The one tool most leaders are missing from their toolbox

Most leaders are lying to their employees everyday.  Some of the them are doing deliberately, while others don’t even realize it.  And it all comes down to the fact that some..

Well, based off my observations…Most leaders…

Aren’t willing to do the one thing that all leaders must be willing to do, and that is be very candid with their employees.

They lie by telling their employees they are doing a great job and the employee is really not.  Or, they are not telling them anything at all and just ignoring them. By ignoring them they are lying as well.  By saying nothing to the employee the leader is communicating through their actions that they are pleased with the performance.

In both cases the leader is hurting three parties by not telling the employees the truth.  They are hurting the organization, because the organization is paying for an employee that is not meeting expectations.  The leader is hurting themselves, because they are not getting the work that needs to be done, done. More than likely the leader that is unwilling to give the necessary feedback is doing more work and dealing with more headaches, all because they are unwilling to coach the employee the way they need to be coached. And lastly, they are hurting the employee.

In my leadership training and coaching business I ask business owners, managers, executives, leaders, etc., about the behaviors they are seeing or not seeing from employees. Many times, the reason I am meeting with the business owners or leader is because they have some kind of gap in the skills of the people they are looking to get training for.  Hey, I am thankful for this.

However, what I must remind them of is this. Most of the challenges that they are facing is because some leader in the organization, or they themselves are the ones that are unwilling to have the hard conversations to deal with the issues the employee is causing.

The phrase that I use most often with leaders and business owners is “Are you being candid with your employees” or “Are your managers being candid” with their employees.

Many leaders unfortunately tend to ignore bad behaviors altogether and hope that if they ignore an employee long enough they will quit. You also have leaders who are not straightforward enough or candid enough, with the shortcomings of where someone is not meeting expectations. When they speak to the employee about their shortcomings, they do so by watering down what it is that the employee needs to hear. Many times what needs to be said goes unsaid.  Some watered down version of the truth gets communicated and what needs to be heard is rarely said.

The tool that leaders must include in their toolbox is the willingness to be candid with their employees. From business owners to senior leadership, all the way down the line to front line supervisors.  Everyone must be willing to provide the hard feedback when employees or managers are not meeting the expectations.  Until the person understands clearly where they are not meeting expectations, they can never improve their work performance.

I tell business owners all of the time this.  “To be unclear is to be unkind.”  When we are not straightforward and speak with candor with our team members.  We are being unkind. Because they don’t know where they are falling short, which means they don’t know where to improve.  Which means they can’t improve.  You as a leader must be truthful, straightforward, and direct when communicating with employees.  You don’t have to be an ass about it.  That is another blog for another day.  However, we do have to be truthful and candid.

Are you being candid with your team?  Or are you ignoring the shortcomings and just staying frustrated with certain team members on your team or management staff?

The way you fix this is easy.  If you want to learn how to provide the candid feedback that is necessary, contact me at bwillett555@gmail.com and I will share with you the playbook that I use.

To your success and your future.

 

 

Thankfully, I was saved from myself, and here is how to do it

Unfortunately, we don’t get the luxury of benefiting or learning from something until we have actually fully committed to doing whatever it is we are pursuing.

How often do you really get to try something out to see if it works?  See if it is what you thought it would be?  Or if it is what it was advertised as? Or see if you like it?

Sure there are some things you have the opportunity to do this with, but not every many. Especially not big things or big decisions.  Sure you can take a car overnight to see if you like it.  But you don’t get to keep it for a month.  Sure you could go and rent one for a month, but who really does that.

What about taking a new job with a new company.  You don’t get the luxury of  keeping your current job for a period of time while checking out the new job.  No, you have to gather enough information about the people, the company, the culture, etc., in those few interactions you have during the hiring process.  You then have to make a decision to take the job or not, if you get the job offer.

What about buying a new home or renting a place. You do everything you are supposed to do.  You check out the neighborhood.  You run a check online to see if there are any sex predators that live in the area.  You get the home inspected.  You may even go as far as asking neighbors around the place you are seeking to buy or rent, to see what they think about the neighborhood or place.  No matter what you do, you eventually have to make a decision to purchase or rent the place based on the limited knowledge you have.

You don’t get the opportunity to check the place out for a period of time before you commit to it.  No, instead you have to take your limited knowledge and act and it is usually rushed. The process may not be rushed, but whether or not you want to act, and the final decision is usually rushed.

Let me ask you this:  Have you ever acted, made the decision, and regretted it?

If you answered no.  You are a liar. We all have.  We all have made a decision and once we got in to it we wished we hadn’t.

Have you ever not acted, and then later your decision was confirmed that you made the right decision?

Yes.  We all have.  Sure there is a certain bias that helps you answer yes here today.  You look back on the home, the car, the job, etc., and say.  I knew that it was a bad thing.  I knew I was making the right decision. But did you really know it at the time you had to make the decision?  In some cases you do, but in many cases you have to go with your gut (which is usually right) and make the decision on the limited information you have.

In these scenarios, job, house, car, etc. have you ever known that it wasn’t the right decision or right thing, but you talked yourself into it anyway?

Again, if you answered no.  You are a liar.  Lets be honest you can talk yourself in to anything.  It is really easy to create more reasons to do something that you want to do, buy, have, etc. then create reasons you don’t want to do it. Especially when your heart is set on it.  In your mind you are already in the house, or driving the car, or making more money on the new job.

However, if you really look at it objectively you know that you can’t afford that car payment.  You really aren’t willing to cut out eating out for lunch everyday.  Or you really aren’t willing to cut out your two lattes or pack of cigarettes.  But at the time you tell yourself you are, because you are so emotionally connected to the new car, you are already driving it in your mind.

What about the house.  This is the house you always wanted.  It has the right amount of bedrooms, baths, square feet, etc. However, you talked yourself into the neighborhood.  You talked yourself into the fact that it is really a longer commute to work than you really want.  You tell yourself that you will renovate the kitchen at a later date.

It is amazing how when we really want something to happen we can talk ourselves in to it.  I have done it and you have done it as well. My hope is that I get wiser as I get older and I make better decisions.

However, I was recently in a very expensive, large and lengthy purchase where I originally didn’t think it was the right thing for me, then I talked myself in to it.  Thankfully, through wise counsel and divine intervention the purchase was halted.

The challenge we all face when making these decisions is knowing when to stop pursuing it.  Which sign is the final sign that says to us “walk away” this deal is not for you?

I am not sure I know the answer to this.  Maybe you do, please share if you do.

If it is the house, the car, the new job, or in my case a business.  You have to determine what your absolutes are.  Absolutes are those things that must absolutely exist for you to purchase or take the new job or business.

Absolutes are exactly what you think.  For example:  This house must be in a neighborhood that is within a twenty-minute drive for both my wife and I.  If it is set as an absolute, then you won’t go down any rabbit holes and get yourself in a house that is forty minutes away.

If it is a new job.  An absolute for you may be flexible hours.  When you ask if the job has flexible hours and they tell you. “Well, we can make arrangements as needed”.  Then you have to ask yourself will this job be what you are looking for.

By setting some absolutes for yourself you give yourself guard rails that help you make the right decision and you don’t get in to a situation that you will regret later.

Once you set these absolutes, these guard rails, you have to stay committed to them.  You can’t waiver.  If you waiver on them, this is where you run into trouble. That is where bad decisions are made.

In my recent situation. I had some guard rails, I had some absolutes.  Luckily, I was dealing with people who were more interested in making a process difficult, that it provided me an opportunity to talk myself back out of something that I had talked myself in to.

Think about your next major decision or purchase.  Define your absolutes that must exist for you to make the decision or purchase.  This will set those guard rails in place and hopefully you stay within them and make the best decision.

To your success and your future.

 

 

I am glad I didn’t listen

What is the worse that is going to happen?  Answer.  You are going to die.  And guess what? We are all going to die.  There is a one hundred percent chance that it is going to happen.  Not if, but when.

I have watched this day come for too many people in my life already and I am sure I will watch a few more, unfortunately.

What it has taught me, is that we must seize every moment of existence we have on this earth.  Instead of going for good, going for stable, going for security, going for what’s easy, what is comfortable, what makes total sense.  I am vowing to go for what is the riskiest, what doesn’t make total sense, what has a big, HUGE upside, than just a little upside, etc.

I am guessing you are probably a lot like me.  We both probably grew up in a situation where our families may have had a lot or a little.  They may have been super supportive or not supportive at all.  They may have taken a lot of risks or none at all.

Whatever your story is, it has brought you to this place.  This current place, called the “present”.  I am thankful for what my upbringing has done thus far.  However, I know how the story could end based on my experiences. I also know how I want it to end, when it ends. I am vowing to make my story end the way I want it to.  For better or for worse.

When I left a secure and stable job that was comfortable and paying me well, and a position that I totally understood.  I had some friends tell me that I shouldn’t.  I had some family members tell me to stay put.

I am glad I didn’t listen.  

When I decided to buy my first rental property, I can remember everyone.  Yes, I mean everyone. Telling me that it is risky.  They said, “What are you going to do if your tenants don’t pay?” They said “Tenants will mess your stuff up and you will have to get it fixed.”  They said “You will get phone calls in the middle of the night.” Everything was negative, nothing was positive.  I bought the property anyway.

I am glad I didn’t listen. 

When I decided to take a risk and start a business on the side.  I can remember everyone saying “How are you going to do that?”  “That is a lot of work.” Then, when I decided to leave my stable secure job and pursue this business I started.  Everyone said “You are crazy, what are you going to do if it fails.”  “Are you sure this is the right thing to do right now?”

Guess what happened.  It didn’t fail.  It is still going today.  However, at the time I learned a lesson and many lessons by doing it. I learned that I still needed to find a better way to build a business.  At the time we weren’t ready.  Guess what happened?  I got a great education and I went back to work.

I am glad I didn’t listen. 

When I decided to sell one of my houses (the one I was living in) and rent an apartment instead. Everyone again said all the same stuff. “Why would you do that”, “You are wasting money on rent.” I did it, and it set me up to make several other great moves with my money and my real estate portfolio.

I am glad I didn’t listen. 

I decided to leave a well-paying job, move to another state, and purchase a business all at the same time.  You know the routine.  Everyone said the same “Whoa, you are crazy.” “Good luck” they said, with a smirk on their face. “It is going to be hard work”.  Yep, duh.  Anything worthwhile is hard work, or everyone would be doing it.

I am glad I didn’t listen. 

I am not saying that everyone during each of these decisions were negative and trying to talk me out of it.  However, ninety-five percent of them were. And you know why?

Because it is not something that they would do.  Period. They wouldn’t do it, so they either didn’t want me to do it, because they couldn’t.  You know ego, jealousy. Or they sincerely believe that I shouldn’t have done it, and that is just their belief based on how they were raised and who they are.  Both of these reasons are pure crap by the way, and I am so thankful I didn’t listen to any of them when I made those decisions.

Now here is the thing.  I am completely disgusted with myself.  It has taken me this long to figure out that all along the way. Even though I was making good moves and good decisions. I was completely wrong in how I was doing it. You know why I was wrong?

Because I wasn’t thinking big enough.  When I bought that first rental property, I should have bought a bigger one.  Instead of a duplex, I should have bought an eight-plex  or bigger. When I started that little business. Instead of trying to conserve my money that I had saved, I should have spent every dime on that business to make it grow and grow quicker.

I have learned that even though I made all the right decisions, because if I hadn’t I wouldn’t be telling you about them today. That, my biggest problem with the decisions I made was that they were too small.

I am right in the middle of making some of the biggest decisions of my life.  Thankfully, because of my experiences. I am looking at things with a different perspective than I have ever looked at them before.

I have the mindset of “What is the worst that is going to happen?”  Since I know the answer. I am only allowing my imagination and my ambitions make my decisions. Not fear, and especially not anyone and everyone who has never been where I want to go.

To your success and your future.

 

 

Distance = Rate X Time, Which piece is missing from your equation?

When I was growing up I can remember playing outside for hours and hours with my friends.  Anything from riding bikes, playing basketball, or street football.  The school year always seemed to drag on forever and summer vacations flew by like a squirrel trying to get across the highway to avoid an oncoming car.

Regardless of how we spent the time, either in school or playing, it always felt like we would always have more than enough time to do what we wanted to do and we had our entire lives in front of us.

Then something happened. I turned 30 years old.  Maybe it was a little bit sooner, but at 30 years of age or around 30 years of age, I figured out that we don’t, I don’t,  have some endless trove of time, our time on this earth is truly finite.

This is not a typical time management post.  Nope, I can do that as well. See some of my other blogs.

No, this is a time realization post.  Meaning you have to realize that everything in life revolves around time.  And you are either trading time for money, trading time for nothing, or trading your life away thinking you have more time than you actually do.

I had a vision at 30 years of age.  I said, I would work really hard and be able to retire at age 50.  Pretty simple right.  The problem though wasn’t the vision. It is a pretty solid vision.  Nope, the problem was I didn’t understand the equation.

Let me get a little wonkish with you here:

Rate = Distance/Time
Distance = Rate x Time
Time = Distance/Rate

Example:  If you want to run two miles in 20 minutes, find rate:  2 miles (distance) / 2o minutes (time) = .10 move the decimal two spots and you get 10 mins. Rate equals 10 mins per mile.

Example: Find distance: Car doing 50 mph for 3 hours, goes how many miles?
50 mph (rate) x  3 hours (time) = 150 miles (distance)

So lets look at my situation.  I have 20 years.  Age 30-50.  Simple enough. So we know what the time is don’t we.  So what is the rate?  And what is the distance?  These are the two missing variables from my situation.  I didn’t have either one of these in my vision.

So around 35, I got a little bit wiser and I said.  Okay, I need to have 10 paid for houses by the time I am 50.  So that makes it a little easier doesn’t it?  Throw dollars out of the equation and just use the amount of houses for the numbers.

We now have Time = 20 years.  We have distance = 10 houses. But, I need to solve for rate.  10 houses / 20 years = Rate of  .50.  Which means I would have to buy a half a house a year, for 20 years.  Now we all know that I can’t buy a half a house. So what if I only bought 1 house a year for 20 years. Than I would exceed my goal by a lot right?  I would double my rate, which would allow me to get there sooner.

To get to 10 houses, paid for, by age 50, means I would have to add in some dollar figures. What would I spend on the house? How much would it cost me to maintain? and how much revenue can I generate by renting them out during this period?  These numbers would allow me to make the target even more concrete on how I would achieve it.

Why does any of this matter?  And why should it matter to you or me?  Many of us are walking around with the time in our head, but we don’t have the other two pieces of the equation.  We don’t know what the distance is, meaning we haven’t set a target.  We don’t know where the hell we are going.  And since we don’t have a target, we don’t know what rate of speed we should be going.  We are aimlessly walking around thinking we are traveling well, but we really don’t have a clue.

As you wrap up 2016 and are thinking about 2017, what are your targets?  If you have some targets, good for you, you are better off than most. However, the second and most important question is, “Do you know what your rate is and the amount of time it will take to get there?”  Just like I pointed out before.  I had a target, but it wasn’t clear, once I made it clear, I knew that I needed to buy a half a house a year (1 at least) to get where I wanted to go.

Rate and speed is one of the most important pieces of most decisions we have to make.  The reason I say that is this:

If you have a good thought, or are motivated to take action.  The amount of time that passes between the thought and your first step towards action will determine your success in pursuit of this new motivation or thought.

Example:  Lets pretend that its Saturday (which it is as I am typing) and I have gotten up early and I decide that I am going to clean the house before we have this party to go to this afternoon and the basketball games that I want to watch start.

Instead of taking action and starting the cleaning, I decide to cook some breakfast, go for a run, and do some work that I wasn’t able to get to during the week.  I had the thought at 8:00 am to clean the house, and by the time I do all of the other things I decided to do instead, it is now 12:30 and we have to be at the party at 3:00. It will take me an hour to get ready and an hour to get there.  So that means, I only have 30 minutes to actually do the cleaning.  Well, we all know that is not enough time to clean, so I put it off.

Sound familiar?  This happens to everybody, everyday. It is that vicious cycle that we all have fallen victim to at one time or another.  We plan on doing something very good for us and very rewarding.  Which I think, having a clean house fits for both.  Instead of doing it, we allow others things to get in the way and we never get it accomplished.  Now cleaning the house isn’t going to kill us is it?

But what if we don’t act quickly on cutting some unnecessary spending in our budget, what if we don’t start on that assignment for work, what if the doctor tells us that if we don’t change our diet that we are going to be in trouble with our health, etc.  You can input your own scenario here if you wish.  If our rate of speed to action on any of these are too slow, they could have some very negative consequences.

This is what happens every day for most people though.  They don’t act quick enough. When too much distance gets between a decision and the first step towards taking action on that decision, your chances of doing something around that decision goes down significantly.

My favorite speakers and authors of all time Jim Rohn calls it “The Law of Diminishing Intent”; the longer you delay something, the less probability you have of actually doing it.

Rate and speed are very important pieces of the equation and we also know that having the right target, or in the equation Rate (x) Time = distance.  Which means you must know your distance (target) to know how fast and how much time it will take to get there.

So what about time.  In this blog we started off by talking about time and how we all think we have more of it, especially when we are young, than we actually do.

I read somewhere that the late great Steve Jobs believed that he was going to die young. He didnt know when, obviously, none of us do, but he felt like whatever it was that he was going to accomplish, that he needed to do it quickly because he felt like he only had so much time.

Now whether or not he felt like he was really going to die early, or he felt like an avaerage lifetime wasn’t long enough. Either way, he believed that time is our most precious commodity and that we must use it wisely and only do things we are passionate and excited about.

In our previous discussion around my vision to have purchased 10 houses between the ages 30-5o, and have them paid for.  One of the realizations I had recently, thankfully, is that I don’t want to wait that long.  I don’t want to wait until I am 50 years of age. I want it sooner. I want these houses now. I want the money theses house bring now.  I want to be free now.

What if I don’t make it to 50. I hate to be morbid, but that can happen. I changed my target to 40. How can I get to 10 houses paid for by age 40? That is the new goal.  That is the one I am working towards.

Time is the unknown and I can’t control time.  I can control what I do with my time, but I don’t know how much of it I have and I can’t stop it or slow it down.  I can only work within the 24 hours a day that I have until I can no longer do it.

I go into each day knowing that I have the time, the key question I ask myself is “What am I doing with that time?” I want to increase my rate and speed on everything I am doing.  I can control my rate.  I can control the speed of which I pursue everything.

Remember the equation above, to get to the target sooner, I must increase my rate, which in turn decreases the amount of time I have to invest in it.

Watch:  1,000,000 million dollars (target) So what is time and rate.

4 years (time) X 250,000 (Rate) =  1,000,000
3 years (time) X 333,000 (Rate) = 1,000,000

When I increase my rate, I decrease my time to get to my target.  That is the goal.  And that should be your goal.

My mission in 2017 is to speed everything up.  It is going to be a challenge in some cases, because I can’t do everything. It will require me to spend money, it will require me to make sacrifices, it will require me to rely on others, and it will require me to give up somethings for the sake of other things. And all of this is okay.  I have finally figured it out that if I want to truly speed things up, it is going to require a different approach.

One of my mentors said it this way.  The rich buy time and the poor spend time. What they meant by this is:  Rich people have the money to hire others to do things that they dont want to do and get others to expand their influence by paying someone to go out and do more of what it is they are attempting to do.

Example:  If I am a plumber.  And a really good plumber and I work on my own.  I can only service and do so much plumbing.  Plus I have to do marketing, Have to manage my books and accounting, I have to do business development, I have to do ordering of materials and supplies, etc.  You get the point.

If I am desirous to grow my business, there is no way I can do it when I have to do all of these things.  I have to hire others to help me do it.  This allows me to buy some of my time back and it also allows me to focus on the things I am really good at.  It would also allow me to get really good at the things I need to get really good at, which is finding more customers.

In order to speed things up, I have to find and seek out ways to increase everything.  I have to increase my spending to get others working on things, I have to increase the rate of my thought leadership posts, I have to get more quantity of everything out quicker than I have ever done before.

I started this post talking about a more simple time in my life.  It was such a simple time because that is all I knew at the time.  All I knew was riding bikes and having fun.

However, I now know that my potential us unlimited, my options on this earth are unlimited, the amount of houses I can own, the amount of money I can earn, the amount of influence I can have, all are unlimited.  The only thing that is limited is my time, but it is only limited in what I can do within my time.  The amount of time I can buy, the speed I can create by getting others involved, and the target I will hit are all up in the air and I can get them all, when I understand the equation of distance=rate X time.

I will close the gap on the amount of time something takes by increasing the rate at which I do it, and I will always know what the target is, you should do the same.

To your success and your future

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Signs Your Company is about to fail

Many companies have a huge problem right now. Some realize they have this problem, while others are clueless. They are trying to fix symptoms of the problems instead of the problem itself.

You can read poll after poll about the disengagement that exists in many companies right now. Dale Carnegie Training and MSW research partnered in 2012 and discovered that out of 1,500 employees polled that close to 70% of these employees are disengaged from their current employer and in their job.

So what does disengagement mean?

There are three classifications for workers in these studies.

Engaged: Employees who are committed and actively involved in contributing to the company.

Not engaged: Employees that show up everyday, but will not go the extra mile for the company.  Are really looking for a reason to leave.

Disengaged: Are really seeking to hurt the company.  These employees have negative attitudes and do more harm than good.

As the chart below by Gallup shows , millennial’s have the least amount of engagement in the workforce compared to their peers.

afkx-you6ekonwoaxywmpa

The research conducted by Dale Carnegie and Associates found that there are three major contributors that determine engagement by employees in the workforce.

  1. The employees relationship with their immediate manager
  2. Belief in Senior Leadership
  3. Belief in the organization

For years I have heard this saying “People don’t quit companies, they quit people” (managers).  They quit bosses or so-called leaders.  I know this is true first hand, and you most likely do as well.  The research by Dale Carnegie and Associates confirmed this is true from the respondents, by discovering that the number one reason for engagement at work is the relationship a person has with their immediate manager.

Managers, Directors, Supervisors, etc. are the ones managing the day-to-day operations of a business. These leaders are the ones that are required to keep the employees engaged in getting the job done.  Unfortunately, many of these leaders are not fully engaged themselves.

These day-to-day leaders are instead dealing with the problems amongst themselves from the decisions that are being made at the Senior Leadership level.

Here are five reasons that lead to disengagement that I have been a part of my self, and witnessed in many companies.  These five things are driving disengagement at the manager and director level.  Which is trickling down to the rest of the organization as well.

  1. The leaders who are making the decisions about the business are the ones furthest away from the actual day-to-day business.
  • I understand that most companies are one step away from being sued for any reason a slighted employee can think of. However, in an effort to keep everything consistent, many great employees are being prevented from earning more or getting more perks.  Which causes great employees to be less enthusiastic about the work. These decisions are usually made by senior leadership or a department that knows very little about the day-to-day jobs of the employees.

2. When people are more concerned about protecting their territory than making the best business decisions.

  • It is a blood bath sometimes at the different levels of leadership within an organization.     I have watched senior leadership make decisions strictly to go against the best interest of the company, all in an effort to make themselves look better and to show they have control over another leader.

3. When decisions are based on emotions instead of facts.

  • Often times we as humans make decisions strictly on our emotions.  If you think for a few seconds you can come up with a recent decision you made strictly on feelings and emotions.  If this is the case for most individuals, why would we be any different at work?  The answer is we are not.
  • Unfortunately, the people who have the ability to make many of the decisions are not making the decisions on facts, instead they are making them on emotions.  Those emotions could be nostalgia, the decision could go against a previous decision that they made, it could be ego, or insecurity.  All of these are emotional reasons.  And guess who is not that emotionally tied to the decision?  The manager or employee that is looking at the issues objectively.  Which then creates more discontent with the individual that has to live with the emotionally determined decision.

4. When leaders make decisions, but don’t implement strategies to manage the decisions.

  • I can remember many times in my career where a major initiative was decided upon by senior leadership.  The initiative might have been a decision to serve the employees better through some kind of perk or incentive.  Or it could have been a major process or policy change that could alleviate a lot of frustration or extra work among a certain department or group within an organization.  These decisions were made and communicated to everyone that needed to know about it.  Then after a few months or a in as short as a few weeks, everyone could tell that this decision wasn’t actually that important, because no measurement or management was implemented to ensure that the decision was carried out.

5. Everyone wants to be a gangster until its time to do gangster shit. (Tony Soprano)

  • I have found that most leaders just want the title.  Especially at the Senior Leadership level. They get the title, but they don’t want the responsibility.  Unfortunately, by the time they get the title it is too late.  Poor executives/senior leadership will hire a manager or director and hope that this new hire or promoted internal candidate will fix everything.  This is rarely the case.  Senior leaders are relying on managers and directors to carry out the hard stuff while they sit back and dictate what needs to be done.  Unfortunately, the managers and directors are watching senior leaders who aren’t willing to do the hard stuff themselves.  This is their example.  Guess who gets hurt in all of this lack of decision-making and accountability?  The employees and the company.

So what do you do about this?  What can you do if you have this in your organization?

It starts with candid feedback for everyone within the organization.  It requires a senior level leader to take a hard look at what is going on within their company and then having the desire and the nuts to fix it.

The other way to get a grip on it.  Is to hire a company or an individual to come in and do an assessment and get a feel for what is going on within the organization.

In either case, leadership has to be willing to take the necessary steps to change the culture and organization around. This is where the hard stuff begins.

Senior level leaders can’t expect managers and directors who are running the day-to-day operations to be engaged in the business and get others to be engaged in the business if they are not doing what they can to ensure the managers and directors are engaged first.

To your success and your future.

Research: Dale Carnegie and Associates Employee Engagement study (2012)

A leadership lesson from a Gangster and a stripper

I have to admit I am still obsessed with watching the Soprano’s.  The show has technically been off for almost a decade now.  I have watched each episode I can’t tell you how many times, lets just say it is a lot and I still do watch them.

One of my favorite episodes (Lets be honest, I have several) but in episode 32 Ralphie one the members of Tony’s crew is in a relationship with Tracee, a stripper from the Bada Bing, Tony’s strip club.

You can click here to get the summary of the entire episode.  Ultimately the stripper gets pregnant and Ralphie kills the girl before the end of the episode.

What I am reminded of in this episode is this:  In a quick exchange between Tony and Tracee the stripper, she asks him for his advice.  And during the conversation Tracee tells Tony that she is pregnant and that the baby is Ralphies.  They then have the following exchange.

Tracee: “He acts like he doesn’t care about me or the child.” 

Tony Soprano: “Did you ever think that maybe he isn’t acting?”  

This exchange can pretty sum up most of life in many ways. And that is that people will tell us who they are by the way they act and their behaviors.  They are not acting like an actor does in a movie or TV show.  Nope! We are in real life here aren’t we?  And people who act a certain way, aren’t acting.  They are just being who they are.

As a leader I have to look at a person’s actions and determine if their behaviors (actions, (acting)) is congruent with what they are telling me. In some cases they are not.  Their actions will always tell me exactly where they stand and in many cases so do their words.  Sometimes people will tell you one thing in their words and another with their actions, but most of the time they are the same.

So what do we do?

As always in leadership our goal first is to set the expectations.  Secondly, we establish the measurements by which the expectations will be measured.  Lastly, we hold them accountable.

When a persons actions are not meeting our expectations of them and the job, it is up to us to hold them accountable to the actions and behaviors they are displaying for us on the job.

What are your team members telling you by their actions and behaviors?

To your success and your future.

 

3 Things I learned last week…8/3-8/15

I am coming off a very busy week.  But aren’t they all busy! It seems like mine are for sure.

What I learned this past week…

1. Rich people buy time and poor people sell their time.  How much is your time worth?  That is a good question for all of us, one that we should all seek to find some answers to.  We all have a definitive amount of time here on this earth (we don’t know what it is), in our month, in our week, in our day.  How do you want to spend your time?  Rich people have the resources to buy more time.  They don’t cut their grass (that is an hour back in your day and your life), they maybe don’t clean their own house, (that is a few hours back in your life), they don’t wash their cars (thirty minutes), house projects (unless they really  want to, but how long do these take?).

How much time do we spend at work on the job?  I know we all love what we do and where we do it.  However, what we are really doing is selling our time for a price, a wage. Maybe your wage is awesome and you love it, that’s great, but what would you be doing if you were rich and didn’t have to sell your time to someone else?   These are questions I am asking myself daily right now.  Am I buying time or selling time?  Grant Cardone is a best-selling author and he has challenged me with this kind of thinking this week.

2.  Say yes and then try to figure it out.  About a month ago I said yes to something that I really didn’t know that much about.  I knew enough to know that it would stretch me and grow me, but I really didn’t know the details of it.  I spent this week trying to learn the details and then on Thursday I executed the decision. It was a great experience that took me way out of my comfort zone and I grew from that experience on that day.  It may also lead to some future business opportunities.

The lesson I learned was sometimes we hear a good idea or something we think we might like, and then we spend time trying to find reasons not to do it.  When we do this we don’t grow and we don’t have a chance to enjoy new experiences or new people.  We don’t want to say yes, and waste our time, however, we do want to say yes to the things that will make us better and get us closer to maximizing our full potential.  Next time a good or unique opportunity presents itself, just say yes, and then try to figure it out, it might just be one of the best experiences you have.

3. You have to mix it up. In the past two weeks I started changing up my workout routine, a lot.  And I am extremely sore.  My whole body hurts.  It is a good hurt, but it hurts.  The hurt is because I used different muscles and body parts that I have not been using.  By using these different muscles and body parts my body has now become stronger because I am strengthening more of it.  This is the same in our work life as well.  If you get used to doing the same kind of work, the same kind of decisions, the same kind of leading, the same kind of managing, you aren’t growing.  Your muscles in those areas are just like the muscles in your body, you have to work all of them, and if you are only working parts of them you get really strong in those areas, but you may be missing other areas that need the work.  This week I challenge you to mix it up.  If you are used to leading in one way, try something else, and see what happens.

To your success and your future.

Fundamentally we are all smart

You already have all of the knowledge, well most of the knowledge necessary to achieve whatever it is you want to achieve.  We all learned the basics before we left high school.  Are there some things we still must learn, absolutely.  But, what I am talking about are the basic things, the fundamentals.

If you want to lose weight.  Find an accountability partner.  Eat less. Eat healthier foods. Exercise more.

If you want to have more money. Spend less than you make. Invest into things that go up in value. Save.  Don’t go into debt. Increase your income.

If you want to be promoted. Work harder than everyone else. Have a great attitude. Never complain to your peers.  Increase your skills and volunteer for anything and everything.

If you want to be influential. Show others that you care about them.  Become an interesting person by striving to be more than you are today.  Listen more than you talk.

If you want to be successful. Define what success looks like for you. Pursue it by taking action every minute of the day.

 

My mentor told me that if someone comes a long and says, “Hey check this out, we have some new fundamentals that can help you.” You better run.  There are no new fundamentals.  They are called fundamentals, they aren’t new.  They are old.  We all know them, but we just fail to apply them.

What are some of the fundamentals that you already know but you are failing to apply?

To your success and your future.

Stop Whining and Start Working

Throughout my career I have tried to learn something from just about everyone I have interacted with.  I believe that every single person we interact with has the ability to teach us something that we didn’t already know. You just never know where little life lessons and nuggets of wisdom will come from.  So you have to be open-minded and on the lookout for these learning opportunities.

I was working with a colleague of mine a few years ago and they taught me this little saying, they were applying it in the context of sales.

SW-5: Some will, Some won’t, So What, Stop Whining, Some are Waiting.  In the context of sales, they were saying some will buy, some wont buy, so what (control what you can control), stop whining about the losses, and find the ones that are waiting to buy from you.

I really liked that quick and easy to comprehend process.  In leadership, I like to use the SW-5 method in this way:

Some Will:  You have some team members that are bought in.  They come in early, they stay late.  They are committed to the companies cause.  They are engaged.

Some Won’t:  Some team members won’t do all of the things I described above.  I personally don’t believe you should keep them on your team.  I get some people’s position on this matter: all great teams have role players that come in, get their job done in the traditional hours and may not show it the same way as others.  But, if you have a team member that is not engaged, you have to fix it.

So What:  Now if you are in leadership you can’t have a so what attitude towards your team members.  However, in the context of hiring decisions if you have made a bad hiring decisions, SO WHAT, fix it and move on.  Don’t let bad decisions stick around.  They are not like wine and get better with time, they are the opposite, they get worse.

Stop Whining:  My hope is that you have created a culture where your team members aren’t whining.  But if they are whining about a decision you made or something else that you know is pushing the organization forward, then let them whine (if it becomes too much, you have to fix this).  That is why you are the leader.  Your job is to continue to challenge the status quo and push the organization or your department forward. Oh and you can’t be a whiner if you are the leader, its hard to lead if you are whining.

Start Working:  Everyone should just focus on the work that needs to be done.  When everyone is doing that, the company wins, the customer wins, and in the end everyone wins. With more revenue, the company has more resources to serve the current customers better and bring new customers on board, and more resources for the team members in raises and other benefits.

I like both of the SW-5’s.  You can use them in any context you want.  I would be curious how you apply them. Please share with me your thoughts.

To your success and your future.

What it takes to be #1; Vince Lombardi: notes

Vince Lombardi is one of the greatest football coaches in the history of the professional game.  In 10 seasons as a head coach in the National Football League–9 with the Green Bay packers and 1 with the Washington Redskins, Lombardi compiled a truly amazing record: 105 wins, 35 losses, and 6 ties.

His Packers played in six World Championship games and won five, including the first two Super Bowls. His post season record with nine victories and a single defeat is unrivaled in the history of professional football.

So how did Vince Lombard become number 1.  Without a doubt he is the epitome of DOMINANCE.  His record alone is amazing.

Vince Lombard, Jr. Wrote the book: What it takes to be #1, Vince Lombardi on leadership.  In this book the author gives us his fathers playbook.  This book summary/notes has a lot of depth to it.  This book was just that amazing.  I will try to capture the essence in my summary.

Vince Lombardi never talked about Luck with his players, he only talked about preparation.

Rule #1:  Know yourself.  You can’t improve on something you don’t understand.

Rule #2:  Build your character. Character is not inherited; it is something that can be and needs to be, built and disciplined.

Rule #3: Earn your stripes.  Leaders earn the right to lead. How?  They manifest character and integrity, and they get results.

  • No leader, however great, can long continue unless they win battles.  The battle decides all.

Rule #4: Think Big picture.  The Big Picture is your road map and rudder. It can’t change in response to minor setbacks.  But it must change as the competitive environment changes.

Rule #5: Leaders are made not born.  Leadership grows out of self-knowledge, character and integrity, competence, and a comprehensive vision.  When these building blocks are in place, the leader can lead.

I just outlined the basis of this book.  You now have the playbook of the great Vince Lombardi.  If you care to continue reading these notes, you will now see my notes for each of the chapters for this book.  Also, each of the chapters have something called Lombardi’s rules, these rules are the summary of what the chapter discussed.

Self Knowledge: The first step to Leadership

  • We comprehend the world not as it is, but as we are.
  • Define your values, who you are, and your core principles that never change.  All winning teams have this, but it begins with you defining that for yourself.  As a person, leader, and a teammate.
  • In business, it is incumbent upon each of us to figure out our own plays.
  • If you are not reflecting, you are not thinking.
  • Adversity is the first path to truth. Prosperity is a great teacher, adversity is greater.

Why is purpose so important?

  • It allows us to connect deeply with the spirit of life that dwells within each of us,
  • It allows us to express our unique gifts and talents, and
  • It allows us to feel that our lives matter.
  • Link goals to purpose.

Lombardi’s rules: 

  • Leadership begins with self-knowledge.
  • Self knowledge comes (only) from self discovery
  • You can’t build a team that’s different from yourself. 
  • Find your own tools
  • Link goals to purpose
  • Ask yourself tough questions
  • Know your spark
  • See of you see daylight between purpose and career. 

Character and integrity 

  • Character is founded on unchanging principles.  It is your underlying core.
  • Commitments are more important than self-interest.
  • No self-interest is worth your reputation.

 

  • Watch your beliefs; they become thoughts
  • Watch your thoughts; they become words.
  • Watch your words; they become actions.
  • Watch your actions; they become habits.
  • Watch your habits; they become character.
  • Your character is your legacy. 

Leaders must be both analytical and skeptical.  Ask questions.

  • Have humility.  Humility is defined as the quality of being unpretending.
  • Healthy ego:  Ego is belief in yourself.  Ego is pride that pushes you to accept nothing less than your personal best.

Lombardi’s rules: 

  • Write your character
  • Find the truth and your purpose
  • Act; don’t react
  • Study the past; live in the present
  • Have faith
  • Be proud and humble
  • Search out and story prejudice
  • Cultivate compassion

Developing winning habits

  • If you don’t think you are a winner, you don’t belong here.
  • The desire for the reward overwhelms the human instinct to quit and compromise, to take the safe route.
  • You can’t be courageous without fear.  Not the kind of fear that debilitates you, but the corporate pressures that motivates you.  Without that kind of stress, you’re probably doing mediocre work.

Passion:

  • If you can’t get emotional about what you believe in your heart, you’re in the wrong business.
  • Theres nothing personal about any of this. Any criticism I make of anyone, I make only because he’s a ballplayer not living up to his potential. Vince Lombardi.
  • Passion and enthusiasm are the seeds of achievement.

Sacrifice:

  • I think you’ve got to pay a price for anything thats worthwhile, and success is paying the price. You’ve got to pay the price to win, you’ve got to pay the price to stay on top, and you’ve got to pay the price to get there.
  • Character takes sacrifice: the giving up of one thing for the sale of another.

Total commitment:

  • Id rather have a guy with 50% ability and 100% desire, because the guy with 100% desire is going to play every day, so you can make a system to fit what he can do.
  • Demand total commitment. From yourself first and then the others around you.
  • The only way I know how to coach the game is all the way.

Discipline:

  • Discipline helps you make the hard decisions.  It helps you endure the pain associated with change.

Lombardi’s rules:

  • Own your habits
  • Use your courage
  • Embrace your passion
  • Be prepared to sacrifice
  • Demand total commitment
  • Weed out the uncommitted
  • Work at it
  • Be disciplined on and off the field
  • Be mentally tough

Inspiring others to greatness:

Be authentic

  • Building trust is done through patient investment and long association.
  • The trustworthy leader tells people what to expect, with a bare minimum of sugarcoating.

Insist on excellence:

  • The word excellence come forms latin words that mean “to rise out of”. So excellence is the state of superior performance rising out of and original state of potential.
  • Chase perfection and settle for excellence.

Lombardi’s Rules

  • Be authentic
  • Earn trust through investment
  • Use your mission
  • Create a shared vision
  • Align your values
  • Know your stuff
  • Generate confidence
  • Chase Perfection
  • Live what you teach
  • Strike the balance

Building the winning organization

  • One must not hesitate to innovate and change with the times and the varying formations.  The leader who stands still is not progressing and they will not remain a leader for long.
  • Good leaders provide their people with what they lack including training, information, confidence, and discipline.
  • Common goals create drive and energy
  • Motivation comes from the gap between the way things are and the way an individual or team wants them to be.
  • Simplicity and flexibility are two core elements to success.  Keep it simple so everyone understands it, but flexible enough so you can make changes when necessary.

Lombardi’s rules:

  • Pick the right organization
  • Demand autonomy
  • Respect authority
  • Delegate the second tier stuff
  • Check your hat
  • Be brilliant, but don’t be stubborn about it
  • Import
  • Build skills
  • Let’em see you sweat
  • Build team spirit
  • Innovate without complicating

Motivating the team to extraordinary performance

  • People are motivated by things that promise to give their lives purpose and meaning.
  • Lou Holtz said it best:  Motivation is simple: You eliminate those who aren’t motivated.  People motivate themselves.
  • When two teams meet that are equal in ability and execution, it’s the team that has pride that wins.
  • You cant coach without criticizing, and its essential to understand how to criticize each man individually.
  • You need to create momentum through short rearm wins that give credibility and staying power to your vision. People must periodically see that their efforts are producing results.
  • Changes take time. They do not take place overnight.
  • Leaders enjoy a diversity of opinions.

Lombardi’s rules:

  • Offer people meaning
  • Keep enormous pressure on
  • Motivate the group
  • Counter expectations
  • Motivate the individual
  • Win respect, affection may follow
  • Motivate by inches
  • Go where the wisdom is. 

Vince Lombardi on winning: I’m here because we win.  You’re here because we win. When we lose we’re gone. 

  • Some of us will do our jobs well and some will not, but we will all be judged on one thing; the results.
  • Leaders get paid for one thing and that is results, not for being right.
  • If you are right all of the time, you are not taking enough risks.
  • Winning isn’t everything, its the only thing.  Lombardi is well known for this saying.  He also says that the “will to want to win” is one of the most important things.
  • In business you are either first or last.
  • Make your competitors react to you, be on the offensive and not defensive.
  • Even ugly inches count for movement.

Lombardi’s rules on winning

  • Run to win
  • Beware of the power of quotability 
  • Winning is the only thing–but only in context
  • Try to win them all, but play by the rules
  • Be a good winner
  • Block and Tackle
  • Play to jump on opportunity
  • Play for elegance, but take any win you can get. 
  • Play on tradition
  • Understand the dangers of winning

Epilogue:  Al the man there “is”.  You don’t do what is right once in a while, but all of the time.

  • Lombardi demanded one thing above all else, that was personal responsibility.
  • Three pronged approach to accountability: Tell people exactly what you expect of them. Giving players all of the tools to do the job.  Get out of their way and let them do it.

Lombardi’s rules

  • Embrace paradox
  • No excuses
  • Build accountability
  • Treasure your legacy

For many years Lombardi Jr. watched his dad do some amazing things as a leader and coach.  He captures his fathers leadership playbook in a well defined and easy to read format in this book. I challenge all readers, especially leaders and aspiring leaders to read the book or at least read these notes.

To your success and your future.