Archives for November 2015

Managing Your Leadership Message

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This week I want to talk to you about managing your leadership message.

Ladies and gentlemen, every day, by the words that we use and the actions we take, we are communicating a message to the people that matter most to us. Whether it’s our family, an employee, a key stakeholder, a shareholder or a board member, we’re communicating a message.

An important question is: are you doing it purposefully or accidentally?

If you are communicating your message purposefully you can and will get so much more leadership traction and will be so much more effective…if you manage these three messages.

1. The message you send to yourself. The six to eight inches between your ears is the most important repository of the messages you send you can manage. Are you sending messages to yourself of optimism, a can-do attitude and playing to win? Or, are you sending messages of the inverse? Whatever message you plant in between your ears creates a mindset that is cascaded throughout your entire organization.

2. The message you send to employees. Are you sending the message that you want every employee to be an owner as opposed to an employee? Are you sending the message that you want every employee to be engaged in creating the extraordinary? What message are you sending through the words you use and the behaviors you exhibit? This message needs to be managed purposefully in order for you to have the greatest success.

3. When employees or key stakeholders respond to you, how do you manage the message that you send to them in return?

There are three messages: one to yourself, one when you deliver messages to others and one grounded in how we respond when we receive messages from others. These are three critical messages that will help you become a more effective leader.

Monday Morning Minute Challenge:
This week, identify one meeting you will attend and the message you want to deliver. How will you craft this message? What words will you say, what examples will you give, what results will you associate with your message?

After delivering your message the second part of this weeks challenge is to learn from your experience and ask, “what worked, what didn’t work and what will you do differently next week?”

By engaging in this weeks challenge you’re sending a message to yourself about continual improvement, getting better, learning and growing. And that’s a fabulous message to cascade throughout your organization also!

Why You As A Leader Must Discriminate

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This week I want to suggest that you need to discriminate more. Not discriminate against a person, or race, a religion or ethnicity. Oh no, au contraire. I suggest you discriminate toward higher performance.

If you don’t discriminate toward higher performance you accept and tolerate lower performance.

This is a mindset shift ladies and gentlemen. Some employees play not to lose as opposed to playing to win. If you tolerate that then you are lowering the performance bar. You’re lowering the performance bar as opposed to raising it by saying, “we will always strive towards higher performance. We will always strive toward higher employee satisfaction and employee engagement so that we have truly flourishing employees and customers so that this business can flourish.”

In order to not become anesthetized to the pockets of lower performance that grow in all organizations, this week discriminate toward higher performance. No longer accept the reasoning, the excuses and the lack of accountability that some have toward higher performance. The moment you do that ladies and gentlemen, you’re toast. Your business is toast. Your performance is toast.

This week discriminate more towards higher performance. When you do, you’ll develop the flourishing leadership that fosters flourishing employees and that creates a flourishing business. And yes, it all starts with you discriminating. Discriminate more this week ladies and gentlemen and you will have a fabulous week.

Are You A Human Doing Or A Human Being?

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This week I want to ask you…are you a human doing, or are you a human being?

That question is designed to tee up a fascinating subject which is: the vast majority of employees and leaders I come in contact with feel overwhelmed. They feel that they have too much to do and far too little time to accomplish it. They feel they are on a treadmill running at twenty miles an hour and there is no time to catch their breath.

I say to them, “do you feel that you are a human doing (doing one thing after another after another after another) to get things on your to-do list done, or are you a human being? Being a human being allows you to be fully present with employees and customers in a meaningful way; ways that allow you to learn from them and be fully engaged with them?” The vast majority say, “I feel like a human doing.”

Ladies and gentlemen, there is really only one recommendation I have for you this week, and it is this: recognize that the longer you remain a human doing, the easier it is that you will end up feeling as though you’re crawling on your belly through enemy territory with bullets flying over your head. Life becomes a long, slow, slog.

For some people, human doing-ness has been their modus operandi for years. For some people it is short term, intermittent or short lived. But the reality is that what’s required for you to be fully present on the human being side of life is for you to have quality time where you detach from all of your professional and personal obligations. There comes a time when you have to slow down, breathe, and think creatively.

The only way to do that is to shut off your phone, your email, and to pull back and separate from the busyness of the world of work. When you do you can think in ways you normally don’t because of the pressures of doing more with less in shorter periods of time. To be able to consider alternative perspectives and their implications and applications you must have greater margin in your day. You simply cannot do this when you are on a treadmill running at twenty-five miles an hour.

This week I only have one recommendation for you. Put on your calendar a minimum of fifteen minutes to think through your work, what you want to accomplish as well as your strategic priorities. You must be able to pull aside, to think creatively and say, “what can I do to be more effective in this regard?” When you do that; and you build up to thirty minutes or an hour once or twice a week you’ll be astounded at how much more effective you become.

One of my clients just started with two – one hour segments per week, and he said last week, “my wife and son are now seeing me for dinner, and they don’t really know what to make of it because I’m so much more attentive as well as effective. My team now tells me I am thinking so much more clearly, and that I am a more effective leader because I am taking the time for myself.”

That’s the power, ladies and gentlemen of taking the time for yourself. You no longer will be a human doing, you will become a human being and will be so much more effective.


The Three Percentages Successful Leaders Use To Drive Performance

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This week I want to share with you the three percentages all successful leaders use. They are: 1%, 100%, 0%. Let me put some meat on the bones.

The 1% Rule. The 1% rule is that you can get 1% better each day and by doing so be 1% better tomorrow then you were today. Getting better by 1% every day means that at the end of seventy two days you will be 100% better than you are today. That is the 1% equation that is so important in leadership.

The 100% Rule. You are 100% accountable and responsible for taking this idea about getting better every single day and infusing it into your organization and into your leadership. You are 100% responsible because nobody else will do so.

The 0% Rule. Ladies and gentlemen, there may be extenuating circumstances, but there are zero excuses for having an organization that does not learn, grow and innovate every day and week. There are no excuses that can be tolerated. I know this sounds black and white, but in the world of work learning, growing and innovating are essential.

Customer expectations are changing rapidly and organizations that flourish are learning 1% every single day, have leaders that take 100% responsibility for cultivating and infusing learning and growth into their organization and make zero excuses.

That ladies and gentlemen are the three percentages that successful leaders pay attention to. If you adopt them this week you’re going to have a much more effective work week.

Are You Working To Prove Yourself Or Improve Yourself?

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There are two types of people we have all worked with, lived with and or done business with. One type of person is rooted in the past and prefers to walk the well worn path of the known, the safe and the predictable. When something new comes along and they don’t know how to handle it they resist the idea and become more interested in proving themselves to be smart, competent and successful.

The second type of person is willing to stray off the beaten path and venture into unknown territory. They are inquisitive and see the unknown not as something to feel threatened by, but rather see unfamiliar events as opportunities to learn and grown in unanticipated ways. They are less concerned with proving themselves and more inclined to improve themselves.

I have been the former and prefer the latter. I remember back in 1985 when I landed my first corporate leadership position. I was recruited at twenty-five to lead a four location health and wellness company with two hundred and fifty employees and operating budgets of over ten million dollars. I thought I was the senior quarterback who had just been drafted in the first round of the NFL draft.

I bought a new car, upgraded my wardrobe and found a new apartment to keep up with my upgraded responsibilities. I was enthusiastic beyond measure and felt as though I had “arrived.”

But within ninety days I heard from the CEO that I had alienated every employee in the corporate office and that I had ninety days to fix it. If I didn’t I would be gone. He suggested I read the book How To Win Friends and Influence Others by Dale Carnegie.

In one conversation I learned that I had been committed to proving myself and that no longer was I the first round pick, but rather I might not even make the practice squad. In that moment my focused shifted to one of improving myself and building bridges with the people I alienated.

The moment we become enamored with proving ourselves over improving ourselves our growth, influence and effectiveness plummets. To avoid this there are three strategies successful leaders can use to continually and effectively improve themselves. They are:

1. Surround yourself with truth tellers. Successful leaders surround themselves with a trusted cadre of people who tell it like it is. If you want to accelerate your growth you must have people who will tell you what you need to hear versus what you want to hear.

2. Practice the 1% rule. Focus on progress not on perfection. You do this by committing to improve your leadership effectiveness by 1% every day. Over the course of seventy-two days you will be 100% more effective than when you started. Small daily improvements will win the day.

3. Create a compelling future. Without a noble or uplifting future to guide you; without an idea, hope, dream or aspiration that has grabbed hold of you and won’t let go, then work becomes a long, slow slog on your belly through enemy territory with bullets flying over your head. All leaders who create something noteworthy; even extraordinary, have a compelling idea that changes their perceptions, their thinking, their mindset and ultimately their actions.

Call To Action:
Do not waste another day trying to prove yourself. The likelihood is that if you are reading this post and have gotten this far you are smart, competent, talented and successful. My blog doesn’t attract unsuccessful people.

Today, take one of these strategies and drive it a mile. Resist doing one mildly or timidly. Do one with a ruthless determination to make a meaningful difference in your leadership and the life of the people that matter most to you.


Because that’s what leaders do

Which strategy will you implement today?

Pay Attention To What You Pay Attention To

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This week I want to suggest you pay attention to what you pay attention to.

No, this is not a riddle from Batman, this is an admonition that what we tend to pay attention to is that which is known, safe and predictable.

We pay attention to those things that allow us to feel comfortable, safe, and successful. We don’t pay attention to the inverse. We don’t pay attention to things that make us feel uncomfortable, insecure, and not smart. So we avoid these things. But ladies and gentlemen, when we do that we miss a tremendous amount of information. We miss seeing a situation from it’s fullest perspective.

I want to recommend this week that you pay attention to what you pay attention to. Do you pay attention to risk, or do you pay attention to opportunity? Do you pay attention to tasks, or do you pay attention to people? Whatever you pay attention to, recognize that there is an opposite side to what you are paying attention to. And when you see the other side, you can address issues and develop a much more effective solution that provides greater value to employees, customers and your bottom line.

This week pay attention to what you pay attention to. If you do, you’re going to have a fabulous week.

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