4 Innovation Lessons from the Crazy Success of Instagram

What Leaders Can Learn from One of the Fastest Growing Apps in History

I’m already seeing a lot of Christmas images on Instagram, and I expect to see a flood in the next few days. The company just announced it surpassed 600 million users.

Instagram launched in 2010. I joined a year later, but I only became a heavy user a couple of years ago. The company’s growth curve is phenomenal.

The Self-Leadership Secrets of Extreme Athletes

3 Takeaways from Dean Karnazes’ 153-Mile Race from Athens to Sparta

Sometimes leading a business can feel like running a marathon. That’s especially true when our goals seem ambitious, daunting, and a long way off. What could the sport of running teach us about reaching the finish line?

dean k running

I’ve been a fan of Dean Karnazes ever since I read his book, Ultramarathon Man several years ago. His story inspired me to run my first half marathon. So I eagerly devoured his newest, The Road to Sparta, which tells the story of history’s first marathon.

Why Gratitude Makes All the Difference in Hitting Your Goals

3 Reasons to Stay Thankful All Year

When I asked successful business and thought leaders how they prepared to reach their goals in the upcoming year, several said gratitude gave them an edge.

Some mentioned setting aside special time to reflect and express gratitude for all the positive they experienced. This close to Thanksgiving, that seems perfect this time of year. But why stop there?

Jon Gordon told me practicing gratitude one day a year isn’t enough. “If you do it daily,” he said, “you’ll notice incredible benefits and major life change.” The science backs him up.

3 Key Revelations About Effective Teams

How Collective Feedback Creates Clarity and Innovation

This week my team met for strategic planning. We set aside several days so the leadership team could review our values, goals, and budget. We’re just finishing up today, actually.

But Day 1 was dedicated not just to leaders, but to the full team. Why? I prioritize my team. Customers are important for a business. But without a stable, effective team you can’t serve them well.

3 Leadership Lessons from the Cubs’ Historic World Series Win

Because it Takes More than Skill to Beat the Odds

I’m not much of a baseball fan. I played in high school, but I lost interest after breaking my elbow. So while most of my friends were deep into game seven of the World Series, I went to bed. Then they woke me up.

Several of us were staying in a vacation home for a marriage retreat. It was almost midnight when I started hearing voices rise in the house. There was laughing and a lot of excitement.

I tried to go back to sleep. But I couldn’t. Now I was curious. What was going on out there? I wondered. Surely the game is over by now.

3 Ways Email Can Sabotage Your Leadership

When to Use It—and When to Avoid It Like the Plague

When I was the CEO at Thomas Nelson, one of our authors was frustrated. In response to a disappointing sales report, he fired off a blistering email to one of our divisional leaders.

He complained about poor results. He criticized the sales strategy and our failure to execute. Worse, he challenged the leader’s intelligence, competence, and work ethic. This thing was so hot, it nearly melted the servers.

Encore Episode: Why Accountability Is Vital for Leaders [Podcast]

We completed Season 8 of “This is Your Life.” The podcast is currently on hiatus while we design a new and improved show. We’ll be airing some fan favorites in the meantime and will debut the new format in the new year. So stay tuned! Today, we have one of our most popular episodes to share with you. Enjoy this listener favorite!

In this episode, Michele Cushatt and I discuss the topic of accountability in leadership. Most leaders avoid it. Real leaders embrace it.

The reason is that taking responsibility for your attitudes, actions, and overall results is tremendously liberating. Attempting to avoid accountability—playing the victim—keeps you stuck.

Listen to the Audio

5 Strategies for Becoming a Better Conversationalist

What Leaders Can Learn from a Good Game of Ping Pong

A consultant prospecting for business gave me a call a while back. I was reluctant to meet, but he was a friend of a friend. I mistakenly gave him thirty minutes to tell me about his company and services. Complete waste of time.

I gently tried to interject my thoughts, but he didn’t seem too interested in my point of view. Evidently, he had his script. He was determined to plow through it.

It made me wonder how many times I do the same thing with others.

Encore Episode: The 3 Forces That Shape Character [Podcast]

The podcast is currently on hiatus while we design a new and improved show. We’ll be airing some fan favorites in the meantime and will debut the new format in the new year. So stay tuned! Today, we have one of our most popular episodes to share with you. Enjoy this listener favorite!

In this episode, Michele Cushatt and I discuss the importance of character and the forces that shape it.

Charisma may be useful in attracting a following, but it is largely useless when it comes to achieving a long-term, positive impact on the people and organizations we lead. For this, we need character. Effective leadership is an inside-out job.

Listen to the Audio

How the Enneagram Can Help You Become a Better Leader

The Most Powerful Tool I’ve Found for Personal Development

Leading others starts with leading ourselves. That means leaders must be be committed to personal development if we’re going to have long-term success. But some paths to personal development are more direct than others.

My friend Ian Cron is both a priest and a therapist. He’s also an expert in the Enneagram, an ancient personal-development tool that’s received increased attention over the last several years.

Turning Failure to Your Advantage

How to Use Setbacks as Fuel for Future Success

In 1991, I—along with my business partner—suffered a financial meltdown. We had built a successful publishing company, but our growth outstripped our working capital. We simply ran out of cash.

For a while, our distributor funded us in the form of cash advances on our sales. But eventually, their parent company wanted those advances back. Although we didn’t officially go bankrupt, the distributor essentially foreclosed on us and took over all our assets.