Ten Difficult, But Really Important Words

Here’s What to Say When You Blow It

Many words in the English language are hard to get out. In fact, there’s even a Dictionary of Difficult Words. But none are more difficult than these: “I’m sorry. I was wrong. Will you please forgive me?”

Many otherwise articulate people seem to have great difficulty in spitting these words out. They hem and haw. They mumble. They stutter.

They may get something close out, but they have a hard time slowly and deliberately saying these 10 simple words, none of them more than two syllables long.

Yet each one of these 10 words is important. Let’s break that importance down by sentence, then make time for a message from my wife.

The Secret to Negotiating a Better Deal

3 Ways to Put Yourself Exactly Where You Need to Be

Your boss suddenly resigns. You think his boss should tap you for the job, but that doesn’t happen right away. He calls you into his office and says that you’d be a suitable candidate, but he wants to think it over and consider his options, maybe bring someone in from outside with more experience.

This puts you in an awkward position, because you want the job but you also want the pay raise that comes with the job. And you wouldn’t mind holding onto your current job if the promotion doesn’t come through. What do you say?

Many moons ago, I found myself in exactly this pickle. You might be surprised how I got out of it.

Why I’m Going on a Sabbatical, and You Should Too

5 Things I Learned When We Got Away From It All

I am about to embark on a sabbatical for the next month to get away, enjoy time with family, and do some long-range thinking. Americans typically don’t take all of their vacation days, much less go off on sabbaticals. The idea of an extended period away from work may sound like an exotic concept or, worse, unemployment.

It was pretty foreign to me too the first time I took a 30-day sabbatical after I resigned as CEO of Thomas Nelson. But it was also an eye-opener.

What I’ve Learned From Being Fired

3 Things Being Canned Taught Me About Management

Chances are, you are going to be fired at some point in your career. This May, 1.7 million workers in America were laid off or fired. And according to the Labor Department, that was during a month of generally good economic news.

Sometimes you are let go for reasons far outside of your control and there’s not much to be learned from it. It just happens.

Want an Abundant Life? Change Your Thinking

8 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Be Scared by Scarcity

Sometimes when you are running, things really come into view. A few years ago, I had been considering two different kinds of thinking that lead us in very different directions as I jogged.

One way of thinking that I considered—which many call scarcity thinking—usually leads to failure, fear, and discontent. These are the sort of limiting beliefs that I have come to warn people against.

Go Ahead Leaders, Take That Vacation

7 Strategies to Optimize Your Time Off and Come Back Refreshed

The days are getting shorter again, but it’s not too late to take a few days off before the end of summer. August is often the perfect month to take some time away from work.

You should consider getting away for a bit because you probably need it. Vacations are vital for rejuvenation, especially for high-achievers.

And yet people constantly tell me they don’t know how to get time away or what to do with themselves when they get time off. So I’ve put together 7 strategies for how leaders can best plan and enjoy vacations.

Why Businesses and Nonprofits Need to Rethink their Benefits Packages

It’s More than a Hiring Gimmick—It’s a Tool for Fine Tuning Team Culture

There’s no greater predictor of long-term organizational success than healthy team culture. Yes, customers matter. So do products and services. But an unhealthy team won’t create the best products or serve their customers very well. But how can leaders build healthy team culture?

The most common way is to start with a list of core values. But that’s not enough. We’ve all spent time in organizations whose core values hung on the wall, and the frame was worth more than the list.

Why Leaders Cannot Afford to Be Easily Offended

3 Vital Truths to Remember as You Work to Make a Difference in the World

Here is one big downside to being a leader: You are going to draw fire. You will have critics, trolls, second-guessers, and people who insist on thinking the worst of you.

You may be falsely accused of wrong motives and much worse. It’s not any fun, but it goes with the territory. And your job in the midst of all this criticism is to keep your head clear and not respond in anger.

Smash That Glass Ceiling With Feeling

4 Lessons to Help Strong Women Thrive in the Marketplace

Here’s an idea for women who bump up against the glass ceiling at work: Create your own business where you own the ceiling. And the good news about that DIY approach to business is that it’s easier than ever before.

Christy Wright is an entrepreneur and business coach whose mission is to help create a “movement of women making money doing what they love.” It’s a needed message.

Why Great Customer Service Is So Important

5 Ways We’re Focused on Making Ours Great

Customer service is a double-edged sword. Get it right and you can make loyal, lifelong customers who sell your products for you. Get it wrong and you can find your business in real trouble.

The Wrong Way to Do It

My friend Frank gave me an example of the exact wrong way to do customer service. He saw a t-shirt he wanted for his brother at JCPenney for $6. That branch didn’t have the right size but a sales clerk said the right size could be shipped to the store if he paid for it in advance.

Frank had to travel unexpectedly. The store left a message on his answering machine saying that it was in and he had only a few days to pick it up. He accidentally deleted the message and didn’t know if the store still had the shirt available. He called the local store to find out, and there the troubles began.

How to Push a Major Organizational Change Without the Backlash

6 Ways to Pluck the Goose Without Ruffling Feathers

When I first joined Thomas Nelson, communications with most of our staff were not where they needed to be. There was a joke at the time that was all too accurate. If you worked at our publishing house and wanted to know what was coming next, you’d just have to find out about it in The Tennessean.

Our CEO did not get along with the reporter for the state’s biggest newspaper who was breaking all those stories before he broke the news to his own employees.

When I took over the company, I took a different approach. I invited that reporter out to lunch and established a working relationship with him. It was a good step, yet that was only one small part of what changed.