Dr. Stephen R. Graves
Helping Leaders Flourish
How Big Companies Are Missing It with Millennials
What Type of Contributor Are You?
In early June, Lincoln Riley got a new job. One of the most powerful, most storied, and most profitable college football programs in the country turned the reins over to 33-year-old Riley, who immedia…
8 Steps to Handling a Workaround
I’ve come to believe every company does it. Even the really good companies. Sometimes intentionally and sometimes inadvertently. I am talking about the notorious “workaround.” In the name of pro…
You Can’t Out-Bama Bama or Out-Amazon Amazon … or Can You?
“Who’s going to finish second this year?” is a regular conversation in my world. Why? It’s because I live in a college town with a football team stuck with Alabama on the schedule every year. …
Two Considerations for Every Business Decision
Not long ago, I was on a plane to DFW, seated next to an executive headed home after meetings in Northwest Arkansas. “How’d it go?” I asked. After a little news, weather, and sports (light, usua…
Two Ingredients of Every Good Strategy
Usually, voices in your head are not a good thing, but I’ve learned about two that are. And they’re not the typical stereotype of competing voices in your head … When it comes to planning an…
What’s Your Clout Category?
The best boxing movie ever made is…(drumroll please)… Cinderella Man. You might have thought I was going to say Rocky (or perhaps Rocky II, III, IV, V, or VI), but as much as I love a good Rocky B…
Do strategy and Scripture have anything to do with each other? I’m convinced they do. Sometimes it is clearly stated in a single passage and other times it is embedded deep in the narrative or overa…
How To Measure Success
A single black line at the bottom, regardless of its size, can no longer measure success. In truth, it never should have. Our whole world is quickly migrating toward an expectation that all efforts re…
Wanted: Honest Opinions
The older I get the more I appreciate the trait of transparency. I want people around me who will tell it like it is. Not quite Ron Swanson level of straight talk, but straight talk nonetheless. For e…
What Are You Reading This Summer?
Do you have your summer books stacked and ready for the beach? I do. I typically go into the summer with an ambitious pile of books that usually slide into the fall and the end of the year. For my ent…
Do You Have Founder’s Syndrome?
I’ve worked with hundreds of founders in my three-plus decades of executive advising. Men and women representing all shapes and sizes of organizations. Massive nonprofits and hometown businesses, …
Coffee and the Kingdom: Why Churches Start Coffee Shops
“It’s not just coffee we’re selling.” So says a barista at a Charlotte coffee shop called The Third Place. She speaks for millions of people, and in a recent twist, millions of Christians. For…
Before Changing Jobs, Consider These Three Transitions.
ESPN does many things well. They’re the best in the business when it comes to delivering daily highlights, news, and expert analysis. They’ve got the best college sports coverage, and with the lau…
Living an Ordinary Life: Are you Missing Something?
I have a good friend who nearly died last year. From a medical perspective, he should have. He lived, though, and he told me not long ago about the odd experience of living when people thought he woul…
5 Tips for Parents of Graduates
300 feet. 2 seconds. These numbers may not mean much to you, but if you were a pilot sitting on the deck of an aircraft carrier, they would mean a great deal. 300 feet. That’s the entire length of a…
Get Over Yourself – A Guide to Being a Thoughtful Leader
Spent and focused. Those two words describe me in an airport on a recent trip back home. Traveling home means I’ve spent the past 24-48 hours in intense meetings, problem-solving big issues with cli…
Is Change Really Possible?
Albert Einstein supposedly said, “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.” I say that kind of thing to my clients all the time. Most of my coaching work incl…
Four Guiding Principles of Relationships
The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people, President Theodore Roosevelt once said. NASA has said the outlier of all space missions is the…
Guest Post: The Reluctant Leader
Four random times this year I am asking a friend to guest write on my blog. I asked them because I think they are great thinkers as well as great writers. They will write an original article connected…
How To Lead A Movement In Your Company
In talking with hundreds of aspiring young leaders, I’ve learned two things: 1) We all want to be part of something bigger than ourselves. I call that a movement. 2) Every leader thinks his or h…
Mentoring in the Business World and Beyond
I’m not sure what the legendary basketball coach John Wooden would think about this, but here is one humorous approach to mentoring younger talent. Ron Swanson=questionable mentor. The need for effe…
The Founder’s Dilemma—Being King or Being Rich
Do you want to be king or do you want to be rich? That, according to Noam Wasserman, is the chief question among The Founder’s Dilemma. (If you don’t want to read the book, you can see his 2008 ar…
The Amazing Power of Purpose
It doesn’t matter what’s wrong. Whether you’ve got a fever, a broken arm, or a missing limb, a visit to the doctor always seems to start the same way. After you check in and enjoy some time read…
4 Keys to Producing Engaged Employees
Engaged leaders are those who are “all there” when they’re working. They are focused, alert, and ready to run hard after objectives. Some years ago, the Gallup poll organization joined Towers Pe…
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