Don’t Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice your development

I am not much of a cook.  But, I do like to eat healthy meals that I can prepare quickly. For the most part, rice is easy to cook, kind of light, but also filling at the same time.  I believe it is somewhat healthy for me, but who really knows.   It is such an easy side dish to make and throw next to a chicken breast or turkey burger and boom, you have a nice little meal to eat.

Lets be honest here.  Rice only takes about 20 minutes to make.  It doesn’t take all day.  Even though it doesn’t take very long to cook, Uncle Ben’s came out with an already pre-cooked version of their rice.  So instead of slaving over the hot stove for 20 minutes to make some cooked rice that tastes pretty good, they came out with a bagged rice that you could buy off the shelf at your local grocery store and after 90 seconds in the microwave you could be eating.

Guess what!  I took the bait.  I bought the new rice.  “Save myself a solid 18 minutes every time I cooked a meal, I’m in.”

The first time I made the 90 second micro-wavable rice. I was like, well, that is okay.  Not bad.  Then I had it a few more times, and it was real clear to me that this rice didn’t taste the same.  Nope. It isn’t as good as the rice you cook on the stove for 20 minutes.

The 90 second rice has a funny taste and it also has 600 times more sodium than the rice you actually have to cook. Needless to say, I have gone back to the cooked rice.  20 minutes is not that long to have a good and tasteful meal.  The time saved and the fact I didn’t need to use any dishes to cook the micro-wavable rice just wasn’t enough of a benefit to justify what I was losing in taste and in nutritional value.

We live in a society now that is always looking for the micro-wavable version of almost everything.  Whether it is food, making money, health, fitness, training, education, success, etc.

The bottom line is that everything of value, or that could be of value to you, and your future takes time to develop.  It isn’t micro-waveable.

When you go to a nice restaurant, I mean really nice.  The food doesn’t come out very quickly does it?  Nope, that stuff takes time to cook.  And I can speak from experience, it is worth the wait.

If it was easy to make lots of money quickly, wouldn’t everybody be doing it already?  I know I would.  Damn, I have been working at it for years and it isn’t getting any easier, nor am I getting lots more of it. It takes time to develop and create something of value that other people are willing to pay you lots of money for. Whether it is a skill, a service, or a product.

At one time they created a pill that could help people lose weight really fast.  Oh, and it killed lots of people, so that didn’t last very long, thankfully.

How many people are looking for more information and more training and education quickly?  Just about everyone is. Everybody thinks there is a quick route to the C level office where they can make lots of money.

Let me be clear here.  You can get all of the information and knowledge you want. Which is what most education and training is.  It provides you with a lot of information and knowledge and it expects you to take that information and knowledge and know how to apply it to make yourself more valuable to your employer or the market.

More Informed Doesn’t mean More Skilled. 

Nope if you want to become more skilled at something it takes time.  It takes consistency, and ongoing development.  Followed up with some great coaching, feedback, and reinforcement of the new knowledge that is turned into application, that delivers a return.

You are worth every dollar of ongoing investment.  Investment in to a new skill, or development of a skill, turns into real dollars and provides a return.  Uncle Ben’s 90 second rice provided a return, but it wasn’t worth what was lost in taste and nutritional value to get something done 18 minutes sooner. Remember that the next time you are looking to increase your skills.  Knowledge does not equal behavior or performance change. Action does.

To your success and your future.


Are you overpaid or underpaid?

Question for you:  Are you overpaid or are you underpaid?  Be honest with yourself here.  Now why did you choose overpaid or underpaid? What are you basing your answer off of?

Let me ask you this.  Did you consider the following below before you chose your answer overpaid or underpaid?

Skills:  What is your level of skills in these areas?

  • Problem solving
  • Leading
  • Ability to make decisions
  • understanding of the whole picture
  • Organized
  • Effectively Communicate
  • Good Listener
  • Selling your ideas
  • Managing your time
  • Setting Goals
  • Avoiding and limiting conflict
  • Constant Learner
  • Persuasive

Attitude: What about your attitude?

  • Positive
  • Team Minded
  • Coachable
  • Teachable
  • Committed
  • Dependable
  • Conscientious
  • Responsible
  • Confident in yourself and others
  • Cooperative
  • Flexible
  • Adaptable
  • Fun to be around

Knowledge: What is your education and knowledge?

  • It could be level of education (degree, certificate, etc.)
  • Technical skills (writing/math)
  • Computers
  • Software
  • Comprehension
  • Experience with position

So I come back to the original question.  Are you overpaid or underpaid?  Under the area of Skills, Attitude, and Knowledge. Where do you rate yourself in each of the attributes?   Can you rate yourself objectively?  The answer is most likely no, you can’t.

It’s not your fault either, most people can’t see themselves objectively.  So instead of you rating yourself.  I would ask that you allow your spouse, partner, colleague, or maybe even your boss rate you.  I don’t care how you rate yourself. It could be 1-5, or High, Medium, Low.  It’s not the point.  The point of the exercise is for you to see for yourself whether you are overpaid or underpaid.

The chances are as you go through this exercise you will see that Skills and Attitude are more important than knowledge.  Sure, you must have a certain amount of knowledge to have a certain position in a lot of cases.  It could be education level or experience.

However, the way you get promoted, which usually means more money, is your ability to develop your Skills and Attitude.

When is the last time you made a conscious, intentional effort to work on your Skills and your Attitude?

In a study of successful executives across companies around the world.  The data showed that most of the executives all had the same knowledge as the people within their company.  Things such as credentials, education levels, and experience.  However, what separated these executives within their companies, and allowed them to rise to the top of their organizations was their development of their Skills and Attitude.

I have done this same study at least 100 times in seminars.  Where I ask participants to describe the attributes of successful people in their organizations.  The feedback is always the same.  If there are 30 people in the seminar and they give me 30 attributes of an individual they know within their company. They without a doubt, 95% of the attributes they state are in the area of skills and attitude, not knowledge.

My final question for you: Do you want to be overpaid or underpaid?  Hey, you might be happy exactly where you are. But, my guess is that you would like to become overpaid for what you do.  To do that you have to continue to develop your Skills and your Attitude.  The good thing is you can develop both of these as far as you want.  You just have to make a decision to do it.

Dale Carnegie Training has been helping individuals develop their skills and attitude for over 104 years.  If you would like to learn why what we do has worked for so long, contact me by following up with me wherever you read this article.

To your success and your future.



Primed to Perform book summary and notes

To build a high performing culture, you must first understand what drives peak performance in individuals. The answer sounds simple: why you work affects how well you work.

In their book Primed to Perform; How to Build The Highest Performing Cultures Through the Science of Total Motivation, the authors Neel Doshi and Lindsay McGregor take a look at research and case studies of successful companies and successful leadership that have created motivational environments for their employees. They call it TOMO (Total Motivation) You can find the book here

Here are the questions leadership should be asking about building a high performance culture:

  • What leadership style should you use?
  • How do you design motivating jobs and career paths?
  • What is the best way to establish core value and build a strong sense of community around them?
  • How should you manage the performance of your people?
  • What is the fairest and most effective compensation philosophy?
  • What is the best processes for managing culture?
  • And, how do you change a culture that is already in trouble?

All companies need a purpose a reason the company exists.
There is a spectrum of reasons, or motives, for why people perform an activity. The first three, which we will call the direct motives, are directly linked to the activity and drive performance. The next three, the indirect motives, are further removed from the work itself and frequently harm performance.

Direct Motives:

PLAY:  You’re most likely to lose weight, or succeed in any other endeavor when your motive is play. Play occurs when you’re engaging in an activity simply because you enjoy doing it. The work itself is its own reward. Scientists describe this motive as intrinsic.

  • Curiosity and experimentation are at the heart of play. People intrinsically enjoy learning and adapting.
  • We instinctively seek out opportunities to play.
    Because the play motive is created by the work itself, play is the most direct and most powerful driver of high performance.

Purpose: A step away from the work itself motive, is the purpose motive. The purpose motive occurs when you do an activity because you value the outcome of the activity. (versus the activity itself). You may or may not enjoy the work you do, but you value its impact.

  • The purpose motive is one step removed from the work, because the motive isn’t the work itself, but its outcome. While the purpose motive is powerful driver for performance, the fact that its a step removed from the work, typically makes it a less powerful motive than play.

Potential: The third motive is potential. The potential motive occurs when you find a second order outcome (versus a direct outcome) of the work that aligns with your values and beliefs. You do the work because it will eventually lead to something you believe is important, such as your personal goals.

  • Ex: you may work as a paralegal to eventually get into law school. Dieters are motivated by potential eating healthfully to achieve others things they care about, such as to run faster to keep wth their kids. Another example: Stepping stone jobs.

The potential motive is not as powerful as play or purpose, since it relates to a second order outcome of the work, which is two (or more) steps removed from the work itself.
We call play, purpose, and potential the direct motives because they’re most directly connected to the work itself. As a result, they typically result in the highest levels of performance. Remember this from Primed to Perform, a culture that inspires people to their jobs for play, purpose, and potential creates the highest and most sustainable performance.


Emotional Pressure: When emotions such as disappointment, guilt or shame compel you to perform an activity, this emotional pressure. These emotions are related to your beliefs, (self perception) and external forces (the judgements of other people). The work itself is no longer the reason you’re working.

  • When your motive to work on anything; work, dieting, etc. because of emotional pressure, your performance tends to suffer

Economic pressure: Economic pressure is when you do an activity solely to win a reward or avoid punishment. The motive is separate from the work and separate from your values and own identity. Money alone isn’t the only cause of economic motive.

  • From the research we expected to find that people with the least income experienced the highest economic pressure. Instead they learned that income and the economic motive were statistically unrelated. People at any income level can feel economic pressure at work.

Inertia: The most indirect motive of all is inertia. With inertia, your motive is so distant from the work itself that you can no longer say where it comes from, you do what you do simply because you did it yesterday. This leads to worst performance of all.

  • Ex: A college student may continue to attend school purely because of inertia, they are on the path, so they just continue slogging. An executive continues on their job not because they are engaged in it, but because he can’t think of a good reason to leave.

Why we work:

Direct motives typically increase performance and indirect motives typically decrease it.
The more directly connected the motive is to the activity itself, the better performance becomes. Play is the motive that is closest to the work itself, so its the most powerful. Purpose is on step removed, so it is the second strongest. Potential is two or more steps removed from the activity, so it is the third strongest.
These two insights define total motivation. (TOMO for short) High levels of total motivation occur when a person feels more of the direct motives and less of the indirect motives. Total motivation is the foundation of any high performing culture.

Direct motives typically enhance performance while indirect motives decrease it. Second, the closest the motive is to the work itself, the better the performance. Play is the strongest motive. Then purpose. Then potential. Inertia is the most destructive, them economic pressure, then emotional pressure.

Tactical performance:

How well a person executes a plan. Every job requires specific actions to be done in specific ways. EX: a certain number of calls, or emails for a sales person. Tactical performance is productivity, efficiency, and control.
Adaptive performance:

Someone having the freedom and ability to make adjustments to their job while they are doing to account for things that change and processes to be changed.
The military uses the phrase VUCA to describe limitations of tactical performance and why adaptive performance is so crucial. The letters in VUCA stand for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. Tactical performance is not enough to address VUCA. People and organizations need to adapt.

If a job only has tactical performance behaviors, then you can create performance through indirect motivators. When a job has the need for more adaptive performance, like problem solving, indirect motivators can make performance worse.

As total motivation decreases, adaptive performance decreases with it, and maladaptive performance takes its place.
As total motivation increases, so does adaptive performance. Adaptive performance is the secret sauce behind innovation, creativity, great customer experience, distinctive salesmanship, and may other outcomes that have remained a mystery for so long.
Culture: Is our shared set of values and behaviors within an organization.

A high performing culture is a system that maximizes adaptive performance through total motivation.
It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest thats survives, but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.–Leon Megginson

Managing culture is like managing your finances, it is a never ending process.

Four Types of leaders:

Quid Pro Quo leaders: Definition of quid pro quo is latin for something for something. This is how these leaders lead. They believe in giving rewards for good behavior and punishments or threat to control bad behavior. They produce high levels of emotional pressure, Inertia, and economic pressures.

Hands off Leaders: They use neither direct or indirect motivators. They tend to get involved only when there is a problem. Like most people, many hands off leaders have good intentions. They believe their teams want lots of space. The problem is they’re wrong. Teams perform best when the leader is involved.

Enthusiast: There isn’t a motivator an enthusiast won’t try, direct or indirect. Problem with this is the indirect will cancel out the direct.

Fire Starter: They use direct motivators and do what ever they can to eliminate the indirect motivators.

Fire Starters: Play

  • Provide you with time, space, and encouragement to experiment and learn.
    Makes it clear on what it looks like to performing well.
    Challenges you to solve problems for yourself.
    Fire Starters: Purpose: The blame bias makes us believe that everyone works for solely money. Fire starters hep you see and believe in your works purpose:
    Helps you see the work is important and meaningful.
    Role models and expects you to live by positive, comsisitnet, values in a common sense of a purpose.
    Puts the customers interest first.
    Fire Starters: Potential: Help you connect your work to your personal goals and needs. They show your investment in your work is also an invest meant in yourself.
    Actively links the work with your personal goals.
    Helps you to develop and focus your time on your strengths rather than to your weaknesses.
    Provides you with more responsibility as your skills grow.
    Fire Starters: Emotional Pressure: Reduces the potential for feel of fear, shame, guilt, or peer pressure.
    Ensures targets and goals are reasonable.
    They are fair and transparent.
    Enables friendships at work.
    Fire Starters: Economic Pressure: Avoid using rewards or punishments to coerce people to work. Ensure you are evaluated holistically.

Fire Starters: Inertia: Remove obstacles from your path and make sure your work will have impact. Makes it easy to get things done and you don’t waste time doing it.

If you hire people who are smaller than you are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. If you hire people who are bigger than you are, we shall become a company of giants.

From the testing, we learn that flexibility in how people work, rather than where or when they work is key. People who had freedom in how they worked were more motivated.

What the research found:

  • A job designed to enable experimentation increase motivation by 68 points.
    A job designed to enable learning through a variety of increase motivation by about 68 points.
    A job designed to make you feel a sense of purpose increases motivation by about 64 points.
    A job designed so that you do not work alone increases motivation by about 36 points.
    While money is poor motivator, it can be an effective activator, overcoming ones inertia.
    To be perfect is to change often-Winston Churchill.

As you an see by the book summary here the main points of the book are the motives of why people are motivated on the job. Play, Purpose, and Potential being the main reasons for motivation at work. These motives allow for flexibility and adaptive performances where the employee can be creative and do what they feel like is necessary to get the job done within the parameters of the company. And the person who is responsible for setting yp this Total Motivation enevirnemnt is the leader. In this case the call a good leader a Fire Starter. Meaning a good leader gets the team (fire) started and the allows the team (fire) to take off any do what they need to do.

I hope you enjoyed this book summary. For more book summaries and notes from other books I have read and really enjoyed, checkout