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Thoughts on Leadership

What's up with the Sunsets?

There is time every day for reflection & self-improvement.  Some days, especially when the sun is setting over a body of water,  nature puts that reality into focus.  Above the horizon is the beauty of the day turning into night.  But below the horizon is the reflection.  It is the reminder that there are two perspectives with every experience.  We have the opportunity to reflect on those events, think about ourselves & improve on how we listen, observe, lead & how we can do things just a little bit better tomorrow.

Best Teammate Ever
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I was inspired to tears by my daughter Sydney in a tough loss that ended their season.  Up 3-0 with 3 starters out only to lose 5-4. Ugh!  The instant the Final Buzzer sounded, Sydney went directly to her Senior Captain (who couldn’t compete in her last game because of a red card the game before) for one of the most sincere & heartfelt post-game hugs I’ve ever seen. 

That night, Sydney showed me what the "Best Teammate Ever" does:
1. Play whatever role it takes to help the team compete. Nothing is beneath you - Sydney moved from the front line (where she had been on fire) to the back line (where she hadn’t played all season) because that’s where the team needed her.
2. Put others First - Sydney played harder for her captain than she has ever played for herself.  “I just couldn’t let her last game be on the sidelines Dad!”
3. Effort Counts - Sydney left EVERYTHING on the field that night, even as the game was slipping away, she wasn’t going to give up as her captain watched from the sidelines.
4. Lead with Love - If you really care, If you really love,  It hurts badly to let your teammate down.  It hurts even more when you have to say goodbye to a teammate.  It's okay to show emotion & to share it - smiles or tears.

What I Learned as a Wedding Officiant
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  1. Don’t be scared, be INSPIRED - When I thought about “doing a good job” I would think about the mistakes I might make.  But when I thought about reaching the hearts of those in attendance to better serve the world around them I was extremely motivated!

  2. 30 years goes by VERY FAST - I met my wife in 1993.  She opened my heart and I am stunned by how time has slipped away without me thanking her enough.  Thank you for every day Julie!

  3. Growth is holistic - I would not have had the energy, the ability to learn or the wisdom to apply it if I hadn’t been committed to my Mind, Body, Spirit.  I felt that I gave Braedon & Anna, the “best of me” last Saturday, but I truly believe that the “Best Me” is still to come.  

  4. Leading with Gratitude makes work fun - It was a joy to observe two happy newlyweds who were thankful for everyone making their day special.  Friends & family did not care about the scorching hot weather.  But what really amazed me was the spirit of the hustling servers, a cool & calm wedding planner, fun-loving DJs & a smiley 8 month pregnant photographer.  They didn’t even look like they were “working” because they cared so much about making this & every wedding day special!

  5. Nothing is Perfect - A million things can go wrong on a wedding day.  Sure, I contributed with a few bad lines & poor eye contact.  I also can’t find a single picture to share in my post where I don’t look like a fool.  But that’s okay, I’m sharing anyways :)

My hope for you is that you take advantage of your days to inspire others, keep growing & lead with gratitude without fear of failure.

The Problem with shovel ready volunteerism

It’s a great experience that most of us can relate to.  We get together with a group of friends or co-workers & we help our community by getting our hands dirty for a day.  Believe me, I love being outdoors doing manual labor!  (see the cease and desist I’ve been given on planting trees in our yard:) Here’s the problem with shovel ready volunteerism & our opportunity for improvement:

- Professionals are typically extremely ineffective & inefficient manual laborers.
- We aren’t leveraging our years of domain expertise or professional experience.
- There is a huge gap between Academia & Business in applied learning.
- Most aspiring professionals don’t ask for help & don’t know who to ask.
- There are coaching/mentoring connections just waiting to happen in our communities.


That’s why I am building out my pro bono Career Transitions coaching practice for Technical College & University Students.

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Creating Tools for Teams to Shine.

We are taught at an early age that tools help us do work.  Unfortunately, I often see businesses mandate standards & call them tools.  There's a better way!

  1. Understand our team's current tasks through observation and interview.

  2. Provide foundational training to the collaborative approach.

  3. Collaborate with our team to define the "perfect" customer meeting.

  4. Lead team workshops to create the tools that facilitate customer meetings

  5. Apply those tools as soon as possible. 

Empower your team to SHINE the tools! They won't be perfect, but they will get better.

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Leading change is catching at the bottom...

...not pushing from the top!   We've all been there, rolling out a new initiative, motivating our team to try new things, rewarding the early adopters. Then, It happens... Fear, Resistance, Failure!  Lesser managers push harder with mandates and threats.  Great leaders encourage those that are nervous. They stand at the riskiest point and say, "C'mon, I'll join you and let's see how we can grow!"  When asking our teams to change, trust is built by how we react to failure and setbacks. How do we learn? How do we improve? How do we pick ourselves up and try again?  When we face the challenge together, we supercharge our team with confidence.  So step in and join a nervous team member on a "failure" today! Be compassionate. Listen. Enjoy the opportunity to help someone on your team and improve your business!

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Collaboration - Beyond the Trusted Advisor

The difference between a great sales rep and our BEST sales rep is the same as the difference between a great customers and our BEST customers.  Trust, expertise and advice are critical, but what differentiates our best accounts is "Willingness to Collaborate."  When we create that environment, our best customers emerge.  An environment of listening and problem solving WITH our customers is more sustainable than solving problems FOR our customers.  All of the tools are hiding in plain sight in the Continuous Improvement, Change Management, and Project Management communities.  Coaching our teams how to use them will accelerate growth!

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