Thursday, December 31, 2009
As 2009 comes down to the wire, I hope that you have had a chance to reflect on the past year. I have enjoyed reading some other blogs about preparing for 2010 so I felt compelled to share my own preparation techniques. This technique doesn't just work for New Year's goals or resolutions, but solving many problems you may face. This is a tool introduced to me by my coach, Raymond Gleason of Building Champions.
To achieve the new goals you set, I ask myself the following 3 questions, in this order:
1) What do I need to KEEP doing? - What are those things that you have done that have worked? Be as specific as you can.
2) What do I need to START doing? - Maybe there is something missing from your process that you need to add. Again, be specific. If you have a goal to lse weight, it doesn't help to say that "I need to start eating better." It might be better to say: "I need to start packing my lunch three days a week to reduce fast food intake."
3) What do I need to STOP doing? - Maybe the most important question to answer. Because we only have 24 hours in a day, if we want to START doing things and don't STOP doing things, then we will become overwhelmed and likely not succeed. Our KEEPs will suffer and our STARTs will be ineffective. So, what are those things you need to STOP doing (even though they may be good things) so that you can achieve your goals. The Law of Sacrifice says it best: "You have to give up (STOP) to go up (Achieve goals)"
KEEP, START, STOP - It really is simple...and effective.
So, what are you going to KEEP, START, and STOP doing to go higher in 2010?
I wish you all the best in 2010. I hope that this blog continues to add value to your life.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
To me, this science is very similar to a leader's desire to 'fly higher'. While gas balloons need to let go of some of the weight (sandbags) to fly higher, so must leaders. I know that there are many times I allow 'sandbags' to keep me from flying higher. These manifest themselves in some of the weaknesses recently pointed out to me by my friends when I asked them directly for feedback:
1. Creates self imposed limitations due to historical situations.
2. Expecting too little of others
3. Can get seduced by the "good guy" and lose sight of the impact on the overall vision
4. Allowing others to take advantage of my time and my desire to help them succeed.
5. Unjustified lack of self confidence
These self-imposed sandbags are ones that I vow to 'let go of' so that I may 'fly higher' in 2010 as a leader and so that I can have an even more powerful impact on those around me. I would expect that my choices (and my blogging) in 2010 will support this desire. I encourage you to ask me and challenge me on how I am doing with this goal.
So, what are YOUR 'sandbags' that you carry around that keep you from flying higher?
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Another disappointing loss for ND tonight. The tough part is listening to some of the prognosticators say that ND is not prestigious anymore...Does any other TEAM basically have their own national television contract? Can any other TEAM say that every one of their games is televised...every year? Can any other TEAM say that the biggest game their opponent plays EVERY year is the Notre Dame game? Notre Dame IS prestigious and Robert Smith (ESPN studio analyst) doesn't understand what he is saying when he says that Notre Dame can't afford a prestigious coach since Weis' buyout is so large.
Friday, November 20, 2009
So, I can either buy him a new guitar and go through the pain of trying to force him to learn to play or finding a spot in the closet for another over-sized gift, OR I can purchase the app for his iTouch for $3.99. Now, I know all of the comments: It is more important for him to learn how to play the guitar rather than just hit buttons on a phone...right?
Sure, and it's more important for kids to learn cursive than type in Word....
and it's more important to learn how to divide using long division rather than using a calculator...
and it's more important to read a book from a hardcover rather than purchase an e-Reader and read on my smartphone...RIGHT???? Maybe.
So, what does this have to do with Leadership and Relationships. I will tell you. It is our TIME! You see, as I have said in previous posts, our time is something that we don't manage. We only have so much time. AND, how much of it do we waste on 'stuff' and 'relationships' and 'worrying' ...on holding on to things that we want to get better if we just give it a little more time?
Well, at some point we have to say that our time is much more valuable for things like family and taking care of ourselves rather than worrying if our hand writing is perfect and if our 'friends' will be angry if we don't come to the Tupperware party. My challenge to you is this:
1) Make a list of the things most important to you
2) Compare that list with what is on your calendar(handwriting, guitar playing, Tupperware parties, figuratively speaking)
3) Where there is a match, leave it there
4) Where there is a dis-connect, make a choice - Either it needs to be on the list of #1, OR you need to Let it go...Not so easy.
So, I think I may take up the electric guitar with all the time I am going to free up...
Have a great weekend, friends!
Friday, November 6, 2009
In essence, the exercise goes like this, you don't have to write down the answers, just ponder them for about 30 seconds for each question.
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress...
6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.
How did you do? Not really that easy, is it?
Now, answer this question(I want you to WRITE the answer to this question!):
Name three people who have had a positive influence on your entire LIFE? Depending on who is reading this, that is likely at LEAST an average of 40 years. The questions above only ask you to answer questions for the past 10 years at the most.
Much easier, right?
And the point is...we tend to not remember POPULAR people, but we DO remember those who made a difference in our lives because they cared.
Now, first action item. Take a look at your list of people who have made a difference in your life. I want you to choose one and tell them Thank You. Write them a note(not an email, a HAND WRITTEN note...oh, the pain!) and let them know that you appreciate that they made a difference in your life. It may be someone you haven't seen in 20 years. That's OK. If you are reading this, you have access to the internet. Ever hear of a site called 'Google'? Go find them. If they made a diference in your life, then take the effort to find their address. You will feel great that you did that and they will appreciate hearing from you. You never know. It may re-kindle an old friendship.
Finally, I want you to ponder one more question about this exercise: Who is going to write YOUR name on THEIR list? If you can't think of anyone immediately, then maybe you need to start making a difference in someone's life in a postive way....TODAY.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
So, after I got the big "plank" out of my own eye, I was ready to learn in the book.
It comes down to our basic needs:
1) The Love She Most Desires
2) The Respect He Desperately Needs
The author shares great stories from his seminars of husbands and wives looking for the answers. I found myself laughing out loud and reading parts to Chris, saying "Here we are...wait til you hear this." The most humbling ones were "Here I am. I know I do THIS one."
The author used acronyms as ways for husbands and wives to come off the crazy cycle. Men, here is yours: C-O-U-P-L-E = How to Spell Love to Your Wife.
C=Closeness O=Openness U=Understanding P= Peacemaking L=Loyalty E=Esteem
In each chapter, the author gave me all kinds of nuggets. And, ladies, he tried to help you as well with the acronym C-H-A-I-R-S
C=Conquest H=Hierarchy A=Authority I=Insight R=Relationship S=Sexuality
Now, this section was suggested just for the women, but I had to read it anyway. And, I nearly fell off the bed while reading one like when the author quips to the women, "Think about when you get out of the shower versus when he gets out of the shower. When you step out of the shower, he is all eyes, oblivious to everything else. But what happens when he steps out of the shower? You probably say something like, "Please stand on the bath mat." or "Be careful! I just waxed the floor."
I believe this is a great book for couples to read together to improve their marriage and really should be required reading BEFORE marriage. My takeaways included:
1) I need to be sure that I am showing unconditional love she desires all the time to my wife and not hold that love back if I don't feel like I am getting the respect I need
2) My kids are watching and when they are dis-respectful to their mother, it is likely because I am not showing her the love she deserves in front of them
3) The Bible is so clear on this topic of marriage. I sometimes have too big of a plank in my own eye to see it.
There are so many nuggets in this book, it easily gets my highest rating: a "10 out of 10" dogear rating. Now, I know I could give MANY of these books out, but I don't want anyone to feel I am telling them/hi,/her what they need to do. If you want to work to get off of the Crazy Cycle (by the way, it is always there. Nobody is perfect) and on to the Rewarded Cycle, then you should make the choice to buy this book and read it. If you make the choice, I know you will enjoy it! If you allow it, it could change your marriage and, thus, your life!
Are you ready to get off of the Crazy Cycle and on to the Rewarded Cycle?
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Where I come from, one of the favorite 'pot-luck' side dishes is 'green bean casserole'. We could debate all day long about who makes the best green bean casserole. Of course, I would say it was my wife, Chris, but she has never made it, so my next best vote would be Mom!! (Although, I am not sure she has ever made it, either!)
So, what in the world does Green Bean Casserole have to do with Relationships? It is very simple: When I 'hear'(or smell!) green bean casserole, I think of some of the times I have gotten together with friends in the past. I think of:
- picnics at home with family
- get togethers with college friends (Susan ALWAYS brought green bean casserole ;0>)
- small group gatherings with friends from church
- the day that Chris and I were baptized with friends in Fort Wayne, IN, when we formally and publicly professed our faith together
So, while it doesn't matter if I really LIKE green bean casserole, (I really don't. I prefer the pasta salad or the pepperoni rolls!) it is simply the memories made that are important and the fellowship/relationships I have built with friends over the years.
What is the comfort food that YOU always remember at your favorite gatherings? Does it bring a smile to your face to think about your favorite 'casserole' and the friends or family you spent time with while eating that food?
Monday, September 7, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO
Are you currently involved in 'Social Media'? If not, why not? Top reasons I have heard folks tell me why they are not:
1) Don't have time for it (250 million users of Facebook have the same number of hours in a day that you do!)
2) I don't want to put my personal info out there - Especially in Customer Service, the question is if you are not putting it out there, who is?)
3) It's too confusing to use - YouTube has over 100,000,000 videos(found this out in THIS video). Go there and search for How To ___________. You are sure to find it. Then, you don't have to 'embarrass' yourself and ask someone how!
If you area involved in Social Media, are you connected with me? If not, why not? Just click on the links at the side of this Blog post. I would love to stay connected with you.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Today was the first day back at another school year for our sons,Brendan (7th grader) and Joseph (5th grader). I know they were anxious, even thought they did not want to tell Mom & Dad that! We were anxious, no doubt.
Of course, we told them the story about how "When we were kids ________________." They rolled their eyes. Each year I make breakfast for them on the first day, too. This year, there was one eggo waffle request and a frozen sausage, egg & cheese muffin. Made it easy on me!!
The first day of school is a new beginning. Chances for them to get new clothes, new books, make new friends, and hopefully, learn a few new things. It should be a good calibration point for me. Generally, in life, there are not many 'First days of _______(school, job, etc.)." But, when there are, it tends to be exciting. It tends to be a learning experience. We get to meet new people.
So, if we are stuck in a rut, how do we make that "First day of school" feeling all over again? I need to ask myself that question. You see, today is the "First day" of the rest of your life( I didn't make that up. I am sure someone else said it!). What can you do to create that anxiousness, that excitement, that knotted up stomach feeling when you walk through the front doors? I need to create that feeling again.
Maybe I will go get myself a pair of new school shoes today! Have a great week, friends.
God, I pray that you watch over our boys this year at school. Introduce them to great opportunities, great friends/relationships, and keep them safe. I pray that you grant their parents wisdom, patience, and understanding. Help us all grow closer as a family this year. - Amen
Monday, August 17, 2009
Recently, I completed the book Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch. It was a gift from a friend that I received about 4 years ago and really have just gotten around to reading it. I wish I would have read it three years ago when I made the choice to enter in to the real estate business.
This book is chalked full of pragmatic tips for putting together a marketing 'system' for your small business. I filled the front and back inside bindings with notes and ideas as they popped into my head while reading the pages.
I appreciated the author's definition of Marketing:
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Are you complimentary to almost any combination of team members that may be slapped together at a moment’s notice?
Do you bend and conform to situations when needed?
Do you have the internal integrity that allows you to authentically project wholesome goodness and an honest hardworking appeal?
Are you projecting a bright and sunny disposition that is nice to be around and experience?
Is your flavor definitive and distinct?
Do you work well with others no matter who else is involved in the equation?
Are you commanding a leadership place of recognition that is unmatched because of WHO you are and HOW you lead?
Sunday, July 26, 2009
I am preparing a presentation that I will do this week titled "What Got You Here...Won't Get You There". I will be using the clip below to chat about what it will take us to get from the 10-yard line to the "end zone". It is a clip from "Facing the Giants". If you have a few minutes, it is a good clip to watch.
Other movies I have used in the past include:
- Dead Poet's Society - Carpe Diem (Seize the Day) - Make a Difference
- Hoosiers - The Underdog and overcoming fear
- Sister Act (Yes, Sister Act!) - Great parts for Identifying Strengths and Putting People in the Right Seats on the Bus
- Miracle - Several great leadership stories in this movie, including Team before Individual, Standard Work, Passion
- Who's on First - Communication skills!!
I know there are more that I have used and will use in the future. A couple questions for you as a leader:
- Is there a movie you have seen that has a great Leadership topic embedded in it?
- When you are watching a movie, are you 'watching' for that possible teaching moment you can use in the future?
Please share if you do. Also, if you have a few minutes, watch this clip below and let me know what Leadership Principles you see 'embedded' in it.
Have a great week!
Monday, July 13, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
1) Company 'X' installed a lawn in my customer's home in December 2008 (knew there was no way yard would come in and agreed then he would need to come back in the spring to finish the job)
2) I call back in Spring and hear- "Soonest I can come out is a month" - Thus, we miss another good planting season.
3) Comes over does 'some' work...then leaves without finishing...regular ploy by several building contractors
4) Proceeds to push 'blame' on the a) homeowner, b) builder, and c) the excavator as to why the lawn didn't come in
5) Completes work (although he says he does "the best he can" on a $700,000 house). So, the homeowner wasn't happy. They basically give up and do some of the work themselves
6) Bills the wrong people
7) Sends me a SECOND notice with no terms.
8) 30 days later, his accountant calls me and proceeds to tell me her side and is prepared to turn me over to collections without even taking a breath! Guess she didn't want to hear my story at all.
9) She gives me the amount and says she will place the bill in my mailbox the next day
10) Next day, she hands the bill to my wife at the door: "John knows what this is!"
11) When I review it, I find that she has added a 2% late charge. No mention of that on the phone...OR any previous correspondence (2nd notice invoice with no terms).
Now, I am not totally innocent in the matter. I could have paid the bill immediately even though there were no terms OR I could have ASKED what the terms were when I got the second notice.
However, I am:
1) the Realtor in the sub-division who represents the developer of 225 acres
2) the Realtor who represents three other builders in the sub-division who will need to put in more yards over the next 15 years. You see, this development will be 150 home sites and thus, need 150 lawns. Only 12 homes have been built thus far.
3) a builder building a speculative home. I will need a lawn there and I need some lawn work done on my home as well. I had asked this gentleman early on if he had any interest in working on these two areas and he said 'yes' but did not follow-up with any interest.
4) a resident of the sub-division, so I will get to meet each future owner when they come in at the pool or their new home
5) thus, a potential referral machine for this organization in the future.
What are the lessons to be learned?
Business, like life, is relationships...the rest is just details. People do business with people they LIKE.
Don't burn bridges - life is too short. You don't know who you may need in the future. (or, don't tell someone the amount of an invoice over the telephone and then when delivering the invoice, add on a fee you did not previously discuss!).
Take responsibility for your own 'stuff' - don't play the 'blamestorming game'
First, seek to understand...then to be understood (the accountant clearly went the opposite direction)
I am sure there are more.
So, now I must find a new lawn installer...Can you suggest someone who can make it a WOW experience?
Sunday, June 28, 2009
At the time, I believe he was referring to a situation where our group was doing something that may have been easier at the time(peeing in the wetsuit), but would not be better for us in the long run (chafing!).
In life, we are presented with these opportunities all the time where we have to make a choice as to the right action to take. It gets back to 'Discipline' - Doing WHAT you need to do...WHEN you need to do it...even though you DON'T want to at that time. You KNOW you should, in essence, take off your wetsuit!
I like to think there are ways to be more disciplined. Here are a few tips that I would suggest:
1) Write down your 'want' and look at it on a regular basis (hourly, daily, weekly). It is harder to avoid when you see it in writing.
2) Look for an accountability partner to help you. Ask a friend or mentor to periodically 'check-in' on you to see how you are doing with your 'want'. It is even more difficult (and embarrassing) to tell a friend or mentor that you have not been working on your disciplines!!
3) Pray about it. Ask God for strength.
4) Just do it! - You know you are going to feel better after you have completed the discipline. Why would you not want to feel better?
I am sure there are other ways.
Did you "Pee in your wetsuit today?" - What other ways are there that you have used to be more disciplined at what you 'want' so that you don't become "chafed" in the future?
Thanks, Kim, for the inspiration for this post. I had a a couple friends who nearly fell off their chairs laughing this week when I used the analogy in a meeting.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
- Your own agenda?
I could use some improvement in all these areas of sacrifice. My biggest area may be in the area of superficiality. It's easy to ask the questions about sports and the weather, but when someone asks you the question, "How are you doing?", how often do we say "fine", when we aren't really fine. And, turning it around, how many times do you ask that question of someone else? Maybe when you think about that question in our deeper relationships, we should be asking "How are you doing...REALLY?" and be prepared to sacrifice our time, superficiality, agenda, and pride, to REALLY listen to our closest relationships' needs and wants...
Who are you going to ask that question to this week: "How are you doing, REALLY?"
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Saturday, May 9, 2009
I recently completed the book The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins. It was a gift from my wife, Chris, for Valentine's Day. I don't know if it was a message or not - "New Leaders at All Levels" was who the book was designed to target. I had been in real estate for three years now!!!
In any event, I dove in head first and found this to be an insightful book for new leaders. The book starts out by defining the "Breakeven Point" for new leaders, which is defined as the 'Point' at which new leaders have contributed as much value to their new organizations as they have consumed from it. The average time that CEOs said was the time at which a new manager hit this point was 6.2 months (pg. 2&3).
The book attempts to outline a process whereas that time (6.2 months)can be accelerated and the success of new leades in their positions increased. When I heard there was a process, it made it an easy read for me as I tend to enjoy books that define processes to achieve a goal. This book was no different.
This book was not a one-size-fits-all either. The author identifies 4 different scenarios defined as STaRS (the a is actually supposed to be superscript!). S-Start-up, T-Turn around, R-Realignment, and S-Success and different challenges and opportunities with each scenario.
I found the book to be a little short on real life examples and the visuals to be a little complex; however, I feel this will be a good reference book for me in the future. During previous book reviews, I used my rating system based upon 'dogears'. How many pages did I 'dogear' for future reference? There were more than 10, so I would give this book a Top '10 dog-ear' rating. I recommend it to new leaders at managerial levels, AND I think this would be a good book for those who 'aspire' to move up in their organization or careers as well. During an interview, I believe MANY times you will be asked "What will you do in the first 30,60, or 90 days in your new role?" How great would it be if you could use the tips in this book as a way to answer that question?! It would impress me.
I would like to share this book with you. Be the first to a) comment on this post, b) subscribe to this blog via Reader or email, and c) commit to reviewing the book as a guest blogger when you complete it! I will mail you a copy of the book.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
1) You need to be a good Listener
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
We have reissued your rewards. Please allow 7-10 business days to receive the new rewards in the mail.
Rewards can be used like cash at Staples - in store, online, or over the phone. Rewards do expire. Expired rewards cannot be reissued. Staples is not responsible for lost or misdirected postal mail.
If you have any additional questions, please contact us at StaplesRewards@Staples.com or by calling 1-800-793-3320 Monday through Friday, 8:30AM-8:00PM EST.
Staples Rewards Premier
Kudos to Staples for reissuing the certificates. When I replied to the email with a 'Thank you', this was the auto response I got:
Thank you for contacting Staples Rewards.
We are currently experiencing high contact volume; please expect a delay in our response.
The dangers of auto reply emails!! Oh well, now I can get that file cabinet in 7 to 10 days! I won't even bore you with my recent Dell service experience...It was good, but again, 7 to 10 business days before i get my laptop back!
Have any good customer service experiences you want to share?
Monday, March 2, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
The question I have is will they believe me and send me new certificates? I will report back and let you know if they refund me for airing my dirty laundry, so to speak!!
What is the worst thing that you have lost through the laundry????
Monday, February 23, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Pooh doesn’t worry about motives, politics or what others will say. Instead, he simply proceeds with the task at hand, doing his best to accomplish what he has set out to do.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Music is one way that I find inspiration. I hope this inspires you.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
With Prayerful Hearts
Today at 1:21pm
As of this afternoon, we have a new President. I had hoped that the 44th President would be a guy named Huckabee, but that didn’t happen. I don’t lament the results of the election, I celebrate the process of our great Republic that gives us the privilege and responsibility of voting and choosing our leaders.I have stated repeatedly that I will pray for the new President in the same way that I would have desired for my fellow citizens to pray for me had I been successful. I know that some, even on this blog, have been hesitant to commit to pray for and support the new President. I believe that it is my Christian duty to respect the office, to honor the process that led to the selection of the President, and to seek to put my country and its best interest above that of my party or even myself. I might find myself in disagreement in some of the policies that President Obama puts forth, but I will express my disagreement in the spirit of respect and civility that I wish had met President Bush when his critics disagreed with him.Today, I am above all an American. A proud one. Proud that we have transitioned power without soldiers, bayonets, or bloodshed. I celebrate America. Now, the task is to stand more firm than ever in the convictions that life is precious and is the basis of liberty. I will work to elect good men and women to help shape this nation. It will be a long journey. I hope you’re ready to join me.Prayerfully,Mike Huckabee
Monday, January 19, 2009
Sunday, January 18, 2009
I read this book on a suggestion from a friend as it was first published in 2002. I found the book to be an easy read. I appreciated the way in which Tim outlined three ways to win business through: Knowledge, Network, and Compassion.
Our tasks as business people is to gain more business, especially in today's economy. But, not just to get business - but KEEP business over the long term. Tim does a nice job defining these things. For example, to keep customers long term, you must add value to them. He defines added value as: "The value with you inside a situation is greater than the value without you". He also defines the people who do this "love business" (the act of intelligently and sensibly sharing your intangibles with biz partners) as 'Lovecats'. Don't know that I want to be called a lovecat, but he gets his point across.
Some key takeways from me in this book:
Knowledge is important, but you can't add value if you don't SHARE it!
Your network's value is equivalent to the square of the number of people in it. Again, though, it must be SHARED
Compassion is the glue that holds the Knowledge and the Network together. It is the way we will win hearts and influence people in today's world.
I really enjoyed this book and intend to share it with others. If you would like to have a copy, let me know. I'll send one to the first person who responds to this post!
In my last review, I shared my rating system as 'dogears'. How many pages did I dogear to go back and search the key action points available? Love is the Killer App gets a 9 dogears rating (out of 10), so I highly suggest this read.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
One of the biggest differences in my real estate career thus far, compared to manufacturing has been the lack of structure. I have worked hard trying to force the structure and have had to make adjustments in many ways. But, there are still things that need to happen every day and every week and every month to achieve my goals. So, I have added a daily productivity review and weekly productivity review.
Daily @ 10:00 p.m.:
Email inbox to zero (yes, it is possible)
Review Google/reader (blogs I follow)
Review voice mail
Weekly on Monday mornings @ 9:00:
Team weekly task
Review supraekey data (showings of our listings)
Load in open house contacts
Care cards (2 minimum)
Clean out Read, Answer, File emails
Add in new phone numbers
Review coaching journal, notebook, post-its for activities needed added to task list or completed.
Review Top Producer(contact and listing plan manager) tasks for any past due items on calendar
Of course, there are many other items in the list (family time, exercise, meetings, etc.), but these seem to be the items I need to get done on a very regular basis to stay ahead and continue to grow.
A lot of folks would refer to this as too 'structured', but this seems to be how I am wired and most productive. Certainly, I am not naive enough to believe that these things will happen 100% of the time at the same day and time, but it is my shot at an ideally productive week.
How do you organize your time? What am I missing?
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Click here to see - He is the scout with the tan shirt on in the middle of the photo behind the VA state flag!
Way to go Joseph!!