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
Continue Reading

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
Continue Reading

Can You Be Genuinely Happy For Others?

Last week I overheard my son and his friend talking about something that happened in their class where everyone got a bag with a prize inside. They were talking about how one child got a better prize than everyone else. All the other children were saying “That’s not fair,” and “He doesn’t deserve that.” All were upset about why this one boy got something better than they did. After hearing my son and his friend hash this out for I while, I took the opportunity to talk to them about how important it is in your life to be able to celebrate others and not have to be upset or try and tear other people down because they did something or were able to succeed in some way you weren’t. I think that is one of the biggest problems that we struggle with in life is the ability to be
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

Develop Outward Thinking

The most effective formula for exerting real, positive and lasting influence on others is to consistently think of others first. Gordon B. Hinckley, a personal hero of mine, once said, “The best antidote for worry is work. The best medicine for despair is service. The best cure for weariness is to help someone even more tired.” He recalled a time early in his life when he was far from home on an assignment, feeling forlorn, abandoned and discouraged, and he received a simple piece of unexpected advice that transformed his life: “I wrote a letter home to my good father and said that I felt I was wasting my time and his money. My father was a wise and inspired man. He wrote a very short letter to me, which said, “Dear Gordon, I have your recent letter. I have only one suggestion: forget yourself and go to work.” Placing
Continue Reading

Go Deeper, Get Personal

A while back I went to a networking event for lunch. There were about eighty people there and we were assigned to tables with eight at each table. Throughout lunch, the conversation was good, but it was somewhat awkward and very superficial. Everyone wore a nametag with their name and the name of their company, so the typical question was directed at the name of the company on the nametag. “Tell me about XYZ company?” or “What do you do at XYZ?” Then the event director introduced an activity. We went around the table and each of us had two minutes to answer a personal question and then two minutes to talk about what we do professionally. The personal question was either “What is a mistake you have made in the past?” or “What has been a memorable sporting event for you?” I don’t think it mattered what the personal
Continue Reading

Do You Keep Score?

In any relationship we are building, we keep an internal score sheet.  In the healthiest relationships, both sides strive to keep the score even. No one wants to feel like predators or prey. We subconsciously or even consciously keep track of the exchange of favors in relationships.  Being conscious of this can help you going into any relationship, personal or business. If we are mentally keeping score, making sure we aren’t in the red, or too far in the black, you come across as a more likeable person and can build better and more balanced relationships. People hate feeling guilty and they also hate feeling taken advantage of.  When we are keeping track of the internal score card of our relationship, we can be assured that neither party will feel out of sorts. Walster, Walster and Berscheild in their 1978 study proposed the theory of equal relationships, showing how our
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