Book Review – Getting Ahead

Getting Ahead BookI have spent the last few weeks working through the pages of Joel A. Garfinkle’s latest book, Getting Ahead – Three Steps to Take Your Career To The Next Level. I say “working” because this book is full of great insights, stories, and practical action steps one can take to move forward.

Garfinkle’s model is simple and is divided into three parts: Improve your perception, Increase your visibility, and Exert your influence. But his methodology is not simplistic at all. If you want to develop your leadership and increase your odds of future success – you’ll have some work to do. This book helps you know what kind of work that will entail.

The Invisible Act That Makes You A Better Leader

Had a conversation with a student leader this last week. His team is functioning well and he’s experienced a good number of successes so far in his leadership year. With everything humming along nicely, he wondered what else he should be doing. Love questions like this. But even more, I love the student leaders who ask questions like this.

Your student leader year is going to have ups and downs, slow times and completely, crazy, overwhelming times. In fact, as we start to head into what we like to call Red October, you’ll begin to move from the Implementation Season into the Fluctuation Season (you can read more about the Six Seasons of the Student Leader Year here). As this happens, you and your team will find that you have the tendency to start living from event to event.

But no matter the Season or the level of busyness, there is always something that leaders do.

How Running Helped Me Be A Better Writer

Last summer, I made a decision to get in better shape through a phenomenal program called P90X (you can read about my results here). With a new found focus on fitness, I chose to do something a little different this summer. I wanted to challenge myself with something I’ve always resisted doing – I took up running.

If you know anything about me, you might know that I don’t like running and I don’t like to run…even if I’m being chased.

At the beginning of this challenge, I thought the benefit would be increased cardiovascular health and better endurance. And that’s definitely a benefit. But I soon discovered there was a mental side to running. The time I was spending on the road was having a direct impact on the work I was doing in front of my laptop. It was helping me to become a better writer.

The other day I tweeted that running had helped me become a better writer. A few people responded to that tweet with a simple question: “How?”

Here’s what I’ve discovered:

Video: Set The Example

I recently shared a five minute lesson with our current group of student leaders. The format followed the Ignite Seminar template – a speaker gets five minutes with 20 slides that transition every 15 seconds. It’s a fantastic way to engage those who lack the attention span.

My lesson hit home on the power of “setting the example” as the leader. There are a lot of examples out there to observe or follow. Yet it’s the one who can SET the example, becoming the picture in people’s minds, that is most influential.

Think about the people who come to mind when you wonder about the best way to do something. Those are the people who have SET the example.

How does your example inspire excellence in others?

Book Review: Purpose-Centered Public Speaking

I think everyone, even the most polished and practiced of public speakers, gets a little nervous before stepping up to speak in front of a group of people.

Overcoming the fear and trepidation that is associated with public speaking can be hard work. But I’ve recently come across a goldmine of wisdom and helpful direction that can bolster the skills of anyone needing to speak in front of a crowd.

Purpose-Centered Public Speaking is a treasure trove of insight and practical guidance. Written by Dr. Gary Rodriguez (LeaderMetrix), this book is part inspiration, part game plan. A good public speaker will have a couple of things working in his or her favor: great content and strong presentation skills. This book tackles both of those areas head on.

I speak all of the time and I was amazed at how much this book increased my confidence. Dr. Rodriguez walks the reader step-by-step from the strong emotions one feels to the strong ending one desires. This book is full of great examples and is well-illustrated from Dr. Rodriguez’ own experiences. He doesn’t offer a cookie-cutter process, but encourages the reader to work from his or her strengths. His process is more like a compass than a detailed map. With the temptation to try and “be” like other great speakers I know, I felt like this book gave me a better handle on being myself as I step up to the podium.

Purpose-Centered Public Speaking reminded me that every presentation is important and will need some key elements to be effective. Things like…

-Capturing the audience’s attention
-Identifying and surfacing a need in the listener
-Being crystal-clear on your subject matter
-Pointing the listener to the desired outcome

The book is laid out in an orderly way. This will make it easier to refer back to specific tips and techniques. If I were to summarize this book in a sentence, I’d say,

“Purpose-centered Public Speaking is a primer that gives the speaker a solid plan.”

I am grateful to Dr. Rodriguez for allowing me to read and review this great resource. I encourage you to take a look. If you are required to do any type of speaking, this book will strengthen your confidence and help you know what you need to work on to take your presentations to the next level. You can purchase Purpose-Centered Public Speaking on Amazon.

Clips (for iPhone) Released Today











Have you ever needed to find just the right movie clip for that youth talk or message you’re preparing?

Have you ever thought of a clip you would like to use but can’t remember where in the movie that scene was located?

Have you ever wanted this kind of information easily accessible from your iPhone?

I’m excited to share a new iPhone app being released today: Clips!



tweedership_headerI have a short attention span.

So do the students I work with.

When I have a choice between “long and profound” and “short and powerful”…I choose the latter.

This is why I am placing my latest resource into the hands of every one of my student leaders this year.

Tweedership – Learning Leadership In 140 Characters Or Less

I wrote this book with my good friend and co-worker, Kenton Lee.

We also received a number of solid recommendations from people who read through the book prior to publishing. Here’s one we were excited to read…

“Tweedership is proof that inspiration, wisdom, insight can be found in small packages. Each “tweet” is a powerful call to principled leadership.”
-Jeremiah Shinn, Director, Student Involvement & Leadership Center, Boise State University (@booneshinn)

If you work with student leaders or leaders with short attention spans, I invite you to invest in their leadership development and put Tweedership into their hands. It will give them solid and practical leadership wisdom that encourages them to think like a leader thinks.

This book is a compilation of over 450 of our best leadership tweets containing insights, tips, observations and practical guidance. They encourage you to think bigger and bolder thoughts, live with healthier and more positive attitudes, influence the lives of others for the better, and lead with excellence.

Here is the promotional video Kenton & I made when we first released Tweedership in 2011.

Tweedership is available on


The Right Kind Of Leadership Currency

I believe every leader, or person aspiring to be a leader, has a certain amount of leadership currency. Some leaders actually think their leadership currency is real currency (money). They’re wrong. You can’t buy respect, confidence, and reputation (at least not the kind that lasts) with money. But you can earn these things using the right kind of leadership currency.

My son recently had one of his baseball coaches resign from the team. The former coach stated that he didn’t feel like the players respected him. In hindsight, it appears he wasn’t spending the right kind of leadership currency necessary to earn the respect of the players. Sometimes I’m amazed at the coach who knows how to coach a sport, but don’t know much about coaching people. When a leader (or a person in a position of leadership) begins to spend the right kind of leadership currency, he or she will see their influence grow. Without it, the ability to influence others devolves into a demanding, do-what-I-say-or-else type of bossiness.

The right kind of leadership currency to spend with followers includes each of these areas: