Leadership Lessons from Over 200 Thought Leaders

Voices of Influence

A few years ago, I launched this blog with the idea of sharing insights, ideas, and inspiration.  It is my hope that the lessons and ideas shared here help you in some way whether that is fast-tracking your career or overcoming procrastination.

When I started, I thought it was worth it if I made a real difference to just one person.

I’m happy to report that at least one person has found it life-changing.  That person is me.  I learn far more by sharing these ideas than you can imagine.  What an incredible experience to have the opportunity to learn from so many people.

Thank you for reading, for commenting, and for sharing these posts.  I appreciate all of you and look forward to getting to know you better in the coming months.

Below are some of the leadership interviews and posts with thought leaders from a variety of fields on numerous topics.  I hope you find one you missed and that it positively influences your year ahead.


“The book you don’t read won’t help.” –Jim Rohn



Leadership, Management & Execution


“You will be the same person in 5 years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” -Charlie Jones


Leadership Communication

What Three Words Can Shape Your Future?

Photo by Nico&CO on flickr.

A few years ago, Chris Brogan decided to pick three words to shape his year.  He says that the three words “sum up what you want to work actionably on changing/improving in the coming year.”  In 2006, his words were “Ask. Do. Share.”  This year, he chose “Walt. Ender. Monchu.” I know, not exactly intuitive, but the point is that you select what makes sense to you.

Many others jumped on board and picked three words.  Recently, I was reading Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation and noticed he picked three words (starvation, beyond, student).


This year, mine are health, love and listen.

1.  Health

True health is not only physical.  Health is something that encompasses the full you:  physical, spiritual, social, mental, and emotional.  It is something you pursue, a state where you keep negative forces at bay.  It’s more than the absence of sickness.  It’s also the presence of well-being.

2.  Love

Leadership Lessons from Over 50 Thought Leaders

People + Books = 1 Changed Life


Charlie “Tremendous” Jones was one of my great influencers.  He repeatedly said that, “You will be the same person you are today in five years but for two things:  the people you meet and the books you read.” Every year, I am privileged to have the opportunity to read so many incredible books and meet fascinating people from all walks of life.

Last year, I launched this blog with the idea of sharing insights, ideas, and inspiration from many sources. On the one hand, I’m disappointed that I was only able to share a fraction of all of the people who influenced me. On the other, I’m glad that I started doing it because now, as I look back on it, I’m the one who benefited the most. Charlie was right. All of the books I read and all of the people I met did indeed change me.

Here are a few of the people who shared their experience and wisdom. If I can learn a fraction of what they know, I will be better equipped to lead in the coming year.

Before you start the new year, take the time to meet some of these people and take their leadership lessons with you. Instead of “interview in progress” you will find a “great life in progress.”

Leadership, News & Politics


Dan Rather (his life in the news)

Condoleezza Rice (former Secretary of State)

Barbara Simons (on the dangers of new ballot machines)

Senator Bill Bradley (on how we can all do better)


Business Leadership, Strategy & Execution


John Baldoni (purpose, leadership)

Jill Geisler (Make Work Happy)

Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos on culture)

Cynthia Montgomery (strategist)

Jim Huling (on the 4 disciplines of execution)

Geoffrey Moore (how to cross the chasm and rethink the future)

Faisal Hoque (BTM CEO on the power of convergence)

Chris Grivas (which creative style are you?)

Shep Hyken (7 strategies of amazing customer service)

CEO Joel Manby on How Leading a Company With Love Works

Image courtesy of istockphoto/Moncherie

Lead With Love

Joel Manby is the incoming CEO of SeaWorld and the former CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment.  Herschend is the largest family owned theme park in the US owing 26 locations including Dollywood and Stone Mountain.  If he looks familiar, you may recognize him from his appearance on CBS’ Undercover Boss.

Joel’s is the author of Love Works: Seven Timeless Principles for Effective Leaders, a book about practicing love at work.  Talking about love at work may seem strange coming from a hard-charging executive who spent years in the automotive industry before joining Herschend.  After reading this book, I could tell that Joel meant every word of it.  Still, I had to start with the question about love at work.

This is a business book, but the title and the theme are all about Love.  Joel, you were an executive at GM, Saturn and Saab.  It’s all about metrics.  Numbers.  Results.  But, you say no, Love Works.  Tell me more about your transition from hard-hitting analytical executive to someone who sees love as a business success factor.

It’s still about metrics; the key question is which metrics? At HFE we measure all the standard business metrics including financial results, customer scores and employee scores. We all have to hit those numbers. In addition, we are also measured on HOW we go about hitting those numbers. We are all evaluated on the seven words outlined in Love Works. In fact, the top raises are given to those who hit both measurements; and all senior leaders are expected to be good at all of the above.


“Stick to your values in all circumstances.” –Joel Manby



Success Defined By Love

How do you define personal success?  Corporate success?

I define personal success as being consistent to my own personal mission statement:  to love God and love others. I can achieve that in a number of personal endeavors; but feel blessed to be able to achieve it in a growing, profitable business. Corporate success should be defined the same way:  ultimately, what is the mission statement of the company? Ours is to “create memories worth repeating.”