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…)

Effective Listening

Effective Listening

“The first duty of love is to listen.” Paul Tillich

This last week has been a very hard week.  I almost didn’t post.  This is a painful time for us. The events going on around all of us are heartbreaking.

Like so many of you, I am sad, angry, and devastated by recent events in our country. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others are senseless, inexcusable and reflect the deeply ingrained racial prejudice and injustice that still exists in our communities today.

As a mom, a wife, a leader it is stirring many emotions and questions.  How can this happen?  What can I do? I think back to my own experiences and wonder if I could have done more.  I remember an employee sharing with me how often he was needlessly pulled over on the way to work because of the color of his skin.  It seems minor compared to today’s devastation but is it? Where does it start and how does it end? We must believe we are all made better by diversity and center on the notion of creating a world where everyone respected, appreciated and able to be themselves.

We need change. It begins not only by speaking out, but by listening. Listen to those around you as they share what it’s like to be a person of color in our country today or LGBTQ or Middle Eastern.  We need to open our ears and then our hearts.  Listen more and talk less.  We don’t need to respond we just need to care.  We don’t have those experiences and can’t even imagine them, but we can care and love.

“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” Dalai Lama

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Leadership Legacy

Leadership Legacy

You are going to leave a leadership legacy whether you are intentional or not.  Take the time to create a meaningful Leadership Legacy Statement and write your own story.

Happy Memorial Day 2020

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter the words, but to live by them.” John F Kennedy

“If you want to thank a soldier, be the kind of American worth fighting for.”

“It takes the best in each of us to make the best world for all of us.”

Memorial Day is about taking a time out and remembering.  As a leader when people take a time out how do you want them to remember you?  What type of memorial impression are you leaving on them?  Are you creating the leadership legacy that you expect?

Perhaps leaving a legacy is too far out there for you to think about today.  How about this?  When you enter the room are those you lead excited to see you?  (more…)

Be A Leader With Optimism

Be A Leader With Optimism

Be a leader with Optimism

“Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but actually you’ve been planted.” Christine Caine

This week I am adjusting my schedule to what the new norm will be. It’s been nice writing and recording on Monday mornings, but the reality is when the stay at home is lifted I most likely won’t be free Monday mornings.  So I encourage you – if you’ve started something new during the pandemic – reading – walking – writing – running whatever it is think about how and when you do it now and how and when you will do it when our lives move into the new normal.  You’ve come this far – don’t give it all up because it doesn’t fit into that schedule.  Start shifting your schedule now.  I sent out a challenge a couple of weeks ago to try and get up 10 minutes earlier every day – that’s a great place to start.  Heck – right now – even setting an alarm to get up in the morning may be a great place to start.

Proud parents of an MSU grad

This week was very special for our family.  Our daughter Mattie graduated from Michigan State.  We couldn’t be prouder.  Of course she didn’t get to walk, so my Aunt, who is probably the most positive and optimistic person I know, picked up the ball and ran with it by scheduling a Zoomuation.  The power of Zoom is not just for business and education it is a great way to connect.  Truly having experienced this yesterday I would choose Zoom over a real graduation any day.

  • not sitting for 2 hours just for the 5 seconds they announce your grads name
  • with family all over the country we were limited to who could have been able to attend
  • with the camera on we were able to focus on each other instead of breaking up into little clicks

And for Mattie instead of competing with thousands of other grads she truly got to be the center of attention.  The day was all about her.

This quote makes me think of my Aunt’s actions

“Instead of worrying about what you cannot control instead shift your energy to what you can create.” Roy Bennett

She completely created an amazing event for her niece with her optimism.

Why you should be a leader with optimism (more…)
Gratitude Changes Everything

Gratitude Changes Everything

Gratitude changes everything.

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. ~Epictetus

Today is April 20th 2020 and this week marks one month of the stay at home order here in Illinois and much of the nation.  Fear, angst, anxiety, stress, you name it I’ve felt it just like many of you I felt hopelessness, despair and depression over losing a job that I loved with my whole heart . . .and then . . . I stopped . . . and I thought for a moment about what was really going on.

I was choosing fear over faith and once I had that moment, that moment of discovery that I was in control.  That this again was another choice and I could choose to not feel fear,  I could choose to let go of anxiety.  I could choose to not feel hopeless.  I realized what a true blessing this time is.  How grateful I should be and when I changed the way I looked at things things changed. Gratitude changes everything.

This is what I now saw

This ah ha moment that I experienced reminds me of what Steve Jobs said (more…)

New Actions; New Results

New Actions; New Results

If you want new results they require adopting new actions.

Changing beliefs is hard.  Years and years of programming went into your current beliefs.  Like they say with losing pregnancy weight it took you 9 months to put on the weight, give yourself at least that amount of time to take it off.  The same with your beliefs.  It will take a lot of new thinking, new programming, maybe even new friends to eliminate old beliefs that were getting in your way and adopt new beliefs that unleash your true potential.  As Brian Tracy says, “you begin to fly when you let go of self-limiting beliefs and allow your mind and aspirations to rise to greater heights.”

So now we have a leaders mindset.  We are working on replacing our limiting beliefs with positive beliefs and so we must start working on our actions.  Why?  Because again our mindset fuels our actions and our actions fuel our results.  If we want different results than what we have had then we need different actions. You’ve heard that saying – the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.  New results require new actions.

What actions?

Listen here

Back to compounded interest theory.

Sure massive action may get us massive results, but is it sustainable?  Or is it even repeatable?  Small actions over time will build into massive results in a more sustainable way.  There’s a great book out there called Atomic Habits by James Clear – by an atomic habit he means a small habit and he says “Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement”

There are two buckets of habits you really need to look at

You can reach your goals by establishing new good habit or by building on the good habits you already have and you can reach your goals by eliminating your bad habits.

So it’s not necessarily what are you going to start doing.  It may be what am I already doing that if I do more of I will attract more success or what am I doing now that if I stop doing will get me more in line with my goals and aspirations.

An Example

To illustrate, these let’s say I want to be a better leader and I know that leaders are readers.  Every January I get bit by the new year’s resolution bug and I buy a new book and dive all in.  I also really enjoy binge watching Netflix’s most popular shows and some nights watch as many as three episodes in a row.

I already have a good action – reading a book in January, but it’s not really a habit yet.  If I took this one thing and built on it until it was a habit would you agree that I would attract more success as a leader?  Of course.  So another thing we learn in Atomic Habits is that you do not rise to the levels of your goals you fall to the levels of your systems.

So, my buy a book every January wasn’t a very good system was it?  No.  What if I changed my system to sign up for a book club that sends me a book a month.  Now I have some skin in the game and may be one step closer to making this a habit.  Now what if I go one step further and dedicate 15 minutes every morning to reading first thing when I wake up.  Do you see a system forming here.  My system has a why – I desire to be a better leader.  It has a what – leaders are readers – and it has a how – have a book delivered every month and commit to reading 15 minutes every morning first thing when I wake up.

Also we can get better results by stopping habits that are in our way of success.  What about my Netflix habit in the example?  What if I stopped this habit and filled that time with new more productive activities built with a success system.  Of course I would start seeing new results.  What time wasting habits do you have?

Summary

Does this example sound too simple.  Yes – but what is simple is not easy.  Simple said not so easy do right?  This is where I think so many people get held up in the world of self improvement.  They think that the changes or the goals have to be monumental or they are not worthy so they are paralyzed with fear.  It’s too big it’s too much – so many limiting beliefs form.  But when you break it down to the small – atom sized pieces – you can start to see how the changes can be possible.

Here are two quotes from Atomic habits to sum it up.

“If you want better results, then forget about setting goals. Focus on your system instead.”

“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.”

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