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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What Creates Influence?

J. R. Miller said, “No one can understand that mysterious thing we call influence … yet … everyone of us continually exerts influence, either to heal, to bless, to leave marks of beauty; or to wound, to hurt, to poison, to stain others lives.” What is influence? According to the dictionary, influence is “the power to sway or effect based on prestige, wealth, ability or position.” That definition would seem to suggest that affluence determines influence. And yet, one of the poorest women, in terms of financial wealth, the world has ever known was also one of the most influential: Mother Teresa. In a life devoid of materialism, Mother Teresa spread her influence of love and selflessness around the world. It was her lack of position, as we normally think of it, which touched so many. As much as anything she did, it was her words that spread a legacy
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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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Can You Laugh At Yourself?

Last month my 12-year-old daughter, Andie, was diagnosed with scarlet fever, strep throat and the flu all at the same time.   She felt miserable and the rash from scarlet fever covered her body and face.  I felt horrible for her. At its very worse, she came downstairs and said, “Dad I look like I a tomato that got sunburned and then someone beat me up” 🙂   I loved that she could laugh at herself even in the midst of feeling bad and, well let’s face it, looking horrible.   For all of us, learning to laugh at ourselves has very positive benefits. Note that I said laugh at ourselves, which means that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. This is not to be confused with negative self-talk and poor self-image.   Benefit #1 – It improves our health   According to psychologist and humor researcher Dr. Arnie Cann, Laughter
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People Join Companies But They Leave Bosses

This week I spoke for a Pharmaceutical company. In preparation for my speech I interviewed a couple of their sales reps over the phone and went on a ride along with another rep. I found it interesting that all of them at some point brought up their loyalty based off of the relationship they had with their manager. They said things like: “If you connect with the right manager it will make all the difference” “I left my last company because of my manager and I’m staying here because I have a great manager”   You’ve probably heard the saying that people join companies but they leave bosses.   The bureau of labor statistics reports that today’s average worker will have fifteen to twenty jobs before they retire and the #1 reason for changing jobs is bad management/bad culture.   Le Roy H. Kurtz of General Motors once poignantly observed:
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How Often Are You Having a Culture Conversation?

This week on my podcast I interviewed Tim Sanders, NY Times best selling author and leadership expert. One of the great points that Tim made was that leaders who want to build a strong culture need to have culture conversations often.   He used the example of Zappos and how often they discussed culture within their organization. From the call center employee up to CEO, Tony Hsieh, they had culture conversations on a very regular basis.   I was thinking about that idea yesterday as I was at a conference talking to Chris Tomasso, who is the CEO of First Watch Restaurants.  We were talking about our friend, Ken Pendery, who is now the Chairman of First Watch restaurants. I asked him what Ken’s role is and his response surprised me. He said Ken is the Chief Culture Officer, which means that his job is to go and have conversations
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19 Life Lessons

A couple of weeks ago I interviewed Nuskin Founder & Chairman Steve Lund for my podcast. In the interview we talked a little bit about s mutual friend of ours who passed away several years ago named Richard Ellis. Richard Ellis was a successful entrepreneur, father and friend. He touched thousands of people’s lives with his wisdom, understanding and caring. Just before he passed, he shared 19 Life Lessons with some of the people he loved and I wanted to share them with you because I think there is great wisdom in each of these. 1. You won’t always succeed, but never give up believing in yourself. 2. Look for the success lesson of any failure. There is a hint there. 3. Be inspired by your mentors and leaders, but never controlled. 4. Personal growth will always precede relationship and business growth. 5. Believe and trust in other people until
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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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