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Stedman Graham
Stedman Graham is chairman and CEO of S. Graham & Associates, a management and marketing consulting firm that specializes in the corporate and educational markets.

Graham delivers his leadership message throughout the country and globally to corporations, professional associations, government and civic organizations, colleges and universities, and community groups. His message is driven by the Nine-Step Success Process®, a learning management system designed to organize your life around your identity.

Graham’s mission is to transform people from followers to leaders and change the way they think and learn. He says that “many of us spend years trying to find out who we are and, sadly, too many of us never do. If we fail to define ourselves, we risk letting others define us by our race, gender, and background. We buy into the labels that keep us in a box and, as a result of those limitations, never reach or realize our greatest potential.”

Stedman Graham has authored eleven books, including two New York Times bestsellers, You Can Make It Happen: A Nine-Step Plan for Success and Teens Can Make It Happen: Nine Steps to Success. His latest release, Identity: Your Passport to Success, was on the Wall Street Journal Bestseller list. Graham has also launched an online course, in partnership with the University of Phoenix, based on the Nine Step Success Process® which supports Identity Leadership development.

Commitment to education and lifelong learning is central to Graham’s philosophy. At the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, he taught a management strategy course entitled “The Dynamics of Leadership.” He is a former adjunct professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago where he taught a leadership course based on his Nine Step Success Process®. Actively involved in education, Graham is currently a distinguished visiting professor for universities and colleges around the country.

A native of Whitesboro, New Jersey, Graham has shown a lifelong commitment to youth and community. In 1985, Graham founded AAD Education, Health and Sports, a nonprofit organization of athletes and other civic leaders committed to developing leadership in underserved youths. He is the founder of the Concerned Citizens of Whitesboro and Concerned Citizens of Lake Waccamaw, NC. He serves on several boards including Junior Achievement and the Sonima Foundation. Graham is actively involved in leadership and program development efforts in South Africa.

He served in the United States Army and played basketball professionally in the European League. Graham holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Hardin-Simmons University, a master’s degree in Education from Ball State University, and an honorary doctorate in Humanities from Coker College.

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Entries by Stedman Graham

The Power of Constraints: Turning Challenges Into Fuel for Success

(0) Comments | Posted July 2, 2015 | 10:41 AM

"Embrace the shake." - Advice artist Phil Hansen received from his neurologist after developing irreversible nerve damage in his right hand.

In the late 1950s, a young author who worked in the advertising industry accepted a challenge from a publisher to create a book for first graders...

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Talent Matters: Deliberate Practice Leads to Greatness

(0) Comments | Posted June 12, 2015 | 11:31 AM

"I am slow to learn and slow to forget what I've learned. My mind is like a piece of steel, very hard to scratch anything on it and almost impossible after you get it there to rub it out." -- President Abraham Lincoln per his friend Joshua F. Speed...
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Vision Matters: Thought-Leadership Strategies for Success

(1) Comments | Posted May 4, 2015 | 6:12 PM

"This is the way to live -- believing so much in your vision that even when you're dying, you whisper it into another person's ear."
--Mike Vance, author and former dean of Disney University

In his classic book on leadership, Think Out of the Box, Mike Vance tells the...

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Human Potential Matters

(9) Comments | Posted April 6, 2015 | 3:28 PM

"The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life." --Jane Addams

It's harder than ever to move up to the next rung on the socioeconomic ladder in America. And the difference between the bottom and...

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Passion With a Purpose: From Industry to Innovation

(5) Comments | Posted March 12, 2015 | 6:36 PM

"The world no longer cares whether you are smarter than a fifth grader or how well you do at Trivial Pursuit. What the world cares about is not what you know, but what you can do with what you know."
--Tony Wagner, Innovation Education Fellow at the Technology and...

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Preparing for the 21st Century: Soft Skills Matter

(0) Comments | Posted February 24, 2015 | 11:01 AM

"In a gentle way, you can shake the world."

Are you prepared for a career in the 21st century?

If you're not sure, you might want to rethink your next steps.

Most of us are still operating under a 20th-century paradigm. We were taught that learning all...

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Strategic Patience Matters: Lessons About Mindful Growth

(0) Comments | Posted February 7, 2015 | 12:41 PM

"The strongest of all warriors are these two: Time, and Patience." - Leo Tolstoy

No one understands the power of time and patience better than the Chinese Bamboo farmer, who plants his seeds and then tends to them carefully for three to five years before anything happens above the ground.

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Direction Matters: Self-Directed Learning Is a Key to Success

(0) Comments | Posted January 30, 2015 | 2:12 PM

It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things. -- Leonardo da Vinci

Doing what you love and being a lifelong, self-directed learner used to be optimistic ideals, but in...

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Focus Matters: Focus On Your Dreams, Not Your Distractions

(0) Comments | Posted January 25, 2015 | 4:59 PM

"Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The suns rays do not burn until brought to a focus." -- Alexander Graham Bell

How would you measure up if someone observed you and wrote down what you were doing once every minute? Would they see you scrolling through social...

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Minds Matter: Mindfulness Is the Key to Success

(2) Comments | Posted January 13, 2015 | 4:46 PM

"Being mindful is not a matter of thinking more clearly about experience; it is the act of experiencing more clearly" -- Sam Harris

Have you ever grabbed a snack from the office counter and looked in wonder at the empty wrapper by the time you reached your desk?


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Learning Matters: Failure Can Lead to Success

(0) Comments | Posted January 4, 2015 | 5:52 PM

"You might say that we have PhD's in planning and kindergarten educations in doing." -- Dr. Ryan Babineaux and Dr. John Krumboltz

Do you remember learning the alphabet?

Of course not, but I guarantee that you learned by practice, and that you failed many times before you succeeded.

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Relationships Matter: The Importance of Social Intelligence

(1) Comments | Posted December 26, 2014 | 9:19 PM

The only way to gain power in a world that is moving too fast is to learn to slow down. And the only way to spread one's influence wide to learn how to go deep. The world we want for ourselves and our children will not emerge from electronic speed...
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Organization Matters: Organize Your Life and Your Business Around You

(0) Comments | Posted December 19, 2014 | 9:12 PM

"The rational mind is the humble servant, the intuitive mind the faithful gift. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." -- Albert Einstein

In Unconscious Branding, Douglas Van Praet quotes Harvard Marketing Professor Gerald Zaltman, who explains that we are unaware...

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Thinking Matters: Critical Thinking Is Crucial for Success

(5) Comments | Posted December 12, 2014 | 4:11 PM

"The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom" -- Isaac Asimov

Critical thinking, the ability to ask effective questions and formulate original solutions, is not an optional skill in the 21st century. Innovation is needed to solve the serious problems of...

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Time Matters

(0) Comments | Posted December 6, 2014 | 3:30 PM

"The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot." - Michael Altshuler

Many people think of time management as following a pre-determined schedule. They feel satisfied if they finish their to-do list or arrive on time for all of their appointments. Showing up early and tackling...

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Leadership Matters: Gratitude Leads to Greatness

(0) Comments | Posted November 28, 2014 | 9:27 AM

"Once you start recognizing the truth of your story, finish the story. It happened but you're still here, you're still capable, powerful, you're not your circumstance.

It happened and you made it through. You're still fully equipped with every single tool you need to fulfill your purpose."― Steve Maraboli


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Leadership Matters: Decision Making Strategies for Success

(1) Comments | Posted November 20, 2014 | 4:21 PM

"As for the future, your task is not to foresee it, but to enable it." - Antoine de Saint Exupery

Leaders make choices constantly. As a leader, you must develop the ability to think fast on your feet, in the middle of the race. If you spend too much time...

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Leadership Matters: Relevancy Is the Key

(1) Comments | Posted November 13, 2014 | 8:33 AM

"Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes." -- Peter Drucker

Leadership is NOT like riding a bike. You don't learn it and forget it, knowing that at any time, without practice, you can just hop back on and ride.

This is because unlike...

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Leadership Matters: The Power of Humility

(0) Comments | Posted November 6, 2014 | 10:58 AM

Leadership Matters: The Power of Humility

Look in the mirror, not out the window, to apportion responsibility for bad results. Look out the window, not in the mirror, to apportion credit for success. -- Jim Collins

Great leaders are rarely inspired by their own success. Rather, they view personal success...

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Why Leadership Matters: Managing Change

(0) Comments | Posted October 30, 2014 | 7:34 PM

When you realize your identity as a leader (and as I said in my last post, we are all leaders) you will soon develop the ability to change your circumstances.

This sounds positive, but change is not easy. In fact, change, even desired change, is the point...

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