Dave Miller

The Reason Your Organization Is Underperforming? A Lack of Clarity…

Inc. recently published an article about how to better communicate with your team…placing an emphasis on clarity. The article was written by Rebecca Hinds, a self-proclaimed “organizational physician” and Data-driven storyteller. Follow the link above for the article – it is well written and focuses on three primary areas on interest – establishing connectivity, being “visible” & encouraging “effeciency”.

Now that we have shifted to remote and hybrid work, clarity is in short supply and high demand in organizations. Engage your team and be as communicative and transparent as possible. When it comes to the next era of work and empowering your employees for success, clarity is conviction.

5 Phrases to Use More Often in 2022

Inc, just published an article “5 Phrases to Use More Often in 2022“, written by Katie burke, Chief People Officer at Hubspot.

It’s like Stephen Covey’s #7habitsofhighlyeffectivepeople …you can debate all day about which one is the best or most important (my personal favorite is habit 7: Sharpen the Saw®), but at the end of the day, all make an impact.

While I love all 5 of Katies phrases, “I really appreciate you” is the one I use daily and value the most.

Take a moment each day to acknowledge your teammates – especially now, in these times of stress. Saying “I appreciate you”, can often times change the course of someones day.

Making Workplace Relationships a Priority

Harvard Business Review’s Management Tip of the Day is around Making Workplace Relationships a Priority.

Below are the excerpt and a link to the article that inspired, “What a Year of WFH Has Done to Our Relationships at Work” by Nancy Baym, Jonathan Larson and Ronnie Martin. The article and excerpt are insightful, and remind us once again – the world has changed and so have how we establish and maintain relationships.

Ensuring that tomorrow’s workplaces are engaging, innovative, creative, and inclusive depends on one key factor: relationships. As a leader, you need to ask yourself: How can I set up a remote or hybrid workplace that’s conducive to healthy social ties? It starts with being proactive. With remote and hybrid work, you can’t count on bonds to form in the hallway or by the water cooler. Make it your job — and the job of other managers — to be the glue that brings people together. Host virtual events, invite people from other teams to your meetings and look for ways to decrease workloads and balance resources, so people have time and energy to make workplace relationships a priority. It’s also crucial to make your meetings inclusive. Going forward, meetings will likely include a mix of people together in physical offices and those in videoconference mode. When you’re moderating a hybrid meeting, be sure to integrate all team members, regardless of where they’re working from. Healthy relationships at work aren’t just nice to have. They improve information flow, spur innovation, help retention, and lead to better overall organizational performance.

Photo Credit: Startwithwhy.com

The Millennial Debate

Many of you are familiar with Simon Sinek and his famous Ted Talks “Golden Circle” or as it is officially titled, How Great Leaders Inspire Action. I have used this video and belief system (which is based on truly knowing your “why”) many times as a foundation to inspire others and ignite conversations related to helping people find fulfillment and purpose.

The video I reference is quite amazing.. and if you’re one of the possibly 4-5 people left on the planet that have not watched it, believe me…its perhaps some of the best 15 minutes you can spend on the internet. Obviously Im a fan of Sinek and with that comes an admitted bias.

When Simon-Sinek published the talk The Millennial Question, I thought WOW – spot on and as always, eloquently and concisely spoken. The core message in this talk is that while each generation has always in some way disparaged the previous generation, the negativity focused on #millennials is somewhat misplaced and some responsibility for the behaviors exhibited are…you guessed it, related to environment and parenting styles that enable the most stereotyped behaviors of this group.


I was ready to simply share the talk and urge my 1300 followers on LinkedIn to watch the video (Seriously you really should watch the video).

Then I found this – Why Millennials Can’t Stand Simon Sinek’s Viral Interview on Millennials, an article written by Crystal Kadakia for the Huffington Post as a counter argument to Sineks position on the topic.

This is a very well written article and has several counter points to Sineks talk. These positions are somewhat rooted in the premise that it is very difficult for a #nondigitalnative to really understand a #Millennial.

I think both of these pieces are insightful and if nothing else, ignites a purposeful and informed conversation about the world in which we live today.

Understanding others perspective, the environment and culture in which they were raised – or work within, can lead to a more fulfilling life and successful career filled with various #multigenerational and #multicultural belief systems.

If you have thoughts about this post, please leave comments or contact me here.

Creekside Cafe Sonoma

How a small neighborhood cafe’ just might be the answer to all “our” problems.

I was in Sonoma for a board meeting recently. Tired of eating the standard resort meals for breakfast; I decided to head out to to find some local fare. After a quick Google, I found a highly rated local place just a short walk from the resort called “Creekside Cafe”. Apparently this place is an institution in these parts where “everybody knows your name”.

Casey, the son of the founder greeted me. Casey and his father Mike, who opened the restaurant are locals and this year are celebrating 20 years of being in business.

While seated at the bar, I noticed that tables were filled with friends – that while there for a good meal, where also there for something even more important – a non judgemental meeting place where opinions could be expressed … even differing opinions.

I mentioned to Casey how much I enjoyed this locally owned small business environment. His reply was “yeah, there are not many of us left and eventually there won’t be any more places like ours where you can get “home cooking”. While what Casey says about the food it true (it was quite good), my comments were about the environment this provided. A sense of community.

Casey and I struck up a conversation and I mentioned that the last time I was here it was immediately after the fires that ravaged the area. This of course struck a cord with him and he started to share his experience related to the fires – how it impacted his customers; his friends.

Community Thanking Responders

The fires burned for 21 days and consumed 245,000 acres. Many of his customers were without power at least – and many more lost their homes.

Casey said all he wanted to do was have power at the restaurant, even enough just to give his customers – friends, coffee and provide a place for them to congregate to share their stories and pain.

When the restaurant reopened when power was restored, Casey wasn’t ready for the stories he heard. Stories about friends that would no longer be visiting this oasis and stories from the ones that could about the devastating losses they or family and friends suffered.

While Casey might not have been ready for the stories, they still took place and that small micro-community filled with people from all walks of life and socioeconomic conditions worked through things together.

This really struck me – what if we had more Creekside Cafe’s? Environments that accommodated the sharing of differing opinions without judgement or hostility – an environment that was supportive of EVERYONE in the community and was there to lend a hand or be a sounding board in times of struggle.

We need more “Creekside Cafe’s“.

Its What’s Inside

I was recently in Louisville Kentucky on business and had the opportunity to stop in at Angles Envy Distillery.

I don’t know whats more impressive, the Architecture or the “oh so smooth” Kentucky Bourbon.

Great care and detail were taken from the ground up – location, the structure, the sweet elixir itself and the bottle that contained it.

The tour guide was amazing – weaving a story that spanned generations making sure to note the nuances that set them apart. She talked about the barrels, how it was stored in Rick houses and that a few percent of the alcohol evaporates yearly. That’s referred to as the Angels Cut.

The distillers thought “if whats taken is the Angels Cut, whats left must be even better”. That would be what the “Angels Envy”. And with that, a brand was born.

One story that struck me was about the bottle. It is shaped in the form of a medicine bottle from a time long ago – when whiskey and other spirits were used for medicinal purposes. Much debate occurred over that specific shape, weight and how to decorate. Eventually, it ended up looking like the below – with Angels wings adorning the bottle.

The tour guide was part of the company while all this debate took place, and one day she told them – “I get that you want the bottle to be perfect and something that will draw people to it, but if what we’re putting inside isn’t good, then what’s it matter what the bottle looks like?”

She made a good point we can all take something from. All of us are concerned to some degree on appearance, perception and how we “look”, but if whats inside – whats in our core “isn’t good”, then the “bottle” or trappings we cloak ourselves in doesn’t really matter.

Celebrating Others Success

Recently there was a great article written by Steve Krull for Forbes. Reading this reminded me of a time early in my career when I had much less inexperience as a leader and before I was fortunate enough in life to have great mentors and Life Coaches like Robert (Bob) AndersonColleen R Cooper and Darin Lyon. “Back in the day”, I too fell into the “I” or “Me” trap – always compelled to focus on my personal contributions opposed to celebrating what others have accomplished or contributed to the “cause”. Because of purposeful feedback from trusted advisors and mentors I soon realized that one of the most important attributes of a true leader is working to develop those around you and then celebrating their success and accomplishments. Thanks again to Steve Krull with Forbes for inspiring this post.


Community. What does that mean to you?

Most might associate the word with their neighborhood – where they live. My wife and I are fortunate to live in a nice community in Alexandria, VA called Delray. We chose to live here because of the way it makes us feel. We live just a few miles from the hustle and bustle of Washington, DC – horns, sirens, people with heads down glued to their smartphones with absolutely no time for idle banter. Delray however provides an (old person alert) “Mayberry” feel – where people take the time to say hello, stop to let you pet their dog and actually stop when they see you at a cross walk and wave to you as you pass by. If you live in NOVA or even visited you understand. For those that haven’t – imagine walking through the woods and actually seeing a Unicorn. Its that rare.

While community often does refer to where we reside, it also relates to where we work.

We spend more time awake at work than we do at home – so that community is vitally important as well. Often;  we think that community or environment is created by the employer – but is it? Don’t we have the responsibility to create the community or environment we want to work in?

At home, we might participate in the community garden, church group or volunteer for a neighborhood project. Why do we do this? Because we want to be involved in the community and have a part in developing it.

At work, we can do the same thing. Be involved. Volunteer for a committee. Make you voice heard and contribute.

Seth Mattison

The Future Of Work

Seth Mattison recently spoke with our national sales and executive leadership team about the future of work, authenticity and the value of creating meaningful relationships.

Every day we strive to enable an environment of inclusiveness and empowerment within our organization and having Seth speak to our team, share his stories, insight and personal journey was so impactful. He brought an authentic take on the world we live in and how to navigate it.

Seth has a new book out titled, The War At Work - Navigating the Unwritten Rules of the Hierarchy in a half Changed World.

Spoiler alert -  Org Charts (as we have known them) are a thing of the past.

You MUST read this book.

I have had the pleasure and opportunity to work with Seth on several occasions and each time it’s more impactful than the last. If you have not had the opportunity to hear Seth speak, I implore you to find a way to experience this moving and almost spiritual environment.

Finally, a big shout out to my amazing wife Kelly Miller - CEM, CMP for planning this amazing day with Seth.