Image for post
Image for post
Embrace the new normal

As we begin to reopen the country from the COVID-19 pandemic many hope that life will begin to return to normal. I am convinced that we will need to redefine what normal means and looks like. I keep hearing people talk about having things go back to the way they were. I am quick to correct them, with my belief that there is no going back, only the option to go forward. Forward will be different and we must all embrace the new version of normal.

Humans are one of the most resilient species because we can adapt to change…


Image for post
Image for post
Ally Wines showing her vulnerability. Photo Credit; Donald Stone

Vulnerability is a key to growth

We can only grow when we are willing to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and to push outside our comfort zones. This is a tough concept for successful people to embrace. Success tends to expand the comfort zone and makes people increasingly reluctant to exercise vulnerability. Those that don’t allow themselves to be vulnerable limit their ability to learn. Those that are willing to be vulnerable, don’t appear weak to others which is a common internal misconception. In fact, showing vulnerability makes people more human, more approachable and more humble. These are important leadership characteristics.

Today we have all been…


I have had the privilege of attending CES for three decades. By not attending every year I have built perspective on the evolving tech landscape and I wanted to share some of my insights and findings.

Image for post
Image for post

In 2005, I attended my first CES. I was working at Time Warner Cable at the time and our CEO, Glenn Britt was speaking on a panel with Brian Roberts (Comcast), Charlie Ergen (Dish), and Eddy Hartenstein (Directv). Their talk was focused on the future of TV and the threat of a non-linear format thanks to DVRs. They spoke about HDTV and the show…


Image for post
Image for post
Dylan applauding Holly’s success

The photo above tells the story of Dylan Lewis from the Motley Fool and Holly Travis from Intel Corporation. Both participated in the LeaderSurf leadership development program. Here you see Dylan applauding his new friend Holly’s success at riding her first wave. This image embodies the special culture that is developed during the LeaderSurf program.

When you assemble a group of total strangers from different organizations, geographies, ethnic backgrounds and levels of experience you never know how it might turn out. Well, that is what one would think, but my experience tells me otherwise. I have been running the LeaderSurf…


Too many organizations tend to use the terms management and leadership interchangeably. They refer to the leadership team or the management team as if they are the same thing. Organization recognize the need to develop talent, so they create leadership development programs, but then they are disappointed when participants are unfit to lead. Warren Bennis eloquently said that “Managers do things right, while leaders do the right things”. Having met Warren Bennis several years ago, I have always looked up to him as a thought leader and someone who effectively distinguishes between leadership and management.

Image for post
Image for post

I have come to define…


Anyone who has ever lost a job knows that networking is a key to finding the next opportunity. Sitting at home blasting out resumes is not an effective way to conduct a job search. Job seekers need to be out meeting new people and selling their capabilities in person. Co-working venues are popping up all over the world and they offer more than just a place to work. They offer community. Whether it is a large national chain like WeWork or a hyperlocal space like Advent Co-Working in Charlotte, NC, co-working spaces foster relationships.

Image for post
Image for post
Advent co-working offers a great space to conduct a job search and to network

Having coached and advised several laid…


Image for post
Image for post
Failing with a smile. Embracing failure as learning.

Vulnerability is a key to growth. We can only grow when we are willing to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and to push outside our comfort zones. This is a tough concept for successful people to embrace. Success tends to expand the comfort zone and makes people increasingly reluctant to exercise vulnerability. Those that don’t allow themselves to be vulnerable limit their ability to learn. Those that are willing to be vulnerable, don’t appear weak to others which is a common internal misconception. In fact, showing vulnerability makes people more human, more approachable and more humble. …


Image for post
Image for post
Committing to your goals

When a surfer paddles for a wave and the wave pitches up, there is a split second decision that has to be made whether to commit to the wave or not. That split second decision is called taking the drop, as in dropping into the wave. If a surfer is too late, the wave can be too steep and they will get pitched and rolled. If the surfer is too early, then the surfer will begin to stand and miss the wave. Surfing is very much about timing and commitment. Taking the drop is a great metaphor for life. …


Image for post
Image for post
Daily Sunset Reflections Sessions

Another LeaderSurf program is in the books and I am sitting in my office, at my computer wearing shoes, socks and pants for the first time in ten days. Last night was a restless night’s sleep with the sounds of airplanes and sirens as the developed world interrupted the peaceful sleep I had enjoyed while in Nicaragua. Sleeping to the sounds of crashing waves and chirping birds sure beats the man-made sounds that play in the background at home.

Reflecting on the week that was. Six strangers from different cities, companies and even countries converged for a week of learning…


Image for post
Image for post

Much like in music, in business companies follow a rhythm. That rhythm is usually determined by the market landscape and external economic conditions. Companies try to stay in tune to the changing business climate and adjust their strategies and resources appropriately. When studying businesses certain patterns emerge, and these patterns can help predict an organization’s long-term success.

In good economic times companies tend to invest more heavily in projects such as new plants, R&D, marketing, technology and most importantly in people. They grow headcount and invest in training employees.

Conversely, in tough times companies tend to curb spending on capital…

Brian Formato

Brian is the founder and CEO of Groove Management and LeaderSurf two human capital consulting firms. He believes strongly in the power of experiential learning.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store