Is it Time for You to Realign?

Recently I had the opportunity to spend time with 75 next generation leaders. It was awesome to listen to their stories and hear about their dreams.
There were future teachers, artists, actors, engineers, politicians, ministers, athletes, lawyers, and even an aspiring sniper.
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Through the FINDING YOUR WAY Process, hopefully each one left our time together more pointed and more determined.
As you look at your own life, are you leading in your sweet spot? If not, I'm guessing you are somewhat miserable. Life is too short to stay stuck.
Take some time this week and work on your alignment. Ask the following questions to give yourself a jumpstart:
1. Where is the fulfillment? Is there an activity that brings you energy? A place where you feel highly motivated and eager to show up? If so, it deserves a big portion of your schedule. Stop wasting time on things that suck the life out of you.
2. Where is the fruit? Is there a place in your life where you are highly successful? Often times, the things we are good at have a tendency to bring us joy. Pay attention to the places where you are highly competent.
3. Where is the affirmation? Is there something you do that causes others to constantly encourage you? Maybe you have not been willing to admit to yourself what others have been saying. The fact is, there is an area where you are great. It just needs to be discovered.
If you have been going through the motions, now is the time to realign.
If money, responsibility, expectations, and limitations were not factors, what would you want to do differently with your time?
To purchase your copy of FINDING YOUR WAY: Discovering the Truth About You, visit

A Leadership Lesson from Humpty Dumpty

A couple days ago I ran across a conversation between Humpty Dumpty and Alice. The dowdy egg was being questioned by the girl from Wonderland about the meaning of a word he had used out of context.

“When I use a word, it means exactly what I tell it to mean.”  Translated = Humpty was a bit delusional. Not surprising for a nursery rhyme character, but an indicator of one of the biggest temptations we all face … to live in denial and define things to our advantage.

No one is immune from this temptation. We tell ourselves we are fit, when truthfully many of us lack the self control to push away from the table. Who needs resolutions! We convince ourselves we are generous, but our finances say otherwise. We believe ourselves to be committed to family time, when in reality most of the time our families are together everyone’s face is plastered to a screen.

[Tweet "Leaders who lie long enough begin to believe the lies. Such people really only hurt themselves."]

If you want to make progress over the coming weeks, begin by refusing to change the definitions. Excellence means there are no short cuts. Integrity (wholeness) encompasses every area, not just the places where it is convenient. And a great relationship requires one to show up and be fully present.

Perhaps the reason Humpty Dumpty had a great fall was because he lost the ability to balance truth and reality. Remember, once he fell no one could put him back together. As leaders, our influence is fragile. Let’s commit ourselves to being men and women who do what is right and refuse to alter the meanings.

Leadership Begins at Home,


What is one area where leaders lie to those they lead?

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Is the Force with You?

Last night a couple of my kids played the crazy card and caught the midnight premiere of the new Star Wars movie. So much for raising them right. I think I'm the only American who has never seen a Star Wars movie, but with or without me, it appears the force still lives.
Is the force with you?
One of my favorite words is the word “virtue.” It is not a word we use much anymore, but it is a great word.
Virtue traces its origin back to the Hebrew language. Its actual meaning is “force.” In other words, when a person has virtue, in the form of character and integrity, that person is a force.
[Tweet "When a leader has virtue, in the form of character and integrity, that leader is a force."]
In his book, IntegrityDr. Henry Cloud alludes to the power of virtue when he writes, “When a hurricane comes through a town, you can see the results of its force. When the wind moves across the water, or through the trees, you can see the results of its force. Likewise, when you move through life, through your company or organization, through your career, and through your relationships, your character is going to be a ‘force.’”
Many leaders fail to recognize the “force” of their character. Company after company fails because the person in charge lacks virtue. The result is a team that is drowning in the wake of a leader's lack of character.
As you approach today, I hope you will lead with integrity. Make virtue your focus and watch what happens. Your character will be a force!
Leadership Begins at Home,
What is one area of your leadership virtue that needs to improve during the upcoming month?
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The World Needs More YOU!

Last Friday I had the opportunity to speak to a company's core leadership team on the subject of high performance. To set up the day we looked at several changing market dynamics.

I think we would all agree, from technology to competition, the demand to adapt to the needs of your customer base is enormous. The only thing unchanging is the pace of change, which continues to accelerate. 

[Tweet "The only thing unchanging is the pace of change, which continues to accelerate."]

With our minds wrapped around the need for change, it was the end of the day that brought us back to reality. The company brought in Howard Behar, former president of Starbucks International for a Q&A after I spoke. What an honor to share the stage with such a great leader ... and talk about a guy who is comfortable with change. Howard helped take Starbucks from 28 stores to over 23,000 during his time with the company. 

Howard Behar

But it was what Howard said about not changing that resonated most. 

"I'd rather work for an organization that was unsuccessful, yet true to their values, than one that was successful financially without being true to their values. Never change who you are. Hold to your values!" 

Howard's words challenged me on many levels. Truthfully I value my values much more than I do financial success. But if I'm dirt honest, I am conflicted at times. Too often it is easy to be lured by the bottom line or to desire approval from those I encourage. 

[Tweet "Holding to your values will lead to greater influence."]

How about you? Do you set your affection more on your success or your values? Are there times when you compromise who you are to impress others. 

Duplicity is the enemy of trust. You can increase your impact if you will be who you are ... define your values and live them out. If you want to win in today's marketplace and you're a values driven leader, be willing to change everything except the most important thing ... who you are.

The world needs more YOU!

Leadership Begins at Home,


Why do you think so many leaders compromise on their values?

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Great Leaders Consistently Work on Their Character

Never does a day go by that I don’t think about working on my character.
The truth is, I think about my character even more than I do my conduct. Why? Because, through the years, I have discovered that my character always determines conduct.
Whether you call it character and conduct, or as I like to say, integrity and influence, if you want to change the things you do, look in the mirror and start with who you are.
As a kid, like many of you, whenever it was report card time, my parents would always ask the same question first. “What is your conduct grade?” Never did they ask, “How did you do in math?” Never, “Did you bring up your science grade?”
It was always, “Let me see your conduct grade.”
The reason? They knew my conduct was a reflection of my character.
So how is your conduct grade these days?
The answer to that question is not simply a reflection of what you do. It is an indicator of who you are.
[Tweet "You will never be a great leader without great character."]
Why not start with the one in the mirror and work on your character today? I know I plan to.
Leadership Begins at Home,
What happens when leaders focus more on conduct than they do character?
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My Last Trip to Build a Bear

My Leadership Begins at Home tagline once again came to mind a couple of weekends ago as I attended the college graduation of my daughter Sarah. 

It's official ... there's a new Mercer Bear in the world. 

I remember our first trip to Build-a-Bear like it was yesterday ... only it wasn't. It was fifteen years ago that we first set foot in a mall (remember those) to pay an insane amount of money to design a teddy bear. A teddy bear that honestly looked like every other teddy bear. 

Baby Bear 1

Looking back, the first bear cost little in comparison to the college bear, and I'm not referring to tuition. I'm talking about a higher price. Truthfully the latest version has cost me my life. Every precious ounce of life. All my prayers, cares, hopes, dreams, and yes, even my money. So many bedtime stories, front porch chats, soccer practices, and tanks of gas have represented the price tag. And if you ask me, worth every second and every penny. 

Baby Bear 2For leaders the temptation is to focus on the nine to five, those hours that represent work. The idea of Leadership Begins at Home is more about what happens from five to nine ... kids aren't the only ones who need to be doing homework.

As a father, I can tell you there are few things that compare to the joy of watching your kids grow up, knowing you have attempted to be fully present. 

Along the way I learned you can read all the Dr. Seuss bedtime stories in the world, attend every game, even show up for an occasional tea party, and still miss the moments.

Let me warn you ... technology will tempt you. Your schedule will seduce you. Leadership will lure you. And if you're not extra careful graduation will represent regret.

Thankfully, my daddy regrets are few, but I do wish I had respected the time more and been even more locked in. It was hard to appreciate just how fast it would pass. 

In a few weeks most kids will go back to school, but one of mine won't. No, our time for back to school shoes and backpacks has passed. 

I'm glad my wife and I took the time to build a bear. This one very real. Costly, but now priceless. 

Way to go kid. You were worth it!

Leadership Begins at Home,


Feel free to leave Sarah a word of wisdom in the comment section below ...

I want to thank each of you who faithfully read and pass along my content to your friends and co-workers. Over the next few weeks I will be taking an extended blog break to spend extra time doing Homework. I hope you will too!

My next post will be Monday, July 20th. 

Do You Have Substance AND Style?

I am challenged by the words of Thomas Jefferson ...
[Tweet "“In matters of style, swim with the current; In matters of principle, stand like a rock.”"]
Many leaders do just the opposite. When it comes to relevance, it appears easier to stand pat and play it safe. They stay stuck in the same old ruts and refuse to be open to new ideas.
Principles, on the other hand, are often compromised if it means increasing profits or capturing a greater market share. Integrity slowly erodes, and over time, a leader can loose his way.
So how’s your “style?” Are you connected to the culture?
What about your “principles?” Are they for sale, or are you willing to bend?
Make it your aim this week to be relevant without being fake. But if you have to choose, choose substance (principles) over style.
It is possible to go with the flow and be rock solid at the same time. It is called influence and integrity.
I pray you will pursue both!
Leadership Begins at Home,
What do you think of Jefferson’s quote?
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Is Your Mouth Writing Checks Your Soul Can’t Cash?

Thanks to a gift from my friend Dan Webster, I am reading a book titled Soul Keeping, by John Ortberg. John is one of my favorite writers. He has this way of cutting through the clutter and speaking to the places where I am living. This read is no exception.

I know why Dan sent me the book. It is a reminder of something he has challenged me with on many occasions in the past. “Make sure your mouth isn’t writing checks your soul can’t cash.” Ouch! There’s a reason I call D-Web Yoda. Who thinks about stuff like that?

Actually, I hope you will. As a leader, is your mouth writing checks your soul can’t cash? The answer to the question most likely has much to do with whether or not you are in a hurry. God prescribes for us to be still if we are to know Him, and ultimately enjoy life.

[Tweet "Hurry is the enemy of love!"]

In Soul Keeping, Ortberg quotes his mentor, the late Dallas Willard who was one of the great spiritual thinkers of the last century. “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life .... Hurry is the great enemy of souls in our day. Being busy is mostly a condition of our outer world; it’s having many things to do. Being hurried is a problem of the soul. It’s being so preoccupied with myself and what myself has to do that I am no longer able to be fully present with God and others. There is no way a soul can thrive when it is hurried. And nobody will come along and un-hurry your soul for you.”

So how’s your soul? Do you find your inner life preoccupied? Are your days characterized by stress and stuff ... hurry and worry? If so, you can’t delegate this one. This one’s a self-leadership deal.

My neighbor has a swimming pool. While he has a filter to keep the water clean, the filter is not enough. He also has a net on a long pole to skim debris from the surface.

As leaders, we are a lot like swimming pools. Every day or two stuff surfaces at a soul level and needs to be skimmed if we are to remain healthy and vibrant toward those we lead.

For the next few weeks, I intend to put time on the task of skimming ... and not on my neighbors pool. No, my focus will be on slowing down, eliminating hurry, and sifting out the junky, gunky, build up of my inner life.

Why? Because I don’t want my mouth to be writing checks my soul can’t cash.

Is it time for you to do some Soul Keeping too?

Leadership Begins at Home,


How much time do you think a leader should spend working on his soul, and what practices do you use to keep yourself fully present with those you lead?

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Have You Identified Your Core Convictions?

When my crazy brain looks at the word conviction, I cannot help but break it down. The first half of the word, CONVICT, causes me to think of a jail cell.

There are a few things I am certain I do not want to do. First on the list is I have no desire to ever be in prison.

But as a leader, the truth is, your core convictions do have you in jail. If you really think about it, you are tethered to your convictions like a boat tied to a dock.

Identifying your core (core is an important part - think abs / gut) conviction is vital if you want to lead with integrity. Once you begin to stray, weakness comes knocking.

As you look ahead, make sure you are locked in on your non-negotiable's and that they keep you imprisoned. You'll be a better leader.

Leadership Begins at Home,


What are three nonnegotiable's that guide you as a leader? 

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