May 2015

First One to Simple

I was having a great conversation a few days ago with an extraordinary woman. She is the director of a personnel development department of a large complex company. We were discussing the various functions one would find in an organization such as hers. What struck me was the degree of complexity in some of the various departments. She and her team are responsible for delivering the training required by those departments.

Intrigued by the enormity of her task, I asked the obvious question—how do you fill the need for what seems to be an arduous task. Her answer is classic and thought provoking. She said, "the first one to simple wins!"

The point is clear. Take the difficult and work hard to make it simple, and do it with a sense of urgency.

How does one go about becoming "the first one to simple?" I would offer there are three things that require intense focus—Objectives, Planning, and Execution.   (Read more)

Advice From Your Mother

In the May 8, 2015 edition of "bizwomen" there is an interesting article concerning business advice. The article details wisdom four successful women recall receiving from their mother.

One of those gems of wisdom struck me as particularly insightful—"success isn't measured in titles, rather, it's what you do with your title."

A dear friend and fellow Marine Colonel and I had a similar exchange of ideas, that too often, leading is confused with having a title. And many effective leaders do not have a title. Sadly, too many women fall into the category of being the effective leader without a title.

I recommend reading the bizwomen article "4 female execs share business lessons they learned from their mothers." I am confident you will find it engaging. Think about the advice you have received. More importantly, I recommend putting the advice to work.


I am often asked for advice on improving leadership ability, and so this section is dedicated to giving tips on becoming what I like to call and Exceptional Leader. Being good on any given day is easy. Being exceptional requires daily effort. Enjoy the read.

Leading is not a sprint. It is a marathon. Leading requires the mental and physical stamina measured by the ability to withstand pain, fatigue, stress and hardship.

In business as in life, exceptional leaders endure the pain associated with failure. The mental and physical fatigue to get the proposal done; the stress of meeting never-ending deadlines, and the hardship of working long hours and being away from loved ones.

Leading is not for the unfit or those unwilling to endure the associated hardships.

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