Do You Speak Their Language?

This last week I’ve been traveling through Europe with my family. We spent 2 days in London, then 5 days in Portugal and we are in Spain currently where I had a speech for an international group.   We love to travel. I’ve personally been to nearly 40 countries. I’ve found things I love about every country I’ve been to but I noticed something during this trip.   I lived in Portugal for two years as a missionary and I speak the language fluently. The truth is you can travel virtually anywhere in the world and get by with English for the most part but our experience in Portugal was different, deeper, because I spoke their language.   I speak to leaders about this concept because it’s important that we speak the language of our people. And when we speak their language there are three primary benefits. It Deepens Your
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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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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 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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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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