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Pivot, Pivot, Pivot

Many of you know this, but I am a Jeep guy, like a BIG Jeep guy. Prior to owning a Jeep, I don’t know that I noticed them much on the road. Now, I see Jeeps everywhere. Why? Because I’m looking for them. The same is true for leadership lessons. Keep your mind focused on them, you’ll see them frequently in all facets of life.

As someone who spends a great deal of time on the road, I am always aware that plans can change and that I’m often at the mercy of the airlines, the rental car company, the weather, or any other outside influences I cannot control. This week was no exception. I spent a day with the amazing staff in Eureka, Nevada this past Friday. Then, I was off to Albany to be the keynote speaker for the NYSCOSS (New Your State Council of School Superintendents) conference. And, it’s was a week ripe with leadership lessons, one which I’ll share here, along with some wonderful humor.


If you’re like me, you see or hear that word pivot you immediately think of this awesome scene from 90’s classic tv Friends. All of us from this generation (and our kids if they’ve watched) can hear it before even clicking the link…Ross repeatedly shouting “PIVOT”.

In leadership, we must always be prepared to adjust on the fly. This week, while in Nevada, I received notifications about my upcoming flight to Albany (SLC – Chicago – Albany) informing me that a travel advisory was in effect for Chicago’s O’Hare airport. I was a little concerned, as it would mean a much longer trip going through other airports to get to Albany. When I arrived in Salt Lake City, the advisory was lifted. Whew! Upon landing in Chicago, however, the storm didn’t miss me – it hit Albany cancelling my flight. Time to pivot! I adjusted, switched to a flight into LaGuardia and drove to Albany. But this is a simple example of how leaders need to be prepared to pivot and adjust on the fly. My travel plans were adjusted within 30 minutes of deplaning in Chicago (with the help of an awesome American Airlines gate agent).

What about when your best laid plans fall apart in a meeting, a professional development session, an interview, or virtually anything else in your day? Are you able to pivot or do you find yourself getting frustrated, flustered, and flabbergasted? The best leaders will be those who have a back-up plan and can be flexible on the fly. Ensure you are modeling this behavior for your staff, as they easily can have multiple pivot moments in their day too.


Two rather humorous moments from this week’s journey on the Road to Awesome. I was visiting with some of the staff in Eureka prior to the start of our session. One of the teachers mentioned that her 8 year old son couldn’t believe she was meeting Dr. Pepper (yeah, I get that alot). She and I had a good laugh about it and I even signed her copy of my book to prove to her son who I am.

On the road between Salt Lake City and Eureka (a hefty 4 plus hour drive) I came across this sign. In what I can only describe as one of those if you know, you know kind of moments, I found myself saluting the sign saying “Major Deer Crossing”. Not sure what I mean? This comes from How I Met Your Mother, where Ted and Robin salute every time they hear someone say major, general, private, etc.

via GIPHY 

Keep your eyes open and prepared to find those leadership lessons folks. They are out there just waiting to be found.

Have a #RoadToAwesome week


Road to Awesome: The Journey of a Leader is now available. Click here to purchase the autographed copy.

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Tune into our podcast “Leaning into Leadership” where this week’s guest is Aaron Keith Hawkins, retired NY police captain turned motivational speaker/leadership expert.

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