The greatest improvement in 2022 we see for our clients is to invest heavily to scale leadership impact by hiring, developing, and retaining leaders who can perpetuate the company vision at a larger sustainable scale. Make middle management great again!

There’s no lack of work out there. There’s a serious lack of engaged talent. Leadership is the solution. The vision, alignment, accountability, and mentorship is what defines special companies. Companies that are fun to work in and make solid sustainable profits.

The average company owner starts a company, gets work, and grows because of that work. Many will never realize they are not in the X widget-making business, they are in the leader-making business. Many “leaders” are actually the “technicians” referred to in the great book E-Myth. More doers than leaders.

Sure, they can tell people what to do. Sure, they can feel like they are in charge. But they cannot lead through layers of leadership without losing their company mission if there clearly was one. They cannot protect their company culture and core values in growth. Their people see little morale good in their work. It’s a means to an end for everyone. Money.

For those at the top, leadership development means starting with yourself. This means aggressive accountability for your own faults and weaknesses. Some of those weaknesses are simply the other side of a strength. Some are blindspots. They are costing you time, money, and happiness.

As a leader, you are NOT the total solution to solving all your company’s problems. If you think you are, you will build a company that requires exhausting micromanagement, fails to retain developing leaders, and experience less joy at work.

This is how I watched my father run his business for 20 years. 20 years of grind. Brutal. It’s no fun, even if you can work hard enough to make it work-ish.

You ARE the people developer. You are the human investor. You are looking for a good return on your mentorship. You are helping other people go further in their career/life/development than they thought they could. You are an encourager, an advisor, a help, an asset, and a trainer.

You are building a team of people that can accomplish FAR more than you ever could.

The tyranny of the urgent will hamper you. Fires always need to be put out. Reading books, hiring coaches, mentoring leaders can always be pushed off.

“I have work to do.”

Leadership is your work.

Some leaders run around telling the time. Some leaders build the clock. Are you a watchmaker or a timepiece?

Step back. See the whole picture. Elevate others. Don’t take easy ‘I’ll do it myself’ shortcuts to productivity. You have to stay on the sidelines, in a sense.

Turn your org chart upside down. You are the chief enabler. Your customer-facing people are the most important people in the company.

Are you doing enough for them?


Leadership only develops when one realizes how much more a lack of leadership will cost.

In Keith Ferazzi’s Never Eat Alone, he speaks immensely on the importance of growing your network and how to do it to grow your career, brand, or company. His knowledge and tips apply at the managerial scale as well. Every great manager is a multi-faceted creature but would be nothing without the collective efforts of their subordinates. Managers should be constantly be checking in and looking to help their employees


Every interaction with an employee or team member is an opportunity to check-in and take a pulse. In his book, Ferazzi mentions that his connecting with the outside world is based on generosity. He loves connecting people, friends with other friends. He quickly discovered that by doing so, he was associated with friends of friends as well. Before he knew it, the small-town boy paved his way to earning a scholarship at Yale and a Harvard MBA. 

He emphasizes the importance of establishing genuine relationships rather than the surface-level, desperate and forgetful connections associated with “networking.” 

He took his natural knack for connecting people and converted his skills into digestible principles, some of which include: 

These principles easily relate to the executive branch of connecting with employees as well. 


Companies and managers of all levels that regularly take the time to have company-wide check-ins – such as lunches, parties, or even formal meetings – tend to do a lot better within the company and as a company. Research done by Humanize confirms this to be true because the managers and employees find out what’s going on in the business. 

Managers can do these regular check-ins on a smaller scale as well. An excellent department head will check in with each team member individually and the team as a whole. Checking in is different than checking up, mind you. 

Rather than seeing if employees have finished a specific task or monitoring how they accomplish their tasks, try changing the narrative. 

Try asking questions like: 

Simple rephrasing can make employees feel seen, heard, and cared for rather than judged and undervalued. 

Meet them halfway too. Don’t be afraid to share with them what you are doing and how you plan to tackle your obstacles, especially when it’s relevant to what the rest of the team is working on.  

All great managerial connections are two-way streets. They build lasting workplace relationships based on mutual respect, patience, understanding, and listening, as all great relationships do. 

Sometimes we vent to one another and say frustrated things we would not say to the involved parties. We often write this off as “I wouldn’t say this to them, but…..” In a way this is quite understandable, not all of those emotions will benefit the conversation, particularly if the other party is defensive.

Let’s discuss how to leverage emotional clarity in problems to create stronger relationships.


Because it’s interesting to me. I’m a nerd, okay?! Relational dynamics are a fascinating, complex, endless source of benefit, puzzlement, and growth. Hopefully, you feel the same way.

Internal/external dialogue consistency applies to interviewing, peer-to-peer work relationships, superior/subordinate relationships, and more. If you are a fan of diverse inclusive environments you also know the healthy conflict that comes with them. Ideas must compete. HOW we compete and interact has a world of impact on how those relationships scale.

Often we see leaders with grand aspirations working very hard who fail to recognize sources of interpersonal friction, invisibly holding them back.


When you have a dichotomy between your filtered and unfiltered self you are living two different selves. Two different ways of thinking and communicating. One is more true than the other. The more you can align those, the better you can bring your full self to challenging conversations and speak your mind with collaborative gentleness. You can advocate for your perspective without vitriol but also not weakness. Beliefs have a way of controlling our behavior in ways we don’t perceive so if we have beliefs about people we work with that we don’t openly express, those beliefs subtly undermine those relationships. Limiting beliefs about people limit our ability to interact with them.

This is the theme reflected in the well-known quote “If you wouldn’t say it to their face, don’t say it.”

If you won’t say it to their face, why is that? Is it untrue? Is it unkind? Would it be unproductive? Can the complaint be framed with more compassion and optimism? Can I see this issue as an opportunity for growth in our relationships and be an ally instead of a critic?

So consider a goal of consistency between the stories you tell yourself and others about a conflict you are experiencing. You will find holding yourself accountable for being explicit and charitable will force a more disciplined and productive way to process conflict.

A healthy byproduct is you are less likely to slip into gossip and undermining others since the story you tell yourself, the other party and any affiliates is consistent and charitable. Consistent people are trustworthy.

To be clear, this is not about suppressing emotions. This is about understanding and leveraging them consistently with training so they can provide helpful cues earlier. Often you will get emotional signals before you recognize intellectual signals. This happens in interviewing all the time. The question is, what do you do with that signal?

And always be ready to tell yourself “I don’t know enough” instead of concocting a mental story about what the other side might be doing or be motivated by. Understand your own story and ask sincere questions to understand theirs. No assumptions.

We have a couple bookshelves stuffed with excellent wisdom for employees (and me) to read. Most of what I’ve learned over the years comes from books. If you consider the life altering and improving value books have, it is incredible you can buy them so cheap. Inexpensive books are one of the wonders of modern capitalism. A few thousand dollars in books, and the requisite time to read them, can be worth millions or billions and make life much easier by learning from the mistakes of others.

 Our actual bookshelf.



Team leadership

Negotiation & Sales



Do you trust your subordinates to replace you?

Why? Why not?

We hear many hiring authorities complain about the employees that THEY HIRED and THEY MANAGE. Some realize their complaints are in part a reflection of their own leadership ability and rise to the challenge, others flounder, wondering why people don’t perform as expected.

Our most capable, stable, and competitive clients value elevating leaders over securing their own positions. They care more about their employee’s success than their own short-term goals.

When it comes time for a company to become multi-generational, within a family or not, the second generation’s success is directly tied to the leadership investment made by the first generation. Learning how to influence an organization through multiple layers of management, in preparation for leadership changes, requires a wholehearted dedication to humble example setting.

Set enough of a followable example and people will walk through fire to get the job done correctly and your company will persist.

Where do you need to invest more?