Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Don't Forget the Thanks

As Christmas quickly approaches don't forget to thank the people that have supported you all year. If you think about it for a minute you'll probably come up with a much bigger list than you thought you would. Thank your:
  • supervisor/manager,
  • team members,
  • assistants,
  • customers,
  • confidant,
  • mentors,
  • spouse,
  • family members,
  • friends,
  • business associates,
  • students/learners,
  • office mates,
  • Military,
  • first responders,
  • financier,
  • lawyer,
  • dry cleaner,
  • insurance agent,
  • the kid that cuts your grass,
  • dog walker,
  • mail delivery/newspaper delivery, and
  • God.
A pretty long list, right? You're probably starting to get the picture now. You have a pretty extensive "supporting cast". I bet you can think of more.

You didn't get where you are, all by yourself. You can't do what you do, all by yourself. You can't live the way you do, all by yourself. Skip to the end of the Scrooge movie and go right to the thanks!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Follow Your Conscience

I was going to start out with, “a breath of fresh air”, but someone already did.  So I was going to start out with, “inspiring” . . . already done.  How about “enlightening”?  Nope, taken.

So what the heck, Frank Sonnenberg’s new book, Follow YourConscience, is an enlightening and inspiring, breath of fresh air.  It just is.

There are a lot of people in business who believe that they’re a great leader and they are there to support others.  There are people who believe the same of their leaders.  Have you ever heard the saying, “it’s not personal, it’s business”?  People seem to use that as an excuse to do less than they really could for people.  I (h/she) could do better - but it’s just business.  Just begin reading Frank’s book and you’ll see that you - or your leaders - are missing out on some things.

Think about what type of role model you believe you are.  Then read this book.  Now, what type of role model do you believe you are?  What kind of role model will you become?

Conscience - attitude, authenticity, integrity, humility, passion, fairness, faith.  These are just a few of the things Frank discusses, and in a way that’s easily understood and painless to put yourself in the middle of.

My suggestion?  Read the book.  Share the book.  Use it for a leadership book club.  It all makes so much sense that you’re not going to want to keep it to yourself.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Perception and Pulling the Weeds

Perception . . . it's what ultimately may make or break you.

What customers see, hear, touch, and smell may be the things that put your organization over the top of another.

A good example.  Have you ever noticed the hitching posts on Main Street of Walt Disney World?  Probably not.  That's because they paint them every night if needed.  They're nicely painted, no scratches, no gouges.  Do you think you'd notice them if they were all beat up?  Most likely.  Disney wants to be known as a clean and well kept destination.  And they are.

How many times have you walked into a barbershop, Doctor's office, restaurant, or other business and the first thing you see before even entering are weeds in the planters - that are supposed to hold flowers?  You may also see signs falling down, cigarette butts on the ground, filthy windows, portions of lighted signs that are burned out, hand-written paper signs on the doors and windows, employee vehicles parked where customers should be . . . the list goes on.

The point is, that this is part of the businesses Brand (good or bad), and all of these things form your perception of the service and leadership of the establishment before you even enter!  But it doesn't stop there.  The interior is just as important, if not more.  You may have the better service or the better food, but the guy across the street with the more cared for appearance may have more customers.

Put yourself in a customer's shoes.  Make a weekly walk through with a clipboard and make a list of everything that needs attention.  Better yet, create a checklist of things to look for so you don't miss any.  Just remember that none of this does any good unless you actually tend to the difficiencies.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What's In It For Me?

The first thing that adults in training ask themselves is, "what's in it for me?", or WIIFM.

When designing or presenting courses for your employees, always keep this in mind.  Whether they're actually verbalizing it or thinking it subconsciously, it's still on their mind.  It's the main motivator for most of the things we do.  It helps us to translate an external need into an internal one.  The WIIFM for training could be anything from becoming a better employee, getting a raise or promotion, or . . . just getting done and completing the test.

For the most part, we like the familiar and are uncomfortable with change.  But our brains like novelty, not memorization.  We resist meaningless stimuli.  So any time that we can integrate the information we're gathering into something useful, we're getting that WIIFM.

As adults, we have many experiences to fall back on.  Use that to your advantage when facilitating your employee classes.  Set the tone early.  You don't have to actually state (and I would recommend not) that "the WIIFM for the class is".  But instead of letting them use the get done and test reason, take a couple of minutes to state the objectives/reason for the class and discuss the positive outcomes of attending. Motivated adults seek out learning because they have a use for it.  Get them thinking about why they're REALLY there.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ask For It - Use It

A little bit of soapbox this morning.  I was reminded yesterday of one of my pet peeves - taking surveys or asking for input and not using it.

This is one of the best ways to get people to shut up and shut down.  If you continue to ask and not act you'll completely stop getting meaningful usable information to improve your leadership, customer service, employee engagement, and revenue.

At one of the organizations I used to work for, we were given employee surveys three times while I was there.  Nothing was ever meaningfully acted on with the information that was collected.  While the first survey was completed by a very high percentage of employee's, can you guess what the percentage was completed for the third one?  It was below 50%.

Why should people take time to share their opinions and ideas if they know there will be no action taken?  It's a waste of their time and intelligence.  And it doesn't look well on you either.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Actions For Aspiring Leaders

I am thrilled and honored to have a guest post today by Bill Treasurer. His latest book, Leaders Open Doors-2nd edition, was released this week and became the first book I've read through twice within a year. Check out the links at the bottom to find out more and to pick up a copy.

Actions for Aspiring Leaders

People have high, and often conflicting, expectations of leaders. At once, we expect
leaders to be reasonable but passionate, decisive but inclusive, visionary but explicit, and powerful but humble. We also want leaders who are rational but emotionally intelligent, caring but impartial, and profit-driven but people-oriented. The list of expectations is so long and contradictory that the aspiring leader is right to ask, “Where on earth do I start?!”


Here are six actions that budding leaders can take to point their leadership in the right direction:
Answer the Holy Question: Here are the four most important words that you’ll ever learn in the English language: What do you want? People will follow you to the extent that you provide a clear vision of a better future you can help them reach. But you have to start with a clear vision of what you aim to achieve through the application of your leadership influence. What, exactly, appeals to you about leading others? Why would anyone want to be led by you? What good do you hope to do on behalf of others?

Focus on Them: Leadership is not about the leader. It’s about those being led. A leader is deemed successful based on the results that the people being led achieve. It’s tempting for newbie leaders to spend time hobnobbing with leaders who are more senior to them on the organizational ladder. You’ll go farther faster by dedicating time with the people whose results determine your success…the people you’re leading.

Get Ready for Mistakes: Rookie leaders blow up when mistakes are made. Considering how often mistakes are made in any organization, budding leaders should get a handle on how mistakes are handled. People you lead will lose clients, get the data wrong, come in over budget, or drop the ball in some other way. Don’t explode or mentally write the person off. Be mindful that how you handle (or mishandle) mistakes will set an example for others to follow.

Know Their Goals: As a leader, you’ll be under a lot of pressure to advance the goals of the people above you. Some leaders get so obsessed with the goals of their bosses that they neglect the goals and aspirations of the people they are leading. People have a right to grow and develop under your leadership. But you don’t have a right to dictate the terms of that development. Converse with each person you lead to understand what they want to get out of their job, role, and career. The sweet spot is when you can align the goals of the organization with the career goals of the people you’re leading.

Nudge Toward Discomfort: People don’t grow in a zone of comfort. They grow, progress, and develop in a zone of discomfort. As a leader, your job is to provide tasks and opportunities that stretch people beyond what they already know – which, for them, will be uncomfortable. The trick is to move people enough outside of their comfort zones that they are growing, but not so far out that they are petrified with fear. You’ve gotten it right when people learn to be comfortable with discomfort.

Express Sincere Gratitude: You may say that you value people, but if you constantly move up deadlines, rarely ask for their opinions, take credit for their good work, set unrealistic goals, and don’t say “thank you” for their hard work, then you don’t really value them. And they know it. Remember, they are the ones who will determine whether or not you’re successful as a leader. So get used to saying these words like you mean it: Thank you!

Leading others is not easy. You’ll have to balance the needs of the people above you with the needs of the people you’re leading. You’ll have to deal with mistakes, complaints, and idiosyncratic personalities.

But it is also rewarding. Your leadership influence will advance the goals of your organization and bring about career growth and advancement for the people you’re leading. When it’s all said and done, you’ll become a better person in the process of contributing to the betterment of the lives of others.


Bill Treasurer is the Chief Encouragement Officer of Giant Leap Consulting and author of Leaders Open Doors, which focuses on how leaders create growth through opportunity. 100% of the book’s royalties are being donated to programs that support children with special needs. Bill is also the author of Courage Goes to Work, Right Risk, and Courageous Leadership, and has led courage-building workshops across the world for NASA, Accenture, CNN, PNC Bank, SPANX, Hugo Boss, Saks Fifth Avenue, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs, and many others.  Contact Bill at btreasurer@giantleapconsulting.com, or on Twitter at @btreasurer.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Leaders Open Doors - And Provide Opportunity

Still one of my favorite quotes, author Bill Treasurer says, "If your door is always open, how on earth would you effectively get any work done ...?" This is something I've tried to figure out for years, seeing many doors open and little being accomplished.

This is the second time in a year that I’ve read Leaders Open Doors, by Bill Treasurer . . . this being the new second edition.

Treasurer, Founder and Chief Engagement Officer at Giant Leap Consulting, provides us a whole new definition to "open door policy" - one that takes action to open doors for others - one that creates opportunities for others, and yourself. He mixes humor, personal stories, and a profound insight into a book that's very easy to read, understand, and put into practice.


This second edition contains an Epilogue with some engaging examples of gratitude that people have had recalling how past leaders that had opened doors for them. It’s sure to get you thinking about who has opened your doors . . . and who has not.

Leaders are role models and set the tone of the organization. Opening doors for people shows that you care for them and want them to succeed as much as yourself. This book will help you reform your culture by helping you to become a positive and powerful influencer. This is a book for sharing.  Share it, along with your new found attitude, with other leaders and you'll soon have employees that thrive and grow . . . and stay.

. . . and keep in mind - All royalities from this book are donated to children's charities!