“People do things for their own reasons, not for our reasons.” – William Marston My seat mate on a recent flight owns a successful small business. It is growing in a down economy because he [...]
The U.S. economy is in a self-fulfilling death spiral propelled by mistrust. There is a good chance that the same thing can be said of your industry, your employer, and your career. Growth requires investment, and that requires confidence. You can’t cut your way to sustainable growth. When trust is absent, people naturally protect their immediate self-interest. This will occur even if it leads to their long-term individual and collective undoing.
President Obama’s falling approval rating came up during a conversation with my friend, Larry Winget, and it started me thinking: Is he becoming the next Glenn Beck? The mere thought of this comparison is likely to explode heads on both ends of the political spectrum. So wrap yourself in duct tape and hang with me for a moment. There are interesting similarities and a leadership lesson for everyone.
Someone recently asked me why I use so many examples from political leaders when discussing effective leadership. Isn’t it obvious? Every week elected leaders and candidates give us something that is simply too good to ignore. This week’s example is the brou ha ha over President Obama’s bus trip through the heartland. In case you missed it, a number of people were upset that the President left his “real job” in Washington to ride through the middle of the U.S. on a new tricked out bus while conducting town hall meetings and visiting the Fair. To the President’s detractors, this was a blatantly political act designed to take the focus off of the two leading Republican presidential candidates, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Governor Rick Perry. Bachmann and Perry were also taking time away from their “real jobs” to ride through America’s heartland on tricked out buses attending town hall meetings and Fairs. The only apparent difference is that they were asking people to give them a new job while on the clock at their current job while the President was accused of asking people if he could keep his current job.
Dishonesty is not new, but let’s be honest—our society has raised the rationalization of dishonesty to an art form. When it comes to the truth, we embellish, expand, enrich, soften, shave, stretch, and withhold. We misspeak, pretend, bend, and improve. We are guilty of mistakes, misjudgment, and truthful hyperbole. We exaggerate, spin, filter, and inflate. However, we rarely—or perhaps even never—believe that we are guilty of dishonesty.
What’s not to like? Millions of like-minded people promoting limited federal government, individual freedoms, personal responsibility, free markets, and a return of political power to the states and the people. How could anyone argue that the Tea Party is a bad thing? Oh wait! That can’t be right. The Tea Party is actually millions of small-minded people who engage in racist behaviors and want to take away the power of the federal government to set policy and help society by cutting the funding to every social program that they don’t like. So which is it? The answer is, “It depends on your point of view.”
When I think of a “philanthropist,” I see someone like Bono, Oprah, or Bill Gates. I imagine that they wake up in the morning thinking about opportunities to influence the world for their cause. I, on the other hand, have a mortgage. I would like to spend my day tackling huge social and economic problems, but I have holes in my calendar that must be filled to pay my bills.
“We don’t trust them!” This phrase has become synonymous with a prevalent, if not majority, response when people are asked about their leader’s ability to affect positive change. Almost continuous rounds of cost-cutting; feelings that [...]
Seventeen days can make a tremendous difference. The date was May 25, 2011. The Dallas Mavericks became the National Basketball Association’s Western Conference Champions for only the second time in its thirty-one year history. The 17,000-plus fans were anxious for a celebration. The team held up the trophy, smiled, posed for the obligatory photo-op, and then exited the arena – leaving ESPN reporter Doris Burke looking for someone to interview.
Right now – as you are reading this sentence – 70 percent of your staff are alienating your customers, keeping you from achieving your goals, or costing your company money that could be used for more productive uses. Scary, huh?
Values – every company hangs them on the wall and distributes them on wallet cards. It is the same for individuals. Ask ten of your friends to list their values, and at least eighty percent will use words like respect, integrity, and honesty. So how important are your values? Will you sacrifice them for the results and outcomes you desire? Are they so important that you would lay down your life – figuratively or literally – to protect them?
Donald Trump commented that President Obama needs to spend less time on the basketball court and more time fixing the economy. All the protests you would expect followed along with calls from all sides that we need to change the culture of racism perpetuated through the use of stereotypes and assumptions. It turns out that there are a multitude of culture problems.
The core of every noncommissioned officer’s commitment is articulated in the NCO Creed. It defines how each member of the NCO Corps views his or her responsibility as a leader. And, there is no better model for your success.
There are a lot of factors that could contribute to your lack of results – time, talent, resources – but for most of us the difference between excellence and mediocrity comes down to accountability. Accountability requires courage: Courage to tell and value the truth. Courage to remain keenly focused on results that matter, and courage to be relentless and unwavering as we look at contribution and behavior. The failure to stem a crisis of accountability places us on the path to mediocrity and worse – irrelevance.
Why do certain companies, brands, and even people stand out in a world where everyone is basically saying and doing the same things? For the most part, we all get it wrong. We focus on the tools – like marketing campaigns, social media, and advertising – and ignore the goal – to make customers want to do business with us. Here are three things you can do to define and deliver an experience that sets you apart: