Dr. Stephen R. Graves
Helping Leaders Flourish
How Big Companies Are Missing It with Millennials
The Down Side to Ambition
Ambition. It’s a concept loaded with meaning and starving for clarity. It’s been abused, neglected, misunderstood, and misappropriated. While baby boomers embraced ambition without hesitation, mak…
Can Anyone Become a Manager?
The coaching carousel happens every winter after the records are in and the alumni are clattering for something new. I remember last year when Lincoln Riley was named head coach at Oklahoma and repl…
A Founder’s Role
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, …
What I Learned at the Taco Bell Drive Through
Don’t judge me. I was in between meetings the other day and drove through Taco Bell. I just needed something quick before a conference call, so I ordered a couple of crunchy tacos with extra tomatoe…
Three Guys, Three Chainsaws
Who’s the best worker you know? Not the hardest worker, but the best worker. I’ve got a candidate. A few months back, a storm came through northwest Arkansas, and it did a number on some lake prop…
Are You Living in a Scarcity Mindset?
Everybody talks about a win/win, even Michael Scott. The problem is, most people operate from a framework that doesn’t really allow for win/win. At their core, most people really believe that for m…
Are You a Run-the-Business Leader?
Some core traits of a leader bleed across all archetypes. They’re universal and timeless. Other qualities and styles better fit certain leaders for certain seasons of their assignment. There are t…
The Fine Art of Swapping
Does your stomach start churning when you survey the avalanche of work waiting for you? Perhaps you let out a defeated sigh that first time you check your email each morning or power up your phone aft…
3 Things to Measure Your Life Against
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates I was out on a sailboat, a substantial distance from shore, and found myself wondering about getting back in the dark. It gets pitch black out t…
Books for the Summer
Do you have your summer books stacked and ready to read? I do. I typically go into the summer with an ambitious pile of books to read that usually carry over into the fall and the end of the year. For…
On March 2, Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors sprained his ankle for the third time this season. On March 8, he sprained it again. On March 14, he turned 30. Any connection? When you’re in …
4 Metrics of Childrearing
A recent conversation with a friend about business recruiting actually highlighted a couple of parenting insights. I was meeting with a CEO who was evaluating his internship program. In determining wh…
Watch Out For Snowballs
He could have told the truth the first time a reporter asked the question. He had multiple chances. He could have come clean during his famous Larry King interview. He could have owned up when a forme…
“Fill ‘er up!”—Parkinson’s Law and Your Organization
If you wait until the last minute to do something, it’ll only take a minute to do. But what if you have a month to do something? Will it take a month? Parkinson’s Law says yes. “Work expands to …
Do You Prefer a Telescope or a Stethoscope?
I spent the day recently with a young CEO client. Great leader. Great company. Big future. One of our topics on this particular day was his leadership team. During our conversation, I gave him a chall…
7 Characteristics of a Great Manager
As I’ve outlined elsewhere, managers drive results and deliver outcomes through the skillsets of others. That may sound manipulative, but the best managers are coaches, not manipulators. Accordingly…
Enterprise vs Entrepreneurial: What Kind of Leader are You?
Let me ask you a few questions: Do you think most organizations need an enterprise leader or an entrepreneurial leader? Are you more wired as an enterprise leader or an entrepreneurial leader? What ki…
Turning 40: The Old Age of Youth
There’s an imaginary line that runs along the Rocky Mountains and from time to time, it’s marked by signs like this one: Every drop of rain that falls on the right side of the sign ends up in the …
How to Add More Time to Your Work Day
Delegation can be tough. It’s gut-wrenching to give up decisions or projects you care strongly about, and then it’s doubly gut-wrenching when it goes wrong. See what happens when one city manager …
The 4 Most Important Voices for a Senior Leader
You’ve heard the phrase “I’ve got your back.” But what about “I’ve got your ear”? Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, does it? It’s a big deal for the senior leader though. For t…
How do You Get Your Toddler to Sleep?
Have you ever tried to convince a toddler to go to sleep? It’s been a while for me. If you haven’t experienced this unique privilege, cue up the above video to the 5:20 mark and listen to Jim Gaff…
A Quick Guide for First Time Managers
“You’ve really done well here. We’d like to offer you the position of manager.” Or co-manager. It’s an exciting day! Your successes have been recognized and rewarded with extra responsibilit…
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…
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…
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