Influence the Eager by leading with Swagger (free download)

Many years ago I started out on a leadership journey.  At that time I didn’t know what leadership really was other than I knew it required me to work harder than everyone else. Which I did this pretty easily.  This is a good place to start I might add.  However, I didn’t have a playbook on how to lead, how to pick the people I should lead, and lastly a major piece that I didn’t see or understand at that time was how to lead yourself.  So after 10 years of grinding it out, learning from my failures, being blessed with some awesome opportunities, and then lastly taking really good notes, I have now created a playbook on what I call the fundamentals of leadership.

I have managed baby boomers, generations X, Y, and now even generation Z.  Here is what I have found about each of those generations in leading them.  They are all just people.  And people are the same today as they were since the beginning of time.  They want to be treated with respect and dignity, they want to be included, and they like to have relationships with others.  What they want from a leader is a vision that they can get excited about, they want their leader to ask their opinion, they want their leader to model the behavior that they are being asked to model.

This blook (a series of blogs turned into a mini-book) hits on exactly the things I mention above.   I call this blook the playbook on how to INFLUENCE people.  There are nine letters in the word INFLUENCE, by following the nine principles I outline, you will no doubt have more influence as a leader, mentor, friend, colleague, and parent.  As a leader it is your job to get people to do the things you want them to do, and you can only do this when you are influential.  This second part of the blook is about hiring people.  Which is a critical function of all leaders.  Leading and managing is one thing, but I outline what you should look for in a team member.  Lastly, and what I think is probably the most important part of the blook, and that is leading yourself.  I call it Swagger.  If you want to have influence and lead people you must have some swagger yourself.  I outline a solid game plan on how you can get more swagger.  Believe me, in leading in today’s business world swagger is not only needed, but it is required and is a must for you to be effective as a leader.

If this blog post has you interested in reading the blook.  You should be able to read the blook in 15 or 20 minutes or less.

Go to, click on the selfdevelopmentaddict blog and you will see the same blog title in this page.  Click the blog title and it will take you to the page. Input your name and email.  (I don’t sell your names to anybody, it’s just me.)

It is not required, but I would be curious if you could put in the message field what prompted you to download the file. 

Or can you just put the link below in your browser and it will take you there.  If you have any issues with the download let me know.

To your success and your future.

I’ll take a 7 and 7, but hold the second seven

I was reading this morning some of my notes from a book that I have read and that I suggest you read as well, if you have time.  Or you can shoot me an email and I can send you some notes.  I will be posting a book summary on my website  in the next few days.  The book is Napoleon Hill’s famous “Think and Grow Rich.”

The book was first published during the Great Depression. At the time of Hill’s death in 1970, Think and Grow Rich had sold more than 20 million copies and by 2011 over 70 million copies had been sold worldwide. It remains the biggest seller of Napoleon Hill’s books. BusinessWeek Magazine’s Best-Seller List ranked it the sixth best-selling paperback business book 70 years after it was published.Think and Grow Rich is listed in John C. Maxwell’s A Lifetime “Must Read” Books List.

In the book, Hill discusses the 14 emotions that we all have.  Seven of the 14 are considered positive emotions and we should embrace and allow them to push us.  The other seven are considered negative and we should avoid them.  I have included some commentary in each below.  The commentary is my thoughts and although I believe most of what Mr. Hill writes, I have added my thoughts on each emotion as well.

Desire: The emotion of desire is where it all begins.  We should embrace and look for this.   Without it we will accomplish nothing, but with it we can accomplish anything.

Enthusiasm:  What is more contagious that enthusiasm?  With an enthusiastic desire, nothing can stop a person from anything they put their mind to.  Think about the things that you get enthusiastic about.  Now, how can you do that all day, everyday.

Faith:  What is faith?  Faith is belief in something that you have no evidence that exists.  All you have is your experiences with or without faith and you allow that to control your attitude towards believing that it can or could exist.

Love:  We all seek to be loved and want to provide love to someone or something else.  This is the strongest emotion we all have.  We should embrace it and love often.

Sex:  It is one of the most potent emotions we have.  It can drive us to do some of the most positive things in our lives or it can drive us to do some of the dumbest things in our lives.

Romance:  What a great emotion we all have the opportunity to experience in our life.  To have that emotion with another person, it is such an emotion that can drive us to be something better than we would be without that person or that feeling in our presence.

Hope:  In my upcoming book 7 Ways to More.  I use the words faith and hope interchangeably.  Hope is the belief that something can or could exist when you don’t have any evidence that it does.  It is an attitude and a powerful one that can change your life.

Fear:  Although Mr. Hill states fear as being a negative emotion and I agree with him: Only if you allow fear to control your life.  Prevent you from getting out of your comfort zone or not doing something you should do.  However, fear can be positive in these ways.  Being fearful of going broke if you keep spending everything you make, or being fearful that you have to find a way to make more time to spend with your children so they have the mentoring necessary to become successful in life. These are fears that can drive you to desire. The key is to not allow fear to drive you to not do something, but let it drive you to do something.

Jealousy:  I can’t think of a better (better in this context) waste of time: than time spent on being jealous of another person.  If you just took the time you were spending on being jealous and put it towards accomplishing something for yourself, who knows what could happen.

Hatred: I really try to not use the word hate.  Although, it has crept into my vocabulary at times.  When we allow hatred of another person to be all-consuming is where we get into trouble.  It can push us to be someone we are not, or to do something we wouldn’t typically do.  So we can hate something, but we shouldn’t hate the person, but the thing the person is doing.   

Revenge:  A person cuts you off in the middle of the expressway.  You take off chasing after them in a high rate of speed, and before you catch up with them, a cop pulls you over.  Sound familiar?  Maybe not to you, but this is a story that is repeated over and over everyday on the roadways.  Seeking revenge is can cause this, but what if you actually caught up to the person?  How have we seen these stories end?  

Greed: We all have met greedy people haven’t we?  They are usually not very enjoyable people to be around.  They only care about themselves and how they can benefit from a situation or another person.

Superstition:  When you read this definition, it becomes very clear why this is a negative emotion, don’t allow this kind of thinking to creep into your thoughts.

Anger:  I have seen people lose the love of others, their life, and many other things just because of this strong emotion of anger.  Although we can use it to fuel us at times, we must be cautious of its power and not use it very often. 

These are 14 emotions we all have at times.  The key to all of the above emotions is to be aware of your emotions and how you use them.  Self-Awareness is always the first step to managing emotions.

For those of your who don’t know a 7 and 7 is a drink.  Click the link below to learn more about it.  Just like the drink, it is important to manage your emotions like you do the two liquids that make up the drink.

To your success and your future. 



Winning is easy

What do you consider winning?  Is it landing the next promotion?  Acing the next exam?  Living a life that God wants you to live?  Be able to provide for your family?  Having more than enough to live off of?  Having money left over in the bank after all the bills are paid? Whatever you definition is of winning, it is really easy to do isn’t it?  All it requires is doing a little more than you would normally do.

Isaac Newton figured it out long ago.  The natural pull is downward.  If you don’t believe me.  Get on top of your house and throw a rock off of it and see where it goes. Look at a bird, sure it can glide for a few seconds, but if it isn’t flapping its wings it is falling down.  So if the natural pull is downward, and you look at the above list as winning, how do you win?

I believe it begins with making a commitment to win.  Meaning you will do whatever it takes to win.  When I say whatever it takes, I mean, it must be moral, ethical, and legal.  But it requires you to make a commitment.  Don’t forget to add the why to your commitment.  Your WHY is what will keep you going when the work gets hard.

You have made the commitment, now what?  Well now it is time to make a game plan.  You just can’t go into this thing without some preparation and a well designed plan.  A poorly designed plan is better than no plan at all, but why not take the time to develop the best game plan you can to win the game.  How much time do you think Nick Saban spends on designing a game plan so his Alabama Crimson Tide can win on Saturday afternoons?  It is a lot of time.

So now you have made the commitment to win.  You have designed a game plan.  What is next?  It is now time to go to work!  Nothing can be accomplished without the work.  Nothing happens until the labor is done.

When the work gets hard, remember your why.  I am not sure any of my suggestions on winning fits what you would classify as winning.  However, the game plan as outlined above is the same for everybody.  You must make the commitment, design a game plan, and go to work to make anything happen.

My mentor Jim Rohn talks about the ant philosophy in this video: check it out by clicking on the link we can all learn a few things from the ants.  They have no choice but to win everyday, because if they don’t they die.  What if we took that approach to everything in life that matters.

To your success and your future.

Self-Investment, Orison Swett Marden; book summary

Dr. Marden is one of the founding fathers of the personal development movement and the founder and first publisher of Success Magazine.  He wrote many books back in the late 19th century and early 20th century.  What I like about reading books that are older, is that the same things that applied then, apply now, they just had a different spin on them.  Also, I like the fact that some of the material is outdated and made sense for the time, but to see how far we have come as a society is interesting as well.

This book summary is comprised of the chapter titles and a few of my notes from the chapter.  Also, each chapter begins with a quote and these also provide a nice takeaway for you.  I believe the chapter title itself gives you a nice nugget that you can apply today to get be all that you can.

Chapter 1:  If you can talk well.  A good conversationalist is one who has ideas, who reads, thinks, and who has therefore something to say–Sir Walter Scott.

  • Nothing embarrass and bores the average man so much as a girl who has to be entertained. (Authors notes, I like it so I highlighted, I would a guy or a girl :))
  • Good reading will not only broaden the mind and give new ideas, but it will also increase ones vocabulary.

Chapter 2: Put beauty in your life.  Beauty is God’s handwriting.  There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy, and not pain, around us–Emerson.

  • What is the best education? Once asked of Plato.  “It is, that which gives to the body and to the soul all the beauty and all the perfection of which they are capable.”
  • There is no investment which will give such returns as the cute of the finer self, the development of the sense of the beauty the sublime and the true, the development of qualities, that are crushed out or strangled in the mere dollar chaser.
  • If we sin to beautify the outer, we must first beautify the inner, for every thought and every motion shapes the delicate tracings of our face for ugliness or beauty.  Inharmonious and destructive attitudes of mind will warp and mar the most beautiful creatures.

Chapter 3:  Enjoying what others own.  If you are not wealthy yourself, be glad somebody else is, and you will be astonished at the happiness that will result to your self–Rev Dr. Charles F. Aked.  I would rather be able to appreciate things I cannot have than to have things I am not able to appreciate.

  • The secret of happiness is in a cheerful, contented mind.  “He is poor who is dissatisfied; he is rich who is contented with what he has, and can enjoy what others own.”

Chapter 4:  Personality as a success asset.  There is something about one’s personality which eludes the photographer, which the painter can’t reproduce, which the sculptor cannot chisel.  The subtle something which everyone feels, nut which no one can describe, which no biographer ever put down in a book, as a great deal to do with one’s success in life.

  • Secretiveness repels as much as frankness attracts.
  • Be open with others.

Chapter 5:  How to be a social success.  The power to please is a great success asset.  It will do for you what money will not do.  It will other give you capital which your financial assets alone would not warrant.  People are governed by their likes and dislikes.  We are powerfully influenced by a pleasing, charming personality.  A persuasive manner is often irresistible. Even judges on the bench feel its fascination.

  • The best way to draw people to you is to make them feel that you are interested in them.  You must not do this for effect.  You must be really interested in them, or they will detect the deception.
  • If you wear a bull-dog expression, if you go about looking sour and disagreeable, you must not wonder that you are not popular with your employees or other people. Everybody loves a pleasant face.
  • There is only one way to win love, and that is to love.

Chapter 6:  The miracle of Tact.  Talent is something, but tact is everything. Talent is no match for tact; we see its failure everywhere.  In the race of life, common sense has the right away.

  • Tact is an extremely delicate quality, difficult to define, hard to cultivate, but absolutely indispensable to one who wishes to get on in the world rapidly and smoothly.
  • The personality of a physician has a great deal to do with his success, and with the chances of his patients.
  • There is no better discipline in the world than to force ourselves to be sociable and interesting to those for whom we do not care.

Chapter 7: I had a friend.  Oh Friendship!  Of all things the most rare, and therefore most scare because most excellent, whose comforts in misery are always sweet, and whose counsels in prosperity and are ever fortunate–Lilly.

  • Life is to be fortified by many friendships, said Sydney Smith.  To love and to be loved is the greatest happiness of existence.
  • True friendship says CC Colton, is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it be lost.
  • I know lost of people who have plenty of friends, but they are not the kind that help or elevate them.  They have chosen downward, instead of upward.
  • Friendships must be cultivated.  It cannot be bought, it is priceless.  If you abandon your friends for a quarter of a century or more while you are buried in your pursuit of wealth, you cannot expect to go back and find them where you left them.  Did you ever get or keep anything worthwhile without an effort equal to its value?

Chapter 8:  Ambition. The youth who does not look up will look down, and the spirit that does not soar is destined to grovel.  Whoever is satisfied with what he does has reached the culminating point, He will progress no more.

  • No one ever amounts to much who does not take himself in hand and force himself to do the things that is best for him in the end, not the pleasantest or the easiest.
  • Everything depends on ambition.  The moment it becomes weak all the life standards drop with it.  One must keep the ambition lamp ever trimmed and burning brightly.
  • It is dangerous to dally with ambition killing influences.
  • Nature allows us to keep only what is in constant use.
  • When the desire, the ambition, comes fresh and strong with zeal and enthusiasm, it is easy, but after we have postponed it a few times, we find ourselves less and les inclined to make the necessary effort or sacrifice to attain it, because it does not appeal to us with the same emphasis as at first.
  • Do not allow ambition to cool.  Make up your mind that you cannot and will not spend your life being half satisfied.
  • The expanding man is always dissatisfied with his accomplishments, is always reaching out for something larger, fuller, and completer.
  • Men often fail because of impatient ambition.
  • The heights of great men reached and kept, Were not attained by sudden flight, But they, while their companions slept, Were toiling upward in the night.
  • Anything that will give us a glimpse of ourselves, that will awaken us to our possibilities, is invaluable.
  • Most people die with the largest percentage of their possibilities still undeveloped.
  • Constantly ask yourself, If others can do them, why cant I?

Chapter 9.  Education by Reading.  Books are the windows through which the soul looks out–H.W. Beecher.

  • Most of us manage somehow to find time for the things we love.  If one is hungry for knowledge, if one yearns for self-improvement, if one has a taste for reading, he will make the opportunity.
  • Where the heart is, there is a treasure. Where the ambition is, there is time.
  • It’s not the number of books, says Professor William Matthews, “which a young man reads that makes him intelligent and well-informed, but the number of well chose ones that he has mastered, so that every valuable thought of them is a familiar friend.”

Chapter 10.  Discrimination in Reading.  Cultivate the habit of reading something good for ten minutes a day.  Then minutes a day will in twenty years make all the difference between a cultivated and an uncultivated mind, provided you read what is good. I mean by the good the proved treasures of the world, the intellectual treasures of the world in story, verse, history, and biography–Charles W. Eliot, Ex-President of Harvard University.

  • Read books that make you look up, which inspire you to be a little bigger man or woman, to amount to a little more in the world.
  • Read books that make you think more of yourself and believe more in yourself and in others.

Chapter 11.  Reading to Spur Ambition. I know of nothing els which will enlarge ones ideals and lift ones life standards more than the study of the lives of great and noble characters, the reading of biographies of great men and women. Abroad, it is impossible for me to avoid the society of fools.  In my study, I can call up the ablest spirits., the learnedest philosophers, the wisest counsellors, the greatest generals, and make them serviceable to me–Sir William Waller.

  • Cotton Mathers “Essay to do Good” influenced the whole career of Benjamin Franklin, we are told.

Chapter 12.  The Self-Improvement Habit, A great Asset.  A boy is better unborn than untaught–Gascolgne.  It is ignorance that wastes, it is knowledge that saves, an untaught faculty is at once quiescent and dead–N.D. Hillis.   The plea that this or that man has no time for culture will vanish as soon as we desire culture so much that we begin to examine seriously into our present us of time–Matthew Arnold.

  • Education as commonly understood, is the process of developing the mind by means of books and teachers.  When educations is neglected, with by a reason of lack of opportunity, or because advantage was not taken of the opportunities afforded, the one remaining hope is self-improvement.
  •  Opportunities of self-improvement surround us, the helps to self-improvement are abundant, and in this day of cheap books, free libraries, and evening schools, there can be no good reason for neglect to use the facilities for mental growth and development which are so abundantly supplied.
  • The trouble with a great many people is they are not willing to make present sacrifices for future gain.
  • The secret of power is use.  Ability will not remain with us, force will evaporate the moment we cease to something with it.

Chapter 13.  The raising of values. Destiny is not about thee, but within, Thyself must make thyself.

  • Of course it hard and painful, and it takes lots of stamina to undergo the processes that produce the finest products, but would you prefer to remain a rough bar of iron or a horseshoe all of you life?

Chapter 14.  Self Improvement Through Public Speaking.

  • Do not be afraid to rise to put a motion or to second it or give your opinion on it.  Do not wait until you are better prepared.  You never will be.
  • The hardest thing for a public speaker to overcome is self-consciousness.

Chapter 15.  What a Good appearance will do.  The apparel oft proclaims the man–Shakespeare.  As a general thing an individual who is neat in his person is neat in his morals–H.W. Shaw.

  • Two chief factors in good appearance cleanliness of the body and comeliness of the attire.
  • Cloths don’t make the man, but good cloths have gout many a man a good job.
  • From every point of view it pays well to dress well.

Chapter 16.  Self Reliance.

  • The greatest service a teacher can render a pupil is to train them to depend on themselves, to trust his own powers. If the youth does not practice self-reliance, the man will be a weakling, a failure.
  • Power is self developed, self-generated.  We cannot increase the strength of our muscles by sitting in a gymnasium and letting another exercise for us.
  • Where ether is no struggle, there is no growth, no character.
  • Self reliance has the best substitute for friends, influence, capital, a pedigree, or assistance.  It has mastered more obstacles, overcome more difficulties, carried through more enterprises, perfected more inventions, than any other human quality.

Chapter 17.  Mental Friends and Foes.  We can make our minds art galleries of beauty or chambers of horror, we can furnish them with anything we please.

  • Ideas, thoughts, like everything else, attract what is akin to them. The thoughts which dominate in the mind will tend to drive out their opposites.  Optimism will drive out pessimism.  Cheerfulness will tend to drive out despondency, hope, discouragement.

I hope you found this book summary helpful and inspiring.  Please share with me your thought on this summary.

To your success and your future.



I have decided that #noexcuses2015 will be the motto for me in the year 2015.  I think for the most part I try to live my life that way, however there are times and places where I allow the excuses to creep in as well.

I recently conducted a survey with about 100 Sales Professionals.  The question I asked of the group was “List out all of the excuses you made this past year that prevented you from making your goal.”  I gave some additional context around this question, but I think the question is pretty clear.  The responses I received were telling as well:

I gave the group about 5 minutes to work together and come up with as many excuses as they possibly could.   Then I asked the audience to share with all of us what excuses they used.

My guess is that we were about 15 excuses into the exercise before I heard an excuse that was self-inflicted versus external factors.  Meaning the sales people blamed all external forces and variables as the reason they were unsuccessful in accomplishing their goals versus their own performance having anything to do with them missing their goal.

If you are reading this blog my guess is that you are already a very accountable and self-responsible person.   You hold yourself to the highest standards and will not accept anything but the best from yourself.  I would put myself in that same category as well.

However, I know there are many times this year that I used some excuses that prevented me from being the best I could be.  Like you, I don’t allow excuses to creep in on the things that matter the most.  Such as family obligations, work obligations, etc.  However, I have allowed excuses to creep in on some personal goals that I have set for myself.  Some accountability goals that I may have set for the people who I work with.  Or allowed some things that can help me move the ball forward in work as well as personal.

I am prepping for 2015 to be the best year for me.  The only way that this can be accomplished is with a #noexcuses mentality.  So every time that little voice in my head says, “you have already worked out 4 times this week, do you really need a fifth” or “You blogged 3 times, this week, you don’t need to do another one”  “You burned 1000 calories this morning, you deserve a bottle of wine (come on you know this is easy to do:)).

Take the challenge with me this next year.  Lets not allow any excuses to creep in and prevent us from being all that we can be. Please share with me your #noexcuses2015 goals.

To your success and your future.

Book Summary: Unlocking Potential 7 Coaching Skills

I have been a leader/coach for many years now.  I have had a lot of training in this area, and have read a lot of books on the topic as well. I decided to take a deeper dive into the topic and focus on coaching books versus leadership books to really understand the art of coaching and become an expert in it.

This book summary is from the author Michael K. Simpson.  The title of the book is Unlocking Potential 7 Coaching Skills that Transform individuals, Teams, and Organizations.  Michael is part of the Franklin Covey organization.

The following are the seven skills that he focuses on in his book. (the authors comments are in italics)

1.  Build Trust:  This is foundational competency and skill of all great coaching, without it, individuals will suspect you, question your agenda, slow you down, and possibility reject you as a coach.  Thats why it is the first skill that Simpson recommends.

I agree with the author.  To coach more effectively and to be able to have the participant take the advice from the coach, you must have established a relationship and a foundation with the individual and they must feel that you have their best interest in mind.

2.  Challenge Paradigms:  A paradigm is the way we think.  An individual who believe they can’t improve is not coachable and until that paradigm changes, you’ll go nowhere.  Your individuals paradigms might become barriers to achievement, and as a coach, your task is to challenge them firmly and gently.

I think this is an area for many coaches to improve upon.  I think a lot of times, a coach may feel like the person the are trying to coach may know more than them, so the coach may be hesitant to challenge their thinking.  This is where a coach must challenge the coachee’s thinking and ask them where they could possible give more and do more.

3.  Seek Strategic Clarity: With the coaches help, the individual should choose personal goals and be completely clear about them with measurable endpoints.  Without strategic clarity, coaching becomes aimless and endless.

Again, a major opportunity for many coaches.  They think that having a conversation about performance is good enough.  It’s not.  A coach must challenge the coachee with goals and then specific targets with deadlines when those goals should be met.

4.  Execute Flawlessly:  Execution might be the toughest challenge of all, the coach can help individuals actually to set, prioritize, and achieve their goals and help to hold them accountable.

What I have seen many times, is the coach assumes that they have helped the individual set the goal and that should be sufficient.  It’s not.  If the individual was able to set goals and execute them to get them accomplished they would already be doing it.  As a coach you must equip them with the strategy to execute the goals so they can be accomplished.

5.  Give effective Feedback:  All coaches give feedback.  Some of it is effective. The feedback should consist of things that help create awareness for the individual, focus on actions they need to take.

Some coaches never provide any feedback, much less feedback that creates awareness.  As a coach you must ask questions of the individuals performance.  Click on this link for a playbook on concepts a coach should use to create awareness for the individual.

6.  Tap into Talent: Most people underestimate their own talents. As Dr. Stephen Covey would often say “most people have far more talent than they ever use.”  As a coach you need to know how to help people tap into the unique and vast reserve of talents they already have.

As a coach you must point out things for people that they can’t see in themselves. A leader/coach is someone who challenges and inspires someone.  Helping individuals get into their areas of strength and then pointing out those strengths is what a good coach does.  If you look back on all of the good coaches you have had in your life you will most likely discover the reason they were a good coach is they helped you see talents that you didn’t see in your self, or they helped you maximize those talents.

7.  Move the middle:  Coaches are usually focused on helping high performers get even better. It is essential to reward and promote top talent. However, the biggest opportunity for performance improvement in any organization is to help “move the middle”, among those performers who are good, but not yet great.

I agree with the author.  Your biggest challenge as a coach and where you can have the most significant impact on your organization is on the middle 60% of the team members.  The top 20% are going to do what they do, and you just need to encourage them.  The bottom 20% you should be coaching up or coaching out.

In life, as in work, one of our key leadership responsibilities is to help people gain vision and strategic clarity in their jobs, careers, and in their business.

A global survey on topics of strategy and goal execution called the Execution Quotient (xQ) Survey, was gathered from data from more than 500,000 leaders across 18 global industries and 20 languages.  The xQ survey results showed the common challenges with strategy and goal execution.  The dat validates four key root causes for breakdowns with flawless execution.  These challenges dont vary much across industry or culture.

  • Goal Clarity: Eight five respondents don’t know the goals of the organization they work for; 44 percent of the people say they know, but when asked to identify the goals, only 15 percent can actually do it.
  • Leveraged behaviors: Eighty-five percent of the respondents don’t know what to do to achieve the organizations goals. They often don’t know the strategic reasons for doing the work they are doing.
  • Compelling Scoreboards:  Eighty-seven percent of the respondents don’t know whether their company is winning or losing in relation to its most important goals.  They simply don’t know the score. Or if they do, they are almost always looking at historical “lag measures” results that appear only after it is too late to do anything about them.
  • Weekly Accountability: Seventy-nine percent of the respondents are not held accountable for lack of progress made towards critically important goals. Only 21 percent meet with their bosses even as often as monthly to assess achievement of their most important goals. Usually accountability, is top down, punitive, or intimidating, or it is soft, permissive, and infrequent at best.

Most often the strategy is fine it is the execution and communication that lacks, as the above research suggests.

All in all this was a great book on coaching.  What I liked most was the series of questions the author includes to ask individuals to improve their performance.

To your success and your future.

Two ears and one mouth

Maybe it is cliché, maybe it is the first time you are hearing it, or reading it.  You have two ears and one mouth and you should at least, yes at least, use them in that proportion.  Meaning you should listen twice as much as you talk.  I would even go a step further and say you should listen three or four times as much as you talk.

Why should you listen more than you talk?

  • You learn more by listening than you do by talking.
  • You show the other person(s) that you want to hear what they have to say.
  • Your influence increases with that person the more they learn to trust that you care what they think.
  • Just as you do and I do, we love to talk about ourselves and share our stories.  So do others, so allow them to tell them to you them and see what happens with your influence.

Some of you may be thinking ok.  I will attempt to listen more than talk.  How do I do that.  If you want to have the most influence with others, you definitely want to listen more than you talk, but secondly to encourage the other person to talk about themselves. You can do this by asking questions.  Just ask questions of others, not in an interrogation way, but in a way that makes sense with the natural flow of the conversation.

Ex:  Its Monday morning.  Ask your colleague, your boss, your peer, what they did this weekend.  And just listen to them. I am sure you will want to respond to them and start saying what you did this weekend as well.  Refrain from doing so. Until you listen to them for a few minutes.  If they say the proverbial “nothing” ask a follow-up question like.  “You had to do something, did you stay inside and watch television?”

In your meetings this week at work do the same thing.  Instead of telling everyone what problems you are faced with in your department or in your job, listen to others and ask questions about their challenges and difficulties in their position.  As a leader or influencer, you will learn more and gain more by asking questions and listening than you doing all of the talking.

As I like to always say, the two ears and one mouth ratio is often known but seldom practiced.  I actually still have to make sure I am not dominating a conversation at times.  I am just consciously competent, when it comes to this.  To better understand the four consciousness states check out a previous blog on this topic at 

To your success and your future.

The Four Self’s

In the Leadership Training for Managers course from Dale Carnegie  we discuss the Empowerment Cycle that managers can use to coach employees to improve their performance.

The empowerment cycle can not only be used as a manager or leader, but we can use it to improve our own performance in our everyday lives.

1st Self:  Self Confidence:  It all begins here.  You must have the self-confidence to take the initiative to improve in your business, your life, your relationships, and in anything else you want to attempt.  If you haven’t attempted it before, will your confidence be high?  Nope, but the key thing is to just do it.  Most things happen when you just start doing versus just thinking about it.

2nd Self:  Self-Direction:  We all must be self-directed.  How do you become self-directed?  You set goals and have a vision for your future.  Check out my previous blog on this topic  A person that wants to accomplish and improve their own performance will always be seeking a new direction, a better way, a better approach.  Don’t allow life and circumstances determine your direction.  Take the wheel and you steer the car where you want to go.

3rd Self:  Self-Evaluation:  Now that you have built up the confidence to take some iniative, and you have set some goals, and started the pursuit towards these goals.  Now you have to evaluate how you are doing, how you are progressing, and is it working for you.  My mentor says it like this.

Q:  How long do we allow someone to stay in the fourth grade?

A:  One year, right?

How do we know when it is time for them to move to the fifth grade?  We give them a test and evaluate them.  But we don’t wait until the end of the fourth grade year to do so, do we?  Nope, we evaluate all year-long to see how they are progressing.

You have to do the same thing in your life.  You must self evaluate and see how you are doing.

4th Self:  Self-Correction:  You must evaluate your progress and then make adjustments to the course if you are not heading in the right direction.  Self-Correction is one of the most important steps here, because you cant expect to do the same things the same way and get a different result.  You have to make corrections along the way, no body will do it for you.  BTW:  Number one thing I have learned in life is this “Change before you have to”.  When someone comes along and tells you to change it is most likely to late.  More on this topic later.

The fifth self:  Is it begins back at the beginning of the cycle.  Which is Self-Confidence.  Every time you go through the four step cycle your confidence will build and you will get better.

Take the Four Steps above approach today to your work, to your personal life, to your finances, and see how it works and then tell us about here at the SDA blog.

To your success and your future.

You are special…

I am saying something you may already know, but sometimes we all need to be reminded of it.

We are all special.  If we were all the same, how boring would the world be.  The fact is that you bring a certain skill set to the marketplace, to your family, to your community, to your friends, to anything you are apart of, that is different from what someone else may bring.  And that is why you are special.  No one else brings what you bring.

Today, I am going to allow my special unique talents to shine.  I am going to challenge the ones around me to allow theirs to shine as well. Together when are uniqueness and authenticity comes through we will accomplish so much more than we would if we tried to hide these special talents.

Do you know what your special talents are?  What makes you unique?  What makes you different.  How does your uniqueness and special talents add value to those you come in contact with.

Your challenge on this Monday morning is to identify your uniqueness and special qualities and ensure you use them to add value to others on this awesome day.

To your success and your future.

Brian Willett

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