August 16, 2019

Mindfulness not Busyness

We live busy lives often being busy doing busy things with others getting busy on busy tasks. But how often do we take time for think time or better yet, do nothing?

Andy Puddicombe is the co-founder of Headspace, a project that aims to demystify meditation and make it applicable to everyday life. For more than a decade, Andy’s meditation training took him all over the world.

Andy became a fully ordained monk at a Tibetan Monastery in the Indian Himalayas. In his TEDTalk, Puddicombe explains the importance of making time to do nothing.


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August 7, 2019

Two Grand

Imagine working where ideas are shared and appreciated, each and every person in the organization is valued, and progress is measured not by empty promises and well crafted corporate speak but by the accomplishments of everyone involved. For real!

When you have a roomful of opinions all fighting for a voice in a decision making process, the result is often a lot of indecision. Each of us is entitled to our thesis but this is where the water gets murky. But if you can take time to entertain new ideas then move them forward with a clear plan and data to in turn shape the idea into something tangible while including input from all involved. You will see stronger ideas for your business and a much more engaged team.

Uncharted Territory

This approach makes some people nervous because the process may seem laborious and could perhaps slow down results when you just want things done. It takes some time to get used to finding room for many voices and opinions while remaining on track.

If it's new to your team, the process won't be perfect, nothing is, but fresh thinking doesn't survive in status quo so it is worth the effort. Let someone on the team facilitate the first few times - not the highest ranking member of the team - and take it slow. Keep things factual and don't make it personal. Your business will be a more collaborative atmosphere where employees can offer opinions and ideas are considered.

People and Profits

When we meet with a business leader who wants to improve the bottom line, it's usually much more than a revenue issue and it often begins with internal customer service. The relationships you build and nurture inside your business can represent 90% of your bottom line yet far too many companies view it as unimportant.

We work an average of 2,000 hours each year and that number is growing. Collaboration and communication remain critical building blocks for any leader who desires success. But you and I just talking about it won't make it happen.

Let's go!
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August 2, 2019

Collaboration Meal

If you have worked a day in your life, it is fairly safe to say you have worked alongside others. In some cases, those experiences have been enjoyable while others have not. You may have had to endure an arrogant selfish boss while other situations have been filled with giving collaborative coworkers.

We seem to enjoy looking at things “on paper” but they get all wobbly when we add the human element and often it’s because we are unclear about the mandate. Often there is a struggle among conflicting agendas or someone comes in and plays the “I’m the boss” card. None of these scenarios are effective, productive, or long lasting business success models. However, sadly they are far too common.

But what happens when you take a group of people and ask them to build a structure out of spaghetti, string, and a marshmallow?

Tom Wujec explains.


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July 26, 2019

Service Leader

The topic of what makes a great leader has been debated since we humans could say the word. When you think of the values a mentor has brought to you, it's often those intangible aspects which are more difficult to define.

In business, it's tough to be thrown into a new role when you may be good at the work but not as well versed at the people part. It’s easy to point to those who have handled leadership with grace but it's not a skill you learn in short order. And it can certainly be a balancing act when the company continually reminds you profit is the goal.

Fear can be why strong leadership is often as rare as great customer service.
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July 21, 2019

Intraextrointrovert

I'm an extrovert introvert who enjoys collaborating in team and group environments but also needs and enjoys some chill time on my own to recharge. I’m an ENFP (Extraversion, Intuition, Feeling, Perception) which means I focus on intuition and external connections. But there is a strong internal piece which is key to process how I feel about things and how they fit into my value system.

I live in the world of possibilities – which can trip me up on follow through – but I see life as a gift and literally wake up every day looking forward to the possibilities. I have my share of down times and self-doubt which again is typical of someone driven by emotion and connection.

Up Downside

When I look at the 20 or so people I spend the most time with, it’s a mix, which is typical of an ENFP as I get energy from others and the varied traits they bring. And some of the closest people in my life are actually introverts. If you know one or are one, you know the label isn't completely accurate. The ones in my life are incredibly personable, engaging, and funny. Introvert means shy and withdrawn and I disagree with those broad labels.

I have a colleague who is an introvert and prefers to solve issues at work one-on-one in plain language through conversation and collaboration while her boss wants every report in triplicate to outline the effectiveness of the analysis of the plan. One gets energy from relationships while the other can’t operate without reports and structure.

P2P

One of my best friends – who is definitely an extrovert – is a very successful investment adviser who does most of his work on the phone or with clients rather than sitting in his office doing paperwork. His energy comes from being with and helping people and he does it all day long.

So if you have someone on your team who isn't like you, celebrate that, celebrate them, and get to know their way, their perspective, and their view on the world. We can talk about the multi-generational workplace another time.

Labels are good for clothing not people.
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July 15, 2019

Ready?

When I was a kid, my parents would try and tell me to enjoy life and not get too caught up in the minutiae, but they did all the time. Now that my mom is in her 80's, we're able to have great discussions about life and her common message remains clear - don't live with regrets. If you want that relationship, go for it. If you want to try that new job, don't wait for an invitation.

This is not a new revelation; we've been saying and reading it our entire lives. The classic; no one will be on their death bed wishing they had spent more time at the office. But it's deeper than that. It's more than what we do for a paycheck or even better a passion that pays our bills. It's ubiquitous; it doesn't go away after work or on the weekends. It's with us always.

Now what?

I saw this wonderful quote and it sums up life rather nicely. The question isn't whether we have the guts or time or ability or talent or money to go for it. It's a much deeper yet simpler issue.

“It's a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you're ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.” Hugh Laurie
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July 9, 2019

More Less More

Move more. Envy less. Sing more. Cling less. Accomplish more. Show less. Complain less. Live more. Compare less. Contribute more. Annoy less. Enjoy more. Worry less.

Fulfill more. Take less. Focus more. Talk less. Start more. Eat less. Laugh more. Work less. Give more. Regret less. See more. Ignore less. Progress more. Criticize less. Invent more. Renounce less. Embrace more. Spend less. Share more. Measure less.

Collaborate more. Upset less. Dream more. Irritate less. Write more. Doubt less.
Read more. Whine less. Accomplish more. Drink less.

Listen more. Waste less. Smile more. Own less. Learn more. Say less. Help more. Use less. Connect more. Stop less. Play more. Hope less. Communicate more. Skim less.

Thank more. Fret less. View more. Reflect less. Originate more. Copy less.

Do more. Love more. Share more. Breathe more.
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July 3, 2019

Fear Diet

We've heard the old saying ‘starve a fever, feed a cold’. As leaders, what would happen if we applied that to our lives by feeding our passions and not giving any table scraps to our fears? Yes, easier said than done but worth a shot.

Some organizations, for all their efforts, become a dysfunctional environment. This is where I can help. Some don't want to be helped and it's best we leave them to their misery. Perhaps there is an underlying issue that needs to be put on a diet.

Often, much of what we may fear isn’t the big scary monster but simply something we haven’t tried or an instance where we need help from others or a bit more experience. We may have fear while others navigate it with ease and can help us. There will be times the roles are reversed but we need to starve our fears together.

As Mahatma Gandhi once said; "Fear is the enemy."
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June 27, 2019

What Motives You?

They say we have to do what we're passionate about and what will motivate us. Is that a job? A salary? A promotion? A career change? A new relationship? A new city?

To say we have to follow our passion isn't the entire task. Dan Pink looks at 50 behavioral triggers that motivate us.


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June 24, 2019

Deciding Decisions Decidedly

A choice can require additional data or more time. Members of the team need further deliberation to make an informed call. The customer has to check budget allocations. You're unsure it’s aligned with the overall strategy.

Waiting can be justified but excuses can also be the reason we wait. Some decisions require time, others aren't made because we're in the way.

We look for leadership to be decisive and crisp. It’s about helping people get better, keeping everyone on track, and getting stuff done. But it isn't always smooth in real life. How often have you finally pulled the pin and the relief quickly replaces your fear?

Some inspiration as we deliberate:

The only person you really have control over is yourself.
Deborah Reber

It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.
Tony Robbins

When you make the right decision, it doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks.
Caroline Kennedy

Peacefulness follows any decision, even the wrong one.
Rita Mae Brown

Almost any decision is better than no decision at all.
Brian Tracy

Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Once we make the decision, we can stop deciding.
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June 15, 2019

Fix the Window

Years ago, I worked at an organization that did a company-wide survey on various issues such as compensation, benefits, ability to advance, collaboration, leadership, communication, and others. The item that was surprisingly high on the list was management’s inability to deal with non-performance.

Money is always high on the list, pay people properly. The ability to advance and grow is up there as well, offer an environment where people can thrive and improve. But what may have appeared to be a minor issue when they crafted the survey became a big topic of discussion.

Accepted Behavior

When we dug deeper, it was clear that employees wanted to be treated fairly which is no surprise but things that were tougher to measure like favoritism and compassion came to the forefront.

One stakeholder said she had grown tired of seeing others in her department being allowed to show up late for meetings, unprepared, miss deadlines, and nothing was done about it. Another mentioned he had cared less and less about his department because his boss was doing the same. In “The Tipping Point”, Malcolm Gladwell calls this the broken window hypothesis.

Gap Analysis

This is where something small turns into something that can paralyze your organization which is leadership’s inability to deal with people showing up late for meetings, not getting their work done, or playing favorites. Those little things can add up to a feeling or an attitude you can't quite describe and it can hurt a company at the core.

There are data that shows close to a trillion dollars in lost revenue just in North America each year is attributed to disengaged employees. The challenge is committing to engagement.

The cost of great people isn't only measured by competitive compensation, pension contribution, and three weeks' vacation.
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June 11, 2019

What's That?

It is an emotion related to natural inquisitive behavior such as exploration, investigation and learning, evident by observation in human and many animal species. The term can also be used to denote the behavior itself being caused by the emotion of curiosity.

So with that in mind...

Stay curious for learning. Stay curious about improving. Stay curious through searching. Stay curious like a child. Stay curious about now. Stay curious in life. Stay curious about others. Stay curious about learning. Stay curious for you. Stay curious through listening. Stay curious through living. Stay curious about possibilities. Stay curious in business. Stay curious about experiences. Stay curious for next.

Stay curious.

June 5, 2019

The Good Life

If we want to invest in "the good life", where should we put our time and energy? Robert Waldinger outlines riveting data from a 75-year-long Harvard study of adult life that continues today. It seems clear; a happy life is not measured by a larger paycheck, more stuff, higher investments, or financial net worth.


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May 31, 2019

Human Networking

At an early age, we’re told to be brave. Don’t whine or I’ll give you something to cry about. We are not born with fear, but it rears its ugly head early on, sometimes through innocuous events. A bit here, a smidgen there, and suddenly we are thrust into the world where others are told to be brave and not cry and not show their insecurities.

We climb the ladder, finish the project, attend the meeting, rush to the event, answer that email, respond to that request, get on that conference call, make that flight, make eye contact, smile brightly, and we keep running.

Splash in the face

We get caught in our own race and suddenly run into an old friend and find out what’s going with them. An event, a loss, a choice, and suddenly our challenges don’t seem so unique. Multiple that by the employees of an entire company and suddenly you can see how creating a collaborative culture can be elusive.

Some say we live this life alone – I disagree. We live this life together. It doesn’t mean we can carry each other’s burden but we can certainly lighten each other’s load when we can. A mentor once said we must remember our team members are not cogs in some wheel, they are people with feelings and challenges and dreams and goals.

The human element

Perhaps it's easier to stare at our screens and play with our gadgets, but we are missing an essential piece of life when we do that. I can send you a text and hope the message is clear or we can use the free phone app on our phones to discuss it properly.

We must remember that in order to create a collaborative culture, we can’t forget the element which is far more important than any product or service.

One another.
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May 25, 2019

Comparables

Not many of us human types get up in the morning to focus on failing. We do our best, we learn each day, we try a little harder, we get a little smarter, and we focus a bit more on being successful. Whatever that means to each of us. One of our worst measurements of success is comparing ourselves to others.

She has a better gig, he has a nicer car, they have a better life. Most of us have fallen into the trap but the key is to stay focused on what success means to each of us. But we get stuck, meet resistance, and sometimes get in our own way.

Richard St. John has been teaching his principles since he learned the hard way. The concept may be simple but it requires determination and a lifetime of focus to execute.


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May 20, 2019

Emotional Waistline

This is a wonderful parable I should read more often.

The story is about a man and his grandson. He reminds the young boy that we have a battle of two wolves inside of us; one that is filled with anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other wolf is filled with joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, compassion and faith. The grandson then asks a simple yet critical question; "Which one wins?"

The wise man replies; "The one you feed.”
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May 16, 2019

Got a Pen?

To anyone’s measurement, Pablo Picasso was one of the most talented artists of all time. His complicated life mixed with inspired work continues to make him a fascinating subject to study and learn about.

As legend has it, Pablo and a friend were having lunch one day and one of the other patrons recognized the great master. After some hesitation, she approached him with a napkin. She asked Picasso if he would take a moment and do a quick drawing for her.

He said it would cost one million dollars.

Shocked, she questioned why a simple drawing would be that much. Picasso replied that it took him thirty years to perfect his talent and it is not free.

We shouldn't put a price on every moment of the day, and none of us is Picasso, but we should be careful not to always give away our experience simply because it would take just a minute to share it.

Free isn't the best price.
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May 7, 2019

Real Evidence Appearing False

These have been published in numerous psychology articles and on various websites over the years and are worth considering when we're facing life's issues.

Unwanted moments are to be avoided at all costs. You are only as valuable, or worthless, as other people agree that you are. You are responsible for the happiness or unhappiness that others feel. You must learn to tolerate friends and family who have agreed to live with and justify negative states.

You can change what happened yesterday by revisiting and reliving it today. Feeling deeply stressed proves you really care about whatever you’re suffering over.

If you believe in any of these, feel free to stop.
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May 3, 2019

Texting Help

The topic of texting is a hot one because it's costing lives as we check our mobile device while we’re mobile. It’s right there, we’re at a stoplight, and it takes a second to check for new messages. That’s bad, right? But what if we look at the technology from a different perspective? How can texting actually help us? I will add that I'm a fan of voice-activated talk-to-text when you really need to connect with someone.

Nancy Lublin shows how teens want to help but often use their mobile devices to reach out. As you watch her talk, imagine how we could harness this for people of all ages.


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April 29, 2019

My Gramps' Advice

My grandfather used to love telling the story of his boyhood friend Campbell. One day, they were at my great grandmother’s house and she had just baked a delicious chocolate cake. She asked my grandfather if he’d like a slice and he replied; “Yes please!” and she gave him one.

She then turned to Campbell and asked him the same question and he said; “I don’t mind”. She replied; “I don’t mind either” and left the room. No cake for Campbell.

Real or Imagined

Whether this story happened or not isn’t the point. My grandfather was trying to teach his 9 year old grandson to say please and thank-you and if I wanted something someone had offered me, it was okay to accept it.

How often do we do that to ourselves? We send out confusing messages to the universe and wonder why more confusion returns. My grandfather didn’t teach his grandson to take what wasn’t his or be an arrogant self-centered person, he was showing me how to discover what I wanted and be okay with wanting it.

Say What You Mean

Now take the Campbell story into your life, your work, your company, and see how often basic communication breaks down to the point of confusion. We humans try our best but often we don’t communicate very well with each other.

In our relationships, if we aren’t clear, how on earth can we expect others around us to have a clear sense of what we want, mean, or say? So the next time someone offers you a piece of cake, simply say yes please or no thank-you. It’s all you would expect if you were doing the offering.

Thanks Gramps.
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April 21, 2019

Enough is Enough

The annual strategic meetings are on. The big boss says profit margins need to widen. The new product line has to help increase market share. The southwest division has to pick it up on sales results. The list goes on.

The desire for infinite monetary growth permeates the room. No one is allowed to say this may be a flat year because of market shifts and customer demands. No one would suggest business comes with ebbs and flows as does life.

More of more!

In the developing world, it appears the need for prosperity and material possessions is a core belief and desire. Do we really need the four bedroom house on half an acre? Will granite counter tops bring us nirvana? Are 34 dress shirts enough? Can profits increase infinitely? Will we ever have enough?

We know buying stuff keeps the economy going and all of us employed. We need to ensure we can sustain our lives now and into retirement but the desire for something that we can’t even define is creating widespread unhappiness and uncertainty. Perhaps the bigger decision is to figure out who we want to spend our time with and what experiences we want.

More is rarely better.
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April 17, 2019

Make or Become Different

Change is a concept that seems to drive us, win elections, looks great on a t-shirt, and creates stress. We hear the word and feel two immediate and visceral responses: things will improve for us and everyone will need to change but us. Things need to change around here, but I'm fine!

We love the idea of it; the cozy non-committal nature of talking about it. It's as if the world was covered in magic dust and all is well. "They need to change." "We need to bring about change." "Change is gonna come." It all sounds so good, doesn't it?

Someday does not appear on the calendar

To most, change is about control and standing still while others make the shift. You may be one who thrives on change but be careful when you want to instill it on others. They too may like the theory but will define it to fit their own convenience. Who among us admits to be part of the problem?

We want things to change but often under our rules and our guidelines. And whenever you include anything or anyone outside of your own mind, the grip must be loosened or collaboration becomes a challenge.

Actual change verses talking about change is the key.
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April 13, 2019

Your Big Brain

It’s often said that we use a small percentage of the potential of our brain. There are things we can overcome, do, create, and accomplish, if we access additional information and abilities within it and ourselves. Teamwork, trust, and collaboration are becoming even more important in the workplace. Competencies are important, abilities are critical, but where companies find success is when the connections between us strengthen.

Tom Wujec is an information designer who explains in his TEDTalk three areas of our brain that help us understand words, images, feelings, and connections and how to better help us understand bigger ideas and possibilities.


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April 8, 2019

Solving Selling Struggling

Think about the last time you walked into a store and the clerk was on you from the second your foot crossed their front door. You probably quickly told them you were just looking because your personal space was crushed by someone trying to sell you something even though you were in their store.

Now imagine you're at a networking event and you meet John who shoves his card in your hand before you can say hello and starts telling you what he has to offer.

You feel yourself backing up and scanning the room for a few gulps of fresh air, a lifeline, a way out.  John's approach is a bit much so you recoil. You quickly realize the room is full of two types of people - sellers and those who are too scared to sell.

Beyond the Elevator

We need to know how best to explain what we stand for and how we help others. Even the painter does more than slap paint on a wall. She may enhance the feel of the office while it blends with the dark cherry desk and black leather chair.

So before walking in a room to sell your wares or greet new customers in your space, figure out how you can help them and the process may be smoother. This isn't an issue exclusive to service providers and small business owners.

Even big companies struggle with this stuff.
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April 3, 2019

Walk Away and Ask for Help

Have you ever felt yourself shut down and think no solution seemed plausible? There never seems to be enough time, money, resources, people, sunlight, matching socks, peace and quiet, food, good shows on TV, shelter, budget, gas in the tank. Though new socks every morning would be sweet!

At times, we put ourselves into a corner and begin to read the new reality as our only choice. "We have no budget for that" replaces "is this a good idea?"

Maybe it's time to replace no’s with some how’s. 
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March 30, 2019

Now

Karen Lamb said a year from now you will wish you had started today while Jim Rohn said if you really want to do something, you'll find a way, if you don't, you'll find an excuse. We all have ideas we don’t act on. We may be waiting for the best time, more money, or permission. We may be out of excuses and left with one option.

The best time is probably right now.
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March 26, 2019

Four Questions

We all know we are flawed and make mistakes. We know we don’t have it all figured out. And we know there's work to do. But part of finding clarity is discovering the joy in work rather than the seemingly unattainable finish line.

Clutter makes us nervous and stressed. It can derail us from our goals. Clarity can help us find our baseline and silence some of that unnecessary noise.

To gain clarity, there are four questions you can ask yourself and your team.

1. What do you stand for?
2. What will you not do?
3. Why do you do what you do?
4. What won't you do?
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March 20, 2019

Four P's

Anyone in marketing can recite the four P's which are product, price, placement and promotion. But how do the four P's apply to company culture and leadership?

Practice

Have you ever been to a sporting event or seen a live play or concert? Have you watched a great movie? Do you have any experience meeting someone else who is successful in business? Do you find motivation from people who show talent and prowess in a particular discipline? In each case, someone spent years honing their skills to make it appear effortless. Yet we are quick to criticize from the comfort of our 20oz beer mug in the 300 level. Now think about your skill set and what you can bring to any situation. Did you learn and execute all you know immediately?

Patience

If you enjoy writing, reading a good book may give you more determination to work on your own novel. You may know someone who went back to school and emerged with a whole new career path. Seeing others succeed may give you reason to study their process to improve your business.

Persistence

It requires working nights and weekends, writing ideas on scraps of paper you later find in the laundry, networking well, reading incessantly while life blends with work. No successful person in history has gotten it right the first time. And no one does it alone.

Play

There are many ways to be successful. What's important is to be organized and have a strategic plan. It is equally essential not to settle for good enough - that's what the other guys do. It's critical not to rest on the past or think we have all the answers, that's where danger resides. And it's okay to get a little messy once in a while, take some chances.

Let's add a fifth – Purpose.
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March 12, 2019

Unlimited Access

One hundred years ago, there weren't all these ways to stay in touch yet business was built, careers thrived, and relationships flourished. Media penetration has created the ability for us to connect with someone on the other side of the planet we may not have previously known. The explosion of social tools and electronic collaborative spaces have shrunk the earth to allow us to find like-minded people with the push of a thumb.

We are all publishes, media makers, opinion sharers, and data miners.

As we create the appearance of a more connected world, we may be slowly losing the connection to ourselves and soon to each other. Snippets of half conversations, misspelled texts between meetings, skimmed over details of an upcoming project, all in the quest to do more and more and more.

More for less, more meetings, more email, more information, more activity. More everything. The week is the same length it was 200 years ago yet we are inundated with data constantly. This doesn’t mean it’s useful or valuable but it’s more to sift through. And while we try and do more, we may be losing our human connections.

Less might be a good strategy.
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March 5, 2019

Take 5

It's a simple group exercise. Each person has five minutes to make note of as many of their interests and/or abilities as they can. Then share it with the team. The lists usually begin with work items but eventually get to personal interests and passions.

The purpose of this five minute exercise is to hit re-set and help everyone remember that outside world they've been told to leave at the door.

The results may surprise you.
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February 27, 2019

Acronyms and Thingamajigs

If you have ever spent time with a group of people from the same industry that you’re not a part of, you know how narrow we can all be at times. There are acronyms and terms you have no clue how to decipher. It’s almost as if they are speaking another language, their own language.

We think we’re being clear but we have to understand that our thoughts may not align with others’ understanding. When we take the time to step back, breathe, and gain more insight into how others are perceiving us, we stand a better chance of understanding each other.

Technical speak and industry specifics are often needed but sometimes just boiling things down to the most basic level is the best way to avoid misinterpretation. If we take a moment and suspend our beliefs to check for understanding, conflict can be avoided and teamwork can be improved.

It's worth a shot.
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February 23, 2019

Are You in Sales?

Yes, we're "all in sales", but I'm referring to a career that has defined metrics. You sell, you survive. You don't sell, your commission is affected. You park your laptop on a desk in the “sales department” kind of sales. You have numbers you need to hit this quarter, kind of sales. You eat what you kill, kind of sales.

It's one thing for your performance to be measured by how you do your job. It's much different to be judged by the actual money you actually bring in the actual door. Sales is the transference of trust, so you must build strong relationships. Sales can be a grind and not for those with delicate digestive tracts.

To anyone in sales – you have my gratitude and respect.
To anyone not in sales – try it for one day.
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February 19, 2019

What are Your Thoughts?

The late Princeton philosopher and author Walter Kaufmann coined the phrase decidophobia to describe those who would rather leave the deciding to some authority. Kaufmann opined that once a decidophobe relinquishes, they will accept anything argued by that authority. We can call it "the boss is always right" syndrome.

She's a thought leader; he's a thinker; they're the idea team. All crutches we create to stop us from contributing to the process. We all have ideas that are valuable and if you are in a leadership role, open the doors a little wider and let those ideas in because there's brilliance waiting to be seen. Maybe we all can be decidophobes?

Two hundred years ago there was no Internet. A century ago we didn't have interactive technology built into the steering wheels of cars. And unless you share it, we will never enjoy what you have been thinking about which could change the world.

Let’s do big and stop over thinking.
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February 9, 2019

Ch-ch-changes

You have heard the quote “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Some say it was Einstein; some say it was Franklin. The point is the meaning behind it.

Change is awkward and unsure. The ground begins to move beneath us and we crave for things to return to "normal". We are creatures of habit and like to feel safe and comfortable. We may scan the menu but there are usually only a handful if items we order each time we're back to the restaurant.

Rinse Don't Repeat

There are two significant issues going on – the sheer will of stakeholders to keep their status quo and the monumental task of building inspirational leadership.

Change is not this. Change can be exciting. Change is unproven. Change can be scary. Change requires a leap of faith. Change can conquer courage. When the bottom line is the only objective, affecting change can often be an illusive pipe dream.

We can't always predict the outcome of change.
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February 4, 2019

Ninety-Three Percent

Communication is at the cornerstone of our lives. We email, text, phone, meet, talk, and connect because we have an inherent need to belong. And there are countless studies out there that point to the way we receive communication.

One of the most adopted and accepted appeared in a book by Albert Mehrabian entitled Silent Messages. His research found that the person receiving our messages gives 55% of their attention on our body language and eye contact, 38% to our tone, and just 7% to our words. So how we say it carries more weight than what we say.

According to Mehrabian and many others, non-verbal cues carry 93% of the weight of any communication. So if you’re in a leadership role, think about how that can help you strengthen or hinder the culture in your business.

Something to gesture about. 
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January 29, 2019

Imagine and Dream

Money and time have been the hurdles to pushing through that big idea you've had for far too long. Imagine for a moment both evaporate and you are free to act.

Every time you want to say "not", imagine for a moment you change it to "why not".

The dream was long given up on because there was no way you would be able to pull it off. People like you don't follow their dreams, you're responsible and practical. That stuff happens to other people. Imagine for a moment the story you've been telling yourself for years simply because it was easier than trying. And you take the first step.

You take one item from your wish list and put it on your action list. Imagine for a moment you take one item on your action list and get it done.

Just a thought.
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January 23, 2019

The People Part

There has been significant change in my life this year and if you've ever had a patch like this, you may have reflected on it the same way. The change is big but what has been the most stark is the areas of my life that haven't moved forward or improved and they seem even more in need of my attention.

Many say we have five pillars in our lives; health, finances, spirituality, relationships, and intellectual growth. If money needs our attention, our relationships suffer; if we're focusing on our studies, our health falters, etc. I feel all pillars are integrated.

Reflections and Changes

So how does this all play into leadership and culture, careers and collaboration? In every way! If we are concerned about personal issues then our work will be affected; not always overly negative, but in some way or another.

So take time with your team to understand what they're going through outside of the office. I'm not suggesting you get too personal, that's up to each individual, and don't run the risk of losing the too much information work life balance. We are all flawed people going through stuff at work and/or at home and one size fits all is a myth. Remember the people part of your work and your work will become much more personable.

The results might amaze you.
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January 17, 2019

Is it Magic?

There are a thousand ways we can go with leadership development and talent training but without knowing the specifics, it can be a lot of activity with disappointing results.

The best way, in my experience, to build anything is to include everyone. This isn't to suggest you take the committee approach forever, but you need to find the waterline. Here's one simple tactic you may want to try if your company or department or team are stuck. Give everyone the day off.

You read that right. Without letting important deadlines or projects drop, give the team a work day away from the office to think and gather their thoughts. Then it's time to get back together and do a brainstorming session. I love to facilitate these because it allows everyone to have a voice and ideas to be streamlined into realistic and executable chunks. So wave your magic wand and dream big. Then get to work.

It will be worth it.
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January 8, 2019

Find and Seek

In my experience, if you are currently faced with something you think you can’t accomplish, you can if you are willing to get clear on what you want, what drives you, and what makes you happy. And this is a critical ingredient; open your heart to those around you who want to help.

The word selfish was always a tough one for me. It conjured up images of self-centered people who would take for themselves at the expense of others. These were loud arrogant people who would think nothing of walking over someone for their own gain. But the word selfish also means being self-aware and self-seeking.

Looking Deeper

To seek more of one’s self is to get to the core and underlying meaning of your existence. And while we get clearer on who we are and what we want, the challenge is not in saying yes but rather in saying no to things that weaken our purpose. We need to understand there are people on our side and when help arrives, we need to be grateful because we help others without hesitation.

I've discovered it can be helpful to find a quiet place to focus on what is important. Allowing gratitude for those who help can require practice. Understanding we can go after what we want if we disallow distractions and self-doubt to derail us is a key element of the journey.  There are people in our lives right now who want to help.

It’s up to us to let them and be grateful they did.
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January 1, 2019

What Makes a Great Leader?

I've been reading about this and thinking about this for years. I have been fortunate to work with amazing collaborative insightful and giving leaders; I have also had some bosses. I think there is a definitive list somewhere but the way I view leadership is from the inside. Each of us has a different interpretation of what they need in their leader or how they want to lead.

In a time when we have 3-4 generations in a workplace, the one size fits all model won't work. Sales managers yelling at reps to make more calls, Marketing directors steadfast on their design over others, CEO's accountable to shareholders without focus on their employees to make those financial successes a reality.

Read The Room

And that room can be as granular as every single person in the organization. For some, they need a coach akin to the defensive coordinator who yells at their guys for missing the tackle. For others, they require a more personable calm approach.

The key to being a great leader, in my opinion, is twofold. First, you don't decide you're the leader; your team or company does. Second, your only focus is your team or company. Customers will show up if you create a culture of collaboration, respect, and strong internal customer service.

A great leader never has to remind people they are the leader.
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© Kneale Mann knealemann@gmail.com people + priority = profit
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leadership development business culture talent development human capital