Leaders Must Always See the Big Picture

And Everyone on Your Team Needs to Hear You Talk About the Big Picture

After I recently guest lectured to MBA students at a local university, one of the students asked me a question about alignment. I explained that one of the most important things for a leader to do is to be able to connect long-term goals to short-term actions. And leaders can do that best when they can share the big picture.

big picture

As a leader, it is imperative that you always remind your team why they are there. Help them to understand the purpose behind your company. Give them a reason to see that the little actions they do every day are important to accomplishing a bigger goal. Help them to see that they are many artists contributing to one masterpiece.

No job is exciting all the time. There are times that every job will have its drudgery. You can either inspire your people to put in their best efforts in even the drudgery, or you can let them trudge on their own just for their paycheck. It’s your choice whether you will help your people see only the little areas they are contributing, or if you will help them see how they are contributing to the big picture.

Here are three ways you can remind your team of the big picture when they are trudging through their daily grind.

How to Give Bad News

How to Say What Needs to Be Said

When I was a new manager, I had the hardest time giving constructive feedback to my assistant. When it was time to share with her what she needed to know to help her improve, I couldn’t even get the words out. It was so difficult for me to say, that I had to try multiple times just to be able to tell her—because I was too concerned about saying what she might have thought was bad news.

bad news

My early days as a manager showed one extreme of improper communication in giving performance reviews. Other managers think that yelling the hard truth is the best way to give bad news. They think that it’s OK to say whatever they think needs to be said, without thinking about what it would feel like to be on the receiving end of what they said. Clearly both extremes are not helpful.

So how should we give bad news? What’s the best way to help employees improve? Here are four tips for how to say what needs to be said, even if it’s bad news.

What’s better: Innovation or Productivity?

Why Innovation Beats Productivity Every Time

Do you think innovation or productivity is more important? Here’s a better way to ask that question: Would you rather work smarter or harder?

innovation or productivity

Forcing a choice of innovation or productivity is a false choice. Innovation will lead to productivity. But certain factors need to be in place in order to have an innovative workplace.

Here’s why you should focus on innovation instead of productivity in your workplace.

How Does Diversity Play into Hiring the Right Team?

Three Things to Look for in Selecting Your Team

Assembling the right team is essential to having a thriving workplace. It is important to know what you need when hiring your key positions. Unless you are extremely self-aware, you might not know what you need to balance out your strengths. That’s why diversity is a key component of any human resources strategy.


Diversity doesn’t just have to be limited to what people look like on the outside. While that is helpful to assembling a strong team, it’s important to go deeper than that. It’s essential to know how to hire based on what your team looks like on the inside.

Here are three things to think through when applying diversity to hiring your key team members.

Three Soft Skills to Master as a Leader

Why Good People Skills Reign Supreme in Any Workplace

Many have debated the importance of hard skills and soft skills. When I went to school, everyone seemed to believe that hard skills were most important. Students had to focus on mastering the specific skills required for their particular profession. But today people change not just jobs, but professions—many times over—during their career. As a result, hard skills have been dethroned from their place of prominence. Now soft skills reign supreme.

soft skills

Don’t misunderstand me: hard skills are still important. A surgeon must know how to operate on someone without them bleeding to death. People must know what they’re talking about as a practitioner in their field. But becoming proficient in the soft skills of people relations will serve you well as you change professions during your career.

Here are three soft skills that are important for you to master as a leader, regardless of the profession you choose.

The Three Parts of Business Leadership Integrity

The Three Disciplines Necessary to Cultivate a Healthy Business Culture

Integrity is important for your leadership. It is important for you to be the same person all the time, especially if you are running a business. The people in your charge are relying on you to display the kind of character that is necessary to produce a healthy business culture. That’s why it is imperative that you exhibit business leadership integrity.

Business Leadership Integrity and Healthy Business Culture

You can’t afford to be one kind of person at the workplace and one kind of person at home. That is not integrity. That is compartmentalization. And that will sabotage your business culture.

Here are three disciplines to implement to maintain business leadership integrity and develop a healthy business culture.

Six Keys to a Thoughtful Strategic Plan

co-written with Ben Case, Case Consulting Services Inc.

Whatever business you are in, I believe it is mandatory for every company to have a thoughtful strategic plan. When your day-to-day work becomes overwhelming, you need to have a plan that will keep you focused on where you want to go as a company over the long haul.

thoughtful strategic plan

A thoughtful strategic plan gives everyone a clear sense of the organization’s direction. Leadership commits to it in writing. Staff puts the plan into action.

Before I started Transformational Impact LLC, I worked with my friend Ben Case at Case Consulting Services, Inc. Ben is reputedly one of the best major gift fundraisers in the world, having helped nonprofits raise more than $4.3 billion in his 40 years of fundraising.

In 2016, Ben Case and I wrote a series on Six Keys to Thoughtful Strategic Planning. Here’s a summary of those six keys.

My New Book Made the CLA Top Ten New Books List!

The Christian Leadership Alliance (CLA) has come out with their Winter 2017 issue of Outcomes Magazine, and my new book, Dear Boss: What Your Employees Wish You Knew, made their Top Ten New Books List.

I will be speaking about my book Dear Boss at CLA’s Outcomes Conference in Dallas April 18 at their Chief HR Officer Forum. To register for the conference, click here.

How Will You Change You in 2018?

You Will Be the Same Person in Ten Years—Unless You Change Three Things

As you think through what you want to do differently in the coming year, it’s important to think through how you will change you in 2018. You can’t change your circumstances until you change yourself first.

Change You

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity. Do not do that to yourself. If you want to have different results, you must change you first.

You will be the same person in ten years that you are right now—unless you change these three things.

De-Mystifying Strategic Planning

Three Basic Steps to Developing a Strategic Plan

Strategic planning seems overly complex to many people. There are many different methodologies to choose from in approaching the strategic planning process. But there are basic steps involved in all strategic planning processes, and understanding those steps will help leaders in de-mystifying strategic planning.

strategic planning

Many organizations don’t take the time to do strategic planning because they don’t understand it. Because it sounds more complex than it really is.

Here are the basic three steps to understanding and de-mystifying strategic planning.