Why You Aren’t Dead Yet

Proof That Your Most Important Days Are Still Ahead

Several years ago, I had lunch with a friend I hadn’t seen in a long while. He had just turned eighty. His mind was as sharp as ever—witty, inquisitive, and focused. He was also a great listener. When he did speak, wisdom dripped from his lips.

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At a point of genuine humility but deep uncertainty he asked me, “Michael, do you think I have anything left to contribute? Are my best days over?” Tears welled up in his eyes.

3 Ways to Treat the Scourge of Cynicism

What to Do if Your Organization Is Infected with the Disease

I hate cynicism. It is like cancer to the human soul. It is especially deadly when it infects an organization.

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A few years into my tenure as the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, I thought we had pretty much eliminated it from our company. I was hoping the disease was in remission. But, one morning I discovered that it was still alive and well—at least in parts of the company. The worst part was that a few of our leaders were manifesting symptoms of the disease.

How to Sync up Your Team for Success

Do You Know the 3 Components for Effective Alignment?

Sometimes it’s easy to spot the difference between a weak leader and a strong one. Take alignment. While weak leaders blame their teams when they can’t get it, strong leaders know it’s their responsibility to create it.

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Years ago, I was making a major presentation to a prospective client. My boss was there. So was my boss’s boss (aka “The Big Boss”).

Our goal was to sign the client and win his business. Everyone on our team was nervous, especially me—since I was the one making the pitch.

10 Reasons Every Leader Needs a Blog [Podcast S07E13]

(And How to Get Started)

Welcome to Season 7, Episode 13 of the This Is Your Life podcast. In this episode, Michele Cushatt and I discuss why we think blogging is an absolute must for leaders today.

Season 7 episode 13

If you’re a leader and you don’t have a blog, then you are missing out on one of the greatest leadership tools ever invented. With a blog, you can literally influence hundreds and thousands of people at a time. Today, I’m going to give you my 10 reasons why every leader needs a blog and what you need to do to get started.

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7 Ways to Get Your Team to Take More Initiative

Try These Proven Methods to Spur Action and Get Results

Self-starters who take action and get things done are essential to any effective organization. But what are you supposed to do if your teammates don’t show initiative?

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I was recently talking with a friend. He was frustrated his employees didn’t take enough initiative. The lack was really affecting his business. The problem was he blamed them and acted like he was powerless—like he was the victim.

I didn’t believe that. And the more I thought about his situation, the more clear it became how to turn it around.

5 Characteristics of Weak Leaders

(And How Not to Be One)

Sometimes you learn from positive role models. Often you learn from negative ones. This is one of the reasons I love to read history—you inevitably get both.

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After watching Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, I decided to reread Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It is a page-turning account of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency and his political genius.

9 Research-Backed Ways to Spark Your Creativity

The Truth Is You’re Already More Creative Than You Know

Creativity is essential to leadership and business. But we don’t always feel very creative. And I know some people doubt they’re creative at all. The good news is that all of us can easily become more creative. How?

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I have mixed feelings about travel. In fact, I changed my whole business model so I could get off the road. But there’s one thing I really love about travel: a long plane flight.

5 Ways to Build Trust with Your Tribe [Podcast S07E11]

How to Quickly Gain Rapport

Welcome to Season 7, Episode 11 of the This Is Your Life podcast. In this episode, Michele Cushatt and I discuss the importance of building trust with those you serve.

Season 7 episode 11

You have to get people to buy into you before they buy into your message. They want to know that you’re honest and you deserve to be listened to. Today, we’re going to discuss some practical ways to earn people’s trust so you can influence them for good.

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How To Frustrate Those You Lead [Podcast S07E10]

13 Mistakes Every Leader Should Avoid

Welcome to Season 7, Episode 10 of the This Is Your Life podcast. In this episode, Michele Cushatt and I discuss some of the most annoying mistakes made by leaders today.

Season 7 episode 10

If I asked you to think of someone who does a poor job as a leader, most of you could come up with somebody fairly quickly because bad leadership seems to stick out like a sore thumb. It’s something we don’t quickly forget. Today, we’re going to discuss how to avoid some of the most common mistakes made by leaders.

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Leadership at the Symphony [Podcast S07E08]

8 Lessons from a Conductor

Welcome to Season 7, Episode 8 of the This Is Your Life podcast. In this episode, Michele Cushatt and I discuss some of the lessons I learned from a conductor on a recent trip to the Nashville Symphony.

Season 7 episode 8

Gail and I were amazed at the beauty and skill demonstrated by the musicians. But what really stood out was the conductor. It didn’t take long for me to begin seeing some clear parallels between conducting an orchestra and other leadership opportunities.

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One Major Missing Ingredient in Leadership Today

Perry Noble’s New Book Can Change the Way We Lead for Good

Books sometime come at a pitch-perfect moment. I think that’s true for Perry Noble’s newest, The Most Excellent Way to Lead: Discover the Heart of Great Leadership.

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Whether we’re talking about business or politics, we’re surrounded by terrible examples of leadership right now. The Most Excellent Way to Lead introduces us to a whole new paradigm for evaluating leadership.

Noble says it comes down to love.