Next Level Blog

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.

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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What Great Leadership Looks Like

Next Level Blog

In 2017, it can be difficult to find examples of great leadership. Today, though, I want to offer two of them. The first is of neighbors, volunteers, first responders, law enforcement, the National Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard pulling together to rescue each other in the greater Houston area.

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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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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.

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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 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.

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.

Seven Ways to Play a Bigger Game This Year

Next Level Blog

In fifteen years of coaching high potential and senior leaders, I’ve conducted thousands of hours of colleague feedback interviews. One of the themes that I hear a lot from senior executives talking about high potential leaders is that the client needs to play a bigger game.

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?

Three Signs That You Have Too Much Executive Presence

Next Level Blog

It’s common for leaders who want to make a bigger impact to work on building their executive presence. It’s so common, in fact, that my company offers a seven month group coaching program for high potential leaders slated for executive roles.

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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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.

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.

Ten Ways to Lead Bigger

Next Level Blog

As I wrote here a few months ago, the biggest development opportunity for many of the rising leaders I work with as an executive coach is to play a bigger game.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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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.

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.

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 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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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.

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.)

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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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.

Three Leadership Rules for the Shark Cage

Next Level Blog

If you haven’t already seen it, watch this video of a great white shark attacking a dive cage. It runs about a minute and a half and is straight out of Jaws. OK, now that you’ve watched it, we need to draw some leadership lessons from what happened there. Great thanks and props to my client Brian Schools who CC’d me on an email he sent to his leadership team at Chartway Federal Credit Union in which he shared the video and some similar lessons.)

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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.

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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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.

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.

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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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.

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.

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 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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