Next Level Blog

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.

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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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?

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.

Three of the Most Common Delegation Ah-ha’s

Next Level Blog

One of the biggest shifts that most rising leaders have to make is the shift from being the go-to person to someone who builds teams of go-to people.

Mindful Mondays: The Surprising Benefit of Comparing Yourself to Others

Next Level Blog

Every so often you hear a story that’s the exception that proves the rule. In this case, the rule is don’t compare yourself to others; just do your best and play your own game. The exception is the story that David Duval shared this past weekend at the British Open.

Five Things to Do to Find a Great Mentor

Next Level Blog

Over the course of my career, I’ve had the good fortune to have a number of mentors who have helped shape my life and career. I wrote about one of them in a pre-Thanksgiving post I wrote last week. I don’t think I ever set out to recruit a particular person as a mentor.

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Three Ways to Coach the Person, Not the Problem

Next Level Blog

Back when we were co-teaching The Flow of Coaching module at the Georgetown Leadership Coaching Program, my good friend, hero and fellow Davidson College alum Frank Ball used to do a funny bit with a bottle of water. To make the point that coaches and leaders should coach people and not problems, Frank would put a bottle of water on the table in the front of the room and say, “This bottle of water represents the problem.” Then he would start coaching the bottle of water.

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How to Tame This Attention Span Killing Device

Next Level Blog

If someone tried to force you to take a drug that was going to reduce your ability to mentally focus by 33%, you’d probably do everything you could to get away from them, right? Yet, the chances are you’ve already done that to yourself over the past several years. Your partner-in-crime is your smartphone. In a 2015 study commissioned by Microsoft , researchers found that the average human attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to 8 seconds in 2015.

How to Find the Person Behind the Professional

Next Level Blog

What difference would it make if you really knew the people you work with every day? Not just knowing what they do at work and maybe one or two facts about their life outside of work, but what they really care about, are passionate about, worry about or laugh about? What difference would it make if you could find the person behind the professional? Chances are you’d connect with them more deeply, trust them more fully and work with them more productively.

Five Questions for Leaders Who Would Rather Be Effective Than Right

Next Level Blog

During the opening session of a new leadership development program last week, I asked the participants to share the biggest leadership lesson they’ve learned in their careers so far. There were a lot of interesting answers.

How to Be a Coaching and Mentoring Ninja

Next Level Blog

One of the elements I love the most about our leadership development programs like Next Level Leadership® group coaching and Developing Leadership Presence is the peer coaching.

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Live Your Day Really Well

Next Level Blog

If you’re of a certain age, you likely recognize the name, Dr. Art Ulene. For 23 years, he regularly appeared as the medical expert on NBC’s Today Show. While he’s long since retired from that gig, the show still runs his 30 Day Weight Loss program every year.

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.

Mindful Mondays: Three Easy Ways to Unplug on Vacation

Next Level Blog

One of the big reasons you need a vacation this summer is to take a break from the chronic state of fight or flight that an overworked and overwhelmed lifestyle generates.

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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Four Things United Got Wrong This Week and One It Got Right

Next Level Blog

Then the trouble for United really began. The airline’s CEO Oscar Munoz issued a corporate-speak statement about his regret about having to “re-accommodate” some passengers on the flight. Then an internal memo he wrote to United’s 86,000 employees in which he sided with the flight crew and gate agents was released. That didn’t go over well and the outrage increased. It was at that point that Munoz’ statements evolved into a full mea culpa expressing “shame” over the mistreatment of the passenger.

What’s the Difference Between Executive Presence and Leadership Presence?

Next Level Blog

The title of this post is a question I was asked yesterday during an interview for the book summary service Get Abstract. Audio excerpts from the interview will be available in a few months.)

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: What Would Happen If You Let Go?

Next Level Blog

As I''ve been out talking about and coaching around the book for almost 10 years, I''ve recognized that I stumbled on to something deeper than I realized when I was writing The Next Level back in 2005.

Three Signs You Should Make Leadership Team Changes Sooner Rather Than Later

Next Level Blog

A few years ago I wrote a post called Three Reasons You Should Fire the Prima Donna. That one was about why leaders should be decisive in exiting high performing but totally disruptive members of their team. Consider this post the next level up companion to the Prima Donna post.

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Mindful Mondays: The Secrets of a 30-Year Partnership Revealed

Next Level Blog

So, it was back in March of 1985 when I was dared to ask Diane Dougherty out on a date. She worked in an office across the hall from mine in a Washington, DC trade association. It was my first real job out of college and she was an intern in town for a semester. I was coming back from lunch with an older, married guy co-worker named Dick Loomis and Diane passed us in the hall. As she went past us, Dick said, “Wow, she’s cute. You should ask her out.”

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A Life Changing Decision to Feel and Perform Better

Next Level Blog

What if there were an inexpensive pill with no side effects that would cure many of your aches and pains, spark weight loss, give you more energy, leave you in a better mood, increase your mental focus, help you get more done and extend and improve your life? You’d line up for that, right? So, first the bad news and then the good news. The bad news is, to my knowledge, there is no such pill. The good news is you can get all of those outcomes without ingesting anything new.

Separating Fat from Fiction

Next Level Blog

Last month, I wrote a post about how reducing the amount of sugar in your diet can dramatically improve the quality of your life. Today, I want to share a follow-up post about what you should eat instead of sugar. You may be surprised to learn that the answer is fat.

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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.

If You Can’t Be Confident in Your Knowledge, Be Confident In Your Ignorance

Next Level Blog

The title of this post comes from a comment made at a global leadership team meeting I was facilitating earlier this year. The purpose of the meeting was to review 360 degree feedback on the team and its members.

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Mindful Mondays: The Surprising Benefits of Being More Fully Present at Work

Next Level Blog

Whenever we run a 360 or self-assessment based on The Next Level model of leadership presence, one of the lowest rated behaviors is usually “Gives others his/her full presence and attention during meetings and conversations.”

Three Things I’ve Learned About Public Speaking

Next Level Blog

If you’re in a leadership role of almost any type, the odds are high that you have to do some sort of public speaking on a semi-regular basis. It could be a staff meeting, a board presentation, a town-hall meeting or a conference keynote. Your public speaking possibilities are endless, really. Do you enjoy them or dread them? Nail them or muff them? It seems like most people dread them and usually don’t feel like they’ve nailed it after speaking in public.

How to Get Your New Team Off to a Strong Start

Next Level Blog

If you’re a leader in your organization, there will be multiple times in your career when you have to get a new team off to a strong start. One of the critical steps in that process is when you bring the team members together for the first time.

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Three Talking Points Best Practices

Next Level Blog

Before we go any further, this is not a post about the 2016 presidential election. I have nothing to add to the millions of words that have been written about the topic already other than, like lots of people, I wish it was over. So, this post isn’t about political talking points, it’s about leadership talking points.

New Year, New You? Three steps to actually change yourself this year

Next Level Blog

OK, it’s January 2, 2017. Have you transformed yourself yet? C’mon man! What are we even doing out here, man? Time’s a wasting! Get busy! Sorry about that. I got caught up in all of the annual and predictable “New Year, New You!” hype we’re reading everywhere this week. Yes, this is the time of year when we are bombarded with messages saying now is the time to change whatever you need to change to turn your life around. Get organized. Lose weight. Quit drinking. Be nicer. Read more. Get stronger.

What It Takes to Be a Superboss

Next Level Blog

When you think back on the best bosses you’ve ever had what stands out about those people? What do they all have in common? What makes a good boss great and a great boss a super boss? What does it take to be a super boss?

The Character of Listening

Next Level Blog

What does it mean to really listen? As I’ve written here before , I’ve been focusing a lot on that question in my talks and workshops on mindful leadership. When I ask colleagues to sit with each other for just a few minutes to listen to each other speak about something important in their lives or something they’re grateful for, the process feels transformative for them. What’s really going on when we listen to someone else completely and without any agenda other than to connect?

Three Ways to Avoid a Wipeout

Next Level Blog

In 15 years of coaching , I’ve worked with a lot of high-performing executives. When things go well, they run like a finely tuned Formula 1 race car. But life and humans being what they are, I’ve witnessed the occasional wipeout where, in spite of best efforts and intentions, an exec spins out and crashes into the wall.

3 Leadership Lessons Illustrated by Tom Hanks Heroes

Next Level Blog

With all of the different roles he’s played in the movies, Tom Hanks is as well qualified as anyone to speculate on what makes a hero a hero. From Army Ranger captain John Miller in Saving Private Ryan to astronaut Jim Lovell in Apollo 13 to the cargo ship commander Captain Phillips and, coming later this year, “Miracle on the Hudson” pilot Sully Sullenberger , Hanks has lots of experience going deep on what makes a hero.

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Five Choices That Created an Amazing Five Years

Next Level Blog

Today is my 55 th birthday. Yes, I said it. It’s part of my new policy of radical transparency. I’m now older than my parents were when Diane and I got married. Heck, I’m older than they were when we had, Andy, our first child. There was a time in my life when 55 sounded really old. Now that I’m there, I realize how relative that is. Old compared to what or who? It seems especially relative when I consider all that has happened in the five years since I turned 50.

How to Prepare for Your Meetings Like Olympians Prepare to Compete

Next Level Blog

Last night, Diane and I were watching the U.S. women’s gymnastics team compete in the opening round of competition in the Rio Olympics. The floor exercises were the most astounding thing I saw.

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Three Things Leaders Can Still Learn from JFK

Next Level Blog

The coverage this week of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy is a stark reminder of the impact his life and death had on the United States and the world. With the perspective of fifty years, it’s easy to argue for or against Kennedy’s strengths and weaknesses.

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Take Some Time to Connect

Next Level Blog

Last week, I had two reminders of how important it is to take some time to connect with other people and how we leave so much value on the table when we don’t. The first reminder was when I had a group of corporate leaders in a Developing Leadership Presence program we started last week take part in a transformational listening conversation on what they’re grateful for. As they sat in trios for 15 minutes, I heard laughter and saw tears of joy and gratitude.

Love, Laughter and the Meaning of Life

Next Level Blog

Last week, I was reminded of the value of old friends. While I was back in DC to teach in the Georgetown Leadership Coaching Program, I got to spend three days teaching with my dear friend of 13 (!) years, Rae Ringel. On one of the days we there together, I got to have lunch with another dear friend and mentor of 14 (!) years, Frank Ball. That’s the three of us in the picture that accompanies this post.)