Category Archives: LEADERSHIP

AUTHORS, BUSINESS, LEADERSHIP

Tom Peters: The Excellence Dividend: The Interview!

Best-selling business author and speaker Tom Peters joins us on the show today, to discuss his latest book, The Excellence Dividend.

Click here for the show transcript!

Discussion guide for my conversation with Tom Peters:

Hasn’t everything about doing good, quality work already been said by all authors and business gurus? Why was this book necessary?

Tom PetersSo, what is the Excellence Dividend, exactly?

One of the goals of the book is to discuss and understand the impact of technology on business, but more importantly, to remember what humans can (and always will) do better than a machine, correct?

You talk about EXCELLENCE. Do we ever truly arrive there? Or is the lifelong pursuit of excellence the true mission, the real point to the effort?

“Business IS the community.”

One of the most profound weaknesses of most people in business is their inability to LISTEN. With social media, technology, media, and all the noise, listening is even harder these days. We discuss at length how strength and influence comes with true listening.

In the book, there is an important discussion about joy, and that most people in their work are joyless. We discuss why joy matters, who is responsible for bringing joy to the workplace, and how being joyful inspires creativity and innovation.

Speaking of innovation, Tom and I have an important dialog about not only what innovation truly is, but how you do it. And while most of us overcomplicate, Tom explains how to do it successfully. And it’s just a matter of rolling up your sleeves and trying things.

To wrap the conversation, Tom shares advice on how to adopt the “Excellence Now” philosophy, and how to begin to embed the principles of his book into both our lives and our organizations. Not by sharing a memo, but by building this new culture one person at a time.

You can find Tom Peters’ book right here!

Who is Tom Peters?

Tom Peters is coauthor of In Search of Excellence—the book that changed the way the world does business, and often tagged as the best business book ever. Seventeen books and thirty-five years later, he’s still at the forefront of the “management guru industry” he single-handedly invented. What’s new? A lot. As CNN said, “While most business gurus milk the same mantra for all its worth, the one-man brand called Tom Peters is still reinventing himself.” His most recent effort is The Excellence Dividend: Meeting the Tech Tide with Work that Wows and Jobs that Last (Vintage, 2018). Tom’s bedrock belief: “Execution is strategy—it’s all about the people and the doing, not the talking and the theory.” In November 2017, Tom received the Thinkers50 Lifetime Achievement Award.

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BUSINESS, HR, HUMANITY, LEADERSHIP

Simon Sinek: Playing the infinite game

I had the distinct pleasure to listen to Simon Sinek’s keynote yesterday at WorkHuman18 by Globoforce.

I made these quick and dirty notes and publish them here for my learning, reference, and to solidify my long-term understanding. I thought you might enjoy the chance to compare your notes to mine.

If you attended this same keynote, let me know how your thoughts might differ from mine!

INFINITE VS. FINITE

Are you playing a short-term game? Or are you willing to take short-term losses to advance the cause for success in the long-term?

Think growth mindset verses fixed mindset.

WILL AND RESOURCES

The true key to success in any endeavor is to sustain the will to drive to success (and not lose steam along the way) and to maintain enough resources to get the job done.

Most lose the enthusiasm necessary to sustain the effort, and many run out of enough customers or money to get across the line in the end.

SACRIFICE FOR THE CAUSE (TO HAVE A JUST CAUSE)

Your organization must have a just cause to fight for and drive inspiration. It must be specific. It cannot be “growth,” it cannot be “to win” or to be “the best,” and it cannot be “to defeat the competition.”

Again, it must be specific.

And when you have that just cause, your people will make sacrifices to get there, and show up inspired to work.

INCENTIVIZE BEHAVIOR VS PERFORMANCE

We incentivize performance and results. Rather, we should also incentivize behavior.

We should reward devoted effort to unsuccessfully solve a problem, failure to successfully innovate, and to make honest mistakes.

Why? We want to encourage our people to try new things…to not be afraid to try, and to not hide from the potential ridicule of failure.

DISCRETION

You must free your people to use their discretion for when to make the right decision on behalf of the customer or to solve a problem.

Don’t trust your employees to follow your rules. Trust your employees to know which rules to break (and when).

HR SHOULD THINK PEOPLE FIRST, NOT EXECUTE EXECUTIVE DICTATES

HR departments spend more time executing the will of management (right or wrong), and not enough time exhibiting leadership to free and empower the people to do the important work to fight (and sacrifice for) the cause.

COMPETITION REVEALS OUR FLAWS

If you are solely focused on beating your competition, you will ultimately lose. And certainly not be inspirational.

No, the goal is to respect your competition, and learn from the things they are better at than you.

GOAL IS NOT TO BEAT THEM, BUT TO OUTLAST THEM

A nod back to having both the will and resources, again, your goal is not to directly beat your competition, but to have more will, more resources, and outlast them.

FIXED JUST CAUSE AND FLEXIBLE STRATEGY

Your just cause cannot change. It cannot be flexible. It is your purpose and destination.

But how you get there has to be flexible, adaptable to the roadblocks that will appear.

Too many organizations have a flexible just cause and will not budge on how they do things. This cannot work and leads to failure and frustration.

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BUSINESS, CONTRIBUTORS, HUMANITY, LEADERSHIP, PERSONAL GROWTH

10 alternatives to thinking outside the box

I am sick and tired of people saying that it is time to think outside the damn box. So, instead of fussing about it, I came up with ten alternatives. Here they are:

1. Step on the box. And move to a higher level. Use the box to get to where you really want to go…

2. Paint the box. Give it a new look. Sometimes the box just needs a fresh, new feel. Nothing has really changed internally, but doesn’t a freshly-painted house look brand new?

3. Poke the box. [h/t Seth] Just read the book. Right now.

4. Crush the box. Flatten the old, tired way. Start fresh. A flat box serves a purpose too. Plus, you can probably rebuild it if you wanted – or needed to.

5. Shred the box. Sometimes you’ve just got to begin again. And complete destruction is the only course. Damn the torpedos. (But don’t worry, if all else fails, someone will construct another box.

6. Hack the box. Sometimes boxes can be used for something other than storing stuff. Repurpose. Retool. Innovate. Open your mind to new possibilities. Come on, don’t be afraid. The people you are worried about aren’t really paying attention. Do it.

7. Rewire the box. Sometimes the box works quite well, and just needs to be rewired. This brings things (ideas) up to code, gives you a fresh start, and gives you confidence to move forward.

8. Deliver the box. Sometimes, you need different opinions, a different viewpoint, and fresh look. Give the box to someone else. Maybe they will do something that matters with it.

9. Bury the box. Sometimes, you just need to let it go. Put it away. Forget about it. Bury it. Move on. Because someday, someone will unbury it, and find wonder in the box.

10. Kick the box. When I was a kid, I loved taking boxes and simply destroying them. Kicking them, crushing them, clubbing them with sticks. I guess it was therapeutic to vent some energy. Sometimes, we just need to do this to begin again, to feel better, and feel alive. So go. Kick it, now. In the end, it is still a box. But you are different.

What are your other ideas? Please share!

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HUMANITY, LEADERSHIP, LIFESTYLE, PERSONAL GROWTH, SIMPLE LIVING, WELLNESS

25 key things for you to do this year

1. Eat less.
2. Be more active.
3. Read more.
4. Listen intentionally.
5. Stretch more.
6. Slow down and breathe.
7. Criticize less.
8. Encourage more.
9. Buy less.
10. Donate more.
11. Stop multitasking.
12. Save more money.
13. Stop lying.
14. Communicate clearly what you believe in.
15. Trust more.
16. Write/journal more (even to yourself).
17. Make something.
18. Pay more attention to the world around you.
19. Stop judging.
20. Eliminate regret.
21. Take pride in everything.
22. Value what you have.
23. Prepare better.
24. Enjoy right now.
25. Smile more.

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HUMANITY, LEADERSHIP, LIFESTYLE

50 Cents and Responsibility: Lessons from an 8-Year Old

“But this will not do, God will certainly punish you for stealing and for being unfaithful.”
– Jupiter Hammon

I was a precocious child growing up and somewhat mischievous, as well. A number of older people forget their youth. I feel bad for them, I really do. That or they manipulate their past in their mind over and over again, in order to paint themselves in a better light; sort of finger painting of the mind. I stopped doing this a few years ago when I stopped punishing myself and allowed those memories to come to the forefront. I started my own, shall we say, therapy to explore more about why I am who I am, a riddle wrapped with perplexity and tied with an enigma bow.

It’s Nice to Want Things

I wanted things but being eight years old, there’s little choice getting baubles at toy stores because you just don’t have the money, I mean, look, you were eight. Oh, and as my buddy Pete Radloff likes to say, “It’s nice to want things.” What in the hell did you need money for, really? I suppose it is an odd rite of passage to begin earning money and become part of the general economy at some point, but a kid should have kid memories, the good, the bad, memories, good times.

I want to make a very important point here before I continue with this. I was raised with respect and was taught morals, however – at this tender age, there is only so much a person should expect from a boy to know, life you see. So, many times it is the mistakes we make, the falls that teach us; this was one of those times.

fifty centsWhenever I was in Yuma visiting my grandparents, we would eat out. Back in the day, restaurants, even the classier ones in town, had, shall we say, items for a gentleman? Cologne, condoms, and oddly, stupid toys that you could drop into a glass of water and they would form a bird, I shit you not, no pun intended.  The cost was only fifty cents and I wanted to see what the bird would look like. The small issue I had? I was eight and not making a paycheck, damn child labor laws.

My Uncle Mike was making a pay check though, and when he went out he had a change jar where he would deposit his loose change. Mostly pennies and nickels, but there were dimes and quarters, too. It sat on the dresser drawer’s cabinet that housed his work shirts and underwear, socks and such. It was just an old preserves jar that had a small crack in it and my Grams didn’t want to use for preserves. Hence, the change jar was born. As earlier stated, I was eight years old, keep up folks, and well I, being froggy, just put my hand in that mason jar and took out fifty cents. I just figured my Uncle wouldn’t miss it since it was only two coins in a sea of them, sitting in that old mason jar.

The Next Time

I got my toys the next time we went to the restaurant. The two coins were in separate pockets as to not let them jingle against each other, the sound alerting anyone of the booty in my pocket. I learned a lot from the detective magazines my Uncle Mike would leave around the house. I went to the bathroom and procured my reward for stealing from him without a care, then came back to the table with an enormous sense of satisfaction.

Um, yeah best-laid plans of mice and men; and eight-year olds, I suppose.

It may have been fortuitous, within a week I was afforded an allowance of one dollar a week to do chores. Raised the way I was, I heard a story from my Grandparents about stealing and that it was a bad thing, it hurt people when you took what was rightfully theirs. I, in my eight-year old mind, thought I had hurt my Uncle. So, instead of going to the market for a Slurpee and baseball cards, I got change; four quarters. I guess this is when I discovered I was going to be a writer, I wrote him a letter, put two-quarters in the envelope with the letter and left it on his bed. Easy, right? Nope, not even close.

My Uncle took the letter to my Mother and to my Grandparents, the reaction was at first one of anger that I would steal, but my Grandparents intervened the tongue lashing and the switch and instead, embraced the fact that I wanted to make amends. I had learned my lesson without them having to teach me. I learned from their example, their knowledge. That is how we learn, you know. My mother was so proud, she took the two toys and letter and framed it, my mother – the hidden artist.

To wrap this up, we all make mistakes, we are not perfect. However, when the imperfection comes we need to learn from it, take it with us. Funny thing is, I have a goblet I got from a bar years ago and although loose change is now non-existent with credit cards and digital chips, it’s still out there and when I have some change, I throw it in that cup.

Thanks, Uncle Mike, it was a great lesson, and I miss you. Rest in peace.

fifty cents

**This is a photo of the actual letter I wrote to my Uncle, funny thing? I needed an editor even then.

#truestory

HUMANITY, LEADERSHIP, PERSONAL GROWTH

One Day at a Time: Winning the Battle of Life

Winning is Important

Why?

We want recognition. We want to feel accomplished. We want to be successful.

I hated playing Monopoly when I was younger. My brother was insanely competitive – he still is – and he won almost every game. I was torn and it made me mad,  and not because he won but rather, because I lost. Some of us are better at losing than others. I’m not one of those individuals.

Somehow, I think it is deeper than just not wanting to lose. Like most people, I want to be relevant and, well – winners are relevant. Winners win. Winners get to the finish line first. They walk away with trophies and awards. Their home-baked cookies are the best. They hear applause and approval often. They are happy, aren’t they? Are winners happier than those of us who merely strive but fail?

Who Doesn’t Want to Be Relevant?

It may seem simple. Isn’t that what we all want? Aren’t we all just looking for a smile or a cheer, a pat on the back, a “good job” or “atta boy”, a raise in pay? Is that relevance? Or is that acceptance?

Where does your State of Mind leave you?

I didn’t purchase my first scratch-off lottery ticket until I was 26 years old. I had gone to the mall with a friend on my lunch hour. I was a young mother of two at the time – money was always tight, but I had an extra buck in my pocket and thought, “what the heck?” That very first scratcher was $100 winner. I was shocked, surprised, but most of all – happy. I could afford diapers and maybe a Cinnabon with my little girls that week, our favorite treat!

A year or two earlier, I found myself in a pickle while practicing with my league softball team on an early Saturday morning. I could throw like mad – but my arm was a little wild. I was honing my ability in lengthy practices and found myself in a very good place: playing shortstop with a #1 team with a .822 personal batting average. Until the pickle.

Some guys were waiting to use the field and decided to challenge us “girls” to a quick pick-up game. We, of course, accepted the challenge. I hit a double to deep right and found myself rounding 2nd. Mistakenly, I thought there had been an overthrow, but really – the throw had been to 3rd base, and square in front of me stood a waiting, gnarling 3rd baseman, holding said ball. I screamed and turned, only to find the ball now at 2nd base. Turning again, my cleat caught and my body went one way, while my foot and lower leg stayed planted. A loud pop could be heard. That pop was the ACL in my right leg snapping in half.

I continued to play for several more years, but I lost my position, my batting average dropped, and eventually left the sport, devastated, after six knee surgeries.

Win or Lose

I could have continued to buy lottery tickets, hoping for another winner. I could have curled up in ball and never struck out again. But I didn’t do either. My battle continued, on different fields.

“Defeat is a state of mind. No one is ever really defeated until defeat has been accepted as reality.” – Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee never stopped kicking, never stopped fighting.

Life can Kick You in the Ass

And it often does.

But what are you going to do? Let it? Or dodge those kicks and punches? Just turn the other cheek?

If only it were that easy. Many mornings, I wish it were easy. But I have learned, you just keep going, you just keep moving forward, Victory does not come to those who stand still or those without impetus or drive.

Life’s Battles

Ive had my share, they don’t seem to ease up, so I can’t really afford to. My parents hung a framed copy of my father’s favorite poem in their bathroom – it was titled You Can. I read that damn thing every time I ventured into their private space. Over and over again, committing it to memory over the years. On many a morning, the last verse has gotten me out of bed.

Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster wo/man.
But sooner or later the wo/man who wins,
Is the man who thinks he can.

You Can

Some weeks, it’s just one day at a time. Some days, it’s just one step at a time. And some steps, it’s just one moment at a time. When all you can do is find the next moment, that is enough.

And sometimes, that’s all it takes.

HUMANITY, LEADERSHIP, LIFESTYLE, PERSONAL GROWTH

Don’t Fear the Script, Rewrite It! – The Passionate Chase

Chasing Away the Script

We spend a great deal of our lives building confidence. Some days, weeks, or months, it doesn’t seem to matter how much experience I have or how many clever skills I have – I can easily get caught up in fear of failure or overwhelming expectations I set for myself. Many of us have a negative script that gets played over and over in our heads – that counts on us failing.

The two greatest fears I’ve had in my life have been falling and failing. Sadly, I am not one of those individuals lucky enough to have flying dreams – I have falling nightmares, though they have receded a bit. I did jump out of a perfectly good airplane a year ago and loved it. So, the falling wasn’t the problem, perhaps  it was more about the landing.

But failure has haunted my days.

What I Learned from Writing

I have spent the last 12 years writing about every part of my life, from earliest memories to latest catastrophes, very few subjects or experiences are off limits. From poetry, to microblogs, to lengthy blog series, to podcasts.

Writing is like giving birth for me. Hitting the wrong key or failing to save a document can lead to disaster or meltdown, and it has happened on numerous occasions.
The first several times, parts of me died with each loss.

But, I Tricked Myself

These were profound moments of loss for me, over time, I learned to tell myself that “It must not have been good enough – I can write that better.” The first time, it took a great deal of self-convincing, but I learned to find the truth in my words because I always produced better words or a more meaningful story.

A State of Mind

Napolean Hill, famed author, stated, “Failure is nature’s plan to prepare you for great responsibilities.” I have seen evidence of this in my own life. And often, all I need to do to get over any particular bump in my road of personal progress is to review my last failure.

  • Where did I land? Was it a crash landing?
  • When I got up, dusted myself off – what was it I learned?
  • When the dust around me cleared, what new experiences had I gained?
  • How did I grow, or can I grow more, as a result?

I do hate failing –

I hate miscalculating, missing a mark, or misjudging any circumstance. But I also know that a serious lesson was meant for me, so I best get to learning it. Even if all I learned was to get up –

If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you like to win, but think you can’t,
It’s almost a cinch you won’t.

You Are Not Beaten

And neither am I – it’s just another chance, another opportunity to succeed.


**If you are interested in learning more about “the script,” follow Richard Wilkins on Facebook, he shares some interesting thoughts about this negative script and how we can overcome it. Warning: he uses colorful language, he just keeps it real. 

BUSINESS, HUMANITY, LEADERSHIP, PERSONAL GROWTH

Tommy Breedlove: You have a choice. And you should choose goodness.

Joined, on the New Business Mindset podcast, by Tommy Breedlove, the Founder and Chief Goodness Provider of Choose Goodness. You can learn more about Tommy below.

Discussion guide from today’s conversation with Tommy Breedlove:

Tommy Breedlove1. Are you missing significance?

2. Many business leaders get to a place where they might have financial success, but otherwise no meaning, no joy, and no truth in their lives.

3. “Unconscious living.”

4. How to go through a personal journey of self-discovery. What is the feeling inside?

5. Forget the idea that “it’s not personal, it’s business.” No, IT IS ALL PERSONAL!

6. “Don’t lose your humanity, for the profitability.”

7. You are allowed to have different evolutions in your life. You are allowed to make a decision to change direction and go down a different path.

8. The power of choice. You have power, because you can make choices.

9. Scarcity vs. abundance mindsets.

10. Taking a personal inventory.

This episode was originally published on Gareth Young’s podcast, A New Business Mindset!

About Tommy Breedlove:

Tommy founded the Choose Goodness movement to help individuals, leaders and organizations increase their positive impact on the world while gaining meaning and attaining financial success.

Tommy Chose to leave a lucrative international financial consulting career to create the Choose Goodness movement. At the time, he had achieved financial success and gained business notoriety and prestige. However, Tommy felt unfulfilled and had lost meaning and hope in his life. For 36 years, he felt he did not have permission to Choose, and the Choices he made were out of fear and the judgements of others instead of Goodness.

Prior to founding Choose Goodness, Tommy was on the Board of Directors, a shareholder, and the International Practice Leader for a large financial consulting and advisory firm where he advised large international and domestic companies on financial and operational strategies. Tommy and his international practice team won the 2012 Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Global Impact Award.

Tommy enjoys traveling, reading, experiencing new cultures and food, continuous learning, all things outdoors, and strives each day to put his positive mark on the world. He and his wife, Heather (aka Mrs. Goodness), live in Atlanta with two adorable four-legged children.

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AUTHORS, BUSINESS, HUMANITY, LEADERSHIP, PERSONAL GROWTH

Stacey Hanke: How to achieve real influence, moving people to action long after the interaction is over

Joined in studio today by Stacey Hanke, Founder/Owner of Stacey Hanke Inc., and author of Influence Redefined: Be the Leader You Were Meant to Be, Monday to Monday.

Discussion guide from our conversation with Stacey Hanke:

Stacey Hanke1. How do you define influence? What are the myths of influence?

2. Why do most people believe they are more influential than they really are?

3. What do you mean by being influential, Monday to Monday?

4. What are the top challenges people face that prevent them from being as influential as they can be?

5. What are the three drivers of influence?

6. Explain the Influence Model you teach in the book. How, and why, does it work?

You can find Stacey Hanke’s book here:

About Stacey Hanke:

Stacey Hanke is author of the book; Influence Redefined…Be the Leader You Were Meant to Be, Monday to Monday®. She is also co-author of the book; Yes You Can! Everything You Need From A To Z To Influence Others To Take Action.

Stacey is founder of Stacey Hanke Inc. She has trained and presented to thousands to rid business leaders of bad body language habits and to choose words wisely in the financial industry to the healthcare industry to government and everyone in between. Her client list is vast from Coca-Cola, FedEx, Kohl’s, United States Army, Navy and Air Force, Publicis Media, Nationwide, US Cellular, Pfizer, GE, General Mills and Abbvie. Her team works with Directors up to the C-Suite. In addition to her client list, she has been the Emcee for Tedx. She has inspired thousands as a featured guest on media outlets including; The New York Times, Forbes, SmartMoney magazine, Business Week, Lifetime Network, Chicago WGN and WLS-AM. She is a Certified Speaking Professional—a valuable accreditation earned by less than 10% of speakers worldwide.

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AUTHORS, BUSINESS, LEADERSHIP, PERSONAL GROWTH

Cheryl Einhorn: How to make complex decisions with confidence and conviction

Joined in studio today by Cheryl Stauss Einhorn, creator of the AREA Method, and author of Problem Solved: A Powerful System for Making Complex Decisions With Confidence and Conviction. Learn more about Cheryl here.

Discussion guide from our conversation with Cheryl Einhorn:

Cheryl Einhorn1. Why is it hard to make complex decisions? What’s happening culturally to make this process difficult?

2. The big idea: Making sound decisions to complex problems can be overwhelming. It’s important to know how to control for and counteract assumptions and biases, and apply more expansive and objective thinking.

3. The so what: A four-step method, called “AREA” for the perspectives it addresses, boils down the process of untangling complex problems and makes sure the research, processing, reflection.

4. How to hone in on the motivation behind the decision and identify what’s most critical in the outcome.

5. How to avoid relying on faulty intuition and snap judgments.

6. How to understand other stakeholders’ incentives and motivations.

7. When it’s important to decelerate and pause in the process to refine and re-articulate the progression of the investigation.

8. Why it’s important to try to disprove each possible decision and plan for failure.

9. How to employ a feedback loop at each stage to show whether circling back for more data or analysis is needed.

Find Cheryl Einhorn’s book below:

About Cheryl Einhorn:

Cheryl is the creator of the AREA Method, a decision making system for individuals and companies to solve complex problems. Cheryl is the founder of CSE Consulting and the author of the upcoming book Problem Solved, a Powerful System for Making Complex Decisions with Confidence & Conviction. Cheryl teaches at Columbia Business School as an adjunct professor and has won several journalism awards for her investigative stories about international political, business and economic topics.

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