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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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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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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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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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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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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What Makes A Leader Great?

Three years ago I was in South Dakota speaking for the managers of Riddle’s Jewelry and I had them break into groups to answer the question: What is the #1 quality or characteristic of a great leader? Each team was supposed to share just one word. One characteristic. We heard answers such as: example, communicator, genuine, passionate, & listener. Then one team combined trust & respect to form the word – Truspect. I teased the team for cheating and making up words and it became an ongoing joke throughout my speech. A few weeks ago I went back to South Dakota to be with the managers of Riddles Jewelry and they all made buttons with the word Truspect. It was funny & very clever. They are a great group. But I want to ask you – what makes a leader great? What is your #1 quality or characteristic of a
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