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25Jan 2015

While working for a client in Las Vegas, I dined at the bar in the well known hotel’s friendssteakhouse.

Both bartenders were busy and I respected that. When they asked for my order, they were professional but very matter of fact. I asked a couple questions about recommendations and their responses were to the point and marginally helpful.

Twenty minutes later two others came in and sat next to me at the bar. They were obviously good friends with the bartenders. The energy and enthusiasm of both changed dramatically.

The bartenders were effusive in their greetings, quick in getting their orders, making suggestions and chatting. They were no less busy than before, but they were able to make time for their pals.

I wondered how other patrons would have reacted–and tipped–if the two bartenders had treated them more like friends than customers. I don’t want to be the bartender’s or the server’s friend, but its enjoyable when you get the same attention and warmth.

I asked Fred Shea, a.k.a Fred the Postman, “How do you take such great care of your customers?”

His response: “I don’t think of the people on my route as customers. I think of them as friends, and it is easy to take care of your friends.”

If you want to improve your service delivery, just treat customers like friends.

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19Jan 2015

5-friends-banner-mark-sanborn

Five best-selling authors, Speaker Hall of Fame recipients, internationally-acclaimed business consultants and best buddies give their insights on business and life.


From Mark Sanborn:

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First, it used to be enough to promise value to make the sale. If a client believed you could deliver, they gave you a chance. Today, you need to prove value to make the sale. Demonstrate what you can do to help the client be more successful. Don’t tell prospects how good the candy tastes. Let them taste the candy knowing they’ll want to buy more once they do.

Second, it has become cliché that “customers don’t want to be sold, they want to buy.” That’s changed. Today customers want to be sold—to have a professional get to know them, understand their needs and suggest the best possible product or service to meet them. Customers are better informed, but that still don’t want to do the work of the sales professional. Customers want to be sold so they can make a good buying decision. (What they don’t want is to be pressured or manipulated.)

Finally, a sale doesn’t create a customer. A sale creates a transaction. How the sale is made and what happens after creates a customer, or sends a potential long-term customer packing. A sales pro aims for an ongoing relationship, not a single transaction.

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 www.marksanborn.com.


From Scott McKain:

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The Agricultural Age didn’t end because we ran out of farms. The Industrial Age didn’t conclude because we ran out of factories. Instead, the products of those farms and factories became so plentiful that customers of their goods could afford more in the way of services.

Now, in my opinion, the Information Age is dead. It’s not because we’re out of information – it’s that we are awash in it.

Therefore, the fundamental nature of selling has changed.

My client, BMW, tells me that just six years ago, the average customer made about six visits to car dealerships to make a purchase decision.  Today, that number has dropped to 1.3!

Why? Customers don’t need the salesperson to serve as their source of information. The Internet means we enter a dealership armed with almost as much enlightenment about the car as the person trying to sell us!

The distinctive sales professional of today – and the future – views her job as one of providing wisdom, rather than merely regurgitating product information.

Your success in sales will depend more upon your ability to provide superior insights about how you are a better solution – and less upon dumping data on prospects you’re attempting to persuade.

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


From Larry Winget:

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The fundamentals of selling really haven’t changed. Buying has changed, but not selling.

Selling is, always has been and always will be about having a product the customer perceives to be a solution to a problem they have. If your product doesn’t solve a customer’s problem, you have nothing to sell. Some people think they have a great product but if the customer doesn’t see it as a solution, you’ve got nothing. And the bigger the problem you solve, the more you can charge for it. A 99 cent hamburger solves a 99 cent problem. A $250,000 heart surgery obviously solves a bigger problem and costs more.

Past that concept, you have to make the customer aware that you have a solution and you have to ask the customer to buy it. The way you do both of those HAS changed dramatically.

My focus has always been on the basics: solving a problem, making people aware I have a solution to their problem and asking them to buy it.  All while working on my product to make sure the value of the problem I solve increases so I can charge more for it.

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 www.LarryWinget.com.


From Joe Calloway:

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Selling used to be about knowing your product or service inside out so that you could make a great pitch to your prospect. For me, a key to my selling success has been having deep knowledge about the customer and the customer’s business. When a new prospect says to me, “Why should I do business with you?” my answer is, “I don’t know that you should. Let’s find out.”

Then the process begins. It’s not a process of convincing them to buy. It’s a process of me gaining a deep understanding of what they’re wanting to accomplish or, as Larry points out, what problem they’re trying to solve.

One moment I’ll always remember was sitting in the office of a CEO who said to me, “The reason we do business with you is that you get us. You understand where we’re trying to take this company and you help us to that.”

Let me know more about the customer and understand their business better than my competition does and I’ll win almost every time.

Selling yesterday: I’m good at what I do.
Selling today: I’m good at understanding what you do and here’s how I can help you.

Joe Calloway helps great companies get even better. www.JoeCalloway.com.


From Randy Pennington:

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Does this sound familiar?

“Competition is stronger. No longer will sales gimmickry work in the marketplace. Buyers are getting smarter, more sophisticated, more demanding. They won’t put up with all of this old manipulative stuff anymore… Buyer tastes and levels of awareness are constantly being upgraded. And the whole world is competing for consumers’ dollars.”

This message echoes many of the themes my colleagues have so eloquently shared. Ron Willingham wrote them in a book titled Integrity Selling in 1987.

Everything has changed, and nothing has changed.

Today’s customer expectations are simply the continued evolution of a change that began decades ago. But, the principles that sustain the best sales professionals remain the same.

Know what you are doing and why. Listen. Solve the customer’s problem not your own. Constantly reassess your strategy. Continuously upgrade your tactics and tools to remain relevant. Serve the customer where they are.

Customer preferences, values, and demographics will always change. Technology and tools will continue to become more powerful giving you and your customer more information. How you build and sustain your army of satisfied customers will always change. The need to do so will remain.

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

19Jan 2015

questions1. What is my purpose?

2. Why do I get out of bed in the morning?

3. What have I learned?

4. What do I most enjoy doing?

5. What is my biggest contribution to the world?

6. What would I do if I had only six months to live?

7. How will I keep learning?

8. If I gave away all but five possessions, what would I keep?

9. What would I most like to learn?

10. Who do I most love?

11. What is the greatest adventure I desire?

12. What do I want to be remembered for?

NEXT ARTICLE: The One Question that Ignites It All

14Jan 2015

Want to get more out of every work day?Screen Shot 2015-01-10 at 10.26.22 AM

Have a specific reason to go to work.

It could be your life purpose, or your professional purpose. And good for you if you have both.

But it could be as simple as “this is the one thing I want to get done” or “the person with whom I most need to connect.”

Showing up with no particular focus is an invitation for others to impose their focus on you.

Don’t overthink it. This isn’t a zen koan or deep meditation.

Simply figure out why you’re going in to work each day.

07Jan 2015

Ken is enthralled by a creative graphic artist. Since he isn’t successful getting anyone to use his professionalskills services, he ponies up money he can’t afford to redesign all his marketing materials. Nothing has changed except “the look.”

Jill decides it is time she get a promotion. What is her first investment? She buys four new expensive dresses.

Does she need to look professional at work? Of course.

Should that be her first investment? Of course not.

Robert has started a landscaping business. He is eking out a meager profit which he instantly spends on CRM software more complex and expensive than he needs.

He believes he is investing in his business.

He’s not.

What do these individuals have in common?

Average performers first invest in stuff. Extraordinary performers first invest in skills.

Skills are foundational; stuff is ancillary. The best stuff won’t help someone without good skills.
Stuff is easy to acquire. Skills are hard to acquire.
Skills are hard to acquire. They take time and effort, but the long-term payoff always exceeds the short term investment.
Stuff is sexy. Developing skills isn’t.

Stuff is gained with dollars. Skills are gained by discipline.

Stuff creates an immediate but false sense of progress. Skills create an ongoing and real sense of progress.
“Invest in yourself” is an aphorism too often taken for granted. And I think it is incomplete.

To real students of the game, the mandate is this: Invest in yourself first.
The stuff comes later.

06Jan 2015

5-friends-banner-mark-sanborn

Five best-selling authors, Speaker Hall of Fame recipients, internationally-acclaimed business consultants and best buddies give their insights on business and life.


From Joe Calloway:

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1. Spend more time with your kids. Nothing but good can come from it.
2. Stop waiting for someone else to “fix it.” Go fix it yourself.
3. Read more books.
4. Watch less TV.
5. Have that conversation you’ve been avoiding.
6. Don’t waste time with people you can’t stand.
7. Stay in touch with your friends. That’s something that has made each of the 5 Friends happier for a couple of years now.
8. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing wrong. (Then do it better.)
9. Focus on what’s most important and stop wasting time on the unimportant.
10. Simplify. Stop making things more complicated than they need to be.
11. Stop having to be “right” and having to make the other guy “wrong.”
12. Stop hoping that person (you know who I’m talking about) will somehow miraculously change. Take action.
13. Say “no” to the things you know damned well you need to say “no” to.
14. Stop whining about what’s wrong. Start making it right.
15. Get outside more.
16. Never drink cheap wine.
17. Consider getting a dog.
18. Try some Jefferson’s Reserve.
19. Read and listen to people with whom you usually disagree.
20. Let it go.

Joe Calloway helps great companies get even better. www.JoeCalloway.com.


From Mark Sanborn:

mark-headshot

Stop worrying and replace it with concern.

Worry is a negative emotion about what might happen that you can do nothing about.

Concern is a useful emotion about what you can do about what might happen.

Much if not most of what we worry about never happens, but the worry takes a heavy psychological and physiological toll.

Concern focuses on what you can do to avoid something bad or create something good. It focuses on “what” not “if.”

Use income taxes as an example. Some people worry about getting audited. That’s a waste of time. The IRS will decide whether or not you get audited.

Concern prevents you from taking sketchy deductions. Concern is why you keep good records. Concern motivates you to make sure you have a good tax professional. All of those things you control.

Worry is often caused by stupid or inappropriate things we’ve done. Once those things are done, worry doesn’t help. But concern for potential consequences should keep us from doing stupid or inappropriate things in the future.

So stop fretting over what you don’t control and do everything in your effort to control what you can.

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 www.marksanborn.com.


From Randy Pennington:

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I think most of us would do a lot better next year if we were completely honest with ourselves on three questions:

  1. What exactly does “better” mean to you?
  2. What are your strengths, limitations, and current realities that will affect your ability to be better?
  3. What are you willing to sacrifice and do to achieve your vision of better?

Contrary to traditional thinking on goal setting, you can hit a target that you don’t see. It is called blind luck.

Never turn down good luck, but the better plan is to at least set a target. The clearer you are the better, but even a general idea that sends you in the right direction beats nothing.

We generally avoid telling ourselves the truth questions 2 and 3.There are some things that will never happen – like me playing basketball in the NBA. And, there are other things that we say we want, but we know that we’ll never do the work or make the necessary sacrifices.

Nothing we want really ever changes until we tell ourselves the truth. So if you want 2015 to be better, start by being brutally and relentlessly honest about those three questions.

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


From Scott McKain:

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The best advice I’ve heard for how to create a better 2015 comes from my friend, Jim Cathcart, and his brilliant question:  “How would the person I’d like to become do what I’m about to do?”

Most of us do things in the manner that we have previously acted.  Jim’s question moves us to consider a different alternative: how would the person I’d like to become manage her time, finances, or activities?
This also compels us to consider another question:  Who is the person I’d like to become?

For example, how fit is the person that you want to become?  If you don’t have your health, little else matters – and, it’s something we frequently take for granted.

It was a question I asked myself last year – therefore, I bought an UP band, and set a goal to walk 10,000 steps daily.  While I didn’t achieve that standard every day, I did most days.  I have more energy and feel better in January 2015 than I did a year ago as a result. You can do the same.

Your key to 2015? Define the person you’d like to become – plan from that perspective – then, take action like he or she would!

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


From Larry Winget:

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I believe you already know what you can do so next year will be better than last year.  Instead, I want you to focus on what you should STOP doing:

Stop spending major time on minor things.  Most of the things that take up the bulk of your day could just as easily be skipped with little or no consequences. Focus on doing the activities that have big consequences.

Stop being a wimp. Know what you believe in and stand up for it. Do this with your kids, coworkers, friends and government.  In other words, grow a pair.

Stop letting passion run your business and use some facts instead.  The fact is you need to be better at what you do, regardless of how good you are at it now. The fact is your customer only cares about the value you bring to them, so bring more value.  The fact is you are in business to be profitable. Your heart will confuse these facts – use your head instead.

Stop caring. Stop caring what others think and say about you.

Stop living to make others happy and start living to make yourself happy.

Stop making excuses.

Stop compromising.

Enough said.

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 www.LarryWinget.com.

29Dec 2014

1. What are you going to say “no” to this year?new years questions

2. What is the most important thing you plan to learn?

3. What habitual time waster will you eliminate?

4. Which relationships, personal and professional, will you focus on improving?

5. What one thing will you do extraordinarily well to create the greatest success in your work?

23Dec 2014

5-friends-banner-mark-sanborn

Five best-selling authors, Speaker Hall of Fame recipients, internationally-acclaimed business consultants and best buddies give their insights on business and life.


From Larry Winget:

larry-winget-headshot

Mine should be called what I relearned this year:

Time spent with friends is worth every minute and every dollar invested. A few days, a few bucks, a few great meals, some good whiskey, along with some lies and laughs will do wonders for you.

Time spent with family is more important than money spent on family. Hamburgers on the grill, bedtime stories with the grandkids, s’mores in the backyard, talking about life, politics, books and movies is IT. Your kids won’t remember what you bought them but they will never forget the time you spent with them.

Life is short and getting shorter. I’ve had too many friends and family die this year. It happens as you get older. The lesson is to appreciate every minute with them. Tell them you love them. It’s awkward sometimes, but words matter so get it said.

I’m not an easy man. I am fully aware of it. (Not a new lesson but one I am reminded of every day.) I appreciate anyone who can love me in spite of it. Chances are that you’re no treat either. Be nice to the people who are willing to put up with you.

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 www.LarryWinget.com.


From Joe Calloway:

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What I learned in 2014 is the same lesson I’ve been working on for a long time:  say no.  Say no early and often.  Say no to most of what comes along.  The more you say no the more effective and efficient you’ll be, the happier you’ll be, the less stressed you’ll be.

I always try to remember what Warren Buffet said: “’The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

To me, that’s not just about success in business, although it most definitely holds true for me in my business.  In my life, saying no has been the key to being happier.

Some of the things I say no to include…doing work that I don’t enjoy (I said yes to that for far too many years), traveling too much,  doing business with jerks, and spending time with negative people who suck the energy right out of you.

No to bullies.

No to cheap wine.

No to people who don’t know the meaning of real friendship.

In 2014 I also learned, once again, the value of my friendship with the four guys that are on this blog with me.

Joe Calloway helps great companies get even better. www.JoeCalloway.com.


From Mark Sanborn:

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It is more accurate to say that the most important insight of the year for me was what I relearned.  Sometimes old lessons are more valuable than new ones.

The lesson? The power of simplifying. Those who read me regularly know I am a fan of William of Ockham. He was a scholastic philosopher and theologian who died over 600 years ago but his wisdom speaks through the ages: makes things as simple as possible but no simpler.

Complexity will always be with us; the enemy is unnecessary complexity.

Once you’ve simplified, you are best equipped to act.

There are likely six to eight activities in your business that create the majority of your revenue and success. Yet the other 143 activities distract and interfere.

Once you’ve simplified—your business model, your to-do list, your priorities—you can then use the power of focus to move forward boldly, quickly and effectively.

You’ve heard the old saw that “good is enemy of best.” It’s true. We can get caught up doing lots of good things and run out of time to do what’s best, most enjoyable and more important.

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 www.marksanborn.com.


From Randy Pennington:

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A lot of the stuff I learned in 2014 is interesting but not particularly important in the grand scheme of life. For instance, I learned to use a new piece of software that created the graphical video on the home page of my new website (www.penningtongroup.com in case you are interested). Last week I learned that the laptop I bought last year does 95% of the functions of the new one I thought about buying this year.

And that brings me to the important stuff I learned this year. One of the most important is that you have to be conscious and intentional about identifying and acting on the lessons you learned that are truly important for your life and your career.

I also learned that I must be vigilant with my focus and time to prevent being distracted by the immediate at the expense of the important. I learned – again – that making sacrifices for the people and things you love isn’t an inconvenience. It is a responsibility and a privilege. And over one memorable weekend with four friends, I learned that your true friends put up with your crap without every complaining. It was a great year for learning.

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


From Scott McKain:

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It’s amazing to me how five individually successful guys who — despite their common careers and friendship – have varied personal circumstances, vast differences in hobbies, family situations, and other dissimilarities — and live thousands of miles apart from one another — end this year with such similar thoughts.

It’s not what we learned…it’s what we re-learned that mattered.

This year was also one with a milestone birthday that motivated me to re-think what is important.  I realized that friends are the family you choose – not an original thought from me; but, an important idea, nonetheless.  Therefore, I made a decision to spend more time with friends – and less time with acquaintances.

That’s not a choice I would’ve made at 30, when I was “building my network” and “expanding my sphere of influence.”  Now, it’s more rewarding when a close colleague responds to what I write and how I think than it is to have lots of sales on Amazon.  It’s friends that count.

I made time to stare at the ocean, play fetch with my dog, have great dinners with my wife, and connect deeply with good friends.  That’s a hell of a lesson from a damn good year.

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

22Dec 2014

“Questions are the creative acts of intelligence.”  Frank Kindgonquestion mark

Are you a leader on autopilot? You’re aware of what you do each day, but you’re not sure why you do it. You wonder if you’ll have the energy to face the next big leadership challenge, or you feel like you haven’t grown much in the past several years. Maybe you lack role models or mentors to help you in your journey.

Does that describe you?

Much of leadership is done at the tactical level. The focus is on the “what:” what to do, what problems to solve and what opportunities to pursue.

Why?  How? Who? These are the harder questions leader ask. And the hardest of those questions are the ones that go deepest, that get to the heart and soul of leadership. They are both philosophical and strategic, and provide more important insight.

Leadership, like life, can be spent skimming along the surface. It can be difficult if not painful to dig deeper into the motivations and philosophies that make leadership meaningful. But that is the work that is required for the rich rather than the cheap experience.

If you want to go deeper and further in your leadership experience, here are four questions you need to answer:

Why do I want to lead?

Aspiring leaders–students and ambitious employees–call me regularly to ask me for advice on how to lead. Before I answer, I ask them: why do you want to lead?

The “why?” should always precede the “what?” and “how to.”

If you don’t have a compelling reason to lead, others probably won’t have a compelling reason to follow.

There are many reasons to pursue leadership. Unfortunately, wanting to be a leader isn’t enough. Leading–doing the work of leadership–is much harder than having the title of “leader.” You can be elected the president of a club but if it rarely meets and you invest little effort, you aren’t really leading.  True leadership isn’t about status, but results; it isn’t what you’re called, but what you do.

A clear leadership purpose creates three payoffs:

1. It motivates. A higher purpose is the fuel for your leadership efforts. Goals alone don’t motivate you; purpose propels.

2. It focuses. You have a sense of priorities, avoid distractions and don’t waste time on those things that don’t serve that greater purpose.

3. It provides resilience. Purpose creates staying power when you meet resistance. Lacking a compelling purpose, many fold when they encounter difficulties and setbacks. Purpose creates leaders that last.

What kind of leader do I want to be?

I believe the principals of good leadership never change, but they can and are applied uniquely by different leaders. Substance is a given for effective leadership but style is a personal choice. Have you given any thought to the kind of leader you want to be?

Authenticity is about being who you appear to be. It is congruency between public presentation and perception and personal beliefs and behaviors.

Steve Jobs was famous for his intense focus on product. When you think of Mother Theresa, you think of her love for people. The founders of Hewlett Packard created an amazing process and it became known as the HP Way. And when it comes to profit, there are many contemporary leaders to choose from. It wasn’t that any of these examples focused exclusively on these areas (with the arguable exception of Jobs), but that while all were leaders of great substance, their style and legacy were a result of the kind of leader they chose to be.

What unites all these different types of leaders? Their ability to create results. Style never replaces substance, but it has the power to leverage or diminish it.

Choose carefully what kind of leader you desire to be and craft it carefully.

Who will I follow?

Leader are rarely developed in isolation. We all emulate to learn. If we emulate effective leaders, we become effective leaders. Emulate the wrong kind of leaders, and we imprint negative behaviors.

You can learn from a bad leader (what not to do), but emulation is about acting like or performing as the leader you follow.

Choosing who you follow determines both how effectively you use your time and talent to contribute and the lessons that you learn. (And it is very difficult to learn the real lessons of leadership outside of a living example.)

An expert in spotting counterfeit money was once asked by a journalist how difficult it was to study all the different types of counterfeit currency in the world. He responded, “I don’t study the counterfeit. I study the authentic and that makes any counterfeits easy to spot.” While there are some lessons to be learned from bad leadership, we have more to gain by studying the authentic.

How will I continue to improve?

Sad is the day when any of us think we are as good as we will ever be. Ultimately no one can force you to keep improving, but it is one of the great opportunities and challenges of life and leadership.

The better you become, the harder it is to get better. Improvements in your thinking and skills going from being big jumps in your early years to tiny increments the longer you lead.

Before identifying how you’ll get better, it is important to deal with your motivations. The intrinsic reasons include a commitment to being the best you can be, the excitement of new challenges and a desire to make a bigger positive impact.

Extrinsic motivations include things like competition within your organization for advancement and competition from other firms who desire your customers and marketshare.

I could build a very solid case for the importance of your ongoing improvement, but it is more effective to let you build your own. You will improve in proportion to your reasons and motivations. If you don’t truly desire to improve, you won’t. Important growth doesn’t happen by accident.

Growth in your leadership abilities requires at least three things: 1. study, 2. example and/or mentors and 3. experience. You can’t think your way to leadership skills without leading something any more than you can think your way to riding a bike without ever getting on the bike.

The best leaders continue to get better.

You’ll never be the best you’ll ever be. You can only be the best you are right now.

Award winning Matthew McConaughey offered a unique perspective at the 2014 Oscars. Here’s what he said in his acceptance speech for best actor:

Here is an excerpt from Matthew McConaughey’s acceptance speech for best:

“… when I was 15 years old, I had a very important person in my life come to me and say “who’s your hero?” And I said, “I don’t know, I gotta think about that. Give me a couple of weeks.” I come back two weeks later, this person comes up and says “who’s your hero?” I said, “I thought about it. You know who it is? It’s me in 10 years.” So I turned 25. Ten years later, that same person comes to me and says, “So, are you a hero?” And I was like, “not even close. No, no, no.” She said, “Why?” I said, “Because my hero’s me at 35.” So you see every day, every week, every month and every year of my life, my hero’s always 10 years away. I’m never gonna be my hero. I’m not gonna attain that. I know I’m not, and that’s just fine with me because that keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.”

Leadership impact, effectiveness and success are a moving target that only committed and thoughtful leaders can consistently hit. Investing the effort to truthfully answer the four questions above will give you the information and inspiration you need to be counted among the best and continue to get better.

16Dec 2014

Everyone makes a difference.neutrality is a myth

Not everyone realizes that. Most people grew up being told they could make a difference, not that they do make a difference. As a result, some people believe they can choose to be neutral, making neither a positive nor a negative difference.

In practice, that just isn’t so.

Have you recently encountered a person who didn’t seem engaged? Perhaps he or she seemed wrapped up in his own private world, and you were left with the impression that you weren’t important enough to gain admittance. Don’t you hate to be ignored that way?

If you were to press that person, he might tell you he was simply being “neutral.” He might not have been helpful or interested in you, but he wasn’t doing you any harm.

But to you, this person’s behavior came across as indifference, and that is the number one killer of business loyalty and damaging to all relationships.

In practical terms, neutrality is a myth.

You can’t engage the world in a meaningful way by being “neutral.” The perception on the part of others will be that they don’t matter enough for you to engage with.

I’ll state my point again for emphasis: everyone makes a difference. The choice we all have is whether we want to make a positive difference or a negative one. The important question isn’t, “Did you make a difference today?” The important question is, “What kind of difference did you make?”

For instance, have you made a positive or a negative difference to:

—Your client or customer, who was in a pinch and needed immediate attention?

—Your son or daughter, who wanted you to read to him or her when you were busy preparing for the next business day?

—The stranger on the way to work who said good morning to you without getting a response?

The positive or negative impact you have on each person above vary only in magnitude. The principle is the same. When you choose not to make a positive difference, you almost always make a negative one.

Our actions and behaviors matter more than we realize. What we choose to do can improve, even if only in some small way, the quality of another person’s day or life.

You decide what kind of difference maker you’ll be. Choose to make a bigger, bolder and better difference today in your personal and professional life.

(To find out more about The Fred Factor and how a postal carrier chose to be a powerful difference maker, go here.)