Helping others become their best self

Periods of rapid growth create opportunities for leaders to foster leadership within their organizations. Over the past year, that has been the case for financial services – particularly those firms focused on mergers and acquisitions (M&A). With the U.S. economy approaching full employment, coupled with low interest rates and global economic growth, M&A activity has […]

Leaders pay it forward

Settling into the January routine, I can’t help but think about the new year and how I can improve. Many of my holiday aspirations include getting more exercise, learning about new tech trends, and taking parts of my game up a notch. As leaders, we might be thinking about how to bring bigger ideas to […]

Closing the Talent Gap

These are historic times. Last week, the U.S. employment rate weighed in at 4.1 percent — the lowest point in nearly 17 years. Tennessee’s statewide unemployment rate has been in record territory for the past few months, currently sitting at 3.0 percent, the lowest it has been since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began […]

Career-stalling behaviors to avoid and the leadership challenges ahead

What are the career-stalling behaviors that might impede your ability to lead? I put that question to two human resource executives who recently visited Vanderbilt – International Paper’s Tom Plath and P&G’s Rich Postler. Both noted that with four generations in the current workforce, leadership is all the more challenging. Leaders need to meld together […]

Safeguard your kids’ toys against hackers

Technology is having a huge impact on the toy industry. Today, many toys include some technology-enabled interactive element, from video displays to web-based connections that facilitate communities and other features. These new bells and whistles may excite children—and help toy retailers appeal to an increasingly tech-savvy generation—but they often come with many new IT security […]

Are there limits to authenticity?

Authenticity may be one the most sought after attributes. Whether we are talking music or hamburgers, “authentic” conveys a notion of purity. In a day of synthetic experiences, authentic says no additives or substitutes – just the real thing. When applied to leadership, this definition sometimes gets confusing. On the one hand, authentic leaders are […]

Don’t wait to develop your network

The number one mistake I see new MBA students make is waiting to develop their networks. Top B-schools offer an amazing (and sometime overwhelming) set of opportunities to network. Students should never miss a chance to share coffee or a lunch with a visiting executive. Even after a long day, stopping by for a reception […]

Are you listening and learning?

Listening may be one of the most important habits of effective leaders. Much of the advice about listening focuses on eliminating distractions and quieting yourself. Certainly good listeners are not constantly interrupting or critiquing the speaker. But researchers are finding that the best listeners go beyond passively nodding or wrapping up the conversation with a summary of what […]

Leading Through Influence

How do you lead when you are not in charge? Increasingly, managers are finding themselves in positions where they are asked to lead without having direct control. Growing and shifting organizations often mean fewer managers with positional power. Matrixed organizations put managers in multiple leadership and followership roles. Major corporate initiatives like quality, security, diversity, […]

Do you study people?

Many firms nurture corporate cultures through careful hiring practices. For startups and young growing firms, these practices represent a one-time opportunity to start with a clean slate and build a culture. For example, Google screens for “Googliness” – defined as “a mashup of passion and drive that’s hard to define but easy to spot.” Zappos […]