About Gary Covert

As an advisor and coach to senior leaders, Gary helps leaders develop great teams, execute strategically, and innovate continuously.

Thanks to YOU

By |2020-11-23T18:51:23+00:00November 23rd, 2020|

This week is the traditional time to encourage people to be thankful. I will not break with that tradition, except to encourage you to be thankful about something that may often go underappreciated by you—yourself. What I am talking about is self-worth. Self-worth is having unconditional positive regard for ourselves. [...]



By |2020-11-16T13:09:25+00:00November 16th, 2020|

Once, on our way to Thanksgiving at my aunt’s house, I decided to take a detour and see an old mining town. Crown King was only 20 miles off the interstate, but I did not factor in that we would only go about 20 miles per hour on the gravel [...]


Watch Me

By |2020-11-08T18:57:52+00:00November 8th, 2020|

Our neighbor has a new puppy of some giant breed. It is full of exuberance and it already HUGE. To get some control, a dog trainer taught my neighbor to get the puppy’s attention with a treat held near her face. The treat and the command “watch me” refocuses the [...]


YOUR Path to Win

By |2020-11-06T13:40:19+00:00November 5th, 2020|

While the US works through the political process of sorting out the electoral votes to win, take a moment and think about yourself. As a leader what is YOUR path to win? Better mastery of your time? A highly functioning executive team? A new strategic direction given dramatic changes in [...]


Inspirational leadership is a Predictable Way to Win

By |2020-11-01T21:18:38+00:00November 1st, 2020|

While many things are uncertain, many things are predictable. The economy will rebound, and many activities (even cruises) will return at some point. Alabama will be dominant this football season and my wife’s infatuation with Coach Saban will continue. Lots of Halloween candy (particularly chocolate, in my case) bought too [...]


Don’t Get Candy Crushed

By |2020-10-26T02:50:39+00:00October 26th, 2020|

A friend of ours is a flight attendant and she’s bored. She’s not bored because she is at home, she’s bored because of how her job has changed. She says her work today is just giving flight instructions. She doesn’t like the fact that she doesn’t get to interact with [...]


Flag planting

By |2020-10-18T18:03:04+00:00October 18th, 2020|

The iconic picture of marines hoisting the flag at Iwo Jima (and the WW2 memorial that it inspired) might lead one to think that it captured the scene of the final victory there. It doesn’t. Putting a flag on top of Mt. Suribachi marked a significant achievement on the way [...]


Innovation is a Team Sport

By |2020-10-13T17:37:23+00:00October 13th, 2020|

As Keith Ferrazzi shared with a group of fellow MacKay CEO Forum Chairs recently, working with teams is one of the fastest ways to improve the trajectory of an organization. His great example is that no pro sports team on the planet works solely on developing individual skills. The team [...]


Leading the Band

By |2020-10-19T13:22:20+00:00October 12th, 2020|

This past week brought the sad news about Eddie Van Halen passing away from cancer. Van Halen provided a soundtrack for the teenage years of millions of people around the world. The band was one of the most successful rock bands in history. Eddie is also reminder is that a [...]


Success Systems

By |2020-10-05T22:31:39+00:00October 5th, 2020|

Do you want to really thrive and the absolutely best leader you can be? Stack the odds in your favor with layers of supportive success systems. The human body has multiple layers of systems in place to keep the body in peak condition. White blood cells protect against microscopic invaders [...]


Innovation Insights week 6

By |2020-10-04T18:21:24+00:00October 4th, 2020|

Innovation Insights is a daily post on LinkedIn to help leaders strengthen those all-important innovation muscles over a period of 30 days. Below is a summary from the week. Are you seeing the signs? Nationally, across the US employment numbers are starting to improve. There is news about consistent progress [...]



By |2020-09-27T21:19:54+00:00September 27th, 2020|

While we wear masks in an effort to contribute to the over-all health of our communities, the experience can feel stifling and uncomfortable. It can give us a new appreciation for a free flow of oxygen. Pre-pandemic, many organizations were operating in an environment with the ample “oxygen” of easy [...]


Innovation Insights week 5

By |2020-09-27T21:04:15+00:00September 27th, 2020|

Innovation Insights is a daily post on LinkedIn to help leaders strengthen those all-important innovation muscles over a period of 30 days. Below is a summary from week 5. Innovation or Inertia? Do you have a culture of innovation or a culture of inertia? Cultures of innovation is what everyone [...]


13 Real Ideas from Real Leaders

By |2020-09-19T18:55:15+00:00September 19th, 2020|

Below are some ideas I have heard recently that I thought may of interest. Some of the ideas are big. Some of the ideas are small. All are being used by real leaders just like you. Take a walk with your direct reports. This leader drives to meet his employees [...]


Funny Business

By |2020-09-19T18:50:37+00:00September 19th, 2020|

I am addicted to the “Bad Dad Joke” contests popular on Youtube*. In these, people take turns telling jokes only a dad could love while trying to keep a straight face. Humor (even that of the corny dad joke variety) is a great distraction and a vital contributor to our [...]


Innovation Insights Week 4

By |2020-09-19T18:20:29+00:00September 19th, 2020|

Innovation Insights is a daily post on LinkedIn to help leaders strengthen those all-important innovation muscles over a period of 30 days. Below is a summary from week 4. Watch your language… Leaders need to watch their language.... For example, is your leader language focused on making cost cuts or [...]


Innovation Insights Week 3

By |2020-09-19T18:34:46+00:00September 13th, 2020|

Innovation Insights is a daily post on LinkedIn to help leaders strengthen those all-important innovation muscles over the next 30 days. Below is a summary from week 3.     The ABCs of Innovation. Confused about “innovation?” Many leaders are and it is not their fault. Innovation is the word [...]


The Love Connection

By |2020-09-07T15:57:07+00:00September 6th, 2020|

I was struck by some thinking that was presented in a webinar hosted recently by my colleague, Nancy MacKay, and thought I would share it with you. Her topic was LOVE (yes, love) and how is can be a game-changer in our businesses. I was a little skeptical, but now…well, [...]


Innovation Insights Week 2

By |2020-09-06T18:12:02+00:00September 6th, 2020|

Innovation Insights is a daily post on LinkedIn to help leaders strengthen those all-important innovation muscles over the next 30 days. Below is a summary from week 2. Innovation is natural, but not common. Positive processes like entrepreneurship, collaboration, and innovation are natural, but not automatic. People generally have an [...]


Innovation Insights Week 1

By |2020-08-30T18:48:53+00:00August 30th, 2020|

Innovation Insights is a daily post on LinkedIn to help leaders strengthen those all-important innovation muscles over the next 30 days. Below is a summary from week 1. Post-it Power. Imagine harnessing the power of all the great ideas that you jot down on a post-it note or scribble in [...]


Success: Same Formula, New Answers

By |2020-08-23T23:22:06+00:00August 23rd, 2020|

Those of you who have worked with me will likely be familiar with Tim Gallwey’s performance formula. His simple, but insightful formula is that our performance equals our potential minus our interferences. It basically means we all have potential, but that might show up, but ONLY if we manage things [...]


Getting the Most Out of D&I Initiatives

By |2020-08-17T16:01:03+00:00August 17th, 2020|

When I was a kid, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups was selling their candy by highlighting that two good tastes were even better together. Anyone else remember those old TV ads? Two people would bump into each other, then one would say “you got your peanut butter on my chocolate” while [...]


Half-baked Ideas

By |2020-08-10T14:39:56+00:00August 10th, 2020|

In a recent workshop, a senior leader remarked that he had never considered half-baked ideas to  be very valuable. He previously thought that ideas needed to be fully formed before they could see the light of day. The fact is that many valuable ideas don’t look like much when they [...]


Using Urgency Intelligently

By |2020-08-04T16:51:00+00:00August 4th, 2020|

A key ingredient to get high value things done is the belief that it actually matters. And nothing turns up the heat like a shared sense of urgency. REAL urgency can be a savvy leader’s superpower, but it CAN be frittered away. Keep these four points in mind to make [...]


Seeing What to Save

By |2020-08-02T20:54:36+00:00August 2nd, 2020|

Visibility about what to support is one of the biggest obstacles leaders have when making tough decisions today. Line item expense numbers are easy to see---and easy to cut. What’s hard to see are the initiatives to feed…and that’s another good reason to have an innovation management platform. Otherwise: baby [...]


Persistent and Practical

By |2020-08-02T20:51:00+00:00August 2nd, 2020|

The Boys in the Boat is the story of a collegiate rowing crew from the University of Washington and their pursuit of Olympic gold in the 1936 Olympics, hosted by Hilter’s Germany. While the entire story is epic, one aspect that stands out for me is the optimistic and persistent [...]


While you (wished) you were sleeping

By |2020-07-27T14:19:15+00:00July 26th, 2020|

Some days we might wish we could just wake up and all the uncertainty caused by Covid-19 would be over. Unfortunately, that’s a luxury few of us can afford. There are some tough challenges to handle in the short-term. But let’s not forget that there is a lot of good [...]



By |2020-07-26T20:00:57+00:00July 19th, 2020|

By any standard, we are in very uncertain times. The world is coping with the health aspects of a pandemic as well as from the related economic fallout. If that were not enough, we are in the middle of an election cycle with elements from either extreme acting like children. [...]


If you are happy and you know it…

By |2020-07-13T15:38:58+00:00July 13th, 2020|

My wife recently sent out a cute little postcard to her travel clients. It featured a dinosaur whose arms were too short to clap, with the caption “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your…oh.” Everybody who has grown up in the US has heard this little children’s song. [...]


Applied Creativity for the Long Haul

By |2020-07-06T15:13:19+00:00July 5th, 2020|

Is your "Good Idea Machine" ready for what's coming? Many leaders are observing that the move of offices to remote work has been remarkably smooth, with little to no impact on productivity. It is why many leaders are not in a hurry to take any risks about the move back [...]


Open for Ideas: don’t just SAY, it SHOW it

By |2020-07-02T23:02:35+00:00July 2nd, 2020|

How well do you SHOW openness to ideas? The many leaders I talk to will say that they are in the market for new ideas. AT THE SAME TIME  many of the people I talk to in organizations, will say that they feel that their opinions don’t really matter that [...]


Keep the Observing and Sharing Habit

By |2020-07-01T15:28:33+00:00July 1st, 2020|

As part of her training to become an assassin, Arya Stark in the Game of Thrones series  (remember the simpler era of fantasy dragons and “white walkers”?) was tasked with always reporting three new things she had learned to her teacher. Observing and sharing what is going on in the [...]


Wait, what? My Wine can get Flabby too??

By |2020-06-29T15:31:08+00:00June 29th, 2020|

“I think your wine went flabby.” That was the word we got from a wine expert when we were telling her about a special wine we finally opened and with which we had a poor experience. Kim had gotten the wine from a winery owner in France when she travelled [...]


Innovation IRR

By |2020-06-23T20:49:08+00:00June 23rd, 2020|

Innovation (whether the investment is in a formal innovation program, capital outlays for specific R&D, leadership training, or simply time and attention) is NOT free. There are costs involved. But what is the return? Obviously we get RESULTS from innovation (better market position, delighted customers, novel products, and better processes), [...]


The Future Self says “Thank You”

By |2020-06-23T19:47:39+00:00June 23rd, 2020|

We carve out time for things like exercise, cooking nutritious meals, reading, church, meditation, etc. mostly because they are good for our FUTURE SELVES. Out future selves are grateful that we do. Good habits do not happen by accident, they happen because of discipline and intention. #Leaders should exercise the [...]


The “Curse” of Interesting Times

By |2020-06-22T18:32:48+00:00June 22nd, 2020|

Anyone can make money when markets are great. The worst poker players still do well if they have all the best cards. The same can be said of leaders. It’s easy to look like a great leader when factors affecting business are predictable and the money is just rolling in. [...]


Innovation Requires DISCRETIONARY Effort

By |2020-06-18T18:22:17+00:00June 18th, 2020|

Leaders need to remember that leading innovation is mostly an exercise in leading discretionary effort. There are some positions where innovation is the main part of the job. These positions are usually limited to R&D, tech or IT roles. For the rest of the organization, innovation is not an overt [...]


Don’t be “Robotic”

By |2020-06-17T22:49:21+00:00June 17th, 2020|

To protect websites and other digital assets, reCAPTCHA makes people prove they are not a robot by answering questions about random pictures. But how do leaders protect against people feeling that the organization is robotic and doesn’t care about their input? Most leaders DO want input from the team, but [...]


Lessons in Innovation from…Songland

By |2020-06-15T22:04:56+00:00June 15th, 2020|

Songland is a popular TV show with a twist. If you haven’t seen the show, here’s how it works: Four songwriters perform an original song in front of a guest artist (usually big-name entertainers and songwriters like Lady A, Florida Georgia Line, and Bebe Rexha) and three of the music [...]



By |2020-06-08T16:51:54+00:00June 8th, 2020|

From pandemic to protests, it has been a volatile couple of weeks. In a recent WSJ/NBC poll, a startling 80% of Americans feel that the country is spiraling out of control. In their book, Lifestorming, Alan Weiss and Marshall Goldsmith highlight the dynamic between internal control and external control. The [...]