The Most Productive People Know Who to Ignore

•August 20, 2014 • Comments Off on The Most Productive People Know Who to Ignore

You can’t remove emotion from the equation. Emotion separates us from animal and machine. Understanding our emotional component and managing it to help us be more focused in our goal is critical.

Running Toward Trouble

•November 26, 2013 • Comments Off on Running Toward Trouble

The BRAVEST of all are those who run toward trouble even danger in spite and in the face of fear. Soldiers run into battle with the accepted possibility of death to secure and preserve freedom. Firemen run into burning homes and buildings risking their lives to save others. Policemen serve and uphold the law keep order ensure safety and protect the public exposing themselves daily to potential danger. These are true heroes.

What can leaders learn from the bravest men and women of them all?

When your organization is in turmoil, when your ideas are challenged and decisions picked apart. When employees complain, fight and become demotivated it’s time for everyone to run into the face of these difficult times and work together to save something! But most companies do not create an environment conducive to fixing problems and creating solutions. It is more likely that employees run away from difficulty and leaders shrink from confronting issues. If you would like to change ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you created a culture that is capable and confident enough to challenge the business AND work toward vision aligned solutions? This is known as Buy-In.
  • Do your teams have the information and insight to recognize when the business is weaving and swerving and roll up their sleeves to confront and correct course?
  • Does leadership have the wisdom to accept criticism, reflect honestly on its accuracy and empower the team to work together for positive change?
  • Does everyone in the organization understand their role, their contribution, their part and BELIEVE that their ideas have merit, value and respect enough to be heard and acted upon?

If you can answer YES then you are indeed fortunate to have heroes in your midst. When trouble comes they will turn toward it – they will save the day even if you must get out of the way.

What Makes Leaders Matter More

•November 12, 2013 • Comments Off on What Makes Leaders Matter More

The first few paragraphs hit the mark with me. That’s the issue most struggling leaders face. Fnding that place, time and culture where it all comes together

Foundations and Framing

•November 2, 2013 • Comments Off on Foundations and Framing

“Every uncomfortable transaction has a frame. The question is who sets it. Allowing others to set the frame is relying on luck.” ~Bob Burg, Adversaries into Allies

Not only “uncomfortable transactions” but any transaction would have a frame AND a foundation. Relationships and reputation are the foundation and connections are the frame. Both foundation setting and frame building can take a long time and unless you’ve built with care and quality a sudden storm could do damage.

Choose wisely the connections you make then cherish and protect the relationships that come from them and your foundation will be strong enough to rebuild after a storm and your reputation will sustain your progress.

First Cast a Stone

•July 6, 2013 • Comments Off on First Cast a Stone

I’ve not followed the recent plight of Paula Deen but my understanding is that, under oath in court, she admitted that in her past she had uttered a racial slur. Because of her truthful admission of this, possibly decades ago, she now endures public media scorn and financial setbacks from sponsors. This reminds me of a story from the Bible in John chapter 8: 

[While Jesus was at the Mount of Olives early one morning He came into the temple. All the people then came to Him and He sat down and taught them. While He taught, the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman who had been caught committing adultery. They publically sat her in the midst of the group and said to Jesus; Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. The Law of Moses commands us that such sin should be punished by death and she should be stoned: but what do you say? They said all of this, tempting Him, that they might accuse Him of blasphemy against the Law of Moses. This would then be punishable by death. But Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground, as though He didn’t hear them. When they continued asking He stood up and said to them; He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.]

Now let’s go back a few years or even decades in YOUR LIFE. Have YOU ever said something you regret or that you wouldn’t say today? Can you cast a stone? We need to see the manipulative effect of the media and the fickleness of both executives and marketing. Those same executives who make decisions to drop Paula Deen are no different than the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day. They have a singular motive and agenda and it isn’t pure, wholesome or driven by a set of core moral values. The media isn’t attempting to defend a standard of conduct or promote civility and justice. They only seek the sensational to appeal to unwitting and undiscerning audiences who are easily influenced.

Paula Deen is just like you and I. She was before a Judge and sworn to tell the truth.  She did so without hesitation and received stones thrown from those who may be equally guilty of the same things. Just like the scribes and Pharisees, the media and sponsors tempt us and want us to believe they are virtuous and without fault. They act as if they can distance themselves from themselves and consumers and the public won’t notice. After all, many will still sell offensive music and other materials that use the same word(s). So it really has nothing to do with what she said.

For me – I think I’ll skip the Food Channel and others who foolishly attempt to trick me into believing they are without sin and so eager to “first cast a stone”.

INFLUENCE – It’s a Super Power

•June 23, 2013 • Comments Off on INFLUENCE – It’s a Super Power

Yes I believe in the power of influence and the greatness that it creates. There is also a dark side to influence…

You can use it for good or evil. But your influence capital is limited and precious. You can spend it foolishly or wisely. Wisely spent influence capital comes back to you in many positive ways. Long standing friendships with significant contributors who help build you up and positively impact your life and work. Solid business and personal relationships and rewarding experiences that return positive spiritual, emotional, professional and financial gains. Foolishly spend influence capital and you will still build something it will just be on the growing negative side of all those things.

Wasted influence is opportunity lost. When you have the chance to be in the company of positive influences or the opportunity to increase your own influence capital – like trying new experiences, accepting new challenges or stepping outside your comfort zone – and you choose NOT to accept the opportunity then you’ve wasted influence. You will regret it.

Positive Influence begins with a positive character and spreads to a positive worldview and leads to positive actions that return positive results. Such influence builds up others and creates a “rising tide that lifts all boats”.

Look for those people, actions and things that BUILD UP in positive ways then spend, cultivate and grow your influence there.

“Where’s The Stick?”

•April 5, 2013 • Comments Off on “Where’s The Stick?”

Originally Posted April 9th, 2010
I’m not one to sit around and wait for my ship to come in. However, I have swam out to enough creaking, rotted and sinking ones to know it is better to invest in building a high quality, safe port and let the best ships come to you. Add a tall lighthouse and keep it updated, maintained and well-lit.

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I wrote this original blog after being let go from a position that proved to be less than expected when hired. The context of that original blog related to job searching and interviewing. A friend once told me that the whole interview process involves you telling the potential employer how great you are and the employer then telling you how great the company is. After you’re hired you each then get to realize how much the other lied. The fact is whether you are employed now or looking you always need to “look for the stick”. Opportunities once thought to be perfect fits can devolve into monotonous tasks. Career paths and growth opportunities can quickly get strewn with obstacles or be choked out among the many thorns. Interviews and new starts that paint beautiful pictures to a job-seeker desirous of exploring potential can soon become dried, cracked and peeling realities revealing the weak canvas below. I’ve updated the text below a little. Let me know what you think.

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If you have ever played fetch with a dog, more than once you’ve probably attempted to fake the dog out when throwing a stick. You know the drill: Throw the stick and the dog runs and fetches it. You throw it again and again and the dog fetches each time. As you hold the stick the dog prances and is very excited because he “knows” that he soon will have the chance to chase after the stick and bring it back. The dog is always motivated and gives his all each time. Then, you make like you’re throwing but hold onto the stick and the dog, STILL very excited, runs ahead just as hard as before only to search in vain for something that isn’t there.

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In a previous work environment the dog fetching analogy came to me and I always think about The Fetching Game while working or when talking to recruiters about potential jobs and assessing the companies and those interviewing me. When researching opportunities and interviewing companies, experience has taught me to “look for the stick”. And I don’t stop with just the interview. Every day I’m looking for the real opportunities and the real potential in every meeting, conversation, email and decision. I’m not cynical – I don’t want to get all excited about a company, project, role or title and run after it only to find out later that there really wasn’t an honest and true opportunity to be enjoyed.

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My experience has taught me that I’m interviewing the company and the opportunity MORE than the company is interviewing me and the interviewing doesn’t stop after being hired. I continue to observe and “look for the stick”. I know me – I know what I can do; what my passions, values and strengths are. I know where I want to grow and where I need to grow. I want to make sure that the next step is a step forward and that this new opportunity is in fact an opportunity and that while there I can be continuously productive and valuable. The exploration and realization of potential is critical. So I question:

  • What is the leadership health of those who are in control?
  • How creative and innovative are those who control of the direction of the business?
  • What is the outward expression of passion in those I see?
  • Is there a clear and compelling vision and does everyone get it?
  • Is this a GOOD ship?
  • Is the captain known for wisdom and vision?
  • Is it the BEST vehicle to help me grow and achieve my life goals?
  • Will my family be satisfied and safe?

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As I work each day I always and continuously ask myself -WHERE IS THE STICK?