Latest Blog Posts

The Big Lies That Are Hurting People That People LOVE To Believe

mark-headshotFrom Mark Sanborn:

“You can have it all.” No, you really can’t.

Some of the unhappiest people I know are those who bought into that whopper. They lack priorities, choose uncomplimentary or conflicting values and wear themselves out pursuing every activity.

Try eating all you want and keeping your weight at a healthy level. Try traveling non-stop for business or pleasure and have meaningful relationships at home. Try working long hours seven days a week and see how much leisure you’ll enjoy.

Everything of importance has value, and value has an associated cost. Trying to “have it all” doesn’t acknowledge the reality of time constraints. It is spending the currency of your life like a drunken sailor.

The bad news is that you can’t have it all.

The good news is that when you know what’s important, you don’t want it all anyway.

Broaden your focus too much by trying to “have it all” and you’ll get only a tiny bit if anything at all.

Narrow your focus and you can go richer and deeper in those areas of your life that truly matter.

Mark Sanborn is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio for leadership development. He is an award-winning speaker bestselling author of books including, The Fred Factor. For more information and free resources, visit


joe-calloway-headshotFrom Joe Calloway:

The shortcut.

What bothers me is that so many people spend their money on the promise of short cuts to success.

There aren’t any short cuts.

I see “How To Make A Fortune On The Internet” programs that begin with the premise of

“First, get 100,000 followers…….THEN all you have to do is follow my easy plan to make a million dollars in a year.”

What they skip over is that to get those 100,000 followers, you have to have something to say that is so valuable, so compelling, that people feel they can’t afford to miss one word of it – ever.  That takes experience.

I do coaching with professional speakers, and the thing we always come back to is simply this: value creation.  Public Notice to my potential speaking clients: “I have NO shortcuts for you.”

As many, including my buddy Mark Sanborn, have said, it generally takes 15 years to become an “overnight success.”

You can’t become an expert in a week. Put in the time, do the work, create value.  Don’t learn the “tricks of the trade.”  Learn the trade.

The only people that get rich from short cuts….are the people selling the short cuts.

Joe Calloway helps great companies get even better.


randy-pennington-headshotFrom Randy Pennington:

I grew up hearing every motivational message imagined or printed in the Reader’s Digest. I heard lots of advice that isn’t necessarily true. Consider these:

  • Laughter is the best medicine. I want great drugs when I’m in pain not a standup routine.
  • Better safe than sorry. Mark Twain said: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” I like his idea better.
  • It’s never too late to pursue your dreams. I grew up dreaming of playing Division I college basketball and replacing Ringo as the drummer in the Beatles. I am too late for both.
  • Attitude is everything. No. Talent, knowledge, and skill count, too.
  • Great minds think alike. The older I get the more I realize that we need great minds who view the world through a different lens rather than the same one.

Here’s my takeaway: Any motivational or business guru who tells you that the secret to your success is doing exactly what they say without questioning its application to your situation should be avoided … except for the Five Friends. Our ideas are timeless pearls of wisdom.

Randy Pennington helps leaders deliver positive results in a world of accelerating change. To find out more, go to


larry-winget-headshotFrom Larry Winget:

Passion. Passion is defined as “an uncontrollable emotion.” Do you want an uncontrollable emotion anywhere near your business? Not me.

If you need quadruple bypass surgery, do you want a passionate surgeon or one who is damn good at surgery? How about a waiter? I don’t want a passionate waiter, I want a waiter who is great at his job. I don’t need any emotion involved, especially one that is uncontrolled. I only want excellence and hard work from the people I do business with.   They don’t have to like it, love it, enjoy it or be passionate about it, just damn good at it. I know too many who are passionate: passionately incompetent.

Some will argue that passion is the fuel that lights the fire of hard work and excellence. Save it. I’ve heard it all before. I am good at what I do because I approach the fiduciary commitment that I have to my clients with integrity. I am hired to be good and I am committed to being good because they are paying me to be good. Very simple. No passion. I have passion for my family and I’m damn good at my job.

Larry Winget, the Pitbull of Personal Development®, is a six-time NYT/WSJ bestselling author, social commentator and appears regularly on many national television news shows. To find out more, go to


scott-mckain-headshotFrom Scott McKain:

The most ridiculous concept ever foisted upon gullible professionals is the idiotic maxim: “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”

(My vote for second worst: “Getting the right people on the bus is more important than where the bus is going.” That’s moronic. The “right people” won’t get on if they don’t know where the hell the bus is headed. I digress…)

Leaders are constantly challenged to manage the immeasurable. Employee attitudes, marketplace opportunities, and customer engagement aren’t exclusively intended for an Excel spreadsheet. Leadership is art and science; insight and data. The distinctive leader is able to use head and heart to drive greater performance.

When we integrate this ridiculous “we can only manage what we can measure” approach into our culture, it means we assume the only elements that matter to the organization are aspects that lend themselves to measurement.

A restaurant, therefore, focuses upon speed of food delivery (measurable) rather than friendly service (not) – when it’s the combination of both that is essential for a superior customer experience. The same is true for your business.

Interestingly, the “management/measurement” quote is often incorrectly attributed to W. Edwards Deming – who insisted instead, “The most important things cannot be measured.”

Scott McKain teaches how organizations and individual professionals can create distinction in their marketplace, and deliver the “Ultimate Customer Experience ®.” For more information:

Read the rest or leave a comment...

Bookmark and Share

What Kind of Mark are YOU Leaving?

When I first visited the big island of Hawaii, I was particularly impressed with the volcanic rock fields white rocks black lavathe road we traveled on cut through from the airport to Kona. Hundreds of white stones had been carefully placed along the way, in stark contrast against the black rock of the lava field. These stones spelled out the names of people, and often the date of when they had passed through: “Bob & Sally, 11/88,” “Jean, Spring Break ’91.” It reminded me of what so often happens when graduating classes assault bridges and water towers and graffiti artists practice their public art.

All of us want our lives to be significant, to believe we’ll do something, somehow, that will be remembered. Sometimes leaving a legacy can be as simple as placing stones in the lava. But for most of us, the best evidence we can leave that we passed through life is to lead when we are able, and follow when we can’t. Leadership isn’t a mysterious art practiced by only a select few. It is the daily response of each man and woman who wishes to make a positive difference in the world, and make it a little bit better place as a result of their efforts.

Marks We Leave Poem by Mark Sanborn

Read the rest or leave a comment...

Bookmark and Share

The Battle for Relevance



You and your business are more likely to become irrelevant before you ever become obsolete. Blackberry is a great example. Its market share for smartphones was 40% in 2010. It is less than 2% today despite an 85% growth in the number of annual smartphone sales. Blackberry didn’t lose market share because it stopped working. It lost because it became irrelevant.

The battle for relevancy comes up in every conversation we have about our own careers and businesses. We are, as a group, obsessed with it. And in this blog, we share how it affects what we do and how we do it. We hope you enjoy our most personal post to date.

From Scott McKain:


Death concerns me; irrelevance terrifies me to the core.

On my 14th birthday, I started a daily job at a small radio station. At 18, elected as president of a student organization, I took to the road full-time to travel and speak on its behalf. I’ve never left the platform since.

In other words, from the day I turned 14 — to this one — there has been an audience for what I have to say, and how I have to say it. I’ve been fortunate beyond description.

However, if I become irrelevant – taking the audience for granted — those wonderful readers and listeners would evaporate, instantly terminating the career I love so much.

That’s why relevance is critical – and scary.

I discipline myself to read constantly, watch shows and sites targeted to other demographics, see avant-garde movies, and stay active on Social Media. I listen each week to Billboard’s top songs via Spotify. I engage with what’s impacting Millennials, not just Baby Boomers.

You can’t pull the covers over your head and stay relevant by accident. You must actively participate in the current culture to ensure you’re prepared for, and perhaps able to influence, whatever comes next.

Or else…

Scott McKain teaches how organizations and individual professionals can create distinction in their marketplace, and deliver the “Ultimate Customer Experience ®.” For more information:


From Randy Pennington:


Here is my reality.

  • New competitors arrive in my marketplace daily. According to their websites, each is the second coming of Peter Drucker.
  • My performance review is delivered every day not annually.
  • Longevity in the marketplace – like longevity with a company – used to mean more. Today, the line between value-added experience and being viewed as out of touch is excruciatingly thin.
  • My value is determined by the complexity and importance of the problems I help my clients solve.
  • My clients choose me because they believe that I provide value. That only happens if I am relevant.

You and your company are just like me. Your customers and employer are asking three questions: Why you? Why now? What makes you relevant today?

For me, staying relevant means that I must constantly:

  1. Understand my clients’ current challenges and anticipate the ones they’ll encounter tomorrow.
  2. Be a student of the world – knowing everything I can about what is happening in business, government, and the broader culture.
  3. Continuously improve my skills and execution.
  4. Take care of myself mentally, physically, and emotionally.

The privilege of doing what I do depends on remaining relevant. It is the same for you.

Randy Pennington helps leaders deliver positive results in a world of accelerating change. To find out more, go to


From Mark Sanborn:


There are three great fears most leaders posses: staying relevant is at the top of the list.

It makes sense: the ability to create results is dependent on relevance to customers, employees and shareholders. You never hear about successful products or leaders that are irrelevant.

Staying relevant means not resting on past success. I consider success as an early warning indicator for failure.  As my pal Joe says, success means only that you know what worked yesterday.

The danger is that our thinking becomes frozen in time. Staying relevant requires “unfreezing” yourself. That means being immersed enough in the present to be able to understand it and speak to it.

Three suggestions:

  1. Find a millennial to reverse mentor you,
  2. Pay close attention to current culture even if you don’t agree with it.
  3. Run you ideas by your kids for feedback. They’ll help keep you relevant.

Mark Sanborn is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio for leadership development. He is an award-winning speaker bestselling author of books including, The Fred Factor. For more information and free resources, visit


From Joe Calloway:


In the context of business, I believe the key to relevance is understanding your target market.  My work is totally irrelevant to most of the marketplace, and that’s fine with me.

I know my audience.  I work with CEOs, business owners, and entrepreneurs.  If my work, my “product,” isn’t relevant to them, then I’m out of business.

Like some of my friends here are saying, I also endeavor to be relevant in a cultural sense as well as in business matters.

This week in Chicago I spoke to an audience of business owners.  I opened by saying that it must be absolutely great to live in Chicago right now, especially if you are a Cubs fan.  With that new coach coming in, this will surely be the beginning of a dynasty!

Inside joke to forever frustrated Cubs fans, but the entire audience “got it” and I made a positive connection with them.  I’m not a Cubs fan – not even a baseball fan, but I read.  That bit of cultural relevance is a competitive advantage to me.

The real test, however, is that my business ideas must be relevant to their success.  That’s what I work on all day, every day.

Joe Calloway helps great companies get even better.


From Larry Winget:


There are many ways to stay relevant. You can be innovative and create new products and services. Think Amazon Prime with Sunday delivery and video streaming (win) and Amazon Fire smartphone (fail). You can flail around grasping at relevance and end up looking pitiful. Think Jesse Jackson. You can become a big deal to a small market and any kind of deal to a large market (I use both of these tactics.) You can even change your look or your name. Think JCP and KFC.

But be very clear: Staying relevant is hard.  That’s because relevance is rooted in change, growth and paying attention. While all three of those things are tough, they are especially tough when you are successful.  Businesses in trouble are better at seeking relevance than those that are extremely successful. Failure makes you hungry and courageous to try things because you have nothing to lose. Success creates a blindness of the need to pay attention, change and grow simply because you’re busy being successful.  That’s why long term success is something to be admired because it requires taking care of business today while keeping an eye on what you have to do stay successful tomorrow.

Larry Winget, the Pitbull of Personal Development©, is a six-time NYT/WSJ bestselling author, social commentator and appears regularly on many national television news shows. To find out more, go to

Shop the store!

Read the rest or leave a comment...

Bookmark and Share

8 Differences Between Your Resume and Your Legacy

Richard Halverson, former chaplain of the U.S. Senate, once said that our goal in life shouldn’t be just toRear View of Senior Couple Walking Alone on A Tropical Beach “be good,” but rather to “be good for something.”

If that “something” is limited to merely personal success, our impact on the world around us will be limited. To put it another way, don’t confuse your resume with your legacy.

The difference between your resume and your legacy is:

Resume                                                Legacy

1. What You’ve Accomplished               1. What You’ve Contributed

2. Results                                               2. Relationships                                                

3. The Money You’ve Made                    3. The Difference You’ve Made

4. The Impression You Leave                 4. The Impact You Have

5. Your Career                                         5. Your Organization, Family and  Community

6. What You Learned                               6. What You Taught

7. How You Improved                              7. How You Helped Others to Improve Others

Are you building a strong resume, or preparing to leave a lasting legacy?

The legacy you will eventually leave is determined by the legacy you are living now.



Read the rest or leave a comment...

Bookmark and Share

8 Ways to Crush Your Next Presentation through Preparation

Everybody presents. Whether you are making a sales call, giving a report in a college class or speaking to prepareyour colleagues during a meeting, giving an extraordinary presentation is one of the best things you can do to increase you impact and success.

Many think great speaking is what happens in front of the audience, and while that is true, they fail to grasp the importance of preparation. A great presentation is given is front of people but it is prepared carefully and thoroughly in advance.

Here are eight preparation techniques used by professional speakers that you can use to crush it next time you deliver a presentation.

  1. Find out things about your audience that proves you worked hard to get to know them and their needs.
  2. Anticipate questions that your audience might raise and prepare the answers.
  3. Anticipate problems that might arise (in the setting, with your technology, etc.), and plan how you’ll prevent them or solve them if they occur.
  4. Understand the day-to-day concerns of audience members and speak about solutions to those concerns.
  5. Speak from what you’ve done and learned to demonstrate expertise.
  6. By your appearance and demeanor, give your performance a level of gravitas that your audience wasn’t expecting.
  7. Include the indication that you have even more useful ideas and insights you can deliver if you are given more time to present in the future.
  8. Design your presentation so that the audience know more and feel better when you finish.

Read the rest or leave a comment...

Bookmark and Share