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“If Benjamin Franklin had picked someone to teach the lessons in self-mastery that he used in his life, he would have picked Bob Burg.”

~ Vic Johnson, Founder AsAManThinketh.net

Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’

Communicating the Vision

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

Speaking with a client about an ongoing issue with his sales team, I brought up a particular concept. When he heard it, he loved it. He saw exactly how it applied to his situation. He also expressed amazement that he had never heard this before.

Except, he had. He’d heard about it numerous times. I know this for a fact since I’m the one from whom he’d heard it numerous times.

Now, lest you think my point is to boast about my great idea, the idea was hardly mine. In fact, the idea is so old there’s no one to even credit for it.

My point is that people can hear an idea but not actually grasp it because they’re not ready to. But, if we don’t continue to repeat it (not obnoxiously, of course, but appropriately, as part of an ongoing message) then even when they are ready they still won’t hear it, because we’ve stopped saying it.

Same for Teams and Organizations

As leaders, as teachers, as influencers, we can—we must—cast a vision. That’s the easy part. Then not only must we hold that vision but continue to communicate it.

Bob-Burg-Communicating-the-Vision

Eventually, when they do get it, and ask you why you never told them that before, rather than calling them a dummy or yelling at them for not listening, simply smile and give them credit for grabbing on to it.

The same goes for when you’ve been telling them something forever and then they suddenly hear it from a third-party, and then report back to you with the brilliant piece of advice they just heard. Simply smile and give them credit for being open to new ideas.

Because a true leader doesn’t care who gets the credit. They just want the ideas to be received and their people to benefit.

And, the more you put the right message in front of them—whether directly from you or from a third-party authority—repetition is critical to effective leadership and influence.

Theo Epstein and the Trust Factor in Leadership

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Theo EpsteinDoes trust really matter when it comes to leadership? After all, leaders pay people to do their jobs. Trust is somewhat beside the point, right?

Actually, not by a long shot. Research both formal and anecdotal proves that organizations run as such suffer in big ways, including the bottom line.

On the other hand, leaders who treat their people with respect and who’ve earned the trust of their people tend to have an entirely different result. These organizations are happier, healthier, more profitable, and sometimes even win world championships after 86 years and 108 years respectively.

Last week I received a very excited email from my great friend and brother, Randy Stelter, a veteran professional educator and Athletic Director of Wheeler High School (and without question a long-time loyal Chicago Cubs fan). Randy is also the coauthor of A Teacher’s Guide to The Go-Giver, a curriculum for High School students.

He wrote:

“I was coming home today from an Athletic Director’s meeting and ESPN Radio was interviewing Cubs President, Theo Epstein. They asked him about the ‘trust factor’ he has with the players. He shared a story about sitting on the bench with a player in 1995. The player made a statement about the fact that no MLB (Major League Baseball) players ever trust management. Theo said the lightbulb went off and he vowed he would never lie to a player and that all contracts and conversations with agents would be on the up-and-up. He has never deceived a player during negotiations. He went on about ‘trusting and knowing’ the players and meeting their needs in the contract periods. Very refreshing and no wonder he has turned two programs around that had such world series droughts.”

No wonder, indeed. Of course he brought a lot of knowledge and talent to the equation. But, lots of baseball executives have knowledge and talent. That’s simply the baseline (no pun intended). Trust was a key factor for the man who brought the Boston Red Sox their first World Series championship since 1918 and the Chicago Cubs their first one since 1908.

It was the trust he focused so hard on earning that allowed him to operate without the — as Stephen M.R. Covey, author of The Speed of Trust puts it — “low-trust tax” that affects so many organizations.  After all, when your team-members know you care about them, they’ll not only negotiate in good faith; they’ll be committed to a team goal that is bigger than themselves.

As Simon Sinek, author of Leaders Eat Last so eloquently stated it, “Trust is a biological reaction to the belief that someone has our well-being at heart.”

Trust comes not by being demanded but by being earned, in small part by what one says, in greater part through what one does, but in greatest part…through who one is!

Mr. Epstein, as a public figure, is a fantastic ambassador of this message. But he’s just the latest in an ever-growing line of leaders who understand this simple truth: when leaders earn trust, they are nine steps ahead of the game…in a ten-step game.

What Gets Us Into Trouble

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

What Gets Us Into TroubleOne of the most often asked questions I receive during podcast interviews is, “What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?”

This is actually one of the easiest questions for me to answer. There are two pieces of advice.

The first is, “listen a lot more…and speak a lot less.” (Both were definitely issues.)

But, it’s the second one that’s the biggie. I’d relate — with an exclamation mark in my voice — to “younger Burg” one of my all-time favorite sayings:

It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

I don’t know who originally said that. Mark Twain is often credited. While he said something somewhat similar in one of his books, he didn’t quite say that.

Regardless, in my opinion, it’s brilliant, and it’s something I wish I’d known those many years ago when I thought I knew it all.

What a difference-maker that would have been!

At 20, I was absolutely, positively, and without question certain that I knew how the world worked and what people thought. And, why they were wrong.

It call came down to what I thought; no, what I knew. And, what I knew that I knew.

Except that it turned out I didn’t. Not even close. I ended up being so very wrong about so many things.

As human beings, we make decisions and judgements based on very, very limited information.

We tend to do this well after we are 20 years old. I did. I’m sure I still do.

Sometimes, what we know that “just ain’t so” simply fits the belief system in which we grew up. Other times it’s the beliefs and words of our friends, teachers, peer group, political party, or even those things our favorite media personalities believe.

Of course, there are times when what we know for sure is indeed true. But I suspect that’s far less often than we’d like to believe.

The good news is that the moment we become aware of this phenomenon of human nature, we can take steps to correct it.

My friend, leadership authority Jesse Lyn Stoner, tweeted:

“Instead of believing everything you think, think about what you really believe.”

Screenwriter and producer Britt Michaelian tweeted:

“Whatever it is that you resist can only be effectively transcended if you question every ‘certainty’ along the way.”

And, 100 years earlier, iconic playwright George Bernard Shaw tweeted (only kidding) ;-):

“Progress is impossible without change, and those that cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

The above quotes remind me of how my 20-year-old self absolutely knew what he knew… that just wasn’t so.

Seems we see this constantly these days on television, social media, and pretty much wherever people meet in person. And from all the various points of view, right?

Not only would I like to see more respectful and civil communication between those with opposing viewpoints; I’d like to see us questioning our own beliefs just to make sure that what we absolutely know for sure…really IS so.

 

 

Your Customer’s Tennis Ball

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

Tom-Mosser-Unveiling-442x590My friend, branding authority, and Certified Go-Giver Speaker, Bill Ellis emailed me a great poster that showed a photo of some dogs — apparently at a museum for those of the canine persuasion — staring intently at a painting of a tennis ball.

Now, personally, I can’t imagine the fascination held by a tennis ball. Though, obviously the dogs feel differently. I’m sure tennis players do, as well.

I’m also thinking right now of many other things that hold absolutely no value for me personally but that my customers might find to be of exceptional value.

All this to say, if we want to help our prospective customer become our actual customer we must discover, not what works for us but what works for them. One of the biggest challenges in this regard is our natural human tendency to believe that what we hold to be of value, everyone else does as well.

Or as my friend, leadership authority, Dan Rockwell says:

“Never assume that what works for {us} works for others.”

So, what are the “tennis balls” for your customers (which, in case my metaphor isn’t totally and obnoxiously clear by this point, means whatever they hold to be of value)? 🙂

Can you make those tennis balls the thing, even if you are not Lassie… or Roger Federer?

Everybody MATTERS – Leadership to Change the World

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

em-coverWe hear it and see it a lot, don’t we?

“We really care about our people.”
“Our people are what matter most.”
“We believe in building our people.”

However, if you were to ask most of those employees if that’s how they felt you’d most likely receive a “no” and a strong one at that.

Please don’t get me wrong. Indeed, there are a number of good companies out there. Their leaders truly do care, their people do matter, and they build their people. These companies also tend to also be very highly profitable. And, they are to be congratulated for both sides of that equation…the immense value they provide to all their stakeholders (including customers, service-providers and shareholders) as well as their profitability. Both matter.

However, here we have a “Go-Giver Company” on steroids! 🙂

As you might know, I love reading books on leadership. I learn from all of them.

Bob ChapmanThis one not only touched me on a very, very deep level; it caused me to feel that business — even big business — could actually be this way.*

The person you are going to meet in this discussion, Bob Chapman, has the key to unlock this door in a huge, huge way. He and his company, Barry-Wehmiller have been doing it for nearly 20 years. And, they just keep continuing to prove its validity. This company is ALL about their people…and their financial success happens to be immensely healthy, too!

A Leader’s Leader

Chairman & CEO, Mr. Chapman believes that, “We have a crisis of leadership.” He says, “we have over 130 million people in our workforce who go home every day feeling they work for a company that doesn’t care about them. That is 7 out of 8 people in the workplace.”

To hear Mr. Chapman, talk about it, you can sense his anguish at this problem and his passion about spearheading the solution. And, spearhead it he has. The Guiding Principles of Leadership his company has implemented has resulted in a workplace consisting of people who feel good about themselves, about their jobs, and about the contributions they are making to its success. And they take that good feeling back to their families and communities.

He imagines a world full of caring work environments in which people can realize their gifts, apply and develop their talents, and feel a genuine sense of fulfillment for their contributions. The heart he has for people, making the world a better place to work and, as a result, live, is inspiring beyond measure.

And, it might be the type of business you’d least expect it to be. A manufacturing company; a privately held manufacturer of technology consulting and packaging machinery with more than 8000 employees worldwide.

In his foreword, Simon Sinek writes, “A lot of leaders talk about this. See what happens when you actually do it.”

Some of the topics in this fascinating discussion with Mr. Chapman include…

  • Defining the leadership crisis
  • A most unlikely place for an epiphany
  • What happens at Barry-Wehmiller University…doesn’t stay there. 🙂
  • The premise of Barry-Wehmiller’s Guiding Principles of Leadership
  • What happens when a leader DOES take a hit, along with his team members?

Enjoy the conversation!

em-cover
 

www.EverybodyMattersBook.com

Can you see why I’m a raving fan of Bob Chapman and the company he leads?

Barry-Wehmiller’s tagline is, “Building a better world through business.” That’s their tag line. And, that’s exactly what they’re doing. In other words, “Everybody Matters” isn’t just a cliche on a mission statement; it’s the bedrock of the company’s success!

*Take a look at this quick video with bestselling author, Simon Sinek and Harvard Business School Professor, Amy Cuddy. It says it all.

 

Quotes from Everybody MATTERS

Below are just a relatively few of the many quotes within the book I felt the need to include here. Please know they merely scratch the surface:

“We first have to radically change the way we think about business, about people and about leadership. If we do so, we can build thriving organizations that bring joy and fulfillment to all who serve them and depend on them.”

“I had grown to understand that my responsibility as a CEO transcends business performance and begins with a deep commitment to the lives of those in our care–the very people who time and talent make the business possible.

“The key pillars are establishing a shared long-term vision, fostering a people-centric culture, developing leaders form within, and sending people home fulfilled.”

“In the end, it is about truly caring for every precious human being whose life we touch. It is about including everybody, not just the fortunate few or exceptionally talented. It is about living with an abundance mindset: an abundance of patience, love, hope and opportunity.”

“Everyone wants to contribute. Trust them. Leaders are everywhere. Find them. Some people are on a mission. Celebrate them. Others wish things were different. Listen to them. Everybody matters. Show them. We don’t just need a new guide to leading in times of change or adversity. We need a complete rethink, a revolution.

“One great truth we’ve learned is this: The people are just fine it’s our leadership that’s lacking.”

“But deeper insights had come from a simple question we had started asking people: ‘How did it make you feel?'”

“We have 7000 people, and each and every one of them is somebody’s precious child.”

“Our responsibility as leaders, be it in the military or in business or in government or in education, is to create an environment where people can discover their gifts, develop their gifts, share their gifts, and be recognized and appreciated for doing so–which creates an opportunity for them to have a meaningful life, a life of purpose in which they feel valued and get a chance to be what they were brought onto this earth to be.”

“If leadership isn’t about fighting fires, what is it about? We believe it is about lighting fires.”

“If more than half of your communication with any individual is negative, it’s an oppressive relationship.”

“Business growth and people growth aren’t separate ideas; they are complementary pieces in creating value.”

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