Monthly Archives: March 2013

Keep getting better and don’t give up!!!


Is there such a thing as a natural-born leader?  Or a natural-born sales person?  Or natural-born anything?

I say no.

I say there are just people who keep trying, even when it isn’t easy.  I say don’t quit! Don’t stop trying to get better or figure it out.  Anything worth doing well is worth doing poorly until you get better.

Where would we be if these folks had given up?

  • Thomas Edison he tried more than 9,000 experiments before he created the first successful light bulb.
  • Walt Disney’s Laugh-O-Gram studio went bankrupt.
  • Michael Jordan was cut from high school basketball team because of his “lack of skill”.
  • Abraham Lincoln plummeted into financial ruin as a young shopkeeper.  lost eight elections, twice failed in business and suffered a nervous breakdown
  • Milton Hershey failed dismally in his initial attempts to open a candy store.
  • Henry Ford’s Detroit Automobile Company went bankrupt before reorganizing as Ford Motor Company.
  • Bill Gates was a Harvard University dropout.
  • H.J. Heinz’s venture to sell horseradish flopped before his recipe for ketchup met with commercial success.

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, and then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

There is a book out called “Tough times never last, but tough people do”    I would say our current “tough times” call for each of us to be a little tougher, a little better and a little more passionate about reaching our goals.

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Serve Lead and Succeed? Sure, but how?


Serve FirstServant Leadership is a leadership philosophy first espoused by Robert Greenleaf in his 1970 essay, “The Servant as Leader.” He states that servant leaders are servants first and leaders later.

Most of us have heard the Servant Leadership philosophy and at least have a vague idea of what it means. We know that while it sounds great, we too often show up and start managing using the same command, measure and control strategies that we have always used.

Serve Lead and Succeed

These words denote action and not philosophy. What do successful leaders do to serve the people they are hoping to lead?

Successful leaders serve by seeing potential in others when others don’t see it in themselves. Let’s face it; although many look different on the outside, most people are pretty under confident.  Give your people an excellent reputation to live up to and they will work hard to make you correct.

Successful leaders serve by understanding that their way is not the only way. People go about tasks in the way that works best for them. Servant leaders know that they don’t know everything and that different styles will have different methods. They encourage growth in a person’s strength zone.

Successful leaders serve by expecting accountability, but are careful to give clear instructions and expectations.   Stephen Covey’s habit of “Beginning with the end in mind” applies not only to plans, but also to instructions. If you want, wasted time and poor results just assign ambiguous tasks with no clear guidelines as to what you expect the results to look like.   Paint a vivid picture of what the results will look like and guide those who are off course long before they are lost.

Successful leaders serve by practice CBWA when practicing MBWA. (Managing By Walking Around and Caring By Walking Around.) Walking around is good. Walking around with the intention of being fully engaged with people is fantastic. If you want engaged, passionate people, go where they are and passionately engage them.

Successful leaders serve by seek out positive energy and value attitude over talent. Nothing is more cancerous to a team or organization than the prima donnas, bad attitudes, crude naysayers and secret back stabbers, no matter how talented or experienced they may be. It is shortsighted to keep these people just because they are good at the technical portions of their jobs.

I would love to hear more thoughts and ideas. How have served others and been served by a leaders in your life?

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Give me attitude over talent. Give me will over skill


576030_10151957016835634_639006807_nWe have all heard the saying “I would rather be luckey than good.”

I will take a team of average talent with great attitude over a handful of indiffernt superstars any day of the week.

In The London Telegraph an article stated

“The vast majority of businesses value a positive attitude to work over a perfect
set of qualifications in job interviews.”

You can teach skills. You can’t teach people to have a good attitude.

One of my favorite quotes reads……

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on
life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than
the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than
successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than
appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church…
a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude
we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the
fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The
only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our
attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I
react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

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Every Day You Get a Another Chance to Make a First Impression….


I drove to Washington, NC last week to speak at leadership conference. If you have never been, it is a beautiful little town on the Pamlico Sound in the heart of North Carolina’s Inner Banks.

washington_nc1

As I got to town I needed to get some gas and stopped at the first station I came to. The young man behind the glass was conversational and made me feel as though he appreciated my business.  I mentioned the drive in and he asked me about my trip, welcomed me to town and wished me luck the next day.

I arrived at my hotel and the woman who checked me in was the same way. I was on the second floor, they had no elevator, and she offered to watch some of my things while I carried some of them up the stairs.  I managed all at once, but made a mental note that it was a nice gesture.

I was beginning to like this Little Washington town after just two contacts.

The next day, I met many great folks in Washington, who made me feel welcome. When I returned home that night, I told my wife that we needed to make a weekend trip there soon. I can recommend that you do the same.

We are all ambassadors

We are ambassadors for our organization, our peers our neighborhood, our city and our state. Every interaction with people builds the reputation of your community.  That is why providing excellent customer service is so important.

The convenience store clerk, the cashier at a department store, and the receptionist at the doctor’s office are not just taking care of customers for their employer.  They are taking care of customers for their whole community.

What if an executive from a large employer came to your town late one night and the first person they meet makes a lasting impression as the check into their hotel, then at breakfast the next morning the waitress does the same. Later in the day, the executive has to call the city for some information and the person who answers the phone has an outstanding helpful attitude? Person after person that he meets in your city makes a positive first impression.

He goes to another location in another city later that week and receives not poor service, but just average or apathetic service. He returns to his office the next week and makes a recommendation for locating an expansion that will bring hundreds of new jobs to one of those cities. All other things being close to equal, where do you think he is going to make that investment?

That’s right, in the city where he was made to feel welcome and received great service.

A few years later and the hotel night clerk’s brother gets a new job making more money at this new expansion, the waitress gets a job there too and now has benefits and will be able to pay for daughter’s education, the person with no job gets her job and on and on and on……All because people provided outstanding service and treated someone well.

We live in a service-driven economy. People often make money by doing things for other people. The better we do that as an individual, as a company and as a community the better our economy will be.

No matter what your job is how you treat the people you lead, the people you meet and the people who work for you make all the difference in the world.  Give them your very best.

 

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