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Productivity Tip | 4 Ground Rules to Make Sure You Reach the Summit

Break the impasse. Reach the Summit.

Too often we set these BHAGs (“Big Hairy Audacious Goals”) but don’t create the milestones and timelines that give us a chance of achieving them. Put these 4 Ground Rules into action to make sure you reach the summit. 

Set up Base Camps to Reach your Goal

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Today is one of those occasions when I’m not sure what this article is about … so I’m going to let you decide.

“Thankfully, perseverance is a good substitute for talent.” — Steve Martin

Is it about resolve, our ability to persevere, to vigorously pursue an idea, uncover its value to our business and set out to relentlessly apply it?

Or, is it about execution, our ability to follow proven processes to implement sustainable change in our business?

Didn’t Mom teach us to take small steps?

It was probably our moms who first taught us to break down a big task … like cleaning our room … into smaller steps, like “hang up your jacket, put your shoes in the closet,” so that we would ultimately accomplish the bigger goal.

Did we need that coaching because we hadn’t resolved to do it in the first place and mom was on to us?

Or were we so overwhelmed by the enormity of the task that we didn’t know how or where to start? (more…)

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Leadership Insights | The 8 Principles of Effective Delegation

What’s Your Delegation Score?

Delegation isn’t just a handoff so you can walk away and do something else. It is a critical leadership skill that you must master if you want to expand your reach, take control of your time and achieve the work-life harmony you’re seeking.

Learn the 8 Principles of Effective Delegation.

Score = 0 from 3 people

 

How often have you failed with delegation?

How often have you wondered why a project went wrong, or why someone never finished the task you were counting on them to finish?

How many times have you complained about projects that you’re managing … missing their deadlines, going over budget (not under budget very often, huh?) and not getting done as you expected?

How did you feel when you were called on the carpet by YOUR boss wanting to know why the project you’re handling is stalled?

Why didn’t your delegation succeed?

When we’ve delegated some or all of a project to someone else, we’re embarrassed … and probably a little teed off … but we’re also too often thinking about the wrong things like …, “damn that John, he just can’t be counted on” … or, “she doesn’t get it” … or something like, “they can’t ever seem to follow through” as we tick off all the reasons why the people on our team have let us down. (more…)

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Leadership Lessons: Wild & Crazy Guys or Masters of our Domain?

What Does It Take to be a Great Leader?

Nothing in life travels in a neat formation accompanied by bugles and cavalry.

A lot of it shows up filthy and unkempt, prominent in the mess we’ve made around our foxhole.

These lessons are typically the offspring of hubris, naivete and ignorance … or from overlooking the land mines hidden beneath our feet.

We’re sharing valuable and practical leadership tips and tools to help you BECOME a better leader.

First, you must start BEING a better leader  … implementing NOW the changes necessary to adopt the proven strategies of successful leaders. You might start by building on the communication matrix and making sure you’re defending the castle to get done what only you can do. Make some time so you’re thinking past today.

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I always turn to the sports section first. The sports page records people’s accomplishments; the front page has nothing but man’s failures.”

~ Justice Earl Warren

Get in the game. Enjoy the Ride.

Enthusiastic Leaders

The week just ended is my favorite sports week of the year. Some of you will say, “Nah, you got your calendar mixed up. Baseball season opened the previous week.”

Of course, I could say, “but the home opener for the Giants was that week” and then you’d say, “OK, so you’re a big Giants fan. I get it.”

A few of you may suspect that’s not the reason. Not that I don’t love the World Champion San Francisco Giants and all … but honestly? That didn’t even occur to me as I braced for the greatest sports week of the year.

What’s not to like?

There are a lot of reasons why I love the week that just ended. (more…)

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Leadership | One Simple Way to Trash Your Brand Anthem

Any chance that you’re tone deaf?

A brand anthem expresses to your customers the core values related your brand and products, much like a vision statement expresses the core values of your company.

Are you trashing your Brand Anthem?

I was sitting in an exceptionally beautiful church on Easter Sunday morning.

There were garlands of fresh daffodils and orchids draping the sanctuary.

Easter lilies were everywhere, consuming the floor of the chancel and the empty spaces on the altar rails. Small children were dressed in their Easter finery, sitting awkwardly in their new suits and dresses anxiously awaiting the Easter Egg hunt following the service.

Time for the Processional Hymn

Christians everywhere know that the hymn, “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” also starts the Easter service and marks the procession of ministers and laity down the aisle to the altar.

It is unarguably the best known Easter hymn, a holiday staple like O’ Little Town of Bethlehem, Joy to the World and other holiday songs at Christmas.

I’ve pretty much know that Easter hymn by heart … sang it every year as a child … and can’t imagine an Easter service without it. (more…)

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Leadership Insights | Do you really think you’re Resourceful?

blue-ball-in-a-maze
On a recent morning, I headed to a favorite place just down the street to fetch a couple of lattes for my wife and me.

Our forebearers would have awakened in woolen underwear, stepped in the dark onto a cold dirt floor, and stumbled outside to chop some wood to start a fire in the cook stove balanced on the rocks outside.

They would have tossed some coffee grounds into a beat-up metal pot … grounds that had already been used for several days … filled the pot with water, boiled it … and at some point, would finally get that first bitter cup of java.

No coffee house down the road, no car to get there, certainly no latte or cappuccino. Eat what you kill, literally. If you ain’t got it, you ain’t gonna get it.

Lots of resources but ….

The secret of success is constancy to purpose.” Benjamin Disraeli

In many ways, we’re much less resourceful than our forefathers.

While we may have expanded the definition of community in many positive ways, using our physical and social media “mobility” to create unimagined connections, we’ve also become more dependent on external resources to get through our day.

In some ways it’s probably better that we’re co-dependent. (more…)

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The Spotlight of Leadership: Where are you standing?

Searchlight - Floodlight

The Spotlight of Leadership

Experienced leaders know that they are standing in the Spotlight of Leadership all the time. I’ll tell you about a video you should watch just below.

Have you read any of the news stories and interviews recently with General Stanley McChrystal, whose new book is coming out now, My Share of the Task?

You’ll recall he is the four-star general whose resignation was precipitated by a Rolling Stone article which disclosed some unsavory remarks about the President’s executive team.

What is McChrystal’s response?

The reporter was given broad access to McChrystal and his staff, with few conditions, to see how the general and his leadership team worked together.

You can read the candid response from General McChrystal about this incident here. (more…)

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Leadership Insights | The Prizefighter & The Preacher

Dad’s Christmas gift to me of an ornament he thought I’d like. The cow sings, too!

Dads never get any credit

Among some of us dads, we often remark, “Dads never get any credit.”

Dads teach their kids how to play ball, run, catch, dodge … but if they score a run, a touchdown or a basket … and the camera zooms in on them, don’t they always say, “Hi Mom!”

Have you ever heard the phrase, “… as good as Dad and apple pie?.” I doubt it. I never have. How about, “the father of all storms” … nope … I think you catch my point.

The Prizefighter & The Preacher

I’ve written several articles over the years, including a recent one about lessons I learned from my 94-year-old mom, but Dad deserves at least as much credit.

I lost my Dad on Nov. 16, 2001, and I still miss him every day. Perhaps my most striking memory is that he had the most unusual combination of careers of anyone I’ve ever known … a world-ranked professional boxer with a record of 82-5-0 who became a minister when he heeded the calling.

An extraordinary combination …

All his life, he loved boxing with great passion and practiced his ministry with great compassion.
He believed deeply that boxing’s demand for discipline, training and sacrifice was a way out for “street toughs,” a route through the gym and into a productive life that would be otherwise inaccessible.

He knew that every soul was worth saving and he never wavered from that commitment.

Brevity is the soul of wit …

One good teacher in a lifetime may sometimes change a delinquent into a solid citizen.Philip Wylie

He had a great sense of humor, too, and it reflected his vision of life as a joyful journey. I’ve still got a copy of a parking ticket that I may have forgotten to pay while in college.

(more…)

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The 12 Pains of Christmas

There is a remarkable breakdown of taste and intelligence at Christmastime.  Mature, responsible grown men wear neckties made of holly leaves and drink alcoholic beverages with raw egg yolks and cottage cheese in them. — P.J. O’Rourke

The holidays are here and we’re still trying to figure out how we’re going to get it all done. So, instead of asking you to work at something – anything – I’ve decided to give you a gift of holiday music. Elmo did it, so did Ren & Stimpy, Winnie the Pooh, Shrek, the Muppets … so with animated competition like this, what can go wrong with my first effort at song-writing?

Yeah, I know, don’t quit your day job. So, feel free to sing along to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas. Key of D Sharp, please.

All together now:

The first thing in business that’s such a pain to me… is the never-ending stinking eee-mail.

The second thing in business that’s such a pain to me … stuff a-cumm-u-lating … and the never-ending stinking eee-mail.

The third thing in business that’s such a pain to me … meetings, meetings, meetings … stuff a-cumm-u-lating … and the never-ending stinking eee-mail.

The fourth thing in business that’s such a pain to me(more…)

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Leadership Insight | What are we doing to help you?

“There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result.

Winston Churchill

Why do you have your own business?

Winston Churchill could have been an entrepreneur to have so eloquently dramatized the thrill associated with building a business.

Whether you own it yourself or share it with partners, it’s yours to build, to mold according to your dreams and values.

You may be building it from scratch or seeking new opportunities to jumpstart a mature company. In either case, I hope this will help you on your journey.

Want to build your own boat?

Why do you have your own business?

Independence, many will say, the chance to run my own show?

Be my own boss?

Do things my way – maybe because you’ve seen them done the wrong way and you can do better? (more…)

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