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info_outline LTL 144: Global Leadership Summit Takeaways Part Four 12/09/2019
LTL 144: Global Leadership Summit Takeaways Part Four Nelson Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” I know few people who embody that quote more than Bear Grylls. This is the fourth and final part of my key takeaways from the 2019 Global Leadership Summit. I hope you have enjoyed listening to these episodes as much as I have enjoyed recording them! I’ve tried to keep them simple, short, and practical. My intent is always to make valuable use of your time. If it’s crap, you should shut it off and I should shut it down. Fortunately, there was a massive amount of content from the Global Leadership Summit. Bear Grylls If you don’t know who Bear Grylls is, let me give you an idea. A former member of the British Special Forces, Grylls has climbed Everest, crossed the Arctic Ocean in an inflatable boat and starred in his Emmy-nominated TV show Man Vs Wild (which became one of the most-watched programs on the planet with an estimated audience of 1.2 billion). He also hosts NBC’s hit show Running Wild with Bear Grylls as well as groundbreaking series on National Geographic, Netflix and Amazon. He is a number one best-selling author and has sold over 15 million books. These include his autobiography Mud, Sweat and Tears, and this year a powerful new book on faith called: Soul Fuel. Not As It Appears If you know who Bear is, then you know him for all his successes. They are astounding. Just watch a single episode of Man vs. Wild and you’ll capture a glimpse of his incredible sense of survival. But Bear is more than the sum total of his many successes. His humility is equally astounding. In my notes, I titled his session Learnings from the Valleys, Battles, and Struggles. I don’t recall if that was his title – but I suspect it was. Often, when we see the end result, we gloss over the difficult road one must travel to their destiny. I knew Bear was British Special Forces. What I didn’t know was that he didn’t make the six-month cut. So, as you can imagine, he was gutted. Man, you don’t have to be special forces to feel the pain that happens when you fall short. Especially when you have spent massive time and energy to achieve an outcome that is alluding you. More Failures Than Successes As is often the case, his pain became his progress. So please, PLEASE, listen closely to what he said. Bear said he had far more failures than successes. What’s your response to failure? Because how you answer this question very well could determine your destiny. Failure is a part of your journey. Because of this, Bear says that there are no shortcuts to your goals that avoid failure. Think about this for a moment. You will never experience fulfillment without hard work, but hard work is no guarantee that you will succeed. Harsh, but true. Nothing More To Give He said that your reaction to failure is important because life doesn’t always reward the brilliant or talented – and I would add that it doesn’t always reward your hard work. Just the opposite at times and you know what I mean if you have ever been kicked in the teeth for doing the right thing. Bear was saying that during Special Forces training you literally encounter points where you have nothing more to give. I know some of you live and work this way. You dig deep each day and leave it all on the floor holding nothing back. He calls this being mighty in spirit. I don’t know if this will surprise you, but it surprised me. He said that of the four of them that graduated Special Forces training, three had failed previously. I guess failure was a part of the journey! Fears, Battles, and Giants Bear said that we all face battles and giants. It reminds me of the famous quote from the late 1800s: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. Ian Maclaren Our job, Bear says, is to embrace the difficulty. Because life rewards the dogged. Life is meant to test us, so when you encounter trouble, you are living! The answer to fear is facing it. So here’s another really important thought: the marks and the scars make us real. This is REAL life. Not cushion, comfort, or simply cruising but crushing. The things that leave a mark confirm we have been living. The only way past fear is through fear and Bear says fear is a constant part of every journey map. Fire To Move Forward Don’t allow discouragement to take a foothold. You have to move forward when everything in you wants to give up. Those are hard times. You might be having one of those times right now. Lean into it and find the fire to move forward. He calls this finding the extra. It’s a small word, but important. Because it’s the difference between ordinary and extraordinary. When you look around and you see everyone else giving up, let that be your trigger to give more. I heard this statistic recently and may have even shared it on a previous episode, but physical trainers believe that our minds want to quit somewhere between 40% and 60% of our actual physical capacity. Back in episodes 078 and 079, Brandon Bruce addressed this when we were talking about his massive bike rides for Alzheimer’s fund raising events. He said one way he increased his mental endurance was by always reminding himself that he could ride twice as far as he had ridden. That kind of endurance is needed for life. Remember, you can handle twice the adversity you’ve seen – bring it because you can take it. What if David had thought he had met his max battling a lion and a bear? Do you think Goliath would have fallen that day? I don’t. Your struggle produces growth. Blow On The Ember Bear says it only takes an ember to ignite that flame. Hang onto those embers so you can fan the flame of endurance! Never. Give. Up. The storms make you strong. And that leads to Bear’s final “F” word. Faith You will need faith to keep going. He says that the summit is coming. We all have our Mt. Everest to conquer, but it’s up to you to silence the voice of doubt. Where does your strength to persist come from? Bear finds his strength and power in Christ. He calls life a journey of courage. As a result, he chooses not to walk that journey alone. A critical aspect of his relationship with Jesus is that he is known, loved, and forgiven – even when falling and failing. Final Thoughts I’ll leave you with these final thoughts from Mr. Grylls. Your dreams will require failure and the presence of fear. If they aren’t present, then your dreams aren’t big enough. Never. Give. Up. You will find true wealth in being grateful and kind. Seek humility and know your place. Don’t be an idiot – so remember you are lucky to be alive! Be kind and helpful. True wealth is in relationships – so don’t miss out on the true value in life. YOU ARE VALUABLE, SO STAND TALL! Resources Mentioned In This Episode: The Leader to Leader Podcast Episode 141: Global Leadership Summit Takeaways Part One The Leader to Leader Podcast Episode 142: Global Leadership Summit Takeaways Part Two The Leader to Leader Podcast Episode 143: Global Leadership Summit Takeaways Part Three Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to firstname.lastname@example.org. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 143: Global Leadership Summit Takeaways Part Three 12/02/2019
LTL 143: Global Leadership Summit Takeaways Part Three As you probably already know, this is Part Three of a series on my key takeaways from the 2019 Global Leadership Summit. I said that I would follow up with a summary of the leadership tips that I picked up during the August event and man, there was a lot to try to summarize for you! My intent was to only share the most practical and applicable points – those things you could take and then put to use immediately. Today’s episode captures my attention (and my heart!) just like it did almost five months ago during the Global Leadership Summit. I’ll do my best to convey these points with the same conviction that I felt when they were made to me. This is probably one of the most difficult because I have so much respect for his wisdom and insight. A Global Leadership Summit Treasure Patrick Lencioni is the author of eleven best-selling books. I hope you’ve heard of them and I hope they are on your shelf! The Five Dysfunctions of a Team should be read by every serious leader. And if you are looking for help with disengaged team members, take a look at The Truth About Employee Engagement. Dedicated to providing organizations with ideas, products and services that improve teamwork, clarity and employee engagement, Pat’s leadership models serve a diverse base from Fortune 500 companies to professional sports organizations to churches. Let’s get to the content and fill your head with some great thoughts that are sure to provoke growth! Too Many People Have Influence Pat’s session starts with a comment that on the surface is rather humorous. But like all great jokes, there is more than a smidgen of truth in it. What he said was that a lot fewer people in the world should become a leader. Then he went on to say that a lot of people in the world have influence…and probably shouldn’t! That candor is classic Lencioni and I find that frankness refreshing. At the same time, it can be disturbing because Pat isn’t talking to others…he’s talking to me! How often do we completely miss valuable content because we’re sitting there thinking “wow, this is great for (fill in the blank) to hear!” or “(fill in the blank) should really listen to this!” Why Are You Leading? That’s the point: Pat is asking you to evaluate what you have to offer others. What’s at the center of why you are leading? Don’t you think that’s an appropriate question for attendees of the global leadership summit…you know, a room full of leaders? He says there are only two reasons: To do whatever you need to do to serve the people you need to, or For rewards like attention, status, or power Can you answer that question for yourself right now? Why are you leading? It’s important to answer it honestly because if you don’t, you might be disappointed with your results…and you could disappoint others as well. If you are willing to serve others, to meet their needs, then your perspective shifts from what benefits you to what benefits others. Think about how many responsibilities you have as a leader that will never be rewarded. If you are motivated by the reward, then your performance is going to diminish. How often have you thought that leadership is a sacrifice? I’m guilty – I’ve probably even said it in so many words. Alan Mulally has said that leadership is a privilege and a joy! Those are certainly two very contrasting views. I hope you don’t view leadership as a pain. It certainly requires effort, but there should be joy in the exertion! So, how do you know if you’re rewards centered? Well, sometimes it’s apparent in what they will attempt to avoid. Pat offers these five signs. Avoids Difficult Conversations No one enjoys a difficult conversation or confronting poor performance and any other significant issue. Yet, it’s shocking the level of damage that can be done when it’s avoided. I would rather you boldly address a problem and do it poorly than letting it go unchallenged. It’s unhealthy to the team and organization when you avoid issues. The truth is that the more often we do it, the better we will become. If you aren’t sure how to approach it, then grab another leader and practice! Understandably, preparing in advance, rehearsing and sticking to your points will not only make this survivable but communicate a level of concern to the one you are speaking with that’s missing in off-the-cuff discussions. Avoids Managing Direct Reports Again, your problems go away if the people do, right?! Rewards-centered leaders avoid having to manage direct reports. Having direct reports means things like monitoring performance, providing guidance and direction. You are likely going to have to get your hands dirty. Patience is required. Managing means more than just sitting at your desk. A great leader is present. You know what your team is working on. Because you are in tune, you offer coaching – this is critical. Coaching, not doing it for them! You keep the team aligned and working together. No silos! Maybe most importantly, you stay on top of things. This means no surprises – at least none that generate as a result of team performance. Your team members need and thrive in an accountable environment. Avoids Running Great Meetings When was the last time someone told you that you run a great meeting? Meetings shouldn’t be a dreaded component of a business day. When conducted efficiently, they are value-adding. Rewards-centered leaders could care less about meetings and they lose interest easily. Pat says that one of the best ways you can tell if a leader is doing a good job is by attending one of their meetings. When the meeting is inefficient, the leader often is as well. Have you seen the leader who spends the entire meeting looking at their phone, or their email? I’m not exaggerating here. One of the most important meetings that I attended weekly had a responsible team leader from another part of the organization who literally played games on his phone during the meeting. And, he wasn’t embarrassed when others in the room would call him on it. And that’s exactly what was required to gain his participation. I’ll leave you with this thought from Pat on bad meetings: bad decisions result from bad meetings. The results can be catastrophic. Avoids Team-Building Sessions I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard a supposed leader complain about “rah-rah” team-building sessions. A rewards-centered leader views this as a complete waste of time. Once again, disinterested and unable to connect with the purpose or intent of building unity of vision and clarity of purpose, the rewards-centered leader outsources the responsibility. Some of the best moments in my professional career were the result of team-building sessions. Getting to know another team member’s personality, or how they approach problem-solving was immensely helpful to me. The rewards-centered leader outsources team building to functions like human resources. Avoids Repeating Important Messages Finally, a rewards-centered leader will never overcommunicate. Once and done, right?! Wrong! I’ve shared multiple times that a message must be communicated up to nine times before team members will hear it. Additionally, some of your messages are so important, you must repeat it daily. Think about safety for example. Great leaders reinforce messages over and over again because the last time you say something might be the first time someone hears it. Pat goes on to say that you are the CRO: the chief reminding officer. This is how you keep others focused on the task. Repeat it. Frequently! So, are you leading for all of the right reasons? I’ll wrap up this Global Leadership Summit summary episode with this final thought from Mr. Lencioni: politics and dysfunction thrive in an organization run by rewards-centered leaders. Break the trend and become the only real type of effective leader: a servant leader. Because truly, that is the only type of leader who makes everyone better. Global Leadership Summit Conclusion Next week, I’ll conclude this series on key learnings from the 2019 Global Leadership Summit with what I learned from Bear Grylls of Man vs. Wild fame. So don’t miss that – you definitely want to hear his unique perspective on learning from hardship and difficulty. You are awesome – and only getting better! Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to email@example.com. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 142: Global Leadership Summit Takeaways Part Two 11/25/2019
LTL 142: Global Leadership Summit Takeaways Part Two Back in August, I attended the 2019 Global Leadership Summit and I said that I would follow up with a summary of the leadership tips that I picked up during the event. While there was so much great content, I’m only able to pick my key takeaways and share them with you in a handful of shorter episodes over the next several weeks. Each episode contains tips that you can put to use immediately. This is Part Two. The takeaways from this second episode come from Danielle Strickland. If you don’t know who Danielle is, she is a pastor, author, and justice advocate. Having spent 22 years as an officer in the Salvation Army, she is an Ambassador for Stop The Traffik. Her calling is to empower people to transform the world. Leaders Don’t Just Survive Change I’ve heard Danielle speak several times and she always brings a powerful principle. This session of the Global Leadership Summit was no different! She led with this: leaders don’t just survive change – they thrive in change. Think about the difference. Imagine this: you run towards what others fear. If it causes the crowd to panic, you grab control. Can you recall a time when you stepped up or into what others had abandoned? In my opinion, change is often responsible for driving away those who are more comfortable managing than leading. Your Life Is Like A Tree There are so many analogies that others use to give us a different perspective on life. Danielle says that our life is a lot like a tree, specifically, it’s like a fruit tree. I’ve always liked this particular analogy because it requires examination. I want to take a quick aside here. If you are a great leader, you understand the value of not just introspection, but also extrospection. They are important because they impact the point that Danielle is making. Do you regularly take time to think about you? Introspection is understanding my emotions, circumstances, and cumulative knowledge. Extrospection would be knowing how this will impact my reaction (potential or actual) to events. As a result, you can think of the combination of these two factors as the reflection that allows you to evaluate why you do/feel what you do/feel. Furthermore, this enables you to see the proverbial writing on the wall and alter undesired behavior before it occurs. Inspect Your Fruit So, Danielle says that we must confront bad tasting fruit on our tree. She goes on to say that our actions produce the fruit. Fair enough. But where do the actions come from? Our values. Because our values are connected to our behavior, she says that we have to look at our roots to understand our values. Where are the roots? Most of the time, they are hidden from view and underground. We have a tree in our front yard that is a little more than a year old. When they planted that tree, they put a post for support. But you don’t leave that post in the ground indefinitely, do you?! No! Why? Because if you do, the roots won’t go deep and allow the tree to not only grow, but to stand in adverse conditions. Danielle describes our roots as deeply held beliefs that feed our tree. Now if you have bad fruit, what do you think that means? Obviously, you better take a look at your roots. What do you believe? Why do you believe that? Similar to the point Danielle is making, Gandhi once said: “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.” Mahatma Gandhi On The Way To Better Tasting Fruit She says that we must expose those deeply held beliefs to light and truth. Can they stand up against what is right, honorable, and productive? Or, instead, are they found to be selfish and damaging to self and others? You can change what you think and believe. This, in turn, will then change your thoughts and actions. And if your actions and values change, then so does your destiny. Walla! Better testing fruit! We all know that this is not easy, simple, or fast. It’s hard work to change what you think/believe…and absolutely necessary. Danielle says that your productivity depends on what you believe about yourself. Therefore, the key to improving your productivity is evaluating where you need to change. If you are resistant to change, then you are going to have difficulty improving your productivity. Change: A No-man’s Land She explains why it’s so hard for us to entertain change. Change is like a no-man’s land. You’ve left what you’ve known, but you also haven’t arrived where you are going. I really resonated with this idea. You can’t stay where you’re at, so you embark on a journey of indeterminate length to a new destination! Here’s the process that Danielle utilizes to describe this transition. She says every change starts with a movement from stability to instability. This period is full of unsettled and disturbing feelings that result in fear. Next, we move from fear back to instability and then to stability again. Disruption Is Not A Threat She says that disruption is not a threat. It’s simply an invitation to new normals. And if there’s only one thing you remember from today’s episode, I want you to remember this: there is no change to the future if you don’t disrupt the present. Because of this, my encouragement to you today is that you embrace disruption! Next week, I’ll be sharing what I learned from Patrick Lencioni. So don’t miss that – you definitely want to hear this one. Until then, go embrace some disruption! Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to firstname.lastname@example.org. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 141: Global Leadership Summit Takeaways Part One 11/18/2019
LTL 141: Global Leadership Summit Takeaways Part One Back in August, I attended the 2019 Global Leadership Summit and I said that I would follow up with a summary of the leadership tips that I picked up during the event. While I’d love to share it all with you, I’m going to pick my key takeaways and share them in a handful of shorter episodes over the next several weeks. These will be tips that I believe you can put to use immediately. This is Part One. The takeaways for this first episode come from Craig Groeschel. Craig is a pastor, podcaster, speaker, and New York Times bestselling author. He’s also the global champion for the Global Leadership Summit. This episode is dedicated to the value bombs he dropped during his opening session. So let’s get started! Everyone Wins When The Leader Wins Everyone wins when the leader gets better. So simple, and so true. Leaders make things happen and every leader must focus on making a way for those around them to improve. A rising tide lifts all ships. You will never regret investing in yourself or others. And PLEASE, stop waiting for someone else to invest in your growth. Take that responsibility for yourself. Next, was a concept that will be hard to describe without you seeing what I’m talking about. Imagine a graph with QUALITY on the Y-axis (the vertical axis) and COST on the X-axis (the horizontal axis). Now, imagine starting in the left-hand corner of that graph and drawing 60% of a frown. So you start up and to the right, but it starts to slope back down to the right. This graphic represents diminishing returns. What it means is that initially, and early-on, your investment (think in terms of dollars or time) will produce movement up the QUALITY axis. Diminishing Returns Eventually though, you reach a point where continuing to invest will not only no longer improve the quality, but it actually reduces the quality! Think of it in terms of writing a blog post. Let’s say it takes you an hour to produce something half-way decent. After another hour, the quality of the content is good enough to publish on your website. If you spent another hour on it, you might be able to improve the quality by an additional 5%, but spending more time is only going to provide fractional increases in quality. GETMO Craig’s point is that our job as leaders is to understand where the inflection point is on the curve. In other words, where does the graph start to curve the wrong way (diminishing returns)? Often, we get to a point where further revision damages the quality rather than improving it. He uses a clever acronym that he calls GETMO as a reminder not to keep pushing towards diminishing returns. What does GETMO stand for you might ask? Good Enough To Move On You’ve heard it before: perfection is often the enemy of progress. Maximize your investment and generate as much return as possible without going down the curve of diminishing returns. Bend That Curve I love this next thought: Craig asks us to consider how we can bend the curve up so that we obtain higher quality for the same cost. Think about the blog example again. After you’ve been practicing for a while with your writing, it’s likely that you can produce blog content that is of a higher quality for the same time investment. You have essentially bent the curve up. It’s powerful – you’re getting a higher return for an equal or lower investment. Think Inside The Box…huh?! So how do you bend it? Craig offers two answers. First, think inside the box. If you are like me, that probably messes with your head a bit because we emphasize thinking outside of it. He offers this insight to help us wrap our minds around the point. Thinking outside the box introduces inefficiency because there are unlimited options. Constraints drive creativity. As Plato would say, necessity is the mother of invention. You find this frequently in Kaizen Events. Because work expands to fill the time-frame you allocate, you intentionally keep it short. A Kaizen Event might only be three days long, but it’s intense – full attention is required. This is the type of constraint Craig is talking about. If you will constrain your budget, constrain your time, constrain your options, then the likelihood that you can bend the curve up increases accordingly. Craig says that the constraint leads to the breakthrough! I think that’s pretty exciting – and sensible – given that you don’t have an unlimited supply of resources (human, financial, time, etc.). What can you do with what you’ve got? We all need a little MacGyver at times. Well, I’ve got this shoestring, this potato, and this piece of gravel – yep, got everything I need to make build a working proton torpedo! Burn The Ships Here’s the second answer Craig offers to the question of how we bend the curve: burn the ships. It’s the famous phrase uttered by the Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortez once they landed on the shores of the Yucatan in Mexico. There was no plan b. Everyone is committed to selling out. No excuses, no turning back. In order to reach this level of commitment, the team has to understand the WHAT. As Brene Brown says, clear is kind. There’s no room for ambiguity here. As a leader, we don’t just cast vision. We provide clarity of purpose. As you know, mental ascent to the WHAT doesn’t work without a burning desire for the WHY. Who cares? What does this matter? To us? To the team? Does it change the lives of our customers? How about our stakeholders. Why are we bothering with this? If you are completely committed to the WHAT and consumed by the WHY, then Craig says you figure out the HOW. It’s bold and risky when you sell out to a path of action. But you don’t have a choice. Now isn’t the time for timidity. You will get to choose. Will you concentrate on your doubts, your insecurities, and all of those negative voices ringing in your head? Instead, choose to step into confidence! Everyone wins when the leader gets better! It’s up to you to work with the resources available to figure out how to bend the curve! Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to email@example.com. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 140: Consistency Revisited And The Difficulty Of Things Worthwhile 11/11/2019
LTL 140: Consistency Revisited And The Difficulty Of Things Worthwhile I know this happens to you at times. You hear something, and then you hear it multiple times and all of a sudden, you recognize that you need to sit up and pay attention! That happened to me recently. It started with a simple reminder: consistency is foundational to our effectiveness. But it didn’t end there – I heard it multiple times in a matter of a couple of days. I knew it was time that we revisited the topic of consistency together. And it wasn’t just consistency. It was connected to the difficulty of things worthwhile. Consistency: Critical Trait For Great Leaders Here’s my fear and I know it’s a bit irrational. My fear is that once I dedicate an episode or two to a specific topic, I fear that you might tire of hearing it again. Truly, I’ve got a special place in my heart for consistency. I know how important this trait is in great leaders. I dedicated a couple of episodes to it: LTL 052: Why Consistency Is King and LTL 087: The 180-Degree Leader And The Power Of Consistency were released in 2018. Both more than a year ago. But you heard me say recently that a message has to be repeated as many as nine times for it to take hold and make a difference. And I heard this point about consistency no less than four times 48 hours along with another critical point: John Maxwell recently said on his podcast that everything worthwhile is uphill. There are no shortcuts or easy paths to things we currently, or eventually will come to, cherish. So, because this topic is super important, I’m going to spend a few minutes unloading a massive amount of value in a short period of time. Don’t worry – all of this is in the show notes and you’ll be able to check it out on markslemons.com. Don’t try to write it down. Today, I want you to think about the words I’m saying. And then I want you to think about what it means to put them into practice in your life. I want you to visualize implementing what you are hearing/learning. Some of this is not new, but all of it will change your life if implemented. Make Sure You Are Repeating Right Actions First, what do you think of when I say consistency? You can be consistently bad at something and it will likely wreck your results. To clarify, doing the same thing over and over doesn’t produce great results when it’s the wrong thing over and over. Aristotle said, “…virtues are formed in man by his doing the right actions.” Our success is based on establishing a regular routine of practicing our habits…specifically, the good habits. Eric Holtzclaw wrote an article for Inc. back in 2012 where he formed five rules around consistency. His first rule? Measure the results. Is what you’re doing consistently moving the needle? Measure Results Don’t judge it too early or too late. He recommends waiting for at least six months to evaluate the effectiveness of your habit. Sometimes it’s a matter of making simple changes versus a complex overhaul. Maybe what you are doing only requires a slight modification. Consistency rewards patience, so don’t be too hasty with your changes. Small changes can often bring big rewards. Be Accountable Next, Eric advises that you be accountable. Often, it’s difficult to measure effective accountability. So an example here might be helpful. Brendon Burchard says that part of being accountable is having clarity. You establish clarity. The most successful leaders seek clarity for everything they do. If you tell your team that you are going to run effective meetings, then be accountable to that goal. One way you can do this is to make sure that you bring clarity to every meeting you attend. Whether you initiated it or not! You make sure that everyone understands the purpose, the intention, the aim, the goal, and/or the desired outcome. If it doesn’t exist, then the meeting adjourns until you can define clarity. Consistency With Clarity Consistency in this regard will make it clearly obvious when clarity is absent. Everyone will see it. If you want accountability, then make everyone who sees it accountable to say it when they see it. Not just with you, but with each other. Brendon says that this level of clarity is required not only in meetings but in every act of a leader’s day. The most successful leaders are those who have clarity for each moment. Are you demonstrating consistency in developing clarity? For everything you do? Every day? Surprisingly, this was new to me. As a result, I realize I’m not nearly as intentional as I need to be with regard to my daily activity. Think about it. Do you have clarity about why you are doing what you are doing each moment? This is challenging for me. Why Are You Listening Today? That means you better know why you are listening to this podcast today. In your mind, have you already determined to extract value from the 10 or 15 minutes we spend together today? If not, this might just be noise and filler. Muda (the Japanese word for waste). Not because there isn’t value, but because you aren’t extracting it. Obviously, this is true for every area of life. Brendon would tell you that clarity of purpose for everything you do is a key ingredient in producing the outcomes you desire. Remember, we are creating value from our consistency. In an interview with Brendon, Brian Tracy shares a quote from Goethe, the famous German philosopher. Before I share that quote though, I want you to know that I have a link in the show notes for you if you want to watch that interview. You can also get Brendon’s new book called High-Performance Habits for just the cost of shipping and handling for a limited time. It also includes an audio version of the book which is pretty cool. Everything Is Hard Before It Is Easy Anyway, during the interview, Brian brings up the German philosopher’s infamous quote that “everything is hard before it’s easy.” If you want to make a positive change in your life, you can bet that if it’s worth doing, it will be difficult. Just ask someone who had to work to lose 50 lbs. Or someone who stopped eating sugar, bread, or gluten. Have you spoken to someone who learned a new trade recently? How naturally did that come to them? The truth is, as Mr. Maxwell said at the beginning of this podcast, everything worthwhile is uphill. There is no coasting to achieve something meaningful. I want to leave you with two final points today. First, Brendon notes that to make change last, you must raise necessity. He says that all of the most successful leaders regardless of industry, have the ability to understand the need to ramp up their energy. Raising Necessity And Ramping Up Energy They are able to assess why “I must succeed at this right now, in this very moment.” It goes without saying that they rise to the occasion. Each one understanding why it’s necessary that I win here. A leader has an uncanny ability to raise the stakes for themselves. They make their performance matter! When it comes to motivation, a leader provides their own. So, can you see how important it is to do this with ongoing consistency? Simply put, this ties nicely back to the idea of clarity. Because they have taken the time to understand the outcome they are targeting, they also know exactly what’s at stake. As the saying goes, failure is not an option. For each person, the “why I must succeed at this” will be different. Your motivations will be different than mine. Neither is invalid or less meaningful. What Is Your Why Both are critical for you and me to feel that it’s not only good but necessary to win in this very moment. Friedrich Nietzsche famously said, “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” And that’s a good thing…because anything worthwhile is uphill. If you are going to spend the effort getting uphill, you better make sure your training partner is consistency. Resources Mentioned In This Episode: The Leader to Leader Podcast Episode 052: Why Consistency Is King The Leader to Leader Podcast Episode 087: The 180-Degree Leader And The Power Of Consistency Brian Tracy’s Interview with Brendon Bruchard Eric Holtzclaw’s Inc. post Power of Consistency: 5 Rules Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to firstname.lastname@example.org. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 139: A Controversy Regarding Forgiveness 11/04/2019
LTL 139: A Controversy Regarding Forgiveness Isn’t it awesome when you run into validation for a perspective unexpectedly, especially when it’s from an authority that you respect? As you know, I’m a proponent of not allowing others to control my future due to unforgiveness. Episodes 136 and 137 were dedicated to the issue of resentment and the problems it causes us as leaders when we don’t resolve it. It can sometimes lead to a controversy regarding forgiveness. So I came across a post from someone who I admire greatly in the LinkedIn community. I always read his comments because he strikes me as well-balanced, genuine, with a high degree of integrity. His name is Mark A. Smith and he’s a speaker, writer, editor, and Sr VP of Sales at Frontpoint. He was commenting on a question that had been posted to Liz Ryan who is the Founder and CEO of Human Workplace, also an author. So here’s the question posted to Liz: Q. My ex-boss from two jobs ago sent me a connection invitation on LinkedIn, with a long note gushing about what a great coworker I was. Spare me. He was horrible to me. I quit without having another job. I guess he is job hunting. That’s the only reason he would reach out to me. What should I do? I’m not going to connect to him. He did not apologize for or even acknowledge the brutal way he treated me. Before I give you Liz’s response, I want you to put yourself in this person’s shoes. A horrible manager that drove you to quit your job seems to be “making nice” and wants to connect – no apology for the past. What would you do? It’s easy to be overly simplistic because it didn’t happen to us. Maybe think about something painful that did happen to you. What if it was that person? Could you operate in forgiveness with them? Frankly, Liz’s response surprised me. Here’s her answer: A. Ghost him. You are not responsible for checking your LinkedIn inbox on anybody else’s timetable, or at all. Many if not most evil bosses have amnesia when they run into you years later. They remember what a great coworker you were, but forget what a snarling beast they were. So Mark typically calls a spade a spade and doesn’t hide his feelings. Here’s what he said in comment to Liz’s post: This is atrocious advice. The strong act. The weak are acted upon. Forgiveness is the supreme act. Forgiving freely shows tremendous mental and emotional fortitude and takes away any power that negativity once had over you. Forgiveness is merciful to the offender and redeeming to the offended. He may not have known how brutal he was. If you are a powerful person, you won’t be afraid to tell him. Doing so maybe his chance to change, and that kind of change can have far-reaching implications in the lives of anyone he impacts. If he’s still a jerk, well, you tried. Your hands will be clean. Years ago in the mortgage industry I had a truly terrible regional boss (my direct boss was terrific). He was condescending, added stress to my life, and never helped me once. A few years later, after the crash, he reached out to me. He told me he had some forced clarity and could see what a schmuck he was to me, and others – he wanted to apologize. He was sincere and it was plain to see he really was trying to change. I forgave him and now think fondly of him. If I would’ve ghosted him, I would’ve missed that redeeming experience. Forgive. Early and often. This isn’t popular. Especially with people who feel victimized. As one comment stated: I’m appalled at the number of people suggesting forgiveness and acceptance of an abuser. I’m deeply struggling to understand what having this high percentage of people in the workplace next to me means for those of us who have been/get abused in the workplace. Quite frankly, it’s terrifying! Forgiveness in her heart someday, sure, for her own spiritual growth, but that does not require interaction with him ever, not if she doesn’t want it to. And I want to point out a few things. First, I don’t advocate acceptance of abuse or treating it as if it’s inconsequential. People must be held accountable for their behavior in the workplace. But forgiveness isn’t tied to the correct outcome. Second, if you have been, or are, abused in the workplace, then you know that it’s your responsibility to say something and work to stop it. Leaders act. They certainly don’t risk that silence might mean it happens to someone else. Third, I want to point out that the sex of the victim was not revealed in the post. This comment assumed a man abused a woman, but that’s not in the original post or response. Why is this important? Because unacceptable behavior doesn’t only target one sex. Unacceptable is unacceptable whether it happens to a man or a woman. Forgiveness isn’t dependent on sex either. The woman noted that she’s terrified of the “high percentage of people in the workplace next to me” who are willing to forgive even those who have abused them. I’m more terrified by those who are unwilling to forgive. I would not wish a future of bitterness and hostility on anyone. And what does this mean to those around you who God-forbid if they ever make a mistake because now they may become one of the unforgiven? Don’t allow this sad way of living to impose it’s control on you. You don’t have to be friends with that person, you don’t have to hang out and pretend bad things never happened. You don’t even have to connect with them on LinkedIn. But for your sake, you have to be able to move forward by forgiving. It reminded me of another media posting I saw this week that I want to share with you. It was an experience where the poster was sharing a challenge she had getting her money refunded from a well known MLM company. She was getting brutalized in the comment section – mostly by those defending this particular MLM – for describing her experience which wasn’t like theirs. Then she did one of the most admirable things I’ve ever seen – she told people how it happened. Then, she offered some forgiveness to herself. This woman (I’ll call her Tracy) had been approached by a girlfriend (Amanda) to hang out together, just some girl time, right? Well, it would appear that it was a little more calculated than that on the part of Amanda. When Tracy arrived at Amanda’s home, Amanda said she and her husband, Tim, had started a new business. Amanda wanted to know if Tracy would be willing to allow Tim to “practice” his really rough presentation on her. Most of you have probably sat through a presentation like that, some of you may have been the ones who gave a presentation like that. Hopefully, none of you were deceitful in your approach. There are few things more painful in a friendship than being deceived by someone you thought was a friend. Tracy was didn’t see that coming. Now, she’s on the spot and agrees. Not because she has any interest, but because she feels awkward saying ‘No.’ Which, by the way, is always the best answer when you aren’t sure. But you can relate – I mean she’s already at Amanda’s house. So, Tim proceeds with the presentation and Tracy realizes this isn’t just practice, there’s an ask: they want her to sign up. Now she feels super weird and wonders how this affects her relationship with Amanda if she says ‘No.’ She doesn’t want to crush their dreams and so, thinking that she’s being polite, she signs up at a cost of a little more than $300…with the intention of immediately canceling and getting her money back. So literally, the comments are attacking her for being honest about how it all came down and her chosen approach to make her way out of the mess. So, I said she did something super admirable. After telling everyone how it happened, she admitted what she wished she would have done differently. First, she wished she had told Amanda ‘No’ when asked about the presentation. She was acknowledging that in the moment, she could not find the strength or courage to say ‘No.’ If only she let Tim and Amanda know that she didn’t have any desire to participate after the presentation. She recognized and admitted that she handled the whole situation incorrectly. It was refreshing to see her owning everything that she could have done differently. I feel like this is imperative. It’s the try, fail, learn, improve, reenter process perfectly executed. We try something, make a mistake, learn from it, change how we do it in the future, and reenter the fray! We offer forgiveness to others and ourselves and keep moving forward. Isn’t that what our lives should look like as leaders? Resources Mentioned In This Episode: Amy Robles site thinkenriched.com The Leader to Leader Podcast Episode 136: Why Leaders Can’t Afford The High Cost Of Resentment The Leader to Leader Podcast Episode 137: Move Past Resentment To Take Control Of Your Future Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to email@example.com. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 138: The Value Of Humility And Momentum 10/28/2019
LTL 138: The Value Of Humility And Momentum Have you ever blown it? I knew it…you are! I tell people all the time that those who listen to my podcast are perfect – they don’t need me because they don’t struggle with human things! Ha! If only that were true. It’s hard to talk about being humble because media often represents humility as weakness. Regardless of your political leanings or affections, have you ever seen a less humble man than President Trump? Actually, I have. To clarify, the world is littered with arrogant and unapologetic men and women. Humility is strength. It’s the ability to admit when you’re wrong and to identify or admit your flaws or shortcomings. But taken to an unhealthy extreme, it can lead to shame. And we must avoid shame. I’ve never been a fan of the saying “Shame on you.” And that’s because shame identifies with worthlessness or being unworthy. It’s due to how shame makes you feel. Shame makes you want to hide your face or run away. It’s feeling like the exposure will guarantee that no one will ever want anything to do with you again. Ever. So, is that how you want (or how you want others!) to feel? People often contend with shame by attacking themselves or attacking others. And can you blame them? Have you seen how injured animals behave? I’m not saying people are animals but I am saying that feeling cornered and hurt, lashing out shouldn’t be unexpected. Similarly, you’ve heard the saying that hurt people hurt people. Shame built part of that foundation. Who’s hurting in your world? Do you see them? Do you notice them? Are you connecting with them or do you avoid them? Each living, breathing human has inherent worth. Not just you and me, but all those we disagree with as well. Not just the ones that look like us or think like us, but even the ones who rub us the wrong way! I guess what I’m asking you today is whether you can practice humility, laugh at your mistakes or yourself, deal with the embarrassing missteps we all make and prevent the slide into shame? As leaders, we get to set the example. It’s our job to show people how to lead with strength even when we’ve made mistakes. Because humility isn’t only required when experiencing mistakes, I want to share with you a few examples of humility in action when experiencing success. Success isn’t always what it appears to be. Consequently, neither the journey or the amount of effort is accurately represented. I heard Dave Ramsey say one time how misguided people are when assessing his success. During an EntreLeadership podcast episode, he described the mountain top of success as literally just standing on the top of all my failures. Dave said that he refused to let his failures bury him. In spite of failure, you have to keep digging deeper to find, and hold onto, that determination that you will come out on top! But this is true for all successful people. We just don’t see it as clearly. So, sometimes humility shows up when we acknowledge that our success isn’t at all how it appears to others. And it’s noteworthy to point out the possibility that this is not success at all! Have you heard the analogy of climbing the ladder of success only to find it was leaning against the wrong wall? Is it possible that because of success, you lost things that were far more valuable than the prize you were pursuing? Humility isn’t shy about identifying the hard work and preparation that paved the way for success. Rather than being embarrassed about it, humility honors the sacrifice required to reach this pinnacle and all those who preceded us. And this leads to one of the most admirable traits of a great leader: she recognizes that the contribution of each individual produced the result of achieving this milestone. I’ll bet you hadn’t thought of humility like that before! When we are frank about our effort, we kill the notion that just any old level of commitment can produce this result. We also kill the notion that putting in the effort guarantees the outcome. Sometimes humility is forced to acknowledge that we can’t say exactly why it worked this time! John Maxwell, Michael Hyatt and Dave Ramsey all talk about the Momentum Theorem as it relates to leadership. And the principle is this: when you have momentum, you look smarter than you really are. Everything appears to be easy. It’s like a flywheel that was already in motion. It appears to be spinning effortlessly and consequently is going to take significant resistance to slow it down. We know that objects in motion tend to stay in motion – in other words, it’s easier to keep it going than it is to stop and start again. This is the one thing I want you to remember from today’s episode: while humility acknowledges all that went into moving the flywheel, it’s critically important to keep the wheel turning. In other words, don’t allow your team to lose momentum! It’s much, much easier to sustain even small amounts of momentum than stopping and having to get it going again. It applies personally and professionally. The flip-side of the Momentum Theorem, when applied to leadership, is this: when you don’t have momentum, you look dumber than you are! There will be times when it looks like you have no idea what you are doing. When you start with practical steps to initiate some momentum, just like the flywheel, you are going to encounter a lot of resistance. Don’t let that stop you! You will have to scrape and claw for every inch of progress. Think of it this way: the flywheel has come to rest and you have to initiate movement again. This takes massive effort. Once it’s spinning and the team is benefitting as a result, it’s much easier to sustain and some of the resistance (not all) will diminish. So be humble in your failure and success while focusing on maintaining momentum so you can move yourself and your team on to the next big achievement! Resources Mentioned In This Episode: The Leader to Leader Podcast Episode 136: Why Leaders Can’t Afford The High Cost Of Resentment The Leader to Leader Podcast Episode 137: Move Past Resentment To Take Control Of Your Future Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to firstname.lastname@example.org. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 137: Move Past Resentment To Take Control Of Your Future 10/21/2019
LTL 137: Move Past Resentment To Take Control Of Your Future I’m excited about today’s episode. Last week, in Episode 136, I talked about why leaders can’t afford the high cost of resentment. Well, today I’m going to show you how to move past resentment to take control of your future. Initially, you might be wondering why this matters. It’s a reasonable question. Furthermore, it would appear that many people have used resentment as a form of motivation. Instead of getting past resentment, it seems that storing it up fueled their success. Surprisingly, this doesn’t work out the way you might think. Imagine that one person who you have always sought approval from – the one who you looked up to, admired, or revered the most. The one who you dreamed of getting a “great job” or an “I’m proud of you” or an “I love you” and truly meant it when they said it. Instead, that one told you that you would never amount to anything. That one crushed your spirit verbally, emotionally, and physically. That one not only made you feel worthless but also made sure to point out every single action you took that validated their assessment of you: worthless. Listen to me: no amount of achievement, whatever that looks like to you, will remove the sting of those words. As a result, no amount of money, accolades, trophies, recognition, or publicity can make up for what you wanted to hear from that person. It’s because you are designed to be relational. The other stuff is secondary – I didn’t say it doesn’t matter; I’m saying that people matter and how they behave toward us matters. Because no matter how much fuel you have to stoke the fire of performance and achievement, you are actually allowing someone else to control your future. And that fuel is inexhaustible. In other words, you will never reach a level of performance that you can look back and say, “There – now I know I’m valuable to you. Or “There, now I know you will love me.” Why? Because you can’t control what someone else does, says, or thinks as a result of your actions. If that person that you can’t please dies tomorrow, are you done living because now you have no one to prove wrong? Of course not. What I’m advocating is that there’s a better way. But you will have to move past resentment to take back control of your future. So trust me, you have a future worth living! So to break it down, I’m going to summarize parts of a brilliant post written 10 years ago by James J. Messina. The title of the post is Handling Resentment. If this doesn’t help you to move past resentment, then I want you to let me know. First, what is it? How can we define resentment? We need to know what it looks like if we are going to move past resentment. Consider the following: harboring animosity against a person or group of people whom I feel has mistreated me anger over a negative event earlier in life that I have not taken time to resolve seething, aching, emotional turmoil I feel whenever a certain person is present or a past event comes up in discussion feeling unjustly victimized with no resolution to the problem or simply suffering in silence Mr. Messina refers to it as a cancer that robs you of contentment in your life and could potentially be the source of your depression. You have to deal with it because it can destroy you. So, how does it start? There are so many ways because as humans, we are really good at hurting each other! Think about these: accepting negative treatment from others passively, never expressing negative feelings about it agreeing to do something for others while feeling taken for granted or taken advantage of seeing others succeed who have not worked as hard as I have my good work or competency goes without recognition while others who are more in favor get that recognition I crave feeling embarrassment as a result of someone intentionally belittling me experiencing consistent rejection, lack of approval, and abandonment by another being the object of discrimination or prejudice trying my best to please someone but no matter how well I did, it was never good enough Okay, so we now know what it looks like and how it starts. How does it affect me? I’m touchy or on edge when I’m around or think of the one I resent I deny any anger or hatred against those whom I resent feel angry when the one I resent gets recognition or accolades seemingly stuck in my efforts to grow as a person refuse to forgive past offenses and hurts can’t get on with my life will not open up to trust others, especially in new relationships Does this sound like the kind of person you can’t wait to be around? If you had to choose who you would spend time with, would you choose this person? Is this the one you would select to learn from or to model behavior you want to emulate? Of course not! James points out that all of this culminates in irrational thinking. Is it any surprise then that we start thinking everyone is out to get me? That no one wants me to succeed? Maybe we take it one step further: others are actively working against me so that I will fail. It’s all about who you know. I’m without merit or value, an utter and complete failure. Actually, I’m guaranteed to be a failure in anything I do. Wow, I hope you find yourself in some of these thoughts. They are contagious and breed without stopping…until you stop them. Get a grip on yourself. I said in the previous episode that leaders own their results. And we certainly don’t allow others to control our future. Don’t allow yourself to abdicate responsibility for your life. Everyone else is not to blame for my life. You are an overcomer, so act like one! It doesn’t do any good to talk about what resentment looks like without talking about how to move past resentment and regain control. If you aren’t helpless, then what can you do? Look for it! Where is resentment hiding? What is your commitment level to moving past resentment? It’s more comfortable to stay where you’re at and continue to ruminate on your negative emotions. Forgiveness is hard. I don’t think you can or should forget, but I do think you choose to forgive. Am I stuck because of the resentment I feel? Here’s another great challenge. Can I list the people or events that I resent? Am I willing to work to forgive that person or myself for allowing it? How would it feel to let go of that? I promise you that there is peace on the other side of forgiveness. The crazy part is that we have shackled ourselves to our pain. The great news is that you can also free yourself! You don’t have to look to others for approval or recognition. Get it from yourself! Set a goal and achieve it. Look at the innumerable resources available to improve your self-esteem. No one can stop you from making a better you! Choose one thing. Decide that you are going to improve one aspect of your life and do it. Nothing is stopping you. Affirm yourself – yes, tell yourself how great you are. I’m not talking about arrogance, I’m talking about countering all the negative crap you’ve been pumping into your head and heart. Change it! Visualize and imagine what it feels like to be successful at this one thing you have chosen. Picture how it feels to be happy with yourself! What does it feel like to be a winner? Not because you got the promotion, not because you lost the weight, not because you made the team, you win because you are working on being the best you that you can be. Anyone can do that! Is it easy? No, if it was easy you wouldn’t even be in this position to start with. Don’t kid yourself. You spent years, maybe decades, building the belief system you have in place right now. You aren’t going to dismantle that overnight. And you probably aren’t going to be able to do it alone. You need people that you can rely on to be honest with you. Maybe it’s a group of close friends, maybe it’s a spouse, maybe it’s a counselor, psychologist, coach, or therapist. What you don’t need are enablers. You know who I’m talking about. You don’t need to be running to bitter, angry, hostile people for advice on how to deal with your resentment. So if you don’t have a pen, then you will need to check out the show notes because I’m going to give you the five steps that Mr. Messina recommends to move past resentment. Step 1: Identify who the people are that I resent and what they did to make me resentful. Write it down, no shortcuts. As I write each one down, ask How real or imagined are these offenses? What has the specific resentment against each of these people done to my attitude about me and my future? How paralyzed am I in my efforts toward personal growth by the resentment I carry toward each of these people? Step 2: Develop a new way of looking at my past, present and future life. To do this, I need to write down the answer to the following questions: What irrational thinking am I locked into because of my resentment? How will ridding myself of resentment help me to develop a positive belief system in my life? How can I loosen the bonds and work out the anger over those I resent? What blocks my attempts to express my anger openly? How hard am I working at overcoming my blocks to anger? What new behavior do I need to develop to freely express my anger and rid myself of energy-draining resentment? What new rational thinking do I need to develop to overcome the negative impact of my resentment? How will my life be positively impacted by getting rid of my resentment? What new behavior do I need to develop to ensure that new resentment doesn’t arise? What new attitudes and approaches do I need to develop after ridding myself of resentment? Step 3: Now that I’ve considered a change in attitude and belief system, I need to: Write a letter (I will never send these letters so I can be brutally honest and straight forward in them) to each person I resent. In it list all real or imagined offenses. Try to explain why each person treated me badly. Was it real or imagined? Forgive each person, letting go of the offenses Step 4: Once I’ve let go of all of my resentment, visualize my life, present and future, without the negative impact of resentment. Write this vision down and affirm its reality daily. Step 5: If I am still bogged down by the negative effects of resentment, then I need to go back to Step 1 and begin again. Wow, that sounds like a lot of work Mark. I know. That’s because it is a lot of work. And as a result of this work, you will move past resentment and take back control of your future. So, yeah, it’s not easy. What price are you willing to pay for relief? My sincere thanks to Mr. James Messina for posting his article. Check it out (the link is in the show notes) when you have a moment. Let’s commit to move past resentment – life is too short and you are too awesome to allow others to control your future. Resources Mentioned In This Episode: The Leader to Leader Podcast Episode 136: Why Leaders Can’t Afford The High Cost Of Resentment James J. Messina post on Livestrong.com titled Handling Resentment Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to email@example.com. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 136: Why Leaders Can't Afford The High Cost Of Resentment 10/14/2019
LTL 136: Why Leaders Can't Afford The High Cost Of Resentment It’s usually not my intention to allow the introduction to direct the content for a podcast, but I felt like that needed to happen today. I want to share a couple of stories with you that are examples of why leaders can’t afford the high cost of resentment. And while this might be a little longer than usual, I think it’s important because I want to give you an example of what I’m talking about. After a meeting this week, I wanted to grab a few mins at the gym before heading home. So, I jumped in the truck and headed toward the gym. At the intersection where the gym is located, there had been a serious accident. Several vehicles were on tow trucks and one of them facing the wrong direction toward oncoming traffic. So obviously it was significant. Even as I’m telling you this, my heart goes out to the people who were involved. I don’t know if you’ve ever had an accident, but it’s a terrible feeling – especially if you caused it! There were people traumatized sitting on the sidewalk being attended to by emergency personnel. Shell-shocked is a good way to describe the scene with many tears. I don’t expect this was done on purpose and whether texting, running a light, or distracted by someone in the car, or a favorite song on the radio, it’s likely that someone regrets a moment of inattention to the most important thing we can do while driving: drive! So I couldn’t reach the gym because they were redirecting traffic. I turned right, went up a couple of blocks, and made a u-turn. In the midst of all of this, I had not realized that there was also road construction happening right before that intersection as well. So I make my u-turn and they have barriers set up to direct traffic into a single lane (it’s a three-lane road) while they are working on spot paving repairs for two of the lanes. There’s a break in the barriers so it looks like I can turn right out of this left-hand lane into the parking lot for the center where my gym is located. So I pass some of the road construction equipment and cross through the break in the barrier ONLY TO REALIZE THAT THE ENTRANCE HAS FOUR CONES ACROSS IT PREVENTING ACCESS! Man, I’m in a mess now. I can’t get back out to the left lane I was in. There’s construction in front of me and behind me. Additionally, there are two or three cars behind me trying to do the same thing I’m doing! At this point, I know that I made a big mistake. So I do the only thing I can. I get out of the truck and move two cones so I can enter the parking lot. I didn’t put the cones back because I knew the other couple of cars were coming in behind me. By the way, did I mention how foolish I felt at this instant? Major OOPS! As I’m getting back into the truck, I see one of the road construction guys and I can see he’s pretty upset. I can’t hear him, but I see him on the bucket loader throwing his hands up in the air like “what the heck are you doing idiot?” So I yelled “Sorry!” and then pulled in and parked. Now I could have left it there. But instead, I made the incredibly long walk back across the parking lot to the area where they were working. The cones were back in place (I suspect one of the crew took care of that). I saw the guy on the bucket loader and approached. I was able to explain that I didn’t realize the entrance was closed and offered my apology again. He was fine, but it was awkward for me. As a leader, you always own your mistakes. If you don’t, then you leave situations like that creating misrepresentations. What do you mean? I mean this: if I don’t own it, then the guy on the front-end loader thinks all drivers are idiots who don’t care about the safety of themselves or the people working the project. If I don’t own it, then I think all construction workers are easy to aggravate and have zero tolerance for mistakes made by drivers who are in an unfamiliar situation. Neither of these misrepresentations is accurate. In this instance, I was a bonehead. Since I have significant safety training, in hindsight, I recognize the mistake. I should have gone to the intersection, turned right, and turned right again into the parking lot. Clearly, it would have been a better choice than my apparent short-cut that became a long-cut. This is a rather trivial example and a great analogy of what happens in our teams regularly. There are reasons for the circumstances we find ourselves in – and believe it or not, you don’t know the entire context. You have a limited perspective. My knowledge grew as I was exposed to more and more information. The initial accident was quite possibly the result of the construction. I didn’t even know about the construction when I made my choice to u-turn and come back to the gym. Obviously, I didn’t know about the access to the parking lot being obstructed. I make a mistake as a result of my ignorance, my lack of information. Imagine if, instead of owning it and the difficulty or danger that I created for others, I ignore it. Or worse, I pretend that it’s really how this should be done. My arrogance, ignorance, or stubbornness cause damage to the team’s ability to operate optimally. As a leader, that’s not acceptable. When we allow excuses or blame to take the place of acknowledging what could be improved, what I should have done differently, trouble is coming. And there is a very real cost for not addressing these issues. When you allow resentment to persist, when you start to become a victim or nurse the wrongs that have been done to you, you change. And not for the better. And here’s the irony. I mentioned this back in Episode 127: Overcoming Your Pain To Step Into Your Greatness. If you missed it, make a note and go back to listen to it. The irony is this: by hanging on to resentment, you are giving another person control over your life. That is the antithesis, the very opposite, of leadership. Leaders own their results. So don’t take my word for it. Take a look at what Dr. Leon Seltzer said is the cost of resentment in an article he wrote for Psychology Today: Prolongs mental and emotional pain—and may even exacerbate it Leads to long-lasting anxiety and/or depression Precipitates vengeful acts that put you at further risk for being hurt or victimized—and possibly engulf you in a never-ending, self-defeating cycle of getting even Prevents you from experiencing the potential joys of living fully in the present—vs. dwelling self-righteously on the past wrongs inflicted on you Creates or deepens an attitude of distrust and cynicism—qualities that contribute to hostility and paranoid thinking, as well as an overall sense of pessimism. Such a bleak perspective prompts others to turn away from you! Interferes with your cultivating healthy, satisfying relationships, and lead you to doubt, or disparage, your connection to others Compromises or weakens your higher ideals, and adversely impacts your personal search for purpose and meaning in life Robs you of vital energy far better employed to help you realize your desires, or achieve goals that you coveted earlier Undermine your physical health. The chronic anger that is bitterness can raise your stress baseline, thereby taxing your immune system Blinds you from recognizing your own role, or responsibility, in possibly having been vindictively harmed by another By keeping you in a paradoxical state of “vengeful bondage,” erodes your sense of well-being. Many of those should cause you to shudder. The cost is too high to drag around your resentment. You can’t afford it. It will cause your emotional bankruptcy. So stop. Okay, maybe you say “You are convincing me that there is a better way.” But how do I let go of these things that caused real hurt, pain, and disadvantage? First, let me say that the pain you felt is real. You have been wronged. You were the recipient, in many cases, of physical, emotional, and psychological pain that you did not deserve. I’m not advocating that you should pretend like it didn’t happen. What I am advocating is that you shift away from resentment and toward forgiveness. Remember, this is about revoking control that you give to others when you hang onto anger, resentment, and bitterness. Learn from it, don’t allow it to repeat (to the extent that it is within your control). This is a big topic and difficult to treat in a matter of a few minutes. So rather than hurry up and offer a few quick ideas to handle resentment, I’m going to be more thorough. I will dedicate the episode next week to move past resentment and take back control of your future. Until then, remember these words from the former President of Poland, Lech Walesa: It is hardly possible to build anything if frustration, bitterness, and a mood of helplessness prevail. Lech Walesa It’s worthy of our time and attention. If you displace resentment, you open yourself to greater potential. Don’t miss next week!
info_outline LTL 135: Four Solid Principles Supporting Team Growth 10/07/2019
LTL 135: Four Solid Principles Supporting Team Growth In the previous episode, I was able to share some of the experiences that shape who I am. This isn’t Part Two of that discussion. Yet I recognize that I didn’t offer any explanation for how those unique aspects about me impact my approach to leadership. So, today is my opportunity to do that as I talk about four solid principles supporting team growth. You likely already know some of this, especially long-time listeners of the podcast. As a result, you will have to resist the temptation to zone out. Stay engaged, because there is some significance here that I haven’t had an opportunity to share with you before. Why Do This? People will sometimes ask me why I do the podcast. You know that I’m passionate about leadership. I want you to be a great leader and I want to improve my leadership skills. So how do I do that? Consequently, it’s not an accident. As with anything you value, you will certainly discover the need for intention and purpose. Like most of you, I had moments where I was profoundly impacted by a high-quality leader. You know the kind of leader I’m talking about. In short, they have all the great characteristics you and I look for in someone we want to follow. As a result, our time with them not only makes a positive impact – it changes us. We realize that quality leadership isn’t magic, rather it’s purpose. And that’s why I’m here: to dispel myths and give you practical tips for leading well. If You Leave It To Chance… Because if you leave it to chance, then chances are it ain’t gonna happen! The worst thing that I can imagine, is you end up with a new leadership role and no mentor to guide you in that role. To clarify, a company doesn’t purposefully place you in a position to fail. People are busy. And that is precisely why you must not leave mentoring to chance. If you are a leader, then you must find new and struggling leaders to come alongside. If you are a newly appointed leader, then you must search out those who have gone before you. Those who can give you the kind of guidance, advice, and encouragement, to keep you from repeating their mistakes. All of us have an obligation to raise up the next generation of leaders. Because that team member has an opportunity to change the company, the customer, and the experience in a unique and impactful way. So how do you do this? It’s not five easy steps, but there are some useful tips that I want to share. How Can I Make My Team Better? First, John Maxwell says he starts each day by asking “How can I make my team better?” You don’t have to lead the team to ask this question. To clarify, you become a leader by acting like one. That means leading even when it’s not your title, responsibility, or position. When I heard this, I remember thinking “Great, but I don’t have a team.” And in this moment, I recognized that we are a team. You and me. We form a team. How so? Well, we are engaged in the same work and activity of developing leadership ability! And this is the very definition of a team. When I ask this question, “How can I make my team better?”, I promise you that I have you in mind as I answer it. Every day, whether looking at content or studying principles, I’m asking if this will propel us to progress. Am I Being An Example To My Team? And that leads to the next question that John asks: “Am I being an example to my team?” Ginger has frequently asked me why I continue to push hard to meet the publication deadline for this podcast. It’s a practical question and one that I struggle to answer clearly when I don’t have this question in mind. But the reason why I press to continue to meet the publication schedule is that you are important to me. Not only do I not want to let you down, I want to deliver because I know it’s important to you just as it would be important to me. I want to be that example of consistency and do what I say I will do until I say that I’m doing something different. Am I Creating An Environment Where My Team Can Learn? The third question that Mr. Maxwell asks is a massive undertaking for any serious leader. Am I creating an environment where my team can learn? This one matters deeply to me. I expect you can relate. Maybe you also have worked for or currently work for, a company that doesn’t have a large training budget. When you start thinking that their limitation prevents you from effectively training or being trained, then you have lost half the battle. First, training is not the responsibility of your employer. Second, every good training program identifies that personal investment is the best way to guarantee return on investment. In other words, how badly do you want it? Third, you have a virtually limitless set of resources available to you at low or no cost even if you choose not to invest heavily in your leadership training. There are more books, audiobooks, and internet resources than you could possibly consume in a lifetime. Pick one and devour it with your team. As the leader, you set the tone for the learning environment. Don’t accept excuses for why skillset can’t be improved. Maybe those excuses worked a hundred years ago, but not in today’s easily accessed information age. Going Deep The last question that I’m going to leave you with today is also one that John Maxwell asks himself. “How can I build the depth of my team?” If you are like me, you might frame this question in a sporting context. Think first string, second string, third string, etc… As I have contemplated this, I recognize it’s so much more than “next man up.” The depth that should concern each of us is not how many players we have who could assume a starting role. That’s our immediate tendency. And I’m guilty! It’s a bit of succession planning which is very necessary. Here though, I’m talking about going deep and extracting the capability each team member has to bring to the game. You are extremely capable. Think of this: there are some physical exercise studies that say our brains kick in starting to limit us when we have reached approximately 40% of our limitation. We know that we use only a small percentage of our mental capability. You, your team members, me, we have virtually limitless untapped potential that is waiting to be discovered. So how do we get at it? Shake It Up I think you have to shake things up. Go do the stuff that makes you uncomfortable. Take on a challenge that doesn’t look realistic. I’m not advocating that you do something dangerous or foolish. I’m saying you have to intentionally place yourself in the stretch. Take on the project or the assignment that no one wants. Find the customer or the client that is impossible to satisfy. Leave the safety of what’s known for the sake of living a challenge. The road will rise to meet you. A leader who takes on a challenge isn’t asking her team to do anything she won’t do herself. And that is extremely compelling for any team. Resources Mentioned In This Episode: The Leader to Leader Podcast Episode 134: Distinctives and What Makes Us Different The John Maxwell Leadership Podcast Focused Thinking Part Two Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to firstname.lastname@example.org. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 134: Distinctives And What Makes Us Different 09/30/2019
LTL 134: Distinctives And What Makes Us Different I was listening to Ray Edwards recently where he was sharing on his podcast 10 Uncomfortable Truths About Me. As he, Sean, and Tiffany were getting ready to sign off, he said something that I loved. Some of the things he shared in that episode (#399 if you want to listen) were going to clearly separate his people from those who are not his people. He was talking about distinctives, calling attention to what makes you and me different. Too often, we forget this principle. You aren’t meant to be a perfect fit with everyone you encounter. You know that I regularly refer to you as unique. There’s something special and different about you that won’t resonate with everyone you meet. Being all things to all people doesn’t work – there’s a tribe, a group who gets you. Those are the ones you have to find and plugin with…deeply. You have to be okay with that. You have views, opinions, and interests that will separate as well as attract. These unique identifiers may even cause others to work against you. Don’t worry about separating yourself and identifying as different. This is how it should be. What are your distinctives? Lean into them. They not only shape you, but they also pull in (or push out!) others as you find, build, and connect with your tribe. I think there are challenges with words like “tribe.” Sometimes it sounds exclusionary to me and the reality is you are excluding people when you are being honest about who you are because you and your message won’t connect with everyone you contact. So here are some distinctives about me. First, I’m a Christ-follower. I would hope that in every single thing I say and do, that you see or hear Jesus in it. Part of the danger of telling you this is that you assume I’m some kind of religious nut job. Some of you are already certain that I am. I’d like to think that I’m not religious at all and instead value a sincere relationship with Jesus. I mean this from the bottom of my heart, not preaching at you, Jesus has changed my life. Second, I had a HUGE fascination with trucks when I was young. There were truck drivers on both sides of my family. I grew up shifting gears for my Uncle Wayne as he delivered fuel between Denver and Greeley, Colorado. And it consumed me. I was forever building trucks out of Legos and drawing them no matter how poor of an artist I was. When I drew them, they came to life for me. And trust me, if you have never been in the cab of a truck, it is an exhilarating experience. The highlight of my young life was getting to go in the truck with my Uncle Larry and my cousin Larry Jr to Grand Island, Nebraska. That memory is only outdone by getting to ride in the truck with my hero, my cousin Doug Steinbecker, from Greeley, Colorado out to Portland, Oregon. I was hooked. It ran in my blood. My Uncle Larry and Uncle Dale owned a very successful trucking company that they started in Greeley, Colorado called Steinbecker Brothers. They started with one truck, then two, then three. At one point, they had more than 300 trucks and 500 trailers. I worked hard from the time I was young. I mowed lawns as a pre-teen and not only paid for my part of the equipment but also paid for the dirt bike that I bought with my own money. When we moved to Greeley, I got my dream job! Working in the wash rack for my uncles at their trucking company. Literally, I was driving trucks pulling trailers before I was driving a car. It was crazy and I loved every moment. But like all glamorous things, the shine can wear a bit and expose some of the more challenging realities. Truck driving is a very hard life and owning/running a trucking company is even more difficult. Fortunately, my parents watered a seed of interest in computers with a massive investment in the mid-80s to buy an IBM Portable PC and dot matrix printer. As a result, that paved the way for me to find a career in technology. But things don’t always go as planned. The third distinctive that is different about me is that I was nominated to attend the U.S. Naval Academy by Senator Hank Brown in Colorado. In part because of all the diesel smoke that I inhaled, I had no desire to attend the Naval Academy. I wanted to go to the Air Force Academy. It was my job as a young adult male to make questionable decisions, so instead of pursuing the Naval Academy, I entered the workforce right after high school. I was working full time in my early 20s living in north Denver when I decided to go back to school and get my degree. I was married with two kids before completing that degree in 1999. It took me almost eight years to get it done, but I didn’t have any student loan debt when I finished. I can tell you that I worked extremely hard for that piece of paper. And I’m forever grateful for my employer at that time who paid most of my tuition as long as I maintained my grades. Ginger and the boys were so patient with me. I could never have done it without their support. It wasn’t easy and it was absolutely worth it for me. I pushed both of my boys HARD to get degrees. In hindsight, I don’t think that was smart or helpful. As a matter of fact, in many instances, I think it can be damaging to push your children to get a degree. So, no, I don’t think everyone should go to college. I’ve worked with some BRILLIANT people who do not have a degree. And that’s part of their list of distinctives. Not only are they more intelligent, capable, and qualified to lead than their degree-holding peers, in my opinion, they were (and are) unfairly discriminated against because they didn’t have a piece of paper saying they know how to study and take tests. I believe that degrees have great value to those who apply themselves to the process of learning. I don’t believe that degrees qualify you as learned. Fourth, both my wife and youngest son faced life-threatening illnesses. This is one of the distinctives that I don’t wish on anyone because it’s brutal, frustrating, frightening, and makes you incredibly thankful for each and every day. I know how crushing bad news can be and I know what it’s like to struggle through things you don’t understand. It drove me to my knees on multiple occasions and while it didn’t always turn out the way I wanted, there was always a deep peace knowing that I wasn’t alone. There’s nothing more tragic than going through circumstances like these feeling isolated with no one to turn to – if that’s you, then tell me! You don’t have to go through it alone! Fifth, I spent more than 30 years in corporate America working for two different companies. I worked for a medium-sized company for eight years and a Fortune 500 company for 23. Not only do individuals have distinctives that separate, so do organizations and cultures. While they both had their share of issues, there are so many good things that I could tell you about either of them. I’ve known myriads of business owners at companies of various sizes. Entrepreneurs, small, medium, and large business owners, CEOs of both public and privately held companies and I can say this with 100% confidence: thank God for all the risk-takers who employed the rest of us! Business owners, corporations, bankers, investors, shareholders, they aren’t evil. There are obviously some very bad people in this world. And there are some very, VERY, good ones. The answer to our problems is not vilifying those we don’t understand or disagree with. Dialog, not diatribes, will bridge the gap from where we are to where we want to be. I’ve been burned and I’ve been blessed in the companies I worked for. And I can say that I’m genuinely grateful for each experience that continues to shape me into the individual that I am today. My distinctives are going to be different than yours. So, here’s the thing: I want you to take a few moments today and think about your distinctives. What are some of those experiences in your background that have made you into the woman or man that you are today? You have a story – some of those things will attract people to you and others will repel. That’s okay. Because your story will resonate with certain folks, you need to invest deeply in them. What makes you different, what makes you distinct, makes you valuable. Resources Mentioned In This Episode: The Ray Edwards Show Episode 399: 10 Uncomfortable Truths About Me Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to email@example.com. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 133: Responding When Thrust Into The Unexpected 09/23/2019
LTL 133: Responding When Thrust Into The Unexpected How many times have you said, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming!” or “That was completely unexpected!” Sometimes it’s good, but most often it’s not. Like you, I have my fair share of these surprise moments. But today, I want to offer some practical tips on how to respond when you are thrust into an unexpected circumstance. Because of my line of work, I hear stories all the time about people who have found themselves in shock over a recent circumstance. Think about it, there are tons of examples: failing an important exam that will impact your career experiencing divorce receiving an unexpected bill that exceeds your emergency fund losing a job being notified of an audit by the IRS experiencing the death of a spouse/friend/parent/child finding your home or car broken into having your home destroyed by a fire or natural disaster losing significant savings over a bad investment having to declare bankruptcy because your business failed These are just a few examples of the things that seem to come up more frequently than any of us would like. Some of them are way more serious than others. By themselves, they are tragic and when you combine more than one, it can feel overwhelming – like you can’t go on. But you can. And that’s the most important thing for you to remember today: you can go on. I was reminded of this recently when my son was telling me about what was happening where he works. The company had to make some very difficult decisions about how to continue operating. As you can guess, they were having to lay people off and an impact is felt by the families of several employees who were told that it was their last day. Yes, it was unexpected. Not shocking maybe. An incident like this generally has some signals leading up to it that might indicate a problem on the horizon. But even if every one of the people in that company could say “Yep, we knew it was bound to happen!” that doesn’t make it easier when you are watching your friends, peers, coworkers, and even arch-nemesis leaving the office for the last time with a box in their hands containing several years of blood, sweat, and tears. It actually was very emotional for me when he first told me about it. I felt like I was thrown right back into the feelings I experienced over different periods in my career. I have been the one delivering this kind of news and I have also been the one who was receiving it. Neither is better than the other. Trust me, I’m not downplaying the significance of these events. It can be so painful. Like you, I can literally feel what that person feels who has just been told they don’t have a job here anymore or hearing that a close friend or relative has died. These unexpected events will tear a massive hole in your heart leaving you feeling scared, scarred, confused and alone. And there were times I didn’t think I would make it through it. So this is a fantastic opportunity to talk about it. So I am. The first thing I want to remind you of when you find yourself facing the unexpected: you aren’t alone. You aren’t the only one who ever dealt with this. People much less capable than you survived. And you will too. The second thing to remember is that emotions flow in cycles. I talked about this in more detail in Episode 109: Leading While Leaving. Go have a listen and learn about the Kubler-Ross grief cycle to know how emotions run from denial to anger to bargaining, to depression, and finally to acceptance. You don’t necessarily move through them in order and you might move quickly from one stage to another. In other instances, you might move much more slowly and even skip some. The point is that there is a process and you need to let that process happen. It can be a mistake to push through or past this too quickly. Next, I want you to consider resilience and fortitude as more than just pithy words about how you go on from here. I talked extensively about the value of fortitude in Episode 35: Fortitude: Six Steps To Increase Your Ability To Endure. For the rest of this episode, I want to talk about how you increase the other element: resilience. When the unexpected arises, you start making a myriad of choices. How you respond is within your control even though what happened might have been completely outside of it. So what does it mean to be resilient? The technical definition is interesting: the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress (from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary). Michael Kay defines it as the ability to regain or maintain a positive outlook and persevere in the face of challenge and adversity (from his Forbes article How To Prepare For The Unexpected: Before It Happens). You might think it’s foolish to put on a happy face but there is too much evidence to support the idea that smiling improves your attitude and your outcome. Choosing your attitude is of monumental importance to increase your resiliency. You have to “go pro” in choosing your attitude. Words can never adequately convey the incredible impact of our attitude toward life. The longer I live the more convinced I become that life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it. I believe the single most significant decision I can make on a day-to-day basis is my choice of attitude. It is more important than my past, my education, my bankroll, my successes or failures, fame or pain, what other people think of me or say about me, my circumstances, or my position. Attitude keeps me going or cripples my progress. It alone fuels my fire or assaults my hope. When my attitudes are right, there’s no barrier too high, no valley too deep, no dream too extreme, no challenge too great for me. Chuck Swindoll Your attitude will affect your resilience. Next, take a different perspective. I wish I could tell you the details of the people that I have spoken with who said they would never have made the changes needed if it hadn’t been for the unexpected. This is a good opportunity to look at what needs to change in your life. I’ve shared before how going through my own personal experience of losing my job forced me to reevaluate how I was managing my career and the changes I had to make. Maybe you weren’t courageous enough to leave the safety of something you were comfortable with. Now you have a chance to start with a fresh perspective and a clean slate. Don’t underestimate the value of this chance. I want you to always be confident that you can handle the challenge(s) that you are facing. It doesn’t mean it will be easy and probably means some pain in the process. As long as you are drawing breath, you have something to offer this world and the people around you. Continue to focus on helping others when you need help yourself. Givers gain. It simply means as you look for ways to help others, you will find help for yourself. Finally, in the Forbes article I mentioned earlier, Michael Kay recommends the following: Try approaching a challenging situation as if you are the only person in the world who can make it better. Ask yourself: if anything is possible right now (divine intervention and magic aside), what three things can I do to improve my circumstances? You may not be able to take every step at this very moment, but you can start to create a plan that you can execute over time until you have started to create positive change in your life circumstances. Michael Kay That’s valuable. Too often, we feel like we don’t have what it takes to get through this unexpected event. And while there’s more too it than “3 Easy Steps To Get Through Anything!”, you can survive and improve. So, the time you feel overwhelmed, remember to: choose your attitude try a different perspective and use this unexpected event to make positive changes to your life and stay focused on helping others ask yourself what three things you can do to improve your circumstance This isn’t easy and will require practice, but it’s worth your effort! Resources Mentioned In This Episode: The Leader to Leader Podcast Episode 131: Building People, Teams, and Processes with Micah Rowland Part One The Leader to Leader Podcast Episode 132: Building People, Teams, and Processes with Micah Rowland Part Two Michael Kay’s Forbes article How To Prepare For The Unexpected Before It Happens The Leader to Leader Podcast Episode 109: Leading While Leaving The Leader to Leader Podcast Episode 035: Fortitude: Six Steps To Increase Your Ability To Endure Chuck Swindoll’s blog post The Value of a Positive Attitude Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to firstname.lastname@example.org. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 132: Building People, Teams, and Processes with Micah Rowland Part Two 09/16/2019
LTL 132: Building People, Teams, and Processes with Micah Rowland Part Two Welcome to Part Two of my conversation with Micah Rowland. Micah isn’t your everyday builder. As Chief Operating Officer of Fountain, he builds people, teams, and processes that have taken multiple companies from 50 to 300 people and beyond, and $5 million to $35 million in revenue. After starting his career as a software engineer, Micah Rowland earned a Stanford MBA before switching tracks to management consultancy. This unusual path from engineering to business led him to roles with industry leaders, such as McKinsey & Company and Starbucks, where he worked in global strategy and brand management before gravitating toward startups in the SaaS space. Over 17 years, Micah has worked with companies ranging in size from 30 employees to over 100,000 and multiple startups from Series A to Series D funding. Through this journey, he has learned how to solve problems in everything from leadership and organizational development to operations, strategy, and pricing. With Fountain, the Series A-funded startup providing hiring automation software for today’s high-velocity service economy, Micah now helps to solve problems on a different scale. He credits being allowed to make mistakes and learn from them for sharpening his leadership, coaching, and human development skills. In fact, developing those skills has led him to discover what he most enjoys about his work — helping people grow both personally and professionally through the rewarding friendships he’s been able to build in the workplace. Key Takeaways From Micah Rowland In a coaching relationship, the most important characteristic is teachability You must be open to being told that you are wrong or that you need to modify your approach It’s up to the coach to create an environment where the learner feels secure The McKinsey model says we ALL have an obligation to dissent, to disagree and even create conflict when we aren’t aligned Manage that conflict in a way that doesn’t allow the team to be torn apart by disagreement Consequences for failure aren’t borne by a team member, they are borne by leadership Fear is the number one inhibitor of creative thinking Fear prevents an individual from taking initiative An organization without creative and inventive thinkers won’t scale or be able to retain key talent An investment is made with an expectation of return When a leader provides personal or professional development for a team member, it’s a gift A gift becomes a powerful motivator, especially when you see what others did for you Make sure you aren’t treating human beings as objects Leadership is about people and if you are going to be good at it, you have to care about people Resources Mentioned In This Episode: Fountain’s website Follow Fountain on LinkedIn Connect with Micah Rowland on LinkedIn The Leader to Leader Podcast Episode 131: Building People, Teams, and Processes with Micah Rowland Part One Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to email@example.com. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 131: Building People, Teams, and Processes with Micah Rowland Part One 09/09/2019
LTL 131: Building People, Teams, and Processes with Micah Rowland Part One Welcome to Part One of my conversation with Micah Rowland. Micah isn’t your everyday builder. As Chief Operating Officer of Fountain, he builds people, teams, and processes that have taken multiple companies from 50 to 300 people and beyond, and $5 million to $35 million in revenue. After starting his career as a software engineer, Micah Rowland earned a Stanford MBA before switching tracks to management consultancy. This unusual path from engineering to business led him to roles with industry leaders, such as McKinsey & Company and Starbucks, where he worked in global strategy and brand management before gravitating toward startups in the SaaS space. Over 17 years, Micah has worked with companies ranging in size from 30 employees to over 100,000 and multiple startups from Series A to Series D funding. Through this journey, he has learned how to solve problems in everything from leadership and organizational development to operations, strategy, and pricing. With Fountain, the Series A-funded startup providing hiring automation software for today’s high-velocity service economy, Micah now helps to solve problems on a different scale. He credits being allowed to make mistakes and learn from them for sharpening his leadership, coaching, and human development skills. In fact, developing those skills has led him to discover what he most enjoys about his work — helping people grow both personally and professionally through the rewarding friendships he’s been able to build in the workplace. Key Takeaways From Part One A clear understanding of why things are happening (curiosity) is necessary to correct and improve Problem-solving in a startup is complicated by the fact that any particular problem may not belong to any single person or group You have to learn to apply abstract knowledge to unfamiliar situations – it’s good to be stretched Start by introducing team members to the idea that there is a process for problem-solving McKinsey & Company Seven-Step Problem-Solving Process: Define the problem Disaggregate the problem to identify the key issues Prioritize the most important/impactful issues Formulate hypotheses to resolve each of the issues Analyze to understand whether you can prove/disprove the hypotheses Synthesize the results Reach a recommendation It’s an iterative process with stages 4-7 that refine the recommendation by reevaluating assumptions and improving analysis The stages can be learned independently and there are tools supporting each of the steps Once you have introduced a tool like an issue tree or logic tree, give team members a chance to practice with exercises on real-life business situations The most powerful results come when you work side-by-side with an experienced leader who demonstrates the process You multiply your capacity by apprenticing your team through complicated processes Be laser-focused and precise on problem definition: what is in-scope and what is out-of-scope Part of problem-solving is acknowledging that your depth of knowledge may inhibit further progress and other expertise is required Deprioritization is just as powerful as prioritization and equally important to call out what you are NOT going to do as a part of this exercise Resources Mentioned In This Episode: Fountain’s website Follow Fountain on LinkedIn Connect with Micah Rowland on LinkedIn Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to firstname.lastname@example.org. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 130: The Labor Inspector 09/03/2019
LTL 130: The Labor Inspector If you are in the U.S., you just celebrated the Labor Day weekend. Because I thought it was clever, I named this episode The Labor Inspector in honor of this most joyous occasion! But it got me thinking about how infrequently we stop to measure the results of our actions. I’m guilty! Most of us are definitely busy and you all know that being busy is not equal to being productive. That’s never good; actually, it’s dangerous. Especially when you have been in a period of massive busyness with no time for evaluating the result. I’m going to come back to this point in a future episode, but for now, I want to focus on inspection. Desirable Outcomes Or Dismal Results This requires stopping for long enough to critically think about what you are doing. If it’s leading to desirable outcomes or dismal results, then the answer might be more obvious than when it appears to not really matter one way or the other. Here’s the challenge: with some tasks, you are too close to know whether what you are doing has potential. This is the single best reason I know of to have mentors and coaches. Ahhhh, but if you are going to have a mentor or a coach, then you are going to have to check your ego at the door! It means being willing to be transparent and sometimes that’s not comfortable. To open ourselves for critique or judgment can be painful and embarrassing – especially if you thrive on the praise of others. I’m going to share a real-life example. Recently, I had some feedback from a sales leader about my level of passion in a sales call. I feel like I’m passionate about what I believe in, passionate about the products I represent, convinced that we are providing tremendous value and service to our clients. It’s all good! How could I not be passionate about it, right?! You Need A Shot Of Espresso Or Something! And these were his words, you need to take a shot of espresso or whatever you have to do to amp yourself up – you are really thorough, but you have to bring more energy. He wasn’t saying that I needed to caffeine up, I was plenty awake. He was calling for intention and focus on my delivery. And being mindful of not just what I’m saying, but why and how I’m saying it was the goal. If you know me, you know that I can talk. But that’s frequently a curse as much as it is a blessing! Get to it, get to the point, with efficiency and energy! I’m not talking Chris Farley “living in a van down by the river” energy – just energizing and causing others to feel it too! So, I have to decide when someone is willing to provide that feedback, do I acknowledge that there’s room to improve? Or, do I simply dismiss it and say “No, I think it was fine the way I handled it.” Seriously, think about the guy who reads the slide deck. Everyone is nodding off and he persists word by word, line by line, slide by slide. BORING! No one feels compelled to do anything but nap with a presentation like that. So here were two key lessons for me that I took away from this that I want to share with you: Responding To Feedback First, if he hadn’t said anything, I might not have noticed. I was in my groove, doing my groove thing. The same as you. you do your thing…mostly out of habit and almost on autopilot. Wake up! Change gears. Break the monotony and evaluate what you are doing. Even worse, if he would have inadvertently praised the effort, I might have thought I did it correctly. As it was, when I went back and listened to myself, thought through the conversation, considered my thoughts and feelings before and during that meeting, I couldn’t avoid concluding that he was right. An information download will never automatically equate to passion and energy. People don’t need information, they need a reason, a motivation, to act and respond. How Well Do You Know The Topic Second, part of the reason why we don’t manage our energy levels sufficiently is that as much as we might not like to admit it, we either know our material too well, or we don’t know it well enough. If we know it too well, we are just repeating the script, saying the same thing we’ve said the last thousand times we said it. If we don’t know it well enough, we get stuck putting everyone to sleep because we are reading the slide deck. A little observation of the audience should help immensely here. If they aren’t engaged with you, then you have to respond. More of the same is going to increase the level of disengagement. So read the audience and respond accordingly. Always Bring Enthusiasm And here’s one other little tip for you: it doesn’t matter if the audience is feeding your energy level. You have to bring enthusiasm on your own. Just because an audience member isn’t happy to be there doesn’t mean you have to become unhappy to be there as well. There’s a reason why it’s called labor. It’s the great challenge all leaders must undertake: producing engagement where it doesn’t exist. So on this labor day, take a second to inspect your own recent labor and get someone to help you if you aren’t able to do it objectively. Commit to being open to change where it’s needed so you can improve the results. Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to email@example.com. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 129: Your Past Makes You Human 08/26/2019
LTL 129: Your Past Makes You Human After the snafu this past week of failing to release the previous episode, I got to thinking about other things I’ve done that were easier to hide. Some stuff is so embarrassing, it’s easy to understand why a human will hide it. Other things are so horrendous that we would be horrified if anyone ever discovered it. There’s a lot of it that is just plain stupid. But one thing is for certain: your past makes you human. Can you imagine your dog thinking “I hope no one saw me dragging my butt across that new rug in the living room last week!” Note to self: make sure no one is in the room when I need a little cleanup. Or do you think your cat is hiding from embarrassment because you posted that video where he fell of the counter? It’s a uniquely human characteristic. I’ve done some stupid stuff. And they are things you would never know about if I didn’t tell you here. I started doing stupid stuff at an early age: dirt clod wars anyone? Any BB gun infantrymen out there listening today? How about roof jumpers? You know who I’m talking to…especially if you had a trampoline. One of my earlier moments of human brilliance was when I used my dad’s two-wheeler (moving dolly) to pry up one end of the concrete lid that covered our septic system. I really wanted to see what was in there. The problem is that I couldn’t manage to lift it off by myself. I was only a little guy, probably six or seven. So, I got my sister Jodi to help. I pried up one side and had her put her hands under it so I could go pry up the other side and then we would discover what was under that lid! Unfortunately, her little four-year-old fingers couldn’t hold it either and she started screaming! So, I ran to get Dad to take it off her fingers. Jodi always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time with me. So here’s one for the record books and I’m praying my folks aren’t listening to this episode. My sister and I were pretty young and she had broken her leg skiing that winter. THAT was not my fault. She had a spiral fracture from a binding that didn’t pop off when the ski was turning…and turning…and turning…ouch! It was the beginning of summer now and she was still in an ankle-to-hip cast. This becomes an important fact momentarily. The entrance to our neighborhood was right off a very busy street on the north side of Denver. Our next-door neighbor lived on the corner next to that busy street. Because that street dropped over a hill just past the entrance to our neighborhood, her backyard was elevated several feet above the street surface. It was dark. Our parents had company and what were a bored boy and his sister on crutches to do? You do things in the dark that you would never do during the day. Actually, you do things that you would never do again no matter what time of day it is! I’m pretty sure you have to be human to realize this. Jodi and I went out of our backyard into the neighbor’s backyard. I swear, there was no malicious intent at this point…just tremendous opportunity. So as we are watching the cars go by, we are standing on some dirt…and rocks. Rocks. A badly behaving human’s best buddy. So I pick up a few of these little gems and do what you only wish you could have done. I toss them as high into the air as I possibly can. Over the road. Let’s see what happens. In fact, I can’t recall how many I threw before one connected with a target. And boy did it cause a stir! A real hornet’s nest at that point. SMACK! It wasn’t a big rock, but I can still hear it. Then squealing breaks. Then a lot of swearing. And I was running. I was almost in the backdoor of our house when I realized that Jodi was missing! She did her best to beat it out of there as fast as she could, but the crutches had slowed her down. It turns out that she only made it to the back patio of our neighbor’s house where she was hidden from the road. And I knew that any moment, the lights were going to go on because swearing guy isn’t calming down and I would think everyone in a two-block radius can hear the commotion. So I carefully sneak back over to the neighbor’s patio and Jodi is scared. Somehow, I convince her that we have to go NOW. Screaming guy is going to come flying up over that little hill in about two seconds. So we make a dash for our backyard…or at least as best you can on two crutches. We get into the house and nonchalantly make our way back to our bedrooms to get ready for bed. I’m not kidding – I remember brushing my teeth…trembling. That’s not the end of it. I don’t know if anyone came to the door that night. Maybe I’ve blocked it from my memory. But from my bedroom window, I remember seeing the flashing lights from a patrol car and I was sure that these were my last moments of freedom. I was going to the big house. Kiss your mom before you go, son. Maybe she can bring cookies once in a while. You might think that I immediately told the truth and made my confession to my parents about what I did. Nope. That’s what I would expect from my kids, but that’s not what I did. And lest you think stupid stuff stops after elementary school, nope. Not for boys anyway. Part of the reason we behave like paranoid parents is that we know what we did as children. Because we were teenagers, we know what heights of stupidity are achievable. Try to top this human achievement: I had multiple accidents…in a single night…on my way home after work ON MY BIRTHDAY on snow-packed and icy roads. I had a great vehicle – a 1969 Volkswagen bug. I was coming up to an intersection with a stop sign. The car in front of me had already made his turn and was waiting at the next stop sign. He was driving a 1970 boat and the rear end literally reached all the way back to the stop sign that I was desperately trying to stop at. Alas, an object in motion tends to stay in motion when there’s no friction to slow it down. It completely caved in the hood of my car and there wasn’t even a scratch on his. If you know anything about VWs, you know that it wasn’t the most formidable of vehicles. It was low-impact, but damaging to my car. I’ll never forget it: the boat captain got out of his car and I expect he was in his 70s. The first thing he says, and I quote “What the hell are you doing?” Um…testing out the strength of your bumper compared to the weakness of my hood? Trying really hard to stop? Fortunately, he agreed that SS Boaty McBoatFace was not damaged and he could sail on home unimpeded by this blustery storm. I, on the other hand, would have a lot of explaining to do…and would experience two more “bumper kisses” before arriving unsafely home. Even as an adult human, I did things that I wouldn’t do again. For instance, when I first landed a job as a Systems Administrator for Jacobs Ranch Mine in Gillette, WY, I wanted to make an impression…and boy, did I! The mine was about 50 miles from town. There two buses that left each morning a little before 7A. Everyone had an opportunity to ride the bus out to the mine in the morning and back in the evening instead of driving out to the mine each day. Cool benefit, right?! Right. Unless you stand out like a sore thumb because you wear a tie every day to work…at a mine! In all seriousness, I suspect that a high percentage of the men on those buses didn’t even know what a tie was, much less own a tie. I’ll bet the majority had not worn one in the last 25 years. The kind of men I was working with were rough. They grew up in hard and harsh country. Their dress clothes were clean jeans and their favorite boots. There’s a reason why there’s a bucking bronco on the Wyoming license plate. These are men who rode horses, not bicycles. One man, I loved him. His name was Jim Land and Jim was the plant manager. The plant was where they crushed and stored the coal in silos, then loaded it out into gondola train cars. Jim had been at the plant for a long time. He told me one time that when he was a kid, one of his favorite things to do was catch rattlesnakes, then put them in the freezer. After several minutes he would get them out and play with them because they would be cold and slow. When they started to warm up, he would either put them back in the freezer or take them out and release them. I felt like I needed to reflect a professional image – they felt like I was an idiot. No one ever counseled me otherwise. It didn’t matter that I had worn a tie to the office for 8 years prior. This was not that environment. I certainly didn’t know my audience as well as I should have. At the same time, standing out isn’t always a bad thing. It’s good to be remembered…unless you are in your underwear. White briefs. That’s the worst my friend. And for whatever weird reason, that dream still happens once in a while. I’m in the office and suddenly realize…yep, nothing but whitey tighties! Dang it! Not again. And of course, you have to leave the meeting to go find your pants. It’s SO embarrassing. And here’s the thing: I am telling on myself today. You have your own naughty, cooky, laughable, embarrassing stories. And that’s cool. Tell them. It makes you human. You aren’t perfect – you’re relatable. And the next time you get nervous before talking to that person or that group, the next time you start to sweat and your heart pounds as you dial that number, just remember that on the other end is someone who has some screwed up stories just like yours. Yep, you’re human. Welcome. Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to firstname.lastname@example.org. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 128: Creating A Thriving Environment For Growth 08/19/2019
LTL 128: Creating A Thriving Environment For Growth Do you have a green thumb? Maybe you are a master gardener. You can make anything grow! If this isn’t you, you can probably think of someone you know who has a masterful touch with all things potted or planted. Whether soil prep, positioning for appropriate sunshine, or knowing exactly how much water is required, they make a thriving environment for growth. Green Thumb For Growth For others of us, it’s like art. You can’t draw a straight line, but comparatively, you could replicate the Mona Lisa before you could make a plant grow! It makes me laugh because I know there have been times when a little research might have been the difference in the survivability rate of a particular plant. And guess what? You can’t do the same things in Arizona as you do in Utah to grow a plant outside. Ginger and I are definitely finding that out first hand! For instance, I love jalapenos. Ginger always planted a few in our garden when we lived in Utah. They were wonderful and would freeze well if I didn’t eat all of them. My dad, Larry Slemons, always had a variety of pepper plants at their home in Colorado and would also share keeping me well-stocked. It started further back than that though. My mom’s sister, Aunt Shirley, and Uncle Bob, live in Stratford, Oklahoma. And my earliest memories of being at their place, were of Uncle Bob eating jalapenos with EVERYTHING. Literally, he ate them all the time. Because I was introduced to them fairly early, I’ve always liked the hot/spicy side of food. Whether mexican, asian, indian, etc…, I like it with some kick. I don’t like hot just for the sake of it though. I enjoy it when it adds something to the food besides just burning your mouth! And jalapenos have always been my favorite. I like certain ghost pepper salsas and habanero peppers are good, but my default is generally jalapeno. All Things Aren’t Equal So what does this have to do with creating an environment for growth? Well, when we got to Arizona, we thought we would plant a jalapeno plant in a pot (we don’t have a garden here) and see if could produce some jalapenos. But the circumstances are considerably different. You are probably a plant expert, but I didn’t realize that jalapenos do best when the temperature is between 65 and 80 degrees. Here in Arizona, that means winter. We’ve had summer temps this year as high as 116 degrees. A jalapeno will start to struggle to produce fruit when the temperature is above 90 degrees. So, as you can guess, results will vary. While the soil and water requirements aren’t different based on the two locations, the temperature and penetrating sunlight is definitely a big difference. Even plants that love the heat and require full sun, like our lemon and grapefruit trees, can be damaged if you don’t guard against the unmitigated exposure to full sunshine in the heat of summer when the trees are young. The Environment For Growth If you don’t take the environment into account, whether subtle or major cultural differences, the growth that you might experience can be hampered. And it can be discouraging. On a personal level, you might have found that a change has inhibited your ability (or your team’s ability) to grow. There are few things worse than gardening without results. Is there a more difficult job than farming? My granddad was a farmer in Nebraska. And while I did not grow up on a farm, I got to listen to innumerable stories that convey both the thrill and the heartache of farming. Ginger’s parents live in southeastern Colorado. Lots of farms that focus on wheat and corn. Again, more stories than I can recount where hardship and difficulty were prelims to moments of great success. And that reminded me of a post I saw from Mr. Gary Frey on LinkedIn. I’ll include a link in the show notes where you can check it out. He was talking about how often seeds are sown in tears. Think about the plight of a farmer. He or she plants with many factors out of his or her control. Creating A Place For Growth It takes a lot of effort to prepare the soil. If you think of this from a leadership perspective, it means you are building an environment where trust, transparency, authenticity, inclusion, accountability, respect, encouragement, and motivation are all infused. When it comes to cultivating and soil preparation, there are no shortcuts. You can think of attitudes and morale as being the sunshine. Maybe recognition, reward, and teamwork as rain or irrigation. And here you will find that certain elements are out of your control. When it comes to the things that will destroy a crop, whether weeds, insects, or disease, it’s up to you the leader farmer to identify it early and deal with it quickly. Decisive Action Procrastination is not a friend. Resistance will show up every time you need to act. Farmers don’t wait for perfect conditions to get started. But even when you’ve done your best, even when the farmer did everything right, there is no guarantee that good fruit is going to be produced. As a leader, the same as a farmer, you can’t lose heart. Whether you are looking at your own growth or the growth of your team, you have to keep sowing seeds. Imagine a farmer who stops sowing seed but still expects a bountiful crop. It doesn’t work that way, does it?! You can plant and nothing may grow, but you can be SURE that there won’t be any fruit if you don’t plant. This truth does not ease the pain of the expectant farmer. Below The Surface But Gary said something that I want to remind you of today as leaders: …We can’t see is what may be germinating below the surface. To anyone out there who feels like you’ve faithfully sown seeds in the lives of others or your efforts to grow your business have been in vain, I want to encourage you with this: Keep sowing… Gary Frey Because as leaders, you know that nothing grows when it’s not planted. And that’s leadership. Things didn’t grow when you thought they should. Everything seemed perfect and nada. Nothing. Then you see that hard soil, that person who doesn’t seem to hear a thing you say, but under the surface, the seed you planted is germinating. Nothing Grows When Seed Isn’t Sown Don’t get weary. I know there are times when it’s hard to persist. Do what you know to do to adequately prepare the soil. Whether that’s you, your team, the organization, or your community. Soil is in your control. Then sow the seed. Give every seed the best chance for success by keeping the detrimental destroyers at bay. Remove whatever has the potential to destroy the crops. And like a good farmer, be patient. Trust. It’s not always going to work out. But your effort is not wasted. Even when you are sowing in tears. Don’t stop. What doesn’t get planted will never grow. Then rejoice when the harvest comes. Seriously, is there anything more rewarding than seeing your sowing produce fruit in someone else’s life? It’s worth the effort, the pain, and the tears when the fruit is on the vine. So keep sowing! You are going to reap a fine crop someday! Resources Mentioned In This Episode: Gary Frey’s LinkedIn post Sometimes We Sow In Tears… Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to email@example.com. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 127: Overcoming Your Pain To Step Into Your Greatness 08/12/2019
LTL 127: Overcoming Your Pain To Step Into Your Greatness I had the privilege of attending the Global Leadership Summit in August. I’ll be sharing some of my key learnings from that event in future episodes; however, attending the Summit reminded me of something I had seen back in May. It was so powerful that I want to share it with you today. Erwin McManus gave a presentation at the Global Leadership Summit in 2018. Boiled down, it led to the title of this episode. You must overcome your pain in order to step into your greatness. If you don’t know who Erwin is, he’s a prolific author, cancer survivor, international speaker, and a pastor at MOSAIC church in Los Angeles. His latest books are The Way of the Warrior and The Last Arrow. Trust me when I say that he’s unlike any other man you know. For example, he embraces his uniqueness and he always speaks/writes in a way that uses story powerfully. The Pain Of Average His greatest fear growing up was that he would be average. Being raised in the shadow of a brother who seemed to excel at everything he touched, Erwin saw himself not as just average, but below average. And it wasn’t just Erwin who saw himself that way, his step-dad did his best to reinforce this with Erwin at every opportunity. We have pithy sayings about how “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” Because of that saying, many grew up believing they shouldn’t allow a label to cause them pain. That what others say or think is somehow not a part of who we become. Unfortunately, we all know that isn’t true. Succumbing To The Opinion Of Others How others see us can have a direct impact on how we see ourselves. As a result, it’s a battle to overcome the pain of a label or a stereotype and the mental exertion is intense – no one can do it for you. There will be times when you want to succumb to the opinions of others. And that’s a problem because when you do, you hand control of your life to another. Have you taken the Enneagram personality test? I’ve talked about it before and you can go back to Episode 022: Are You My Type? More Tools For Building Team Trust and listen to it to learn more about it. Anyway, on the Enneagram, I’m a Three, Achiever. And so what does that mean? Essentially, I’m success-oriented, adaptable, excelling, driven, and image-conscious. Therefore, my most basic fear is being worthless. And, as a result, my second greatest fear would be someone thinking I’m worthless. Erwin’s point about fearing average was resonating with me. So these fears can lead me to unhealthy behaviors. Unhealthy Behavior For me, unhealthy means associating value with accomplishment. As if I would only be loved if I am extraordinary in some endeavor. There’s a constant pressure to be outstanding in whatever I do and that is not only intense – it’s draining. There’s an underlying anxiety about personal value and expectation of myself that I always operate at maximum efficiency. At my worst, it’s easy to lose focus and fall into busywork. Here’s the strangest part of my behavior at home with Ginger. Because my relationship with her is secure (we are both committed to Jesus, each other, and our marriage), I will keep a positive mental attitude at work all day, only to come home and be a dissatisfied, sullen, snarky and childish with her. It’s like I’m free to let my guard down with her and it’s not okay. So if I allow it, unhealthy tendencies for me would make me a workaholic who fears the pain of failure or humiliation. I will want to impress others (man-pleasing) and spend too much time wondering what others think of me. Resisting Fear’s Mastery Slyly, with beguiling intent, fear begins to shape our behavior. And before we know it, our leadership is confined to our fears! Any pain we experience as a result of realized fears, simply evidences that our position is rational. See? I knew that this was not just in my imagination. We start to tell or remind ourselves of these stories. What pain awaits us if we step out of these confines. In the meantime, fear establishes mastery. We have become a slave to a cruel master. So, do you want to know the irony? As a result, we willingly give up our freedom. Please thoughtfully consider this point. Anything To Avoid Pain We are afraid because we don’t want pain. In our mind, pain = bad. Pain = limitation. In your mind, can you visualize the boundary lines being drawn? Because of the self-imposed boundary, I will choose to give up my freedom to pursue my dream. Because of my fear of pain, I will choose to allow my talents to lie dormant. Maybe I will disappoint someone, or myself. Because someone might think my effort is insufficient, then I will choose to not live in the light of experience. And who can blame us? Erwin points out that you and I live in the mythology of greatness. In addition, I would be shocked if you aren’t daily, possibly hourly, comparing your normal moments to everyone else’s best moments. Yes, the ones that show up on social media. This is what you won’t want to hear: pain is part of life. Pain is life. For some reason, we think that my life should not include pain. If I just do things right, then I can avoid pain. What a shallow misnomer. It’s actually just the opposite! That is, if you do things right, you will absolutely encounter pain head-on. Walk In Your Pain Erwin contends that you must learn to walk in your pain. There are no shortcuts. He goes on to say that you have to be willing to go through pain, crash through it, to encounter your greatness. Pain does not have to define your life. In Episode 051: Failure Isn’t Final, I talk about how failure is not an end…unless you let it. Erwin says that your future is on the other side of your failure. And that’s hard for us to imagine when we see the significance or the size of our failure. I don’t blame you for questioning how this could lead to something good. As you already know, I’m a Christ-follower. My faith allows me to see things differently than I might otherwise. But make no mistake, having faith does not mean that I always see things from a spiritual perspective. I don’t. It’s often one of my greatest frustrations. I want to look at my circumstances, see them from God’s point of view, and be encouraged. I’ll bet that it happens like that 30% of the time. I’m horrified by some of the things I’ve felt given my profession of faith. But here are two final thoughts that I want to leave you with today from Pastor McManus: You Aren’t Defined By Your Worst Moments Firstly, God doesn’t define you by your worst moments. We have all done things that given a mulligan or a do-over, we would choose differently. That does not define you. The fact that you would do it differently might actually result in a more accurate definition of who you really are. Secondly, Erwin said that you and I want God to meet us in our faith. But the reality is this: He meets us in our faithfulness. Your faith does not make your life easier. It doesn’t take away the pain. It makes you stronger. The Irony Of Faith As a result, your faith gives you the strength and the courage to step into the fear, to walk in your pain, and know that on the other side, you will step into your greatness. Resources Mentioned In This Episode: The Leader to Leader Podcast Episode 022: Are You My Type? More Tools For Building Team Trust The Leader to Leader Podcast Episode 051: Failure Isn’t Final Erwin McManus GLS18 Session Notes-The Last Arrow Any links to Amazon are affiliate links. The price doesn’t change, but I receive a commission for purchases made through those links. Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to firstname.lastname@example.org. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 126: Excellence: We Are What We Repeatedly Do 08/05/2019
LTL 126: Excellence: We Are What We Repeatedly Do As you know, this is the third episode in a series on excellence. If you missed the previous episodes, here are the links to Episode 124 and Episode 125. This is a fun series for me and hopefully, you find key learnings along the way. I am always looking for what I didn’t know previously and this episode is no exception. The title for this episode actually drops from a quote mistakenly attributed to Aristotle. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Unfortunately, he is not the one who originally came up with that clever quote. And while the words are not Aristotle’s, the thoughts certainly are his. So, in this wrap up of the topic, I will share a few helpful examples of his thoughts in practice. And just to clarify, the quote, is accurately attributed to Will Durant. He wrote those words in a book he titled “The Story of Philosophy.” Aristotle and Will Durant In it, he took a couple of different thoughts from Aristotle. The first is a quote which said, “As it is not one swallow or a fine day that makes a spring, so it is not one day or a short time that makes a man blessed and happy.” Aristotle I find those words compelling and want to hang onto the thought for a moment. A swallow or a fine day is not responsible for making the season. And it isn’t a day, or a moment, that is responsible for making a man blessed and happy. I would also argue that it isn’t a day or moment that makes a man cursed and miserable. Certainly, we often exaggerate the impact of a single moment, positively or negatively. And the other quote speaking of virtues said, These virtues are formed in man by his doing the actions… Aristotle So Mr. Durant’s combination of the two phrases produced the now-famous quote misattributed to Aristotle where Will said, We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. Will Durant The words communicate an important message to us who are trying to develop excellence. This isn’t a one-time event. Subsequently, excellence is formed in what we repeatedly do. A Holistic Commitment To Quality Robert Glazer from Acceleration Partners sends a weekly email that he calls Friday Forward. In a recent email, he describes excellence as a holistic commitment to quality. Additionally, he says that inherent in the principle of excellence is improvement. For instance, to emphasize this point, he uses an example of being an excellent horse and buggy repair shop…in 2019. Can that really be considered excellence? On this point, he and I might disagree. Because if you have attended a parade recently, or at any point in your life, it’s likely you saw a horse and buggy. There are still cadres of enthusiasts who love buggies. If you have a reputation for being excellent at restoring buggies, is it possible that you have an audience to serve with your talents? I would say the answer is a qualified ‘Yes.’ That talent is not unlike those who restore cars or build hot rods. The passion is deep. And these men and women dedicate a large part of their life to their craft. I don’t know if they could ever experience adequate compensation for their talent. Yet, I seriously doubt any of them would stop doing it just because they could make more money doing something else. If you are able to offer a valuable service to a niche interest group, then it’s possible that your excellence can secure revenue for performing your talent. Everyone has to earn a living, so it’s not like money is not an issue. I’m not convinced it’s the main issue when you are repeatedly practicing your craft. Because I’m not convinced you can dedicate this level of effort to something you aren’t truly passionate about. Change And Re-examination In fairness to Robert, this isn’t his point. His point is that change and reexamination are necessary to determine whether this is still relevant or could be done better. Imagine for a moment being content with DOS or Windows 3.1. Or the first luggable phone from Motorola… Those things were great for that moment but weren’t meant to be the answer for all time. To clarify, this is why yesterday’s successes are not sufficient for today’s problems. A constant cycle of ideation, validation, implementation, evaluation, and iteration or change where we repeatedly do is necessary to incubate excellence. You must repeatedly do. Create a habit. Do you let circumstances interfere with excellence? Do you bring your best each day? More importantly, do you expect that from your team? Building On Past Experience Excellence builds on past experience. You create a culture of excellence by starting with a commitment to do the little things right. If you don’t know whether you are doing the little things right, ask! I’m certain your employees, team members, customers, and vendors would be happy to share their perspective. Small things make a big difference. So how do we see excellence in action? Well, sometimes it’s a combined effort of seeing what it isn’t in contrast to what it is or should be. For example, Robert Glazer has a post on his Friday Forward blog that describes just such a scenario by one of his reader’s, Daniel Gross. Daniel had a problem with a gas forced air heater for his house. If you have ever lived in a cold climate, you know how important this piece of hardware is to not just your comfort, but in the extreme cold, it’s the ability to keep your pipes from freezing and your heart pumping. So Daniel had purchased a maintenance contract on the heater from his gas supplier…you know, just in case. Probably will never need it…but just in case…The gas supplier logically outsources that contract to a local HVAC shop. Upon inspection, the technician noticed a gas leak at a control valve and in wanting to keep Daniel’s family safe, suggested that the heater be turned off until it could be repaired. Well, the weather started to cool off and after five days of no heat and lots of phone calls to the company, they finally scheduled to come out to replace the valve. The technician arrives on the scheduled date, with a new valve in hand, and….it doesn’t work for that model furnace. An important detail here: before leaving, the tech (who remember didn’t do any repair and was likely there for only a few minutes) asked to use the restroom and doesn’t bother to flush the toilet when he’s done. Two more days of phone calls with the company and no heater. Finally, the company declares the furnace obsolete and unrepairable. In addition, they tell Daniel that they are voiding the agreement. Obligation vs. Passion Can you feel the tension and frustration building? Truly, there are few things more frustrating than trying to BEG someone to do what they should already be doing. No one likes to feel as if their problem doesn’t matter. The cynic in all of us wonders if the revenue generated in a maintenance contract might have long been forgotten and now you have just become a non-paying customer who we are obligated to serve. There’s a big difference in feeling an obligation to and being passionate about those you serve. This doesn’t sound like passion to me, and we are a long way from the repeated practice that is leading to excellence. So Daniel calls his local plumber, Jason Green. Jason had the part on his truck. Wait? I thought the furnace was unrepairable and obsolete? He would come out the next day to do the repair. Now Jason is a busy dude. He does good work and has a full book of business. And in spite of this, Jason shows up…ON A SATURDAY…to get Daniel’s furnace back in operation. AND, unlike many in this space, he cleaned up after himself when the job was finished. While Jason was making the repairs, Daniel had gone outside and noticed these words on one of the doors of Jason’s work truck: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Quite a contrast, isn’t it? I’ll take a Jason any day of the week in any industry. The repeated practice of making good decisions each day, large or small, is producing excellence. Robert ended this post with a very appropriate quote: How you do anything is how you do everything. Your “character” or “nature” just refers to how you handle all the day-to-day things in life, no matter how small. Derek Sivers So, I’ll leave you with this question. What actions are you repeating that are building excellence? No matter how small, those actions repeated, those little things which become a habit can point you to developing the kind of reputation you want with your customers, your team, your manager, and your family. Excellence: the quality of being outstanding or extremely good – it’s within your grasp. Repeatedly practice doing small things right and develop good habits. It’s right there for you, so go do it! Resources Mentioned In This Episode: The Leader to Leader Podcast Episode 124: What Does Excellence Look Like In Leadership The Leader to Leader Podcast Episode 125: Four Areas Of Focus To Increase Excellence Robert Glazer’s post on fridayforward.com Being Excellent #98 Caelan Huntress’ article on mission.org My Favorite Quote Of All Time Is A Misattribution Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to email@example.com. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 125: Four Areas Of Focus To Increase Excellence 07/29/2019
LTL 125: Four Areas Of Focus To Increase Excellence If you missed last week’s episode, we talked about what excellence looks like in leadership. And in an effort to increase our clarity, I’m going to spend some time in this episode looking at four areas where you can focus your effort to increase the presence of excellence in your life and work. As a quick recap, here are some of the major points from last week’s episode: Excellence will cause you to stand out Excellence will force you to narrow your focus The risk with developing excellence is you slip into perfection Excellence is a lifestyle, a commitment to a way of living Doors open when you commit to excellence Lory Hough wrote an article called Does It Have To Be So Complicated back in 2015 for the Harvard Graduate School of Education. One of the points she made in that article was that if you ask your own questions, you take greater ownership of your learning and deepen your comprehension. It leads to discoveries on your own rather than being dependent just on the supposed “experts.” And in the absence of obvious solutions to complicated challenges, the answer to complexity is sometimes to simplify. A Student Just Like You I am not an expert on excellence. I’m a student just like you. My job is to present thought-provoking information and content. Your job is to consider what I present, fact-check it for yourself, and then draw conclusions that help you to grow in your leadership competencies. So as I focus on these four areas today, I’m including some great questions that you can ask yourself to measure your performance and pave a pathway to improvement. They aren’t substitutes for your own questions. I want you to come to your own conclusions, your own discoveries because you thought about it for a minute. Because you challenged yourself with a question which made you think. The questions I’m providing are simply meant to start the conversation. Are you ready? Attitude isn’t everything The first area is attitude. Attitude isn’t everything because if it was, our world would be in much worse shape than it is. Think of how many bad attitudes you encounter every day! Thankfully, our world doesn’t hinge on our ability to choose a good attitude each morning when we get out of bed! Now, attitude may not be everything, but I do believe it’s quite possibly the most important thing and I’ll venture that without a good attitude, excellence will forever elude you. What do people say about your attitude? Do you have a reputation for being cross or grumpy? Are you egotistical and hard to get along with? Do others find you unapproachable? What would your customers say? Do they enjoy doing business with you? Do you always have to be right? Can you have a conversation without making others feel small? Is your tendency to see things positively or negatively? Are you overly optimistic or weighed down with pessimism? You might think that you are bound to struggle for instance if you aren’t optimistic. Or maybe you believe that because you are more solemn, you can’t produce excellent customer service. Neither is true. You will have to understand your behavior and then adjust accordingly to produce the result you desire. Excellence Start With A Focus On Discipline The second area is discipline. Excellence starts with a focus on discipline. Remember the quote from John Maxwell last week? Consistency is the prerequisite to excellence. John C. Maxwell Do you demonstrate commitment to habits that will propel your growth? Are you fixed on the process regardless of the outcome? Have you decided to make a change and come what may, you aren’t about to let it go? It reminds me of Will Smith talking about what sets him apart. I mentioned this back in Episode 032. He never thought he was the best actor, the best looking, the most intelligent. But one thing was sure. He was 100% committed to outworking you. He said if you and he got on treadmills at the same time, you could be sure that one of two things was going to happen: you would get off first, or he would die. So where does your discipline rank? Are you under control or a loose cannon? How you behave in public is a good starting place, but know this: how you respond in private eventually shows up in public as well. What are you doing to improve your emotional maturity, your emotional intelligence? Or were you not aware that there are others in the universe that you occupy? Do you recognize that your childish tantrums and fits erode trust and produce instability? Discipline Is Doing More Of What Matters Discipline is doing more of what matters most even when it’s time-consuming, uncomfortable, or just plain hard. Rarely does excellence not require fortitude. Are you distinguishing yourself from the rest of the pack through disciplined habits? Your ability to stay focused and on-task when others are distracted or have lost interest produces staying power. The bridge between wishing and accomplishing is discipline. Harvay Mackay Who You Are When No One Is Looking The third area is character. Who you are when no one is looking? Would you be tempted to do something you know is wrong if there was a guarantee you would NEVER get caught? Excellence will never be found in the company of compromise. Mark Slemons Are you committed to doing what’s right every time? No matter the cost? I can hear it already: “Mark, you have no idea what you are saying. Do you have any idea what you are saying?” Yes, I’m saying that you will not experience excellence. Do you blame or do you take accountability? This is massive. Can you honestly say that something like this has ever come out of your mouth? “This is on me – I’m responsible and I will make sure that it not only gets corrected and also that it doesn’t happen again.” Can you identify a blind spot that someone has revealed to you in the last six months? How about the last year? If you have no idea of your blind spots, it’s because you aren’t asking. There is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to identify something multiple times a year that you didn’t know about yourself previously. Transparency invites excellence when you’re dedicated to improvement. Mark Slemons Bringing Others Along The fourth area of focus is people. Who are you bringing along? Who are you investing in? What are you building that will outlast you? For example, I had a manager one time who was threatened by the notion that a new hire would want his role. So you know what he did? He prevented ANY possibility of that by refusing to hire anyone with ambition. Now THAT should scare you. Are you surprised to find excellence thwarted in that environment? Do you think there will be any lasting legacy? What will succession look like? It’s an awful mess. What work are you doing with your team to understand how you are fueling or inhibiting their success? Do they know that you are committed to them? To the mission? To the company? Are you equipping them to succeed whether or not you are there? Or do they only hear you bad-mouth others behind their backs leaving your team to wonder what you say about them when their backs are turned? Do they hear encouragement and optimism? Are you cheering them on? Who are you mentoring? Have you met with someone in the last six weeks that was for their gain, not yours? Some people won’t like this, and maybe you disagree; however, I believe that it is necessary to identify high performers and invest yourself in their future success. If you have a team of 10, my guess is that two of them stand out above the others. Give them the coaching they deserve to succeed. How You Lead Will Be Imitated How you lead will be imitated. You don’t abandon the other eight, but you must make sure that you establish a legacy. Make sure that excellence persists after you depart. Trust me, when you replicate you into those two top performers, the whole team will benefit. Those two are also going to impact the other eight. The bar raises for the whole team. So go find your 20% and invest yourself in them. This journey isn’t about perfection. Rather, it’s about a relentless focus on improvement. Becoming a superior version of you. To clarify, not a perfect you – think about the fallacy in that. Do perfect things ever improve? No. And this isn’t about being dissatisfied with you – just the opposite. Because I want you to go to bed each night knowing that you did your best. That’s it. It’s that simple. Do your best with your attitude, being disciplined, working on your character, and bringing others along. You can’t go wrong and you will find excellence increasing as a result. Resources Mentioned In This Episode: The Leader to Leader Podcast >Episode 124: What Does Excellence Look Like In Leadership Lory Hough’s article Does It Have To Be So Complicated The Leader to Leader Podcast Episode 032: No Excuses: Never Count A Great Leader Out Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to firstname.lastname@example.org. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 124: What Does Excellence Look Like In Leadership 07/22/2019
LTL 124: What Does Excellence Look Like In Leadership We have a tendency to lack clarity with some of the words we choose. Semantically, some of the words we use don’t make sense or don’t accurately convey what we want to communicate. Excellence can be one of those words that require additional definition. What do you think of when I say “Excellence?” And what does excellence look like in leadership? What Does Excellence Look Like I love my truck. It’s a 1990 Chevy K1500. The pickup has always been a work truck. I bought it around 2004, so I’ve had it for 15 years now, and I never thought of it as anything but a work truck. Not a show truck, not a classy truck, no leather seats or the feel of your favorite recliner when you sit in it, just an extended cab work truck. I’m not in love with the color (red) outside or inside (red again which makes absolutely NO sense to me). But it has always run well even though it leaks a lot of oil now. And if you look at the bed of the pickup, it’s gnarly. Nothing pretty about it. And because of that, I was never afraid to haul stuff in it. Any stuff. Rocks, wood chips, lumber, dirt, trash, furniture, appliances, motorcycles, bicycles, and snakes (but that’s a story for another episode), etc. I wasn’t afraid of scratching it or hurting it – it’s a work truck. It was nice, but not perfect when I bought it, so I have never been afraid to use it as a work truck. So, I even lent it to people. What could they do to it that I hadn’t already done? Scratch it? And it has been a godsend. Useful is an understatement. It’s four-wheel drive and ate the snow for breakfast. I can’t think of a situation where I wasn’t confident that the truck would perform as needed. Standing Out The only thing I did beside typical mechanical maintenance was bought some bigger rims and tires, but that’s it. No lift kit. No paint job. I didn’t even replace the radio and cassette tape player. Just a work truck. So was that truck excellent? It’s a great question, isn’t it? My initial response is “Yes, of course, it is. The pickup met my needs and demonstrated significant utility.” If I think about the function, the performance of the task, I’m left to wonder if it really was excellent. Did it do the task better than any other truck could? And here’s the thing: we can get all cross-wise if we aren’t clear about how we are defining excellence with regard to a particular object in a particular circumstance. There were a few times that I pulled trailers with my truck. If you have listened to this podcast for a while, then you know that we moved to Phoenix last year. On two different occassions, I pulled U-haul’s 6’x10′ double-axled trailer. With the trailer and truck both loaded, it was a lot for the 350ci V8 to manage – especially on the mountain hills between Salt Lake City and Phoenix. Again, it was functional, but if I’m honest, I have to say it was less than excellent. What Is Most Important Did it hurt me when I could only manage to go 50mph in a 75mph zone? No. Did it matter that the 10+ hour trip took longer because I couldn’t always go the speed limit? Nah. How about the safety risk? Going 25mph to 30mph slower then the rest of the cars on the road is dangerous even if you are in the right lane. Or what about on the two-lane road behind an underpowered RV? Could I hop out in the passing lane and blow past them? Not very well even without a trailer! There are circumstances where one particular factor is more important than another. Does failing to excel in a single area mean that overall, excellence is lost? I think it requires stepping back and looking at a bigger picture. Avoiding Perfection Remember this bigger picture because I feel like there is a significant risk with excellence. You might already recognize it. It’s the ‘P’ word. That’s right, perfection. The danger is that it can lead you to a place where you can never be excellent at anything because you fail to do anything. Therefore you get caught in a vicious cycle of constantly reiterating, revising, and adjusting the product. Excellence Causes You To Stand Out Failing to excel in any area is a problem because it likely indicates a lack of distinction in what you offer. This doesn’t mean that what you offer isn’t valuable or helpful. It does mean that you aren’t separating yourself from the competition. There are LOTS of trucks that could do the job that I described above. To clarify, excellence should cause you to stand out. But is excellence subjective? I don’t think so – at least not entirely. There are some clear expectations that are met in the presence of excellence. I know there’s no way in a short post to comprehensively define what excellence looks like in leadership. So let’s start with the definition: Excellence is a fact or state of excelling, superiority, or eminence. This, my friend, is the best of the best. And I love what John Maxwell said. Consistency is the prerequisite to excellence. John Maxwell He also said that consistency builds your reputation. We both know that it doesn’t take long to ruin a reputation, but building one is quite another matter. It takes more than a single moment. But excellence isn’t momentary – like when you are voted the #1 something. You can be the number one saleswoman and not practice excellence. You can outperform your competition and still not be excellent. A Commitment To A Way Of Living Excellence is a lifestyle. Subsequently, it’s a commitment to a way of living that says each day that yesterday wasn’t good enough. Today, I have to be better. You live it and you breathe it. This is you competing against you! You are never really satisfied – there’s a dogged determination to learn and improve. I recognize that it takes more than a few minutes of sharing some cool story or great quote to leave us with something meaningful. So I’ll end today with an example that Ann Miura-Ko gave in an interview with Tim Ferris on his podcast that I believe demonstrates the type of excellence we are talking about. If you don’t know who she is, maybe you’ve heard of the VC firm, Floodgate that she started with Mike Maples, Jr. You’ve heard of Lyft, right? Well, Ann was one of the first investors before they became Lyft. Ann is super sharp. She has a Bachelor’s in electrical engineering from Yale, her PhD in math modeling of cybersecurity from Stanford where she also teaches on entrepreneurship. Her dad was born and raised in Tokyo, so obviously a very traditional Japanese family. He came to the U.S. speaking very little English and got a PhD in mechanical engineering. Literally, he’s a rocket scientist who worked for NASA. As Ann tells it, from the time she was very young, even just five years old, he was asking “Hey, is this world-class?” and “Is this really the best that a five-year-old could ever do?” A Great Example When she got to Yale, she had an opportunity to work in the office for the Dean of Engineering. At that time, it was Allan Bromley. Her dad told her to “Make sure you do a world-class job.” …and I said to my dad, “I’m photocopying and filing. There’s no such thing as world-class there.” And he said, “Well, I’d still think about it.” … I remember standing in front of this photocopy machine with a stack of papers thinking to myself, “What is world-class in this situation?” I decided it was really crisp copies where you couldn’t tell that it was a photocopy. And so, I remember really trying to make the color match and everything was straight and I spent a lot of time on the details. And when I was filing things, I didn’t just hand write it. I got a label writer and made sure it was printed out on labels. And I really tried to do everything as well as I possibly could. And I remember I was getting doughnuts and I would make sure I got the fresh donuts instead of the ones that had been standing out in the basket for a while. So, every step of the way, it was, “What can I do to make this experience for the Dean or for his executive assistant a delight moment?” So, I’m a junior at the time…and I’ve been working in his office for, I think, two years. But, he barely knew my name…one day he pokes his head out of the office and the executive assistant was out. And he said, “Who are you?” And I said, “I’m Ann Miura. I’m your student assistant in this office.” And he said, “Oh, I’ve heard of you. I need you to go and give this friend of mine a tour of the engineering facilities.” And he’s like, “I know you’ll do a good job. Sarah has told me you’re great.” Ann Miura-Ko And to make a long story shorter, unbeknownst to her, she gives a tour to none other than the CEO of Hewlett-Packard at that time, Lou Platt. Because she is so impressive to Mr. Platt, he invites her to shadow him for two weeks during spring break, which she smartly accepted! Excellence Opens Doors He drove himself around in a Ford Focus. I remember this. We would go to different meetings and he took me around. And one of the days actually, Bill Gates came to make an announcement about .net with Hewlett-Packard. And so, it was an incredible event that happened. I got to sit backstage and see everything that was happening. And Lou Platt invited the photographer to come in and actually take a picture of me talking to Lou, and I didn’t really think about it. But after the fact, I get back to my dorm and Lou Platt has sent me a thank you letter saying, “Thanks for coming to visit. I thought you would enjoy these photographs.” And there are two photographs in there. I framed them in my office now. One is a picture of me sitting on the seat talking to Lou and then the second picture is Bill Gates sitting exactly in that spot that I was sitting in talking to Lou Platt. And, you know, to me, mentorship means so many different things. I’ve had so many different examples of mentors. But, to a junior in college who literally is a nobody, he was such an incredible example of mentorship…He just sort of took this girl and said, “You know what? You have something and I see it. I’m going to show you something even greater.” And to me, it was such a gift. It was so incredible because I hadn’t even thought about my own personal potential ever. Ann Miura-Ko Now that is a compelling example of excellence that opened a door. And Lou’s willingness to offer some mentorship had a dramatic impact on Ann’s life. Don’t ever underestimate the value of your time…and you probably shouldn’t spend too much time evaluating someone’s success by the car they drive! Please come back next week because I’m going to share four areas where you can focus your effort to increase the presence of excellence in your life and work. Don’t miss it! Resources Mentioned In This Episode: The Tim Ferris Show Ann Miura-Ko — The Path from Shyness to World-Class Debater and Investor (#331) Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to email@example.com. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 123: Why Winning Does Not Equal Success 07/15/2019
LTL 123: Why Winning Does Not Equal Success In Episode 122, I told you about Kyler Murray’s long history of winning and I share some ways that you can prevent expectations from producing failure in your life. What I didn’t talk about then, but I want to talk about now, is why winning does not equal success. So often we seem to think that those terms are synonymous. That is, a win equals success. I understand how you could think that; however, that is simply not the case. Some Possible Criteria You and I have criteria that we are using constantly to determine whether we are winning or losing. There is infinite criterium but here are some you might be using: Deal size Sales volume Period revenue Key performance indicators Net promoter score Return customer count Cost per click Return on investment Promotion Customer survey results Recognition Reputation Likes Friend or connection count Email list size Number of 5-star rating/review Frequently, our view would be positive of those events we judge to be a win and negative of those we view to be a loss. If your criteria for a win is a five-star rating/review, then by your criteria, a three-start rating/review is a loss. Imagine what would be lost if you ignored everything other than a five-star rating/review? Second Place, First Loser No team starts out thinking “Wow, you know if we can just finish in second place this year, that would be great!” It’s particularly interesting right now when you look at the money being thrown around to attract the greatest talent. Earlier this year, the richest contract in professional sports history was signed by Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels. The amount? $430 million for 12 years. Surprisingly, the top 10 largest contracts signed have all been baseball contracts except for boxer Canelo Alvarez who is trailing only Mike Trout. You have massive movement in National Basketball Association as the most valuable players in the league make their moves to position themselves for their best chance to win a championship in the 2019/2020 season. Money is flowing like crazy as these players receive contracts worth well more than $100-$200 million. You have Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant teaming up in Brooklyn. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in LA with the Clippers. Lebron James and Anthony Davis with the Lakers. Now obviously, these aren’t the only talented players and many would argue that they aren’t individually even the best players. And that’s not really the point. Some will argue Lebron James is the best, but even if that is true, it wasn’t enough for the Lakers to even make the playoffs during the 2018/2019 season. It Takes More Than A Single Superstar The point is this: as with most things in life, it takes more than a single superstar for a team to experience the heights of potential. If you measure success by championships, then every year, there are thousands of the best athletes in the world who are absolute failures. Even if the Nets, Clippers, and Lakers all have the best season they ever had, only one, or possibly none of them, will win a championship. So, all I have to do is just surround myself with the best talent? If I do that, then I’m golden, right?! It sounds good in theory until you look at the results. Just head over to TheSportster.com and read about the 15 most disappointing super teams in sports history. It’s appalling! There is no excuse to assemble that much talent and then fall short of the goal. Baseball, basketball, hockey, football, even the Olympics are full of talented individuals, possibly the very best in their sport, that fell short. I think some of the answers to this dilemma lie in the previous episode where we identified that too much focus on the win can actually produce a loss. Constantly examining the minutiae of your performance under a microscope can be distracting and result in worsening performance. Focus On Success, Not Winning Here’s the warning that every leader must heed: even when expectations are reasonably placed, you must know how to keep the attention focused on success, not winning. Success can be achieved with or without the win. Don’t turn off the podcast! I know you are thinking that this is madness. More participation ribbons for everybody. Or an argument for grading on the curve or the elimination of grades completely. Everyone gets a trophy because you’re all winners in my book. No. That’s not it at all. You Can’t Win Unless You Know How To Lose What I’m arguing for is a recognition that the definition of success does not have to be a win. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the famous center for the Los Angeles Lakers, once said: “You can’t win unless you learn how to lose.” The reason why winning does not equal success is that success can occur even in a loss. I know you still think I’m crazy, but I want you to hear me out. Maybe you’ve heard of Morgan Wootten. He is a former high school basketball coach at deMatha Catholic High School and has the second most wins as a head coach in basketball at any level. Listen to his thoughts: “It’s often been said that you learn more from losing than you do from winning. I think, if you’re wise, you learn from both. You learn a lot from a loss. You learn what is it that we’re not doing to get to where we want to go. It really gets your attention and it really motivates the work ethic of your team when you’re not doing well.” Morgan Wootten Motivate To Learn And Improve We’re getting closer. It’s not just about winning or losing. It’s about the motivation to learn and improve. I talked a lot about success in Episode 95 and Episode 96. If you define success as John Wooden does, then you know that: “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” John Wooden But you don’t get a pass here. Coach Wooden went on to say that our tendency is to hope things will turn out the way we want them to but we don’t really do everything that is necessary to turn those hopes and dreams into a reality. It’s a double-edged sword, isn’t it?! If success is peace of mind because you know you made the effort to do your best to become all that you are capable of becoming, then it means you did everything necessary to create that reality. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that most of us can point at our level of effort and say we did our very best to become the best that we are capable of becoming. You Don’t Get To Blame Fate Instead, we would rather blame luck and the circumstances that seem to be out of our control. Coach Wooden’s dad used to tell him don’t whine, don’t complain, and don’t make excuses. Whatever you are doing, do it to the best of your ability. No one can do more than that. And if you will do that, regardless of whether you win, you are going to experience success. But don’t forget – it’s not luck! I talked about this extensively in Episode 119, so I’m not going to go into it again here. Go listen to that episode if you missed it. Actually, go listen to it again if you already heard it. The lessons are that important! One of Coach Wooden’s favorite poems addresses the topic of luck. It’s written by former Major League Baseball umpire, George Moriarty and is called “The Road Ahead or the Road Behind.” And here it is for you as we start to draw down this episode: Sometimes I think the fates must grin as we denounce them and insist, The only reason we can’t win is the fates themselves have missed. Yet, there lives on the ancient claim – we win or lose within ourselves, The shining trophies on our shelves can never win tomorrow’s game. So you and I know deeper down there is a chance to win the crown, But when we fail to give our best, we simply haven’t met the test Of giving all and saving none until the game is really won. Showing what is meant by grit, of fighting on when others quit, Of playing through not letting up, it’s bearing down that wins the cup. Of taking it and taking more until we gain the winning score, Dreaming there’s a goal ahead, of hoping when our dreams are dead, Of praying when our hopes have fled. Yet, losing, not afraid to fall, If bravely we have given all, for who can ask more of a man Than giving all, it seems to me, is not so far from – Victory. And so the fates are seldom wrong, no matter how they twist and wind, It’s you and I who make our fates, we open up or close the gates, On the Road Ahead or the Road Behind. George Moriarty Bring Your Best No excuses. Yesterday’s trophies and successes are not sufficient for today’s challenges. Each day holds the opportunity for you to bring your best effort. Don’t open yourself up for the possibility of regret. Give it your all even if you don’t think anybody will see it or care – you will. If you are willing to do what others won’t then you will have a life that others can’t. And it won’t always be easy. It’s difficult to give your best day after day. And I feel you – you might think that where you’re at is a dead end. Nothing of value here and winning isn’t an option. You might even feel like you’ve lost the ability to hope. So lean on me for a moment as I remind you that all hope is not lost. You make yourself a candidate for positive change when you decide that whatever you are doing today, you will bring your best. But luck doesn’t control your future, you do. So give it your all and count it a success! Resources Mentioned In This Episode: Leader to Leader Podcast Episode 122: Preventing Expectations From Producing Failure Morgan Wootten quote Top 15 Most Disappointing Super Teams in Sports History by J. Francis Wolfe on TheSportster.com Leader to Leader Podcast Episode 095: Are You Measuring The Right Things Leader to Leader Podcast Episode 096: The Definition Of Success John Wooden TED Talk from 2001 Leader to Leader Podcast Episode 119: Obsession, Opportunity, and Superstition Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to firstname.lastname@example.org. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 122: Preventing Expectations From Producing Failure 07/08/2019
LTL 122: Preventing Expectations From Producing Failure Forty-two wins. No losses. Three straight state championships. Three championship game MVPs. Gatorade Player of the Year. Possibly the best athlete ever produced by the state of Texas. Do you know who I’m talking about? If you said “Kyler Murray,” you are correct! Are there any higher expectations of an athlete? Maybe. But here’s a more important question: how do you go about preventing expectations from producing failure? And that question matters more than you might realize because the answer matters not just in sports, but in life. I really wanted to title this episode “So You Know How To Win But Do You Know How To Lose?” This isn’t pedantical – it’s a legitimate question that should cause you to pause. It’s crazy how prolific Kyler has been. Not since Bo Jackson more than 30 years ago has there been a player like Kyler. If you don’t recall, Bo Jackson was the only player EVER to be named an All-Star in both the NFL and MLB. He played two professional sports at the same time for four years. From 1987-1990 he played for both the Los Angeles Raiders and the Kansas City Royals. Some consider him to be the best athlete who ever played professional sports. I mean really, how’s this going to work for Kyler? He was drafted by the Phoenix Cardinals, a team that finished last season with a record of three wins and 13 losses. Do you think there are any expectations with this draft pick? No matter what team he plays for, whether a dynasty of winning or an agonizing string of losing seasons, whoever brings Kyler in is going to think something like this: “We just paid you a whole lot of money and now you need to give a return on the investment.” What started my contemplation of this episode is wondering how someone who has only known winning could possibly handle the very real probability of losing? And I’m not just talking about cliche or being a good sport. The stronger your performance, the longer your win streaks, the more dominant you are, the higher the expectations. And no matter how hard some might try to adjust expectations, they seem to take on their own momentum and build over time. It’s as if they generate their own inertia. It’s not always a bad thing. If you recognize it, then you can manage it. You may even be able to use it to motivate. For instance, think about the current U.S. Women’s National Team in soccer. Regardless of what happens, most of the world has come to expect them to be the FIFA World Cup champions once the dust settles in France. That pressure starts to build as the expectations heighten long before the players enter the pitch. So what do they do to stay focused? Focus on the coming game. Work on their training. Concentrate on personal improvement, study, and preparation. They aren’t reading the papers to see what the odds are or trying to dive into the drama of the past. No. They are consumed by the present preparations. The stakes are high. Failed expectations can lead to severe outcomes. I doubt anybody has unreasonable expectations about a bridge. You should reasonably expect that the bridge is constructed to adhere to the exacting engineering standards that are required to support the intended traffic. Failing to meet the expectation can be the difference between life and death. Initially, you may think it extremely unlikely that you are participating in anything remotely as dangerous as building such critical infrastructure. But that would be overlooking the death machine you operate daily. It’s a reasonable expectation that others have of you that you don’t operate your vehicle while impaired or text while driving. It’s not beyond the skill level of any driver, regardless of how long they have been driving, to refuse to get behind the wheel after drinking or to leave the phone inaccessible while driving. Some other expectations are a bit less reasonable. A soccer player being shot and killed for scoring an “own goal” in the 1994 Olympics is an example. Or how about a politician serving a mixed constituency where someone is always going to be unhappy with your performance? At times, we create unreasonable expectations by making promises we can never keep. One Thing You Can’t Control One thing is sure: while you may attempt to set or adjust expectations, you have no control over what someone else expects of you – reasonable or otherwise. So I want to share with you what Steve Berglas says in an article he wrote for Forbes back in 2012. He says that there are three ways high expectations can produce failure. More importantly, I will share his tips on how you can prevent it. Are you ready? Paying Too Much Attention To Your Performance First, get out from under the microscope. Can you relax your way to success? That is definitely as ridiculous as it sounds. There are however limits to the level of scrutiny that you should apply to your performance. If you aren’t cautious, your ridiculously close examination will actually hurt your performance. Mr. Berglas gives the example of what happened to Michelle Kwan in the 2002 Winter Olympics. Leading up to the events that year, she was all but given the gold medal as expectations loomed large in the build up. This is a woman who won every competition she entered…except the Olympics. And it actually happened to her twice! The first time was in 1998. Everyone thought Michelle would win gold that year and Tara Lipinski came out of seemingly nowhere to upset her. In 2002, the hype was there again and it seemed very likely this would be Michelle’s year for gold. But as an antidote to over-examining performance, a woman who wasn’t even expected to medal had the night of her life. That woman was Sarah Hughes. How did she win, you might ask? Especially when you consider the level of talent in an Olympic game. Not just how did she outperform Michelle, but all of the other great competitors on the ice that night. Her answer was pretty simple “I skated for pure enjoyment… That’s how I wanted my Olympic moment to be.” Now you might not have a pending appointment with a cadre of Olympic judges, but I believe her simple advice will ring true for you as well. Do what you are doing with pure enjoyment. Every moment for the love of what you are doing…even when you don’t love it. You impact when you throw yourself at your task as if the outcome is your moment to shine. Trust Yourself Steve offers this little bit of wisdom that you must apply to your life: “Trust yourself. Prepare assiduously, then let go of the urge to control how well you deliver; just deliver.” Wanting To Win Too Much Next, be cautious of wanting to win too much. So, here again, obsessing about the win can actually cause you to lose. Think about the instances where you absolutely could not afford to lose. Those moments when the win was vital to your future. There are a few people who would say that focusing on the potential negative outcomes that could result from a loss motivated them to make sure they didn’t. Generally, that doesn’t work very well. You will produce your best effort when confident that you will go on living your life regardless of the outcome of the circumstance you face. The shackles are removed when you understand that you have inherent worth that is not the result of an outcome. Think of it this way. Imagine a negotiation. Many people approach negotiation as a zero sum game. In other words, there is a winner and a loser. That happens sometimes. But if your approach to a negotiation is “win at all costs” then a failed outcome is intolerable. Do you see the danger? Are there limits to the extent you might go to win? How many people do you know who “won” but because of their newfound reputation failed? Not uncommon. Wanting to win too much is not nearly as effective as recognizing that there is joy in the journey. There are limits you will go to and choose not to exceed. If a negotiation doesn’t produce an outcome that satisfies both parties, then don’t do the deal. Your disinterest in conducting business at any cost can be extremely helpful in your negotiation. It’s an attractive quality to the other party and can introduce trust. The Craving To Control Applause This probably sounds funny if you work in a corporate environment, so let me state it another way: you crave being acknowledged. There’s nothing more frustrating than having a manager who takes credit for your work or effort. If you have any length of experience, you’ve been there and know the feeling. Why does it bother us? Partly because your work matters. Therefore, you care and work hard to produce results. Sometimes the people that need to know about your work aren’t hearing about it. Listen in to Episode 40 and Episode 41 Brag, Swag, or Sway for some really good reasons about why (and how!) you must talk about yourself. But there is a risk. If you live for the accolade or the recognition, it’s a bit like expectation. You can’t control it. There’s no way to guarantee that you will get the recognition from the audience that you believe you deserve. And that can be damaging to you. Dale Carnegie said it best: “The person who seeks all their applause from outside has their happiness in another’s keeping.” If you are a poor performer, then the attention you will draw is different! It’s not like I’m saying not to work hard or produce results. Imagine if you decided that you were never going to deliver on another objective because your boss was going to get all of the credit. Shortly, you will have another boss because you will lose that job. Do your best, but don’t think for a moment that you control how the audience responds or reacts to your performance. There are times when an audience simply doesn’t recognize your talent and ability. It will happen. If you spend your effort focusing on whether they will like you, Steve says you will simply create a situation where you generate performance killing anxiety. Be satisfied that you have done your best and recognize how little control you have in how others will respond. Fanfare or angry mob! When you’ve done your best you can be satisfied with the knowledge that doing it differently wasn’t an option. I’m Not All That So, the best piece of advice that Steve Berglas offered was at the end of the article. He said sometimes you just have to remind people that you aren’t a savior. Remember, it’s a team sport and we are in this together. And beware, because I’m likely to disappoint you as some stage. I’ll do my best and you can be certain of that. Make sure to listen in next week when I will share some thoughts about why success and winning are not the same thing. Resources Mentioned In This Episode: Steve Berglas’ article on Forbes The Three Major Ways High Expectations Cause Failure and How To Prevent Them Leader to Leader Podcast Episode 040 Brag, Swag, or Sway: Why You Must Talk About Yourself Part One Leader to Leader Podcast Episode 041 Brag, Swag, or Sway: Why You Must Talk About Yourself Part Two Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to email@example.com. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 121: Taking An Unconventional Path To CEO With Carey Jenkins Part Two 07/01/2019
LTL 121: Taking An Unconventional Path To CEO With Carey Jenkins Part Two Welcome to Part Two of my conversation with Carey Jenkins. If you missed Part One, then you can listen to it here. Carey took an unconventional path to CEO of Substantial, a Seattle-based digital product studio. And while you may not know who Substantial is, their clients do. Clients that include such big names as Amazon, Mercedes Benz, and the Wall Street Journal. A theater major who also pursued a journalism degree, Carey had to discover what moves her. An adventurous spirit combined with strong motivation, she found Substantial to be a welcome fit. She joined their client services team in 2012. Carey began working with a career coach to ready herself for a CEO position at Substantial before it was even available. She became Substantial’s CEO six short years later in 2018. Carey knows how to turn dreams into reality. This episode is packed with tips and pointers that will propel you to growth in your current role while helping you to think about the next one. There is so much good content here and I note my key takeaways below. Key Takeaways From Part Two Transparency and authenticity will always benefit a transition It’s up to you to search out those who would benefit from your experience – it’s invaluable when you make yourself available to those who are looking to grow You get energized when taking on the opportunity of a lifetime; just remember that others are not living the same change you are – give people time to adjust and energize on their own timeframe Momentum and progress take time – being impatient will make this more difficult and increase the likelihood you internalize it as failure Recognize and celebrate incremental progress Sacrificing your health or sanity is not going to serve you in the long term Technology is a large part of our lives and needs – manage it thoughtfully and ethically Great product builders deeply understand a problem and then successfully build the simplest solution possible that makes life better Become a better storyteller, especially the way you talk about yourself Regardless of the path taken, unconventional or typical, you can leverage your experiences and commit to learning how to think like a CEO or other c-suite executive. Resources Mentioned In This Episode: Substantial’s website Substantial’s Hello Epics Trello Power-Up for creating easily identifiable links between cards on your Trello board Follow Substantial on LinkedIn Connect with Carey on LinkedIn Any links to Amazon are affiliate links. The price doesn’t change, but I receive a commission for purchases made through those links. Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to firstname.lastname@example.org. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 120: Taking An Unconventional Path To CEO With Carey Jenkins Part One 06/24/2019
LTL 120: Taking An Unconventional Path To CEO With Carey Jenkins Part One Welcome to Part One of my conversation with Carey Jenkins. Carey took an unconventional path to CEO of Substantial, a Seattle-based digital product studio. And while you may not know who Substantial is, their clients do. Clients that include such big names as Amazon, Mercedes Benz, and the Wall Street Journal. A theater major who also pursued a journalism degree, Carey had to discover what moves her. An adventurous spirit combined with strong motivation, she found Substantial to be a welcome fit. She joined their client services team in 2012. Carey began working with a career coach to ready herself for a CEO position at Substantial before it was even available. She became Substantial’s CEO six short years later in 2018. Carey knows how to turn dreams into reality. This episode is packed with tips and pointers that will propel you to growth in your current role while helping you to think about the next one. There is so much good content here and I note my key takeaways below. Key Takeaways From Part One Stop procrastination – be thoughtful, but jump in and get started Be on guard against impatience Don’t be afraid to change dreams – sometimes you can’t tell whether something will satisfy until you pursue and achieve it The people we assume are cut-out for c-suite positions, the group of people that are anointed because of business school, background or gender, is not the full group of those capable of filling c-suite positions Your first step to obtaining a c-suite position is being able to envision yourself in that position You need relatable models to help you imagine yourself in a c-suite role Coaching is integral Choose a path that allows you to have an impact You must have a growth mindset – it helps you do your job and make good decisions Purpose to learn and grow with intention, especially in the area of your blind spots (which you will need others to help you discover) Literally, everyone has to learn how to do something. EVERYONE. The entire job of a CEO or c-suite role is to learn. Every. Single. Day. Weak leaders are closed to learning something new Women feel they have to be overqualified for a role and men feel they have to be partially qualified – women need to overcome their mindset in this important area Regardless of the path taken, unconventional or typical, you can leverage your experiences and commit to learning how to think like a CEO or other c-suite executive. Resources Mentioned In This Episode: Substantial’s website Substantial’s Hello Epics Trello Power-Up for creating easily identifiable links between cards on your Trello board Follow Substantial on LinkedIn Connect with Carey on LinkedIn Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to email@example.com. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 119: Obsession, Opportunity, and Superstition 06/17/2019
LTL 119: Obsession, Opportunity, and Superstition Admittedly, I have an obsession. I’m obsessed with you obtaining your leadership potential. I want the absolute, very best for you. There is nothing that would thrill me more than for you to have an opportunity to experience the kind of success that most people only dream about. This episode will help you come to grips with the fact that this is not inconceivable. But there isn’t room for superstition: your success does not require luck. You have probably heard it said that luck is preparedness meeting opportunity. There’s a lot of truth in that pithy saying, isn’t there?! Though there is a disproportionate amount of weight often placed on the idea of being lucky as opposed to being prepared. And maybe it’s justified. When you think of someone who has gotten lucky, it might be that the impossible became reality or somebody was able to transition from ruin to a life well lived because of a chance event. I suppose that by comparison, some might say it takes a lot less work to get lucky. Have you watched a baseball game recently? You might think that superstition belongs only to a few quirky no-namers but you would be wrong. I found a cool little article on BleacherReport that I will link to in the show notes. Here are a few of baseball’s more famous superstitious players for your listening pleasure. You decide if they truly could have had an impact on the player’s performance: Roger Clemens used to go to Monument Park and touch the Babe Ruth plaque before every home game that he pitched for the Yankees John Wetteland used to play for the NY Yankees. He would only wear one cap during the entire year. No matter how sweaty, dirty or faded, he only wore that one cap. In 1996 when they went to the World Series, he wouldn’t wear the World Series cap and made them sew the World Series logo on the cap he was wearing that year. Mike Hargrove earned the nickname “The Human Rain Delay” because of how long his pre-batting routine lasted as he stepped up to the plate Hiroshi Yamauchi, who at one time was the owner of the Seattle Mariners, never saw the team play a live game even when they played close to his home in Japan (you might remember Mr. Yamauchi as the owner of another very famous company…do you know it? If you guessed Nintendo, you are correct!) Wade Boggs ate the exact same meal before every game (fried chicken) and always wrote the Hebrew word chai on his bat (means life) IN THE BATTER’S BOX Joe DiMaggio used to touch second base every time he ran out to his position in center field Turk Wendell was one of the most superstitious players in baseball and it would take me too long to tell you all of his routines. One of the most interesting? He always had four pieces of black licorice in his mouth when he hit the mound at the start of an inning. Between innings? He ALWAYS brushed his teeth and grabbed four more pieces for the next inning! These were a few of my favorites: Jim Leyland managed several teams including the Florida Marlins, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Detroit Tigers. When he was with the Tigers he led them to become the American League champions in 2006 and had a record of 95-67. They duplicated that record in 2011 but lost the ALCS that year. But during the year, they had two record long win streaks that season: one was 11 games and the other was 9 games. Apparently, Jim’s underwear had a lot to do with it because he wore the same pair of boxers each day they continued to win – no washing until the win-streak ended! Gross, eh?! Trust me, that’s not as gross as it gets – just look up Moises Alou’s (ah-low) routine. Jason Giambi would wear a gold thong to help him find his way out of a slump (maybe Leyland helped him see the significance of undies). Finally, Mark Teixeira wore two different socks and it happened the first time on accident. For those who don’t know, Mark played for the Yankees at the same time as CC Sabathia. Mark’s number is 25 and Sabathia’s is 52. Through a simple mixup in the locker room, he accidentally put on one of CC’s socks with one of his. So one sock had the number 25 and the other, the inverse, or 52. He did exceptionally well in that game (two homers, and six RBIs) so he kept it up for future games! You can thank Bleacher Report for that insightful reporting. Lest you think it’s relegated only to the world of sports, Gallup did a little poll back in the late ’90s. They found that 72% of Americans possessed at least one good luck charm! I don’t know about you, but based on what we just read, I’ll bet it’s a little higher with baseball players! Now in defense of ballplayers, some of what they do is simply routine that has ingrained a habit which allows them to focus. It’s not all superstition. We aren’t immune, however. Think about it: knocking on wood, avoiding walking under a ladder, a rabbit’s foot, or even saying “bless you” when someone sneezes are all pretty common. But here’s the problem: superstition doesn’t work. “What?!” you say, “Have you considered those who are consistently lucky (or consistently unlucky!)?” Well, I haven’t, but Professor Richard Wiseman published a cool little article titled “The Luck Factor” back in 2003 and he did check it out…thoroughly! Back in the early 90s, he took a more scientific look into the concept of luck because he wanted to know why some people are consistently lucky, while others, without bad luck, would have no luck at all. Why do some seem to get all the breaks? Especially when you and I know people who seem to experience one disaster after another. So, Professor Wiseman placed advertisements in national newspapers and magazines asking for people who considered themselves exceptionally lucky or unlucky to contact him. Over 400 extraordinary men and women were willing to participate in his research. There was a wide variety in age from 18 to 84 as well as walks of life: business people, factory workers, teachers, housewives, doctors, secretaries, and salespeople. After carefully examining diaries, personality questionnaires, and intelligence tests, they would also come to his laboratory for experiments. The findings were able to demonstrate that luck is not a magical ability or the result of random chance. The exercise was able to definitively prove that people are not born lucky or unlucky. Instead, Professor Wiseman said that “although lucky and unlucky people have almost no insight into the real causes of their good and bad luck, their thoughts and behavior are responsible for much of their fortune.” His research was able to show that lucky people generate their own good fortune via four basic principles. They: are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good. Further, Mr. Wiseman goes on to say “Lucky people consistently encounter such opportunities whereas unlucky people do not.” This might surprise you, but to prove his hypothesis, his volunteers were given a newspaper. His request was simple: look through it and tell him how many photographs were inside. On average, those who count themselves as unlucky people took about two minutes to count the photographs. Those who consider themselves to be lucky took just seconds. Why? There was a half page message in type two inches tall on the second page of the newspaper that said: “Stop counting – There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.” Isn’t that incredible?! Hard to imagine that anyone could miss it, but there’s an explanation. Remember those personality tests the volunteers took? Well, it turns out that those who view themselves as unlucky are much tenser and more anxious than their lucky counterparts…and anxiety disrupts people’s ability to notice the unexpected. They are too focused on looking for something else. The perfect job, the perfect mate, the perfect vacation, the perfect car…do you see a trend here? Are you trying so hard to get it right that you are missing the opportunities blowing right by you? Professor Wiseman said, “The harder they looked, the less they saw.” Before you throw up your hands and relegate yourself to perfectionist purgatory, it doesn’t have to be like this! This isn’t a death sentence – you can alter your ability to see opportunities. But it’s up to you. You are going to have to introduce variety and change to disrupt your patterns of normality. You’ve heard me take multiple times about neuropathways. You create new ones by forcing your lazy brain out of energy conservation mode. That means taking a different route to work. Brushing your teeth just before you leave the bedroom rather than immediately after waking up or using your opposite hand to brush your teeth. Imagine picking apples in an orchard daily. When you start, you can go anywhere and find fruit. After a while, your repeated returns to the same spot diminish the result. He says: “It is easy for people to exhaust the opportunities in their life.” Always talking to the same people, visiting the same places, or doing the same things reduces potential. New or even random experiences increase the potential for new opportunities. Yet, it isn’t just about creating opportunities. It’s the way you handle misfortune as well. Seeing things that didn’t work out the way you would have liked in a positive and resilient way is critical. He uses an analogy of going into a bank. While you are waiting, a robber enters, fires a shot, and the bullet hits you in the arm. Unlucky people say “Yep, sounds right. Wrong place, wrong time. Just my luck. I get shot just trying to deposit my paycheck!” Contrast this with the lucky person’s perspective: “Oh my goodness! It could have been so much worse! What if the bullet went into my head or my heart?! I’m so fortunate to be alive…and now I have this crazy story to tell!” It’s counter-factual, but lucky people imagine how the bad thing could have been and feel better about themselves and their lives. And this, Professor Wiseman says, “helps keep their expectation about the future high, and, increases the likelihood of them continuing to live a lucky life.” If you are unhappy with your luck, then start creating chance opportunities by breaking daily routines and use counter-factual thinking. When things are bad, get thankful and express gratitude for what you’ve got remembering how things could be worse. Enjoy your experiences and ease up a bit on the intense focus so you can see what’s happening around you and be aware of the opportunities. They are there! There’s evidence demonstrating a high probability that this will work for you. There’s more to discuss regarding success and excellence. But first, don’t miss next week! It’s the first of a two-part conversation with Substantial CEO, Carey Jenkins. If you can imagine everything that you would need to do in order to become a CEO, it probably starts with the business school you chose, then how well you network and establish connections, making sure you have a career history demonstrating successive levels of advancing through the business ranks…and certainly, those things can all be helpful. But what if you didn’t go to one of the top business schools? What if your network isn’t flowing over with stereotypical CEOs who can help you get places? Or what if your success has been in non-traditional industries? Then what? Does it mean you aren’t qualified to lead at the highest levels? Of course not. Don’t miss next week and listen in to Carey’s unconventional path to the office of CEO and get inspired! Resources Mentioned In This Episode: Steve McKee’s article on SmartBrief The Ministry of Culture Bleacher Report article Baseball’s 50 Weirdest All Time Superstitions Professor Richard Wiseman’s article The Luck Factor Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to firstname.lastname@example.org. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 118: The Business Of Language - An Interview With Lelani Craig Part Two 06/10/2019
LTL 118: The Business Of Language - An Interview With Lelani Craig Part Two Welcome to Part Two of my interview with Lelani Craig. If you missed Part One, you can find it here. Lelani is the President of CommGap International Language Services. With more than 25 years of experience in the language industry, she is an accomplished conference interpreter as well as a certified court interpreter. As a result, she is not just an authority on the language of business but knows a thing or two about the business of language. CommGap is a translation and interpretation company which Lelani started in 2000. CommGap works with more than 200 languages. Additionally, Lelani owns Global 1 Voice, LLC which offers medical interpreter training, language assessment, language classes, and compliance consulting. Lelani currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Association of Language Companies. She is also one of the organizers of the Silicon Slopes Localization group, a member of the Utah Women Tech Council, and recently organized the Utah Chapter of Women in Localization. In addition, she serves on Advisory Boards for The Global Chamber and Lango, a technology company. As a mentor and speaker for University entrepreneurial programs, Lelani frequently speaks for leadership and mentoring groups. She received awards from “Count Me In” and American Express in 2004. In 2013, Lelani was selected by Goldman Sachs to participate in their 10,000 Small Businesses Program. In addition, she was chosen by Utah Business Magazine as one of Utah’s 30 Business Women to Watch in 2014. Furthermore, adding to her impressive list of accomplishments, she was awarded Hispanic Business Woman of the Year by the Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 2017. Key Takeaways From Part Two Traditional marketing doesn’t work in every industry, so always pay attention to client feedback and referral rates What additional need does your client have that you can meet Make your client look good Understand client needs, not just the service they are asking for, but also the one they don’t even know that they need yet Don’t dream big; instead, think bigger Fear will keep you back if you let it – be open to the possibility of trying to do something that makes you uncomfortable Comfort will keep you from pushing yourself, so beware Mentoring has a significant impact on your team members Growing big and fast isn’t always the right answer for a small business Quality is key and growth that damages quality will hurt the company in the long run Don’t believe every article you read about entrepreneurs and startups – you can grow a multimillion dollar company without funding Resources Mentioned In This Episode: The Leader To Leader Podcast Episode 117: The Business Of Language An Interview With Lelani Craig Part One CommGap International Language Services Global1Voice Follow CommGap on LinkedIn Connect with Lelani on LinkedIn Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to email@example.com. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 117: The Business Of Language - An Interview With Lelani Craig Part One 06/03/2019
LTL 117: The Business Of Language - An Interview With Lelani Craig Part One Welcome to Part One of my interview with Lelani Craig. Lelani is the President of CommGap International Language Services. With more than 25 years of experience in the language industry, she is an accomplished conference interpreter as well as a certified court interpreter. As a result, she is not just an authority on the language of business but knows a thing or two about the business of language. CommGap is a translation and interpretation company which Lelani started in 2000. CommGap works with more than 200 languages. Additionally, Lelani owns Global 1 Voice, LLC which offers medical interpreter training, language assessment, language classes, and compliance consulting. Lelani currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Association of Language Companies. She is also one of the organizers of the Silicon Slopes Localization group, a member of the Utah Women Tech Council, and recently organized the Utah Chapter of Women in Localization. In addition, she serves on Advisory Boards for The Global Chamber and Lango, a technology company. As a mentor and speaker for University entrepreneurial programs, Lelani frequently speaks for leadership and mentoring groups. She received awards from “Count Me In” and American Express in 2004. In 2013, Lelani was selected by Goldman Sachs to participate in their 10,000 Small Businesses Program. In addition, she was chosen by Utah Business Magazine as one of Utah’s 30 Business Women to Watch in 2014. Furthermore, adding to her impressive list of accomplishments, she was awarded Hispanic Business Woman of the Year by the Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 2017. Key Takeaways From Part One Don’t grow up – or at least don’t get complacent and lose the desire to know and ask questions Hang onto your inquisitive “I wonder what it would be like…” mindset If you don’t try it at least once, you won’t know if you like it or not Don’t be afraid to take the opportunities that present themselves It takes a while to learn custom and culture – give yourself time What makes you different can prove to be your advantage, so don’t shy away from the thing that makes you stand out Learn everything you can regardless of your role because it may add value to your entrepreneurial endeavor Resources, contacts, and network connections grow with time and experience. Eventually, as your business matures, the connections with software and systems speed the results Resources Mentioned In This Episode: CommGap International Language Services Global1Voice Follow CommGap on LinkedIn Connect with Lelani on LinkedIn Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to firstname.lastname@example.org. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 116: Why Success Starts With Service 05/27/2019
LTL 116: Why Success Starts With Service Today’s episode is powerful. If the content doesn’t move you, then in all seriousness, I would ask you to take some time and reevaluate what’s important. The title is simple enough, Why Success Starts With Service; however, I’m certain the task of implementing these principles will require a lifetime to master. This episode releases on Monday, May 27th, 2019. For those of you listening in the U.S., you know that it’s Memorial Day. It’s a three day weekend and I hope that you made the most of your time away from work. On this special day, I remember all of the brave men and women who have put on a military uniform and made their way into the unknown. In particular, I remember my uncle, Wayne Slemons. He died earlier this year on April 18th. It makes me sad, but also proud. While I have no idea whether his service in the U.S. Navy brought him any significant feeling of personal accomplishment, I know he was always proud of his service and his contribution to our great nation. And I remember my dad, Larry Slemons. The stories of his experience in the U.S. Marine Corps have held my attention for 50 years. Again, I’m proud of him, his service to our country, and grateful that our time together remains. It would take me hours to tell you how my dad has positively impacted my life. When we remember the sacrifices of those who serve, we must also remember the sacrifices made by those who stay behind. It’s often the service of those behind the front lines that get overlooked. Today’s episode is a tribute to them. Specifically, today’s episode is a tribute to Rae Wilson and approximately 55,000 other women who served at home during World War II. They are evidence that success starts with service. You might recall that in >>last week’s episode that Ginger and I were in Seattle for our daughter-in-law’s graduation. Rachel got her Master’s Degree from Northwest University and we were there to celebrate. Fortunately, we were able to attend the commencement and hear some fantastic speakers. Well what I didn’t tell you was that one of these speakers was Dr. Dick Foth. You might not recognize his name. He’s an author, speaker, podcaster, mentor, and Pastor who was the President of Bethany University from 1978-1992. And on this day, he was the commencement speaker at Northwest University. He said many meaningful things on this day, but one topic stood out. I don’t consider myself to be a history buff. Our oldest son, Nehemiah, (Rachel’s husband) fills that category nicely. I’m always amazed at how much he knows about history but World War II was particularly intriguing to him. So Dr. Foth told us a story that he read by a gentleman named Bob Greene. Bob was a sportswriter and in the early 2000s, took to writing a book that, pardon my pun, was out in left field. But this story captured my attention. That book title is Once Upon A Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen. And in that book are stories that will stir your soul. Dr. Foth mentioned a woman named Rae Wilson. This 26-year-old woman was at the epicenter of what came to be known as the North Platte Canteen. So here’s the story of Rae and the beginning of the North Platte Canteen: On December 17th, 1941, Rae had heard a rumor that her brother, a company commander in the 134th Infantry Regiment of the Nebraska Army National Guard, was going to pass through North Platte on their way from Camp Joseph T. Robinson near Little Rock, Arkansas. The train was supposedly going to arrive at 11, but by noon it hadn’t shown up. Now, remember, you aren’t allowed to discuss or share troop movement information, so no one knew if this was even accurate. I expect many people were beginning to question whether the rumor was true, but at least five hundred relatives and friends of local servicemen came to the depot in hopes of getting to see loved ones. When the train finally arrived around 430P, the crowd cheered, but it wasn’t the 134th. It was a National Guard regiment from the same company, Company D, but from Kansas, not Nebraska. What to do? Well, the crowd gave the soldiers the gifts and the food that was originally meant for their own sons and wished them off. Rae wasn’t satisfied. She thought this was something the community should commit to doing until the troops stopped moving through North Platte. I seriously doubt that Rae was looking for a way to establish the principle that success starts with service. She did write a letter to the editor of the local paper, The Daily Bulletin and said the following: I don’t know just how many people went to meet the trains when the troops went thru our city Wednesday, but those who didn’t should have. To see the spirits and the high morale among those soldiers should certainly put some of us on our feet and make us realize we are really at war. We should help keep this soldiers morale at its highest peak. We can do our part. During World War I the army and navy mothers, or should I say the war mothers, had canteens at our own depot. Why can’t we, the people of North Platte and other towns surrounding our community, start a fund and open a Canteen now? I would be more than willing to give my time without charge and run this canteen. We who met this troop train which arrived about 5 o’clock were expecting Nebraska boys. Naturally we had candy, cigarettes, etc., but we very willingly gave these things to the Kansas boys. Smiles, tears and laughter followed. Appreciation showed on over 300 faces. An officer told me it was the first time anyone had met their train and that North Platte had helped the boys keep up their spirits. I say get back of our sons and other mothers’ sons 100 per cent. Let’s do something and do it in a hurry! We can help this way when we can’t help any other way. -Rae Wilson The North Platte Telegraph. September 17, 1973 So here a young woman identifies an ability to serve complete strangers. Treating other mother’s sons as if they were their own. And would you like to know just how successful this endeavor was? I thought so! Success Starts With Service This little town of 12,000 people opened that canteen. And with the support of approximately 55,000 female volunteers, from 125 surrounding communities as far away as eastern Colorado, a service movement was born. From December of 1941 until April of 1946, 20-30 trains arrived for their ten minute stop in North Platte. Ten minutes for a serviceman or woman to get a hug and some grub from someone who loved them as much as their mother. Seven days a week for five years, these women served over six million members of our military. No government funding. Not a cent from the city, county, state, or federal government. 100% of what was served was baked with love and brought from the farms and tables of thousands of homes in the heart of America. And please remember, this was during rationing – something I would bet the majority of listeners today have not and will not experience in their lifetime. You stood in line for sugar, butter, flour, milk. And from this, these people gave, and gave, and gave. Not from their wealth, but from their poverty. I wonder how many discussions occurred around the dinner table where the family decided to miss a meal so a few soldiers could have one? How many gave up their food for a friend who they would probably never see again? If you want to understand the impact, read some of the interviews Bob Greene had with soldiers in his book. These men saw some of the most brutal war scenes in history. And they were moved to tears by the sincere love and concern of these women in a ten minute stop in North Platte, NE. You have no idea how much a glass of cold milk, a sandwich, a piece of pie, and a cup of coffee meant to these soldiers. One captain said it was the kindest any of his soldiers had been treated during all of World War II. In ten minutes, these women fed, played with, danced with, and gave gifts to soldiers who would remember their simple acts of kindness for a lifetime. Bob said, “If you want a guide book on how to be a great American, it happened right there at the North Platte Canteen.” This wasn’t just successful – Bob called it a miracle. And he explained how resistant he is to use that word. That this little town of 12,000 people so dramatically impacted the lives of more than 6,000,000 is, in fact, miraculous. And so today, with you, I remember through the words and actions of these most honorable women at the North Platte Canteen, through the initiative of a single 26-year-old woman and her letter to the editor starting one of the most powerful volunteer efforts in our history, that my greatest success starts with service. To all those women and men who have given their lives in service to our country or those who have served or are serving in any branch of the armed forces, I say, “Thank you for your service.” Resources Mentioned In This Episode: The Leader To Leader Podcast Episode 115: To Be A Great Leader You Must Have This C-SPAN2 video of Bob Greene talking about his book Once Upon A Town at the Evanston, IL Public Library back in 2002 Any links to Amazon are affiliate links. The price doesn’t change, but I receive a commission for purchases made through those links. Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to email@example.com. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!
info_outline LTL 115: To Be A Great Leader You Must Have This 05/20/2019
LTL 115: To Be A Great Leader You Must Have This How many times have you heard that there’s this mystical, mythical, or magical key to unlock a hidden treasure? You know what I’m talking about: six steps to financial independence, three keys to obtaining influence, 1,084 things you must do to be a good parent. Right?! It can be a little annoying. I purposefully did that with the title of this episode: To Be A Great Leader You Must Have This. Yet, no matter how annoying, disappointing, (or both!) most of that content has some valuable insight. An insight that if you take a moment to extract, and apply, has the potential to benefit you greatly in your future. There is very little content produced that will not benefit you at all. What Is Your Expectation? This is not the episode that will unleash your leadership potential if you will just send me $999. It’s not the episode that will catapult you to the top of your organization – although, for $2,995 I can provide that.This episode will not give you a pattern that you can replicate and therefore obtain your heart’s deepest desire. Every Great Leader Wants To Improve Instead, I promise that you will hear a tip, find a point, discover a lesson that you can implement to improve your leadership skill. And maybe it’s a letdown. Every great leader has a natural desire to improve. And if that’s your mindset, I can deliver with this content. It’s kind of funny when things happen unintentionally. Today’s episode is kind of like that. I don’t mean that there was not a plan for the episode, but rather an unintentional connection to a previous episode. Back in Episode 44: Four Perspectives On Service, I shared some thoughts on serving. It just so happened that this was emphasized by commencement speaker, Dr. Rick Rigsby, at Marrisa’s graduation. Marissa is our daughter-in-law. And I guess in keeping with the tradition – it is commencement season you know – I want to share some thoughts from Rachel’s commencement. Rachel is our other, and first, daughter-in-law. You Can Learn From Just About Anything She recently graduated from Northwest University with her Master’s degree in Obviously, we are all very proud of her. Just like we are all proud of any achievement obtained by our loved ones. I personally feel like there is always an opportunity to learn regardless of the environment in which I find myself. This commencement exercise was no exception. What’s funny is that several others who attended the exact same commencement exercise heard the exact same speakers and yet, walked away with entirely different perspectives. Some of the emotions were shared and consistent, others were quite different. No One To Blame But Yourself It reminds me again that each moment is what you make of it. You own the right to determine whether you will or can benefit. Because it’s up to you, there isn’t anyone to blame if you learn nothing. So the most controversial was the student address that was given by one of the graduating undergrad students. She shared a couple of things that shook me. I love that. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that you have just received a challenge to your perspective. The example she used was from Shakespeare’s play, The Merry Wives of Windsor. Maybe you’re familiar with it? I’m not going to go through the entire storyline as that would take too long here. Affection Or Deception? I’ll just say that there is a character, Falstaff, who intends to increase his financial position by obtaining the affections of one or both of two wealthy and married mistresses. In this process, another character, Pistol, is having a conversation with Falstaff in which he asks for a loan from Falstaff. Falstaff: I will not lend thee a penny. Pistol: Why, then, the world’s mine oyster, Which I with sword will open. And this became the premise for the young woman’s address to her peers, and to us, the proud educators, parents, family, and friends of all those graduating. I’m not sure what you think when you here “the world is my oyster.” If I introspect, then I initially would say that I view it as my opportunity. My ability to make the most of any situation. The World Is My Oyster It means that I will have to work for what I get. That effort will be necessary if I am to gain success. I’ve not seen any oysters that open by themselves. It takes an object (a tool) to open the oyster. And this is where the analogy admittedly begins to fall apart. If you think about using skills or talents to open oysters, then you understand that they can feed you (ignoring for a moment that eating an oyster might be the most disgusting thought you could imagine). If you don’t work, you don’t eat. You will have to use your tools to derive gain. So far so good. This part of the analogy works…it’s the next part that produces a failing. So the story goes that if you open a high number of oysters, then you might be fortunate enough to find a pearl once in a while! The problem is that the oysters that contain pearls are generally inedible. So…do what you want with the analogy. Gain Through Exploitation Not every oyster has a pearl. You can think of encountering the pearl as an astounding success. Falstaff and Pistol were looking for a shortcut, or at least a formula, to obtain their financial independence. And here’s the part that Abby shared while addressing her peers that made me sit up and take notice: “the world is your oyster” in the eyes of Falstaff and Pistol was gain through exploitation. Ouch. It leads to several powerful questions: What motivates my behavior? Why am I bent to achieve a particular outcome? Are my intentions noble or dishonest? Would I be willing to exploit another for my personal gain? Have I dedicated myself to conquest? If so, for what purpose? Naturally, there are many other good questions besides these. It did make me wonder where in my life were my motives less than honorable or pure? What lengths would I be willing to go to in order to secure these outcomes? Richest Treasures Gained Through Wonder In continuing her thought, Abby wonders aloud if the richest treasures are obtained instead through wonder. I mentioned how I experienced this several weeks ago when I used it to introduce Episode 113. On a morning run, I was taken aback by the beauty and depth of a blue, cloudless sky. There was nothing new about it. I was just noticing it again. Maybe it’s a blade of grass, a piece of fruit, a tree, a star, or a hummingbird that arouses wonder and amazement. The wonder is what moves me to learn. I suppose you could argue that exploitation is an equal motivator, but I hope you see the value in shifting to wonder instead. Viciously Guarding What You’ve Gained So I’ll end with this thought. When your treasure is the result of exploitation, it likely results from a scarcity mindset. In other words, there are finite resources and you have to take someone else’s in order to secure your own. I suspect you will find that treasure obtained through exploitation is viciously guarded. If we are busy viciously guarding all that we have gained, is there room for sharing with another? What if that sharing could cause them to overtake you? Are you willing to share your time and resources to the advancement of others in the cause of furthering wonder? As a leader, you owe it to yourself to consider whether the trait a great leader can’t afford to be without isn’t the desire the learn, but the willingness to give of himself or herself for the advancement of others. If that’s accurate, then the most logical question that follows would be what are you willing to give yourself away for? My suspicion is that in this answer is a load of life fulfillment, wonder, and joy. Resources Mentioned In This Episode: The Leader To Leader Podcast Episode 44: Four Perspectives On Service Thanks for Listening! I want to hear from you! I appreciate your honest feedback so reach out and: Leave a note in the comment section below. Email a question to firstname.lastname@example.org. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Listen to the show using your favorite platform: Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | Android | RSS Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!