I was enjoying a delicious meal at a restaurant last week. I had just begun to dive into an appetizer when I became an inadvertent eavesdropper. The booth where I was seated with my family was located beside a server station. This particular server station had become the proverbial water cooler. Though it was the dinner hour and the restaurant was fairly busy, the steady stream of customers did not deter the servers from stealing a little time for conversation. The conversation was lively and focused. It was all about leaving their current employer for another restaurant. I felt a bit like a traveler inRead More →

As a child, my front yard was the venue for many high stakes kickball games. Right field was the best opportunity for a home run. Kick it over the neighbor’s fence and you could take a victory lap around the bases. Left field was a different story. A long shot into left meant an automatic double because the ball would land in the street. Leftfielders were trained to pause before chasing the ball and “look both ways” before entering the street. In my childhood kickball game, “both ways” included a glance to the left and a glance to the right. But there are other optionsRead More →

As Spring moves toward Summer, many students are ready to put on caps and gowns, listen to commencement speeches, and begin a new journey. It’s a season of change. Some emerging scholars have already accepted new positions and new assignments. Others are riding a wave of momentum into additional education. Most graduates have learned to steady themselves and expect the ubiquitous questions. At the top of the list of questions is the persistent inquiry, “What are you going to do after graduation?” It is a question that blends two stalwart leadership themes. Do you have a strategic plan for the next stage of your life?Read More →

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men Could not put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Insight comes in many packages and through many vehicles. The right song in the right moment can stir emotion, trigger vivid memories or inspire heroic effort. Sometimes a poem can become a catalyst for deep thought, reflection and reveal fresh perspective. What about a nursery rhyme? I shutter to think how many times I have heard or recited Humpty Dumpty’s epitaph. My recollection of Humpty reaches back into my childhood. But, it’s safe to say thatRead More →

“Is Everyone on the Boat?” by Fred Johnson & Paul Metler Within any organization, it becomes essential to recognize both the people who are powerful conduits for positive change as well as those who are not. Is Everyone on the Boat? Is an engaging parable about a cast of characters who embark on an exciting voyage. The boat represents any business, organization or institution. The final Port of Call represents the organization’s vision. With Sam, the Visionary Leader, you will discover within each situation that arises a valuable lesson about yourself, the people you work with and organizational life. Available on Kindle, Nook.  Read More →

How do you feel about surprises? Watching someone open a gift can be as exciting as receiving a gift. There are several types of “gift-openers.” Some people struggle with the idea of destroying the creative artistry of wrapping paper and accessories on the outside of the gift. They employ a slow, deliberate approach. Others tear into a gift box as if it was a timed competition. Is it about the process, the gift hidden inside or the adrenaline rush of releasing the surprise? What about the awkward moment when you discover a gift is misguided or inappropriate? The defining moment of any surprise comes whenRead More →

Did you ever attend a state fair when you were a child? When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait until September. The state fair signaled the end of summer and the beginning of fall. I loved the cooler temperatures, the carnival rides and the fun house. There was always an array of carnival mirrors. My favorite mirror was the one that made me look taller. I knew it was an illusion. But, it was still fun for the moment. I could pretend that I was seven feet tall. In simple terms, there are two types of mirrors: those that provide an accurate reflection andRead More →

Dr. Fred talks about leading change after organizational crisis: Following an organizational crisis, company leaders often struggle with how to move past the emotional disorder and begin steering employees in the right direction again. “How a leader addresses the inevitable emotional consequences after a crisis is critical in limiting the damage to morale and shortening the adjustment period that team members will need to move forward or fully re-engage. Here are Dr. Fred’s top five C’s for leading after a crisis: 1. Compassion. People within the company will experience a range of emotions from anger to disillusionment. A leader who can genuinely express sympathy andRead More →