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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?

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.

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?

The other day I was driving around town just after lunch.  As I was looking around at how beautiful everything was looking I drove by a lemonade stand with 5 kids selling lemonade.  I drove by and almost kept driving then realized what it would mean to stop and get some lemonade from these kids. 

So I did a u-turn and reached in my pocket for all of my spare change.  I gave them the change and asked how many lemonades I could get for that(I have to try to teach in every moment I can).  Right away one of the kids got a blank look on her face and gave it to the older one.  I could get 2 lemonades and with the little extra I told them that it was their tip.

In every experience I have had lately I try to take a few things away.  What did I take away from this chance encounter with some kids at a lemonade stand?

  • Buy lemonade from kids whenever you can.  You can’t buy anything for a quarter these days anyway.  You might as well give the kids fifty cents and make their day.  Don’t just buy the lemonade engage the kids and ask them questions.
  • What if every business had as much excitement as these kids did?  Just think how many things people would sell if their salespeople had this much excitement over each sale. 
  • When did we as adults stop smiling so much?  These kids were smiling from ear to ear over a quarter.  It is hard for any adults to smile at all throughout the day.

Take the next week and sit down and write notes after every experience you have and analyze it.  What is good bad or otherwise? 

The only way we get better is to realize the mistakes we made and change the future so we don’t make them again.

My goals for the year were to change a habit each month.  January I gave up pop, February I decided to exercise, March I wanted to try to get up on time, for April it is to stay in touch with my people.

Right up until April my goals were going great.  Then busyness set in and the rest of my goals went by the wayside.  I started drinking pop because I needed it to get through the day, or so I thought.  I stopped exercising because I lost free time both with work and with having a baby.  Getting up on time has stopped happening because I don’t stick to a schedule and routine of going to bed on time and having enough time for relaxation.  Now I am so busy trying to keep on top of customers that I don’t know what is going on with some of my team.

I need to get back in a routine and start to focus.  To get past things you need to focus and have a plan.

To stop drinking more pop: Don’t buy it at home and take a jug of water to work and make sure that is the only thing you drink. 

Exercising: Schedule 3 days a week to do some exercise.  Don’t try to overdue it.  Just start slowly.

Getting up on time: Stay on a schedule of going to bed on time and have a routine to start your morning.

Keeping in Touch with my Team: Put them as an action item on your to do list.  Have things written each day to talk to each of your team members about.

 

Sorry this post was so me focused.  But if I cannot live out what I am talking about here I am just another blathering idiot.  I will get back to you on how this is going.

Many people talk about how you need to start your day off right.  That is a great idea.  But if you really want to improve as a person and a leader you need to end your day right.  Your work day is what I am talking about.

What does ending your work day look like?

  • Organize your desk and things and get ready for tomorrow.
  • Make a list of the top 5 tasks you have for the next day in order.
  • Think through what happened throughout the day.
  • Think how you reacted to things and how you should have reacted to things. 
  • Make some mental notes on how you could have done things differently or how you handled things correctly.
  • Make notes of 2 people you need to praise for things the next day.

Those who start their day off right are far ahead of most but those who finish are the ones who always end up being the best.

With all of the strength-based leadership talk that has been going on lately I read an post by Dan McCarthy that made me realize you can’t just focus on strengths.

I have read Marcus Buckingham’s book First Break all the Rules, and I really enjoyed it.  Being my usual self I dove in and took what I learned from that book and tried to apply it.  The problem with focusing solely on your strengths is you never end up doing the hard work of changing the things you really don’t want ton but need to. 

I know I would rather focus on my strengths!  It makes me feel better about myself and I feel like I am more productive.  As a leader I cannot afford to just focus on my strengths.  If you are just a cog in the machine or in a factory you could just focus on your strengths.  But in leadership there is way more to it.  If I say organization is not one of my strengths and don’t focus on improving it then that will continue to hamper my abilities to be a great leader.

I know that overcoming adversity or tough circumstances makes you stronger than successes.  Don’t you think it is the same way with your weaknesses and strengths.  Strengths are like victories that feel great and you learn how good you are at things.  But weaknesses are like failures or defeats and once you come out of them you are a lot better off.

As you go through college and in work also people wear their ability to procrastinate like a badge of honor.  I know I some times claim that I perform better under pressure. 

But are those who really truly procrastinate the successful leaders in the world.  I really don’t believe so. 

Why do leaders avoid procrastination?

  1. Others Depend on Them: Procrastination is very selfish. If you decide to do it you are making the conscious decision that you are about me instead of we.
  2. They Need to Look Ahead: They need to look at things in the future and that means looking at things that aren’t necessarily urgent but are very important.
  3. They Don’t Need to Brag: Those that are true leaders don’t need to tell others how they can do things last minute. 
  4. Preparation is Key: They prepare and plan for everything.  They think through processes and other tasks that need to be thought through well.

If we are going to stop procrastinating we need to realize how to stop doing it.  Here are ten steps to stop procrastinating by Leo of Zen Habits.

1. First make sure you really, really, really want to do it. Seriously – don’t skip this step.
2. Keep things simple – don’t mess with tools, formatting, anything, just start.
3. Make it the first thing you do today, before checking email or anything else.
4. Clear away everything that stands in the way of doing. Including turning off the Internet.
5. Just get started. Overcome the initial barrier by diving in.
6. Tell yourself you’re just going to do 10 minutes.
7. Put something you dread more at the top of your to-do list — you’ll put off doing that by doing the other things on your list. (Structured procrastination.)
8. Find something about it that excites you.
9. Forget about perfection. Just start doing it, and fix it later.
10. If you keep procrastinating, re-evaluate whether you really want to do it. Consider not doing it, or putting it on the backburner.

 

So why not stop trying to procrastinate and look ahead a little bit.  Do it before life passes you by.

Why do we always protect our kids from everything?  If they are truly going to learn from this recession they need to experience it.  If you are cutting back on spending so do they.  Don’t start compromising your future for your kids. 

Look at some of the changes throughout the years:

  1. Kids Can’t Share Rooms: Everyone now needs bigger houses with more bedrooms because kids can’t share rooms.  I don’t know about you but when I grew up I shared a room and so did all of my friends.
  2. Parents Take Care of College: Many parents are handcuffing themselves and paying for all of their kids college.  Why not give them goals they need to reach for you to help them out or match what they put in.
  3. Kids Don’t Have to Work: How many kids don’t even know how to work these days?  A LOT.  They sure know how to play video games though.  Make your kids be responsible and get a job.  Do some manual labor for the summer and learn what work is.
  4. My Kid Didn’t Do That: How many parents side with their kids over teachers these days?  A LOT.  Most teachers are not trying to pick on your kids.  And your kids are not perfect. 
  5. My Kid Can’t Fail: Failure is such a swear word among parents.  Failure is what helps mold people more than anything else. 

All parents want their kids to have a better life than they had.  Why don’t you do that by having them learn some of the lessons you learned along the way.  I know it may not seem like you are giving them a better life, but in the future they will thank you. 

By babying and protecting your kids you are doing them a terrible disservice.

This whole article came about from an article from one of My favorite blogs: Leadership Turn by Miki Saxon.