December 1, 2020

Bring the New Noise

It's with us constantly. Wear a mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Stay at home. Don't watch that. Don't listen to that guy. That infringes on my rights. Oh we all need to shut up. 

My mom was born in 1937 and in her eight plus decades, she had seen it all but she hadn't seen a global pandemic in her 83 years but was just as vigilant about protocols until the day she passed in August. This is a woman who lived through the last world war, raised two kids on very little money, and sometimes worked three jobs. I think we can watch out for the other guy and stop our whining.

Our pampered whining needs to stop. Right now. 

It may take another year to vaccinate enough people for this virus to be conquered and we need to gather up a heaping helping of perspective and put the damn mask back on.

It sucks that we have to stay home and keep our distance and do work remotely and missing hugging our friends and not be able to attend concerts and take our honey out for a nice restaurant meal. Call a friend. Turn off the news. Watch something funny. Have a laugh. Make a delicious meal. And tell those you love that you love them every day. 

We don't know how this all turns out. I've had two covid tests so far and so far I'm clear. But millions have died and millions more will die. So wearing a mask seems to be a small price for the ability to miss the things we want to do when this pandemic is over.  

The alternative is much worse. __________________________________________________________________

November 1, 2020

Acronyms and Labels

If you've ever spent time with a group of people from the same industry that you’re not a part of, you know how narrow we can all be at times. There are acronyms and terms you have no clue how to decipher. It’s almost as if they are speaking another language, their own language. 

I was consulting a large pharma company and on one of our conference calls, I asked them to translate into English. At first, they were confused, but then they laughed and understood. 

What do You Mean?

We think we’re being clear, but we have to understand that our thoughts may not align with others’ understanding. When we take the time to step back, breathe, and gain more insight into how others are perceiving us, we stand a better chance of understanding each other and at times ourselves. 

Technical speak and industry specifics are often needed, but sometimes boiling things down to the most basic level is the best way to avoid misinterpretation. If we take a moment and suspend our beliefs to check for understanding, conflict can be avoided and teamwork can be improved. 

One idea is to find someone outside our circle to ask their opinion. Their lack of industry knowledge might unlock some questions we hadn't considered. 

It's worth a shot.

October 1, 2020

Don't Be a Boss

Allow others to inspire. Find the how. Get out of their way. Be present even during challenging times. Have clear expectations. Don't expect to ever have all the answers. 

Helping others is a privilege. Back your people up. Be bold. Never stop learning. Open door policies are for those who mean it. Don’t hide behind busy. It’s their career too. 

 Be inquisitive. 

Invest at least half of your time helping people. Hire passion. A team is more than celebrating victories. Don’t be a boss. Listen. Don’t hide when your people need you. 

Grow their strengths. Let them shine. Be fair. Get to know what motivates everyone on your team. Seek guidance from those who are committed to helping you grow. Customer service begins with you. Never settle. Understand that it will be the most rewarding work you’ll ever have the privilege to do. 

 And it won't be listed on your business card. __________________________________________________________________

September 1, 2020

More of Less

Move more. Envy less. Sing more. Cling less. Accomplish more. Show less. Complain less. Live more. Compare less. Contribute more. Annoy less. Enjoy more. Worry less. 

Fulfill more. Take less. Focus more. Talk less. Start more. Eat less. Laugh more. Work less. Give more. Regret less. See more. Ignore less. Progress more. Criticize less. Invent more. Renounce less. Embrace more. Spend less. Share more. Measure less. 

Collaborate more. Upset less. Dream more. Irritate less. Write more. Doubt less. Read more. Whine less. Accomplish more. Drink less. 

Listen more. Waste less. Smile more. Own less. Learn more. Say less. Help more. Use less. Connect more. Stop less. 

Play more. Hope less. Communicate more. Skim less. Thank more. Fret less. View more. Reflect less. Originate more. Copy less.

Do more. Love more. Share more. Be more. 

August 1, 2020

Do You Hope?

It’s been often said that hope is not a strategy but I wonder if we should automatically throw it out. Hope pushes us forward; it keeps our minds active toward potential results and solutions. As we get to the end of our lives, regret can be one of the worst emotions we can feel, so as long as there is hope, we can carry on.

This is not to suggest we can survive simply on hope because without effort and action, it will be an empty exercise. However, if we remain hopeful, we will keep trying to find solutions, relationships, business concepts, and career choices.

In Other Words

Synonyms for hope include; confidence, courage, anticipation, faith, and optimism.

If we replace any of those words when we feel we are looking at what we want, perhaps it can change our perspective. And if evidence becomes overwhelming that hope for a certain outcome isn’t going to go our way, we should find strength to keep hope in our minds and hearts for the next time around.

Time gives us experience and hope gives us life to our dreams, plans, ideas, and relationships. Life can be hard, business can be challenging, and leadership can be a struggle. If we keep our hope at the forefront, we can take our experiences and passions forward when circumstances don’t go our way.

Let's stay hopeful.

July 1, 2020

The Big What

We all know we are flawed and make mistakes. We know we don’t have it all figured out. And we know there's work to do. But part of finding clarity is discovering the joy in work rather than the seemingly unattainable finish line.

Clutter makes us nervous and stressed. It can derail us from our goals. Clarity can help us find our baseline and silence some of that unnecessary noise.

To gain clarity, there are four questions you can ask yourself and your team.

1. What do you stand for?
2. What will you not do?
3. Why do you do what you do?
4. What won't you do?

June 1, 2020

Does This Fit?

There are ample data to suggest if we find common ground, we stand a chance to agree. The bigger question is do we need to agree? Every interaction we experience is more than the conversation we have at the time. My experience, perspective, biases, and view mix with yours. 

In my career, I have overseen the creation of three brand new radio stations from concept to completion, helped a tech start-up build their strategic plan and brand roll out, and worked closely with a real estate firm to triple their revenue in two years. The common element has been aligning a framework to then get creative within it.

Your Way or My Way?

It’s not about telling you your ideas are wrong; it’s about getting to the core of what you are willing to do to achieve them. That’s where I know I get sidetracked. I’m a dreamer, a box crusher, and a ‘what if we tried that’ kind of guy.

We admire those who take chances and seemingly disregard conventional wisdom. But if we look closer, there is a framework within the freedom. The key to great companies, teams, and departments, is the ability to give space to all perspectives then tie them back to the goals.

Widen Your Scope

If you want more sales, telling your team to make more calls is not going to work. If you include them in the process, you allow all perspectives to be included into a much more robust solution. Some reps may prefer to build relationships over time while others might be rock stars at cold calling. This becomes even more complex over time as relationships grow. I’ve seen it far too many times to mention when a leader will be repeatedly frustrated by how an employee approaches their work.

Instead of trying to jam someone into your perspective, take time to examine theirs and you might discover a solution neither of you had ever thought about. I need cautious people around me to keep me grounded. You might require creative people whose ideas seem outrageous at first, around you.

One approach never fits all.

May 1, 2020

Less Than 10%

It’s often said that we use a small percentage of the potential of our brain. There are things we can overcome, do, create, and accomplish, if we access additional information and abilities within it and ourselves. Teamwork, trust, and collaboration are becoming even more important with a global pandemic that will be in our lives for a year or two.

Competencies are important, abilities are critical, but where companies find success is when the connections between us strengthen.

Tom Wujec is an information designer who explains in his TEDTalk three areas of our brain that help us understand words, images, feelings, and connections and how to better help us understand bigger ideas and possibilities.


April 1, 2020

Remote Leaders

I've been reading about this and thinking about this for years. I have been fortunate to work with amazing collaborative insightful and giving leaders; I have also had some bosses. I think there is a definitive list somewhere but the way I view leadership is from the inside. Each of us has a different interpretation of what they need in their leader or how they want to lead.

In a time when we have 3-4 generations in a workplace, the one size fits all model won't work. Sales managers yelling at reps to make more calls, Marketing directors steadfast on their design over others, CEO's accountable to shareholders without focus on their employees to make those financial successes a reality.

Read The Room

And that room can be as granular as every single person in the organization. For some, they need a coach akin to the defensive coordinator who yells at their guys for missing the tackle. For others, they require a more personable calm approach.

The key to being a great leader, in my opinion, is twofold. First, you don't decide you're the leader; your team or company does. Second, your only focus is your team or company. Customers will show up if you create a culture of collaboration, respect, and strong internal customer service. Since most are working remotely, this makes the challenge of leadership even more important to master.

A great leader never has to remind people they are the leader.

March 24, 2020

What Can We Do?

When I launched this website 12 years ago, it was called One Mann’s Opinion. And since then, I’ve published 1500 posts which have all been my opinion.

As we all grapple with a deadly foe, no matter religion, country, wealth, status, gender, or age, there are a lot of opinions flying around. And yes, this piece is my opinion, so feel free to carry on or read on.

Media v Message

Through information, misinformation, and noise, there is one current opinion of the scientific community that seems to have significant weight – we don’t know how this is going to go and the only current way to stop it is through a yet-to-be formulated vaccine.

A vaccine takes years to formulate, test, develop, and distribute, but the scientific community has been given the all-points bulletin to accelerate that while countries’ licensing boards have opened the doors. Several dozen companies have identified a vaccine candidate, and some have begun human testing.

When a valid vaccine is developed, it will take 12-18 months to produce a global supply, so let’s let the brightest minds of science work on that for all of us while we do our part.

In the Meantime…

In short, we need to stay home and when we are out, keep our distance, work together, show profound kindness toward each other, and understand no one is immune. No one.

None of us can guarantee we won’t be laid off. None of us can guarantee this will be a short wait. The only thing we can do is avoid physical contact with each other to flatten the curve. It has been proven in small cases around the world already. It won’t eradicate the virus, but it could slow its scourge.

There is no Spin

Some have reminded us of historic events like this, but it would be difficult to find one this far-reaching. There is no room for ill-advised or ill-informed opinions, especially from world leaders, but that hasn’t stopped a certain “leader of the free world” to continue to spin his opinion which will continue to endanger lives.

Leaders need to lead, and currently, we all need to be leaders. There is no room for hoarding or selfishness; but there is plenty of room for caring and carefulness. Many have opined this will forever change human existence. Some of us feel it has already.

Be safe. Be careful. Be kind. Be human. Namaste.

March 3, 2020

Company Culture | Seven Step Program

As much as it’s cool to have exposed brick, a foosball table, catered meals, and lattes at 3pm, those won’t ensure your company has engaged employees who will do passionate work. Culture is much deeper. It’s a feeling and an instinct that can’t be forced or faked. And it requires daily upkeep from everyone.

Here are seven considerations to make your company a great place to work;

Give – No matter the survey, compensation always makes it into one of the top reasons people stay or leave a company. But if money is the number one concern of employees, you have a serious issue. Pay people properly.

Define – What makes people want to bring their best every day and feel appreciated? If you can’t explain it in a sentence or two, dig deeper.

Value – What does your company stand for and what won’t it do? Two significant questions that seem easy enough to answer yet most struggle with them. We want to be a part of something that aligns with our values.

Open – Not all decisions can be made by committee. In fact most people want leadership to guide the way, but keep communication open enough for people to feel you genuinely want their input and ideas.

Stretch – Departments are created for a reason. Sales focuses on revenue while product design improves the offering. But don’t box people in so they can’t offer input to areas where they might not be subject matter experts.

Lead – From small companies with a handful of employees to the Fortune 50, the relationship people have with their direct report and the people closest to them in their day-to-day work experience, will be the single biggest reason they stay or leave. Model the behavior you want from others.

Together – Teamwork and collaboration are a core elements to great culture. We want to belong and contribute so afford everyone the chance to do both.

Like trust, respect is earned not mandated by an org chart. So if you want great company culture, create an atmosphere of authentic respect and trust.

Then watch what happens.

February 20, 2020

Risky Business

Manage risk, financial risk, reputation risk, market share risk, relationship risk, shareholder risk, the risks of risks, the risk of focusing on risks, the discussion of risks, the endless what if's that stall our journey risk.

Perhaps we perceive it will be difficult or worse, not successful. We often fear our own abilities and guts to take that ride. One of the worst emotions I think we can possess is regret. The idea we didn't act on can often be the one that stops the flow. The safety of inaction becomes our comfort zone.

Risk often focuses on what will, would, or could go wrong. It's a preemptive strike, a proactive measure, to protect the outcome. The biggest risk is when we use it to endorse inaction. I know of what I write only too well. Maybe you can relate.

The biggest risk is the bet we fail to make on ourselves.

February 15, 2020

Doing Nothing

We live busy lives often being busy doing busy things with others getting busy on busy tasks. But how often do we take time for think time or better yet, do nothing?

Andy Puddicombe is the co-founder of Headspace, a project that aims to demystify meditation and make it applicable to everyday life. He is a Clinical Meditation Consultant and former Buddhist monk.

For more than a decade, Andy’s meditation training took him all over the world. He became a fully ordained monk at a Tibetan Monastery in the Indian Himalayas. In his TEDTalk, Puddicombe explains the importance of making time to do nothing.


February 4, 2020

HR | Letters and Keywords

The Human Resources' role can be a tricky one. You have an opening. The job description is created. The websites and channels are populated. And the flood of applicants come in. I've been on both sides of this cycle and it's not fun.

One trend that is almost universal is twofold; the long list of experience required and a minimum educational level. It seems more and more openings require a BA or MBA and the ability to work in a face-paced environment handing tight deadlines without sweating whilst smiling brightly. It appears the world is in search of a lot of jugglers.

Time for a new approach?

You worked hard, you earned the degree, well done! I don't have an MBA but I have consulted clients who require one to work full-time at their company. I'm not suggesting you lower any bar but keep in mind if you're a hiring agent that most aren't great at writing resumes and matching your keywords.

Perhaps if you're in HR, you've seen a candidate that would be perfect - if their resume even gets to you - yet they have to be eliminated. It's a shame. Perhaps you're looking for work, have plenty of experience, hired a resume writing expert, and are still having trouble knocking down the keyword software interface. My two cents, we are all missing out on some remarkable opportunities.

Technology is excellent but let's not forget the human in our resources.

January 30, 2020

Advice for Leaders

Flexibility will garner better results. You don’t need to make every decision.
Show grace under pressure. If people call you sensitive, thank them.

It's better than being insensitive.

Turn your wounds into wisdom.
Oprah Winfrey

Don't let job titles get in your way. Trust your gut.
Don't play favorites.

Resist the temptation to take all the credit.
Fall seven times, stand up eight. (Proverb)

A short no is often preferred over a long maybe.
Bury the past. Laugh at least once a day.

We acquire the strength we have overcome.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don’t hesitate this time. Be honest about your efforts.
No is a perfectly acceptable response.

Respect is how to treat everyone, not just those you want to impress.
Richard Branson

Balance confidence with competence.
Self-doubt serves no one. Own your decisions.

The purpose of our lives is to be happy.
Dalai Lama

Imagine. Create. Share. Lead.

January 25, 2020


If you have kids, you have experienced the why game. A four year old won't just accept "because" or "it just is" or "just do it, I'm your mother" and let it go. But we slowly let that inquisitive process slip away as we get older.

Then we may stop asking why. 

Change is not easy but status quo can appear safe. Our inner four year old needs to show up more often so we can discover why do we do what we do.

Tony Robbins shares his thoughts.


January 21, 2020

Guests in Your House

This was written by poet and theologian Rūmī six hundred years ago and the message is as valid today.

We all have struggles and stress; issues and challenges, and it's tough to see clearly at times but that is where we grow. It's been a challenging year for many I know, me included, on various fronts. The words of Rumi are worth reviewing.

This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably,
he may be clearing you out for some new delight

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

January 13, 2020

Spaghetti and Marshmallows

If you have worked a day in your life, it is fairly safe to say you have worked alongside others. In some cases, those experiences have been enjoyable while others have not. You may have had to endure an arrogant selfish boss while other situations have been filled with giving collaborative coworkers.

We seem to enjoy looking at things “on paper” but they get all wobbly when we add the human element and often it’s because we are unclear about the mandate. Often there is a struggle among conflicting agendas or someone comes in and plays the “I’m the boss” card. None of these scenarios are effective, productive, or long lasting business success models. However, sadly they are far too common.

But what happens when you ask a group of people to build a structure out of spaghetti, string, and a marshmallows?

© Kneale Mann people + priority = profit
leadership development business culture talent development human capital