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

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.

journal2

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

Leaders, don’t be the tree in an empty forest

Question: If a leader falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear him, does he still make a sound?

Forest

I recognize I’m mixing my (metaphysical) metaphors, but the question does have two philosophical implications for leaders and leadership. Philosopher George Berkeley used the metaphor of a tree falling in the forest as a basis for raising the questions: “Can something exist without being perceived?”; and “Can we assume the unobserved world functions the same as the observed world?” Continue Reading

Leadership and communication (They’re close friends)

Last year, Forbes magazine contributor, Michael Myatt, wrote an insightful article on the 10 Communications Secrets of Great Leaders. I agree with all of them, but would like to add one: A leader should pay attention to what’s going on around him or her…and engage. (Yep, I see them as one leadership tool).

Communication builds teamwork

I’ve written before about how important communicating clearly is for both leaders and followers in my post, “Leaders can improve employee motivation with these tips.” However, I recently finished 20 physical therapy sessions recovering from a bicycle accident and observed how important communicating clearly is for, well everyone, and it begins with leaders paying attention to what’s going on around them. Continue Reading

Are you creating favorable conditions for a crisis?

I learned a valuable lesson yesterday. If you park your car under a tree with the windows down, a bird may just poop in it. In other words, if you do the things that set your organization up for a crisis, a crisis is probably what you’ll get.

Crisis prevention

Many people are caught off guard when crises blindside their organizations. The interesting element is that crisis researchers have found the majority of non-natural disaster crises had been percolating for some amount of time before they escalated to “a breaking crisis.” That means something eventually disruptive to the organization’s operation and potentially threatening to its reputation took root and grew as part of the organization’s DNA until it erupted. Continue Reading

Media Training: Why the C-Suite needs it

It’s been said that Steve Jobs didn’t sell computers; he sold an experience. Every CEO and other C-level executives – or leaders at any level in an organization – should view every speaking opportunity as an opportunity to “sell” a good experience, and media training can help make it happen.

Media Training preparation

Unfortunately not every CEO sells a good experience when they speak and there is a long list of examples that prove it. As unfortunate, too many CEOs and C-suite executives believe they have the gift of “winging it.” Let’s be honest, often the problem is ego, and the men an women in the top seat mistakingly equate lack of preparation as a prerequisite for extemporaneous speaking. The results are often disastrous, costing companies millions of dollars and often costing the CEO his or her job. Continue Reading

4 Ways corporate communicators can help CEOs succeed

Leadership expert John Maxwell once *wrote, “Everything rises and falls on leadership, but knowing how to lead is only half the battle. Understanding leadership and actually leading are two different activities.” Corporate communicators often find themselves standing in the gap between the two.

C-Level executive

C-Level leaders, and especially CEOs, are elevated to their positions of leadership for a number of reasons; being a person of vision is almost always one of them. Board members, stock holders, trustees, employees and customers all have an expectation that the CEO will make the organization more successful in every way, from profitability to the quality of the customer experience and overall work environment. Continue Reading

Content marketing strategy: shifting from urgent to strategic

The first step to solving a content marketing problem is admitting you have one. Unfortunately, what organizational leaders often think is the cause may actually be an effect.

marketing thumb

Content marketing and brand journalism are increasingly recognized as important elements of an organization’s branding and marketing effort. However, some organizations crank out copy like it is being fired from a Gatling Gun thinking quantity is the key to success. Leaders become frustrated with a lack of return on the effort and miss the point that quantity doesn’t necessarily equate to quality. They fail to accurately identify the tyranny of the urgent as the root problem. Continue Reading