All posts by Dr. Tommy Shavers

Dr. Tommy Shavers is the lead consultant and partner for Atlas Group Advisors which focuses on consulting, behavior management and life coaching for high profile individuals and organizations. He is also president of Tommy Speak LLC. and Unus Solutions Inc. Tommy is a published author as well as a contributing author to Linked2Leadership, one of the nation’s top leadership blogs. He has earned a BA in Organizational Communication, MA in Interpersonal Communication, MA in Biblical Studies, and a Doctorate of Management in Organizational Leadership. His area of expertise in leadership is the study of status and power’s influence on the behavior high profile individuals. Tommy is also the creator of the Power Tolerance Theory; a theory that states that there are levels of social status and power people can handle before it begins to influence their behavior and performance. Tommy is a former college professor having taught courses in communication, marketing, retail management, and public speaking. He is a USA Track & Field Level 1 Certified Coach, a previous member of the National Speakers Association (NSA) and a member Delta Mu Delta National Business Honor Society. Tommy has a passion for leadership and personal development and loves to see people sustain personal integrity in their lives while pursuing their goals.

Articles of Faith: Leading in a Fallen World

Linked 2 Leadership

Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

This  Articles of Faith series investigates leadership lessons from the Bible.

Check in on Sundays for new and refreshing ways to understand how to be a better leader.
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When it comes to leadership, Christians are called to a different way to view it, understand it, and live it. The leadership model for Christians is Jesus Christ himself. But for many modern Christians, they are taking the world’s view and understanding of leadership and not the biblical view.

So what’s a Christian to do?

Eyes on the Prize

Rather than living a life “looking in the rear view mirror”, Christians should lead by example with their eyes fixed on the prize on the road ahead. They should live in the present and not in the past. Christians should show love in the reality of a fallen world where hope is craved and leadership comes…

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What’s on your Mind? How to Avoid Leadership Groupthink

I Hate those Meetings…

I hate meetings where no one is really saying what’s on their mind. I have seen many just flat out stupid plans proposed by leaders receive unanimous support from other “leaders”. I have also seen those who actually shared what they were thinking about the plan receive the black sheep death stare or worse the ostracized death sentence. This is often times the result of a toxic organizational culture of groupthink that permeates many organizations today.

A Culture of Mind Control

The culture of group think comes from a lack of power balance (true empowerment) within an organization. When such an imbalance occurs, people who are power holders experience leading mostly in a world of all green lights from their people. They often face little or no resistance from others on their ideas, opinions, or decisions. This makes it extremely easy for those in power to begin to believe their own hype. The toxicity of groupthink does one of two things to group members; for one group of people it intoxicates (the aroma of life) and for another group of individuals it suffocates (the stench of death). Let me explain.

Groupthink Intoxication

    The intoxicated ones are those who are heavily influence by the power of those who are power holders. They desire acceptance from those individuals and fear rejection or a lack of acceptance from them because of the status or power they hold. Listen, power or status influence creates high degrees of admiration in such a way that the intoxicated ones fight to champion and preserve the thoughts and actions of those in power. When you are intoxicated, your thoughts are no longer your thoughts, but an extension of the thoughts of those in power. So not only do you support the bad ideas, you also oppose those who speak up against such ideas. Thus I have come to realize that intoxicated leaders or team members are actually saying what’s on their minds;  the problem is, what’s on their minds is usually whatever the person in power has (directly or indirectly) placed there.

Groupthink Suffocation

    The suffocated ones, on the other hand find themselves in an organizational twilight zone. They know they are seeing supposedly very smart people continue to make very stupid decisions. They feel trapped; not being able to say what they are really thinking because of the overwhelming backlash that usually comes from their questions, points of concern or opposing ideas. When toxicity levels reach a breaking point, the suffocated ones snap and act out of character. They can’t take it anymore and usually they just say whatever is on their mind, at this point however, it is said with no filters what so ever.  This lashing out or out of character response in the moment comes from built up emotions that can no longer be contained. Unfortunately, this type of behavior only reinforces groupthink by devaluing or eliminating those who think differently and justifying it due to their out of character behavior.

To avoid intoxicated and suffocated minds in an organization, leaders must become intentional about the following practices:

1. Create a culture of empowerment: 
True empowerment involves power holders actually giving some of their power to others, thus lessening their own direct influence and increasing the influence of others.

2.Create a culture of high level dialogue: 
Encourage and challenge people to come prepared to add something of value to the conversation. This helps team members focus on developing their own thoughts and ideas.

3. Ask open-ended questions: 
This prevents from directly or indirectly placing thoughts into the minds of those who are easily intoxicated by influential leaders. When no responses come, this tells you they are merely waiting to be told what to think. Don’t take the bait!

4. Use your independent thinkers as pulse checkers: 
When their frustration levels are increasing, it is probably because people in the room have stopped thinking (for themselves especially). Acknowledge their value and ask them if they think things are heading in the right direction.

When the culture isn’t toxic, organizational leaders will began to truly experience the value of saying to their team, “Tell me what’s on your mind.”

On Leadership, CEO’s and Practicing What You Preach

Great read and reminder of the power exemplary leadership.

Linked 2 Leadership

Unloading Boxes

We all know managers and executives should notask their people to do anything that they would not be willing to do themselves.

But how often is this mantra actually followed?

While we don’t always know the answer to this question, it is always inspiring to hear stories starring leaders who exemplify the leadership commandment to practice what they preach.  Today, I share just such a story about my uncle, Hyrum W. Smith.

A Legendary Leader

Hyrum W. Smith is the co-founder of FranklinCovey Company, and an originator of the Franklin Day Planner.  At age 40, Smith took a huge risk – including securing a loan against the mortgage of his home – to start his company with a few colleagues back in 1983.

Within a few short years, the Franklin Institute had become very successful, eventually evolving into FranklinQuest, which went public on the…

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On Leadership, Greatness and The Legacy of Peyton Manning

Linked 2 Leadership

Peyton Manning

When Greatness Just Isn’t Good Enough…

This recent Super Bowl brought to mind the complexity of defining the legacy of Peyton Manning.

I must confess that I am part of “Team Tom Brady” and a New England Patriots fan, so if this excludes me in your mind from being able to write on this topic then please read no further…  

Great Respect

First, let me start by saying that I have great respect for Peyton Manning. He is a great quarterback and a great leader. He has accomplished so much in his time in the NFL. However, with this said, what I don’t like is how he seems to be so loved by everyone, and that no one dare say anything negative about him.

It’s like that kid you are so fond of that even the not-so-good things they do get a pass and you still try to…

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Out with the New & In with the Old!

As we wind down 2013 I’m left thinking about how excited we often are as a society to push the restart button entering into the new year. We know how the conversation goes this time of year….”so any new year’s resolutions this year?” Many of us make resolutions as a way to motivate us to make some positive changes in our lives. Some, however, make resolutions so they don’t have to waste precious hours of their lives explaining to people why they didn’t make any!

Whatever your reasoning, I would like to propose that we stop living the smartphone lifestyle by seeking a new you every year (or every 6 months for that matter). Here’s why:

1. Was the old you really that bad that you need and upgrade? Or is it just trendy to want a repackaged self that you’ve now spent time, money, and resources on only to throw away in about 12months.

2. Will the new you be that much different than the old you that it’s worth so much time, resources, and effort? Correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t the iPhone 5 gen, optimal, tech, cyber, hero, alpha a.k.a the iGOTCHA5 (times) look strangely like the first iphone?  My point is to ask is it worth it to have someone tell you that the old you is outdated while selling you the same you over and over gain?

3. If we start over every year, then where is the progress and growth in our lives? It’s as if we are living our 50 First Dates every time the ball drops to turn the calendar year. (This is not an endorsement of the movie by the way)

So I propose that we go out with the new and in with the old! After all, life is not a Samsung Galaxy Note 3(which I have and is awesome)…we can’t always be in search of the next best thing. How about we keep who we are and do the best we can to make ourselves just a little bit better one day at a time.

This is Tommy Speaking…

Happy New Year and Old You!

What The World Needs Now…

So I’m finally writing my 1st blog and yes it is on Christmas! My 10yr old came in this morning while I was writing this trying to beat the crowd to the Christmas tree to open his gifts before the rest of the crew got up!

Ok so I have waited a while to actually write something here simply because I often spend so much time in deep thought that I never get around to blogging about anything. I am often more interested in thinking about the next issue, idea, question, or life conundrum, than I am in taking the time to actually do or write something about them.

My wife has learned the cruel art of living with a thinker. She has mastered how to determine if the next new thought I bring to her is worthwhile or just my brain doing its daily exercise. What’s her secret? Three simple words that serve as kryptonite to any super thinker…write. it. down. Who wants to waste precious time writing stuff down? That time could be used thinking and processing and coming up with aha after aha moments of discovery! So this means that if these thoughts were important enough to me that I will take the time (valuable thinking time) and actually write them down. However, as crazy as this may sound, and how unproductive I may seem to you right now; the world actually needs more thinkers (like myself). Let me explain…

I read a lot; everything from news, books, blogs, articles, tweets, fb posts, you name it, my eyes are on it. With  coming across so much information, I have come to the conclusion that many today DO before we think…or we simply don’t think about what we’re doing (or saying, writing, etc.) I can quickly surmise if someone is doing or saying things from mere emotion or if their actions display the much needed combination of both feeling AND thinking.

I am convinced that the world is becoming dumber. The sad thing is we don’t know it or we dont care. I mean think about it, we are obsessed with finding ways to create things that allow us to think less and less! Our country was founded not only by great leaders, but great leaders who were great thinkers (who wrote stuff down more than I do). We need more thinkers in the world to help with the things we do, say, build, pass, support, protest, etc…to be sound and of benefit to the world. Just some unfinished thoughts I had that I thought I should write down…

hopefully my thoughts and posts only get better from here…for your sake!

Thanks for stopping by! via @amazon

Some Relationships Just Shouldn’t Be Revisited


Dear Sneakers,

When I left you for barefoot running three years ago, I swore I would never return. Last Monday was a perfect example of how well I keep my ultimatums (or don’t). You know as well as I do that you and I have always had a tentative relationship. I have never appreciated how much you cost, and then you insist on being replaced too soon. Considering the climate I lived in for so long, I also didn’t appreciate how much you made my feet sweat. You were so much more attractive and well-received than my current running shoes, but that wasn’t enough for me to keep running with you. I’ve kept you around for when I volunteer for Habitat for Humanity or do other things which might ruin my valuable shoes. (I’m sorry. I know that’s selfish.)

I tried you out again because I’ve recently learned that pants…

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