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Family Man. Leader. 3x Top Writer. MBA Strategy and Management. Marine Corps Veteran. Winemaker.

You lead others to their potential only by approaching yours

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All hell broke loose.

Someone had left a corner of their bed untucked. The Marine Corps drill instructors saw it as an accountability failure of all 73 of us recruits and proceeded to take every mattress, every footlocker, and every steel bedframe and pile it into a mountain in the center of the barracks. It was Boot Camp and we were being taught the basics of attention to detail.

Later, as we pulled the tornado pile of beds, blankets, and steel off the pile in an attempt to reorganize, I learned a valuable lesson —details matter. …

A masterpiece is painted with tiny brushstrokes

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I’ve found in life that the simplest advice is often the most powerful and that small habits you adopt paint the big picture of who you are. This observation holds true with leadership.

Admiral William McRaven, in his commencement speech to the graduates at The University of Texas, said:

“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. …

Small tweaks in leadership techniques to avoid huge headaches

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I pictured myself in military prison, my future ruined. Thoughts like this were racing through my head as I sprinted back to the barracks from the rifle range.

“Oh crap, Oh crap, Oh crap….where is it?” I thought as a cold sweat trickled down my brow.

There was an M16 rifle missing. Gone. We couldn’t find it. We were on the rifle range in Marine Boot Camp on Parris Island, South Carolina.

Somehow I’d finagled my way into being the ‘Platoon Guide’, which is basically the leader of the other 75 recruits in the platoon. …

Motivating with more than just money

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I remember once in the Marines I was speaking to a man named Joe Dowdy, a “full-bird” Colonel, who was about to lead over 7,000 men and women into battle. This is about as close to having God-like powers as any man can have but he was talking to me like a beloved teacher may speak to one of his favorite students.

I wasn’t his favorite Marine, of course — we all were. This extreme down-to-earth humility made him one of the most well-loved officers in the Marine Corps. A “Marine’s Marine.”

Think of the bosses, teachers, coaches, or leaders…


“That’s impossible, dynamic Bob!”

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“If he says dynamic one more time I’m going to choke him!” my coworker said. A mid-level manager was trying to wow the brass with buzzwords like dynamic, synergy, and low-hanging fruit and it came off horribly. His nickname became “Dynamic Bob” from that day forward.

Using buzzwords isn’t a bad thing. Like cliches, there’s a reason they exist. But it can become bad if you overuse them or use them simply to impress rather than convey. Use them where they make sense but otherwise speak simply and clearly. Those listening will respect that more.

I’ve studied and practiced leadership…

Human nature is a dictator we’re slowly starting to subdue

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“You are all equally ugly now!” the drill instructor barked as we stood at attention with our newly shaved heads and identical camouflage uniforms. It was day one at Parris Island, South Carolina, the famed location of Marine Corps Boot Camp.

This forced visual uniformity enabled us to quickly shed some of the “baggage” we’d brought with us from home — those lazy biases and stereotypes based on how others looked compared to us.

Along with our locks of multi-colored hair that day our biases began to fall.

It’s not that simple to remove implicit bias, of course, but this…

Forty years later I came back to see him again

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The cool fall air swirled around my body and kissed my neck. It was that low-humidity kind of cool that comforts your skin, but doesn’t chill your bones.

Fall in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania is renowned to be one of the best locations to witness the beauty of autumn. The trees parade their waves of yellow-red friendly leaf armies back and forth gracefully above their cool and sturdy trunks.

Anyone with the mind of an artist clamors to capture the essence of this display by paint or film. …

Looking at sifted content gives a false perception of the whole

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“So just drop the box in the stream and shake it around,” I told my son.

We were at Indian Echo Caverns in Hershey, PA. They had one of those things where you buy bags of “paydirt” which is just sand with a few gemstones sprinkled in.

The kid dumps the sand into the screened box and drops it in the flowing water. Then they shake it around a bit washing the sand away and they’re left with the gems.

It’s quite thrilling for a child, or even a grown child at heart like me, to see the gems revealing…

“God, Stanley. That’s freaking brilliant. Did you learn that on the streets? I’m sorry.”

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“Ugh, give it to me, I’ll just do it!” he huffed at the new hire.

I could see her spirit deflate as he reached over her sinking shoulders and grabbed the papers. He filled out the proper information quickly. She was new at the company and still learning. He had been there a while and knew it all.

Taking the task from her to get it done more quickly may have been innocent to him as he thought he was just getting things done more efficiently in a fast-paced environment.

But in reality, it did three things that were much…

One minute of your time can change the trajectory of someone’s life

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Even after writing 150 articles, I still don’t think I’m qualified to give writing advice. I’m still a semi-noob at all this.

But I do feel qualified to espouse one lesson I’ve learned related to writing because I have seen it repeatedly prove itself to be valuable.

A thoughtful, genuine, or encouraging comment on someone’s article can change the trajectory of that person’s life or at the very least brighten their day.

The first person I didn’t know to give me an encouraging comment on my writing was writer and editor Ryan Fan. He said something like “Ya, this article…

Max Klein

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