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Who helps you behind the scenes when you don’t even know or realize it?  So many times we think we are doing the heavy lifting not realizing the people who do the little necessary things along the way to help you out. 

Check out this story relating to that at All Things Workplace by Steve Roesler.

After reading this story think about the people that pack your parachute. 

Who are the people who make your job easier but don’t get the credit? 

Who are your customers who are loyal and pack your parachute year after year?

Stop being so selfish and realize you aren’t doing all the work.  If the little details along the way wouldn’t get done would you still accomplish what you do?

This week look for those who help you and others out.  Write them a not or let them know what a great job they are doing.


Google has transformed the world and how we view things.  Google is so powerful a word that it is used as a noun, verb, adverb, and adjective.  In fact google is said so much that it probably is right up there with use as some curse words.

Would there be as much free out there if it weren’t for google?

Would we see as many companies copying the “free google model” to accomplish success?

People everyone are studying how Google was successful.  They are trying to fit there model into the Google model.  They are seeing what Google did and they are trying to ride the path that Google paved.  Sure that seems like a good ideas if you want to be a good company.  You can learn a lot of things from Google but if you want to be a great company Don’t copy Google.

Figure out a new way of doing business people have not thought of before.  Think of how to combine ideas of other businesses and spinning them to create something unique.  Google has done a lot of great things.  They have all but eliminated phone books, cook books, maps, newspapers & magazines (to some extent).

Look at Google’s way of doing business and take a few things of what they do.  But don’t ride their coat tails.  Step up and lead in a new and diverse way that makes people say “wow.”

Why are some people defined by their one or two flaws rather than there numerous positive abilities?

Is it because they are people that reveal their flaws and are open about them or is it because they don’t admit them?

One of my flaws for a long time has been (and still is) finishing things I started. 

How did I start overcoming this flaw?  Here is how I started to overcome it:

  1. I first asked people what my flaws were.  They told me them and this was the one that kept coming up. 
  2. I realized my flaw.  Came to grips with it and started putting systems in place to overcome it.
  3. Looked at the root of my flaw.  The root of my flaw was that I didn’t particularly find joy in finishing things.  So what did I do?  I started to enjoy putting the final detailed touches on a project.  Whether it was sweeping off sidewalks or following through on a project that I was finishing. 
  4. Celebrated times I overcame them.  When I realized at times of conquering my flaw I celebrated and thought about them for awhile.  I enjoyed them and realized the value in conquering them.
  5. Made lists and lists.   I made lists of what I needed to do.  I made to-do lists daily.  I made lists of projects for the future when I thought of things, and I put reminders in place so I didn’t forget.


Do you know what your flaws are? 

Are you willing to put the work into minimizing or eliminating it? 

If you have eliminated it how have you done it?

“Why can’t someone else think about things in the same ways I do?” 

That is what came out of my mouth the other day as I was thinking about work and what was going on.  My frustration had led me down a path of getting frustrated with different “urgencies” around me.

I started thinking I wished I had more people around me who thought like I did.  This time was different than normal though.  Instead of focusing on what others could change or should change, or what I thought they should be like.  Instead of focusing on what others weren’t doing, I focused on what they were doing and what there gifts were.

I realized it is kind of nice that I can be the dreamer, wear different hats, do different things and have the freedom to do it.  I couldn’t do designing all day for different jobs that would wear me out and I am not gifted there.  I couldn’t do bills and talk on the phone to people throughout the day that would cause me to go batty.  I couldn’t just go out and do the jobs everyday and figure out the technical ways how to finish them.

It really made me sit back and realize I didn’t have frustration but freedom.  Every one in our business has a different job that involves different skill sets.  My job as a leader is to realize what they are and to be THANKFUL that each individual has them.

Instead of getting frustrated in your current situation be thankful:

  • Realize what the positives are about your job.  They almost always outweigh the negatives.  We just tend to focus triple the time on the negative than the positive.
  • Encourage and compliment others.  Step outside yourself and realize what others are doing.  Thank them for being who they are and encourage them by being complimentary of things.
  • Start with Yourself.  Focus on the “true urgent” tasks and the important objectives yourself.  But don’t be so focused on yourself that you forget about others.

I know the title of the blog is learn and lead.  So here is something I have learned about leading lately. 

I just finished the book Sense of Urgency by John Kotter.  I recommend this book to anyone who is looking to create some urgency around them and in themselves.  It is a pretty quick read and has many good points.

On most of my books I have done outlines so I can look at them later.  I will probably do an outline later but for now I need to take a few things that I can take away from this book to help me improve and lead now.

I have read lately that out of each book you should have two or three things to take from each book.  If you have more than that you will not be able to do them all.

These are the 2 main things I learned from John Kotter’s Book Sense of Urgency:

1.  True Urgency starts with YOU having a sense of urgency EVERY DAY!  Not most days, not mornings or afternoons.  EVERY DAY.  If you want others to have any urgency you need to have true urgency everyday.  What is true urgency?  It is not being busy like everyone thinks.  True urgency is making sure that you are working on your main priorities every day.  You need to focus on what your 3-5 biggest priorities every day and do them.

2. You need to spend 1 hour each day being seen and being around your team.  I can be awful at this.  I try to work on all what seems like “urgent” projects.  But the people around you deserve more urgency than some of your tasks.  People need to see you doing things around them.  Not just locked up in an office somewhere.  Spend an hour each day investing in people at work.


We will see how these go.  I love that I have 2 goals for the next couple of weeks. I will fill you in with how I am doing.

In the last month Rick Pitino the basketball coach for the Lousiville Cardinals had some explaining to do.  It just came out that he had an affair with a lady in a restaurant and then paid her to have an abortion.  This finally all came out after she tried to extort more money out of him.

I have been on both sides of the fences with this one.

Would you trust him with your son?  Would you trust your daughter with one of his players?

If Rick Pitino was not coach of a program that made tons of money off of his successes would he still have a job?

Do we have higher expectations for those in the spotlight than we do for ourselves?

Do people in the spotlight screw up as much as we do, or are we just able to hide it better because no one really digs?

These are just a few of the questions that came to my mind.

We as a society are willing to look over a multitude of bad judgments if you “JUST WIN BABY.”  Our society is that of winning is the solve all and end all. 

I was having a conversation with one of my friends about how a coach acted and his comment was “It doesn’t matter if he wins.”  I almost went ballistic!  So what you are telling me is a coach can act like a complete a-hole and totally misrepresent the school and yell and curse.  But if he winds all of the other things don’t matter?

Maybe that is what is wrong with society.  We value winning so much that we will sacrifice our morals and ethics of the long term to WIN NOW.

This was the question posed to me the other night in between our tournament games the other night.  My first reaction was that it is kind of boring and doesn’t really serve a purpose.  Which is partly true.  Then I stepped back in time and remembered when I was growing up.

Tuesday nights were church softball nights.  All the dads around played and all the kids and mothers came to watch.  We loved going and watching our dads play each other and we played baseball at the same time. 

Fast forward until now.  There is maybe a handful of people in the stands and the only kids there are 3rd grade and under.  No one seems to care and the kids are busy doing other things.  Also it is hard to find enough people to play because most people are too busy.

What has changed?  Is it we have found better things to do with our nights?  Have we got so busy that we don’t have time to play softball anymore?

One of my theories is that our lives now revolve more around our kids than our kids lives revolve around ours.  Kids are involved in more things that take more time than ever before. 

Another theory is that we don’t know how to relax anymore without the TV.  Going out and playing softball is not relaxing. 

These are a couple of my many theories what do you think?

I found this quote in one of my notebooks the other day.  It reads:

“Blessed is the man who is too busy to worry during the daytime and too tired at night.”

It was two years ago and at the time I thought this quote was what I wanted to strive for.  After a year of trying to live that way I came to a new realization.

Cursed is the man who is too busy too worry during the daytime and too tired at night because he did not make time for others or himself.

If you are a factory worker or a laborer this quote might mean that you had a successful day.  But if you are a leader this shows that your day was an utter failure. 

Many leaders are so busy being busy with things that makes it look like they are important rather than spending time on the important things.

What are the important things?

  1. PEOPLE: This is your most valuable asset as a leader.  People are what makes your business run and how you multiply yourself.  Take time to talk to your people and connect with them.  You will be glad that you did and so will they.
  2. The Important but not urgent: Too many times we flip this around and work on the urgent but not the important.  If you are constantly fighting fires that is what you will be.  If you sit back and look at the forest ahead you will be able to see the fire’s coming and put systems to prevent them.
  3. Getting away to get refreshed: Turn off your mind for a while and get refreshed away from work.  This will help you to be more refreshed and inspired at work.

Being busy is not a bad thing but when it takes you away from these important things you need for long term success you have trouble.

September 2009
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Learn & Lead

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