Friday, May 26, 2017

What DOES Success Look Like?

Recently I read the blog of a colleague who had the attached picture as a visual to his written word. The picture and his message gave me pause to ponder, which lead to me laughing at myself. As leaders it’s important to remind those around us that success does not come easily, that rarely, if ever, is it simply linear. We all have experienced taking two steps forward, a step back, and a step to the side as we try to navigate to our ultimate goal. 

As leaders, we also take on the roles of mentor and coach to those with whom we work. It’s important for them to realize, that although at times we “make it look easy” that we too struggle and that success takes hard work, diligence, determination, and a bit of luck along the way. 

As my dad would remind me…”Success comes before work…only in the dictionary.”


Be good to yourself!

(This will be my last Quip for a few months as I begin to enjoy a respite and try to gather a few new ideas for additional Quips beginning sometime in late August...if your email changes and you'd like to continue receiving your weekly Quip, send me your new email address and I'll make the necessary changes. If you wish to no longer receive these weekly messages, simply email me and request to be deleted from the distribution list...may you all have a wonderful summer...)

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Talkin To Yourself??? Not a Bad Idea!


Sometimes the arguments are short and sweet, other times they linger for years as some issues are more difficult to sort, not everything we encounter is black or white. In fact, I’d dare say that the “either/or” debates are easier to solve than those which offer various paths to follow.

As leaders, we all feel the need to be decisive. Our followers expect that we have all the answers. There are times that we drive ourselves to the brink of insanity because we weigh too many options. For those of you who believe that you MUST make a decision on everything…consider…to decide not to decide is to decide…

So…go ahead…make the decision not to decide and have a good ol’ fashioned argument…with yourself! You may find that you grow from the discussion, you may find that there is no “right” answer, or that “and and both” is better than “either/or.” Whatever you decide is probably better than any decision that you didn’t really discuss...with yourself…just sayin…

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Mom and Leadership

As we prepare for Mother’s Day, memories of my mother swirl about my head. While reminiscing, it occurred to me that my mother was perhaps my first real example of leadership. Consider…
1. A leader never loses sight of their vision – I think, universally; mothers are the true inventors of “multi-tasking.” Not only are they doing 10 things at once, but the unexpected happens routinely. Mothers calmly (ok sometimes was calmer than other times) resolve the issues and keep to the task(s) at hand.
2. A leader demonstrates patience in waiting for the desired outcome – I can only speak from personal experience here, but trust me…my mother was EXTREMELY patient with me, always believing in me, trying to instill patience in me when I wanted to quit, give up, and move on.
 3. A leader encourages their team to be self-sufficient - Although the general definition of a leader is someone others follow, the fact is to be a true leader means developing your team members so that over time, they will no longer need your direct support in order to achieve growth and success.
4. A leader knows how to inspire others – Mother’s have multiple tools in their tool chest to help motivate and inspire each of us to be more than we ever imagined. And it appears that when analyzed and dissected the inspiration came directly from the heart…not from the rod…
So this Mother’s Day, celebrate your mom and learn from her…never lose sight of your vision, be patient, encourage those around you to lead and be self-sufficient…and always…always lead from the heart…
Be good to yourself…
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Friday, May 5, 2017

Wadda Think???

Recently I read an article revolving around the strategies and habits that make “thinkers,” which got me to think…what do great leaders do?

Thinking is defined as, “the process of using one's mind to consider or reason about something. To have a particular opinion, belief, or idea about someone or something.

Certainly great leaders exhibit most, if not all the examples presented in the article, but the real question is what is it they expect from their followers?  Do the leaders of great organizations develop, nurture, and foster thinking throughout the entire company, or do they inspire and value the thinking of only a few?  Is it healthy for the whole to think, question, and debate, or more practical to restrict that behavior to a select few while the remainder simply go about completing the tasks which were designed by “the thinkers?”

What if I were to ask those in your company what it was you perpetuated as the leader, how do you think they’d respond? Do you embrace, value, and trust the thinking for all or only a select few?  At what point in time, if any, does the thinking have to stop and the “doing” begin? Can they go on simultaneously in tandem, or must they be separated from each other as not to bog down the process? So many questions…so many various possibilities…what do you think???

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Friday, April 28, 2017

Marathoner Or Sprinter?

Recently my wife shared a “thought for the day” that she read on her daily calendar.  The question stated was, “Are you a marathoner or a sprinter?” At first glance, I dismissed the idea as I have often reminded leaders that they are indeed in a marathon…not a sprint and the importance of pacing, regrouping, and pushing forward when feeling exhausted. However, this particular thought for the day took a different twist on the familiar theme.

It suggests that we identify the “marathoners” and the “sprinters” on our team. Marathoners are those who like to work slowly and methodically with plenty of lead-time. These are the folks who do consistent work over long periods of time, which boosts their efficiency and creativity.

Sprinters, by contrast are those who welcome pressure and time restraints.  They not only work close to the deadline, but right up next to it.  It’s the sprint that ignites their creative and efficient flow, as if they start too early, they become inefficient.

So…when you look at YOUR team, what do you see?  How do maintain balance? Do you treat all your “runners” the same?  Is there a right/wrong way? When your team looks at you…what do they see…a sprinter…marathoner…coach…cheerleader? What role SHOULD you play? Ah….so many questions…perhaps points to ponder…


Be good to yourself…


Friday, April 21, 2017

You Got GRIT???

Not completely sure how the conversation began, but recently I found myself engaged in a deep discussion revolving around the absence of “GRIT”…no, not the stuff on the bottom of a bird cage…but GRIT…TRUE GRIT…John Wayne style…

The dictionary defines grit as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” By some observations it appears that we have become a society of wanting/getting everything NOW…that long time goals met with passion and perseverance are things that were met for those days long gone by…. Personally, I couldn’t disagree more!

As leaders, we must model what it is we expect from those we serve.  Consider these 5 characteristics of grit as outlined by Margaret M. Perlis in an article in Forbes magazine.

1.     Courage - The courage to take risks, the courage to fail and learn from it, the courage to do the right thing versus the easiest.
2.     Conscientiousness – Being achievement oriented, meticulous; a commitment to going for the gold, versus just showing up.
3.     Long-Term Goals – Endurance – Follow Through -  According to Perlis, “One of the distinctions between someone who succeeds and someone who is just spending a lot of time doing something is this: practice must have purpose. That’s where long-term goals come in. They provide the context and framework in which to find the meaning and value of your long-term efforts, which helps cultivate drive, sustainability, passion, courage, stamina…grit.”
4.     Resilience – One must exhibit a combination of optimism, creativity, and confidence, which, when combined, empower us to “recalculate” our course, and keep emotions in check…”everything will be alright in the end, and if it’s not alright, it is not the end…”
5.     Excellence vs. Perfection – In general, those with grit don’t seek perfection, but rather drive for excellence.  Perfection is described as an absolute, a perception of an ideal, and pursuing it is somewhat like chasing an illusion. Anxiety, low self-esteem, OCD, and clinical depression are only a few of the conditions ascribed to a “perfectionist”.  Excellence is far more forgiving, it allows for disappointment and prioritizes progress over perfection…it embraces life-long learning.

Simply put…grit is an attitude about seeking, striving, finding, and never yielding…it’s what leaders must exhibit…or as “The Duke” would say…”True grit is making a decision and standing by it, doing what must be done. No moral man can have peace of mind if he leaves undone what he knows should have been done.”

Develop your GRIT…to be GREAT!


Be good to yourself…


Friday, April 14, 2017

Hope...

This time of year is a reflective time for me. It’s a time that things, which once seemed dead, spring back to life. Where the gray days give way to brighter ones.  There’s freshness in the air and hope that things not only will get better but things are indeed better. HOPE is a powerful word…a powerful emotion, which helps us move forward to brighter days. Hope is that little voice we hear whisper “maybe” when the entire world is shouting "NO"!

As leaders we must always inspire hope, be the source of hope, keeping hope alive and well within the organization…Let us all be mindful, especially this weekend, of the power hope instills in us all…


Be good to yourself…


Friday, April 7, 2017

Tip Of The Iceberg

It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Recently I came across such a picture…pretty much says it all…



So my friends…if you’re tired…if you’re wondering if it’s all worth it…just remember what each of parents told us somewhere along the way…”success comes before work only in the dictionary.”


Be good to yourself…

Friday, March 31, 2017

Play Ball!!!!

With baseball’s opening day right around the corner, there have been several articles and blogs reminding us all of the “Great American Pastime” and the joys that some peanuts and cracker jacks can bring. I find it curious to find parallelisms between the sport and leadership. Consider…

It’s all about TEAM…successful leaders recognize that the whole team is greater than the sum of its parts.  There may be other organizations with better this or that, but it all boils down to TEAM.

Be prepared for ANYTHING…you can anticipate a fastball, but you have to be prepared for that eventual sinker. Great leaders are adaptable.

Strong, fluid swings result in HOMERS -  BIG thinking needs BIG action.

It’s an embarrassment to “go down SWINGIN”  - Great leaders never leave their bat on their shoulder when action is necessary. Your followers will understand swinging and missing over just standing there waiting for something to happen.

MVP’s usually have the dirtiest uniforms – The best in any organization isn’t afraid to get the job DONE!

And perhaps my favorite…Great talent win games….but TEAMS win Championships…

Play Ball…

Be good to yourself…

Friday, March 24, 2017

Awe...Embrace It!

Recently I was reading a review of a book which claimed the contents would aid the reader in: 

• Managing energy levels • Keeping the soul alive • Taking new paths • Reducing stress • Developing the "Human Touch" • Attacking fears • Living in awe • Savoring small successes • Burning brightly without burning out • Hanging on when the storms blow through  
It was “living in awe” which caught my attention. Awe is a word not often used and a word defined as: A mixed emotion of reverence, respect, dread, and wonder inspired by authority, genius, great beauty, sublimity, or might.” 

In our hurried life, do we take the time to be “awed?” Where do we find our inspiration? Do we lead inspired? Has there been a time where we have been “awed” by others as a result of our actions or accomplishments? Should being awed even be a goal? When’s the last time you found yourself in awe? Did it motivate you? Make you think? Make you question?  Did it open your mind to possibilities? So many questions…for a word so small…yet so powerful… 

Perhaps we need to open our eyes, our hearts, and our minds, and appreciate the value of being awed…and living in awe… 

Be good to yourself…

Image result for AWE

Friday, March 17, 2017

Where Is Your Focus?

Photography has been a hobby of mine for a number of years. It has proven to be a curse and a blessing. I have found, at times, I completely miss the beautiful views the vistas have to offer as I’m so concentrated on a small, delicate, flower nestled in an obscure, dimly lit cavern.

I recently saw a quote that gave me pause to ponder…”The world we see is created by what it is we focus on. It’s never too late to adjust our lens.”

So my friends…where is YOUR focus? Is it so laser sharp that you can’t see the forest for the trees? As leaders, we sometimes lose sight of the “whole picture” as we’re too concentrated on only a very small, delicate, obscure, part of the entire landscape…which is OK, as long as you adjust your lens often…


Be good to yourself…

Friday, March 10, 2017

A Lesson From Our Feathered Friends...

This past week my wife and I had the good fortune of spending a few days in sunny California visiting family and simply dusting off the chill of a Midwest winter. The days on the beach, the gorgeous sunsets and the hikes in the various valleys gave us a chance to breathe, relax and reflect.

On one such hike we couldn’t help but to notice the various hawks soaring in the air, hovering, gliding effortlessly against the blue skies with the mountains as a backdrop. With the slightest of movement, the bird could change course, dive in an instant to its prey, or simply circle again with the slightest of effort.

As leaders, how often do we fear change as involving too much effort, or that drastic measures must be initiated to create the change desired? How many opportunities missed as we feared the energy needed wouldn’t be worth the results achieved?

Sometimes we simply miss the fact that the slightest minor adjustments can indeed produce drastic results. Don’t believe my fine feathered friends? Just talk to a golfer about moving their left hand just an inch….minor adjustments...

Be good to yourself...

Friday, March 3, 2017

Better To Sleep On It...

It’s currently 3 AM and I’m experiencing one of those nights we all have, where, for whatever reason I simply cannot sleep. There’s a million things swirling about in my head, so I thought if I could just focus on ONE subject…one idea, I might be able to calm my thoughts and find a restful moment to fall into that wonderful subconscious state we refer to as sleep…

Over the years I’ve heard about Einstein who thought sleep was a waste of time only logging in about 4 hours a night, while Bill Gates is said to get 7 hours. In a recent article in The Harvard Business News found that 43% of business leaders they polled indicated that they were sleep deprived at least 4 times a week. 

Research shows that getting less that 7 hours of sleep can impair an individual’s performance level to that of a blood alcohol level of .05% , the legal drinking limit in many countries. Four hours of sleep renders that same person’s performance with that of someone with a blood alcohol level of 0.1% which is the legal definition of being drunk in the US. 

There is an abundance of research that suggests that sleep has an impact on all stages of learning, on making decisions, and tasks that require integrating multiple emotional responses. The less sleep you get, the more difficult the task.  One study showed that a good night’s sleep can lead to new insights, to the degree that participants who enjoyed a good night’s sleep were twice as likely to discover a hidden short-cut or a creative solution as those who didn’t.

Perhaps it’s a waste of time NOT to get enough sleep as the hours awake are more difficult to maneuver when sleep deprived…perhaps my mom was right after all when she would advise to “sleep on it” before making that tough decision…sleep on it…ahhhhhh…sounds like a great idea…g’nite all


Be good to yourself…

Friday, February 24, 2017

Where's The Pony????

For the most part, I see myself as  pretty positive, seeing the good in everyone and everything. My sister would tell you that I’m the type of guy that would fall into a pile of manure only to get up and ask where the pony was.  But like many of you, there are times disappoint sets in…you know the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by our hopes, desires, or expectations falling short, or not being fulfilled at all.   

As leaders, we typically need to deal with out own personal disappointment along with that of our team that may be going through the exact identical emotions. If allowed to go unchecked, disappointment can lead one down a very dark hole. In order to avoid such an abyss I offer the following for your consideration: 

  1. Admit it! Things simply did not go your way…PERIOD. This is probably one of the harder things to do, as one would rather place the blame on someone or something else, which actually MAY be the reason, but it is, what it is, and the outcome did not meet your expectations. 
  1. Feel it! Of course it hurts…it feels as though you were “sucker punched” in the stomach, it makes you feel as though you failed, or brings into question your own abilities. Share those feelings with a trusted friend…let it GO…spew your venom, talk it through…it’s ok to be angry…as long as you’re controlling your anger and it doesn’t consume and control you. 
  1. Own it! As a leader, the buck stops here! As the leader, we assume the ultimate responsibility so when the gun of accountability for disappointing results points toward the team; great leaders step in front and “take the bullet” as they should. 
  1. LEARN FROM IT! This perhaps is the most important strategy. Ask yourself, “What did I LEARN from all this?” Failure to LEARN is an opportunity missed ensuring the possibility of simply repeating history down the road. 
  1. Move through it! I saw a magnet once that read, “When you’re going through hell, keep moving!”  Regroup, free your mind, look at various options, think differently, seek advice, there are a number of options available…the only option not recommended is to do nothing…keep moving…forward! 

Here’s some good news…we all learn from your disappointments and failures; the truth is: 

  • If you lead, you WILL fail! 
  • When you fail, you WILL face disappointment. 
  • Disappointment WILL test you. 
  • When you pass the test, you WILL be a stronger leader. 

Now…where’s that pony??? 

Be good to yourself