Why We Connect

Hand reaching out illustrates why we connect

Peter DeMarco, a writer in Boston, lost his 34-year old wife, Laura Levis, following a severe asthma attack. Last week, The New York Times reprinted Mr. DeMarco’s “A Letter to the Doctors and Nurses Who Cared for My Wife.” It went viral. Take time to read it.

Mr. DeMarco’s letter expresses his profound gratitude for the words and deeds of doctors, nurses, technicians and the cleaning crew during his wife’s seven days in the ICU. They carried out their tasks in a professional manner AND went above and beyond by taking time to care and connect.

General George C. Marshall: Soldier of Peace

General George C. Marshall

George C. Marshall was one of the most extraordinary individuals to have lived during the twentieth century. Born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, in 1880 and trained at the Virginia Military Institute, Marshall was a career military man who will forever be remembered for his efforts to promote peace and bring about a strong connection between America and Western Europe.

How Queen Elizabeth I Used Connection to Restore a Nation

Queen Elizabeth I of England

One of the greatest turnaround stories in all of history is also one of the most unlikely. It is the story of Queen Elizabeth I, a twenty-five-year-old woman who inherited the throne of England in 1558 having no leadership experience, faced prejudice in a time when women were considered grossly inferior to men, and lived with frequent threats of death. Despite these obstacles, she overcame the odds and led her country from near financial ruin to one of the most powerful kingdoms on earth. She is a timeless example of how a leader can connect with people and bring out the best in them.

How Lafayette, an “Outsider,” Won the Allegiance of His Team

Marquis de Lafayette

If you’ve ever been hired into a leadership role, you know how difficult it can be to lead when you are viewed as an “outsider.” It’s crucial to establish trust and connection with your new colleagues quickly, but how?

Leaders who find themselves in this challenging position can look to a widely unknown example from the American Revolution for inspiration and guidance: Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Gilbert du Motier de La Fayette, more commonly known as the Marquis de Lafayette.

Advice to Taylor Swift on Sustaining Success

Taylor Swift

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia User MyCanon

As seen on Fox News

Taylor Swift has successfully managed living in the frying pan of fame for nearly a decade now. That is a difficult thing to do, especially for singers who come on the scene in their teenage years (ahem, Britney, Miley and Justin). Personally, I think she may become the Queen of Media who reigns for decades, akin to the first Queen Elizabeth who ascended to the throne of England at 25 and ruled England for more than 40 years during its Golden Age and was beloved by many.

Because I advise leaders, I took a moment to imagine what it would be like to advise Ms. Swift about maintaining her realm, just as the faithful and wise William Cecil, Lord Burghley advised Queen Elizabeth I.

What Marcus Mariota Teaches Us About Success


Marcus Mariota throws a pass while playing against Colorado in 2014. Photo courtesy of Alex Thies.

As seen on Fox Business

Marcus Mariota’s list of accomplishments is impressive. Although his Oregon Ducks football team ultimately lost the national championship game to Ohio State, the young quarterback can still claim a Heisman Trophy, Rose Bowl and Fiesta Bowl victories, and numerous other awards earned in just a few short years. His success as a quarterback places him in an elite group of individuals who have reached the pinnacle of their fields.

But how do people like Mariota become so successful? Are there certain characteristics these people share that set them apart?

Vince Lombardi’s Success Formula: “Task + Relationship Excellence = Results”


I once attended a meeting where it seemed that everyone was focused on the people or relationships in a business and believed that doing so would bring success.

Don’t believe it.

Great leaders focus on achieving BOTH task excellence and relationship excellence. This dual focus produces sustainable superior performance.

Connect Others Through “Flash Mentoring”



#51 Employ “Flash Mentoring”

One way to match mentors and mentees is to ask them to commit to meet just once to see if both parties “click” (or “connect,” if you will) and if the mentor believes he/she has the knowledge/expertise and sufficient time available to meet the mentee’s needs and expectations. If both parties agree to continue, they should agree to a set number of additional meetings rather than leave the term open-ended. Unless both mentor and mentee agree to a set number of additional meetings, there is no commitment to meet again. “Flash mentoring” was a term coined by K. Scott Derrick in his work with 13L, a group of federal employees who share a passion for leadership excellence.

This is the fifty-first post in our series entitled “100 Ways to Connect.” The series highlights language, attitudes and behaviors that help you connect with others. Although the language, attitudes and behaviors focus on application in the workplace, you will see that they also apply to your relationships at home and in the community.

John Wooden: They Called Him Coach

Day of Discovery Document John Wooden They Called Him Coach

Day of Discovery Documentary – John Wooden: They Called Him Coach

I’ve written a lot about legendary Coach John Wooden on this blog, and for good reason. His life, leadership, and legacy are an inspiration to us all.

I highly recommend taking the time to watch the documentary John Wooden: They Called Him Coach, available online. You’ll learn more about Wooden’s perspective on success, love, and faith and see interviews with his family and former players. It will definitely motivate you to be a better leader, family member, and friend.

What’s your favorite Coach Wooden story? Feel free to share in the comments.