Monday, September 29, 2008

Leadership and the Law of Timing - The Bailout Bill goes down

So, the bailout vote failed today and the finger pointing has started...

As I watch the news right now, I am taken back to the second Leadership book I read over 12 years ago. It was a gift from a mentor and friend of mine, Tom Carmazzi. The title was The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. In it one of the laws is the Law of Timing which states that "when to lead is important as what to do". And, it further says that the right decision at the wrong time is met with resistance..., the wrong decision at the wrong time is disaster...and the right decision at the right time is met with support.

Now, I have never been a fan of Nancy Pelosi, and that would be an understatement on my part. However, her 'speech' today just before the vote bashing the Republican right is a clear sign of her lack of leadership and her total ignorance of the Law of Timing. Whether what she said was right or wrong, it was the WRONG TIME to be on her stump and go partisan politics. Would the Bill have been approved without the speech? I don't know, but I assure you that her timing was simply atrocious.

Investors lost a trillion dollars today as the Stock market fell nearly 10%. Nearly 2/3 of Americans are in the stock market, whether they own stock, mutual funds, or participate in a 401(k), or EMPLOYED by a company on the stock market! There has been a lot of talk comparing Wall Street and Main Street. Wall Street = Main Street...

This country is crying out for strong leadership. If some of our congressional leaders understood the Law of Timing, it would go a long way to influencing my vote in a few months...

Friday, September 26, 2008

'Problem Solving' - the Bailout - What Options were NOT Considered?

To make an understatement, the '$700 billion bailout' has been at the top of the headlines in newspapers, television, and blogs. 'Do you support it?', or 'Do you not support it?' and 'Why?' have been questions asked of politicians, consumers, and friends. It is quite a problem that our economy, and subsequently, our leadership, is facing.

We face problems on a daily basis. We face problems that are on a much smaller scale, but that seem to be as important to us as well. Family, finances, where to eat dinner, etc.!!

In any event, when I solve problems, the key is to always have alternatives. For every problem, there are always multiple solutions. Some better than others. But, the key is to have alternatives. Here is a simple process I use when evaluating a problem:

1) Define the problem in a sentence format.
2) Brainstorm at least 7 possible solutions to the problem. If you can't think of at least 7 on your own, then ask a confidant, family member, or friend. Two heads are better than one is normally the case in problem solving. But, don't stop until you have at least 7 options.
NOTE: Doing nothing is normally an option, but RARELY a good option!
3) Ask yourself the question "What options did I not consider?" This will normally generate a few more alternatives.
4) Rank the alternatives against your goal and your values.
5) Do a 'gut-check'. If it doesn't feel right, you need to understand why. You may have to go back through steps 2 through 4 again. Trust your instincts. Not your ego, but your instincts!

I am sure there are other ways to solve problems (5-Why's, 7D, family meeting, etc.). What works for you in business and life?

So, my question for our govenment as they make a decision that ultimately could cost me and my family a lot of money is "What options did you NOT consider?" If I had the confidence that they used a process to come to the answer of a bailout, it would be easier for me to support it, even if I don't agree with it. (This is an entirely different topic for the future. Supporting a decision even when you don't agree with it)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Are you an 'Incomplete Leader'?

If you answered 'Yes' to that question, then I say "CONGRATULATIONS". Being an 'incomplete' leader does not mean you are an 'incompetent' leader.

I just finished listening to the Maximum Impact lesson entitled "In Praise of the Incomplete Leader" by John C. Maxwell. I clearly had a few takeaways from this:

1) As a leader, I am not strong in all areas of leadership...AND that is OK. Believe me, I have plenty of weaknesses.
2) I have to recognize that all leaders and team members are not going to be 'like me' and that is a good thing. I talk about this in the Building Champions interview I did about a week back. When I started a new career with my mother-in-law in real estate, I worked really hard to get her to do things my way rather than focusing on the areas of her strength and allowing our team to be more successful as a result. BIG MISTAKE on my part
3) There is a need to surround yourself with people who are stronger in areas than you are. This is how you will continue to grow, both personally and professionally.

What are the key areas for your business/life/home that are critical in your development? Are you strong in all those areas? If not, congratulations! Go out and find resources(hire, delegate, confidants) to complement the areas of your leadership weaknesses. If I can fulfill any of those resources for you, let me know.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Champions edge Interview link

Hi friends - In a previous post, I told you I would follow up with a copy of the interview I did with Building Champions on their monthly Champions' Edge call. Well, here 'tis. I still haven't listened to it myself, but I have to admit, I did have a good time with the interview. I hope you enjoy.

Click here and then click 'Listen to Past Calls' then click the September 2008. You can listen from the play button, or right click on it and save it.

Give me some feedback on it as well!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dumb commercial...or Brilliant Marketing

Have you all seen the Microsoft commercials with Bill Gates & Jerry Seinfeld?

I don't 'get 'em'. But, maybe I am not supposed to get them. You see, if it were just an ordinary Microsoft commercial, it would be pretty boring and we wouldn't be blogging about it all over (it is being blogged and chatted about by lots of folks!). So, by making a DUMB commercial, are they really generating buzz to chat about Microsoft, which makes it Brilliant Marketing? It won't make me go out and buy a new computer with Vista!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Champions' Edge Call

I had a blast today doing the Champions' Edge call. My Coach, Raymond Gleason, of Building Champions was the interviewer and I was on the 'Hot Seat' chatting about my journey from manufacturing to real estate sales & home construction!

When I get a copy, I will be sure to put a link here so that you can here.

For those who were on the call, I hope it was beneficial for you and added value to you. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

How did we survive???

My dad shared the below story with me via email that was going around. It brought back memories for me. The 10-speed bike going down the hill right in front of the house. I wore the tires off that thing. Often, being called in for dinner after a full day of basketball - hours on the Highland Hills court that had metal back boards & chain link nets! Or, baseball - Home run derby with the tennis ball and the mini-Pittsburgh Pirate bats. I also remember the Dave Parker wristbands. Remember when you knew the players on your team because they stayed there for a few years! Don't know how we were lucky enough to play on those narrow streets and not break any windows. Or football...We really should not have played in Mr. Mott's yard after a rain. But, it really was the best field! Those were the days. What about you growing up? Read this and I know it will bring back some memories!!

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED THE 1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's!!

We were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-base paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps not helmets on our heads.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter and bacon. We drank Kool-aid made with real white sugar. And, we weren't overweight. WHY?

Because we were always outside, playing...that's why!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And, we were O.K. We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms. WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them! We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever. We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them. Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.

Imagine that!! The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law! These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers problem solvers and inventors ever.

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all. If YOU are one of them? CONGRATULATIONS! You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.

While you are at it, share it with your kids so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it ?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Have you forgotten? 9/11/01

I posted this one year ago today and wanted to re-post. I still haven't forgotten.

Have you forgotten? I haven't. My prayers go out to the families who were affected 7(now 8!) years ago today. It seems like such a short time ago, and yet, sometimes it seems forever ago. My thanks goes out to those protecting us from another event like this in our country.
Never forget!


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Book Review - Wins, Losses, and Lessons

Recently, I completed Lou Holtz' autobiography Wins, Losses, and Lessons.

Now, I must admit, I was biased picking the book up as I am a fan of Notre Dame football(despite the current condition of the program!), and Lou Holtz spent the first few years of his life living in my home town, Follansbee, WV, a place my parents, John & Vickey, still call home.

But, I also find Lou Holtz, with his ability to tell a story, relative success in most of his endeavors ,and his unique leadership style, to be fun and easy to read.

Now, when I read a book, I like to mark it up. This allows me to go back and review the main points I picked up and try to apply them to my life in some way. The pages that I mark up with a pen also get 'dog-eared', so that I can easily refer back to those pages. I can tell pretty early on in a book if it will keep my attention by the number of dog ears. For me, a great book would have at least 10 dog ears!

Upon completion of this book, I had 8 dog ears, so my rating would be an 8/10. I say this is pretty good for an autobiography! Some of the takeaways from this book:

  • Chapter 2 was titled "Success is a choice" - In it Lou says " Everyone's life is a compilation of the people he meets, the things he does, and the decisions he makes." - Profound. He goes on to say that no one but you determines your success in life and that making the right choices paves your way.
  • His family lives spread out through the country and they get together regularly for a 'family meeting'. In the acknowledgements, he details the 'agenda' for the trip so that the tough items can be discussed, adults get their time, kids and grand kids their time, and lots of family time! I thought it was great and would like to try it next time our family is able to get together for a week like we did this summer at Myrtle Beach. Now that my brother has also moved away from Follansbee, I want us all to be able to get together like this on an annual basis.

Once I got started on the book, it was difficult to put down. I recommend it for your reading pleasure, even if you are not an ND fan or from Follansbee, although clearly those qualifiers attach me closer to the story!!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Are we getting 'twitter'-pated with technology?

As I have had the chance to start this blog, I have to admit it has been a little overwhelming, (and potentially addicting). I have learned about some of the available ways to read/track/comment/archive blogs. I am a little late. In 2005, there were 8 million americans who had a blog. In 2007, that number had increased to over 70 million.

The report also says that there are 120,000 new blogs started each day, or one every 1.4 seconds of every day!!

There are many methods to 'socially network'such as:


So, how many of these words have you heard of, and which ones are you using?

I think it is important for all of us, at many levels, to at least be familiar with some of the terms listed above. From marketing real estate to fuel transfer pumps to PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES, the next generation of text messagers, bloggers, internet surfers, blackberry users, iPhone users, iPod, podcaster, CONSUMERS requires it!!

I heard a comment from author John Maxwell on one of his monthly CD's recently when he said that one of his biggest frustrations about publishing his books were that once they were printed, they were frozen in time. He is exactly right. However, a blog, social network, twitter, etc. is more timely and fluid. When you learn more and grow, it can be added to the social network immediately.

Did you hear that? I did. It was the book publishing/bookstore industry screaming as they pull their hair out trying to figure out what to do to embrace this technology trend! Maybe they should twitter about it!!


P.S. - Remember when we thought CD's were the best media for music and we had to use a Road Atlas to find our way to vacation?