Are You a Lazy Leader?

There has never been a time when it was easier to find excellent information on what it takes to be an effective Authentic Leader. There are many outstanding TedTalks and books and blogs on developing yourself as a leader. Much of the content available online is free. You only need to be willing to invest in yourself. 

Unfortunately, as the saying goes, too often some of that content falls under the category of “you get what you pay for.” Along with the excellent content there is stuff provided by hacks who have no business talking about leadership. Actually, they have no business talking at all. 

I came across one such blog post a few weeks ago. The author made the suggestion that leaders should NOT take the time to get to know their people personally. Getting to know someone on a personal level is not necessary. They said you are better off keeping to yourself than wasting time talking with people about non-work topics.

They said connecting to people on a personal level could be misleading and cause them to think you cared about them. It could even lead to the “disastrous” thought that you like them. 

At first I thought the author was being facetious. But as I continued reading it became clear that his recommendation was serious. It also became clear that has was a knucklehead. 

But I’m sure some people in leadership positions agreed with what he said. That’s most likely because while they may be in a leadership position they are certainly not leaders. They are too lazy to invest the time required to Authentically Lead. They won’t invest time to know, understand, and appreciate the people they are supposedly leading. 

Authentic Leaders know that their people want to connect with and get know their leaders. Authentic Leaders get to know each person on their team, their history, their goals, and their aspirations. They understand getting to know their people on a personal level helps them establish rapport and make deeper connections. People generally want to know that those they work with care about them and respect them for their contribution to the team’s success.

Leaders make decisions and judgments about their people that have a tremendous impact on their lives. Authentic Leaders know they can’t do that well without knowing those people. By the way, I should point out that making judgments about a person’s ability to contribute to a team’s success is not the same as judging them as a human being. Authentic Leaders don’t judge people, they make judgments. If you struggle to understand the difference then you’ll likely struggle to lead as well.

It doesn’t take a huge investment of time to know the people you lead but it does require an intentional investment. Don’t think you can learn about your people in your free time…cause there ain’t no such thing as free time for an Authentic Leader. 

Instead set aside 5 minutes EVERY DAY to conduct an “Innerview” with one of your team members. Not an “interview.” An interview is what you do when you’re hiring someone. An “Innerview” is what you do when you want to understand someone enough that you can help them grow, as a person and as a team member. You ask questions to gain an “inner” view of who the person really is. Their goals, personal and professional. Their challenges and struggles, again, both personal and professional. 

Yes, you can do that in 5 minutes a day. IF you do it everyday. Pick a different person each day, if you have a small team you may have several conversations with each of them a month. If you have a very large team then dispatch other leaders in your organization to conduct “innerviews” of their own. 

Knowing your people is vital to helping them grow and develop. If you can’t invest 5 minutes a day to do that then you might be a lazy leader. Too lazy in fact to Authentically Lead.

On a another subject…Donald Trump and Joe Biden both say they “never miss a video from LeadToday on Twitter!” Well… they would say that if they had ever heard of me, or if one of them hadn’t been kicked off Twitter. The videos they aren’t talking about are something new I’m trying on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than the million or so people who regularly follow me on Twitter. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.

Who Are You Accountable To?

Most people are not fans of being held accountable. We kinda like to do our thing when and where we want to do it. I get that because lots of time I’m like that too. 

The challenge is, EVERYBODY is more productive when they are held accountable. That’s a fact. Many times simply knowing someone is going to ask you, “did you get that done?” Is enough to spur us to action. 

That type of “motivation,” whether it comes from a parent, a spouse, or a boss can be the difference between accomplishing something and merely thinking about accomplishing something. And that’s not bad. 

But it’s not that good either. 

What’s better is holding ourselves accountable. Pushing ourselves. Motivating ourselves. Taking an honest look at our progress towards our goals. 

Here’s a list of areas to evaluate yourself to determine your level of self-accountability. Score yourself from 1 to 5 with 5 being always and 1 being never. 

  1. I create my own process and timeline for getting things done…ON TIME. 
  2. I know when to ask for permission and when I can proceed on my own. 
  3. I know how to find the information I need to get things done.
  4. I know who I can reach out to for help if I need it and I’m not afraid to ask for the help I need.
  5. I do what is expected of me even when no one is watching. 
  6. I seek out feedback from a mentor or coach to make certain I’m staying on track.
  7. I know what helps me remain motivated and focused. 
  8. I can push past barriers, even unexpected ones, to get things done. 
  9. I have methods and tools to keep myself on track. (Just an FYI, the ability to set “focus time” on Apple devices is an awesome tool)
  10. I absolutely own my results and outcomes and never try to shift responsibility when things go wrong. 

So how did you do? You need a score of 45 or better to be considered highly accountable to yourself. If you’re at 25 or below you’re gonna need somebody riding you like a horse to get stuff done. 

Self-accountability and success go hand in hand. If you’re not willing to drive yourself on the journey to success then you best be prepared to go where someone else decides to take you. 

Now, go get something done! 

On a another subject…I’m trying something new on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than the million or so people who regularly follow me on Twitter. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can perhaps help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.

I Know Enough

As someone who is dedicated to trying to help others learn and grow “I know enough” are shocking words to me. Especially when they come from a relatively young person. I’ve been shocked a couple of times when hearing those words lately. 

I sold training courses for a long time and in that role I heard those words often. It was a common refrain from many “prospects” I encountered. I didn’t really work hard to overcome that particular objection because I knew the classes were all going to be full anyway. I also knew if I did someone influence that individual to enroll in a class they would be a “tough teach” for whoever was teaching the class. 

There were always plenty of people hungry to grow who knew they had a lot to learn, so I focused most of my energy helping them do just that.

With the speed that the marketplace is changing these days there has never been more for a sales professional to learn. With the explosion of communication tools available today there has never been more for everyone to learn. With the ever expanding list of so called “smart connected products” there has never been more that we all needed to learn. 

And yet there remain a significant number of people who feel they have nothing left to learn. 

That attitude, will cause them to fall behind the people who are open minded enough to realize that there will always be more to learn. That unwarranted self assuredness will cause them to miss out on tools that could help them live better lives. It will be the reason their relationships are not as solid as people who are willing to learn. People who are willing to admit that they don’t know it all will always have an advantage over those who believe they in fact, do know it all. 

The most successful people learn something new almost every single day. It’s never been easier to do that than it is today. Whether it’s by listening to Podcasts, taking a class, online or in person, watching a TED Talk, reading relevant blog posts or a good old fashioned book, the information you need to learn and grow is ready and waiting for you. Often with no financial investment. You only need to be willing to invest your time. 

Some smart person once said, “If you’re willing to learn no one can stop you. If you’re not willing to learn no one can help you.”

If there’s even a hint inside your head that you know enough, get that thought the heck out of there now. Replace it with some new fresh information today. You will be glad you did one day. 

Continuous learning is the surest path to continuous success. Stay on that path and you’ll be glad you did everyday. 

On a another subject…I’m trying something new on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than the million or so people who regularly follow me on Twitter. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can perhaps help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.

A Vision and a Plan to Achieve It are Two Different Things

It’s interesting when I ask people about their future plans. They tell me things like “my plan is to be debt free in three years.” I respond by saying that’s a terrific vision, so what’s the plan to get there?

I often see a deer in the headlights kind of look. 

That indicates to me that most people don’t understand that merely having a vision does absolutely nothing to ensure you achieve it. A vision of your future come from dreams and the attainment of that vision comes from planning.

Almost all people believe having goals is important. Many actually have written their goals down. Few however, have any kind of a formal plan for how, and when, they will achieve those goals. They can only hope it will somehow magically happen. 

I suppose it’s possible but personally I’ve never seen hoping for magic actually lead to success. 

The development of a true plan requires a complete examination of your starting point, your “As Is” or current situation. You need to be very honest here and not sugar coat the starting point on your journey to success. If you try to fool yourself in this step every other part of your plan will be wrong. You’ll demotivate yourself before you even have a chance for success.

You also need to have a clear vision of your future. Where you are going and why you want to go there. This is the “Should Be” part of your plan. Keep in mind, this is not your goals, this is where you end up when your goals are achieved. 

Now that you have that end result in mind you need to decide what you’re willing to give up to have it. Life is a trade off. Many people think in terms of what they are willing to do to achieve their vision. They fill their plans with all the things they will do to make it happen.

But they forget they only have 1440 minutes a day. If they are busy people most of that time is already used up. If you’re going to do new things to achieve your vision then you’ll almost certainly have to let some of the things you had been doing go. Build those into your plan as well. Be realistic about the time you’re willing to commit, failing to do that will result in the failure of your plan. 

Now you can set some goals. These goals are the stepping stones on your path to success. You’ll want some short term goals, some medium term goals and some long range goals. All the goals must align, what that means is that the accomplishment of each short term goal should get you closer to one of your medium term goals. 

The accomplishment of each medium term goal should get you closer to a long range goal. The accomplishment of every goal should move you closer to your actual vision. Be careful when setting goals, if they stretch you too far you could give up on them. If they don’t stretch you far enough then you’ll likely never see that vision come to life. Be realistic!

Now the truly important part. The timetable! When will you begin? I mean exactly when will you begin? Spell this out down to the minute. Not next month or next week. The plan must say I will begin at 8:03am on Monday the 27th of June. Be precise. 

Every goal needs a precise start time and achievement date and time. I’ll begin working towards this particular goal on July 13th at 11:51am and I’ll have accomplished it by August 21st at 2:02pm. 

Your plan also must include the ultimate accomplishment date. When EXACTLY will the vision come to life. 

Imagine the motivation that comes from knowing exactly what you’re doing everyday and exactly why you’re doing it. That’s powerful. 

Now, here’s where most plans go off the rails. “Stuff” as they say happens. And that’s perfectly okay because part of your plan includes periodic reviews to adjust the time frames for the goals and maybe even adjust some of the goals. The most common mistake in planning is tossing the plan in the trash as soon as the first unplanned obstacle pops up. 

Adjust, adapt, innovate and keep moving towards your ultimate vision.

The most successful people are steadfast in the pursuit of their goals but they are flexible in that pursuit. Let the “stuff” happen, but don’t get stuck in it. 

On a another subject…I’m trying something new on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than the million or so people who regularly follow me on Twitter. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can perhaps help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.

Leading Through Change

This may come as a surprise to some people but change is hard for most of us. It’s also hard to explain exactly why but for those of us who struggle with change we prefer “things” to stay as they are. At least things that affect us personally. 

I for one am not completely against all change, I know lots of people who I wish would change. Change how they talk, what they think, how they look…I mean who doesn’t think the world would be a better place if everyone was exactly like me…or maybe you. 🙂

Since that’s unlikely to ever happen it would benefit all of us if we were a bit more open to change and the differences that come with it. 

Leaders drive change…or at least they should. But many leaders don’t realize how difficult change can be for their people. The leader knows it is a good idea (primarily because it’s their idea) but their people’s initial reaction is frequently one of loss. 

Leaders need to understand that the majority of people feel a sense of loss whenever change happens in their lives. Even if something better is around the corner it’s human nature to focus on the familiar thing we won’t have anymore. People who can’t let go of the familiar, even to receive something better, limit their potential for growth. 

Leaders would do well to keep that in mind and be sure they aren’t just ordering change. They need to be selling change. Especially the benefit of the change. If you’re in a leadership position and you don’t think it’s your responsibility to sell change then you may be in a leadership position but you’re not leading.

If you’re in a leadership position and you can’t think of a benefit to the change then you shouldn’t be changing. And the reason for the change should never be “because I said so.” 

Winston Churchill said, “There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction.” Changes made by an organization’s leadership team should be in the direction of the organization’s vision and mission. When it is then the change becomes much easier to sell. If it isn’t then please reread the previous paragraph. 

Authentic Leadership requires a leader to be aware of their team’s struggles with change and communicate the need for change with compassion and empathy. Anything less and the leader will potentially create followers who work to make sure the change isn’t in the right direction. 

On a another subject…I’m trying something new on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than the million or so people who regularly follow me on Twitter. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can perhaps help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.

You’ll Never Know Unless…

Twenty years ago my wife, Vicki, and I lost 9 immediate family members in a 6 week period. We each lost a parent along with aunts and uncles. It got to the point we were almost terrified to answer the phone. Vicki’s mom was in Hospice Care for a short time and we went to visit everyday. She was in a wonderful place and they allowed us to bring our dog Amanda in with us. Amanda was a huge hit with all the residents. 

She had no training in being a comfort dog but she seemed to have a sense about people who needed her. She would sit forever and let them pet her and just brighten their day a bit. 

We continued to visit the residents after Vicki’s mom had passed and the residents looked forward to seeing us. Well, okay, they likely didn’t care if we showed up or not but they certainly looked forward to seeing Amanda. 

But they did let us talk with them and that turned out to be an amazing experience. I asked things like what was the greatest invention in their lifetimes. Almost all of the residents, most of whom were in the 70’s and 80’s said there were many. But one “invention” changed almost everything about how they lived their lives. That invention was the telephone. I suspect almost all of us take our phones for granted but imagine life without it. Actually, imagine a day without it. 

The conversations were amazing. I also asked about regrets they had and as you might expect the answers varied a lot. But there was a consistent theme with all of the answers. That theme was that they had very few regrets about things they had said or done in their lives. Their regrets centered around the things they wish they had said or done. 

With all that my family had been going through those regrets really rang true with me. I had meant, many many times, to tell my mother-in-law just how grateful I was for how she raised the women who had become the center of my universe. I never got around to actually saying the words cause there was always tomorrow. Even in hospice care I stupidly figured there was always tomorrow. I’ll always regret that. 

We eventually had to stop going for visits because after walking past the bird aviary day after day Amanda finally noticed it one day. It’s a long story but let’s just say there was more action in a few minutes than most residents had seen in the last year. 

But the lessons I learned have stuck with me through the years. The biggest one is to stop worrying about the stupid things you’ve done because you won’t remember them in your 70’s and 80’s. What you will remember are things you thought about doing but for one reason or another you didn’t do. 

I say more now and do more now than I would have if I hadn’t met those wonderful people. When I asked for their best piece of advice they said; “don’t get to our age still wondering “what if.” I’ve tried to take that advice to heart. 

You’ll never know, none of us can ever know, how things will turn out, unless we try. Unless we actually do the things we’re thinking we should do and unless we actually say the things we know need to be said our lives will be a “what if” life. 

Later in our lives “what if” will be the saddest words we’ll ever speak. So do or say “that thing” today and you won’t be among the people speaking them. 

On a another subject…I’m trying something new on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than the million or so people who regularly follow me on Twitter. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can perhaps help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.

Nothing Works Until You Do

I remember back in the days I was selling Dale Carnegie Training. It can be argued that the Dale Carnegie Organization provides the best training in the world. It is most often argued by those people and companies who sell a competing training program. It is seldom argued by people who have completed a Dale Carnegie Course. 

What can’t be argued is that Dale Carnegie is the oldest training company doing business today. They also have by far the most “graduates” around the world. Despite many companies trying, Carnegie classes have never been successfully duplicated by another company. 

Yet when I was working with Dale Carnegie I refused to guarantee that successful completion of a course would result in the desired outcome. That’s because even though I knew the training would work I had no idea if the participant would. 

Many people who participated in a Dale Carnegie course viewed it as a kind of “magic bullet.” They assumed merely completing the course would be sufficient to experience positive growth and change. 

I remember working with one person from a large window manufacturing company. He was fairly desperate to improve his public speaking skills and was considering the Dale Carnegie Course to help him in that area. He had a lot of questions about the course. Particularly about the requirement that participants give a short presentation during each session. He asked if we had a course that could help him learn to overcome his fear of public speaking without having to actually speak in front of a group. 

I sensed he really wanted to get over that fear but he wasn’t ready to put in the effort required to do it. He wanted the course to do it for him. I declined to sell him the course.

I still see lots of people like that guy. They are willing to invest money or time in training programs but not the effort required to make the training work. They want something to change in their lives without being willing to change anything about themselves.

To those people I would say stop wasting your time and money on training programs. The best trainers and the best content will not work unless you’re personally willing to also work. If you lack the commitment to improve yourself you’re simply not going to improve. You are the only person who can make a long-lasting change to your life or career circumstances. 

You can’t buy confidence. You can’t buy the ability to sell more, you can only buy a course to help you develop those skills on your own. 

There is not a professional or personal development program in the world that will work if you’re not willing to work yourself. Not one. If you find someone trying to sell you a program who says their program “does the work for you” then you should know they are taking advantage of your laziness and lack of commitment to self-improvement. 

If you want to get better at anything then FIRST commit to put in the effort. If you’re unwilling to do that then keep your tuition in your pocket, it’ll do you just as much good there.

On a another subject…I’m trying something new on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than the million or so people who regularly follow me on Twitter. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can perhaps help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.