Next Level Blog

How Strong is Your Leadership Pyramid?

Next Level Blog

This post is adapted from the forthcoming third edition of my book, The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success. Available in October, you can pre-order it here. Research shows that moving to the executive level is among the toughest transitions of any career.

How to Stop Selling Your Ideas and Start Enrolling People in Them

Next Level Blog

Think about the last time you made a big purchase like a car, a major appliance or a mattress. With the possible exception of the car, there’s a pretty good chance you bought the product online after reading a lot of customer reviews. Why was that the case? Of course, one reason is that Amazon and other online retailers make it really easy to buy things online. Another likely reason is that you would do anything to avoid an aggressive sales pitch at the dealership or the store.

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How Do You Score on the Business Stress-O-Meter?

Next Level Blog

Earlier this year, I was talking with an executive coaching client about everything that was going on at once in his business life.

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Do You “Have To” or Do You “Get To”?

Next Level Blog

What do you notice about your thought process when you’re about to start something that’s difficult or intimidating? Is your inner monologue helpful or hurtful? Here’s a hint – your self-talk is highly predictive of the result you’re going to get. There’s a simple mental shift you can make that almost guarantees a better result when you have to do something you’re not totally excited about or find a little bit scary.

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How a Simple Mantra Can Improve Your Leadership

Next Level Blog

One of the things I love about leading our Next Level Leadership® group coaching program is hearing leaders’ stories about how they’re following through on their most important development opportunities. As I’ve written here before, when they’re mapping out how to follow through, I always encourage them to look for repeatable actions that are relatively easy to do and likely to make a difference.

Leaders Focus on the Trends, Not the Data Points

Next Level Blog

In some organizations, this is the time of year where individual performance from the previous year is summarized and communicated in annual reviews. Which, by the way, is an abysmal practice that does nothing to develop people and has at least an 80% chance of causing them to feel disengaged.). One of the reasons annual performance reviews suck so much is that they too often deal in data points, not trends.

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How to Determine If the Balls You’re Juggling Are Rubber or Glass

Next Level Blog

In my work as a coach and speaker to corporate leaders, I hear a lot of stories about how many balls people are trying to juggle at once. There are at least three big factors driving these stories. First, most leaders in most organizations are expected to continuously do more with less. Second is the ability to do practically anything from your smartphone that you could do at your desk.

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How to Diversify Your Happiness

Next Level Blog

If you’ve spent any time thinking about your retirement account or other investments you may have, you’re probably familiar with the concept of asset diversification. The idea is to not over-invest in one particular company or class of investments but to balance your portfolio across different types of assets. As a simple example, it makes sense for many people to invest in both stocks and bonds since when one of the two is up the other is often down.

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How to Create Space to Think

Next Level Blog

A lot of thinking is really just reacting. On any given day, there’s so much coming at us that we just react or reflexively respond to the input. That’s not all bad. A lot of stuff gets done that way. But who’s stuff is getting done – yours or someone else’s? To get your own most important stuff done, you have to create space to think. How, when and where do you do it? I’ve been asking my clients a version of that question for years – where or when do you get your best ideas?

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Three Things Executives Around the World Tell Me Always Work

Next Level Blog

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to speak over the course of several programs in the U.K. with a couple of hundred executives from around the world. During those sessions I was struck by the commonalities of what helps high capacity people lead and live at their best.

Five Quick Posts on How to Be Successful in 2018

Next Level Blog

Happy new year everyone! Here’s hoping that 2018 is everything you want it to be. To give you some fuel for the journey, here are five quick posts about how to set yourself up for success this year. These posts cover strategies and tactics that have worked for both my clients and me so I’m confident they’ll work for you too.

Why Leaders Should Focus on Outcomes Instead of Solutions

Next Level Blog

Yesterday morning, before delivering a workshop on how to lead and live at your best , I had the privilege of sitting in as a roomful of high-potential managers shared what they’ve learned so far during their company’s multi-month leadership development program. There were a lot of good observations but the one that really landed with me was from a participant who said he’s become a lot more aware of the difference between solutions and outcomes.

Three Basic Truths About People That Busy Leaders Should Not Ignore

Next Level Blog

Lately, I’ve been working with a company that’s about to make a big leap. They have a potentially world-changing product and are on the cusp of scaling up in a big way. It’s very exciting stuff. Everyone from the CEO on down is super busy. There is a lot of work to do both internally and externally. With all the demands, time and attention is a scarcer resource than money. That’s true for many of the leaders I work with.

What You Can Learn About Self-Observation and Self-Improvement from Kevin Durant

Next Level Blog

If you pay any attention at all to sports, you’ve probably noticed that the Golden State Warriors are a really good basketball team. So good, in fact, that four of their five starters are playing in the NBA All-Star Game next month. With Steph Curry and Kevin Durant leading the team and (my idol) Steve Kerr coaching, Golden State is so good that it’s been reported that other teams in the league are suffering from Warriors Derangement Syndrome.

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Why You Need to Be Bored (and How to Be That Way)

Next Level Blog

When was the last time you were bored? I’m willing to bet that you can’t remember. If I’m right, it’s because, in 2017, no one ever has to be bored. That smartphone super computer you carry around in your pocket guarantees it. Don’t know what to do next? There’s always an Instagram feed to look at, a text to answer, an email to delete, a podcast to listen to, a cat video to watch, a news headline to click on or a Minecraft challenge to beat.

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The Ten Behaviors of Strong Personal Leadership

Next Level Blog

Since writing the first edition of The Next Level in 2006, I’ve coached, spoken with, and observed thousands of leaders in action. Many of them have been good leaders. Some have been great leaders. The great ones have one big thing in common. They don’t just lead at their best; they live at their best. They understand that to lead others effectively, they first have to lead themselves effectively. Great leaders practice and exhibit strong personal leadership.

Three Leadership Lessons from La La Land’s Jordan Horowitz

Next Level Blog

No doubt, you’ve heard all about it by now. It’s the end of the Academy Awards ceremony and Hollywood icons Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway have just announced that Best Picture goes to the popular musical La La Land. The producers and cast joyfully come on stage to accept their Oscars and make their speeches. The main producer, Jordan Horowitz, goes first and then, as his co-producers start giving their thanks, the hub-bub begins. Guys with headphones are scrambling around the stage.

At Every Altitude, Attitude Makes the Difference

Next Level Blog

You know how it feels when you have an unexpected visit with a long-lost friend? That happened to me last week and it happened, of all places, on a United Airlines flight from O’Hare to LAX.

Loyalty and the Rest of the Values on the List

Next Level Blog

On Monday night, President Trump gave a political speech and also told some stories about New York cocktail parties he’s attended to around 40,000 eleven to eighteen year-old Boy Scouts at their National Jamboree in West Virginia. You can read the details in this article from the Washington Post. I made a promise to myself a few years ago that I was going to stay away from political commentary on my blog. However, as an Eagle Scout, I can’t let this one go.

Something Uplifting to Start Your Week

Next Level Blog

Photo credit: Justin Gilliland – The New York Times. If you’ve been avoiding the news lately, I can understand that. It’s not a particularly uplifting time in the United States and the world.


Info for Insiders

Next Level Blog

If you enjoy reading my blog, you’ll likely appreciate my monthly newsletter At Your Best. This year, I’m writing a series on how to build skills in the leadership competencies that most organizations flag as vital. In the first four months of 2018, I’ve shared tips on building the competencies of: Driving for results. Communicating clearly and openly. Developing and shaping strategy. Displaying high integrity and honesty.

What I’ve Been Saying Lately: Two New Interviews

Next Level Blog

Recently, I was honored to sit down with author and mental performance expert Martin Soorjoo for an interview. His podcast — Inside Mastery — is dedicated to uncovering the proven strategies, tactics and insights of ‘elite performers and experts’ for mastering all areas of your life. During our time together, we had a wide-ranging discussion about how to move from a state of being overworked and overwhelmed to leading at your best and living at your best.

How to Work for a Human Tornado

Next Level Blog

Chances are that, at some point in your career, you’re going to work for a human tornado. In my speeches and workshops, I often say that leaders control the weather. When I talk with my audiences about that, I’m assuming that it’s a room full of healthy, positive people who can make smart choices about the weather they’re creating as leaders. Unfortunately, though, many of us will at some point, work for a designated leader who creates all kinds of terrible weather.

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There’s One in Every Group (and How to Make Sure It’s You)

Next Level Blog

One of the many fun things about my work is the patterns I get to observe from working with lots of leaders in lots of different organizations. The best part of that is when I see helpful things in the patterns that I can share with my readers. That’s what I want to do in this post – share a pattern I’ve observed that can help you lead and live at your best.

Finding Your Extraordinary Story

Next Level Blog

It’s be written that, “We are the stories we tell ourselves.” If that’s the case, then we need to do all we can as leaders and people to make sure those stories are positive, powerful and extraordinary. The guest of my latest author conversation, Maria van Hekken, has dedicated her life to helping others clarify the extraordinary story of their lives.

Five Quick Posts to Get You Ready for Next Year

Next Level Blog

This is that wonderful week when things slow down and we do a little relaxing, reading and reflecting about what worked this year and changes we want to make for a successful next year. In that spirit, I want to share five of my favorite posts from 2017 that offer simple, practical and immediately actionable ideas on leading and living at your best. We’ll start with one of my most popular posts from this year, The Ten Behaviors of Strong Personal Leadership.

How to Be a Master of Civility

Next Level Blog

Does anyone else feel like we could all benefit from more civility in public discourse and behavior? If you do, you can do something about it. Set yourself the goal of being a master of civility. And, if you’re interested in doing that, start by listening to the highlights of a recent conversation I had with Christine Porath. Christine is an associate professor at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business and is the author of Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace.

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How to Create Time in a Packed Schedule

Next Level Blog

When we were kids, summer was something that stretched out ahead of us with the promise of fun and play. When we join the working world, we still greet the longer days and warmer weather of the season with gusto, but, paradoxically, it can be the busiest and most hectic time of the year for many of us. With co-workers on vacation, we’re often on backup duty while also managing our own daily work.

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How to Find Your Entrepreneurial You

Next Level Blog

It’s been awhile since I’ve done an author conversation but I think this one is worth the wait. Join me for a fun, informative and possibly life changing conversation with Dorie Clark, the author of three books including the just-released, Entrepreneurial You. Whether you run your own business, are thinking about starting your own business, want to jump-start your side-hustle or are perfectly happy in your job, there’s something in this conversation for you.

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Resting and Digesting in a Beautiful Place or Wherever You Are

Next Level Blog

With everything that’s gone on and is going on in the world this year, it’s completely understandable if your fight or flight response has been on overdrive lately.

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Mindful Mondays: Pope Francis’ Nine Rules for Happy Living

Next Level Blog

In case you haven’t been paying attention, it turns out that Pope Francis is one of the most popular people in the world. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that he has a 90% favorability rating among U.S. Catholics and a 70% favorability rating among all Americans.

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Mindful Mondays: Doing the Work

Next Level Blog

So, it’s not every day when you can say that one of your lifelong best friends just won a Tony award. Today is actually the second time I’ve gotten to do that. The fact that today is actually National Best Friends Day makes it even more fun.

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What Could a Life GPS® Do for You in 2017?

Next Level Blog

In working with and speaking to tens of thousands of leaders over the past 16 years, I’ve become convinced that if you want to lead at your best, you have to live at your best. The first goal is completely dependent on the second.

Mindful Mondays: How to Live a Life That’s “Beyond Happy”

Next Level Blog

Being happy is a fundamental life goal for most people. But is it possible that by setting the bar at “being happy,” that we’re aiming too low? In her new book, Beyond Happy: Women, Work, and Well-Being, Beth Cabrera makes a compelling case for striving for more.

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A World Class Example of Dopamine Derailment

Next Level Blog

In the latest installment of the story that wouldn’t die, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has announced that the two Price Waterhouse partners responsible for the Best Picture award snafu will never work the Oscars again.

The Case for Radical Kindness

Next Level Blog

As I write this, it’s 6:30 AM on November 9, 2016, and, I think it’s fair to say, hundreds of millions of people around the world are asking themselves, “What next?” ” Millions are asking that question with excited anticipation and millions more with overwhelming anxiety.

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Make Time For Now

Next Level Blog

Last Friday afternoon I decided to retreat into my shell. Earlier in the day, I had a really disappointing business call in which I felt a lot of work that I had poured my heart and soul into was unappreciated. As I usually do when I’m in town, I headed to yoga class at the end of the day. What I don’t usually do when I get there is sit on my mat before class starts thumbing through articles on my iPhone.

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Mindful Mondays: What Any of Us Can Learn from Pope Francis

Next Level Blog

Like a lot of Americans, I spent a lot of last week transfixed by the coverage of Pope Francis’ trip to the United States. I’m not Catholic, but found myself moved by his words and images several times. The pictures were what really got me.

Why Micromanagement Is Really a Trust Issue (and What to Do About It)

Next Level Blog

I often hear from relatively senior managers that their even more senior managers constantly expect them to have detailed answers for any question that might pop into mind. The impact of this on the relatively senior managers is they feel like they’re always preparing for a pop quiz and, as a result, don’t have much time or mental bandwidth left for higher value-added work. You may have experienced this problem with your manager.

Seven Things Leaders Can Learn from Bill Clinton About Connecting with People

Next Level Blog

Delivering his monologue after the midterm elections last week, David Letterman was talking about President Obama’s low approval ratings and landed a great line: “Take a look at this: gas under $3 a gallon – under $3 a gallon. Unemployment under 6%, whoever thought?