Celebrating a Wild Year in Photos

January 7, 2020

I'm a words guy. That's at the core of my professional life. I develop strategic communications programs for leaders and companies. They tdepend on me to develop strategies on culture, brand and reputation, and then to share stories that engage and persuade key stakeholders.

However, in my not-so-secret second life, I shoot a lot of photos. My camera is always close at hand. You never know when a great image is going to appear. Visual storytelling is engaging and fun. Plus I love the...

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Grateful for Gifts Without Wrapping

December 22, 2019

‘Tis the season. Who doesn’t love to receive beautifully wrapped presents from family and friends?

It’s EASY to be thankful for those.

But as we celebrate the holidays, I’m most grateful for things that I didn’t see as a gift. Some of these gifts without wrapping seemed tough and even painful in the moment. With time to reflect, they are some of the most valuable gifts I’ve ever received.

Here is a short list of my favorite unwrapped gifts:

- Parents who say no. My folks gave our family...

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Don’t Pour Gasoline on the Fire

September 17, 2019

OK, so the you-know-what has hit the fan.

The CEO is agitated. The General Counsel has already called the outside law firm. C-suite leaders are whispering in the hallway.

You are in the first moments of a real crisis.

As a communications leader, what do you do?

I’ve worked for many years with leaders on challenging situations like lawsuits, regulatory actions, layoffs, acquisitions, divestitures, workplace violence and the 9/11 attack.

Every crisis is unique.

There is never a...

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Crisis and The First Law of Holes

July 21, 2019


Leading effectively during a crisis is one of the toughest tests for a CEO and a communications leader. My friend and mentor Gary Sheffer, longtime Chief Communications Officer at GE, used to say that, “Crisis is when we communicators earn our keep.”

Gary is right. Communicators work extremely hard and get lots of attention during a crisis. Sometimes accolades follow.

But communicators really earn their keep (and fewer accolades) when they prevent crisis situations. That’s why I’m a big...

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In Praise of Humility

April 29, 2019


Let me stake out a controversial position. Humility has become a de-valued asset for business leaders, and we need to reverse this trend.

In today’s business and political environment, bluster, boasting and blather seem to be the rage, sometimes literally. The biggest, baddest, boldest claims get the most ink. The mouthiest are frequently celebrated as “disruptors,” and showered with praise, votes and investment capital.

Since I am a public relations and communications advisor, you...

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