Exclamation-Point Leadership

One of my former employees recently recalled some advice I gave the editors at our marketing communications agency: “You only get one exclamation point in your writing career. Use it wisely.” At the time, I thought I was quoting Tennessee Williams, but I can’t find any such remark from him. My search for the origin … Continue reading Exclamation-Point Leadership

What Equestrians Learn Early About Succeeding in Life

To be honest, I wasn’t enthusiastic when my daughter’s riding instructor convinced us to let her compete in horse shows. Having grown up a middle-class kid in Colorado, I was suspicious of the whole East Coast horse show scene. It all seemed too focused on who had the fanciest horse and where did you buy … Continue reading What Equestrians Learn Early About Succeeding in Life

15 Things I Learned When I Sold My Business

In June 2006, 15 years after founding content marketing agency Redspring Communications, I sold the business to McMurry, Inc. A few months after the deal was consummated and the integration largely complete, CEO Chris McMurry asked me to share with our combined staff what I learned from the experience. The  presentation I developed was titled … Continue reading 15 Things I Learned When I Sold My Business

A Not-So-Elusive Joy

A lot's being written about how to find happiness these days. Perhaps that's because happiness feels more elusive than ever. There are mornings when I wake up in a bad mood and can only attribute my foul disposition to an expectation the world will greet me with a contemptuous glare. I'm far from alone in … Continue reading A Not-So-Elusive Joy

The Energy Business

For a couple of years in the mid-1980s I tried my hand at being a stockbroker. The job didn’t line up with my background as an English major, but the bull market at the time attracted me with its promise of fat commission checks. To build my book of business, I sometimes joined one of … Continue reading The Energy Business

Gillette’s Awkward Moment in the Pulpit

It was inevitable that a brand built on a vision of American masculinity would weigh into the #MeToo debate. Gillette's "toxic masculinity" ad is a glossy, if preachy, effort to assert the company's moral position on a topic that has swept like wildfire through social media and our culture at large. Gillette's painfully awkward moment reminds … Continue reading Gillette’s Awkward Moment in the Pulpit

A Nation of Unreliable Narrators

This morning, NPR aired an interview with author Adam Benforado, an expert on how “camera-perspective bias” can misrepresent a broader reality or context. He was speaking about the now-infamous showdown between the Covington Catholic students and Native American activist Nathan Phillips at the Lincoln Memorial. In his discussion, Benforado introduced the concept of “cultural cognition,” … Continue reading A Nation of Unreliable Narrators

MLK Day 2019

Martin Luther King, Jr., Day made for some interesting media watching today—particularly on Twitter where the hashtag #MLKDay provided some memorable moments. Celebrities and politicians, apparently, like to tweet pictures of Rev. King along with his most inspirational quotes. Many of their tweets feel de rigueur, though, as if not marking the occasion would land … Continue reading MLK Day 2019

Why “Gladiator” Rocks My Masculine Soul

Most men over 30 know and love the movie Gladiator. When I’m in the mood for a quintessentially male movie after my wife has gone to bed, I have several options—Braveheart, The Patriot, Saving Private Ryan, Good Fellas—but Gladiator has been my hands-down favorite since I heard Maximus scream at the crowd “Are you not … Continue reading Why “Gladiator” Rocks My Masculine Soul

The Unpleasant Business of Firing People

For managers, few things suck more than firing an employee. Terminating a member of your staff is a strangely intimate and perilous action; and all but the most calloused individuals dread having to take such a step. Even though you may feel absolutely certain your decision is right for the company, the team, even the … Continue reading The Unpleasant Business of Firing People