Monday, February 8, 2016

The Missing Dab

Well, I'm sure you've seen it by now. I'm talking, of course, about Carolina Panthers QB,
Cam Newton's post-game press conference. It was the perfect example of an inexperienced leader. It's all fun and games while he's winning, but talk about a 180 when he loses.

Keep in mind that Newton was drafted just five years ago and although he's had some great success on the field, he still has much experience to gain in the off-field leadership arena. He's the face of not only his own brand but of the Panthers. What he displayed, no matter how painful, was the wrong picture. I've seen high school state championship losers act better.

A leader can't dab and dance while things are going well and then turn over when things don't go your way. That sets the tone for the rest of the team. The people that look up to you and respond off of your cue's. A leader is a role model, which can go either way, positively or negatively.

So hopefully Newton learns a lot from this experience - his first of multiple Super Bowls - and takes some cue's from QB's that "aren't like him, such as Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and even rookie Jameis Winston (I've been totally impressed with his attitude during his first year). The Super Bowl is a HUGE stage and no matter what happens, sometimes, as a leader, we just have to suck-it-up.

BTW. Congratulations to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Serving Leader

Your Team, Business, and Community, by Kenneth R. Jennings and John Stahl-Wert is one for your bookshelf.  Better yet, keep it on your desk.  It’s a small (154 pages) read with a big message.

The authors take you through their leadership model via parable, stopping throughout to discuss in more detail the five actions of transformation,
  • Upend the Pyramid - You qualify to be first by putting other people first.
  • Raise the Bar - To serve the many, you first serve the few.
  • Blaze the Trail - To protect your value, you must give it all away.
  • Build on Strength - To address your weaknesses, focus on your strengths.
  • Run to Great Purpose - Arrange each person in the team to contribute what he/she is best at.

This all adds up to becoming the serving leader.  It’s time to step away for self-centeredness.  The book provides the traits and actions that are needed.  All that needs to be done is take it all to heart (there’s a lot of heart in this book) and put it into play.  This is a caring and sharing book for your team, family, and colleagues.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Out of the Question

This could be the 2016 winner of best leadership books - Out of the Question: How
Curious Leaders Win, by Guy Parsons and Allan Milham.  Two words in the title sum it up - Question and Curious.

In this new book, Guy and Allan discuss the difference between Knowing Leaders and Learning Leaders.  Knowers know what to do and how everyone should get there.  Learners are open, creative, and foster collaboration.  Which one do you think is more effective?

Today’s workforce is nothing like that of the past.  The, my way or the highway days are over.  Try that with your younger workers and see how long they stick around.  Leading with curiosity brings out questions and collaborative learning.  Just because you may be in a leadership role doesn’t mean you have all the answers . . . although we see many people who still think that.

I love the section on the Power of the Pause.  Yes, pause.  I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count how many “leaders” I’ve known who never pause during a discussion or planning session.  They always have THE answer - immediately.  How many times have we run into that and ended up reworking?

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to take themselves and their teams to the next level.  Read this book and use it and you’ll probably end up multiple levels ahead.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The 3 Gaps

I knew there was going to be something special about the new book, The 3 Gaps: Are You Making a Difference?, by Hyrum W. Smith, once I realized that he was one of the original co-founders of Franklin Covey.  I surely wasn’t disappointed.

Just reading a short description of each of the 3 gaps was an indication that I needed to read this book.  Unless you actually sit down and realize what these gaps are, and how big they are, you’ll never live up to your potential.  Without action, the gaps will stay open.

Within each chapter are personal accounts from people throughout Hyrum’s life that drive the messages home.  The Beliefs Gap shows the difference between what we believe is true and what actually is.  The Values Gap shows the difference between what we most value and what we actually do.  The Time Gap shows the difference between what we plan on doing and what we actually do.  It sounds so simple, but we all have gaps that need help closing.  I can see it in myself, in my friends, and in the people I work with.

We constantly hear people saying they want inner peace.  Here’s your chance. This is a book that everyone should read as a guide to managing ourselves to be our very best.  It would be a great book to add to book club or to share with others.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Mastering Leadership

Wow, how time flies.  It's been about a month since I posted last, but what a way to come back, with a guest
from Bob Anderson and Bill Adams.  Their new book Mastering Leadership, was released yesterday.  You should definitely pick one up.  I'm sure you won't regret it.

From Taxi Team to Team Captain
The most powerful beliefs are the beliefs and internal assumptions by which we establish our identity. These powerful self-defining beliefs get incorporated into the core of our IOS throughout our life from emotionally powerful, positive, or painful experience. They also are installed by important people in our lives—parents, teachers, coaches, bosses, mentors, political leaders—and by institutional, national, and cultural affiliations. As we adopt these assumptions, we live by them and reinforce them. The brain puts them on autopilot so that we do not have to think about them anymore. They are just seen as true.

Bob: One of my deeply embedded assumptions is that I must be perfectly successful in order to be okay. I come by this belief honestly, and most of the experience that created this belief was positive. For example, when I was 13, I tried out for the football team. I had never played football, and most of the guys on the team had been playing for a few years. I did not know that you needed to work hard to get noticed by the coaches, so I stood patiently on the sidelines waiting to be put on the practice field. As such, I was not seen as a player. Since the coaches did not have the heart to cut me, I ended up on the “Taxi Squad.” The few of us on this squad practiced together on another field. The real team had eight male coaches. We had Mrs. Dixon, a nice lady who knew nothing about football.

At this time, I was not moving in the circles in which I wanted to move. The cool kids were on the football team, and as long as I was on this Taxi Squad, I had little chance of getting accepted into their group. To make matters worse, all the cheerleaders practiced near where the team practiced, and I did not have their attention either. I was a nobody.
One day, Mrs. Dixon did not show up and the coaches were forced to allow the Taxi Squad to practice with the team. What happened that day changed my life. I was playing left defensive tackle and after a play in which I must have done something right, one of the coaches picked me up, lifted me up above his head and screamed into my face, “That was great! Do that again.”

I was so unaware of what I just did that I asked him what I had done.

He took a personal interest in me for the rest of the practice. He taught me how to play that position. Soon, I was wreaking havoc on the offense. That week I went from Taxi Squad to captain of the team. I started on offense and defense for the rest of the season. I also moved into the center of the boys with whom I wanted to be friends. I even piqued the interest of the cheerleaders. I went from nobody to somebody in one practice.

I learned that day that I am somebody if I am first string, captain of the team. I learned that I had to be the best, first string or else I would be a nobody.

This story illustrates how the driven nature of my personality began to form. I could tell other stories about how this drive was refined into the need to be flawless at everything I did. So, I entered adult life believing that my worth and self-esteem, the success and security of my future, depended utterly on being flawlessly successful all the time.

Of course, I assumed I would be a good mentor; however, that was not the case. My perfectionist standards and fear of failure combined to make me inept at letting go to others so that they might learn. What made this so difficult for me was that I had to let go when we were working with key clients. I did not do this gracefully. Every time one of my colleagues was not performing well enough, I became terrified that I would lose the client. Consequently, I took over the session and later pointed out all the ways my colleague could have done better. This approach so undermined their confidence that no one could learn from me, and I was failing to scale the business.

My perfectionism and need to be successful had me. I did not have them. I did not start to face this belief until after two years of failing to scale the business. Once I saw how I was the problem, as I dropped into this belief structure to see its illusion, and as I began to see my fear-driven perfectionism as resulting from another irrational belief, I began to mentor more effectively and the business began to scale nicely.

These beliefs form the core of the Reactive operating system—the mechanisms by which we form our externally validated identity. Because we need to be seen by others as X, our self-esteem, security, and future are in their hands. They make us up. How they see us defines us. We depend on external validation, living within the confines of a Socialized Self, as the Self-Authoring, Creative Self lives beyond the bounds of these Reactive beliefs. We tend to oscillate and return to normal as we react to meet the expectations of these beliefs. This is how Reactive Mind is structured and, since structure determines performance, how it performs.


Excerpted from Mastering Leadership: An Integrated Framework for Breakthrough Performance and Extraordinary Business Results, by Robert J. Anderson and William A. Adams (Wiley, 2015)

Bob Anderson is Chairman and Chief Development Officer and Bill Adams is CEO of The Leadership Circle and the Full Circle Group. They are coauthors of Mastering Leadership (Wiley). Visit or

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The New Social Learning

Things are not always as they seem.  They’re not as simple as they seem.  And social learning is no different.  Social learning is of course nothing new.  But how it’s accomplished is always changing.
 We’re not just talking Facebook and Youtube.  The New Social Learning: Connect. Collaborate. Work, by Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner, shows us how to capitalize on the people, tools, technology, and practices in order to increase engagement and collaboration.  In this book you will read about organizations that have transformed meaningful social learning into advantages over other organizations.

Don’t do what most people do and just focus on the tools.  How can they be used to your advantage?  People have a great desire to make a difference.  Learn here to facilitate the growth in the way people learn.  See how you can learn to “work outloud” to build learning relationships.

Share this book with your training, marketing, and HR departments.  Heck, all departments.  And don’t forget the leadership team.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Collaboration Begins with You

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about reviewing books, it’s don’t miss a Ken Blanchard book.
 Collaboration Begins with You: Be a Silo Buster, is no different.  This new book by Ken, Jane Ripley, and Eunice Parisi-Carew is a book for every employee.  We shouldn’t wait for a culture of collaboration to begin from the top.  It begins with you.

The authors share a parable - which makes it an easy read for everyone - on the three-part approach to busting silos around you; the heart, the head, and the hands.  Put it all together and it provides a way for us to change our beliefs of collaboration so that we can truly work together instead of just going through the motions.  In order for collaboration to really work properly, it needs to become company-wide . . . and accepted.

So you think you, or your organization, are already collaborative.  Try the self-assessment towards the end of the book.  You may soon feel a bit different about those thoughts.  It’s easy for organizations to fall into the beliefs of how good they think they are.  But once you actually, honestly look at the Heart, Head, and Hands domains of collaboration, you might very well see that, Hmm, we have some work to do.

This book will show you how to break down the barriers and get started, instead of waiting for it to filter down.  The outcome?  A collaborative mindset leading to increased trust and productivity.