Leadership = Solving Problems

  Leadership = Solving Problems A few weeks ago we realized that we lost the one and only key to one of our four-wheelers at our cabin. I rolled it up the trailer and took it to the local ATV shop and asked them to put in a new ignition so that we could have a new key. They had to order in the part and so it would take a couple of days. They called three days later saying that it was done but I wasn’t heading back to our cabin for another week. When I arrived to pick it up they realized that they hadn’t put in the new ignition, the part was just sitting there. They said they could put it in quickly but when they went to put it in they realized it was the wrong ignition. If they would have put it in a week
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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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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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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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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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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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Why Leaders Fail

Last week I hosted an event with Dr. Clinton Longnecker where we 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 1. Incongruency – when leaders are not congruent they erode their influence and create distrust. We see this when a leader’s action 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. 2. Incompetency – when leaders haven’t developed the requisite knowledge
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Don’t Make Others Feel Small

I was once having a conversation with my assistant about another person. She paused for a moment and said, “Can I be honest?” I said, “Of course.” en she said, “Every time I interact with him, I feel like he has somewhere more important to be. He makes me feel like I don’t matter, like he is having the conversation because he has to and not because he wants to and he is ready to move on as quickly as possible.” Have you ever felt that from someone else? I’m sure we all have at one time or another. But the more pertinent question is, have you ever done that to someone else? My friend Kevin Hall wrote a great book called Aspire. In the book he dissects the meaning of words and in the first chapter he introduces an Indian word – Genshai. Genshai means that you never treat
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