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Motivation & Incentives Library

7 Ways to Differentiate between a Lightning Bolt and a Bright Idea

Charles Dickens’ famous opening sentence continues …

it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity.”

More than 150 years later, our business world is possessed of similar contradictions.


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” ~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Sometimes the light you see at the end of the tunnel is sunshine; sometimes it’s another train coming.

In the distance – and in the dark – it’s very hard to discern the difference. Yet, missing that call has very fateful consequences.

Is This the Time to Take Risks?

In the midst of an endless flood of information and ideas rushing our way, how do we differentiate between a bright idea and a lightning bolt?

  • Is this the time to take additional risks?

  • Should we only survive – or try to thrive?

  • Are some risks more palatable than others?

  • How do we tell the difference?

Don’t miss the 7 Ways to Differentiate between a Lightning Bolt and a Bright Idea


I need your help today. What is the Common Thread among these Events?

All of us in the United States are excited about the Pope’s visit this week. Regardless of your specific beliefs or faith, the Pope’s commitment to social justice and the dignity of human life offers a compelling message to everyone.

But, what does that have to do with these other images?

Pope Apple Football

As I worked through this week, periodically visiting video and text snippets about the Pope’s visit, I was also reminded about Friday’s release of Apple’s new iPhones and the long lines expected at Apple store locations around the world.

And, just to add another layer to this puzzle, I started thinking about college football this weekend.

Have you ever seen the craziness on ESPN’s College Game Day at the front end of college football every Saturday morning? If not, tune in early tomorrow morning as thousands of University of Arizona students fill the screen when the bus rolls into town. (It’s earlier in the morning than you will ever see a college student again.)

For many of you, I could also add ice cream and roller coasters.

What’s going on here?

Keep reading and help me figure out what’s going on here?


Why the Lack of Momentum is the Most Lethal Force in Your Business

An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. ~ Sir Isaac Newton

Momentum is an incredibly powerful force in business as well as physics. These laws will help you energize your organization and get things done.

The Dynamics of Business Momentum

You don’t need to be a physics student

Most of us are familiar with the legend of Newton’s apple, which fell on his head and triggered his musings about the Universal Law of Gravitation. An unlikely but apocryphal story.

Fewer of us are physics students, and I’m pretty sure that few professors would whisper “physics” in the same sentence as “understanding” if they were considering my scientific proclivities. Nonetheless, I have come to learn that Sir Isaac Newton’s laws of motion have powerful siblings in the business world.

The Dynamics of Momentum is a powerful driver

Newton’s First Law of Motion focuses on the physics of movement, but the dynamics of “momentum” apply equally to people and organizations.

Learn how Newton’s First Law of Motion powerfully affects your business


What are You Doing to Celebrate Your Victories?

Do you only see the shortcomings of your team and struggle to celebrate the victories? If you only see the brown spots when you look down at a beautiful green lawn, you’re overlooking a great chance to celebrate.

Too often, we’re too busy to celebrate what we have achieved. Do it often to unleash the power of your team and everyone’s joy of celebration.


What exactly is team building anyway?

When you think of team building, one of the first images that comes to mind is usually of some recent shared activity. Even if it wasn’t so recent, that was probably your first thought.

Let’s see. Wasn’t the ropes course the last thing we did together? No, I think it was that obstacle course, that crazy thing out on the woods we did? Nope, it was that scavenger hunt we had that time. Couldn’t find squat as I recall. Does that count?

Here’s what that event often looks like

You show up in clothes you normally wouldn’t be caught dead in, but figure, hey, what the heck, it’s an outdoor challenge. Read why and how you need to celebrate your victories


Are you a Successful Leader? Are you a Lifelong Learner? Pick Two!

When we’re in the Spotlight of Leadership, our behavior is always on display. What are these behaviors and where can we get Inspiration to be a Leader Worth Following?

As a leader, you don’t have the luxury of paying attention to just a few things, or only to what you most enjoy.

Knight in Shining Armor

There are simply too many issues that confront you as a leader working hard to build a successful organization:

  • How can I develop a world-class leadership team to make sure we’re growing in a competitive environment?
  • How can I build an accountable organization that collaborates to achieve the best results?
  • What will inspire my team to reach beyond themselves and dig deep to exceed their own expectations and advance their personal and professional goals?

Be a Leader Worth Following

Leadership is about a lot things …

Don’t miss these Key Leadership Behaviors & exciting news about Leadercast 2015


12 Holiday Morsels to Strengthen Your Business

Yes, the holidays are here and already the list of things to do continues to grow – completing the annual budget, planning parties, visiting with friends, figuring out what to get who for when … and so it goes.

Yet, my spirit remains strong, so I’ve prepared a menu of 12 holiday treats that I hope will slide down like Amaretto eggnog in front of a winter fire.

I’ve even scoured some of my earlier columns to find the most delectable morsels.

“In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.” — Yogi Berra

So, here’s a smorgasbord of lessons learned – a few appetizers, a choice of entrees, a little dessert – from executives of both extraordinary capability and numbing incompetence  — that should grace your executive table for 2015.

1.     It’s never about you.

It’s always about them. Customers, employees, suppliers … family, friends, colleagues.

Be clear about it and thrive.

Get it backwards?


2.     If you don’t think you’ll ever have a management succession problem, you already have one.

Keep reading. There are 12 days. Remember?


What is Winston Churchill’s Productivity Secret?

Churchill Image: I am an optimist2“How did you get so much done?”

You’ve probably heard the question many times, asked of interview guests the world over …

“If you could interview anyone, living or not, who would it be?”

For me, that’s an easy question.

Winston Churchill.

What if I could only ask him one question?

I could ask him a million questions and talk with him for days, but if I’m only given one question, here’s the simple one I’d ask:

“How did you get so much done?”

Winston Churchill lived to the ripe age of 90

Today, Sunday, November 30, is the birthday of Winston Churchill.

He was born 140 years ago in 1874 … and died 50 years ago next month … yet his talent and prodigious output remains striking to this day. He has always been one of my favorite historical characters … and for many reasons.
Continue reading to discover Churchill’s secret