Walk The Talk #8

WALK THE TALK #8 Feedback is the breakfast of champions.-- Ken Blanchard  Dear Larry,
Just by reading the dedication, I knew I was in for a treat. Dedicated to all who yearn to fly free and show their true colors – and to all who have the wisdom to learn from those who are different, A Peacock in the Land of Penguins is an engaging story of Perry the Peacock’s journey. This corporate fable encourages us to build a culture of creativity so that we can capture the talent, energy, and commitment of all employees.

Please pass this along to family, friends and coworkers. 
Excerpted from A Peacock in the Land of Penguins by BJ Gallagher and Warren H. Schmidt

Foreword by Ken Blanchard, Coauthor of The One Minute Manager

Every once in a while a small book comes along that deals with a profound subject in a simple, elegant way. A Peacock in the Land of Penguins is such a book. I loved this book when the first edition came out in 1995, and I love this new edition even more. It provides important insights into the issue of creativity and innovation in the workplace – and it does so in a most engaging manner. Through the medium of a fable, this book helps us to see what can happen when we try to express ourselves fully and courageously in an environment created by executives and managers who view the world very differently.

Stories are a great way to convey important messages – they inspire and teach at the same time. People forget facts, figures and theories, but they remember stories. People who know me can tell you how often I use stories in my own conversations, in my speeches, and in my daily life. I love to write great stories, and I love to read great stories.

This is the story of Perry the Peacock – a bright, talented, colorful bird – who comes to live in the Land of Penguins. He soon runs into problems because the penguins have established a chilly organizational climate that is formal, bureaucratic, and governed by a vast array of written and unwritten rules. Although his talent is recognized, his different and unusual style makes the penguins feel uneasy. The very thing that he was recruited for – his distinctive flair and creativity – is now viewed as a “problem” by the penguins, once Perry is inside the organization!

His experience reflects that of “birds of a different feather” in many of today’s organizations. While executives and managers today say that they want new ideas and new thinking from their employees, their actions indicate otherwise. New ideas are disruptive, they’re messy, they challenge the status quo, they require taking chances and increased risk, and they push everyone out of their comfort zones. So people who are different, people with new views on how to make the organization successful, are often discouraged from expressing them – much to the detriment of both the individual and the organization.

This delightful corporate fable follows the adventures of Perry the Peacock and other exotic birds as they try to make their way in the Land of Penguins. Their story is both entertaining and enlightening. This is a tale of the perils and possibilities of being unique and creative in a world that values comfort, safety, and the predictability of conformity.

If you’re interested in new ideas for making yourself and your organizations successful, read this little book. Creating a workplace where new ideas and innovation can flourish is a top priority for managers and employees alike. There are important insights for all of us!
 As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do. -- Andrew Carnegie But where was I to start? The world is so vast. I shall start with the country I know best, my own. But my country is so very large. I had better start with my town. But my town, too, is large. I had best start with my street. No: my home. No: my family. Never mind, I shall start with myself.-- Elie Wiesel
Today's Topic: Commitment
Think of someone you know (or know of) who is “a person of good character.” Lock his or her image in your mind. Now take a moment to reflect on the things this person says and does…the personal characteristics that make him or her a role model for you. What comes to mind? What do you see?

Chances are that high on the list of your role model’s qualities is COMMITMENT – the unwavering dedication to being a good family member and friend…to doing his or her best at work and away from the job…to doing what’s right, noble, and decent.

Committed people like your role model just seem to have their heads and hearts in the right place. They keep their priorities straight. They stay focused on what’s important. They know, inherently, that what they believe must drive how they behave – and how they behave ultimately determines the character they possess, the reputation they enjoy, and the legacy they leave.

Do they face occasional temptations to compromise their values…to do what’s easy, convenient, and self-serving? Of course they do! But they fight those temptations the same way they approach every aspect of their lives: With everything they have.
Questions to Ponder:
What am I committed to?
What values are important to me?
How committed am I?
What personal behaviors can I cite as evidence of those commitments?
How close are my behaviors to those of my commitment role model?
What can I do to be a commitment role model for others?
 I always wondered why somebody didn't do something about that, then I realized I was somebody.-- Lily Tomlin There is real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.
-- Norman Vincent Peale
Dear Larry,
As football season gets under way, one man’s famous words are undoubtedly echoing within locker rooms all over the country. That man is Vince Lombardi, the NFL coach whose commitment to excellence earned him a lasting legacy. View the inspirational three-minute movie that captures Lombardi’s keys to success – in any sport, any business, or any life.  

Please pass this along to family, friends and coworkers. 
Excerpt written by Vince Lombardi, Jr. from  What It Takes to Be Number One: Excerpts from Vince Lombardi’s Famous SpeechMental Toughness
Head and heart – mental toughness – was one of Coach Lombardi’s favorite topics. He believed that mental toughness was the single most important quality a leader needed to develop in themselves and in the people around them. Mental toughness is the ability to hold on to your goals in the face of the pressure and stress of your current situation. It’s the ability to hold on, and hold on to what you want in the face of what you’ve got. Mental toughness is the glue that holds a team together when the heat is on and helps them persevere just a little longer – which in many cases is just long enough to outlast the competition.
Coach Lombardi’s brand of mental toughness dated back to his college days at Fordham University. He was an average player compared to some of his more talented teammates. He played mainly because of his determination. He once played an entire game with a cut inside his mouth that required 30 stitches to close after the game. He said, “I can’t put my finger on just what I learned playing…but it was something, a certain toughness.”

My father schooled his players in the mental approach to football, telling them, “Hurt is in the mind.” He stressed that in order to win, they would have to disregard the small hurts, ignore the pain and pressure that would be applied by opponents and supporters alike. In talking about mental toughness, Lombardi was emphasizing the necessity of staying the course when things start to go wrong. He was talking about using failure to come back stronger than before. We learn perseverance by persevering. “Sometimes it’s good to have an obstacle to overcome, whether in football or anything,” he once said, “when things go bad, we usually rise to the occasion.”
 Never ignore a gut feeling, but also never believe that it's enough.-- Robert Heller (adaptation) We could change the world tomorrow if all the millions of people around the world acted the way they believe.
-- Jane Goodall In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins…not through strength but by perseverance.-- H. Jackson Brown  Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant.-- Horace
Today's Topic: Listen and Learn from OthersHave you ever been in a situation where someone in authority starts talking about the workplace, and you think “This person has no clue!” because his words bear no resemblance to reality? Well, you’re not alone. All too often we forget one of the basics of leadership: Listening. Of all the leadership attributes, listening may be the most important. You can have all the other leadership skills, but if you don’t listen to people, it’s all for naught.

The leader who listens knows what’s going on around him or her because listening opens the doors to genuine communication. It demonstrates respect and caring for others. But listening only gets you part way to better leadership. You must also learn from it and use that learning to guide your actions. It’s only through learning that we are able to change, grow, and prepare for the future. Listening and learning help make a leader credible because they compel the leader to put people first. And that’s when really good things can happen.

Here are three tips to help you be a better listener…and a better learner:
1.     Know the difference between hearing and listening. To hear means “to perceive by the ear.” To listen means “to pay attention.” There’s a big difference.2.     Get into the ACT of listening. Employ body language. Look at the person who is speaking. Make and keep eye contact. Position your body in a way that shows you are open and receptive to what the person is saying.3.     Adopt the 2/1 rule: Listen twice as much as you talk. Why do you think we have two ears and one mouth.We can do anything if we stick to it long enough.-- Helen Keller  The best preparation for tomorrow is to do today's work superbly well. -- Sir William Osler  Dear Larry,
Someone once said, “The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age.” Capturing this spirit, Sandbox Wisdom inspires us to unleash our childlike creativity into our businesses. This book is, as author Tom Asacker explains, “a way for you to reconnect to those simple, yet powerful human ‘truths’ that you once knew instinctively, but may have long since forgotten.” Take time today to experience the childlike wonder in your life.

Please pass this along to family, friends and coworkers. 
From Sandbox Wisdom: Growing your business with the genius of childhood by Tom Asacker