The Nuanced Character(s) of Downton Abbey

January 9, 2014

What is it about Downton Abbey that attracted 10.2 million television viewers for the season four premiere? Is it the acting? Is it the costuming? Is it a longing for a bygone era? Is it the intrigue of intermingling upstairs-downstairs storylines? For me, it’s the nuanced characters. Not just the roles being played, but the…

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Content That Helps Smart People Work Smarter

January 7, 2014

Two centuries before the invention of the Internet, Benjamin Franklin had great advice for the modern blogger. He said one should “either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” Along with this blog post we launch a completely redesigned website ( The primary purpose of both the blog and the website is expressed…

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Tap the Power of Storytelling

January 4, 2014

No doubt about it, the best speakers are good storytellers. The best writers are good storytellers. The best leaders are good storytellers. The best teachers and trainers and coaches are good storytellers. It might even be argued that the best parents are good storytellers. While storytelling is not the only way to engage people with your…

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Why Commitment Trumps Compliance as a Motivator

January 1, 2014

It’s that time of year when many people are making resolutions. But as most of us have discovered, resolutions can quickly fade away and we find ourselves with the same old patterns, habits, and results. Groundhog Day all over again. Goals and objectives are also prominent in the workplace: more sales, improved productivity, lower error rates, higher…

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Change, Speed, and “the People Stuff”

December 27, 2013

“If you don’t like change, you’ll like irrelevance even less.” That was the mantra of Gen. Eric Shinseki, former Army chief of staff who pushed his tradition-bound service on the difficult path toward transformation. Trouble is, as our family obstetrician used to say, for most folks it’s easier to conceive than to deliver. That truism…

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Was Your Favorite Book Written by a Ghost?

December 20, 2013

Many bestselling books, it turns out, were not actually written by the people whose names are on the cover. In addition, probably nine out of ten speeches you hear from public figures (politicians, celebrities) and business people are the work of ghostwriters. Early in my career I did a lot of ghosting – books, magazine articles,…

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Taking the Complications Out of Simplicity

December 17, 2013

Our friend Jeri finally found a house that suited her needs. It was in a quiet, friendly neighborhood with lots of trees and little traffic. One thing Jeri liked most about this house was the front entry, a large door surrounded by nine small windows. Trouble was, the previous owner—apparently for the sake of privacy—had…

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A CNN Pro’s Tips for a Great Interview

December 13, 2013

About Our Guest: Jill Chappell is a producer for CNN, working with Wolf Blitzer and other on-air personalities. She studied at Brigham Young University, then received a bachelors degree in communications from the University of Utah and a masters in public administration from George Washington University. – Rodger Dean Duncan In your work as a CNN producer, you’ve…

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How CPR Can Breathe New Life into Your Leadership

December 10, 2013

The best leaders I know practice CPR. But it’s different from what you may think. Here’s an example: As the new CEO of a multi-billion-dollar service company, Jim was hired to reverse a serious decline in the business. He was concerned about turf protection and other forms of infighting that had become a cancer to…

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