax and play within themselves.” You know, “let the story come to them.” They know they have to “focus on what they do best and not worry about what the other writers are doing.” “Take it one article at a time.” Most of them can “step up and take it to the next level” if they try, and sometimes it “comes down to who wants it more.” There is a “tremendous upside” when people “have their backs against the wall.” They’ll usually “come out swinging.” Continue Reading

Can You Pass the Social Media Driving Test?

Maybe social media should be like driving. Yeah, if you’re planning to use social media to advance the objectives of an organization, them maybe you should have to take a test. It will be a simple test, but not an easy one, and it can be boiled down to two questions.

Stuart Miles, Freedigitalphotos.net

Stuart Miles, Freedigitalphotos.net

I’ve recently had conversations with a number of people from different organizations regarding their use of social media and I’m finding there is a high realization that, in one form or another, social media is key for connecting with an organization’s desired audiences. However, there is a lower apprehension for knowing how to accomplish that task. Frankly, I believe social media is a waste of time for many people who have waded into the social media waters. They’re spinning their wheels. Their social media effort amounts to spitting in the dessert and expecting an oasis to bloom. Continue Reading