Why do we follow leaders?

I’m not known for talking about politics, and in fact I don’t talk about them for obvious reasons. However, similar to business and sports team leaders, the people in these positions all play an important role in our society. Although their respective assents to their leadership roles are generally remarkably, and curiously different. 

Take for example just about any CEO or leader of a sports team organization. Or, a head sports team coach. If you were to ask them where they went to leadership school, most would look at you oddly. Why? Because there are limited ways for leaders to obtain their skills from an educational perspective. Skills that are truly meaningful.

In other words, leaders learn how to lead from actual experience of leading others. Not by simply reading about how to lead others. I’m not disparaging the wonderful leadership books out there, I’m just stating that I have yet to come across a leader who said they learned everything they needed to become an amazing leader via reading about the topic.

Similar to a trade role (e.g., plumber, electrician, welder), leaders gain the majority of their skills by practicing and applying them in a physical way. Although trade persons are highly skilled, they do not have to master the soft skills that effective leaders need to gain. Unless of course they are the owner of the company. Then I would place those individuals in the same category as business and sports team leaders.

The most impactful skills that leaders need to acquire and master are ones which are more difficult to measure. I’m referring to the skills of communication, influence and emotional intelligence (e.g., EQ). Granted I want to stress that the EQ skill isn’t something one can learn, as this is one of the skills in the innate category. You are either fortunate to have lots of it, or not enough for your or others liking. Having common sense is also one of the beneficial skills the top leaders possess. However, it’s one of the other skills you either have, or you don’t.

Of course, all leaders start out as followers. The interesting factor to consider is at what point is the cross over to leadership made? Depending on the type of leadership role, it could in fact take years before someone steps into that role. However, we have all seen instances where an individual is placed into a leadership role they are ill prepared to take on. Everyone suffers when this occurs. With a few exceptions.

One of the exceptions is that the newly minted leader is supported by others to buffer their learning curve. The supporters will play the role of advising the majority of the new leaders decisions, until they reach a point when they can make more of the decisions on their own. However, without this arrangement in place as an exception, the new under prepared leader will experience a steep and often painful learning curve themselves, and for those they lead. I guarantee you have seen this. Perhaps you have even had the misfortune of being led by this individual? The good news is that most of these ill prepared leaders will be filtered out, and replaced by an actual experienced leader. Although not always.

At what point do people know they are ready to lead and make the crossover into leadership? Below are some ways you will know when the time is right for you to make this leap.

  • Gaining experience takes time. Most leaders will need a minimum of a decade worth of experience to have had enough opportunities to learn, and to have made enough mistakes along the way to be effective when they step into their role. With this said, having 15-20 years of experience is even better.
  • You have had the opportunity to learn about multiple facets of the business, or acquire deep knowledge about the sports team you are leading. Additionally, you have had a minimum number of roles (e.g., 2-4) to provide you with insight only gained from having exposure to critical functions which impact the company, or sports team you will be leading.
  • You are at a point where you are able to mentor others.
  • People you respect and who are in leadership roles begin seeking you out for advice or your opinion on how to handle different situations.
  • You are able to see the big picture, and can effectively communicate strategically as well as persuasively to your peers and leadership members above your current role. 
  • You have made enough calculated mistakes and recovered from them without tarnishing your reputation.
  • Others trust your judgement and are comfortable with letting you make critical decisions, as you have solid track record for demonstrating this.
  • Not everyone who can step into a leadership role wants to do so. In fact, many shy away from the enormous responsibilities that go along with being the leader. It’s not a role for the faint of heart, or those who have difficulty with making, sticking to and applying decisions to be carried out effectively.

Moving into a leadership role is a privilege, and not one to be casually entered into.  In fact, I can tell you that you will intuitively know when you are ready to take on becoming the leader. If you can’t trust your gut instinct with this decision, then it’s not likely your time to step out of the follower role yet. 

Tags: #Business #Success #Leadership #Teams #Sportsteams #Headcoaches #Sportscoaches #Coaches #Headsportscoach #HeadSportscoaches #Strategy #Management #BusinessManagement

Impact. What’s yours?

Math has never been one of my talents, and calculating someone’s impact potentially is associated with a mathematical formula. Having acknowledged this, I would rather interpret impact via other methods. In this situation, my interpretation is more closely associated with emotional intelligence and common sense. For fun, let’s toss in awareness too.

The explosion of social media use has certainly amped up the awareness people have on the Sir Issacs Newton’s three laws of motion. You can look this one up if you are not familiar with it, but when I was considering another factor contributing to a person’s impact, this scientific principle came into my mind. In the simplest way of describing this concept, it has to do with the basic science theory of by doing something, you get a reaction. Perhaps not the reaction you want, but generally a type of reaction will occur.

Some forms of impact are calculated. In the case of social media, people are generally trying to have an impact. Whether they are strategically planning the impact or not, there is a subconscious element of them wanting to have some reaction and impact based on their activity.

If a person is plotting to have a positive impact, then all the more power to them. However, we know there are unfortunately people in our physical and digital worlds who are intentionally scheming to have a negative impact. In my opinion, this is purely wasted energy, and sad that people do this. Especially since they have the capacity to instead have a positive impact, but choose to go in the other direction.

When you think of a brand, which one or two comes to mind? Generally, they will be one that elicited an emotional response. A response tapping into one of our six basic and core human desires (e.g., anger, disgust, fear, joy, sadness and shame). I would add the following to this list and include feeling safe, loved and hopeful. The next time you see your favorite brand, consider which of the core human desires they are tapping into. I assure you it is one of them.

Having an impact on another person, or multiple people, when the intention of doing so is positive, should be the goal. I believe it is, and I am immensely grateful and supportive of people who are in this world who do this. Particularly ones who do not appear to have a selfish agenda or hidden motive behind their actions.

Someone asked me the other day why I continue to write my books and produce my business tv show. In other words, they were wondering what my motivation is. I asked them what they thought it was, as I was curious about what their interpretation of my actions happened to be.

For the record I am not influenced by what others think, but from time to time I like to hear what others consider my impact to be. Mainly as a method of having an instant feedback system. Granted I am aware of who I am asking, and typically I will only ask people who I know will be brutally honest with me. This isn’t always easy to do. However, I consider it necessary to keep a pulse on whether my impact is heading in the direction I intend it to be.

If you are looking to have a positive impact on either a person, or many people, below are some suggestions I have you can consider applying to do so.

  • Think about yourself as a brand. Which of the core human desires do you regularly elicit when someone interacts with you, or based on your actions which impact a wider audience?
  • Have you ever stopped to think about whether your impact is positive or negative? Hint. It is likely a mix, but only you will know the percentage of what the mix is.
  • If your impact is leaning towards being more negative, is this something you want to address?
  • If your impact is negative and you want to address changing your impact to be more positive, have you factored in ways you can do this? Perhaps you will need a partner to help you do this.
  • If you intentionally want to have a positive impact on others, think about what steps you will need to take to make this happen. I always start with writing what I want to accomplish on a list. Why? Because putting something in writing feels more like a commitment versus simply talking about it.
  • Factor in what will be your measurement system for knowing whether you are having an impact. You do not need to share this with anyone, but being aware of your influence can be both motivational and provide a tangible way of defining what impact level is.

Those of you who are considered to be achievement and goal-oriented people have most likely thought about what impact they are having on others. Perhaps not. The point is everyone has the ability to have an impact on someone or something. If you haven’t figured out how to do this, and want to do so, I hope my suggestions above will kick start you in this direction.

TAGS: #Brand #Business #Productivity #Self-awareness #Sales #Marketing #Leadership #Teams #Management #Impact #Brandimpact #Personalbranding #Communication #Perception #PersonsalPerception

Preparing for what’s next.

Let’s face it. Having a crystal ball would help us in many ways. However, there may in fact be certain things we don’t want to know about. Although knowing some information ahead of time might help us to be better prepared emotionally. That would be the upside, but there is a downside too.

Due to the fact we don’t have a crystal ball to see into the future, or at least I don’t, how I look ahead and prepare for what’s in front of me isn’t a perfect science. However, let’s say my system is a work in progress and continuously being refined. I would say it’s better to have a system in place than not. Or, at least I find comfort in attempting to have plans in place, or a contingency plan.

When I talk to business leaders and sports coaches, I am always fascinated with their different approaches to how they lead and guide others. Especially in times of adversity.

Adversity is something no one is immune from experiencing. Especially teams as they can be more complicated to deal with versus comparing them to an individual and how they handle adversity. We all know that when you have multiple factors involved in a scenario, it tends to complicate the situation. However, there are ways to simplify and confront a team dealing with a difficult situation.

One of my favorite business memories was when I was working with a sales team who was struggling to meet their numbers. I’ll contrast this with a sports team I was also working with who was rebuilding their team, and the challenges that were present.

In both of the team scenarios, neither one had an adversity contingency plan. This is fairly common, as most teams will strictly be focused on achievement and the process of everything going well. As we know, this isn’t realistic, and precisely why teams and their leaders get into trouble when adversity shows up.

By discussing with each team leader how we were going to handle adversity if it occurred, I prepared both teams in an entirely different manner than they were accustomed to. At first there was some reluctance on both team’s leader/coach to the approach I was recommending, as they thought it would be detrimental to think about something negative occurring.

There is a phrase that I’ll make less crude, and refer to as “life happens”. We know it does, but we are not always willing to embrace the fact that things may not go the way we want them to. However, when we have a contingency plan that can prepare us for a situation that takes us off track, it is mentally much easier to deal with the adverse circumstances when they do occur. In fact, how often do plans typically play out one hundred percent the way you expect them to?

Let’s go back to the two different teams I was referencing. They both eventually conceded and agreed to putting a contingency plan in place. In fact, they put multiple ones in place in order to handle a number of adverse situations they may encounter. Once the contingency plans were in place, both the leader and coach admitted that crafting their respective contingency plans was easier for them to do then they had originally expected.

There is another expression attributed to Benjamin Franklin that I will often cite, and which is related to this topic. It is “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Yes, this might seem slightly harsh, but it has served me and many others extremely well. Especially when an adverse situation occurred.

So, if you are curious about some techniques you can apply to help you or your team prepare for what’s next, below are some ideas for you to consider.

  • Make a list of the positive outcomes expected from your team.
  • Using your positive team outcome list, create a second column and include one or two potential reasons the outcome may not be reached.
  • Leveraging your two columns above, create a third column. This column will include a proposed solution to handle the potential adverse outcomes of your plans.
  • Some of your contingency plans may in fact be able to cover multiple scenarios.
  • If possible, it is recommended you include your team in the contingency planning.
  • If you do not include your team in the contingency planning, make sure you convey to them you have a plan in place if they get off track from their expected positive outcomes.
  • Ideally, you will want to role play the contingency plans. This is because, if you have to put them in place, it will be a more fluid experience for the team since they have knowledge of what is expected of them to do in the contingency planning scenario.
  • Mindset plays a large role in helping your teams to get through adversity. Make sure you have thought about what plan you have in place to leverage your team’s positive mindset when you need to do so in adverse scenarios.

If you are wondering whether these two teams had to enact their contingency plans, I can assure you they did. More than once in fact. However, they were incredibly relieved they had them in place. Even better? They both achieved and exceeded their initial plans, despite the unplanned and encountered adversity along the way.

Tags: #Business #Success #Adversity #ContingencyPlanning #Leadership #Management #BusinessManagement #Strategy

What’s holding you back?

One thing I place high up on my value list is motivation. Fortunately, I am also intrinsically inclined to be self-motivated, but I realize not everyone is. This is precisely why it is something I help others with, and is woven into my professional work.

We all know that excuses are easy to make. I hear them from people all of the time. I’m certain you do to. I also know that sticking to doing something productive and worth your time and attention isn’t easy to do. If it was, more people would be celebrating their achievements on a regular basis. So, what’s holding you, or others back?

Actually, the answer is obvious. You are holding yourself back. No one else is. Sure, you can recite numerous reasons you think others or some perceived reason is holding you back from accomplishing what you want to, but they aren’t. It’s you.

Do me a favor. Look in the mirror. Seriously. Look in a mirror. Tell yourself out loud that someone or something else is holding you back from your accomplishment. Do you believe this? Are you really going to lie to yourself?

OK, instead, let’s try looking in the mirror and telling yourself that “I am the only one holding me back from accomplishing…fill in the blank.” Did you feel different telling yourself a lie versus the truth? Chances are you are more comfortable with lying to yourself about whatever is holding you back. However, when you face yourself, and look yourself in the eyes and say and hear the truth, you are setting yourself on a path that will be freeing to you.

If it is as easy as pausing and committing to stop lying to yourself and blaming others or situations for holding you back, and you can accept full responsibility for no one or nothing else doing so, you can accomplish exactly what you want to.

Sure, you might be skeptical about what I am saying, but there is plenty of research and evidence to support what I am telling you.

I don’t like being hypocritical, so I’m never going to write or talk about something I don’t believe in. As a matter of fact, there have been a number of times in my life when I have had to come to terms with accepting the fact I was the one getting in my own way. Was this easy to do? Not at first, but just like anything you become good at, it takes some practice. Toss in a bit of discipline too.

Of course, jumping right in and agreeing with the fact you are the only one holding yourself back from “fill in the blank” might require some additional direction. So, I have included some suggestions about how to go about doing this below.

  • We know there is no such thing as perfection. Although many people strive to have everything, or as many things as they can be their definition of perfect in their lives. If this sounds like you, you still might in fact be holding yourself back and blaming others for not allowing you to achieve what you deem to be perfection. News flash! It’s no one else’s fault you did not achieve perfection. It’s yours, as it is impossible to be perfect all the time.
  • Stop wasting time and energy playing the blame game. Consider how many hours, days, months or years you have been guilty of doing this. Where did it get you?
  • No one else is holding you back. Look in the mirror like I talked about earlier and tell yourself this. Seriously. Do this as many times until you start to believe what you are saying.
  • Timing and circumstances may play a minor role in holding you back, but I guarantee you there will be a time when these two items are no longer a factor, and can’t be used as an excuse for why you can’t do or accomplish something.
  • Is there someone in your life who is enabling you to remain stagnant? They may be part of your excuse cycle, and a factor contributing to holding you back. However, consider the fact that only you are letting them do this. Again, this points back to you holding yourself back.
  • Think about the type of people your surround yourself with. Do they encourage and motivate you? Or, do they do the opposite, or possibly, they are simply neutral. Being neutral doesn’t generally add value, but it can keep the peace, but it won’t propel you towards what you want to do.  
  • Have you considered whether you really want to succeed at something? Seriously think about this. Maybe you are afraid of being good at or successful at accomplishing or doing something which will be beneficial to you and your life.
  • You need to have a mindset that you believe and know that you deserve to go after and be able to achieve what you want to. Without any excuses.

Given the fact it is the end of 2020, and what for many will go down in their minds as one of the most challenging years to get through, it is more important than ever to now be focused going into the next year with a different mentality. One that will allow you to have a clear forward. One that will be free of any excuses about what is holding you back from going after, and accomplishing everything you want to.

Only you can make this happen. No more excuses, and you will be happy someone was honest enough with you to tell you this.

TAGS: #Nomoreexcuses #Motivation #Business #Sales #Positivity #Encouragement #WhydoImakeexcuses #Howtobeaccomplished #Productivity #Tipsonhowtobesuccessful #Success

Potential. Have you reached yours?

Although we may not be consciously thinking about our potential every day, subconsciously it is something the majority of people are aware of. Defining the definition of one’s own potential is a personal quest, and there are others in our lives who influence and can help us to define it.

Defining our own potential is fluid, and isn’t something which is accomplished overnight. In fact, it can take decades to both define and ultimately get close to our potential. For me personally, when I think about potential, I think of it in terms of considering whether I am fully capitalizing on my abilities and talents.

The challenge for most people is that they often don’t understand or appreciate what their true talents are. However, about a decade ago I was able to determine what mine were, and it literally has significantly and positively impacted both my personal and professional life.

When we approach defining our potential and are not aware of the abilities we can fully leverage, we put ourselves at a vast disadvantage. Why would anyone do this? In fact, based on the profession I am in, I see this occur on a daily basis. Although, even prior to professionally seeing this occur, I was well aware of this happening. I simply was not in the right professional position to have the type of impact I knew I could have on others, and thankfully, now I am.

Defining my own potential has been both exciting and more challenging than I had considered it would be. The reason I attribute it to be more challenging, was that for a long time, my focus on my potential was not necessarily defined enough by me. With the perspective I now have on looking both retrospectively and currently on my own potential, I can see clearly who has influenced it. The good news is I can also see the point in time when I decided it was time to take back control, and fully determine the direction I would point my potential towards.

Can you think about a time when you may have realized you were letting others define your potential? This is something which happens to almost everyone. The turning point is when you realize you are more in control of your own destiny and potential than you might give yourself credit. This isn’t to say we have all been fully manipulated by others who may have tried to positively impact our potential. Keep in mind that manipulation often gets a bad rap, and in some instances, there is such a thing as positive manipulation. Especially if the person doing so has good intentions to help, and not harm your direction.

Consider a time when you were trying to shape someone else’s potential. How did this situation turn out? Can you think of a time when someone was trying to positively influence your potential? Perhaps a teacher, coach, friend or family member? Most of your memories will be good ones. However, there may also be a few which may not be. It is these particular situations that can steer us in the wrong direction. Hopefully for not too long, but sometimes this does happen. The expression of “veering onto the wrong track” comes to mind when I think about this. The good news is we all have the ability, perhaps with some help, to get back on the “right track”, and this includes our “potential track”.

Reaching our potential can be harder to define. However, there are considerations you can factor in to help you to determine both how to define, as well as move towards reaching your potential. Here are some suggestions to first define, and then work towards achieving yours.

Defining potential:

• Make sure you do this on your own. You can start by thinking about and then writing down what you would like to achieve. Factor in having two lists. One for your personal life, the other for your professional one.
• Once you have your lists, put them away for a few days. When you come back to them, and when you look at them, do they make sense, or more importantly inspire you? If not, you should delete the ones in these categories.
• Your list of how you will define your potential does not need to be long. Actually, it is harder to pare your list to be a shorter one (e.g., 3-5 items). Remember, you want to be able to achieve your potential and not make it impossible to move towards.
• If you have a mentor, or trusted advisor, consider sharing how you have defined your potential with them.
• Everyone’s definition of potential is going to be different, and there are no downsides to how you define your own. Although, I will add that you should make sure you are not doing yourself a disservice by underestimating your own potential. This is why I suggest you share your potential definition with your mentor or advisor. A few of them if you are lucky enough to have them.

Achieving your potential:

• Only you will truly know if you have reached your potential, as you will ultimately define what the parameters for your potential is, and what it will take to get there.
• Having a map, or process of how to reach your potential is something you will also want to craft. It doesn’t have to be fully thought through, but it should provide you with an outline of how you will reach your potential.
• If you are the type of person who loves achieving milestones, make sure you factor these into your potential plan.
• Some people do better when someone else is monitoring their progress. If you know you are like this, define who this “someone” will be to help keep you focused on achieving your potential. Doing it alone can be quite difficult, but it’s not impossible to do.

The biggest thing to remember about achieving your potential, is that you are the guardian of it. Whether you choose to achieve it is up to you. So, remember this and don’t blame others if you are not able to do so. If you want to achieve something, there is always a way to do so. It might be more difficult to do, but you can do it if you truly want to. You know you have the potential, now it the time to make your potential a reality.

Tags: #Potential #AchievingPotential #Business #DefiningPotential #ReachingYourPotential #Success