Thoughts for the Young… and the Formerly Young

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I get the opportunity to coach extraordinary people. I get to coach people at various stages of their careers and their lives. Recently I have been thinking a lot about the ones that are in their late teens and early twenties. I hear so many people talking about how this group is so different, difficult, entitled, and inferior in some measure. I am not sure if the ones who seek coaching are vastly different from the rest, or if maybe I am not looking for evidence that those stereotypes are true, but I truly love working with these young people. In many ways I wish people in their fifties and sixties would have the chance to sit and listen to these young people with an open mind.

I find them to be curious, open, energized, and excited about what is in front of them and courageous about asking questions. These qualities would serve anyone well at any age.

Here are some thoughts I have to support the future success of these young people, but it is possible that these thoughts could also be supportive for someone entering their retirement years or beyond.

Take Accountability 
This is your life, this is your career. You are accountable! You are accountable for your happiness, your education, your wealth, your health, your relationships, your success in any way you measure it. If you are looking for someone or something to blame for not having what you want in life, you are playing the victim. You are not a victim you are a privileged player in the game of life regardless of your circumstances. Play it well, take it on, and be accountable! Think of a mistake as a discovery. Discoveries will move you toward the success you desire. Make lots of discoveries. Be accountable!

Design Your Life 
Become a designer, not necessarily a fashion designer, an interior designer or an architect, but a designer of you. You have a chance to design a life. You have a chance to design a year. You have a chance to design a vacation. You have a chance to design a day or design a date. Just get comfortable with designing it. Life may not always go exactly like your design – something will be better than you design and some things will be worse and some things will just be different. Don’t let that keep you from designing.

Get to Know Yourself Really Well 
Learn how you operate. Learn how to get the best out of you. Learn what gets in the way of getting the best out of you! Learn about your blind spots! Learn about the thinking that moves you forward the thinking that keeps you small. Learn what happiness and success is for you vs. what it is for others. Find out what others see in you. Find out the best fuel for you. 

Be Present
This simply means be where you are. If you are at work, be there not at home or with someone somewhere else. If you are with your friends, don’t be at home or at work. If you are at home with family, be with them. You may find that the idea of being three places at once is really productive and efficiency is actually an illusion. Become brilliant at being present and focused in a conversation. Watch a movie without going somewhere else during it. Don’t make the person you are with or the thing you are doing less important than someone you are not with or something that is less important. Be present!

Be the Person that Attracts the Kind of People You Want in Your Life 
Beyond the design of your life, the people you invite in are going to make a big difference to it. They will all be great teachers. There will be those who by example will teach things you will want to adopt into your life and those who will teach you things you will want no part of. After a while you will realize that who you are has a way of attracting people. Who you are might be attracting stars or it might attract bullies. Who you are might attract great thinkers or dark thinkers. Be aware and decide who to be.

Find and Own Your Genius 
If everyone has a genius what is yours? It might be something that seems easy to you or even insignificant but when you can discover it and then continually work on making it better you may be opening a door that you didn’t know existed. It may be the guitar, or working with numbers or making people feel important, or running, or cutting grass, but whatever it is become brilliant at it. If you encounter people who don’t value your genius, find the ones who do!

Make a Lot of Time for What You Love 
Many people live their lives dreaming about how one day they are going to do what they love. The people I admire figure out what they love and make time constantly for the things and the people they love. The more time you spend with the things you love, the better you will be. This is where passion resides. The real goal is to fill your days with the things you love. 

Build Deep Friendships
As you age the value of the friendships you have developed throughout your life will go up. Your family is important, but so are your friends. Be a brilliant friend. Be a great friend when things are great and when things are not great. You friends will be a safety net that you will fall into when you need it and being part of someone else’s safety net will be one of the biggest privileges of your life!

KevinNow go out and make us proud! If you would like to talk to me or Shelley about any of these things, call 1-866-822-3481 toll free. Make a difference in the world, no matter what your birth certificate says. Kevin MacDonald and  Shelley MacDougall are the coaches for CMAA! 


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It happened on July 26, 2017. In terms of days it had been 21,915. In terms of years it had been 60. In terms of decades it had been six.

I officially got older!

It was definitely a time for celebration and as I write this, we continue to celebrate. I am a big fan of celebration and although I know people who don’t like to celebrate birthdays, I love the energy, the smiles and fun that come with a celebration. I am thrilled with the connection and reconnection and am humbled by the number of people who take time out to celebrate me.

I have always loved having a summer birthday. The weather is usually beautiful, the world seems a little more relaxed and through the years I have tried my best to play golf on my birthday.

It seems that throughout my life a birthday has also been a time to slow down and reflect. I don’t do it to dwell on the past, but rather look into the virtual mirror and notice what I see. I guess in essence it is a virtual rear view mirror. I don’t want to take my eyes off the virtual road for too long, but I do see value in reflecting on the present and the past, in order to create my future.

I will start with the bigger number. 21,915 days! To some that will seem like a lot of days. Some people we have known and loved were not fortunate enough to live that many days.  Many have lived one and a half times that many days. There are no guarantees of how many days we will get to live. I have found over the years that when you have a lot of something you may diminish the value of one unit of it. If you have a million dollars then one dollar is pretty insignificant. If you have ten dollars, one dollar is pretty important. Those who know me well know that each day I write down 10 things I am grateful for. Today is the 1,357th day of this daily habit. It is an effort that I make to ensure that I don’t take any single day for granted. 

Each day has so many moments, so many minutes and seconds and so many opportunities to create something. The completion of 6 decades gave me a chance to take some time to reflect, but so does each day.

My questions for you are:

  • Do you take time to reflect?
  • Do you take time to look back on what you have done or said and reflect on it?
  • Are you as willing to evaluate and give feedback on your behaviour and results as you are with others?
  • Are you too busy to reflect?
  • Do you understand what refection can do for you?

So I started to reflect on six decades of life. I wondered if I summarized each decade what themes would come to mind. As I wrote the six themes I thought they might also reflect stages of a career or a job within a career.

Decade One: Discovery

The first decade was a time to discover. We learn to walk and talk, feed and dress ourselves. We learn from our parents and siblings. We go to school. We learn the basics and we learn to go beyond the basics. We learn what we like and what we don’t like. We learn games and sports and how to sing. We learn our relationship with the world and other people. We are building a foundation!

Decade Two: Independence

In this decade it is time begin to learn to think, feel and act independently. We take the basic skills and knowledge that we have to a new level. We go out into the world more. We stay out in the world more. We build new kinds of relationships and perhaps deeper relationships. We learn to drive and we learn what we love. We may leave our homes in this decade and our independence helps us to see ourselves and that world differently. We learn new kinds and new levels of fun.

Decade Three: Responsibility

This was the decade for me when I started a career. It was the decade when one would become two and before the end of the decade, two would become five. In this decade two homes and three cars were purchased.  A whole lot of diapers were purchased and Rose and I were responsible for the care, feeding and development of three extraordinary children. We moved a family across the country to start a new west coast life.

Decade Four: Development

This decade was about moving to new positions, new titles and a new industry. Each time there was a new learning curve.  It meant there was a chance to develop new skills, face new challenges and lead more people. We were learning and developing as our kids were discovering and gaining independence. Our network started to grow dramatically.

Decade Five: Reinvention

It was in this decade that I changed careers and in many ways changed myself. The loss of my parents and a career change gave me reason to reflect. I decided to re-invent myself. I realized in my early 40s that I had spent a lot of my life trying to be what others thought I should be, or more accurately what I thought others wanted me to be. It was time to decide what “me” I would choose to be. I moved from thinking this would be a selfish act to seeing it as a gift to the important people in my life and to the world.

Decade Six: Authenticity

This decade was spent refining, practicing and doing the best at being the most authentic me I could be. There was a wonderful freedom and feeling of peace in not worrying about whether or not someone else agreed with the “me” I chose to be. If I lost touch with the people who were not fans of the version of me I had chosen, I was ok with that. It felt that I was very attractive to the people who liked the “me” I was being. Most important I was enjoying myself. I was doing what I was meant to do. I was meeting the people I was meant to meet.

Now for me it is time to reflect! What will the theme for decade seven be? What difference will I make? I will have to reflect on that!

Is it time for you to reflect?

 KevinTo reach Kevin and Shelley, you can call (866) 822-3481 toll free or by e-mail at or We believe you could have your best year yet!

Philosophy Over Service Methods, and Other Important Mentoring Lessons

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There are very few aspects of our industry, or any industry for that matter, that allow us to further educate ourselves by reading or sitting in classes. There is really no education that can compare to learning from a mentor who has gained valuable experience throughout their career and is willing to pass those lessons on to the next generation of leaders. That willingness is a fundamental attribute that mentees look for in a mentor. 

There are several ways that each situation we encounter at work can be handled and sometimes all we can do is put together past experiences, an understanding of current private club politics and our gut intuition to make a decision and move forward. However, the invaluable conversations we have had with our mentors will help guide us to what we think is the appropriate decision and understand how to handle the impact of the decision. Nobody fully knows the right move all the time, however one goal we can hope to achieve, especially in private club management, is to say the right thing, in the right way, in front of the right people, at the right time. If that wasn’t enough to deal with, we also have a full operation to run simultaneously. Which is why surrounding yourself with capable individuals that are open to a mentor/mentee relationship is crucial to running a successful operation.

The most important lessons I’ve received from a mentor is how to operate in the “gray”. Earlier in my career, I was a very “black and white” person. I managed by checklists and operating procedures. Even when the operation was in my face that an operating procedure was not the right approach, I would push it through because I knew I would be able to explain it later when questioned, instead of following my gut. Training is another part of the job where operating in the “gray” is so crucial. It is very difficult to train your staff to be flexible on their approach based on the situation. This flexibility is likely only feasible at a small club (i.e., fewer than 500 members) as larger clubs required a more formal training as flexibility could create chaos in the eyes of the membership and could result in the operation spiraling out of control.

When I brought up training with my mentor and how I was struggling with how to train empowerment to the employee so they can take a situation and run with it without asking permission, his response to me was to focus more on philosophy, not service methods. Yes, of course it’s important to train the staff on methods like serve from the left with the left and clear from the right with the right for F&B or make sure there is a new cold water bottle in the golf cart prior to a member using it. But don’t make that the true measure of success, because it’s more important that the staff understands the underlying philosophy in which the membership would like the club to operate than the formality of the service procedures. Ultimately, we are judged on how the membership perceives the management and whether they are happy with the operation of the club. The membership will more likely remember the emotion they felt while experiencing the interaction rather than whether the table was cleared to five-star, five-diamond specifications. To be clear, the focus on philosophy and the training of technique are not mutually exclusive. However we should focus on balancing the two and ensure that the staff, and consequently the membership, understands the importance of having both.

Another valuable lesson my mentors have instilled in me is managing expectations. We always hear that it’s better to under-promise and over deliver. That statement speaks directly to managing expectations. This is an incredibly important message with staff and membership. If we can keep expectations reasonable, there is a better chance of us being successful. There will come a time when you face a board member or staff member that has unrealistic expectations. You can either tell them what they want to hear, or you can tell them what they should hear. Developing the ability to articulate and present a rationale and reasonable approach in the face of scrutiny is important to progressing in your career and being seen as a leader who delivers on commitments. Many of our board members are titans of industry, high-powered professionals or leaders in their own right so this can be challenging given that they may be accustomed to hearing what they want to hear, and not what they should hear. 

We encounter these challenges and many others on a daily basis in our industry so it’s paramount that we leverage the advice of our mentors. The luxury of having the support to guide us through these experiences until we are ready to take the reins on our own should not go underappreciated. Showing your mentor that you value their time and their mentorship is impactful and will help foster mutual respect and further development of this important relationship. 

There is an underappreciated challenge in mentorships and that’s how generational difference can affect the ability for the mentor and mentee to relate. The baby boomer generation looks at generation Y (i.e., Millenials, though most millennials hate to be referred to as such because of the hugely negative connotation the term has) and mainly sees a generation that does not want to put in the time or work to get to the top of the mountain. Simon Sinek, an author and motivational speaker who has studied Generation Y, looks at this from a different perspective. He believes that millennials grew up in a time when instant gratification was an expectation, not a luxury. For example, having the access to the internet and e-commerce has created a belief that any want can be satisfied instantaneously. This has arguably carried over to career expectations. There was also coddling by parents to make Generation Y believe that they could be “anything” they wanted, and millennials believed it. Having a strong mentor can help you navigate through these negative perceptions about Generation Y and make the relationship stronger in the end. 

A trend in our industry that is not usually spoken about is that younger millennial managers are faced with opportunities to take on higher positions in clubs than in the past. This could mainly be due to the fact that many private clubs are still trying to rebound from the recession and we are seeing fewer tenured managers that survived the cuts, which means lower supply and higher demand for mentors. It is incredibly important that we continue to see the value of mentorship in order to see our profession continue to have a strong network in the future. We must not forget to pay it forward when the time is right!

Miller HeadshotJason Miller is currently the clubhouse manager of the Muttontown Club in Long Island, New York. He is a graduate of the hospitality program at the University of Delaware having also studied at the Swiss school of hospitality and tourism. Jason’s career spans over 10 years, with experience in the hotel and club industry.

Inspiration—an Inspiring or Animating Idea, Action or Influence

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I have been inspired to write an article about inspiration. Maybe it’s because I hang out with, study, coach, observe, interview, listen to and play with inspiring people. Maybe it’s because I just left an extraordinary vacation destination, drove on one of the most beautiful, scenic drives I have ever taken and come home to a home by the ocean. Maybe it’s because I know people who are building things, writing things, dreaming things and recording things. Maybe it’s because I just watched a fireworks display to celebrate my country’s birthday and I thought about all of the dreams, inspiration, work and determination that went into what makes it so special. Maybe it’s because I just celebrated a significant wedding anniversary with the girl of my dreams. Maybe it’s because my kids seem to be living the lives of their individual designs. Maybe it’s because I have a long-time business partner who inspires me. 

Whatever the reason is that I am inspired; I am pleased to say that I am!

Many of the people who read my articles are leaders. Whether you are a leader or not, I have some questions for you: Are you inspired? What inspires you? Who inspires you? What happens when you get inspired? Are people inspired by you? What happens when you inspire them? What happens to energy? What happens to creativity? What happens to possibility?

I was invited to go and play golf with a friend I know and two friends I was about to know. I met a very successful entrepreneur and a world class athletic champion. I met some very successful people, who were so friendly, welcoming and fun. I stayed in an extraordinary home. Before others got up, I had an hour or so alone with our host to talk about his life, his passions and his dreams. He had literally been instrumental in the building of a small city. He is now passionate about rebuilding the homes, the businesses and the people’s spirits after a devastating fire ripped through the city. Did you catch it? The “spirits” of the people need to be rebuilt.

Inspiration! In spirit! It is not about what is happening to us on the outside. It is about what is happening to us on the inside. 

What inspired me about my host was not what he has done, but rather who he is.

He and his wife welcomed me into their home. He was kind, thoughtful, thought provoking, bright, caring, generous, curious, active, fit, devoted, grateful and inspiring.

He is older than me but I was inspired by his energy. He seemed to be leading a lot of initiatives. He had ideas to change things for people and he puts them into place.

As I drove down the Sea to Sky Highway, my mind was racing. Why did I meet him? Why did we have those conversations? Was it orchestrated to help him or help me? What am I going to do? Who am I going to be? How will I think differently?

A few years ago Dick Kopplin gave me a book called “The One Thing”. Shelley and I love this book and we talk about it a lot in our Extraordinary Leader Program. This past week we had the chance to interview one of the co-authors for our “Conversation with the Masters” call. 

We had so many people reach out after the call to say they were inspired by the author’s message. We can be inspired by many things and perhaps that can diminish the power, the energy and the impact of the inspiration. When we are inspired about our one thing something very powerful happens. 


Kevin MacDonald headshot To reach Kevin and Shelley, you can call (866) 822-3481 toll free or by e-mail at or We believe you could have your best year yet!

Congratulations! You’ve Lost Your Job!

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In 2003 CMAA asked me to start a coaching program to support its members. This is one of the first articles I ever submitted. It seems like I have been sending it out to a lot of people lately. If you have recently lost a job please read it, if you haven’t recently lost a job, please read it so you don’t.

Okay MacDonald, this time you have gone too far!
  How can you say congratulations about something that has so much pain and stress associated with it? Don’t you understand what it is like to go through this process? Yes I do! I have gone through it with colleagues and coaching clients on many occasions and I have experienced it personally. In fact, in the year 2000, my wife and I lost our jobs on the same day. You can imagine the stimulating conversations that those events inspired and if I remember correctly, I think our sleep patterns were altered somewhat. I hope the provocative title of this article doesn’t make you think for a moment that I don’t empathize with you if this is the challenge that you are currently facing. If it has happened to you, you can’t help but have empathy. It is my hope that this article will help you to position yourself for what is next.

We can see losing a job as tragedy or opportunity. There are two very different levels of energy that come from each of those two perspectives. When you’ve just lost your job you need your energy to come up with a solution. Managing our energy is critical and the thoughts we choose to focus on have a direct impact on our energy level. 

Let’s focus on the opportunities.

You now have time. Do you remember what that is? You have been busy dealing with a myriad of issues and problems. One of the first realizations is that they don’t belong to you anymore. Take time! Relax. Read. Record your thoughts… decompress, learn, play, plan and be!

In his book “The Pursuit of Wow!”, Tom Peters talks about “little-r and Big-R Renewal”. He suggests that little-r renewal can be done by activities like reading, listening to tapes, working with a coach, taking a course, attending a seminar etc. When talking about Big-R Renewal, Peters recommends that executives leave their jobs and take six months to a year to work in the inner-city or move to a third-world country. His belief is that this will give the executive the ability to be a completely different thinker, leader and human being. Whether you have a year or a weekend, take as much time as you can to renew.

You can design the rest of your life. Assess how it has gone so far. What has worked? What could be better? Take a look at the various parts of your life and decide what you would like them to look like. Look at your health, relationships, family, recreation, spirituality, physical environment, career and money. Make a list of what you would like to do, have or be. Design what you want it to look like, not what you think it can look like. Don’t be limited by what you think is possible today. I am sure that you have heard the saying “Ask and you shall receive.” This is a powerful message. When we built the new clubhouse at one of the clubs I managed it was amazing how much the finished product was like the design. Do you have a design for your life?

Get a clear picture of you. Take time to understand your values, your needs and the way you operate. Do some assessments or review the ones you have done in the past. Ask your friends or coach to give you feedback about your strengths. Often as a job has come to a conclusion it is easy to start focusing on weaknesses or “what is wrong with me”. Do a S.W.O.T. analyses. What are your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats? You have the opportunity to gain clarity about who you are, your passions and your competencies. Your ability to articulate this information will be key in moving you toward the right fit on the next step in your career.

See what you don’t see now. In other words you have an opportunity to go beyond limited thinking. When I lost my job I became a Club Manager looking for a job. I read a book called “Work Less Make More” by Jennifer White. I read something that has been substantiated many times in my role as a coach. If you ask someone to tell you who they are, they will tell you what they do. When I looked at who I believed I was I found that Club Management was good fit for me in many ways, but there were other opportunities. I found a career where I could do the things I liked the best about my previous career and still stay in the geographical area that I lived in. You may be a great Club Manager or a great Yacht Club Manager or a great Small Club Manager, but you are much more than just that.

Opportunities Galore! Here are some opportunities for you. You can have more balance, make more money, manage a bigger club, manage a smaller club, manage a different kind of club, manage a club with a different form of governance. You can discover a new city, state, country or continent. You can use your skills in a different industry. You can create multiple income streams. You can start a business. You can write a book. You can work less. You can devote more time and energy to your kids, your significant other or your friends. You can find out who your friends are and if one of your friends loses their job you can show them how a true friend reacts. You can have more fun, more joy and more fulfillment. 

Two more opportunities!  I would like to end with two opportunities that are available to unemployed and employed managers alike. They are more evident for the person who has just lost their job but can benefit all of us. 

The first one is that we can get past hate, anger and resentment. It is easy to hold on to one of these emotions when we experience job loss. We think holding on to them somehow punishes the object of our disdain but clearly it is hurting us. It can change who we are, and it sucks the energy that we need for things that matter. 

The second opportunity is to be accountable for all that you have in your life, the good and the bad. If you have lost your job don’t be a victim of it. Take ownership for what happened. Take ownership of how you handled or didn’t handle things. Take ownership for not paying attention to the signs you saw. Take ownership for tolerating some of the things you tolerated. There is weakness in being the victim and power in being accountable. It is my hope for you that you take on this personal power. The last thing that I want for the people I work with is that they recycle the same behavior in the next opportunity. Own what happened and be in control.

I would like to share with you a lesson I learned when I lost my job as a club manager. One of my colleagues, whom I admired and held up as role model, called me to say that if I needed anything I shouldn’t hesitate to call. I truly needed his help and didn’t ask for it because I didn’t want him to know I needed it. Please don’t let your ego get in the way of getting what you deserve in life. Asking for help can be a display of strength as opposed to being seen as a weakness.

There is no doubt that a job loss will change your life. If you focus on the opportunities that you have I believe your life will be changed for the better. And to that I say, “Congratulations!”

If I can help you get through this exciting challenge, ask!

Kevin MacDonald headshot To reach Kevin and Shelley, you can call (866) 822-3481 toll free or by e-mail at or We believe you could have your best year yet!


Risk Management Update – Drones and the Club Industry

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As clubs continue to seek new ways to market their products and amenities, and to gain efficiency in the services they provide, more and more they are relying on innovative technologies such as drones. Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have gained in popularity in a variety of industries over the past several years and have developed some very useful applications for the club industry.

Many clubs now utilize drones to enhance the impact of their real estate marketing via aerial videography of their grounds, amenities, home sites, real estate inventory and the club’s proximity to surrounding points of interest. Clubs have also begun to use drones in monitoring and assessing course conditions such as areas of high stress, wet areas, patterns of disease, and a variety of other golf course maintenance applications. 

While the benefits of drone usage are easy to see, from a risk management standpoint the use of UAVs brings into question a few key areas of concern: the insurance, legal, regulatory and ethical considerations of drone usage. Listed below are a few things to review and discuss with your risk manager to determine if the use of a drone or a drone service provider is right for your club:

  • Regulatory requirements - The FAA has oversight of UAV operations and requires any pilot of a drone weighing less than 55 pounds to be licensed and to have passed a written examination. Drones cannot be operated at an elevation greater than 400 feet and must not be used in any airspace within 5 miles of an airport.
  • Legal concerns – In addition to the FAA requirements, many local and state governments have ordinances in place which may prohibit the use of drones in your area. These local ordinances do not always coincide with the FAA requirements and, in some cases, may be more restrictive.
  • Ethical considerations – Potential areas of concern from the operation of UAVs include neighbor’s rights of privacy, potential for unintentional trespassing, and allegations of harassment.
  • Insurance coverage – Most commercial general liability (CGL) policies contain an absolute exclusion for aircraft operations, even for unmanned aircraft such as drones. The insurance marketplace has developed several “drone specific” policies which can be purchased to cover the hazards of bodily injury and property damage resulting from UAV operations. If your club chooses to operate the UAV, please check with your carrier to ensure that workers compensation coverage will apply in the event of an injury to an employee. Should your club choose to engage the services of a drone or UAV contractor, a certificate of insurance showing coverage for aviation liability and workers compensation should be obtained prior to commencing work on behalf of the club. The club should also be named as an Additional Insured on the subcontractor’s insurance policy.  

The emergence of drones and their benefits to club operations is exciting and new. While the benefits will most certainly outweigh the risks involved, conduct a little homework with your risk manager and your local authorities to make sure your exposures are addressed in advance.


Todd Perdue, PWCA, is Risk Advisor, SIA Group, in Jacksonville, NC. He can be reached at (800) 682-7741 or


Leader, Don’t Forget to Lead!

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In the year 2000 we started coaching leaders in the club management industry. We have coached leaders who have just lost their jobs, we have coached leaders who are being interviewed for new jobs, we have coached leaders who are at the top of their game and we have coached leaders who are facing some inevitable challenges that arise in an exciting and very personal profession. 

When we look at the successes and failures of people in the industry, we believe that it is probably a very small percentage that does either with a lack of knowledge of how to lead. We have observed that it is more likely people fail, slow down or limit their success when they or someone critical to the organization forgets to lead. 

Leader, Don’t Forget to Lead!

How many times have you come out of a seminar and heard someone say “I already knew that”? It is the old knew it vs. do it problem. Knowing how to lead is not the same as leading. Leadership is a privilege and a responsibility. It is the opportunity to bring the best out in many to get an Extraordinary result for the organization and the people in it. It is a chance to energize, inspire, dream, create and expand, yet when we forget to lead all of the opposite things can happen.

Why Do Leaders Forget to Lead?

  • They learned to manage first so they default to management
  • There are so many distractions that can take them in other directions
  • They forget that everyone is watching
  • They start to believe their success is about them and not the people they lead and serve
  • They can’t say “no” to the unimportant things
  • They convince themselves that they know it all
  • They are more comfortable telling vs. asking
  • They are too busy defending 

Some leaders reading this list will relate to every item on the list. Even the most successful leaders may recognize something on the list that applies to them right now. This article is not intended to be a criticism of you as a leader, but rather a reminder that there are a lot of things that can get in the way of you performing as the leader who can make a profound difference in the organization that you lead and in the lives of people you are privileged to lead.

Leaders manage things and they lead people. They manage budgets, schedules, inventories, assets, but they lead people. How do you like it when someone manages you? You know, when someone needs to show you that they know better than you do. They want to tell you what to do rather than set a vision for what they want and ask how you will take them there. It may make you feel like they don’t understand your skills, your knowledge and your commitment. Do you ever find yourself doing that to others?

A key to being a great leader is helping everyone you lead understand the power of accountability. Every person in the organization is accountable for their part in making it successful. It is like developing a community of leaders. This flies in the face of the concept of being the boss and would be uncomfortable for many. The boss thinks accountability is what you set up to punish or fire someone. The leader thinks of accountability for every individual is something to empower and develop someone. 

A Reminder for All of Us About Leadership

Leaders Have Followers! Sure it is possible to have people follow you because you have the title that implies that they should. True leaders don’t need the title. People follow them because they believe in them. They believe in what is important to them. They want to be like them and perhaps one day they would like to be in their position.

Leaders Have Character! Leaders live to a high set of principles and standards. They do the right thing even when nobody is watching. They behave the way they would hope there people would behave. They care about others. They care about the truth. They are powerful with their words and their actions. They know how to lead and they remember to lead.

Leaders are Learners! You are either green and growing or ripe and rotting. Leaders are reading, listening, developing and constantly improving. Leaders challenge their people to do the same and provide the resources to do so.

Leaders are Visionaries! They dream, they look forward, they see what is possible when others see the obstacles. They challenge their people to dream and innovate. They don’t care where the best ideas come from they just want to inspire and access the best ideas.

Leaders are Communicators! They articulate the vision. They paint a vivid picture of where the organization is going. They care about how their message lands. They ask powerful questions. They listen to the answers. They hear what is said and what is not said. They listen without memory, judgement and desire to make sure the truly hear what is being said. They communicate to build up vs. knock down.

Leaders are Coaches! They care about the success of the team and they care about the success of the players on the team. They display this and it is also displayed by the leaders they lead. Everyone needs to know their roles; everyone needs to perform it to the best of their ability. Everyone needs to share in the successes and the failures. Everyone needs to learn from both.

Leaders Lead Themselves! Leaders know that they are imperfect. Leaders have humility and they are willing and insistent on looking in the mirror to make sure they are the example they want to be. Leaders are willing to get support on being the best they can be. Leaders don’t point at others as the problem, they look within first.

Your organization, your department, your family, your life and the world are all waiting for your leadership. Don’t forget! 


Kevin MacDonald headshot To reach Kevin and Shelley, you can call (866) 822-3481 toll free or by e-mail at or We believe you could have your best year yet!


Mastering Social Media as a Millennial

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Social media - Phipps

According to Forbes, by the end of 2017, Millennials will make up 38 percent of today’s workforce. By 2020 (a mere 13 years from today), they will make up approximately 70 percent.  

Millennials are at the apex of the social media movement. A Boomer may say “who needs social media?”  A Gen-Xer may argue that social media has its place but cannot replace the personal touch. A Millennial has always had social media as part of their world, and therefore they see it being connected with their professional future.

Boomers, remember when your parents may not have had a car yet, but you could see your future with a car? Gen-X, remember when your house had one phone now you see every person you know needs their own personal phone. Then can you blame Millennials? They see Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram as the same type of development tools. 

Our office conducted a generational communication experiment. With almost 100 total participants, we had an almost perfect disparity of having approximately 33 percent of each generation being represented. Ninety-one percent of Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964, or ages 53 to 71) said if social media existed during their teens and twenties, they would have used it. Of the Boomers involved in the survey, 79 percent said they were currently active on at least two different social media platforms. Those same Boomers had similar feelings about what they are seeing from the social media sites from today’s Millennials. If you are a Millennial, consider what Gen-Xers and Boomers are saying about the Millennial generation when they look at your social media pages:

  • Stop taking selfies for your professional pictures.
  • Stop taking mirror pictures for your professional profiles and avatars.
  • Stop making negative comments about others.
  • Stop taking pictures with negative images.
  • Stop posting personal content on LinkedIn. 
  • Start dressing up for your pictures (at least from the neck up).
  • Start grooming your hair and face.
  • Start smiling.
  • Start sharing positive positing.
  • Start sharing professional content on LinkedIn.

Whether you are a Boomer, Gen-Xer or a Millennial, you have an opportunity to be mentored by those with more experience. Use your influence to embrace opportunities to be a future mentor to the next generation of leaders. 

Phipps 2017

Vincent Ivan Phipps, M.A., CSP, is the owner and CEO (Chief Energy Officer) of Communication VIP Training and Coaching. He specializes in motivational keynotes, interactive workshops, and individual coaching. Vincent’s areas of expertise include: Communication, Motivation, Leadership, Customer Service, Conflict Resolution and Speech Coaching. Vincent has earned the highest earned honor awarded by the National Speakers Association called the Certified Speaking Professional. This recognition has only been given to 12 percent of the world’s best speakers and trainers. 

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