Archive for January, 2007

Reputation vs. Character

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

Everyone is excited about the super-bowl game this coming weekend. All eyes are focused on the two quarterbacks – how they are handling the pressure and how each of them is preparing for sunday. Peyton Manning has had so many things said about him in the past, chiefly, he can’t ever win the big one. Rex Grossman has been dubbed, ‘the worst quarterback in super-bowl history’. Each of these quarterbacks are handling the media frenzy with class and dignity. The stories of both of these quarterbacks can teach us a lot when it comes to how reputation and character can shape personal experiences.

Reputation is simply what people think about a thing or person. Character is what the thing or person really is. When it comes to human performance therefore, character is the bedrock of achievement. Reputation is what precedes a thing while character is what outlasts the thing. Both Peyton and Rex have a great opportunity this coming weekend to stamp a mark that really clarifies who they are as individuals. Reputation changes but character does not. Reputation is like the shadow of a building. It moves in different directions throughout the day. Character on the other hand is like the building itself. It forever stays the same. 

Today, I’d like to encourage you to be more focused on your character rather than your reputation. Your character will outlast your reputation.

Seize or Surge … it’s progress that counts

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

I had a friend in college who had a lot of fun walking around campus and urging everyone to “carpe diem” – seize the day. For all the laughs and ridicules he got, his advice was awesome because many people tend to procrastinate instead of acting immediately. In order for us to attain the fulness of our objectives I’d like us to consider the joy of surging ahead. Consider this: 4 + 4 = 8; but 4 X 4 =16. That’s the difference between seizing and surging. Seizing the day enables us to make arithmetic progressions in life while surging enables us to make geometric progressions in life. It’s like making quantum leaps as opposed to taking baby steps. Bottom-line … are you making progress? 

Growth is not permanent

Sunday, January 28th, 2007

One of the most important things that must be grasped in life is that growth is not permanent. Many times we set a goal for accomplishment and once that goal is attained we sort of settle into a feeling that we have arrived. Best example of this is the diploma mentality. Most people stop learning and growing once their degree, diploma or certificate in whatsoever they are pursuing. The end result of this is that they slowly start losing most of what they had learnt. The key to continuos improvement in life is a commitment to never-ending personal growth. here are some growth keys for a better life:

Generate a passion for growth within yourself – Personal growth is not easy. It takes a special commitment to maintain consistent growth. The key to this is to make a personal decision for continuous growth. You have to decide that no matter what you will carve out time for your groth.

Read widely with a desire to expand your knowledge – Leaders are readers. In order to stay ahead of the pack, you must do what the pack doesn’t do. Few people read on a daily basis. What you do daily will decide who you become permanently. You have to read and listen to audio books daily.

Omit useless activities from your daily agenda – Personal growth goes hand-in-hand with time management. In order to develop yourself you must learn to discriminate wisely amongst activities. That’s the key to maintaining focus. Activity doesn’t necessarily equate to productivity.

Wear a whatever it takes attitude – I was watching Tiger Woods play golf on the final day of the 2007 Buick invitational which he won by two strokes for his seventh straight PGA tour win. Tiger has committed himself to continously improving his game. Nobody wears a whatever it takes attitude better than him. 

Treasure the company of others that are growing – Who you become in five years depends a lot on who you associate with today. Find people that are growing and share in their growth. Your environment should consist of people that are going in the same direction in which you are headed. That is the key to achievement.

Hammer-out a lifestyle of growth – Developing a lifestyle of growth is not easy. Once you set your eyes on growing, all sorts of obstacles will try and prevent you from attaining that goal. You have to “chisel” out a pathway of growth in your life.

Embrace these keys to growth and you will definitely attain more than you ever thought possible! 

Family first!

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

I’ve been unpacking in our new home and also thinking about how I will jump-start my start-up and continue sharing growth ideas with you. One thing that I have clearly settled in my mind is that family comes first. It’s been a great joy to give my family full priority and put everything else on the back-burner. In today’s world it is so easy to be bogged down with all our goals and objectives and forget that family should come first. I will be committing the next couple of days to establishing my family in our new city first. Keep visiting the site because I will pick up on blogging after finishing all my unpacking. Do spend some quality time with your family too! 

Creating opportunities

Friday, January 19th, 2007

We arrived in Cincinnati safe and sound yesterday. It’s so surreal for me because the city is located right in the middle of so many hills. The first thing that came to mind as I drove into teh city was Nelson Mandela’s quote, “After climbing one hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb”. This move to Ohio is a step towards the creation of new opportunity. It’s an opportunity for allowing what pumps blood through my veins to come to the fore. I know it’s going to take a while. Opportunities seldom grow on trees! We create our own opportunities by finding our own hills and climbing them, rather than climbing other people’s hills.

Making Adjustments

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

My initial goal was to be in Cincinnati by January 17th. Well, it’s the wee hours of the morning and we had to settle for spening the night in Indianapolis. Traveling with a baby has it’s own special considerations that I’d like to explore today. When you are traveling with others, teh journey becomes much slower. Most people can easily get from point A to point B by themselves easily. Many find it extremely difficult to take others with them on the journey. That’s what separates leaders from followers. As a leader, you’ve got to make adjustments that accomodate those that are following you. That’s the key to attaining your objective with them.

Create a roadmap

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

Our move to Cincinnati is taking us through a couple of states. What I did before we left was that I printed out directions from mapquest that I am using to guide us towards our final destination. Mapquest has become a popular tool for people seeking directions. It speaks to the need for creating roadmaps that provide direction in life. What’s your goal? Do you know how you will get there? Do you have a roadmap? What’s your strategy? To help you in developing a roadmap, please revisit my post on plotting your destiny.

Times of rapid change

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

Today we are setting off for Ohio. There’s so much I’ve been doing and will continue to do throughout the day to make this happen. This is a huge move and I’m excited. One thing that I’ve been thinking of throughout the day is the idea of succeeding through rapid changes. Moving from Omaha to Cincinnati in such short notice is a rapid change for my family. I think what’s been very helpful for me is them being able to see my passion for this. Approaching times of rapid change with passion and dedication is the key to rallying others to buy into your vision. It doesn’t hurt if your people see you sweat – that in itself might be the blessing of gaining commitment from them. Rapid changes are not easy and people need to see the passion and energy of their leader.

Motivating the troops

Monday, January 15th, 2007

Every day we are involved in objectives that make us realize that we cannot really do it on our own. Earlier today I started packing for my move east and I had to come up with ways to garner help from friends and colleagues. What came in handy for me was the knowledge I have of them. Motivating people to do something starts with knowing their individual likes and desires. Discover what your people like and you’ll be able to cultivate a “yes, let’s get it done attitude” in them. Oh … and my packing is complete!

Success is a Journey

Sunday, January 14th, 2007

My family and I are getting ready for the big move east. For quite a while we have considered starting the organization in Cincinnati and I’m thrilled that this opportunity has opened up. We will be setting of on our journey on the 16th. Nothing’s more exciting than knowing that we are laying the foundations of a secure future. It will be tricky keeping up with the blog over the next one or two weeks but I’ll make a solid effort. Today I’d like you to consider the fact that success is a journey, not a destination. I am moving to Ohio because I’m in a process of uncovering what could be, not because I will find success in Ohio. Success is a journey, not a destination. Don’t stop where you are. Learn all you can from all of life’s stopping points then plot your way forward.

On visions and dreams

Saturday, January 13th, 2007

Yesterday I had an opportunity to share my dream with some friends that I have known for a little over one year. I stopped short of outlining my vision. I have come to learn that most people are inspired by others dreams but it’s only a few who can be connected to a vision. All men have dreams but very few have vision. For dreams to have a chance at being a part of destiny they must be backed up with a solid vision that can be executed effectively. Dreams are born of hopes and desires while vision comes from foresight and passion. It is essential to have both because they work together in the manifestation of personal purpose and potential.

Two Key Questions:

1. What is your dream?

What is your greatest hope or aspiration? What do you yearn for earnestly? What do you secretly wish for yourself and those around you?

Dreams really are the cornerstone of life. Without dreams, life is meaningless. Dreams give substance to existence. They allow us to go beyond mediocre living to living with a zest for life. Dreams activate within us a willingness to embrace higher ideals worth striving for. Dreams are the bedrock of life.

2. What is your vision?

What do you imagine when you think about the future? What do you see yourself capable of achieving? If you had all the resources you wanted in the world, what would you do?

Visions give structure to life. They give form to dreams. Without vision life lacks power. Visions provide us with a framework for accomplishment. They enable us to go beyond living with zest to having a zealous pursuit that delivers results. Visions allow us to go from activity to productivity. 

The Marriage of Dreams and Vision … is the birth of purpose!!

Dreams + Vision = Purpose!!

What’s your purpose in life? What is the reason for your existence? Can you clearly define that which you would give your all in order to realize in life?

The Offspring of Dreams and Vision … is pure potential!!

Dreams X Vision = Potential!!

Every human being has the potential for greatness. In order to uncover your true potential, you have to allow your dreams to flourish and pursue a solid vision with purpose. You can do it! 

Empowering People to Lead Change

Friday, January 12th, 2007

When I was in college I was elected chairman of a club on campus that was composed of students who were eager to develop and grow their leadership. One of my very first tasks was to change certain initiatives and processes that the group had operated by. As I did this, I discovered that there were five key things that worked so well.

1. Communicating Clear Vision

Success in handling change boils down to how well the vision for change has been communicated. The vision needs to be rational and understandable to constituents. This brings about a sense of shared purpose and makes it easier to initiate actions to achieve that purpose.

2. Giving People Authority to Move in the New Direction

Once people have bought into the new vision, they need to be given the authority to implement it. Vision brings responsibility. Responsibility without authority causes frustration. People need to know that they have the authority to implement the new direction within clearly stated guidelines.

3. Aligning ‘Structures’ to the Vision

All the information that people recieve, the personnel that work with them and the systems that are used to drive the mission must be aligned to the vision. This ensures that any actions taken in implementing and executing the vision are not blocked. Vision is delicate and without a proper alignment of all structures, it can result in disaster. 

4. Providing the Right Skills and Attitudes

Nothing empowers people more than proper and relevant training. Without the right skills and attitudes people feel disempowered. Training should be built upon the current skills and attributes of your people. The focus should be on expanding them so that they can handle the change and lead it effectively. 

5. Confronting those who Undercut the Change

Nothing disempowers people the way a bad boss or manager can. Change causes friction but it can result in disaster when key people undercut it. When confronting such people start on a positive note. Clearly outline the problem and encourage a response. Show that you understand their position and explain why their actions are wrong. Indicate the desired action and reiterate the positive aspects of the person. 

I wish you success with all the change initiatives that you will be birthing and bringing to fruition. I’m eagerly looking forward to hearing about your success in using these strategies.

Handling Change

Thursday, January 11th, 2007

Change is a constant. You can’t step into the same river twice. People need to understand that change is part of life. Most people struggle with handling change because it causes the 3 D’s – discomfort, disruption and dislocation. A crucial part of the process of handling change will involve helping people handle the dis’s and get pluses out them. Let us explore how we can do that:

Discomfort – Change requires difficult adjustments by people. Adjustments can cause stress and bring tension to groups. In some cases change has been known to lead to depression in some people and a mutiny from others. Uncertainty about the results of the change can bring fatigue and frustration. The key to avoiding all this is to ensure that people know in advance what to expect and how to deal with it. The discomfort of change can be prevented by preparing people adequately for the coming changes.

Disruption – When significant changes are made, some people experience personal pain at the loss of familiar things to which they had become very attached. This can be a source of great trauma. Leaders can help people by allowing them to verbalize their sense of loss and grief, and then gently pointing them to the benefits of the change and the bright new future ahead of them.

Dislocation – Any change, whether it involves new strategies, new programs, new equipment, new work procedures, new facilities, new management practices or new leaders, disrupts an existing order and leads to discontinuity. In a time of change, leaders should frequently explain what is happening and keep their people informed. People will be more optimistic if they know the change is progressing successfully. Leaders should frequently communicate what steps have been initiated, what changes have been completed and what resulting improvements have occurred.

Handling these three dis’s appropriately will be the key to avoiding the dreaded dis of change – disaster! People must be helped through change seasons, otherwise they will see a lack of help as a sign of impending disaster within the group. In tomorrow’s blog I will address how you can empower people to lead the change process themselves.

The “Wow” vs. the “Now”

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

Earlier today I had a meeting at a local Panera Bread with Larry Bradley, founder of Kindred Minds Enterprises in Omaha. Nebraska. Larry has had a rich career in the army and is now stepping out into the speaking industry. He is the author of Neither Liberal nor Conservative be, a brilliant book that addresses polarized politics in the country. Please visit his website and take a look at what he has to offer – Kindred Minds Enterprises.

During our meeting I shared my vision for the Better Life Company with Larry and he was thrilled by the whole idea. One thing that Larry is doing so well is the transformation of vision into mission – moving from concept to execution. I picked his brain for almost two hours, logged onto the internet through Panera Bread’s wireless access and discussed a wide range of crucial elements that bring about organizational success, particularly in the start-up phase.

When I came back home I took some time to do my homework and revisit my meeting with him. As I sat in my living room thinking about it, I realized that I have a wow concept – my vision – but the true nature of my idea will only be revealed through the everyday execution of the now – my mission. I think it’s good that leadership experts in the recent past have highlighted the need for a solid overarching vision – Jim Collins calls it having a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). It would be great if more experts will go to the next level of clearly articulating the need for an impactful mission that is being executed with strategy and purpose. I refer to this as the difference between the “Wow” (Vision) and the “Now” (Mission).

At the Better Life Company we have clearly outlined both our vision and our mission. Our vision is to see a world in which people are fully empowered and are utilizing all their resources to empower others for a better life. Our mission, on the other hand, is to empower people with knowledge, skills and resources that will enlighten, encourage, equip, embolden and enable them to embody the better life. Our company philosophy can be found on the website through this link: Company Philosophy.  

Now, what makes our wow meaningful are the core vlaues that we embody at the company. Our core values come from the word PERFECT and are:

People: We value the dreams, hopes and ambitions of people. We will do our best to cultivate greatness in every single person we come into contact with.

Empowerment: We value the success of the individual. We will do our best to ensure that personal potential is multiplied.

Responsibility: We value our obligation to live up to our vision and mission. We will do our best to constantly and consistently pursue our goals.

Fun: We value happiness in life and at work. We will create ways and systems that ensure we are having fun in everything we do.

Excellence: We recognize our role as leaders in society. We will demonstrate a high degree of excellence in everything that we do.

Commitment: We value the trust of our consumers. We will do our very best to ensure that we not only meet but also exceed expectations.

Teamwork: We value the need to work to be interdependent. We will work together as a team across, functions, departments, businesses and cultures.

 

The “wow” for any organization must be tied to the “now”. What binds our wow to our now is our company credo. The Better Life Company Credo simply states:

At the Better Life Company we believe that the day will come when people will be judged not by their physical strength nor the size of their bank accounts, but by the quality of their lives; by their response to opportunities to live a better life; by their ability to use their physical, mental and spiritual resources to make a better world; by their concern for the disadvantaged and the disempowered and by their utilization of their gifts, talents and resources in a prudent manner so as to live productively and meet the needs of other people. Better Life Company is a contribution towards that day.  

Free Live Online Training!

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

My goal is to empower you with resources that will bring you vast progress in realizing the your full potential. One of favorite online resources is The Success Training Network. This evening they will be having a free live event and Vic Johnson will be focusing on goals and why New Year’s resolutions don’t work (I talked about this in my December 28 blog). I’d like to encourage you to attend this event tonight. Here’s the link: Goals2Go Live With Vic Johnson. You will need to register for this event. See you there! 

Key to Winning

Monday, January 8th, 2007

For those of you who watched the BCS National Championship I’m sure you were impressed by the underdog Florida Gators’ performance against the nation’s best defense, Ohio State Buckeyes, with it’s Heisman trophy winner, quarterback Troy Smith. Florida iced Ohio State in a stunning 41-14 victory!

Well, my conclusion about this (and a huge lesson for leadership) is that there are two i’s in winning. The two “i”s in Florida’s huge win are Chris Leak and Tim Tebow, their twin quarterbacks who have come to be known as ‘Leakbow’. Chris Leak was named the MVP of the game. Florida’s coach, Urban Meyer, deserves lots of praise for his spread option offense and what he has done to develop these two quarterbacks. Great job Florida! (Now, I have friends in Ohio too. It’s been an excellent season for the Buckeyes. Great effort!)

Let’s apply this to leadership. There are two “i”s in winning. Michael Jordan once said that “there’s no “i” in team but there is in win”. For the Gators to win they had to rely on their two “i”s. For you to win as a leader in 2007 you will need to discover and develop the two “i”s that will produce a winning combination. No single initiative, quality, person, idea or other factor will bring you the ultimate level of success you are destined for in 2007. You’ve got to find the winning combinations that will guarantee you victory. Start thinking outside the box. Coach Meyer employs a twin-quarterback system. This is unheard of in football because of the tension that always develops between people competing for the same job. You’ve got to find a way of aligning any competing ideas, people or resources into one unit that fits and works together.

The key to winning therefore is in having an arsenal of ideas, initiatives, strategies and resources and then knowing when to use which. You’ve got to have a bag of tricks up your sleeve, so to speak. You have to build your organization or business around a solid vision (spread offense), have a driving mission (winning the title) and execute both the vision and the mission flawlessly (twin-quarterbacks). In between doing all of this, you will continue with the planning process we have been talking about in my recent blogs. If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. You were born to win. Find your “i”s and develop them! 

Learning from Tom Brady

Sunday, January 7th, 2007

It’s football season and all eyes are on the teams that are battling it out for the 2007 Super Bowl Ring. Around this time a few notables always emerge with great plays. However, one name has been very consistent over the past five to six years when it comes to post-season football. That’s none other than Tom Brady, the New England Patriots quarterback. Brady normally has the same challenges that any quarterback experiences during the regular season but when it comes to playoff time, he calls it his ‘favorite season’. The other day he said, “You look over the course of the 16-game season, and you come to this week, and you’re so fatigued from 16 games, but you definitely get a second wind. It’s just a different feeling, a different approach”.

What a beautiful summation of what our attitude should be as we start the New Year! Yes, 2006 was rough in many ways. We may have been beat and fatigued by the end of the year. But this is a new beginning and we need a new approach. It’s all about mentality and we can change that! You may have had some successes in 2006 but it’s time to look at things differently because what worked yesterday may not necessarily work today. When asked about his approach, Tom Brady said, “It’s the playoffs. You have to play your best or you won’t be working next week. So, I think you look at it … how we played eight weeks ago has zero bearing on this game. I can’t overstate that enough. It has so little to do… we’re a totally different team at this point.” That’s the attitude of a champion!

Our success in 2007 will hinge on our ability to embrace a superior mode of thinking. The thoughts that brought us to this point will not take us to the next level. We have to see things differently and approach them from new angles. We must embrace new strategies that will yield even better results than what we’ve had before. We need to approach every situation with the understanding that it has the potential to bring huge rewards to us. Do this, and I will definitely see you with a Better Life Ring at the end of the year!  

Goals, Goals, Goals … not resolutions!

Saturday, January 6th, 2007

I just came from watching the NFL Wild Card playoff game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Kansas City Chiefs. The whole universe already knows by now that the Colts won the game. The victory came largely from the pounding feet of Joseph Addai who had a steady stream of blistering rushes into the Chiefs’ defense. The media had talked about Larry Johnson and how he would pound the ‘weak’ colts’ defense but this was not to be.

While we may not know what went on in either of the teams locker rooms before the game, we can make a couple of conclusions based on press conferences right before the game. The Colts pointed out before the game that they would win it on the ground, yard by yard. A couple of the chiefs players said that they were committed to winning the game. The stats clearly show that the game was won on the ground. The colts had 80 plays for 435 yards, the chiefs had 45 plays for 126 yards. The colts gained 6.2 yards per pass while the chiefs gained only 2.6. The colts were sacked only once for a loss of 5 yards while the chiefs were sacked 4 times for a total loss of 25 yards. The colts had 40 rushes while the chiefs had only 17 rushes. Clearly, the results of this game reveal that goals beat out resolutions.

I’m just about tired of hearing people talk about their New Year resolutions. How much productivity has the world ever got out of resolutions? Very minimal. Yet people continue making them year after year. It’s time we shifted towards making goals, not resolutions. Goals result in massive productivity. Please review my blog for December 28, Forget resolutions … plan ahead. Planning is the foundational stage of goal-setting. The old adage, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail, is very true. What’s your plan for 2007? Do you have concrete goals that you will measure your progress by? This is the year of connectedness. Stay connected! There’s no telling where you will be by year’s end!   

Success Vibration in 2007

Friday, January 5th, 2007

If you’ve seen the movie Click you may be able to discern how we need to go BEYOND vision in 2007 and into a vibration mode of life. The difference between visionary and vibrationary living is that whereas in visionary living, our path is guided and directed by the power of a compelling desire propelled by a glimpse of the future while in vibrationary living, we discern trends and read the pulse of society, enabling us to respond to the heartbeat of the real needs of people. Understanding the heartbeat of human need is more powerful than any vision we could ever have.

If we are going to be precise in the New Year, we must transition from visionary living to vibrationary living. A New Year requires a New Strategy. I suggest that we start responding to the needs of society rather than sitting in our own ‘vision cubicles’ to develop our own ideas.

Transitioning from vision to vibration is in essence shifting our focus from seeing to hearing. While it is essential that we be able to see where the needs are in society, it is also important that our ears be well turned up to be able to hear what the people are saying and what is vibrating in their hearts. This means that our ears should be close to the heart of the society. Sound is a series of vibrations moving as waves through air. Ringing a bell for example, sets off vibrations in the air. Detection of these vibrations or sound waves is called hearing. It is essential to understand how the ear works. Humans hear by bone conduction or primarily by detecting airborne sound waves, which are collected by the auricles. The auricles help locate the direction of sound. Then one turns to focus on the direction. Therefore hearing comes before seeing.

This transition will require a change from structure to rhythm. This will require a greater degree of sensitivity to the needs of society. Making the transition from visionary living to vibrationary living will require that we change from critical thinking to modulating. Make the big transition.

To be or not to be?

Thursday, January 4th, 2007

2007 will be a crucial year. More than ever before, opportunities will abound for people to realize their full personal potential. The essence of true success in 2007 will be found in being someone rather than being something. It’s going to be about WHO we are rather than WHAT we do. Are you ready to be in 2007? It will take learning the soft skills of life rather than holding onto an image that you want to create for yourself. The whole world is waiting for you to be, because it is in that state of being that you attain the greatness within you.

It’s about being better!