I’m Still Trying to Decide if Different is Good

Different is good.”

When Bill Murray, a.k.a. Phil Connors, uttered those famous words in the movie Groundhog Day in 1993 my streak was at 37. It ended this past Monday at 1,268, and different felt … well, different.

One thousand, two hundred and sixty-eight consecutive Mondays with at least one kid living under our roof came to a screeching halt. The empty nest descended like the end of summer for a teacher. Good, but not good.


On Monday, the house was quiet. Not just any old quiet; the kind of quiet that comes when Katherine Gravitt is not around. She has a way of creating noise in a place – good kind of noise. Noise that makes you feel valuable and necessary and glad to be a dad.

I keep reminding myself that we didn’t raise our four daughters to keep them, but it is still quiet. The silence tempts me to cling to what was. Twelve hundred and sixty-eight Mondays happened so fast. Emerson was right.

But as the leader of my family, I recognize it is time to let go. No more horse in the driveway or late night chats. No more delegating trash-duty or the dishes. The stories are told, the homework is done, and the shoes – lots of shoes – have been bought. Yes, it is time to let go.

I’m still not sure Phil Connors was right. I don’t know if I believe different is good or not, but I do believe in Katherine. And for that reason, I’m okay with the streak being over.


Why do you think it is so hard for leaders to let go?

Comment Below to respond or to leave Katherine advice for college …

“We Don’t Need a Leadership Culture”

Help us Choose a Book Cover

I’m so excited to have my friend Mark Miller guest post for us today. Mark and I have written together on a couple of projects including, The Chess Not Checkers Field Guide.

Before you enjoy his post, I need a favor. Mark has a new book coming out in early 2017 and he is trying to choose a cover design. At the bottom of his post please visit the link and give us your feedback. Enjoy!

“We Don’t Need a Leadership Culture”

Leadership is the cornerstone of all great organizations.

Yes, before you think it, I do understand more is required than outstanding leadership to build an enduring organization. After a five-year research effort, our team found High Performance Organizations actually have four things in common. They all Bet on Leadership, Act as One, Win the Heart and Excel at Execution. I wrote about these “moves” in my previous book, Chess Not Checkers.

However, the journey to high performance always begins with leadership. That’s why I am so excited about my new book, Leaders Made Here. Today, too many organizations face an inadequate supply of leaders. The question they are grappling with is…

How do you ensure you’ll have the needed leaders to fuel your future success?

The answer, in short: build a leadership culture.

Let’s be clear on terms from the beginning. A leadership culture exists when leaders are routinely and systematically developed, and you have a surplus of leaders ready for the next opportunity or challenge.

What would happen if organizations were proactive and strategic and built their own leadership pipeline and filled their bench with capable, ready-now leaders? What if companies and non-profits created a culture in which exceptional leadership at all levels was the norm?

Even as I write this, I am well aware of the resistance to this idea of building a leadership culture. There are many objections. Today, we’ll take a quick look at the first.

“We don’t need a leadership culture; we’re doing fine.”

 You may be right; you are doing fine – for now. However, even in organizations currently enjoying success, this is often due to the efforts of a few good women and men who shoulder the burden for their entire organization. Their heroic acts are required again and again to win the day. Not only does this approach fail to leverage the full capacity of your people, sustained greatness is unlikely.

Ultimately, your future success depends on the quantity and quality of leaders on your team. Leaders Made Here provides a path to position your organization among the elite. You can create a place where leadership excellence is not a dream but rather a by-product of a sound strategy executed with diligence.

Leaders Made Here is scheduled to be released in March 2017. Today, I would love your help selecting the cover. If you will click here you can vote on your favorite. Instructions are in the top right corner. Simply scroll over the i.

Thanks for your help!

Mark Miller

Don’t Forget about Your New People

On Saturday it happened again; we launched Gravitt girl #4. I keep thinking it will be easier, but it never is.

What was easy was the actual move-in. The university Katherine (pictured below in black) will be attending had a move-in crew of upperclassmen lined up outside the dorm just waiting for the freshmen. It took all of four minutes for them to unload our truck and have the boxes in her room. It was an improvement over the move-in experience with one of her older sisters, four years ago, who happened to attend the same university and live three doors down on the same hall.


The experience reminded me of how important it is to create an easy transition for those who are new. I once read that the first forty hours for a new employee are the most important forty of their entire career. I believe the same is true for a every area of life.

When is the last time you tried to adapt to something new? Do you remember how it feels to be a new student? What about the first day on a job or the awkward feeling of visiting a church? Or how about the quiet of an empty nest (my new reality)?

If you want to create a better culture for your organization, don’t forget about your new people. Move-in day doesn’t have to be brutal. If you will give some intentional thought to how you orient, train, and celebrate your rookies you will take a step toward being a high performance organization.

Who is new that you can reach out to and encourage this week?


Comment Below …

White Noise

Noise can be the enemy of a leader. Opinions of followers, critics, and other leaders can be helpful, but they can also represent “white noise.”

Have you ever tried to listen to a radio station at 98.5 with the tuner set to 98.3? Sure, you can still pick up on what is happening on 98.5, but only partially. Failure to be totally “dialed in” leads to white noise.

For leaders, there are many things that cause white noise. Consider the following:

1. Listening to too many voices. While it is good to have a trusted inner circle, listening to too many people can lead to static.

2. Fear. Many leaders are paralyzed and unable to make a decision because they are afraid they will make a mistake.

3. Success. Past success can cause a leader to be over confident. Such hubris can cause one to not be fully tuned in.

4. Failure. Past mistakes can lead to a lack of confidence. Doubt creeps in and white noise ensues.

If you want to be a great leader, you must learn to eliminate “white noise.” Take some time today and dial in to your presets. Things will be a lot more clear if you do.

Leadership Begins at Home,


What are some things that bring “white noise” into your leadership environment?