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"Kevin Kruse Blog" - 5 new articles

  1. 3 Lessons in Leadership From Sting (yes, Sting)
  2. Leadership Secrets From Yum! Brands CEO David Novak
  3. Tom Friedman’s Advice For Surviving the New Age
  4. Leadershift (Guest Post)
  5. Advice to Younger Self From HRPBC
  6. More Recent Articles
  7. Search Kevin Kruse Blog
  8. Prior Mailing Archive

3 Lessons in Leadership From Sting (yes, Sting)

The following is a guest post from Meridith Elliott Powell. Meredith is is the author of Winning in the Trust and Value Economy (Global Professional Publishing, 2013) and is the founder and owner of MotionFirst.

Well like it or not, British musician’s Sting’s children are going to have to work for living. In an interview with the Mail Online  the former front man for the 80’s band The Police, revealed that he has no plans to leave his children much if any of his $306 million fortune, fearing trust funds would be an “albatrosses around their neck.”

A rags to riches story himself, Sting, who is the third richest musician in Britain, came  from a poor working class family in Northeast England. In the interview, Sting explained he wanted his children to have the same opportunity to earn their way and have that feeling of accomplishment and success that can only come from doing it yourself. He revealed that he has often discussed his plan with his children, and he feels because of that his children have never really expected much financial support from him, and he respects and appreciates that. He went on to share that his goals has been for his children to grow up with a ethic, and a passion to succeed on their own merit.

So why should we care about or listen to how Sting is raising his children, or what he plans to do with his fortune? Because, while it is interesting that a father, worth more than $300 million, has no plans to leave a dime to his children; more importantly, we should listen because of the strong leadership lesson – a powerful message of how to develop people, and a true lesson of leadership.

In the interview, Sting admitted what he wants for his children was what he had, yes certainly a chance to earn a lot of money and become wealthy beyond his wildest dreams; but more importantly, the feeling of accomplishment and success you get only from actually doing it yourself.

3 Results From A Lesson With Sting:

  1. Drive – drive is the push we have to want to succeed, to get back up when we fail, and to commit to the hard work it takes to achieve success. Sting has planted the seeds of drive with his children with the perfect balance of support and belief and “no net” or no guarantee. If you want to build leadership, and create that next level of talent, you have to let your emerging leaders know you believe in them, and be there to provide advice and praise. At the same time, you have to give them the room to fail; allowing them to cut their own path, and develop their own ideas and solutions.
  2. Passion – so often with younger leaders we forget our story and our struggle, and how the power of sharing that will help them on their journey. Sting may not have been generous with his money, but he has been generous with his openness of his story and his struggle. Sharing with his children where he came from, how hard it was, and the mistakes he has made along the way. Most importantly, the courage he had to follow his passion of music, when so many, including his father, told him he was delusional. The power of personal stories in our organizations is vital when developing young leaders; senior leaders sharing and remembering their stories can make them more compassionate and understanding; and for young leaders these stories are a source of inspiration, great learning and motivation.
  3. Confidence – probably the greatest gift of all that Sting is giving his children is confidence. When he shared with them they would have to make their own way, he gave up the right to tell them how to do it, and with that step he laid the groundwork for them to build confidence. Research study after research study reveals that personal confidence is a critical component of success. It is not something, someone else can give you; it is earned through a series of personal wins and overcoming challenges.   If you want to build leaders who have the skills to make decisions, the guts to take a risk and the ability to get results, then you have to give them the room to build their confidence. You can certainly guide them in their decision making and career choices, but at that the end of the day allowing them to take responsibility for their successes and failures will be more powerful than any wisdom you can share.

Yes, it remains to be seen just how successful Sting’s children will be, but that really doesn’t matter. His job, as a father is to provide his children with emotional support and the tools they need to achieve what they want, but how far they go, and what they do is up to them. As leaders trying to develop talent, that is probably our greatest lesson we can take from Sting; it is not our job to guarantee success for anyone, but rather to guarantee a corporate culture where success can be achieved!

Check out Kevin Kruse’s new book, Employee Engagement 2.0, and discover how leaders turn apathetic groups into emotionally committed teams.

Kevin Kruse is a New York Times bestselling author and serial entrepreneur. For insider tips and exclusive content, join his newsletter at

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Leadership Secrets From Yum! Brands CEO David Novak

David NovakChairman and CEO of Yum! Brands and author of Taking People With You, David Novak, shared his leadership advice this week in a keynote for the Society for Human Resource Management’s annual conference in Orlando, Florida.

In his role at Yum! Brands, Novak leads 1.5 million employees who work in over 40,000 KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell locations in 120 countries around the world.

Click here to read full article on

Check out Kevin Kruse’s new book, Employee Engagement 2.0, and discover how leaders turn apathetic groups into emotionally committed teams.

Kevin Kruse is a New York Times bestselling author and serial entrepreneur. For insider tips and exclusive content, join his newsletter at


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Tom Friedman’s Advice For Surviving the New Age

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman delivered today’s keynote speech at the SHRM annual conference in Orlando. The author of The World is Flat described how much the world has changed in just the last decade, with the invention and adoption of things like Facebook, Skype, and LinkedIn among other things.

Human Resource Executive Online reported 5 “edicts” Friedman gives to his own kids for surviving in the new age. Quoting HRE:

1) Always think like an immigrant, figuring out opportunities in a kind of paranoid optimism, staying hungry.

2) Think like an artisan, those specialists who made, and still make, every item individually and take so much pride in every single thing they do, they carve their initials in each and every one.

3) Always be in beta, where everything is only 85 percent done, where you throw it out to the public and get feedback, and, as he said, “you re-engineer everything.”

4) PQ & CQ is always > IQ. Translation: Passion quotient plus curiosity quotient is always greater than intelligence quotient. Unlike even a short decade ago, business leaders, at least those on an upward trajectory, “will take these [first two kinds of] kids over IQ kids any day and everyday,” Friedman said.

And 5) “Always think like a waitress at the Perkins Pancake House in Minneapolis,” who got a 50 percent tip from Friedman years ago for dishing out extra fruit to his breakfast guest because “in her own little world, that’s what she could do in her own little entrepreneurial way; she controlled the ladle, and she figured it out herself.”

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Leadershift (Guest Post)

The following is guest post by William McCoy, School District Superintendent and Tech Start-Up Founder. I think you’ll find that he is raising an interesting and important topic around our multiple roles as leaders. You may be a leader in two or more different companies, like William, or you may need to shift from being a workplace leader to a family leader at the end of your day. It can be tough to juggle dual roles, and is increasingly common. Take it away William!

I am a big fan of books on Leadership. Good To Great, by Jim Collins, is a staple on my bookshelf that I have revisited again and again. The Wizard and the Warrior: Leading with Passion and Power by Bolman and Deal provided me profound insight as a new leader. Most recently, The Multiplier Effect by Wiseman, Allen and Foster has captured my attention and imagination.

What you need to know about me is that I live a dual life that requires very different leadership styles, and daily I force this internal paradigm shift. I am a School District Superintendent in rural Northern California, and I am also the Founder of three different tech start-up projects (Zippy Campus, All Clear and Talking Paints). Those of you in either job probably realize the inherently different roles required to be effective at either of these positions.

As a School District Superintendent, my job requires diplomacy, soft skills, fiscal acumen, and I report to a Board of Trustees. I have about three hundred employees and 2100 students that depend upon me to provide resources, support and safety. On a daily basis I may interact with staff, public officials, union representatives and, if I am lucky, students. The position is replete with rules, regulations, contracts, plans, and policies. But it is also incredibly rewarding, and the best possible service that I can imagine myself providing to our community. Educating children is in my soul, and helping more students has always been my goal.

As Founder of a Start-up, it’s just me. (Especially when chasing Angel Investors, Venture Capitalists, potential Partners, and ultimately customers). From what I have found, there are no rules, regulations, or policies to follow when starting a business. There isn’t a blueprint for success, and if there is, some rich son of a gun is hiding it. It is a chaotic, digital frenzy where the only way to jump in is to simply begin.

So different are these worlds that it often takes my conscious effort to shift between the two. Of course, I try to keep my start-up business away from my public service as a Superintendent. Even though the original concept for the start-up was hatched by simply trying to help my Principals break free from their desks more often. I created apps that could help them collect, compile, and analyze data more quickly and efficiently, thus allowing them more time to do be instructional leaders in classrooms. When I decided to try and make a go of it as a business, I had to stop pushing the idea with my own Principals because I didn’t want there to be the perception of using their work for my own gain. I don’t even really market to my colleagues in the county because I don’t want to strain our working relationship.

So I leave my job as Superintendent behind each night and go home to pursue these other ventures. Ventures where I have to be bold, creative, LinkedIn, Tweeted, and dual platform friendly. I am the designer, builder, creator, marketer, promoter, funder, boss and workhorse. If it doesn’t work, I have to fix it and if I don’t fix it, it simply doesn’t work. Game over.

So trying to rectify these two worlds into a single paradigm is fantastically impossible at this point. As a Superintendent, “getting the right people on the bus” makes sense. As a Founder, the bus has one occupant and he is doing his best Fred Flintstone impression trying to get the stone wheels to turn and go somewhere.

I once heard a speaker say something to the effect of “great leaders inspire people to follow them. If you don’t have followers, you are just a guy on a walk.” As a Superintendent, I am fortunate to have co-workers and colleagues that believe in providing an outstanding education for all students as our ultimate goal. We pursue that together each day. As a Founder, I am a guy on a walk until I knock on the right door, make the right connection, convince the right person, or sell the right organ to get these projects funded. It is lonely, frustrating, invigorating, freeing, and scary all at once.

So if you know of a book that I can add to my bookshelf that can help me navigate these very different waters, I would love to hear about it. I have searched for random titles hoping to find a hit, but I guess the following titles haven’t been written yet:

So maybe what needs to be done is an analysis of the new types of leadership that are developing in this era of entrepreneurship. Maybe we need to take a look at the dual roles and inherent conflicts created by everyone trying to manage more and more interests at the speed of Facebook posts. It would be fascinating to learn about the dual roles many of us play in the world. Maybe I could write it…

Okay that’s just a bad idea. Another task, another leadership requirement, and another “leadershift” is not really what I am looking for in this adventure. Two roles, three start-ups, and a district full of students is plenty for now.

Click here to learn more about William McCoy and his company.

Check out Kevin Kruse’s new book, Employee Engagement 2.0, and discover how leaders turn apathetic groups into emotionally committed teams.

Kevin Kruse is a NY Times bestselling author and serial entrepreneur. For insider tips and exclusive content, join his newsletter at

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Advice to Younger Self From HRPBC

What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself? What tweetable bits of wisdom might we offer this season’s graduates?

I recently spoke with a hundred professionals from the Human Resource Association of Palm Beach County, and they kindly submitted their words of wisdom.

Tweetable Advice to Younger Self from HRPBC.

Check out Kevin Kruse’s new book, Employee Engagement 2.0, and discover how leaders turn apathetic groups into emotionally committed teams.

Kevin Kruse is a NY Times bestselling author and serial entrepreneur. For insider tips and exclusive content, join his newsletter at


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