Wisdom from Brene Brown

Brene Brown has a new Netflix Special, The Call To Courage. If you don’t know who Brene Brown is … have you been living under a rock? Brene studies vulnerability, courage and shame and is on a mission to help people understand the power of vulnerability. Her definition of vulnerability is when we are willing to try not knowing what the outcome will be. We are vulnerable when we decide to have a tough conversation, when we share our mistakes & apologize, when we make a sales call or present our ideas. In all of those situations you don’t know the outcome & it takes courage & vulnerability to try. In Brene’s special she had two lines that hit me and I think they are worth sharing & exploring. “We talk about people, but we don’t really talk to people” – I often talk to leaders about conversational leadership and
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What Creates Influence?

J. R. Miller said, “No one can understand that mysterious thing we call influence … yet … everyone of us continually exerts influence, either to heal, to bless, to leave marks of beauty; or to wound, to hurt, to poison, to stain others lives.” What is influence? According to the dictionary, influence is “the power to sway or effect based on prestige, wealth, ability or position.” That definition would seem to suggest that affluence determines influence. And yet, one of the poorest women, in terms of financial wealth, the world has ever known was also one of the most influential: Mother Teresa. In a life devoid of materialism, Mother Teresa spread her influence of love and selflessness around the world. It was her lack of position, as we normally think of it, which touched so many. As much as anything she did, it was her words that spread a legacy
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The Case For Storytelling

When I was twenty-one years old, my brother Scott and I started a business together. I quickly discovered that I didn’t have a lot of credibility when it came to influencing others. We had marginal success but not the kind we were after. So I started to study communication and influence. I read books, attended seminars, listened to audio programs, and practiced what I learned. Through my study I found some keys to how to tell my story and communicate my message that caused people to listen and to eventually follow me. We ended up building that business to over $20 million dollars in annual revenue while still in our twenties. I since have had a chance to share my influence strategies, as a speaker and author, with hundreds of thousands of people around the world. What I’ve discovered is that when it comes to communicating with others, most speakers,
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People Join Companies But They Leave Bosses

This week I spoke for a Pharmaceutical company. In preparation for my speech I interviewed a couple of their sales reps over the phone and went on a ride along with another rep. I found it interesting that all of them at some point brought up their loyalty based off of the relationship they had with their manager. They said things like: “If you connect with the right manager it will make all the difference” “I left my last company because of my manager and I’m staying here because I have a great manager”   You’ve probably heard the saying that people join companies but they leave bosses.   The bureau of labor statistics reports that today’s average worker will have fifteen to twenty jobs before they retire and the #1 reason for changing jobs is bad management/bad culture.   Le Roy H. Kurtz of General Motors once poignantly observed:
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How Often Are You Having a Culture Conversation?

This week on my podcast I interviewed Tim Sanders, NY Times best selling author and leadership expert. One of the great points that Tim made was that leaders who want to build a strong culture need to have culture conversations often.   He used the example of Zappos and how often they discussed culture within their organization. From the call center employee up to CEO, Tony Hsieh, they had culture conversations on a very regular basis.   I was thinking about that idea yesterday as I was at a conference talking to Chris Tomasso, who is the CEO of First Watch Restaurants.  We were talking about our friend, Ken Pendery, who is now the Chairman of First Watch restaurants. I asked him what Ken’s role is and his response surprised me. He said Ken is the Chief Culture Officer, which means that his job is to go and have conversations
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Why Do Leaders Fail?

One of the speakers I brought to The Leadership Inc Institute last year was Dr. Clinton Longnecker. Dr. Longenecker discussed leadership with a group of 50 leaders from various companies in Salt Lake City, UT. One of the fascinating discussions stemmed from the question, Why Do Leaders Fail?   There are probably a myriad of answers as to why leaders fail, but I want to boil it down to three “ins” that need to be out. 1.Incongruency 2. Incompetency 3. Inconsistency   Incongruency – when leaders are not congruent they erode their influence and create distrust. We see this when a leader’s actions are contrary to their words; when the expectations or standards don’t apply to themselves, or when they don’t live the values they profess. To avoid failure in this area, leaders need to practice what they preach and set an example that people can follow.   Incompetency –
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Truly Successful People Value Growth

One of the things I have observed from truly successful people is that they value growth. They are constantly learning & getting better and to facilitate that growth they remain humble. After hours, weeks and years of hard work, it is amazing when that hard work starts to pay off and you start to see success and your goals coming to fruition. But so many fall into a similar trap as they begin to experience some success: a lack of humility. These words from Wynton Marsalis, the Pulitzer-prize winning musician and composer, serve as a necessary reminder when you begin to experience success: “You can tell when someone is truly humble, because they consistently observe and listen, the humble improve. They don’t assume, ‘I know the way.’ Humility engenders learning because it beats back the arrogance that puts blinders on. It leaves you open for truths to reveal themselves.” You
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Do You Have A Growth Mindset?

A couple of months ago I was working with a company who was using Carol Dweck’s book Mindset as a group study. Then last week a friend asked me if I had ever read the book Mindset? And yesterday while recording a podcast interview my guest talked about the importance of a growth mindset and so I figured the universe was trying to tell me to pull out this book that I read years ago and revisit it.   Mindset is a great book that I highly recommend and in it Dr. Dweck explains that there are five facets to this growth mindset.   Number one is to learn from failure. How we respond to failure and what we take from it is crucial. Number two is to embrace obstacles. Be willing to do the hard thing. Number three is giving your best effort, regardless of how you feel. It
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Better Motives Lead to Better Collaboration

Yesterday we hosted our Leadership Inc Institute and the trainer was Neil Staker.   We spent the day talking about collaboration and communication – it was great.   One of the points that stood out to me was that when it comes to dealing with people, our motives are more important than our behavior.   Why? Because better motives lead to better collaboration.   Even when we behave correctly (do the right things) if our motives are off, it can impact how it’s received and therefore the outcome.   Here are some examples: Offering advice under the guise of being helpful when you’re really just annoyed. Doing a job for others because you don’t trust them or are tired of waiting. Acting polite or supportive in front of people, only to criticize them or their ideas later. Asking questions that have more to do with undermining than understanding.   Are
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Effort Is A Skill

On Nov 14 in the NBA the Jimmy Butler saga ended when the Minnesota Timberwolves trader Butler to the Philadelphia 76ers for Robert Covington and Dario Saric. If you aren’t a basketball fan, Butler was demanding a trade and it turned into an ugly ordeal. The interesting thing has been how much better the Timberwolves have been since the trade. A big reason for the uptick is the addition of Robert Covington. Covington is a skilled player but nobody would argue he’s more skilled than Jimmy Butler. What he brings to the table is an intangible that’s hard to measure. He brings energy. He is a guy on the court that plays hard on every play. Cheers on his teammates. Dives for loose balls and his energy is contagious – he raises the collective energy of the team. Here is my takeaway – Effort is a skill. And just like
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