Leaders Are Learners

Leaders Are Learners

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”  Harry S. Truman

“Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned.” Mark Twain

Leaders are Learners

One thing I know for certain, that probably launched me further in my career than any other thing, is that leaders are learners.  They possess the discipline of self-improvement.  You see, if you want things to be better: you want to be a better leader, you want better results, you want a better career, you want better movement up the up the ladder to bigger and better roles, you want to be the better candidate for the job, you want better relationships.  The only way to get better things is to be better yourself.

There is never a point where our need to grow stops. No matter what level of success we reach we can never stop learning and feeding our minds with new thoughts and ideas. Many times, it doesn’t even need to be new thoughts. Reminding ourselves of what we already know can send us off refreshed and inspired.

Successful people will tell you the same thing: you need to make an investment in yourself, you need to read, you need to continuously be learning. We have all heard it. Probably none of us have ever heard anyone dispute it; leaders are learners. Yet, few will make the time to do it. (more…)

Land Your Dream Job

Land Your Dream Job

How to land your dream job.

“Do the best you can, with what you can, while you can, and success is inevitable.” Steve Maraboli

With the current pandemic and unemployment as high as it is it I know many of you are looking for the next move.  Your next career.  Many days you may be thinking why is my inbox empty? Why didn’t the recruiter call me or select me?

This week we are going to talk about some steps to take to help you land your dream job.

The company I worked for went out of business as the pandemic hit.  Thousands of people were suddenly left jobless.  Out of panic and fear many of them grabbed the first job they could without putting much thought into it.  Today they are miserable.  This morning they woke up dreading going to that job they hate.  Or maybe, not even hate, just find it so-so and they feel themselves sliding down the spiral of being more and more complacent each day.

This is lesson 1 for the job seekers.  Define your career search.


What type of company do you want to work for? (more…)

Lead Your Team Through Challenge

Lead Your Team Through Challenge

There are five things you can do to lead your team through challenge.

“Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them.” Washington Irving

I had a major setback that occurred about 3 weeks ago.  I’m optimistically planning on running the Chicago marathon for the 3rd consecutive year and this was to be week 4 of official training.  I had been logging some decent miles, but now it’s time to get serious and get to the grind.

I have two amazing dogs that I run with Moose and Belle.  They are German Shorthaired Pointers and if you know the breed you know they are highly energetic dogs.  These two are no exception.  From the moment we wake up they demand attention just like a toddler. GSP’s are also very smart dogs.  They know work clothes from running clothes.  The minute they see the running shoes they get the zoomies.

It is hilarious to watch

But you know that saying it’s all fun until someone gets hurt.  Bam! Moose zoomied right into my kneecap.

We still hit the pavement for 6 miles that day and with all certainty that made it worse.  The knee is down and out and now the thing he wanted to do most we can’t do.  Three weeks later its still not healed enough to put training miles on it.

Which road to take?

Decision time!  There are two possible roads to take.  Quit.  Many would say this race is going to get canceled due to COVID anyway and now you can’t even train.  You have an out. In fact, you have two outs. Or modify and adjust the plan to stick to this goal.

Many times, in business and life things aren’t going to go exactly as planned.  In my experience, I’ve seen too many quit on a goal or a project because some of the initial milestones did not go as planned.  This major mistake of giving up instead of retooling is what is getting in their way of unleashing their true potential.  It’s why so many leaders plateau instead of rising to new levels of success.  Anything worth doing is worth the struggle.  Average is easy.  It doesn’t take much effort to be an average leader.  Greatness? Greatness doesn’t come easy.  If it did, we would all be great.  Greatness comes by pushing through adversity, rising through challenges, being true to your purpose and overcoming any and all obstacles that come your way.

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.” Nelson Mandela

“Don’t let the negatives of life control you.  Rise above them.  Use them as your steppingstones to go higher than you ever dreamed possible.”  Mary Kay Ash

Here are some things that will lead your team through challenge (more…)
Try New Things

Try New Things

“Do one thing every day that scares you” Eleanor Roosevelt

For Father’s Day this year my daughter had a great idea to make dad a gift.  She is 21 so hand made gifts have not happened at the Thompson household in quite a while and since she is beyond the years of drawing faces on golf balls and such, she thought it would be awesome to make him a grill prep table.  She was right.  It would be awesome.  He never has enough workspace when he’s out there grilling and he always must run in and out balancing way to much in his hands.

But, how do you make a table?  I’ve been in the furniture industry for 27 years, but I sell the stuff I don’t make it.  No clue on how to make a table. You would think we could find the perfect table on YouTube.  There were a lot of good tables.  They just weren’t great.  We were going to have to do this on our own or just skip it and think of something else.  We’ve never built anything before.  Zero experience.

Here’s How We Did It

Several trips to hardware stores

– so much math it made our heads hurt

– we came home with the supplies

– and then we went back for more

– and then maybe there was a third trip.

The table is built.  The table is not good.  It is not great.  It is fricken’ awesome.  This table rocks – and I know tables.  We crushed it!  There were a lot of high fives along the way as we couldn’t believe what we just accomplished.  None was as great as when the entire box came together to form the table.  We were so worried that we could get 2 or 3 sides together, but our dowels wouldn’t line up and that the last piece wouldn’t go in.  It did, and did I mention that its fricken’ awesome?Try Something New. We built a table

Whether you win or you lose find the lesson.  We were lucky and won this time.  The lesson you must try new things.  You can do the same things and have an ordinary life, or you can stretch yourself to try new things and have an extraordinary life.  How do you know what you are capable of if you do not try?  Sure, we could have bought dad another tie and he would have loved that it came from us, but this table . . .wow!

“Just try new things. Don’t be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar, all right?” –Michelle Obama

“Life is worthwhile if you try. It doesn’t mean you can do everything, but there are a lot of things you can do, if you just try.” –Jim Rohn

“The hallmark of successful people is that they are always stretching themselves to learn new things.” –Carol S. Dweck

(more…)

How to Lead Your Team to Achieve Large Goals

How to Lead Your Team to Achieve Large Goals

“There are heroes among us. Not to make us feel smaller, but to remind us of what makes us great.” Lois Lane Justice League

There’s a lesson everywhere there is a learner.

I was reminded of a great leadership lesson, how to lead your team to achieve that large goal, last night.  We did some binge-watching and one of the movies we watched was Justice League.

There’s a scene in this movie that many leaders can relate to.  Batman assembled Wonder Woman, Barry Allen AKA Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg to form the Justice League.  It’s the first action scene for the newly created team and Barry Allen panics.  He gets overwhelmed with fear of the thought of going into battle for the first time and his inexperience and the size of the conflict paralyze him.  He’s a mess. Batman who has been leading the group up until this point tells him “save one.”  Repeating this “save one” he calms Flash down to a point where he can focus.  Flash then asks, “and then?” to which Batman responds, “then you’ll know.”

Spoiler alert, if you haven’t seen the movie skip the rest of this paragraph.  Flash then goes in and rescues one person.  Realizing what he had just accomplished and that the task wasn’t so daunting he immediately goes in and saves another, and then another and another until he has rescued all the hostages.

Make the Impossible Possible

There is a great leadership lesson in this for all of us.  There will be times when you must lead your team to achieve large goals.  Just the thought of not knowing where to start will paralyze them with fear.  You may or soon may be facing these types of situations now with COVID and stay at home forcing you to do business differently.

“The world has grown dark, and while we have reasons to fear we have the strength not to. There are heroes among us, to remind us that only from fear, comes courage. That only from the darkness, can we truly feel the light.” Lois Lane, Justice League

Leadership is taking the BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) and presenting it in an attainable way to the team.  Making the impossible possible.  (more…)

Great Leaders Connect Their Teams

Great Leaders Connect Their Teams

Great Leaders Connect Their Teams

This week I was reminded that great leaders connect their teams.  The company I worked for hit Chapter 7.  It will be on the list if you Google COVID Chapter 7 casualties.  Really, it was a private equity casualty exacerbated by COVID 19.  I always knew that it wouldn’t last forever, but I never thought in my wildest dreams that PE could take out a $1.3B company in such short order.

A realtor needed access to our downtown Chicago location this week and I must tell you it was apocalyptic.  As I approached the store, I would normally see the hustle and bustle of commuters walking and riding bikes.  This trip all I saw was plywood protecting the local businesses.  The Target here was still closed.  Already in a funk having to visit this once great store; a two-story beauty with a spectacular view of the skyline, my mood sank even further.

Human Connection The Prescription for Happiness, Well Being and Successful Teams

Always early for meetings I was surprised to see an entourage waiting outside the store when I arrived.  (more…)

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