Value Precedes Influence

A few days ago we lost a great friend & leader. Scott Schwerdt has had a great influence in my life and he will be missed. One of the great lessons Scott taught me was the value precedes influence. Scott added value wherever he went and because of that he carried great influence. This is an excerpt from my book Partnership Is The New Leadership where I highlight Scott’s example of this principle. — My friend Scott Schwerdt is president of The Americas Region for Nu Skin Enterprises, a multi-billion dollar company based in Provo, Utah. Scott has been with Nu Skin for more that 25 years and is an adored leader and employee. Before starting with Nu Skin more than two decades ago, Scott worked for the CIA. He loved what he did but it wasn’t conducive to the young family he and his wife were starting. So Scott
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How Does Influence Work In The Real World?

Last week I spoke at a conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. It was a great event but one of the highlights for me was to get to be with three of my favorite people. David Jobe, Paul Hineman, and Jim Crystal. These three have become some of my best friends and strongest advocates but I think they represent to me what Influence really looks like. Each are involved in different capacities in the food industry. They have build successful careers, stellar reputations and meaningful relationships. As I’ve gotten to know each of them, their generosity has amazed me. They are constantly asking, “Who can I introduce you to?” or “How can I help you move your business forward?” I thought it was unique to me, but it’s not. It’s how they’ve gotten ahead – by focusing on building others. In my world, their influence has led to me speaking at
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There Is No Substitute For Hard Work

When I was 8 years old, my brother (age 10) and I started a paper route. We had to get up everyday of the year, without exceptions, at 5 am and deliver around 100 newspapers. Rain, snow, and exhaustion didn’t matter- the papers had to be delivered. So we did it everyday for four years.   Having this responsibility at a young age taught me how to work hard, be consistent and follow through even when I didn’t feel like it.   My mom recently sent me this letter she found from one of our customers and it reminded me how much learning how to work hard with a paper route has served me throughout my life.   Learning how to work is an invaluable lesson to learn. I’ve been able to take the lessons I learned from that paper route and apply them to everything I’ve endeavored to do.
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What Make You Memorable

Last week I was out of town and my wife went to a play with our oldest daughter so she hired a babysitter for the younger three kids. This was a new babysitter for us and the kids loved her. She played with them, got to know them and cleaned the house before Sarah got home. She was great! But that wasn’t what makes her memorable. She did something that I’ve never seen before. She left our kids a present to open the next morning. It had some candy, toys and a teddy bear. Our kids were over the moon with this small gesture and now they won’t stop asking when she can babysit again. What an awesome example of doing an amazing job, as we all should, and then doing that extra, thoughtful, extraordinary thing that makes you memorable. I think it’s a lesson for all of us –
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Curling Is A Leadership Sport

Curling is a leadership sport Have you ever turned on the Olympics only to see curling and then you change the channel? Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never paid attention to curling until now. A few weeks ago I was speaking in Sedona, Arizona to a group of Credit Union CEOs. I shared with these leaders that motivation is important but it’s overrated. When you look at a goal, there are motivators driving you towards your goal and on the other hand there are inhibitors keeping you from achieving it. As leaders I think we most often focus on motivating our people when what we should be doing is removing the inhibitors. When I shared this idea, one of the CEOs said, it’s just like curling. When someone throws the stone in curling, the sweepers remove all of the obstacles or inhibitors so the stone can hit its target.
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Kindness Is A Better Game Plan

I could write this from a human decency standpoint and help you to see that we should be kinder to each other and extol the virtues of living this way but I also know that the people who need to read this are thinking what’s in it for me. So let me tell you why kindness is a strategy that will make you more influential. In other words – it’s a better game plan. Last year I got stuck in the middle of the chaos of Delta’s worldwide computer system going down. I was flying through Atlanta on my way to Boston. We landed at 7:30 and because of the system failure we couldn’t pull into the gate. We sat on the tarmac until 10:30 pm, there were hundreds of planes that were in our same boat so once they got the system back online it took quite a while
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Two Keys To Success

I was listening to a podcast where CJ McCollum (shooting guard for the Portland Trailblazers) was talking to Brian Koppelman (filmmaker who wrote and produced Rounders, Oceans 13 & his current show, Billions) Brian made a great point that two of the keys to success are: Being present Being comfortable in your own skin Being present is harder & harder in our busy, technology driven world & for that reason it is even more important. Being present with the people you are with is crucial to connection but being present in your work is also crucial to your effectiveness. Learning to eliminate distractions, turn down the noise & focus are skills of the highly successful. Being comfortable in your own skin is harder to teach. It eludes many people and their can be many reasons for that. I don’t know all the answers but a couple things that help are:
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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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