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
Continue Reading

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
Continue Reading

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,
Continue Reading

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
Continue Reading

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
Continue Reading

Six Ways To Make People Like You

  When it comes to books about networking, building relationships and working with people, the undisputed classic is “How To Win Friends and Influence People.” Dale Carnegie wrote the book in 1936 and it has been read by millions of people since. One of the great realizations in the book is that although some people are more extroverted or affable, working with people is a learned skill that anyone can master. In the second section of the book, Carnegie offers what he calls “Six Ways To Make People Like You.” These are simple suggestions that can make a huge difference in the way you work with people.   #1 – Be Genuinely Interested In Other People. Studies show that the most frequently said word is “I.” People love to talk about themselves, their lives, their hobbies, their families, their passions, etc. When you interact with people, ask questions and allow
Continue Reading

Communication Is a Balancing Act

Ivanhoe is a novel set in twelfth century England written by Sir Walter Scott in 1820. Characters include King Richard, Robin Hood and Friar Tuck. It highlights the conflict between the Saxons and the Normans as well as the Christians and the Jews in that time period. Ivanhoe is a Saxon knight returning from the crusades. He wins the championship of a jousting tournament sponsored by Prince John but is injured badly. The beautiful daughter of Isaac the Jew named Rebecca nurses him to health.   Rebecca is wooed by many knights templar but refuses them all. She is arrested by the Templers for witchcraft and is sentenced to be burned by fire. As she defends herself, she is described as resolute but not defiant. I love that line: resolute but not defiant. I think communication is a balance, and just like Rebecca, we must find that balance. It’s being confident
Continue Reading

Leaders Learn Your Language

Last week I was on a call with an executive preparing for a speech I will be giving his company next month. As is custom, I asked him if there was any terminology or vernacular that I should be aware of that was specific to his company or industry. He was blown away! He was shocked and surprised that I would take the time to learn his language. You see, each industry has it’s own set of vernacular. In direct sales it’s knowing if they call their people distributors or associates. In credit unions, it’s knowing they call their people members, not customers. With different organizations they use different terms like managers, team members, supervisors, etc. Every company has their own language. For me, speaking to people from the stage, using their language makes what I’m saying more relatable and more easily understood. As a leader, learning to speak the
Continue Reading

Validation Is The Key To Winning Every Argument

Disagreement is a part of every day life.  Whether in your personal life, business life, social life – disagreements happen.  I came across an interesting article, The Mistake You Make in Every Argument, that gave an interesting perspective on how to make the best of the often times unavoidable argument. How do you respond when someone says something you disagree with? Do you calmly tell the person why they are mistaken, do you jump right in to defensive mode and yell or do you retreat and let them have their way?  In his article, Dr. Liane Davey makes the argument that all of those responses are wrong and the only way to get results in an argument is to first validate the other’s point of view. The first thing you have to do is validate the other person even though you completely disagree with them! See, when you validate the
Continue Reading

How To Be A Great Teammate

I had the opportunity to hear my friend, Don Yeager, talk about the new book he co-authored with legendary catcher, David Ross, called Teammate. He gave 16 characteristics of high performing teammates and I want to share my top 5. · Humble – They don’t require the spotlight to feel important – Action – make a point to praise others, especially when you are being praised · Encouraging – they notice the success of others – Action – identify those co-workers who are struggling, and find ways to inspire them · Resourceful – they share what they learn and embrace a mentoring role – Action – share your expertise with those co-workers who work in your circle · Willing to sacrifice – they are not above doing the dirty work – Action – assume whatever role is necessary for the team to win. Never say the words: “It’s not my
Continue Reading