People First… Love Them Up!

Smiling leader talking to employee

“People first… Love ‘em up” is a phrase that Alan Mulally has been consistently saying at work for more than 30 years. He said it as general manager of the multi-year project to develop the 777 aircraft at Boeing, he said it as CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, and he said it as CEO of Ford Motor Company as he led the turnaround that brought it back from the brink of bankruptcy to become one of the most profitable automotive companies in the world. When he retired from Ford in 2014, Alan was named by Fortune magazine as one of the top three leaders in the world.

Leaders’ Biggest Mistake in Q1: the Communication Illusion Trap

Business leader talking to his team to avoid communication illusion trap

Alan Mulally, the former CEO who saved Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Ford Motor Company, was recognized by Fortune as the best business leader in the world in 2014. In a series of conversations that I had with Alan, he made a point about communications that is especially relevant in the first quarter of the year. I subsequently discovered this quote in Twenty-First Century Jet in which he elaborates:

Lessons from Holiday Movies: Why We Need More Leaders like George Bailey than Ebenezer Scrooge and Henry Potter

Image from "It's a Wonderful Life"

Holiday movies may not be the first place one might look for gleaning leadership lessons we can apply in the workplace. But if we did, what might we see? Think of a movie and see what comes to mind. Off the top of our heads, from Home Alone you could talk about the need to think out of the box and be innovative when facing adversaries or threats to your territory (looking at you, 8-year-old Kevin). Or you could draw inspiration from Buddy’s commitment to pursuing his vision while adapting to a completely different environment in Elf. Comparing two classics, A Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life, highlights the importance of a leader’s character and motivations. Is he or she a connector who cares about others or a disconnector more focused on personal gain?

A Connection Culture Success Story at Yale New Haven Health

Dr. Tooba Kazmi and Patient Services Manager Lauren Thayer of Yale New Haven Health

During the challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr. Tooba Kazmi and Patient Services Manager Lauren Thayer of Yale New Haven Health were tasked to spearhead a novel unit designed to provide care for chronically ventilated patients. The outcome of their dedicated efforts was they achieved record results in successfully weaning patients off ventilators.

A Practice to Finish the Year Strong

Photo of an hour glass representing the end of the year

The final months of a calendar or fiscal year are an important time for teams. When you consider the goals you established for the year (or were assigned to you and your team), how are things looking at this juncture? Are you confident you will meet the goals by the end of December, cautiously optimistic, concerned, or slightly panicked? 

Connection Heals Trauma

Man who has experienced trauma sitting on a couch holding head in hands

At some point in life, many people experience some form of trauma. This may be a personal trauma that occurs at home or in the workplace. It might also be a collective trauma, such as the trauma experienced by many in the United States after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

A number of books have been written about trauma and how to heal from it. Two books we recommend are Untangling the Mind: Why We Behave the Way We Do by David Theodore (“Ted”) George and What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing by Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey. For those of you who don’t have the time or inclination to explore this topic more deeply, we’d like to share a few points that everyone should be aware of since the ripple effects of trauma can affect relationships and the ability to work effectively.

Missing from the Oppenheimer Movie: The Connection Catalyst


Ever since learning that a movie was being made about J. Robert Oppenheimer and The Manhattan Project, I have been waiting for it to come to movie theaters, curious to see how the man and his work would be portrayed. In my first book, Fired Up or Burned Out: How to Reignite Your Team’s Passion, Creativity, and Productivity, I had written about a particular angle of The Manhattan Project in reference to an element that teams need in order to function well. 

Healing Our Workplaces through Cultures of Connection

Coworkers laughing together in office

The decline of social connection and rise of loneliness in the United States has caught the attention of the U.S. Surgeon General’s office, which prompted the publication of a new advisory.

“The harmful consequences of a society that lacks social connection can be felt in our schools, workplaces, and civic organizations, where performance, productivity, and engagement are diminished,” writes U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy in Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation: The Surgeon General’s Advisory on the Healing Effects of Social Connection and Community released on May 2, 2023. “Given the profound consequences of loneliness and isolation [on individual and societal health], we have an opportunity, and an obligation, to make the same investments in addressing social connection that we have made in addressing tobacco use, obesity, and the addiction crisis.”

With a Little Help from My Friends

Person holding up a paper chain of people to represent supportive relationships

On Good Friday this year, I found myself in an operating room with my arms literally stretched out like Jesus on the cross as ten medical professionals prepared me for surgery. To my surprise, as a mask was placed over my nose and mouth to administer general anesthesia, I felt grateful rather than scared.