Core Values Make You Valuable

I am a frequent flier of Delta airlines but when I was invited to speak to their leadership team, I was equally impressed with their values as a company. As I dove into the culture of the company to prepare for my speech I was impressed with their core values – what they call the Rules of The Road. Delta’s Core Values (Rules of the Road) o Always tell the truth HONESTY o Always keep your deals INTEGRITY o Don’t hurt anyone RESPECT o Try harder than all our competitors—never give up PERSEVERANCE o Care for our customers, our community and each other SERVANT LEADERSHIP The thing that impressed me is how well these values have permeated the organization and it struck me how few of the companies out there are clear on the values that drive their business – not only companies, but organizations, families and individuals too. What
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A Communication Lesson From Jerry Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld is one of the most recognized comedians in the world. In the early 90s it was Jerry’s comedy that spearheaded the popularity of observational humor. Here are a few of his funny observations: • According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy. • I was the best man at the wedding. If I’m the best man, why is she marrying him? • It’s amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper. Jerry is a great comedian and a great communicator and he taught a great lesson on communication when he said, “I will spend an hour taking an eight word sentence and editing
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What Country Music Taught Me About Public Speaking

When I was 16 years old, I had a girlfriend who slowly but surely converted me to country music. It started with Garth Brooks’ Standing Outside The Fire. Then it was Tim McGraw, Toby Keith and pretty soon I was hooked. Country music songs are great because they have much more of a story to them than most other genres of music. (I know what the haters are thinking – “my dog died, my wife left me, etc…) And within the stories of country music songs there is an incredible lesson for anyone who speaks to groups or gives presentations. I first recognized this pattern with Tim McGraw’s song – Don’t Take The Girl. Read the lyrics and then I’ll tell you how it applies. Don’t Take The Girl Johnny’s daddy was taking him fishin’ When he was eight years old A little girl came through the front gate holdin’
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Plus, Minus and Equal

The four-time undefeated MMA champion now MMA trainer, Frank Shamrock, has developed a system for training would-be fighters. I’m not a huge MMA fan – but I think there is a lot of merit to his system. The system is called “+, -, =”. Shamrock’s theory is that in order to be the best, you need to work with someone better than you, someone equal to you and someone whom you can teach. Shamrock believes this builds the best fighters. We certainly don’t have to be an MMA fighter to benefit from this system. The same can be applied to us in any scenario. Training with someone better than us pushes us past our limits and helps us see greater possibilities. Training with our equal tests our skills and in the process they become a peer, allow us to create cooperation, shared learning and has a mastermind effect. Teaching allows
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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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How To Give a Compliment

Have you ever received a hollow compliment from someone? “You are doing a great job” – “Keep up the great work” While they mean well with those words, the truth is the compliment doesn’t do much for you and it doesn’t engender much respect or connection to them. As leaders, we are told to praise our people. As parents, we want to raise with praise. But I fear that all too often what we do is give hollow, meaningless compliments and no one is that much better for them. Not the giver nor the receiver. As a family, we started doing something a couple of years ago that has helped me learn to give genuine compliments. Every night before we go to bed, we say a family prayer. We rotate whose turn it is to say the prayer going in order of age. I go first, then my wife Sarah,
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5 Reasons Being A Jerk Is A Bad Idea

I’ve had a couple experiences this week that reminded me of the importance of being kind. With that thought I wanted to repost a blog I write a couple years ago – 5 Reasons Being A Jerk Is A Bad Idea: Over the last week the most shared video on social media has been the video of ESPN reporter Britt McHenry being a jerk to a clerk after her car was towed. If you haven’t seen the video you can see it here – https://abc13.com/news/espn-reporter-britt-mchenry-suspended-after-temper-tantrum-caught-on-video/665572/ It is disturbing. The video led to a swift one week suspension from ESPN but the result will probably be a lot bigger and longer lasting than a week suspension for Britt McHenry. It is going to take a long time for people to see her as anything other than a jerk. It will affect her career, relationships, and reputation. Which brings me to this
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Everybody Likes Gifts

Everybody likes gifts. They may say they don’t but they do. What’s not to like? The surprise. The fact that someone thought of you. Gifts are great. But can we give better gifts? A few weeks ago we had some friends join us for a little getaway at out cabin. We had brought a new set of dishes with us to replace the ones there and while we were unloading, we dropped two mugs and they shattered.  Definitely not a big deal.  We cleaned up and moved on.  During their stay, we casually mentioned that we wanted to plant some wild flowers in a field below the cabin. We had a wonderful weekend. We later received a thank you gift from them, two mugs, exactly replacing the ones that had broken and wildflower seeds! Their simple and thoughtful gift made my wife and I feel so grateful and important and definitely made us
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5 Powerfully Simple Presentation Tips

I get asked for presentation advice all the time, so here are five tips that will help make your presentations more engaging & effective.   Get Rid of Pleasantries – There is no need to talk about the weather, how grateful you are to be there, to apologize, or reintroduce yourself. You only have a few seconds to grab their attention so start with a question or jump into your content. Make it Conversational – Act like you are speaking to one person. Make it conversational. Ask questions. If it is a small group you might create dialogue, with a large audience ask questions and give a pause for people to think about the question. Keep them engaged in the conversation. Tell Stories – People love stories. Stories inspire, stories motivate—stories evoke emotion in people that causes them to respond, to take action, to adopt your ideas, and buy your
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Keep Buggering On

Sir Winston Churchill had a phrase that he used at the start of each day and at the end of every telephone conversation: Keep Buggering On (Keep Plodding On if in the presence of a lady). The British Bulldog, Churchill was never one to back down. He was as tenacious as they come and would take a hit and get back up swinging. It’s that spirit that got England (and maybe in even the Allied world) through World War II. That tenacity is integral to anything important — winning a war, starting a business, finishing a novel, raising a child, battling illness, making a living, running a marathon, learning the violin. Early on in the war, the current Prime Minister resigned and Churchill was appointed Prime Minister. He held the position through the difficult war era, but lost the reelection in 1945, the sentiment being that his success during wartime
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