Stan Silverman

Leadership Catalyst
Tier 1 Group
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Stan Silverman spent decades honing a unique perspective on leadership as an experienced CEO and board member of successful global corporations. Now as a speaker, writer and advisor, he shares his insights and techniques to help businesses and organizations cultivate leadership cultures.

Stan currently is a Leadership Catalyst for Tier 1 Group, a firm of strategists and advisors for preeminent growth. He is also Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Drexel University, a lead director on the board of Drummond Scientific and serves on a number of private equity boards. Stan is a trustee on the board of Friends Select School, and serves on the board of Ben Franklin Technology Partners as chairman of the audit committee.

Stan is the former president and CEO of PQ Corporation, a chemicals and engineered glass materials company operating in North America, South America, Europe and Asia Pacific. He is also the former chairman of the board of Drexel University College of Medicine.

Stan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering and an MBA degree from Drexel University. He also attended the Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.

Stan can be reached by email or at his website: www.SilvermanLeadership.com.

Content by Stan Silverman

Whistleblower Hotlines: A Valuable Resource for Both CEOs and Employees

In practice, employees use hotlines for anything they are uncomfortable reporting using normal company channels, mostly for fear of retaliation.

  • 04/04/2016
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

'Operationalize' It: the Secret to Never Falling Short of Your Customers' Expectations

You should think through every encounter and interaction in detail and determine whether they would have a great experience dealing with your organization.

  • 02/22/2016
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

Former Pharma CEO Martin Shkreli Tarnishes the Image of His Profession

Leaders need to understand that their decisions and actions have consequences, including damage to their personal reputations and that of their company. Reputation is the most important thing we have.

  • 02/17/2016
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  • Healthcare Services
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  • Article

Early-Stage Companies: Advice for CEOs, Board Members and Investors

Issues to be aware of that will increase your effectiveness as well as the probability of a successful enterprise.

  • 02/08/2016
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  • Entrepreneurship
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  • Article

The Importance of Independent Thinkers: Helping Leaders Face the Brutal Facts of Reality

Leaders need to create an environment and institutional culture that welcomes and encourages individuals to share their opinions and then consider them, especially if those offering these opinions have more experience or expertise than the leader.

  • 02/01/2016
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

Chip Kelly: What Has He Learned as Head Coach of the Eagles?

As Kelly assumes his next head coaching position with the 49ers, he needs to ask himself what he learned as head coach of the Eagles. What will he do differently to ensure a more successful result?

  • 01/19/2016
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

'Cheating the Birth Lottery:' the Story of Philly Tech Entrepreneur Yasmine Mustafa

On occasion, one crosses paths with an extraordinary individual, who despite the hardships endured through childhood, overcomes life’s obstacles and becomes an inspirational role model for others. Her narrative demands that it be told.

  • 01/11/2016
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  • Entrepreneurship
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  • Article

6 Leadership Essentials for 2016

Six key leadership imperatives that I believe CEOs should focus on in 2016.

  • 01/04/2016
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

Advice for the New Year: Push Through Your Self-Perceived Limitations

Why do people experience various degrees of success over the course of their careers?  Your attitude and your ability to push through self-perceived limitations play key roles in how successful you will be.

  • 12/28/2015
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  • Career Management
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  • Article

Don't Tell Me It Can't Be Done. Find a Way

When “something can’t be done,” there is usually a creative path forward that once uncovered, can achieve the result desired, or a similar result that might serve the purpose originally intended.

  • 12/21/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

Want to Be a Corporate Director? Understand the Differences Between Private and Public Company Boards

Serving on a nonprofit board provides an opportunity to learn about the board governance process and network with individuals who could support your candidacy as a director for a private or public company board.

  • 12/14/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

How Millennial Entrepreneurs Lead Other Millennials

My advice to those who lead millennials – listen to them, recognize their contributions to your company, help them develop a sense of ownership in the company’s mission and teach them the skills needed to be successful.

  • 12/07/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

Millennials Want to Be Inspired by a Company's Mission. Is Yours Inspiring?

How many of you work for a company with a mission statement and operating principles that are “boilerplate,” don’t inspire your employees and don’t differentiate your company from its competitors?

  • 11/30/2015
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  • Talent
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  • Article

Drexel's John Fry: Think like an Entrepreneur, Regardless of Your Career Path

Entrepreneurship means the ability to champion new ideas, to take them out of the theoretical realm, and use them to make a real impact on the world.

  • 11/09/2015
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  • Entrepreneurship
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  • Article

The Highest Calling in a Leader's Life: Make a Difference in Someone's Life

Sometimes it takes a mentor or coach to change the mindset of an individual, and to show them what is possible, so they see a world of possibilities and abundance, compared to a world of scarcity and limitations.

  • 10/12/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

The Volkswagen Scandal

To state that VW’s actions were a gross violation of trust is an understatement. This was a deliberate action to violate the law and fraudulently sell cars to customers who thought they were buying vehicles that met mandated...

  • 10/05/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

Reflections on the Pope’s Visit

Regardless of all of the complaints about disruption to city life and second-guessing of logistical plans, street and road closings by me and others, this was a great weekend for the faithful and for all citizens of Philadelphia...

  • 09/28/2015
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  • Opinion
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  • Article

The Pope's Visit to Philadelphia: Surely, There Was a Better Way

I wonder whether other alternatives were explored for hosting the papal visit, and if the impact to city life of those alternatives were compared to the extensive impact that is currently underway.

  • 09/24/2015
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  • Opinion
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  • Article

Avoid Starbucks' Embarrassment: Always Hire Workers with Good Critical Judgment

A negative story that goes viral on social media and is covered by numerous print and Internet news outlets is every company’s nightmare. Such was the case with a Philadelphia Starbucks on September 11th, 2015.

  • 09/21/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

14th Anniversary Reflections of a CEO on 9/11

No one can ever forget where they were at 8:46 that morning.

  • 09/11/2015
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  • Core Moments
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  • Article

Leaders: Have You Thought about Your Legacy?

The old adage “you can’t get there if you don’t know where you are going” is the reason legacies are important. With a legacy, you can reach into the future.

  • 09/08/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

How an Independent Thinker Unearths Brutal Facts of Reality

A major cause of failure of initiatives, sometimes with catastrophic consequences, is the inability of CEOs or their leadership team to face the brutal facts of their reality, and the lack of a courageous independent thinker who will...

  • 08/31/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

Readers Respond: 'Pope Visit: Quit Hitting the Panic Button' Touches a Nerve

In my article, I wrote that Philadelphia should have three goals for the papal visit: the paramount goal of ensuring a safe and secure event, have visitors feel that they are welcomed guests and to the highest extent...

  • 08/21/2015
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  • Opinion
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  • Article

The Pope's Visit

Quit hitting the panic button, Philadelphia, and let's make people feel welcome. Rather than make it hard for people, the city should to make it as easy as possible, given the security and logistical constraints.

  • 08/17/2015
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  • Opinion
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  • Article

CEOs: Don't Stick Around After Stepping Down

When the former CEO remains on the board, especially in the case where they retain the position of chairman, there is a high probability that their presence could have a chilling effect on the actions of the new...

  • 08/10/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

AT&T's Lesson in Leadership: How to Break Paradigms

Great leaders create a culture focused on breaking paradigms. This is a way to differentiate and create a sustainable advantage over your competitors.

  • 08/03/2015
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  • Innovation
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  • Article

Avoiding the Blackberry Path: 5 Ways to Improve Your Company's Decision-Making

A few years after Blackberry's introduction in 1999, Android and Apple PDAs aimed for the underdeveloped consumer market. Blackberry did not respond, thinking that Androids and Apple iPhones would be viewed as recreational devices and would not interest...

  • 07/27/2015
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  • Business Strategy
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  • Article

Be Wary of Employees Who Advance Their Personal Agenda at the Expense of Others

When reviewing the performance of your direct reports, be sure to collect data on the degree to which they are trusted by their co-workers, in addition to the results that they accomplish.

  • 07/20/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

Reflections on Leadership and Entrepreneurism

Sharing some thoughts on what I've learned while writing about effective leadership over the last year.

  • 07/13/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

Are You Training Future Leaders to Deal with Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity?

The acronym VUCA, meaning volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, was coined in the 1990s by the military to describe the growing geo-political landscape in which it had to operate. The same acronym was soon applied to the fast-paced...

  • 07/06/2015
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  • Talent
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  • Article

Is Your Compensation and Performance Review System Making Your Employees Mad?

Many employees feel that forced rank-ordering or informing employees that they are A, B or C performers is counter-productive, and are aware that some leading companies are abandoning this practice.

  • 06/29/2015
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  • Talent
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  • Article

Employers: Hire the Big Dreamers; They'll Be Your Growth Catalysts

Entrepreneurs have a different world view and mindset than other individuals. They have a positive can-do attitude, and see the glass as half-full, while others see it as half-empty. They see a world of abundance and possibilities, rather...

  • 06/22/2015
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  • Talent
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  • Article

Advice to Graduates: Embrace Change, Never Compromise Your Integrity

Salient thoughts for students and graduates, or for any individuals who are in the process of building their careers.

  • 06/15/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

Leadership at Its Worst: The FIFA Corruption Scandal

Tone at the top are the ethical standards by which an organization operates, and it is clear that Blatter did not set the proper tone and tolerated a culture corruption within FIFA.

  • 06/09/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

CEOs & Board Members: What Are Your Roles in the Development of Your Company's Strategic Plan?

One of the most important roles of a CEO and their senior leadership team is to develop and successfully execute their company’s strategic plan. One of the most important roles of a board is oversight of the company’s...

  • 06/02/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

Don’t Micromanage Employees - Empower and Hold Them Accountable for Results

Effective leaders don’t micromanage. They set goals and expectations, and empower and hold direct reports accountable for results. Have your direct reports write the first draft of their own goals so they have ownership in them.

  • 05/27/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

Turn 'Deflategate' into a Teachable Moment about Honor, Ethics and Integrity

Effective leaders use these opportunities to reinforce their tone at the top and communicate the culture they want their organization to adopt. Owner Robert Kraft did neither.

  • 05/11/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

Saxbys Coffee: How Treating Your People Right Can Lead to Success

Saxbys competes on people, not on product. They focus on not being in the product business – but actually being in the people business. They compete with other companies on people and on hospitality.

  • 05/04/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

How Not to Treat an Employee: A Lesson from a Popeyes Franchisee

Last week, it was reported that a pregnant employee working as a manager for a Popeyes restaurant in Channelview, Texas, was fired because she refused to reimburse the restaurant for $400 taken in a robbery, during which she...

  • 04/27/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

The VA Investigation

Most leaders of government organizations do not get the type of training or experience that leaders get in the private sector, and are not exposed to the mindset of leading private sector companies on providing a great customer...

  • 04/20/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

Hey CEOs: Think like an Activist Investor

The CEOs of many public companies raise their guard when they receive a phone call from an activist investor wanting to discuss how a company can improve its performance and shareholder return. This is not necessarily the right...

  • 04/13/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

How to Evaluate the Boss

Unlike performance against numerical goals, a CEO's leadership traits are more subjective and harder to assess, but very important to the long-term success of the company.

  • 04/06/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

How to Get the Ultimate Competitive Advantage

The senior management team at Apple realizes that by providing world-class customer experience, they can charge a premium for their products and services. Why don’t the senior management teams at other companies do the same?

  • 03/23/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

The Extraordinary Story of an Entrepreneur out to Make a Difference

On rare occasions, one meets an individual whose passion is driven by wanting to make a real difference in this world, and is on a journey to do so. Last March, I met such an individual.

  • 03/16/2015
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  • Entrepreneurship
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  • Article

5 Questions to Ask When Hiring a CEO

Focusing on questions that reveal a lot about an individual's value system and leadership style, which based on experience indicates a lot about whether the candidate will be effective and successful.

  • 03/09/2015
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  • Talent
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  • Article

A Lesson in the Power of Networking

Networking builds communities of individuals who have similar or related interests. Members of networks provide assistance to each other. Trust develops within the community. You are more apt to do business with a member of your networking community.

  • 03/02/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

Comcast's Hard Journey to Customer Service Success

Companies that provide Internet and subscription TV services are very customer service intensive and their reputations are earned by the customer experience they deliver.

  • 02/23/2015
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  • Services
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  • Article

Little League Scandal Serves as Teachable Moment in Ethics

The leadership of any organization has a huge responsibility for setting the right tone at the top and institutional culture. Those "leaders" who cannot act in an exemplary manner have no business being associated with an organization responsible...

  • 02/17/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

The Visionary Who Rescued a Key Philadelphia Industry

The Point Breeze and Girard Point oil refineries owned by Sunoco in South Philadelphia were about to be abandoned.  Phil Rinaldi who saw something that others did not see – irreplaceable assets and a ready market.

  • 02/10/2015
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  • Energy
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  • Article

Why Comcast Must Walk the Walk on Customer Service

An incident hit the news late last week and went viral in which a Comcast customer in Spokane, Washington, learned his name had been replaced on his account with a vulgarity after he canceled his service.

  • 02/02/2015
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  • Services
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  • Article

Setting Credible and Realistic Goals Can Drive Your Financial Performance

It can also be a vicious circle. When goals have a relatively low probability of achievement, employees don't take ownership in the goals, and an organization will fall short of acheiving them as a result.

  • 01/26/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

3 Leadership Lessons from Oscar Nominee 'The Imitation Game'

Three of the themes that ran through the film are great lessons in counter-intuitive leadership, breaking paradigms and the importance of respecting the abilities of women.

  • 01/20/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

In Business, Good Is the Enemy of Great

"Good is the enemy of great" are the opening words of "Good to Great," the best-selling iconic book by preeminent leadership and management thought leader Jim Collins, on "why some companies make the leap [to outstanding sustained performance]...

  • 01/12/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

Five Key Leadership Principles That Are Not 2015 Trends, but Timeless Imperatives

Every January, thought leaders write about "new trends" for the coming year. However, what I want to write about, however, are not trends. They are timeless leadership imperatives that are characteristic of all high-performing organizations.

  • 01/05/2015
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

Philadelphia as East Coast energy hub: What about the environment, health and safety?

I appreciate the comments from readers that I've received since my last article concerning the adverse impact of Marcellus shale drilling, fracking, rail transport and refining/processing on our environment, health and safety.

  • 12/15/2014
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  • Energy
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  • Article

Philadelphia's Incredible Potential to Become the East Coast Energy Hub

Philadelphia's close proximity to Marcellus shale natural gas production and the region's unique infrastructure – oil refineries, pipeline systems, world-class ports, an extensive freight rail network and highly skilled workforce – presents unique opportunities.

  • 12/08/2014
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  • Energy
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  • Article

'Educational Ecosystem' Is Driving Philadelphia Entrepreneurship

The entrepreneurial ecosystem of Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University provide places for students to develop their ideas as well as learn the leadership and other skills needed for success.

  • 12/01/2014
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  • Entrepreneurship
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  • Article

Advice to the Next Generation of Leaders

A major responsibility of any leader is to help develop the next generation that follows. Many of us have had mentors at various points in our careers, and we know how valuable their guidance was to us.

  • 11/24/2014
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

Leaders: Here's What the 'Profit Engine' Needs to Thrive

How does a company create core values built on a culture of innovation and continuous improvement, and provide a world-class experience for its customers to improve the operation of the profit engine?

  • 11/17/2014
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

Do You Work for a Tyrant? Do You Have One Working for You?

Tyrants who disrespect their direct reports cause untold damage to the performance of their organization as well as make life miserable for those who work for them.

  • 11/10/2014
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

Leadership, Teamwork and Athletics

Observations on how athletics builds leaders and teamwork. Are leaders born or bred?

  • 11/03/2014
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

Hey Board Members! Your Job Is Governance, Not Operations

One of the key lessons that board members must learn is not to cross the line between governance and operations. By crossing the line, you interfere with the ability of the CEO to do their job.

  • 10/27/2014
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  • Leadership
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  • Article

When an Employee Violates Company Policy for the Right Reasons

Having good critical judgment means having the ability to weigh the consequences of an action that violates company policy, determine whether the pros/cons and be able to justify the action to your boss.

  • 09/29/2014
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  • Leadership
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  • Article
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