Walk The Talk

WALK THE TALK #11Dear Larry,I couldn’t wait until tomorrow…I had to get this important message out to you TODAY! I know that this issue of the Power of Inspiration is a bit of a surprise—we usually send these out to you on Tuesdays, however the book Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference recently came across my desk and it stopped me in my tracks by asking, “Have you made TODAY matter?” I realized at that moment that Mondays do matter and each of us matters. Tomorrow is Election Day across the United States, and many of us will ask ourselves, “Do I matter?” If you’re like most people, you want your vote to count.  You want your voice to be heard. You want to make a difference! This “involvement” guide book provides a straightforward, uncomplicated, and down-to-earth process for getting involved, so you can make today (and tomorrow) count!

Please pass this along to family, friends and coworkers. 
Excerpted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference…

Before now, Monday was the least favorite day of the week. Monday was the day that ended your weekend; the day you HAD to go back to work; and the day you started a diet or decided not to smoke another cigarette…again. Our goal is to change the “image” of Mondays by making them mean something amazing, something incredible, something unbelievable. From this day forward, we’ll show you how to make your Mondays matter!
52 Mondays            52 activities        52 ways to make a difference
As you flip through these pages, you will see that every Monday has an activity that makes it easy for you to move from just thinking or talking about being of service to actually taking action. Being of service comes in many shapes and sizes. Some weeks’ activities are simpler than others, but they all pack a big punch. For example, on Monday #8, the Every Monday Matters activity is to help the hungry by simply donating some of your time or food. On Monday #21, the Every Monday Matters activity is to learn CPR so you are equipped to save someone’s life in the case of an emergency. As you participate in each week’s activities, you’ll see that Every Monday Matters is incredibly simple, yet significant, and has little to do with how much time it takes or the size of the action.

It starts with YOU who turns to your friend, neighbor, co-worker, significant other, and says, “We need to do this!”

This is about people taking personal responsibility to make a difference. To matter—one day, one action at a time.

While the ideas in this book can be put into action one person at a time, our vision extends far beyond the individual. It is a simple game of numbers…
A community of friends,
A chamber of commerce,
A neighborhood,
A church,
A club,
Employees at a company…
And grows across the nation. Imagine a day when no one honks their horn. Imagine a day when there are 300 million fewer pieces of litter on the streets because everyone picked up just one piece of trash. Imagine a day when…Imagine.Reading about why you’re needed doesn’t make a difference. Thinking about doing something doesn’t make a difference.

Getting started DOES make a difference.
May you be blessed with all things good.-- Kate Nowak Do something. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn't, do something else.-- Franklin D. Roosevelt Welcome to a special edition of Leadership Lessons - straight from the desk of Santa Claus.

Dear Santa:
I haven’t been a leader very long, and now I’m faced with replacing two top-notch team members whose special skills were needed elsewhere in our organization. I owe it to the rest of the team to fill these open positions with the best and brightest people. Please bring me a couple of suggestions to help me do that.
Staffing in Spokane

Dear Staffing:
Hiring the best people is not only something you owe to everyone on your team, but also something you owe to yourself! After all, YOU will have to deal with (and live with) whomever you select. In addressing your request, I went to one of my most trusted resources. Here are three strategies from Nuts’nBolts Leadership that certainly have helped me in the past:
Hire for Tomorrow’s Job. Don’t just hire for a position, hire for the future. Jobs,  technologies, and markets are changing faster than ever. Look for people who are intelligent, quick learners, and adaptable to change.

Remember: To Get the Best, You Have to Test! The most reliable predictor of  success on the job is not experience, education, or age. The best predictor is testing. Test for every important criterion in the job requirements.

Keep Your Ears Open for “We’s.”
[In interviews] Listen for the “we” word …unless you’re looking for an “I” person. One trait of good team players – no matter their level or function – is the use of the word “we” when describing previous work situations and achievements.

Unquestionably, team member selection is one of the most important responsibilities of leadership. Take it seriously … do it right!
 Life will bring you pain all by itself. Your responsibility is to create joy.-- Milton Erickson, MD Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together. -- Vincent van Gogh 
Dear Larry,“We all face adversity in our life.
And so many times, it’s how we react to it that will determine our destiny.”
—Mac Anderson, Founder of Simple Truths

As 2008 draws to a close, it’s clear that many of us are facing adversities. With the present economy, you probably have questions about what actions to take going forward.  Finish Strong is the key.  Consider this powerful resource as a tool to:
·         Develop Your Leaders·         Thank Your Customers·         Achieve Business Results·         And, most importantly, to Finish 2008 Strong!Please pass this along to family, friends and coworkers.
Excerpted from Finish Strong: More than a statement…it's an attitude

The story of Jim J. Braddock, the “Cinderella Man,” is one of my favorites. It’s about a working man’s rise to the top, his fall to the very bottom and then his ascension to heights he never imagined. And through it all he discovered the true meaning of life.

Jim Braddock spent the better part of the 1920’s boxing in the light heavyweight division. During this time, he gained a reputation for being a fierce competitor with a right hand punch that could stop a bulldozer. His rise through the professional ranks began in 1926. He won most of his fights and earned a respectable reputation and living. By all accounts Jim Braddock was a successful man with a good life.

Like millions of Americans, Jim Braddock lost everything with the Great Depression. With no work available, Jim continued to box in order to provide for his family. Unfortunately, Jim’s boxing career hit the skids during this time. He lost sixteen of twenty two fights. To make matters worse, he shattered his powerful right hand and lost his greatest boxing asset. Under pressure to support his family, Jim quit boxing and filed for government relief. For the next few years, Jim would struggle to make ends meet. He worked odd jobs on the docks and took whatever other work he could find. His family finances grew worse and at times they had very little food or heat for their apartment. It was during these years that Jim Braddock discovered how important his family was to him. Because of this emotional time in his life, Jim would rediscover the true meaning of winning. 
People quit people before
they quit companies.
-- David Cottrell You have energy. Where should it be invested?-- Sam Parker Never forget that getting big things done all year long isn't about magic. It's about leadership.-- Santa Claus Welcome to a special edition of Leadership Lessons - straight from the desk of Santa Claus.

Dear Santa:
Having everyone understand and support the need for change is important to our success. But building that understanding and support is no easy task. Any ideas on what I might do? 
Curious in California

Dear Curious:
You’re right-on. Building understanding, support, and acceptance for any endeavor is critical to its success. And that’s especially true when change is involved. In addressing your inquiry, I went to one of my trusted leadership resources. Here are two proven ideas from The Manager’s Communication Handbook that should help:
Give The Reasons.
Providing information is a key to building understanding. The more information managers share about the “why” behind the “what” they are trying to accomplish, the more employees will see the overall organizational vision – and the more they will accept and support plans and strategies necessary to achieve that vision.

Teach The Business of The Business.
Although they may not specifically ask, employees really DO want to know what all the reports and numbers [that you track] mean. So explain them. Managers who invest the time it takes to teach employees how the business works will reap the rewards of greater understanding ... and increased productivity.
Need to build support for change in non-business settings (e.g. at home)? Try similar strategies … with a little tweaking. It is the nature of man to rise to greatness if greatness is expected of him.
-- John Steinbeck

Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.-- Jack Welch Dear Larry,We are excited to announce the release of our latest book, inspirational movie, and personal development kit:The Power of 10% – How Small Changes Can Make a BIG Difference
Please watch this exciting 3-minute movie and learn how The Power of 10% can help you:
·         Develop a “Goal Attainment” Mindset·         Remove Counterproductive Boundaries to Success·         Understand How Small Changes Can Make a BIG Difference·         And most importantly·         Improve Yourself, Your Business and the World Around YouSo, take a moment to learn more about The Power of 10%. Please pass this along to family, friends, and coworkers. I pay attention to what my elves (and others) feel. Perceptions are realities for those that hold them…and I must deal with those realities in order to lead effectively.
-- Santa Claus

I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday. -- Abraham Lincoln Welcome to a special edition of Leadership Lessons - straight from the desk of Santa Claus.

Dear Santa:
Dealing with performance problems eats up a great deal of my time … and my emotions. Is there anything I can do to reduce the number of team-member problems – and accompanying leadership headaches – that I’m told, “just come with the job”?
Frustrated in Falls Church

Dear Frustrated:
Excellent question! And (good news), the answer is YES – there are things you can do! Unquestionably, the very best way to deal with performance problems of team members is PROACTIVELY … by doing things that decrease the likelihood that issues will occur in the first place. Here are some strategies that should be helpful. They’re from an invaluable resource I continually refer to, The Manager’s Coaching Handbook:
7 Ways to Minimize the Need for
  1. Hire people who have the talent, desire, and ability to do the job well.
  2. Clearly communicate job responsibilities and performance expectations. Confirm that everyone understands.
  3. Make training and continual learning a top priority.
  4. Regularly provide specific performance feedback. Make sure people know how they’re doing.
  5. Consistently recognize and reward positive performance.
  6. Hold people accountable for negative behavior and performance.
  7. Set the example. Be a positive role model for the team.
By the way, these strategies aren’t just for business workplaces. With a little adjustment, they can be applied to situations occurring in your personal life as well. Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected.-- William Plomer We do not remember days, we remember moments.
-- Cesare Pavese
The only thing that separates successful people from the ones who aren't is the willingness to work very, very hard.-- Helen Gurley Brown
You can tell the value of a man by the way he treats his wife, by the way he treats a subordinate, and by the way he treats someone who can do nothing for him.-- Ken Babcock It is good to appreciate that life is now. Whatever it offers, little or much, life is now – this day – this hour.
-- Charles Macomb Flandrau Consciously cultivating thankfulness is a journey of the soul, one that begins when we look around us and see the positive effects that gratitude creates.-- MJ Ryan The only constant is change.—Heraclitus Do something wonderful, people may imitate it.-- Albert Schweitzer  Life does not consist mainly – or even largely – of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thoughts that is forever blowing through one's head.
-- Mark Twain

Welcome to a special edition of Leadership Lessons - straight from the desk of Santa Claus.

Dear Santa:
I really do understand how important it is to recognize and reward the good perform-ance 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:
I have both praise and good news for you. First the praise – 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 the 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. To get you started, I pulled a few tips from one of my most valuable leadership resources: 180 Ways to Walk the Recognition Talk:
“Cyberize.” Does the person you want to recognize have internet access at work?  If so, SEND AN E-CARD! There are plenty of websites offering this free service.  And if the person is “on the net” at home, consider sending the e-card there.  Either way, they’ll be in for a nice surprise when they see that familiar phrase:     You’ve Got Mail!

“Allow Me to Introduce Yourself!” Seize every opportunity to introduce people in your work group to customers, vendors, “big wigs,” etc. The message to your team members is, “You’re important … I want people to meet you.” Pound for pound, introductions may be the most effective no-cost recognition you can give.

Lend an Ear! Looking for a really low-cost way to recognize others? Try listening to them! Listening is one of the most underutilized recognition activities in the world.     (And one of the most underdeveloped skills!) But it can have a big impact. Whether     a person is a peer, a direct report, a boss, a customer, or even someone in a non-    work     setting (e.g., at home), listening to them sends the message that you care …and that they are important!

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.

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. Sound familiar? Chances are, these (or similar) attributes can be found     in your organizational values. So, let your values be your guide. Sometimes, the     most meaningful recognition comes from just “walking the talk.”
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
WALK THE TALK #2The human spirit is nurtured by praise, as much as a seedling is nurtured by the soil, the water and the sun.-- Mario FernandezThe purpose of life is a life of purpose.-- Ralph Waldo EmersonLife can be seen through your eyes, but it is not fully appreciated until it is seen through your heart.-- Mary XavierToday’s Topic:  Keep Your Commitments
Dependable. Reliable. Trustworthy. Do those words describe you? If asked, would your team members say that your word is “good as gold”? The answer to each of those questions needs to be a resounding “yes” if you are going to be the kind of leader that others will follow.

All successful leaders place a premium on keeping their promises and commitments. If they say they’ll do something  – whether “important” or seemingly insignificant – they remember it…and they DO it. They count on the fact that people can count on them. And they understand that statements like…
I was gonna,
I meant to,
I haven’t forgotten,
I’ll get to it soon…
all translate the same way: I JUST DIDN’T DO IT!

Those are excuses. They’re close to meaningless. Each time they’re uttered, they chip away the trust and confidence employees have for their management. And when those two factors are gone, so is your ability to lead.

The good news: With few exceptions, all leaders really do intend to keep “their word” and their promises. The bad news: Good intentions alone won’t take you very far. You get no “points” for them. Points come only when you deliver.

So don’t make promises lightly…don’t make ones you can’t (or really don’t intend) to keep…don’t mislead the people that ultimately will determine your success. And when you do make commitments, write them down, check them frequently, do whatever it takes to make good on them.  Earn the right to expect others to keep their word by keeping yours.
 You earn the right to expect recognition by giving it! It’s that simple. -- Eric Harvey I can live two months on one good compliment! -- Mark Twain  

There is only one boss–the Customer. And he can fire anybody in the


company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money


somewhere else. -- Sam Walton  

It’s not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money.


It’s the customer who pays the wages.-- Henry Ford  Today's Topic: What Business Are You In?

Ever stop to really think about what business you’re in? Ask most people, and they’ll say things like: manufacturing, sales, healthcare, banking, insurance, computer software, food service, hospitality, retail, etc., etc., etc. If that’s the kind of answer you’d give, you’d be only half right!

Here’s a one-question test: If all of your customers went away for good, would you still have a business…would you still have a job? Of course not! Well, that’s your clue to the more important half of what you do:
And that means you not only need to know the right way to fix cars, write programs, run equipment, or whatever, you also need to know the right way to serve customers. You need to know it, and more importantly, you need to practice it.

When you look at what most organizations say nowadays, it’s obvious that they recognize the importance of good customer service. It seems that everywhere you look you find businesses proudly touting statements and slogans like: “Customers come first,” “We’re here to serve,” and “We go the extra mile.” Sound familiar? Sure! And the irony is that while all this noble, well-intended talk is on the rise, it’s apparent that the quality of service, in general, is on a steady decline.

Businesses are losing customers every day because they aren’t walking the customer service talk…they aren’t treating customers the way they say they will. That needs to change. It needs to be turned around – 180 degrees. You, your organization, and your customers will greatly benefit if everyone learned how to walk the customer service talk

The game of business is very much like the game of tennis. Those who fail to


master the basics of serving well, usually lose.-- Unknown  

When did you last evaluate the tasks you do every day against what’s most


important to you?-- Sam Parker Never stop. One always stops as soon as something is about to happen.-- Peter Brook Excerpted from The Richest Man in Town:Chapter Titled The Source of Happiness:At times Marty made it sound too easy. On a visit to his home I heard him say, “People need to decide to be happy.” I pressed him. “What do you mean by that?”His face took on an incredulous look. “You have to ask me?”At that moment I felt a little foolish. Complex human problems, at least to me, often prevent people from being happy. To Marty it was a matter of common sense. I wondered, what was I missing?“C’mon, Marty,” I said, “do you really think people can actually decide to be happy?”“Who makes decisions for you?” Marty asked me. “All my life I’ve watched people waiting for someone else to make them happy. The way I got it figured, the only one who can make you happy is you.”As I considered his point, my mind began to wander. Strangely, I thought of an old “Peanuts” cartoon–the one in which Lucy asked Charlie Brown, “Why do you think we were put on earth?”Charlie Brown answered, “To make others happy.”“I don’t think I’m making anyone happy,” Lucy replied, “but nobody’s making me very happy either.” Then Lucy screamed out, “Somebody’s not doing his job!”I smiled at that moment, thinking Marty had something in common with Charles Schultz, the creator of the “Peanuts” cartoon. Both seemed to be saying that it was silly to expect other people to have such an influence over our lives. That was Marty’s lesson: Only you can make you happy.Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.-- George S. Patton

Many of life’s failures are men who did not realize how close they were to

success when they gave up.-- Thomas Edison

Today's Topic: Ask for Feedback

Two of the most important keys to job success are: 1) Keep doing the things you do well (your strengths), and 2) Correct the things you don’t do so well (your weaknesses) – a.k.a. “developmental opportunities.” And in order to do both of those, you need to know exactly what your strengths and weaknesses are. To be sure, you’ll want to periodically do a self-assessment on where you stand. But the best and most accurate information on your performance must come from others – from your boss, your coworkers, and your customers.

If you happen to work in an organization where feedback is frequently provided to you, great! You’re fortunate. Pay attention to what you hear and ACT on the information. If you’re like most folks, however, you’ll need more performance evaluation data than is given to you. That means you’ll have to ASK for it.

Make a habit of posing the How am I doing? question to someone at least once a month. Solicit information from your manager, a trusted coworker, or a customer you’re serving. To pinpoint specific areas to work in, try asking:
“What one or two things can I do to be more successful?”
“What can I do to serve you better in the future?”
You’ll be amazed at how many people will be more than willing to tell you what you need to hear. And when they do, be sure to thank them. They truly will have given you a gift.

Triumph often is nearest when defeat seems inescapable.-- B.C. Forbes

 The human mind is the last great, unexplored continent on earth.
-- Earl NightingaleWe become what we think about.-- Earl NightingaleExcerpted from The Strangest Secret:

Why do people with goals succeed in life…and people without them fail?

Well, let me tell you something that, if you really understand it, will alter your life immediately. If you understand completely what I’m going to tell you, from this moment on, your life will never be the same again. You’ll suddenly find that good luck just seems to be attracted to you. The things you want just seem to fall in line. And from now on you won’t have the problems, the worries, the gnawing lump of anxiety that perhaps you’ve experienced before. Doubt… fear… well, they’ll be things of the past.

Here is the key to success and the key to failure: We become what we think about. Now, let me repeat that. We become what we think about.

Throughout all history, the great wise men and teachers, philosophers, and prophets have disagreed with one another on many different things. It is only on this one point that they are in complete and unanimous agreement.

Consider what Marcus Aurelius, the great Roman Emperor, said: “A man’s life is what his thoughts make of it.”

Benjamin Disraeli said this: “Everything comes if a man will only wait. I have brought myself by long meditation to the conviction that a human being with a settled purpose must accomplish it, and that nothing can resist a will that will stake even existence for its fulfillment.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson said this: “A man is what he thinks about all day long.”

Well, it’s pretty apparent, isn’t it? And every person who discovered this believed (for a while) that he was the first one to work it out. We become what we think about.

While we may never be completely free of all bias, we can work toward


communicating in bias-free ways.-- Leslie C. Aguilar


While we may never be completely free of all bias,

we can work toward communicating in bias-free ways.
-- Leslie C. Aguilar
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
WALK THE TALKGoals are for the future; values are for now.
Goals are set; values are lived. Goals change;
values are rocks that you can count on.

-- Sheldon BowlesYou never know when a moment and a
few sincere words can have an impact on a life.

-- Zig ZiglarToday’s Topic:   Let Them Know How They’re Doing
It’s been said that “feedback is the breakfast of champions.” Well, if that’s true, then a lot of employees out there are going hungry. And it’s time they got fed!
Ask any group of people how often they receive detailed feedback on their performance at work and it’s not unusual to hear: “Only at annual review time…or if I really screw up bad.” And that’s truly unfortunate. It’s unfair for those team members who are left in the dark, and it’s yet another self-inflicted wound by leaders who are blowing opportunities to help their people achieve and succeed.
The more employees know how they stack up against your expectations, the easier it is for them to keep their performance on track.
That’s why providing specific, detailed feedback needs to be an ongoing process rather than a once-a-year “event.” Failure to do that makes about as much sense as a professional sports coach telling his or her players: “I’ll let you know how you’re doing with those plays at the end of the season.” Not only would that be a ridiculous thing for a
coach to do, it would also be CAREER LIMITING!
Today’s lesson is from Start Right, Stay Right...LEAD Right.  Every leader's straight talk guide to success on the job.
Why does the thrill of soaring have to begin with the fear of falling?
-- Mother EagleYou can’t teach someone to smile, you can’t teach someone to want to serve, you can’t teach personality. What you can do, however, is hire people who have those qualities and then teach them about your products and culture.
With clever life lessons that are sure to make you think, You Can’t Send a Duck to Eagle School captures this fundamental truth of leadership. Today I’m sharing with you a delightful movie, based on the book, that will bring a smile to your face while demonstrating how one great idea can change your life forever!
The road to success is not always a road. -- Mac Anderson

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven played music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.
-- Martin Luther King, JrIn all things, be willing to listen to people around you. None of us is really smart enough to go it alone.  -- John ClendeninWe can't do really big things every day.  If we're really serious about walking the talk all the time, we have to focus on the small stuff.  Let the journey begin. --Eric Harvey & Al LuciaI think we all have a little voice inside us that will guide us… if we shut out all the noise and clutter from our lives and listen to that voice, it will tell us the right thing to do. -- Christopher ReeveWords to live by are just words… unless you actually live by them.
-- Eric Harvey and Steve VenturaIt is time for us all to stand and cheer for the doer, the achiever -- the one who recognizes the challenge and does something about it.  -- Vince LombardiExcerpted from What It Takes To Be Number One
Running a football team is no different than running a business. Results are the bottom line. What running any organization comes down to is the consequences that are brought about by your leadership. The absence of positive results render your leadership a failure. Bookstores are full of books regarding the debate about organizational structure: hierarchical or flat, central or decentralized, and everything in between. Yet it’s not structure, but results, that make a leader. Leadership isn’t a position, it’s a process that produces the desired results. If you don’t produce results, if you don’t execute – you’re not a leader.

Leaders get paid for results, not for being right. Results come from mistakes – being wrong – and leaders must possess Coach Lombardi’s mental toughness to handle mistakes, take accountability for them, and quickly abandon efforts that fail to produce results.

If you are right all the time you aren’t taking enough risks. Results require a willingness to act, even if you are unsure of what lies ahead. And, almost always, you will be unsure. Only through risk and action can you take your organization to the next level.

Results, specific and measurable, come from having a clear vision, defining what improvement and adaptation look like
and having a beginning and an end in mind. Results come from knowing what you are achieving today and having a clear, specific strategy for closing the gap between today’s reality and your vision for tomorrow. When you wake up, seek the courage and strength to do the right thing. Decide that this will be another day in which you… Walk The Talk. -- Eric Harvey and Steve VenturaNo, I don’t understand my husband’s theory of relativity. But I know my husband, and I know he can be trusted. -- Elsa EinsteinWe have committed the Golden Rule to memory. Let us now commit it to life. -- Edwin MarkhamEarn the right to expect others to keep their word by keeping yours.
-- Steve VenturaReal integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.-- Oprah WinfreyToday’s Topic: The Responsibility of Being Our Leader
Even though we work for an organization, you are our leader. We don’t follow the company’s mission statement, senior management memos, annual reports, or what the stock market watchers say about us as much as we follow you. And, like it or not, you’re not only our leader but also a large part of our career success. Our job happiness depends on our relationship with you.
Please don’t take this lightly. Sometimes we lie awake nights worrying about you and how you feel about things. We wonder why you pass us in the hall without even acknowledging our presence. We wonder why you take some of us behind closed doors while leaving others outside. As our leader, you influence all of us!
Believe it or not, we DO understand that leadership isn’t easy. We watch every day and see you assume incredible responsibilities. 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.
When you became a manager, supervisor, or team leader, the game changed. You’re now held to a higher level of accountability than before. In fact, everything you do is exaggerated; you are under a magnifying glass. And when you’re down, we’re down. When you’re up, we’re up. You set the tone…you shape the environment in which we can be
Because of this, we expect more from you than from anyone else in our organization. And we need you to lead us without excuses.
The leadership you display and the decisions that you make contribute more to our success than all other factors combined. 

Everything you do counts.  Make it count!
I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me…all I ask is that you respect me as a human being.-- Jackie RobinsonLeaders don’t force people to follow – they invite them on a journey.
-- Charles S. LauerExcerpted from Walk the TalkA Poem of POSSIBILITIES

If every person walked the talk,
Can you imagine how it would be?
A world filled with good intentions
That all became reality.

We could count on one another,
And coexist respectfully.
There would be no broken promises,
And no hypocrisy.

We’d have no problem spotting heroes,
They’d be everywhere to see.
Just by looking in the mirror,
We all would find integrity.

If everybody did what’s right,
Most rules we wouldn’t need.
Conscience, trust, and common sense
Would be the things that we’d all heed.

There would be no hurtful actions
In the news that we would read.
Only story, after story
Of yet another noble deed.

And when it came to raising children
With young characters to mold and feed,
The best lessons they could ever learn
Would come by merely following our lead.

If each of us behaved beliefs
There’d be little cause for fear.
All actions would be honorable,
Our values would be clear.

Just by watching what it is we DO,
One could tell what we hold dear.
For our principles would be acts you see,
Not merely words you hear.

It’s a challenging task to Walk the Talk
Every hour, day, and year.
And we ALL can do a better job,

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