Humanize People

Seeing an individual as human, as a person, is one of the most difficult things for leaders to do. We interact with humans everywhere we go, but they come and go without us seeing their humanity.  This happens in our organizations as well. One of the most important gifts we can give others is the gift of our time.  The word gift is used purposely.  A gift is something we give with no expectation of a return.  We simply give it because we value them as a human being.  Time is one of the most valuable resources of a leader.  When we gift our time, it sends a clear message to the learner that we value them as a person – we humanize them.  There is no other motivation behind it than to help. Leadership Warning: Objectification VS Humanize The opposite of humanizing someone is to objectify.  We objectify others
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Leadership & Mindfulness

Have you ever received a phone call from a spouse or a child telling you they wrecked a car? How did you react? Was your first question – Are you ok? Or was your initial reaction frustration? Be honest. . Here’s the truth. It’s ok if you felt frustration or thought “why in the world”, it’s human nature, but it’s probably not best if you said it out loud. . Learning to listen to your thoughts & choose how you want to act is the practice of mindfulness. Learning to control your emotions is a skill that is developed through conscious effort. Meditation is a great practice to develop this skill. . As I see it, it is a required skill if a leader wants to be influential. A leader needs to be able to act & not react. To choose their response instead of flying off the handle. The
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Good Leadership Is Attractive

Donald Sterling bought the then San Diego Clippers basketball team in 1981 but he quickly moved the team to Los Angeles where they became the LA Clippers. Sterling and his Clippers struggled through many painful seasons and they did not have their first winning season until the 1991–92 season, 11 years into his ownership. In Sterling’s 33 years of owning the Clippers through 2013–14, the Clippers lost 50 or more games 22 times, 60 or more on eight occasions, and 70 games once. Sporting News described Sterling as “one of the worst owners in basketball for decades”, while The New York Times and Forbes called him the “worst owner” in sports, and an analyst noted that under Sterling’s ownership, from his purchasing the Clippers in 1981 through 2013-14, the Clippers achieved the worst winning percentage in all four major American sports leagues. It wasn’t just a failure to win. The
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5 Mantras Every Leader Should Live

Leadership is challenging. It requires a high level of energy, constantly redefining priorities, and ever increasing capacity. It is also the greatest opportunity to make a real impact in the lives of others.   These five mantras should be internalized by any leader who wants to lead effectively.   Mantra 1. “Always stay a student” The legendary MMA fighter Frank Shamrock said, “Always stay a student.” Leaders who stay humble, approachable, and hungry are constantly learning, growing and therefore becoming more and more valuable.   Mantra 2. “Business Is About Relationships” My friend Jeff Rust, founded a company called Corporate Alliance where the fundamental belief is that Business is About Relationships” My experience has taught me the same thing. Leaders who recognize they are in the people business and value relationships get farther faster because leadership begins and ends with people.   Mantra 3. You can’t lead people without loving them Love is about motive and action. Leaders who seek to serve lead
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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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It’s You Vs You Not You Vs Them

On Monday I shared the stage with Rachel Hollis (author of Girl, Wash Your Face & Girl, Stop Apologizing) speaking to a group of entrepreneurs in Michigan. If you don’t know Rachel Hollis, you have probably been living under a rock, but you should check her out.   On Monday she opened the conference and shared some thoughts that I think are worth passing along.   Rachel started by saying “what got you here, will not get you there.”   You have probably heard that saying before but, because it is a trite phrase, I wonder if you have considered the implications.   In my list of values, I prioritize: Faith, Family, & Then Growth.   Growth is what this life is about. Learning, developing, becoming better and therefore adding value and benefitting the world is why we are here. (IMO)   So why don’t we push to the next
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One & A Half

This summer we have had a 19-year-old family friend living with us. As people have heard he was living with us I’ve had numerous people ask skeptically, “How is that?” The honest answer is that it has been amazing! Brigham has been fun. Our kids love him. And the reason it has worked and we have enjoyed having him is because he is helpful. He is always willing to help. He looks for opportunities to pitch in. He jumps up when something needs done. I complimented him about this by saying, “You carry your weight.” And he said, “No, you carry one & a half. My parents taught me to carry your weight and one more.” What an awesome approach! It makes you likeable and, in fact, needed. We’ve had a great summer with Brigham and I’m grateful for the example he has set. My new goal & my challenge
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The Strength To Be Humble

I love these thoughts on humility written by Lloyd D. Newell. I think humility is very misunderstood & at the same time absolutely essential to great leadership.     The Strength to be Humble by Lloyd D. Newell   A national newspaper grabbed attention recently with this headline: “The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses.” At first, that may seem to contradict conventional wisdom – that a good leader is dynamic, dominating, and bold. But it’s been found that people who work for humble bosses exhibit better teamwork and perform at higher levels. Not surprisingly, when a leader listens to the perspective of others and constantly seeks to learn and improve, the people who follow that leader are more likely to do the same. That doesn’t mean leaders should be passive or indifferent. On the contrary, as one expert observed: “Humble leaders can also be highly competitive and ambitious. But they
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Do You Love Reading?

Statistically very few Americans will read any books after High School, but I personally didn’t discover a love of reading until after High School. I had mentors that promoted reading for personal & professional development & I took it to heart. I have read thousands of books. Usually a couple a week on leadership, communication, relationships, high performance, parenting, psychology, history, etc… Reading has enriched my life & continues to make me better. I want my kids to establish this habit earlier than I did. They actually love to read & I want to encourage that but also add some non-fiction, personal development to their repertoire. So I grabbed a bunch of my favorite books & put together a summer reading library & an incentive program for them to read & review them. After reading the books, my kids will do a video review that I’ll post online so you
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A Storytelling Lesson From The NBA Playoffs

I love basketball almost as much as I love storytelling. Luckily for me, today they will come together. We are in the middle of the NBA playoffs and without question the single best player so far in the playoffs has been Kevin Durant. He is averaging over 30 points per game. And it’s not only this year. Durant has been the best player in the playoffs the last three years. In fact, in his entire playoff career he has averaged over 29 points a game which has only been outdone by Michael Jordan & Jerry West. The interesting thing to me is that for all of his greatness, he is still disliked and discounted by a large percentage of NBA fans. And I think the reason is a lesson in storytelling. I teach audiences that a great story follows a model of struggle to solution. You hook people with the
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