What are your values?

Last week in my blog I mentioned my list of values and I received a lot of comments and questions about it. I have a list of values and understand their priority in order in my life. Why is it important? Because when your values are clear to you then making decisions becomes easy. Simply put – your values make you valuable. I don’t believe my values are important for everyone, they are simply important to me. I would encourage you to spend some time identifying what you value & why. It’s a very clarifying process. My values are: Faith – the defining tenant of my life is my faith. It gives me an understanding of who I am, helps me to know how I want to live & gives me confidence & purpose because of my connection to God. Family – my family is everything to me. My wife
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The Three E’s of Great Conversation

My wife Sarah is a great conversationalist. She connects well with others; people love talking to her and they often describe her by saying, “it feels like I’ve known her my whole life.” Those are goals we should all strive for – especially as leaders. Over the years, I have watched her in conversation with others and I’ve deciphered that great conversations require 3 E’s: – Engagement, Energy & Empathy A great conversation first requires engagement. How often are we distracted in a conversation? With texts, email or wandering though processes. When we are engaged both physically (through body language & eye contact) & mentally (through concentration & focus) we make the other person feel important. The second part of a great conversation is energy. Think about how you show up for a potential client or a friend you haven’t seen in years. There is an energy you bring to
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Leadership and Empathy Go Hand In Hand

  Great leaders understand that they are in the people business. • We need leaders who care more about people than they do numbers. • We need leaders who focus on being interested, not interesting. • We need leaders who use influence, not authority, to get things done. • We need leaders who talk with people, not at people. • We need leaders who truly care. If we understand that leadership begins and ends with people, then we understand the need to develop relationships, make connections, partner with our people, and show empathy. Empathy is the ability to mutually experience the thoughts, emotions, and direct experience of others. Empathy helps us lead individually not collectively. Empathy gives us unique insight into people. Empathy encourages leaders to understand the root cause behind poor performance. Empathy allows leaders to build and develop relationships with those they lead. Empathy as a state of
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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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Are You Genuinely Happy For Others?

I have two boys. Tanner is 10 years old and Drew is 8. They are best friends. Last year they become obsessed with American Ninja Warrior. Everything in our house became an obstacle and we soon found a ninja gym near our house for them to attend classes. Last month both boys competed in an area competition, Drew in the 6-9 age group and Tanner in the 10-11 age group. They both did great, but Drew qualified for regionals and Tanner did not.  Last Saturday Tanner and I went with Drew to support him in his regional competition. Drew did great and qualified for Nationals! It was so cool to watch but that’s not what I was most proud of on Saturday.  I watched Tanner cheer on Drew without a hint of jealousy, just genuine excitement. I actually had two different parents comment on how sweet of a brother he
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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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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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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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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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5 Reasons Being A Jerk Is A Bad Idea

I’ve had a couple experiences this week that reminded me of the importance of being kind. With that thought I wanted to repost a blog I write a couple years ago – 5 Reasons Being A Jerk Is A Bad Idea: Over the last week the most shared video on social media has been the video of ESPN reporter Britt McHenry being a jerk to a clerk after her car was towed. If you haven’t seen the video you can see it here – https://abc13.com/news/espn-reporter-britt-mchenry-suspended-after-temper-tantrum-caught-on-video/665572/ It is disturbing. The video led to a swift one week suspension from ESPN but the result will probably be a lot bigger and longer lasting than a week suspension for Britt McHenry. It is going to take a long time for people to see her as anything other than a jerk. It will affect her career, relationships, and reputation. Which brings me to this
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