Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"Oh yeah"

This past weekend, right up the street from me in Seminole, FL, we lost a great example of personal “branding”. “Macho Man” Randy Savage suffered a fatal heart attack while driving and hit head on into a tree.

“Macho Man”, as he is affectionately referred to the world around by young and old, grew up in Downers Grove, IL where he dreamed about becoming a baseball player. He would eventually do just that, playing for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds. You don’t remember that? That’s okay. I don’t either. However I do remember “Macho Man” Randy Savage - the wrestler.

After his baseball career took a sudden downfall, Randall Poffo of Downers Grove, IL took to professional (you be the judge) wrestling. He completely re-made himself with a new look, a new name, flamboyant attire, an ‘I will succeed’ attitude, and a flair for business.

Through Savage’s wrestling career, he was a “good guy” and a “bad guy” - but always likeable. But no matter what he did or who he teamed up with (like Hulk Hogan), he’s always going to be remembered as the “Macho Man” – good, bad, or indifferent. He’s still very well known and his image can be seen, and bought, all over the world.

His wrestling career began in 1974 and ran until 2004. “Oh yeah!” Randy Savage knew how to play the game and use it to his advantage.

RIP “Macho Man”.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Keep It Fresh

Fresh. Up to date. Renewed. Different. People get tired of the same ole, same ole. Whether you're selling products, services, or your leadership style - you have to keep it fresh.

I remember going to Walt Disney World (WDW) as a child and seeing Tropical Serenade (Tiki Room). The 200 birds, tiki's, and flowers were based on Disneyland's Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room which was the first attraction to ever use Audio-Animatronics (1963). Tropical Serenade opened at WDW in 1971. Over the years it's been updated with new characters and is currently being renovated yet again. It will be opening as Enchanted Tiki Room later this summer.

The point here is that you HAVE to change. You HAVE to update. Tropical Serenade would have fallen by the wayside years ago if Disney had not continued to update it. People return to WDW for years by themselves, with children, and grandchildren, and just like your products and services they have to change with the times in order to stick around for so long or they get too dated and bland.

Leadership is the same way. If you're still "leading" like you were 15-20 years ago, you're out-dated dude. As generations change, leadership styles have to change with them or you won't be nearly as effective as you could be.

Jim Rohn said, "For things to change, you have to change. For things to get better, you have to get better". To do this, you need to READ. Two of the best books I've read lately should be added to your library - From Bud to Boss and 42 Rules for Your New Leadership Role. Leadership is not rocket science but you do have to work at it.

Make the move. Step away from the TV. Keep it fresh and up-to-date by reading - and changing.

Friday, May 6, 2011

You Did It? You Fix It.

Have you ever worked for a "leader" that didn't accept blame? It can be extreeeemely frustrating - especially if he turns it back on you.

I believe one of the biggest positive factors in success is having the ability to say, "I did it", "I'm sorry", or just plain, "I screwed up". I've always taken responsibility for my actions and believe it's one of the biggest reasons for my success. I have NEVER tried to push blame onto others. Frankly, that's about the worst thing you can do as a leader. You will NEVER have the respect of your staff if you do.

In Pam Fox Rollins new book, 42 Rules for Your New Leadership Role, she says to "ban the blame" and ask "what are we learning from this?" Screw ups are learning experiences, folks. If it was your screw up, "say you were wrong, make repairs, and explain how you're going to ensure it doesn't happen again".

Don't waste time and energy on the blame-game. Hold yourself and your staff accountable. When you come across a problem, use your problem-solving tools to find the root cause as soon as possible. Remember, the actual cause is not always as obvious as it seems.

Immediately acknowledge mistakes, figure out what went wrong and why, fix it, and learn from it. Then all that's left is to mooove on.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Read Your Email

You heard me. Read you email. "But I do", you say. I bet you do it selectively though. Do you look at the emails that impact only your immediate job? The one's that affect what you're doing at that moment?

There are other emails out there. You can usually tell the jokes and the "pass this on" one's just by the subject or even the sender. That's okay. Leave those alone. But email has become an easy, quick, universal way of getting important information out to the masses. Sometimes it's the only way.

Here's a great example of why you need to look a little closer. A friend of mine works at an organization that's recently gone through a major IS project that changed the way that EVERYONE interacts with their computers - new servers, new Windows, version jump in MS Office, etc.

In order to help employee's make this change, one person in the IS department (so they would always know to look for it) had been sending out updates with FAQs to help make the transition a little less "scary". You would think that people would at least take a glance at these communications, if not for any other reason, to see what would be affecting them.

Implementation was postponed THREE times - not because IS wasn't ready - because too many employee's had NOT been reading those emails and literally had no idea what was going on.

My point here is that the world doesn't always revolve around what you're immediately working on. No matter how busy you are (or think you are), instead of looking for specific emails from specific people, open up your "search criteria" so you can see the whole picture. There are other people in your organization trying to get their jobs done also.