As the founder and CEO of Growing Leaders, I look at the world through a leadership lens. I believe leadership matters. Moments of crisis amplify the need for good leadership. I also believe leadership is a dance between the leader, followers and the situation. A fundamental question leaders need to ask is: “What is the best way to gain positive

In light of our sad and emotionally charged world right now, I felt it would be good for us to "push pause” and post a timely piece on today’s protests to George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police. This issue will not go away—and it shouldn’t go away—until we lead our world into a better place. Our kids deserve

Melanie, an 18-year old high school student, told me recently, “I am a planner, but these days I can’t really plan.” Such is the world for high school upperclassmen, especially seniors. As we leave behind the month of May, the time when schools typically host graduation ceremonies, students either experienced a virtual ceremony or they are having to wait until August.

Dear Readers, Today, I plan to write to you personally, in a letter instead of an article. After all that’s happened regarding the George Floyd murder (and for that matter, Ahmaud Arbery’s murder while on a jog in Georgia or for Breonna Taylor, when police raided her Louisville home), I am grieving. I can’t believe we are still in this mess. I

During the last several weeks, we all heard the term, “essential workers.” Our government asked each of us to shelter in place—except those people with essential jobs like medical workers, grocery store clerks, shipping services and deliveries, gas station staff, and the like. We couldn’t even go get a haircut or eat out at a restaurant. Only the bare minimum.  The

Members of our team at Growing Leaders went and asked students how they’re handling the quarantine. One group of high school seniors offered the most telling insights on their final year of school: “It’s definitely not how I’ve pictured it all these years. I’m missing my senior track season, probably prom, maybe graduation, and the last couple weeks, I’ve missed school.

Most Americans reluctantly returned home several weeks ago in obedience to our government’s “shelter in place” order. Tens of millions began working from home to stay safe from COVID-19. As we continue, our fear of the unknown progresses.    One of the issues leaders need to consider is what it will look like once we return to public life. Already some

When I recently spoke to a group of eight students ages 17 to 22, I asked them what the biggest surprise was that they received since returning home to finish the semester online. I got my own surprise from most of them. Their top answer? How little their teacher knew about online learning.  Apparently, many faculty members struggled to get up to

Note: Today’s post is available for you to either watch as a vlog or read as a blog post below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cne3mnjlb5s Interruptions have a way of changing us. We enter our week with a plan, then suddenly, intrusions happen: People walk in with unsolicited problems. Accidents occur, which required time and energy to fix. Outbreaks unexpectedly sweep across the world. But because these unplanned interruptions

Note: Today’s post is available for you to either watch as a vlog or read as a blog post below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfhw3Mt1HiQ I remember a story recently, which has a relevant application to the season we’re in today. If you’ve followed professional boxing over the last century, you know the name, Jack Dempsey. Jack was the heavyweight champion of the world for seven years. But do

Note: Today’s post is available for you to either watch as a vlog or read as a blog post below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3KrUYkSlpA Astronaut Scott Kelly is a veteran of four space flights and was the pilot for the space shuttle Discovery in December 1999. This experienced astronaut recently spoke about how to handle long periods of time in isolation. As in social isolation. Sound relevant? Here

More and more coaches are reaching out to each other, discussing how to best coach a team during this COVID-19 pandemic. We live in strange times. Who would have believed in February that by the end of April we would be: Ending the winter and spring season with no championships? Saying goodbye to our seniors with no graduation ceremonies? Working

I spoke to a couple of NCAA Division One coaches by phone last week. Both were holding up OK but were inquiring about how to manage their current reality as both student-athletes and coaches are separated, routines are upset, and so many are anxious. Recruiting looks different. Strength and conditioning looks different. Team discussions look different. Today’s student-athletes are from Generation

It was five weeks ago when we began to hear the term, “social distancing.” It wasn’t invented then; people have practiced it for centuries during outbreaks. But this was our own version in 2020. We heard that staying beyond six feet from one another would prevent us from vulnerability to the coronavirus. Sadly, I have witnessed a pitiful misinterpretation of this

I just heard from a friend who lost a tenant in her apartment complex due to the coronavirus. The woman who died was only 41 years old. Suddenly, this outbreak has hit close to home for me. There is no clear historical precedent for the scale and nature of this shock. Some economists see the U.S. output falling by more in

Note: Today's post is available for you to either watch as a vlog or read as a blog post below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdAjkeLiPOQ Many people I know are already complaining about the “interruption” of the coronavirus. Life is on hold. Classes have gone virtual or gone away completely. It feels like society is not making progress. But really—this is totally up to us. I don’t mean

Note: Today's post is available for you to either watch as a vlog or read as a blog post below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKpI1sLoNs0 An NPR online report stunned me recently. I didn’t know whether to chuckle or to mourn our “snowflake generation.” And it’s not the kids—it’s the adults. Along with hand sanitizer and other disinfectants, toilet tissue has been increasingly hard to find at local markets,

I just finished reviewing my notes on colleges and secondary schools I’ve observed since 2005. The schools are located in Singapore, Canada, England, Germany, Egypt, India, Brazil, Mexico, and the United States. I’ve listed below the “best practices” in those schools. Obviously, a key requirement when applying best practices to organizations or schools is the ability to balance the unique

Every time period in history is shaped by the significant events that occur during that season. Each generation is marked by shared experiences, music, heroes, villains, tragedies, TV shows and economies. Let’s walk down memory lane: My parents grew up during the Great Depression and brought a “waste not, want not” mindset with them clear into the 21st century. Both

Do you know parents or teachers who are so tired of bickering with their teens that they: Make a separate dinner for their children because they are a picky eater? Offer the answers to the test because it’s easier than insisting they study? Allow them to play video games all day, even when it becomes addictive? While moms and dads have

I love the story of the 7-year old girl who grabbed her baseball bat, her mitt and a ball and asked her dad if they could go outside and play some baseball. She then followed her request with some clear instructions for him: “I’ll hit the ball, and you say, ‘good job.’” It has been said, “Encouragement is the oxygen of

Back in 1921, a radical experiment was launched in the United Kingdom. It was a school, if you can call it that, that was so unorthodox, it instantly created debate and controversy. It was called the Summerhill School experiment. Began by Scottish educator, Alexander Sutherland Neill, this school empowers students to choose what they’d like to learn, to experiment, explore and

A video sparked an online debate recently. In case, you didn’t see it, Wendi Williams, a passenger on an American Airlines flight from New Orleans to Charlotte, decided to recline her seat to rest after the food was served. When she did, she got a rude awakening. The passenger behind her immediately chose to display his displeasure with her decision by punching

Kids who’ve grown up in the  21st century have a different childhood and adolescent experience than previous generations, including the Millennials. Generation Z has grown up with: The Internet Smart technology Frequent mass shooting Terrorism Social media A polarized adult population Inspired by my friend, researcher, and educator, Corey Seemiller, author of the book Generation Z: A Century in the Making,

Some of you may be leaders of the emerging generation. You lead schools, businesses, sports teams and families. Many of you who work with student-leaders want to help them navigate the privileges and responsibilities of their position. I recently sat in on a Student Government Association meeting on a college campus. It was immediately clear these were intelligent and active university

As a kid, I vividly remember getting my first cavity. I had never heard of such a thing, but the dentist explained that I had a hole in my tooth’s enamel that needed a filling. If that news wasn’t bad enough, he went on to ask, “Do you think you and your mother can stay a bit longer today, so