A Sobering Thought for Leaders

Yesterday I spoke to 100 Power Plant Managers in Minnesota. We had an engaging conversation around leadership and influence and how to gain the commitment of our people. After my speech one of the leaders shared a lesson he always tries to keep top of mind. Years ago when he was first promoted to manager, his boss pulled him aside and said, “Now that you are someone’s boss, I want you to always remember that the children of your people will know who you are and what kind of leader you are.” He said he automatically remembered that his Dad’s boss was Greg Anderson and although he never met him he knew he was a terrible leader because his dad complained about him every night at the dinner table. He determined that he would be known to his team’s children as a great leader. He would be known as a
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Leadership Is Spelled E.X.A.M.P.L.E.

Over 200 years ago, a man in civilian clothes rode past a small group of tired and battled weary soldiers. They were digging what appeared to be an important defensive position. The leader of the group wasn’t making any effort to help. He just shouted orders and threatened to punish the group if the work wasn’t completed within the hour. “Why aren’t you helping?” the stranger asked on horseback. “I’m in charge! The men do as I tell them,” said the leader. He added “Help them yourself if you feel so strongly about it.” To the mean leader’s surprise the stranger got off his horse and helped the men until the job was finished. Before he left the stranger congratulated the men for their work, and approached the confused leader. “You should notify top command next time your rank prevents you from supporting your men – and I will provide
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10 Tips for Being Nonjudgmental

We are all judgmental.  It’s just human nature.  Even though it’s in our nature to judge, it’s not always helpful and often turns into a hindrance. There is a definite difference between making judgments and being judgmental. Being judgmental can keep us from building relationships, harm those relationships we already have and keep us isolated.  As Walt Whitman said “Be curious, not judgmental”. These 10 tips for being nonjudgmental from Sheri Van Dijk can help make the distinction. Remember that being nonjudgmental isn’t about turning a positive into a negative; it’s about being neutral, neither positive nor negative.. Reducing your negative judgments will reduce your level of anger and other painful emotions. Keep in mind that judging is like adding fuel to the fire of your emotion; it only increases your painful emotions. You can often reduce a behavior just by counting how often you’re engaging in that behavior. If you get overwhelmed
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Leadership & Love

My favorite leadership quote is “You can love people without leading them but you cannot lead people without loving them.” I share this quote often with leaders because at the heart of how we treat our people, how we see our people & how we communicate with our people is how we feel about our people. Below are some thoughts on love and leadership from one of my favorite authors Bob Goff. I hope these quotes make you stop & think. The more beauty we find in someone else’s journey, the less we’ll want to compare it to our own. When loving people is a strategy, it isn’t love anymore. Give away love like you’re made of it. It won’t be our message that wows people, it will be our love. Love cares more about who’s hurting than who’s watching. The best advice I’ve been given when I’d failed –
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101 Ways to Relieve Stress

We all have stress. Too much, or prolonged stress in not healthy. It often leads to both behavioral and physical ailments. You first must be conscious of your stress level, then make a concerted effort to deal with it. Add some of these to your defense mechanism against stress – you’ll be happier for it!   Get up 15 minutes earlier Prepare for morning the night before Avoid tight fitting clothes Set appointments ahead Don’t rely on memory Write it down Practice preventative maintenance Make duplicate keys Say “no” more often Set priorities Avoid negative people Use time wisely Simplify meal times Always make copies of important papers Anticipate your needs Repair things that don’t work properly Ask for help with the jobs you dislike Break large tasks into bite-size portions Look at problems as challenges Un-clutter your life Smile Be prepared for rain Tickle a baby Pet a friendly
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Golden Rule x 12

  The Golden Rule is the foundation for moral decency in every culture. The way we treat each other matters. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Judeo-Christian – Leviticus 19:18   “Don’t go around hurting people, and try to understand things.” Native American – in Hopi Culture, the Spider Grandmother gave two rules.   “One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts.” African – Yoruba Proverb   In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self.” Jainism – Lord Mahavir 24th Tirthankara   “The heart of the person before you is a mirror. See there your own form.” Shinto   “What would you would avoid suffering yourself, seek not to impose upon others.” Greek Philosopher – Epictetus   “One should seek for others the happiness
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The Most Important Questions Can’t Be Answered With Numbers

I recently listened to a great speaker named Jason Kotecki and he made a great point that the most important questions can’t be answered with numbers. Look at the questions we normally ask: How much money do you make? How many Facebook friends do you have? How many square feet make up your home?  What is it worth? What titles do you have or awards have you won? How many degrees have you earned?  How many letters are after your name?  How many hours do you work?  How big is your office?  How expensive is your car?  What is your kids’ GPA?  How many extracurricular activities are they involved in? How much money does that cost you?  What about the tuition?  How many boards do you serve on? What do they have in common? All can be answered with a number. But the most important questions cannot be easily quantified
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Give 100%, 100% Of The Time

Do you give 100% at work, at school, and at home? Some people probably think of giving 100% this way: 12% for Monday, 23% for Tuesday, 40% for Wednesday, 20% for Thursday, 5% for Friday = 100%. Too many people coast through life, only doing what is required to get by. Giving 100%, 100% of the time is the effort required to stop getting by and start getting ahead. It is the difference between playing not to lose and playing to win.   Living by design and not default. Giving 100% will separate you from the rest. It will build your integrity and your results.   John Wooden was one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time. His ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period while at UCLA are unmatched by any other college basketball coach. John used to tell his players, “Give 100% today, because you can’t
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Are You Investing In People?

A few weeks ago we took the kids to Universal Studios in California. They were over the moon about Harry Potter World. They wore their house robes, carried a wand from Olivander’s Wand Shop, drank butter beer and performed spells throughout Hogsmead. It was magical. As we ventured out the rest of the park we quickly found the Minnions ride. As we waited a worker named Derek talked to us about our day. He asked where we had been and he told us about all the other rides we needed to do before we left the park. After the Minnions rode we were surprised to see Derek waiting for is with front of the line passes for all the rides we had talked about! Derek invested in us. He went above and beyond. He didn’t just do what was in his job description- he invested. He surprised us. He made
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Do You Think Inward or Outward?

It’s not about you – it’s about them! The focus of an influencer is always on the audience. If you are a speaker – it’s about the people listening to you. If you are in sales – it’s about your customer or prospect. If you are a leader – it’s about the people you are leading. If you are a teacher – it’s about your students. If you are a parent – it’s about your children Almost everyone has this backwards. They think being influential means they need to become polished or powerful. Influence, though, is all about the audience. Be it an audience of one or one thousand. When it’s about them, they get it, and we grow in their eyes. I think one of the keys to success is developing outward thinking. By thinking out instead of in, by concentrating on others instead of on us, a tremendous transformation
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