Leadership Vs Management

In a job interview I was once asked, “What is the difference between leadership and management?”

“Managers make sure things get done,” I answered, “Leaders make sure the right things get done.”

This has stuck in my brain ever since. It is true in many contexts and not just in the business since.

Management Isn’t Bad

We need to get things done. We’ve all be part of organizations that lacked good management. Things seem only get done by accident. The people in charge are waiting to be told what to do. Even when there is explicit instructions, no one is following through.

We need to get stuff done, not just think or talk about getting stuff done.

Why Leadership Is Important

We all want to be given direction at least some of the time. I want to be part of a Toastmaster’s club that I can show up to and know things will be ready. I don’t want to have to manage every meeting. For that to happen someone has to set the guidelines and pay attention to make sure things are happening.

But getting stuff done, even successful meetings in a club for instance, isn’t leadership. Having a vision for why you are doing the things you are doing. Knowing what you want the club to be, what your desired end state is, that is the job of a leader.

Time Management vs Time Leadership

Can we apply this distinction to our time? There are a bazillion books, podcasts, videos, systems and apps for “managing” your time. These systems insure you “get stuff done”.

That’s the definition of management.

The problem is it is real easy to get stuff that doesn’t matter done. If you want to truly be successful, you have to lead your time and make sure you are getting the right things done.

With my proteges I teach them Time Leadership. This is more than just how you plan your week. You’ve got to lead first. To do this we use a bunch of exercises to figure out what they really want, codifying that into Desired End States, then break it down into goals, habits and milestones. After that planning your week is just about managing the schedule.

Project Management vs Project Leadership

Projects really, really need people who make sure stuff gets done. That is the whole point of project management. Most of the tools for project management is making sure stuff gets done.

But someone needs to make sure the tasks that go into that Gantt chart are the right things. These are the people who have the vision of what the project is really trying to accomplish. They are the Project Leaders.

Are You a Leader or a Manager?

Both are fine and we will all have times in our lives where we need to be both. Matter of fact in most of life, we will switch back and forth. We’ll lead while defining a project and then manage to make sure it gets done.

The important practice you need for this distinction is to ask yourself what you need to be right now. Is nothing getting done because you don’t know what you want? Or are you constantly busy, but aren’t getting what you really want?

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash


Favorite Productivity Apps

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I often tell people, “Evernote is my brain.” I put everything in here. Every bill or important piece of paper gets scanned into Evernote. I constantly create notes to remember events, thoughts, and people.

I love and use it so much because it is everywhere. On the go I use the iPhone app and know whatever I put in it will be on my computer when I get home. It is on my laptop and desktop computers. In worst case scenarios I can access it via a web browser.

There are some downsides. The editor is dated and could use new functionality. The new Templates feature is rudimentary. But having tried other apps that do similar things, I still can’t find another I’m willing to put my brain into.

Try Evernote Premium for a month for free.

Google Mail & Calendar

Email is a fact of life, and if you are going to be successful you are going to have manage your time. The two tools you are going to need at an Email Client and a Calendar.

There are a zillion apps for both of these, which tells us everyone needs each. Truth is you should use what works best for you. The easiest way to start is to pick one and just start using it.

Action teaches way better than research.

In my experiments along these lines I’ve come down on Google’s solution for these two item.

Gmail is the king of email. Like Google dominates web search and web video, it dominates in email too. One of the main things I like about Gmail is how well it handles Spam filtering. Since I host probably a literal google of emails every day, it has a lot of data to know what is spam. It can use that to filter out your spam too.

While my iPhone has a calendar on it and it works with my home Desktop Mac, I don’t really like it. I’ve use Google Calendar for years now and am very used to it. On my iPhone I don’t use Google’s Calendar app. Instead I use Tiny Calendar, which I just like better.


I live everyday with a todo list. I’ve used a number of programs and none are perfect, but I’ve been using Todoist for awhile now and it works the best.

It is everywhere, phone, desktop, web. It is simple to use and the natural language task creation is second to none.

Try Todoist Premium for two months for free.


I’m a Mac guy and like to have a desktop app for apps. Unfortunately there is no Gmail/Google Calendar app for the Mac. So use an app called Kiwi for Gmail to turn my Gmail accounts into an app. It wraps everything in a window. Handles OS notifications.

Kiwi isn’t just for Gmail. It also includes the whole suite of Google apps, including Drive, Docs, Sheets, etc. You can also add plugin/add-ons like Boomerang.


I love me an outline. When working on a specific big piece of work, I will use a word processor with a good outliner, like Word or Pages. But that is way to heavy for everyday use. Too bad Evernote doesn’t have an outline note.

Then I discovered Workflowy. It is one giant outline, but very well done. I used it for a lot of stuff now. Just about every project or list has gone in there.

Graph Paper Blotter

Graph Paper Blotter

I’m bit of a D&D geek and once bought a pad of huge graph paper to make dungeon maps on. I don’t know what regular people use this stuff for because it a huge piece of paper (22″x17″). Never did really use it for a big dungeon, but I did shove it under my keyboard in front of my computer.

It is now a blotter that I can write anything on, and I do. I take notes during phone calls. Write down quotes when talking to people over Zoom. Do math and write down measurements from apps. It is amazing how useful it is.

Because it is under my keyboard it doesn’t really take any desk space. It is my desk, but I can write on it now.

Over time the paper fills up. Then I just pull off the top sheet and I’ve got a new clean slate to write on. I can take a picture if I want to keep a record of what I wrote. I generally fold it in half or quarters and put it in my file box.

So get yourself a big blotter pad and use it as your desk. Really it doesn’t have to have a graph on it, but it is nice to have that grid.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

People’s Communication Channel of Choice

If you want to effectively communicate with others you need to find out their communication channel of choice. Now I’m not talking about when you are talking to them face to face, rather I mean more distant communication.

To me there are three big communication channel:

  • Email
  • Phone
  • Text

There are others, Messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram DM, etc. You should know which one they prefer and will respond to the quickest.

How To Find Out

There are two methods to find out what works best for a person.

Ask. This is the easiest. When you first meet them and are exchanging contact info, ask which they prefer.

Test. Try sending them an email and see if that gets a response. Then try text, or calling them. Truth is this is the most reliable, as people may say they read email, but really don’t respond until you text them

The big takeaway here is you don’t get to pick. You don’t get to use your preferred communication method just because you want to. If you want to communicate with someone, you need to speak their language.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash


Networking Done Right

When you hear the word NETWORKING you probably have a bunch of weird, mostly negative images in your brain. Painful events where people insistently give you their card. Conversations where they are constantly looking over your shoulder for a more important person to talk to. That sales guy you can’t get to stop contacting you.

That is networking done wrong.

Let me help you to build a real world network without being “that guy”.

Most of my life I considered myself an introvert. I had a close circle of friends I was able to talk and laugh with, but put me in a room full of strangers and I was standing the corner wondering how parties were even supposed to work. After a few decades I learned you could learn how to start conversations and connect with people. So parties and social things are less painful now.

It wasn’t until a couple of years ago I started working on my personal network. I read a book called Never Eat Alone and it made networking make sense to me. One of the biggest things I took away from that book was how important it was to have a personal network.

What Is Networking Really?

Networking is a businessy word meaning the people you have connections to. Having a connection means you can contact when you needed something. There are a variety of needs someone in you network would be willing to give you, but there are two main ones.

They can answer a quick question on an area of expertise. Your friend who knows everything about cars? She’s willing to answer a quick question about that weird sound your engine is making. Notice I said quick. It is too much to ask a connection to come fix your car. You also can’t expect a connection to give you for free what they are paid to do.

They can introduce you to someone you want to meet. Conversely you know them well enough to be willing to introduce them to someone else in your network. You aren’t vouching for them, but you know them well enough you’d tell another connection about them.

A step up from a connection you’d give an introduction to, is someone you’d refer someone to. This may mean you’ve used their service and would recommend it, or you’ve talked to them enough about it you’d stake a little of your rep on them.

A network is a valuable commodity

We all know those people who seem to know everyone. The business person who seems to know everyone in the neighborhood by name. That pastor who when you mention you need some work done can tell you six people who do that kind of work. The teacher who knows all kinds of people in the community who can provide the help you need.

These people have large personal networks, and that makes them invaluable. 

How To Build Your Network

Building your network can make you the go-to person in your field. It’s not that hard and you can actually have fun doing it.

Grow Who You Know

You already have a network. You’ve got friends of one sort or another. You’ve got family. You are part of organizations like churches, clubs, and alumni groups.

The easiest way to add people to your network is ask the people you already know. If you have a goal you are trying to accomplish, ask those around you if they know anyone that can help you with that goal. Have dinners or parties with people you know and ask them to bring someone you ought to meet.

Join New Groups

You introverts are cringing right now and I get that. Going to things with strangers is tough. A long time ago I learned something from Tony Robbins. When he had to do something he didn’t want to do he’d ask himself, “How can I do this and enjoy the process?” The example he gave was having to make a bunch of phone calls. He asked that question and thought, “Hey I can make the calls from my hot tub. Then not only will I be relaxing in the hot tub, but I’ll have a conversation starter on the calls.”

When you go looking for groups consider joining new groups related to the things you love. Here’s some examples:

  • Meet-ups about your hobbies or passions.
  • Service organizations like the Kawanas, Masons or Lions clubs.
  • Church groups
  • Political parties

You can also join groups that serve a double purpose not only do they let you meet new people, but they teach you something:

  • Toastmasters, to learn public speaking and leadership.
  • A dance class
  • Yoga or exercise class.

How To Add Someone To Your Network

Make A Friend

I like to tell my proteges when they are afraid of meeting strangers that they aren’t going to network, they are going to make new friends. In the end your connections should be friends, or at least acquaintances.

Some quick tips on making someone you meet into a friend.

  • Make sure you learn their name and use it.
  • Listen. Let them talk and they will think you are the greatest conversationalist ever.


You don’t meet people just have a conversation. You meet them to connect. Connections are built over time. This means follow-up. So once you’ve made a basic connection, ask for contact information so you can stay connected.

This is especially important if you have promised them something or they have promised you something.

Be Useful   

It is easy to be focuses on what people can do for you but the most important thing is to be useful to the other person. What can you do for them?

Find out how you can help them. Who can you connect them to? Can you do something that will help them? Do you know something that will make their work easier? At least be interesting.

Free Contact Follow-Up Template

Is your memory as bad as mine? When I make a new connection I have to write it down somewhere. I’d like to give you a sample of the information I create so I can remember and make sure I follow up. If you’d like that free resource fill out the form below and I’ll email it to you.

Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash