September 25, 2020

Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy

Leadership Lessons learned from Dancing Guy. Read transcript at Original video at
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A is for Accountability

Tardiness. Bickering. Indecisiveness. Blaming. Irresponsibility.

Does this sound familiar? If so, your team (or family) may be suffering from a clear lack of accountability.  While I realize the “A” word is used and overused, I am going to continue talking about it, because I believe a clear accountability process is critical for companies, both large and small, to be able to thrive in the future.

Here is what I experience with many leaders I coach.  One of the first questions I ask is this “Tell me about your accountability and decision making process.  How does it work?”  Approximately 93% of the time, the response is “Uhm, well…er…we don’t really have one.”  As I begin to talk more with the leader about how an accountability process might work and how it can…

1) Save time

2) Stop team conflict

3) Improve decision making

4) Make more money

5) Reduce a stalemate

and so forth, their eyes light up.  They get so excited.  I then say “So…tell me about how you feel about being the role model for an accountability process by giving your team permission to start calling you on your stuff?”  Guess what happens?  About 93% of the time, the leader decides against implementing an accountability system or process, because at the end of the day, they say they just don’t know that they can go through this.  They really aren’t ready to hear feedback from their team members and feel as if this approach would weaken her authority and diminish her credibility.

The opposite is actually true.  When a leader steps up and says “I am going to start being more efficient, more punctual, more open to your suggestions and am going to start being a better listener, and I need you to call me on the carpet when I’m out of line”, your team will be shocked, amazed and your credibility as a leader will dramatically increase.    Once the leader sets the stage for being held accountable, your team will “get it”, and then you and your team can sit down and hammer out a true accountability system which meets the needs of your company.  At the end of the day, with a solid accountability process…one that works…your team will feel much more secure about their role on the team and about you as a leader.

One idea on the topic of accountability is to start by identifying one tiny problem that keeps popping up on your team.  This could be tardiness to staff meetings, lack of follow through, not returning phone calls, clutter, dropping the ball, finger pointing or any type of team breakdown that gets in the way of your efficiency.  Start with one problem, and look at all of the reasons (at the root) which are contributing to the problem.  Acknowledge that the problem exists, discuss it with your team and then design an accountability system for that one problem, and give your team 3 months to get it worked out.  As much as I would love to give you a true formula for this (example…a 3 strike rule…3 strikes and you are out), I cannot…your team has to be the group to sit down and come up with a creative way to get people to correct a deficiency or problem, because trust me…one system does not fit all.  There are multiple approaches which include both consequences for falling short and rewards for success.  Sit down and come up with as many solutions as possible and then write out what your process will be and then follow it to the nth degree.

If you start today by addressing the accountability challenges in your company, your team will stand a much better chance of success in the future…trust me…I’ve worked with teams on this issue multiple times, and accountability processes do work, but only if you are willing to be the first to take the hit..

Tara Kachaturoff is Hosting a Writing Integrity Day On Friday

Tara Kachaturoff is hosting a Writing Integrity Day this Friday, August 14 from 7:00 a.m-5:00 p.m.

Here is her post:

Writing Integrity Day is a time for you to complete activities related to writing articles, ebooks, books or anything else related to writing.  This is a great time to focus on activities that you’ve put putting off.

How Writing Integrity Day Works  (See details below if you want to work on your business instead — everyone welcome!)

1.    Writing Integrity Day is scheduled Friday, August 14, 2009 from 7:00 a.m. Eastern until 5:00 p.m. Eastern.  Our last call will be at 5:00 p.m. Eastern.  (5-minute calls will be held at 7, 9, 11, 1, 3, 5 p.m. Eastern)

2.    Dial in to the conference call line every 2 hours between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Eastern. Try to dial in one minute prior to the hour so that you’ll be ready to go at the top of the hour.

3.    We will take 5 minutes ONLY to quickly go around the “virtual room” to share what we intend to complete during the remaining 1 hour 55 minutes. You will state your name and what you intend to complete during that time in about 30 seconds or less — then we go to the next

4.    After everyone has shared, we’ll hang up and then we’ll have 1 hour 55 minutes to work on what we said we were going to work on.

5.    Then we dial in, again, at the next call-in time and state what we completed and what we will complete for the next two hour period.  Our last call will be at 5:00 p.m. Eastern.  At that time, you’ll share what you completed and how you’ll reward yourself for a day of productivity!

6.    If you can’t join us for every call-in, that’s okay.  Join as you can. Remember to call in one minute early so that you can be ready to go at the top of the hour.

What types of writing projects could you work on during this time?

  • Outline your chapters
  • Write your bio/profile for your book
  • Write a press release
  • Find quotes for your book chapters
  • Outline a chapter
  • Write a chapter
  • Organize your thoughts
  • Make a “To Do” list of everything you need to do around writing your book
  • Outline an article, ebook, or special report
  • Write a study-guide for your book
  • Write some marketing copy for your book
  • Other … pick your favorite task and get it done

If you want to work on your business instead, you might want to consider some of these things

  • Write up your bio/profile for posting on a social networking site
  • Write a press release
  • Write articles
  • Read a new book related to something in your business
  • Start gathering your tax materials or start working on your business taxes
  • Return client calls
  • Design a new class to teach
  • Clean out your email box
  • Write thank you notes
  • Contact various venues to see if they might be interested in inviting you as a speaker
  • Sort through all of your regular mail
  • Complete client-related work
  • File paperwork
  • Clean out your files

Sign Up Today for Writing Integrity Day.

Why I Blog and What It Stands For by Jeannette Paladino

I want to thank Jeannette Paladino for writing this guest post for me.  While this is about blogging, the thing that popped out for me is that this is a wonderful post for leaders.  Just look at what she says is at the heart of trust, and a blog is a great way to build that trust.

Thank-you Jeannette for your wisdom (as always!)


Why I Blog and What is Stands For
Jeannette Paladino
Write Speak Sell

This is a blog I probably should have written when I first started out. I was chatting with a group of bloggers the other day and one of them, Bea Fields, asked us a simple question: “Why do you blog?”

Seems simple enough to come up with an answer. But as I was thinking about it she quickly followed up with another question “How do we blog to effect change?” Now this was getting really serious. I asked myself: is that why I’m blogging? To bring about change? So I looked back at my blogs, which are almost all about the importance of communication, and I realized that’s what I’m trying to do. I want companies and individuals to become better communicators because when they are, great things can happen.

I’ve taken particular aim at CEOs because a leader can profoundly influence the company’s future success if he can get employees to buy into his vision. But employees can’t follow a CEO who doesn’t communicate with them regularly with his goals for them and the company. I’ve called for the CEO to be the Chief Communications Officer, because that’s what she needs to be. The CEO has to be talking directly to the company’s stakeholders regularly with quick takes on new developments. Wise leaders are using social media because that’s where employees are building communities. Why not ask those employees to become the company’s brand advocates?

Once again, I cite Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, as the pioneer. One of his credos is that things should be a little “weird” in the company. So weird becomes their normal. Nothing strange about 431 Zappos’ employees on Twitter. Just think of the good will being sown among the many customers and potential customers who are following Tony Hsieh (735,000+) and all those employee tweets. He has the absolute trust of his employees because he trusts them to represent the company well.

Bottom line, I want to see what I call a Culture of Communication for every company Trust is at its core. All communications must be reliable, truthful and contain the full story. At the heart of trust is:

Openness – there must be an unwavering commitment to and support of a healthy two-way communications environment

Simplicity – communications must be clear, meaningful and accessible

Consistency – messages should support the company’s plan and be communicated on a regular basis

Caring – you must foster concern for the individual

So this is why I blog and what I stand for: I want to change the way companies communicate to their stakeholders: employees, shareholders, customers, the media and general public. I want the communications to be more authentic, meaningful, consistent and caring. I don’t think that’s too much to hope for..

Cochise Climbing Camp Coming in October

There is an  incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in the endeavor of climbing, challenge and inspire yourself, and take your professional development to the next level with Matt Walker and Inner Passage. It is the Cochise Climbing Camp, and it is being offered in both October and March.   Great for both leaders, business owners, entrepreneurs and anyone who is interested in gaining some great insight into life and leadership from the great outdoors.

Here is the PDF download of the details. (And I have been told the food, accomodations, etc are to die for!).

Leadership Lessons Learned From President Obama’s Actions on the Skip Gates Incident

I know everyone is commenting on this story, so I of course have to throw my two cents in…from the perspective of leadership.

There are a few things I think we can all learn from President Obama’s words and actions.  Watch the video first, and then read my thoughts below:

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1) “Well, I should say at the outset that Skip Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here.”

CON: When a friend is involved in something of this nature, it is critical for a leader to be extra cautious before making a statement or decision.  When friends and family are involved, a leader’s perspective can get a bit fuzzy.

PRO: I appreciate that the President said “I may be a little biased here”…if you have a bias, it’s better to state that than to just breeze over the bias.

2) “I don’t know all the facts.”

CON: It is best to not make a statement until you have all the facts…period.  This one can hang you as a leader.

PRO: Again…at least the President admitted that he did not have all the facts.

3)  “Number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home”

CON: While I realize our law enforcement professionals have some flaws and many have been accused of racial profiling, I simply don’t feel that it is appropriate to even suggest that any police officer or department acts “stupidly”.  Choose your words carefully (hastily may have been a better choice here.)

PRO: The President did not “couch” his words.  Being direct can work, but you do have to be very careful who you are speaking to and the words you use.  Many people are now saying that Obama called the Cambridge police officer,  Sgt. James Crowley,  stupid…that is not what he said.  He said the Cambridge Police acted stupidly (that is a behavior…and I don’t believe Obama was calling Crowley stupid.)

4) “As you know, Lynn, when I was in the state legislature in Illinois we worked on a racial profiling bill because there was indisputable evidence that blacks and hispanics were being stopped disproportionately. And that is a sign, an example of how, you know, race remains a factor in this society. That doesn’t lessen the incredible progress that has been made. I am standing here as testimony to the progress that’s been made. And yet, the fact of the matter is that, you know, this still haunts us.”

CON: A sensitive button got pushed, and an assumption was drawn that this incident was related to racial profiling.   That is a very slippery slope, and if the President had done his homework on Crowley, he would have known that he has a record of speaking out against racial profiling and educating others on how to stop it.  As a leader, before you discuss sensitive subjects (race, religion), it is best to make sure that you are not speaking from the place of a “hot button”.

PRO: The President took a stand, and we need someone who is willing to take a stand right now and speak from a place of passion.

In closing, I admire President Obama for going back and calling both Crowley and Gates to the White House for a beer.  I have seen a lot of mending happen over a few drinks..

The 7 Warning Signs You Are Dealing With a Destructive Confidant

Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, Anna Nicole Smith, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland.

I am sure by now that you all see the repeating patterns in the lives of these men and women.  Each died as a result of prescription drug use, and this all leads to the ever pressing question of “Who was enabling the behavior to an extreme so great that the end result was death?”

I want to say first that the responsibility does rest with Jackson, Ledger, Smith, Monroe and Garland.  If you are unwilling to do the work to stop an addiction, then of course, you are ultimately responsible.

But, as we all know, when an addiction is present, there are also enablers.  In the case of these celebrities, there were multiple doctors involved, and in the case of Jackson, it seems to me that a doctor (or doctors) were not only enabling but were actually living in the home with him.  I am sitting here today scratching my head thinking “If AEG reported that Jackson was in such great health, why in the world did he need a live in doctor?…AND…why did it take 3 days for the authorities to find Dr.Murray?”

Police and federal agents Wednesday raided  offices of Michael Jackson’s personal doctor Conrad Murray, in a search for medical records they believed would constitute evidence of manslaughter, so now the case is going to break wide open, and my hunch is that since Ledger and Smith died so recently, there will be a full out investigation of these celebrity doctors who are peddling prescription drugs. While detoxification from Percocet is rarely life-threatening, it is difficult to go through alone, read about percocet withdrawals here. Failure rates grow higher and higher if addicts don’t access help through medications and counseling. While addicts and their families may know they need help for addiction, they may be at a loss to determine where they should access help. A family physician’s office may be a good place to start. If the addict obtained Percocet through the doctor’s office, the doctor will know why the drug was prescribed and how often the prescription was refilled.

This whole situation has just brought to my mind that this situation happens everywhere…not necessarily with prescription drugs but through what I call “destructive confidants”…people who exhibit behaviors which protect, shield and “enable” leaders and can cause destruction not only to the leader but the family and the companies they serve.

Today, I want to leave you with 7 warning signs that the leader in your company or small business may be taking advice from a destructive confidant:

1) The leader is becoming more and more isolated, spending the bulk of his time with the confidant.

2) The leader no longer takes advice from people who have their head on straight.  They are only taking advice from the confidant.

3) The leader is totally unaware of decisions being made around him.  The confidant is shielding her from bad news…only good news is allowed.

4) The leader begins to bring in “yes men and women”…people who only say “yes” to the leader at each and every turn.

5) You have a feeling the confidant is in the relationship only to gain more power for himself (if you notice a confidant gaining power and then moving on to the next “powerful relationship”, this is a red flag indeed.)

6) The leader seems to become more and more reliant on the confidant.  She cannot seem to make a decision without clearing it first with the confidant, is calling the confidant in the middle of the night and always seems to have the confidant around.

7) You get the sense that the confidant is lying to others and cheating to “beat the system” and to gain more power.

If you are someone in an organization, and you notice any of the above signs, it’s time to take action.  If you have a Board of Directors, the Chairman of the Board needs to be alerted (if he/she does not already know it,) and swift action needs to take place to address the situation.   If you believe that there is a psychological situation at hand, contact your Human Resources adviser or director in confidence to discuss the proper steps to take to address the issue.  While this is a challenging situation, it is certainly one that someone needs to address sooner rather than later.

How Judge Sonia Sotomayer Mastered the Broken Record by Jeannette Paladino

Jeannette Paladino had a great post this past week on how Judge Sotomayer has mastered the “broken record” technique during her questioning this past week by the Senate Judicial Committee.

Jeanette makes some great points that we can all learn from in this post, so check it out here.  I agree that Sotomayer has kept her cool and played the game that needed to be played this past week..

Hone Your Business Skills With Maestro Month

I want to thank everyone who turned out yesterday for the blogging call with Maestro Month.

We had over 200 people on the call and gobs of questions.  If you attended the call and you still have an outstanding question, don’t hesitate to contact me, and I will be sure to get your question answered.

There is still one week left for Maestro Month, and I encourage you to check out the classes for next week here.

Just look to the right and click on the Maestro Month box..

How the Mighty Fall by Jim Collins: The 5 Warning Stages

If you have not yet had the chancehowthemightyfall to pick up a copy of Jim Collins’ book: How The Mighty Fall, I highly recommend this book.  As always, Collins has researched companies that were once great and studied their decline.  There are 5 stages in the downward spiral, and leaders can learn a great deal by noticing the stages.  As Collins points out, it is much easier to turn a company around in the early stages of the decline.

For an excerpt from the book, visit this link on Business Week online..