"I just wanted to say that I finally got time to look into your Leaders in Gear book.  It is great!  I'm only about 50 pages into it, but I've been able to connect with it really well, so I intend to tell my school administrators, my parents and my FCCLA adviser about it.  Hopefully, they're as interested as I am.  There are some pretty quotable comments you've got in there, so I might end up using them as status updates every once in a while, hope you don't mind!
Taylor Vollmer
Student Leader, Minnesota FCCLA



"Leaders in Gear is one of the best resources I have for helping students be the best leader they can be and preparing them to create workshops and speeches that engage their audience as they deliver their message."

Jane Manning
Program Coordinator, Oregon FCCLA/HOSA


Four Big Questions to get in G.E.A.R.

One of the primary purposes of leadership conferences and classes is to inspire people to get their leadership in gear. This initiative is obviously close to my heart and one that makes a dramatic impact. As we motivate and inspire conference participants or leadership students to make a difference, there are four key questions we need to help them with. Their answers to these questions and our sage advice on how to answer them provides the foundation and fuel needed to get their leadership in gear.

Four Questions to get in G.E.A.R.
(And a few key anchor words...)

Grounded - Why are you here?

This question is not about why they are at the conference or in the class (although that is important). It is about why they are anywhere. What is your purpose in life? Leaders who understand, are deeply connected with and stay grounded to their core purpose are more likely to get and stay in gear. This purpose must align with your deepest values and beliefs. Why are you here? The answer to this question gives life meaning.

Engaged - What do you create?

Highly effective leaders are results-oriented. They are greatly concerned with making things happen, creating change and leaving everywhere they go and everyone they connect with a little better than they found them. They are excellent at creating cool, interesting and meaningful stuff; which in turn attracts people with those same qualities. What do you create? The answer to this question gives life direction.

Authentic - Who are you?

Self-awareness is critical to good leadership. You must understand your strengths, weaknesses, talents and skills before you can fully lead. Highly effective leaders are so true to who they are, their "leaderly" actions become second nature. This allows them to genuinely place their time and attention on others. People are starving for leaders who are authentic, bold and caring. Who are you? The answer to this question gives life clarity.

Relationship-focused - Who is on your team?

Life and leadership are team sports. Engaged leaders have identified, understand the importance of and spend time cultivating the relationships in their life. This includes people following them and people they follow. They put relationships first and results second. Who is on your team? Answering this question gives life joy.

If you are a leadership teacher, trainer or conference organizer, invest time examining your curriculum, material and speakers and make sure these four critical questions are addressed.

Step one is to know your personal answer to each. Here are mine:

1. Why are you here?

To bring glory to God through my relationships and my leadership teachings.

2. What do you create?

Personally, I create harmony and security for my wife and daughters. Professionally, I create a tribe of inspired and motivated students, educators and professionals armed with better tools for getting their leadership in gear.

3. Who are you?

I am a Christian, American, husband, father, speaker, author, blogger, singer-songwriter and epic fajita artist. I am more than what I do though. I am what I believe, who I spend my time with, what I read/watch/listen to and what I think. I work hard to align all of those elements with my answers to #1 and #2.

4. Who is on your team?

My most important team mates are Jesus Christ, my wife Ashley, and my daughters Vivian and Addison (and soon-to-be Emerlyn Kate :). Ashley and I's immediate family, friends, peers, church family and long-time clients also play a vital role on my team. All my audience members, clients, and suppliers comprise the rest of my team. They are all a joy to work with and make my team exciting, colorful and ever expanding.

How about you?

- Posted from Rhett's iPhone on tour in San Diego.

Location:Harbor Island Dr,San Diego,United States



“I have known Rhett for close to eight years. He is an inspiration to me and thousands of other student leaders from across the nation. Without Rhett’s leadership and advice I would not be the person that I am today. Leaders in Gear is the perfect reference guide if you want to remarkably improve your speaking and presentation skills. I would recommend this book to anyone trying to become a better leader!”

Christopher J. Cavin
President, Oklahoma Student Government Association


How to Maximize a Conference Experience

John Maxwell, the famous leadership author and teacher, tells us there are three things we must do to grow as leaders:

1. Surround yourself with the right people.
2. Consume the right media.
3. Attend the right conferences.

When you attend conferences, to make the most of them, follow these five guidelines.

1. Be child-like. This doesn't mean throw a tantrum if the room is too cold. It means ask questions. Lots of them. Don't let your pride or reputation or position keep you from raising that hand and getting clarity, more information or better information.

2. Take organized notes. If you aren't writing, you aren't learning. But don't just write to recall. Write with organization. Make notes of what needs to be delegated, acted upon immediately, filed for later, etc. This will help your post-conference actions take flight quicker and more efficiently.

3. Offer solutions, advice and suggestions in a CVS format. Concrete. Visual. Simple. It is important to not only add value where you can, but to be clear with your thoughts.

4. Maximize gap time. The official sessions and breakouts will be valuable learning environments, but the real magical sharing times happen early in the morning, at meals and during breaks. Make the most of them.

5. Seek out answers. If possible, go to conference with specific questions and challenges you are looking to resolve. Then hunt to find experts, speakers, exhibitors and attendees who might just have the answers you are looking for.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Indiana FFA State Convention 2010

Sold out of Leaders in Gear last night after my keynote at the 2010 Indiana FFA State Convention. I am so very proud of all the students, parents and advisors for investing in their leadership. LiG is packed with tips and strategies to help them know how to use their influence to make a positive difference in the lives of others!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


LeadershipNow Blog

Big thanks to Michael McKinney for providing a quick, but insightful overview of Leaders in Gear on his LeadershipNow site...


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Big Time Thanks!

Great big thanks to the state advisors of the Oklahoma CTSOs (BPA, DECA, FCCLA, FFA, HOSA, SkillsUSA, and TSA) for investing in your state officers by purchasing a Leaders in Gear and Activator (www.PersonalLeadershipInsight.org) for each of them. With your officers equipped with each of these, they are ready to start building every keynote, workshop and training for the entire year! Best of luck!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Application Ideas

Following are a few application ideas from clients and how they are using Leaders in Gear:

  • Micheal Brammer, Pennsylvania FFA Executive Secretary - He purchased 11 books - one for each of his state FFA officers as a resource for speech material and for their personal leadership study.
  • Linda Miner, Laverne High School student council advisor and teacher - She purchased 32 books - one for each of the graduating seniors at LHS as graduation gifts.
  • Claude Kershner IV, Oklahoma State University MBA student - Claude purchased the book to supplement his masters studies as he recognizes the value of improving his LQ (leadership intelligence).
  • Linnie Berkenbile, Oklahoma Business/Marketing/IT ED Division State Program Manager - She purchased 80 books - one for each of her teachers to use as a leadership teaching tool in the classroom.
How can you use Leaders in Gear to help your team get their leadership and presentation skills in gear? 


Twitter & Facebook

If you have a Facebook, you can also keep up with everything Leaders in Gear related by joining our fan page. Just search for Leaders in Gear the next time you log in to Facebook. If you are one of our awesome LIG purchasers, please post a note on the wall and tell our over 300 fans what you most like about your Leaders in Gear book.

Also, if you are on Twitter, please post a tweet with your favorite LIG chapter or lesson. Tag it #ligbook. Thanks!



"Leaders in Gear is an excellent resource for anyone looking to better their leadership skills and speaking abilities.  Rhett breaks his points down in an easy to understand fashion and offers practical hands on examples that will help leaders succeed. This is an awesome resource for folks of all ages!"

Matt and Andrea Lohr
New Directions Communications



"Leaders in Gear is full of lots of practical ideas for working leaders."

Mark Sanborn
Professional Speaker, Leadership Expert, Leadership Author


Leaders in Gear Book Excerpt

Download a 30-page excerpt of the book in PDF format.

Book Excerpt



Table of Concepts Bookmark

When you purchase a copy of Leaders in Gear, you receive this custom bookmark with a complete Table of Concepts.  Use it as a quick reference guide to the meat in the book.  Order here.



Table of Concepts

Leaders in Gear is written to be quickly and easily consumed.  It is filled with fresh leadership and presentation skills content, stories and concrete, tangible lessons.  The following list showcases all of the concepts incluced in Leaders in Gear.  Order your copy today.

Leaders in Gear Table of Concepts
  1. Leaders in Gear Credo
  2. Your 4 Fuel Tanks
  3. LIFT Happiness Strategies
  4. 9 Ways to Commit
  5. 4 Steps to Personal Growth
  6. The Threshold Thread
  7. 6 Indicators of Good Time Management
  8. Epic Journeys
  9. 4 Attributes of Creative People
  10. 3 Barriers to Creativity
  11. 4 Steps to Overcoming Failure
  12. GREAT Goals
  13. 9 Elements of DUH Leadership
  14. OTIS Elevator Speeches
  15. 9 Ambassador Characteristics
  16. Branding Statements
  17. 5 Great Team Components
  18. SMILE to Work a Room
  19. 3 Ways to Bring the Best out of Others
  20. 5 Ways to Connect
  21. 5 Approaches to Directing
  22. Stop, Drop & ROLLL to Apologize
  23. Trust Scale
  24. 6 Steps to Listening Like a Leader
  25. 6 Questions to Motivate
  26. Doers, Throughers & Spewers
  27. 5 Coaching Conversations
  28. 4 Ways to Persuade Others
  29. 7 Fundraising Insights
  30. 3 Ideas for Dealing with Negative People
  31. 10 Tips for Dealing with Controlling Leaders
  32. 17 Brainstorming Tips
  33. 4 Negotiation Strategies
  34. 7 Ideas for having Great Meetings
  35. 7 Speaking Basics
  36. 5 Speaking Misconceptions
  37. 3 Common Speaking Pitfalls
  38. 5 Tips for Creating Memorable Messages
  39. CAKE to Handle Nerves
  40. SMART Presenters
  41. Speaking Time Rules
  42. 5 Presentation Drivers
  43. 9 Tips to Leading Small Group Discussions
  44. Training Room Set-Up Strategies
  45. 5 Audience Rapport Lessons
  46. 5 Techniques for Engaging an Auditorium Audience
  47. 6 Speaking Challenges & Solutions
  48. 4 Levels of Difficult Audience Members
  49. 4 Audience Types
  50. 4 Great Keynote Strategies
  51. 6 Tips for Handling Off-Plan Keynote Moments
  52. 5 Ways to Concentrate Your Room
  53. 5 Tips for Partner Presenting
  54. 5 Tips for Speaking Introductions
  55. 13 Tips for Powerful Slide Shows
  56. 3 Great Banquet Talk Tips
  57. All The Big MOs
  58. Leadership Library
  59. Blog Library



"In 'Leaders in Gear,' Rhett Laubach has isolated and employed a useful metaphor for the challenge facing every leader: how to cultivate the virtuous habits and practices that create effective personal and organizational leadership, and how to sustain them over time. Equally applicable for the seasoned or the aspiring leader, 'Leaders in Gear' will provide the young leader with a roadmap of the essential elements of success and the veteran with engaging reminders and pithy examples that can challenge and inspire a renewed focus on first principles. In particular, Rhett's disciplined application of the concept of the 'Big MO' creates a compelling touchstone equally applicable to those of us in business, education, government or other sectors of service who can, from time to time, forget to focus on the traits essential to 'greasing the gears' of leadership."

Jerome Loughridge
President, Black Mesa Energy Services
Former White House Fellow



"Rhett has created a dynamic resource providing quick tips and strategies to develop leadership and presentations skills. The layout of the chapters and flow of the book, make it an enjoyable read. Leaders in Gear is ideal for parents and students to use in developing their potential as leaders, team players and communicators."

Byron V. Garrett
Chief Executive Officer
National PTA


Preview Document

Click here to view a preview PDF of Leaders in Gear.  If you are interested in purchasing the book in bulk for your team or organization, forward this PDF to your decision-making committee.



"A must read with powerful tips on every page to shift your leadership gears into overdrive and genuinely impact who you are, who you will become, and non-stop, real-life “how to’s.” I'd recommend this book to managers, speakers, consultants, and organizational leaders; everyone who cares about becoming more effective--now. Rhett literally hands the reader an entire career of experiences devoted to building character, skill, and personal impact. With Leaders In Gear, you’ll find yourself in the driver’s seat.”

Steve Roesler, President and CEO
Roesler Consulting Group


The Big Three...

Leaders in Gear starts with looking at the three basic dynamics that must be in play in your life before you can really start moving mountains with your leadership...

1.  Focus on something bigger than yourself.  What is your greater purpose?

2. True success and joy are bi-products of helping others.  Who are you actively serving?

3. Every useful brush has a canvas upon which to leave its mark.  What is your cause?

Once you can genuinely and completely answer those three questions, you are ready to bring value and change in a real and meaningful way.  What's your answers?


The Presentations Section's Big MOs

Leaders in Gear is built in three sections:  Get Yourself in Gear, Get Your Team in Gear, Get Your Presentations in Gear.  Each of the 59 chapters has one big "do this if you do anything" idea called the Big MO.  The Big MOs from the first two sections are in previous posts.  Here are the Big MOs from the Get Your Presentations in Gear section:

38. Seven Speaking Tips - Give concrete, visual, simple messages.
39. Five Speaking Misconceptions - Credibility starts with authenticity.
40. Three Common Pitfalls - Give your talks zest, flavor and life.
41. Create Memorable Messages - Less information is more.
42. Control Nerves - Know your stuff top to bottom.
43. SMART Presenters - Broken time rules kill presentations.
44. Develop Presentations - Quickly figure out your unique position.
45. Small Group Credibility - Smile and express genuine charisma.
46. Lead Small Group Discussions - Get everyone engaged to improve output.
47. Room Preparation - Your presentation starts before you do.
48. Build Audience Rapport - Orchestrate their involvement.
49. Engage an Auditorium Audience - An auditorium’s cons can be pros.
50. Keeping Attention - Use emotions to get and keep attention.
51. Difficult Audience Members - Once you lose control, you lose trust.
52. Four Audience Types - Everyone has a reason for how they respond.
53. Great Keynotes - Be fully engaged.
54. Unplanned Keynote Moments - Respond positively to distractions.
55. Concentrate Your Room - Get everyone facing the same direction.
56. Your Personality Matters - Be the best of you and a little of them.
57. Great Speaker Introductions - The speaker introduction is the speech’s start.
58. Powerful Slide Shows - Slide shows are for visual support.
59. Perfect Banquet Talks - Be entertaining.


Pre-Order Leaders in Gear

Pre-order Leaders in Gear today. Will arrive on your doorstep in April!


The Team Section’s Big MOs

The Big MO is the one big idea that is the anchor for each chapter.  MO stands for Motor Oil.  The leader behavior, trait, skill or talent that is most needed to add grease to your Leader Gear and move the ideas in the chapter forward.  Following are the Big MOs from Section two.
19.  Negotiate - Be prepared for a no, but fight for a yes.
20.  Work a Room - People remember how you made them feel.
21.  Handle Drama - Foster healthy relationships.
22.  Bring the Best out of Others - Decide what an amazing job looks like.
23.  Connect - Treat others like they want to be treated.
24.  Lead Without Being Bossy - Use care-isma.
25.  Apologize - Deal with the relationship first.
26.  Build Trust - Build trust across all levels.
27.  Listening Like a Leader - Fully listening is rare.
28.  Motivate - People need inspired to give their best.
29.  Find the Good in Others - Begin by looking for the good.
30.  Coach - Ask questions to strengthen trust.
31.  Persuade - A big challenge must have a big purpose.
32.  Negative People - Negative people need evidence to change.
33.  Controlling Leaders - Controlling leaders lead from fear.
34.  Deliver Bad News - The medium is as important as the message.
35.  Brainstorm - The loudest people do not always have the best ideas.
36.  Get Teams to Work - Individuals, not teams, do things.
37.  Run Meetings - Take control or the meeting will control you.
Also, here is the new book cover...


The Subtitle

The Leaders in Gear subtitle is...

"Inspire good work from yourself, your team and your presentations."

I designed Leaders in Gear to inspire you to take action and get your leadership in gear in three areas of your life: your personal leadership journey, your interaction with your team and any speeches, workshops or presentations you give. "Good work" refers to not only striving for excellence in everything you do, but also working to be an ethical leader of strong character. You will discover that Leaders in Gear is full of stories, quick tips and very specific strategies to move you closer to those ends.


The Big M.O.

One of the cool parts of Leaders in Gear is the little widget at the first of each chapter called The Big M.O.  Here is a screenshot of the first chapter that shows the first Big M.O. and explains it:

For all the student leaders and teachers who will use Leaders in Gear for speech, workshop or classroom material, when you put all sixty of the Big M.O.s together you have an awesome collection of quick leadership workshop titles, quotes and thoughts to share with others. Here are the Big M.O.s from the Get Yourself in Gear section:

(Chapter Title - Big M.O.)

1. Get in Leader Gear - Every useful brush has a canvas upon which to leave its mark.
2. How Leaders Think - If you can’t be excellent at it, don’t be it at all.
3. Avoid Entitlement - High performers are in love with their craft.
4. Healthy Stress - Keeping fuel tanks full protects healthy stress.
5. Get and Stay Happy - Focus on giving praise, building others and serving the greater good.
6. Commit - People give their time to what is really important to them.
7. Grow - Challenging goals are growth food.
8. Wired for Success - Push the boundaries.
9. Find the Time - Make time for Epic Journeys.
10. Stay Honest - Attach a strong positive anchor to the truth.
11. Create Cool Stuff - Cool ideas are made from elbow grease.
12. Solve Problems - Focus on the cause, not the conditions.
13. How Leaders Fail - Success is determined by what you do with failure.
14. Achieving Great Goals - Epic goals get done by forgetting how to give up.
15. Make an Impact - Big impact comes from small, mundane acts.
16. Great First Impressions - Listen and ask open-ended questions.
17. Loyalty to Organizations - Be clear and loud with your affiliations.


The Overview

My new leadership book, Leaders in Gear, will be available in April 2010.  The book is written for any individual who wants strategies for improving their personal leadership, team leadership and presentation skills.  Because I work with hundreds of elected student leaders every year in the CTSO (Career and Technical Student Organizations) and Student Council worlds, I had their interests and needs in mind first and foremost.  Leaders in Gear is full of fresh, new leadership stories, acronyms and teaching lists - all fit neatly into short, quickly digestible chapters.

Leaders in Gear will end up having around 60 chapters.  There are three sections:  Get Your Self in Gear, Get Your Team in Gear and Get Your Presentations in Gear.  Here is the chapter list as of today:

1. Get in Leader Gear
2. How Leaders Think
3. Avoid Entitlement
4. Healthy Stress
5. Get and Stay Happy
6. Commit
7. Grow
8. Wired for Success
9. Find the Time
10. Stay Honest
11. Create Cool Stuff
12. Solve Problems
13. How Leaders Fail
14. Achieving Great Goals
15. Make an Impact
16. Great First Impressions
17. Loyalty to Organizations
18. Negotiate
19. Work a Room
20. Handle Drama
21. Bring the Best Out of Others
22. Connect
23. Lead Without Being Bossy
24. Apologize
25. Build Trust
26. Listen Like a Leader
27. Motivate
28. Find the Good in Others
29. Coach
30. Persuade
31. Negative People
32. Controlling Leaders
33. Deliver Bad News
34. Brainstorm
35. Get Teams to Work
36. Run Meetings
37. Seven Speaking Tips
38. Five Speaking Misconceptions
39. Three Common Pitfalls
40. Create Memorable Messages
41. Control Nerves
42. SMART Presenters
43. Develop Presentations
44. Small Group Credibility
45. Lead Small Group Discussions
46. Warm Up the Audience
47. Keeping Attention in a Workshop
48. Difficult Audience Members
49. Four Audience Types
50. Great Keynotes
51. Unplanned Keynote Moments
52. Concentrate Your Room
53. Your Personality Matters
54. Great Speaker Introductions
55. Powerful Slide Shows
56. Perfect Banquet Talks