Walk The Talk #9

WALK THE TALK #9Seeking to better understand shows you are open to feedback and care about your listeners.-- Leslie C. Aguilar  Put a smile in the path of a complaint…once daily.
-- Sam Parker  Today's Topic: Improvise to MaximizeGreat conversations result when there’s an easy give and take, a go-with-the-flow sensation, along with an acute sense that you are being heard at a deeper level than the normal chitchat. In this instance, good conversations resemble improvisational theatre. Improv actually depends upon all the actors paying close attention to each other and then working with whatever is presented to them. Let me repeat that: pay attention and work with whatever is presented.

Select someone you’d like to (or need to) talk to. Open up the conversation by stating either why you’ve initiated the conversation or by asking an open-ended question. Then, practice these techniques:
·         Encourage talking by saying, “Yes…tell me more.” This means that no matter what is stated, don’t change the subject, get defensive, fail to listen, or ignore the response. You have the opportunity to create new and positive results by building upon whatever is said.·         Don’t plan your response while the other person is speaking.
·         Seek what is provocative, interesting, or new in what you are hearing. There’s a gift somewhere. Trust me. Ask the other person to expand on something that intrigues you – even if it bothers you. We must view young people not as empty bottles to be filled, but as candles to be lit.-- Robert H. Shaffer Dear Larry,With Election Day right around the corner, I thought it would be the perfect time to share with you one of our newest books titled Great Quotes From Great Leaders. Today’s excerpt is about America’s first Great Leader: George Washington. Take a moment to watch the Great Quotes From Great Leaders inspirational movie and you’ll be inspired!

Please pass this along to family, friends and coworkers. 
Excerpted from Great Quotes From Great Leaders

George Washington

American general, commander-in-chief of the colonial armies in the American Revolution and subsequently the first President of the United States, George Washington became known as the father of his country. Born into a wealthy family of Virginia planters, Washington worked as a surveyor and gained military experience in the French and Indian War. The impending American Revolution would call him to his country’s aid.

Washington was named commander-in-chief of the military force of all the colonies in 1775. Over the next five years, including the nadir of the harsh winter at Valley Forge, Washington held the American forces together by sheer strength of character. His capture of Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781 marked the end of the war.

Alone commanding the respect of both parties, Washington was chosen unanimously to preside over the Constitutional Convention. He was elected the country’s first President in 1789 and re-elected four years later.

Quotes by George Washington:
“Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.”

“Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.”

“I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what
I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.”
 If there's any concept that's synonymous with "leadership" it's got to be responsibility.-- Steve Ventura  It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude.-- Zig Ziglar I've never known a man worth his salt who, in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn’t appreciate the grind, the discipline.-- Vince Lombardi Welcome to a special edition of Leadership Lessons - straight from the desk of Santa Claus.

Dear Santa:
Making sure our organization doesn’t fall prey to the kind of unethical practices I constantly read about in newspapers is a big concern for me. The way I see it, leaders must provide the ethical examples for others to follow. What can I tell other leaders to help them understand the importance of their role model responsibilities?
Anguishing in Atlanta

Dear Anguishing:
You’re absolutely right. All leaders must be the models of ethics and integrity-based behaviors for others to follow. When facing that same challenge, I always turn to my key resource: Leading To Ethics. Here are two excerpts to share with your fellow leaders:

You’re Being Watched!
As a leader, you have a strong influence on the thoughts and behaviors of your employees – perhaps much stronger than you think. And one of your most critical leadership responsibilities is to model the behavior you expect from others. To do otherwise is hypocrisy. Fact is, you must earn the right to expect employees to     perform with integrity by being an ethics champion yourself.

To a large degree, you operate in a fish bowl. Employees are constantly watching you – and learning from you. They rightfully assume that it’s okay and appropriate to do whatever you do.

What Lessons Are You Giving?

Take a moment to reflect on the lessons you’re providing to your people:
·         Do you follow ALL the rules and procedures of your organization?·         Do you treat (and think about) EVERYONE with dignity and respect?·         Do you always tell the truth?·         Do you always keep your promises and commitments?·         Do you typically place others’ best interests before your own?·         Do you typically give your best effort and avoid “cutting corners”?·         Do you avoid using organizational resources for personal purposes?·         Do you stand up for what’s right and act to stop misconduct by others?

These, and scores of behaviors just like them, set the pace for your work group, identify your personal integrity, and determine how you will ultimately be judged as a leader.

 The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.-- Nathaniel Braden Life doesn't require that we be the best, only that we try our best. Strive for excellence, not perfection.-- H. Jackson Brown Jr. 
Dear Larry,
Most teachers, coaches, and subject-matter experts agree that in order to be successful in any endeavor, you must first build a good foundation. So, today, I’m going back to the basics and am highlighting the very first book that The WALK THE TALK Company published, fittingly titled Walk The Talk…And Get the Results You Want. I am delighted to say that this bestseller has withstood the test of time and continues to be one of our most requested titles. Through the powerful, yet entertaining, story, this book will remind you that words to live by are just words, unless you live by them. You have to walk the talk.

Please pass this along to family, friends and coworkers. 
This foreword, written by Ken Blanchard, is excerpted from Walk The Talk…And Get the Results You Want

My wife Marjorie and I have long preached the value of walking your talk. It seemed so much easier years ago when we were just starting a seminar business. But as business at The Ken Blanchard Companies has grown greatly over the years, we have discovered how hard it is to practice daily what we preach.

We all struggle with the same basic issues in business: how to get our group to perform like a team; how to hire, retain, and manage productive people; how to be more profitable; and how to be in sync with our mission, vision, and values. Surely there exists a little Don Quixote in us all. In our corporate lives we seek solutions to the challenges of competition, downsizing, delegation, quality, and corporate integrity. On occasion, something comes along that clears our minds and lights our paths. Someone looks anew at the ordinary and transforms it into the extraordinary.

Eric Harvey and Al Lucia have done just that with their masterfully written book, Walk The Talk. Don’t jump to conclusions when you read the title. Don’t assume you already understand the concept. As a veteran proponent of the virtues of empowerment, integrity, and quality, I found Walk The Talk to be an “ah-ha” experience. It helped me and Marjorie to put all our concerns for quality and equity in a valuable new perspective. Harvey and Lucia have used a magical allegory to translate difficult concepts and corporate contradictions into personal convictions. Through the character of Clarence, a delightfully mysterious janitor, they invite you into the process of personal discovery so gently that you volunteer for the assignment.

Walk The Talk asks us to look inside – inside ourselves and inside the workings of our organizations. It invites us to slow down and take stock of our resources. We are challenged to become cultivators of the rich resource of people, their fertile minds and hidden talents. It espouses honesty and integrity but goes even deeper – calling us to be better stewards of both our corporate and individual lives.   

Walk The Talk is a book about living out our convictions and dealing with our contradictions. Whether the deed or the company is large or small, there is little that goes unnoticed. Delegating, empowering, and turning your beliefs into practice are all integral to walking the talk. I invite you to take your own journey through the pages of Walk The Talk and discover its value for your own life.

Ken Blanchard
coauthor of The One Minute Manager Series
chairman of The Ken Blanchard Companies
Whenever you witness non-inclusive, discounting, or discriminatory words and actions, you have a choice. You can choose to remain silent, which allows these behaviors to thrive. Or you can speak up on behalf of respect.-- Leslie C. Aguilar Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results. -- Gen. George S. Patton  Today's Topic: The Importance of Consistency

Here’s a truism to remember: rules and guidelines are meaningful only when they are followed…when they are enforced. So, when it comes to setting boundaries, stating your expectations of employees is only half the battle. The other half involves “delivering” on what you tell employees to expect from you. You must walk the talk. And the key to doing that is consistency – holding ALL the people accountable for following ALL the rules (boundaries), ALL the time.

It’s critically important that you address each policy, procedure, or behavioral guideline violation as soon as you become aware of it. The type of meeting you have with the employee – and the resulting consequences – may vary based on the history and severity of the problem. What must not vary, however, is your practice of confronting issues. Let some things (or people) slide, and you run many risks, including:
·         Sending mixed and confusing messages to the people who depend upon you for guidance and direction. ·         Creating a workplace where employees decide which rules are important and which ones can be “stretched” or ignored.·         Exposing yourself to charges of favoritism or discrimination.·         Losing the respect of the members of your team.·         Facing negative consequences from your boss for not doing your job.The truth is, in order for employees to see and accept you as the leader, you must BE the leader. And that means not only talking about boundaries, but consistently enforcing them as well. If you will spend an extra hour each day of study in your chosen field, you will be a national expert in that field in five years or less. -- Earl Nightingale Today's Topic: Communicate the Rules of the Game

People become confused when there are no established performance standards, when the rules are contradictory, or when the stated values are not being followed.

For instance, we may communicate that we respect employees’ time, yet we consistently begin our meetings fifteen minutes late – wasting fifteen minutes of everyone’s time. Perhaps we say employees are our most valuable assets, but we hire the first “warm body” we can find to be on the team. Or maybe we tell people that we value excellence, yet ask more and more from our top performers, while tolerating mediocrity and poor performance from others.

Earning employees’ trust begins with clearly establishing acceptable standards of behavior for the team. To do that, managers must first answer the question, “What are the team’s values?” Then they can determine the “rules of the road” and decide which behaviors are “non-negotiable.” If the standards are not clearly established, are continually changing, or are contradictory, you can’t expect to develop personal trust. After all, what would they be trusting?

When people understand the rules of the game, generally speaking, they will do their best to play by the rules.
 What really matters is not just our own winning but helping other people to win, too.-- Fred Rogers There are as many ways to recognize people as there are people to recognize. You just have to use your brain to find them. Next time you think you've exhausted the possibilities, think again…and again!-- Eric Harvey Courage is a door that can only be opened from the inside.-- Terry Neil  
Dear Larry,
“It is the nature of man to rise to greatness if greatness is expected of him.”

Those words, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer John Steinbeck, were as true in the mid-twentieth century as they are now. Proof of the power of positive expectations can be seen all around us. Appropriate for the middle of football season, as well as to kick off Customer Service Week, today’s story from Leadership Lessons will inspire you to expect greatness from those around you.

Please pass this along to family, friends and coworkers. 
Excerpted from Leadership Lessons

Leadership in Action

After entering the hospital and taking the elevator to the proper floor, NFL coach Don Shula walked down the hallway and entered a numbered room. He moved toward the bandaged figure on the bed.

The patient recognized him, smiled as best he could, and raised an arm from which several tubes dangled.

Thanks for coming, coach.

How you doing? inquired Shula.

Oh, okay replied the bed-ridden man whose mournful look told a much different story.

There was a long pause as the two men looked at each other. Finally, Shula leaned in – his prominent jaw jutting close to the patient’s face.

Listen, Mike, I need you in training camp in July – on the field, ready to go. We’re going all the way this year.

After recovering from bone cancer, Mike Westhoff, still the special-teams coach for the Miami Dolphins, said of Shula:

I thought he would tuck me in, but he didn’t. He treated me the way I could be, not the way I was.

~Adapted from an article in Success magazine
Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.
-- Mary Lou Cook
I always tried to turn every disaster into an opportunity.
-- John D. Rockefeller Today's Topic: Be a Brand

Your brand is how people think of you. Tom Peters says that “a brand is a trust mark, it’s shorthand, it’s a sorting device.” Think of the well known brands – Coca Cola, Pepsi, Dell, Mac, or iPod. All of them are shorthand for a product. People can be brands, too. Here are several things you can do to ensure your brand is one of high integrity: ·         Be direct. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing so astonishes men as common sense and plain dealing.” Astonish people with your straightforward communication style.·         Admit your mistakes. We all make mistakes. When you own up to yours, you’ll gain a reputation as a straight-shooter – someone who is as honest with himself or herself as he or she is with others.·         Deliver. Become trusted by doing what you say you’ll do.·         Keep confidences. Earn trust by being trustworthy. Avoid gossip. Respect privacy if someone entrusts you with personal information.·         Give credit. Do your job and give credit to others for doing theirs.·         Choose associates carefully. Join only those organizations and associate only with those people whose values are in line with your own. If you aren’t comfortable with your surroundings, you’ll have a hard time making a positive personal impact.  Additional problems are the offspring of poor solutions.
-- Mark Twain Every now and then go away…for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer.-- Leonardo da Vinci When you sacrifice your integrity, you erode your most precious leadership possession.-- David Cottrell 
Dear Larry,
When life brings complications, it helps to remember that happiness is simple. With its beautiful pictures, uplifting quotations, and inspiring tone, Finding Joy: Simple Secrets to a Happy Life will put a smile on your face when you need it most. So, today, take three short minutes to watch the Finding Joy movie. Your heart will thank you for it. 

Please pass this along to family, friends and coworkers. 
It's tempting to sit and wait for life to come to you. But it can't, it's too busy. Life is out there. You have to go for it.-- Harry Beckwith Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others.-- Winston Churchill Ultimately, it's up to each of us to choose how we will live our lives, hold ourselves to high standards, and continually evaluate what's inside the image we see in the mirror.-- Eric Harvey It is better to be a lion for a day than a sheep for all your life.-- Elizabeth Kenny

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