How I Became a Better Leader when I Stopped Leading and Started Working

In 2015 I took the job as the Executive Director of the Florida Consortium and I thought that meant something. After years of toiling in the minor leagues I had finally been called up to pitch on the big stage. Finally I can be the leader I always felt I was destined to be; visionary and decisive. I pictured myself in suits, speaking to groups of eager higher education folk at our three universities; Florida International University, University of Central Florida, and University of South Florida. And I felt that the best way to ensure I was followed was to be a big thinker; regal, and stout. Boy, was I ever wrong. Flash forward four years and I am working with more humility and measure than I have in my career. Because I learned a few things the past few years culminating with the greatest lesson of all – great leaders are also great workers. Most great leaders inspire greatness from their teams by being the hardest worker in the group and using that work ethic to pave the way for the entire team to excel. Continue reading

Day 3 – Son Volt – Trace

From 1995-1997 I became a Midwesterner for 24 months as I attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale for my graduate program. It was a magical time in my life and maybe the best two years of my life. I moved there in June of 1995 after accepting a graduate assistantship sight unseen. I had never been to that part of country except passing through on cross country road trips. I immediately fell in love with the area. It was beautiful, the people were nice, and the pace of living was amazing. It had four seasons and was exactly what I needed at that time in my life. Continue reading

Day 2 – Beastie Boys, Check Your Head

It was the summer of 1992. I was back home in Homestead, Florida and all I did was work at Costco like 12 hours a day and listen to music. I was really into Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, basically what everyone else my age was into. In April the Beastie Boys released the album Check Your Head and it was an instant Gen X classic. Lifted up by the amazing single What Cha Want and their trippy MTV video the album was on heavy rotation in my life.  Continue reading

Day 1 – The Trees Have Soul – Willy Porter

In the spring of 1992 I was a freshman at East Carolina University. After my friend Jane dragged me to a meeting of the coffeehouse committee of the ECU Student Union I decided to volunteer for a couple of events to round out my freshman year. One of them was for a coffeehouse concert by some guitar picker I had never heard of. Now, all of our coffeehouse events were held in this small, dingy part of the ECU Student Union long since razed for renovations. The location was small with low ceilings, there was a corner stage and there were a couple of pool tables, a row of video games, some old couches, a big screen television and low light. It was always dark and cool in the location.  Continue reading

Introducing . . . . the 90 day writing challenge.

So here is a challenge I am sure I will fail at but I am going to give it a shot anyway. It’s a 90 day writing challenge inspired by a podcast I started called “Death by 1,000 podcast takes you through 80 day writing boot camps. And while it is designed for fiction writers I like how it gives you ideas, takes you through exercises to stimulate writing creativity, and helps you form a communal feeling toward writing. The goal is to write about 1,000 words a day and at the end you should have a novel length product. Well, I don’t have a novel in mind but I have always wanted to visit my love of music from a personal story telling standpoint. Continue reading

My Midlife Crisis is Real and its Spectacular.

This past week I have read two pieces that have given me pause and allowed me to reflect on something that I have had been thinking about for some time; I am experiencing my midlife crisis. I have been working, parenting, playing, thinking, and experiencing a life and largely ignored the fact that I am likely half-way home. I am 45 years old. I was born in 1973. If we are to believe the experts I am scheduled to die sometime between 2044 and 2073. I suspect the real date is somewhere in the middle. While I have always wanted to live to 100 (and that is possible) I am thinking 90ish is more likely. This is sobering to consider. So I felt like I was folding into a midlife crisis. But not the car buying, relationship ending, playboy midlife crisis. But more an existential midlife crisis.  Continue reading

My Music Memoir: May 31, 1990

By time I filed into my seat at the Miami Arena on May 31, 1990 I was already hooked. I was already a lifelong fan. I had watched the tour film Depeche Mode 101 perhaps 25 times, I had every album (okay cassette but you know), and I skipped first period at Homestead Senior High School on March 19th to be the first to buy the Violator album and listen to it in my car. Depeche Mode was already my favorite band. But there was one more ritual I needed to experience to make my undying loyalty complete – a live concert.  Continue reading

Time to screen the screen time . . . .

As a higher education professional screen time is a fact of life. We spend most of our days in front of computer screens because most of our work production time is spent communicating electronically, writing reports, email, prepping for class, and other rather sedentary and intellectual pursuits. And I know what I signed up for so that is not the argument here. What this post is about is the rest of my day and screen time and how, in the office, I can reduce the amount of and number of hours I am in front of a screen. To reduce the time to what is essential to my work, personal endeavors that are productive and to help reduce the wear and tear on my body as a result of increased screen time.  Continue reading

To my students, I don’t hate you but . . .

I am also not your buddy. I am your instructor, your professor, your teacher, whatever you want to think of me as. For almost two decades I have been teaching college classes of some sort. Be it leadership development to higher education I have taught everyone from freshmen to doctoral students. And one consistent complaint I hear from students who confide in me at all levels is their professor hates them, that is why their grade or class performance is so low. Well, fret not students, it is usually not because we hate you, its because you simply did not perform as well as you should have.  Continue reading

In defense of that thing you love but I hate.

This past weekend I took my daughter and her friend to see Taylor Swift in concert. It was amazing. The show was a feast for the eyes and ears. Highly stylized, the sound quality was great, she is a great show woman, and the crowd had a blast. it was worth every dime. There were over 65,000 (mostly female fans) screaming at the top of their lungs, singing along with her, and otherwise having a ball. But this is not about those people who love Taylor Swift so much their excitement cannot be contained. This is about all of the Taylor Swift haters. You know who you are. Continue reading