Walk The Talk #6

WALK THE TALK #6The best way to escape from a problem is to solve it!-- Alan SaportaHope is the feeling we have that the feeling we have is not permanent.-- Mignon McLaughlinFrom 144 Ways to Walk the Talk:·         Let your conscience be your guide. Do the right thing no matter how inconvenient, unpopular, or painful it may seem. That’s integrity!From WALK the TALK:

TRUST: Have you ever known a person of good character whom you didn’t trust?

Of course not! Character and trust – or more accurately, trustworthiness – go hand in hand. Good people just naturally do things that EARN them the trust of others. They are honest and open…competent and knowledgeable. They are consistent and considerate. They display concern for others’ well being as well as their own – sometimes before their own. And most importantly, they honor their promises and commitments.
·         Be a person of your word. Write down all promises and agreements you make…and honor them. Remember: One broken promise overshadows five promises kept.For trustworthy people, their word is their bond. If they say they’ll do something – whether “important” or seemingly insignificant – they make sure they remember it…and they DO it. They count on the fact that others can count on them. And they understand that statements like “I was gonna,” “I meant to,” and “I haven’t forgotten” all translate the same way: I JUST DIDN’T DO IT! ·         Hold everyone accountable for doing their jobs so that no one has to pick up the slack for others.Those are excuses; they’re rationalizations for inaction. And as such, they’re close to meaningless. As we’ve said before, most individuals really are well meaning. With few exceptions, all people intend to keep their word. But good intentions alone won’t carry the day. Fact is, we get no “points” for them. Points come only when we deliver…when we DO things that are trustworthy…when we walk our talk. ·         Make sure you walk the talk – earn the right to hold others to high standards by meeting them yourself. The time is always right to do what is right.-- Martin Luther King, Jr.Unity, not uniformity, must be our aim. We attain unity only through variety. Differences must be integrated, not annihilated, not absorbed.-- Mary Parker FollettDrops of rain make a hole in the stone not by violence, but by oft falling.—LucretiusThe more proactive you are, the less reactive you'll need to be!
-- Eric Harvey and Paul SimsNothing is so simple that it cannot be misunderstood-- Freeman Teague, Jr.The first great gift we can bestow on others is a good example.
-- Thomas MorellToday's Topic: The Main ThingHere are five ways to ensure your employees not only know what your main thing is, but also that they work together to accomplish it. 1.     Share your vision of what’s truly important…what you want and need your team to achieve. Don’t just recite the organization’s vision – that’s great for the annual report, but employees need to know what’s in your head. It should be a clear explanation of what your team’s results can and should be…and how you see that happening. 2.     Provide regular feedback on how each team member is helping to accomplish the main thing. Do not fall into the “as long as you don’t hear from me you’ll know you’re doing okay” trap. Again, your people need to hear directly from you whether things are going well or not. 3.     Show the team that you care. If your group is like most, the question “Does anybody really give a flip about what we do around here?” probably comes up now and then. Everyone needs to feel (and BE) appreciated by his or her leader. In fact, being recognized for one’s efforts and contributions is the number one factor leading to long-term job satisfaction. That’s right…it ranks above money! 4.     Identify and eliminate unnecessary activities that either don’t support your main thing or that block the progress and success of your people. Test all of the team’s decisions and activities against the main thing. Then have the courage to stop doing the things that distract the team from accomplishing its top priority. 5.     Stay consistent. The leader’s job is to provide consistency in everything he or she does. Your actions must be consistent with your words. The performance reviews you conduct must be consistent with the coaching you have provided along the way; the reward system you have in place must reflect and acknowledge the accomplishment of important team goals. The first great gift we can bestow on others is a good example.
-- Thomas MorellLove is blind, but hiring shouldn't be.—UnknownDon't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.-- Mark TwainExcerpted from Leadership Lessons: Powerful Quotes & Inspiring Messages...for everyone

Leadership In Action

Kayla Brown was barely out of college, in her first teaching job, when she made a discovery that would change her life…and the lives of many others.

One delightful and bright kindergarten student – whose usual happy demeanor and eagerness to learn were a joy to Brown – suddenly changed. Despite her best efforts, no amount of coaxing or correcting could shake the boy from this change in personality. Then one day, when Brown was on cafeteria duty, she heard a group of children laughing.

They were laughing at the little boy.

“I walked over closer to the table, and he was licking his plate,” Brown said. The child was holding the plate in front of him and licking it – paying little attention to the laughter around him. She thought he was being silly or playing for attention until she moved closer and looked into the eyes of an intensely sad child. When questioned about the behavior, the boy merely said, “I’m hungry.”

Brown learned that the boy’s father had abandoned the family leaving them with no money and no food in the house. She went to her church and was able to arrange help for the mother and her children.

That seemed like enough of a fix until she moved to a new school in Bowie, Texas, where there was a higher proportion of children living in poverty. There, she discovered the same problem: irritable and poor-performing students who were just hungry.

She went to her pastor and got her new church involved in supplementing the children’s meals. Brown, along with a group of church and school volunteers, started packaging food for approximately 170 children…every weekend.

The project became known as Backpack Buddies because teachers quietly slipped the food into children’s backpacks while they were at recess.

Source: ABC News
How well we communicate is determined not by how well we say things, but how well we are understood.-- Andrew GroveMan cannot live without story any more than he can live without bread.-- Dr. Warren BennisAvoiding a problem doesn't solve it.-- Bonnie Jean ThornleyToday's Topic: A Garden of EmployeesThink of your employees as orchids, daisies, and weeds. Think of yourself as the gardener whose job it is to nurture them to full bloom. 

If you could choose the employees you’d most like to work with every day, would you select:
·         Orchid employees, who need you to stick close enough to ensure they get just the right amount of – but not too much – sunlight, water, and humidity (read that: directions, feedback, and praise), or else they’ll wither and die?·         Daisy employees, who can yield voluminous blooms (excellent work) in a wide range of temperatures (situations), but still need you to check in every now and then to make sure they are getting adequate water, sunlight, and circulation (coaching, feedback, and opportunity)?·         Or weed employees, who can fend for themselves in almost any situation, leaving you plenty of time to tend to the needier plants in the garden?When it’s put to them that way, most managers say they would welcome a garden full of weeds.Today's Topic: Focus on the Facts When Dealing With Performance Problems

The most important part of defining (and understanding) a performance problem is separating the facts from your judgments and opinions. Facts are observable – the things you know for sure because they are seen or heard. Judgments, on the other hand, represent opinions and conclusions. They are relative and subjective. They attack a person rather than the problem – increasing the odds that the employee will respond defensively. And that gets in the way of effective problem solving.

But what if my judgment is correct and accurate? you may ask. Well, that really doesn’t matter! Opinions are debatable (“I don’t do that a lot”…“There’s nothing wrong with my attitude”), but it’s hard to dispute facts. So don’t get hung up with judgments and generalities. If you have the facts, stick to them. If you don’t have the facts, GET THEM…before you talk! That way, you and the employee can spend your time working on solutions rather than debating the existence of problems. And that’s one less headache for you!
It is not who is right, but what is right, that is of importance.
-- Thomas H. HuxleyAs we sail through life, don't avoid rough waters, sail on because calm waters won't make a skillful sailor.—Unknown
Dear Larry,“What you do makes an incredible difference in our lives.”
~ any student, any school, any city

As the summer comes to a close, excitement fills the air. This can only mean one thing: It’s the beginning of school. While our children are gathering supplies and parents are gearing up for the schedule change, teachers everywhere are preparing to begin the new year. Everything parents and teachers do, positively or negatively, makes an impact on our children – even when away from the classroom. Perfect for this time of the year, Listen Up, Teacher! and the 3-minute inspirational movie Because Our Children Are Watching will remind teachers that what they do is important in the eyes of children. Inspire all of the teachers you know and remind them that they are making a difference!

Please pass this along to family, friends, coworkers and, of course, teachers. 
Written from the students’ perspective, here’s an excerpt from the introduction of Listen Up, Teacher!

Ever wonder what your students think about your teaching style? Would they say you are with it, that you are too inflexible, too authoritative, or too boring? Would your students be willing to do more for you (and themselves)? Get ready for some straight answers because here’s what most students are saying:

First of all, most of us want to be your best students. Surprised? We may all look and act like average learners, but we could do so much more! And because you’re our teacher, we want to share with you what it takes to motivate us to overachieve in your classroom. Maybe some of you think that many of us wouldn’t even show up at school if we didn’t have to, but you’re wrong! After listening to us, we hope you will see that we are dependable and trustworthy, and that we are here to learn. The fact is, we could achieve much more…for ourselves and for our school. With your help and guidance, we can all become overachievers in our classes in the same way we are in other aspects of our lives.

Granted, a lot has changed since you were a student. Life is probably more complex for us than it was for you when you were growing up. Some of us come to you from broken homes and many of us come from dysfunctional two-parent homes. Some of our situations are the worst with little hope of getting better. Some of us have no boundaries. Discipline is often inconsistent and mixed messages come from every direction.

To be sure, you have very little – if any – control over the things we have to deal with after school…and that can make your job more challenging. We’re also willing to admit that we have contributed to our own failure in reaching our potential. But we need you to help us reverse this trend and we’re willing to share some of our thoughts.
We know that you are our hope for the future.      WALK THE TALK #7 You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.-- Margaret ThatcherAn ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness.-- Elbert Hubbard Today's Topic: A Message From Santa on Recognition

Today’s Leadership Lesson is based on our best-selling book The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus ... and it’s from Santa, himself.
Greetings from everyone at Santa’s Workshop! We’ve been busy gearing up for the Holiday Season. When we’re not working, most everyone here has been glued to televisions – watching the Olympics. Because of atmospheric conditions, the broadcasts here are very delayed. Nevertheless, we’ve all been quite impressed with the performance of that Jesse Owens fellow … And I’ve been busy planning our annual Labor Day picnic.

Our Labor Day picnic is very important to me. Sure, it’s about fun, and games, and an extra day off work. But it’s also a great opportunity to show my appreciation for the Elves and Reindeer who “labor” so hard all year long to make our business successful. I’m constantly looking for ways to reinforce the good performance of my staff … to “share the milk and cookies” that I enjoy as the person on point. And I’m not alone. Here’s a letter I recently received from a fellow leader – along with my response:

Dear Santa:
I really do understand how important it is to recognize and reward the good performance of the people I lead. But I’m hampered by a significant obstacle: no money! There’s very little in my budget when it comes to gifts, so I feel like there’s very little I can do for my team. Can you help? I’m open to any and all suggestions … as long as you don’t charge me for them.
“Dollarless” in Dallas

Dear Dollarless:
First, I applaud your desire to recognize and reward the members of your team. Yes, it is important; yes, they do deserve it; and yes, it is your job to make it happen. Now for some good news: you don’t need a lot of money in order to demonstrate a lot of appreciation. With a little creative thinking, the low-cost recognition options available to you can be limitless. Here are five options, from 180 Ways To Walk The Recognition Talk, to get you started:
1.     “Cyberize.” SEND AN E-CARD! Your team members will be in for a nice surprise when they see that familiar phrase: You’ve Got Mail!2.     “Allow Me to Introduce Yourself!” Seize every opportunity to introduce people in your work group to customers, vendors, “big wigs,” etc. Pound for pound, introductions may be the most effective no-cost recognition you can give.3.     Lend an Ear! Looking for a really low-cost way to recognize others? Try listening to them! Whether a person is a peer, a direct report, a boss, or a customer, listening to them sends the message that you care … and that they are important!4.     Name Something in Their Honor. Officially dedicating “The Karen Jones Printer” or “The Bill Lee Forklift” – by affixing an inexpensive brass plaque – can be a fun yet powerful form of recognition. And its impact will extend well beyond the presentation ceremony.5.     Walk The Talk. Here are a few things you can “give” people to recognize their importance and contributions: respect, responsibility, honesty, feedback, trust, and cooperation. Sometimes, the most meaningful recognition comes from just “walking the talk.”Sincerely,

 The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and influence their actions. A chip on the shoulder is too heavy a piece of baggage to carry through life.-- John A. Hannah Be beautiful if you can, wise if you want to. But be respected…that is essential. -- Anna Gould When the student is ready, the teacher appears.-- Zen Saying Dear Larry,
Eat That Frog!, by Brian Tracy, is based on Mark Twain’s quote: “If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.”  Timely, compelling, and relevant to the world we live in, this book gives 21 ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time. Today’s excerpt, from the gift book edition of the time management classic, discusses the importance of planning. You owe it to yourself to discover what over 500,000 people have already learned: if you want to be successful, you’ve got to Eat That Frog!

Please pass this along to family, friends and coworkers. 
 Excerpted from Eat That Frog! –– 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

Plan Every Day In Advance

You have heard the old question, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer is “One bite at a time!”

How do you eat your biggest, ugliest frog? The same way; you break it down into specific step-by-step activities and then you start on the first one. Your mind, your ability to think, plan, and decide, is your most powerful tool for overcoming procrastination and increasing your productivity. Your ability to set goals, make plans, and take action on them determines the course of your life. Conversely, as Alec Mackenzie wrote, “Taking action without thinking things through is a prime source of problems.”

Increase Your Return on Energy

One of your top goals at work should be for you to get the highest possible return on your investment of mental, emotional, and physical energy. The good news is that every minute spent in planning saves as many as ten minutes in execution. It takes only about 10 to 12 minutes for you to plan out your day, but this small investment of time will save you up to two hours (100 to 120 minutes) in wasted time and diffused effort throughout the day.

You may have heard of the Six-P Formula. It says, “Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.” When you consider how helpful planning can be in increasing your productivity and performance, it is amazing how few people practice it every single day. And planning is really quite simple to do. All you need is a piece of paper and a pen. The most sophisticated Palm Pilot, computer program, or time planner is based on the same principle. It is based on your sitting down and making a list of everything you have to do before you begin.
 I bear no grudges. I have a mind that retains nothing.
-- Bette Midler Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.-- Lance Armstrong Focus 90% of your time on solutions and only 10% of your time on problems.-- Anthony J. D'Angelo Dear Larry,
The proposition that optimism leads to success is not just a theory, it’s a researched-based fact. Martin Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, has proven that optimists are more successful than equally talented pessimists – in business, education, sports, and politics. The excerpt that I’m sharing today, from Leadership Courage, reminds us why it’s important to Be Optimistic.

Please pass this along to family, friends and coworkers. 
Excerpted from Leadership Courage by David Cottrell and Eric Harvey

Be Optimistic

Some people think that optimism is about living in a Pollyanna world where everything is nice and bad things never happen to good people. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Optimism really is a courageous state of mind – one that comes from a person’s desire, effort, and choice to accept and make the best of difficult situations. Certainly, the road of optimism is not without its potholes. And that’s especially true from those in leadership positions.

If you serve as a leader long enough, you’ll undoubtedly come face to face with setbacks and unexpected events that have the potential to be devastating. People and situations change, and your ability to remain optimistic will surely be tested against fear of the unknown. Refusing to engage in the all-too-common “woe is me” lament takes courage.

The optimistic leader believes that defeat is a temporary setback – isolated to a given situation. He or she wants the best possible outcome and therefore concentrates on finding something positive and hopeful in what appears to be a hopeless situation. This is a leader who understands a basic principle of human nature: You usually see whatever it is you are looking for.

There is an endearing story about how optimistic people look at situations differently – seeing the potential that others fail to realize. It goes like this: Two researchers were independently dispatched to one of the world’s least developed countries by a large shoe manufacturer. Their task was to assess the business possibilities within that country.

When the first report came back to the manufacturer’s headquarters, the message read: “No market here. Nobody wears shoes!” A few days later, the second report came back from the other researcher. It read: “Great market here. Nobody wears shoes!”
 There are no misunderstandings; there are only failures to communicate.-- Senegalese Proverb To become a courageous leader, you must realize that accepting responsibility is not optional – it's mandatory.
-- David Cottrell
We're given a code to live our lives by. We don't always follow it, but it's still there.-- Gary Oldman  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          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 WALK THE TALK #10
Welcome to a special edition of Leadership Lessons - straight from the desk of Santa Claus.

Dear Santa:
What can I do to break down the “us vs. them” barriers that so often exist between people – especially between employees and leaders?
“Looking for Clues” in Laughlin

Dear “Looking for Clues”:
“Us vs. them” thinking and behaviors unfortunately are facts of life. To minimize them, both sides must be willing to make changes and meet in the middle. But as the leader, you must take the lead. Here are some things you should do and remember. They’re from one of my most favorite books, Walk Awhile In My Shoes, and they’re the words of an employee ... your employee:
“Appreciate the fact that my work is no easier than yours. I’ve got a tough job, too.     Tasks often look easier than they are ... especially when somebody else has to do them.

Don’t assume the worst of me. You don’t wake up in the morning asking, “How can I make life miserable for someone today?” Well, neither do I. Give me the benefit of the doubt and I will reciprocate.

Adopt the mindset that to be successful at work, you need me as much as I need you.

Assume half the responsibility for our working relationship. If we work well together,     take half the credit. If we don’t, assume half the responsibility for making it better.     Even though you’re the boss, our relationship is a two-way street.

Remember that I’m human. Before you judge me or decide how you’ll deal with me,     walk awhile in my shoes.”
While these pleas came from an “employee,” they just as easily could have come from a colleague, a friend, a family member, from me … or from YOU, yourself. They are, after all, universal needs that leaders at all levels – and all situations – need to remember and address.

 Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.-- Samuel Johnson 
Dear Larry,Reminding us that we can appreciate “right now,” no matter what else is going on in our lives, Giving Thanks is the perfect book for this Thanksgiving Season. With inspiring quotes and beautiful pictures this book is a breath of fresh air. Whatever is going on in your life or in the world, there is always time to give thanks.

Please pass this along to family, friends and coworkers. 


Learn more...
Giving Thanks: The Gifts of Gratitude

By  MJ Ryan
Gratitude connects us to others and feeling gratitude allows us to be our best selves--in good times and in hard times. When we are truly grateful, we can count on living the life we want.

Excerpted from Giving Thanks

Do you know that happiness, the sheer joy in being alive, is within your reach? All you need is an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude creates happiness because it makes us feel full, complete; it’s the recognition that we have all we need, at least in this moment.

Recent scientific research has begun to indicate that positive emotions, such as gratitude and love, strengthen and enhance the immune system, enabling the body to resist disease and recover more quickly from illness, through the release of endorphins into the bloodstream. Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers. Among other effects, they stimulate dilation of the blood vessels, which leads to a relaxed heart.

That this means is that the more we experience a sense of gratitude, we literally bathe ourselves in good hormones and feel happier and more content with our lives. Like most great spiritual truths, gratitude is stunningly simple. This is not to say it’s necessarily easy to practice. All kinds of distractions, obfuscation, and negative attitudes from our upbringings may get in the way. But all you really have to do to receive gratitude’s gifts is make a commitment to be thankful on a daily basis, and the world will be suddenly transformed into a beautiful wonderland in which you are invited to play.

If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never truly be fulfilled.
If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself.
Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.
~ Lao Tzu

Mr. Scorpio says productivity is up 2%, and it's all because of my motivational techniques, like donuts – and the possibility of more donuts to come!-- Homer Simpson The way we choose to respond when others make mistakes can cause them to feel ashamed or can allow them to remember our kindness and share our stories with future generations. -- Michelle Sedas Just play! Have fun. Enjoy the game! -- Michael Jordan People need me…they depend on me. We're doing something important here. And knowing that gives me the energy to carry the sack, lead the pack, and keep coming back.-- Santa Claus Whether you realize it or not, you have the power to be successful by helping others succeed.-- David Cottrell  Welcome to a special edition of Leadership Lessons - straight from the desk of Santa Claus.

Dear Santa:
I haven’t been a leader all that long, so obviously I have a lot to learn. What can you tell me ... where should I look for guidance ... what do I need to remember as I lead my team?  
A Newbie in Newark

Dear Newbie:
Over the years I’ve learned a simple truth: If you need guidance on being a better leader, go to the people you’re leading. That’s why one of the most valuable resources I have is a powerful handbook entitled Listen Up, Leader! Here’s a passage – one of many important messages from team members that all leaders need to consider:

“We are watching everything you do. Even when you think we’re not paying attention, we are. There is never a time when you’re not in your leadership role. You may think that when you choose to ignore an issue, you are not leading. You’re wrong! If you show up late for a meeting, you lead us to believe that our time isn’t valuable. If you lose your cool and over-react to small issues, we wonder how you will react when something big comes along. It’s a fact: You are always leading. You can never NOT lead! Everything you do counts!

Believe it or not, we DO understand that leadership isn’t easy. As we watch you each day, we see the incredible responsibilities you’re charged with. You’re accountable for your actions and for our actions – plus all the fiscal requirements, employee problems, feedback, training, technology changes, hiring, de-hiring, communicating, staff development, prioritizing, eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy, and much more. Your job is tough. But it is the job you chose. What we ask of you is to accept responsibility for being the very best at your job so we can be the best at our jobs.”

Whether you’re a leader at work, at home, in your community, or even at the North Pole, never forget the four most important words from the passage above:
Everything you do counts! With more understanding, we can meet in the middle and walk the rest of the way together.-- Eric Harvey  The final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands.-- Anne Frank We may affirm absolutely that nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.-- Georg Hegel The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases. -- Carl Jung Dear Larry,

Believe you me, having to smile and be jolly every day when you’re wearing the same thick, hot, red-wool suit (that itches like crazy) is no picnic. This is a job that will definitely strain your sanity and drain your ego if you let it. Seems like everyone wants a piece of me. Yet many of the people I serve question my existence…or just plain don’t believe in me at all. And those who do believe often expect me to do the impossible – rarely caring about what I have to do, or go through (including chimneys), to meet their expectations. And they ALL have expectations.

There’s no doubt that my biggest challenges come from two roles that people rarely associate with this red-cheeked, bag-carrying sleigh driver: Santa the MANAGER and Santa the LEADER. I am, after all, running a business here. I’m a boss. I’ve got responsibilities – both to the gift-getters and the gift-makers. There are workers to lead, letters to read, orders to fill, processes to manage, stuff to buy, stuff to make, standards to maintain, new technologies to adopt, skills to develop, elf problems to solve, and reindeer droppings to scoop (although I delegate that one.) Trust me, I’ve got some big and not-always-easy-fitting boots to fill.

Like most managers, I have to deal with marketplace fluctuations (“Dear Santa, I thought I wanted that, but now I want this.”). And I’ve seen more than my share of budget cuts, staff reductions, employees who are either unwilling or unable to adjust to change, technology advancements, increasing demands for higher quality and better service, fluctuations in the economy, competing priorities, ever-growing performance expectations (for all of us), and a whole lot more. Whew!

No, it’s not easy being Santa Claus. But in spite of that, I love what I do. People need me…they depend on me. We’re doing something important here. And knowing that gives me the energy to carry the sack, lead the pack, and keep coming back. By now, you may be wondering how I meet all of these many challenges and responsibilities…how I manage to bring everyone and everything together to complete our mission. Some people think I use magic. But really, there’s no magic about it.

So, if it’s not magic, what is my secret? Actually there are eight of them!  And you can find all eight practical strategies for leading others and getting big things done all year long in my book called The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus. A few of my elves helped me put together this book and I guarantee that if you read it and apply these “secrets,” you’ll find them more valuable than anything you might have written on your holiday wish list.

 Step out of your comfort zone once more each week and create over 50 additional opportunities for excitement, challenge and possibility each year. This is what life's about. -- Sam Parker Welcome to a special edition of Leadership Lessons - straight from the desk of Santa Claus.

Dear Santa:
Awhile back, I heard a colleague say, “The quality of a workplace is directly related to the quality of its leadership.” That blinding flash of the obvious had a real impact on me. To help build a positive work environment, I need to be the best leader I can be. What can I do to make that happen?
Wondering in Wisconsin

Dear Wondering:
Well done … you’ve broken the code! While all team members must help build great workplaces, leaders certainly are the primary architects. To be the best “architect” you can be, you need to Enter the Learning Zone. That’s a concept I learned from Monday Morning Leadership – one of the most powerful books in my personal library. Here are a few short passages that should help:

“For you to be the very best, you cannot allow yourself to become complacent in your comfort zone. You need to be reaching for improvement. To fulfill your potential, you need to move out of your comfort zone and into ‘the learning zone’ …”

“There are three rooms in the learning zone. The first room is the reading room. Look around this library – there are more than a thousand books in here. More than half of those books are about management and leadership … Suppose you decided to read one book a month on management or leadership. During the next year, you’d have read 12 books. Do you think you’d know more about management and leadership if you read that many books a year? …”

“The second room in the learning zone is the listening room. Did you know that the principal reasons executives fail are arrogance, out-of-control egos, and insensitivity? They forget to take the time to listen to their people. Soon they become insensitive to the needs and desires of the individuals on the team. Don’t allow     yourself to fall into that trap – listen to your people! …”

“The third room in the learning zone is the giving room. You cannot succeed without giving back. Your legacy will be what you give [and teach] to others.”

Modify the above strategies a little, and you’ll have some great guidelines for being a more effective leader in your personal life as well.
 How far you go in your life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.-- George Washington Carver The great man is he who does not lose his child's heart.
-- Mencius  "To coach" comes from the root meaning "to bring a person from where they are to where they want to be."
-- David Cottrell  
Please pass this along to family, friends and coworkers. 

Excerpted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference…







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